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The Publication of Catholics United for the Faith

To Support, Defend, and Advance

September/October 2013

the Efforts of the Teaching Church

“The Church uses her efforts not only to enlighten the mind, but to direct by her precepts the life and conduct of each and all.”

—Pope Leo XIII

David Fagerberg • John Crosby • James Gaston • James Likoudis • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Sharing the Secrets of




Vinny Flynn lynn, author of the best-seller, 7 Secrets of the Eucharist, presents a similar approach to the Sacrament of Confession that reveals 7 key “secrets” or hidden truths about the great spiritual beauty, power and depth of Confession. With inspiring insights about the unique sacramental encounter with Jesus, this book offers a whole new way of approaching Confession, inviting you to begin an exciting personal journey to healing and holiness. It may change your life.


Manual of Catholic Evangelization Terry Barber arber, founder of St. Joseph Communications and popular radio host, presents an inspiring, yet practical guide that takes the pain and uncertainty out of sharing one’s faith. Based on Barber’s decades of personal experience as an effective evangelist and masterful communicator, and drawing on the lessons of other great apologists, this work will inform, entertain, and inspire both would-be and seasoned evangelists and teachers.


“Flynn’s ‘7 Secrets’ are like seven explosions that blow away the obstacles keeping us from the Sacrament of Mercy and a precious, longed-for encounter with the Lord.” —Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC

“Barber, one of the Church’s finest apologists, presents an excellent book that shows how the new evangelization requires new apologetics — and why Jesus is the answer to the deepest questions of the human heart.” —Archbishop Jose Gomez, Los Angeles

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The Strange Coherences of Catholicism Fr. James Schall, SJ he renowned professor and writer Schall offers a thought-provoking study on the relationship between our reason and pleasure, showing how reason, religion and pleasure are not in conflict with one another. When we look at things as having meaning and order, they fit together in surprising ways. This coherence should bring us joy, and teach us how reason, religion and pleasure can work together for our benefit. Schall shows us why we have many reasons to think that our lives make sense, that our pleasures can be reasonable, and our reason itself is a pleasure.



Spiritual Meditations for a Deeper Union with Christ – Thomas à Kempis he Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis is the most famous and beloved Christian devotional ever written. The simplicity, piety and wisdom that readers find in that classic will also be discovered in these first-time English translations of two small books by à Kempis combined into one volume, A Little Garden of Roses and The Valley of Lilies. The aim of these works is to draw the reader to a closer union with Jesus. While Imitation sets forth the principles of discipleship, the two works in this volume offer beautiful spiritual meditations and prayers, as well as practical advice for living the virtues needed for a deeper union with Christ. Thus this unique book by a spiritual master, both inspirational and practical, presents powerful meditations with actual steps needed to grow in holiness.


“A delightfully provocative examination of Man’s place in the firmament. . . delivered in Fr. Schall’s inimitable style—serious matters wrapped in wit and wisdom.” —Mary Jo Anderson

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In the Words of Popes Francis and Benedict


Our Brother, Our Friend Personal Recollections about the Man who Became Pope — Alejandro Bermúdez efore becoming Pope Francis, Fr. Jorge Bergoglio, as a Jesuit priest in Argentina, served the Jesuit order and the Church in a variety of functions: professor, spiritual director, master of novices, provincial, and eventually Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires. In this unique, fascinating new look at him are the insights of ten Jesuits, many who have known Pope Francis since his first days as a Jesuit, who were interviewed shortly after he was elected the Pope. Some were his professors, some his peers, and some younger Jesuits who were his students. Also interviewed for this book are non-Jesuits, including an Argentine senator, a prominent rabbi, and a priest working in the slums of Buenos Aires that Bergoglio often visited. Their remarks are focused on different aspects of the man, including his family background, his abilities, his spirituality, his humility, compassion for the poor, and as a friend, teacher, and guide. These interviews essentially transmit a mosaic that reveals little-known insights of the pontiff’s personality, of his interior world, his human abilities, his work habits, his devotions, his concerns, and his friendships. Thus, they open a fascinating door to a better understanding of the man whom the Holy Spirit has elected to lead the Church at this time.


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Encyclical of Pope Francis aith is the source of true light of guidance for the Christian life. “We walk by faith, not by sight”, wrote Saint Paul. In his first encyclical, Pope Francis reflects on the deep meaning of faith, the beginning of God’s gracious salvation. Faith is the means by which man encounters the living God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Francis draws on key themes of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote encyclicals on charity and hope. He intended to complete the set with an encyclical on faith, but Benedict’s surprising retirement kept him from finishing it. Francis took up the task, adding his own insights, themes, and emphases to the work begun by Benedict. Pope Francis says this encyclical is a “four hand document”. He says Pope Benedict “handed it to me, it is a strong document.” So officially The Light of Faith is an encyclical of Pope Francis and reflects his teaching ministry, but it also reflects the work of Pope Emeritus Benedict. Not only Francis’ first encyclical, it is also the first encyclical to have been openly written by two successors of St. Peter. A powerful, historical and unique Church document, in a special deluxe hardcover edition


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“Having faith in the Lord is not something that involves solely our intelligence, the area of intellectual knowledge; rather, it is a change that involves our life, our whole self: feelings, heart, intelligence, will, corporeity, emotions, and human relationships. With faith everything truly changes.”


ope Benedict XVI introduced his catecheses for the Year of Faith, a series of sixteen talks given at his weekly audience from October 2012 to the end of his papacy in February 2013. These talks explore how and why faith is relevant in the contemporary world. How can we come to certainty about things that cannot be calculated or scientifically confirmed? What does God’s revelation mean for our daily lives? How can the hunger of the human heart be fulfilled? Offering the guidance of biblical exegesis, pastoral exhortation, and brotherly encouragement, Pope Benedict answers these questions and many others. TPT-H . . . Sewn Hardcover, $14.95

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Perceptive and Entertaining “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

These Beautiful Bones

An Everyday Theology of the Body by Emily Stimpson It 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.

“Chesterton Is Everywhere offers an extended exercise in drawing out Chesterton’s insights on a very, very wide number of subjects, from someone who clearly has found many of them mind- and even life-changing. . . .” —David Mills, executive editor of first things

Chesterton is Everywhere by David Fagerberg

With the wit and style of G. K. Chesterton, David Fagerberg serves a series of perceptive and entertaining essays organized around themes intrinsic to daily life: happiness, the ordinary home, social reform, Catholicism, and transcendent truths.

Check out page 4 of this issue of Lay Witness for an original essay by David Fagerberg!

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No One Needs Our Pity by Mike Sullivan


recently received a letter from a man named Joseph. He shared with me that he is now serving the fourteenth year of a twenty-five years to life imprisonment sentence in a state penitentiary. He went on to tell me that he converted to the Catholic faith twelve years ago while in prison. Joseph was very grateful for the Catholic materials we’ve sent him over the years and he asked us to pray for the new Catholic chaplain who would replace the one who had just retired. He also asked for our assistance in answering the questions of his Protestant cellmate. As he described the situation, he mentioned that since the former chaplain retired, he has led liturgy of the Word services, spiritual communion prayers, and Rosaries for all interested inmates. Think about it. He has gone from being a convicted felon with no faith to a Catholic who is now fervent in his devotion and zealous about teaching others about Christ and His Church. God works wonders! For decades, CUF has sent sound doctrinal and devotional materials to missionaries, inmates, homebound, and others who request spiritual assistance. I can’t say enough about the generosity of our members who have made this aspect of our apostolate possible. In addition, through the years I have met many CUF members who not only send donations and/or Catholic materials to those in need, but who have personally entered into the lives of the sick, the imprisoned, and the lost, offering true compassion. We surely recognize that as virtues go, compassion is the people’s choice. While many are put off by virtues such

“True compassion involves entering into another’s pain . . . Pity, meanwhile, despises the suffering.” as prudence, meekness, and especially chastity, everyone wants to be considered compassionate. Yet, we must recognize the many counterfeit versions of compassion today. For example, what some might call compassion is really only pity. True compassion involves entering into another’s pain, into another’s prison. It involves self-sacrificing love and supernatural hope. Pity, meanwhile, despises the suffering, but doesn’t offer real consolation to the one who suffers. The recipient rightly insists “I don’t need your pity.” Pity is a cut above “pitilessness” or a failure to even recognize another’s suffering, but it’s not compassion. Christians show compassion through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry, instructing the ignorant, and visiting the sick or imprisoned (cf. Catechism, no 2447). In showing our love in action to those who suffer, we literally suffer with them and in the process affirm their value and dignity. In contrast, secular society sees no value in suffering and strives to eliminate it. Remember Our Lord’s rebuke of Peter when he suggested that Christ forego His Passion (cf. Mt. 16:21-23)? Not only is such an approach futile, but it’s really a refusal to share in another’s pain. And of course if suffering has no value, then there is no hope for someone like Joseph. Or us. When it comes down to it, our society tends toward self, and it doesn’t want to be bothered with others’ suffering. Jesus would say, “Blessed are those who

mourn,” who enter into the real-life drama of human suffering, for they will be comforted. For many, however, life is about avoiding the question of suffering. And so we multiply diversions, take pills, watch TV, and ignore the suffering around us—perhaps easing our troubled consciences by sending an occasional donation to Catholic Relief Services or the American Cancer Society. We must absolutely show compassion to those suffering from physical sickness, hunger, and privations of every sort. Sure, we can’t stop there and fail to address the deeper spiritual needs of others. Yet I find that for many of us, who have seen political ideology masquerade as Catholic social teaching, there may be some reticence or indifference about meeting the human needs of those who live on the edge. We must not give in to that temptation. Every human person matters, and the Church calls us to share both our material and spiritual goods with them. lw

MIKE SULLIVAN 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 nine children. September/October 2013 1



ewer questions have more significance for Christians than their role and participation in the temporal order. How we conduct ourselves, care for the needy, and tend to creation in the earthly city while we journey toward the Eternal City requires a depth of thought and a continual assessment of our duties and obligations in the here and now. That question—and answers to it that have been supplied over the centuries by theologians, popes, saints, and lay men and women—is the central focus of this issue of Lay Witness. Furthering the important discussion of Catholic social thought, David Fagerberg gives an entertaining and enlightening summary of Catholic social teaching from the perspective of the beloved Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton. No matter the merit of our apostolic works, Fr. Dwight Longenecker reminds us, our efforts must be directed toward attaining holiness— not simply being “good.” Philosopher John Crosby, in commemoration of the closing of the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican council, looks to Gaudium et spes as a blueprint for our attitude towards temporal affairs. Rounding out the issue, James Gaston comments on a topic relevant to all Christians: work. Noting the great dignity man derives from work, Gaston gives us encouragement that the greatest benefit of our labor is the spiritual benefit it imparts to us. As you will learn from the articles in this issue, and as you have undoubtedly learned in your own life experience, as Christians we are called to take an interest in the well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ. At times we are called to support through prayer and action those who suffer in mind and body. For Catholics United for the Faith, this is one of those times. This summer, longtime CUF staff member Eric Stoutz was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. As Director of Catholic Responses, Eric has assisted many of you over the years. Now we ask that you assist Eric during this trial. Please keep Eric, his wife Monica, and their eight children in your prayers. A non-profit organization has also been established to help the family financially. If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to Eric and his family, please send a check to: The Seton Initiative for Families c/o Catholics United for the Faith 827 North Fourth St. Steubenville, OH 43952 Checks are to be made out to The Seton Initiative for Families. On the memo line, please write “Stoutz Family.” Updates on Eric’s health will be made on Your prayers are greatly appreciated during his hour of great need. lw


God has given to men the immense, unique gift of free will, a gift which confers a unique dignity. In the last analysis, therefore, it is demeaning to surrender that gift to anyone other than the Giver Himself. —H. Lyman Stebbins, November, 1982

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Features... Dr. Donald DeMarco demonstrates the irony of the mainstream media’s interpretation of Pope Francis in “Lagging Behind the Times.” Peter A. Kwasniewski gives an overview of the social encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII in this gem from our Lay Witness archives: “The Counterrevolutionary Lion.”

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Melissa Knaggs Editor


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Features Publisher Mike Sullivan

Layout & Design Theresa Westling

Editor Melissa Knaggs Editorial Assistant Micaela Stoutz

4 The Church Protects Your Happiness Chesterton on the Value of Doctrine in Catholic Social Teaching David Fagerberg 10 Talking with . . . Bishop Peter J. Jugis Mike Sullivan

How to Reach Us E-mail: 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. or call (740) 283-2484. To order back issues or to inquire about bulk rates, please e-mail or call.

