By Kathy Schiffer
By Kathy Schiffer
Book aims to help Catholics transform culture for Christ
By Kevin J. Jones
Catholic News Agency
.- Radio host Al Kresta’s new book is meant to help Catholics respond to the arguments of their opponents, stressing the need to love one’s enemies so as to transform a culture hostile to Jesus Christ.
“It’s clear that Catholicism, especially in America, is under increased attack. And it isn’t as though somebody’s discovered some truth about the faith that is now rejected,” Kresta told CNA July 16. “It’s just that Catholicism has fallen out of favor.”
“American Catholics, I think for the first time since the 19th century, need to take stock and recognize that we do have enemies.”
Kresta’s new book, “Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st-Century Opponents,” is published by Our Sunday Visitor Press and aims to respond to the contemporary world’s prominent rivals of Catholicism.
“There are right now in our society academic elites, business elites, people of great profundity, who are committed to undermining the social and cultural influence of the Catholic Church,” Kresta said. “For some of them, that’s what they live for.”
“Sometimes they attack by abusing journalism, sometimes they abuse history, they abuse the natural sciences, and they abuse spiritual and revelational claims.”
Kresta is a former Protestant minister who converted to the Church. For more than a decade he has hosted the nationally syndicated Catholic talk show “Kresta in the Afternoon.”
His latest book examines and critiques the claims of New Age beliefs such the “law of attraction”; reincarnation, and other Western adaptations of Eastern beliefs; and Islam. Kresta’s book examines disputes about the origins of Christianity, especially those that put forward heretical views or reject the text of the New Testament.
In talking to CNA, Kresta emphasized the Christian duty to love one’s enemies and to give them a fair hearing.
“Love means listening. It means being able to represent your opponent’s position in a way your opponent will recognize as fair and accurate.”
He took as an example the talk show host Oprah Winfrey, whom he said has become an icon of an “American spirituality” that puts forward a “false Jesus” found neither in the New Testament nor Catholic history.
He said his book first tries to represent her views, before critically engaging her positions from a Catholic perspective.
Kresta said he needs to portray her justly: “I need to be able to say she’s a generous, tolerant, energetic, entrepreneurial person – a person you’d like to be living next door to you.”
Kresta added that the abuse of scientific arguments has become stronger than it had been in recent decades.
“People were very clear that science couldn’t answer all questions,” he said. “By the time I got to college, the idea that science could explain everything was no longer fashionable.”
Yet the pendulum has swung the other way in recent years.
He credits the rebound in this view’s popularity to the rise of a new, combative form of atheism after the September 11th terrorist attacks. He said the coupling of this attitude with the benefits of technology has also made it more believable for some.
“It’s not uncommon to find people, including late adolescent Catholics, thinking that science is the definer of reality. They reject religion, they reject philosophy, it’s all about science. I think that’s growing.”
There has also been a decline in the respect the Catholic tradition’s art and social achievements once enjoyed.
“This new bunch doesn’t even respect the Church for its music, its art, or its Mother Teresas,” Kresta lamented.
To respond to these trends, Kresta advised Catholic evangelization
“We have to be able to joyfully say ‘hey, you guys are missing out’,” Kresta continued, saying Catholics must show critics that the faith offers “a richer life,” based in Truth.
“The Catholic Church’s teaching is good news; it’s not bad news. That’s what we have to stress.”
Kresta saw the decline of Protestant nativism – the belief that America is a country primarily for white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants – and suspicion of Catholicism as an area where a formerly strong opponent of Catholicism has weakened and changed.
“Overall, our relation with evangelical Protestants has really improved in the last generation. On the life issues, we’ve learned to pray together, we’ve learned to talk about our differences in civil, rational ways.”
He said that criticism of the sexual revolution has also become easier because its negative consequences are now more obvious.
However, he saw ominous signs both in the Obama administration’s refusal to respect Catholic conscience concerns about the HHS mandate and in states’ increasing refusals to work with Catholic agencies on adoption placements.
“It’s shocking to see the Obama administration regard the Catholic Church as a ‘bad neighbor.’ That’s very different. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen that in America,” Kresta said.“I think what we see is the government erecting itself as the highest source of social morality.”
Barring major changes, Kresta expects that the American government will tend to become a “new Caesar” that presents itself as “the central organizing point of our lives.” This move would displace the morality of the church, the synagogue, and the family.
