BY John Lilly
July 1-7, 2007 Issue | Posted 6/26/07 at 10:00 AM
News about Francis Beckwith’s return to his Roman Catholic roots created havoc among his fellow Protestant Evangelical Christians at Baylor University, hurling them into a tailspin of horror, leaving them reeling. Yet, this is wonderful news!
The Inperson interview, “He Could No Longer Explain Why He Wasn’t Catholic” (June 3) was outstanding and encouraging. Beckwith, prominent theologian and tenured associate professor of church-state studies at Baylor, the largest Baptist university in the world, made so many excellent points, I yellow-highlighted nearly every paragraph of the article.
I cheered at Beckwith’s suggestion that Catholics can learn from evangelical Protestants how to preach, teach and offer support for doctrines and beliefs that Catholics often leave to authority. Scripture says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
Conversely, Protestants have misconceptions about Catholics. Having been president of the Evangelical Theological Society, Beckwith’s experience will be valuable in reaching out to Protestants. We all have Jesus in common.
Beckwith stated that one Church weakness was presenting renewal movements as not part of the Church’s theological tradition. Here is a suggestion to remedy that.
Joan Galli, a lifelong Catholic woman that lived through the charismatic renewal movement of the 1970s, wrote a book specifically for fellow Catholics, describing this overlooked period of time. It’s called Unless You Become as a Little Child. She sheds light on the Holy Spirit, describing her walk with Jesus in a manner that coaxes even the most skeptical Catholic to want what she has: the joy that surpasses all understanding.
This book is not fluff. It is a modern-day testimony to the power and timelessness of Pentecost, filled with life and hope. I thought of it when I read Beckwith’s interview.
It is ideal for Catholics desiring full maturity in our faith. And to Francis Beckwith: welcome home!
Palo Alto, California
Relevant to “No Amnesty for the Unborn” (June 17):
How ironic that a widely claimed right, that is, a woman’s “right to choose,” has been so costly and fatal to female embryos, fetuses, the about-to-be born and newborns around the world. It would be interesting to know the statistics of which sex is the most chosen to be aborted in many Western nations.
One has to wonder what is in the minds of some feminist groups who fail to see the worldwide outcome in their push for a woman’s right to choose. Did they really intend for it to result in the demise of millions of females? Are women of so little value that they are expendable before and just after birth?
Christianity raised the status and value of women in society wherever the true foundation and spirit of Jesus Christ’s teachings were allowed to be taught and preached. Admittedly, some misunderstood such revolutionary teaching and hindered it or hid it from the masses. But the fact remains: Girls and women are precious in God’s sight.
Nevertheless, the wisdom of Christ’s teaching came through loud and clear in the latter half of the first century of the Christian Church through the earliest non-canonical Christian writing, the Didache: “There are two ways, a way of life and a way of death; there is a great difference between them. … In accordance with the precept of the teaching ‘You shall not kill,’ you shall not put a child to death by abortion or kill it once it is born. … The way of death is this: They show no compassion for the poor, they do not suffer with the suffering, they do not acknowledge their Creator, they kill their children and by abortion cause God’s creatures to perish; they drive away the needy, oppress the suffering, they are advocates of the rich and unjust judges of the poor, they are filled with every sin. May you be ever guiltless of all these sins!”
How many girls and women would be alive today not only in Asia but in the Western Hemisphere, once called Judeo/Christian, if the teachings of Jesus Christ, the apostles, the early Christian Church, and the Church today were recognized for their moral, non-sexist, non-prejudicial sanctity of life?
Sadly, the cliché, “a woman’s right to choose” has cost females more than males. “A woman’s right to choose” is a sad and fatal paradox for the female sex.
Helen Louise Herndon
St. Louis, MissouriFruitful Investigatio
I was Godless my entire life. I had no religion or belief to speak of, but during RCIA last year, I launched an “investigation” into the Lord. In months of intensive study both in and outside the classroom, I found him, and in no uncertain way. So, after spending 40 years in the wilderness, I was baptized at the Easter Vigil 2007. Christ’s Church has changed my life.