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11 The Gift of Interrupted Prayer Maura Roan McKeegan 15 Don’t be Good Fr. Dwight Longenecker 19 The Triumph of Incarnational Humanism at Vatican II Dr. John F. Crosby 25 For His Church, and for His Glory An Interview with James Likoudis 27 The Sanctification of Work and Life James Gaston

Columns 1 Open Mike Mike Sullivan

8 The Art of Living Edward P. Sri

14 Who Wrote the Book of Love? Dr. John S. Bergsma

18 Master Catechist

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Michael Mohr Advertising, Submissions, and Reprint Permission Visit 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.

31 The Hostess Diaries: Lessons in Catholic Hospitality

Emily Stimpson

32 Looking at a Masterpiece Madeleine Stebbins


2 From the Editor’s Desk 16 The Road to Emmaus These Beautiful Bones

An Interview with Emily Stimpson

24 The Pope Speaks 30 Reviews

Bad Religion: How We Became A Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat The New Evangelization and You Be Not Afraid by Greg Willits Candles in the Dark: The Authorized Biography of Fr. Richard Ho Lung and the Missionaries and the Poor by Joseph Pearce

On the Cover / Pope Leo XIII © CCI / The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY. Cover text taken from Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum no. 16.

September/October 2013 3

The Church Protects Your

HAPPINESS (Whether You Like it Or Not)



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© Theodore Schluenderfritz


ne of the common objections to Christianity involving itself in questions of social justice is that the Christian is so heavenly minded as to be of no earthly use. He is not thought to have the required expertise to say anything relevant about earthly arrangements because he has his mind on heaven, and this makes him kind of dim-witted. Turning to Catholic social teaching to address the complexity of social life is felt to be like bringing arithmetic to an algebra problem. So the Christian religion is what one would turn to for private consolation, but it is not what one would turn to for political consultation. And the popes may release their encyclicals, and the bishops may bind their subject’s conscience, but these are irrelevant to the complex social justice questions of the day. The great Catholic mind G.K. Chesterton encountered this argument more than once, and more than once he paused to mount a defense of the applicability of doctrine to determining social ethics. I would like to see how he argued his point. It is true that Chesterton wrote a century ago, but he remains relevant not only because many of the same issues are still around (for him an acorn, for us the oak), but even more so because his way of handling them is a paradigm for articulating what Catholicism brings to the public square in any discussion of social justice. Chesterton’s examples are scattered across his writings, and I would like to gather four of them into this bouquet.

Thinking about Thinking for 2,000 Years The first comes from an essay titled “Why I Am a Catholic,” which, if asked as a question, he would find difficult to answer because “there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” In fact, Catholicism is the guardian of the truth. Such a characterization will come as a surprise to those who think of Catholicism as behind the times, moving slowly, the enemy of new ideas. Chesterton thinks

that impression exists because we take too short a view of things. History will actually show that the Catholic was often misunderstood because he was “not only first in the field but alone in the field; and there was as yet nobody to understand what he had found there.” For example, two hundred years before the Declaration of Independence or the French Revolution people lived in an age of princes and the divine right of kings. It is all the more surprising, then, that it was in the middle of this political world that “Cardinal Bellarmine and Suarez the Spaniard laid down lucidly the whole theory of real democracy. . . . But they had the misfortune to say it 200 years too soon.” Chesterton offers a second example, one closer to his own time and still developing. Pope Leo XIII wrote his encyclical on labor (Rerum Novarum) in 1891 to criticize industrialization on the one hand, and socialism on the other, and Chesterton thinks there are passages in it “which are only now beginning to be used as hints for social movements much newer than socialism.” He means Distributism. “When Mr. Belloc wrote about the Servile State, he advanced an economic theory so original that hardly anybody has yet realized what it is.” Why is this important? The critic may be right when he says the Catholic Church will sometimes question what the world currently supports because the Church considers the ideas themselves, not whether they are novel. “Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. The Catholic Church has for one of her chief duties that of preventing people from making those old mistakes; from making them

WHAT IS DISTRIBUTISM? Some have called it “The Economy of the Family.” Chesterton liked to sum it up with the slogan, “Three acres and a cow.” In short, distributism is a political and economic theory that encourages small business, local culture, and property ownership as a fundamental right. Opposing both socialism and capitalism, proponents of distributism advocate for the number of individuals earning their living from their own property (for example, a carpenter who owns his own tools) to be far greater and more commonplace than those who find themselves and their industries regulated by the government. Both G.K. Chesterton and fellow Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc were substantial architects of this theory. They and others looked to the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity (two of the hallmarks of Catholic social teaching) to shape their vision for a just society. Distributists support resurrecting the guild system, eliminating monopolies in Big Business industries, and most importantly view the family—nuclear and multigenerational extended—as the basic and vital foundation of society. For more information on living like a Distributist, the American Chesteron Society’s website includes a delightful article: “Distributism: A Twelve Step Program.” Search for it at

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over and over again forever.” How is it that the Church has this insight? Without even reference to her supernatural quality, Chesterton can answer that even within the realm of natural history “there is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years.” So when someone says something that sounds harmless enough, the Church has the hindsight and foresight to test it.

A Doctrine to Ground the Mood In an article titled “Is Humanism a Religion?” he presents the following thesis: “ The modern world, with its modern movements, is living on its Catholic capital. It is using, and using up, the truths that remain to it out of the old treasury of Christendom.” He offers an example of what he means. In his youth, Chesterton was infatuated with Walt Whitman because this poet saluted a new equality between persons. “A glory was to cling about men as men; a mutual worship was to take the form of fellowship . . . Whitman was brotherhood in broad daylight.” What could be more uplifting? What could be more self-evident? What sentiment could be more eternal? Yet in the short period of Chesterton’s own lifetime he heard voices abandoning Whitman’s ideal. Mr. Foerster said “Our present science lends little support to an inherent ‘dignity of man’ or to his ‘perfectibility.’ It is wholly possible that the science of the future will lead us away from democracy.” H. L. Mencken said “they have come to realize that the morons whom they sweated to save do not want to be saved, and are not worth saving.” Aldous Huxley complained the gratuitous old republican view of human nature and brotherhood was dead. Chesterton says it is not dead in him, but it led him to wonder how it can be kept alive. When the whole mood can change so rapidly, is it not an argument for having an unchanging theology? “The Catholic theology has nothing to do with democracy, for or 6

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The Catholic Church’s teaching on contemporary social issues is based largely on a series of encyclicals Pope Leo XIII penned in the late nineteenth century. Here are some highlights of those papal letters: 1881—Diuturnum Illud, on the origin of civil power. The wisdom Leo pours forth in this encyclical lays a mighty foundation for later papal letters. Among other points, the Holy Father emphasizes the true origin of all power is God—not, as it would appear, from those voting in or appointing leaders. *** 1885—Immortale Dei, on the Christian constitution of States. Does the State have a duty form its citizens in moral virtue? Do persons owe allegiance to the State? How does God factor in State’s obligations? Immortale Dei answers these questions and more. *** 1888— Libertas Praestantissium, on true and false freedom. This treatise remains pertinent today as it discusses the ramifications of a flawed understanding of human freedom. *** 1890—Sapientiae Christianae, on the duties of Christian citizens toward their States. A beautifully reflective outline of the social responsibilities of Christians, including the obligation to study doctrine and defend it. *** 1891—Rerum Novarum, on capital and labor. This seminal encylical on labor, laborers, and economics in the modern world provided much-needed guidance not long after the Industrial Revolution. Pope Leo both warns against socialism as a remedy for the plight of the working class and urges the monitoring of the free market. Its depth, relevance, and substantial teaching make Rerum Novarum a must-read.

against, in the sense of a machinery of voting or a criticism of particular political privileges. It is not committed to support what Whitman said for democracy, or even what Jefferson and Lincoln said for democracy. But it is absolutely committed to contradict what Mr. Mencken says against democracy.” Namely, the Catholic Church “will never admit that one single moron, or one single man, ‘is not worth saving.’” The generation of Chesterton’s youth took it for granted that their mood would pass to their descendants, and social policies would be built upon it. But the generation of Chesterton’s adulthood had already changed the mood, and the policy can change when it rests on nothing more than an emotion.

Right by Principal and Not by Prejudice Eugenics was already a topic in Chesterton’s day, as a movement to improve human beings, and in “The Roots of Sanity” Chesterton diagnoses its rise out of the fact that not much difference was recognized between the bodies of men and the bodies of animals. Deny a human soul, and you can do to men what you might do to animals. Chesterton wondered how far the argument could go? Most of his fellow Londoners might object to such a mad practice as cannibalism, but could they say why? “They are still restrained by healthy prejudice from many things into which they might be hurried by their own unhealthy logic.” Many Catholic doctrines are felt in some vague way even by unbelievers, but without Catholic doctrine they might not be argued for very easily. You could probably count on most people being repulsed by the idea of cannibalism, but if they did not hold the teaching of a Divine image will they be able to hold it against the tide? “They have the prejudice; and long may they retain it! We have the principle, and they are welcome to it when they want it.” Chesterton understands that this sounds like an extravagant reductio ad absurdum. He did it on purpose. But to scale back, he can point out that a few years ago people would have said that Adamitism (nudity) was quite as mad as

“A pagan, so long as he is healthy, will affirm just treatment of his fellow man . . .” Anthropophagy (cannibalism). “A banker walking down the streets with no clothes on would have been quite as nonsensical as a butcher selling man instead of mutton. … But we have seen the New Adamite or No Clothes Movement start quite seriously in Germany; start indeed with the seriousness of which only Germans are capable.” A sane person knows to object, but cut off from doctrine he does not know how to explain his objection. (Were Chesterton alive today I imagine this to be his starting point for discussing the rapid acceptance of homosexuality.)

Not One Text but A Hundred Truths In the course of an essay titled “The Superstition of Divorce” Chesterton points out that many beliefs about marriage are not only founded on certain texts in the Bible, they are also held by nonbelievers. “Millions of peasants and plain people all over the world assume marriage to be static, without having ever clapped eyes on any text.” He concludes, therefore, that the argument against divorce is not only a theological argument. Try a parallel example. Suppose the “nonsense of Nietzsche” were to spread until “it was the fashion for people to deny the duties of fraternity; then indeed it might be found that the group which still affirmed fraternity was the original group in whose sacred books was the text about Adam and Eve.” A pagan, so long as he is healthy, will affirm just treatment of his fellow man, and will object to Nietzsche’s superman being free of all morality. But should the philosophy spread with force and knock the footing out from under the pagan, he might fail to ask with Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and instead ask with the Prussian professor, “Is he really my brother?” And in that case, Chesterton agrees that it probably will be the Christian, “the man who preserves the text about Cain, who will continue to assert that he is still the confessor’s brother; that he is still the professor’s keeper. You might possibly add that, in his opinion, the professor seems to require a keeper.” There are many policies of social justice and social ethics which Christians hold because they are in their sacred Scripture, but being in the sacred Scripture is not the only reason for holding them. What

is written in the Mosaic law is also written in the natural law, and whoever holds truths about the indissolubility of marriage or the protection of human life “will hold it as a philosophy, not hung on one text but on a hundred truths.”

