Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth...

There is a positive trend regarding the Church these days according to David Hartline author of The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism (publisher: The Catholic Report). He credits the leadership of both Servant of God Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Both were apostolic in bringing the teachings of Christ to the whole world. From them we heard and continue to hear the undiluted truth.

The truth is attractive; we are naturally drawn to it. It would make no sense to be given an incomplete and adulterated version of the truth out of a desire to make us feel better—to assuage our conscience. Jesus never compromised the way things are; He taught us all that we need to know even though many disciples walked away from Him because they found his words too hard.

This desire to announce the truth is shared by many Church leaders down to our own Archbishop. He has remained stalwart in teaching us the way it is. In giving us the truth, he has, among other things, specifically defended the sacredness of human life and the institution of marriage. Like the Pope, a bishop is the teacher and sanctifier in his diocese. How beautifully God takes care of us by giving us shepherds to guide us along the way of the Lord.

Hartline indicates that it is not only important to disseminate the truth faithfully, but it is also fruitful. In an interview with the Zenit news agency he said:
In a nutshell, wherever Church orthodoxy is taught the Church is flourishing. This extends to the young and old. In the book, I note that in dioceses where Church orthodoxy is emphasized, we see increases in seminarians and youth involvement in the Church.

...there are millions of converts who came into the Church in the last few years who were well versed in the teachings of their previous churches, some who were even proudly anti-Catholic. However in their quest to prove Catholicism wrong, many found the Catholic Church to be the one Jesus founded.

Often, converts approach me at the various talks I give and say three things kept them from Catholicism; the Eucharist, Mary and the papacy. When I asked what brought them into the Church they basically give the same answer, the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the Holy Father, or the magisterium.

...While there are hopeful signs in the United States and Latin America, and even glimmers of hope in Europe, the most vibrant areas of the Church can be found in Africa and Asia.

In 2006 alone, some 8 million converts came into the Church and 3,000 priests were ordained in Asia and Africa. Recently, a priest originally from Uganda was visiting the United States to raise money for his parish in Sudan. This visiting priest told me he was taken aback by some in the Western world who verbally attack the Church, some of whom were even members of the Church. He said such a thing would be unthinkable in much of Africa, since the Church, its teachings and graces, such as the sacraments, are embraced with awe, wonder and gratitude. (, Oct 24, 2007)

A very clear understanding of what the Church teaches—of what Christ teaches—wins converts. It does make a difference what we are taught and what we believe.

It is our right to receive the whole truth. May we always be given it. But also may we always look for it by reading the Catholic Catechism and the Bible.

Fr. Stanley