In Pennsylvania's

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Am I Ashamed of the Gospel?" A Question to Ask Before the Primaries.

"The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel. A price is demanded and must be paid. There are costs of discipleship—heavy costs, costs that are burdensome and painful to bear.

"Of course, one can still safely identify oneself as a 'Catholic,' and even be seen going to mass. That is because the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call 'political correctness' do not assume that identifying as 'Catholic' or going to mass necessarily means that one actually believes what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life [Emphasis added].

"And if one in fact does not believe what the Church teaches, or, for now at least, even if one does believe those teachings but is prepared to be completely silent about them, one is safe—one can still be a comfortable Catholic. In other words, a tame Catholic, a Catholic who is ashamed of the Gospel—or who is willing to act publicly as if he or she were ashamed—is still socially acceptable. But a Catholic who makes it clear that he or she is not ashamed is in for a rough go....


"The question each of us today must face is this: Am I ashamed of the Gospel?....am I willing, or am I, in the end, unwilling, to take up my cross and follow Christ? [Emphasis added]


"Powerful forces and currents in our society press us to be ashamed of the Gospel—ashamed of the good, ashamed of our faith’s teachings on the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, ashamed of our faith’s teachings on marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. These forces insist that the Church’s teachings are out of date, retrograde, insensitive, uncompassionate, illiberal, bigoted—even hateful. These currents bring pressure on all of us—and on young Catholics in particular—to yield to this insistence. They threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good evil, and what is evil good. They command us to conform our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all.

"Do you believe, as I believe, that every member of the human family, irrespective of age or size or stage of development or condition of dependency, is the bearer of inherent dignity and an equal right to life? Do you hold that the precious child in the womb, as a creature made in the very image and likeness of God, deserves respect and protection? Then, powerful people and institutions say, you are a misogynist—a hater of women, someone who poses a threat to people’s privacy, an enemy of women’s 'reproductive freedom.' You ought to be ashamed!


"Do you believe, as I believe, that the core social function of marriage is to unite a man and woman as husband and wife to be mother and father to children born of their union? Do you hold, as I hold, that the norms that shape marriage as a truly conjugal partnership are grounded in its procreative nature—its singular aptness for the project of child-rearing? Do you understand marriage as the uniquely comprehensive type of bond—comprehensive in that it unites spouses in a bodily way and not merely at the level of hearts and minds—that is oriented to and would naturally be fulfilled by their conceiving and rearing children together? Then these same forces say you are a homophobe, a bigot, someone who doesn’t believe in equality. You even represent a threat to people’s safety. You ought to be ashamed!....


"But, of course, what you believe, if you believe these things, is a crucial part of the Gospel. You believe the truth—in its fullness—about the dignity of the human person and the nature of marriage and sexual morality as proclaimed by the Church—our only secure source of understanding the Gospel message. So when you are invited to distance yourself from these teachings or go silent about them, when you are threatened with opprobrium or the loss of professional opportunities or social standing if you do not, you are being pressured to be ashamed of the Gospel—which means to give up faith in the Lordship of Christ and hope in the triumph of goodness, righteousness, and love in and through Him.

"To be a witness to the Gospel today is to make oneself a marked man or woman. It is to expose oneself to scorn and reproach. To unashamedly proclaim the Gospel in its fullness is to place in jeopardy one’s security, one’s personal aspirations and ambitions, the peace and tranquility one enjoys, one’s standing in polite society. One may in consequence of one’s public witness be discriminated against and denied educational opportunities and the prestigious credentials they may offer; one may lose valuable opportunities for employment and professional advancement; one may be excluded from worldly recognition and honors of various sorts; one’s witness may even cost one treasured friendships. It may produce familial discord and even alienation from family members. Yes, there are costs of discipleship—heavy costs....


"for us, as for our faithful Evangelical friends, it is now Good Friday. The memory of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem has faded. Yes, he had been greeted—and not long ago—by throngs of people waving palm branches and shouting 'Hosanna to the Son of David.' He rode into the Jerusalem of Europe and the Jerusalem of the Americas and was proclaimed Lord and King. But all that is now in the past. Friday has come. The love affair with Jesus and his Gospel and his Church is over....