Happiness for the Masses The Catholic teachings about social justice are sometimes sidelined for the fact of being religious in origin, or being held by religious conviction. But Chesterton’s counter-argument is that this fact does not isolate the teachings from the larger whole of humanity. It may appear that Catholic social teaching stands alone, like a Sequoia standing alone in the field, but that is only because the other trees have been felled. But they will grow back. Christian truths concern happiness, and have been affirmed connaturally by the majority of human beings. Natural law is not another law, it is the eternal law impressed upon our intelligence. St. Thomas said “all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends.” This includes human beings, as rational creatures. “The light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil . . . is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine Light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law.” That is why it does not surprise Chesterton to find the unbeliever agreeing with Catholic doctrine, or Catholic social justice protecting the happiness of the unbeliever, or Catholic social teaching appealing to the unbeliever’s conscience, or congruence between the Christian and the pagan, so long as the latter is healthy. lw David Fagerberg is associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, and editor of its publication, Assembly. He contributes regularly to Gilbert magazine. He is also the author of the latest title from Emmaus Road Publishing, Chesterton is Everywhere. September/October July/August 2013 7


“I Don’t Feel Called” by Edward P. Sri


t’s something I’ve heard many Christians—especially college students and young adults—say in recent years. “I feel called to be a leader.” “I feel God is calling me to marriage.”“I don’t feel called to go on this retreat.” “I don’t feel called to be a part of this Bible study group.” While discerning God’s will is certainly important, I sometimes I wonder how much this “I don’t feel called” talk really has to do with a divine call and how much it is about one’s own feelings and fears, likes and dislikes. In other words, how much does “I don’t feel called” simply translate to “I don’t want to”? If someone from my parish invites me to participate in a certain ministry that does not attract me, instead of honestly saying, “No thank you, I’m not interested in that” I spiritualize my “no” by saying, “I don’t feel called.” Or if I am afraid of living in a new city for a job, for graduate school, or for an opportunity to serve the Church, instead of saying “I don’t want to move to a place where I don’t know anyone,” I say, “I don’t feel called.” Some young people even over-spiritualize the way they end dating relationships. Instead of honestly saying, “I don’t want to date you anymore” or “I don’t think this relationship is working,” young men will say to their girlfriends, “I don’t feel called to date you anymore. I think God is calling me to discern the priesthood now.” Some people seem so afraid of owning their decisions or admitting their preferences, interests, and desires, 8

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that they bring God into the process and blame Him for the choices they make. Why do we do this? Sometimes, “I don’t feel called” can serve as a handy spiritual trump card to protect myself from truly being open to God’s will. Fearing a certain possibility, I rule it out from the beginning by saying, “I don’t feel called.” Or if I don’t want to give a rational explanation to others for my decisions, I can just tell people, “I don’t feel called.” Or if I want to back out of a commitment I’ve made but feel a little guilty about not fulfilling my responsibilities and letting others down, I bring God into the mix and say, “I don’t feel called to do this anymore. I feel God is calling me to do something else now.”

Trust Your Feelings? Discernment can focus too much on one’s feelings. A person’s rationale for her decisions might go something like this: “This is my passion, so this must be what God wants for me” “This makes me so excited . . . it makes me come alive, so that means it is God’s will for me.” But notice how much focus there is on self in this kind of talk (my passion, what makes me excited). While a consideration of feelings and desires may be part of the discernment process, we must remember that God often calls us to do things we may not feel like doing—things we may, in fact, initially dread. Indeed,

there are many things in life we are called to do that have nothing to do with how we feel. For example, just the other night, my wife was ill and needing rest, but our toddler got out of her bed and came

wandering in our room at 2:00 am, saying, “I need a diaper change. ” My wife was the first to notice while I remained in a deep slumber. She gently tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Could you take care of Josephine?” Imagine if I had just rolled over and said, “No, honey. . . I don’t feel called.” Getting out of bed at 2:00 am to change a dirty diaper does not make me passionate or excited. But my feelings really should not be an important part of this particular decision. In this situation, getting up to change the diaper is simply a responsibility I have, a matter of serving my family.

“But I Don’t Feel Peace about This . . . ” It is true that we should have a certain peace about our decisions. But this does not mean God will never call us to do something that is initially very troubling. Just consider the great heroes of the Bible. Moses felt overwhelmed when God called

him to confront Pharaoh and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. The prophet Jeremiah worried that he was too young for the daunting task of calling Israel and the nations to repentance. Even the Blessed Virgin Mary “was greatly troubled” when God called her to become the mother of the Messiah. Imagine if these heroes had said no to God’s call simply because it caused them great trepidation. Similarly, God often called the great saints out of their comfort zones to do things that were very difficult, scary, and painful. Mother Teresa, for example, was asked by Jesus to leave her religious community, the Sisters of Loreto, and to start a new religious order dedicated to the poorest of the poor. Her private writings reveal that this call caused her great fear. She was afraid of leaving her beloved Loreto Sisters, of starting a new order, of the difficult life of radical poverty, and of the possibility of failure. But underneath those initial, superficial fears, one detects in Mother Teresa a deeper fear: a fear of not doing what God wants for her; a fear of letting self-interest enslave her and keep her from pursuing God’s will. In the end, Mother Teresa viewed her life not as a pursuit of her own feelings, interests, and desires, but as a gift to be given to God to serve His purposes. Instead of following her initial emotions of fear and dread, she rose above her feelings and pursued God’s demanding call for her. She left everything dear to her and, stepping completely out into the unknown, founded the Missionaries of Charity. The world would be a different place if Mother Teresa’s initial fears had driven her to say, “I don’t feel called.”

“When discerning God’s will in our

In Dialogue with God

1 Joseph Ratzinger, “Hail, Full of Grace: Elements of Marian Piety according to the Bible” in Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Mary: The Church at the Source, trans. Adrian Walker (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 70.

St. Ignatius of Loyola taught that we should not base decisions on our initial feelings. Often, those first emotions of

lives, we should have the disposition of Mary at the Annunciation. " fear or anxiety arise from disordered attachments. God’s peace is a deep, abiding peace in our souls, and is not usually found in our superficial, initial responses to God’s will. When discerning God’s will in our lives, we should have the disposition of Mary at the Annunciation. Though she was “greatly troubled” by the angel’s initial message, she remained open to God’s will. As Luke’s Gospel tells us, Mary “considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke 1:29). Benedict XVI once noted that the word Luke uses for “considered,” dielogizeto, is derived from the Greek root word meaning “dialogue.” The term denotes an intense, extended reflection, one that triggers a strong faith. This indicates that even though Mary was troubled by what the angel’s greeting might mean for her life, she does not turn away from the Lord’s call. She remained an attentive listener to God’s Word. As Benedict explains, “Mary enters into an interior dialogue with the Word. She carries on an inner dialogue with the Word that has been given her; she speaks to it and lets it speak to her in order to fathom its meaning.”1 Mary thus responds like Samuel, who at the first promptings of God stirring in his heart did not close the door to God’s call, but humbly put his life at the Lord’s disposal, saying, “Speak, for your servant hears” (cf. 1 Sam. 3:10). lw

EDWARD P. SRI Edward Sri is provost and a professor of theology and Scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado ( 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 or by calling (800) 398-5470. September/October 2013 9


alking with . . . Bishop Peter J. Jugis

Recently Mike Sullivan had the opportunity to sit down with CUF episcopal advisor Bishop Peter J. Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Born and raised in Charlotte, Bishop Jugis has made the focus of his time serving the people of the diocese on four themes: catechesis, evangelization, promoting vocations to the religious life and to the priesthood, and the liturgy. Here Bishop Jugis and Sullivan discuss the Year of Faith as well as two other points of interest for the bishop: evangelization and liturgy. As the Year of Faith comes to a close, could you share with Lay Witness how the Diocese of Charlotte commemorated this yearlong celebration? The diocese celebrated our annual Eucharistic congress on September 13th and 14th to conclude the Year of Faith. The title of this year’s congress, “Open the Door to Christ,” takes its cue from Pope Benedict’s bull Porta Fidei. The Eucharistic congress was an opportunity during the Year of Faith to celebrate and reaffirm our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of the Christian life and really the heart of the Church. If our faith in the Eucharist is strong, then the Church is going to be strong, and so will the mission of the Church and all of its ministries and apostolates and good works Many of our CUF members have an interest in how dioceses across the country have successfully implemented the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum which made it possible for the extraordinary form of the Mass to be said without permission from the local bishops. How was the motu proprio received in your diocese? Once Summorum Pontificum was promulgated in 2007 it gave permission from the highest echelons of the Church for the Latin Mass to be offered in every parish, so we were fortunate to have a small core of interested priests to begin with who were open to it and willing to offer that if the people wanted. So people started coming forward, and since I saw there was some interest, I invited a priest from the Society of St. Peter to come and offer training for any priests of the diocese who would like to be introduced to the extraordinary form. It’s available if the people desire it, and I think that has been the secret of its success. The Year of Faith—along with the various challenges Catholics are facing in America right now—has given many of us a greater desire to share the truth of Christ with others. How can we stand strong in preaching the Gospel in a way that is compelling to others rather than repulsive? Everything begins with our relationship with Jesus, with our prayer life and that vital intimate union that we have with the Lord. Pope Benedict said that one of the purposes of the series of books he wrote on Jesus of Nazareth was to hopefully allow people to delve into the mystery and their knowledge of Christ and make Him come alive for them. Because if we’re in love with Jesus, if our prayer life is strong, then our ability to share our faith with others will follow more easily. We share Jesus with others and share our love for the teachings of His Church, and along with that sharing which comes from our deep conviction and commitment to Christ would come also a spirit of humility. Prayer is the key to all of that because it changes our attitude towards everyone around us—both Catholic and non-Catholic—and convicts us that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Prayer gives us a serene confidence. We don’t have to beat people over the head, because we present the truth, and the Holy Spirit has to work His way in that person’s heart to gradually open them to the truth. But we do have an important role to play in that whole process, presenting the truth in humility and love. lw


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Gift of Interrupted Prayer by Maura Roan McKeegan

An “Extra Little Present” Every so often, my dream comes true: A quiet house and an uninterrupted hour to myself. I open my Bible and the lessons pour forth like water to my weary soul. As I fill page after page in my prayer journal, I feel the weight lift from my shoulders. My mind clears, my spirit soars, and I’m rejuvenated for the tasks that lie ahead. Ah. Perfect prayer. More often, though, the reality looks more like last night, when I tried to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet with a toddler climbing on my head. Lord, I regularly sigh, can’t my prayer time be a little more peaceful? As it turns out, I’m not the only one in history with this problem. And it’s not just a mom thing, either. I never thought I’d have something in common with a nineteenth-century cloistered Carmelite nun from Lisieux, but surprisingly, I do. I don’t mean St. Thérèse, though she certainly fought spiritual battles. I mean her sister, Céline. In her book My Sister St. Thérèse, Céline (Sr. Geneviève of the Holy Face) tells of a time when she was experiencing great anxiety trying to protect her precious prayer time from interruption. “I felt that I was entitled to a fair amount of tranquility and order,” she writes, “at least during that brief period of solitude.” Boy, do I know that feeling.

• “We must be careful, Thérèse said, to keep our hearts detached not only from material goods,

but spiritual goods, as well."

September/October 2013 11

Thérèse understood, too, but didn’t let Céline off the hook. “It looks as though you go into solitude for your own gratification, and to give an extra little present to self,” Thérèse told her. Me? Guilty as charged. How many times have I weighed the fruitfulness of my prayer time by how recollected it made me feel? How often have I become frustrated when the time I set aside for prayer was disrupted? Was I loving Jesus, or just the peace of “perfect” prayer? We must be careful, Thérèse said, to keep our hearts detached not only from material goods, but spiritual goods, as well. For Céline, that meant giving up her anxious quest for calm recollection, and being content with whatever God gave her. For me, over a hundred years later, it means the same.

