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â€œLet us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ.â€?
Dan Burke Mark Shea Steve Mosher Michael J. Miller
GOD, CREATION SCIENCE
♦ CHANCE OR PURPOSE?
Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith Christoph Cardinal Schönborn
Schönborn tackles the hard questions on this subject with a carefully reasoned “theology of creation”. Can we speak intelligently of the world as “creation” and aﬃrm the existence of the creator, or is God a “delusion”? How should an informed believer read Genesis? If God exists, why is there so much suﬀering? Is everything a matter of chance or can we discern purpose in human existence? This is a frank dialogue that acknowledges the respective insights of the philosopher, the theologian and the scientist, but which calls on them to listen and to learn from each another. CHAPUR-H . . . Sewn Hardcover, $19.95
♦ CREATION AND EVOLUTION
A Conference with Pope Benedict XVI Foreword by Cardinal Schönborn
Schönborn wrote a guest editorial in The New York Times that sparked a worldwide debate about “Creation and Evolution”. Pope Benedict XVI instructed the Cardinal to study more closely the debate between “evolutionism” and “creationism,” and asked the yearly gathering of his former students to address these questions. The “study circle” meets once a year with Pope Benedict XVI for a conference, involving former Ratzinger students who have become acclaimed scholars, professors, writers, as well as high ranking Church prelates. This book documents the proceedings of the remarkable conference hosted by the Pope. It includes papers presented from the fields of natural science, philosophy and theology, with the subsequent discussion, in which Pope Benedict XVI himself participated. CREV-H . . . Sewn Hardcover, $19.95
♦ FROM ARISTOTLE TO DARWIN AND BACK AGAIN – Etienne Gilson
The great philosopher and historian of philosophy, Étienne Gilson, sets out to show that ﬁnal causality or purposiveness and formal causality are principles for those who think hard and carefully about the world, including the world of biology. Gilson insists that a completely rational understanding of organisms and biological systems requires the philosophical notion of teleology, the idea that certain kinds of things exist and have ends or purposes the fulﬁllment of which are linked to their natures — in other words, formal and ﬁnal causes. His approach relies on philosophical reﬂection on the facts of science, not upon theology or an appeal to religious authorities such as the Church or the Bible. FADBA-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $16.95
♦ SCIENCE AND EVIDENCE FOR DESIGN IN THE UNIVERSE
Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Stephen Meyer
As progress in science continues to reveal unimagined complexities, three scientists revisit the diﬃcult and compelling quesDVD
tion of the origin of our universe. As mathematician, biochemist, and philosopher of science, they explore the possibility of developing a reliable method for detecting an intelligent cause and evidence for design at the origin of life. In the process, they present a strong case for opening and pursuing a fruitful exchange between science and theology. SEDU-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $14.95
♦ THE EVIDENTIAL POWER OF BEAUTY – Science and Theology Meet Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M.
Dubay explores the reasons why all of the most eminent physicists of the twentieth century agree that beauty is the primary standard for scientiﬁc truth. Likewise, the best of contemporary theologians are also exploring with renewed vigor the aesthetic dimensions of divine revelation. Honest searchers after truth can hardly fail to be impressed that these two disciplines, science and theology, so diﬀerent in methods, approaches and aims, are yet meeting in this and other surprising and gratifying ways. EPB-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $16.95
♦ COSMIC ORIGINS — Has science really disproven
the existence of God? For generations, science has simply ignored the concept of creation because doing otherwise would raise the question . . . of a creator. This new film looks at compelling evidence for God and it is a fascinating look at our universe and who created it. Features acclaimed scientists including Fr. Robert Spitzer, Owen Gingerich, Lisa Randall, Arno Penzias, and more! Plus many special features. CO-M . . . 50 mins., $19.95
P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522
1 (800) 651-1531
P O W E R F U L
N E W
IGNATIUS F ILMS ♦ RESTLESS HEART
The confessions of auGusTine
special 2-DVD collector’s edition of the acclaimed epic film on St. Augustine of Hippo. Filmed in Europe, the first full-length feature movie on Augustine, it uses a historic backdrop to tell the true story of one of the Church’s most beloved and well-known Saints. Its message of sin, conversion, redemption is as timely today as it was in the 5th century of Augustine. It is the story of a gifted man who pursues fame and fortune without a moral compass - and the dramatic changes that occur in his soul when challenging events lead him to see the light of truth. It also chronicles the collapse of the Roman world and how Augustine laid the intellectual foundations of what became Europe. With Augustine, the stories of two other great saints, Monica and Ambrose, are also portrayed. DVD set includes theatrical and full-length original version, a Collector’s Booklet and study guide.
♦ The Gardener of God
his film tells the inspiring story of Gregor Mendel (1822 - 1884), who is considered the father of modern genetics, a science that changed the world. He was a Catholic priest and Augustinian monk who lived in the 19th century in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Starring Christopher Lambert as Mendel, the movie reveals how he combined his vocation as a priest and training as a scientist to impact the world by courageously following his passion for the truth.
GOGO-M . . . 110 min., $19.95
RHRT-M . . . 2 Discs, Disc 1: 133 min., Disc 2: 203 min., $29.95
♦ reliGious MysTeries Vol. 2
his second film in the new documentary series presents investigations into intriguing mysteries connected with the stories of famous Catholic saints, apparitions, and holy places, and the amazing findings from these studies. This DVD includes three separate films: The Houses of the Virgin Mary, about Mary’s homes in Ephesus and Loreto; The Road to Compostela, the story of St. James the Apostle and this famous pilgrimage route; Children of the Prophecy, about mysteries linked to the visions and children of Fatima.
♦ ocean of Mercy
t the dawn of the 20th century, three voices rose up from Poland to proclaim an urgent message, a message powerful enough to alter the course of an age plunging into spiritual darkness. This true story examines and chronicles the phenomenal lives and spiritual legacy of Saint Faustina Kowalksa, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and Blessed John Paul II, modern day “Apostles of OM2-M . . . 75 min., $19.95 Mercy”.
RM2-M . . . 150 min., $19.95
P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522
1 (800) 651-1531
Pilgrimage to Rome With CUF President Mike Sullivan and author Mike Aquilina
October 2-9, 2014 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: Rome / Basilica of St. Peter / General Papal Audience / Scavi Tour Ancient Rome / Colosseum / Roman Forum / Church of St. Peter in Chains Piazza Navona / St. Agnes Church / St. Augustine Church / St. Clement Church St. Louis of France Church / Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square with the Pope Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls / Catacombs of St. Callistus JOURNEY INCLUDES Q Round trip air transportation from Pittsburgh, PA Q Motorcoach transportation in Rome Q Continental breakfast & dinner daily at guest house Q Six nights lodging at Casa Bacciarini Q Tickets to General Papal Audience Q Stops at selected churches & sites Q Airport transfers in Rome
Payment Policy: $300.00 per person deposit upon reservation. Final payment due by July 11, 2014. Make checks payable to Wendt Touring, Inc. and send deposit, copy of passport and registration form to: Wendt Touring, Inc. *401 Market St., Suite 707 *Steubenville, OH 43952
For further information, phone Wendt Touring at 740-282-5790 or toll-free 1-877-565-8687.
TOUR FARE: • $2,649.00 per person based on double occupancy • $2,499.00 per child staying with parents as
3rd or 4th person • $2,999.00 per
person based on single occupancy
*Rates are subject to change due to fuel surcharges, airport tax surcharges, and/or currency exchange fluctuations.
Refund Policy – Trip Cancellation/ Interruption Insurance: Cancellations are subject to penalties assessed by airlines, hotels and land operators. An optional trip cancellation/ interruption insurance is available for $127.00 per person and is due with your initial deposit.
Travel Arrangements provided by
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401 Market Street – Suite 707 • Steubenville, OH 43952
740-282-5790 or toll-free 1-877-565-8687 www.WendtTouring.com
Of Sorrow and Such Joy by Mike Sullivan
welve hours before his death, my friend Eric Stoutz was able to meet our 2-dayold daughter Magdalene Colleen. When Eric held her, his face lit up as he whispered, “Such joy! Such joy!” I held her in his lap so he could touch her and he nodded and smiled as he stroked her tiny face. These were the final hours of a long and painful journey. I was overcome by a profound sorrow, recognizing that Eric did not have long to live. And yet my sorrow was naturally tinged with relief that his suffering would soon come to an end. For the better part of last year Eric had been in constant pain, and this past June he was diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer. His wish throughout his sickness was that God’s holy will be done and for his suffering and death to bring about a great good for a great many people. He had the eyes of faith to see his cancer as a cross, a gift specially chosen for him by God. Baby Magdalene is for us also a special gift, a miracle baby, as she followed three miscarriages in the last two years. My wife and I were convinced we wouldn’t be able to have another child. Eric had shared in our joyful anticipation and had even asked to be the baby’s honorary godfather. When I put her in his lap, I said “Eric, meet your honorary goddaughter. I hope you will pray for her from Heaven.” He replied, “Yes.” And smiled again. The smile across his emaciated face transformed him, and his eyes were focused on something beyond little Magdalene. I had the feeling that he was relieved that he had lived long enough to meet her. When Eric held baby Magdalene, my wife and I wept for him, while at the same moment, he lit up with joy at finally meeting this new life we
had all been waiting for. A profound sense of joy overwhelmed me as I recognized that Eric would soon be born into eternal life and that God was blessing us both with a miracle birth. The words of the baptismal rite we would soon be celebrating for Magdalene seemed strikingly appropriate for this moment: “We die with Christ so that we might also rise with Him.” This conveys the purpose of life for every Christian. The image of the dying man and the newborn is not one that will fade away quickly from our memories. And it is an image that God Himself imprinted on the memory of the world. Pope Benedict XVI, in Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives, relates that the tradition of iconographer’s depicting the Christchild “stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death.” Reflecting upon Christ’s birth, we are immediately reminded that He was born in order to die for us. Our Lord gave us the courage to do what He also did, to live and to die, but He also came to bring the hope of the resurrection. Without the sure knowledge that death is not the end for us, suffering and bodily death are devoid of meaning. Christ made these things meaningful, forever changing the reality of life by redefining the meaning of death. Our openness to God’s will allows us to freely accept new life just as it allows us to accept death. But it takes great vulnerability to open our hearts when we risk losing something. Christ accepted the Father’s plan, knowing it would entail great suffering and ultimately His own death. He knew too, though, that the greatest joy comes from doing the will of His Father. As St. Paul tells us, our Lord “for the joy set before Him endured the cross . . .” (Heb 12:2).
