Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/17/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The evidence of the current cultural decline is all around us

Western culture needs conversion, from the inside out. We need a Christian revolution of the heart. Christians need to once again take the eternal and timeless values of the classical and orthodox Christian worldview and knead them again into the loaf of western culture. They are the yeast which alone can revivify a western civilization which has lost it's soul. There is a clash of worldviews currently underway in the West. It involves competing definitions of human freedom, human dignity, and human flourishing. Both cannot be true. Classical, orthodox Christians are now contending with the hostility of a secularist relativism which claims there are no truths. That is what makes Christians so increasingly countercultural.

One of the greatest delusions of our age is to think that any of this is actually new. It is just old school paganism rearing its ugly head once again and deceiving the moderns. We are recycling the past while shouting the word 'progress'. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome addressed the state of the culture into which they were sent. That culture was given over to debauchery, much like our own, and also suffered the consequences. We need to talk to God again.

One of the greatest delusions of our age is to think that any of this is actually new. It is just old school paganism rearing its ugly head once again and deceiving the moderns. We are recycling the past while shouting the word "progress". The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome addressed the state of the culture into which they were sent. That culture was given over to debauchery, much like our own, and also suffered the consequences. We need to talk to God again.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/17/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Gender identity, transexual, gay marriage, exchanging the truth of God for a Lie, morality, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, counter culture, Christian revolution, holiness, freedom, liberation, counter culture, social action, social justice, conversion, hol


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In His response to the Pharisees who tested Him on the indissolubility of marriage (Matt. 19:3-12), the Lord Jesus defended both marriage and the plan of God in differentiating men and women by gender. Fr. Randy Sly, the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, shared a homily with our readers on this important passage today.

I draw my readers attention to these particular words of Jesus: "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.' Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate."

It is no coincidence that, along with the wholesale assault on authentic marriage, we are facing a wholesale rejection of gender as a given, and as a gift. They are connected as a part of a bigger error, the rejection of God and his loving plan. There is nothing new about any of this. It is simply one more sign of a culture which has rejected the truth and embraced a lie. And as a result, is sliding away from freedom into bondage.

One of the greatest delusions of our age is to think that any of this is actually new. It is just old school paganism rearing its ugly head once again and deceiving the moderns. We are recycling the past while shouting the word "progress". The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome addressed the state of the culture into which they were sent. That culture was given over to debauchery, much like our own, and also suffered the consequences. We need to talk to God again.

Primitive forms of abortion were practiced in ancient Rome. In addition, infant exposure was lawful. That evil practice entailed leaving born children who were unwanted out on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders to be sold. Finally, sexual debasement was rampant as the natural Moral Law was being rejected while sexual aberrations were being celebrated as some kind of liberation.  

The Apostle wrote some strong words to the early Christians in Rome in the first chapter of his letter to them. He addressed the debased practices in the culture in which they lived. Even some Christians succumbed to the lies of that age. Sound familiar?

The Romans rejected the Natural Moral Law and reaped the rotted fruit which always follows such a choice. Paul wrote: "I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live."

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

"So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles."

"Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.  They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them." (Romans 1:16-32)

I can already anticipate some of the responses to my "daring" to include this passage in this article. Such words will be rejected by some as insensitive, or even "politically incorrect". Others will see them as "harsh" or "judgmental". However, these are not my words. They are the words of the Apostle Paul. And, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they are now a part of the canon of the Sacred Scripture, the Bible.

When men, women, and cultures reject the Natural Moral Law, they lose their freedom and their humanity. God's plan for the human race is the path to true freedom, happiness and flourishing. That is because He loves us. We are created in his Image. He reveals His plan to everyone, "even in the things that are made" as the Apostle wrote, because he wants all men and women to find true liberation and fulfillment.The Gospel is not an impediment to freedom, it is the very path. 

We live in an age which has suffered under counterfeit versions of what called itself humanism but rejected the human. Even some Christians have now rejected the term humanism, believing that the secularist and atheist co-opting of the word are valid. They are not. The truth is that prior to these counterfeit uses of a noble word, it was Christianity that spoke of the true humanism, found in Jesus Christ.

C.S. Lewis, in his book entitled Studies in Words, coined the word verbicide - the murder of a word. Modern aberrations of the word humanism are an example of such a crime. They evolved in the latter half of the twentieth century. Western culture has been sucked into a moral vacuum. It has rejected God and His Truth and embraced the autonomous self as the measure of all things.

License masquerading as liberty has seduced our age, offering a new morality that is no morality at all; in fact, it is a thinly disguised new paganism. It has no capacity to inform a just social order and is leading to cultural collapse. This collapse will not be averted by political conservatism, or any political movement, or party, for that matter. They are all inadequate for the task.

