Thursday, April 12th, 2012
It may be something many of us do not want to admit, but the ostensibly enlightened advance of secularism is so twisting our society’s self-understanding, that the most significant “organized religion” left — the faith of the Catholic Church — is being attacked. If She is eviscerated of her strength, the dogma of “anything goes” can then be peddled by anyone with enough power to promote his own vision of just what precisely should go.
To be sure, the Church’s own have done enough to disembowel Her of moral authority and authenticity. (But thanks be to God that our Church, necessarily hierarchical, is more fundamentally Christological–with Jesus Christ as head, who remains with us who remain in Him until the end of the ages.)
And now, the Church–in a country with puritannical roots–is furthermore (… or appositely…?) being directly attacked where her faithful’s commitment is manifestly the weakest: sexual and family morality.
While audacious, the world and its powers are yet shrewd enough to reduce the Church’s religious and mystical claims to challenges of moral evidence: “How many Catholics actually use birth control?” (One can hear the dark one in the background questioning, “Did God actually say…?”) And of course, if Church teaching is but another ideology or political party and platform supported by an alternative power structure, the worldly power will win–for its very terms are those of seductive rhetoric and coercive power.
Much could be conjectured (as well as reasonably argued to conclusion) about how all this has been allowed to happen, particularly in our country. But for now, the important thing is to see reality as it is confronting us; and for believers, this means two things, rooted in the first testimony of the first Christian community: “They devoted themselves to  the teaching of the apostles and the communal life,  to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2.42). We too must be properly informed by the Church’s (2) priestly and (1) prophetic ministries, which She extends through time by virtue of Her Lord’s personal commission–i.e., by virtue of Him whose kingly sovereignty is as Priest and Prophet. Toward the former, the sacramental life must be paramount. The Catholic is nothing if he is not one who finds everything in his concrete sacramental discipline. Toward the latter, the doctrinal life must be paramount. The Catholic is nothing if he is not one who finds the true source of wisdom in the concrete apostolic preaching. To that end, with particular reference to our country’s situation, please consider this statement on religious liberty by our bishops, Our First and Most cherished Liberty.