“I think American Catholicism is in a desperate situation. I think it’s a great time to be Catholic in America, but I think it’s a great time to be Catholic in America because the battle rages so clearly, and we know we have a moral clarity in what we are to do.”
He saw hope in a “growing group of Catholics” committed to the Catholic faith and to being a “faithful witness” in the culture.
Kresta encouraged Catholics to stress the truth of the Catholic faith when in dialogue with others, in an effort to transform the culture for Christ.
“Once we begin backing away from the Church’s teaching as true, once we begin to say that it can be tweaked and modified to suit the culture, I think we’re digging our own grave.”
“And I think that’s what the last generation of Catholics did.”
Rather than engaging and evangelizing the world, he said, Catholics began accommodating it.
“We’re not separatists, we’re not accommodationists – we’re transformationists.”
Talking about the “things that matter most” on July 18
4:00 – Kresta Comments
4:40 – Praying For 2 Tragic Situations and Remembering a Deceased Hero
We ask for prayer in two tragic situations here in MI and in DC. We also remember a lifetime G-Man who left behind a trail of fascinating tales that merit remembrance.
5:00 – Celebrity Substance Abuse – Lessons to Learn?
Cory Monteith, who played heart throb Finn Hudson in the Fox hit “Glee,” was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday. He was 31. He died of a drug overdose after years of substance abuse dating back to high school. We look at celebrity drug deaths, why they seem common and what lessons we can learn. Mike Vasquez of the St. Gregory Center for Drug and Alcohol Rehab joins us.
5:20 – Kresta Comments
5:40 – “The Conjuring” – A Review
It’s the latest “paranormal, exorcism, supernatural” thriller and is hitting theaters tomorrow. It’s “The Conjuring” and Nick Thomm is here to discuss it with Al.
It is holy to love our enemy, but we must recognize him. The guy who takes our parking spot, the cranky neighbor, the difficult in-law…they are not the ultimate enemy. Yes, they are personal challenges, but they are also opportunities for grace—“The measure with which you measure, will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
The ultimate enemy is the darkness that siphons off Godly values and rejects Christianity as silly or even dangerous to an indulgent society. We are called to love the misguided ones who fall for the clever disguises of darkness. By knowing the truths of our faith, we can shed light on the darkness and redirect them.
In his new book, Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st-Century Opponents, Al Kresta shines a spotlight upon our culture. The President and CEO of Ave Maria Radio, and host of “Kresta in the Afternoon,” takes on our feel-good, self-empowerment world and challenges every Catholic not to just live their faith, but to defeat the enemy through our examples and defense of the truth.
“Baptism identifies every Catholic with the mission of Christ,” he writes. “The question isn’t whether or not we are involved in the mission of the Church. Baptism has already involved us.”
“Jesus said, we would have tribulation, but be of good cheer for he has overcome the world,” Kresta writes. “Our aim is not separation from the world, nor accommodation to the world but rather, to the degree that God gives us the grace, transformation of the world to resemble the Kingdom.”
The challenge is that much of the world presents an easier, more enlightened way that tramples on God’s truth. There lies our challenge because so many are following the Pied Piper of false enlightenment into darkness. Kresta tells us that Christ sent us into the world to imitate him so we must take our cues from a Kingdom not of this world.
The first enemy Kresta takes on in his book is “New Age,” as well as a mix-and-match spirituality. “Oprah cheerleads this individualistic, eclectic spirituality which challenges and, for many, replaces the more traditional denominations,” he writes. “Thirty-three percent of people polled say Oprah has ‘a more profound impact’ on their spirituality than their pastors.” Kresta warns that the problem is the misconceptions about the faith she promotes thinking she’s helping people.
New Age spirituality is about human potential, self-improvement, and success motivation. Kresta explains that the New Age movement has evolved into a quasi-science that rests on claims of mesmerism, spiritualism and animal magnetism. An example is the claim that the human mind receives and transmits vibrations that influences the environment so that positive thoughts can change physical reality. A popular mantra is, “What you conceive and believe, you will achieve and receive.”
The purported “Law of Attraction” also exaggerates our control over life, claiming that we are creators of our own reality. Kresta counters with God’s truth. “The Scripture presents a very different sovereign,” He writes. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established.”
