Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

6/15/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

and all people of faith must embrace a new paradigm of evangelizing the culture

Philadelphia's Archbishop Chaput has long been known for his candor, but his May 24 column is particularly refreshing.  I direct your attention to the following sentence: "Anyone who thinks that our country's neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again." In other words, mere words are not going to be enough to retain our right to, and our nation's heritage of, religious liberty. 

Archbishop Chaput's column is entitled 'Religious Freedom and The Need to Wake Up.' He could have also added 'To Get Up' out of those comfortable chairs where the world looks so simple, so black and white.

Archbishop Chaput's column is entitled "Religious Freedom and The Need to Wake Up." He could have also added "To Get Up" out of those comfortable chairs where the world looks so simple, so black and white.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/15/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: activism, catholic action, religious freedom, culture, Archbishop Chaput, social doctrine, catholics in politics, Deal W Hudson


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Philadelphia's Archbishop Chaput has long been known for his candor, but his May 24 column is particularly refreshing.  I direct your attention to the following sentence:

"Anyone who thinks that our country's neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again."

In other words, mere words are not going to be enough to retain our right to, and our nation's heritage of, religious liberty. 

The 2012 presidential election was, if nothing else, a national referendum on religious liberty. Unless people were determined to know nothing about national affairs prior to casting their votes, the issue of the HHS mandate -- a fundamental violation of religious liberty -- was widely known. Some Catholic voters were alarmed, and voted accordingly, but not nearly enough to cause a difference in outcome. 

Blame? There's plenty to go around. But finger-pointing at this moment in time is useless and a waste of time. It's just as useless as another eloquent column written in defense of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution and the discriminatory targeting of conservative, pro-life, pro-marriage groups by the IRS.  

Archbishop Chaput points out that these violations are not isolated instances:

"Coupled with the White House's refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion."

What exactly does the Archbishop mean when he says these issues will not be "worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead"? He means that Catholics and all people of faith must embrace a new paradigm of evangelizing the culture. The paradigm of exerting influence by making arguments in the public square, first exemplified by the late Father Richard Neuhaus, must be supplemented by a paradigm of activism

Activism can take many forms, from filing law suits and investigative reporting to public demonstrations, TV/radio messaging, and grassroots political action. But the bottom line is this: the threat to religious liberty, to our families, and our national heritage cannot be conducted from an arm chair. Those pundits who spend day after day in front of a computer, questioning the moral and theological purity of those who are actually making a difference by being "out on the street," need to think less and act more. To be brutally honest, what they are saying about the culture wars has been repeated ad nauseam for decades.

Archbishop Chaput's column is entitled "Religious Freedom and The Need to Wake Up." He could have also added "To Get Up" out of those comfortable chairs where the world looks so simple, so black and white.  Will we "sleep through the national discussion of religious liberty" the Archbishop warns against?  Are we another generation of "sleepwalkers" who led to the holocausts of the first two world wars? (It's time to rediscover Herman Broch's great 1931 novel The Sleepwalkers with its narrative description of the disintegration of values leading to WWII).

Catholics who call themselves "conservative," "orthodox," or "pro-life" are often heroic, tireless, and generous, but many suffer from a common ailment: They talk too much and when they talk they say the same thing over and over again.  It's called "preaching to the choir." 

There is no one simple solution to Archbishop Chaput's rallying cry: There are a myriad of activist opportunities begging for bodies and support, from the Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance for Marriage to Live Action and the Alliance Defending Freedom.  No doubt more organizations and new leadership will be jumping into the breach.

Please become one of those who are acting in the public square in defense of the Church and our nation. Otherwise, we will wake up one day in the future, and what we considered could have never happened in our nation will be a fait accompli. (I deliberately use the French for "accomplished fact" because the French never believed that Hitler would occupy their beloved Paris.)

-----
Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D, is president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine. He is the Senior Correspondent for Church and Culture and a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Threatening note promising revenge attacks found on U.S. military serviceman's car Watch

Image of The anonymous note comes just a week after the tragic shooting at military locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under the windshield wiper of a car, owned by an unidentified serviceman, was a note warning the military of a revenge under investigation. Authorities believe the car was targeted because of the license plate identified the owner is a part of the military service. ... continue reading


Missouri Sheriff's 'inspiring' phrase on police patrol cars enrages atheists Watch

Image of Stone County police cars now have

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Missouri sheriff made the decision to adorn all of his station's police patrol cars with the words, "In God We Trust." It has quickly sparked up a major debate and inevitably, atheist activists are quite frustrated about it. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES -The Missouri ... continue reading


Humility not Haughtiness: Dana Milbank is Absolutely Wrong about Rick Santorum Watch

Image of Pictured: Rick and Karen Santorum at campaign launch

By Keith A Fournier

Dana Milbank was wrong in insinuating that Rick Santorum's use of the third person in referring to his campaign was akin to a - royal we. To the contrary, it reveals the heart of a humble man who deeply cares about others. Humility is such a rare quality these days ... continue reading


Does Planned Parenthood Contribute Anything of Value to Society?

Image of Margaret Sanger

By Matt C. Abbott

Granted, the Church's infallible teaching on the intrinsic immorality of contraception is derided by the libertine left, and too few Catholics assent to it. (At least some of the blame for this sad reality falls on weak and dissident clergy, but that's a subject ... continue reading


Obama to Abortionists: Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. Watch

Image of President Obama at Planned Parenthood conference

By Ken Blackwell

In two startling videos, we have seen Planned Parenthood leaders engaged in a ghoulish traffic in the organs of unborn children whom they have killed. My colleague at Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, discussed this horror on his recent radio show in an ... continue reading


Mystery man found decomposing inside his car identified by fiancee as an undercover agent

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A man was found dead and decomposing inside his car, parked in a neighborhood in Southern California last Friday. Apparently, he had already been dead for two weeks when he was discovered. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - CBS Sacramento Local reported that ... continue reading


Disgusting, horrific stories of abuse: 68-year-old man drugged, sexually abused and performed surgical procedures on a young girl for six years Watch

Image of Girl [not pictured] experiences traumatizing abuse for six years. [Photo by: Alamy]

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 68-year-old man has drugged a young girl, sexually assaulted her with sharp objects and sucked fat from her stomach to inject into her breasts over a devastating span of six years. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the police, Louis Romano ... continue reading


Lone gunman kills two before turning gun on himself in Lafayette movie theater shooting Watch

Image of Fifty-nine-year-old John Russel Houser opened fire at the Grande Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana as they watched the romantic comedy

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an all-too-common occurrence in American society as of late, a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of innocent civilians, leaving death and injury in his wake. Fifty-nine-year-old John Russel Houser opened fire at the Grande Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana as they ... continue reading


FBI reveals ISIS poses bigger threat than '9/11's' al-Qaeda attack Watch

Image of ISIS continues to reach out to possible recruits through social media.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirms the growing threat from ISIS surpasses, in comparison, its terrorist rival, al-Qaeda when it comes to violence and being tech-savvy on social media. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - FBI director James Comey ... continue reading


Possible footage of dissection of aborted baby: What will Planned Parenthood be exposed of next? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Statements from Planned Parenthood's legal counsel hint the next revealing undercover footage may show the actual dissection and harvesting of an aborted baby. Los Angeles, CA (Catholic Online) - Following a 30-month-long investigation, the Center for Medical Progress ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
15 Moses turned and came down the mountain with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
19 At Horeb they made a calf, bowed low before cast ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:31-35
31 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 27th, 2015 Image

St. Pantaleon
July 27: St Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter