In the creed we say that Jesus is “Light from Light.” Jesus is the light of hope and salvation for the world. The internet is referred to often as “light” in the sense that energy is required for it, and we view it using the light from this energy. Proclaiming the Gospel, the Light of Christ, through this light of the internet are innumerable Christians who have found their hope and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Among them are the Twitter accounts of Roman Catholic dioceses in America. Follow my list of Twitter accounts of Catholic dioceses in America. Reweet them often! Some of their tweets are below.
There is much wisdom here, so take note. Some people think that if they are annoyed by someone, it automatically means the person annoying them lacks charity. Nuh uh. It doesn’t work that way, folks. If you are annoyed, it is better to ask yourself if you lack patience than it is to point fingers of judgment at the “annoying” person. It is the annoying people who make converts, not the “polite” people.
The Pope told Christians it is better to be “annoying” and “a nuisance” than lukewarm in proclaiming Jesus Christ.
“If we annoy people, blessed be the Lord,” said Pope Francis during his morning Mass at the Vatican on May 16.
“We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this apostolic fervor and to give us the grace to be annoying when things are too quiet in the Church,” he said at the chapel of the Saint Martha residence, where he lives.
He celebrated the Mass alongside Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso, the president and the secretary of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace.
Council staff and employees from Vatican Radio were among those attending the Eucharistic celebration.
The Pope preached on today’s first reading from Acts 22 and contrasted “backseat Christians” with those who have apostolic zeal.
“There are those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and apostolic zeal,” he stated.
The pontiff said apostolic zeal “implies an element of madness,” which he labeled as “healthy” and “spiritual.”
He added that it “can only be understood in an atmosphere of love” and that it is not an “enthusiasm for power and possession.”
How exactly does that work? Well, as a convert, I can tell you that the “polite” Catholics were the ones who never told me anything but the most superficial things about Catholicism. They never questioned me about what I believed. They never challenged me. They never pushed my proverbial buttons. For this reason, it took me many years to find the Church even though I had a LOT of Catholic friends. Unfortunately for me, my Catholic friends were all too polite to have a serious impact on me as far as making me THINK and truly consider whether the Catholic Church might actually be different from any other social institution or club.
Annoying people make you think. If you’re annoyed, your natural reaction is going to be to think through WHY that person who is annoying you is “wrong” to say what he/she is saying. People who believe it is most important to be “polite” are the people who never challenge anyone to consider that they might actually be horribly wrong about something related to their salvation.
That’s why the annoying people, provided that they are loving in their hearts, are the ones who effect conversions. “Polite” people stuff feathers into the feather pillows that people sit on, on their way to hell.
One of the very frustrating things about politics for me is that so many people, both on the Left and the Right, speak about rights as if the Constitution (or government, in general) is their source. God is the source of our rights, not any man-made government. In America, certain of these God-given rights are considered to be so basic that, in order to have an orderly society, government must defend them. This is why we have a Constitution, because laws and law enforcement preserve us from the horrific consequences of anarchy. In all other things but defense of basic rights, government is supposed to be silent. Because our rights come from God, and because people have diverse views about God, the force of government in defense of rights has to be limited to the basics in order that our civil government does not oppress those of different beliefs. Our rights, though, are many more in number than what we see in civil law.
Here, in no particular order and paraphrased from the Code of Canon Law, are ten rights that I have, in my understanding as a Catholic believer in God, that are not listed in the Constitution. I have others besides those I list here. The silence of government on these matters does not mean that the right does not exist. It is between me, God, and the Church. Having said that, if any civil law infringes on these and any other rights that I have in accordance with the Catholic Faith, then that law is an unjust law.
Ten Rights Not Mentioned in the U.S. Constitution
1. Right to spread the Gospel in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church.
2. Right to express my needs and desires, particularly spiritual ones, to the Church.
3. Right to express any concerns that I may have to priests and to my bishop about matters pertaining to the good of the Church.
4. Right to follow my own spiritual life provided that it is in keeping with the teaching of the Catholic Church.
5. Right to education that is in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
6. Right to a good reputation.
7. Right to be free from coercion in choosing a state of life.
8. Right to inquire about spiritual matters from those I am in obedience to, such as a spiritual director or confessor.
9. Right to worship God in accordance with the Latin rite of the Catholic Church.
10. Right to be subjected to discipline that is within the bounds of the norms of Church law. (No excessive discipline.)
Again, this list is not a complete list of my rights. None of these rights are specifically delineated in the federal United States Constitution and it is certainly not necessary for me, or any Catholic, that they be in the Constitution. What is necessary for me as a Catholic is that my government, no matter which country I am a citizen of, refrain from enacting laws that trample on my rights as a Catholic.
As it stands, the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of religion. That includes any expression of my Catholic Faith, no matter what it may be. Unfortunately, our government is doing more and more these days to trample on our rights as Catholics. The reason is that so many people today see government as if government is God and, as such, the author of all rights. They have no religion apart from government, which has become their religion. While I see God as the source of my rights, they see government as the source, whether as a conservative Republican who believes the only rights are listed in the Constitution, or as a liberal Democrat who believes that rights are determined by majority vote.
