Category: Featured Authors

Pastoral Letter to Parents Regarding Gender Theory

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This letter was recently distributed to members of St. Mary Catholic Church in Pinckney, Michigan.

In light of recent concerns that have come to me regarding the issue of modern gender theory, I write this letter as a means of helping you form and guide your children as you navigate changing cultural attitudes and norms pertaining to gender identity. This new gender theory denies the nature of God’s created order inasmuch as it denies that God has created us male and female. Instead, it proposes that gender is fluid and changeable and is determined by the choice of the individual rather than by biology. In other words, if, for example, your child was born as a biological male, it may be that he is actually a girl who is only physically male. As such, you won’t know his true gender until he is old enough to psychologically identify as a male or female. This theory will further tell you that your role as a parent is not to impose a gender on your child, but to allow him the freedom to explore either gender and choose for himself which is his true self. The same goes in the case of a child who is biologically female; should she choose a different gender than her biological sex, you, the parent are told that you ought to support her choice of a new identity as a boy. This new way of looking at gender can present itself to your family in many forms, from TV shows, to children’s clothing lines, to public school curricula, and so forth. This has caused confusion for some and questions for many regarding the legitimate role of parents and what they should teach their kids about their sexual and gender identity. I wish to reaffirm to you the eternal truth that God has intentionally created each child; each of us are a gift from God. This is true also of sexuality: “Male and female He created them” (Gn 1:27). God has entrusted you with a sacred task of affirming, nurturing, protecting, and educating your child in his or her sexual identity as God has created them.

The Vatican has recently released a document entitled Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education[i], addressing the issues stemming from the new gender theory. It was released to assist those involved in the education and formation of young people, especially parents and teachers. This document states that the new gender theory attempts to “cancel out the differences between men and women, presenting them instead as merely the product of historical and cultural conditioning.”[ii] The text then quotes Pope Francis, who states that modern gender theory directly opposes God’s design for our sexuality:

“[Modern gender theory] denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family. This ideology leads to educational programs and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.”[iii]

The Vatican has called this an “educational crisis,” in that curricula are being developed that supposedly present a “neutral conception of the person and of life,”[iv] devoid of sexual difference. Gender theory, rather than portraying a neutral conception of the person, has put forth an “anthropology which is opposed to faith and right reason.”[v]

One way that the proponents of gender theory propose this “neutral conception of the person” is by telling parents that they should not affirm the sexual identity of their children. To do so, the thinking goes, would be to impose upon them a sexual identity that they ought to be free to determine for themselves. One instance of this thinking comes to us from the French-Canadian singer, Celine Dion, who has launched a new gender-neutral clothing line for infants and children by the name of Celinununu. The commercial launching this line of clothing depicts Miss Dion breaking into a hospital nursery where babies are dressed by gender in pink or blue; Miss Dion then sprinkles black glitter onto the children and the babies suddenly appear in gender-neutral black and white clothing. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.

The clothing line touts that “fashion has the power to shape people’s minds.”[vi] Their company’s mission is to “inspire your children to be free and find their own individuality through clothes.” According to their website, they have created a “clothing brand that breeds equality and freedom of spirit, serving as a platform for a new humanistic education. Celinununu liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl.”[vii]

The efforts of Celine Dion and those at Celinununu are by no means arising out of a vacuum. The overnight cultural acceptance of gender theory has become somewhat of a movement, with many facets and many different incarnations. There is the American Library Association’s embracing of “Drag Queen Story Hours” for children. There is the ability, in the Canadian province of Ontario at least, to choose a non-binary option on birth certificates. There is the emergence of pediatric gender clinics, which often encourage patients to “transition” after a single visit.[viii]  One local incarnation of this movement is the reading of I Am Jazz in the classroom. For those who don’t know, I Am Jazz is a TLC show about a girl that was born inside a boy’s body. The program was recently turned into a children’s book and has been read in the classroom to area kids as young as pre-K. While some have not opposed this being read to children in the name of teaching kids how to love and respect others, it is becoming clear that this is not simply about teaching tolerance. This is not only about the loving acceptance of someone who is experiencing gender dysphoria; it is also a concerted effort to undermine the sexual identity of children and popularize transgenderism. Should your children lovingly accept everyone in their school and learn how to honor and respect them? Yes. Is that what is really going on here? No. At least not entirely.