New Age, according to him, tells the same old lie told in the Garden of Eden, that rather than relying on God, man can discover his own divinity. Or as New Age enthusiast Shirley MacLaine puts it: “Know that you are God; know that you are the universe.”
Kresta counters with the words of St. Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13). He writes, “For Christians, it is not me vs. Christ, but Christ in me, the hope of glory. The source of our strength comes from another. He indwells us, but doesn’t displace us.”
In the Dangers to the Faith, Kresta treads where the secular media is afraid to go including: dissecting Islam and it’s contradictions to Christianity; exposing the abusers of science and reason, because nature and scripture do not contradict; and the irrationality of relativism since we are an inescapably moral people yet the secular culture dictates which moral concerns are acceptable. He even takes on consumerism, a part of the Western lifestyle many fail to recognize arrests our development by continually weakening impulse control.
Kresta’s book shows the superiority of God’s absolute law over false teachings and temptations. Biblical principals are brought to bear to show the glory of the cross over the veneer of a make-believe world. Kresta offers us no promises or easy fixes in life but rather that of the ultimate fix: a life full of value based on Jesus in the Eucharist.
“Catholic teaching best corresponds to life as we experience it,” Kresta writes. “It best explains human aspirations for love, life, significance, and meaning, the appearance of design in the cosmos, the function of conscience, the rise of modern science, the persistence of the Jews and the papacy, the rise of the Christian Church and a God who reveals himself as Love, is Infinite and Personal, who is both one and many and who we are called upon to image.”
About the Author: Patti Maguire Armstrong
SACRAMENTO, CA, July 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – In the wake of a June 26 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a homosexual district court judge’s injunction against Proposition 8, California’s voter-passed constitutional amendment banning same-sex ‘marriage,’ Alliance Defending Freedom petitioned the California Supreme Court Friday to order the state’s county clerks to uphold the law.
Technically, the registrar doesn’t have the authority to issue such orders to county clerks. However, California Attorney General Kamala Harris publicly stated that she will take legal action against any clerk who declines to follow the registrar’s directive.
ADF’s petition asks the California Supreme Court to put Harris and Agurto in check, reminding the Court, “This Court’s case law requires executive officials charged with ministerial duties to execute those duties regardless of their or others’ views about the constitutionality of the laws imposing those duties.”
According to local news sources, Yasmin Gomes was born premature earlier this month, and almost immediately stopped breathing. Doctors attempted for nearly an hour to revive the girl, who weighed only 2.6 pounds, but after their attempts failed they declared the baby dead and issued a death certificate.
Yasmin’s mother, Jenifer Gomes da Silva, 22, told Brazil’s Tanosite that when she was told her daughter had died, “My world crashed down right then. It was the most desperate moment when all my dreams were snatched away.”
However, Nurse Ana Claudia Oliveira asked that instead of being sent to the morgue, the body of the child be placed in a box and put on the altar in the chapel.
“She’s a little angel, a child. I just couldn’t face the thought of her being sent down to the morgue,” she told Globo G1.
The nurse testified that in every possible way, the baby appeared to be dead.
“I can assure you, the child was dead. Her pupils didn’t respond to light. All her signs pointed to the complete absence of life,” she said.
“I saw it with my own eyes. She was blue all over, completely dead,” she added.
Three hours later, the baby’s grandmother went to fetch the baby with a mortician. But what they saw left them weeping tears of joy, instead of sadness.
When they went to pick up the baby, she kicked.
Read more HERE.
Thomas was involved in an accident yesterday evening and has sustained major injuries. He is awake, responsive, and in stable but critical condition. Family and friends are with him.
Pray for his family, too, including his father, Edward Peters, and Thomas’ wife.
The first time I met Thomas was in Rome in 2011 at the Vatican/Blogger meet-up, which is pictured above. I complimented him on looking so handsome in his white suit and he blushed and said, “it’s the only suit I own.” He was very sweet, and very self-effacing.
Prayer has power. Let us pray. I’ll keep you posted as more news comes down.
From Edward Peter’s Facebook page:
Thom can move his arms, docs are discussing the best treatment for his neck injury. Immediate concern is for the considerable water in his lungs. We are astounded at the expressions of prayers and support. Thom & Nat know about it. Please keep them up. Love from us all, EdP.