Until Americans decide once more to embrace the Founders’ view that our rights come from God alone, and that it is government’s role to defend, even with the proverbial sword, only the most basic of them, Catholics are going to have differences of opinion with people in both parties.
The pro-abortion fake Catholic group “Catholics for Choice” has long sought to spread confusion among Catholics by claiming that it is “Catholic” to be for abortion and contraception. In Kenya, they are using a billboard campaign, which they have ludicrously dubbed “Condoms for Life,” to do just that. John Cardinal Njue and other Catholic bishops in Kenya are having none of it, though. In a press conference, they slammed “Catholics for Choice” and called on all Catholics to “ignore” these billboards. Thanks be to God for their stand against “Catholics for Choice.”
Personally and spiritually speaking, Rick Santorum is quite the Passionist. What I mean is, he has a keen awareness that our sufferings have value to God and that we all have a share in the Cross of Jesus, with each other and for each other, out of love for each other and for the purpose of giving thanks and praise to God, Who is the source of all of our blessings. This is crystal clear in his article about Brendan Kelly.
When he writes things like this, I wonder what people who are not Catholic will think about it. Barack Obama speaks of God and faith frequently, but he is not criticized for it as Rick Santorum is. When a Democrat speaks about God and faith, it is either yawned at or considered a good thing. When Republicans like Rick Santorum do it, there is undeniable panic. (The same holds with Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Tony Perkins, and other politicos who are people of faith.) People accuse Republicans of “theocracy.” There is a word for people who claim Republicans want “theocracy” when they speak as openly about God as Democrats do and when the same criticisms are not directed at Democrats. That word is “hypocrisy.”
So, what is it, exactly, that makes Brendan Kelly saintly? It is primarily that he is an innocent who made the choice to offer up his sufferings for others, in an act of love. Would that we would all do that, in our sufferings. America would surely be a better place in which to live if we would put the needs of others before ourselves, especially when doing so may cause us some discomfort.
What do I mean by “suffering offered for others?” It can be any kind of suffering, actually. I’m reminded of a video tweeted recently by Patricia Heaton.
While he was imprisoned in Rome, St. Paul wrote to the Church at Colossæ:
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.– Colossians 1:24
Rick says that he believes Brendan Kelly is a saint, and the basis he offers is sound, at least for us Catholics. My greatest sorrow is that so few people, even many Catholics who were poorly catechized, realize that our sufferings may have graces attached to them if we offer them up in union with the sufferings of Christ. The Santorums understand this, and I am grateful that they do. That they do shows their genuine compassion for those who suffer, because they see that each of us has this role in God’s plan of love. In this, their Catholic Faith is truly authentic.
How might all of this translate to policy if Rick Santorum were to become president? It doesn’t really have a translation to policy except in the context of freedom. You read that right. Freedom. There is a very good passage on suffering in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that speaks of the inherent “mystery of lawlessness” and the “mystery of religion.”
God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution”, said St. Augustine, and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawlessness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our religion”. The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.
It is only in the “mystery of religion” that the “mystery of lawlessness” is “clarified.” A moral society does not need as many laws as an immoral society does. Further, we are not going to have a moral society as long as we keep propping up people who insist that it is the role of government to “end suffering” for us. While it is true that there is a collective responsibility to bring healing in society, the more religion is removed from that role, the more lawlessness there will be, because, as the catechism rightly says, it is through religion that we understand lawlessness with full clarity.
Where morality is unwelcome or illegal, immorality will automatically rule. Where immorality rules, lawlessness (in God’s eyes) becomes the law of civil government. That is how we end up with unjust laws. On the other hand, the more freedom people have to do what they believe to be God’s will, and of course, the more committed they are to doing God’s will, the less need there is for government. This is why it is important for our leaders to speak openly about faith in God. It is God who will bring healing to America, through His love and through our love for each other, not government. Certainly, there must be laws to protect the innocent from the corrupt, but those laws must be just laws. Otherwise, the innocent become criminals.
Rick Santorum gets this, I know, because he speaks so frequently about the importance of our mediate institutions in society (non-profits of all kinds) in ministering to people in need. It is the “mystery of religion” that relies firmly on freedom of conscience which brings light to society. The “mystery of religion” is the “clarity” that shines light on the “mystery of lawlessness.”
Just as Brendan Kelly’s free choice, as a matter of conscience, to offer his sufferings for Bella and others was truly redemptive, so will our efforts on behalf of each other in a free society be redemptive for our country. It is not “theocracy” to simply allow people to do what they believe to be God’s will. It is tyranny, though, for the civil law to prevent people from doing what they believe to be God’s will.
I hope some of this makes sense. If you don’t understand, feel free to ask for elaboration in the comments.
Thank you, Rick, for understanding the Passion…and for everything that you and your family do to make it known. If any Santorums are reading this, I hope you approve of what I wrote here. I never seem to get this right enough to suit myself.