The problematic nature of gender theory is also seen in the medical practices that arise from it. Doctors are prescribing powerful hormone blocking drugs for twelve-year-olds in order to prevent puberty from occurring naturally.[ix] This is being done despite the fact that most children who express gender dysphoria will grow out of it. The social commentator, Ryan T. Anderson, has pointed out the incredible dissonance in his best-selling book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment:

“There is no acknowledgement that the vast majority of children with gender dysphoria—eighty to ninety-five percent—naturally grow out of it, if they aren’t encouraged to transition . . . blocking puberty may interfere with the developmental mechanisms that help children accept their bodies, or that virtually none of the children put on puberty blockers grow out of their gender dysphoria.”[x]

Considering this fact, it would seem highly irresponsible to begin interventions involving hormones. Yet this is pushed as a solution, often with the claim that it will reduce the risk of suicide for the young person who is experiencing gender dysphoria. This does not really seem to address the risk of suicide, since the suicide rate for those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery is nineteen times higher than the general population.[xi] This doesn’t mean that the reassignment surgery is the cause of such a high rate, but simply that the surgery does not seem to lower the risk.

This is very sad in itself, and it ought to give us pause when we think about the way that we treat those of our friends, family, co-workers, or anyone in our lives who is experiencing that identity struggle. It ought to move us to a deep compassion for them and reflect on the way in which Jesus desires to love them through us. Just because someone has gone through a reassignment surgery, does that mean that they are less precious in God’s eyes? Does that mean that they are no longer made in His image and likeness? Does that mean that they are somehow unlovable? No. I hope you know those are lies. And while you may agree with my point here on a surface level, have you allowed the truth of their goodness to change your heart and actions to be those of love and compassion? Words don’t bring healing if they are only virtue signaling or lip service, and sooner or later people know whether they are truly loved as they are. It is true that this authentic love does not amount to a mindless approval of someone’s wrong course of action. You’ve heard me say many times that real love desires to be rooted in the truth, because real love always desires what is truly good for the beloved. We must also remember that to authentically love someone always involves a genuine delight in them, and a very basic acknowledgement of their goodness in the eyes of God; this is still true even if someone is embracing something they shouldn’t. These heartbreaking statistics regarding suicide should stir up in us a desire to love and protect those who experience gender dysphoria; to affirm their goodness, and to encourage them in the truth of their identity.

We should also be moved with a desire to protect our children from confusion about their own identities. Given the fact that the vast majority of children who express interest in a cross-gender identity will eventually come to embrace their biological identity, we should not be seeking to undermine their biological identity. Most children who experience confusion in this regard can be spared a great deal of confusion and pain if we simply affirm the God-given goodness of their sexual identity. I believe that if we thoughtfully consider what is going on with gender theory, we will reject it, and rightfully so.

There are many problems with the gender theory. In the first place, we don’t simply determine our own identity by choice. Each one of us was born either as a biological male or a biological female. This is true also of those termed “intersexed”, who all still possess either XX or XY chromosomes. Each one of us were created by God as a male or a female, and our bodies are a gift from Him. We should receive the body as such; we should accept ourselves the way we were created. We also ought to be loved and affirmed by others as we have been created.

This affirmation is particularly important, because a human being is a body-soul composite.  As a body-soul composite, it is impossible to separate my body from myself. It is wrong to suggest that my body is not me. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following concerning the matter:

“The human body shares in the dignity of the image of God: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit, and, as such, we may not despise (our) bodily life. Rather (we) are obliged to regard (the) body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it on the last day.”[xii]

In short, this means that 1) God made you very good, and 2) you includes your body. You, the parent, have a right and a responsibility to teach your children how to love, honor and respect others, including those who are experiencing gender dysphoria. You also have the job of teaching your child the truth of who they are.

But the statement that we don’t simply determine our own identity by choice applies beyond the biological level. Each one of us receives our own identity through the love and affirmation of others. A child discovers that she is lovable because her parents lavish loving attention upon her. A child knows that God has created him “very good” because his parents delight in him. The affirmation of what God has created is essential to childhood development.

“Affirmation is not something we do but something we are. The root of the word ‘affirmation’ is ‘firm’. We cannot become our true selves until another person affirms us. We become our true selves when we see our goodness reflected back to us in the eyes of another person who loves us.”[xiii]

This affirmation is important to the arena of a child’s psychosexual development, without which, a child could face a lot of confusion.

For Walt Heyer, a former self-identified “transgender woman”, it is important for parents to know the role that affirmation plays in their development. Walt, born a male, struggled with the gender issue for forty years, and spent eight as a self-described “woman” before de-transitioning. As Walt speaks about the moment his gender struggle began at the age of four, he mentions that his grandmother would encourage him in wearing dresses and affirm him in being a girl. Walt states, without qualification, that affirming a boy as being a girl is not truly affirmation; “In the very same moment that you are affirming that person, you are telling them there is something wrong with them. It’s not affirming a child. It’s causing them to be depressed and anxious about who they are.” After forty years of dealing personally with the transgender issue, Walt understands that, “there is absolutely nothing good with affirming someone in a cross-gender identity, because it will destroy their life.” I encourage you to learn more by hearing about his story here.

Healthy affirmation is an important aspect of your role as a parent. The way in which a girl is delighted in as a daughter helps to establish her identity as such. The way in which a young man is affirmed as a son helps to establish him as such. This affirmation of the sexual identity of your child is a blessing to them. This blessing is very important for them to receive both from their same-sex parent and their opposite-sex parent. The affirmation of a child in their sexual identity helps them to establish a secure identity as a young man or a young woman, and it allows them to experience the joy of being delighted in as they were created. This is what our children truly desire; boys want to know that they have what it takes to become men. We should affirm them in their ability to do so. Girls want to know that their strength, compassion, and beauty blesses those around them. We should affirm this blessing of their femininity. This need not lead us to shallow stereotypes unless we desire to impose them ourselves. In fact, over-restrictive stereotypes can undermine affirmation and cause confusion. When we offer healthy affirmation to children and young people, it is an affirmation of what God has done:

“You formed my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works. My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you” (Ps 139).

God the Father has declared that He has created you and me and each person “very good” (Gn 1:31). We are invited to receive our own selves as sacred gift. It should be obvious that absolute self-determination of the new gender theory stands in opposition to all that God has revealed to us in His Word. As such, gender theory must be rejected by all Catholics, and especially by parents.

At the same time, we must acknowledge there are also some adults who experience gender dysphoria, and we ought to strive to know how to love them well and affirm them in the truth of how God created them, just as we would for any other person. It is true that we should not affirm anyone in a cross-gender identity, but it we can be present to them in love as a friend. It is also true that someone experiencing gender dysphoria should not be blamed for their identity struggle. Bear in mind as well, that those who are struggling with this issue are not necessarily the ones who want this to be in the forefront of the minds of children. To forget this simple fact could lead to the scapegoating that has plagued our culture relentlessly. Each person who has experienced gender dysphoria is infinitely loved and desired by the God of the universe, who created them “very good.” We must participate with Him in affirming their goodness as being made in His image and likeness. They have an equal human dignity to you and me. Lest this be forgotten, I ask that we all spend some time praying with Matthew 25:31-46 with a special attention to whether we are treating everyone as we would treat Jesus.

Jesus also warns us not to be a stumbling block for children. He tells us that if we bring confusion to children and cause them to sin, it would be better for us if a millstone were hung around our neck and we were thrown into the sea. This is found in Matthew 18:6-7. We should spend some time praying through this with a special attention to whether we are acting out of a desire for the true good of children or whether we are acting out of a desire to win the approval of the world. If we desire the approval of the world, we will become a stumbling block for some of Jesus’ little ones.

To close, I would like to share with you a few resources on this topic. First, I highly encourage you to read and reflect on the Vatican document, Male and Female He Created Them. This ought to form our understanding of the human person and help to root us in the truth of who we are as God’s children. If you wish to delve more fully into the topic of gender dysphoria as a whole, I recommend Ryan T. Anderson’s aforementioned book. This book touches on many things that I cannot address in this brief letter. One of the most important resources that I have come across in recent years, though, is not something that deals directly with gender dysphoria or struggles with sexual identity in particular, but something that deals with inner healing in general. Even if we do not struggle profoundly with our sexual identity, we all, in some form, struggle with identity wounds that can affect any arena of life. It is important for us to remember that we believe in a God who is a Healer. We believe in a God who restores the broken chapters of our lives. Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician, desires permission to heal these broken places. It is for this reason that I am continually telling you about the ministry of Dr. Bob Schuchts and the John Paul II Healing Center as well as his book, Be Healed. This book and his ministry have blessed many people with an array of different interior wounds, enabling them to experience the loving gaze of God the Father.

