Under the Hood: Are You a Christian or a Deist? (Pope Benedict)

Below is a must read for any Christian leader, particularly Catholics who have inherited a culture so oriented toward our fulfillment of mere moral precepts. Pope Benedict is exhorting us to reflect upon our core beliefs, our anchor, and to fully engage in the relationship that is at the very heart of ritual.

"The temptation to turn Christianity into a kind of moralism and to concentrate everything on man's moral action has always been great. For man sees himself above all. God remains invisible, untouchable and, therefore, man takes his support mainly from his own action. But if God does not act, if God is not a true agent in history who also enters into my personal life, then what does redemption mean? Of what value is our relationship with Christ, and thus, with the Trinitarian God?

"I think the temptation to reduce Christianity to the level of a type of moralism is very great even in our own day.  For we are all living in an atmosphere of deism. Our notion of natural laws does not facilitate us in believing in any action of God in our world. It seems that there is no room for God himself to act in human history and in my life. And so we have the idea of God who can no longer enter into this cosmos, made and closed against him. What is left? Our action. And we are the ones who must transform the world. We are the ones who must generate redemption. We are the ones who must create the better world, a new world. And if that is how one thinks, then Christianity is dead.

"We are lacking the force of eternal love to respond to the challenges of our lives and of politics.  Love has the capacity to transform the world.  It spurs our love and, in this communion of two wills, one can go on.  Christian holiness and rectitude do not consist in any superhuman greatness or in some superior talent.  Christian faith is properly the religion of ordinary people.  It comes about in a state of obedience that places us at God’s disposition wherever He calls.  It is the same obedience that does not trust to one’s own power or one’s own greatness but is founded on the greatness of the God of Jesus Christ."

Pope Benedict XVI
30 Days in the Church and in the World. Year XVI, Number 10, 1998. 


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"Christian faith is not only a matter of believing that certain things are true, but above all a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an encounter with the Son of God that gives new energy to the whole of our existence." Pope Benedict XVI

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How Drane-ing! Drane, Erie Times News and Church Teaching

Greetings in Christ All.

Reading Drane's article (and corresponding cartoon) today in Erie's Times News ("Catholic Church should change its policies on birth control") made us want to cancel the paper... again. Of course, it demands a reply, but why bother? What good does it do? Where is the Church's official reply?

But then I'm haunted by the awareness that if we don't say something, we're tacitly approving falsehood - and the destruction it causes. We allow pop-culture to assume Catholics are just blind, conflicted sheep.  Our simple reply signals to them that perhaps there are 10,000 others who agree.   Steph saw that look in my eyes and humorously moved to block me from my laptop - as it's Sunday.

It's unlikely they'll publish my below letter, and if they do-- likely it will be misrepresented. Nonetheless, I encourage you if you are so moved to please consider sending your own letter / message to Times News expressing your disagreement with the article - that you do agree with Church teaching. If everyone who received this simply sent that expression - it could have an impact. letters@timesnews.com 

So Lent begins! :) Let's keep praying.
The Times wouldn't ask a disgruntled, former employee to be their spokesperson. One can only wonder why they continue to go to an ex-priest who so evidently opposes the Church on matters so definitively Catholic (Drane, "Catholic Church should change its policies on birth control").

Let's situate this in a liberal framework. In America no one is forced to believe anything. In search of integrity: if you don't agree with the Catholic Church, haven't endeavored to discover the solid basis for our beliefs, plain and simple, you're really not Catholic. No need to get grumpy about it, there numerous, other options.

On Drane's premise, that the Church's teaching ought to be a function of popularity, or ease, or convenience, or taste - one has the Cross to contend with. Fundamentally and essentially, faith is a matter of truth.

Drane wrongly presents the Church teaching as a matter of historical happenstance. It could have gone this way, it could have gone that way. Anyone who has taken the time to read and understand the Church's teachings would recognize otherwise. There is rock-solid biblical, historical, theological and logical basis for the Church as a "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), as a continuation of Christ's teaching (Matt. 16:18ff).

As Catholic parents of six beautiful children (plus one in heaven), we are not blind sheep. Our faith is not a matter of some culturally-construed, external obligation that makes us feel good. We aren't devoted to it simply because we inherited it. Our Catholic faith is something we have studied extensively, that we have engaged, and have come to not only fully embrace, but proclaim joyfully as Christ's revelation for the good of our lives - in this world and the next.

Of course, all professed truth must stand in the light of validation: I have yet to meet anyone who has ever broken a "law" that has not, in fact, broken them. With contraception one need look no further than a commercial  and the long list of warnings at the end. In the biblical-moral sphere, before 1933 all Christian denominations opposed contraception on biblical-theological grounds. So one must ask, did God change his mind? Note that contraception was propelled into acceptance by Margaret Sanger/ Planned Parenthood - whose principal, eugenic purpose was pronounced in their masthead: "More from the fit, less from the unfit."

Prior to 1933 Christians universally understood that sexual expression was a sacred gift between husband and wife, the use of which should correspond to the intent of the Giver. We are moved by the great nobility and truth of a Church that continues to hold up, against all detractors - the great nobility of sexual expression as a call to participate in God Himself who is Love, a Communion of Persons.  God is love and God is life; contraception literally means "against life."

Contraception removes God from the equation, enabling a using of persons. Apart from the Giver everything withers. Decline of marriage, loss of respect for women, loss of respect for life in all stages... all predicted as a result of a "contraceptive mentality".

With due note for the great tragedy of scandal throughout the Church's history, which is incumbent upon any institution so entrusted to imperfect humanity, we thank God for His gift of the Church, and for all those who have faithfully proclaimed and lived the saving truths which, if not popular or easy, are for our greatest good.

GO HERE for a great summary on the basis of the Church's teaching on contraception.

Greg and Stephanie Schlueter

Live IT Family Story #2: That You Might Have Warm Water

By Greg Schlueter

As a family we're up every morning at 6am to work out at the YMCA. As there are eight of us, I've been hounding the kids to take shorter showers - as I'm last.

So, this morning I commented on how nice it was to have some warm water yesterday. The older two boys shared with me that our youngest, Dominic - age 6, without letting me know, took a cold shower so I could have some hot water. It's 25 degrees outside!

So often I'm so moved and inspired by the nature of God's self-giving love alive in my kids... most of the time anyways. This one goes a long way!  


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Live IT Family Story #1: Everyone Needs a Little Gracie

By Greg Schlueter

Gracie is our 8 year old firebrand. Every day she kicks out little creations that affirm her love for various family members. While I always appreciate these, I made the mistake a few days ago of suggesting that we would soon need to rent a storage facility.

The next day I awoke with a certain heaviness about some things. While getting ready for work, I was struck by at least three, beautiful "Gracie's creations" - a real "pick me up" that so clearly expressed God's loving heart, and the gift of His prolific love so alive in her.

So, of course, the first thing I did was found her and shared all this with her- encouraging her to keep that loving heart flowing. She jumped up and gave me a big hug and, flashing her big brown eyes, simply said unfazed, "Dad, you didn't think that would stop me, did you?"

PLEASE SHARE YOUR SHORT STORY that inspires with the sense of God alive in families. Go HERE to post. (We may contact you about featuring it.)

LIVE IT: THE MISSION is to invite families on the great adventure of discovering our identity / mission and Living IT. We Image the Trinity (Get IT?).

Get on board. More HERE.