Friday 19th September 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Way Back

March 5, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON

(Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of four articles concerning America’s cultural and moral decline. Lawrence P. Grayson is a visiting scholar in The School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America.)

+    +    +

For nearly two hundred years from its founding, America could be considered a Christian society. Although church and state were separate, the public life of the nation was conducted in conformity with Christian principles: God was welcome in the public venue; actions of political and business leaders were guided by a common sense of virtue and morality that formed the ethos of the general public; churches were free to conduct their social and charitable works according to the norms of their religion.
Then, beginning in the 1960s and continuing to the present, there has been a continual movement to treat religion as a solely private matter, to remove all references to God from public affairs, to impose militantly secular norms on religiously based organizations and activities. What Justice Potter Stewart — who cast the only dissenting vote when the Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that reading Bible passages or reciting the Lord’s Prayer in school was unconstitutional (practices that had been common since public education was begun) — said is coming to pass: The decision would lead to the “establishment of a religion of secularism.”
These changes have occurred because Christians have not resisted them. They have accepted a total separation of religious beliefs from the life of the world. Limiting devotions to Sundays, they have adopted an exclusively secular way of thinking and living the rest of the week. At best, they have tried to adapt religious principles to the changing society, while ignoring the role that Christianity can play in shaping that society. America, following the lead of Europe, is developing a culture that excludes God from public awareness, thus eroding the nation’s spiritual foundations.
As then-Cardinal Ratzinger warned: “The attempt to shape human affairs to the total exclusion of God leads us more and more to the brink of the abyss, toward the utter annihilation of man.”
The nation’s need is for a public morality capable of counteracting the advocacy of people who consider God irrelevant. America must revitalize its Christian heritage. The road back is not a return to the past, but to the development of a doctrine of the modern world based on Christian principles and an ordering of our national life with it. It is an attempt to generate from the central teachings and insights of our faith the spiritual energy to re-root Christian tenets into the life of the nation.
The path will not be easy. To change society is a daunting task. The difficulty of leading a Christian life in a militantly secular society is compounded by our involvement in a network of institutions and relationships from which we cannot disassociate ourselves: our businesses, schools, associates, neighbors, the media, advertisements, recreational venues — influences that in many cases are not neutral, but anti-Christian. Far-reaching changes are called for in the institutions, laws, practices, and activities of existing society. It will take a stupendous effort to bring about the spiritual and moral revitalization needed to order the collective temperament of the nation in accordance with a Christian understanding of life.
If it is not done, however, our faith, as well as that of our children and their descendants, will be at risk.
As a start, a program of education and spiritual formation is needed. It can no longer be assumed that Catholics have an adequate knowledge of their faith, of why they were born, and toward what end they are destined. Catholics, as well as all Christians, must develop a deeper understanding of the purpose of their existence and make that a basis for their lives.
The education must take place in Catholic schools and colleges, as well as in parishes and communities of the faithful. That last item can be undertaken through organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the Legion of Mary, Communion and Liberation, FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), Catholics United for the Faith, and the many hundreds of similar associations and movements.
It must be directed toward developing a Catholic philosophy of life, based on the unchanging tenets of the faith, to instill values that will help the individual and the family act in a Catholic manner in the world-at-large. The aim is to have the person’s religious and social behavior united, so that one’s religious beliefs guide one’s actions in social life, business dealings, and pleasurable activities.
Catholics, and Christians generally, have operated in a reactive mode to the transformation of society. Those advocating secularism have advanced their cause a step at a time, lawsuit after lawsuit, challenge after challenge, change after change. Now it is time for Catholics to take a more pro-active stance, and what better approach is there than to do this through Catholic lay organizations working in concert with our bishops and priests?
Many such organizations are already playing a role in this effort, with their defense of the unborn, marriage and religious liberty, their efforts to keep the mention of God in the public square, and their growing willingness to speak out from a moral perspective on political issues that are in opposition to Catholic teaching. But, much more must be done.
Imagine the effect on the nation if one hundred organizations, representing over a million Catholic men, women, and their families, took a stand for purity and decency. Imagine if they pledged not to watch videos that are indecent; did not patronize businesses that supported immoral lifestyles; said grace before meals when in public restaurants; wrote to their congressional representatives about legislation that had moral implications (good as well as bad); complained to corporate sponsors about their sexually suggestive advertising; said the rosary as a family each day.
The shift toward secularism has been many decades in the making, and it will take an extended period to fully reverse the trend. As Catholics, we can begin with prayer, continue with educating ourselves and our families about the problems and what can be done, and then help develop public awareness and stimulate public action to restore religion to its proper place in American democracy.
Although the task is Herculean, we are not alone — God is on our side.

