Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
September 13, 2009
Being a Good Catholic . . . Is It Still Possible in Our Culture?
More and more, Catholics look and listen to all that is happening around them and wonder what they are to think. The issue is rather complex. It is not usually a matter of black and white (relating to issues), neither is it simply a moral issue. Our faith permeates throughout the maze of life which includes politics, finances, relationships, and culture. When we consider all aspects together there is no simple solution to any problem, much less how faith in God relates to the entire scheme of things.
Over the past few months there have been some bitter debates involving political issues and politicians. We all remember the issue of President Obama being invited to Notre Dame and being conferred the highest honor the catholic institution has to confer. There were bitter debates throughout the Catholic community of our nation over the matter. Many saw the event as a travesty while others saw it simply as a cultural tradition being carried on by universities. Still others saw the event as a step forward, i.e., a Catholic University that was able to put aside its own “agenda” and opening itself to discussion on views not usually openly discussed.
Just a few weeks ago, the issue of Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral caused another uproar among many Catholics. Some did not believe he should have a Catholic funeral because of his stand on abortion. Other, a bit less stern, felt that Cardinal O’Malley should not attend the Mass. Much to the dismay of all, Senator Kennedy did have a Mass and Cardinal O’Malley did attend although he did not celebrate the liturgy. Perhaps many of you read the Cardinal’s opinion of this action in the Boston Globe or on his blog.
The above two examples are only a small sampling of the many issues facing Catholics today. We could easily make a list that would overwhelm us all, but perhaps it would be in our favor to simply look for clarification instead. When looking for clarification we must first look for the issue. The most common mistake is to attempt to solve problems without first identifying the issue. This is literally impossible.
Using the issue of Notre Dame, we can find clarification with the help of Bishop John M. D’Arcy. With this issue in mind, the bishop tells us that the issue is not President Obama, neither is it about Democrats or Republicans, nor is it about presidents speaking at Notre Dame. Rather, D’Arcy say, the response of the Catholics must zero in on the message of the Gospel. In Matthew’s words, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good works, and glorify your heavenly Father”. (5:13)
In short, as human beings, we must not allow the situations and facets of our lives to overwhelm us. We must not look at issues too narrowly but we must always ask ourselves, “are we living our lives in response to the Gospel?” If we can honestly respond in the affirmative we know that we are being good Catholics. Is it easy to be a Catholic Christian? Absolutely not! It never was and never will be. Will it make us a better Catholic to lay the blame on others? Never! We must always keep this in mind.
Perhaps we should take the time to read the Gospel in quiet reflection this week.
Lorette P. Nault