Here is an excerpt, with my emphases:
… the Vatican official said the problem for Christians is not with being a minority, but rather that of “we ourselves putting ourselves at the margin, making ourselves irrelevant — due to a lack of courage, so that people leave us in peace, because of mediocrity.“
“For Christians,” Cardinal Rylko added, “the moment has arrived to free themselves from a false inferiority complex […] to be valiant witnesses of Christ.”
This should be the “hour of the laity,” he continued, and their “responsibility in the diverse fields of public life, from politics to the promotion of life and family, from work to the economy, from education to the formation of youth.”
He urged Christian collaboration in the world of politics: “Laypeople are called to go after, little by little, a just social order. It is an intense task that awaits them, both in personal and community life, a task that implies taking up with valor and creativity their evangelizing duty.”
Amen and amen! I have to say that when people ask why I’m a Lay Dominican, I couldn’t do much better than to borrow Cardinal Rylko’s expression and say, “Because I want to be a valiant witness of Christ”! I think lots of lay Catholics these days are feeling that urge and looking for ways to fulfill it. People never fail to be pleasantly surprised when I tell them that religious orders and societies include places for secular lay people. Today’s lay Catholics are hungry to deepen their religious lives and strengthen their bonds with the Church!
That first paragraph is really interesting. I grew up hearing mostly about how the Church needs to make itself relevant. All kinds of horrid things have been done in the name of making the Church relevant: hideous, soul-sapping worship spaces… bland, dated “contemporary hymns”… liturgical abuses… jettisoning of religious habits and distinctive dress for clergy… the abandonment of absolute truth and the unchangeable teachings on faith and morality… the complete destruction of everything remotely sacred… one could go on and on. So many things that are unique, noble, majestic, and completely recognizable about the Church have been despoiled, wrecked, pillaged. It has left us a legacy of poverty, shame, weakness… and also a great yearning, which sooner or later will see us through.
I think Cardinal Rylko nails it: what has really been going on this whole time is that some people in the Church have been cowering from the pressures of the secular world to conform or die. In reality, there is no “or” between conforming and dying, and never has been; the Church conforms to the secular AND dies, rotting from the inside to a shameful extent. So many Christians have allowed themselves to become slaves in order to spare themselves from the almighty indignance of the supposedly tolerant and freedom-loving secular world. Many Christians have veered into the psychotic self-mutilation in which they try to carve out trenches between their faith and the rest of their lives, the rest of who they are.
To see examples and the horrid effects of such self-mutilation, we needn’t look very far. Most of us can see it in family and friends, the people closest to us. And then, there are public figures like politicians. Here’s a sad recent story from LifeSite News with my emphases and comments:
By Kathleen Gilbert
LONG BEACH, California, November 19, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – California’s first lady, Maria Shriver, recently told Sally Quinn of the Washington Post that she considers herself “a Catholic in good standing” despite the fact that she openly advocates abortion.
“I find I don’t spend a lot of time trying to square my own daily life with the institutional Church,” said Shriver. “I pick and choose.” [Then why would she even care about being “a Catholic in good standing”? What defines “good standing” other than the institutional aspect of the Church? If the institution doesn’t exist, or doesn’t matter, then being in good standing doesn’t matter, or even mean anything! If everyone just gets to pick and choose and make things up, and everything and everybody are equal, then who on earth cares about standing? Shriver is betraying herself, one way or the other… either she really cares to be in good standing OR she really cares to just do things her way. Which is it, Maria?]
Shriver called herself a “cafeteria Catholic,” a term that is most often used in a derogatory manner, referring to individuals who only selectively submit to Church teaching and authority while still calling themselves Catholic. [It’s quite well-known as a derogatory term. Only a rebel would openly apply it to herself. And yet, again, rebels don’t give a fig about being in good standing…]
On the disparity between Church teaching and her belief on abortion, Shriver told Quinn, “I often talk to my daughters at the dinner table about the difference between being pro-abortion and being pro-choice.” She explained that she believes supporting the right to choose an abortion is different from supporting abortion. [For the kabillionth time, Catholics believe that people have free will and choices as part of our human nature, created and endowed by God Himself. It is a fact, not a political movement. The “pro-choice” crowd claims that outlawing or even restricting abortion violates that free will. Uh-huh, just like outlawing murder, rape, incest, arson, larceny, etc. violates the free will to commit any of those acts. Open your eyes! People choose and commit those acts all the time! Those acts are pure evil–and so is abortion! But “pro-choicers” extol abortion as a right in and of itself. So I really don’t see that there is a difference between pro-abortion and pro-choice. It’s deceptive rhetoric, nothing more.]
Shriver also pointed out her disagreement with the Church on the issue of homosexuality. She said she does not believe that “people who are gay shouldn’t be accepted into the church.” However, [however] while the Catholic Church teaches that all sexual activity outside of marriage, including homosexual activity, is sinful, there is no prohibition against people with homosexual inclinations being welcomed into the Church. The Church strongly recommends loving acceptance of such persons and spiritual direction and other assistance to help them live celebate, faithful Catholic lives. [Gosh, the Church is so cruel, isn’t she!]
The office of Cardinal Mahoney, Shriver’s bishop, did not respond to repeated calls from LifeSiteNews.com yestereday and today up to press time.
Both Shriver and her husband, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, claim a Catholic identity despite public disavowal of Church teaching on the sanctity of life. [They are lying to and betraying either themselves or their Catholic brethren. Again I ask: which is it? Exercise your true right to choose, people!]
“I always said that you should not have your religion interfere with government policies or with the policies of the people,” Schwarzenegger said at a Toronto press conference last year, as he advocated research on human embryos. [Self-mutilation. You’re gutting yourself, Arnold! If you believe your religion is right and true, then for your own integrity’s sake, stand by it! Be a whole man, not half a man. If people don’t want to vote for you, then so be it. But don’t throw your faith under the train.]
“I am a Catholic and a very dedicated Catholic, but that does not interfere with my decision-making [When you’re dedicated to something, you don’t regard it as an interference.] because I know that stem-cell research, the way we are doing it in California … is the right way to go,” he said as quoted by the Toronto Star. [Oh really, you know that? How do you know? What authority has given you that knowledge? Not the Catholic Church, that’s for sure.]
More recently, Gov. Schwarzenegger put aside [carved out] his professed faith when he publicly joined homosexualists in the fight against Proposition 8, California’s amendment protecting legal marriage as between a man and a woman.
Dear Lord, open these people’s eyes! Open their eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to Cardinal Rylko’s words and to their Church and faithful Catholics as a whole! Please do so for all the half-hearted, self-mutilated, blinded, cowardly, and enslaved among us! Put them back together, make them whole, restore their integrity, restore to them the glory of being Your own children! Give them courage and true dedication!
By “them,” I really mean “all of us,” of course. But there are undeniably people who need these prayers more than others. Those who are already active in the secular world and under intense pressures. Those who, knowingly or not, have been so eager to be seen as relevant that they completely marginalize and submit themselves and lose their distinctiveness, their identities, their values and virtues, their liberties… things that make them who they are… things they deserve to hold on to and build upon.
It breaks my heart that somebody would deny their own dignity, their own character, their own principles. That’s exactly what happens when they deny or try to separate out their faith! And they do it all for the sake of popularity or votes or social standing or security or whatever. That’s even more than an inferiority complex… as I said, it’s slavery.
So very, very sad. May God help them, and us all!