In remarks to US bishops, Pope Benedict warns of growing menace, underscores ‘need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity’

VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2012 (VIS) — Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a group of prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Regions 4 and 6) at the end of their “ad limina” visit. Extracts from his English-language remarks to them are given below.

“At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents, which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.” 

“For her part, the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering… With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents, which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth… The Church’s defense of a moral reasoning based on the natural law is grounded on her conviction that this law is not a threat to our freedom, but rather a ‘language’ which enables us to understand ourselves and the truth of our being, and so to shape a more just and humane world.”

“The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.”

“In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.”

“Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-a-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would de-legitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society… In this regard, I would mention with appreciation your efforts to maintain contacts with Catholics involved in political life and to help them understand their personal responsibility to offer public witness to their faith, especially with regard to the great moral issues of our time: respect for God’s gift of life, the protection of human dignity and the promotion of authentic human rights.”

“No one who looks at these issues realistically can ignore the genuine difficulties which the Church encounters at the present moment. Yet in faith we can take heart from the growing awareness of the need to preserve a civil order clearly rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, as well as from the promise offered by a new generation of Catholics whose experience and convictions will have a decisive role in renewing the Church’s presence and witness in American society. The hope which these ‘signs of the times’ give us is itself a reason to renew our efforts to mobilize the intellectual and moral resources of the entire Catholic community in the service of the evangelization of American culture and the building of the civilization of love.”

VIS — Vatican Information Service — is the official news agency of the Holy See.



Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 12:33 AM By charlio
On July 29, 1968, Father Charles Curran issued a statement dissenting against Humanae Vitae, later signed by 600 “theologians” (many of whom weren’t). This Father Curran remains a priest. Apparently in this case, the Church’s justice grinds very, very slow.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 6:02 AM By Sawyer
In plainer language: anyone who votes for members of the Democrat Party is an enemy of Christ and His Church.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 7:31 AM By Laurette Elsberry
To the words of Pope Benedict XVI we should all add an imperative AMEN.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 7:47 AM By JMJ
I encourage all of you to subscribe to Zenit as they give our Holy Father’s (and other Church leaders) speeches, etc.. It is a welcome contrast to what we get from the Internet & other medias, especially when they attack of mislead the public about what was said as we have seen so many times. Keep up the good work California Catholic Daily & thanks for all that you do. +JMJ+

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 7:57 AM By Juergensen
The Holy Father understands all too well “the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity,” particularly in light of the abysmal catechesis of the past 40 years and the not uncommon misleading, false teachings that emanate from national episcopal conferences (cf. Sec. 34, “Faithful Citizenship”). Alas, owing to the tacit rejection by silence of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by much of the episcopacy, too often the “well-formed Catholic laity” must needs be a “self-formed Catholic laity.”

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 8:46 AM By John F. Maguire
Pope Benedict XVI’s call that we “renew our efforts to mobilize the intellectual and moral resources of the entire Catholic community in the service of the evangelization of American culture and the building of the civilization of love” turns on an understanding of *Church* as apostolic hierarchy but also as the community of the Christian faithful united one part to another in a bond of unity in a single community, the entirety of whch is informed by the Holy Spirit. I welcome Pope Benedict’s solemn and timely *ad limina* address.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 8:47 AM By Dottie
May God bless our wonderful Pope Benedict ! Any Catholic or person of good moral conviction can not VOTE for Obama.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 9:00 AM By MIKE
“In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. ….” – Pope B above. We each have a job to do. Get out your “CCC 2nd Ed” and your “Catholic Bible” read in entirety, and use for a reference. We must teach when necessary, and speak or write only the truth. Our Church needs each one of us to be a witness and a teacher. Work for good, moral political candidates whenever possible; and keep up with the political situations in your County, State, and Federally. Voting is not only a requirement as stated in the CCC, it is critical to the common good. Many elected politicians also determine our judges.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 9:19 AM By Peggy
If only Bishop McElroy would heed the advice of our Holy Father and help in forming the laity of the archdiocese according to the teachings of our Church. Well-informed Catholics could then be more effective in “countering a reductive secularism” in the public square. His launching of the “Forward in Faith” series for the “thinking Catholic” is antithetical to the papal directive. For a flavor of this course, readers can refer back to CCD published “Challenge prevailing definitions of reality” (Nov. 21, 2011).