You who are parents are given the sacred task of caring for God’s children, of revealing Him to them, and of revealing to them their own blessedness as sons and daughters. Know of my constant prayers for you in this task. Do not be afraid to speak the truth of your child’s blessedness as your son or your daughter and that their masculinity and femininity are beautiful God-given gifts.

In Christ,

Fr. Dan Kogut

 

Endnotes

[i] Congregation for Catholic Education (2019, February 2). “Male and Female He Created Them”: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education. Retrieved from http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_20190202_maschio-e-femmina_en.pdf

[ii] ibid, 1

[iii] ibid

[iv] ibid

[v] ibid

[vi] Celinununu.com

[vii] ibid

[viii] Ryan T. Anderson, “When Harry Became Sally”, (Encounter Books, New York, 2019), 132-133.

[ix] Ibid, 121

[x] Ibid, 119

[xi] Ibid, 103

[xii] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 363

[xiii] Dennis Linn, Shelia Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn, S.J., “Belonging: Bonds of Healing and Recovery,” (Paulist Press, NY, 1992), 89-90.

Tanzania Outreach Bears Much Fruit

A member of our mission team ministers to people during a time of prayer.

By Tom Edwards, Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinator

Renewal Ministries has made twenty mission forays in seventeen dioceses into the vast country of Tanzania. We have introduced renewal events with several days of outdoor Catholic rallies every time. We also have visited some of the dioceses multiple times.

Bishop Beatus Christian Urassa invited us to serve in Sumbawanga, a town (and diocese) in the far-western reaches of Tanzania. Our team included brothers and sisters from across the US and the world, including Nairobi, Slovakia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

The name of the town “Sumbawanga” literally translates as “throw away your witchcraft.” This originated with local spiritual healers who wanted to keep away intruding witch doctors. Superstition and the practice of the “dark arts” are still prevalent in the area. The town is famous for the practice of witchcraft; to be a witchdoctor from Sumbawanga is a claim to fame, a boast that appears in Internet ads.

Our schedule included ten days of intense ministry in outdoor Catholic preaching rallies, and daily workshops on Catholic faith, youth, and young adult ministry. Our family life workshop was of special interest to Bishop Beatus and the vicar general. It featured intense teaching on the evils of abortion, the consequences of contraceptives, Natural Family Planning, and the basic principles of Theology of the Body.

When we arrived, we learned that the retreats we had planned for religious sisters and priests had been cancelled due to opposition. There are two large orders of sisters in the diocese who had been told by their superiors that any sister attending our events would immediately “lose their veil.”

Although disappointed, we immediately put the matter to prayer and the Lord’s providence. Our team moved into “Plan B” mode. The Lord did not disappoint. The people of Sumbawanga and far-reaching areas were like dry sponges thirsting for God. People from surrounding towns came with their families and slept on the grounds of the two local parishes, caring for their children and cooking on open fires. The response to all of our events was beyond anything we had imagined for a first-time effort like this.

I want to share with you our team members’ responses regarding this mission:

“God´s presence was overwhelming. People were touched by Jesus in a powerful way. About 2000 people were present on Sunday. Every day, more and more people listened to God´s Word. On Wednesday, there were about 4000 people; on Friday, many more; and on Saturday, more than 5000 people attended, hungry for the living God. Every day, people gave testimonies of physical healing. They spoke of being filled with God’s presence and love. Many were delivered from evil spirits as God poured out grace like waves into their dry hearts. How hungry they were! His Word was like an oasis in the desert. You could see smiles and joy on their faces. Many sat in the dust, some under trees, and some up in trees. I met young people hungry for God´s love. They had so many questions about forgiveness. God touched their hearts incredibly and led them to forgive.” —Bohdan Novak

“One thing that moved me was the openness of school children we visited. They discovered they could love because God had loved them first. We prayed for them, asking God to fill their hearts with His love. They came to hear God’s message with joy. They responded well when prayed with for inner healing. They prepared their hearts by surrendering all to Jesus, and then they invited the Holy Spirit into their hearts. God started a great work in them, and I am sure He will continue it.” —Sr. Damiana

“At the afternoon rally, I was touched by the faith, joy, and gratitude of a man whose liver was completely healed. For a while, he was dancing and praising God. His whole liver was infected and swollen. He spent most of his income for treatment with different doctors without success, because the infection kept coming back. The Lord healed him completely. His doctor testified this as well when he went for another checkup.” —Sr. Mary Justin

“This marked my seventeenth journey to Africa in twenty years. What impressed me the most were the similarities of the people today with those living in New Testament times. I reflect on journeys of the Holy Family to Jerusalem, the birth of Jesus, the presentation in the temple, and the finding of the lost child in the temple. We witnessed hundreds of people who traveled great distances by foot and other difficult means to arrive at the church grounds to set up camp for two weeks. They built fires, prepared and ate meals, washed clothes, and slept on the ground and floor so they could attend the daily workshops and rallies. Truly, a faith-filled people!” —John Mathe

Family Life Ministry

Never before in Tanzania have we seen so many babies and children! Hundreds of babies were in attendance at every event, and the cathedral was constantly overflowing. In Sumbawanga, one of the poorest areas economically in Tanzania, life is precious. Young women consider childbirth a sign of maturity and prestige. Most all women have ten to twelve children.

Jean Marie Edwards shared the following reflections:

“I think it will take me many months to fully comprehend the depths of God’s love and works amongst His people in Sumbawanga. The hunger for Him was so powerful. Surely, the Lord satisfied that hunger with abundance.

“In every workshop, every rally, every divine appointment, God was powerfully present and dwelt in each and every soul. Their eyes, faces, and entire beings showed their grateful hearts to their God for what they were learning and experiencing. His presence was so real and so beautiful.

“The prayers were raw and honest, and the youth prayed them with all their hearts while tears streamed down their faces. They prayed not only for themselves but for the others. They opened their minds and hearts deeply to their God and in turn were touched by the very heart of God. Such love!

“I want to thank you again for all you do, especially in making sure we always have the (fetal models frequently used on our missions to help participants gain a more clear understanding of the various stages of life within the womb) to take and leave with the people. Words can’t do justice to the power they have. The Lord pours Himself out through them. I am in awe every single time we show them. Being able to leave them is huge. It is another way Renewal Ministries deeply, deeply touches the hearts of God’s people everywhere. It is going to be so awesome in heaven to see face-to-face all the babies and their families that were given life because of how the Lord uses these little models.”

Staying Catholic Made it Possible

Ann and Bill Cassano

The following interview took place between Renewal Ministries’ Administrative Assistant Therese Jones and supporter Ann Cassano. We share it here as an encouragement and reminder of the difference made by persevering in faith. This interview originally appeared in the October 2019 Renewal Ministries’ newsletter.

By Therese Jones, in conversation with Ann Cassano

Q: How would you describe your relationship with Renewal Ministries? I know you went on pilgrimage with us in 1996.

A: I’ve been following Ralph Martin since the 1970s. He gave a talk at one time called A Crisis of Truth, which my husband and I heard. We were so impressed with it that we got a copy and invited a houseful of people to come see it. This opened our eyes to what was really happening in the Church, and it helped a lot of people. We continued to do this type of thing all through the years. We lived in many places.

Q: So you would take Ralph’s teachings and distribute them to others, no matter where you were?

A: Yes. In the 1980s, I worked as a DRE for about ten years. I watched EWTN and all of Ralph’s programs, and I learned so much. He took us along, taught, and formed us. That was helpful back then, when the Church was worse off than it is now.

Q: Why do you say it was worse then?

A: No one knew what was really going on. It was a confusing time.

Q: So it was worse because there was no clear voice?

A: Exactly. EWTN, Ralph Martin, and things coming out of Steubenville seemed to be the only voices that were sounding a clear message and were saying the same things. That really helped me stay Catholic!

Q: Going back to how you promote the message, you said you purchase materials from Renewal Ministries and share them with others wherever you live?

