You Do Not Belong to the World

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” 
 -John 15: 18-19
The last two days of the semester, I decided to discuss areas where the culture and the Church are at odds.  I knew this would result in a list of topics that often are discussed with passion and heat.  The areas where the Church has a politically incorrect stance that is unforgivable according to moderns.  Overall, the days went well, I believe.  My goal was not to incite riots, but to try to have them apply 12 years of Catholic education to what they will undoubtedly encounter in their secular lives.  
On the board they listed as many of the “controversies” they could think of and then we democratically narrowed them down to the top five.  The top five list varied greatly between the different class periods, but a recurring topic was gay marriage.  Then they brainstormed the common reasons our culture has for defending the stance it holds on these topics.  We narrowed this list of reasons down and I assigned one reason to each group, some reasons taken by a few groups.  In the groups they were supposed to come up with ideas for how the Church might respond to these specific reasons.  It wasn’t a matter of finding an encyclical or Catechism reference, but of applying what they’ve learned for years to specific questions and concerns.  I believe the idea is a great one (of course, I came up with it) but the method needs some creative tweaking.  
The different groups then tell the class how the Church might respond, we discuss a bit, and then move to the next topic.  It isn’t intended to be an exhaustive treatment of the topics, but rather, an opening to begin the discussion of applied theology.  Theology that leaves the written page and textbooks and enters authentically into the human experience.  I don’t believe it is a stretch to do so, but it requires practice.
In my last class period of the day, we only got to discuss one topic.  I knew it would be heated because after five months of classroom time, I’ve come to know some of the different personalities of my students.  I knew who would be upset and I wasn’t looking forward to being seen as a backward bigot.  But if I truly believe what the Church teaches, I must refrain from presenting it in an apologetic manner, unless we mean the art of apologetics.  The order was not kept but turned into a class discussion, one I fought to not have dissolve into chaos and arguments.  I was partly successful.  
I approach the topic of gay marriage with the mentality that I love the Church and I know the Church loves me.  That is not how the culture proceeds.  To me, it seems that the culture looks to hate what the Church teaches, and sometimes feels surprised if there is an area of agreement.  A few students were content to use phrases to challenge me and sit snugly surrounded by their group of like-minded friends.  I tried hard to choose my words carefully, hoping they would convey truth and love with gentleness.  
In the end, I’m not certain I changed any minds or influenced any of them.  There came a point with ten minutes left of class that I decided to salvage what I could in a speech I’ve given different years to my out-going seniors.  I asked them to consider the Church’s motivation, even if they disagreed with her teachings.  Is the Church really holding onto these beliefs because she wants to control people’s sex lives?  Is she doing this because she loves to be hated?  No.  I challenged them, in the midst of their disagreements to consider that perhaps the Church teaches what she does out of love and because she believes it is true.  If Jesus was not met with popularity and instant agreement on His teachings, it would make sense that the Church would face a similar fate.  
The room was quiet and attentive, even if some of them were perhaps raging inwardly, plotting how they would present my intolerance to their parents and friends.  Of course, I hope they don’t hate me, but that is out of my control.  In a conversation with another Theology teacher earlier today, we spoke about how it isn’t our responsibility that the students accept or live the Truth, but it is our responsibility to teach what the Church teaches.  I believe, that with great imperfection, stumbles, and ignorance, I have done that.  So I take comfort in knowing that my minimal discomfort today, a little drop in the oceans of pain others have experienced, is united to the sufferings Christ bore.  
“Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  –John 15:20a

They just report the facts…as they want you to know them

Yes, reader, these articles are fairly old.  The reason I only recently stumbled across them is because I do not turn to CNN for my news coverage.  Following are a few glimpses why.  

You could argue that I am being intentionally critical.  That would be true.  I am intentionally criticizing a news group for presenting the news in a biased way.  They probably pride themselves on their responsible journalism, but I find nearly each word tainted with the desire to misinform the public.  News groups, be they of radio, paper, or TV, have a large task: to bring the news to the people.  Yet how they do so will greatly influence how people act.  

Need an example?  President Obama got re-elected.  If you own the news, you can, in a way, own the people.  

This is why good Christian people are needed in the media circles.  Here is a shout out to all of my friends (and all the strangers) who are committed to accurately presenting the truth.  You are in the streets in a big way.

