That boom you heard this morning was the St. Louis Review hitting mailboxes today with a surprisingly powerful call to Catholics to live their Catholic identity:
May I see your Catholic I.D., please?
How sad that so many in our American society today dare to claim the title “Catholic” yet are charged so aptly by Bishop Robert Hermann and others as largely having lost the true Catholic identity. Indeed, authentically to be called Jesus’ disciple necessarily entails full commitment to a whole way of life; a way of being; a way of becoming. It requires full orientation and concentration; lukewarm is worse than cold.
Being a Roman Catholic should be the most challenging, demanding and rewarding thing about us. Is being know as “Catholics” making us any different from what we would otherwise be were we to choose some other religious affiliation, or even no faith designation whatsoever? If our Catholicity does not make us radically conspicuous in a world whose heart runs largely counter to that of Jesus, then we have taken a most beautiful name and made it an empty, hollow shell.
We have heard it so often from politicians, legislators, governmental officials, Supreme Court justices and others that it has become a cliche: “I shall not let my Catholic faith get in the way of or even influence the discharge of my responsibilities of office.” (Translation: “I will say or do whatever I think gives me the best chance of being elected or appointed.”)
“Get in the way!? Since when did acting in the justice and righteousness, the very mind and heart of Christ Himself, ever become an obstacle? If we do not allow our Catholicity to influence our decisions and judgment, then we are armed with naught but our own subjective “morality” and wayward hearts.
How can we be given God’s revealed truth, yet be willing to “check it at the door” when we enter our houses of legislature and courtrooms? How can we disarm ourselves of the priceless treasure which is the very mind of God Himself, the one who knows the right way; the best way; the only true way? As we thus abandon the Truth, how can we continue to call ourselves “Catholic”?
The wife of a state governor was recently interviewed in a Catholic publication. A lifelong Catholic, she admitted unabashedly that, when it comes to what to believe and which course to follow, she “picks and chooses” from among Catholic Church teachings. She nonchalantly concludes that she is probably a “cafeteria Catholic.”
She has a lot of company in the cafeteria, and by neglecting the full nourishment offered by the Church they are selectively starving themselves to death in there. In addition, they are inflicting the malnutrition and famine upon the rest of us. By their decision to perpetrate intrinsic evils such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and embryonic stem cell research in full and conscious violation of Church teaching, they guarantee that our society is universally poisoned.
This has happened only because we, as Catholics, have allowed it. Thus, we as a society bear culpability. Were we, as Catholics, to stand firmly behind the authentic Catholic leadership which Christ Himself is giving us, we would never allow ourselves to stray from the true path. As Catholics, we have more than considerable numbers; we have the Good Shepherd Himself to lead us rightly.
What identity could we claim which outweighs true allegiance to Christ? What affiliations could possibly be more important to us than our Catholic faith? Nations and governments rise and fall. Economies and sociopolitical structures wax and wane. Throughout it all, Jesus Christ stands firm. What good would it do us to gain the whole world and lose our very selves in the process? As Bishop Hermann points out, this very night our lives could be required of us.
Truly, it is time for us to be reawakened to our Catholic identity. It is something to be celebrated and lived, not covered up or watered down. It is the gift of Jesus Christ Himself to us! Let us put it on as a cloak of honor and wear it with pride. Indeed, it will warm the whole world!
1 Kings 19:10
…Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum: quia dereliquerunt pactum Domini filii Israhel: altaria tua destruxerunt, et prophetas tuos occiderunt gladio, et derelictus sum ego solus, et quaerunt animam meam ut auferant eam.
…With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have thrown down thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away.
A remarkable story of a remarkable family appears today in STLToday celebrating the life of Jeremiah Brower Cross. God has a plan for every person; may he grant eternal rest to Jeremiah and countless blessings to his family.
St. Charles boy, 8, dies after long struggle
By Elizabethe Holland
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
For more than eight years, Sandy and Suzan Cross were told again and again that their precious Jeremiah could die any day.Early Thursday (Dec. 11, 2008), after spending nearly every moment of his life in his family members’ arms, he did.Jeremiah Brower Cross, of St. Charles, died of complications from surgery he underwent Monday. He was 8.
When Jeremiah’s heart stopped early Thursday at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, his mother’s hand rested over his heart. “We said, ‘We love you so much,’ and he was gone,” Suzan Cross said.
