Friday 6th March 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Christmas: Peace Or Passivity?

December 19, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

Peace, although universally desirable, remains intellectually problematic. I recall inviting a group of 25 or so university students to give me a working definition of peace. Despite their sincere and studied attempts, they could not offer me a single image of peace that was positive. Peace, for them, was the absence of war, strife, conflict, problems, interruptions, frustrations, and so on. Peace, according to their provisional definitions, was indistinguishable from anesthesia. It was a synonym for Requiescat in pace.
Christmas is about peace in its positivity. Mary is the Queen of Peace. Her Child is a bearer of peace. At Christmastime, our hearts should be filled with peace. We may begin our understanding of the positive quality of peace by reflecting on the Christmas message.
St. Augustine tells us that “peace is the tranquility of order.” If we apply this definition to Christmas, we might ask about what “order” it might imply. Christmas, which is the Nativity of Christ, is anticipated by the ordered mysteries of the Annunciation and Visitation. In response to the Annunciation, Mary replied, “Yes,” “Be it done unto me according to thy Word.” Her Visitation represents a continuation of this “Yes” during her pregnancy. The Annunciation and Visitation are ordered to the Nativity. The affirmation of all three of these decisive events confers peace, the tranquility of order. Collectively, they bring peace to disordered lives who live in a disordered world.
The continuing yeses, or fiats, of Mary would have to be decisive and consistent if the Nativity was truly going to be an event of peace. It would have to be positive and affirming if Christmas was going to bring about peace in a positive and affirming way. In order to appreciate fully the peace of Christmas, we must understand the strength of Mary’s positive affirmations that preceded it.
In diametric contrast with the peace of Christmas is Planned Parenthood’s sinister slogan, “Let there be choice on earth.” With regard to Mary, there certainly were choices. But her choices were always a resounding “Yes.” They were Yes to God, to love, to order, and to bringing Christ into the world. And, as Bishop Fulton J. Sheen has reminded us, “Christianity came into the world because a woman was willing to make a child the center of her life.” Mary brought not only Christ but also Christianity into the world.
In order to be a champion of mere choice, one must remain, as difficult as it may be, serenely indifferent to the outcome of that choice. To venerate choice and remain indifferent to the outcome of choice, however, is to be a moral apathist. It has been said that an atheist is a person who can watch a football game between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist University and not care who wins. We can say that the definition of a moral apathist is a person who encourages people to choose, but remains blissfully unconcerned about the consequences, disastrous or beneficent, of their choices. His enthusiasm is for drinking; he is apathetic about whether the potion is poisonous. He loves jumping; he is unmindful of the height from which he jumps. Conception or contraception, continuing pregnancy or abortion, joyful birth or wrongful birth are all presumed to have the same moral status.
I recall another pedagogical incident in which I suggested to my students that they would not be opposed to the use of contraception specifically on the night when they were conceived. To my astonishment, I was harshly rebuked, being told that they were willing, retroactively, to defer to their parents’ “choice.” I was saddened to learn that a person could be reluctant to affirm his own existence strongly enough to thank his parents for not using contraception that night he was conceived.
If our enthusiasm for life is limited by our obsession with choice, then we have no reason to delight in whatever good choices we might make, never rejoice in Mary’s fiats, never find merriment in Christmas, and never enjoy peace. If moral life is limited to choice, then the good or bad outcomes are simply off the radar screen.
There are medical doctors who advise against showing an ultrasound image of a developing child to his pregnant mother because, as they say, “they do not want to violate her [the mother’s] neutrality.” Apparently, they would prefer that the mother sustain an apathetic attitude toward her own child.
If we are truly indifferent to what we choose, we would surely become indifferent to choice itself. We could hardly celebrate Christmas if Mary had said, “No.” Planned Parenthood, therefore, cannot favor choice the way it claims it does; it favors death — death through abortion.
We rejoice in choices that are good. Let us remember this Christmas that peace came into that little town in Bethlehem because Mary, the Mother of God, made a series of strong, decisive, and salutary choices that brought into the world the Prince of Peace. Let us welcome that peace into our hearts while we extend it to others.

+    +    +

(Donald DeMarco, PhD is a senior fellow of HLI America, an initiative of Human Life International. He is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, Conn. Some of his recent writings may be found at HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

‘Quit Catholic schools if you can’t stand our principles’

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu has dared students who cannot comply with the religious rules and practices in Catholic schools to quit and move to other schools, if they so desire. According to him,…Continue Reading

Robert McElroy Named New Leader of Roman Catholic Church

The new leader of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese in San Diego has been named. Robert W. McElroy, 61, an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, has been named the new bishop for San Diego, which has about one million Catholics…Continue Reading

Catholic Schools Should Be Catholic, Even in San Francisco

Archbishop Cordileone is predictably blasted for a commonsense policy. If you care to learn how thin our conception of religious liberty has become, look to the Bay Area. In early February, San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone released a statement “regarding…Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: CARDINAL BURKE INTERVIEW WITH RORATE CAELI

burk10

Last week, Rorate Caeli interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke via telephone on numerous topics. Nothing was off the table for this interview and His Eminence was incredibly generous with his time. He showed himself to be brilliant and yet filled with…Continue Reading

Hit job on Card. Pell because he’s doing his job

His Eminence George Card Pell was appointed by Pope Francis to oversee cleaning up the finances of the Holy See. He is doing his job. And so as Pell drills into the financial corruption and is getting closer to the…Continue Reading

Oil company hit man has Archbishop Cordileone in his sights

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 27, 2015 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Sam Singer’s public relations firm spun a Chevron oil refinery disaster in California and fought back a legal ruling in Ecuador that could have awarded billions of dollars to…Continue Reading

What about Henry VIII?

Interestingly, Jesus’ hard teaching that “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:6) follows not long after his insistence to Peter on the necessity of forgiveness (see Mt 18:21–35). It is true that Jesus did…Continue Reading

Sacrificing Priests on the Altar of Insurance

Fr. Bob (that’s what we’ll call him) was a faithful parish priest for more than 25 years. One day, a process server showed up at the rectory door and handed him a summons and complaint. The complaint alleged that some…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Save Students from Pornography Epidemic, Says Counseling Expert

Catholic colleges and universities owe it to their students to do everything within their power to help combat the destructive effects of pornography, argued Dr. Peter Kleponis in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Kleponis, a licensed clinical…Continue Reading

Imagine: A Catholic Archbishop!

If it weren’t so predictable, it would be infuriating, but because of that, it is infuriating to thinking people. It’s happening again as San Francisco drops the hammer – again – on the Catholic Church and especially Archbishop Cordileone. He’s…Continue Reading

As storm brews, San Fran archbishop strikes back at school guideline critics

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 20, 2015 / 03:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Politicians have targeted San Francisco Catholic schools’ teacher standards, but Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone says they are a matter of Catholic mission and common sense. “Would you hire a campaign…Continue Reading

University of Scranton to end all abortion coverage

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – The University of Scranton plans to end employee health care coverage for abortions in cases of rape, incest and to preserve the life of the mother. The Times-Tribune of Scranton (http://bit.ly/1JstU9i ) reports Thursday that the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Worldliness Blinds Us To The Needs Of The Poor

(Vatican Radio) Worldliness darkens the soul, making it unable to see the poor who live next to us with all their wounds: this was the message, in brief, that Pope Francis had for the faithful gathered for Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican on Thursday morning. Commenting on the parable of the rich man, a man dressed “in purple and fine linen,” who “every day gave lavish banquets,” the…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: An Invitation To Do Good

pope731

(Vatican Radio)  God “generously forgives” those who “learn to do good”, but what he doesn’t forgive is “hypocrisy and fake saints”, said Pope Francis at Mass Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta chapel. Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers “sanctified sinners” – people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good — to “fake saints” – people who are more concerned with appearing saintly…Continue Reading

Pope: Jesus reveals himself, as the perfect icon of the Father

(Vatican Radio) Before the Angelus the Pope recalled Sunday’s Gospel on the Transfiguration in which Jesus “is at the peak of his public ministry. The Holy Father explained that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where the prophecies of the ‘Servant of God’ will be fulfilled. The crowds, he added, facing the prospect of a Messiah that does not fit their earthly expectations, abandoned him. They thought that the Messiah would be a liberator…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Judge Not

pope730

(Vatican Radio) It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that “we are all sinners” – not “in theory” but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is “a Christian…Continue Reading

Best Of Times Or Worst Of Times?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Last week, John Kerry seemed to be auditioning for the role of Dr. Pangloss. Despite jihadi violence across the Middle East and ISIS terror in Iraq and Syria, Kerry told Congress, we live in “a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally —…Continue Reading

The Good Pagan’s Failure

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY As Europe faces what seems to be a cultural crisis, a book written in 1939 comes to mind for its present relevance. It is Rosalind Murray’s The Good Pagan’s Failure. (1) Murray was the daughter of the Australian-born, British classical scholar Gilbert Murray, and the wife for 30 years of Arnold…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… “Birth Control For Teens Who Are ‘Doing It Anyway’?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + If pressed, many “family planners” admit that, in an ideal world, all young people would…Continue Reading

Virginia Parish Calls On Catholics . . . Join In An “Affirmation Of Faith” To Pope Francis

By LISA BOURNE FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — A Virginia Catholic parish is publicly affirming Church teaching on marriage and its fidelity to the Church, while at the same time calling on Pope Francis to proclaim and defend the same. In the wake of the October Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome, St. John…Continue Reading

Egalitarian Chess

By DONALD DeMARCO A high school principal, let us imagine, who is thoroughly devoted to political correctness, summoned the school’s chess coach into his office. In that venue the following conversation took place. P: I think it is time to bring the game of chess into the 21st century. C: But chess is a timeless…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Practice Mercy And Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Lent (YR B) Readings: 2 Chron. 36:14-16, 19-23 Eph. 2:4-10 John 3:14-21 In the second reading today St. Paul reminds us that God is rich in mercy. For this we are all most grateful because without that mercy we would all be headed to a very hot eternity. Sometimes, however, we get impatient…Continue Reading

It Looks Like Someone Is Trying To Shout Us Down

By JOSEPH CARDINAL ZEN ZE-KIUN (Editor’s Note: The widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless, according to Cardinal Zen, the archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong. He says that the key issues remain unresolved, namely, episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Root Of Faith Crisis In Rupture Between Life And Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Quite a few years ago, I went hiking in the Alps on the border between Italy and France with a group of reformed drug addicts and their family members. One father brought his two sons who observed my delight as I ran up to the snow line ahead of the group and collected fresh snow…Continue Reading

Are Statues Idols? The Meaning Of “False Idols”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 “I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath…Continue Reading

Catechesis In The Twenty-First Century

By Don Fier “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” With these words in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei announcing the upcoming Year of Faith…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Seville

By CAROLE BRESLIN Spain is one of two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was the Romans who first called this land “Hispania.” To this land the Romans brought the Latin language, civil organization, and law, as well as the Christian religion. However, as the Roman Empire began to crumble during the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustus Chapdelaine

By CAROLE BRESLIN Christianity has never been warmly welcomed by the authorities in China, but that did not stop the missionaries over the centuries who have gone there to save souls. Christianity has existed in various forms since the Tang Dynasty (eighth century). The first reports of Catholic priests going to China go back to the 13th century. John of…Continue Reading