Friday, March 29, 2013

Disapproval Does Not Equal Hate

A while back one of my best friends sent me a link to a poster that lists 24 logical fallacies (   It is an interesting poster that states, "A logical fallacy is often what has happened when someone is wrong about something.  It's a flaw in reasoning.  Strong arguments are void of logical fallacies, whilst arguments that are weak tend to use logical fallacies to appear stronger than they are."

One of these logical fallacies is ad hominem attacks.  This comes to mind whenever I hear or read all the claims of hatred, bigotry, and made-up phobias directed towards people who, because of their faith, disapprove of same sex marriages or unions.  Disapproval or disagreeing do not equal hate, at least, I believe that is the case for most people.

To further this point recall God handed down His 10 Commandments.  Our Father disapproves of our violating these Commandments.  Yet, as the ultimate demonstration of disapproval not equaling hate we know, "God so loved the world he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (Jn 3:16-17)  

God did not water down his instructions to us so that we would not be separated from him because of our sins.   Rather, He sent his only Son to die for us, that through our belief in him, we could be forgiven of our sins.  Likewise, the Church does not waver on the truth when it teaches homosexual acts, "are contrary to the natural law.  They close the sexual act to the gift of life.  They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.  Under no circumstances can they be approved." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357, p. 566). 

Reflecting the love God showed all mankind through the sacrifice of his only Son, the Church tells us with regard to men and women who have these tendencies that, "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." (CCC, 2358, p. 566)

I will continue to disapprove of the sin, but will continue to love the sinner.  While this is not a popular position in our ever-secular society, and one that garners ad hominem attacks, I will take strength in the words of our Savior, "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me." (Mt 5:11)


Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Blessed Virgin

This evening in my Intro to the Catholic Church class we were reviewing the section of Lumen Gentium covering Mary.  Class was moving along at a regular pace, with a bit of dialog between the six students and  our professor.  After our break we started reviewing paragraph 60.  The section addresses Mary's role as a mediator while stating unequivocally that Jesus is the one mediator of God.  "In the words of the apostle there is but one mediator; 'for there is but one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all' (1 Tim. 2:5-6)" (LG 60).

Stepping into the shoes of one of my Protestant friends with whom I've enjoyed thought-provoking conversations over our respective Christian faiths, I asked "Why?" with regard to the last part of the paragraph, which reads:

But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men originates not in any inner necessity but in the disposition of God.  It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it.  It does not hinder in any way the immediate union of the faithful with Christ but on the contrary fosters it (emphasis added).
There are many reasons to venerate Mary, the Mother of God, but I was just not getting why she would or could foster my union with Christ if I already believed in her son.  What is the point? 

I don't have the memory to be able to quote my classmates verbatim, but suffice it to say, what resonated with me was, just as God may use any believer in his plans to "mediate" between Him and other believers or non-believers, God also uses Mary.  In other words, by my living out my faith in even the most seemingly mundane aspect of my life, I may knowingly, or unknowingly, help someone in their relationship with the Lord.  It may be their initial exposure to someone following the will of God, or it may be just the something they needed to return to God after a loss of faith, or maybe something that further solidifies their faith.

Consider Mary's response to being told by an angle of the Lord that she was full of grace and would bear the Son of God, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to thy word" (Lk 1:38).  If knowing of someone who surrendered themselves to the will of God helps foster, or mediates, a relationship with Christ for another, there isn't a greater example than Mary.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Application Process Update

We received a letter today from the Archdiocese of Detroit.  After reviewing our application into the Formation Program for the Permanent Diaconate for Canonical issues, the Office of Clergy and Consecrated Life has informed us we are authorized to proceed with the next step of the application process, psychological exams for both Juanita and I.  We are also to expect an in-house interview from a Diaconate Couple. 

The letter closes by asking us to schedule the exams as soon as possible because they hope to notify everyone of their decision by the end of May or early June.