The Church is not out of step with society; society is out of step with the Church.
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – “Today more than ever, our nation is in need of Catholics who know their faith deeply and express their faith, with integrity, by their daily living.” Archbishop Raymond Burke
After reading His Excellency’s outstanding address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and studying the current state of affairs in our nation, I’m prompted to ask a personal question:
Are you really Catholic?
Are you Catholic because your parents were Catholic, because their parents were Catholic because their parents were Catholic? Is it your culture or your faith? Is it your present choice or your history? Is it your conviction or a “hat” you put on for baptisms, weddings and funerals?
The evidence clearly shows that too many “Catholics” in America are Catholic for reasons other than a conviction of faith. And that’s just not going to cut it any longer. Our culture and our country are flying at warp speed into a black hole of godlessness, and I am increasingly flabbergasted at the sheer number of Catholics who are helping to fuel the descent.
Shamefully, the fact is that Catholics are largely responsible for electing our current government. That means that the majority of Catholics in America either don’t truly know their faith and what it means, or they don’t care, or they lack the courage to make their choices in properly informed by their faith.
It’s pathetic that so many who say they belong to Christ are so easily beguiled and deceived.The sacrifice of the Cross must not mean very much to many of us because we’re willing to sell it real cheap in exchange for the good opinion of those who would silence Christ. Precious Blood was spilled for our sins. Today our leaders and our culture want to wash away Its saving stain, and the majority of Catholics are quietly watching them mop… even handing them a bucket.
It’s not enough to be culturally Catholic, a holiday Catholic, or Catholic by ancestry. It is certainly not good enough to profess a Catholic faith in church, and then deny it by our life’s choices. Hear these words from our faithful Archbishop:
“In a culture which embraces an agenda of death, Catholics and Catholic institutions are necessarily counter-cultural. If we as individuals or our Catholic institutions are not willing to accept the burdens and the suffering necessarily involved in calling our culture to reform, then we are not worthy of the name Catholic.”
It is our Christian duty to call our culture to reform. We’re not supposed to blend in and “adapt” our faith to the changing times! We’re supposed to be showing our lost culture the way of true and lasting peace, which can only be found in Christ. It is our responsibility to be firm in defense of the natural and moral law even when it makes us unpopular or hated. If we’re not willing to do that are we worthy to be called Catholic?
Our Church is far from perfect. There will always be mistakes, even travesties that we will weep over and work to correct with God’s grace. As long as people are flawed, there will always be problems to overcome. But Jesus has promised us that even the gates of hell will not prevail against us. He has given us His body for food and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and our Blessed Mother to aid and comfort us. We have everything we need, if we will only be true to Christ instead of this world.
You are free to decide where and with whom you stand. You do not, however, have the right to try to change the Catholic Church to suit your opinions or wishes. No matter how brilliant you are, you are not above the Magisterium. No matter how persuasive the political position, you cannot ignore the law of the Church and the Natural Law. Doctrine and Orthodoxy may be distasteful words in this age of personal freedoms, but if you call yourself Catholic, you need to know what Catholic doctrine actually says and follow it. All of it – not just this or that particular idea that suits your preferences. The Church is not a cafeteria. You are not free to take some things and leave others.
If you are pro-abortion (also dishonestly known as “pro-choice”), you are not a faithful Catholic. It is never okay to kill an unborn human being. There simply is no way to reconcile support for abortion with authentic Catholic teaching which is based upon the simple foundation of true human rights beginning with the Right to Life.
If you are in favor of gay “marriage”, you are not a faithful Catholic. The defense of marriage between one man and one woman is not about denying anyone equality. Marriage is not a right that every person is equally “entitled” to the same as free speech. The union of man and woman is the only solid foundation on which to build a family, as God so wisely ordained from the very beginning. The family is the first cell of the Church and the first society.
If you support (that means vote for) politicians who advocate and legislate for laws and policies that violate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, you are choosing to conform to this world rather than be transformed by Christ, and that’s very dangerous for all of us. To whom does your heart belong? It’s time to wipe out the notion that it’s okay for a Catholic to believe one thing in private and support the opposite in public, a la Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, Sebelius, etc. It is not okay. It is in fact, a mockery of our faith and a pathetic lie.
Either live as a Catholic Christian or don’t, but stop trying to remodel the Church to make it more appealing to the world. Learn your Catholic faith, understand it correctly and LIVE IT out in public without apologizing. Stop compromising the truth. Quit trying to rewrite Church teaching to bring it “up to speed” with modern times. The Church is not out of step with society; society is out of step with the Church. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and thus His Church is timeless, ageless and always perfectly relevant. It is not the Church who needs to change her thinking; it is society that needs to CORRECT its thinking.
Abortion is evil today because it’s always been evil and always will be. Gay “marriage’ is wrong today because it’s always been wrong and always will be. What is true and right and holy and sacred and pleasing to God never changes, no matter how the world may change.
The Catholic Church in America is in crisis, for sure, because too many people wearing that name are not living the true faith. That fact was on display this weekend at Notre Dame for the entire world to see. A Catholic University bestowed a law degree and honor upon a President who is fiercely determined to make it as easy as possible to kill babies all over the world. And today one more poll shows that still a majority of American Catholics don’t think it’s a problem. In my estimation, that means that a majority of American Catholics are simply not being faithful Catholics.
President Obama knows this quite well, and he’s only too happy to use our crisis of faith to his advantage. Are you okay with that? It is time to choose. Are you really Catholic?
Jennifer Hartline is a Catholic Army wife and stay-at-home mother of three precious kids who writes frequently on topics of Catholic faith and daily living. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.