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Fr. Barron comments on Why It's Okay to be Against Heresy
Father thank you for, so eloquently, representing the church. The secular world has such a loud voice. I pray your message pierces through the cacophony and brings the truth to all hearts in His mighty whisper.
6/13/2012 5:05:44 PM
I couldn't agree more. Separation of Church and State doesn't mean the Church can't speak up.
We need to reclaim our position as a moral voice in the culture. We cannot do that without having integrity ourselves. That integrity includes opposing heresy.
I recommend Ross Douthat's book "Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics." He makes a persuasive argument for us to stick to our guns as orthodox Christians.
Although, I'd like to qualify that it is equally troubling how certain conservative politicians, non-Catholics primarily, wanted to use our objections to the HHS mandate for their own ends (i.e. discrediting the idea of universal healthcare, which is supported by Catholic social teaching, as necessarily leading to government overreach). If we are to have credibility in the civil realm, we must avoid partisanship above all. Otherwise we risk becoming pawns and not players in the civil discourse.
6/13/2012 5:19:11 PM
An Anonymous Fool
Here's a great article by Gerard Bradley, a Professor at Notre Dame Law School - http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/whats-behind-the-hhs-mandate/
It takes a broader view, presenting the current issue of religious liberty within the context of moral relativism that is pervasive in our culture today.
An Anonymous Fool
6/13/2012 8:06:33 PM
Well said Father! These people you spoke of (even Kennedy) all spoke out of two sides of thier mouth. It is totally okay to impose your view of the world on the public UNLESS you are religious of Christian. It's phony! The most aggresive acts of imposition by any group, I think, is that of the homosexual agenda...and you do not hear a peep from these people who decry that the Church is imposing its will on the country. Great examples with slavery and the civil rights act 1965--those were all impositions that very few people argue against today. This is typical discrimination directed at religious folk and organizations. You said it best--they want us to treat our faith in Christ like a hobby...but Paul and Augustine surely did not see it this way. It's time for us Catholics to "come out of the closet!"
6/14/2012 1:31:09 PM
I cannot understand the Catholic politician or media personality who claimed adherence to the faith in the name of tolerance, contrary to the faith. They are very confusing and disorienting for those who are lost. I have not much confidence nor trust in the local parish or diocese. My formation in the faith comes from Father Barron and EWTN, years after Confirmation. I think many have been lost or let go without caring. Too much emphasis on social gospel and justice of prosperity without first the liturgical communion. From the outside looking in, the American Catholic Church is a mess.
6/14/2012 4:30:45 PM
IMO, it looks like an even bigger mess from the inside looking in.
@ John Brown: Once you admit the government has the power to dole out healthcare, everyone is a hostage to the HHS administrators.
6/14/2012 5:03:42 PM
Thank you for this, Fr. Barron.
Speaking of which, at our office, there was a framed photograph of JFK hanging on the wall as it had for many years. Likely from the years when he was first elected, and it was a sign that Catholics had "made it" in American society in some way. I have to admit that I said to my husband, "take that thing down!" He did.
John Brown, I second your recommendation of Douthat's book. I also recommend Brad Gregory's <I>Unintended Refomation</i>.
6/14/2012 8:33:17 PM
JFK, a product of the politics of his time, said those words about religion because he absolutely wanted to iterate, while also placating critics who thought that because he was Catholic that Pope Pius XXIII (who also happened to pen Vatican II)would start to involve himself in the affairs of the United States, that religion (an euphemism for Catholicism) would not be imposed on US affairs. That's all it was for. Now, whether or not that's morally correct is another matter entirely.
6/15/2012 10:11:12 AM
Without projecting our singular, and collective wantoness; lack of morality within ourselves individually, and within "The Church" onto Obama, and liberal nuns; we can certainly, with God's help, stand up and not betray His Son, Life itself. We can not white-wash our own reluctance to unveil the sacrilidge within "The Church", take the attention off our own sins, with such cover-ups, by distraction to the sins of liberalism. I think our best army, has it's weakest link if it leans in arrogance. We destroyed so many of the living, and their families, moving forward without keeping that in mind, might keep us humble enough to speak from the heart, within a framework of Unity; we are sinners, we want to prevent, stop those who are in sin, moving forward towards sin, so they, the living, will be spared by God. We can speak up about how it hurts to have offended God, and how we need as Catholics to spare them that offense of slaughter of the innocent.
