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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on December 6, 2016 at 9:34 AM||comments ()|
This talk by Cardinal Robert Sarah took place earlier this year at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.
It is essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of the ongoing assault on and subsequent destruction of the family in our so called 'progressive' world. Cardinal Sarah also considers what we, as Christians, can do to respond.
Here is the text of Cardinal Sarah's address:
Thank you for inviting me to this remarkable gathering, in the company of such a distinguished audience.
As you well know, what happens in the United States has repercussions everywhere. The entire globe looks to you, waiting and praying, to see what America resolves on the pressing challenges the world faces today. Such is your influence and responsibility.
I do not say this lightly, because we find ourselves in such portentous times.
1. The Situation of the World and the Mission of the Church
Rapid social and economic development in the past half century has not been accompanied by an equally fervent spiritual progress, as we witness what Pope Francis calls “globalized indifference.”
It is the result of giving in to the delusion that we are self-sufficient, that man is his own measure in a pervasive individualism. It is manifested in the fear of suffering in our societies, our closing our eyes and hearts to the poor and vulnerable, and, in a very despicable way, in how we discard the unborn and the elderly.
When he prophetically announced the Second Vatican Council in the Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis,Saint John XXIII remarked that the human community was in “turmoil” as it sought to establish a new world order where humanity relies entirely on technical and scientific solutions instead of God.
Today we are witnessing the next stage – and the consummation – of the efforts to build a utopian paradise on earth without God. It is the stage of denying sin and the fall altogether. But the death of God results in the burial of good, beauty, love and truth. Good becomes evil, beauty is ugly, love becomes the satisfaction of sexual primal instincts, and truths are all relative.
So all manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, but even promoted as a social good. The result is hostility to Christians, and, increasingly, religious persecution.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the threat that societies are visiting on the family through a demonic “gender ideology,” a deadly impulse that is being experienced in a world increasingly cut off from God through ideological colonialism.
Saint Pope John XXIII observed in 1962:
“Tasks of immense gravity and amplitude await the Church, as in the most tragic periods of her history. The Church must now inject the vivifying and perennial energies of the gospel into the veins of the human community.”
This remains the challenge that the Church is facing presently, more even than in 1962, and it is our task today. This is what I spoke of in my book God or Nothing:
“Today the Church must fight against prevailing trends, with courage and hope, and not be afraid to raise her voice to denounce the hypocrites, the manipulators, and the false prophets. For two thousand years, the Church has faced many contrary winds but at the end of the most difficult journey, the victory was always won.”
2. The Family
“The future of the world and the Church passes through the family.” These prophetic words of Saint John Paul II show how the Church, in our time, must, above all, defend and promote the beauty of the Christian family in fidelity to God’s design. In his post-synodal Exhortation on the Family, Amoris Lætitia (“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis states clearly: “In no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur … proposing less than what Jesus offers to the human being.”
This is why the Holy Father openly and vigorously defends Church teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, the education of children and much more. In my first five years as Archbishop of Conakry (Guinea, Africa), I made it my task to dedicate all of my pastoral letters to the family. Perhaps only the beauty of the family can reawaken the longing for God in the innermost recesses of the conscience of our brothers and sisters, and heal the wounds inflicted on our humanity by sin.
Saint John Paul, the Pope of the new evangelization, describes in Familiaris Consortio how the family is the first place where the Gospel is welcomed and is also the first herald of the Gospel. How true this is!
The generous and responsible love of spouses, made visible through the self-giving of parents, who welcome and nurture children as a gift of God, makes love visible in our generation. It makes present the perfect charity of the Trinity. “If you see charity, you see the Trinity,” wrote Saint Augustine.
From the beginning of creation, God, who is a communion of persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three different Persons, yet one – has built a Trinitarian structure into our very nature. In the continent of my origin, Africa, we declare: “Man is nothing without woman, woman is nothing without man, and the two are nothing without a third element, which is the child.” The Triune God dwells within each of us and imbues our whole being: God’s own image and likeness.
Every human being, like the persons of the Trinity, has the capacity to be united with other persons in communion through the vinculum caritatis – the bond of charity – of the Holy Spirit. The family is a natural preparation and anticipation of the communion that is possible when we are united with God. The family, as it were, is a natural praeparatio evangelica – written into our nature.
