Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Following the Real Christ

Proclaiming the Faith
One of the great insights of HLI's founder, Father Paul Marx, was that if the Gospel of Life is to truly take root in society, it has to be presented as an integral part of the whole of the Catholic Faith. All the teachings of the Church form an organic and integrated whole, in which all the parts are interrelated and mutually supporting, like the boards of the wooden hull of a ship or the elements of the nave of a gothic cathedral.
Both natural reason and revelation teach us that God is the Creator of all that exists, He is the provider of all the great gifts that we enjoy even in a world that is injured by the Fall of our first parents. This Fall led to the promise of a Savior by a loving Father in the Third Chapter of Genesis; a promise that was fulfilled in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, who by His life, death and resurrection redeemed us. This redemption will always be offered by the Catholic Church and will open for us the doors of the Kingdom where the sun will never set, nor shadows become long.
So in order for the Gospel of Life to have its full effect, we must strengthen our knowledge of the Faith. Even if most of us do not have the opportunity to study in depth all of the teachings of our Faith, we must recognize the importance of a Church doctrine that is grounded in an objective and precise knowledge. And an integral presentation of this doctrine helps us to encourage a fervent spiritual life and the practice of works of charity.
Today we hear a significant amount of talk about the need to encounter Christ; and this is perfectly correct. As Pope Benedict emphasized to millions of young persons during the homily of the concluding Mass of World Youth Day in Madrid, however,
... following Jesus in faith means walking at his side in the communion of the Church. We cannot follow Jesus on our own. Anyone who would be tempted to do so 'on his own', or to approach the life of faith with that kind of individualism so prevalent today, will risk never truly encountering Jesus, or will end up following a counterfeit Jesus.
Here the Holy Father is saying that we have to follow the real Christ, based on the understanding that the Church has preserved since its foundation through the action of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, borrowing again from the Holy Father, we need to be fully aware that the study of the Faith is "not only knowledge of the propositions of the Faith in their historical formulation and practical application, but is also always knowledge of them in faith, hope and charity." (Address to the Pontifical Gregorian University, November 3rd, 2006)
This dedication to follow Christ in and with the Church is what leads us to receive with gratitude the teachings that the Magisterium grants us to live a faithful Christian life.
Even if in many places of the world the enemies of the truth seem to be advancing, we should not lose hope, because if the saving truths are properly presented, they will be recognized and accepted by men and women of good will. This is because God wills the salvation of all men, and so he has placed in the hearts of all human creatures a natural affinity towards the truth and a supernatural vocation to enter His Kingdom of Glory.
In particular, we need the constant guidance of the Church to interpret scientific advances dealing with life and health. Even "pure science" in many cases is not morally neutral, depending of the intentions of the researchers. The practical application of science always has moral consequences, so we need to follow the guidance of the Church to discern if new scientific or technological developments are in accordance with the mind of Christ.
In our times we can see many examples of these teachings. In Paul VI's Encyclical Humanae Vitae, the Church reaffirmed that the use of drugs to regulate fertility is against God's plans for the family. On the basis of that encyclical and the constant teachings of the Church, we have to promote generosity with life and reject the contraceptive mentality that is destroying our societies. Pope Benedict underlined the value of this encyclical, pointing out that
The Encyclical Humanae Vitae emphasizes both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality, thereby locating at the foundation of society the married couple, man and woman, who accept one another mutually, in distinction and in complementarity: a couple, therefore, that is open to life. This is not a question of purely individual morality: Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II's Encyclical Evangelium Vitae. (Caritas in veritate, n.15)
A more recent and detailed confirmation of these truths can be found in the 2008 Instruction of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Dignitas Personae.
We must do everything that we can to present the Gospel Life within the framework of an integral Faith, so that all may understand how this message is part and parcel of the Faith which we have received via the Church; a Faith that one day will open to us the doors of Heaven.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Monsignor Barreiro Signature

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula
Interim President, Human Life International


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