Eric’s acceptance of his suffering was actually a victory, a grace. He would often say, “I could’ve been hit by a truck. I’ve been given a special gift in being able to prepare myself for death and through my suffering bring about good for others.” And that was a gift which he sought to take full advantage of. As I witnessed many miracles throughout his illness and saw how many lives were touched by Eric’s embrace of the Cross, I believe his suffering did indeed bring about great good for many people—and will continue to do so. Christ’s own life was one colored by sorrow and joy, from His birth to His scourging; from His crucifixion to His Resurrection. But we also have unflinching certainty as Christians that our Lord’s acceptance of His Father’s will brought about the greatest good in human history: our very salvation. And that image—our resurrected Lord inviting us to share in eternity with Him—is far more compelling than death. We cannot be any more aligned to God’s will, or more connected to the source of joy, than when we are conformed to the Cross of Christ. And as Eric taught me, by his imitation of Christ’s example, what inevitably accompanies suffering is mysteriously, yet certainly, “Such joy! Such joy!” lw
Mike Sullivan is the president of Catholics United for the Faith and publisher of Lay Witness magazine and Emmaus Road Publishing. He resides in Toronto, Ohio, with his wife, Gwen, and their ten children. January/February 2014
From the Editor’s Desk
lthough he would’ve dismissed this as a frivolous use of the space intended to introduce a new issue of Lay Witness, I would be shamefully remiss not to at least attempt to honor my friend and colleague Eric Stoutz, who passed away in October. Since we were right next door to each other, there was a lot of traffic between our offices. I would pop in frequently to ask Eric questions (since he could be more helpful than Google) or share with him breaking news such as the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (and he repaid me in kind with false alarms of “White smoke!”). He would look through the Catholic Responses questions posed by our members and come next door to bum a cup of coffee—which really meant he wanted to hash out whatever question he was currently answering. Conversations that started with Eric asking, “Have you ever heard of . . . ?” or “What do you think about . . . ?” inevitably ended with him perfectly packaging a succinct argument while I was still trying to wrap my mind around the question. And yet, for all the complexities his intellect could hold in suspension, there was a simple principle that seemed to come up in our conversations again and again. “The bottom line,” Eric would say, “is how well you’re living the Gospel.” When CUF members would call with questions on anything from a spiritual devotion to an interpretation of canon law, he would challenge whether it called one on to greater fidelity to the Gospel. He was keenly aware of all that could easily obscure the message that Christ became incarnate to share with mankind. In recent months, I’ve reflected often on those conversations and on this very point. And so it was with great interest that I, along with the rest of our staff, began studying Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). It would appear that Eric was paving the way for us at Catholics United for the Faith to receive this simple yet profound teaching from our Holy Father who too reminds us that faithfulness to Christ is “the bottom line”—the starting point and the finish line, the “source of authentic personal fulfillment” (Evangelii gaudium, no. 10). In this edition of Lay Witness, which is traditionally our annual pro-life issue, we are taking a cue from our Holy Father by highlighting that which renews, simplifies, and strengthens all our efforts: the Good News of Jesus Christ. And if you’ve even paused for a moment to consider whether you are striving for conformity with the Gospel, then perhaps Eric wouldn’t find this a waste, after all. lw
FROM OUR FOUNDER
I have always felt, and I become more convinced all the time, that we can never get a substantial or lasting consituency by stressing only the things we are against. What we have to do primarily is, in our unshakeable loyalty to the Vicar of Christ, “to show forth our aspiration to believe, defend, bear witness to, and to try to live the faith so gloriously set forth in Pope Paul’s Credo of the People of God,” as we said in our very first brochure. —H. Lyman Stebbins May 1975
Features... A culture of life can be built by a vibrant Christian witness, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities teaches in “Open Your Hearts to Life.” Regis Flaherty reveals the glimmer of real love in “The Misadventures of a Catholic Husband and Father: My Miserable Valentine.”
Melissa Knaggs Editor
Lay Witness / www.cuf.org
Access these and other web exclusives at www.cuf.org/laywitness.
January-February 2014 Volume 35 / Number 1
Features Publisher Mike Sullivan
Layout & Design Theresa Westling
Editor Melissa Knaggs Editorial Assistant Micaela Stoutz
How to Reach Us E-mail: email@example.com Lay Witness magazine Postal Mail: 827 North Fourth Street Steubenville, OH 43952 Tel: (740) 283-2484 Fax: (740) 283-4011 How to Get Lay Witness Lay Witness (ISSN 1541-602X) is the bimonthly publication of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), an international lay apostolate founded in 1968 by H. Lyman Stebbins “to support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.” Annual CUF membership is $40 ($60 outside the U.S.), which includes a one-year subscription to Lay Witness magazine. To learn more about CUF membership, visit www. cuf.org/membership or call (740) 283-2484. To order back issues or to inquire about bulk rates, please e-mail or call.
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Advertising, Submissions, and Reprint Permission Visit www.cuf.org/laywitness/guidelines.asp for detailed information.
Catholics United for the Faith Officers: President, Mike Sullivan; Vice President of Operations, Shannon Minch-Hughes Board of Directors: Chairman, Michael Mohr; Vice Chairman, Thomas Pernice; Spiritual Advisor, Rev. Ray Ryland; Gail Buckley, James Likoudis, Frank Lum, David Rodriguez, John H. Stebbins, Anne M. Wilson. Episcopal Advisory Council: Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, Most Rev. Fabian W. Bruskewitz, Most Rev. Daniel M. Buechlein, Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Most Rev. R. Daniel Conlon, Most Rev. Thomas G. Doran, Most Rev. Robert W. Finn, Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, Most Rev. Peter J. Jugis, Most Rev. James P. Keleher, Most Rev. Joseph F. Martino, Most Rev. John J. Myers, Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann, Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan, Most Rev. Edward Slattery, Most Rev. John W. Yanta. Advisory Council: Terry Barber, Rev. Robert I. Bradley, S.J., Jeff Cavins, Dr. John F. Crosby, Dr. William Donohue, Marcus Grodi, Dr. Scott Hahn, Sally Havercamp, Daniel K. Hennessy, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, George Sim Johnston, Karl Keating, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Rev. Robert J. Levis, Patrick Madrid, Msgr. Charles M. Mangan, Curtis A. Martin, Dr. William E. May, Rev. Brian T. Mullady, O.P., Rev. James T. O’Connor, Rev. Frank A. Pavone, Steve Ray, Patrick Reilly, Dr. Charles E. Rice, Rev. George W. Rutler, Russell Shaw, E. William Sockey, III, Rev. Peter Stravinskas, Leon J. Suprenant, Jr., Charles M. Wilson, Stephen Wood, Jeff Ziegler.
4 Encountering the Joy of the Gospel A Commentary on Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium Catholics United for the Faith 10 Whatever You Do for the Least of My Bretheren, You Do For Me The Legacy of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune Michael J. Miller 15 Eugenics: A Selective History Anne Roback Morse and Steven W. Mosher 18 The Seamless Garment What it Is, What it Isn’t & What the Church Has to Say About It Mark Shea 23 Evangelizing with Joy Arland K. Nichols
Columns 1 Open Mike Mike Sullivan
8 The Art of Living Edward P. Sri
22 Master Catechist
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Michael Mohr
30 Navigating the Life of Prayer Dan Burke
32 Looking at a Masterpiece
2 From the Editor’s Desk 7 The Pope Speaks 16 Ask CUF 28 The Road to Emmaus The Beggar’s Banquet
An interview with Regis Martin
The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day by Robert Ellsberg What Must I Do to dddddBe Saved? by Marcus Grodi Evangelical Catholicism Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church by George Weigel
On the Cover / iStockphoto.com / neneos Cover text: Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, no. 49. January/February 2014
Joy Gospel of the
A Commentary on Pope Francis’
Evangelii Gaudium By Catholics United for the Faith
“With Christ joy is constantly born anew. . . . I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.” —Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, no. 1 4
Lay Witness / www.cuf.org
he joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Christ.” So begins the first apostolic exhortation
from our Holy Father Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). Pope Francis’ exhortation, which some members of the press have referred to as the Mission Statement of his pontificate, is a significant contribution to the new evangelization to which the Church must faithfully apply herself. The promulgation of Evangelii gaudium provides an opportunity for prayerful study, and as an apostolate founded to promote fidelity to the Church’s teachings and the Holy Father, we heartily accept the challenge to listen, reflect, and assist in disseminating the message of “the Joy of the Gospel.” From the outset of the document, the Holy Father is clear that his exhortation is a series of reflections, a pastoral program, and while he occasionally alludes to more substantial doctrinal issues, he makes no claims of altering these matters and posits that his reflections should provoke continued dialogue. Evangelii gaudium is simply a presentation intended to rouse the hearts of all Christians so that we might joyfully share the Gospel with others. Because of the uniqueness of Pope Francis’ pastoral approach, it is helpful to keep in mind the guidance offered by Lumen gentium: Religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking. (no. 25) Taking this admonition to heart, let us learn from our Holy Father by focusing on the essential message of Evangelii gaudium.
“Take Me Once More into Your Redeeming Embrace” Although Evangelii gaudium is a considerably lengthy document at over 50,000 words, one simple premise contains the entire meaning of the exhortation. Without this key, as it were, to unlocking the document, its implementation will be fruitless; its study misguided; its message completely obscured. The key which opens and reveals the framework for the text is the very same key that unlocks the meaning of our lives. This key is the response to an invitation. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them . . . no one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.” (no. 3) Pope Francis’ invitation is one that all Christians, including we members of Catholics United for the Faith, must consider prayerfully with docile hearts. The source of our joy must be rediscovered, and Francis assures us that Christ “is always capable of restoring our joy” (no. 3). The renewed encounter with Him empowers us to fully live out our baptismal call. Because the joyful encounter with Christ transforms and animates us, it must serve as the driving force which guides our purposes and causes us to reassess our goals. “The primary reason for evangelizing,” Francis writes, “is the love of Jesus which we have received, the experience of salvation which urges us to ever greater love of him” (no. 264). The Holy Father proposes that we once again look to the Gospel message and reclaim it as our rule of life.
“Thanks solely to this encounter–or renewed encounter–with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?” —Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, no. 8
“May Nothing Inspire More than [Christ’s] Life, which Impels us Onwards!”
“In every activity of evangelization, the primacy always belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate with him and who leads us on by the power of his Spirit. The real newness is the newness which God himself mysteriously brings about and inspires, provokes, guides and accompanies in a thousand ways.” — Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, no. 12
A simple remembrance of the whole of salvation history—the anticipation of Christ, His life, death, and Resurrection—may seem basic, but if the Gospel is the core of our lives it must be retold again and again. We must never stop seeking to understand all of its implications, like the lover who constantly seeks further knowledge of the beloved. Francis states: “The Gospel, radiant with the glory of Christ’s cross, constantly invites us to rejoice” (no. 5). When the Word was made flesh, the immediate result was joy. “Mary’s visit to Elizabeth makes John leap for joy in his mother’s womb,” Francis recalls. Joy is evidence of Christ’s nearness, and we who share in His life as a result of our baptism, who experience His touch of mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation, and who consume His very Body and Blood should undoubtedly be bearers of that joy which is the unmistakable sign of God’s love and presence. Francis’ reflections hinge on the encounter with Christ. It is no small matter that the Lord came to ensure the possibility of this encounter by establishing the Church as the bridge to God. Its very existence makes manifest the Body of Christ. Where else can we go but to the Church to encounter the Lord? Francis echoes what has been stated previously by Pope Benedict XVI, in his moving encyclical Deus Caritas est (“God is Love”). He encounters us ever anew, in the men and women who reflect his presence, in his word, in the sacraments, and especially in the Eucharist. In the Church’s Liturgy, in her prayer, in the living community of believers, we experience the love of God, we perceive his presence and we thus learn to recognize that presence in our daily lives. He has loved us first and he continues to do so; we too, then, can respond with love. God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing. He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has “loved us first,” love can also blossom as a response within us. (no. 17)
“This inseparable bond between our acceptance of the message of salvation and genuine fraternal love appears in several scriptural texts which we would do well to meditate upon, in order to appreciate all their consequences. The message is one which we often take for granted, and can repeat almost mechanically, without necessarily ensuring that it has a real effect on our lives and in our communities. How dangerous and harmful this is, for it makes us lose our amazement, our excitement and our zeal for living the Gospel of fraternity and justice!” — Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, no.179
Our commitment of love, stemming from an authentic relationship with our Savior, is the obvious requisite that precedes evangelization—and at the same time provides the impetus to evangelize. “Unless we see [Jesus] present at the heart of our missionary commitment,” Pope Francis rightly acknowledges, “our enthusiasm soon wanes and we are no longer sure of what it is that we are handing on.” Enlivened by the love of God, we share what no one can argue with: a personal experience of God’s redeeming work in our own lives. Undeniably, Francis warns, “A person who is not convinced, enthusiastic, certain and in love, will convince nobody” (no. 266).
“Loving Others is a Spiritual Force Drawing Us to Union with God” If the first premise of Evangelii gaudium is that a joyful spreading of the Gospel is contingent upon a renewed encounter with God, the second is that the encounter with God inspires a renewed encounter with humanity. Closeness to the personhood of Christ reveals to us the personhood of every individual. Recognizing the image of God in others, Francis teaches, should come even before the desire to evangelize. “Appearances notwithstanding,” he asserts, “every person is immensely holy and deserves our love” (no. 274). Because we have all heard that men are made in the image and likeness of God—perhaps countless times—this truth is hardly novel. However, it bears repeating. Just as we must meditate once again on the Gospel message, we must revisit what Jesus’ coming means for the human person. His love for the individual informs our love for the individual. His sacrifice elevates the dignity of all men. If we truly unite ourselves to Christ, the desire to continue His mission to “draw all men to Himself ” is inevitable. All of the disordered behaviors we see in our society, at the root, reveal desperation and longing. This is not to trivialize immorality, but we gain nothing by putting the cart before the horse. Ours is a generation desperate for love. The objective is not to impose a message on the world: we are called to promote the flourishing of the human person by challenging all to embrace the great dignity bestowed on us by Christ. We must reach the source of the symptoms. The remedy to any and all human difficulties can be found in the person of CUF continues on page 26.