Jeremiah and his family were the subjects of a 2006 Post-Dispatch feature story that prompted nearly 100 e-mails, letters and phone calls from readers who wanted to send best wishes to the family.
He was born Aug. 27, 2000, to Nina Brower. He had a functioning brain stem that controlled his breathing and heart, but the rest of his brain never developed. He was diagnosed with microcephaly, cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. He was legally blind, unable to walk or talk, and lived without a sleep-wake cycle.
No one expected him to live very long.
Six weeks after his birth, Jeremiah was unhooked from life-support machines. Sandy and Suzan Cross, who had become close with Brower, told people at the hospital they would take him home and hold him until his death.
They kept their promise. The couple and their children held Jeremiah virtually every moment of every day, patting him, singing to him and showering him with kisses.
“He was so good,” Suzan Cross said. “All he wanted was kisses. We held him all day and all night, and we just loved him.”
The Crosses were not related to Jeremiah but stepped in as foster parents. When the boy was about 8 weeks old, Brower gave her parental rights to the couple.
Each time in the last eight years that Jeremiah underwent a medical procedure, his family gathered to say farewell. That was the case Monday, when Jeremiah had surgery at St. John’s to relieve his stiffening legs. It was supposed to be a simple procedure, his father said, “one that was going to help his quality of life.”
That night, though, Jeremiah’s fever shot up to 109 degrees. His organs began to fail. This time Jeremiah couldn’t bounce back.
Sandy and Suzan Cross were with Jeremiah in his hospital bed early Thursday. They were holding him when he died, his mother said.
“He just fought so hard,” Suzan said. “We said, ‘Jeremiah, if you’re tired, you can go. We love you enough that you can go.'”
I was so honored to take care of Jeremiah. We’re the lucky ones because we got to have eight years with him.”
Visitation is scheduled 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Alexander Funeral Home, 11101 St. Charles Rock Road, St. Ann. The funeral service, also at the funeral home, will be at 6 p.m.
There is a touching audio slide show by the Post dated about two years ago here.
Catholic Key has the update here.
Today, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the CDF is issuing the Instruction Dignitatis Personae, concerning many important issues relevant to life sciences. Fittingly, it bears a date of 8 September 2008, the Feast of the Birth of Our Lady.
In recent years, biomedical research has made great strides, opening new possibilities for the treatment of disease, but also giving rise to serious questions which had not been directly treated in the Instruction Donum vitae (22 February 1987). A new Instruction, which is dated 8 September 2008, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, seeks to provide some responses to these new bioethical questions, as these have been the focus of expectations and concerns in large sectors of society. In this way, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith seeks both to contribute “to the formation of conscience” (n. 10) and to encourage biomedical research respectful of the dignity of every human being and of procreation.
The Instruction opens with the words Dignitas personae – the dignity of a person, which must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses “a great ‘yes’ to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research” (n. 1).
The document is an Instruction of a doctrinal nature, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and expressly approved by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. The Instruction therefore falls within the category of documents that “participate in the ordinary Magisterium of the successor of Peter” (Instruction Donum veritatis, n.18), and is to be received by Catholics “with the religious assent of their spirit” (Dignitas personae, n. 37).
For several years, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been studying new biomedical questions with a view to updating the Instruction Donum vitae. In undertaking the examination of such new questions, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “has benefited from the analysis of the Pontifical Academy for Life and has consulted numerous experts with regard to the scientific aspects of these questions, in order to address them with the principles of Christian anthropology. The EncyclicalsVeritatis splendor and Evangelium vitae of John Paul II, as well as other interventions of the Magisterium, offer clear indications with regard to both the method and the content of the examination of the problems under consideration” (n. 2).
Intended recipients of the document
The Instruction is meant for “all who seek the truth” (n. 3). Indeed, in presenting principles and moral evaluations regarding biomedical research on human life, the Catholic Church “draws upon the light both of reason and of faith and seeks to set forth an integral vision of man and his vocation, capable of incorporating everything that is good in human activity, as well as in various cultural and religious traditions which not infrequently demonstrate a great reverence for life” (n. 3).
The Instruction has three parts: “the first recalls some anthropological, theological and ethical elements of fundamental importance; the second addresses new problems regarding procreation; the third examines new procedures involving the manipulation of embryos and the human genetic patrimony” (n. 3).