This is why the devil is so intent on destroying the family. If the family is destroyed, we lose our God-given, anthropological foundations and so find it more difficult to welcome the saving Good News of Jesus Christ: self-giving, fruitful love.
St. John Paul explained: if it is true that the family is the place where more than anywhere else human beings can flourish and truly be themselves, it is also a place where human beings can be humanly and spiritually wounded.
The rupture of the foundational relationships of someone’s life – through separation, divorce or distorted impositions of the family, such as cohabitation and same sex unions – is a deep wound that closes the heart to self-giving love unto death, and even leads to cynicism and despair.
These situations cause damage to little children through inflicting upon them a deep existential doubt about love. They are a scandal – a stumbling block – that prevents the most vulnerable from believing in such love, and a crushing burden that can prevent them from opening to the healing power of the Gospel.
Advanced societies, including – I regret – this nation have done and continue to do everything possible to legalize such situations. But this can never be a truthful solution. It is like putting bandages on an infected wound. It will continue to poison the body until antibiotics are taken.
Sadly, the advent of artificial reproductive technologies, surrogacy, so-called homosexual “marriage”, and other evils of gender ideology, will inflict even more wounds in the midst of the generations we live with.
This is why it is so important to fight to protect the family, the first cell of the life of the Church and every society. This is not about abstract ideas. It is not an ideological war between competing ideas. This is about defending ourselves, children and future generations from a demonic ideology that says children do not need mothers and fathers. It denies human nature and wants to cut off entire generations from God.
3. Religious Freedom
I encourage you to truly make use of the freedom willed by your founding fathers, lest you lose it. In so many other countries, on almost a daily basis, we hear of merciless beheadings, futile bombings of churches, torching of orphanages and ruthless expulsions of entire families from homes that religious minorities suffer worldwide simply because of their beliefs. Even in this yet young twenty-first century of barely 16 years, one million people have been martyred around the world because of their belief in Jesus Christ.
Yet the violence against Christians is not just physical, it is also political, ideological and cultural. This form of religious persecution is equally damaging, yet more hidden. It does not destroy physically but spiritually; it demolishes the teaching of Jesus and His Church and, hence, the foundations of faith by leading souls astray. By this violence, political leaders, lobby groups and mass media seek to neutralize and depersonalize the conscience of Christians so as to dissolve them in a fluid society without religion and without God. This is the will of the Evil One: to close Heaven … out of envy.
Do we not see signs of this insidious war in this great nation of the United States? In the name of “tolerance,” the Church’s teachings on marriage, sexuality and the human person are dismantled. The legalization of same sex marriage, the obligation to accept contraception within health care programs, and even “bathroom bills” that allow men to use the women’s restrooms and locker rooms. Should not a biological man use the men’s restroom? How simpler can that concept be?
How low we are sinking for a nation built on a set of moral claims about God, the human person, the meaning of life, and the purpose of society, given by America’s first settlers and founders! God is named in your founding documents as “Creator” and “Supreme Judge” over individuals and government. The human person endowed with God-given and therefore inalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” George Washington wrote that “the establishment of Civil and Religious Liberty was the motive that induced me to the field of battle.”
Today, we find ourselves before the battle of a sickness that has pervaded our world. I repeat: the battle of a sickness. That is what we face. I call this sickness “the liquidation, the eclipse of God.” Pope Francis describes the causes of this “sickness.”
I quote: “Religious liberty is not only that of thought or private worship. It is freedom to live according to ethical principles consequent upon the truth found, be it privately or publicly. This is a great challenge in the globalized world, where weak thought – which is like a sickness – also lowers the general ethical level, and in the name of a false concept of tolerance ends up by persecuting those who defend the truth about man and the ethical consequences.”
What are the remedies to this sickness? What should we do to protect the family, religious freedom, and marriage – as revealed to us by God?
Before such a distinguished gathering, I offer three humble suggestions.
1. First: Be prophetic. The Book of Proverbs tells us: “Where there is no vision, discernment, the people perish” (29, 18). Discern carefully – in your lives, your homes, your workplaces – how, in your nation, God is being eroded, eclipsed, liquidated. Blessed Paul VI saw that in 1968 when, for the Church, he so courageously wrote Humanae Vitae. What are the threats to Christian identity and the family today? ISIS, the growing influence of China, the colonization of ideologies such as gender? How do we react?