When Prayer Doesn’t Fit Inside the Box Arriving at daily Mass one morning, I sat with my children in the cry room behind my friend Marybeth and her teenage daughter, Emily, who has autism. Without hesitating—she must’ve known she’d be welcome there—Emily stood up and plunged headlong into her mother’s lap. Unflinchingly, Marybeth made room and held her close. Emily flung her arms about her mother’s neck, and Marybeth hugged her generously. Snuggling against Marybeth’s cheek, Emily laughed as her mother kissed her head. When Mass began, Emily listened intently to the priest’s every word. Certain phrases particularly moved her, and she repeated them, wide-eyed, her voice rising with unbridled enthusiasm. “Co-heirs!” she called out. “He said we’ll be co-heirs!” When’s the last time I noticed that phrase? I thought, meditating now on what it meant to be co-heirs. Marybeth, nodding her


“I well know why God is permitting this trial. It is in order that we may win Heaven. He knows that our father is all that we love most on earth, but He well knows also that we must suffer in order to merit eternal life; and that is why He is trying us in that which we hold dearest.” —St. Thérèse of Lisieux to her father, November 25, 1888

ouis Martin, the father of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, developed a serious mental illness shortly after Thérèse entered the convent. He suffered from a nervous disorder that began with partial paralysis in the body and eventually affected his brain, causing mental lapses and, later, hallucination. At first he lived quietly at home, but when his mental state grew worse and relatives were afraid he would cause himself some harm, they moved him to a mental institution to be cared for. 12

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head, rubbed her daughter’s back. “Lamb of God!” the girl rejoiced. “He said Lamb of God!” That got me contemplating those three words. While Marybeth patted Emily’s arm and smiled, I glanced with gratitude at this woman who didn’t shush these expressions of a wonder so contagious that I was catching it already. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,” we recited together (this was before the new translation), “but only say the word…” “I shall be healed!” Emily cried, placing her hands on her mother’s shoulders and gazing straight into her eyes. “I shall be healed!” “Yes,” her mother whispered, stroking her daughter’s face. “You will.” Wow, I thought. This is how the angels must hear Mass. Later, on our way out, Marybeth turned to me, smiling, with tears in her eyes. “Mass is a powerful experience for us,” she said. I don’t know if she knew what a powerful experience sitting behind them had been for me. In the communion of saints present at that Mass, I can just picture, in my mind’s eye, St. Thérèse, nudging Céline to look at this mother and child: See the love with which they pray! That mother could have jealously guarded her prayer time as her well-deserved chance for “a fair amount of tranquility and order.” She could have come alone in order to gain the consolation of hearing Mass in peace and quiet, undisturbed. But she didn’t. She brought her daughter. And she welcomed every interruption as a chance to lavish more love upon her. Every time her child touched her, she responded with a gesture of love. Every time her child spoke, she listened with love. In doing so, she showed me how to handle the interruptions in my own prayer life: Each time one comes, welcome it with an act of

As Louis gradually lost his mental and physical capacities, his nobility in suffering earned him great respect. This illness was painfully humiliating for him, causing his daughters to suffer, as well. St. Thérèse wrote that “even as the agony of Jesus pierced the heart of His holy Mother, so our hearts were deeply wounded by the humiliations and sufferings of him whom we loved best on earth.” Louis’ daughters had an extra heartache: many people in their town unjustly blamed them, and especially Thérèse (her father’s “little queen”) for causing his mental breakdown; they said it was brought about by his sorrow at the departure of his beloved daughters to Carmel. Louis Martin remained at the hospital three years, with Céline and Léonie taking rooms nearby and visiting as often as possible. His Carmelite daughters wrote him frequent letters, a great consolation to him. After leaving the hospital, he lived under Céline’s care for two more years. He died peacefully on Sunday, July 29, 1894. Many of us have born mental illness in our families and can relate to the Martins. We can look to them for an example of strength, but even more we can turn to them for comfort, knowing that our prayers will be heard by understanding hearts.

love. Each disruption challenges me to lay down my plan, and accept God’s plan—with all the extra graces it brings—instead.

Whose Present Is It? “We must not become starched Christians,” Pope Francis said, “discussing theology calmly over tea.” If I don’t keep myself in check, that’s what I tend to want: A four-o’clock-tea-time prayer life. Predictable, calm, and refreshing. But that’s not about loving God; it’s about loving me. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, after hearing that John the Baptist had been beheaded, “withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself” (Mt. 14: 13). I can only imagine how much He longed, in His grief, to pray alone. But He couldn’t. The crowds followed Him. His reaction? He could have sent them away; He had a fair enough excuse. But when Jesus saw them, something filled His heart, and it wasn’t frustration at His lost prayer time. Matthew tells us “His heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick” (14:14). When an interruption came, Jesus welcomed it with an act of love. Just like that mother in the pew ahead of me did. Though deeply mourning His cousin’s death, He set aside His own desire for solitude, and tended instead to the people’s needs. The lesson God might want me to learn in all of this is that prayer, when you get down to it, is a gift. Sometimes it’s a gift for me, and when it is, I can receive it with gratitude. If God gives me a wonderful, uninterrupted hour of prayer and peace, I’ll take it!

A simple morning offering, such as this one written by St. Therese, is a wonderful way to fit a moment of prayer into the start of a busy day.

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.


O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity. Amen. But sometimes it’s a gift I need to give. It costs me something. It empties me. And in that sacrifice, I can show Jesus that I love him, whether prayer comes in the scent of an ocean breeze or in the cries of a tired child. The next time that old question is on the tip of my tongue— “Lord, can’t my prayer time be a little more peaceful?—I hope I don’t ask it. I hope I remember that it isn’t “my” prayer time. It’s God’s. My job is simply to give Him the time, and let Him take it from there. It might not end up being my idea of “perfect,” but it will be His. lw Maura Roan McKeegan writes from Steubenville, Ohio.

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David the Beloved One by Dr. John S. Bergsma


urvey people at the mall: “Where do you get advice on love, sex, and marriage?” and you’d get different replies: talk show hosts, magazines, friends, parents, books. Few if any would say: ”The Bible.” Yet as we’ve seen over the past four columns, the theme of love, marriage, and intimacy is woven into the Bible from the very beginning. We’ve seen the focus on marriage in the creation accounts, the stories of the patriarchs, and story of the Exodus when God “married” Israel at Mt. Sinai. We’ve covered a lot of ground, but there is one more “eligible” person from the Old Testament we need to meet: King David. Arguably, David is the dominant figure of the Old Testament, where he’s mentioned over a thousand times, around three hundred more times than his nearest rival, Moses. David was so loved and remembered because, around 1000 BC, he pulled Israel out of chaos and poverty, and made the nation into a prosperous kingdom that dominated the world during his lifetime and that of his son Solomon. Appropriately, his name “David” is the Hebrew word for “Beloved One.” He was—and remains— the “beloved” king of Israel, like Arthur is to England, or St. Louis to France. The people of Israel thought of David, and his sons after him, as “bridegroom kings.” When the people of Israel first approached David to become their king, they said, “Look! We are your bone and flesh!” Then they made a covenant with him (2 Sam. 5:1-3). This should remind us of Genesis, where Adam says, “Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!” (Gen. 2:23) and thereby formed the first covenant of marriage with Eve. David and Israel were in a 14

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covenant relationship like a married couple. Later in David’s reign, his son Absolom briefly overthrew him and took over his capital, Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15-16). One of Absolom’s generals came to him and said: “Let me choose twelve thousand men and pursue David tonight . . . I shall strike down the king alone. Then I shall bring back the rest of the people to you, as a bride returns to her husband” (2 Sam. 17:1-3). The plan was never carried out, and David was eventually restored as king, but the general’s comment shows how the reigning king was viewed as the husband of the people. If David was a bridegroom to Israel, his son Solomon was even more so. Solomon had 700 wives—which works out to a marriage every other weekend for most of his adult life! He must have known a lot about weddings. Therefore, the Bible’s greatest love poetry is associated with Solomon, like Psalm 45 (the Royal Wedding Psalm) and the Song of Songs. The Song of Songs (or “Song of Solomon”) is a collection of smaller love poems that together make a single large one. Solomon is the “romantic lead” through all the poems, as he courts his bride with smooth lines like these: “Your hair is like a flock of goats . . . your belly is a heap of wheat” (Song 6:5; 7:3). (My wife always swoons when I whisper these in her ear!) Hundreds of years after Solomon, when the people of Israel were in exile and no longer had a king, they began to read the Song of Songs in a different sense. Throughout the Song, the bride is always calling Solomon “my beloved, my beloved.” In Hebrew, this comes out as “my David, my David.” Israel began to see “Solomon” as a symbol of the “New

David”: the Messiah who would return one day to be husband and king to his people Israel. In time, the New David did show up. He was born in Bethlehem, David’s hometown. Wise men from the East came to seek him out, just as they had sought out Solomon so many years before (see 1 Kings 4:29-34). While he was still a child, they brought him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is a gift fit for a king (see 1 Kings 10:14). “Frankincense” and “myrrh” only are mentioned together in one other book of the Bible: the Song of Songs, where they are romantic perfumes that smother the bodies of Solomon and his bride (see Song 3:6; 4:6,14). In this way, the wise men mark Jesus out as the bridegroom-king almost from His birth. Everyone wants true love. Everyone wants the perfect spouse. This explains the enduring popularity of fairy tales like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and their modern spin-offs like The Princess Bride. God understands that longing for love, because He created it in us. And He also sent us the one to satisfy that desire, the ultimate “Prince Charming,” or better, “Prince of Peace”: “Jesus Christ, the Son of David” (Mt. 1:1). lw

DR. JOHN S. BERGSMA Dr. John Bergsma teaches Scripture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. A former Protestant pastor, he and his wife Dawn entered the Catholic Church in 2001.

Don ’ t be Good by Fr. Dwight Longenecker


he problem with being good is that you think that’s good enough. But being good is not good enough. Jesus Christ looked at the Scribes and Pharisees–who were very good and nice and respectable and He said to His disciples, “You see them? You’ve got to be better than them.” In other words, their goodness wasn’t good enough. If you think being good is good enough, you’re not good enough. The problem with being good is that it is putting the cart before the horse. We see people who are holy like Mother Teresa and we notice that she does good. She feeds hungry people and rescues babies from the trash heap. So we are inspired and we decide to be good, too. We get involved in the local soup kitchen and we busy ourselves helping the needy, and that’s all well and good, but we forget that before Mother Teresa went out on the streets she spent an hour in contemplative prayer. She was more than good. She was holy. Her goodness and compassion was of a different order than mere human virtue. When we put being good first instead of being holy first we are replacing sanctification—the process by which God makes us holy from the inside out—with mere human virtue. The problem with mere human virtue is that it is—well, merely human virtue. It doesn’t change us on the inside. “Jes ’cause ya wear a ten gallon hat don’t mean you’re a Texan.” Just because you do good doesn’t mean you’re being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus. The next problem with being good (and only being good) is that you are proving the atheists’ point. They like to observe that

you don’t need to be a Christian and go to church in order to be good. They’re right of course. People are dumb. When we as Catholics stress good works, bragging about all we’re doing to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, they conclude that the main thing about Christianity is helping poor people. But are they dumb? We’ve told them that this is the main thing. We’ve skewed the priorities. In fact, they’re not dumb. They’re smart. From what we’ve told them, they’ve concluded that being Christian is mainly feeding the poor, and they’ve noticed that you don’t need to go to church to do that. Then we wonder why no one goes to Mass anymore. The idea that being good is enough is the most persistent and pernicious heresy within Catholicism. The ghost of Pelagius still haunts our hallowed halls, and we need to hear again and again that we shouldn’t just be good; we should be better, and not just better, but best. This is what the Church refers to as the “universal call to holiness”—that each one of us is called first and foremost to be holy. To be holy is not to be extra pious and prudish and prayerful, but to become who God truly intended us to be. Through prayer and sacrifice and devotion we draw nearer to God, and as we draw nearer we become more like the One we worship. This is the primary work of the Christian, and as that work is done we are driven out to do the good works that are the mark of our calling. lw Fr. Dwight Longenecker blogs for Patheos at Standing on My Head. Connect with his blog, browse his books, and be in touch at September/October 2013 15


These Beautiful Bones An interview with Emily Stimpson

“The ‘revelation of the body,’” Pope John Paul II asserts, “helps us in some way to discover the extraordinary nature of what is ordinary.” This insight—shared by the Holy Father in one of his Wednesday addresses referred to commonly as “the theology of the body”—is the cornerstone of the newest book from award-winning author Emily Stimpson. In These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body, Stimpson applies the wisdom of John Paul II to both the sacred and mundane. Here, the author gives a sneak peak of These Beautiful Bones (now available from Emmaus Road Publishing).

Most Catholics who’ve heard of the theology of the body associate it with one little three-letter-word. Should they? Or is there a wider vocabulary assigned to this teaching? Over the past decade, many have come to think of the theology of the body as a theology of sex. But it’s so much more. It’s not a sexology. It’s an anthropology. It’s a meditation on who we are—as men and women, body and soul. It’s about what it means to be a human person. And that meaning isn’t just for the bedroom. It’s for the whole of human life—for how we eat, pray, work, love, serve, and even dress. These Beautiful Bones is a reflection on all that. What do you mean by the sacramentality of everyday life? In the sacraments, God’s grace comes to us through matter—bread, wine, oil, hands. But, in a different way, God’s grace comes to us through the everyday moments of life—through conversation with friends, the hug of a child, a garden in bloom. To become the men and women God made us to be, it’s not enough to receive the graces of the sacraments. We also need to receive the graces of the 16

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everyday, letting every moment become an opportunity to grow in love.

