||Don't Be at a Loss for
Courtesy: September 23-29, 2001;
National Catholic Register
At the close of the second millennium, Pope John Paul II
called Catholics to evangelize the world again.
On Sept. 11,
that call got a lot more urgent.
Catholics have an important
role to play in the wake of the terrorist strikes on America. We
have to give our countrymen hope. This will be increasingly
necessary in the violence sure to come abroad, and perhaps even at
home, in the future.
Here are some suggestions of how
Catholics can evangelize in this situation.
Here are some
suggestions of how Catholics can evangelize in this situation.
Don't agree with the terrorists. Some pro-lifers have
already made the mistake of drawing dark comparisons between
America's culture of death and the killers who have attacked
Not only will such arguments make people dislike
the pro-life message, they aren't true. America is no "Great Satan."
Think of the distinction this way: The terrorists are evil
because they are true to the charter principles of their endeavor,
which are death and destruction. America has embraced a culture of
death because she has failed to live up to her charter principles,
which are that man has a God-given dignity and the right to life.
The truest (and most effective) message for Catholics right
now is to agree wholeheartedly with America's newfound patriotism.
Wave the flag sing "God Bless America." Agree that Americans
uniquely dedicate themselves to the good of others.
further, as Pope John Paul II does. Point out that Americans are
most American when they defend the defenseless, that America is good
to the degree it retains its connection to its founding principles,
and that these continually need to be renewed and applied.
But remember: Now is not the time to admonish America's
sins, but to encourage her virtues.
Tell them what to say
to their children. The media now is filled with advice on what
to say to children about the attacks. Much of this advice is very
unsatisfying. In the end, without faith, there is no way give
children hope. Without belief in a God who is very good, there is no
way to face a world that can be very evil.
In the Holy
Father's apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the
Beginning of the New Millennium), he lays out a program for just
what Catholics should promote.
It's the basics: Sunday
Eucharist, confession and charity. If you ever thought it was
difficult to raise these subjects with your family, friends and
neighbors, you needn't think so now. They are looking for something
that will give them hope. Christ alone can. Introduce him to them.
Teach them how to pray. Lastly, the Holy Father calls
one practice "the secret of the truly vital Christianity, which has
no reason to fear the future, because it returns continually to the
sources and finds in them new life" (No. 32).
prayer. He points to a "widespread demand for spirituality," and
suggests that Catholics fill it.
We should take him up on
the suggestion, particularly by promoting the rosary.
showing us Christ coming into the world, Christ suffering and Christ
triumphant in heaven, it offers a way to comprehend suffering -- and
a way to reject fear.
And that, right now, is exactly what
the world needs.