2. Be faithful. This is my second suggestion. Specifically for you, as men and women called to influence even the political sphere you have a mission of bringing Divine Revelation to bear in the lives of your fellow citizens. Uphold the wise principles of your founding fathers. Do not be afraid to proclaim the truth with love, especially about marriage according to God’s plan, just as courageously as Saint John the Baptist, who risked his life to proclaim the truth. The battle to preserve the roots of mankind is perhaps the greatest challenge that our world has faced since its origins. In the words of Saint Catherine of Siena: “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.”
3. Third: Pray. Sometimes, in front of happenings in the world, our nation or even the Church, the results of our prayer might tempt us to become discouraged. Like Sisyphus in the Greek myth: condemned to roll a large boulder uphill, only to see it roll down again as soon as he had reached the top. Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est encourages us : “People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone.”
Whether in doctrine or morality or everyday decisions, the heart of prayer is to discern God’s will. This can only happen in prolonged moments of silence where, like Elijah before the horrendous threats of Queen Jezebel, we allow the “gentle breeze” of God to enlighten us and confirm us along our journey to do God’s will. Such was the virginal silence of the Blessed Mother. At a marriage, the wedding feast of Cana, when for a new family “they have no wine,” Mary our Mother trusted in the grace given by Jesus to bestow the joy of love overflowing – Amoris Lætitia. She pronounced her very last words, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2: 1-12).Then she remained silent.
Be prophetic. Be faithful. Pray. That is why I came to this prayer breakfast. To encourage you. Be prophetic. Be faithful. And, above all, pray. These three suggestions make present that the battle for the soul of America, and the soul of the world, is primarily spiritual. They show that the battle is fought firstly with our own conversion to God’s will every day.
And so I wholly welcome this initiative, and join you in prayer that this great country may experience a new great “spiritual awakening”, and help stem the tide of evil that is spreading in the world. I am confident that your efforts will no doubt contribute to protecting human life, strengthening the family, and safeguarding religious freedom not only here in these United States, but everywhere in the world.
For in the end: it is “God or nothing.”
|Posted on September 27, 2016 at 10:35 AM||comments ()|
Pope Francis has spoken openly about his support for the Mexican bishops who, along with millions of people, have taken to the streets to protest against the legalisation of same-sex marriage and the serious threat it poses to family life.
The pope said: “I am very happy to associate myself with the bishops of Mexico, in supporting the commitment of the Church and of civil society in favour of the family and of life, which in this time require special pastoral and cultural attention in all the world.”
|Posted on May 3, 2016 at 9:43 AM||comments ()|
Accompaniment. Could this be one of the most important words in the life of the Church today?
One thing above all else struck me in reading Pope Francis’ recent exhortation Amoris Laetitia. It is the call to accompaniment. While we are well aware of our call to love and to be merciful towards all people, do we know how to achieve this? Think about those who live in ways or relationships that do not entirely accord with God’s divine plan, such as same-sex unions, cohabitation and the divorced and remarried. Pope Francis refers to these ways/relationships as ‘irregular’ and he suggests a need for accompaniment for people in such situations. Not just the need to love and be merciful; but the need to commit to actual one-to-one accompaniment.
I don’t intend going into the fine detail of Amoris Laetitia as there have been numerous commentaries on the document and many different views expressed. For me, I would sum up the document as being insightful in many ways, but especially when it comes to the love we are expected to show our spouse and our children. I found it incredibly helpful, directing me towards being more patient and understanding in family life. It is in many ways a challenge to live a holy and wholesome home life.
But like a fine thread running through the document, there is this call to accompaniment. The Pope isn’t advocating anything that is contrary to the teaching of the Church. There is no call to change doctrine and this is confirmed in the Pope’s own words: ““To show understanding in the face of exceptional circumstances never implies dimming the light of the fuller ideal, or proposing less than what Jesus offers to the human being.” Quite simply, Church doctrine continues to stand strong and will always do so. But perhaps the Pope’s call to “show understanding” is something we should dwell on for a moment.
The Church has always called its people to be loving, compassionate and merciful; to understand the difficulties experienced by others. It is after all a hospital for sinners. So, in that sense, there is nothing new here. The truth is, we should already be accompanying people in their difficulties and bringing them to Christ.