Lay Witness / www.cuf.org
Always Sacred, Always Inviolable by Pope Francis
esus, the evangelizer par excellence and the Gospel in person, identifies especially with the little ones (cf. Mt 25:40). This reminds us Christians that we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth. But the current model, with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favor an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak, or the less talented to find opportunities in life. It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others. . . . I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims of various kinds of human trafficking. How I wish that all of us would hear God’s cry: “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor?
Let us not look the other way. There is greater complicity than we think. The issue involves everyone! This infamous network of crime is now well established in our cities, and many people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity. . . . Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason
alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offense against the creator of the individual.”1 Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations.” It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish. . . . Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations? Small yet strong in the love of God, like St. Francis of Assisi, all of us, as Christians, are called to watch over and protect the fragile world in which we live, and all its peoples. lw Excerpted from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii gaudium. 1 John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), 37: AAS 81 (1989), 461.
THE POPE SPEAKS The Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions January 2014
General: That all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples.
General: That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people.
Mission: That Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ.
Mission: That priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.
The Art of Living
Hearing the Good News
Getting to the Real Heart of the Gospel by Edward P. Sri
ope Francis has created quite a stir in recent interviews, sparking much conversation from Catholics and non-Catholics alike about the future of the Church and his papacy. His comments, for example, about abortion, same sex unions, and contraception are celebrated by some and feared by others as a radical departure from Catholic moral teaching on these matters. The Pope’s comments, no doubt, have been controversial. But the key to interpreting Francis’ statements properly is found in his vision for the Church. The Holy Father says he wants a Church that doesn’t just open its doors to others, but goes out to the world: to those Christians who are indifferent, to the Catholics who stop going to Mass, and even to unbelievers. An outward focus shapes the way he presents the Gospel message to the outside world. In his September 19, 2013 interview with Fr. Antonio Spadaro in the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civiltá Cattolica, the Pope described the Church as a field hospital reaching out to the suffering people in the world today. When helping the seriously wounded on the battlefield, he says, it doesn’t make sense to focus on people’s cholesterol and blood sugar levels. We must urgently heal their most serious wounds first. Only after those wounds are given attention can other aspects of living a healthy life be addressed. Similarly, many people today do not know the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they are suffering serious wounds in their lives as a result. To help them, we must first offer an initial proclamation of the Gospel—the message that Jesus loves us, has saved us, 8
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“The Gospel message of Christ’s love and mercy provides the context for understanding moral consequences.” and wants to bestow His mercy upon us and offer a life much better than what people experience without Him. The heart of the Gospel is the saving love of Jesus, not “Gay marriage and abortion are morally wrong” or “Contraception separates the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage.” It is in this sense that Pope Francis said, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and contraceptive methods” and that “it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”² While many Catholics responded to this statement by Pope Francis with confusion, frustration or outrage, the same sentiment was articulated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 when he reminisced: I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ‘90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems. If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the
faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith—a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.3 To be certain, our Popes have not said that abortion, same sex unions, and contraception are morally acceptable or that the Church should be silent on these matters. Ironically, the day after the Holy Father’s La Civiltá Cattolica interview was published, Pope Francis gave a very strong critique of abortion: Human life “is sacred—at each and at every stage . . . it is always valuable. And not as a matter of faith—no, no—but of reason, as a matter of science!” He described abortion as a result of a “widespread mentality of the useful, the ‘culture of waste,’” that “asks for the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a decisive and unhesitating ‘yes’ to life.” These are not the words of a man trying to change Catholic teaching on life issues.
Not the Status Quo Still, the Pope is signaling a new emphasis for the way the Catholic faith should be proclaimed to the world. Given the cultural setting in which we find ourselves in the secular West, we must recognize that we are in mission territory. And that has significant
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consequences for how we present the faith to those outside the Church. We are not teaching in a cultural vacuum. Pope Francis insisted several times in his interview in La Civiltá Cattolica that we need to give an initial proclamation of the Gospel, one that takes on what he calls a missionary style—an approach that focuses on the essentials of the Gospel, a proclamation that tells the story of God’s love, presents His plan of salvation, and attracts people, making their hearts burn as the two disciples experienced with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Francis’ emphasis on God’s love and mercy rather than complex moral issues is an important matter of priority and order. “The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives,” the Pope said in his interview with Fr. Spadaro. “The message of the Gospel, therefore,” he continued “is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.”4 The Gospel message of Christ’s love and mercy provides the context for understanding moral consequences. But without that context (and with the crisis of reason today), how is someone in our secular world to understand why two men can’t get married or why a married couple should not use contraception? These are not the ideal lead-off topics for the new evangelization. This approach is in perfect harmony with John Paul II’s explanation of catechesis as a moment in the larger process of evangelization that requires “the initial proclamation of the Gospel or missionary preaching through the kerygma [proclamation] to arouse faith” (Catechesi Tradendae, no. 18). It reflects the “divine pedagogy” in which God reveals Himself to man gradually and in a proper order, starting with the most fundamental truths of the Gospel that provide the context for expounding on other aspects of the faith. The order of the Catechism of the Catholic Church also reflects the divine pedagogy.5 The first pillar of the Catechism, the Creed, sums up the story of God’s love for us in creation, redemption, and sanctification. The second pillar tells how we are drawn into that story of God’s love through the life of grace imparted to us in the sacraments. Then, only after knowing the story of Christ’s salvation and learning how we are filled with Christ’s life through the Holy Spirit’s work in the liturgy do we come to the
third pillar of the Catechism, which addresses the moral life. Here, Christian morality is presented as our response to God’s love for us and our life in Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Catechism proclaims the Church’s moral teachings direct us to a life “worthy of the Gospel” which we are made capable of pursuing by the grace of Christ received in the sacraments and through prayer.
overnight, and they need much more than a list of strong moral condemnations. They need the initial proclamation of the Gospel to understand the context of the Church’s moral teachings. And they need the hope and encouragement that a living encounter with Jesus Christ gives the person to pursue the good, even when it is difficult to do so. lw
Living the Gospel
1 Fr. Antonio Spadaro, “A Big Heart Open to God,” America (September 19, 2013). 2 Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting Organized by the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (September 20, 2013). 3 Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of Switzerland (November 9, 2006). 4 Spadaro, “A Big Heart Open to God.” 5 This is a point my colleague Sean Innerst has often emphasized. See his doctoral dissertation: The Ancient Narratio as an Ecclesial Participation in the Divine Pedagogy: A Study of its Sources and Proposal for its Current Application (University of South Africa, November 2010), pp. 287-302. See also: Sean Innerst, “Divine Pedagogy and Covenant Memorial: The Catechetical Narratio and the New Evangelization” Letter & Spirit, vol. 8 (St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: Steubenville, OH, 2013). 6 Sean Innerst, “Divine Pedagogy and Covenant Memorial.”
When the Church’s moral teachings, however, are taken out of the context of God’s loving plan of salvation and our life in Christ, they appear as arbitrary rules from a bygone era being imposed on people today. What is supposed to be the pathway to human beatitude comes off as legalistic moralism. And without the life of sacramental grace— the very grace that makes us capable of living the moral life in Christ—the beautiful moral teachings of the Church can seem quite discouraging. Without grace, people are incapable of pursuing the high call of imitating Christ. People outside the Church, therefore, cannot be asked to practice heroic virtue
Edward Sri is provost and a professor of theology and Scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado (www.augustineinstitute.org). He is the author of or contributor to several Emmaus Road books, including Queen Mother, which is based on his doctoral dissertation. He resides with his wife, Elizabeth, and their six children in Littleton, Colorado. Sri’s books may be ordered at www.emmausroad.org or by calling (800) 398-5470. January/February 2014
Whatever You Do for the Least of My Bretheren, You Do For Me The Legacy of Dr. J茅r么me Lejeune by Michael J. Miller
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n 1958 a brilliant young Parisian researcher, Jérôme
that the condition then referred to as “mongolism” was caused by an extra chromosome. Instead of the usual twenty-first pair of chromosomes, the genetic makeup of a Down syndrome patient had three of a kind. On January 26, 1959, the Academy of Sciences in France published Lejeune’s findings, which for the first time ever established a correlation between a disorder and a chromosomal aberration.
Dr. Lejeune went on to discover other chromosomal pathologies and received several awards for his work, including the Kennedy Prize in 1962. In 1964 the first chair of fundamental genetics was created for him at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris. Thus, at the age of thirty eight, he became the youngest professor of medicine in the French university system. Professor Lejeune spent a good deal of time traveling to scientific conferences. As an expert on “the consequences of atomic radiation for human beings and their descendants,” he was a familiar figure even in the corridors of the United Nations. At an international conference sponsored by the U.N. in the early 1970’s, there was a public policy debate on abortion. Jérôme Lejeune took the podium, spoke the truth about preborn human life, and warned the audience, in English, “Here we see an institute of health that is turning itself into an institute of death.” That evening he wrote a letter to his wife assuring her that “This afternoon I lost my Nobel Prize.”
The Man and His Mission In her biography of Jérôme Lejeune, Life is a Blessing, Clara Lejeune Gaymard describes her father as “quite simply not at all attached to the goods of this world.” He had made his landmark discovery of trisomy 21 while using a microscope manufactured in 1921 and repaired with tinfoil. Being the head of his department, he could have had a private practice on the side like all of his colleagues, whether at an office downtown or at the hospital. He always refused to do that; as he saw it, he
“Jérôme Lejeune was by no means a proverbial absent-minded professor who cared only about scientific progress. His strong and lasting attachments to his faith and his family shaped his career as a researcher and practicing physician.” was at the service of the patients, and the state, by paying him a salary, enabled him to live decently without seeking other ways of making money. Another specialist at Neckar Hospital told Clara, “I have a great deal of respect for your father, but the difference between him and me is that I used to arrive at the hospital in a Ferrari, while he came by bicycle!” Professor Lejeune would keep his suits until they were worn out. Whenever one of his daughters teased him for being old-fashioned, he used to reply, “Oh, no, my dear, I am a precursor; this will be the fashion in ten years!” Although unusually detached from wealth and prestige, Jérôme Lejeune was by no means a proverbial absent-minded professor who cared only about scientific progress. His strong and lasting attachments to his faith and his family shaped his career as a researcher and practicing physician. Professor Lejeune lived in the Latin Quarter of Paris with his wife, Birthe (née Bringsted), a native of Denmark whom he
had met when they were university students, and their five children. Their centuries-old house and, in particular, the dining room table, was the center of gravity of the Lejeune family. Clara recalls: My father came home every day to eat the midday meal with his children. For our sake he gave up all those “business luncheons” that enable one to maintain contacts that could be useful. . . . In the evening he was back at seven-thirty for dinner. On weekends, even when he was reading or writing in his study, he always made time for his children. When he saw that [something] was very important to us, he did not say, “Later on; you can see that you’re disturbing me.” He left the manuscript of his lecture or his scientific calculations to repair a bicycle tire, string a bow, glue a broken doll, and answer the most
Professor Lejeune was always able to employ his profound knowledge of life and of its secrets for the true good of man and of humanity, and only for that purpose. He became one of the ardent defenders of life, especially of the life of preborn children, which, in our contemporary civilization, is often endangered to such an extent that one could think the danger to be by design. Today, this danger extends equally to elderly and sick persons. Human tribunals and democratically elected parliaments usurp the right to determine who has the right to live and, conversely, who could find that this right has been denied him through no fault of his own. In different ways, our century has experimented with such an attitude, above all during the Second World War, yet also after the end of the war. Professor Jérôme Lejeune assumed the full responsibility that was his as a scientist, and he was ready to become a “sign of contradiction,” regardless of the pressures exerted by a permissive society or of the ostracism that he underwent. —Pope John Paul II,
April 4, 1994 Message on the Passing of Jérôme Lejeune
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incongruous questions. “Papa, did you fight in the Hundred Years War? . . . Why are people born? . . . Why does it rain? . . . What are the stars for?” We always got an answer, and so for that matter did our children when they took up the refrain with their grandfather.