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 10:02 AM By Sarah
Where and how do most of U.S. Catholics receive their knowledge of Church doctrine? Most have not attended any Catholic school or university, most do not regularly read Catholic books or newspapers or on-line services, such as California Catholic Daily. In the homilies at my parish, the priests explain the philosphical signicance of the Bible readings of the day. I try to listen and learn from it, but it is vague and boring. I think they should use the homilies to instruct us about Catholic doctrine and how we should try to live as faithful Catholics in our secular, anti-Catholic society. We are instructed daily by the media about the need for safe and free abortions, why our daughters (and now sons, too) must receive free vaccinations to prevent getting cervical cancer from their sexual partners, why same-sex marriage is a civil right, why marriage is not necessary before having children, and the list goes on. TV, screen and sport celebrities demonstrate how the rich and famous live and have children out of wedlock. Yes, most parishes have a shortage of priests, but somehow catechesis MUST be provided by deacons or other people.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 10:36 AM By OSCAR
Sarah, unfortunately today, many good Catholics must be self taught. In addition to attending Mass, they read a ‘CATHOLIC BIBLE and the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition”. We all have an obligation to read them. CCC: ” 1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin. In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.”

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 10:43 AM By Gerry
One isn’t going to get moral teachings and poignant articulation on the consequences of sin from homilies from the majority of priests we presently have on Sundays. They have been formed in the notion of “follow your heart and form your own conscience.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 11:10 AM By charlio
Unfortunately, Sawyer (6:02 AM), the Republicans, too, are still just throwing us bones. Google “Lewis Powell slideshow friends enemies”.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 11:11 AM By Ted
Supposedly, what I have heard anyway, our bishops fear losing the Church’s tax-exempt status, and use that as an excuse for their heretofore lukewarm assertions of the Catholic positions against the Culture of Death. If I had to increase contributions to compensate for that possibility, I would do it. If it got to a federal court, the IRS would lose, all the way to the Supreme Court. The IRS may be a weapon for the liberals in congress, but their arguments could not stand the light of day in a Federal Court. And they know it. Until now, the threat has been enough. This cowering before the thugs who want a culture of death has to stop. Speak forcefully, in no uncertain terms. Excommunicate Pelosi first, then look up Kennedy on your list.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 12:00 PM By k
To add to MIKE, you could read the bible and the catechism in their entirety in a year by reading 2 pages of the Catechism and, depending on the print size of your Bible, 4 or 5 pages of the Bible every day. It will take about 30 minutes.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 12:11 PM By Bud 
Obama and his major supporters must be better exposed and all Christians must unite in a very vocal outcry from now until the elections. When the public school systems start supporting their outrageous unions who in turn support Obama, with huge contributions, we have a very strong enemy in sheep’s clothing. Obama is folding to his financial contributors right now as always. His only objective is to win …..the man is truly dangerous to our Constitutional government.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 3:56 PM By JLS
Best way to read the Bible: Read it quickly … say 12 hours per day and you’ll finish in maybe a couple weeks. Then begin reading it slowly and asking questions. Once you’ve finished this second reading, then you can begin to study commentary by authentic Church teachers … “authentic” as in magisterial including doctors and other saints. This third stage could take years, but not to worry, because you’ve already memorized it or at least become very familiar with the contents. This should get you on your way to where you can actually say something about Holy Scripture that makes sense.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 5:02 PM By Abeca Christian
God bless our Pope! We love our Pope! Praise Be Jesus Christ!

