Monday, June 27, 2011

Encouraging a silent apostasy in Boston

In his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, Pope John Paul II spoke of the silent apostasy which is gradually infecting the world.  He wrote, "Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived 'as if God did not exist'. This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life's very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism. Sometimes the Christian faith as well, while maintaining some of the externals of its tradition and rituals, tends to be separated from those moments of human existence which have the most significance, such as, birth, suffering and death. In such cases, the questions and formidable enigmas posed by these situations, if remaining without responses, expose contemporary people to an inconsolable delusion or to the temptation of eliminating the truly humanizing dimension of life implicit in these problems.

On the other hand, in other regions or nations many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today this moral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impact of a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread of sects. Only a re-evangelization can assure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom.

Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations.

At this moment the lay faithful, in virtue of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, are fully part of this work of the Church. Their responsibility, in particular, is to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response-consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees-to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society. This will be possible if the lay faithful will know how to overcome in themselves the separation of the Gospel from life, to again take up in their daily activities in family, work and society, an integrated approach to life that is fully brought about by the inspiration and strength of the Gospel.

To all people of today I once again repeat the impassioned cry with which I began my pastoral ministry: 'Do not be afraid! Open, in deed, open wide the doors to Christ!

Open to his saving power the confines of states, and systems political and economic, as well as the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Do not be afraid! Christ knows 'what is inside a person'. Only he knows! Today too often people do not know what they carry inside, in the deepest recesses of their soul, in their heart. Too often people are uncertain about a sense of life on earth. Invaded by doubts they are led into despair. Therefore-with humility and trust I beg and implore you-allow Christ to speak to the person in you. Only he has the words of life, yes, eternal life.'

Opening wide the doors to Christ, accepting him into humanity itself poses absolutely no threat to persons, indeed it is the only road to take to arrive at the total truth and the exalted value of the human individual.

This vital synthesis will be achieved when the lay faithful know how to put the gospel and their daily duties of life into a most shining and convincing testimony, where, not fear but the loving pursuit of Christ and adherence to him will be the factors determining how a person is to live and grow, and these will lead to new ways of living more in conformity with human dignity.

Humanity is loved by God! This very simple yet profound proclamation is owed to humanity by the Church. Each Christian's words and life must make this proclamation resound: God loves you, Christ came for you, Christ is for you 'the Way, the Truth and the Life!' (Jn 14:6).

This re-evangelization is directed not only to individual persons but also to entire portions of populations in the variety of their situations, surroundings and cultures. Its purpose is the formation of mature ecclesial communities, in which the faith might radiate and fulfill the basic meaning of adherence to the person of Christ and his Gospel, of an encounter and sacramental communion with him, and of an existence lived in charity and in service.

The lay faithful have their part to fulfill in the formation of these ecclesial communities, not only through an active and responsible participation in the life of the community, in other words, through a testimony that only they can give, but also through a missionary zeal and activity towards the many people who still do not believe and who no longer live the faith received at Baptism.

In the case of coming generations, the lay faithful must offer the very valuable contribution, more necessary than ever, of a systematic work in catechesis. The Synod Fathers have gratefully taken note of the work of catechists, acknowledging that they 'have a task that carries great importance in animating ecclesial communities'. It goes without saying that Christian parents are the primary and irreplaceable catechists of their children, a task for which they are given the grace by the Sacrament of Matrimony. At the same time, however, we all ought to be aware of the 'rights' that each baptized person has to being instructed, educated and supported in the faith and the Christian life."

There are those who oppose this call for a re-evangelization.  For such people, moral norms constitute "mere rules" which others may find offensive.  Therefore, Catholics should avoid preaching on these norms because such preaching amounts to "judging, carping, and condemning."  But the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which these confused souls obviously do not spend much time with, teaches clearly that there are explicit kinds of human acts, specified by the object of moral choice, that are always morally wrong because the willingness to choose an object of this kind is evidence of a disordered will (for example moral evil, CCC, 1755).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches clearly that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," that they are "contrary to the natural law," and "under no circumstances can they be approved (2357). It also teaches that the homosexual inclination "is objectively disordered." and that those who suffer from this disordered inclination are called to "fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." (2358). Nowhere in the Catechism are homosexual persons encouraged to take pride in their disordered inclination or in gravely sinful homosexual acts by proclaiming "God made me this way."