Western culture needs conversion, from the inside out. We need a Christian revolution of the heart. Christians need to once again take the eternal and timeless values of the classical and orthodox Christian worldview and knead them again into the loaf of western culture. They are the yeast which alone can revivify a western civilization which has lost it's soul.

Christianity gave western culture the truth that we are all created in the Image of God. From that foundational understanding of the nature of the human person was derived the liberating political notion that we possess fundamental human rights, endowed upon us by the God who created us.Those rights are not given to us by any Civil Government. Rather, they must be recognized by Civil Government or it becomes an unjust government. That is the state we are in. The declining western culture grows increasingly hostile to the Christian Church.

There is a clash of worldviews currently underway in the West. It involves competing definitions of human freedom, human dignity, and human flourishing. Both cannot be true. Classical, orthodox Christians are now contending with the hostility of a secularist relativism which claims there are no truths. That is what makes Christians so increasingly countercultural.

We insist that there is Truth, which can be known - and that it must govern our lives. In fact, we maintain that it is the path to freedom. This is why we are facing a growing persecution. Even though it's impact is still soft, the anti-Christian cycle is now underway and it will intensify. Our path is paved with the insults, accusations and calumny of our fellow citizens.

We are accused of being against progress and science for defending the dignity of every human life - including the Right to Life of our first neighbors in the womb. Yet, medical science confirms what our conscience long ago confirmed, those little girls and boys in the womb are our neighbors. It is always wrong to intentionally kill our innocent neighbors.

Like the early Christians, we insist that this Natural Moral Law can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason. Further, we claim that it is the only stable foundation for the positive law. It gives us the moral norms needed to build societies and govern ourselves. This Natural Moral Law must inform our positive law or we become lawless and our society devolves into anarchy.

The evidence of the current cultural decline is all around us. We have once again "exchanged the truth of God for a lie" just as the Apostle warned. We are also reaping the rotten fruit. We cannot - we will not - back down. Why? Because we love and want all men and women to be truly free. 

In the face of a manufactured of a right for homosexuals and lesbians to 'marry', we Christians will not participate in the lie. We insist that marriage is possible only between one man and one woman. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and revealed by the Natural Moral Law. To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its definition.

Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society. Civil institutions do not create marriage. Nor can they create a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage. To do so furthers the common good.

To confer the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy and does not advance the true common good. Government has long regulated marriage for the common good. For example, the ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract.

We insist that children have a right to a mother and a father. Of course, we care about the single parent family and the many broken homes. After all, we are Christians. We brought the very idea of embracing broken families into the public square. Marriage between one man and one woman is the first society into which children are meant to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities

However, the existence of single parent families and fractured families does not change the norm necessary to build a stable and healthy society within which they can find the compassion and support system they need as well. In tact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order. To live in faithful, heterosexual marriages and rear children within a family is once again countercultural. This is not the first time in history this has occurred. Paul's words to the Romans reflect this reality. So too do many early Christian writings.

Libertine cultures are the mission field into which the Christian Church is always sent. The early Church was sent into cultures much like our own, filled with people who thought they were advanced in light of the arts and sciences of their day. Yet, those cultures practiced primitive forms of abortion and exposure, a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders.

Early Christian sources, like the Letter to Diognetus, remind us that the early Christians transformed cultures much like our own. They lived in cultures of use where people were treated as property, cultures of excess where freedom was perceived as a power over others and license masqueraded as liberty. They changed those cultures from within. If we persevere in prayer, living faith and understand that this is a new missionary age, we can do the same.

The Christian claims concerning the dignity of life and the truth about marriage are not outdated notions of the past but the path to a future of freedom for all men and women. They are the real antidote to the poison which is rotting western civilization from within. Faithful Christians are now a Counter Culture and consecrated married couples and their families, called from antiquity the domestic church, are the vanguard of this Christian counter culture movement.

In his beautiful book of reflections called The Furrow, St Josemaria Escriva used a phrase that keeps coming to my mind; Rebels of Love. He wrote: "Nowadays it is not enough for men and women to be good. Moreover, it is not good enough to be satisfied with being nearly good. It is necessary to be 'revolutionary'. Faced by hedonism, faced by the pagan and materialistic wares that we are being offered, Christ wants objectors! Rebels of Love!"

The call of consecrated married love is a call to become such rebels of love. Christian marriage is more than a covenant (though it is that), more than an ordinance (though it is that) - it is an invitation to sacrificial love - to holiness. Christian Marriage is a participation in the life of God through which and for which we are given His grace.