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 5:20 PM By Abeca Christian
Psalm 42:11 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 12:37 PM By Traditional Angelo
Oscar, You say, “Unfortunatley today, many good Catholics must be self taught”. That is the sad truth! Many Catholics today hunger for the truth, they want to know what God wants of us. But they don’t know where to begin. In my parish many go on parish sponsored retreats, which are extremely deficient. Here are a couple of examples, On a parish sponsored retreat the retreatants were instructed that when they ask for the intercession of the saints, they must yell out their petitions verbaly or the saints cannot hear them. They are constantly instructed that if they don’t give 10% of their income, they then are in a state of sin. If they give 10% to the parish they are assured of financial prosperity. These people are poor and are just getting by. They give their 10% and then go to the local Christian Emergency Aid to obtain food for their families. The sad thing is that those who run the parish don’t really care, just as long as the money comes rolling in. If the faithful had the right resources for learning the faith, they would know that the Saints do not have human ears and can hear them even if they pray silently. Also they would learn that the Church asks us to give according to our means. A couple of weeks ago the Holy Father called for the practice again of pamplets, leaflets ect… so that Catholics could learn what the Church teaches. This is something I believe should be done by the laity faithful to the Church, using the CCC. If the Laity does’nt do it, no one else will.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 1:03 PM By MIKE
k – everyone has different time availability, so it will be personal preference. But, I read the CCC from cover to cover, and kept a Bible nearby so I could check the references in the footnotes from the Bible. This way was systematic for me so I didn’t miss anything in the CCC. Reading the Bible I also read from cover to cover – and use a Bible highlighter. I read the New Testament first and then the Old Testament so I could see how the OT related to Jesus. (If we meet the other requirements, we can obtain a plenary indulgence for reading the Bible for 30 minutes. 30 minutes a day is a good goal for those who are busy.)

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 1:27 PM By k
MIKE, do you use the Campanion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church? It’s not perfect, but it has the references from Church documents.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 1:30 PM By k
Traditional Angelo, that is the kind of stuff that needs to be made known. That is spiritual abuse.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 2:34 PM By MIKE
k, I have both the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” and the “Compendium Catechism of the Catholic Church”. I use the CCC 2nd Ed (904 pages) because of the better explanation and the reference to the Bible passages that I look up. It helps me when talking to Protestants and other Bible readers. The Compendium (204) pages refers back to the CCC 2nd Ed for further info with some references within paragraphs. Both Catechisms are correct; with the CCC 2nd Ed (2000) from the Magisterium, and the Compendium (2006) with a Motu Proprio from Pope Benedict. For young teens I recommend the YOUCAT (2011) with the foreward from Pope Benedict. For children I think the Baltimore is still the best. I guess it depends on how much time one is willing to devote to their own education rather than watching TV etc in available time. All the Church documents, Papal statements, and anything official refers to the “CCC 2nd Ed” when quoting a Catechism. Both Pope JPII and Pope Benedict have/are doing their best to educate Catholics in the faith, becuase as Pope Benedict stated in Ratzinger Report we have a “shattered catechesis” due to experimental catechisms that are incomplete and the suppression of the Catechism. (I make extensive use of bible highlighters in both because they don’t bleed through to next page.)