A Friend and Advocate
As a physician, Dr. Lejeune was warm and caring with his patients and their families as well. He would ask the mother of an infant or toddler with Down syndrome to put on a hospital gown over her street clothes and to hold her child in her lap during the examination. The other children of the patient’s family were invited to subsequent appointments, so that they could learn about what made their brother or sister a little different. The doctor was available for telephone consultations with the parents of his patients on evenings and holidays. Dr. Lejeune’s unfailing respect for the dignity of his patients did much to set at ease distraught parents who, because of the stigma traditionally associated with mental disability in France, sometimes could not see their own child but only the syndrome. He showed equal respect for the patient’s parents, avoiding the medical paternalism that was quite common not too long ago. “He did not choose for them; he showed them their responsibility as parents but gave them also all that they needed to choose freely.” Dr. Lejeune called his patients “the disinherited” because their genetic heritage was not perfect and because they were (as Clara puts it) “the unloved members of this competitive, glamorous society.” His clinical experience treating his special patients helped determine the focus of his research and the course of his career. One day he returned from his appointments and said to Mama, “I could spend years discovering the genetic causes of many illnesses, and I could keep on studying even rarer diseases. But I am convinced that everything is interrelated. If I find out how to cure trisomy 21, then that would clear the way for curing all the other diseases that have a genetic origin. The patients are waiting for me; I have to find it.”
Proposed French legislation started a national controversy about abortion in 1972. A popular talk show held a televised debate in which a panelist mentioned the possibility of aborting handicapped pre-born infants. The only ones that could be detected with the medical technology at that time were children with trisomy 21. The next morning a ten-year-old boy with Down syndrome came to Dr. Lejeune’s office for his appointment. He was crying inconsolably. The mother explained, “He watched the debate with us last night.” The child threw his arms around [the doctor’s] neck and said to him, “They want to kill us. You’ve got to defend us. We’re just too weak, and we don’t know how.” From that day on, Dr. Lejeune was also an ardent and vocal defender of the pre-born child.
Uphill Battle Clara Lejeune Gaymard recounts several amusing stories of how her father used his wit and charm to avoid conflicts with students during the protests and political upheavals at European university campuses in 1968. Jérôme Lejeune had to fight a longer and much more intense battle, however, for the pro-life cause. Because he, a world-famous intellectual, spoke out against legalized abortion, demonstrators at one of his conference talks pelted the speaker with tomatoes and raw calves’ liver. The pro-life physician and defender of the mentally handicapped became “the object of unconcealed fury on the part of those who set themselves up as apostles of tolerance.” He was crucified in the press, the tires on the family car were slashed, and one year his children had to walk to school past walls defaced with graffiti reading, “Death to Professor Lejeune and his little monsters!” Adversity did not give Jérôme Lejeune a martyr complex. Always the gentleman, he used to say, “I am not fighting people; I am fighting false ideas.” He scrupulously avoided any appearance of politicizing his pro-life views. Institutional forces organized against him, nevertheless. Professor Lejeune was repeatedly subjected to financial investigations, although no impropriety was ever found. When his daughter Clara applied for a job in government ministry, her application was abruptly rejected because of her last name (an
What is the
Pontifical Academy for Life? According to the Vatican Website: With his Motu Proprio “Vitae Mysterium” of February 11, 1994, John Paul II instituted the Pontifical Academy for Life. Its objectives are the study, information, and formation on the principal problems of biomedicine and of law, relative to the promotion and defense of life, above all in the direct relation that they have with Christian morality and the directives of the Church’s Magisterium. To achieve these objectives, the “Vitae Mysterium” Foundation was instituted in October 1994.
complex. Always the gentleman, he used to say, ‘I am not fighting people; I am fighting false ideas.’” irrational decision that she likens to racial discrimination). Dr. Lejeune went for many years with neither a promotion nor a pay raise. University officials, citing a rarely-enforced rule, discontinued funding for his research in 1982, leaving Dr. Lejeune without a laboratory. During the last decade and a half of his professional life, he was able to conduct research projects thanks to donations from North America, England, and New Zealand and grants from the Institut Claude-Bernard. His daughter recounts: He was never short of money, but it never bothered anyone that the man who continued to form future generations of French geneticists in his department at the hospital was obliged to go abroad begging for bread in order to continue his research.
Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in France, and in 1983 he joined the National Academy of Medicine. In 1993 he received the Griffuel Prize for his pioneering studies on chromosomal anomalies in cancer. Like his father, Jérôme Lejeune developed lung cancer. During Lent of 1994, Pope John Paul II appointed him the first president of the newly formed Pontifical Academy for Life. While in the hospital during Holy Week, the professor remarked, “I’m dying while on special duty.” On Easter morning, April 3, Lejeune went to his eternal reward. On April 4, 1994, a full-page advertisement appeared in the French daily newspaper Le Monde, a petition signed by three thousand physicians calling for recognition of the human embryo “as a member of our species, not to be exploited for manipulations of any sort whatsoever.” In an age of increasing demand for limited medical resources, Professor Lejeune’s words are a sobering reminder of what is at stake in the healthcare field: Care The late professor’s legacy of compassion and People say, “The price kindliness in medical care is continued by the Jérôme of genetic diseases is high. Lejeune Medical Center, which was created in 1997 at If these individuals could the Parisian hospital Notre Dame de Bon Secours. The be eliminated early on, the Center now provides specialized treatment to 2,300 savings would be enormous!” patients of all ages who have a mental handicap of It cannot be denied that the genetic origin. price of these diseases is high— in suffering for the individual and in burdens for society. Not Advocacy A publication of the Foundation describes to mention what parents suffer! the advocacy component of its mission statement as But we can assign a value to follows: that price: It is precisely what Given the temptation to measure respect for a a society must pay to remain human being in terms of his genetic qualities, fully human. lw
Professor Lejeune would smile and say, “It is not for myself that I’m fighting, and so these attacks do not matter.” What grieved him terribly was the use of amniocentesis and chromosome analysis to screen preborn children for trisomy 21, which in practice meant that the vast majority of them were aborted. Madame Lejeune wrote, in the introduction to a published collection of excerpts from her late husband’s writings, “The greatest misfortune, I think, that can happen to a true expert is to see his discoveries totally deflected from their initial purpose and placed at the service of death.” Throughout his career, Professor Lejeune traveled internationally to present papers at scientific conferences, to give expert testimony in court cases, and to defend preborn human life. In 1974 he became a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an honor which made him “profoundly happy and proud.” In 1981 he was elected to the
The Work Goes On In 1996, members of the Lejeune family, together with several of his former colleagues, established the Fondation Jérôme Lejeune, a registered nonprofit organization dedicated to continuing the late professor’s work of research, care, and advocacy. An American affiliate, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA, was started in 2011. The Foundation’s Threefold Mission Research The Foundation finances research worldwide on genetic diseases affecting intelligence; it remains the largest provider of funds for research on trisomy 21. In the current cycle (fiscal year 2013), the total international funding by the Foundation is $1.1 million to researchers working in eight countries, including five projects in the United States. The selection of a project is based on its merit and its relevance to advancing our understanding of genetic intellectual disability that might lead to possible therapeutic treatments. For example, in 2012 the Jérôme Lejeune Institute began a clinical trial on the use of folinic acid and thyroxine to improve the psychomotor development of young children with Down syndrome. 14
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it is necessary to explain untiringly that a society which does not protect its weakest members turns its back on civilization. The Foundation’s commitment to the service of the sick leads it to make its voice heard in current debates on bioethics, cloning, embryo research, embryo selection, and eugenics. For more information, visit lejeuneusa.org.
Michael J. Miller translated Life is a Blessing for Ignatius Press; the book was reprinted in 2011 by the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
“Adversity did not give Jérôme Lejeune a martyr
Eugenics A Selective History
by Anne Roback Morse and Steven W. Mosher
y the late 1800s, eugenics had become something of a fashion among the wealthy and the educated. Darwinian evolution and Mendelian genetics fermented in the minds of the elite, suggesting to them that man should take control of his evolution and actively eliminate deleterious genes from the population by preventing their bearers from breeding.
Such thoughts were not to remain merely stimulating thought experiments for long. In those days before the full horror of efficiently implemented eugenic programs was made evident, and racism was still socially acceptable among the upper echelons of American society, there was nothing to stop the elite from acting against their perceived inferiors. Eugenics entered the mainstream, with scientists, educators, and philanthropists all jumping on board. The first president of Stanford University was chairman of the American Eugenics Commission and the vicepresident of the American Society for Social Hygiene. After making a fortune in citrus fruits, Ezra Gosney founded the “Human Betterment Foundation” in Pasadena and authored a book with the inviting title, “Sterilization for Human Betterment.” He was joined at the Foundation by none other than the creator of the IQ test, a NobelPrize-winning physicist, and other equally illustrious individuals, all of whom had nothing but disdain for those less gifted than themselves. By 1909, the movement was politically powerful enough to have their views written into law. The California State Assembly voted unanimously to “permit asexualization [sterilization] of inmates of the state hospitals and California Home for the Care and
Training of the Feeble-Minded Children and of convicts in the state prisons.” The bill sailed through the California State Senate as well, with only one senator voting against it. California’s sterilization laws “permitted” and “provided for” non-voluntary sterilizations, but did not mandate them. That is to say, the decision to sterilize a patient was up to the doctor or medical superintendent of the facility where the patient was being held. A doctor could not be prosecuted for forcibly sterilizing someone, nor for not sterilizing someone. The wide latitude given to medical staff in these matters allowed them free rein to implement their own personal eugenic ideologies. At Agnews State Hospital, located near San Jose, women were mainly sterilized for “therapeutic reasons.” That is to say, the superintendent was wont to sterilize women when he thought that their having children would be bad for their mental health, not for fear that genetically transmitted disorders would be passed along to their children. The medical superintendent in Mendocino sterilized women for both “therapeutic” and eugenic reasons. This approach, reflecting both a distorted desire to help the patient and a desire to improve the gene pool, was common during the period of forced sterilizations in California. In describing his motivation in one case, the superintendent began by noting that “she threatened to do harm to herself and to her infant child; that her mental symptoms began at the time of the birth of her child.” His report finished with a eugenic prescription: “[We] believe this patient is afflicted with a mental disease which may have been inherited and is likely to become transmitted to descendants. . . . We would like instructions to perform the operation of sterilization.”
