Chapter 4 – “Challenges to Faith”

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to inform yourself about the challenge we have regarding the HHS Mandate (the short background and  Q & A sheets are a good start, for more details and ongoing updates you might keep up with this page).

Now, do a reread of the section about “Challenges to Faith” (pages 41-43).  If you had any doubt about whether the study of the USCCA would be relevant, this should answer that!

Let’s see how these intersect and consider how it requires us to think about how we think (world view, distinction about issues/implications, conviction that compels action consistent with truth in love, and detachment from loyalties that hinder the same).

Coupling this HHS rule with the legislation in Illinois last year that legalized Civil Unions (but had inadequate religious protection forcing Catholic institutions out of foster care), a couple of things jump out:

1) The state (in comfortable collaboration with a culture where God is considered a rather irrelevant participant) is usurping the authority unto itself to define (and impose this definition on others) the nature of the human person and the “goods”/value of life.

2) The ideological secularism in which it grounds the definitions is at odds with not only the Catholic view but also that of other faith traditions. Without a reference beyond ourselves, the value of the human person is based on a Darwinian ethic of pragmatism and power (which shift).  There is a natural diminishing of the view of human sexuality (without meaning/design/purpose it is reduced to recreation/pleasure or means of exerting manipulative power).  Furthermore, the general understanding of the “goods” of life, the rights inherent versus granted to individuals, our responsibility to one another, and how we experience our relationship to/with God, likewise are vulnerable to the whims of power.  This secularism intends no room for religious influence in the public square, evidenced by the trend to increasingly limit the understanding of freedom of religion to freedom of worship. Such narrowing denies the integrity of the human person.  Spirituality/faith isn’t meant to be compartmentalized but integrally experienced not only in the sanctuary but in all areas of life and relationships. The human person isn’t a sum of pieces but a whole.

The United States Bishops are speaking/writing very plainly and boldly about this violation of religious freedom, and others are speaking along with them.  Before closing the post I would like to encourage two things.  First, engage in this current issue – contact your legislator, write a letter to the editor…  Second, let’s help one another (inviting others) to continue to deepen our faith and increase our understanding of who/whose we are and how we (and the human family) most fully live up to the dignity that is ours.

Let’s press forward soberly because of the very genuine shift in our culture, but also joyfully and with hope because of the One who is the source and goal of our faith!  (Laurie E.)

About Fanning The Flame

FTF is a 125th Anniversary Journey of Faith of the Diocese of Belleville through the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.
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2 Responses to Chapter 4 – “Challenges to Faith”

  1. Sue Gass says:

    I agree, becoming a responsible Catholic is a much more strenuous calling and absolutely requires anything but “checking one’s brain at the door”. We meet challenges everyday in our personal lives and in the Catholic Church today even among our own fellow parishioners. Many Catholics if they do not have a solid foundation in our faith can get discouraged, sometimes even to the point of leaving the church based on the negative impact the news media portrays about us. This creates an atmosphere of division among the Church as a whole, something the enemy is constantly trying to advance.

    My prayer is that “Fanning the Flame” will encourage more catholic’s to deepen their understanding of our faith and help us together to combat the negative impact the media (with its secular viewpoint) spreads. Knowing our faith and accepting what the Church’s position is in regards to these matters will lead to our developing “an informed conscious”. Prayerfully, an informed conscious will lead us into action. I appreciate the links you provided so we can e-mail our representatives to support the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act” from the NCLA action center.
    This link makes it so easy to do our part.

    Page 43…sums it up for me. “Finally we need to affirm again our faith that Jesus Christ can show all of us the way-believers to stronger faith, and others to be brought to faith.”

    Maybe we could add a link on this blog to advertise small groups that are forming in our diocese to discuss the “Fanning the Flame” program. We have several groups meeting at my parish (St. Joseph’s in Freeburg) and invite anyone to join us at the parish center on Wed. evenings at 7:00 p.m.

  2. Thank you Sue for your attentiveness to the links for this immediate HHS issue! Thank you especially for your prayers and the information/extended invitation for small FTF groups at St Joseph. One of the real blessings (among many) of working to bring this initiative together has been registering people to receive the weekly study sheets via email. There are so many people like yourself who are keeping the diocese in their prayers in a very intentional way during this year for spiritual renewal. People have committed to praying additional Rosaries, Novenas, attending daily Mass more often than before, and simply increasing their prayer time. These folks are from all parts of the diocese and are only the ones we know about – it has been a great encouragement! As to the idea of advertising small groups, what you have done just by speaking up is a great start. We do have schedules for some parishes, but the list isn’t quite organized to “publish” (yet anyway – but maybe we can get there!).

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