Sunday 15th September 2019

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September 6, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. On the controversial matter of whether to admit to Catholic schools children of same-sex parents, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has written a very good article. Perhaps you could share it with your readers. — A.M.D., via e-mail.
A. We are happy to do so. Here is some of what Mr. Donohue said:
“Parents are not required to enroll their children in a Catholic school, but once they elect to do so, they are obliged to follow its strictures. If they find some of the rules disagreeable, they are free to enroll their child in some other school. They are not free to reject those rules and then claim victim status. Nor are they free to enlist others in their effort to override school and Church authorities. Mutiny is not acceptable.
“This is not simply a matter of maintaining fidelity to Catholic teachings. It is a matter of respecting diversity. Catholic schools offer a diverse educational alternative to public schools and other private institutions. Everyone should respect their right to autonomy, regardless of whether they agree with Catholic teachings….
“Catholic students who are taught that marriage is between a man and a woman — not two men or two women or multiple partners — cannot be expected to respect the Church’s teaching on marriage if some of their classmates have two fathers. If the teachers and administrators sanction gay marriage, why should students feel obliged to abide by Church teachings on any subject?
“The central issue is not hard to understand, although it is increasingly resisted in today’s society. Gay couples are denied by nature, and nature’s God, the ability to procreate. That’s the way it works. Gays may adopt children, but in doing so they are ineluctably paying homage to nature, and nature’s God — their adoptive children were made possible because of a union between a man and a woman. That’s the way it works.
“Catholic teachings on sexuality, marriage, and the family respect what nature, and nature’s God, have decreed. Anyone is free to disagree. They can even pretend that everything that exists is nothing but a social construction. But they are not entitled to force those of us who know better to yield to their fantasies.”

Q. Are you familiar with the Hosea Initiative? It is a pro-life organization that was founded by Terry Beatley and is named after the passage in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” She spoke at our parish recently and spoke highly of The Wanderer. She also published a book last year entitled What If We’ve Been Wrong? — D.M., via e-mail.
A. We were not familiar with the Hosea Initiative or Terry Beatley and appreciate your bringing both to our attention. According to their website, Ms. Beatley conceived the idea of the Hosea Initiative in 2009 following an interview with Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the former atheist who founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) and later converted to the pro-life side and to the Catholic Church. He was 83 and dying at the time of the interview, and Beatley promised to tell the American people how Nathanson deceived the media, the courts, and the public with the lie that abortion was “women’s health care.”
Nathanson’s parting words to her were, “Love one another. Abortion is not love. Stop the killing. The world needs more love. I’m all about love now.” Beatley said that her organization aims to tell Nathanson’s story and to stop the devastation of abortion by “loving people with the truth. By giving people the information they need to make wise, informed choices and to get involved to protect our God-given right to life, we’re building an army of educated citizens to help stop the exploitation of women and children.”
If you are interested in having Ms. Beatley give a talk or a workshop, she can be reached at info@hosea4you.org.

Q. I understand that Pope Francis has proposed a rewording of the petition of the Our Father that says “lead us not into temptation.” While just a layman and a physician with no knowledge of biblical Greek, may I offer an opinion? “But deliver us from evil” follows “lead us not into temptation,” and I have often thought that those two phrases might better appear in reverse order, such as “deliver us from evil, but lead us not into the temptation of presuming that you will rescue us.” — J.B., via e-mail.
A. Thank you for your thoughts. They are similar to those of Pope Benedict XVI, who said in volume one of his three-part work Jesus of Nazareth that when we pray this petition, we are saying to God: “I know that I need trials so that my nature can be purified. When you decide to send me these trials, when you give evil some room to maneuver…then please remember that my strength only goes so far. Don’t overestimate my capacity. Don’t set too wide the boundaries within which I may be tempted, and be close to me with your protecting hand when it becomes too much for me” (p. 163).
In proposing the change in the Our Father from “lead us not into temptation” to “do not allow us to fall into temptation,” Pope Francis said that it’s not God “who throws me into temptation, in order to then see how far I have fallen. No, a father doesn’t do this….The one who leads into temptation is Satan. That’s Satan’s task.”
But it isn’t true that “a father doesn’t do this,” said Msgr. Charles Pope in a column in the National Catholic Register (July 6, 2019). The Washington, D.C., pastor and blogger said that “Scripture states plainly: ‘Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’ (Matt. 4:1). And thus, we see that it is part of the providence of God that His Son, and all who are members of Jesus’ body, experience temptations and trials of various sorts. God leads us forth in life to experience and overcome these things by His grace. So the purpose of these trials and temptations for us is that we grow by facing down opposition, error, and sin, and by exhibiting obedience to the commandments of God.”
Msgr. Pope said that “good fathers and mothers routinely expose their children to challenges, even moderate dangers, so that they can grow and learn to live in a world filled with temptations and lights contrary to the Gospel….They are near at hand to assist or ameliorate the challenges, but they do not draw back from leading their children into such challenges, tests, and into a tempting world. Good fathers also punish their children, as Scripture well attests. So fatherhood is not a mere doting protectiveness. It also includes subjecting children to trials and tests that help mature them and prepare them for life.”
He said that “saying, as the Pope and others do, that a good father ‘does not do this’ says a lot more about us and the crisis of fatherhood in our culture than it does about God. There is a tendency today to turn God into a pushover who never challenges us and wants to protect us from all difficulties. But He is our Father, not our grandfather.”
After quoting from the Letter of James, which says that God “tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires” (1:13-14), Msgr. Pope said that “while God does not directly tempt us to sin, He does lead us forth into life and into a world that has temptations and, as James says, when we have stood the test, we will receive the crown. God sends us forth with His graces, but will not cancel our life in order to preserve us from all temptations, trials, or difficulties. Rather, through Jesus He says, ‘In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).”
Just as it would not be healthy or loving for parents to keep a child in his room to protect him from suffering and temptation, said Msgr. Pope, “so, of course, God leads us into temptation, into tests and trials — for our own good! He does not Himself tempt us, but He permits some degree of it, assisted by His graces, in order that we grow and our virtues develop. In asking that He not lead us into temptation, we are asking that He not lead us there without sufficient graces.”
The Monsignor said that “changing the Our Father covers all this over and distorts the image of God as Father. ‘Lead us not into temptation’ is the most straightforward and linguistically accurate rendering of the Greek….It should not be altered. Rather, we should alter our view of the Father and regain a better and more balanced notion of true fatherhood. Almost every commonly read English Bible renders it as ‘lead us not into temptation’ or ‘do not bring us into temptation.’ And for the good reasons already stated, leave it alone.”

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

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Catholic Replies

Q. On the controversial matter of whether to admit to Catholic schools children of same-sex parents, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has written a very good article. Perhaps you could share it with your readers. — A.M.D., via e-mail. A. We are happy to do so. Here is some of what Mr. Donohue said: “Parents are not required to…Continue Reading

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