6/15/2012 4:45:11 PM
Father Barron, I humbly submit, this subject is probably too basic for so many words of reasoned debate. The response to each is that there should be no debate at all which makes sense. The answer to Doud is that Catholic's live in Christ above all things. Abortion is the killing of children, something that is incompatible with that. Why have a debate at all with Doud about what our religious beliefs should be? As for the HHS Secretary; to not allow religious thought into the public square is intellectual totalitarianism. It makes her a hypocrite to say she is for freedom and even suggest such a thing. JFK may have given up his moral foundations when he became president, but that doesn't mean he gave it up for the rest of us. This debate is about right and wrong, not about hobbies and societies.
By the way, I love the Catholicism Series...all the best.
6/16/2012 9:04:03 AM
Boy, oh boy, I sure would like to see your erudite commentary as a written article in all major newspapers to provide a fair rebuttal to the likes of Ms. D and S.
Thank you for this perspective
6/16/2012 9:12:29 AM
Those in history such as Lincoln or King can be said to have been attempting to "impose their will" on the rest of us, and they may have been doing so based upon their religious beliefs. But more importantly, Lincoln and King both were championing matters of simply justice that required no religious foundation to be found true. Neither Lincoln or King needed to appeal to any particular religious conviction when they were telling the world that slavery was wrong or that all people should enjoy the same civil rights. Contrast the crusade to end slavery or to bring basic civil rights to African Americans with the more recent controversy over gay marriage. The religious motivation for denying gays the right to marry ignores considerations of equal rights and simple justice and clearly seeks to impose a particular world view on the rest of us. This is a much better example of what Kennedy was promising he would not do.
6/16/2012 5:38:27 PM
Fr. Carl Zoucha
Thank you, Fr. Barron. It should be noted that the reason that the Catholic Church is inclusive in regards to people, inviting them into the life of Christ in His Church, is because of Jesus' promise that our life would be full and our joy complete. And this is the deepest desire of our heart. No other religion makes this claim. Also, we must consider this deepest fulfillment of our lives when we engage in the public square.
6/17/2012 7:29:25 AM
I agree 100% with the 2nd half of this video. My struggle with the 1st half is that my understanding of what the US nuns are largely under fire for do not fit with the golf/Lincoln club analogies. I'm not hearing nuns argue that we starting leave Christ for Buddha or abandon the Eucharist for bukas. They are talking about women being priests, re-adjusting our approach to homosexuality, allowing priests to marry, and getting a greater diversity of people into the heirarchy of the Church. These are not dogmatic issues. Although perhaps shocking, it is not a heresy to say, "Women should be allowed to be pope."
6/18/2012 11:10:54 AM
As Fr Barron has already said, the Church must battle heresy. What the nuns are advocating for with regards homosexuality and women priests ARE heresies.
6/19/2012 10:23:09 AM
Joel: "Lincoln and King both were championing matters of simply justice that required no religious foundation to be found true. Neither Lincoln or King needed to appeal to any particular religious conviction when they were telling the world that slavery was wrong or that all people should enjoy the same civil rights. Contrast the crusade to end slavery or to bring basic civil rights to African Americans with the more recent controversy over gay marriage. The religious motivation for denying gays the right to marry ignores considerations of equal rights and simple justice and clearly seeks to impose a particular world view on the rest of us."
You assume that you need a religion to agree that gay marriage is wrong.
In fact, gay marriage, contraception, and abortion can be proven by any anthropologist to be terrible for the development of the human race. When natural selection is obviated, the more frivolous and irresponsible humans will reproduce more. (Take a look at the satiric comedy "Idiocracy") The intelligent humans will not reproduce until after they finish their Ph.D., and will at most have 1-2 children. We live in a time where the world has ceased to be survival of the fittest and has become a race to reproduce. This same thing happened to cicadas: they are terribly clumsy, but reproduce fervently.
The issue of gay marriage is just another issue the catholic church has come across during her 2000 years since inception. She sees all these issues occluding our development as humans and sedulously tries to stop them from infecting our culture.
She does not chastise homosexuals for being gay. If an individual is born gay, he or she must be destined for a life outside of marriage. It would be a direct confrontation to the Lord's will if one chose to marry when he or she was clearly presented a different life.
Marriage is not the purpose of life-far from it! Why let it obstruct God's will? Many struggle with the discernment of marriage, priesthood, a life of solitary, etc. A person who is homosexual already has a path set for them, one in which discernment marriage should not be a problem.