“Stuff” comes up a lot in the book—

MacBooks, antique book collections, pretty clothes. Doesn’t that go against a spirit of detachment? I don’t think so. “Stuff,” after all, is never the problem. It’s how we see stuff, how and why we value it. God, remember, loves “stuff;” He made “stuff”—trees and birds and amethysts. He also loves beauty—He filled the world with it. And He has called us, those made in His image, be good stewards, both of His creations and ours. Only when we see stuff that way, as expressions of His creativity and ours, as little windows into the divine, as tools we can use to love and serve others, can we exercise that stewardship, using and valuing “stuff” rightly. That vision makes true detachment possible. So, after writing the book, did it alter how you view each of the topics in the book—hospitality, leisure, work, relationships etc.? It’s more the opposite, actually. The book is the fruit of twelve years of me reflecting on the theology of the body

and trying to apply it to every area of my life. I don’t live it perfectly, of course (not by a long shot), and writing the book was often like writing an examination of conscience, with me asking myself again and again, “Am I practicing what I’m preaching?” But, in the main, I couldn’t have written it if I weren’t already experiencing the difference this way of seeing the world makes to a life. Is there one thought or principle you’d most like readers to take away from “These Beautiful Bones”? It all comes down to who we are— again, as men and women, bodies and souls. So many of the problems in the world are rooted in people not understanding their own dignity, their own beauty. They don’t understand what it means to be a body. They don’t get what the body is. And so they can’t live in a way that brings them joy, peace, and wholeness. A modernist, materialist way of seeing the world has infected the faithful and unfaithful alike. I’m hoping, in some small way, These Beautiful Bones will be a corrective to that, helping people learn to see the world, the body, and our life in both with Catholic eyes once more. lw September/October 2013 16



ecently, our longtime staff member Eric Stoutz was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. As Director of Catholic Responses, Eric has assisted many of our members with their questions about the faith through personal correspondence and his regular column in Lay Witness. He has also contributed further to the mission of Catholics United for the Faith by diligently editing many of the books and Bible studies published by Emmaus Road. Above all, Eric’s much-respected counsel and example of charity have been of the greatest value to the apostolate over the past seventeen years. During this season of suffering, we ask you to join Catholics United for the Faith in praying for our dear friend and colleague, that the Lord would sustain him and fill him with peace and hope. Eric and his wife Monica desire to witness to God’s providence and mercy through this hardship and share in St. Paul’s confidence that “in everything God works for good with those who love him” (Rom. 8:26). They have asked especially for prayers for their eight children as they learn to carry this burden. A non-profit organization has been established to assist the family financially. If you wish to make a taxdeductible contribution to Eric and his family, please send a check to

The Seton Initiative for Families c/o Catholics United for the Faith 827 North Fourth St. Steubenville, OH 43952

Checks are to be made out to the Seton Initiative for Families. Please write “Stoutz Family” on the memo line. CUF will also happily forward letters, cards, and wellwishes to Eric on your behalf. Updates on Eric’s health will be made on Your support—and in particular your prayers— are greatly appreciated. May God bless you for your generosity and concern. lw

Prayer to St. Joseph St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor, and weariness. But amid the worries of material life, your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God’s Son entrusted to you and with Mary, His tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over Him faithfully as you have done. Amen.

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The Apostolate of The Rosary by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Michael Mohr

Servant of God Fr. John Hardon continually reminded us that the perfect and model catechist is our Blessed Mother, even though she seldom is mentioned in Sacred Scripture for her specific actions. It was her indomitable faith, her constant prayer and her selfless effort to always do the will of God that made her a perfect channel of grace to her contemporaries, and to all her children in every generation.  It is her Rosary, often referred to as “Mary’s Catechism,” that has become for us a means of becoming more effective channels of grace to our contemporaries.  Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us! —Michael Mohr


he apostolate is the work of an apostle—not only of the first followers of Christ but of all the faithful who carry on the original mission entrusted by the Savior to “make disciples of all nations.” A good description of the apostolate is to be a channel of grace to others. So we ask, “How is the Rosary a channel of grace?” By now we have the testimony of at least forty popes who over the centuries have recommended, even urged, the people to propagate the recitation of the Rosary as a powerful channel of grace to the world. Our Baptism and Confirmation give us both the right and the duty to engage in what we are calling the apostolate of the Rosary. Among the Bishops of Rome, Pope Benedict XV is outstanding for advocating the apostolate of the Rosary. He says that, “The Rosary is the perfect prayer.” It recognizes Mary as the Mother of God who wants nothing more than for those who have strayed from her Son to return to His embrace. The Rosary invokes Mary as the Mediatrix of all graces, including the graces of conversion. It was not coincidental that when Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, she was fingering the beads 18

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of the Rosary and invited Bernadette to join her. The year was 1858, when France and other countries of Western Europe had become victims of the anti-Christian virus of the French Revolution. It is also not coincidental that the Basilica at Lourdes is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. The countless miracles of healing that have taken place at Lourdes in the past century and a half are only external witnesses to the deeper wonders of spiritual healing through the recitation of Mary’s Rosary. The same is true of Our Lady’s message at Fatima. During her apparitions to the three peasant children, she told them to tell the faithful to do penance and pray the Rosary. Otherwise the world would be chastised for its sins. She also told the children that when we recite the Rosary, we should add between the decades what has now become a standard practice in the Catholic Church. We are to pray, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell, and bring all souls to heaven, especially those who most need Your Mercy.” The Rosary, we are told by the Church, is an extraordinary means of changing tepid Christians into ardent followers of Christ. Why? Because the foundation of holiness is the practice of mental prayer,

Spiritual Formation Advice from Fr. Hardon

Several times a day, slowly and prayerfully recite the Glory Be.

and the foundation of mental prayer is meditation on the truths of our faith. The mysteries of the Rosary are the cardinal mysteries of Christianity. Prayerful reflection on these mysteries is at once a deepening of the faith and a profession of the faith. There is no more effective practice in the Catholic Church for achieving this deepening and profession of the Christian faith than the frequent recitation of the Rosary. We need to grow in gratitude for all the blessings the Lord has given us through the Incarnation of His Divine Son. The Joyful Mysteries provide us with the grounds for our deepest gratitude to the loving God. We need to grow in patience to accept the trials and sufferings, which the Lord sends us in this valley of tears. The Sorrowful Mysteries give us the strongest motivation in the world for patiently enduring pain. God became man so that He might endure pain out of love for us. Should we not be willing to suffer out of love for Him? We need hope as we see one creature after another disappointing us here on earth. The Glorious Mysteries are the horizon on which we can meditate and strengthen our hope of rising from the dead, of joining Our Lord and His Mother, in body and soul, in that heavenly kingdom for which we were made. All of this, and infinitely more, are locked up in the promise of divine blessings through the prayerful recitation of the Rosary. lw

FR. JOHN HARDON, S.J. 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 Michael Mohr is chairman of CUF’s board of directors and a consecrated Marian Catechist. He and his family live in Tucson, Arizona.

© Assisi Triptych by James Langley / Used with permission from the artist /

The Triumph of

Incarnational Humanism at Vatican II by Dr. John F. Crosby


t is well known that Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II made very different assessments of Gaudium et spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Now that we are remembering Vatican II after fifty years, I propose that we revisit the question of the controverted legacy of Gaudium et spes. I argue that, whatever is problematic in the Pastoral Constitution, it has the great merit of giving us a kind of magna carta of what I call incarnational humanism. For greater precision on incarnational humanism I turn to a seminal essay of the American Catholic theologian, John Courtney Murray, who was the most important American presence at Vatican II. In an essay entitled “The Question of Christianity and Human Values,” Murray draws a contrast between “eschatological humanism” and “incarnational humanism.” He articulates the stance of eschatological humanism in the following way: Within the earthly City man is an alien; it is not his home, he does not find his family there, he is no longer even native to it, he has been reborn.

At best, he is a pilgrim in its streets, a man in passage, restless to be on the way toward the Holy City that is his goal. While he lingers, almost literally overnight, his attitude is one of waiting and expectancy. . . . The only true human values are those which are supernatural and eternal. The works of earth, the objects upon which human energies may be poured out . . . are the works of time, only valuable because they fill in the time of waiting. Christian readers of works such as The Imitation of Christ will recognize in them September/October 2013 19

something of the otherworldly spirit of eschatological humanism. Murray proceeds to contrast this eschatological humanism with what he calls incarnational humanism, of which he says: the Church carries on the mission of Christ “to save that which perished.” And that which perished was not only a soul, but man in his composite unity, and the material universe too, in that its . . . subjection to man was shattered . . . [when] it fell into a mysterious slavery of disobedience to human purposes, from which it longed for deliverance. The Church then is catholic in her redemptive scope; all men are to be saved, all that is human is to be saved. There is indeed to be a war upon the flesh, but in order that the body may be dignified. The Christian heart must cultivate a contempt for the world, but diligently cherish . . . reverence for the work of the Creator, who is Creator not only of heaven but of the earth. . . . Therefore in the perspectives of an incarnational humanism there is a place for all that is natural, human, terrestrial. The heavens and the earth are not destined for an eternal dust-heap, but for a transformation. There will be a new heaven and a new earth; and those who knew them once will recognize them. Murray adds that for incarnational humanism “all that is good in the order of nature and of human and terrestrial values ‘merits’ doing, and that the doing of it can be . . . salvific of the doer, incorporative of the thing done into the one overarching Christian endeavor, the bringing of all things under the headship of Christ.” Incarnational humanism, then, has a certain thisworldly focus, which forms a contrast with the otherworldly focus of eschatological humanism.

Incarnational and Eschatological Humanism in Contrast In the City of God Augustine speaks in the eschatological mode when he famously says (V.17), “For as far as this life of mortals is concerned, which is spent and ended in a few days, what does it matter under whose government a dying man lives, as long as they who govern do not force him to impiety and iniquity?” Augustine seems to set the bar very low. He does not expect much from human rulers and he is willing to put up with a great deal of wickedness from them, all because he feels so strongly his pilgrim status, his being someone who is just passing through. In the perspective of eternity it just isn’t worth the trouble to think through in detail what good government entails and to try to achieve it within human history. We can see the very different perspective of incarnational humanism if we think of Catholic social teaching, that remarkable body of Catholic teaching, originating with Leo XIII, on how to infuse social and political and even economic life with the spirit of the Gospel. According to the social teaching of the Church we should, even though we have here no lasting home, give much thought and prayer and care to the right ordering of the temporal order, that is, of human society. 20

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Let me then turn without further delay to a brief sampling of texts from Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes that seem to express a new kind of commitment to incarnational humanism.

The Relative Autonomy of Created Being. In paragraph 36, the Council fathers address the concern that religion might compromise “the autonomy of man, of organizations, and of science.” Instead of rejecting out of hand the appeal to autonomy, the Council fathers recognize a legitimate autonomy. Then they say: “By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws.” To feel the edge of this conciliar text, and to read it so that it jumps off the page at you, let me share a profound reflection of the great Romano Guardini. Writing in 1939 and expressing just the kind of reflection that prepared the ground in the Church for the incarnational humanism of Gaudium et spes, Guardini said Much as we may admire the grandeur and unity of the medieval world view, we must not forget that this view contains at every point a kind of religious short-circuit. The absolute made so strong an impression that finite being did not come into view in its own proper being. . . . The answers that medieval man gave to questions about the nature of the world were often of a pre-critical kind, and he often gave a mythic, legendary rendering of the world.

Building Up the Earth. I turn now to one of the most striking expressions of incarnational humanism in Gaudium et spes. In paragraph 38 we read: “Constituted Lord by his resurrection and given all authority in heaven and on earth, Christ is now at work in the hearts of men and women by the power of his Spirit; not only does he arouse in them a desire for the world to come but he quickens, purifies, and strengthens the generous aspirations of mankind to make life more humane and conquer the earth for this purpose.” The work of Christ in our midst is not only otherworldly, it is also thisworldly. He not only prepares souls for eternity, but He also quickens our aspirations for an earthly life more worthy of human persons. Recall the words of John Courtney Murray about the salvific will of Christ: “All men are to be saved, all that is human is to be saved.” This means that the salvific will of Christ extends to the social and familial and political and cultural life of human beings. We can perhaps understand better this aspect of the Council’s humanism if we remind ourselves of man’s place in the whole of creation. Many Christian thinkers have marveled at the fact that man occupies a unique position in creation, existing as he does at the border of matter and spirit. As a composite of matter and spirit man has a foot in the world of matter and a foot in the world of spirit. Some have seen this boundary position of man as something threatening; they have usually thought that

“We can see the very different perspective of incarnational humanism if we think of Catholic social teaching, that remarkable body of Catholic teaching, originating with Leo XIII, on how to infuse social and political and even economic life with the spirit of the Gospel.” Guardini says that the process of stripping the world of its mythic and legendary aspect was in one respect quite positive, for it involved a “coming of age” of mankind in relation to the world, a transition from the mind of a child to the mind of an adult. He said that in the early modern period “finite reality emerged in a new way and revealed its density, its insistence, its meaningfulness, its intrinsic value. Finite being came to consciousness and so did the seriousness of created being.” Guardini then explains the Christian substance of this new sense of the reality of the world: “what God creates He creates altogether, through and through. He releases the creature into its own being, its own standing, its own acting.” In other words, we would depreciate God as creator if we were to treat creatures as mere symbols of divine things and were to refuse to acknowledge the “being of their own” which God vests in creatures. Recall the thisworldliness of incarnational humanism; one can readily see how a certain thisworldliness is at work in the deepened sense of the relative autonomy of created being that was expressed in Gaudium et spes. In the lines that I quoted, the Council fathers do not just state the obvious, but they give us a deepened theology of creation.

it is matter that threatens, and have argued that man needs to protect himself by escaping into the spiritual world. But many other Christian thinkers have seen in our boundary position the glory of man. They say that we human beings, we embodied spirits, have the task of mediating between the world of matter and the world of spirit, of acting so that matter can become spiritualized and spirit can become embodied.

