Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/17/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The evidence of the current cultural decline is all around us

Western culture needs conversion, from the inside out. We need a Christian revolution of the heart. Christians need to once again take the eternal and timeless values of the classical and orthodox Christian worldview and knead them again into the loaf of western culture. They are the yeast which alone can revivify a western civilization which has lost it's soul. There is a clash of worldviews currently underway in the West. It involves competing definitions of human freedom, human dignity, and human flourishing. Both cannot be true. Classical, orthodox Christians are now contending with the hostility of a secularist relativism which claims there are no truths. That is what makes Christians so increasingly countercultural.

One of the greatest delusions of our age is to think that any of this is actually new. It is just old school paganism rearing its ugly head once again and deceiving the moderns. We are recycling the past while shouting the word 'progress'. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome addressed the state of the culture into which they were sent. That culture was given over to debauchery, much like our own, and also suffered the consequences. We need to talk to God again.

One of the greatest delusions of our age is to think that any of this is actually new. It is just old school paganism rearing its ugly head once again and deceiving the moderns. We are recycling the past while shouting the word "progress". The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome addressed the state of the culture into which they were sent. That culture was given over to debauchery, much like our own, and also suffered the consequences. We need to talk to God again.

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/17/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Gender identity, transexual, gay marriage, exchanging the truth of God for a Lie, morality, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, counter culture, Christian revolution, holiness, freedom, liberation, counter culture, social action, social justice, conversion, hol


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In His response to the Pharisees who tested Him on the indissolubility of marriage (Matt. 19:3-12), the Lord Jesus defended both marriage and the plan of God in differentiating men and women by gender. Fr. Randy Sly, the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, shared a homily with our readers on this important passage today.

I draw my readers attention to these particular words of Jesus: "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.' Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate."

It is no coincidence that, along with the wholesale assault on authentic marriage, we are facing a wholesale rejection of gender as a given, and as a gift. They are connected as a part of a bigger error, the rejection of God and his loving plan. There is nothing new about any of this. It is simply one more sign of a culture which has rejected the truth and embraced a lie. And as a result, is sliding away from freedom into bondage.

One of the greatest delusions of our age is to think that any of this is actually new. It is just old school paganism rearing its ugly head once again and deceiving the moderns. We are recycling the past while shouting the word "progress". The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome addressed the state of the culture into which they were sent. That culture was given over to debauchery, much like our own, and also suffered the consequences. We need to talk to God again.

Primitive forms of abortion were practiced in ancient Rome. In addition, infant exposure was lawful. That evil practice entailed leaving born children who were unwanted out on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders to be sold. Finally, sexual debasement was rampant as the natural Moral Law was being rejected while sexual aberrations were being celebrated as some kind of liberation.  

The Apostle wrote some strong words to the early Christians in Rome in the first chapter of his letter to them. He addressed the debased practices in the culture in which they lived. Even some Christians succumbed to the lies of that age. Sound familiar?

The Romans rejected the Natural Moral Law and reaped the rotted fruit which always follows such a choice. Paul wrote: "I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live."

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

"So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles."

"Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.  They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them." (Romans 1:16-32)

I can already anticipate some of the responses to my "daring" to include this passage in this article. Such words will be rejected by some as insensitive, or even "politically incorrect". Others will see them as "harsh" or "judgmental". However, these are not my words. They are the words of the Apostle Paul. And, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they are now a part of the canon of the Sacred Scripture, the Bible.

When men, women, and cultures reject the Natural Moral Law, they lose their freedom and their humanity. God's plan for the human race is the path to true freedom, happiness and flourishing. That is because He loves us. We are created in his Image. He reveals His plan to everyone, "even in the things that are made" as the Apostle wrote, because he wants all men and women to find true liberation and fulfillment.The Gospel is not an impediment to freedom, it is the very path. 

We live in an age which has suffered under counterfeit versions of what called itself humanism but rejected the human. Even some Christians have now rejected the term humanism, believing that the secularist and atheist co-opting of the word are valid. They are not. The truth is that prior to these counterfeit uses of a noble word, it was Christianity that spoke of the true humanism, found in Jesus Christ.

C.S. Lewis, in his book entitled Studies in Words, coined the word verbicide - the murder of a word. Modern aberrations of the word humanism are an example of such a crime. They evolved in the latter half of the twentieth century. Western culture has been sucked into a moral vacuum. It has rejected God and His Truth and embraced the autonomous self as the measure of all things.

License masquerading as liberty has seduced our age, offering a new morality that is no morality at all; in fact, it is a thinly disguised new paganism. It has no capacity to inform a just social order and is leading to cultural collapse. This collapse will not be averted by political conservatism, or any political movement, or party, for that matter. They are all inadequate for the task.

Western culture needs conversion, from the inside out. We need a Christian revolution of the heart. Christians need to once again take the eternal and timeless values of the classical and orthodox Christian worldview and knead them again into the loaf of western culture. They are the yeast which alone can revivify a western civilization which has lost it's soul.

Christianity gave western culture the truth that we are all created in the Image of God. From that foundational understanding of the nature of the human person was derived the liberating political notion that we possess fundamental human rights, endowed upon us by the God who created us.Those rights are not given to us by any Civil Government. Rather, they must be recognized by Civil Government or it becomes an unjust government. That is the state we are in. The declining western culture grows increasingly hostile to the Christian Church.

There is a clash of worldviews currently underway in the West. It involves competing definitions of human freedom, human dignity, and human flourishing. Both cannot be true. Classical, orthodox Christians are now contending with the hostility of a secularist relativism which claims there are no truths. That is what makes Christians so increasingly countercultural.

We insist that there is Truth, which can be known - and that it must govern our lives. In fact, we maintain that it is the path to freedom. This is why we are facing a growing persecution. Even though it's impact is still soft, the anti-Christian cycle is now underway and it will intensify. Our path is paved with the insults, 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 Right to Life of our first neighbors in the womb. Yet, medical 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.

Like the early Christians, we insist that this Natural Moral Law can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason. Further, we claim that it is the only stable foundation for the positive law. It gives us the moral norms needed to build societies and govern ourselves. This Natural Moral Law must inform our positive law or we become lawless and our society devolves into anarchy.

The evidence of the current cultural decline is all around us. We have once again "exchanged the truth of God for a lie" just as the Apostle warned. We are also reaping the rotten fruit. We cannot - we will not - back down. Why? Because we love and want all men and women to be truly free. 

In the face of a manufactured of a right for homosexuals and lesbians to 'marry', we Christians will not participate in the lie. We insist that marriage is possible only between one man and one woman. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and revealed by the Natural Moral Law. To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its definition.

Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society. 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. To do so furthers the common good.

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 and does not advance the true common good. 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.

We insist that children have a right to a mother and a father. Of course, we care about the single parent family and the many broken homes. After all, we are Christians. We brought the very idea of embracing broken families into the public square. Marriage between one man and one woman is the first society into which children are meant to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities

However, the existence of single parent families and fractured families does not change the norm necessary to build a stable and healthy society within which they can find the compassion and support system they need as well. In tact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order. To live in faithful, heterosexual marriages and rear children within a family is once again countercultural. This is not the first time in history this has occurred. Paul's words to the Romans reflect this reality. So too do many early Christian writings.

Libertine cultures are the mission field into which the Christian Church is always sent. The early Church was sent into cultures much like our own, 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 exposure, a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders.

Early Christian sources, like the Letter to Diognetus, remind us that the early Christians transformed cultures much like our own. They lived in 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 changed those cultures from within. If we persevere in prayer, living faith and understand that this is a new missionary age, we can do the same.

The Christian claims concerning the dignity of life and the truth about marriage are not outdated notions of the past but the path to a future of freedom for all men and women. They are the real antidote to the poison which is rotting western civilization from within. Faithful Christians are now a Counter Culture and consecrated married couples and their families, called from antiquity the domestic church, are the vanguard of this Christian counter culture movement.

In his beautiful book of reflections called The Furrow, St Josemaria Escriva used a phrase that keeps coming to my mind; Rebels of Love. He wrote: "Nowadays it is not enough for men and women to be good. Moreover, it is not good enough to be satisfied with being nearly good. It is necessary to be 'revolutionary'. Faced by hedonism, faced by the pagan and materialistic wares that we are being offered, Christ wants objectors! Rebels of Love!"

The call of consecrated married love is a call to become such rebels of love. Christian marriage is more than a covenant (though it is that), more than an ordinance (though it is that) - it is an invitation to sacrificial love - to holiness. Christian Marriage is a participation in the life of God through which and for which we are given His grace.

It is a sacrament, a means of grace and witness of Christ's love for His Church. Marriage in Christ is what the scripture calls a mystery (see, Eph. 5:32). It is beyond words. It is meant to be lived and become a model to be imitated and emulated. Consecrated Christian Marriage requires a radical - meaning back to the roots - way of life.

As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. The word once referred to systems of thought in which "human interests, values, and dignity predominated". That was before the word was co-opted by a myriad of atheistic systems of thought. I was searching for truth, sometimes on all the wrong places.

I eventually discovered the thought of the early fathers of the Christian Church and came home to the faith of my childhood. There I found the fullness of truth revealed in jesus Christ. I also came to understand that true humanism is found in Christianity. It is in and through Jesus Christ that the human person can be set free to overcome what drags us down and ensnares us and rediscover our real identity and vocation.

The contemporary culture has rejected the truth of God for a lie. The attack on marriage and the rejection of Gender as a given both stem from the same root; the rejection of God.  Only a return to His loving plan can turn the tide.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More U.S.

Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


Holy Saturday: God has Died in the Flesh and Hell Trembles with Fear Watch

Image of Holy Saturday Byzantine Icon. This is a day which presents to those who approach it in contemplation, an opportunity to probe the mystery of life and death. It is a day to enter into the deeper mysteries of the faith with the millions and millions of those who have gone before us.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading


The Birth of Catholic Evangelism Watch

Image of I recently interviewed Jeff Cavins  for my weekly show  on Ave Maria Radio.  Jeff, who is nationally known for his study guides to the Bible, has just taken a job as Director of Evangelism at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  It's a significant point in this nation's Church history that an apologist/educator with EWTN origins has taken a significant job inside an archdiocese.

By Deal W. Hudson

In spite of being ignored, and in some cases blacklisted, several of the hosts of EWTN radio and TV shows grew ministries of their own in the evangelistic Catholic style of Mother Angelica's still-prospering network. Jeff Cavins is one of the most successful of ... continue reading


Good Friday: Behold the Wood of the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This is Good Friday. This is the day when the whole world stands still. We recall the great Sacrifice offered on the second tree on Golgotha's Hill. There, the one St. Paul calls the New Adam (1 Cor.15), in the perfect obedience of love, did for us  what we ... continue reading


Finally Justice! Small town city manager gets 12 years in jail on corruption charges Watch

Image of Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo's party came crashing down when it was revealed in 2010 that Rizzo was giving himself an annual salary and benefits package of $1.5 million.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bell, California is a small town with less than 36,000 people. That didn't stop City Manager Robert Rizzo, along with his friends, from awarding themselves hefty raises and drawing yearly salaries as high as $1.5 million. It was fun while it lasted - now Rizzo ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


Ron Paul warns Feds may stage 'Waco styled' raid Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy has been fighting with the Bureau of Land Management for 20 years over his cattle and grazing rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Cliven Bundy, his family, their supporters, and myriad militiamen forced federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management to back off of the Bundy's Nevada ranch and release hundreds of captured cattle, one politician warns that the feds could be planning ... continue reading


What does this say about America? More people getting food stamps than women working full-time Watch

Image of There were only 15,678,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 1969.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a distressing figure that shines a most unflattering light on affairs here in the United States. According to recent statistics, those  participating in the food stamp program, or SNAP outnumbered the number of women who worked full-time, year-round ... continue reading


Palm/Passion Sunday: Will We Make This Week Holy By Encountering Jesus Christ? Watch

Image of Holy Week invites us to let go of self and embrace the Lord Jesus anew through saying Yes to the invitation to continuing conversion. How desperately we all need to hear the Good news that we can begin again!

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Palm/ Passion Sunday: Make This Holy Week a Deep Encounter With Jesus Christ!During this week called Holy, the Lord Jesus is extending His saving Hand to each one of us anew. The timeless one has broken into time and now transforms it from within. The question is ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 1:1--2:2
1 In the beginning God created heaven and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:1-10
1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first ... Read More

Reading 2, Genesis 22:1-18
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2014 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter