Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

8/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The reactions surrounding the Chick-fil-A stance on marriage are indicative of not only the steady advance of relativism and secularism, but of a nation suffering from the effects of Christian division.

The solution to the present disunity and doctrinal confusion in contemporary Christendom, the answers to questions about who man is, the nature of the human person and the nature of the institution of marriage, and much more, are all found within the womb of holy mother Church,where we learn how to live a fully human life in loving freedom as God's adopted children.

The Church is an expert on the Word made flesh, and therefore an expert on the nature of man, his purpose, goals and destiny.

The Church is an expert on the Word made flesh, and therefore an expert on the nature of man, his purpose, goals and destiny.

Highlights

By F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Chick-fil-A, moral indifference, relativism, divided body of Christ, natural law, divine law, anthropology, marriage, homosexual unions, F. K. Bartels


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- When Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that, as "an organization," Chick-fil-A "can operate on biblical principles," he was simply stating his family's long held religious conviction that their chicken sandwich business be conducted according to Christian values. In fact, about six decades ago that was the guiding principle of the majority of American businesses. If that alone were all he said, while it would have attracted some attention, today's obdurate critics of Christianity would soon have turned their gaze elsewhere.

However, given the present moral climate of widespread relativism, when Mr. Cathy publicly stated that those same values meant opposing same-sex unions, the fires of outrage against the truth were ignited.

No one minds much when someone insists on principles; however, once those principles are articulated in such a way so as to make clear their opposition to moral relativists who deny, either in word or deed, the existence of the natural law, the divine law, and an absolute truth about what marriage is and about what the human person is, the banners of "discrimination," "intolerance," and "homophobic-hate-speech" are run up against anyone who even suggests that there is a divinely created order and reality intrinsic to human nature which the human person is not free to ignore.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco have all told the Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain to "keep out." Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel trumpeted: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents." Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno, one of fifty individuals who make up the Chicago City Council, showed his own distaste for Chick-fil-A's support of marriage when he voiced his intent to exercise a government strong-arm maneuver blocking the building of a second Chicago restaurant.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong advocate of homosexual unions, stated on a radio show that he doesn't think it's the local "government's business" to ban the building of new Chick-fil-A's based on the restaurant chain owners' views on marriage. "You really don't want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a [building] permit. That's just not government's job." Taken at face value, his comments appear to be on the right track. However, less than a week earlier Bloomberg and other city officials gathered to celebrate the first year anniversary of homosexual unions in New York. Apparently, Bloomberg and his political colleagues do think it is the "government's business" to attempt to force a redefinition of marriage.

We should not be surprised by the anti-truth and anti-religious-freedom mentality displayed by these politicians. After all, they are simply following the lead of the present Administration's open, blatant and historically unparalleled-in-America attack on religious freedom and freedom of conscience recently manifested by the HHS mandate. We should also recognize that America has been on a steady march toward secularization for decades. Therefore the relativistic philosophies often displayed by our nation's politicians are but a reflection of the views of a wide section of the populace. After all, these public officials were elected.

But it is not only politicians who are sounding off. So-called ordinary Americans on both sides of the issue of homosexual unions are readily offering their opinions on Facebook, Twitter, and the millions of personal blogs scattered over the electronic social media landscape. There are people who are, both Christian and otherwise, "ashamed of the intolerance of Christians"; and others who "can't imagine why heterosexual people would deny homosexual persons the ability to express sexual love." There are those who are apparently allergic to an objective judgment about what is good and right and what is not, and what is aligned with the nature of the human person and what is out of sync with it. And there are still others who insist that "God's love is without limit, and Jesus accepts everyone exactly as they are, so nobody can say how anyone else should live." What is perhaps most disturbing, is that, given their context and phrasing, the majority of these often theologically bizarre and ignorant statements were apparently posted at the hands of reputed Christians.

Of course there are many comments that reflect a correct understanding of theology and Christian doctrine. Also, as is clear from the response in support of Chick-fil-A, many Americans believe in the unchangeable institution of marriage as God himself authored it: the union of one man and one woman. Praise God! But it is a mistake to ignore the widespread confusion, the doctrinal error, and the unbiblical statements surrounding the issue of marriage that have arisen from Christians who claim to be "following the Bible." Welcome to the age of individual infallibility.

All of this serves to highlight the critical situation presently enveloping America. We find ourselves in the midst of a post-Christian era in desperate need of the truth; one in which reputed Christians who, steeped in an individualistic and subjective interpretation of Scripture, claim to adhere to the Bible yet no longer widely agree on some of the most basic tenets of the Christian religion. Christians do not even agree on what it means to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. Nor do we agree on whether Christ founded an organic, definite and specific, visible and invisible Church (see Mt. 16:17-19; 18:15-18). Nor do we agree on whether Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, or whether there is such a thing as mortal sin, or whether the gift of God's love obliges us to respond to him in the manner in which we live our lives physically and spiritually, and so forth.

Catholics are not outside of this mess either. We have for far too long given ourselves over to pragmatism, with an emphasis on material success and achieved status in society, standing silently by in the public square while the tenets of our Catholic Faith are trampled underfoot, all the while living out our days in tepidity, displaying a lack of zeal for Christ and holy mother Church. Rather than lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, we have laid them on earth (Mt. 6:20). 