Vatican seeks to rebrand its relationship with science

“There have been no signals yet as to whether Pope Francis will bring about a softening of the Vatican’s stance on issues such as condom-use as means to prevent suffering and early death.”

I attack this sentence (one among many from this article that could be lambasted) because of how they phrase it.  They wonder if Pope Francis will save people from suffering and early death.  Their solution: condoms.  By saying it in this way, they present the picture that the Church cares little for the sufferings of others.  It completely neglects the fact that the Church works tirelessly to ease the sufferings of people.  They just refuse to accept the Church’s moral stance against condoms.  
P.S. The headline?  Please.  The Church helped develop science.  Some of the best scientists belonged to the Church.  Some were even priests.  And this was long before Pope Francis.  Sometimes news groups are so…medieval about this topic.

Humble pope has complicated past

Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy surrounding topics as sensitive as gay marriage and political atrocities.”

Controversy.  Whatever will we do?!  Most of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality are considered to be controversial.  It isn’t the Church’s fault that society disagrees with them.  The controversy comes from an increasingly pagan society.

Don’t be surprised, Girard said, if the new pope shows flexibility on contraceptives, but don’t expect him to budge on the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion.”

Apparently they do not understand contraceptives and the Church’s reasons for being against them.  This is more wishful thinking.

With a front-page counterpunch, the president said the church possessed “attitudes reminiscent of medieval times and the Inquisition.”  The bill eventually became law, and Francis left the battlefield defeated.  But some supporters hold it up as evidence of his traditionalist views.”

What would be really terrible would be to have a pope who didn’t follow the tradition of the Church.  Of course this is proof of traditional views.  He is a faithful Catholic.  Hence why he got elected pope.

Catholics: 5 ways for Francis to move forward

The issue of gay rights has proved deeply controversial within the Catholic Church, and led to accusations from activists that it remains mired in the past rather than looking toward a more inclusive future.”

Again with the controversy.  It is an interesting concept that truth ceases to be truth simply because of the passing of years.  This comment is a result of a misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.  Realistically, I don’t think they desire to know the truth.  They don’t like the truth anyway.

Meanwhile, 50% of the world’s Catholics remain excluded from the highest echelons of the church because of their sex — and Filipino Rummel Pinera says it’s time the church acknowledged the importance of women in its history, and its future.”

Those are pretty deep statistics.  I also believe that it is time for the Church to stop excluding men from having babies.  It is extremely unfair.  The Church HAS acknowledge the importance of women.  Read JP2.  Read Chesterton.  Read Jesus!  Go in and look at the Mass attendance on the average week day…or weekend.  Look at the women helping with the parish life.  

“We’re living in a world that has become a global village, [and] in this global village of ours, women now can’t just be fence-sitters or nannies,” he said. “Women now know that they were created as co-equal of men.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen “co-equal” before.  Regardless of that fact, women are the equals of men…they just aren’t the same.  It is interesting that the speaker seems to insinuate that in the past, women could just stay at home or be “fence-sitters” but now they have evolved into people who are now equal.  I take offense at how he says we women used to be.

“The Roman Catholic Church should become dynamic in this age, so that it can maintain the loyalty of its flocks and win many souls for God,” he said.

Question: Will the Church win souls for God at the expense of Truth?  Can you really change what is accepted as truth and gain souls for Heaven?

“I think that the church needs to go back to a simple message which is to love each other and not care about what religion we are or what we believe in,” she said.

I’m pretty certain the Church never had that message.  Yeah, I don’t think the martyrs died so that we could walk around in a relativistic culture and say, “I don’t care what you believe…I just love you.”  Granted, saints loved people regardless of what they believed.  If you really want to “go back” you would encounter the Early Church.  They were evangelizers.  They spread the Gospel message.  They lived authentic Christian lives.  If that is the “go back” she is referencing, I believe she is correct.  But how can you “go back” to a stance the Church never held?  Simplicity.  Not to be confused with heresy.

Thanks for reading my little rants.  Remember: you cannot trust everything you read.  Except, of course, this blog. 🙂  We need people desiring the truth in all walks of life.

I’m not the only one speaking out (to my whole 10 person audience) about the media bias.  Lila Rose is, too.
Check it out.