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 3:43 PM By MIKE
k, this is in the introduction of the Compendium. ” The Compendium is not a work that stands alone, nor is it intended in any way to replace the Catechism of the Catholic Church: instead, it refers constantly to the Catechism by means of reference numbers printed in the margins, as well as by consistent reliance on its structure, development and contents. In fact, the Compendium is meant to reawaken interest in and enthusiasm for the Catechism, which, in the wisdom of its presentation and the depth of its spirituality, always remains the basic text for catechesis in the Church today.” Hope this helps. Everyone’s needs are different. Personally, I already use the Bible as referenced in the CCC, and sometimes the Vatican web site for documents referenced in the CCC. If I were to use the Compendium, I would have to use the Bible, the Vatican web site, and the CCC to look things up -using all 4 would be a bit much for continuity of thought. And I have a tendancy to want the complete answer. Another example, the Compendium references 3 CCC paragraphs for ‘subsidiarity’, leaving out # 2209. The CCC actually uses 4 paragraphs for ‘subsidiarity’ including #2209.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:21 PM By k
MIKE, not the Compendium, the Companion to the Catechism os the Catholic Church A Compendium of Texts Referred to in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is put out by Ignatius Press.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:28 PM By Jeff
Encourage the US Bishops to publically excommunicate pro-choice Catholic politicians.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:22 PM By Traditional Angelo
K, You certainly are correct in saying that this type of spiritual abuse needs to be made known. What I like about CalCathDaily is that here such abuses could be made known. Not for the mere sake of complaining, but for the purpose of making it known for the good of the Church. Many of our Bishops and priests seem to find nothing wrong with the way things are going. CalCathDaily has made a big difference, I read that even some at the Vatican have been reading what is on this site, that is great! We must make our concerns heard with open and frank posts. We must make known that all is not well. Liberals once hailed the post V2 period as the age of the laity, but now they don’t care much for what some of the laity are saying, because some of the laity are challenging their errors. We must proceed forward.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:46 PM By Abeca Christian
2 Timothy 4:7 – Douay Rheims Bible (DRB) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:57 PM By Abeca Christian
Philippians 2:7-11 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 11:56 AM By jonJ
I completely agree with Abp. Dolan with respect to the abortion/contraception provisions of Obamacare. And, I agree with the Pope with respect to the need for catholics to stand up for these rights. But, when he talks about an exaggerated sense of freedom, I wonder if he wants to use state force to make contraceptives illegal, or to pass laws prohibiting contraception/sterilizaton from being included in insurance plans. While I can agree with banning forms of bc that are abortifacient, I think using state force to ban birth control that does not impact fertilized eggs an overextension of religious authority into secular law. Remember, infallible omniscient Jesus simply preached the truth: he did not compel others to behave in conformity with that truth. He even permitted roman and hebrew authorities to crucify him when they objected to his preaching, and still he did not resort to compulsion. Obviously, allowing man to choose God by free will is important to Jesus. Therefore his fallible and limited followers should not attempt what he refrained from doing. If an earthly act does not cause tangible, identifiable and sgnificant harm to third parties, then it we should not use state force to punish it. We should, of course, speak out what we see and believe to be Gods truth; and have faith that, over time, most people will recognize that truth and follow God’s way. Anything more is simply inflating our earthly ego rather than following Christ’s example.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 1:54 PM By Maryanne Leonard
JonJ, the “infallible omniscient Jesus” to whom you refer did not simply preach the truth as you say; He did so much more it is mind-boggling that you should say otherwise. Granting your premise, however, do you believe in following his teachings, or not? Do you believe the Catholic Church has done a perfect job of interpreting His teachings for us to follow, or not? Do you believe in seeking God’s will for us, or should I say, for yourself? If you persist in believing as you do, it is my opinion that you need to study your faith a little bit more and reconsider those questions again after you have done so.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 4:32 PM By JLS
jonJ, God uses state force, and the Catholic Church is tasked (Great Commission) to persuade the state of the need to do so. Would you have the Church persuade the state to do nothing? Well, of course not. Then the Church is supposed to persuade the state to do some things and not others, right? Of course you agree, jonJ. So now what exactly is the Church supposed urge the state to do and what not to do? Is the Church supposed to urge the state to allow abortion, contraception, sodomy? You do of course know, jonJ, that the state’s means of managing society is “enforcement” … notice the “force” part of it? So, you see, the Church has the responsibility to disciple the state, all of the states in the world. jonJ, there is no way you can succeed in parting company between the Church and the state, no matter how earnestly you pretend it can or should be done.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 4:38 PM By JLS
Also, jonJ, don’t you remember when I explained how Jesus destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? And everyone knows Jesus whipped the money changers in His temple and threw their tables over. And how could you forget the Scriptures that tell us about when Jesus talked up Moses, Elijah and David … men who presided or took part in forcing other jurisdictions as well as their own by very bloody and deathly force? jonJ, Jesus is not a wimp which you imply He is, nor is the Church. The “wimp” Catholic church is the tares among the grain. The difference between this parable and actual people is that unlike weeds, people can be changed from serving evil to serving good. Force sometimes can effect this change, and sometimes force can prevent bad things from happening to good people.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 4:52 PM By Larry
JonJ: Here is something to think about. Pope Paul VI, in his landmark Humanae Vitae, did not just say that contraception was off-limits to Catholics. He said that it was a violation of the natural law–a crime against humanity, in a sense–something entirely outside of, and predating the Catholic Church. In 1968, that assertion seemed ludicrous. But now–more than four decades after contraceptives (especially the pill) became readily available and popular, we see very severe and worrisome demographic trends across the civilized Western World. Put quite simply, the inflow of new humans into many countries via the maternity ward has nearly dried up over such a long period that Western European culture, for example, is seriously risking extinction over the long run. Demographics are skewing so heavily towards the elderly and away from the young as to raise the question: who is going to take care of the old folks, and who is going to pay the taxes to have them cared for? In the United States, Social Security is moribund because the Postwar Baby Boom was followed by an extended Baby Drought. The Catholic Church is closing schools and parishes right and left because of too few babies. I just heard yesterday that the general birth rate in the State of California has plunged to a level not seen since 1935! JonJ, mark my words–it won’t be too many more decades before secular-minded people–people who are neither Catholics nor even religious believers–will start wondering out loud whether we need to do something to cut down on contraceptive use, just for the sake of society’s future.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 7:57 PM By k
jonJ, I don’t see where the Pope talked about an exaggerated sense of freedom. Was it in this article?