It is a sacrament, a means of grace and witness of Christ's love for His Church. Marriage in Christ is what the scripture calls a mystery (see, Eph. 5:32). It is beyond words. It is meant to be lived and become a model to be imitated and emulated. Consecrated Christian Marriage requires a radical - meaning back to the roots - way of life.

As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. The word once referred to systems of thought in which "human interests, values, and dignity predominated". That was before the word was co-opted by a myriad of atheistic systems of thought. I was searching for truth, sometimes on all the wrong places.

I eventually discovered the thought of the early fathers of the Christian Church and came home to the faith of my childhood. There I found the fullness of truth revealed in jesus Christ. I also came to understand that true humanism is found in Christianity. It is in and through Jesus Christ that the human person can be set free to overcome what drags us down and ensnares us and rediscover our real identity and vocation.

The contemporary culture has rejected the truth of God for a lie. The attack on marriage and the rejection of Gender as a given both stem from the same root; the rejection of God.  Only a return to His loving plan can turn the tide.

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Corpus Christi, The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Watch

Image of There is also an ancient and beautiful custom in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church called the Corpus Christi procession. The consecrated Host, the Body of the Lord, is reposed in what is called a monstrance. The term is derived from a Latin phrase which means to show or reveal.  The faithful process the Body of the Lord through the streets surrounding their church buildings. This Eucharistic procession can be a powerful witness to an age which has lost its sense of the sacred.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We have received the Bread of Heaven. Let us choose to become what we consume. These Feasts are not just rituals on a Church calendar. They are invitations to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, and then offer Him to a world waiting to be born anew. On this Feast of ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Have Given Their Lives in Military Service Watch

Image of Memorial Day

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I live in Chesapeake, a wonderful city in Southeastern Virginia where there are many members of the military. The parish I serve is an example of this. Every day, I witness the many sacrifices which military families make for our Nation. On this Memorial Day, I ... continue reading


$3,600,000,000,000: the price to repair America Watch

Image of America's infrastructure is in need of improvement. Why isn't this a national priority?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We have money for perpetual war and can afford generous foreign aid, tax subsidies and cuts for the wealthy, but we cannot find the money to fix a pothole or repair a collapsing bridge. This is the sorry state of affairs U.S. infrastructure is in as we let the nation ... continue reading


Violent riot erupts at Trump rally in New Mexico Watch

Image of Unsurprisingly, a Trump rally erupted into a riot in New Mexico (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Protesters at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's New Mexico rally erupted in violent acts including the attempted stoning of police, glass bottles thrown at mounted units and their horses, burning shirts and more. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Record-breaking 38,000 illegal aliens apprehended in the month of April Watch

Image of April 2016 reaches new record for illegal alien apprehensions.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Illegal aliens continue to surge into the United States from the Southwest U.S. border, leading the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) units to announce record-breaking apprehensions in April, 2016. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the U.S. ... continue reading


Edward Nero, arresting officer of Freddie Gray, NOT GUILTY. Will Baltimore erupt once more? Watch

Image of Officer Edward Nero arrives at court. Nero has been acquitted of crimes in the death of Freddie Gray.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The arresting officer in the Freddie Gray case, Edward Nero, has been declared "not guilty" by the judge in his criminal trial. Now, the community waits to see if violence will erupt or if the streets will remain quiet. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Officer ... continue reading


Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

'The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Father Daniel Berrigan's Pro-Life Activism Watch

Image of Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Fr Frank Pavone

Father Berrigan was a radical figure who sent a total of almost seven years in prison.  What many don't realize though is that his activism extended beyond the anti-war movement and into the anti-abortion movement. Believing in what he called a consistent ... continue reading


Law allows persons to sue if you don't use the correct pronoun out of 58 to describe a person's sexual identity Watch

Image of We're going to need a lot more restrooms.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under a new law, businesses in New York will be fined if they don't use a person's preferred pronoun when referring to them. This especially becomes a problem when it is understood there are at least 58 possible pronouns with at least five grammatical variations ... continue reading


Science fiction? Feds discover the 'Grocery List,' post tweets to promote new technology Watch

Image of After millions of dollars in federal spending, government scientists have discovered the grocery list technology. Where would we be without such courageous efforts?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Federal Government has discovered the grocery list technology. This unlock apparently occurred recently as the Department of Agriculture sent encouraging, rapid-fire tweets to the public about how to use this remarkable new advancement. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: God is Good
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES Killer nanny asks judge for freedom because ...
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • St. Mechtildis: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Christians stand your ground: Graduating class recites The Lords ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Zephaniah 3:14-18,
14 Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult ... Read More

Psalm, Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
2 Look, he is the God of my salvation: I shall have faith and not be ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:39-56
39 Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 31st, 2016 Image

St. Mechtildis
May 31: Benedictine abbess and miracle worker. She was ... Read More