6/19/2012 11:33:15 AM
As with most modern liberal efforts to promote "freedom" the idea is to limit or ban certain groups (religious in this case) from being allowed their voice or freedom which is therefore anathema to the very concept that we should all be free in America to have our opinion and express it under the 1st amendment. In other words as long as those who get to decide (liberal modernists) what is allowed and not allowed then we'll all be free. Thereby imposing a vastly more arbitrary and prohibitive sanction than any promoted by the Catholic Church that they are trying to convince us is so invasively coercive!
6/19/2012 11:57:13 AM
Joel, you wrote: "But more importantly, Lincoln and King both were championing matters of simply justice that required no religious foundation to be found true".
Justice that has no foundation in religion is the kind of "justice" that Stalin, Mao, Polpot and Hitler exercised.
6/19/2012 10:35:35 PM
When we look at how the Vatican is handling dissent within the Church in our time, it really is quite tame compared to how it handled dissent in the past. Yet it is just those violent responses in our past that have led us to how we in the US percieve the Vaticans actions now. People came here to get away from such violent suppression that wreaked havoc all over Europe during the wars of religion. The separation of Church and State was instituted so that we could avoid it happening here. I do not fault the Church for putting Her voice in the public square as She should like everyone else but don't be surprised or scandalized if Her message is foound credibly wanting after Her long history of violent suppression of heretical ideas and especially after having acted so wantanly in obstructing justice with regard to the sexual abuse scandle.
6/19/2012 11:20:53 PM
Thank you, Fr. Barron. The Catholic Church has protected, preserved and proclaims the Message of The Way, The Truth and The Life to humanity, for whom He died such a horrible death to save. The Church cannot and SHALL NOT permit this Truth to be desecrated. The Holy Spirit will not permit this and He inspires the Magisterium when and where to draw the line when "the World" wants to invade the desecrate "The Divine". It is the Divine Duty of Mother Church to vigorously oppose any ad all Heresies which attempt to destroy God's Divine Truth
6/20/2012 4:05:10 AM
Firstly, i am a Catholic who believes heresy is wrong / very wrong and that we must be TOUGH (as in tough love) in our opposition to it. But NOT "aggressive" and especially to avoid the word "impose" which i believe is too dangerous a word to use (in a negative sense).
God doesn't impose His will on man. He does everything to implement His will, but not impose it.
You mention Abraham Lincoln but don't mention Gandhi, for example, who i believe was much more about "implementing" than "imposing" will, and I would argue in a really Christian way (Christian spirit) even though he wasn't a Christian at all. Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Catherine and Sienna all had an extraordinary influence over others - both directly and indirectly. They were profoundly more about implementing God's will as oppose to "imposing" God's will.
To me the ultimate heresy is Protestantism (- well, a number of heresies within the lose term "Protestantism" - not that it is more heretical than other heresies but profoundly more influential). And i believe the seeds (anger / resentment) for this heresy (or heresies) lay not just in faith or doctrine, but, also, in the abuse of power by members of the Catholic Church (simony, misuse of indulgences and so on, including, at times an aggressive approach as well as mismanagement of their power).
The early Christians, i would argue, were far less "aggressive" about their faith compared to later Christians (in the Middle Ages for example)
St Cyprian of Carthage wrote:
"Religion being a matter of the will, it cannot be forced on anyone; in this matter it is better to employ words than blows [verbis melius quam verberibus res agenda est]. Of what use is cruelty? What has the rack to do with piety? Surely there is no connection between truth and violence, between justice and cruelty . . . . It is true that nothing is so important as religion, and one must defend it at any cost [summâ vi] . . . It is true that it must be protected, but by dying for it, not by killing others; by long-suffering, not by violence; by faith, not by crime. If you attempt to defend religion with bloodshed and torture, what you do is not defense, but desecration and insult. For nothing is so intrinsically a matter of free will as religion"
I think the late, great PPII was more like the early Christians in regards to his view of the treatment of heretics - as marked in the the spirit of his apology for treatment of heretics in the past.
6/25/2012 7:42:30 AM
"to me the ultimate heresy is Protestantism" would just like to add: the Good Samaritan was a heretic! (the man of orthodox faith walked on by).
St Paul said: we can have faith to move mountains, know all secrets but without love it is all useless (or words to that effect).
So we MUST challenge heresy. We must be TOUGH with heresy. But with LOVE! TOUGH (and soft) love, but not aggression nor "impose".
(sorry, that's it, i just wanted to qualify my point about "Protestant heresy")
6/25/2012 9:04:38 AM
Sorry for harking on but being thinking about this since.
I believe you're (dangerously i'm afraid to say) confusing (and / or failing to make the distinction of) three different categories (sure at some point they are all fundamentally linked, but they are, also, fundamentally distinct, too). The categories of:
JUSTICE. Justice is / might include, for example, a man taking up arms against the Nazis. He might do this with the teaching of the Church and/or because of conscience. Actually using violence to "impose" his will (an extreme example), regarding his sense of justice. But he is not imposing religion on others.
ORTHODOXY. This is the Pope / bishops exercising its right to teach faith and doctrine with authority (and we lay Catholics must accept the authority of the Pope / bishops on faith and doctrine with humility). And the Church (all of us, under the guidance of the Pope / bishops about what constitutes heresy) must challenge (from one degree to another, depending on our gifts / ability) heresy with toughness. But never in the spirit of aggression (or "impose"). The early Christians were very much opposed to aggression / violence against heretics - compared to Christians post Constantine / of the Middle Ages. And what has been the result of the aggressive approach to heretics during the Middle Ages: 1. moral failure 2. Blemishing of Church's re*****tion (and how this makes evangelisation that bit harder) 3. Sowing the seeds of discontent (with potential heretics / schismatics). Lastly, the big test to the Catholic Church regarding heresy was the heresy of Protestantism. Not only did the aggressive approach of the medieval attitude towards heresy sow the seeds of future discontent, in some way, with potential Protestants, it was totally inadequate in dealing with the heresy of Protestantism, overall, that spread through Europe like wildfire.
So we are tough towards heretics, but never impose our will with aggression or otherwise.
EVANGELISATION. This is Christians exercising their calling to spread the faith to the world, involving thinking very carefully about the topic of FREE WILL - and how God NEVER imposes His will on man. Sure we HAVE to get out there and evangelise (according to our calling, gifts, abilities, circumstances). But if we impose our will on others we harm not just ourselves but those we're trying to evangelise to (e.g. people can spot aggressive evangelisation a mile off, putting them off religion).
I don't condemn you (or i don't mean to ..). I think you do GREAT work! But just to be aware - i think - of the dangers of mixing up: justice, orthodoxy and evangelisation.
6/26/2012 6:17:58 AM
Yes, countless leaders have tried and do try to impose their will on us. It is up to us to exercise our conscience in determining which leaders are sending moral messages. My church leaders have every right to try to impose their will on me, but they are not always right.
6/26/2012 7:47:53 AM
Thanks Father Barron for your article posted on NCR about Yves Congar's My Journal of the Council. It doesn't come on Kindle and even a used copy is $42 on Amazon but I'll keep looking. Ironic that you mentioned Martin Luther King who fought for civil rights. Some Catholic women can be inspired by him. He would definitely be on our side.
6/26/2012 8:51:16 AM
Jamez, I appreciate your opinion.
6/26/2012 9:39:28 AM
Ed, your post is right on. "Impose one's will on" is unfortunate choice of words. Virginia Woolf thought so.
Your comments about not being aggressive were wise. Thanks.
6/26/2012 3:18:54 PM
In general I appreciate Fr. Barron's commentary. However, I feel that Fr. Barron fails to address the fundamental issue with the HHS Mandate: its attack on our right to practice our religion. I do not care to "impose" my religion on others - I just want to retain my right to practice it freely! Coercing me to provide free coverage of contraceptives and abortion-causing pills is a violation of my right to a conscience.
May the Lord have mercy on the American soul!
7/4/2012 12:12:23 PM
The problem is that the people with the bad ideas are in powerful positions. These two women mentioned in this commentary, quite frankly, embarrass me. Especially Sebelius as she says she is Catholic. I'm sorry - but she can not speak for me as a Catholic.
Debate is good for a society but not when bad ideas constantly win out over virtuous ones because control and power is given to the bad leaders. I understand that the Church needs to maintain her integrity and limit bad ideas from influencing her efforts.
This may not keep her perfectly free from error (struggling w/ healthcare is a right) but her track record in following the Lord is superb.
Maybe this is also what America can do to maintain her integrity - there needs to be tighter requirements to hold leadership positions. For example, honoring the founding documents of our country should be a requirement and if found in violation...a legitimate cause for removal from one's position.
The Church does not sway from her foundation. This is also what America should do.
I also wanted to mention briefly my struggle with healthcare being "a right and not a privilege." The bishops said this in a letter to the Senate once. I never thought of my healthcare as a privilege but rather a necessary expense - at least at this time in my life.
Why and who thinks of it as a privilege and who is getting this privilege? Nobody wants to be sick or hurt and I've never heard that anyone has been denied healthcare - they get it even if they can't afford it. Are we supposed to believe it is a privilege now?
7/8/2012 11:06:43 PM
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