Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Culture of Secularism....

During a convention on the Church in Italy on Oct. 28 in Verona Italy, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about difficulties facing the Church. The West now sees itself as self-sufficient. There is a pervading belief that people need to depend only on themselves. The Holy Father said that God is excluded from culture and from public life. In the minds of people, He has become superfluous and out of place. This has a profound effect on how we view ourselves. Man is reduced to being just another part of nature and is subject to being treated like any other animal. Furthermore, Christian morality is replaced with secular ethics. Rather than conforming our lives to God's Commandments, men judge the goodness of something on the basis of its usefulness. In other words, if it works for me or if I can gain some advantage from it, it's good. If not, it's bad. Also, it is reasoned that if it's good for you, that's OK as long as it doesn't hurt me. This reasoning disregards God's revelation in the Bible, and, as the Pope said: "It is not difficult to see how this type of culture represents a radical and profound break not only with Christianity but more in general with the religious and moral traditions of humanity. It is therefore not able to establish a true dialogue with other cultures, in which the religious dimension is strongly present..."

Because the Church is living in this milieu, it must be a leaven to society. Already there is a sense that something is lacking in the minds of many who embrace a secularist view. Therefore, Pope Benedict appealed to the participants of this convention to give a Christian response to the questions of people living in this culture devoid of God.

The environment of secularism – that is, a world without God – is more and more prevalent right here in America. Somehow, God has tolerated it He stays within church walls and within the confines of our homes. But never is He or His teaching allowed in the marketplace or in the chambers of government. The proponents of this agenda are really imposing their religion on us: the religion of secularism whereby man or nature is made a god. We have the opportunity with the gift of our Faith to make a difference. For the sake of truth, for the sake of our fellow man, it is important to happily and gently stand up for God and all that He taught us through His Son. He continues to teach and strengthen us through the Church.

I would like to close with the following portion of the Holy Father's address:

Special attention and extraordinary commitment are demanded today by those great challenges that endanger vast portions of the human family: war and terrorism, hunger and thirst, some terrible epidemics. But it is also necessary to face, with equal determination and clear policies the risks of political and legislative choices that contradict fundamental values and anthropological principles and ethics rooted in the nature of the human being, in particular, regarding the guardianship of human life in all its stages, from conception to natural death, and to the promotion of the family founded on marriage, avoiding the introduction in the public order of other forms of union that would contribute to destabilizing it, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable role in society.

Fr. Stanley