Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Eight Principles of Evangelization

(This is a superb article that simplifies how evangelical we Catholics are supposed to be. Hattip to Catholic Spiritual Direction)

Fr. Phillip De Vous of the Diocese of Covington, borrowing from Fr. Jay Scott Newman, pens a manifesto to Evangelical Catholicism. Fr. De Vous was recently assigned to a new parish, and this document captures his thinking on how to lead his flock to dynamic orthodoxy. Pastors take note.


During the nearly twenty-seven years of his pontificate, John Paul the Great called the Church to the urgent mission of fulfilling the Great Commission in our time, a project he called the New Evangelization. This evangelical summons of John Paul continued the same call given to the Church by Pope Paul VI in the years of and after the Second Vatican Council, and now the same commitment to announcing the timeless truths of the Gospel with new ardor, new methods, and new conviction is being asked of us by Pope Benedict XVI.
By our Baptism we are called to receive the Gospel as a complete, coherent, comprehensive Way of Life and to submit our entire lives in the obedience of faith to the Lord Jesus. Everything about us must be measured and guided by the Gospel: our thoughts, words, actions, bodies, relationships, spending habits, political convictions, leisure activities, lifestyle choices, and business decisions. But this total surrender to Christ and His Gospel is not a restriction of our freedom; in fact, it is the beginning of authentic discipleship and the only path to evangelical liberty. As the Lord Jesus teaches, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31 -32).
Another way of expressing our commitment to the work of the New Evangelization is to say that we must become Evangelical Catholics. By our Baptism, we are called to be men and women of the Gospel who are Christian disciples by conviction rather than Church members by convention. Being Evangelical Catholics requires that we know the Gospel, believe the Gospel, live the Gospel, and share the Gospel with others. Becoming Evangelical Catholics is a lifelong adventure of letting go of cafeteria, casual, and cultural Catholicism by accepting the liberating truth of the Word of God and living by grace through faith in the Son of God.
All Catholics are called by their Baptism to be Evangelical Catholics, which means (in part) living according to these eight principles of Evangelical Catholicism:

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the crucified and risen Savior of all mankind, and no human person can fully understand his life or find his dignity and destiny apart from a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. It is not enough to know who Jesus is; we must know Jesus.
  2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is divine revelation, not human wisdom, and the Gospel is given to us in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which together constitute a single divine deposit of faith transmitted authentically and authoritatively by the Bishops in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. We must surrender our private judgments in all matters of faith and morals to the sacred teaching authority of the Church’s Magisterium if we are to receive the whole Gospel.
  3. The seven Sacraments of the New Covenant are divinely instituted instruments of grace given to the Church as the ordinary means of sanctification for believers. Receiving the Sacraments regularly and worthily is essential to the life of grace, and for this reason, faithful attendance at Sunday Mass every week (serious illness and necessary work aside) and regular Confession of sins are absolutely required for a life of authentic discipleship.
  4. Through Word and Sacrament we are drawn by grace into a transforming union with the Lord Jesus, and having been justified by faith we are called to sanctification and equipped by the Holy Spirit for the good works of the new creation. We must, therefore, learn to live as faithful disciples and to reject whatever is contrary to the Gospel, which is the Good News of the Father’s mercy and love revealed in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  5. The sacred liturgy, through which the seven Sacraments are celebrated and the Hours of praise are prayed, makes present to us the saving mysteries of the Lord Jesus. The liturgy must therefore be celebrated in such a way that the truth of the Gospel, the beauty of sacred music, the dignity of ritual form, the solemnity of divine worship, and the fellowship of the baptized assembled to pray are kept together in organic unity.
  6. Receiving the Sacraments without receiving the Gospel leads to superstition rather than living faith, and the Church must therefore take great care to ensure that those who receive the Sacraments also receive the Gospel in its integrity and entirety. Consequently, before Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, and Marriage are administered, there must be in those who request these Sacraments clear evidence of knowledge of the Gospel and a serious intention to live the Christian life.
  7. Being a follower of Christ requires moving from being a Church member by convention to a Christian disciple by conviction. This transformation demands that we consciously accept the Gospel as the measure of our entire lives, rather than attempting to measure the Gospel by our experience. Personal knowledge of and devotion to Sacred Scripture is necessary for this transformation to occur through the obedience of faith, and there is no substitute for personal knowledge of the Bible. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
  8. 8. All the baptized are sent in the Great Commission to be witnesses of Christ to others and must be equipped by the Church to teach the Gospel in word and deed. An essential dimension of true discipleship is the willingness to invite others to follow the Lord Jesus and the readiness to explain His Gospel.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Skeptics: Sopisticated Lazy Thinkers

