In their Catholic Evidence Training Outlines, Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward address the prevalent spiritual illness of religious indifference. The eminent Catholic duo—renowned for their influential work as street apologists, authors and co-founders of the Sheed & Ward publishing house—describes religious indifference as “the belief that no religion matters at all.” The indifferent man, according to the apologists, reduces religion to a sort of optional hobby—like stamp-collecting.
On the contrary, Sheed and Ward argue, religion is far from an idle amusement. It is the “first necessity.” Further, they do not say it is the man who rejects it who is the fool but the man who neglects it.
A Great Paradox
Father Robert Barron has called this present state of society, “a ‘meh’ culture of relativism.”
A great paradox that descends from this prevalent attitude of religious indifference in our culture is that it is often accompanied by an intense repulsion towards dogma. Yet “the indifferent” are often severely dogmatic on issues like abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage. Religious dogma is condemned not because it is religious but because it is dogmatic; thus, religious dogma is traded for non-religious or even anti-religious dogma. This human inability to escape the self-affirmation of objective truth in practice led G.K. Chesterton to say:
“In truth, there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogma and know it, and those who accept dogma and don’t know it.”
How odd, a Catholic School teaching the Catholic faith…
Ottawa, Canada, Mar 20, 2015 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Canada’s Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Catholic schools in Quebec must be allowed to teach from a Catholic viewpoint during a state-mandated religion and ethics class.
A very good blog. I do not agree with everything, I do not buy Girl Scout cookies and I hate Starbucks and anything with a pink ribbon, but I agree with her point of view…
Apparently Dolce and Gabbana have been taking a lot of heat for saying that they do not support gay marriage, gay adoption or IVF and surrogacy. They said that “procreation is an act of love” and that children are born with a mother and a father. Basically, they spelled out Catholic Theology. The only difference is that they are gay. And they are now in the middle of a huge fire storm. Elton John is calling for a boycott and other celebrities are joining him in that boycott.
Good for him. We must uphold our faith, and sometimes that means cutting out ties…
A Virginia Knights of Columbus council is pressing forward with plans to honor pro-abortion, pro-homosexual “marriage” Gov. Terry McAuliffe by having him as grand marshal of its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In response, the parish priest has strongly reproached the council and cut ties.
Good to read… Pray it continues….
Christianity is a dying relic of an ancient past. The Internet is killing it. Science is killing it. Western sophistication is killing it. Right?
In many ways, Christianity is on the rise as never before—worldwide, and in America. Here are the ways we can tell:
The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists often attack this doctrine as “umbilical,” but the Bible is forthright in declaring it (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; and, most forcefully, John 6:32–71). (Read more here)
As a Catholic, a lifelong Catholic, this has to be one of the most difficult concepts of the faith. The Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Just the thought of it makes my head spin!
Last night I was watching a documentary on Parable TV, Apostle Peter and the Last Supper, and it made me think about the Eucharist, what it is and what it means. It made me ask myself why I believe that it is truly the Body and Blood of my Savior, why it is just a fact of my faith, and yet others find this so hard to grasp. Now please understand that I have questioned it, I have and still do struggle with it and am overwhelmed with the idea of it, but I do believe it, I do have faith in it. Not understanding is no reason not to believe…
But why do some Christians and Catholics find the truth so hard to see? Not picking on anyone here, but lets look at the Christians (by the way, yes I know Catholics are Christians), they take the bible literally, down to the last word, yet they fail to believe in the True Presence, they see it as symbolic. Jesus clearly states,
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 (The Bible)
After Jesus states this some of his followers walk away, leaving Jesus because they understood what Jesus was saying, that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. Now, reason would stat that if Jesus was misunderstood, that if what He truly meant to say was that it was only a parable or a symbolic act, He would have called after them, He would have told them a new parable to clear it all up. But He did not, he let them go, and then asked his friends what they thought:
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[b] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (The Bible)
To me, this is very clear, we are to eat His flesh and drink His blood… And Jesus provides that for us in the form of the Holy Eucharist. There are many other passages in the bible that back this up, but my post is not about proving out the Catholic understanding, but more about the mind boggleingness of it all.
The simple yet profound fact that Jesus, my Lord and Savior came down from Heaven, became man, lowered himself to be one of his creations, took upon himself the humiliation of humanity, suffered, died and was buried, raised up again in glory to defeat sin and the punishment of sin, death. this, in-and-of-it-self was more than enough for a fallen people, a creation that condemned its creator, yet He, the creator of all, the giver of life, leaves us more, oh, so much more. He leaves us HIMSELF! He gives us the gift of His body, blood, soul and divinity… He gives us salvation in the form of His sacrificed body. This is mind-blowing! Yet it is also humbling.
But once again Jesus tells us:
56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. (The Bible)
So each week I do as I am commanded, to eat His flesh and drink His blood, do I understand it, no, not really, but I also don’t understand how God would choose to make himself human, or how He could be dead for 3 days then rise up and walk among his friends, this is called faith. For me, the simple fact that I know in my soul, in my heart of hearts that it is true, that Jesus did do all that is claimed, the God does love me, that He did create all and send His son down to save me, that I know in a very basic way, deep within me. I know that the Good News is truly the word of God and meant for me and all of humanity. And I know that the bread and wine is Jesus in the flesh, that it is His to give, to offer, and mine to take or reject.
I may not understand, but I do have faith… And in a very spiritual way, I do understand, because God has created me to.. And that, to me is A Head spinning Catholic teaching, one that is key to my salvation.
The other day I attended an meeting at my Church, they have decided it was time to make some much needed changed to the religious education of the middle school youth program. It was time to re-evaluate how they approached the faith formation of youth, what books to use, if any, what grades will be changed and how do we change it… All questions that need answers, along with a million others.
The process of change is hard, as everyone knows, no one likes change, and God knows the Catholic Church does not come to change easily, this is true for the local parish as much as for the Vatican. Change with in the Church is a slow moving process, and for the most part I thing that is a good thing. The Church is not an institution that should change with every new fad in faith. Her traditions and teachings must remain constant, the stability of the Church is one of her strong points. But sometimes even the most simplest of changes take time. Lets face it, the Church moves slow.
Well, back the the meeting, my parish has decided that change is needed, that we must approach the youth is a format and fashion that appeals to them, and I’m sorry, most of what is currently offered as “religious formation” is nothing but memorization of religious facts. Really, facts = faith? Knowing the prayers of the faith is important, memorizing bible passages is important, but does that make one faithful?
Lets look at it in a different light…
Learning math, 2+2=4, does not make me a mathematician, it makes me able to add, subtract and do the simple math needed to navigate life. It also introduces me to math, allowing me to explore it more deeply, if I choose, and maybe I will become a mathematician latter in life. If not no harm, I now know how to add 2+2.
So, as a math teacher (I am not one) my job would not be to create mathematicians but rather to foster the desire to become one. I teach the basics and leave the rest up to the individual.
Much is the same with most things taught, The object of teaching is to pass on the knowledge, not to create new experts.
The exception to the rule…
Once a path has been chosen, such as Doctor, than the object become creating a new expert. So far I would assume that most would agree with me, education, in is simplest form is to pass on needed information, not to create new experts.
Object or Action
I look at it like this, The object of Faith Formation is not to create new Theologians or Priest, but rather to foster the desire to grow more deeply in the faith. Another way to look at it, Are we creating Theologians or Catholics?
Theologian is an object, a noun
Catholic is an action, a verb
The point of faith formation is not to create nouns but to foster verbs.
I would rather see the youth excited about the faith than to see them recite a prayer, yet have no attachment to the faith. With the basics of the faith instilled in them in a new and exciting way we will be creating a new generation of dynamic Catholics, Catholics that are on fire for knowledge, and some will become the new Theologians and Priest and others will be the new laity, the laity that is involved in parish life, that look at the parish as part of, not separated from, the family dynamics.
What will happen at my local parish, will we see the change that needs to come, or will continue to look at faith formation in the same old way? Only time will tell, but with the grace of God and the working of the Holy Sprit we just may…