Dynamically Catholic Faith: Bishop Sample Sent to Portland as True Counterculture Missionary
accusations and calumny of our fellow citizens.
We are accused of being against progress and science for defending the dignity of every human life - including the lives of our first neighbors in the womb. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are Pro-life because it is right. Science exists to serve the person, the family and the common good.
We stand up to the architects of a culture of death and refuse to compromise on the truth concerning the dignity of every human life from conception through natural death. Science confirms what our conscience long ago confirmed, those little girls and boys in the womb are our neighbors. It is always wrong to intentionally kill our innocent neighbors. To say and do otherwise is barbaric.
We insist, in the face of the rise of a counterfeit notion of marriage, that true marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of the universe. Truth does not change, people and cultures do; sometimes for good and sometimes for evil.
Marriage between one man and one woman, is the first society into which children are to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society.
True marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation.
Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a "right" to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage against those who would redefine it.
Government has long regulated marriage for the common good. For example, the ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract.
To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition. To confer the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy.
We are not afraid to make the claim that children have a right to a mother and a father. They do. Of course we care about the single parent family and the many broken homes. However, their existence does not change the norm necessary to build a stable and healthy society. In tact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order.
To live in a faithful, heterosexual marriage, open to children, is now countercultural. To live as a faithful Catholic Christian in Portland is countercultural. The claims of the Catholic Church concerning life and marriage are not outdated notions of a past era but provide the only path to a future of freedom.
We insist upon the existence of a Natural Moral Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason because it is the only stable foundation for the law. This is not only a Christian position. It is the ground upon which every great civilization has been built.
The Natural Law is the source of every authentic human and civil rights movement. The Natural Law gives us the moral norms we need to build societies and govern ourselves. It must inform our positive law or we will become lawless and devolve into anarchy.
These claims are increasingly ridiculed and those who hold to them will face growing disparagement and ostracism. However, they are the only antidote to the malady which is rotting western civilization. We are a counter culture. However, this is not the first time in our two thousand year history we have faced such a status.
That is where understanding Christian history can help. The early Church was sent into cultures filled with people who thought they were advanced in light of the arts and sciences of their day. Yet, those cultures practiced primitive forms of abortion and even exposure, a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders.
Early Christian manuscripts like the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve) and the Letter to Diognetus show us that the early Christians lived in and transformed cultures very much like our own. Cultures of use where people were treated as property, cultures of excess where freedom was perceived as a power over others and license masqueraded as liberty. They eventually changed them from within.
Faithful Catholics are a new Counter Culture offering a way forward to a Western Culture which has lost its soul. Archbishop Alexander K. Sample is being sent to Portland to plant the true counterculture in that City. Our prayers and support go with him.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Portland, Bishop Alexander K. Sample, counterculture, orthodox Catholic, extraordinary form, fidelity, Pope Benedict XVI, Deacon Keith Fournier
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