Friday, September 29, 2006

TOB Made Simple

GOULBURN, Australia, SEPT. 28, 2006 ( Pope John Paul II responded to the sexual revolution with his innovative teachings on human sexuality, says the author of a new book on the theology of the body.

Father Anthony Percy is the author of "Theology of the Body Made Simple," published in Australia by Connorcourt Publishing, by the Daughters of St. Paul in the United States, and by Gracewing in Great Britain. It is being translated into Chinese, Spanish, Italian and German.

In this interview with ZENIT, Father Percy speaks of John Paul II's contribution to the Church's teaching on human sexuality.

* * *

Q: Some say that since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the Church has been challenged in a way it has never been before to defend its teachings on sexuality. In what way?

Father Percy: Most cultural commentators would agree that the sexual revolution began in the 1920s. In fact, G.K. Chesterton said of the sexual revolution that there was "more madness coming out of Manhattan than there was out of Moscow!"

He perceived that the next heresy the Church would have to deal with would be of a sexual nature. We, now living in the 21st century, surely have no problems in recognizing the immense challenge before us.

But "today" is our starting point and not "yesterday" or "tomorrow" -- what might have been or what might be. And the starting point -- or so it seems to me -- is this wonderfully intriguing and inviting teaching called the theology of the body. ...

Read the Rest.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Great Response to Islam

Yesterday, a group of Americans larger than the number killed on 9/11 died.

The day before that it was the same. And the day before that. In fact, every day is 9/11 for America's unborn children. Every day, we cleanly, efficiently, legally and privately dispatch as many children — more in fact — than Osama bin Laden had victims on that horrible day five years ago. When we speak about "post-Christian values" we have to remember that this dedication to the culture of death is one of them: a dedication enshrined in law in much of the West (including our own country) and surrounded by ever more draconian punishments for those who dissent. Increasingly, our culture's devotion to abortion, gay marriage, blasphemy, the harvesting of dead babies for body parts, and the stampede to kill the weak and old is becoming a central component of Why We Fight. More and more, the struggle of the West with Radical Islam looks like a battle, not between Good Guys and Bad Guys, but between pagan Rome and pagan Carthage.

Where the Battle Is

When I point this out, some people ask me if I'm saying that since Western culture is depraved, we have no right to fight radical Islam.

No. I do not say we are too morally bankrupt to fight radical Islam. I say we are too morally bankrupt to trust that our opposition to radical Islam makes us trustworthy. I say that Christians, in particular, have to remember that though we are obliged to the duty of patriotism (which is, after all, simply another way of saying we are obliged to love our neighbor), it does not follow that we are obliged to love our neighbor more than God. When our neighbor tries to get us to defend his sinful acts because they aren’t as nasty as somebody else’s sinful acts, we have a duty to tell him he’s wrong.

The older I get, the more incorrigibly Catholic my outlook gets. I regard the great struggles of our time through the lens of Ephesians 6:12 and following. I do not believe flesh and blood is our ultimate enemy. I also do not believe flesh and blood is our ultimate Friend. I think the projects of demonizing our enemies and the project of making the post-Christian secular West the highest good are both riddled with folly. Our enemies think they are fighting a Holy War. But not a few in the West are promising a secular messianic vision of a world made happy through democracy and capitalism unfettered from the Christian tradition that gave rise to them. Christians have to be very careful in how they respond to that, because the easy temptation, in our revulsion at the brutality and evil of radical Islam, is simply to baptize whatever the post-Christian West wants to do in response.

Christians must indeed fight a Holy War. But that means they must pay attention to St. Paul, who tells us that the weapons of our warfare are primarily spiritual and are ordered toward Christ, not toward earthly power and domination. Therefore, we Christians cannot just fight against radical Islam (which is but one of the enemies of Christ). We must also fight against post-Christian secularism that hates Christ just as much as radical Islam. And we must supremely fight against the sin in the Church (and in our own hearts) that always tempts us to say "I thank you O Lord, that I am not like other men." Yes, sometimes literal arms are necessary in this world. But without the spiritual arms, we are fighting in vain. Indeed, we are fighting against Christ.

Follow Christ!

The temptation of this world is always to lure us with the siren song of believing that we can make this world enough — that one of our little systems of order can stand in for heaven. And one of the best tricks the devil has in his little bag is the trick of sending evils into the world in pairs. That way, he can inflame our hatred of one evil and stampede us into the defense of the opposite evil. The sensible path through all this is to follow Christ, not the winds of this world. For the reality is that a diseased and inflamed spirituality like radical Islam cannot be cured by a diseased and flaccid spirituality like post-Christian secularism and the New-Age goo of the West. Only a healthy spirituality can cure what ails both East and West: and that means the fullness of the Catholic faith.

On the whole, I'm glad pagan Rome defeated pagan Carthage. Rome was about the best there was in paganism. But the very best of paganism still was incapable of looking God in the eye without saying "Crucify Him." We Christians will have to remember that both when radical Islam threatens to kill us and when Caesar seeks to co-opt us.

Mark Shea is Senior Content Editor for Catholic Exchange and a weekly columnist for the
National Catholic Register. You may visit his website at check out his blog, Catholic and Enjoying It!, or purchase his books and tapes here.

Friday, September 01, 2006

New Bishop for South Dakota!

Pray for Bishop-elect Paul Swain. This will have a major impact on the abortion ban. Praise God!

Sioux Falls, Aug. 31, 2006 (CNA) - Today, Pope Benedict XVI named a new bishop for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, Monsignor Paul Joseph Swain, an adult convert to Catholicism and Bronze Star winner. Bishop-elect Swain, who is currently serving as Vicar General for the Diocese of Madison, will be taking the reigns of a South Dakota diocese which has been with out a bishop for over one and a half years. Read the Rest.