Posts Tagged ‘Morality’

True faith shapes the culture

March 5, 2009

Here is an article with powerful words from two Cardinals in Rome, regarding the role of faith in public life. It certainly contains important views for Americans in today’s culture.

Two Prominent Catholic Cardinals
Defend Religious Action in Public Life

By Hilary White

ROME, March 4, 2009 ( – Two prominent Catholic cardinals have struck out at the secularist trend of excluding all religious belief from public life. The patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, and Cardinal Camillo Ruini, a former president of the Italian Bishops Conference and the vicar for the diocese of Rome from 1991 to 2007, have warned Christians not to withdraw from active involvement in public life.

Writing in an editorial published February 20, in Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Scola wrote, “It seems to me that we often lose sight of the heart of the matter: every faith must always be subjected to a public cultural interpretation.” He quoted the late Pope John Paul II, who wrote, “A faith that does not become culture is not fully accepted, not fully thought out, not faithfully lived.

The two cardinals’ comments come in response to criticisms that the Church should have remained silent in the case of Eluana Englaro. Eluana, the young disabled woman sometimes described as “Italy’s Terri Schiavo,” died in early February after her food and hydration were removed with the permission of Italy’s courts. During the public debate over Eluana’s killing, leftists in Italy’s Parliament accused the Church of trying to create a “theocracy” and impose its will in the political arena.

“Faith,” Cardinal Scola wrote, “inevitably has to do with the reality of life and death, love and sorrow, labour and recreation and civic action.”

He criticised as “reductive” the two prevailing schools of thought on the action of Christianity on Italian civic life. He rejected both “Christianity as a civil religion” – a kind of “ethical cement” holding democracy together – and the idea that it is a purely internal matter for individuals concerned for their own salvation. The latter, he said, would leave no room for Christians to address key bioethical or political issues.

Cardinal Scola wrote the piece in response to criticisms by Enzo Bianchi, an influential lay preacher and founder of an “ecumenical” monastic-style community in Bose, who said that the fact that churchmen actively intervened in defence of Eluana’s life was “unworthy of the Christian approach.”

“Such an attitude,” Cardinal Scola said, “produces a dispersion (diaspora) of Christians in society and ends up hiding the human relevance of faith as such.” In this case “a silence is demanded that risks making adherence to Christ and to the Church meaningless in the eyes of others.”

The “implications of the mysteries” of Christian religious belief, he said, are “intertwined with the human affairs of all time, showing the beauty and fruitfulness of faith to everyday life.” Cardinal Scola used the example of the Church’s teaching on the sacredness of life and marriage: “If you believe that man is created in the image and likeness of God, you will have a certain conception of birth and death, the relationship between man and woman, marriage and the family.”

The implications lead all believers, including the Pope and bishops, “to talk humbly but strongly with everyone” on public issues. The Church, he said, is not interested in acquiring and imposing political power. “Its real purpose, in imitation of its founder, is to give everyone the consoling hope of eternal life.”

In Genoa on February 18, Camillo Cardinal Ruini warned of a new type of materialist secularism, the “conceptual nucleus” of which is “the conviction that man is entirely reducible to the physical universe,” and which has as its fundamental task “individual freedom,” interpreted strictly in material terms. Against this fundamental task, he said, “any form of discrimination is to be avoided.”

“This freedom, according to which in the final analysis everything is relative to the individual, is set up as the supreme ethical and legal criterion: every other position is admissible only as long as it does not challenge, but remains subordinate to this relativistic criterion. In this way, the moral norms of Christianity are systematically censored, at least in their public influence.”

But religious belief, and Christianity in particular, propose a transcendent meaning and purpose for human life that require certain restrictions on human activity for its fulfilment, said the cardinal. This has created what he called a “new schism” between Catholicism and materialist “secularists” in which the expression of Christian teaching is being suppressed.

“In this way, there has developed in the West that which Benedict XVI has repeatedly called ‘the dictatorship of relativism,’ meaning a form of culture that deliberately severs its own historical roots and constitutes a radical contradiction not only of Christianity, but more broadly of the religious and moral traditions of humanity.”

You can find the above article at:


Might our country go this way, too?

January 28, 2009

Article about the forced indoctrination program in all schools in Spain, including private schools:

Spanish Supreme Court Deadlocked Over Allowing Families to Opt Out of Homosexual Indoctrination Program

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MADRID, January 27, 2009 ( – The Spanish Supreme Court has been deadlocked for two days over whether or not to permit parents to remove their children from a government civics program that indoctrinates students with homosexual ideology.

The program, entitled “Education for Citizenship,” instructs teachers to “revise the student’s attitude towards homosexuality” and to teach children to reject “existing discrimination for reason of sex, origin, social differences, affective-sexual, or whatever other type” and to carry out a “critical evaluation of the social and sexual division of labor and racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic social prejudices.”

The Catholic Church and numerous individuals have protested the program, which is mandatory throughout Spain, including the nation’s private schools, although the latter have the option of ignoring individual directives in the program.

The case before the Spanish Supreme Court is an appeal of a decision of the highest court of the Spanish Province of Andalucía, which ruled that people may sue to prevent their children from being indoctrinated in the program, but later ruled against a particular group of families seeking exemption.

In addition to the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case, sixty-five organizations and groups in Spain have signed a manifesto denouncing Education for Citizenship as an attack on their civil rights.