Part II
Yesterday, we looked at the argument of Skeptics and found them to be based on the very certain belief that all knowledge is uncertain. We stated that since this is a certainty, the premise of Skepticism is self-refuting. Here's why.
In order to make the above claim, one must make one of two assumptions. First, that either reality as it is, in incapable of being known as qua reality, or two, our it is impossible for our minds to fully know its subject. In either case, we must have absolute knowledge, of reality and its knowable-ness, or our minds, and its ability to know. It is a fallacy of Borrowing where you take the premise you deny and borrow it to make your argument work. It's a type of circular reasoning which only makes people dizzy. If you like being dizzy, that is up to you.
As I said, a skeptic most likely will not care if he refutes himself or not, unless he or she is an honest skeptic. I have not YET run into an honest skeptic, though I am still looking. I have never had a skeptic tell me "Thank you, UL, you have shown me the error of my thinking. I am going to take some time in rethinking my entire orientation to reality, especially moral and theological reality." Never has happened.
In some cases, skeptics have become angry, for their false argument is exposed for what it is. This tells me they have NO intention of changing, or listening to more argument. At this point, I identify the prevailing problem they have in their thinking and stop the discussion. You cannot convince anyone of something they don't want to admit. They like their skepticism.
Other observations I make regarding skeptics is their approach to subjects of morality, on topics of "right and wrong." Invariably, they take this "not-knowing" approach when the challenge is directed to them, yet have sufficient means to debunk the thoughts of others. It's a gutless approach that seeks to avoid ANY criticism yet gives them perceived "safety" to attack others. It is a loser philosophy that makes sissies out its adherents.
If you are a skeptic and you are reading, please feel free to explain how it may be otherwise. Show me the courage you have in being a skeptic. You certainly don't have a logical basis for your belief; and since you deny our ability to know for certain what is morally right or wrong, how do you know you are courageous?
My advice to you all: Face it! The human being cannot avoid absolutes. Be virtuous enough to admit it! Be the courageous absolutist you REALLY are and let's engage in why you are the absolutist you are. Embrace the truth, no matter what. You'll find a freedom you never felt before and you'll rid yourself of the tiring sissified game of skepticism. Pax!

True Cost of Stimulus: $ 3.27 TRILLION

The mother of all Crap Sandwiches, according to the non-partisan CBO, has a slightly higher cost to us, our children, our grandchildren, great grandchildren. See it here at the Heritage Foundations article.

Blows my mind! Thanks Nancy, Harry and Barry! This ought to stimulate an emergency socialist/globalist takeover.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Skeptics: Sophisticated Lazy Thinkers

Part I

I need to take a break from the maniacal political environment to talk about more substantive issues pertaining to our culture, primarily our decaying, decadent Western culture. One of the contributing philosophical strands, broken strands that is, that have been woven into our culture is Skepticism. This is a philosophy in epistemology that states in general, that we cannot know the truth of things for certain. There are different forms, or perhaps ranges in skepticism that people subscribe to that prevent them from making any statement or doctrine that speaks of reality that is without any doubt.

What I am addressing is something different than the healthy skepticism that all of us should exercise when it comes to judging the integrity of people's character, advertisements, unproven but persuasive arguments; etc. What I am referring to is the thinking that says that any truth claims, especially in the arena of morals, ethics and religion cannot be made with any certainty since it is impossible for us to know truth with certainty. It is this belief that allows for the rampant relativism that many people use to justify actions which were at one time considered immoral.

What makes for a skeptic? Psychologically, I cannot say, although I can hazard a few guesses. First, if one is fearful of rejection of others, skepticism is a haven that allows for the differences in beliefs in others without engaging in arguments to prove who is right or wrong. The average modern or post-modern sees the arena of "right and wrong" the main cause of the world's ills, fighting, wars and racial battles. Remove the need to be "right or wrong", and you eliminate the fighting. It is a Utopian desire for peace that is primal in all of us. Perhaps the second reason is the need to be admired for embracing a very sophisticated philosophy, that seems to act like Teflon in any philosophical discussion. Skeptics have this way of wiggling out of any argument raised against them, unless one finds the basic of assumption of Skepticism. Then, the skeptic is in denial. Third, though the Skeptic is shown to be inconsistent in his skepticism, to him, it is immaterial. Why pursue this line of thinking when it doesn't matter if Skepticism is true or not? It is a useless endeavor to the skeptic, and he'll tell you so.

