Thirty years ago, before I came back to the Church, I had a conversation just like this with a practicing Catholic — him rejecting a basic tenet and me affirming it as a doctrine Catholics must believe. It seemed bizarre to me, then, but that was only because I’d been away so long and didn’t know how bad things had gotten.
Posts tagged ‘Catholic Church’
The greatest social and culture-shaping force in the history of the world is Christianity. Nothing else comes even close.
The person who has had the greatest effect on other people and on the societies and cultures in which they live is Jesus Christ. No one else in history comes close.
Yet in 19 years of formal schooling I never heard Christ or Christianity discussed seriously in a public educational setting.
If leaving black Americans out of the textbooks is rightly seen as anti-black — as racism — then isn’t the suppression or omission of Christianity and its influence just as truly anti-religious prejudice?
The fact is that Christianity has played and continues to play a central role in our culture and history. To neglect to report the Christian influence is simply to fail to carry out the major duty of any educational institution, the duty to tell the truth.
Surely among the greatest tragedies of education today is the fact that the average student leaving our schools has no conception of the positive role Christ and Christianity have played in shaping our world.
Those students would never imagine that the Church’s contribution is as extensive and as overwhelmingly positive as it is. A superficial litany tells us that the first high schools and universities, the first hospitals and orphanages were started by the Church.
In our day the Church ranks as the largest charitable organization on the planet bringing relief and comfort to those in need. The Catholic Church is also the single largest health care provider in the world with more than 117,000 health care facilities, 26 per cent of the world’s total.
As Cardinal Donald Wuerl pointed out in a Washington Post editorial last week, “Modern-day music, art, architecture, economics, philosophy and our legal system all have their roots in the Catholic Church. Concepts such as natural rights and social equality, not to mention the idea that government and religion are separate spheres, were developed in Catholic thought.”
In fact, as Mike Aquilina points out in his latest book Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes the World: “Everything about our modern world we think is good is there because of the Church.”
“The only reason we care about the poor is because Christianity has won. The only reason the rights of women and children are important is because the Church has made them important. The only reason we have science is because the Church taught us how to think.”
“Yours is the Church that built up the best in modern culture,” writes Aquilina. Aquilina’s very readable book is devoted to making the case — so that you will be able to make the case — that the Catholic Church has been a great blessing to our world. – J. Fraser Field
Sometimes, it’s a friend who just happened to be passing by. Sometimes, it’s a neighbor bringing over surplus homegrown vegetables or misdirected mail. As often as not, though, it’s someone selling something — subscriptions to magazines we would never read or overpriced chocolate candy to benefit a school our kids don’t attend.
If the bell rings early on a Saturday morning, it’s bound to be evangelists of one stripe or another.
That’s what happened this morning around 9:30. If I’d realized it was Saturday, I’d have known better than to open the door; but the days all run together when you work, or try to work, from home, so I didn’t have my guard up.
I learned a long time ago, the hard way, that door-to-door evangelists are not interested in dialogue. They’ve come to convert. They’re the preachers and we’re the intended proselytes. Any effort on our part to reverse that relationship, or even to establish an equal status with our would-be mentors, will be rebuffed.
I opened the door this morning to two well-dressed gentlemen who I instantly feared might be debt collectors — or Thought Police, with a warrant to arrest me for my blog posts. As it turns out, it was Saturday morning and they were evangelists.
I politely informed them, as I do on all such occasions, that I’m a practicing Catholic.
The lead evangelist confessed that he’d assumed as much. The two Virgin Mary statues in my front yard and the Jubilee Year decal on my front door must have given me away.
End of story? No. It never is. My interlocutor went right into his pitch.
This is the moment that always bewilders me. If his faith is the true one and mine is not, then the effort to convert me is a good thing. Otherwise, that same effort takes on a whole different cast. He’s not trying to lead me to the Truth, but away from it. This is not just misguided, but evil.
I interrupted to ask him what denomination he represented.
When he identified his, I reaffirmed my own and suggested that he might want to investigate it. At this point, he confided that he’d been raised Catholic.