If we are to re-evangelize a sin-sick and hurting world, we must speak Gospel truths.  Some of these truths will be difficult for others to accept.  But we must remain faithful to received teaching, to Revelation.  We must remember that when others condemn us of "judging, carping and condemning" for simply stating and defending the Church's authentic teaching (especially in the area of sexual morality), this is nothing more than a cheap semantic weapon designed to silence and intimidate us.  From the Catholic standpoint (which is the rational standpoint), compassion is false when it does not aim at the real good of one's neighbor.  And what could be more good than his eternal salvation?

We need a solid and authentic re-evangelization.  A cotton-candy Catholicism and a sacharrin spirituality will not produce saints.  It will not restore our society to sanity and sanctity (actually the two are the same, for sanctity is sanity).  It will only lead us further into an ever-increasing darkness.


BostonCatholic2011 said...

The people who run St. Cecilia's do not want a re-evangelization. They have much in their bulletin as well about "enemies." And it is clear that they view faithful Catholics as "the enemy." Which is why they call us "haters" and "bigots."

Marjorie said...

I like where Pope John Paul says, "This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life's very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism.."

And that's precisely what is emerging in Boston. While holding to the externals (the right Catholic words etc), the faith is being emptied of supernatural content.

I pray every day that Rome will intervene. Our Cardinal Archbishop doesn't seem to have the will or the fortitude to make things right in the Lord.

Anonymous said...

God, you people are pathetic. You have nothing better to do with your time than attack fellow Catholics who attend Mass faithfully and participate in works of charity for the less fortunate? Give it a rest and do something worthwhile with your time. The good people of St Cecilia Parish will pray to God and continue being a source of goodness in the world. Fr. Unni will continue to minister well to his flock and the Archdiocese of Boston would do well to continue paying no attention to you and your ilk. Go to St. Cecilia on July 10 if you want to see a loving Christian community at work. Perhaps you'll learn a thing or two.

Peter said...

Paul, the article you linked to at the very end of your post is available to read freely on the internet via a quick Google search.

Worth reading. This struck me in particular:

>> Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm observed that if a human being does evil, he becomes more evil. Abiding in evil, the heart will harden "to a point where no more change or repentance is possible." <<

That is very scary and a very timely wake-up call to all of us, particularly those with a history of sins of impurity. With each sin, hell is a little closer, the hard is ever more hardened, and repentance becomes more difficult, and, in time, impossible.

Sancte Michael, R. ora pro nobis.

Sancta Maria, Regina Angelorum,
R. ora pro nobis.

Amanda said...

Marjorie, the Pope says "we all ought to be aware of the 'rights' that each baptized person has to being instructed, educated and supported in the faith and the Christian life.." But the "pastoral staff" at St. Cecilia's isn't interested in the rght of baptized Catholics to receive a sound catechesis. They are too busy promoting their own twisted ideology and bent on fulfilling their illicit desires.

Amanda said...

Anonymous, we don't care to participate at a Church committed to the homosexual "gospel." As Catholics who accept what the Church teaches, we are not interested in falsehood. And judging by your hateful comment, and the hateful comments from other parishioners of St. Cecilia's parish, your "community" is not "loving."

Love manifests itself in the way we treat others. Your hatred betrays the fact that you are not committed to love.

And let's not forget, if we are not committed to truth, our love is a sham!

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Peter, the New Oxford Review link used to offer the entire article. Thanks for the heads up. A better link now is:


Peter said...

Not to be outdone, the Brits are having their very own 'gay pride' Mass this weekend:

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