DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN to THURSDAY     July 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 136

Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
    INTRODUCTION
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today Pat writes about the various degrees of love: self love, which puts self at the detriment of all else; worldly love which is blinded to what love truly is and too often buys into the trappings and glitz of the sexual emphasis without realizing what true love is; and love of God in which we submit our will to the Divine Will not because we don't love ourselves or take pleasure in legal, good emotions such as conjugal love, but because we realize by loving God all the other loves are placed in proper balance and only then can we experience true love as it is meant to be. He points out that the first two loves are the basis of radical groups who try to bypass the issue of love of God by saying God is love and would never punish us. But love is a two-way street and, though God loves each and every one of His creatures, He expects us to love Him in return, with our whole heart and our whole mind. It's as basic as to gain the happiness of Heaven we must know, love and serve God in this world.

Three loves

        Saint Peter Julian Eymard, founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, wrote: "Man is love like his divine Model. As he loves, so he lives. Self-love makes him selfish; love of the world, vicious." (A Eucharistic Handbook, Vol. 6, pg 3)

        Put simply, we can either love ourselves, love the world, or love God. If we love ourselves, nothing is too great to be sacrificed to satisfy that love. We can sacrifice our children (born and unborn), our families, our Church, whatever. If it gets in the way of our personal happiness, our self love, it has to be removed. And since love of self is all consuming, anyone trying to help get a better understanding of love is to be removed, ridiculed, etc.

        Love of the world is often connected with self love. In fact, today, that love of self is part of the world's philosophy. How many times have we heard "One must love oneself first before loving another." We can see the effects of the viciousness of worldly love every day. In secular newspapers, one might read an article implying that the Church is returning to the superstitions of the Dark Ages (regarding the Church's redoing of the Rites of Exorcism) and how 'right' thinking Catholics (often quoting FutureChurch, WomanChurch, or Call To Action) see this as avoiding the issue of justice.

        "For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it." (2 Tim. 3:2-5)

        Consider that when the rest of the world viewed women as cattle and even royal women were nothing more than political footballs and baby making machines, the Church held women up as examples of holiness, giving them responsibility for abbey's, convents, and Orders. St. Teresa of Avila chastised the Pope to leave France and return to Rome. St. Clare of Assisi withstood the Pope to lessen the Rule for her Order. Even a 12th century Church manuscript reads; "In the meanwhile Peter Bernadone (the father of St. Francis of Assisi) returned home; and, on finding his son gone, he added sin to sin by abusing his wife." (Legend of the Three Companions; St. Francis of Assisi, Omnibus of Sources; pg. 908)

        Our present Pope has written "MULIERIS DIGNITATEM" (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women; August 15, 1988) And Pope Paul VI wrote: "Within Christianity, more than in any other religion, and since its very beginning, women have had a special dignity, of which the New Testament shows us many important aspects . . . ; it is evident that women are meant to form part of the living and working structure of Christianity in so prominent a manner that perhaps not all their potentialities have yet been made clear."(Address to the National Meeting of the Centro Italiano Femminile; Dec. 6, 1976)

        And in Humanae Vitae we read: " It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anticonceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion." (Grave Consequences of Methods of Artificial Birth Control, #17)

        Yet we hear that the Church is anti-woman, sexist, encouraging the abuse of women, oppressing women. Why? Because the Pope has declared that the Church doesn't have the authority to ordain women and the Church won't sanction artificial birth control and abortion. Even when it is clear that it is for their benefit that these teachings are done.

        Self love and love of the world have made them 'hate' the Church. Viciously attacking the Church at every turn and at every opportunity. Declaring "we need people with chisels inside (the church) chiseling away at that institution or it is never going to fall." (Sister Maureen Fiedler, of Call To Action's "We Are Church" referendum) And to remove this 'obstacle' to self love, they intend to destroy the Church.

        "The organization (Womens Ordination Committee), long the most visible group advocating that the Catholic priesthood be opened to women, might (now) drop that objective in favor of a long-range goal of reconstructing the church." (New York Times religious editor Peter Steinfels (11/14/95)) And that restructuring entails "transforming the priesthood into a non-sacramental office of community-ordained facilitators." (Elisabeth Fiorenza-Schussler; "New Woman,New Church, New Priestly Ministry.")

        Also consider this: "The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and life-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good."

        The Church sees that our sexuality is good only when used in the context of a marital relationship, between a man and a woman. However, the world doesn't see it that way. "Sex sells." Our children are taught, implicitly and explicitly, that sex is normal and that abstinence is abnormal and even unhealthy. And if one can, and should, have sex with whomever one wishes, whenever one wishes, then obviously this applies to homosexuals as well.

        The Church teaches: " At the same time the Congregation took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions." (ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS; October 1, 1986) No one can be accused of sinning for being a homosexual, no more than one can be accused of sinning for being a heterosexual. However, sin does occur when the homosexual has homosexual sex just as a heterosexual sins when they have heterosexual sex outside of marriage.

        "Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not." (Ibid)

        This, according to such groups as Dignity (which is linked with Call To Action) is homophobic and encouraging violence toward homosexuals. Even though the Church teaches. "Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." (CCC #2358)

        Again, it isn't that they need to change to suit God, but rather, God must change to suit them. " An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church's teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous and call for particular attention here…..The Church today addresses the Gospel to a world which differs in many ways from ancient days. But the world in which the New Testament was written was already quite diverse from the situation in which the Sacred Scriptures of the Hebrew people had been written or compiled, for example. What should be noticed is that, in the presence of such remarkable diversity, there is nevertheless a clear consistency with the Scriptures themselves on the moral issue of homosexual behavior. The Church's doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant biblical testimony. The community of faith today, in unbroken continuity with the Jewish and Christian communities within which the ancient Scriptures were written, continues to be nourished by those same Scriptures and by the Spirit of Truth whose Word they are. It is likewise essential to recognize that the Scriptures are not properly understood when they are interpreted in a way which contradicts the Church's living Tradition. To be correct, the interpretation of Scripture must be in substantial accord with that Tradition." (ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS; October 1, 1986)

        In both cases, and others, we see, hear, and read how the Church must change to suit them. This is the sign of selfish, worldly love.

        Yet the love of God is selfless, caring not for the ways of the world nor our own personal wants and desires. "Then Jesus told His disciples, 'If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?'" (Matthew 16:24-26).

        "And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love…Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 6;9).

        "Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. You did not so learn Christ!-- assuming that you have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus. Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 17-24).

        It's when we love God more than ourselves that we can humbly respond, "Thy will be done.", regardless of what sacrifice that may entail. It's when we have self love and/or worldly love that we say, "My will be done.", regardless of what cost to others, or even ourselves. " For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?"

        Though they preach tolerance and understanding, they don't give tolerance and understanding. Their attacks on the Church and the faithful shows them to be intolerant, biased, bigoted, and vicious.

        "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

      Pax Christi, Pat

July 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 136
VIEW FROM THE PEW

DAILY CATHOLIC

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