Were there to be no support in the whole history of ethical and moral thought, were there no acknowledged confirmation from medical science, were the history of legal opinion to the contrary, we would still have to conclude on the basis of God's Holy Word that the unborn child is a person in the sight of God. He is protected by the sanctity of life graciously given to each individual by the Creator, Who alone places His image upon man and grants them any right to life which they have.
Friday, November 6, 2015
Spirit & Life - Why are We Afraid to Tell the Truth?
We priests cannot be afraid to tell the truth about life and family
I received a number of emails
from friends after Respect Life Sunday saying that they heard little, if
anything, about life and family from the pulpit. It is as if some
pastors are afraid of preaching the Gospel of Life, or have something
more important to talk about even when it is chosen as the day to preach
on precisely these issues.
failure to preach the Gospel of Life is not only a U.S. problem. During
HLI's conferences, I hear the same comments from around the world. I
bring this up when I speak to seminarians, priests, and bishops - many
times the only message the faithful will hear about these incredibly
urgent pastoral and moral questions is at Mass.
Catholics might hear a homily on abortion once a year. They might hear
an occasional reference to euthanasia - a subject some deem easier to
preach about - but most usually never hear references to contraception,
homosexuality, promiscuity, pornography, cohabitation or divorce.
is also not helpful when Church leaders accept the false caricature
that "the Church is always talking about these issues," so it's about
time we talked about something else. Apparently "the Church" has not
sufficiently talked about issues in a way that helps the political party
that now treats abortion as a "human right."
When one cardinal said two
years ago that those Catholics who were in second civil unions without
annulment of their marriages should not be expected to be heroes by
being celibate, many couples who had been abstaining from sex felt like
they had been punched in the gut. What had they been sacrificing for?
Such a position makes it sound like Jesus' teaching on marriage is just
too hard to follow. We know better than Jesus. We are more pastoral. It
is even more hurtful when the cardinal's superior also seems to accept
and repeat this characterization of Church teaching as being
true that priests and bishops are people too. When they preach in a way
that displeases people not only might they lose parishioners, they may
also lose collection revenue and invite nasty e-mails and face-to-face
conversations after Mass. Most of us know the risks too well.
my brothers, we have given our lives to a Man who submitted to a
gruesome and humiliating death! We follow Our Lord, who died on a cross
for us! If we love those whom we are given to serve in our parishes -
let me choose my words carefully here - how the hell are we
helping them if we do not tell them the truth - the Good News - about
sexuality and marriage? These are pastoral issues, and cannot be reduced
to some obscure teaching that was meant for another time! Pope Saint
John Paul II knew this well:
The Gospel of life is at the heart of
Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to
be preached with dauntless fidelity as "good news" to the people of
every age and culture. (Evangelium vitae 1)
My God, my God, why have we forsaken you?
How did we let ourselves come to the belief that you, Our Lord, meant
for our lives to be as easy as possible? That Your Law -- what You told
us is what those who love you will follow -- can only be held up when it
happens to find agreement with our fallen culture?
are we not protecting married couples from the violence of
contraception -- the divorce of unitive and procreative aspects of the
beautiful gift of sexuality? Why are we afraid of helping our brothers
and sisters to live in truth, according to their dignity?
What is our role and duty in Christ - in truth and charity?
one has said that we must only preach about life and family issues.
Anyone who claims differently is ignorant or is trying to manipulate the
listener. As priests we must prayerfully discern how to bring the Word
of God directly to those we serve in a way that they can hear. We
absolutely must remind the faithful of their obligation to serve in
solidarity with those in need, to be generous with their material gifts.
We owe it to our congregations to remind them of the goodness of Truth
and Beauty - the goodness of life, of God's creation and our
responsibility to be stewards of what we've been given. We have to
remind people that our faith cannot be reduced to rules, but is based on
But we must
never accept the false representation of Church teaching on life and
marriage as lacking compassion, or pretend it was made for another time.
We must not be afraid to tell the truth about life and family, as there
are no more immediate or urgent pastoral issues that our families are
dealing with at home or in the public square.
on these issues on Respect Life Sunday is a bare minimum - a starting
point. We are forming hearts and minds so that the faithful can in
freedom choose wisely and lovingly when the moment of heroism - even
everyday heroism for those with great challenges - comes their way. It
is not "pastoral" to ignore the loving doctrine we have been given and
offer solutions that soothe and confuse. This is not love.
By Mitchell Kalpakgian, PhD - In his poem "Man",
George Herbert, the seventeenth century English metaphysical poet,
depicts God as the builder of "a stately habitation" where He intends
to dwell. This mansion in which God will live is "Man"-a microcosm
(little world) analogous to the macrocosm (large world) of creation.
Just as man makes his home in Nature, the big universe designed for
man's needs and enjoyment, God inhabits the little universe of Man, a
place worthy of a Royal Guest. No place else is "more stately" than Man
because he possesses God's image and an immortal soul. Compared to
man's eternal destiny, "All things are in decay." No plant or animal
awaits a supernatural life. - continue -
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
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