Other doctors, however, were motivated by pure eugenic disdain for their charges, and evidenced little concern for their well-being. The superintendent of the Stockton State Hospital wrote a letter in 1916 to the State Commission in Lunacy illustrating his purely eugenic motivation: If the insane who are capable of reproducing are not sterilized before leaving the hospital, it naturally follows that we will have an ever-increasing, endless chain of insane and defective wards to care for. I made the rather broad statement that California was leading the world in this very important procedure . . . from statistics which I have been able to gather, I feel that we, in this state, are doing more of this work than is being done elsewhere. I would like to see the law made broader whereby those addicted to the use of alcohol or drugs could be sterilized. So it was that medical professionals violated the bodily integrity of those same patients. Yet we cannot say that this dark page in U.S. history has been turned. For is there not a modern-day equivalent to last century’s eugenics programs in the advocation of generous funding, at both the federal and state levels, for free abortions, contraceptives, and sterilizations for the poor? To judge by the way that the government pushes contraception, sterilization, and abortion on the poor on the presumption that “they can’t handle children” or “they would be better off without them”, it would appear we still have a long way to go. lw Excerpted from the Population Research Institute’s “Weekly Briefing.” Visit pop.org for more information. January/February 2014
From Our Catholic Responses Department
My parish is offering a Mass for the healing of the family
Learn more! Visit www.cuf.org to read these and other Faith Facts: • • • • • • • • 16
Marriage in God’s Plan: Discovering the Power of Marital Love Ecumenism and the Unity of the Church Male and Female He Created Them: The Church and ‘Same-Sex Marriages’ Raising Tomorrow’s Saints: The Catholic Education of Youth What Makes A Marriage? Consent, Consummation and the Special Case of the Holy Family Should I Attend? Divorce and Remarriage: The Church’s Perspective The Annulment Process Lay Witness / www.cuf.org
tree. Someone told me it is necessary to rid families from the sins of their ancestors. Should I pray for this? The concept of generational sin is based on a particular interpretation of certain passages of the Bible which suggest that God sometimes inflicts a spiritual punishment (such as a divine curse) on the offspring of a person who has committed serious sin. The proponents of generational healing claim that we should pray and attempt to heal those who suffer the effects of the sins of their ancestors. The phrases “generational healing” and “generational sin” are not found in Scripture. But can we actually find these concepts— either directly or indirectly, and in some form or another—in the Bible? There are specific biblical texts that attest to the existence of generational curses in the Bible (e.g. Ex 34:6-7; Num 14:18, 31, Jer 32:18). The main scriptural passage that
proponents of generational healing usually cite is Exodus 34:6-7: The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation. (Ex 34:6-7) The notion that the sins of the father are visited upon their children has another scriptural basis. Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one
However, it is debatable whether this concept is still relevant today, or if the New Covenant has simply abolished it. Jesus Himself did not deny this principle but rather that a personal link can be established in every case. When His disciples asked if the sin of the blind man or his parents caused the affliction, Jesus responds “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God be made manifest in him” (Jn 9:3). Based on this passage alone, several Church Fathers have mounted passionate arguments both in favor and against the notion of generational healing. For example, St. Augustine’s commentary implies that our Lord refuses to see God’s punishing hand in every single problem or ailment we suffer. St. John Chrysostom also argues against the scriptural and theological basis of generational healing in his homily on John 9:1-5 when he explains [Jesus]…said [“Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him”], not signifying that though this man indeed was not in such a case, yet that others had been made blind from such a cause, the sins of their parents, since it cannot be that when one sins another is punished. . . . But if anyone argue, “How then is it said ‘Who visits the sins of the parents upon the children unto the third and fourth generation?’ (Deuteronomy 5:9 & Exodus 34:6-7) we should make this answer; that the assertion is not universal, but that it is spoken with reference to certain who came out of Egypt.1 However, according to St. Jerome, “Jesus does not treat of the question in general regarding the connection of sin and physical ills; he does not solve the mystery of suffering in a world of God’s love. . . . Jesus confines himself to one aspect alone of the case at hand. . . . He does not say that this is the entire explanation, but he does deny that human sinfulness is that explanation.”2 Why is there such strong and passionate disagreement between the Church Fathers?
The necessity of praying for generational healing can only be directly deduced from the Old Testament. There is no direct and explicit New Testament support for generational curses as an explanation of pain or suffering in this world. According to a 1999 study by the International Theological Commission, Memory and Reconciliation, in the context of the Gospels and other New Testament writings, “there is no indication that the early Church turned her attention to sins of the past in order to ask for forgiveness.” Likewise, in this same ecclesial document—which was developed at the express wish of the Commission’s then-President, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and constitutes one of the most extensive modern treatment of this subject— the Church provides us with the following guidance concerning generational healing: Subjective responsibility ceases with the death of the one who performed the act; it is not transmitted through generation; the descendants do not inherit (subjective) responsibility for the acts of their ancestors. . . . Thus, the evil done often outlives the one who did it through the consequences of behaviors that can become a heavy burden on the consciences and memories of the descendants3. Yet if we are not responsible for the sins of our ancestors, as Memory and Reconciliation teaches, but the effects of their sins burden us (perhaps by illness or weakness), does this mean we should pray for our family tree, apologize on our ancestor’s behalf for their sins, and intercede that they be brought into heaven? The Bible teaches that God is our Father and that, as children of God, we must expect to endure many trials in life for the sake of discipline; “For what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?” (Heb 12:7). In this way God wants to warn the faithful of the effects of sin through tragedy and suffering, and of the just punishment of the Lord, who corrects those whom He loves (Jn 9:2-3, Lk 13:1-5).
man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many will be made righteous. (Rom 5:18-19)
Through these and other similar passages the New Testament exhorts us to follow God’s commandments and ultimately to trust in His mercy. This same exhortation is also contained in many Old Testament passages which are often cited to encourage us to trust in God’s mercy and to promote the healing of generations (eg. Ex 34:6-7; Num 14:18; Neh 9:17, 31; Ps 103:8; Pr 3:11-12; Jer 32:18). In today’s troubled world, whenever we face the natural consequences of sin, (suffering and pain) it is good to respond to God’s call to trust in His mercy and to pray for deliverance from those evils. But Scripture is not directing the faithful to be inordinately caught up with wondering what current ills or troubles are the results of the sins of their ancestors. Perhaps recourse to prayers for generational healing might not even be an appropriate response to our brother’s suffering and earthly needs. The circumstances of life are meant to be a call to conversion. As St. Clement of Rome reminds us “going over all the stages of history again, we see that in each era the Lord has given a chance to repent to anyone who wanted to convert to him.” As long as we are guided by the Church’s teachings on original sin and sin in general, our prayers and devotional practices will be in keeping with the understanding that “the punishments [of sin] must not be conceived as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin” (CCC, 1472). In Pope John Paul II, who frequently prayed for the forgiveness of past sins committed by the Church, we have a model for how to pray similarly for our families and invoke God’s mercy to deliver us from the natural effects of sins. lw 1 St. John Chrysostom, Homily 56 on the Gospel of John, www.newadvent.org/fathers/240156.html. 2 St. Jerome, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Raymond E. Brown, et. al. (Engelwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1990), 443. 3 International Theological Commision, Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past, December 1999, http://www. vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/ cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000307_ memory-reconc-itc_en.html.
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The Seamless Garment by Mark Shea
What it Is What it Isn’t What the Church Has to Say About It
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he Church proposes what is called a “consistent ethic of life.” It must, of course, do so because it is bound by sacred tradition to the proposition that all human beings, without any exception whatsoever, are made in the image and likeness of God and that Jesus Christ died for all human beings, without any exception whatsoever. Therefore each human person—without any exception whatsoever—is sacred and the only creature that God wills for its own sake.
This simple fact is one that our civilization has tremendous difficulty grasping. All sorts of social and political groups have all sorts of human beings they wish to exempt from this truth— often for purely utilitarian purposes that subjugate the good of human beings to some strategic, political, or economic need. So, for instance, the good of the unborn baby is subjugated to economics, and the child is killed in order to spare the parent economic hardship. Criminals deemed to have “forfeited the right to live” are put to death for the express purpose of “teaching a lesson” to others, or because it is thought to be cheaper to kill them—in short, for utilitarian purposes. Wars in which thousands of combatants and civilians die are launched in order to obtain economic security or to extend some ideological vision. And economic systems are constructed and maintained which reduce whole populations to little more than slavery and poverty while wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a small oligarchy—because, in the final analysis, wealth and power are deemed more important than human beings. The teaching of the Church, in contrast, was articulated in 1984 by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago in what became known as the Seamless Garment doctrine. And it remains a controversial teaching, not because it is unorthodox, but because Catholic teaching is and always has been at cross purposes with the political currents of this world and is therefore prone to being cannibalized and used by ideologues rather than listened to in its fullness. What Archbishop Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, calls the “parody” of the Seamless Garment is well known. This parody states, for instance, that the death penalty is just as intrinsically immoral as abortion, or that the minimum wage is just as grave a question as euthanasia. The odd thing is not that such smokescreen parodies have, indeed, been put forward by some who wish to ignore the Church’s teaching on sexual morality and life issues. We should expect this from progressive dissenters. The odd thing, rather, is that instead of countering such tactics with the Church’s actual teaching, many Catholics who reject progressive dissent have nonetheless accepted the parody as identical with the Seamless Garment itself in order to reject it as a corruption of the faith. But this is a mistake since, as Muller says, the Seamless Garment itself (not the parody) illustrates “how Catholic moral teaching is a consistent whole—uniting ethical, religious, and political threads in a unified moral vision.” The Seamless Garment is basically common sense Catholic Social Teaching. It puts the human person at the center of things, instead of things—such as possessions and ideologies— at the center of the human person. It insists that the Church’s teaching is a unity (like the seamless garment of Christ) in which both the interconnectedness of revelation and a certain hierarchy of truth has to be respected in living out our approach to the love of neighbor.
“Seamless Garment teaching, as is typical of Catholic teaching, insists on the interrelatedness of various moral questions (i.e., the notion that Catholic teaching is a ‘whole weave’ and not a single thread).”
This approach prevents the tendency of progressive dissenters to flatten all moral issues to the same levels of significance (with the resulting absurdity of treating the minimum wage as though it is as grave a matter as the deliberate taking of innocent human life). It also prevents the tendency of their opponents to isolate the gravest moral issues and use them as excuses for ignoring—sometimes with open contempt—nearly all the rest of the Church’s social teaching. This very typical Catholic balance results in a vision of the human person in which indeed, every human life is sacred and the goal is not merely “not killing innocent human life” (a bare minimum threshold of elementary decency) but the flourishing of human life (in keeping with Jesus’ promise of abundant life). As Cardinal Bernardin puts in his 1984 lecture “A Consistent Ethic of Life: Continuing the Dialogue” Nuclear war threatens life on a previously unimaginable scale; abortion takes life daily on a horrendous scale; public executions are fast becoming weekly events in the most advanced technological society in history; and euthanasia is now openly discussed and even advocated. Each of these assaults on life has its own meaning and morality; they cannot be collapsed into one problem, but they must be confronted as pieces of a larger pattern.
Note the judiciousness of that phrasing, so far from the parody. What Bernardin (and Catholic teaching) sees is that while the Culture of Death is interlinked with many expressions of contempt for human life, he also recognizes that they can’t be “collapsed into one problem.” In short, as Cardinal Bernardin taught: A consistent ethic of life does not equate the problem of taking life (e.g., through abortion and in war) with the problem of promoting human dignity (through humane programs of nutrition, health care, and housing). But a consistent ethic identifies both the protection of life and its promotion as moral questions. It argues for a continuum of life which must be sustained in the face of diverse and distinct threats. Seamless Garment teaching, as is typical of Catholic teaching, insists on the interrelatedness of various moral questions (i.e., the notion that Catholic teaching is a “whole weave” and not a single thread). That’s because Catholic teaching is designed to address the entirety of the human condition. Significantly, the word “heresy” comes from the Greek word referring to the plucking of a single thread from a whole garment. The mark of heresy is that it seizes on some few truths in Catholic teaching and exaggerates their importance while using them to make war on the rest of the Tradition. It matters little which truth or truths
Teaching the Seamless Garment
On February 22, 2013, Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressed the Pontifical Academy of Life on the subject “Human Life in Some Documents of the Magisterium.” While he primarily discussed Gaudium et spes and Dignitas personae, Archbishop Muller concluded his presentation “by revisiting the famous image of the ‘seamless garment’ as a description of the Church’s moral teaching.”
e are all familiar with the image of the “seamless garment” which is used to illustrate how Catholic moral teaching is a consistent whole—uniting ethical, religious, and political threads in a unified moral vision. Unfortunately, however, it is also true that the image of the “seamless garment” has been used by some theologians and Catholic politicians, in an intellectually dishonest manner, to allow or at least to justify turning a blind eye to instances of abortion, contraception, or public funding for embryonic stem cell research, as long as these were simultaneously accompanied by opposition to the death penalty or promotion of economic development for the 20
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poor—issues which are also part of the fabric of Catholic moral teaching. Often this abuse of the “seamless garment” theory stems from a natural tendency on the part of some in the Church to look for “common ground” with the surrounding culture; that is to say, to emphasize in their teaching and preaching those elements of Catholic doctrine that are acceptable to the non-Catholic ambient culture; for example, social justice, human rights, and other similar issues. This is understandable and sometimes it is an appropriate pastoral strategy. But what also must be taken into account is the difference which exists between those elements of Catholic teaching that may be attractive to the surrounding culture
and those elements which are profoundly counter-cultural and which Catholics themselves need to hear proclaimed by their pastors. There is a beautiful coherence to the Church’s moral teaching, but that coherence can only be demonstrated, and its truth apprehended, when the moral teaching of the Church is taught in its entirety and lived out integrally. We are to exercise our mission in such a way that faith is presented in its entirety and integrity with particular attention to the interrelatedness of the various aspects of our teaching. Yes, we fight for peace and justice in the world, and at the same time we need to set forth persuasively the Church’s vision of
“The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. Nor can a Catholic think of delegating his Christian responsibility to others; rather, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives him this task, so that the truth about man and the world might be proclaimed and put into action.”
—Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s doctrinal note on “Some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life” issued November 21, 2002 are seized on, just so long as the rest of the Tradition is attacked by it. Indeed, even the greatest truth, that God the Father is God, was used by Arius to attack the truth that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God. The comparison and contrast of the Church’s teaching on abortion and capital punishment is useful here. Seamless Garment teaching of course recognizes the distinction between taking innocent human life (always gravely and intrinsically evil) and the taking of life in the death penalty (sometimes justified). But the Church also notes that merely because something can be done does not mean it must be. So while the Church does not say the death penalty is intrinsically immoral, it still insists in applying it as sparingly as possible and essentially says that the burden is on the state to show it is necessary to take human life, not on the human person to show that he deserves to live. This common-sense balance that emphasizes both the inter-relatedness of human life and human dignity and the proper hierarchy of various issues is at the core of Seamless Garment thinking because it is at the core of Catholic Social Teaching. It is long past time for Catholics of all stripes to embrace the whole of Catholic teaching and not merely the parts that suit us. lw Mark Shea is an award-winning columnist for the National Catholic Register and a frequent contributor to Our Sunday Visitor and other Catholic publications. He is a popular blogger and frequent guest on radio and television.
life, love and sexuality, including the intrinsic immorality of abortion and contraception. If our teaching on the essential dignity of the human person and the intrinsic meaning and value of the sexual act is not presented in our schools, in homilies, by diocesan offices, in our Catholic newspapers, in marriage preparation programs, how can we legitimately expect that this vision will form consciences and equip our people to confront the moral decisions in their own lives? Only through an integrated and enthusiastic presentation of our teaching can we begin to reclaim the language and concept of human rights as it relates to family life and especially to marriage as constituted by one man and one woman.
Finally, the image of the “seamless gar- Excerpted from “Human Life in some Documents of the ment” reminds us that faith, worship, and life Magisterium,” an address given by Archbishop Gerhard are interwoven. We know that the Church’s Muller February 22, 2013 to the Pontifical Academy moral teaching must be lived by fallen human of Life. beings prone to sin. But where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds all the more! And so our teaching is supported by frequent reference to the sanctifying power of the sacraments of the Church. Dignitas personae : The 2008 instruction It is no small task to which we have authored by the CDF to address ethical questions been called, and it must be said that this hopeful vision of human life in related to the emergence of a wide range of God, a vision captured by Gaudium new embryonic technologies such as genetic et spes and Dignitas personae, has engineering, selective reduction of embryos, in vitro found expression in the renewal and fertilization, and other practices. resurgence of ecclesial life in many parts of the world.
Have you read . . . ?
Abortion: Pagan Sacrifice? by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Michael Mohr
As we prepare to mourn the forty-first anniversary of the legalization of abortion in our beloved country, Fr. John Hardon reminds us of the real battle that is being waged by our secular leaders in an effort to define “modern” society as something new and liberating to human social development when, in fact, this effort is not new at all. It is the age-old battle between princes and principalities, between the true God and the demonic gods of the “new age”—and abortion is the required sacrifice of innocent life to these gods of modernism just as it was to the historical pagan societies of old. —Michael Mohr
e know what the word “sacrifice” means. It means the surrender of something precious to the god in whom a person believes. Sacrifices have been part of world religions since the dawn of recorded history. What is less well known, however, is that these religions also required the sacrifice of children as an oblation and even as a condition for obtaining blessings from the gods. We read that the Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, charging the Jews of imitating the pagans in their practice of child homicide. Said the Lord, “They have built high places for Baal to immolate their sons in fire as holocausts to Baal: such a thing as I neither commanded nor spoke of, nor did it ever enter my mind.” Abortion as the widespread practice that it has become today is, incredibly, a religious practice. It is inspired by the evil spirits who, in Christian terms, were and are the malignant deities of paganism. These deities, often goddesses, demanded the sacrifice of children to be propitiated. Unless children
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“Our faith tells us that the sacrifice of the Mass is at once the sacrifice of Christ and our sacrifice, too.” were killed and offered to these gods, they would avenge their anger against the people in the most devastating ways. As believing Catholics, we know that behind the murder of unborn children is the superhuman mind and malevolent will of Satan and his minions. To know this is to also know that only divine power is a match for the demonic power behind abortion. This divine power is the power of the God who became man in order, as He told us, to conquer the devil as master of the world. How did Christ provide for the conquest of Satan and his agents? He did so by dying on the Cross. The one who died on Calvary was man, but this man was the living God. On these premises, Calvary is the divine sacrifice because it was God who assumed a human body and a human soul which could separate in a human death on Good Friday. Except for this divine sacrifice of Jesus Christ there would be no hope for the human race. However, let us be clear. Christ did die for our salvation. He shed His blood on Calvary. In that sense, He completed the mission given to Him by His Father. But really that was only the beginning. By His sacrifice on Calvary, He won for us the title to the graces
we need to reach our eternal destiny. But this same Jesus Christ made sure that these graces would be communicated to mankind until the end of time. The principal channel of these graces is the sacrifice of the Mass. The graces which Christ pours out on a sinful world through the daily offering of Mass are the graces which a homicidal world needs to return to its worship of the one true God and cease committing the crimes of abortion which are really acts of worship of the evil deities who we know are the evil spirits. The sacrifice of the Mass, therefore, provides us with the light and strength we need to live sacrificial lives. But we must use these graces and really live lives of sacrifice. If we do, and in the measure that we do, we shall obtain for the agents of death the miraculous graces they need to abandon their idolatry and return to the worship of the one true God. Our faith tells us that the sacrifice of the Mass is at once the sacrifice of Christ and our sacrifice, too. Christ has done all that He could by dying on the Cross. We must do all that we can to follow in His footsteps and die to ourselves out of love for Him. lw
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., (1914–2000) was a distinguished theologian and a prolific writer, speaker, and catechist. He founded a number of Catholic organizations, including the Marian Catechists, and he was a good friend of the CUF apostolate. Learn about the cause of Fr. Hardon’s beatification at www.mariancatechist.com Michael Mohr is chairman of CUF’s board of directors and a consecrated Marian Catechist. He and his family live in Tucson, Arizona.
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Evangelizing with Joy by Arland K. Nichols
ecently I had the privilege of praying before the tomb of Blessed John Paul II at Saint Peter’s Basilica. To my surprise, tears came readily, but I noticed that I was far from the only one moved. Thousands of men and women must weep daily before the earthly remains of a man most never met in person. Why this response? The answer is simple. He moved us, and people of good will loved him for it. Through the grace of God, he changed minds and softened hearts that had become hardened victims of a secular age. He was full of love, joy, and passion, and he made many feel like we were in the presence of Jesus Himself. He preached the truth. He decried great evils. He did so with courage and without reservation.
© iStockphoto.com/ Kreatiw
For Good, Not Just Against Evil Many teach the truth and denounce evil. Few have John Paul’s effect. The first two sentences of Evangelium vitae are representative of his approach. The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture.
“Because his motive and message were properly ordered, he often overcame hearts of stone as he proclaimed the truth with love.”
Yes, he decried evil, but his first commitment was to the proclamation of good news. Pope John Paul II was for life, dignity, compassion, and marriage before he was against their antitheses. Because his motive and message were properly ordered in this way he often overcame hearts of stone as he proclaimed the truth with love. Kneeling before his tomb I could not help but recall the work of many pro-lifers, myself included. I wondered if we could do better. If we proclaimed the Gospel of Life more than we decried the culture of death and its purveyors, might more hearts be evangelized? I think so.
The Attraction of Humility While still a graduate student on fire to proclaim the truth, I began teaching morality and bioethics at a Catholic high school. Sadly, I was unaware during those first years how both my fiery demeanor and choice of words could singe my student’s receptivity. It was a bumpy road and I was not the only one who was frustrated. Most importantly, my students were not embracing the teachings of the Church. Perhaps, even, some apathetic hearts were galvanized against the ethical norms I taught. I felt like I was banging my head against a wall. Daily I would ask myself, “How can so few get it?” Asking such a question reminds us that our own conversion and docility must be primary. Pope Benedict has written, Indeed, we cannot forget that the first task will always be to make ourselves docile to the freely given action of the Spirit of the Risen One who accompanies all who are heralds of the Gospel and opens the hearts of those who listen. To proclaim fruitfully the Word of the Gospel one is first asked to have a profound experience of God. (Ubicumque et semper) Docility to God fosters a message that is characterized by the warmth of love. If we are not working on ourselves, striving to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect, then our words and deeds are less likely to be received. When I was teaching, I came to realize that I had “lost” many students because I relied too much upon the vigor of vinegar and not enough upon the sweetness of honey. It was difficult to change my approach, but over time I came to appreciate that I was too single-mindedly focused on telling them what I wanted them to hear and too unaware of how they wanted to or needed to hear it. They could not get it because I did not get them. Thankfully I came to embrace John Paul II’s admonition in Crossing the Threshold of Hope: “If they turn to authority figures, they do so because they see in them a wealth of human warmth and 24
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a willingness to walk with them along the paths they are following.” The mutual frustration lessened as I changed my approach to the material taught and, perhaps most importantly, to the students themselves.
A Time to Self-Reflect Perhaps now is a providential moment for us to ask the hard questions of ourselves and evaluate our approach to education and evangelization on the life and family issues. Does our way of professing the truth come across as self-righteous, judgmental, and intolerant to our audience? If so, they may no longer tolerate us. Can our choice of language, even if true, be perceived as hateful? If so, they will loathe our message. Do we appear sour, dour, and angry, instead of joyful? Are we primarily fighting for something (life, human dignity, marriage, etc.) or primarily fighting against something (abortion, same sex unions, etc.)? Perhaps we should revisit our rhetoric; our approach greatly impacts how our audience responds. We have good news—the Gospel of Life—to proclaim. And there is a way to speak the truth with love without watering down the evil of those things we are duty-bound to oppose. Of course we do not have the benefit of the office John Paul held, but emulation of his approach may bear great fruit. Proclaim, evangelize—with a smile on your face, joy in your eyes, and love in your heart. lw Arland K. Nichols is the Director of Education and Evangelization for Human Life International and Executive Editor of the online magazine, the Truth and Charity Forum. He also co-founded and is President of the John Paul II Foundation for Life and Family.
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Mary, Virgin and Mother, you who, moved by the Holy Spirit, welcomed the word of life in the depths of your humble faith: as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One, help us to say our own “yes” to the urgent call, as pressing as ever, to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Filled with Christ’s presence, you brought joy to John the Baptist, making him exult in the womb of his mother. Brimming over with joy, you sang of the great things done by God. Standing at the foot of the cross with unyielding faith, you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection, and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit so that the evangelizing Church might be born. Obtain for us now a new ardor born of the resurrection, that we may bring to all the Gospel of life which triumphs over death. Give us a holy courage to seek new paths, that the gift of unfading beauty may reach every man and woman. Virgin of listening and contemplation, Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast, pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are, that she may never be closed in on herself or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom. Star of the new evangelization, help us to bear radiant witness to communion, service, ardent and generous faith, justice and love of the poor, that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world. Mother of the living Gospel, wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones, pray for us. Amen. Alleluia! —Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, no. 288 26
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Jesus Christ—that is why the Church urges evangelization. We must communicate what we possess; we must supply the Answer to a questioning people. It has always been through individuals that the Gospel has spread. Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, which discussed the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and the world, emphasized the duty of every Christian to be an envoy of the Good News. 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!” (no. 34) Let us therefore overcome our fears and renew our enthusiasm for bringing the life-giving message of the Redeemer to all people. Pope Francis says, “To be evangelizers of souls, we need to develop a spiritual taste for being close to people’s lives and to discover that this is itself a source of greater joy” (no. 268). The Holy Father assures us that when we participate in the joyful spreading of the Gospel, we not only draw closer to the individuals we engage but also strengthen our relationship with God. “Whenever we encounter another person in love,” Francis explains, “we learn something new about God” (no. 272). Similarly, Pope Benedict wrote: “Only my readiness to encounter my neighbor and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbor can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me” (Deus Caritas est, no. 18).
