To Defend Our Faith We MUST Write

I have finally come to the realization that there are many,  many people who call themselves “Catholic”, but out of those numbers, maybe 22% are actually “practicing Catholics”. That means that 22% go to Mass on a weekly basis. Interestingly, many of the 22% do not think it matters if you go to Mass anyway. (HUH??  Wherever did that mindset come from?) When the post-election polls showed that 52% of “Catholics” voted for the incumbent, I was stunned.

How can this be, I thought? Even our very own USCCB joined together and asked us to stand behind them and defend our faith. Good try Excellencies, but at least you did try. Oh yeah, and did “Catholics” ever respond. Talk about rejection. (Don’t worry–I’m not picking on you guys at the CWG. You are deep into the 22%. Actually, as writers, I figure we are in the  less than 1%).

Get to the point, Larry. Okay, okay, the point is this: We are under attack. It is an all out assault on our religious freedoms, and many of the leaders of this attack insist that they are one of us. It is a war from within. Many of those who claim to be with us are like the antagonists in the soap operas. They are running around and smiling and hugging and kissing folks and telling them that they are devout Catholics, while at the same time promoting abortion in all stages, euthanasia, abortifacient drugs, and even  infanticide.

And they do it in such a way as to make it sound virtuous (ie: protecting women’s reproductive rights). Then the mainstream media (print & broadcast) backs them up and suggests to the public that the men in charge of the Church are old, senile, and out of touch with the modern world. God help us. The challenge is great.

What should we do as writers to help repel this attack on our faith? Of course,  we must WRITE. The celebration of Christmas should begin on December 25, not end because Valentine cards and candy are on the shelves by December 26, but because the life of Christ has just begun and must be celebrated from that moment forward into perpetuity. This celebration can  begin with the power of the written word, stuck in small spaces, in blogs, in poetry, in newsletters, anywhere we can put something in print that defends the faith we embrace.

We can make a difference but we have to get busy. We have to get busy defending our Catholic family from the constant attacks by charlatans, interlopers, and theological impostors. Don’t forget, these impostors shoot back. Expect to get bloodied.

As writers we must be a force, a verbal Maginot Line, often times breached but always there to defend what is ours.

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11 Responses to To Defend Our Faith We MUST Write

  1. Hi Larry,
    I am interested in how you would see a written defense of our faith. Are you suggesting that everything be written as a direct and pointed defense? Or do you see value in “preach ceaselessly and if you must, use words” as another method ? I am asking with sincerety, not sarcasm or to be antagonistic.
    As writers can we teach by example and let others be “stunned” to know we are Catholic? I would be interested in your thoughts.

  2. Ann Seeton says:

    I’m inspired to write more this Advent. In particular, to write about the importance of making the decision to follow Christ. I posted this morning on that, and it may very well end up a theme for my blog this year.

    I’m stuck at the computer right now due to an accident that has left me without a car, with broken bones, and some truly shocking bruises. The pain medicine is losing the battle with the pain. I’m offering it up, and praying for the woman who caused the accident.

    Advent should be advent and I avoid the shops because they no longer serve our culture.

  3. Dennis P. McGeehan says:

    The New Evangelization that Pope Benedict and the Bishops are promoting MUST first be directed at fallen away Catholics who have stopped practicing their faith for whatever reason. Besides those who are angry at “Father”, the rest have left the church because they fail to understand or believe what the church teaches.

    In a recent letter in The Criterion, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, John Fink notes the results of research, that ONLY 6.8 persent of registered parishioners donate 80% of financial resources and 6.4 % donate 80% of volunteer hours. There is also an 84% overlap in these two groups.

    This sad fact indicates that too many Catholics are tepid, that is lukewarm, about their faith. What did Jesus say about being lukewarm? “I will vomit you from my mouth!”

    Many peole are hurting financially. Many are working two jobs and have little time to volunteer. But 7% of the people doing 80% of work seems to indicate that the other 93% could do more.

    To energize them I strongly suggest that the Church must stress First Things First and that is that Jesus is Truly present in the Tabernacle. If people start to believe that God is truly home in the Catholic church, they will be busting the doors down for facetime with the King of Kings. The rest will follow with more volunteer hours, more donations and better voting for the Kingdom of God.

    • Clement says:

      Agree with Dennis’s observations. From my experience being on Parish Council, the 6% that provide 80% of the volunteers appears low compared to my archdiocese. Without stats, we have been using 15% providing the bulk of the program activities, but this is a gut feel, not an absolute measure as the Indianapolis reference indicates. So now I question our “gut” feeling.

      Another metric is the number of hits to the parish website and facebook. I was astonished when I saw this – how low it was. The web sites really are an overkill for parishes. For example, a notification on the parish website can get viewed in continental US, Eastern European countries and Asia, yet it really only pertains to the 3 square miles of the parish boundaries. We need another method to reach parishioners, since many do not desire to get this info on the internet, or aren’t set up for it.