The Age of the Laity. It follows from the logic of incarnational humanism that the lay Christian takes on a special importance. Whereas the priest is entrusted with the sacred mysteries of the liturgy, the layperson is entrusted with the “building up of the earth.” As long as the building up of the earth is not given its due, as long as our humanism remains more eschatological than incarnational, the layperson remains in a way “underoccupied” in the Church. His life is divided between his secular professional work that lacks any lasting meaning, and his sacramental life, which alone has lasting meaning. He runs the risk of becoming a kind of secondclass Christian; the first-class Christian seems to be the priest or religiously consecrated person, who is completely devoted to September/October 2013 21

that only thing that lasts. Then we get dangerously close to the tendency, sometimes found in the pre-conciliar Church that I grew up in, to reserve the call to holiness for priests and religiously consecrated persons, and to consign lay people to a minimal Christianity. When one understands the seriousness of the lay work of building up the earth, of extending the redemption wrought by Christ to “all that is human,” once one discerns the priestly character of this work of extending redemption, one understands that lay people have to live the same total commitment of themselves to Christ that priests and religious live. Thus we arrive at texts in Gaudium et spes like this: “let them [lay Christians] be proud of the opportunity to carry out their earthly activity in such a way as to integrate human, domestic, professional, scientific and technical enterprises with religious values, under whose supreme direction all things are ordered to the glory of God” (no. 43). One sees how the Council’s teaching on the role of the laity is embedded in the thing I have been calling incarnational humanism.

Man Revealed to Himself in the Light of the Trinity. Now I turn to Gaudium et spes 22 and 24, two passages that John Paul II could not quote often enough. At issue is the doctrine of the Trinity, which seems at first to concern God and not man, and therefore seems not to contribute anything to our understanding of man and of the meaning of his earthly existence. But the Council fathers were able to make the Trinitarian faith of the Church fruitful for our understanding of our human being; they were able to show how this faith “reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling” (22). The key text is in paragraph 24, where we read that the Lord Jesus, speaking of His oneness with His Father, “has opened up new horizons closed to human reason by implying that

there is a certain parallel between the union existing among the divine persons, and the union existing among the sons of God in truth and love. This parallel shows . . . that man . . . can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself.” In other words, Gaudium et spes discerns in the Trinitarian faith of the Church the key to our human self-understanding; we can see what it means for us to give ourselves in love to another, by seeing how the Son of God lives only to do the will of the Father and to give glory to Him. These well-known passages exemplify the Christian humanism we are seeking, because for the first time they disclose something in the Trinity that is exemplary for our human existence.

Evangelization Based on Incarnational Humanism. In Gaudium et spes 19-21 the Council fathers address the problem of modern atheism. Consider for a moment what incarnational humanism can contribute to the Church’s encounter with atheism. Recall the main argument advanced by the atheists. Nietzsche said that religion “slanders the earth,” meaning that it depreciates human goods, despises the body, looks with a jaundiced eye at any sign of human creativity and human strength, or at the great works of human culture. God is affirmed at the expense of human goods, he thought; devotion to God requires us to mortify our interest in human goods, to live for the next world so as to neglect the possibilities of this world. Thus God appears as a source of “heteronomy” for us, that is, as a law that is foreign to our deepest human aspirations, a law that does us violence as soon as we are held to obey it. The great Romano Guardini thought that Christian teachers have sometimes made the mistake of making God appear as a threatening “other.” It seems clear that the best Christian response to this main argument of the atheists is incarnational humanism. Atheists

“At issue is the doctrine of the Trinity, which seems at first to concern God and not man, and therefore seems not to contribute anything to our understanding of man and of the meaning of his earthly existence.” 22

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who encounter real incarnational humanists are forced to realize that God does not have to be affirmed at the expense of human flourishing. They are forced to realize that there is a way of venerating God that does not block but rather releases our energies for “building up the earth.” In Gaudium et spes 58 the Council fathers say that the Church “takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation, and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as it were, from within; it fortifies, completes and restores them in Christ.” If faith in God can be shown to have this fortifying effect on human culture, then the anxiety over heteronomy will be struck at the root. Thus for the “new evangelization” incarnational humanism is fundamental. If we preach mainly in the spirit of eschatological humanism, then we play right into the atheists’ worries about human goods; we confirm their suspicion that God is affirmed at the expense of man. But if we preach in the spirit of Gaudium et spes, in the spirit of incarnational humanism, we can be heard in a new way; our proclamation can find a new kind of resonance in the hearts of our contemporaries. We can disarm their main objection to us. On the other hand, Christianity is not merely a matter of fulfilling human aspiration; the main point of Christianity is not just to help in building up the earth. Jerusalem is not just an extension of Athens. The cross of Christ will always remain a folly to the Greeks. The admonition of Kierkegaard is perennially valid: “Woe to the person who betrayed and broke the mystery of faith, distorted it into public wisdom, because he took away the possibility of offense.” Christian apologetics cannot be based entirely on the humanistic fruit of Christian belief. But this fruit is, nevertheless, an important part of Christian apologetics; by avoiding an overly eschatological rendering of Christianity we can remove one main obstacle, and a needless obstacle, to gaining a hearing for the Christian message. It might be appropriate to conclude this reflection on incarnational humanism with a profound thought from Bl. Duns Scotus, the great 14th century Franciscan theologian, who held the doctrine of the “absolute primacy of Christ.” By this he meant that the Incarnation is not just God’s response to our sin, it is not just for the sake of our redemption; Scotus held that already in His original plan of creation God had created the world for the God-man, and destined it to be subject to His kingship. The Son of God was destined to become man not just in the order of redemption but also in the order of creation. This means that the instaurare omnia in Christo (“to restore all things in Christ”) of St. Paul is not just a matter of Christ healing our wounds, but of standing at the center of a new creation. It means that He is destined to be present throughout creation in just the way envisioned by the Council and its incarnational humanism. lw

John Crosby, Ph.D. is a professor and the Director of the Graduate Philosophy program at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is internationally known for his work on John Henry Newman, Max Scheler, Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), and Dietrich von Hildebrand. He is also a member of CUF's advisory council and formerly served on CUF's Board of Directors September/October 2013 23


Go and Make Disciples of All Nations by Pope Francis


esus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve. Go. During these days here in Rio, you have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of meeting Jesus, meeting Him together with others, and you have sensed the joy of faith. But the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community. That would be like withholding oxygen from a flame that was burning strongly. Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love, and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history (cf. Rom. 10:9). Do not be afraid. Some people might think: “I have no particular preparation, how can I go and proclaim the Gospel?” My dear friend, your fear is not so very different from that of Jeremiah, as we have just heard in the reading, when he was called by God to be a prophet. “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth”. God says the

“Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love, and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history.” same thing to you as He said to Jeremiah: “Be not afraid . . . for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer. 1:7,8). He is with us! When we go to proclaim Christ, it is He Himself who goes before us and guides us. When He sent His disciples on mission, He promised: “I am with you always” (Mt. 28:20). And this is also true for us! Jesus never leaves anyone alone! He always accompanies us. The final word:  Serve. The opening words of the psalm that we proclaimed are: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Ps. 95:1). What is this new song? It does not consist of words; it is not a melody. It is the song of your life; it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing His sentiments, His thoughts, His actions. And the life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service. In our second reading today, St. Paul says: “I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more” (1 Cor. 9:19). In order to proclaim Jesus, Paul made himself “a slave to all.” Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.

Three ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve.  If you follow these three ideas, you will experience that the one who evangelizes is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith receives more joy. Dear young friends, as you return to your homes, do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to His Gospel. In the first reading, when God sends the prophet Jeremiah, He gives him the power to “pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (1:10). It is the same for you. Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance, and hatred, so as to build a new world. Dear young friends, Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you! May Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, always accompany you with her tenderness: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Amen. lw

September 2013

October 2013

General: That people today, often overwhelmed by noise, may rediscover the value of silence and listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.

General: That those feeling so crushed by life that they wish to end it may sense the nearness of God’s love.

Mission: That Christians suffering persecution in many parts of the world may by their witness be prophets of Christ’s love. 24

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From the Holy Father’s homily July 28, 2013 during the celebration of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mission: That the celebration of World Mission Day may help all Christians realize that we are not only receivers but proclaimers of God’s word.

An Interview with Catholics United for the Faith President Emeritus, James Likoudis




For His Church, and for His Glory 1968-2013


eptember 26, 2013 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of Catholics United for the Faith. As president of CUF from 1987-1995, James Likoudis faithfully helped execute our mission to “support, advance, and defend the efforts of the Teaching Church.” He continues to serve CUF as a member of the apostolate’s Board of Directors and as a contributor to Lay Witness. How did you first become involved in Catholics United for the Faith? My wife Ruth and I moved back to Buffalo, New York in 1968 after teaching for seven years at a Franciscan minor seminary. When I began teaching at then-Rosary Hill College, we immediately ran into the sexual revolution that was assaulting both society and the Church. The first Mass we attended after our return to Buffalo was at the parish Ruth and I were married at years before. Featured in the liturgy was a homily attacking the encyclical Humanae Vitae. Speaking with the priest afterward in his rectory only led to a further angry outburst on his part with the order for us to leave. While teaching history at Rosary Hill, it was evident that it had already been de-Catholicized with awful liturgies, an outright Marxist teaching sociology, religious sisters no longer living community life, and my having to engage in a formal debate during a conference with the priest-head of the theology department who also dissented from Humanae Vitae. The Diocese of Buffalo also witnessed a group of seven priests at a major seminary publicly opposing the Church’s teaching on contraception with the aid of a vociferous group of rebellious laity, “Vox Populi”, supporting them. Controversy rocked the diocese when the seven offending priests were removed from the seminary by a truly courageous bishop, Most Reverend James McNulty. Clearly, the cultural and Church climate necessitated action from the faithful at that time. There was obvious need for the faithful laity to give public witness and support to our bishop and Catholic teaching, so I and a number of others formed “Credo of Buffalo” to hold public meetings and write letters to the press in defense of the Church. It took its name from the “Credo of the People of God” which Pope Paul VI had given the Church to strengthen the faithful. At the same time, Catholics United for the Faith had been formed as a national organization by H. Lyman Stebbins

responding to the cry of Pope Paul VI: “Where is the love for the Church?” I believe I was one of CUF’s first members, and in a few years, Credo of Buffalo would become a chapter of CUF. What was the feel of the early days of Catholics United for the Faith? Urgency? Zeal? From its beginnings, CUF manifested great zeal and fervor in trying to implement its mission to “support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.” It also noted the need for prudence. There was ample evidence that the role of the laity as enunciated in the decrees and declarations of Vatican II was not always understood by clergy and even other laity who would be found resisting efforts to remove the abuses being justified by the “spirit of the Council” but which, in reality, disfigured the life of the Church and caused serious scandals. There was urgency to combat the cancerous growth of dissent in the Church. The leadership of H. Lyman Stebbins, along with the zeal and abilities of such prominent CUF members as Kenneth Whitehead, Dr. William Marra, Col. William Lawton, Bill Sockey III, and others, was an inspiration to me when I became an officer of CUF in 1971. There was no hesitancy to make clear with position papers that CUF stood with the magisterium on the controversial issues involving liturgy, sex education, catechesis, and the teaching of doctrine in seminaries, universities, and colleges. We just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Where would you say we are in terms of bringing to fruition the goals of the council? There are now, fortunately, signs of an end to the accommodation to the ideological excesses of American liberalism. There are also welcome signs of renewal in the liturgy with the new Mass translation, the work of the U.S. Bishops’ Committees on Catechesis and Doctrine, and bishops speaking out collectively and forthrightly concerning the federal government’s interference in the very life of the Church. What are some ways we as an apostolate can take full advantage of the blessings of this unique moment in the life of the Church? We can capitalize on this unique moment in the Church by mobilizing our own membership with renewed devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Marian principle in the Church that complements September/October 2013 25

the Petrine principle is too much ignored by all too many clergy and laity, and especially that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which, in fact, highlights all the dogmatic truths cherished and defended by CUF from its beginnings: obedience to the Pope, warm love of Our Lady, prayer and penance and reparation for the conversion of souls, the reality of sin and hell, the centrality of the holy sacrifice and the Eucharist, etc.