“The Best Incentive for Sharing the Gospel Comes from Contemplating it with Love” Remarkably, through Evangelii gaudium the Holy Father lays out his program for the Church by doing precisely what he is asking of the faithful. He joyfully proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ and reminds us that when renewed by love, this becomes the simplest of tasks. Those who would inhibit this message are doing a disservice to themselves and to the Church. Worse than that, the Holy Father warns, “We do not live better when we flee, hide, refuse to share, stop giving and lock ourselves up in own comforts. Such a life is nothing less than slow suicide” (no. 272). When we have long participated in the life of the Church, it is wise to continuously reexamine our attachments: Have we become like the Pharisees, attached to the commands without the proper relationship to the command-giver? The call for a renewed study of the Gospel should be welcomed by all Christians if we are sincere in our devotion. Many Catholics have been so startled by the dramatic shift in pontifical programs, meaning Francis’ unconventional style, that they have hastily discounted the promulgation of this important document or taken periphery comments out of context. Sadly, if one rejects the message of Evangelii gaudium—the invitation to encounter God once again—the unwillingness and inability to partake in the joyful spreading of the Gospel leaves the call of baptism unfulfilled. Pope Francis wisely addresses this spiritual crisis which can cripple the Church. He knows that Christians without Christ are nothing at all. It is the remembrance of our love of God and the renewed awareness of our relationship to Him that melt apathy and ignite zeal. Our Holy Father advises us: “If we do not feel an intense desire to share this love, we need to pray insistently that he will once more touch our hearts. We need to implore his grace daily, asking him to open our cold hearts and shake up our lukewarm and superficial existence” (no. 264).
“Let Us Recover and Deepen our Enthusiasm” Catholics United for the Faith urges our members and all the laity to read, in full, Evangelii gaudium. We too must recollect our purpose. Our apostolate prays daily: O God our Father, who sent Your only-begotten Son to suffer and to give His life for the life of His Church, rule, protect, and nourish her continually, we beseech You. Teach us of Catholics United for the Faith to direct our zeal first of all to the renewal
of our own hearts. Then, if it be Your holy will to allow us to be in any way your instruments in the wider renewal of Your Church, give us the grace to know what services, small or great, You ask of us, and let the Holy Spirit teach us to perform them in obedience, patience, and charity, leaving entirely to You what fruits they may bear. We ask this through the same Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of that Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. A validation of the work of our apostolate is contained within Evangelii gaudium. The Holy Father implicitly affirms our mission, encouraging us in his own words to continue what we have always striven for: “to direct our zeal first of all to the renewal of our own hearts.” Therefore, let us humbly accept his invitation to a renewed encounter with God, that we might be joyful evangelizers and experience once again the empowering love of Christ. May we be invigorated by the Holy Father’s words: We have a treasure of life and love which cannot deceive, and a message which cannot mislead or disappoint. It penetrates to the depths of our hearts, sustaining and ennobling us. It is a truth which is never out of date because it reaches that part of us which nothing else can reach. . . . It is impossible to persevere in a fervent evangelization unless we are convinced from personal experience that it is not the same thing to have known Jesus as not to have known him, not the same thing to walk with him as to walk blindly, not the same thing to hear his word as not to know it, and not the same thing to contemplate him, to worship him, to find our peace in him, as not to. (nos. 265, 266) “This,” our Holy Father tells us, “is why we evangelize.”
“Spirit-filled evangelizers are evangelizers who pray and work. Mystical notions without a solid social and missionary outreach are of no help to evangelization, nor are dissertations or social or pastoral practices which lack a spirituality which can change hearts. These unilateral and incomplete proposals only reach a few groups and prove incapable of radiating beyond them because they curtail the Gospel. What is needed is the ability to cultivate an interior space which can give a Christian meaning to commitment and activity. Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out. The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer. . . .” — Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, no. 262
Pope Francis’ exhortation Evangelii gaudium can be read in full at the Vatican website. It can also be ordered through Ignatius Press.
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her. —Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, 3
The Beggar’s Banquet is a feast of reflections to savor while meditating on the astounding mystery of God’s love for His people. Dr. Regis Martin infuses these discourses on Christ, His Mother, the spiritual life, and the saints with a wide breadth of influences—the writings of popes, mystics, and theologians, great works of literature, and even poetry. The author rekindles the familiar Gospel message with ever deepening wonder, whetting the appetite for that which truly satisfies: the Bread of Life. 978-1-940329-14-7 • $10.95
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The Road to Emmaus
The Beggar’s Banquet An interview with Regis Martin
Dr. Regis Martin knows a thing or two about the spiritual life. As a theology professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville, he teaches courses infused with a wide breadth of influences—magisterial documents, the writings of the saints, great works of literature, and even poetry—all seeking not only to inform his students of the truth of the Gospel, but to whet their appetite for that which truly satisfies. He does the very same for readers with his new book, The Beggar’s Banquet: A Personal Retreat on Christ, His Mother, the Spiritual Life & the Saints (Emmaus Road, 2013).
Lest anyone mistake your new title for a shoestring cookbook, can you reveal a bit about the content? As you wryly imply, the book is not about cooking. Nor dieting, to cite the other obsession that nowadays drives the publishing market. (The one telling us what to eat, the other why we shouldn’t eat it.) What my book is about, very simply, is the Bread of Life, our appetite for which has grown dangerously anemic, which is why the pursuit of real food gets diverted by lesser hungers like cookbooks and diet plans. 28
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These thirteen reflections were originally delivered as a series of conferences to an order of Cistercian monks. As a layman, was it daunting to speak to these holy men? I find the prospect of speaking to any group, never mind Cistercian monks, always a bit daunting. But, yes, talking to them was especially so since I was never quite sure, given their great antiquity, that they’d actually survive even the few fleeting minutes of each conference. “They may not stay awake,” warned the Abbot, “if you go on too long.” Happily, the talks proved to be anything but a soporific and we got on splendidly together. All of mankind has a spiritual hunger essential to our humanity. What do you propose as the method for satisfying this appetite? Where the ruling passion of our life is something other than the sudden and dramatic appearance of the Incarnate God, the only recourse available to the honest apologist is to try and awaken it. Each of us evinces a deep driving need for God that only
Christ can assuage. The book is one man’s modest attempt to arouse a desire that all too often has fallen dormant or been ill-used. In The Beggar’s Banquet, you write movingly about the mystery of salvation. Why does it benefit us to contemplate the Incarnation, the passion of Our Lord, and His Resurrection? Because there is no other reality more real—more True, Beautiful, or Good—than the coming of Christ among us in order, by dying on a Cross, to deliver us from our sins, indeed, from the sheer hellishness of a world without hope. And because we need to give God, who has already pitched His tent in our midst, permission to so penetrate our lives as to leave nothing human untouched by His transfiguring love. Any final thoughts you would like to share with readers? Yes. There’s a banquet waiting for you. And bring the book when you come. lw Dr. Regis Martin is a father, author, and professor. His new title is now available at emmausroad.org.
(Image, 2011) In his second to last Wednesday audience before resigning from the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Dorothy Day as possessing “the ability to oppose the ideological enticements of her time in order to choose the search for truth and to open herself to the discovery of faith.” Her personal diary, The Duty of Delight, fleshes out the story of her life and affirms Benedict’s conclusion: “God guided her to a conscious adherence to the Church, in a life dedicated to the underprivileged.” Day’s private writings, which span four decades, reveal an intense pursuit of the face of God. This search was evidenced by her commitment to daily Mass, her love of praying the Divine Office, and a burning desire to see good in every person— no small feat considering the nature of her apostolic work through the Catholic Worker movement. Illustrating the constant struggle to attain holiness, Day is candid about her interactions with the poor. She writes of the difficulty in overcoming one’s reactions to the sights and smells, the frustrations and disappointments that accompanied serving the destitute, mentally ill, or those suffering from alcoholism. Her honesty yet unwavering commitment to serving Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor proves that “Grace is sufficient for you, for [Christ’s] power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Behind her very public activism, Day’s inmost purpose was to offer a generous response to the Gospel message. Her witness, as Pope Benedict suggested, is a challenge to the Church and to every Christian. —Melissa Knaggs
(CHResources, 2012) In St. Luke’s Gospel, we find a young man approaching Christ with a very important question: What must I do to be saved? If the mark of true intelligence is asking the right questions, this man was smart. His is the most important question anyone can ask: What must I do to save my soul? In his slim book, What Must I Do to Be Saved? Catholic-convert and EWTN host Marcus Grodi provides a clear and accessible answer to this question and more. He begins by examining many popular approaches, including the fundamentalist “Me and Jesus alone” style and the popular “Roman Road” presentation. With characteristic charity, Grodi points out that each of these approaches is partially true, but nevertheless deeply flawed. He walks readers through the Old Testament, the New Testament, and many writings from the Church Fathers to paint a fuller, more accurate picture of salvation—one that includes prayer, conversion, the Church, the sacraments, and the Communion of Saints as vital parts of a whole. What Must I Do to Be Saved? was written specifically for non-Catholics, which makes it a great book to share with Protestants, Mormons, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. So buy it, read it, stack multiple copies next to your door, and pass it out to anyone asking you this most important question. —Brandon Vogt
(Basic Books, 2013) George Weigel’s Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church is full of sound insights drawn from many years of reflection and work at the heart of the Church. Laying out a comprehensive program for reform of the Catholic Church from the papacy to the laity and everything in between, many of Weigel’s proposals will not come as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads his writings or news of the worldwide Church. “Grasped in its fullness, Evangelical Catholicism invites Catholics (and indeed all who are interested in the Catholic Church) to move beyond the left/right surface arguments of past decades, which were largely about ecclesiastical power, and into a deeper reflection on the missionary heart of the Church—and to consider how that heart might be given expression in the twenty-first century and the third millennium,” writes Weigel. “Evangelical Catholicism is about the future.” From a lesser authority, his willingness to make blunt diagnoses and offer direct proposals might smack of chutzpah. But Weigel has the access, the information, and the breadth of experience with the Church throughout the world to make the book not only credible, but a generally sound and actionable program. A valuable primer on every Catholic’s call to become a saint and enter into the missionary imperative of the Church, Weigel’s latest is sure to stir conversation and inspire new initiatives throughout the world Church. —Chris Sparks
Navigating the Life of Prayer
Do I Know You?
On Seeking True Union with God by Dan Burke
efore you were born, God knew you. The psalmist says, “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb . . . my frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth” (Ps 139:13,15). He knew everything about you, who you would become, what you would believe, what you would do. He conceived of you and brought you into existence for the sole purpose of loving you and being loved by you. This great love is something we should bask in, embrace, and live within as the foundational understanding of who we are in relationship with God. Even so, there is a dark side to this relationship. God created us knowing how we would treat Him. He knew we would reject, deny, insult, ignore, and yes, even crucify Him. Would you bring someone into existence that you knew would despise, reject, and crucify you? Some see Jesus’ act of self-giving on the Cross as the ultimate expression of His divine love. In light of his foreknowledge of our sin at the moment of our creation, it is reasonable to assume that our creation was the beginning of His suffering and His joy. Is there any greater demonstration of love possible than to breath the life and love into someone whom you know will reject you? Our task then is not to stand in frozen shame in the face of this reality, but to kneel, weep, repent, and then, by the grace of God, stand and glorify Him. Knowing this reality, this great love, is the beginning of our existence, the beginning of our redemption, and the beginning of prayer.
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“God’s plan of sheer goodness was to create you so that you could share in His own blessed and abundant life for all of eternity.” It is also the beginning of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. (no. 1) God’s plan of sheer goodness was to create you so that you could share in His own blessed and abundant life for all of eternity. The key then to understanding our existence is in understanding our relationship with God. He created us in love to love and to be loved. We are called to the heights of union with Him in this life and the next. Regardless of our state in life we are called to the heights of saintly virtue, and we are called to the heights of saintly prayer. But how to get there? Certainly no one accidentally wanders into a life of profound intimacy with the Blessed Trinity. Jesus reveals the path to us but we must accept
His direction and commit to making His way our own.