"Will we muster the strength, the courage, the faith to be like Mary the Mother of Jesus, and like John, the apostle whom Jesus loved, and stand faithfully at the foot of the cross? ....will we silently acquiesce to the destruction of innocent human lives or the demolition of marriage? Will we seek to 'fit in,' to be accepted, to live comfortably in the new Babylon?....


"The question of faith and fidelity that is put to us today is not in the form it was put to Peter—'surely you are you this man’s disciple'—it is, rather, do you stand for the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as the union of husband and wife? These teachings are not the whole Gospel—Christianity requires much more than their affirmation. But they are integral to the Gospel—they are not optional or dispensable....it is these integral dimensions of the Gospel that powerful cultural forces and currents today demand that we deny or suppress....


"The future of marriage and of countless human lives can and will be determined by our judgments and choices—our willingness or unwillingness to bear faithful witness, our acts of courage or cowardice....It is before God—the God of truth, the Lord of history—that we will stand....


"One thing alone will matter: Was I a faithful witness to the Gospel?....


"The Gospel is true. The whole Gospel is true. Its teachings about life and marriage are true—even its hardest sayings, such as Christ’s clear teaching about the indissolubility of what God has united and about the adulterous nature of any sexual relation outside that bond....


"Yes, for us Catholics and all who seek to be faithful, it’s Good Friday. We are no longer acceptable. We can no longer be comfortable. It is for us a time of trial, a time of testing by adversity. But lest we fail the test, as perhaps many will do, let us remember that Easter is coming. Jesus will vanquish sin and death. We will experience fear, just as the apostles did—that is inevitable. Like Jesus himself in Gethsemane, we would prefer not to drink this cup. We would much rather be acceptable Christians, comfortable Catholics. But our trust in him, our hope in his resurrection, our faith in the sovereignty of his heavenly Father can conquer fear. By the grace of Almighty God, Easter is indeed coming. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. Never be ashamed of the Gospel" (Ashamed of the Gospel? Remarks of Princeton University Professor Robert P. George at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, 5/13/14).

"Am I Ashamed of the Gospel?" A Question to Ask Before the Primaries.

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick will be unopposed in next week's primaries.  In November, it is highly probable that his positions will be more in keeping with those of the Pa Catholic Conference and the USCCB, than his opponent.  Yet, we need him to stand MUCH taller.  In addition to defending the sanctity of human life, it is past time for Mike Fitzpatrick to come out in defense of marriage/family.  We need him to unapologetically co-sponsor/support HR 3279, HJRes51, HR3133, HR3829, and HR 1091.  We need him to clearly OPPOSE HR1755, HR2278, and Planned Parenthood!    Click to Email Rep. Fitzpatrick on these matters.

Governor Tom Corbett will be unopposed in next week's primaries.  In November, it is highly probable that his positions will be more in keeping with those of the Pa Catholic Conference, than his opponent.  Yet, we need him to stand MUCH taller in defense of the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage/family.  Click to Email Gov. Corbett and all of Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg on these matters.

Among all the incumbents from Bucks County in the Pennsylvania House and the Pennsylvania Senate, Representative Tina Davis, Senator Chuck McIlhinney, and Representative Steve Santarsiero appear to be the most out of touch with Pa Catholic Conference positions.  While McIlhinney's challenger is also out of touch with Pa Catholic Conference positions, the positions of Davis' challenger and Santarsiero's challenger are unclear (See http://faithfulinthe8th.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-pa-catholic-conference-and-may-20th.html.).

Jay Russell and Jimmy Clendennen are candidates for Republican committee positions who have indicated a belief in the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage/family (See http://faithfulinthe8th.blogspot.com/2014/05/jay-russell-and-jimmy-clendennen.html.).  Voting for ONLY RUSSELL and CLENDENNEN would enhance their chances for success.

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