The Church speaks clearly and unambiguously about the dignity of human life, yet we live in a secular world that exposes us to a variety of ideas that are incompatible with the truth of faith.  “We live in a world where objective moral norms are treated as mere rules and regulations that can be dismissed when they become too demanding: that regard, for example, sexual differences as merely anatomical, biological and functional leading to the acceptance of contraception, pornography, abortion and sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman.  We live in a world that regards incurable illness as an indication that the body and the person have outlived their usefulness, thus promoting [euthanasia and] physician-assisted suicide” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, nos. 9, 11, 10).

We are deafened by the raucous discord of the culture of political correctness that will, if left unchallenged by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, erode the spiritual foundation upon which our faith is built, all in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity,” and at the expense of authentic truth and freedom.  We often “reject the principle that we must accept the beauty and truth of what the Church believes and teaches, thinking instead that we can pick and choose what to believe.  Instead of trying to internalize the faith and treat it as the standard for judging the values of the unbelieving culture that surrounds us, we all too often judge which Church teachings to accept on the basis of whether the teaching conforms to the values of the surrounding culture” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, no.6).  Jesus did not die so that His truth could be changed by the culture; Jesus gave His life and died so that He could transform the culture with His truth!

Jesus says that if your hand or foot or eye causes you to sin, cut them off: it is better to enter life in the Kingdom of God than go to Hell (see Mark 9:47).  We must cut off and separate ourselves from all sinful acts that weaken the culture of life.  We must never forget that certain Church teachings in the area of faith and morals can never change, regardless of whether or not people accept them or are faithful to them (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, no.7). We as Christians are in the world but not of the world, and we cannot accept the Jiminy Cricket philosophy of “let your conscience be your guide” that “suggests that we are responsibly following our conscience when we knowingly replace Christ’s teaching with the world’s opinions” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, no.21). If we are to free ourselves from the slavery of this culture of death, we must remove ourselves from the darkness and confusion of sin so that the light of God’s life and truth may shine brightly upon us.

©2012 Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers