Friday, July 20, 2007

"Reclaiming our Catholic identity in today's secular world"

Dear Friends,

Please join us in welcoming Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pomona, CA and St. George Catholic Church Church in Fontana, CA to the family. Soon their parishioners will be able to enjoy their own dynamic and vibrant ParishWorld community websites that will be their daily resource for evangelization, inspirational stories, universal Catholic news and local community information. If you belong to a parish that you feel can better utilize the internet for evangelization, please call us at 866-288-0713. Click here to view our model parish website.

The stress that the secular world is putting on our Catholic identity is the top story this week. A recent report from the Barna Group said this, "The trail of Catholicism in America is a clear example of culture influencing faith more often than faith influencing culture." The faith of tens of millions of Catholics seems to be affected by the prevailing culture more than by the central principles and teachings of the Bible.
From London comes another report that says marriage and family life continue to suffer the inroads of contemporary society - the number of women who are giving birth there outside of marriage rose by 22% in the last 5 years. We also have an article that stresses the traditional value that religion domesticates men, turning their hearts and minds to the welfare of their wife and children.

We bring all these up because it appears that the Vatican announcements during the last two weeks are really focused on reminding Catholics everywhere of the need to maintain their identity as Catholic followers of our Lord, Jesus Christ. An incisive article explains how this struggle to reassert traditional Catholic identity is scoring wins on two fronts. Also, a Vatican representative says Pope Benedict XVI's "Summorum Pontificum" and the message accompanying it are really a call to "enlarging the heart," reciprocal openness and reconciliation.

If like most Catholics you feel you need a deeper understanding of the celebration of the Mass, we bring you "Summorum Pontificum" by Paul Dion, STL. It's a great dissertation on how the fathers of Vatican II intended for us to celebrate the Mass and should offer you a better insight to improving your participation.

Morality is also a major topic this week begining with a reflective article about the the Lord's Prayer and how it deals mostly with this subject only. Another insightful story related to this is "Whatever Happened to Mortal Sin." In Washington DC, the US Congress overcame liberal challenges and voted this past week to sustain funding for abstinence-only education until the end of this fiscal year. And here's something you don't see everyday in the New York Times: the abortion that wasn't. "Okay. Let's keep it." is an essay by a married woman describing how she unexpectedly got pregnant, wanted an abortion, and then changed her mind.

"Conversion for Men, A Turning to the Lord" is a must-read for all Catholic men. "You Can't Be a Saint!" was the exclamation a high school English teacher got from his students when he tried to make a hypothetical case in the classroom for his sainthood. And if you've been wondering what the life, death and resurrection of Jesus have to do with you, read "A God Who “Gets it.”
What's the secret to a lasting marriage? Embrace imperfections! And here's another great tip: "Always apologize, always explain" talks about why the two words, "I'm sorry" can be the most rewarding.

In Catholic News, the Catholic-themed town of Ave Maria opened in Florida last week. A project of the Domino's Pizza founder, philantrophist Tom Monaghan, the privately owned town is still dealing with issues from the ACLU as well as from the local diocese whose bishop needs to provide permission before Sacraments are performed in the town. And relating to the sexual abuse claim settlement in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Vatican said it is not just a Catholic Church problem and other institutions should take steps to acknowledge and deal with such "wickedness" within their own ranks.

And we have Lifestyle News. It seems more Catholic singles are finding love on the World Wide Web. We have the story. And don't discard that old vinyl record player just yet. Young music fans are ditching downloads and sparking a vinyl record revival.

Finally, if you're going on a vacation this summer, it might be a good idea to keep this reminder from Pope Benedict in mind. He advises us all to get close to God during our vacation, saying, "Admiration for natural beauty is easily transformed into prayer."

And how was your week? Have a great and blessed coming week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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