Right: Likoudis is co-author of The Pope, The Council, and The Mass, available through Emmaus Road Publishing.

What significance did Paul VI’s apostolic letter Credo of the People of God, issued in 1968 at the close of a Year of Faith, hold for CUF? How did this document relate to the founding of the apostolate? The Credo of the People of God issued by Pope Paul VI in 1967 to mark a Year of Faith was the Church’s response to the revival of Modernism among what my former pastor Msgr. Nelson Logal called the “mod-squad theologians” who had cut themselves off from the Tradition of the Church to revel in novelties and absurdities. It was that document which led to the formation of our Credo group in Buffalo and would inspire the writing of many critiques of deviant catechetical and sex education texts and materials which CUF made available to concerned parents. The Credo of the People of God made clear the difference between actual doctrine binding in conscience and theology which can be either good or bad—and which was certainly bad whenever it contradicted the defined doctrines of the Catholic faith. Do you see parallels between the Church in 1968 and the Church today? Parallels between Catholics United for the Faith then and now? There are clearly parallels between the Church in 1968 and the Church today, and also between CUF then and now. The apostolate’s realization of the key role played by catechetical education in the spiritual and intellectual formation of the faithful is the same now as it was over forty years ago. Thus CUF’s efforts continue through Lay Witness, Emmaus Road Publishing, its website, and other outreaches to implement the wishes of its founder H. Lyman Stebbins to help form a laity that is fully knowledgeable in the faith and eager to influence public life with the truth and love of Christ. Former president Leon Suprenant once said those who perceive CUF to be too bold think our name stands for “Catholics United Against the Faithless.” Lyman commented that those who perceive CUF as being not bold enough have labeled us “Chickens United in Fear.” Are these caricatures in any way accurate? I do think the caricatures are exaggerated but accurate in the sense that the CUF apostolate has been injured by the perception that an excessive prudence has resulted in CUF’s toning 26

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Above: As president of CUF, Likoudis had the honor of presenting the Faith & Life catchetical series to Pope John Paul II.

“CUF’s efforts continue to implement the wishes of its founder H. Lyman Stebbins to help form a laity that is fully knowledgeable in the faith and eager to influence public life with the truth and love of Christ.” down legitimate criticism of the abuses disfiguring the Church and the harm done by blatant dissenters from Catholic truth. The result has been the loss of membership by those who no longer see anything special or unique in the CUF apostolate but just another educational group. If Lyman Stebbins were alive today, how do you think he would assess the efforts of Catholics United for the Faith? What advice would he offer us? CUF has always struggled to have adequate resources to make its mission to help “support, defend, and advance the efforts of the Teaching Church.” Lyman would urge overcoming all defeatism and discouragement and rely on prayer and a deeper faith nourished by the sacraments to again launch out into the deep. He would say that it may often seem that our daily efforts are thankless and perhaps useless, but we must always turn to Our Lord who has said, “Without Me, you can do nothing.” By His grace, we will be able to do some little for His Church and for His glory. lw James Likoudis’ writings can be found on A nationally known writer and lecturer on catechetics, sex education, and liturgy, he has published many articles on subjects of interest to the Catholic laity. A convert to the Catholic Church in 1952, Mr. Likoudis has since devoted a great deal of his efforts to foster the reunion of the Eastern Orthodox churches with the Catholic Church. He is the 2002 recipient of the Blessed Frederick Ozanam Award for Catholic Social Action. He resides in Montour Falls, New York, with his wife, Ruth.

© / robynmac


Sanctification of

Work and Life

by James Gaston

“Work. Work. Work. All I do is work.” We all feel this way at times. And work we must. But is work all there is? What does it mean? Is there a right way to think about work, a right way to do work? Yes there is, and the answer is this: that work becomes satisfying and rewarding only to the extent to which we sanctify it and make it a labor of and for Love.


hy is work so often unappealing if not downright onerous to us? St. Paul gives us the answer to the question and the solution:

I find then a law, that when I have a will to do good, evil is present with me. For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 7:21-25)

In other words, God created man as a composite being formed of spirit and matter, and these two dimensions are locked in an irresolvable tension. This tension, the result of original sin, is the source of the unappealing nature of work, and the only way man can ameliorate it is by way of the grace of God active in our daily lives. This tension between spirit and matter reveals itself in all the major religions. Each can be characterized by which of the

two aspects, spirit or matter, it deems good, and, in turn, the manner in which man escapes from, or suffers endlessly with, the remaining aspect, which it considers bad or even evil. Christianity is unique because it considers both the spirit and the material to be good; they are not in conflict, indeed they are complementary. Hence, the Good News is that Christ, the Incarnation, unites both aspects providing the true and only resolution to this tension. God became man so as to deliver the end and means for and by which man can be re-born and reunited with God. For man, thoughtful and truly meaningful human action—work—is the foundation, the incarnate meeting point, of the spiritual and the material. The Christian solution does not eliminate the tension and attendant suffering, but it does provide us with a means to lessen both by sanctifying them, by giving the temporal an eternal sanction, as we hopefully offer our daily work to God as redemptive labor. Why must we work? We could seek the answer in an appeal to authority: God the Father created, saw that it was good, and rested; Christ the Son did the will of the Father; and the Holy Spirit guides and comforts us as we go about our earthly September/October 2013 27

“We must make time for reflection. This is the intellectual work that gives direction to all aspects of our life, including our desire and dedication to persist in mental prayer.”


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divorced. Modern education is no longer truly liberal; it has become job training at best, indoctrination at worse. Modern man, with his trade and professional specialization, and under the pressure of materialistic secularism, has compartmentalized his life. He now often becomes an appendage of the tools and the technology he has created because he leaves his faith at home. He no longer labors; he works. This must not be the same with you. How precisely do we sanctify our work and make it a labor of and for Love? What practical actions can we take? St. Paul gave us the answer: “The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Simply put, we must come to know God, love Him, and serve Him. We must discern and accomplish His will. How do we go about this? First, the primary “practical” action is that we must have faith and trust in God. We must have an active prayer life that leads us to an intimate loving relationship with God, and hence with our family and neighbor. All else flows from this crucial central aspect of our faith. Attendance at Mass and participation in the Sacraments is most important; however, dedicated time to mental prayer is likewise essential. Then we must trust in God. We must humbly admit that we are limited and contingent beings, that we are powerless over many aspects of our lives, and that we need to allow God to give us inspired direction and the grace to accomplish His will. We need to accept ourselves (best with a dash of humor), patiently embrace our sufferings, and constantly seek God in the people, the situations, and the opportunities that surround us. The theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are vital to this endeavor. We must take the time to know and love God, and to accept that we are loved by Him and that He always intends our good. We can do all these things with Christ if we but enter through the narrow gate of prayer. Second, we must make time for reflection. This is the intellectual work that gives direction to all aspects of our life, including our desire and dedication to persist in mental prayer. Obviously attendance at Sunday Mass is primary. But, on a daily basis, we should also strive to partake of the Eucharist whenever possible; pray the Rosary; join the Church in the Liturgy of the Hours, or at least offer morning and evening prayers; perform an Examination of Conscience; pray before and after meals; and enjoy some modicum of spiritual reading. On a more routine extended basis we should avail ourselves of


pilgrimage. Adam and Eve worked as did St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother. But from a more contemporary perspective, we can summarize Pope John Paul II’s thought on this matter as presented in his encyclical On Human Labor. Work is necessary and good because the nature of man requires it. It is one very important characteristic that distinguishes man from the rest of creation as we are created in the image and likeness of God; it is one of the most important means by which we perfect ourselves and become more human; it is essential to the formation and maintenance of the family; it helps to shape society at large and promote the common good of all; and it is a necessary means by which man draws closer to God and participates in God’s providential design for man and the world. Finally, what does he consider work to be? Any activity by man, whether intellectual or manual, whatever its nature or circumstances. The key point here is that, along with prayer, work is the means by which we perfect ourselves and become truly human as God intends us to be. Laborare est orare. How does man accomplish this act of selfperfection by way of work? Where it concerns intellectual activity, by which we generally mean self-reflection leading to self-knowledge, it is by way of the virtue of studiousness. As it pertains to manual effort, it is by way of the virtue of industriousness, by which we generally mean good stewardship. Both dimensions are necessary and complementary. Intellectual work gives moral purpose and ordered direction to our lives; manual work is the means by which we provide a living and sustain ourselves. Both are necessary to our self-perfection and to guide and unite our families and communities. In the past, both the spiritual and the material aspects were organically integrated in the agrarian-based life of Catholic Europe and revealed in the diverse and vibrant ethnic regional and city cultures. I often think of Hilaire Belloc admiring how Catholic French peasants at the turn of the nineteenth century would still form into groups and sing the Psalms to one another as they labored together in the fields, or how, at the end of a long day, they would gather in the village Church to recite the Liturgy of the Hours. Today, with the advent of modern industrial and technological society, the two worlds of faith and work have become sadly

Š tein79

Adoration, Confession, and Spiritual Retreats (get away at least once a year). Furthermore, such reflection also requires intellectual reading, especially as it concerns subjects in the humanities and the liberal arts. Leisurely recreation and play, especially with our families, is necessary as well. In a word, it is not only good but essential that we simply get away from the strain of everyday living and quietly ponder ourselves and the active lives we lead. Third, none of these practical actions are likely to take place unless we prioritize and schedule them. Yes, we need daily and weekly schedules, and even more long-range planned objectives, all of which contain the important spiritual, personal, and family goals in our lives. In other words, we must actually serve God. For centuries our forefathers enjoyed the luxury of an imposed natural style of life that came with the all-encompassing agrarian culture. These days we often find our lives structured by the routine of a machine or a corporate business model of production. As a result, many of us end up living to work instead of working to live. In a similar vein, many of us have become infatuated with modern electronic technology that tends to distract us from important matters and waste our valuable time. In short, we must counter these materialistic and often servile pursuits by creating our own personal, family, and professional Christian culture. The structure and schedules that compose such a way of life will depend upon our personal temperaments, needs, and goals, and this is why time for prayer and reflection is so very important. Finally, we need to serve God by helping our neighbor. Perform the time-honored Christian corporal and spiritual works of mercy, especially for our family, and of course also for our community. It is likewise important to develop fellowship with other like-minded Christians and professionals, if possible within our work place, and surely aside from it. We all need spiritual, intellectual, and financial support as we endeavor to be in the world but not be of it. All such service to our neighbor, when done with humility and gratitude, enriches us because our love is perfected as God reveals Himself to us through such good labor. The sanctification of work is really the sanctification of our lives. All in all it is like a woman giving birth: we call it labor because from her patient work and suffering the goodness of a new life is the reward. Sanctify your daily work and it too will be good and rewarding as it becomes a labor of and for Love. lw James Gaston is the director of the Humanities and Catholic Culture Program at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

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September/October 2013 29


(Free Press, 2013) Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion: How We Became A Nation of Heretics is a deeply informative, wide-ranging look at American Christianity, from the heights of a culture of mere Christianity and common orthodoxy in the wake of the World Wars to the decline of institutional Christianity and the proliferation of dissent from the 1960s forward. Douthat argues that many of our present national pathologies—including the dictatorship of relativism, the culture of death, the ongoing financial crises, and our sometimes apocalyptic, sometimes messianic political culture—can be traced in part to the failure of Christians to embrace the fullness of their faith. For far too long, he writes, Americans have been accepting heresy’s trimmed down, more palatable versions of the Gospel rather than the apparent paradoxes and mysteries inherent in the person, life, and teaching of Jesus. “America’s problem isn’t too much religion, or too little of it,” Douthat asserts.  “It’s bad religion: the slow motion collapse of traditional Christianity and the rise of a variety of destructive pseudoChristianities in its place.” Connecting present popular heresies to their nineteenth-century “New Thought” forebears, Douthat makes a compelling case for Christians of all stripes to repent and believe the Gospel.  Ending with a call to holiness, this is a remarkably clear-eyed, challenging book that should resonate with all American Christians today. —Chris Sparks


