battles old & new
By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 05, 2007
Great remarks by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver given at St. John's University Law School in Queens. Take a glance at the excerpts below, and consider the impact they'd have were they delivered by an Archbishop Niederauer or a Cardinal Mahony:
As this audience already knows, Christian reverence for the unborn child is no medieval development. It comes from the very beginnings of our faith. The early Church had no debates over politicians and communion. There wasn't any need. No persons who tolerated or promoted abortion would have dared to approach the Eucharistic table, let alone dared to call themselves true Christians.
And here's why: The early Christians understood that they were the offspring of a new worldwide family of God. They saw the culture around them as a culture of death, a society that was slowly extinguishing itself. ...
There's an interesting line in a Second Century apologetic work written by Minucius Felix. He was a Roman lawyer and a convert. He's talking about a birth-control drug that works as an abortifacient. He describes its effects this way: "There are women who swallow drugs to stifle in their own womb the beginnings" of a person to be.
That's what the first Christians saw around them in their world. They believed the world was snuffing out its own future. It was stifling future generations before they could come to be. It was slowly killing itself.
Since we see similar signs in our own day, we need to find the courage those first Christians had in challenging their culture. We need to believe not only what they believed. We need to believe those things with the same deep fervor. ...
It's time for all of us who claim to be "Catholic" to recover our Catholic identity as disciples of Jesus Christ and missionaries of his Church. In the long run, we serve our country best by remembering that we're citizens of heaven first. We're better Americans by being more truly Catholic -- and the reason why, is that unless we live our Catholic faith authentically, with our whole heart and our whole strength, we have nothing worthwhile to bring to the public debates that will determine the course of our nation.
Pluralism in a democracy doesn't mean shutting up about inconvenient issues. It means speaking up -- respectfully, in a spirit of justice and charity, but also vigorously and without apologies. Jesus said that we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free.
If pagan Rome could be won for Jesus Christ, surely we can do the same in our own world. What it takes is the zeal and courage to live what we claim to believe.
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