“In every age the right of families to educate their children has had the same enemy: ideological indoctrination,” the manifesto states, and goes on to say that Education for Citizenship “is morally, intellectually, and politically inadmissible because it means obligatory indoctrination for Spanish children and adolescents with a particular ideology that is gravely damaging for people and society.”

The LifeSiteNews site has additional information about this that you may want to read.

Our Help is in the Name of the Lord …

January 20, 2009

… who made Heaven and Earth! ( Psalm 124:8 )

Remembering that is what will get us through this day of mourning. Mourning not for the loss of an election, but mourning for the lives of the babies who are now at much greater risk than ever before. Mourning for the women (and girls) who will be misled by the rhetoric of “choice” rather than be properly advised about the truths of what abortion is and will do in their lives. Mourning for the families and friends of those women and girls, who won’t always know how to help. Mourning for the country of my birth, that is now being led by people who don’t value the sanctity of human life and who won’t uphold marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman. May God have mercy on us all!

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  ( Philippians 2:9-11 )

The following article ( “Alien Nation” by Doreen Truesdell ) has some good points, as do some of the comments made at the source site:

The universal struggle between good and evil, between Christ and His enemies has now taken center stage in this nation. For decades most American Catholics have lived relatively comfortably by accepting shades of gray. Little by little the grays became darker as more of the Church’s moral teachings were questioned, ignored and rejected. Now, the gray areas have turned to blackness. It is no longer possible for lukewarm Catholics to remain faithful. The gray areas are gone. American Catholics will either embrace the white light of Truth or accept the darkness.

So where does this leave aliens like me? Totally reliant upon God, and for many of us it will be the first time in our lives. I used to define myself as an American Catholic, but now I realize I am a Catholic in America. The nation I used to depend upon to accept my spiritual composition is gone. No longer does our citizenship agree that our laws are, and should be, based on Judeo-Christian concepts. No longer can a Christian assume his moral beliefs will be given fair representation or even toleration in the public forum.

As aliens, we have an important role to play as keepers of the faith on hostile soil. Here’s our opportunity to get off the fence on every controversial issue that offends God and start pulling our weight as Catholics in America. Many Catholics already are very publicly defending Christ and His Gospel truths. Most aren’t. Are you defending Christ in America? Am I?

This era, just beginning, represents our time in the long history of the Catholic Church to accept suffering, offer prayers and penance, and do battle in the public forum so that the voice of Christ can be heard. It is our turn to live as Catholics who look only to the magisterium of the Church for instruction on true human dignity and authentic social justice.

We will join Catholics from around the world who “lost” their countries long ago — Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Chinese, Russians and others who have already inured themselves to the agonies of living in an atheistic nation, one that they used to love with patriotic fervor but now are estranged from. We will lean on the rich Catholic tradition of the Church Militant and go on living in an alien nation while fortifying ourselves with the Word Made Flesh, He who makes His dwelling among aliens the world over.

Are you up to this challenge? As Americans, we’ve grown undisciplined, flabby and unused to suffering. We can’t bear the pain of unpopularity; how will we bear persecution? And it is coming. With this new administration we have the makings of unprecedented Christian persecutions in our nation that will make martyrs and saints of many who stand up for Truth. You won’t have to be a political activist to have it thrust upon you: parents, clergy, health care providers, teachers, workers of all kinds will find themselves facing moral issues that assault the foundations of the Catholic faith. Which issue will be the one that forces Catholics like you and me to confront how shallow our relationship with Christ has been? Which issue will finally inspire us to make the commitment to “put out into the deep,” whatever the cost?

Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, after visiting our great nation years ago, said she pitied us our “poverty.” She understood the seriousness of the spiritual poverty that the U.S. suffered. We may be on the brink of changing that poverty, one Catholic, one Christian at a time.

The history of the Church is one of suffering and triumph. From that perspective, the Obama presidency could be the beginning of a great renewal of Christianity in America, if each of us lives the faith the way Christ calls us to. So in an important way, this article is not about losing a nation, so much as gaining a deeper relationship with Jesus, the King of all nations. We, who have always assumed that our nation would validate our faith, now find it must be validated only by God.

“[T]he new age has begun; and…much must now pass away,” Gandalf says in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Let it pass. With prayerful renewal and faithful responses, we can find that God alone will suffice. Then maybe, in small ways that have great power, we can work to bring our beloved nation back to God.

It seems fitting to insert here the prayer often referred to as St. Teresa of Avila’s “Bookmark” prayer:

This thought was found after St. Teresa’s death on a prayer card in her breviary.

Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.

(I didn’t find a definitive version of that prayer. Nearly every site I checked has different wording. The one I’m including is found at

Where morality and media meet

December 29, 2008

(Yes, I’m intentionally playing off the title of one of my previous posts!)

Thanks to Jayme at “Being Fed” ( for these two stories that were catalysts for me to do more exploring recently.

I happened to find them at a time when I could spend A LOT of time working on my blog, hence the new links, images, and arrangements in the sidebar. I won’t even try to recall exactly how her posts led from one thing to another, I just thought I’d make note of the connection so that if I look back in wonder I’ll have some vague recollection.

And I also want to draw attention to the great work of “Virtue Media” that I recently heard about on EWTN. The following two links are in one of Jayme’s posts, and they are part of what led me on interesting adventures in enriching my blog with new resources.