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(Servant, 2013) In The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid, Greg Willits emphasizes the all-important call to evangelization that every baptized person receives. Familiar with the many challenges evangelization presents, Willits not only explains the New Evangelization but gives practical advice for living it, bridging the mental gap between an abstract calling and actually getting started. This work covers multiple topics, from spiritual dryness to the nature of baptism to the significance of Christ’s analogy of fishing for men. With humility and humor, Willits draws from his own conversion and evangelization efforts while grounding his information in Scripture and the teaching of the Magisterium. Sidebars within each chapter introduce readers to contemporary evangelists who make use of modern technology and media to spread the faith. Throughout the book runs a constant theme: the conversion of others must be backed by the conversion of self. We can’t share knowledge we don’t have; we can show the joy of a Christian life only if we truly live one. Each of us is called to “know, live, and share” our faith. The New Evangelization and You is a clear, concise resource for anyone who wishes to become a better witness to the Gospel. Reminding readers that “God doesn’t take the qualified and make them worthy,” but rather “takes the unworthy and makes them qualified,” Willits provides a wealth of information, advice, and encouragement for the uncertain evangelist. —Micaela Stoutz

(Saint Benedict Press, 2012) Candles in the Dark: The Authorized Biography of Fr. Richard Ho Lung and the Missionaries of the Poor is a powerful and inspiring biography of one of the most remarkable priests of our time. Author Joseph Pearce, a brilliant writer, captures the spiritual essence of his subject—the “Ghetto Priest” of Jamaica. Fr. Richard Ho Lung—a convert from Buddhism, poet, teacher, mystic, reggae musician, composer, charismatic preacher, and theologian—became the Founder of the Missionaries of the Poor. These religious brothers take care of the most abandoned, destitute, and physically disabled children, youth, and adults to be found in the unbelievable squalor of ghettos in Jamaica, Haiti, India, and other countries. After entering the Society of Jesus, earning a doctorate at the Gregorian, and heading for a promising academic career as a professor of literature and psychology, Fr. Richard Ho Lung left the Jesuits (whom he saw seriously compromised by the excesses of inculturation, liberation theology, and infidelity to Humanae Vitae) to found his own order. Fr. Richard Ho-Lung has received numerous awards for the schools, hospitals, homes for pregnant mothers, homeless shelters, and centers for the disabled and disfigured his missionaries have built. Readers will be edified and awed by his incredible life which, incidentally, was portrayed on a EWTN series. There is an astonishing similarity between Fr. HoLung’s understanding of the “theology of poverty” which is currently being stressed by Pope Francis. —James Likoudis president emeritus, CUF


Drawing Up the Guest List by Emily Stimpson


hen planning a party, a thousand reasons exist to not invite someone. “I don’t know them well.” “They have children.” “They don’t have children.” “They’re married.” “They’re single.” “They’re younger than me.” “They’re older than me.” “They might not like my cooking.” “They might not like my house.” “They’ll judge me.”“They’ll judge my children.” “They’re too busy.” “They probably wouldn’t come anyway.” And so it goes. Reason after reason. Most of us know them well. They’ve been our reasons for not inviting the new couple at church, the single girl from work, or the elderly widower across the street to our backyard barbecue or Christmas soiree. They’re not all bad reasons. Some are perfectly understandable. Time is precious, space is limited, and when drawing up a guest list it makes sense to prioritize those most like us, those with whom we have the most in common. But just because a reason is understandable or even sensible doesn’t mean it’s good. Sometimes, the wisest, best, and most charitable thing we can do is not the most sensible. At least, not the most seemingly sensible. What do I mean by that? I mean that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. And His thoughts on the matter, stated again and again in Scripture, don’t line up with our preference for the known and familiar. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” Hebrews 13:2 tells us. Then, there’s Luke 14: “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed,

the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.” There also are tales of plain men and women welcoming a stranger into their midst, and afterwards receiving some divine reward: the widow and Elisha (2 Kings 4:817), Lot and the angels (Gen 19:1-38), the Samaritan woman and Christ (Jn 4:4-26). God, as Scripture makes plain, thinks there’s value to be had in welcoming into our homes those we’re not naturally inclined to welcome. And since God, being Reason Himself, can’t be anything other than sensible, expanding our guest list to include the married and the single, the young and the old, the childless and the child-rich must be the most sensible thing to do. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. The first reason for that is stated clearly enough in the passage from Luke: It’s a kindness that will be repaid in Heaven. There are other reasons though, reasons rooted in the loneliness that plagues this post-modern life of ours. As studies tell us, for all the business that fills our busy lives, there’s a hollow space at the core of those lives, a hole where friends ought to be, with more than half of all Americans now claiming to have no close friends at all. We might have hundreds of Facebook friends, but 53 percent of us have no one with whom we share our lives. As for why, blame it on the breakdown of the family, the transience of contem-


The Menu 0

An Easy Backyard Barbeque for the Neighborhood You supply: Burgers, brats, hot dogs and buns, plus paper goods The invitees supply: Drinks, dessert and sides

porary culture, or the busyness itself. Whatever the cause, people are lonely. Even those who may not seem it. And an invitation to supper or tea or a pool--side lunch, while simple enough, can be the antidote to this very modern plague. Then there’s the richness a more diverse guest list can bring to a party. The wisdom of the elderly, the laughter of children, the energy of the single, the understanding of the married—all do their bit to enliven a gathering and broaden our horizons. Once upon a time, such broadening didn’t require any effort. It came naturally, as parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers all shared one roof. Generations and classes came together at dances and fetes, church socials and town bazaars. Children learned from their elders, and elders rejoiced in the young. A little re-thinking of our guest lists can accomplish the same today. That’s not to say that every party must be large or that intimate gatherings with our closest friends are always out of bounds. They mustn’t, and they’re not. It is to say, however, that being a little less discriminate about who we invite into our homes exponentially improves our chances of entertaining angels. And that is a very sensible thing indeed. lw

EMILY STIMPSON Emily Stimpson is an award-winning Catholic writer based in Steubenville, OH. A contributing editor to Our Sunday Visitor newspaper, her work has also appeared in Franciscan Way, First Things, Touchstone, Faith and Family, Loyola’s Best Catholic Writing series, and elsewhere. She is also the author of “The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years”. September/October 2013 31


The Blind Leading the Blind


ince we are approaching the end of the “Year of Faith” proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, it is appropriate by way of contrast to dwell on the calamity of the loss of faith in God, when the eyes of the heart are no longer enlightened. (Cf. Eph 1:18) Here is a parable which is being played out right now in our day. This painting (1568) by the Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder (circa 1525-1569) now hangs in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy. Though the subject is not of an obvious type of elevated beauty, it does powerfully express Christ’s words: They are blind and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. (Mt. 15:14) Bruegel really hits us between the eyes with the horror of this allegory. In fact it opens our eyes to the havoc wrought by spiritual blindness, so prevalent in the modern world where leaders, the dominant influences in the media, in higher education, and in many levels of society have a kind of corporate obtuseness. Vice is seen as virtue, virtue as vice. Worldly minds are blind to the full truth, with the ensuing loss of a moral compass. It leads to madness. While the pervading theme of this painting is tragedy, it is also a farce.1 These men are in a step-by-step downward spiral. They are stumbling and pulling 32

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“We can better understand the inestimable gift of faith by becoming aware through this masterpiece of the consequences of its absence, desolation instead of joy.” toward emptiness. Each one represents a further degradation down the path toward ultimate disaster, and each is symbolic of a spiritual phase mankind can go through. The man on the left represents the first step. He is quite self-satisfied in his illusions, spiritually somnolent, lax, and heedless of any danger. The second is a bit anxious, but still without a clue as to where he is heading, just following the crowd and the general trend. The third is stupid, ridiculous, a fool hanging onto the next fellow and the gang he happens to be in. The fourth manifests obtuse pride, though now with a look of horror. The last one seems to be cursing, with a terrified dread in his face, as he senses that the one in front is disappearing into a pit into which he himself is now falling. There appears to be no charity among these poor human beings. Instead it is replaced by its substitute: a mindless herd instinct is their bond. Also malice is evident. Something sinister is going on. It is an illustration of the way to perdition. The browns and the grays of the group convey dreariness and monotony. The light of the sun, symbol of Christ, is dimmed. In contrast to the men tumbling down the slippery slope in the foreground, a

completely different scene comes into view in the background. There—with its spire pointing upwards like a beacon of faith—is a simple yet beautiful church, built on solid ground surrounded by graceful trees, its reddish roof lit up by the last rays of an autumnal twilight. In its peaceful spirit it beckons and offers salvation. We can better understand the inestimable gift of faith by becoming aware through this masterpiece of the consequences of its absence, desolation instead of joy. lw “The parable of Matthew and Luke has not only been presented literally as blind leading the blind. A recurring theme in pictures and engravings is the image of the donkey instructing other donkeys.” (Source: Wikipedia, “The Parable of the Blind”, René Dewil, The Art of Painting) 1

MADELEINE STEBBINS Madeleine Stebbins is the wife of CUF founder H. Lyman Stebbins. She served as CUF president from 1981–84.

© The Blind Leading the Blind, 1568 / Brueghel, Pieter the Elder (1525-1569) / Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy / Art Resource, NY

by Madeleine Stebbins

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John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard Andreas Widmer

Accomplished CEO and business leader Andreas Widmer recounts his personal memories and experiences of Blessed John Paul II during the years he served the Pope at the Vatican as a Swiss Guard. He reflects on his later successes and failures in business, and explains how the lessons learned from John Paul II informed his conscience and taught him how to be an effective leader and devout Catholic. Written in an easily accessible style, this book will equip Catholics with important leadership tools and practical management techniques. 978-1-931018-76-0. . . . . . . $12.95

The Luminous Mysteries Biblical Reflections on the Life of Christ Tim Gray Inspired by the Holy Father’s call to “contemplate the face of Christ,” Scripture scholar and popular author Tim Gray takes a closer look at the life and mission of Jesus Christ. With clear and inviting language, Gray guides the reader through the rich biblical foundations of the Baptism in the Jordan, the Wedding of Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist. A prayer inspired by the mystery and points for further personal reflection complete each chapter. 978-1-931018-20-3. . . . . . . $11.95

Popes are the Church’s chief shepherds. While some focused on governing the Church and addressing challenges from the world, others recognized their primary responsibility to proclaim and teach the Gospel. Author Alan Schreck calls these the “teaching popes” and John Paul II was such a pope, leading the Church and impacting the world with his witness and his writing. The encyclical letter has been, in modern times, the instrument for popes to express their most important messages—teachings that have lasting value for the Church, and often for the whole world. Dr. Schreck invites the reader to become familiar with the encyclical letters of Pope John Paul II. In The Legacy of Pope John Paul II, Dr. Schreck breaks down more scholarly writing into accessible language. The reflection questions and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter help facilitate a systematic study of the central teachings of this brilliant but pastoral pope, who conveyed the truth in love. 978-1-937155-36-0 . . . . . . $12.95

Emmaus Road Publishing • • (800) 398-5470


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“The Year of Faith and Our Response” OCTOBER 11–12

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bethesda, MD “The Year of Faith and Our Response” ~ Friday Keynote Dinner


2 Banquets Vendors Traditional Latin Mass, 5 pm Friday

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP, Prioress General, Mother of the Eucharist, Ann Arbor, MI

“The Importance of the Faith in the Western World” ~ Saturday Evening Banquet Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop of Military Services, USA; formerly in the service of the Holy See

“Vatican II: Rupture or Renewal?”

Dr. William H. Marshner, Professor of Theology, Christendom College, author and speaker, Front Royal, VA

“The Catechism and the Springtime of the Faith”

Fr. Kevin Cusick, St. Francis de Sales, Benedict, MD; columnist and speaker, Lt. Commander, US Navy Chaplain Corps

“The Casualties of Choice” SPECIAL GUEST: Alyssa Bormes, Minneapolis, MN; speaker, teacher, retreat leader, parish youth minister, author

“The Lay Mission”

James Bemis, Simi Valley, CA; columnist, Latin Mass magazine, contributor St. Austin’s Review, The Wanderer

“Why We Need Humanae Vitae”

Dr. Christopher Manion, national columnist, Front Royal, VA; director of Bellarmine Forum’s Campaign for Humanae Vitae


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Lay Witness Magazine Sept/Oct 2013  

LayWitness is the flagship publication of Catholics United for the Faith.