Further updates will be found at The Anchoress’ blog.
Irish cabinet minister Lucinda Creighton sacrifices her career in defence of innocent life
|Resigned minister Creighton: Defending unborn people|
Wednesday 17th of July 2013
It’s rare in any country to see someone publicly commit career suicide in service of someone else, but it happened July 1 in the Irish Parliament. Cabinet minister Lucinda Creighton, age 33, spoke for 27 minutes about why she would vote against her own government’s ironically named Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. It would clarify the circumstances under which a pregnancy in Ireland may be medically terminated. Though under threat of expulsion from her own leader, Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Creighton delivered a sturdy, principled analysis worthy of William Wilberforce of why the proposed law is fundamentally immoral. She confirmed this week she will resign as European Affairs minister. Indeed her political career, hitherto promising, is effectively finished.
Opening a floodgate
Ireland is still a remarkably pro-life country, certainly by European standards; most people still oppose abortion on demand, and women who want them – some 4,000 a year – must still go to Britain. The new bill (which is expected soon to become law) will provide more precise definitions of life-saving medical necessity. Creighton applauded that. She objected, however, to including a threat of suicide as a permitted medical ground. This, she argued, was unnecessary, bad psychiatry and a likely floodgate – a point on which she said 113 Irish psychiatrists had agreed.
Polls this past winter showed that most Irish citizens, though opposed to abortion for convenience, approve of abortion for medical necessity. Just how elastic that term can be was shown in Canada, where a Catholic prime minister and a Catholic justice minister assured Parliament in 1969 that hospital medical committees would ensure that abortion would remain rare, and within four years there was virtual abortion on demand. Today Canada has legal abortion for any reason up to the moment of completed birth – a fact of which most Canadians (as well as MP Creighton in Ireland) are unaware.
Progressive group think
The irony of what Creighton calls “progressive group think” is that it is unthinking and illiberal. “The sad reality, as we look around the globe at how women’s rights are advocated, promoted and defended,” she told the assembly, “is that abortion is in fact, often a tool for the oppression of women. Look at China, India, Korea and indeed some parts of Europe and the United States. The societal preference for boys over girls has led to the obliteration of tens of millions of baby girls who were simply never born.“It would be bizarre if we as legislators did not ask the obvious question: What is the net difference between such screening followed by intentional gender-based abortion, and the intentional killing of that baby after delivery? The answer is of course none.“The net effect is exactly the same, which is to say that an innocent baby is simply wiped out.”
See more at: The Christians
Talking about the “things that matter most” on July 17
4:00 – Direct To My Desk
5:00 – Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith
Six years ago our friends Fr. John McCloskey and Russell Shaw wrote Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith. Based on the great success and influence that Father McCloskey has had in helping instruct many converts to Catholicism, especially numerous high profile DC figures, this book is a powerful combination of the methods, theology, and theories that McCloskey uses in his evangelization efforts. In addition to his compelling insights on how to teach or share the faith in a winning, inspiring way, this work includes the contributions of several dozen converts of Fr. McCloskey who give their own moving testimonies of why they converted to Catholicism, and how that life-changing journey happened for each of them. We revisit this inspirational book today with Fr. McCloskey.
Church exorcism body to analyze her work as a case of concerted evil in entertainment
|A still taken from the video for Madonna’s hit ‘Like A Prayer’|
Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, best known as Madonna, has been named by Time magazine as one of the 15 most powerful women in the 20th Century and by CNN as “arguably the most influential female recording artist of all time.” Sales of her records have topped 300 million, and her last tour made an unsurpassed $305 million, raising her net worth to over a billion. Her biography in Wikipedia takes up 31 pages, only nine short of Dwight Eisenhower’s, eight short of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s and nine more than Bill Clinton’s.
To all of which may be added one new distinction. Madonna will come under study by a panel of the Catholic Church later this month for demonic possession. This is not altogether a new idea. Various exploitations of sexual activity, often perverse, have long been a powerful additive to an undoubted and extraordinary musical talent. Her 1990 “Blond Ambition World Tour,” for instance, described by Rolling Stone as “an elaborately choreographed, sexually provocative extravaganza,” was denounced by both the Catholic and Anglican Church. Her “Confessions Tour” in 2006 caused the Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities to urge all their members to boycott her concerts. But submitting her as a case for exorcism is new.