A: Yes, I do. The people in our last parish were very open to learning more about the faith. For about twelve years, we met together, first in a Catholic book club, and then working together in faith formation programs, many of which were aired on The Choices We Face, or through DVDs we purchased from Renewal Ministries of conferences, rallies, etc. Because of the other participants’ openness and thankfulness for all they were learning, they grew and continue to grow in the Spirit. I am so grateful for Renewal Ministries’ DVD As By a New Pentecost, which makes it so easy to present the Holy Spirit to everyone. Shortly before I moved, we formed a prayer group that still meets weekly to praise the Lord and grow in the faith. I hope to bring this kind of growth and understanding of our faith to the retirement community I now live in

Q: Thank you so much for sharing, Ann. You are such an inspiration!

A: You know, my husband passed away recently, and he had had a really rough year. But for eighteen months, Bill offered his suffering from lung cancer for the salvation of souls. And then, he died a beautiful death. I’m so grateful for Renewal Ministries’ witness to the Catholic faith; because of Renewal Ministries, I knew how to pray, I knew how to sing praise, and when Bill died in my arms, it was a really blessed time. Let me tell you a story:

Right after my husband died, I could see him running through the clouds, happy, free, and without pain. I was filled with joy! Our deacon (who is ninety-two years old but still serving) had come to see Bill regularly, and had left shortly before Bill died. As I was holding Bill, seeing this vision, the doorbell rang. It was the deacon again! With tears in his eyes, he embraced me and comforted me. I asked him how he knew that Bill was gone, and he said the Holy Spirit had told him! I have so much joy! I thought this would be the hardest time of my life—sixty-one years of marriage and knowing him five years before that—but it has instead been filled with grace and joy. I think because I know where he is. I have hope that he is happy—running and pain free. That is my faith. The faith that was developed in large part by Ralph and his teachings, but EWTN and Steubenville as well. This faith has carried me through.

Q:  Ann, you inspire me. I want to help others to live out the truth too. Thank you!

A: I even trained as a spiritual director, and Ralph’s sister Therese taught part of the program. This all has happened—was made possible—because I stayed Catholic, which was largely because of Ralph. He needs to know this. We need to tell him. It makes a difference!

 

 

‘Carry Out the Work of Evangelization’

Ralph Martin speaks at the 2019 Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto, Canada.

Ralph Martin was recently interviewed by Edward Pentin from the National Catholic Register about Vatican II’s teachings on salvation that are often misunderstood.We want to help our readers access this from our blog to make sure they don’t miss it! You can read the introduction below; you can read the article in its entirety here.

By Edward Pentin, for the National Catholic Register

It’s become a common false assumption, witnessed most recently in preparations for the upcoming Amazon Synod, that most, if not all, people are saved, even if they might not be Catholic.

But such a “universalist” view is not what the Church has ever taught, so how did we reach this point, and what does the Church really teach about the salvation of souls?

To find out, the Register asked professor Ralph Martin, director of graduate theology programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Author of the widely read book on spirituality The Fulfillment of All Desire, he has also written Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization.

In this email interview, Martin explains how some documents of the Second Vatican Council had a destabilizing effect on the Church, exacerbated by a failure to read them carefully, combined with various concepts of universalism put forward by theologians such as Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Martin, who also serves as president of the evangelization organization Renewal Ministries, says he believes these theologians and other factors have “contributed to a weakening of zeal for holiness and for evangelization.”

Continue reading here.

The Spirit Comes

Image Credit

By Jack Flanagan

Cyril of Jerusalem had many wonderful things to tell the early Church about the Holy Spirit.  Here is a sampling:

  • The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance.  He is not felt as a burden for he is light, very light.
  • The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console.
  • The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives Him and then, through Him, the minds of others as well.
  • The Spirit comes to make one man a teacher of divine truth, inspire another to prophesy, give another the power to cast out devils, enable another to interpret the Holy Scriptures.
  • The Spirit comes to strengthen one man’s self-control, show another how to help the poor, teach another to fast and to lead a life of asceticism, make another oblivious to the needs of the body, train another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same.
  • The Spirit comes, according to St. Cyril, as a light that “floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.”

Thanks be to God for the marvelous gift of the Holy Spirit! I share these words that we might deeply desire more of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Let’s humbly ask for more of the Spirit’s transforming action  Let’s begin now, inviting the Spirit to flood our hearts and minds, the Church and the whole world, so that all may be made new in God’s life and love.