As a result, I have felt a compulsion to give back for all I have received. I began a humble apostolate involving an electronic newsletter ca--tering to a few Catholic police officers, my peers. In two months, it has morphed into a mailing list of more than 250 people, many outside the policing profession and several outside the Catholic Church, as well.
My wife and I subscribe to your newspaper and I regularly read content from the website. I find ncregister.com both informative and inspirational. I thank you for your commitment to catechizing the nation’s Catholic faithful!
Omaha, NebraskaSocialist Approach
Regarding “Everyone Has the Right to Health Care” (May 27):
I read with some concern Father McNair’s editorial proclaiming a universal right to health care. Though it may not have been his intent, this editorial will inevitably be interpreted by many in such a way as to favor a national health care program, part and parcel of which would be an overall socialist approach to governance.
I would hope that readers who may have been swayed in that direction would thoughtfully consider this: Total responsibility for someone — and that someone’s corresponding total dependence — must of necessity be facilitated by total authority over them. I am indeed totally responsible for my own children’s food, clothing, shelter, human and religious formation, and health care. I also wield final authority regarding what and when they eat, what they wear, where they live, where they are educated, whom they associate with, where and how they worship, and whether or not they brush their teeth or smoke cigarettes. Without this authority, the aforementioned responsibilities would be utterly unworkable. But as my children age, the moral requirement for my responsibility and my commensurate authority over them will gradually disappear — together.
On top of our already imprudent level of government-mandated entitlements, universal health care would represent a dangerous slide on the part of a formerly free citizenry toward a state of total dependence on government.
If ever implemented, the inevitable increase in unwholesome government authority cannot and will not be far behind. And I say “unwholesome” government authority because, unlike George Washington, who warned that “government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master,” the self-anointed governing class that awaits these developments with bated breath positively relishes the prospect of the new authority they perceive will be theirs. Little do they realize (most of them, at any rate) how quickly this authority will pass through their fingers and into the grasp of a far more frightful and dangerous power.
If we as a people somehow manage in these dangerous times to muster a spiritual orientation and prayer life adequate to delay that unhappy eventuality, at least for a time, we might also find ourselves in a slightly more perfectly ordered society, at least temporarily. In such a society, a boy with a toothache would certainly find a Christian dentist willing to extract a tooth pro bono or a Christian businessman willing to pay for the extraction or a Christian congregation that cares for its own and others or perhaps even a hospital or clinic, staffed with religious or consecrated, established for the purpose of rendering medical care in Christian charity. And along with the understanding, inherent in such a society, of the fundamental difference between entitlement and charity, would come the understanding that we are Children of God, not children of the government.
Alpharetta, GeorgiaNo Need for Buddhism
Regarding “When Worlds That Should Collide, Don’t” (June 10):
A Catholic who loves his faith and is well grounded in it will have no interest in Buddhism. Our faith is so rich. We have everything, meditation, contemplation, the sacraments, the communion of saints. Those who are attracted to the allurements of false religions should be warned of the blind leading the blind and together falling into the pit.
As St. Peter said to Jesus, “To whom shall we go Lord? You have the words of eternal life.”
Marie Louise Valle
Los Angeles, CaliforniaEastern Infiltration
Regarding “When Worlds That Should Collide, Don’t” (June 10):
Thank you for the interesting article regarding Buddhism and Christianity. As a member of a wonderful Catholic charismatic group in Carlsbad called Women’s Christian Fellowship, I listened recently to a fabulous luncheon speaker, Johnnette Benkovic, and received a copy of her book The New Age Counterfeit. She raised my awareness of the infiltration of even Catholic groups by Eastern mysticism and other non-Christian practices. Upon arriving home, I received in the mail a newsletter from a Catholic Mission that offered a retreat entitled: “The Wisdom of the Yin-Yang!”
Taoism contains a heresy called monism, teaching all is one and there is no personal God. How this leads to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ is anybody’s guess.
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