Sadly, however, the reality is somewhat different. Too often the Church (that is, the Catholic people) is seen as being judgmental, lacking compassion with a tendency to take the moral high ground. We are often quick to go on the defensive, preferring to argue rather than listen. Whether these accusations are justified is not something we should waste our time arguing about. The important thing is to focus our minds on accompanying all people, whatever their circumstances, and to show them the loving face of Jesus. We need to stop being defensive and, instead, be positive. If we come across someone in an irregular situation; be it a same-sex union, or perhaps someone who is divorced and remarried, we are first and foremost called to show that person what it is like to meet the loving Christ, to feel the closeness of his endless love and his unfailing mercy. We must accompany them.
Only by imitating the love of Christ and accompanying our brothers and sisters can we hope to bring them ever closer to Christ and his teaching. In essence we are offering them an alternative to what the world offers them. The world, with all its riches and ill-thought-out ‘freedoms’ offers people what they want, whenever they want it, seemingly satisfying every desire they could ever wish for. Yet this is never the case. People always want more. Always. The truth is this: people are never satisfied with what the world can give them.
Our patient, loving accompaniment may offer an alternative to the world’s failure to satisfy. By understanding the difficulties experienced by people and walking with them as Christ would we can bring them closer to the One who can satisfy the longings of each and every heart.
Our mission as Disciples of Christ is to bring people to know him and to know his Truth. If we want to succeed in this we must first and foremost accept and act on our call to accompaniment. That must be our first step. Only then, once we have established a loving, trusting relationship, can we hope to change hearts to acknowledge and perhaps even accept the Truth; a truth that brings real love, real mercy, and ultimately, real freedom.
If we want to build God’s Kingdom in our world today, we must take people by the hand and walk with them.
|Posted on April 8, 2016 at 9:11 AM||comments ()|
In his new exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis has expressed the need to view the family unit as an opportunity rather than a problem, and has encouraged the Church to be more understanding and compassionate towards those who experience difficulties in family life. There is a real sense of challenge in the document; a challenge to a deeper, less self-centred love towards all people, coupled with a deeper sense of humility.
The document, which runs to 264 pages, also speaks highly of the value of children and the need for married couples to be open to the prospect of new life. It emphasises the need to see the family unit as a church and provides insight into the various reasons that have contributed to the breakdown of the family in our world today. He was also critical of those who are narcissistic and irresponsible in relationships saying: "We treat affective relationships the way we treat material objects and the environment: everything is disposable; everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop. Then, goodbye. Narcissism makes people incapable of looking beyond themselves, beyond their own desires and needs. Yet sooner or later, those who use others end up being used themselves, manipulated and discarded by that same mind-set."
As expected, the pope has not made any moves to change Church teaching and matters such as contraception, same-sex marriage, abortion and holy communion for the divorced and remarried have not been given the liberal treatment that many media outlets had hoped for. This, of course, was never in doubt.
However, Francis has encouraged the Church to give consideration to how it can best serve those who do not live in accordance with Church teaching, especially when it comes to reconciling them to God. Bishops, priests and Catholic lay people are all being challenged to be the merciful face of Christ to those in difficult situations, while ensuring that the beautiful teaching of the Church is preserved. There is also a challenge to be more positive about Church doctrine, to present it in a way that reveals its true beauty and goodness.
While we are not yet in a position to go into detail on the exhortation we will be posting a number of related content on our Facebook and Twitter feeds over the coming days. We also expect to publish more posts here on our blog so please do check it regularly.
In the meantime, here is a reasonable early summary of the document from the National Catholic Register: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/popes-family-document-amoris-laetitia-tackles-complex-pastoral-challenges/
I would also urge you to consider reading Jimmy Akin's '12 things you need to know and share' about the exhortation: http://www.catholic.com/blog/jimmy-akin/pope-franciss-new-document-on-marriage-12-things-to-know-and-share
|Posted on February 19, 2016 at 6:56 AM||comments ()|
Pope Francis didn't just talk about Donald Trump's value as a Christian and contraception on his latest flight home to Rome. There is so much more that the mainstream media has failed to cover. So here it is....the stuff you probably haven't yet heard about:
Pope Francis on paedophilia in the Church and the part played by Pope Benedict XVI to eradicate it:
“First, a bishop who moves a priest to another parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is a reckless [inconsciente] man and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation. Is that clear?
Cardinal Ratzinger deserves an applause. Yes, an applause for him. He had all of the documentation. He’s a man who as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had everything in his hands. He conducted all the investigations, and went on, went on, went on, until he couldn’t go any further. But, if you remember, 10 days before the death of St. John Paul II, in that Via Crucis of Holy Friday, he said to the whole Church that it needed to clean up the dirt of the Church. And in the Pro-Eligendo Pontefice Mass, despite knowing that he was a candidate, he wasn’t stupid, he didn’t care to “make-up” his answer, he said exactly the same thing. He was the brave one who helped so many open this door. So, I want to remember him because sometimes we forget about this hidden works that were the foundations for “taking the lid off the pot.”
And, the final thing I would like to say that it’s a monstrosity, because a priest is consecrated to lead a child to God, and he eats him in a diabolical sacrifice. He destroys him.”
Pope Francis on same-sex unions and adoption by same-sex couples:
“I think what the Church has always said about this. “
“On people of the same sex, I repeat what I said on the trip to Rio di Janeiro. It’s in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
Pope Francis on abortion:
“Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil.
Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best-case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no? It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.”
Pope Francis on the European Union:
“I like this idea of the re-foundation of the European Union, maybe it can be done, because Europe — I do not say is unique, but it has a force, a culture, a history that cannot be wasted, and we must do everything so that the European Union has the strength and also the inspiration to make it go forward. That’s what I think.”
Pope Francis on the reintegration into the Church of re-married persons:
“Integrating in the Church doesn’t mean receiving Communion. I know married Catholics in a second union who go to church, who go to church once or twice a year and say I want communion, as if joining in Communion were an award. It’s a work towards integration, all doors are open, but we cannot say, “from here on they can have Communion.” This would be an injury also to marriage, to the couple, because it wouldn’t allow them to proceed on this path of integration. And those two were happy. They used a very beautiful expression: we don’t receive Eucharistic Communion, but we receive communion when we visit hospitals and in this and this and this. Their integration is that. If there is something more, the Lord will tell them, but it’s a path, a road.”
On Pope John Paull II’s friendship with Ana Teresa Tymieniecka:
“In my own experience, including when I ask for advice, I would ask a collaborator, a friend, I also like to hear the opinion of a woman because they have such wealth. They look at things in a different way. I like to say that women are those who form life in their wombs — and this is a comparison I make — they have this charism of giving you things you can build with. A friendship with a woman is not a sin. [It’s] a friendship. A romantic relationship with a woman who is not your wife, that is a sin. Understand?
But the Pope is a man. The Pope needs the input of women, too. And the Pope, too, has a heart that can have a healthy, holy friendship with a woman. There are saint-friends — Francis and Clare, Teresa and John of the Cross — don't be frightened. But women are still not considered so well; we have not understood the good that a woman do for the life of a priest and of the church in the sense of counsel, help of a healthy friendship.”
And finally, what did the pope ask for in Guadalupe?
“I asked for the world, for peace, so many things. The poor thing ended up with her head like this (raises arms around head). I asked forgiveness, I asked that the Church grows healthy, I asked for the Mexican people. And another thing I asked a lot for: that priests to be true priests, and sisters true sisters, and bishops true bishops. As the Lord wants. This I asked a lot for, but then, the things a child tells his mother are a bit of a secret.”
Read the full text of the pope’s in-flight interview here: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-interview-from-mexico-to-rome/#ixzz40bOhqqG7
|Posted on February 4, 2016 at 12:37 PM||comments ()|
Following a recent discussion on our Facebook page I thought it might be useful to draft up a short note on our Catholic faith and homosexuality. It is intentionally brief. For a more in-depth article on the matter please click this link.
Our Catholic faith tells us that homosexual acts are wrong. I think it's hard for us to hear this in such an abrupt way in today's world but this is what we are taught by faith. The reason such acts are wrong is that God has ordered us male and female for the authentic union that is marriage between man and woman and to be completely open to the precious gift of new life. Homosexual acts are not ordered in this way and are thus sinful. There are many sinful acts so this isn't necessarily a singling out of homosexual people. Consider sex outside marriage between a man and a woman, which is also wrong, as is the use of contraception.
It’s absolutely critical to also bear in mind that having same-sex attraction is different to homosexual acts. Mere attraction is not of itself sinful. It is only when these feelings are acted upon where it is deemed to be wrong. This is something that many people get confused about.
I think it's also important to see the positive side of the Church's teaching on homosexuality. It seeks to protect humanity by promoting the love between a man and a woman for the sake of giving new life to the world and raising this new life in marriage, which throughout history has been the best place for kids to thrive. The Church doesn't say a man can't love a man or a woman can't love a woman. Indeed, such a notion is completely contrary to Church teaching. It simply states that it is wrong to interfere with God's clear and natural plan for humanity.
It's not about hating homosexuals as many people wrongly think. It's actually about loving everyone and calling them all to live in accordance with God's plan. That too is a form of love though it is often hard for this society to see it in this modern age of relativism. In my time running the Scots Catholic website and social media accounts I have often been corrected for straying out of line with respect to Church teaching. I have learned so much in terms of my faith and I am grateful to those who have offered their generous help. For me, they are simply doing God’s work. They are doing what Jesus did and are challenging me, and I shouldn’t be afraid to be challenged.
In fairness to anyone who abides by the teaching of Christ and his Church on this matter, they are simply trying to live out their lives as God intended and they are well within their rights to stay true to God no matter what the world may tell them. Jesus and the Apostles were ridiculed and even put to death for going against the tide and remaining faithful to God's teaching. But they remained faithful. And we are called to do the same.
It is also very important to note that there are many, many gay people living out their Catholic faith chastely in the Church. Their call to chastity is no different to the call to chastity of single people in the Church.
And we must remember, the Church is open to all people and she loves all people, especially those of us who sin. That's why I'm a member.
Many people query whether the Church might change its stance with respect to homosexual acts. This is highly unlikely given the wrongs of homosexual acts is contained in scripture, the Word of God. It's also entrenched in nature itself and the ability of man and woman to procreate (something the Church wants to protect for the sake of the family). I appreciate this is a difficult teaching for some, especially in today's society, but the Church can't fit around the whims of society. First and foremost, the Church can't stray from the Truth it has protected for 2000 years. And secondly, it would be impossible to satisfy everyone all of the time. The Church, like Jesus, is here to challenge us with the Truth. It is not here so that we can abuse it for our own ends.
The Church is also here to bring God’s mercy to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There is no sin we can commit that is too great that we can’t reconcile ourselves to God. He loves us like no other.
For more information on reconciling our Catholic faith with same-sex attraction, click this link to go to the Courage RC website.
|Posted on December 4, 2015 at 9:55 AM||comments ()|
Catholics are becoming increasingly liberal on important moral issues
A YouGov poll carried out in the summer has revealed that Catholics are split on the issue of same-sex marriage. While 40% of the 863 Catholics polled said that they opposed same-sex marriage, a significant 50% said that they supported it. Given the Church’s clear teaching on homosexual acts this should be quite surprising, yet set against the backdrop of an ever increasing aggresive liberal relativist and anti-religious society where many Catholics are losing sight of the faith, the results are not really that much of a shock.
The poll also revealed that while 48% of Catholics were opposed to euthanasia, 42% of Catholics support it. Again, the teaching of Christ and the Church appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
Finally, in terms of abortion, 69% of Catholics polled said that there needed to be more restrictions with regard to the procedure, while 17% said that there was no need for further restrictions.
If we, as Catholics, are being true to Christ and true to his Church these figures should be very straightforward. It should in essence read that 100% of Catholic oppose same-sex marriage; 100% of Catholic oppose euthanasia; and 100% of Catholic are in favour of more restrictions when it comes to abortion(actually, 100% of Catholic should support a complete ban on abortion).
We need to start being true to Christ and to the Church he founded above all else. The figures revealed by this poll are nothing short of despicable. We need real leadership from our Bishops and priests, but perhaps more importantly we need authentic Catholic witness from parents and families across the Catholic community. We are all charged with upholding the Truth and encouraging others to do the same, for we will all be answerable to the Lord.
|Posted on October 2, 2015 at 10:19 AM||comments ()|
Sunday’s First Reading (Genesis 2:18-24):
'The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.’ So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. So the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed:
‘This at last is bone from my bones,
and flesh from my flesh!
This is to be called woman,
for this was taken from man.’
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.'
Excerpt from Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 10:2-16):
'Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’'
In these passages of scripture both God and God made man (Jesus) reveal the Truth of God’s plan for mankind. It is a Truth that will mirror the beauty and splendour of the loving relationship which exists among the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The revealed Truth is that a man and woman are to come together, united through the sacrament of marriage, to become one. Not just one with each other but also one with Christ who is an integral part of the marriage relationship.
Just as the three persons of the Trinity are one, so too do husband, wife and Christ become one through marriage. Thus they become their own trinity, reflecting the most Holy Trinity of Heaven.
And just as Christ came to earth to establish and grow his Church, husband and wife are called to establish and grow their own Church by being open to the precious gift of children.
And in marriage we are also called to mirror Christ on the Cross, by giving ourselves completely in sacrificial love to God and to one another, just as he did.
|Posted on September 18, 2015 at 7:22 AM||comments ()|
We must take the narrow path to Christ
Today’s First Reading (1 Timothy 6:2-12):
‘This is what you are to teach the brothers to believe and persuade them to do. Anyone who teaches anything different, and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, is simply ignorant and must be full of self-conceit – with a craze for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and wicked mistrust of one another; and unending disputes by people who are neither rational nor informed and imagine that religion is a way of making a profit. Religion, of course, does bring large profits, but only to those who are content with what they have. We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it; but as long as we have food and clothing, let us be content with that. People who long to be rich are a prey to temptation; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and dangerous ambitions which eventually plunge them into ruin and destruction. ‘The love of money is the root of all evils’ and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith, and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds.
But, as a man dedicated to God, you must avoid all that. You must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses.’
It’s hard for Catholic people to remain true to Jesus Christ and the Traditions of the Catholic Church, especially in this day and age when religion is often frowned upon for one reason or another. Yet that doesn’t make it any less true or relevant.
St Paul’s letter to Timothy encourages us to remain true to Christ and his teaching and to remain true to the teaching of the Church he himself founded; the Roman Catholic Church which continues to exist to this very day.
St Paul warns us about those who stray from this teaching, and in true St Paul style, he doesn’t mince his words! He says that those who do things differently to that taught by Christ and his Church are “simply ignorant and must be full of self-conceit – with a craze for questioning everything and arguing about words.” Isn’t it interesting that St Paul should specifically refer to arguments about words? Consider the abortion debate and how pro-choice activists often try to use words and phrases to argue that abortion is okay. They use (albeit wrongly) terms such as ‘embryo’, ‘foetus’, ‘collection of cells’ and 'personhood' to try to make their point. Consider how Pope Francis’ words are so often used against him by those who misinterpret him or those who fail to understand his bigger message. Other examples of this can be found in debates around contraception and the redefinition of marriage.
The tragedy of all this is that Catholic people, including myself, continually stray from Christ’s teaching and the teaching of his Church. I fall into the traps of the secular relativist society and I become that ignorant person full of self-conceit that St Paul is referring to. But thankfully Christ and his Church give me the Sacrament of Reconciliation where I can go and be forgiven for straying from the Truth.
At the end of the day, there will be many times in our lives when we will stray from the right path. But the key is to turn back, as the prodigal son did, into the loving arms of the Father. While we may turn our back on Him there will never be a time when He turns His back on us. He is always standing there, watching and waiting for us to return; to return to the path of Truth which He himself created when He gave us His only Son and gave us His Church.
Brother and sisters, we must do as St Paul says and “Fight the good fight of the faith” by speaking up for the truth with love, patience and gentleness before all people, even when it makes us feel a little uncomfortable. Remember, it is unlikely we will ever be made to feel as uncomfortable as the early disciples who suffered immeasurable pain, including death, in standing up for the Truth.
And even though we may well feel a little uncomfortable we must remember that we were not made for this world; that our destiny is in Heaven to be one with the Father, with Christ our Saviour, our Blessed Mother Mary, and with all the Saints and Angels. Surely that is worth fighting for?
|Posted on September 17, 2015 at 7:23 AM||comments ()|
The plenary assembly of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences which recently met in the Holy land has reinforced the Church’s view that marriage is between one man and woman.
The official text from the Bishops states: “The Church strongly believes in the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman: it is the basic cell of society and of the Christian community itself. It is difficult to see why different situations of coexistence should be treated in the same way.”
The Bishops’ statement is timely when you consider the second part of the Synod on Marriage and Family Life is just weeks away. The statement is also most welcome in a society which is becoming increasingly confused on matters related to marriage.
To read the full text of the Bishops’ statement, click this link: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/europe-s-bishops-church-strongly-believes-in-family-founded-on-marriage-of-1-man-and-1-woman