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 9:41 PM By JLS
The demographic trends of contraception and abortion: The population of the world is increasing; there will be a point where the the cultures of contraception and abortion will have died out. We read constantly of massive death numbers by famine, war, disease and the refusal to have children. Yet the global population increases: Which groups of people are included in the increase? In a century what will the ethnic and religious demographics look like? The first world ethnicities are dying out. Who is rising to predominance? Where is the Church in it?

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 11:09 PM By Rick DeLano
Did Obama and Sebellius just awaken a sleeping giant?

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 11:54 PM By Abeca Christian
From St. Augustine’s City of God Chap. XXIV 471 (Chapter 24.—Against Those Who Fancy that in the Judgment of God All the Accused Will Be Spared in Virtue of the Prayers of the Saints.) As for those who find an empty threat rather than a truth in such passages as these: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire;” and “These shall go away into eternal punishment;” 1555 and “They shall be tormented for ever and ever;” 1556 and “Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched,” 1557 —such persons, I say, are most emphatically and abundantly refuted, not by me so much as by the divine Scripture itself. For the men of Nineveh repented in this life, and therefore their repentance was fruitful, inasmuch as they sowed in that field which the Lord meant to be sown in tears that it might afterwards be reaped in joy. And yet who will deny that God’s prediction was fulfilled in their case, if at least he observes that God destroys sinners not only in anger but also in compassion? For sinners are destroyed in two ways,—either, like the Sodomites, the men themselves are punished for their sins, or, like the Ninevites, the men’s sins are destroyed by repentance. God’s prediction, therefore, was fulfilled,—the wicked Nineveh was overthrown, and a good Nineveh built up. For its walls and houses remained standing; the city was overthrown in its depraved manners.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 11:58 PM By Abeca Christian
“For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” —Romans 8:16-18

