Being authentically Catholic can be complicated

keeprightwrongThe Catholic vision of life permeates everything. Thus, it shapes the way I view sexuality – as a great gift from God but also with certain boundaries and limits – but also the way I view how we should build our towns and cities and care for the environment, raise our animals, cultivate our food. The Catholic principle of subsidiarity – mentioned earlier – causes me to be distrustful of big government – where it isn’t warranted – but also of big corporations.

None of this fits into our neat political categories. And it leads to quite a bit of misunderstanding from those on the outside.

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The old culture war rages on

The culture war is essentially a struggle to see if the West will have ametaphysical culture or an anti-metaphysical culture. An anti-metaphysical culture must give way to nihilism, anarchy, and the upsurge of unchecked evil. Thus, the long-term prospects for the survival of Western Civilization will be determined by the outcome of the culture war.

Metaphysics, faith, and reason

Is there a connection between metaphysics, faith, and reason? Yes. Faith and reason help us to connect with the metaphysical realm. Metaphysics enriches and stabilizes both faith and reason. For example, metaphysical theology and ethics provide boundaries in which faith and reason must operate.

Western metaphysics produced a culture that was both uniquely rational and uniquely welcoming to religious faith. Prior to the bifurcation of Western culture, faith and reason were strongly allied. After the bifurcation, faith and reason were in tension. Today, faith and reason are hostile to one another in some quarters. This current situation is historically abnormal and culturally unhealthy.

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The answers to three key Catholic questions speak volumes

questionOnce again let me stress that I developed this set of questions in the mid-1980s as a journalistic tool. The goal, when asking these questions, is to listen carefully to the answers.

It is especially interesting, of course, to note when people remain silence or try to find a way to maneuver around the questions without answering.

Different types of believers, of course, have different answers. The goal is to listen carefully and then respond with follow-up questions that yield nuggets of on-the-record doctrinal, as opposed to political, information. The goal is to transcend mere labels.

Here are those questions, once again:

(1) Are the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus accurate? Did this event really happen?

(2) Is salvation found through Jesus Christ, alone? Was Jesus being literal when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)?

(3) Is sex outside of the Sacrament of Marriage a sin?

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Seen on the web: The conservative vs. liberal concept of Catholic reform

BuckeyePhysicist • 5 days ago

Conservative idea of Catholic reform: Proclaim the Gospel, maintain doctrinal orthodoxy, support marriage and family, reform the Curia, fix the bank, root out corruption in management.

Liberal idea of Catholic reform: Redefine sins as virtues.

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For the first time in decades, the staff of the US bishops’ conference will (probably) not swing reflexively into line with the latest liberal rhetoric.

When John Carr retired from the staff of the US bishops’ conference, after helping to shape the bishops’ statements on political issues for more then 25 years, we wondered whether his departure signaled a shift in USCCB policy. Today we have our answer: Yes, it does.

Jonathan J. Reyes, who will be taking Carr’s post in December, will be coming to Washington from Denver, where he was head of Catholic Charities. His work there, and especially his involvement in projects like “Christ in the City,” testify to his belief that Christian charitable work is inseparable from evangelization. In other words he sees charitable work as a witness to faith, not a call for government support.

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Ann Barnhardt is a brilliant, ultra-conservative, Catholic “firecracker”

by Doug Lawrence

A friend sent me a link to Ann Barnhardt’s website, and I’m still in awe. This brilliant Catholic (convert) woman knows from where she is speaking, on a host of very timely and relevant subjects, and she isn’t afraid to step up and say it, loud and clear!

Here’s an example (not necessarily the best one):

Q: Ann, What do you think of the Marines who peed on the dead Taliban?

A: I have little sympathy for men who live their lives wiping their anuses with their bare hands after bowel movements, and who view as the pinnacle of human pleasure inserting their genitals and depositing their semen into the feces-laden rectums of boys and other men, who suddenly get squeamish about dead bodies being sprinkled with a bit of urine – which is sterile by the way. Those dead Taliban were probably the cleanest they had ever been in their adult lives after being showered with the righteous tinkles of those Marines. Ooh-rah. That is all. Carry on.

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Marquette Bishop: “I was more prayerful than many of my peers. That opened me up to the action of the Holy Spirit.”

…Although a young bishop, Bishop Sample has been outspoken in his defense of Church teaching. In 2009, for example, he asked Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of Detroit, not to speak in the Marquette diocese because of his dissenting views on such issues as homosexuality and the ordination of women. He also condemned the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama, calling the move “unconscionable” and “completely out of step with the Catholic Church’s teaching.”

…My generation was the first in the wake of Vatican II. While I certainly don’t blame the Council, much upheaval occurred in the Church in its aftermath. Culturally, society was experiencing the sexual revolution, the women’s liberation movement, and the anti-war movement, among others. There was an anti-authoritarian spirit.

In this time of great confusion, catechesis suffered. We booted the Baltimore Catechism out the door, but there wasn’t anything to replace it. I was taught the faith in Catholic schools using materials that were weak and insubstantial. I wasn’t being taught my faith. The liturgy suffered from experimentation as well.

…We need a renewal in catechesis. I feel passionately about this. In my Diocese of Marquette, I directed the development of a diocesan curriculum for faith formation for grades K-8. It is a solid, substantive, systematic, and sequential curriculum, which builds from one year to the next. It is topical, based on the pillars of the catechism. Every parish is expected to follow this curriculum.

Now I’m turning my attention toward adult faith formation. If we can get catechesis and the liturgy right, we’ll be well on our way to the renewal and growth of the Church for which we hope.

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Editor’s note: Isolated in the wilderness that still constitutes much of the upper peninsula of Michigan, Bishop Sample might just succeed. Let’s all pray that he does!