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ponedeljek, 05. junij 2017

IZ BLOGA KOLBE CENTRA

Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
Pax Christi!
A blessed Feast of Pentecost to all of you!
About two years ago, I gave a presentation on "The Special Creation of Adam and Eve as the Foundation of the Church's Teaching on Holy Marriage" in a large European city with a great Catholic history. The pastor who hosted me had hosted a Kolbe seminar a year or two before, and he was one of only two or three priests in the whole city who had agreed to host me. At the end of the presentation on Adam and Eve, the pastor stood up in the parish church where I had just given my talk, and told the audience: "Two years ago, I heard Mr. Owen speak, and I felt rather like the Athenians on Mars Hill who heard St. Paul and told him, 'We will hear you another time'; tonight, however, I feel like those who accepted his teaching."

The priest who said these words was a prominent priest member of the Legion of Mary in that city and country, and I have never forgotten his words--because those words confirmed that the doctrine of creation that was believed and proclaimed by all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching now sounds as strange to the ears of most practicing Catholics as the Gospel sounded to the ears of the pagans of first-century Athens. A priest-friend of mine who attended one of the best English-speaking seminaries in the world confirmed this for me recently when he recalled being told at the seminary that "you can't teach" this or that part of the sacred history of Genesis because "you will be made a laughing-stock and no one will believe anything you say." My friend remonstrated that he wasn't interested in knowing whether anyone would believe in the sacred history of Genesis--he only wanted to know if it was true
But that spirit is becoming increasingly rare.
I recently met a canon lawyer who would probably be considered quite traditional by most of his peers. Although he does not involve himself with marriage cases, since he is a canon lawyer many Catholics contact him for advice about marital difficulties--their own or their loved ones'. He told me that in his experience Catholic young adults are so poorly catechized when they marry that he agrees with Pope Francis' efforts to streamline the annulment process. At the same time, he does not think that pastors can preach the whole truth of the Faith without compromise on hard topics like contraception in parish churches because that would drive the young people away.

It follows that, in spite of his reputation as a conservative Catholic in the post-modern wilderness of North American academia, he has actually lost the faith. He believes that the whole truth is too hard for this generation to bear, so they must be given only as much as they can stand; and when they do not live up to the integral teaching of the Church--because they do not have the grace of God living within them!--they must be shown mercy and allowed to abandon the spouses and children to whom they have obligated themselves.
More and more Church leaders, both clergy and lay, have lost their confidence in the supernatural character of divine faith and in the absolute necessity of holding fast to all of the articles of faith as they have been handed down to us from the Apostles. This, in turn, traps them in a vicious circle, since the loss of supernatural faith leaves them reliant on natural virtue and goodness to deal with moral and spiritual problems which have no natural solution. The result is the almost total cessation of authentic Catholic evangelization--the kind of evangelization that has converted men of every people and nation for almost two thousand years through the proclamation of the Truth with demonstrations of divine power.
Today is the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, the Ugandan Martyrs. St. Charles Lwanga heard and believed the Catholic Faith whole and entire as set forth in the Roman Catechism and became a "partaker of the divine nature" when he received Holy Baptism. In spite of his demanding duties as supervisor of the pages in the court of the Kabaka, or King, of Baganda, and the great difficulty he faced in protecting them from the unwanted advances of the King, St. Charles and several of his companions often left the court at night after everyone else had gone to sleep, and walked many miles through the bush, exposed to risk of attack by wild animals or robbers, to attend Holy Mass and receive instruction in the Faith at a distant mission station. Then they returned to the court, arriving shortly before dawn, and, with only a few hours of sleep, fulfilled their duties as if they had slept the whole night like the rest of the court. This ability to function well without sleep in difficult circumstances constituted a demonstration of divine power both to the new converts themselves and to those who knew of their heroic dedication to the pursuit of knowledge, holiness, and the love of God.
Demonstrations of divine power have always played an important part in the conversion of non-Christian people to the True Faith and in the preservation of the faith of converted peoples. It is no coincidence that one of the few American wonder-workers of the twentieth century, the Capuchin priest Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey, was also a firm believer in--and champion of--the "sacred history of Genesis." As Fr. Solanus obtained thousands of astounding miracles of body and soul for his spiritual children, he fervently promoted the Mystical City of God by Venerable Maria of Agreda in which Our Lord revealed that He had shown the six days of fiat creation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, just as He had shown them to Moses. The two actions went hand in hand. It was perfectly logical to believe that the God who created all things by His Word in the beginning could by that same Word, here and now, raise the dead, heal the sick, and give sight to the blind. Where faith in the former declines, the faith that obtains the latter also declines and eventually disappears.

On this great feast of Pentecost, let us beg Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, to obtain for us a great increase of supernatural faith, hope and charity, so that we will be able to proclaim the whole Truth in charity and obtain those demonstrations of divine power that will convict, convert, heal and sanctify us all.

Yours in Christ through the Immaculata,

Hugh Owen