Steering clear of the psychology, I want to focus on the morality of a skeptic. Now mind you, I make generalizations, which means there can be exceptions, though I contend they may be few in number. The main moral reason the skeptic is what he is is pure laziness. It does not take much thinking energy to be a skeptic. You don't have to do the hard work of reasoning, determining what premises are true or not, which arguments are valid or invalid, if terms are clear definitions or ambiguous, or uni vocal or equivocal, if you are a skeptic. You simply economize your energy by stating it is unnecessary; why bother with finding the truth when it is difficult to know for certain?

It also allows for the ease of debunking classical arguments in morality in religion. You don't have to face the concrete logic that under girds classical morality. Your thinking allows you to do an end run and say these arguments are moot. You can subvert or debunk any moral claim and literally ignore it. You can leap frog over Metaphysics, and deny the existence of God, and therefore ANY accountability to God because it's impossible to know if he/she exists. And if this God does exist, he/she has no moral claim to be a just God and judge properly when it is impossible to know this god and his moral criteria. It seems to be philosophically impregnable, and therefore a very well used philosophy. In fact, it is a deep commitment to refuse to work at reason. This is not the result of thinking, but a lack in moral conditioning.

Skepticism then can become very favorable to anyone who is given to laziness, immorality, or fear--one who hates any accountability other than to oneself. This isn't to say that all skeptics are completely immoral or lazy. Skepticism is standard fare in education regarding morals or ethics, and because of this, it is considered the norm in thinking. To deviate from Skepticism is considered a slide into arrogance. Only those who are close-minded and arrogant think they know what is true. Thus, a hedge is built around this philosophy that leads to variant moral and ethical conclusions.

If you end up arguing with a skeptic, it is important to identify the main premise of Skepticism; all knowledge is uncertain. This does not necessarily apply to science, which is why often the skeptic leans on science as means to determine whether God exists or not. But, generally, all knowledge is uncertain is the active premise in Skepticism. And, if you notice, it is an absolute, which refutes the whole scheme of skepticiswm.

Now, don't be too optimistic that you can identify and counter-argue this point if your intent is to convince him or her. Remember, a skeptic is a skeptic because it is not based on anything logical. Plus, any refutation of Skepticism is immaterial, since the mind of the skeptic cannot bring himself to accept certainty in the first place. There are moral and psychological forces inside that prevent him from doing so. Therefore, he may agree with you that his argument is illogical. He can see that he refutes himself. It doesn't matter. In a twisted way, he considers this as proof of his philosophy. Thus, the credo of the Skeptic remains intact.

To appeal to a skeptic, one must have a two pronged approach that will address his lack of reasoning and also his morality. This will not be easy and we'll have to cover Part II tomorrow.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Is This Type of Health Care a Real Solution?

I saw the WSJ article here about Canadian Health Care that is not health care but "queue management," which strikes fear in me as I face my future health care needs.

Give it a read and ask yourself, "Is this what we REALLY want?" or "Do we want the entity that bungled Katrina aid to manage our healthcare?" I say, "NO!!!"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Must See: Glenn Beck's "Comrade Update!"

Catch this! Glenn Beck is awesome and to the point--clear thinking in our muddled "have you hugged your Communist today?" Amerikan kulture.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Governor Defiant Against Stimulus: RIGHT ON!!

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has great things to say about the brave minority in the US House who rejected the so called "Rescue Plan" of 2009. May people all over take time to see the small print of what's REALLY in it . Read the article here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

China's Currency Policy Major Cause of Economic Fallout

An interesting article in the Washington Post by Sebastian Mallaby that sheds light on another major factor that created our economic downturn. In fact, it's been brewing for over a decade. Check it out and let me know what you think.

From everyone here in the Cave, thank you for being patient with me concerning my blog-lessness these past few months. I've been busy finishing my Masters Degree, which is finally finished. Now I am super smart!!! Also, and probably the greater reason, I get into funks where it seems so futile to give Reason a place in our public discourse. And yet, Reason does get its "two cents" in, whether it is in actual discourse, or in reflection on the consequences of actions taken.

It will be interesting to see what kind of political climate takes shape with an Obama Presidency. Interesting meaning, what consequences we will see from the incredible promises made by the President, whether the euphoria will be sustained by Mr. Obama's performance, and whether the extreme disrespect given to Mr. Bush will be hurled on Mr. Obama. Time will tell...

Meanwhile, I am going to do what I can to make my life meaningful, fruitful and hopefully profitable, no matter what our Government does. Big Government from a "compassionate Conservative" or a "Messianic-community Organizer", as intrusive as both are, will not stop me from living out the purpose of my life. My hope is that you are likewise inspired. Pax!