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:18 AM By KR
Nowhere in the Constitution or in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison is found one sentence which suggests religion action is above the law. Nothing in their writings is more accepted than the principle of law as drafted in compact with the people. Never did either of them ever assert unrestricted religion action was to prevail or everyone was free to do whatever they pleased in the name of “free exercise.” Jefferson and Madison totally opposed any legal establishment of religion tyranny over the minds of men.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:20 AM By KR
It should also be made clear that proper terminology is important to proper understanding of what the Constitution does say. The constitutional issue is about separation between “religion” and government, not simply “church and state.” The word “church” is not in the Constitution; the constitutional word is “religion.” Use of the terminology “church and state” is misleading and inaccurate. The Constitution does not forbid just a “church” test; it forbids a “religious” test. The Constitution does not simply prohibit Congress from making “church” laws; it forbids Congress from making “religion” laws. It is “religion” which is not to be established by law. Use of proper terminology will eliminate much confusion in regard to the constitutional principle of separation.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:55 AM By Andy
JLS, the Muslim population is growing since they are faithful to their beliefs against abortion and contraception. Catholics must start adhering to theirs. CCC: ” 2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).” In response to Rick D – I hope so.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:51 AM By Larry
Absolutely wrong, KR. The First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting “an establishment of religion.” That translates as: Congress shall ordain no official state church. The First Amendment also says that freedom of religion shall not be impaired. The First Amendment says nothing more and nothing less than the government will not be allowed to meddle in church affairs. The church is allowed to meddle all it wants in government affairs. At least under a proper reading of the First Amendment.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:47 PM By JLS
KR, the US Constitution is a work of man. It has provided a good ride for centuries now, but not alone. Along with the Constitution has been vast lands and resources … These are gone now. The Constitution is on its way out as well. Rulers are seeking the next type of government. Europe is the perennial model, yet incorporates virtually all models. The Church is the only government not founded by man. As always the rulers of this world are to be discipled by the Church … this is the command of Christ, called the Great Commission.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:52 PM By JonJ
Maryanne, I am well aware that Christ founded a Church and performed many miracles. I thought it was very clear from context that what I meant was that Jesus did not use compulsion (though he was far more able to do so without error than anyone born on earth) to force people to behave in conformity to his teaching. If you did not want to hear him preach, and stayed in your home, Christ did not blast open your door or speak in a voice so loud that entire world could not help but hear. Christ did not conquer the world and create a universal state, with his teaching as its law. Christ did not modify human biology to make fornication, homosexuality, pedophilia or masturbation physically impossible. Obviously, evil is allowed to exist, and people are allowed to make evil choices according to God’s plan. Thus, we human beings should be very reluctant to use coersion to compel moral behavior, because such compulsion likely robs people of the freedom to choose God. Those who are very anxious to use all kinds of state force to compel conformity to what they believe is moral behavior are all too likely doing it for their own aggrandizement rather than any desire to aid others.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:07 PM By JonJ
K, You are right, I misquoted. Here he talked about exaggerated individualism. I knew what he meant inside my own head, but for some reason typed “freedom”. Sigh. I suspect the Pope is responding the the strong rise of libertarian thought that is influencing our political discourse recently. I guess my concern is more clearly stated as, if we use too much state force to compel conformity to moral law, we run the risk of taking away an individual’s freedom to choose God. Without temptation there is no virtue. For example if we pointed a proverbial gun at someone’s head 24/7 to prevent adultery, then his faithful marriage would provide little evidence or real opportunity for spiritual growth. THe opportunity for sin is, I believe, a necessary component for us to develop as spiritual beings.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:18 PM By JonJ
JLS, the old testment actions of God the Father are NOT models for humans. “Punishisment is mine, sayeth the Lord”. Jesus is God become Man, and is therefore a proper model for man to aspire to. And yes, I am well aware of Jesus’ and the moneychangers. Notice that Jesus actually used quite limited force in a very narrow way in that particular situation. First of all, Jesus did not use his miraculous powers to inflict punishment, instead he restricted himself to a non-lethal, completely mundane whip. The force use was restricted to driving the moneychangers from the Temple, not pursuing them or inflicting some kind of lifelong punishment. He did not ban all moneylending. He did not change the physical laws of the universe such that any usury would result in a lightning bolt from heaven to prevent any future occurance. He did not ban profit or commerce in the marketplace. What he did act out against, in a very restrained manner, was the particular commercial exploitation of people at the temple where they open themselves in trust seeking communion with God. This bible story is not carte blanche for the righteous to whip anyone they think is behaving in a mannyer that violates their sense of morality. This action harmed third parties, was tangible, obvious and concrete harm. And the force used against them was resricted to that necessary to achieve his purpose. You might characterize Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his rebuke of peter’s attack against the roman soldier as “a wimp”, I would not make that characterization.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:11 PM By k
I think that it is unwise to avail oneself of the opportunity to sin so as to prove one’s virtue. I know someone who does not like tax money to go to welfare because it removes the opportunity for one to help the poor voluntarily. I do not think he is correct. It is kind of the flip side of what you said. “State force” is necessary for some things.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 2:36 AM By KR
JLS, First, notice that Jesus gave this command only to the eleven disciples (v.14). (See also Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:1-8.) Nowhere in the Bible are New Testament believers taught that they must go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person. Second, the eleven disciples were specially empowered by the Holy Spirit with miraculous signs and abilities so that they might accomplish Jesus’ command (Mark 16:17-20; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 3:1-7). Third, the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the mission during their lifetimes in the first century A.D. Notice what Mark 16:20 plainly states: “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” The Apostle Paul confirms the fulfillment of the Great Commission in Colossians 1:23: “… the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven.” Notice what the Apostle Paul also said in Romans 16:26: He stated that the gospel of Jesus Christ was “made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” And so we see by the testimony of Scripture, the Great Commission that Jesus gave to the eleven disciples in Mark 16:15 was fully accomplished by His apostles during their lifetimes in the first century A.D. The Great Commission has been fulfilled!

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:12 AM By SANDY
CCC: ” 909 Moreover, by uniting their forces let the laity so remedy the institutions and conditions of the world when the latter are an inducement to sin, that these may be conformed to the norms of justice, favoring rather than hindering the practice of virtue. By so doing they will impregnate culture and human works with a moral value.”

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:14 AM By Sandy
CCC – 898: “By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will. . . . It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.”

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:08 AM By KR
Larry, The First Amendment, when adopted, curtailed the power of Congress, not the states. Now, because of the Fourteenth Amendment: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Now, the First Amendment applies equally to both Congress and the states. Constitutionally, America is a nation wherein citizens of all religions and of none are welcome to participate fully in all of America’s social and political functions. In his “Memorial and Remonstrance,” Madison wrote, “the religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man.”

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:37 PM By JonJ
KR, originalists do not accept 14th amendment incorporation.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 5:50 PM By Lar
KR: So you do admit, then, that the First Amendment limits the government’s actions, not the Church’s and not the influence of religion in general. That is my point.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:59 PM By JLS
KR, are you pitting Madison’s rule of religion against that of Jesus, to wit The Great Commission?

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:04 PM By JLS
KR, when you limit the Great Commission to the Apostles, and imply that it does not pertain to the rest of Catholicism’s (by now) several billion souls, you simply illustrate the religion similar to Christianity but one which is popeless and thus not under the guarantee given by Jesus. Perhaps you should study the authority of Apostles and popes, and how the rest of Catholicism consists of members of the same mystical body. KR, you yourself may have no direct part in carrying forward the Great Commission, but if you are a member of Catholicism, then you are taking part in it.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:12 PM By JLS
Upon further reading of your post, KR, I see your confusion. You are presuming what the Protestants presume which is that the Calvary event was discontinued two millenia ago. You might find it exhilarating to explore Catholicism from a sacramental approach … the Crucifixion and Resurrection, KR, are ongoing. They are complete in every Mass that is said. Perhaps you’ve imbibed the wine of millenialism instead of that of life eternal. You should be able to see that in the day of St Paul, the Gospel did not reach many parts of the world. Please consider the timelessness of Heaven. “Under Heaven”, KR, does not refer to some geographical location that would validate you interpretation; rather it refers to eternity with God. Millenialism, which you seem to be coming from, is seriously faulty in its precepts. Choose Catholicism instead and deepen your reflections.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:49 PM By KR
In the USA, religion actions are no more constitutionally accommodated than non religion actions. Actions relating to the exercise of religion are subject to the same laws of the land which apply to all actions, regardless of religion. Not one word of the Constitution authorizes religion or religion actions as being above or an exception to the laws of the land. It is opinion only which is above the law.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 3:57 AM By D.A.N.
In addition to the Federal Constitution regarding the Congress not establishing a religion, and freedom of religion and speech, most States include similar words in their State Constitutions for that particular State including CA. US and State Constitutions can be found on the internet. When the Federal Government forces us to violate our religious beliefs in favor of theirs, they are in effect establishing their own religion and imposing it upon us.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:27 AM By JLS
KR, what you are failing to understand is the ultimate authority of Catholicism and the temporal authority of Americanism.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:51 AM By Jim
KR, what religion are you? This would help us understand your positions for a better discussion. What Bible are you using? The Christian Bibles all carry the same NEW TESTAMENT. To correct your error (caps are mine) – “Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS……”. A disciple is one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another. Eleven Apostles (Judas Iscariot was dead), could not spread the Word to the entire World without the help of others. (Mt 28:19) Do you really believe that Jesus intended His Church to die with the death of the Apostles? – because you can find the answer to this in the New Testament as well.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 7:46 AM By KR
JLS,,,,,,,,because the Bible told me so.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 8:11 AM By Larry
“Not one word of the Constitution authorizes religion or religion actions as being above or an exception to the laws of the land.” The Constitution ITSELF is the law of the land, and statutes enacted by Congress and the states must conform to it or be found invalid. The question is not whether religion is above the law. The question is whether the (statutory) law is above the Constitution

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 9:49 AM By KR
Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression. (Thomas Jefferson)….We live in a great country. Let’s try to keep it that way. KR