Over the years, I’ve met quite a few ex-Catholics who had become ardent members of other faiths, all of whom went to great lengths to justify their apostasy by trying to convert other Catholics. Evidently, they’re accustomed to succeeding in this effort, for my refusal to surrender always infuriates them.
Not one of these ex-Catholics has ever displayed even a rudimentary knowledge of Catholic history or teaching. They’ve abandoned a faith they never knew.
Their efforts remind me of the parable of the man who found a treasure in a field and sold everything he had to purchase that field — only it’s a travesty of the parable. They had the treasure and threw it away.
I did this, too, once, but thought better of it and reclaimed the treasure.
I left the Church when I was 15 and came back when I was 30. Not once, during my 15 years in the “desert,” did I ever consider embracing a different faith. For all its faults, the Catholic Church is the only church established by Jesus, the Son of God. If I’m going to go to church, I’m going to go to His church.
It was hard coming back, though. I first had to admit that I’d been wrong in leaving.
I hope the ex-Catholic who came to my door this morning will also reconsider and come home.
Benedict XVI has set for himself the most difficult mission. He wants to heal the evil consequences of the Church’s Revolution of 68 in a non-revolutionary manner. This pope is precisely not a papal dictator. He relies on the strength of the better argument and hopes that the nature of the Church will overcome that which is inappropriate to her if certain minimal assistance is provided. This plan is so subtle that it can be neither presented in official explanations nor understood by an almost unimaginably coarsened press. – Martin Mosebach
How blessed we are to have lived during the reigns of two of the greatest popes ever!
We know about the scandal that first broke eight years ago. I won’t rehash the disgusting particulars. Who has been one of very few Cardinals that has done or said anything to forcefully and effectively address this? Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger — Pope Benedict the Great. Ask Marcel Macial. Recall the Good Friday sermon by Cardinal Ratzinger in the reign of his predecessor. Remember his speech before the last conclave. And think of the constant upholding of Tradition and faith in both positions. He has taught, maintained and held the truth that makes us holy. It isn’t the orthodox Bishops and pastors that are likely to abuse children, to abuse the Holy Mass, to abuse the faithful by denying them truth. Yet we see whom the media seeks to destroy, and we should ask ourselves, “Why?” – St. Louis Catholic
This AP story is typical of the genre. Bias is evident throughout. Note the repeated use of the words “stall” and “languish” to describe a pace typical of any bureaucracy. Worse, though, is the insinuation that the Vatican is somehow responsible for the disciplining of a diocesan priest, when in fact every bishop is sovereign in his own see. If the bishop knew that this priest was a threat to children and did not take steps to restrict him from contact with them, then it is the bishop’s — and the priest’s — fault, not Ratzinger’s or anyone else’s.
When will we see an AP article on the deliberate infiltration of the Church by homosexuals determined to destroy it from within?
Vittorio Messori, author of The Jesus Hypothesis, is the first journalist in history to publish a book-length interview with a Pope, the best-selling Crossing the Threshold of Hope. He also published The Ratzinger Report, based on an interview with then-prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In this two-part interview, Messori talks about his latest book, Por qué creo [Why I Believe].
There is an elephant in the living room. But few want to talk about it. Most choose to ignore it. The problem is that the elephant is trampling all of the furniture and soiling the carpet. And the elephant is this: the Church is polluted with apostasy—the falling away from the faith—and it has a name: “Wormwood.” – Mark Mallett
The end is always near. The time to repent is always now.
The unprecedented decision by the Vatican to undertake an apostolic visitation to assess the quality of religious life in orders of sisters in the United States came as a big surprise to many people when it was announced in January. That surprise was doubled with the news two months later that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) will be conducting a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents most of the leaders of US women religious.
But people who have been closely watching the deterioration of many of the women’s religious orders in this country were not at all surprised that the Vatican initiated these assessments. Indeed, many sisters themselves have asked and prayed for Vatican attention to the condition of women’s religious communities. – Catholic World Report
Do they want to be Catholic, or don’t they? If not, they should stop calling themselves Catholic.
On Thursday, a community of Episcopal nuns and their chaplain will be received into the Catholic Church by the archbishop of Baltimore. – Zenit
We could use more orthodox Catholics. Maybe we could start an exchange program and trade our bad nuns for their good ones. (See post above.)