  4. Zellie M. Quinn says:

    I agree with you that those who can, must write. The media is working 24 hours a day to brain wash, slant and manipulate the news. Many are buying into what they hear because there aren’t others who are speaking or writing. Through radio, editorials, and books many have been given a chance to hear the truth that they otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance to hear and grasp. Those of us who can, have an obligation to write- to spread the good news, and expose the lies.
    On the other hand, the first response asks the question,’Do we preach with our writing? Or with our actions?” It depends. If you are not a writer, or involved in the media, it is clear. You preach with what you do, and have the opportunity to say. That is one kind of preaching. And it is much more effective than all the negative articles you read.

    Writing, I believe, should stay positive and be instructive. Those of us who are writers need not resort to the negativity that we may witness from the other side. It doesn’t instruct, and turns off people. But if we expose the truth by writing about it, in an intelligent thought out way, as if we were explaining it to our beloved little sister, it is much more likely that people will read, listen, and begin thinking in an open-minded way. How many lives have been changed by something they’ve read!

  5. p.s., Ann Seeton, I’m sorry to hear about your accident! I pray you have a speedy recovery!

  6. Zellie,
    Thanks for your thoughts. That helps. It is not in my nature to be “preachy” or railing. My writing is more instructive by story telling. I tell a small story and then explain where I see God’s hand in the beauty of it.
    I also feel that I lack in the scholarly means to speak from my mind rather than from my heart. I guess I just try to express how blessed I feel, and that this grace can be shared by all who “knock.”

  7. Thanks, Larry. The reminder is a good boost. Ad lib from our Pauline founder, Bl. Alberione, we might not always write on religion, but we should right religiously. The more we have good Catholic media material out there, that which is direct teaching, and that which is simply good Catholic in nature and moral, the more we influence the general society. Thanks.

  8. Don Mulcare says:

    Is God an optimist or pessimist?

    Is the church 78% empty or 22% full?

    Does the Church need defenders or practitioners of Christian love?

    It was said of the early Christians, “See how they love one another.” May we apply that description to modern Christians? If those who profess to be Christians actually love one another and the sinners that God loves so much, would the church not become more attractive to the tepid and the fallen? Which will more effectively call out to the former believer, well written theological arguments or a show of concern and acceptance.

    Begin the outreach within the regular gatherings of the faithful. Make friends with fellow practitioners. Greet them at the supermarket and the doctor’s office. Then be sure to smile and welcome the strangers you meet. Thank the waitress, compliment the cook, chat with the postal employee who delivers your mail, ignore the insult, forget the slight and by all means, don’t forget to smile.

    As we celebrate the joyful season of Advent, we await the wonderful coming of the one who took our human nature so that we could understand his intimate love for us. We have more reason for joyful expectation of the Christmas Season than do the merchants who count their annual profits or even the child waiting for a new Lego set. Your sincere and profound joy demonstrates your faith and rouses curiosity in the unbeliever. That curiosity may in turn prompt the 78% to seek faith and share the reason for your joy.

    If you must write, write of your love and joy at the coming of the Lord.

    Happy saint Nicholas Day!

  9. Leslie Lynch says:

    Here’s an example of writing that impacted me yesterday, and nudged me to remember the importance of my daily conduct. It was a bumper sticker – homemade, by the looks of it – with just a few computer-generated words on it: I am a Christian. Expect me to act like one.

    Ten words, and they stuck hard in my mind. They’re still sticking. That combines both actions and words, which sounds a lot like the faith or works debate in the Bible. Clearly, it takes both. Writers will obviously use words more than the average person, or at least on a formal basis.

    I agree that our words need to be generated and shared in a spirit of lovingkindness, no matter the world’s response to them. And I’d also take the “be an open and generous person” approach a bit further: The need for forgiveness is immense. Current events highlight the divisiveness and outright hatred of so many different factions. Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life is a tremendous example of standing firm – but with grace and a smile – against evil. “Against such there is no law.” May we all strive to follow Jesus with a sense of His mercy for even those – especially those – who hate Him.

    Ann Seeton, prayers for you and the other person involved in the accident. Thank you for responding on this blog in spite of difficult circumstances!

  10. LarryPeterson says:

    Hi Folks—Thanks for all the comments. In case there might be a misunderstanding, I am NOT suggesting that we strap on our swords and go out lopping off disagreeable heads. On the contrary, I am simply saying that we must be vigilant for the the daily attacks that assault our faith and, when we see them, respond with forceful and unmistakable words that defend our position. Those against uswill not like it, no matter what–TOO BAD–Love you guys and God Bless and Merry Christmas—Larry P