"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
The homily I heard on Sunday, June 30, was given by a
deacon. The USCCB would have beamed proudly as he talked about religious
freedom! He told us that Jesus was preaching tolerance when he told the
disciples not to "bring fire" down on that village – an act, he said,
which sounded like American foreign policy for the last 20 or 30 years. Hmmm.
Well, I’ve heard him discuss his own private views on former presidents, so I
wasn’t surprised that he threw in this little barb.
The deacon also said we have to fight for our own religious
freedom, and that we must also fight so that people of other faith communities
have the same freedom to practice their
As I said the other day, that’s why this whole “religious
freedom” idea doesn’t work very well: it assumes that all religions are created
equal, and it neglects to consider that people of different religions just
might have conflicting ideas about what is right and just. In fact…they do have conflicting ideas. What do we do
Gotta love hearing a
dissident priest quoted
But the liberal Catholics don’t like to talk about conflict.
Instead, they focus on “love” (not true charity) and tolerance. Tolerance means
“we love everyone and want everyone to be happy, so why should we impose our
religious beliefs on anyone else?!” Conflict, division – those are very bad
things. The mere implication that the Catholic faith holds the fullness of the
Truth is not welcome in the same room as Tolerance. Such a view hurts other
The deacon giving the homily also quoted Richard Rohr. Richard Rohr. Yes, that Richard Rohr, the dissident, new-age-y
(and aging) priest who is a prime preacher of tolerance…and other…uh…stuff. The
deacon spoke about the dangers of “dualism” – that really intolerant concept “where
we think WE are RIGHT, and everyone else is WRONG”. Horrible. Some people actually believe that
there are moral absolutes!
The deacon quoted Richard Rohr’s “seven c’s of delusion”, a concept used by Rohr to teach that the “dualistic mind” compares, competes, conflicts,
conspires, condemns, cancels out any contrary evidence, andcrucifies with impunity. The
tolerant people use these types of descriptors and this line of reasoning to
crucify, condemn, and complain about those Latin-loving tradition-minded folks
who would like to have a decent liturgy celebrated according to the mind of the
Church every Sunday.
But let’s return to
the issue of “religious freedom”. Even Protestants can see some problems with
the way the US bishops are defining the question and waging the battle. See this blog post
(which linked to mine – thanks!), where the author states:
understanding of religious liberty is a historical bait-and-switch. On the
one hand, they invoke the founders of the U.S. (fine), but then on the other
hand bring up the nation’s anti-Catholic Protestant past without identifying
Protestants (smart move) but pinning the blame on government…
The author of that post also mentioned Pope Leo XIII, whose
letter to Cardinal James Gibbons in 1899 on “Americanism” (Testem
Benevolentiae) sounds like it could be written to Cardinal Timothy Dolan
today. Pope Leo XIII wrote about his concern that
The underlying principle of
these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ
from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit
of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to
Pretty prophetic, eh? That certainly came to pass more and
more as time went on, and Pope Leo didn’t live to see the worst of it,
Our bishops are asking us to defend “religious freedom”, but
they are not adequately defining what that freedom is. And besides, they are
neglecting the Truth taught by the Catholic Church when they imply that “other
faiths” should all have the same freedom. They have to take this stance, in a
way, because it’s the only one that makes sense given what has transpired with
regard to what passes for “defending the faith” over the last several decades.
Pope Leo’s letter to Cardinal Gibbons also noted that:
Many think that these
concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in
regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that
it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit
certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down
the meaning which the Church has always attached to them.
Isn’t that essentially what has happened? It’s just not
socially acceptable – or even acceptable in a homily, it seems! – to talk about
the “hard teachings” of the Catholic faith, like the immorality of abortion,
contraception, and homosexual behavior. The teachings have been watered down, to the point that teaching the truth
offends not only non-Catholics, but a huge portion of self-identified Catholics
And so now the bishops are defending “religious freedom”; in
so doing, they continue to avoid those hard teachings. That’s a mistake. Pope
Leo’s comment to Cardinal Gibbons speaks just as clearly and relevantly to our
It does not need many words,
beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of
the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind.
Exactly. This is the Year of Faith, isn’t it? I don’t know
why I’m not hearing more in my own diocese about the truths of the faith. I
haven’t heard much about reading and understanding of the documents of Vatican
II or the Catechism – two areas
then-Pope Benedict XVI was encouraging when he introduced the Year of Faith. I’d
hoped to hear something like this, which is Pope Leo XIII’s conclusion to his
letter to Cardinal Gibbons…way back in 1899:
But the true church is one, as
by unity of doctrine, so by unity of government, and she is catholic also.
Since God has placed the center and foundation of unity in the chair of Blessed
Peter, she is rightly called the Roman Church, for "where Peter is, there
is the church." Wherefore, if anybody wishes to be considered a real
Catholic, he ought to be able to say from his heart the selfsame words which
Jerome addressed to Pope Damasus: "I, acknowledging no other leader than
Christ, am bound in fellowship with Your Holiness; that is, with the chair of
Peter. I know that the church was built upon him as its rock, and that
whosoever gathereth not with you, scattereth."
Instead, we’re stuck with a “Fornight for Freedom” that many
seem to take as an ecumenical rather than Catholic statement, and which engenders
homilies like the one I was subjected to on Sunday, where we’re exhorted to
defend the rights of a-a-a-all
And if we were honest, we’d
see that Louie Verrecchio makes perfect sense in his post “Fortnight Follies”
(really, go read the whole thing – it is excellent!):
OK… Am I the only one wondering
what the heck praying for the freedom of “people of all faiths” is supposed to
accomplish? Think about what that prayer might look like:
Let us pray for the enemies of
Holy Mother Church, that they may enjoy the freedom necessary to destroy her:
In Your inscrutable clemency,
please move the hearts and minds of those who govern our fair land, that they
may never draft laws that in any way dare to encumber the freedom of Wiccans,
Muslims, Buddhists, heathens, heretics or practitioners of any of the other
false religions that despise your Son, so that they may ever be guaranteed the
freedom of expression necessary to lead souls away from You unto the eternal
damnation of many.
Uh…. no thanks. I think I’ll
politely decline the invitation.