The Narrow Way to Heaven Jesus’ words about the narrow path are troubling to many, as they should be. “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Mt 7:13-14) These words are chilling because Jesus says that the road to heaven is hard and few find it. What if we are not among the few? Several verses later Jesus ups the ante and provokes even more angst. He seems to be concerned that some of His followers are selfdeceived about their own spiritual health. The kind of self-deception He is attacking is rampant among those who claim His name. The human person has an infinite capacity for delusion. Jesus is working hard, for the sake of our souls, to destroy the hell-bound delusion of a shallow or psuedo-faith. “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Mt 7:22-23)
Here Jesus brings us to the moment of our judgment and lays out the perilous contrast between the perception of those who think they should or will be received into heaven and the reality that they will instead find hell as their eternal reward. What makes this passage most disturbing are the characteristics of those whom Jesus rejects. Are they “bad” people who reject Him and deny His power or truth? Are these the Pharisees that He often rebuked? To the contrary, these are His followers and they seem to reflect the opposite state of mind: they call Jesus Lord. Christ reveals He doesn’t know us at all when we identify Him as our Lord, speak His truth to others, cast out demons and do good works in His name. How is it possible that the God we claimed to live for says He doesn’t know us at all? The secret to unlocking this mystery can be found in Jesus’ words: “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’” (Mt 7:23, emphasis added). Before we jump to the solution we must allow ourselves to be confronted with the reality that those standing before Jesus at the judgment argue that they were doing good things. Jesus does not deny their claim! Objectively, they were doing good things. How is it that Jesus calls them “evildoers”?
A Disposition of Love God desires hearts that are intimately connected with His. The psalmist rightly reflects this: For you take no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps 51:16-17) Religious actions, even good ones, pursued without a corresponding internal disposition of love for God, are not necessarily beneficial to a relationship with God. This is not to say that if someone does their best to honor God and does so poorly that He is not pleased by this effort. But it is possible to pursue outwardly religious acts that have no inward connection to God at all. In a relationship between human persons we call this going through the motions. These motions may mimic intimacy on the outside but neither party is really convinced that love
is present even when the outward actions appear as those of passionate newlyweds. Not only are these actions apt to be empty, but, Jesus even goes so far as to categorize them as “evil.” They serve to deceive many into believing that they are in good standing with God when they are far from Him.
To Know Jesus What does it mean to know Jesus? The word know in this passage is the same Hebrew word the writer of Genesis used to describe marital intimacy between Adam and Eve (“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived” [Gen 4:1]). Now we are getting closer to the issue. To know the Lord is to be spiritually intimate with Him. This intimacy of course does not have anything to do with actual human sexuality. Human sexuality or marital intimacy, properly expressed within the sacrament of marriage, is simply the most exalted form of human self-giving and thus
is used in Scripture and by the mystics of the Church to approximate what it means to know union with God. As with marital intimacy, conception is often the fruit. In the case of prayer, this mystical knowing also results in conception but the conceiving of our intimacy with the Lord is one that produces His authentic and abundant life in and through us. This authenticity produces good works that yield real and lasting fruit for the kingdom and are birthed out of our living relationship with God. Prayer, just as any other good work, can either be an empty religious act of self-gratification, or it can be a true selfgiving interpersonal act of love between two persons—God and man. A proper disposition is foundational to an authentic union with God. And that union—knowing Him—yields an abundant life of fulfillment, peace, and grace that can be gained in no other way. lw
Daniel Burke is an author, speaker, regular voice on Register Radio, and the Executive Director of the National Catholic Register. His book, Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God is available through Emmaus Road Publishing. Burke’s book may be ordered at www.emmausroad.org or by calling (800) 398-5470.
Spousal Love by Madeleine Stebbins
n a time when the world has lost the true vision of marriage, when a false and superficial vision has come to the fore, it is important through the medium of great art to dwell on what marriage really means and was meant to be. This never fading, never outdated art opens our eyes to a deeper perception of a whole world of perennial beauty and of true happiness. Christ called His disciples to be “the salt of the earth” (Mt 5:13). Right from the beginning Christianity dared to be counter-cultural. It proclaimed “grace seasoned with salt” and this ultimately for the sake of our happiness (Col 4:6). What have great masterpieces in a rich tradition down through the ages told us about married love? What was the profound wisdom they visually communicated? Here are two splendid examples which are entirely divergent in style, and centuries apart, expressing different aspects of spousal love— complimentary views within a basic unity. The first is a detail of the fresco of “Joachim and Anna at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem.” (c.1305) by Giotto (1266/7-1337) in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. According to a tradition dating from the second century, the parents of Mary, Joachim and Anna, for many years begged God for a child. Giotto depicts the moment when they meet after learning that their prayers have finally been heard and that they will have a daughter. We see a fusion of these two God-fearing souls exulting in the love of God and deeply moved by the wondrous gift of a child—and what a child!—the immaculate one, the fruit of their love. In an almost modern way (I should rather call it a timeless way), the fresco has a simplicity of lines and a paucity of means in its style without flourishes or ornamentation. 32
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“There is hardly a painting which so truly expresses the inner glow of tenderness in spousal love.” The result is intensely expressive of a union of persons melding into each other, becoming one, their hands tender and reverent, their eyes blissful and enraptured, so close that the image is almost that of one face (as though the two had become one flesh). Giotto conveys something godly, something sacred in their matrimonial love. One senses that through their child God is in their midst and almost tangibly present to them. The second masterpiece, called “The Jewish bride” or “The Bridal Couple” (c.1667) by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Possibly it represents an Old Testament couple such as Isaac and Rebecca.¹ There is hardly a painting which so truly expresses the inner glow of tenderness in spousal love. It is how God in His creative providence wants spousal love to be. The bridegroom loves, honors, and protects his bride as shown in the particularly reverent gesture of his hands, reverence being the key to genuine romance. Reverence here means profound respect tinged with awe. His right hand is softly held over her heart as if listening to her.² Far from exercising any kind of domination, his vocation is to be her protector. His posture is manly and chivalrous. His face shows that he cherishes her as a precious person. His arms, clothed in an iridescent gold fabric, are like the setting for a treasured jewel and like a circle around their tender and intimate union. She represents being and receptivity. One can say she is destined to embody what Dietrich von Hildebrand called the “apostolate of being,” that is, to radiate grace, love.³ Her
being has luster and mystery, a faint blush in her cheeks is visible. An interior warmth appears under the surface of her gentle and beautiful modesty.4 This is also expressed in the bright, nuanced scarlet color of her dress, suggesting the love of her heart, and the glow of a hearth. Both spouses lean slightly towards each other in trust. Each with a different manly or womanly character receives the other as an incomparable gift, and each gives him or herself freely and totally to the other. This is the image of true spousal love, authentic and enduring. lw 1. Duncan Bull et al., Rembrandt- Caravaggio, Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, 2006) p.131 (Wikipedia). 2. “Every inch of the canvass is fascinating. Most moving of all is the diffident tenderness with which the man lays his hand on the woman’s breast and she responds to the caress with the lightest touch of her fingertips. This is love made absolute. . . . [This painting] is in my opinion one of the most beautiful pictures in the world.” Bob Haak (former curator of the Rijksmuseum), Rembrandt (Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York) 1969, p. 322. 3. Alice von Hildebrand, Man and Woman: A Divine Invention (Sapientia Press, 2010) p. 49. 4. “typically female gems: gentleness, empathy, warmth, devotion and mystery.” Ibid, p.11.
Madeleine Stebbins is the wife of CUF founder H. Lyman Stebbins. She served as CUF president from 1981–84.
Joachim and Anna at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem (c.1305) by Giotto di Bondone (1266/7-1337) / The Bridal Couple (c.1667) by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) / Wikimedia Commons
Looking at a Masterpiece
Powerful Books on the Catholic Life
The Faith Understood
What is the Church?
The Sacred Conversation
Mark J. Zia, S.T.D.
Fr. Joseph Mele
Discover the basic principles of authentic biblical interpretation. Learn why the Magisterium is the only way to correctly interpret the Bible and the writings of the Church Fathers, Doctors, and Saints. Find out why Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium are the only three legs of the theological tripod that preserves the whole truth about God. See why faith and reason, science and theology, the natural and the supernatural are always agreeable. Explore the Incarnation and the primary Christological heresies that threatened the early Church. Unlock one of the most misunderstood areas of Catholic theology in the person of Mary. Unravel the mystery of eschatology—the “last things”—judgment, purgatory, hell, and heaven. Great for college students, adult faith formation programs, and motivated Catholics aspiring to learn more about their faith.
What Is the Church? is Regis Martin’s delightful meditation on the beauty and the depth of the Catholic Church. Solidly orthodox and universal in its outlook, this is a work for anyone who wishes to understand more deeply what it means to be Catholic. In his 1998 encyclical Tertio Millennio Adveniente, John Paul II asked catechists and theologians “to promote a deeper understanding of the ecclesiological doctrine of the Second Vatican Council as contained primarily in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium” (no. 47). To respond to this call, Dr. Regis Martin wrote What Is the Church? in order to present a faithful ecclesiology in simple, accessible terms.
Are you starving for inspiring homilies? Did you know that poor preaching is one of the top three reasons people leave the Church? And that it’s the reason many Catholics don’t come to Mass? There is a preaching problem in the Catholic Church—a serious problem. Parishioners know it, priests know it, and bishops know it. It’s an old story that just doesn’t seem to change . . . until now! The Sacred Conversation skillfully answers the question on many Catholic minds: Why can’t priests preach? Fr. Joseph Mele gives a first-rate analysis of and a resolution to what it will take to form priests who can preach effectively to the Church today. Catholic homilies are not Protestant sermons. Learn the difference and become a fruitful homilist! Includes a Foreword by Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
An Introduction to Catholic Theology
Confessions of a Cradle Catholic
The Art of Catholic Preaching and The New Evangelization
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• Emily Stimpson • “As a writer, Emily Stimpson always brings to her readers a unique combination of deep wisdom, practical insight, and personal experience. In These Beautiful Bones, she uses the sacramental lens of the liturgy to explore a wide range of activities in daily life. . .” —Dr. Scott Hahn, Internationally renowned author and biblical theologian
t was Blessed John Paul II’s greatest gift to the Church: The theology of the body. A window into who we are, the theology of the body is a theology for the rooms where we make love. But it’s also a theology for the rooms where we work, where we eat, where we laugh, and where we pray. These Beautiful Bones takes you on a walk through those rooms. With both humor and practical wisdom, it sheds light on what the theology of the body has to say about life beyond the bedroom, about the everyday moments of life, helping you discover how to let grace enter into those moments and make of them something extraordinary.
Also from Emily Stimpson . . . Finding a spouse has never been easy. But, it’s also never been quite so hard, especially for good Catholic girls intent on having strong Catholic marriages to nice Catholic boys. So what are all those good Catholic girls to do? How do they navigate the increasingly long (and usually trying) years between college and “I do” without losing their sanity or their soul? Consult The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years: The Nuts and Bolts of Staying Sane and Happy While Waiting for Mr. Right. 978-1-937155-34-6; $12.95
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FIDELITY. HOLINESS. CHARITY. Three pillars on which the work of Catholics United for the Faith rests. Fidelity to the wisdom of Scripture and Tradition is essential to our mission—which is and always has been to “support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.”
Holiness, friendship with God, is the reason we strive to be faithful to the Church which Christ has established. Our goal is to help Catholics become, ever more perfectly, the image of God.
Charity is our aim in all we do, whether in our work with bishops and priests, our outreach in dioceses and parishes, and our relations with fellow believers and non-believers alike.
atholics United for the Faith (CUF) is a lay apostolate founded in 1968 to equip the laity to know and live out their calling as followers of Christ. We provide formation through our trusted resources to help Catholics of every age, vocation, and state of life both live and proclaim the fullness of truth. Our resources include The award winning Lay Witness magazine A research department to answer our CUF members’ most pressing questions about the faith The CUF website (cuf.org) which contains thousands of articles, audio tracks, and information useful to the faithful Emmaus Road Publishing, our publishing arm which provides books, Bible studies, and more to help Catholics better know and live their faith Faith Facts, or succinct tracts on commonly asked questions answered with accuracy and fidelity to the Church’s teachings.
“This is our definitive, deepest and greatest motivation, the ultimate reason and meaning behind all we do: the glory of the Father which Jesus sought at every moment of his life.” —Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium If your desire is to glorify the Father by fully living your Catholic faith, stand with us. Visit www.cuf.org for more information.