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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday Meditation: The Call to Be Missionaries to a Neo-Pagan Culture

One of my readers posted a comment on my last article linking to a wonderful blog with an amazing homily by the pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, SC, Fr. Jay Scott Newman. (Thanks, Alan!) Father makes the point that, rather than bewailing the collapse of the culture, we should welcome it as an opportunity. An honest view of the culture makes it clear that it is more neo-pagan with a Christian veneer. But the "victory" of the sexual revolution exhibited by the recent enshrinement of same-sex "marriage" by the Supreme Court offers tremendous evangelical possibilities. Here are a few of the points Father makes:
[T]he legal dispute over same sex marriage in the United States has now been decided, and in that contest the traditional Christian understanding of marriage lost. What you may be surprised to learn is that I welcome this defeat, and I want to explain why...
[W]e are seeing the rapid abandonment of the Gospel as a source of law in the West. For fifty years and more the trajectory of law and culture in Europe and the United States has been away from the Christian worldview and towards a new paganism, particularly in regard to sex, marriage, reproduction and family life: no fault divorce, birth control, abortion, in vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood, embryonic stem cell manipulation, assisted suicide, multiple remarriages, and now same sex marriage. These changes in law and custom are but a reflection of the post-Christian character of our civilization, and for most people today, Christianity is neither a life-changing nor life-giving force; it is simply a relic of a pre-modern past...
If we can see the collapse of cultural Christianity as a great evangelical opportunity, then with joy and love we can proclaim Jesus Christ crucified and risen to the millions of people who now have only debonair nihilism to help them understand the purpose and meaning of their lives. To put it plainly: if we let the new pagans be honest pagans, then we have a new opportunity to propose to them that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of the living God, the Way, the Truth and the Life. It’s when we ask others to live as Christians without being Christians that we set the stage for bitter conflict with those who do not share our faith... 
[I]t is imperative for the effectiveness of our evangelical witness that we begin at the beginning and ask no one to accept the conclusions of Christian faith who does not first believe the premises of that faith. Let pagans once again be pagans so that Christians can once again be Christians proclaiming Jesus Christ in a world where he is no longer or not yet known and loved.
Father believes the Church should separate herself from civil marriage and I completely agree. Let people go the judge for a civil recognition; let them come to the Church for sacramental commitment to holy, life-long matrimony in Christ. He also calls for teaching so that every Christian can fight Satan's lies about  the meaning of life and sexuality. We must equip ourselves to be missionaries who can present the gospel, not as a system of rules, but as a relationship with a person, Jesus Christ. Nihilism is a good way to describe the current state of the culture and nihilism leads to despair. What an opportunity to offer hope!

Read and ponder this homily again and again. I will. The world needs our hands and hearts reaching out to those so desperately confused and lost in sin. Everyone wants to be happiness, but no one will find it except in the One Who created us for Himself. As St. Augustine says, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very easy to say and this disengaging would make things easier for priests vis a vis the state. However, what about the children who are procured by these couples. They will be imprinted with the stamp of the State, rather than their mother and father. Yes we should love these poor deluded homosexuals but still insist on the reversal of obergefell. It is as mistaken as Dred Scott and we should take no joy in it.

Phil Dunton said...

Fr. Jay Newman is a wonderful priest and a gifted homilist. His recent homilies on the Bread of Life Discourse are well worth listening to. All his homilies for the past year are posted on the Internet. For those faithful Catholics who feel they aren't adequately fed by the homilies in their home parishes, there are many excellent homilies by good and faithful priests posted on the Internet every week. It is a wonderful source of the truth!