America used to be a nation of weekly church-goers. Not any more. We used to be a nation in agreement on the intrinsic evil of the use of artificial birth control. Not any more. We used to be a nation whose view of the institution of marriage was understood in an overwhelmingly and emphatically singular way: as the union of one man and one woman, forming the foundation of the family and society. Not any more. And we used to be a nation in which very nearly everyone was appalled at the idea of intentionally killing innocent children through abortion, let alone legalizing it. That too has long passed.

What is the solution? It is complex yet also as simple as an authentic, repentant encounter with Jesus the Christ. However, in the first place, we must get it into our heads that we are ordinarily brought to Christ by the Holy Spirit working through the Church. It is normally within the sacramental womb of holy mother Church that we are made children of God, not outside of her. Within the Church, the sacrament of salvation, as we assist in the divine liturgy and the work of our redemption is carried out, we are sanctified in Christ, and thus learn how to live a fully human life and are given the grace to do so. Within the Church's arms, we are nourished with the words of truth and the sacraments of life, which heal, elevate and perfect us by the power of the Spirit, raising our human nature beyond what it formally was by the gift of sharing in God's own supernatural life. To be fully Christian and fully human is to reside in full communion with the Church as a disciple of the Risen Lord. Therefore a culture infused with Catholic principles, guided by the influence of the Spirit through the Church, is a truly enlightened one.

The climate of America indicates that we have lost sight of the definitive revelation of Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection -- a tragedy that is not unrelated to negative attitudes toward the Church. It follows, then, that we often misunderstand who and what the human person is, as well as how man is to relate to God. We need to answer the question: "Who is man?" and, inseparably bound to that question, is man's relationship to God who, in his divine wisdom, created man in his image and likeness (Gen. 1:27). While the human person is the "Imago Dei," we need understand what it means to live out that sublime reality in fidelity to the Creator. It is the Church who is the expert par excellence in these areas.

All theological questions, including those of an anthropological nature informed by the light of faith that are crucial to the full truth about the human person, are definitively answered only in the Person of Jesus the Christ, since it "is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear" (Gaudium et Spes 22 1), who is, as the perfect image of the Father (cf. Col. 15:1), the totality of God's revelation to humankind. However, it is the Church who is an expert on the Word made flesh since she is his one body, and in a real way is Christ. The Church was instituted by Jesus Christ according to the salvific plan born in the Father's heart. She is, then, as the city of truth for which Christ gave his own life, "endowed with light from God" and therefore offers solutions to man's irrepressible quest to know himself (GS 12). If we want to know who man is, what is compatible or incompatible with human nature in its relation to God, the Church has the answers.

Further, "God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the 'convocation' of men in Christ, and this 'convocation' is the Church" (CCC 760). Therefore St. Epiphanius was able to observe that the Church is the goal of all things, since  the Church is the "Reign of Christ already present in mystery" (Lumen Gentium 3). Full communion with the Church, as Christ's body in union with the Spirit, is the goal toward which the Father is directing the whole of humankind, one which is ultimately for the sake of our reception of divine love. By calling us into the Church, the Kingdom of God present in mystery, the Father is moving us toward the gaol of eternal human fulfillment and happiness found only in himself.

The Church, then, is not simply one institution among others, for she is crucial in attaining the full dimension of human life. Nor is she a strictly invisible, abstract, vague and unreachable reality that cannot be seen nor heard, and who has nothing definitive to say on the tenets of the Christian religion. On the contrary, she is a specific and definite reality, vital to the full truth of the human person and the full flourishing of every culture and society. The Church is God's fraternal plan of love and happiness, peace, security, knowledge and truth for humankind, a wondrous divine and human, visible and invisible community who is one single reality, and whose life was gained at an infinitely great cost: the death of the Son of God by crucifixion.

The solution to the present disunity and doctrinal confusion in contemporary Christendom, the answers to questions about who man is, the nature of the human person and the nature of the institution of marriage, and much more, are all found within the womb of holy mother Church, where we learn how to live a fully human life in loving freedom as God's adopted children, for it is through the Church that the mystery of the Word made flesh is revealed, bringing sublime and revealing light to the mystery of man.

-----

F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More U.S.

The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


Why is he so upset? Because of the secret Republican time bomb in the government funding bill Watch

Image of The federal government has funding through the 2015 fiscal year, but Republicans will have many opportunities to fight the president's programs in that time.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Senate has approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed to fund nearly the whole of the federal government through the 2015 fiscal year, ending weeks of drama in Congress and relieving doubts that the government might be shut down again while Democrats and ... continue reading


You know about the 'Bishop of Bling' but do American clergy have the same problem too? Watch

Image of The Bishop of Bling was sacked after he spent $43 million renovating his home.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has called for "a Church which is poor and for the poor." However, not every member of the clergy may have read the memo. A number of high-ranking Church officials in the United States live in lavish homes, sometimes bordering on the scandalous. LOS ... continue reading


Water leak leads to discovery of 1795 time capsule - left by Paul Revere! Watch

Image of A worker holds the time capsule left by the revolutionaries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Paul Revere, the fearless revolutionary who mounted his horse to declare that "The British are coming! The British are coming!" has left an enduring national legacy - in both deed and actions. Excitement is mounting with the discovery of a time capsule left by Revere ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 7:10-14
10 Yahweh spoke to Ahaz again and said:11 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 20th, 2014 Image

St. Dominic of Silos
December 20: Benedictine abbot and defender of the faith. Born in Canas, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter