June 8, 2012 – Being Catholic: A 24/7 Job

First of all I want to thank you for the compliments and words of encouragement I received this past week for my work on our website.  I have to admit that even though I continue to do this for many reasons besides personal accolades, it gives the ol’ webmaster a nice boost to know that people continue to appreciate what we are doing and are taking advantage of what we are providing.  It was especially neat to hear from a few people who live away from the area who still have an interest in what is going on at St. Mary’s.  I think it is clear that the use of the world wide web as a tool to evangelize is no longer a fad or a novelty.  It is a means that is here to stay, and is in fact essential.  Our Diocese this past week acknowledged as much, as I received an e-mail with suggestions as to what should be included in a good parish website, including making use of social networking sites such as Facebook and blogs (ding, ding, ding!!).  So as we move forward I give you my assurance that I will continue to do the best I can to provide pertinent information about our local and universal church, and I will continue to try to make improvements wherever I can, provided you can keep up with my salary demands (lol).

The internet is certainly a prompt, practical, and cost-effective means of getting a lot of information out to a lot of people, which is especially important to us Catholics, I think, considering what we have been facing in terms of public policy decisions, and in trying to combat misinformation about what we as Catholics believe and stand for.  In the public policy realm we of course continue to spread the word about what our bishops feel are threats to not only our Catholic teachings, but to our basic liberty granted to us in our Constitution that we have freedom of religion.  Today there were 164 cities that participated in a national rally for religious freedom.  You can see coverage of these rallies by linking to this website: http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/.  The Bishops of the United States are also sponsoring a “Fortnight for Freedom”, a two week period from June 21 – July 4 during which we are asked to pray for our religious freedom and to educate ourselves further about the threats to this basic freedom.  More information can be found by clicking the link on our website or going directly to this link: www.fortnight4freedom.org.  You may especially want to click on the “resources” tab when you go to this website as it contains a ton of information on the specific things that threaten not only our religious freedom, but religious freedom in countries around the world.

There are also local and statewide activities that are taking place as part of the Fortnight for Freedom.  In Belleville, on June 22 there will be a special Mass at the Cathedral followed by a rally at the St. Clair County Courthouse.  Here is a link to a flyer with more information about the event and some brief information about why this cause is so important:


Statewide, the Catholic Conference of Illinois is beginning an initiative called the Illinois Catholic Advocacy Network (I-CAN).  People who sign up to be a part of this network will receive occasional updates on state and federal issue that affect the Church, such as religious freedom.  Shortly there will be pew cards available in church where you can sign up for this, but you can sign up now over the internet by going to this link: www.ilcatholic.org/take-action/join-i-can/.

There were 2 quotes that I saw this week that gave me pause.  One was from Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a renowned theologian known for his preaching, especially his work on radio and television.  The quote was “Not 100 people in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is.”  Chances are this quote was probably from the 1950’s or 60’s when he did most of his radio and television work, but doesn’t it ring true today?  Don’t we as Catholics find ourselves having to defend our faith to people who just seem misinformed?  Unfortunately, as much as we can use the world wide web as a positive communication tool, it is also dangerous in that there is a ton of information out there that is not accurate.  We have a duty as Catholics to dispel this misinformation.

The other quote I saw this week was from Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, who presents herself as a practicing Catholic.  During a press conference yesterday, she was asked about the recent lawsuits filed by many Dioceses and Catholic institutions against the HHS contraception mandate.  Here is the exchange:

House  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a Roman Catholic, refused to  say whether she supported her church’s teaching that contraception is  immoral.

“I do my religion on Sundays, in church,  and I try to go other days of the week; I don’t do it at this press  conference,” Pelosi said curtly as a reporter asked about her view of  the church position on contraception.

Pelosi brushed off the organizations and church dioceses that filed  suing the Obama administration over the contraception mandate. “I don’t  think that’s the entire Catholic Church,” she said. “Those people have a right to sue, but I don’t think they’re speaking ex cathedra for the  Catholic Church.”

I’m not a politician, and I don’t claim alegence to either political party, but I do know this:  Having disagreements with the positions of the Catholic Church does not expel someone from being a Christian.  However, a true Catholic Christian does not have an on/off switch to flip on when they enter the church doors and flip off when they leave.  A true Catholic lives as one everyday, 24/7.  A true Catholic does as Jesus commanded, to go out to the world and tell of the Good News.  A true Catholic is aware that they are witnesses, and how they conduct themselves can influence how others conduct themselves.  And the issue of our religious freedom is not solely a Democratic or Republican issue, nor is it solely a Catholic issue.  It is an AMERICAN issue, which us why we need to continue to make our voices heard.

Thank you again for reading.  Pray for much needed rain.  Have a great week.  Peace.


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