wandererprint(ad)2

 

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial…Continue Reading

Catholic Education Honor Roll Announced

Today, The Cardinal Newman Society released the list of schools recognized by the Catholic Education Honor Roll as 2014 Schools of Excellence. Since 2004 the Honor Roll has celebrated quality Catholic education throughout the United States. Honor Roll schools receiving…Continue Reading

Hermeneutic of Continuity: Pope Benedict XVI’s 10 Step Guide to Vatican II

pope200

In 2005 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI gave a Christmas address to the Roman Curia that sparked a “Holy Revolution.” The good pontiff’s comments were received as “epoch-making” by many of those faithful to Sacred Tradition.1 At the heart of…Continue Reading

Satanists Sell Out Controversial Oklahoma ‘Black Mass’ Event, Will Stage Exorcism Despite Christian Protests

The Satanist group that will stage a controversial “black mass” at an Oklahoma City civic center has said that all 88 tickets for its Sept. 21 event are sold out. The co-founder of the group revealed that the ritual will…Continue Reading

Catholic League Bowing Out Of New York’s St. Patrick’s Parade

NEW YORK –  The Catholic League says it will sit out next year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York because parade organizers aren’t letting an anti-abortion Catholic group march. Catholic League head Bill Donohue said Thursday that his organization…Continue Reading

Catholic Cardinal McCarrick Embraces Islam

Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick offered Islamic religious phrases and insisted that Islam shares foundational rules with Christianity, during a Sept. 10 press conference in D.C. “In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,” McCarrick said as he introduced himself…Continue Reading

MURDER OF CATHOLIC NUNS SHOCKS WORLD

The triple murder of three elderly Italian religious sisters in Burundi has their religious family and the local community reeling. The Italian Foreign Ministry has confirmed Monday’s death of a third missionary, Sister Bernadette Boggian, who wasdecapitated, according to a…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

by Hon. Bob Marshall Sept. 8, 2014 New York’s Cardinal Dolan, appointed as Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, praised the decision to allow an openly gay group to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “I have…Continue Reading

Founder: Catholic Studies programs help colleges fulfill call to faithfulness

St. Paul, Minn., Sep 8, 2014 / 06:03 pm (CNA).- University-level Catholic Studies programs are an essential response to the increasingly fragmented college experience, said the man who founded the first such program 20 years ago. “At the heart of…Continue Reading

A ‘dereliction of duty’? Catholics react to Cardinal Dolan’s role in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s decision to act as grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade despite its decision to allow an openly homosexual organization to participate has drawn strong criticism from Catholic writers and outrage from many…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Caves

notredame

The following comes from an Aug. 30 email from the Sycamore Trust, “alumni protecting Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.” Notre Dame is complying with the abortifacient/contraceptive mandate in renewing its student health insurance program for 2014-15. Aetna, the insurer, will now provide students with…Continue Reading

Vatican’s Cardinal Burke dismantles ‘Who am I to judge?’

