Ashamed of the Gospel?

Robert P. George - Ashamed of the Gospel by Robert P. George -
The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel. A price is demanded and must be paid. There are costs of discipleship—heavy costs, costs that are burdensome and painful to bear.

Of course, one can still safely identify oneself as a “Catholic,” and even be seen going to mass. That is because the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call “political correctness” do not assume that identifying as “Catholic” or going to mass necessarily means that one actually believes what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life.

And if one in fact does not believe what the Church teaches, or, for now at least, even if one does believe those teachings but is prepared to be completely silent about them, one is safe—one can still be a comfortable Catholic. [Read more...]

Christians Stand Firm: Fight the Lies, Defend the Truth

Christians Stand Firm: Fight the Lies, Defend the Truth Sword by Anthony Esolen -
Truth is truth to the end of time. Even if the battle appears lost, let each Christian raise one sword at least against the lie. Even if the fight is fierce, the warfare long, let each Christian remember that our Captain triumphed in and through the hour of His utter defeat upon Calvary.

One day, said St. Jerome, the world awoke and groaned to find itself half Arian. It was the reasonable position of the time, bearing all the marks of historical inevitability. It shrugged away the most challenging points of Christology, for if Christ was but a creature, a Platonic demiurge, we need not puzzle our minds over how God might be both one and three. We need not be stunned into reverence by the words, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” since the Word was, in a sense, already “flesh.”

Arianism was an easy slide. Most of the bishops leaned that way; it was the way of the well-stuffed. But Athanasius rose up contra mundum, the single-minded saint whom his opponents derided and often exiled for his bigotry. Athanasius was on the wrong side of “history.” Good for him; Christians must always so station themselves. Our Lord was murdered on Calvary by the great dead historical hulk called the Roman Empire. [Read more...]

Met. Methodios: Our Mission is to Lead Others to Jesus Christ

Metropolitan Methodios Orthodox Bishop

Metropolitan Methodios

by Terry Mattingly -
It happens all the time: Church leaders stand at podiums and urge members of their flocks to go and share their faith, striving to win new converts. These speeches rarely make news, because they are not unusual. But something very unusual happened earlier this month in Brookline, Mass.

“You will surely agree that our mission … is to lead our brothers and sisters — both inside and outside the church — to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” said the featured speaker.

“This is becoming more and more difficult because many hesitate to share their faith, fearing they will be considered quaint and bothersome. This is especially the case in America’s colleges and universities where atheism and indifference on matters of faith and religion reign supreme.”

This would be ordinary, if not tame language in a gathering held by Campus Crusade for Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention or any Bible Belt megachurch. But this speaker was Metropolitan Methodios, the white-haired leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, addressing clergy and laity in a conference center dedicated to Greek culture. [Read more...]

Gratitude and Grace at Thanksgiving Time

Gratitude and Grace at Thanksgiving Time Thanks to Godby Glenn Fairman -
As another Thanksgiving has come full circle and we again come face to face with a bounty of foods set before us that in most ages would have been relegated to princes and rajahs, let us not forget that this day flows naturally from the wellspring of Gratitude and Grace — of humility and realization that we as a race are not sufficient — that we have never been islands unto ourselves. And we should further acknowledge that although a great remnant of Americans have not bowed their heads to the false Spirit of the Collective, there still exists a legion of invisible shoulders that we now stand upon for which we are compelled, by what is best within us, to give humble thanks.

Indeed, we are the blessed heirs of hard-won liberties and material blessings that our fathers vaguely but dutifully dreamed over while toiling and praying in yeomanly fashion that their children might be better people, living equally better lives. Yet nevertheless, as we now stand astride our precious but dwindling legacies of plenty, a vague dissatisfaction lurking in the well of our souls whispers to us that this is not enough. And for the Children of God, who were fashioned for the purpose of basking in the starlike glory of his countenance, any blessing divorced from an obligation to its vital source could never have been enough. [Read more...]

Coptic Orthodox Hierarch: Abnormal Becoming the New Normal

Bishop Anba Surielby David Virtue -
A Coptic Orthodox Church observer to the Fourth Global South to South Encounter ripped into the Episcopal Church, stunning some 130 archbishops, bishops, clergy and laity, urging them to say “no to ordination of homosexuals, no to gay marriage, no to such immorality, and that it is time to purify the sanctuary of the Lord from this abomination that causes our God to suffer, bleed and be crucified again everyday.”

“You are martyrs without the shedding of blood because you are upholding the teaching of the Gospel handed down once and for all to the apostles,” Bishop Anba Suriel told the stunned delegates.

“An army of sheep led by a lion is more powerful than an army of lions led by a sheep. I really pray that you lions here, the primates of each of the provinces of the Global South will stand united with one accord against the heresies of The Episcopal Church. [Read more...]

If You Like Your God, You Can Keep Him

It's not a choice, it's a Childby Betsy McCaughey -
On Nov. 1, the Gilardi brothers, devout Roman Catholics who operate their own fresh produce business in Ohio, won round two in a battle against the White House. The Obama administration tried to claim that freedom of religion means freedom to pray, not necessarily to practice your beliefs. Once you leave church, you have to obey government regulations, even when they conflict with your faith.

Francis and Philip Gilardi insisted on living their beliefs as they run their business. For a decade, they’ve provided health insurance for their 400 employees but excluded abortion drugs, contraception and sterilization because they conflict with Catholic teachings.

However, the Obama administration requires all health plans to provide them. On Jan. 2, 2013, the Gilardi brothers sued in federal court, asking for temporary protection from the $14 million annual penalty they would face for not complying. [Read more...]

Divorce, Denial and the Death of God: How the West Really Lost God

Divorce, Denial and the Death of God: How the West Really Lost God by Elise Hilton -
On Christmas Eve 2011, I opened our front door to find one of my teenage daughter’s friends, sobbing. Her parents had divorced months before, and her dad wasn’t around. Her mother started bringing men home regularly to spend the night. The girl told her mom that having the men around made her feel uncomfortable. Her mom kicked her out of the house. On Christmas Eve.

This could be a single story of one young girl and the fall-out of one divorce, but it’s not. It’s becoming Our American Story: adults who do as they wish with little regard for the child, divorce, cohabitation, children with a revolving door of adults in their lives, no longer a family but a group of people with tenuous ties to each other, their community, their faith.

There are plenty of statistics that bear out that this American Story is the norm (the CDC report hereand a report from the Institute of American Values here.) How did it become Our Story? [Read more...]

Opposing ‘God Bless America’

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager

by Dennis Prager -
A Christian minister preaches the religion of leftism.

If you were a Christian minister who was given the opportunity to write an op-ed piece for the Washington Post, what subject would you choose? War and peace? The decline in faith among America’s young people? The increasingly empty pews in mainstream Protestant churches? The ethical decline in society? Or any of myriad other morally and religiously troubling issues?

Well, not if you were a Methodist minister named James P. Marsh Jr.

If you want to know how far much of mainline Christianity has declined, Pastor Marsh’s column would be a fine place to begin. Think back to any time in American history. It is hard to imagine that a Christian minister would have any reaction to his fellow Americans standing and singing “God Bless America” other than unalloyed delight. [Read more...]

The Church’s Fading Influence on American Culture

Silencing Christians Persecuting the Church in Americaby Simon de Hundehutte -
It seems people have misunderstood, as well as misrepresented, the church’s role and influence in “secular society.” The early Christians lived in the secular society of Rome, but by heralding the good news of salvation, what some might call “thumping,” their words along with their deeds changed all of society of their day. In present-day America, however, secularists have taken over and changed the rules of the debate on so many key cultural issues.

Religion, or more accurately, the Christian way of life, is being shoved out of not only politics but the American culture. We believers are being forced to accept things anathema to our way of thinking and living — accept them or be labeled “haters” or, more recently, “thumpers.”

Every Christian is keenly aware of the Great Commission, where Jesus commanded, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19). Christians in the earliest days of the Church did not keep silent about their faith, bringing it with them (and many times at great cost) into the public arena. [Read more...]

Christians Must Not Retreat from the Culture, We Must Work for its Conversion

Christians Must Convert the Cultureby Deacon Keith Fournier -
Two years before becoming Pope, Karol Cardinal Wotyla spoke to the U.S. Bishops. His observation was republished in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 1978:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church must take up.”

And take it up we have. However, there is much, much more to do. The ground has shifted and the struggle is intensifying. Our cultural mission lies at the heart of what it means for us as Christians to be leaven, light, salt and the soul of the world. This is no time to retreat from culture, we must work for its conversion. What is needed are men and women of Christian courage. [Read more...]

Christmas and Secularism’s Futility

Christmas Nativity of Christby Ray Nothstine -
Every December cultural warriors mourn the incessant attacks on Christmas and secularism’s rise in society. News headlines carry stories of modern day Herods banning nativity scenes, religious performances, and even the word “Christmas.” Just as a majority of young people profess they will have less prosperity and opportunity than their parents, many people now expect less out of Christmas. Continual bickering over holiday messaging in corporate advertising itself points to a shrinking and limited Christmas.

Yet these problems are signs on the way to important truths, if we have the eyes to see. Record spending and debt, whether in Washington or the home, allude to a society trying to fill an emptiness of the heart. Even our disappointment in poor leadership in America reminds us that we crave a true King and are expectant of a greater day. [Read more...]

Churches, the Constitution, and Christmas Celebrations

Nativity Display Churchby SpeakUpChurch -
Every Christmas season, it seems that the “war on Christmas” begins afresh and with renewed vigor.  For some, the season that proclaims “peace on earth” seems to be anything but, with demands to remove any and all religious references to the celebration of Christmas. And this year is no exception.

For instance, Western Piedmont College in North Carolina recently replaced the word “Christmas” with the word “holiday” in a student club’s announcement of a Christmas tree sale designed to raise money for charity.  It was only after attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the college that it reversed its decision and reinstated “Christmas.” [Read more...]

Election 2012: A Church Gone Astray

A Church Gone Astrayby Louie Verrecchio -
In the days following last week’s U.S. presidential election, a staggering amount of analysis has been focused on Republican messaging, demographics and core constituencies, but it misses the most fundamental point entirely.

If the Second Coming of Obama is evidence of anything it is the godlessness of a nation, the majority of whose citizens worship an idol who not only grants free license to practically every immoral impulse that one can imagine, but who also evidently demands human sacrifice to the tune of more than a million innocent souls each year.

This culture of depravity is the result of an underlying spiritual malady that has been allowed to fester and spread over the last five decades virtually unopposed by the only force capable of overtaking it.

The United States — a land wherein class-envy passes for compassion, same-sex “marriage” is accepted as fairness, and contraception is considered a matter of healthcare — is about to reap the just rewards, not so much of a nation that has abandoned the principles of its Founding Fathers, but of a Church that has abandoned its Founder and the mission He has given her. [Read more...]

America Voted for Mammon and Rejected God

God or Mammon America Choseby Fr. G. Peter Irving III -
Jesus tells us: “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” …

Whom will you serve? Which will you choose? God or mammon? The things of God or the things of this world? The Lord or the devil? This is the choice that is ever before us in a myriad of ways both large and small. And there is no sitting on the fence. If we hate one, we will love the other.

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012 we faced as a nation a “God or mammon” choice of mammoth proportions. In the most consequential election of our history, the majority of Americans voted for mammon and rejected God. Some did so knowing full well what they were doing (e.g., the Planned Parenthood and the LGBT crowd). Others did so unaware of the dire and far reaching ramifications of their vote. [Read more...]

Hope in God, Do Not Despair

St.  Cyprian of Carthageby Fr. Brian Mullady, OP -
There are those who despair and have no hope when things do not go their way in the political order. This cannot be a Christian attitude.

“The world itself now bears witness to its approaching end by its fading powers. […] The peasant is failing and disappearing from the fields, the sailor at sea, the soldier in the camp, uprightness in the forum, justice in the court, concord in friendships, skill in the arts, discipline in morals.”

Someone might think these words were written today in response to a decline in American society witnessed by the attempt to so centralize the government that the freedom of the Church is threatened. Yet these words were written by St. Cyprian, an early Church Father, around the year 250.

At the time, the Christians thought that the world was coming to an end as they knew it. Yet St. Cyprian, as all good Christians, was not moved to despair. [Read more...]