burk

Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court – the Apostolic Signatura – has given a lengthy televised interview in which he decisively rectifies the false notions about Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” quote that has been…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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope’s General Audience: The Church Was Born Catholic and Apostolic

pope308

“To be part of the Apostolic Church means to be aware that our faith is anchored in the proclamation and witness of Jesus’ Apostles themselves and, therefore, always to feel sent.” Vatican City, September 17, 2014 (Zenit.org) Here below is the full text of Pope Francis’ weekly general audience catechesis, delivered in St. Peter’s Square, September 17th.  Dear Brothers and…Continue Reading

Pope Tells Catholics To Go Forth With The Gospel Message

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis encouraged Catholics go forth and bring the Gospel message to the world and to their communities. Speaking on Wednesday during his General the Pope spoke of the universal and apostolic nature of the Catholic Church. He explained that the word catholic means that she is universal, something that she shows by speaking all languages, which –…Continue Reading

Bluster And Bluff In The Baltic

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “I say to the people of Estonia and the people of the Baltics, today we are bound by our treaty alliance. . . . Article 5 is crystal clear: An attack on one is an attack on all. So if . . . you ever ask again, ‘who’ll come to help,’…Continue Reading

One Thing Hillary Clinton’s Memoir Doesn’t Explain About Benghazi

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY In her memoir, Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included a chapter on the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. But she failed to specifically explain why Ambassador Chris Stevens was there that day. “U.S. ambassadors are not required to consult or…Continue Reading

Violence Begets Violence

By REY FLORES Is it me or is violence becoming more prevalent across our society? Is it because most people have a cell phone nowadays with a camera and are able to share these ever-increasing acts of violence across cyberspace on social media? Perhaps it’s a little of both, but it’s definitely a lot more…Continue Reading

Birth Statistics Show Collapse Of The Family

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column; all rights reserved.) + + + If you count a generation as spanning 20 years, then approximately 36 percent of the American generation born from 1993 through 2012 — which has begun turning 21…Continue Reading

Deacon Describes Last Hours… Convicted Killer In Prolonged Execution Was Baptized

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Although most news attention focused on the nearly two hours it took for a convicted Arizona double murderer to die during the execution by lethal injection in July, he had been baptized a Catholic not long before, according to a deacon who helped Joseph Wood prepare for death. Ed Sheffer,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Our Attitude Should Be The Same As Christ’s

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 18:25-28 Phil. 2:1-11 Matt. 21:28-32   In the Gospel reading today our Lord asks the question of which son did the will of his father: the one who said he would not go into the field but eventually did or the one who said he would go…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . “And Who Is My Neighbor?” The Embryo And The ALS patient

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 20 bewails his isolation as a result of the scorn of nonbelievers: “The word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.” He describes his temptation to throw in the towel as a prophet tasked by God with a message for mankind: “I say to myself,…Continue Reading

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or . . . Supernatural? Celibacy In The Teachings Of St. Paul

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 St. Paul was not one of the twelve, but he is known as “the Apostle,” certainly because of the richness of his apostolic zeal in teaching, possibly more than all the other apostles put together. He was educated in the faith by Jesus Himself, and after that intense training, he became as zealous…Continue Reading

The Implications Of Faith In One God

By DON FIER Over the past three weeks, we have reflected on but an infinitesimal fraction of all that the faithful affirm when they reverently and genuinely say the first four [or five] words contained in the Creeds of the Church: “I believe in [one] God.” In saying these words with heartfelt sincerity, one is acknowledging his belief in who…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I have recently read a book entitled Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll. I was taken aback by its premise and wonder about its veracity. Do you have an opinion on the book? — E.J.S., New Jersey. A. You have good reason to wonder about the veracity of Constantine’s Sword (and the movie based on the book) since its author,…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Mother Teresa Of Calcutta

By CAROLE BRESLIN After returning from a visit to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and giving a retreat to her Missionaries of Charity there, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, told a class of lay faithful, “Americans are living in a dream world.” He spoke of the thousands of people dying on the streets of Calcutta where Mother had begun her work…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading