Analysis by Oswald Sobrino, J.D., M.A., who has published in New Blackfriars (U.K.), Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Catholic Answer, New Oxford Review, CatholicExchange.com, and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly. He is a lay graduate student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. © 2002-06 Oswald Sobrino.
"There is much in Christianity which can be subjected to exact analysis. But the ultimate things are shrouded in the silent mysteries of God." --Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
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Saturday, May 20, 2006Support Chastity
In an excellent article in yesterday's N.Y. Times, author Lauren F. Winner points out that more is needed that just individual promises and pledges by teenagers to save themselves for marriage. She rightly points out that the role of God's grace is central to any pursuit of chastity:
Pledgers promise to control intense bodily desires simply by exercising their wills. But Christian ethics recognizes that the broken, twisted will can do nothing without rehabilitation by God's grace. Perhaps the centrality of grace is recognized best not in a pledge but in a prayer that names chastity as a gift and beseeches God for the grace to receive it.
Lauren F. Winner, "Saving Grace," N.Y. Times Op-Ed, May 19, 2006, p. A23 (on-line article for subscribers only; go to your library to get a copy from the print edition of the newspaper).
She's right: chastity without prayer is like trying to drive a car without gas. She also goes on to point out that families, churches, and all parts of the community must support the commitment to chastity:
Perhaps pledges for chastity need to be made not only by the individual teenager. Perhaps we also need pledges made by the teenager's whole Christian community: we pledge to support you in this difficult, countercultural choice; we pledge that the church is a place where you can lay bare your brokenness and sin, where you don't have to dissemble; we pledge to cheer you on when chastity seems unbearably difficult, and we pledge to speak God's forgiveness to you if you falter. No retooled pledge will guarantee teenagers' chastity, but words of grace and communal commitment are perhaps a firmer basis for sexual ethics than simple assertions that true love waits.
Catholics have an advantage here over many other Christians: we have clear, official teaching on chastity that remains unchanged. Some denominations really take no stand, and so kids start out with all the odds against them. What Catholics need is to have the teaching set forth from the pulpit: to get the teaching out of the Catechism and into the pews. Catholics also have the advantage of sacramental confession in private that can give direct human and divine support in this sensitive area. The op-ed writer sees AA's 12-step group approach as the way to go, a way that provides a forum for mutual support and encouragement through the ups and downs. She's right. Catholic teenagers and young adults should be able to be part of a group that takes an unequivocal stand for chastity as taught in the Catechism and eagerly supports the quest for virtue.
Young people are idealistic. They respond to challenges and inspiration. The problem lies that in the past too many bitter adults who have themselves rejected chastity either refused to pass on the teaching of chastity or actually, in some cases, merely taught the contraceptive mentality and instructed too many daughters to do as they wish as long as they avoided pregnancy. Too many siblings who themselves rejected chastity just looked the other way in indifference as younger siblings, especially girls, were systematically exploited, many times by older males. I say it again: idealistic youth responds to ideals. It's long past the time for parents and older siblings to present the chastity challenge and lend their unequivocal support to the quest for virtue. The quest will avoid a whole lot of untold personal disasters, some of whose serious emotional and even physical effects can be life-long.
Friday, May 19, 2006Vatican Disciplines Legionaries Founder
The founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel, has been disciplined by the Vatican after a lengthy investigation of accusations that he sexually molested seminarians years ago. Here is the Associated Press link. The accusers included adults who are now solid professionals in Mexico and Europe. I always found the allegations quite disturbing because the accusers where men with great credibility. Why would educated, professional men later in life start confessing that they were the victims of homosexual abuse? Especially in Hispanic culture (many, if not all, the accusers were of Hispanic background), being the victim of homosexual abuse is utterly humiliating. The accusers are credible.
And the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI has agreed that the accusers are credible. The demonic poison of homosexual abuse is being rooted out. Even someone as prominent and powerful as Maciel could not avoid justice. Benedict is cleaning house. The temple is being purified of what Benedict has called "filth." May the house-cleaning continue until the fear of God is instilled in all of the practitioners of clerical perversion, wherever they may be in the Church.
Thursday, May 18, 2006"Earthly Contemplation" & the Poets
To return again to one of my favorites, Josef Pieper, I give you his take on what he calls "earthly contemplation." Anyone who has ever appreciated a poem of depth will know what he means. After commenting on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, S. J. (1844-1889), Pieper observes:
Perhaps the reverence for the concrete is actually stimulated by that contemplative impulse which seeks to penetrate the divine ground and meaning of all creatures and things. The aging Chesterton, reflecting on his past life, said that he had always felt an almost mystical conviction of the miracle in all that exists and of the rapture essentially inherent in all experience. This bold declaration implies several things: Every object shelters and conceals in its depths a sign of its divine origin. He who beholds it sees that this and all things else are good beyond all comprehension. He sees it and is happy.
Josef Pieper, Josef Pieper: An Anthology (Ignatius Press, 1989) p. 148.
That penetration into the sacramental nature of reality is a fruit of the knowledge and wisdom given by the Holy Spirit. Hopkins's muse was the Holy Spirit. Marxists speak about the "false consciousness" of many. The problem is that the Marxist seeks to replace one type of false consciousness with another that is quite often worse than the original. For "Marxist," you can fill in anyone else beholden to a merely man-made ideology, whether its materialism or hyperenvironmentalism or hedonism.The Christian also makes the radical critique of false consciousness. The examples in our own society are legion. I write about them almost daily on this blog. But the Christian seeks to replace the false consciousness with reality, the reality made known for us weak and limited humans by divine revelation.
We see the signs of divine origin in objects. That's what the notion of intelligent design is all about: the irrational ideology (as opposed to the much more narrow and restrained science) of evolution goes wrong in excluding the reality of intelligent design. The ideological overreach of certain evolutionists actually covers over the truth. But truth is, as the Greeks knew, an "uncovering" (aletheia) of reality.
In our own society, we cover over reality. A woman's body becomes merely a noncontroversial lust machine for her and others to use as they see fit in true libertarian fashion. Life becomes material possessions. Happiness becomes a deluded state lubricated by alcohol or other chemical substances. Or by ambition. Yet, the true poet, like the Christian, seeks reality and the truth that is in reality. That is the gift of the truly good poet, the true Christian, and the happy man or woman. Pieper speaks of the "divine ground and meaning of all creatures and things." His phrase sounds like a good definition of what Catholicism is all about.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006Why Christians Are Blessed
The Greek word for "blessed" in the New Testament is makarios, the word used in the famous Beatitudes found in Matthew and Luke. The Greek word can also be translated as "happy." That is why the title for this post could have also been, and maybe should have been in light of so many false stereotypes: "Why Christians are Happy." We are not only happy; we are optimistic. Now, it is not, as others have rightly said, the unreliable optimism of the world that trusts in itself and its own worldly wisdom. But that difference does not mean that the Christian outlook is not optimistic. The Christian bears the true and reliable optimism.
I cannot refrain from again recommending with exuberance Josef Pieper's anthology published by Ignatius Press (Josef Pieper: An Anthology). Here is the excerpt that set me to focusing on the blessed happiness of Christians:
The ancients--who are for me the great Greeks Plato and Aristotle but also the famous teachers of Western Christianity--did not hold that goodness is difficult by nature and therefore will always and necessarily be so. They were well aware of the fact that the highest forms of applied goodness are indeed always effortless because they essentially flow from love. In this same way the highest forms of perception--the sudden flash of ingenious insight or true contemplation--do not really require mental labor but come without effort because they are by nature gifts. "Gifts"--this may well be the key concept. If we consider the strange propensity toward hardship that is engraved into the face of our contemporaries as a distinct expectation of suffering (a more typical trait, I believe, than the oft-deplored craving for pleasure)--if we consider this, then to our surprise we may face the question: Could perhaps the deepest reason be the people's refusal to accept a gift, no matter where it comes from?
Josef Pieper, pp. 138-39 (written in 1963).
Notice that Pieper includes the great ancient Greeks Plato and Aristotle in his portrayal of the good as not being difficult by nature. This inclusion should not shock anyone. The early Church Fathers saw the seeds of God's revelation in Christ in the best of virtuous pagan wisdom, as we see today the seeds of God's revelation in Christ unnamed and unrecognized but still there in other religions and even in the best products of secular culture. What these virtuous and wise pagans then and now intuit is that indeed our best insights of wisdom and experience of the good are gifts from somewhere else. Remember how in the book of Acts, Paul preached to the Athenians by noting their altar to "an unknown god" (Acts 17:23). Even the most secular poet in today's culture most likely acknowledges inspiration of some sort by some unknown muse. If the fruit is good, that unknown muse is none other than the Holy Spirit.
And yes the "highest forms of applied good" are effortless because they are fueled by love. Every lover knows how easy it is to sacrifice extravagantly for the beloved. That is the Christian model: we see it on the Crucifix and we see it in our own lives when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Also, the "highest forms of perception" are gifts--just ask the pioneering scientist doing truly creative work or the inspired poet, writer, or singer of high quality. Again, that is the Christian model: we walk in the Holy Spirit and are led in the paths of truth by the Holy Spirit.
As Pieper also notes, in the hard, godless secular world of exclusive self-reliance we indeed behold "the strange propensity toward hardship that is engraved into the face of our contemporaries." Pieper says that this strange propensity toward hardship is based on the refusal to accept a gift. Pieper even points out that this propensity toward hardship and expectation of suffering in the secular world is more prevalent than the "craving for pleasure." Even in the hedonism around us, we can detect the reality of despair and fear. In many ways, the modern craving for pleasure is a response of desperate fear as we latch on to anything and anyone in the hope that, at least for a few moments, we can forget our despair. Listen to some forthright veterans of the sexual revolution, and you will find that this description is apt.
We refuse in so many ways, even as Christians, to accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even as Christians, many still prefer to take the hard way of the purely secular who do not even believe in the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not mean for us to take the hard way of willing ourselves by our own human power into goodness. He sent us his Spirit to make the impossible truly possible for us. It should not be a matter of constant, unending hardship and struggle, but rather of joy and inner peace to live as Jesus wants us to live. Certainly, self-discipline is required; but the Holy Spirit is also the source of the self-control needed in self-discipline. Many Christians are fearful to accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So, of course, it is no surprise that we see so many signs of hardship engraved on Christian faces.
The situation is even worse in many of our purely secular brethren. They toil and work for what they see as good, as the road to happiness, under constant strain for the transient and unfulfilling accolades of the world. They should see in our faces a different way: the Good News that the good is not by nature difficult, but is made easy by the Holy Spirit available to make all makarioi, happy and blessed.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006Bush Immigration Speech
Below is the text of last night's Bush immigration speech from the Oval Office--the first time Bush has made a domestic policy speech from the Oval Office. In the tradition of providing unfiltered access to presidential statements, below is the complete text from the White House website (whitehouse.org) with bold highlighting added by me:
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. I've asked for a few minutes of your time to discuss a matter of national importance -- the reform of America's immigration system.
The issue of immigration stirs intense emotions, and in recent weeks, Americans have seen those emotions on display. On the streets of major cities, crowds have rallied in support of those in our country illegally. At our southern border, others have organized to stop illegal immigrants from coming in. Across the country, Americans are trying to reconcile these contrasting images. And in Washington, the debate over immigration reform has reached a time of decision. Tonight, I will make it clear where I stand, and where I want to lead our country on this vital issue.
We must begin by recognizing the problems with our immigration system. For decades, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders. As a result, many who want to work in our economy have been able to sneak across our border, and millions have stayed.
Once here, illegal immigrants live in the shadows of our society. Many use forged documents to get jobs, and that makes it difficult for employers to verify that the workers they hire are legal. Illegal immigration puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, it strains state and local budgets, and brings crime to our communities. These are real problems. Yet we must remember that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives. They are a part of American life, but they are beyond the reach and protection of American law.
We're a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We're also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair. So I support comprehensive immigration reform that will accomplish five clear objectives.
First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.
I was a governor of a state that has a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. So I know how difficult it is to enforce the border, and how important it is. Since I became President, we've increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents. The men and women of our Border Patrol are doing a fine job in difficult circumstances, and over the past five years, they have apprehended and sent home about six million people entering America illegally.
Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. Tonight I'm calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border. By the end of 2008, we'll increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000. When these new agents are deployed, we'll have more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol during my presidency.
At the same time, we're launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We'll employ motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world, and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border.
Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most advanced technology to the border will take time. Yet the need to secure our border is urgent. So I'm announcing several immediate steps to strengthen border enforcement during this period of transition:
One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. So, in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads, and providing training. Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities -- that duty will be done by the Border Patrol. This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online. It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, to respond to natural disasters, and to help secure our border.
The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is our neighbor, and our friend. We will continue to work cooperatively to improve security on both sides of the border, to confront common problems like drug trafficking and crime, and to reduce illegal immigration.
Another way to help during this period of transition is through state and local law enforcement in our border communities. So we'll increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol on targeted enforcement missions. We will give state and local authorities the specialized training they need to help federal officers apprehend and detain illegal immigrants. State and local law enforcement officials are an important part of our border security and they need to be a part of our strategy to secure our borders.
The steps I've outlined will improve our ability to catch people entering our country illegally. At the same time, we must ensure that every illegal immigrant we catch crossing our southern border is returned home. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch crossing the southern border are Mexicans, and most are sent back home within 24 hours. But when we catch illegal immigrants from other country [sic] it is not as easy to send them home. For many years, the government did not have enough space in our detention facilities to hold them while the legal process unfolded. So most were released back into our society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrived, the vast majority did not show up. This practice, called "catch and release," is unacceptable, and we will end it.
We're taking several important steps to meet this goal. We've expanded the number of beds in our detention facilities, and we will continue to add more. We've expedited the legal process to cut the average deportation time. And we're making it clear to foreign governments that they must accept back their citizens who violate our immigration laws. As a result of these actions, we've ended "catch and release" for illegal immigrants from some countries. And I will ask Congress for additional funding and legal authority, so we can end "catch and release" at the southern border once and for all. When people know that they'll be caught and sent home if they enter our country illegally, they will be less likely to try to sneak in.
Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across.
Therefore, I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal background checks. And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.
A temporary worker program would meet the needs of our economy, and it would give honest immigrants a way to provide for their families while respecting the law. A temporary worker program would reduce the appeal of human smugglers, and make it less likely that people would risk their lives to cross the border. It would ease the financial burden on state and local governments, by replacing illegal workers with lawful taxpayers. And above all, a temporary worker program would add to our security by making certain we know who is in our country and why they are here.
Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility. A key part of that system should be a new identification card for every legal foreign worker. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof. A tamper-proof card would help us enforce the law, and leave employers with no excuse for violating it. And by making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work in our country, we would discourage people from crossing the border illegally in the first place.
Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully, and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration.
Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant, and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree. It is neither wise, nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border. There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation. That middle ground recognizes there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently, and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record.
I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, to pay their taxes, to learn English, and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship, but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. What I've just described is not amnesty, it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen.
Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples. The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery, from cleaning offices to running offices, from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams, they renew our spirit, and they add to the unity of America.
Tonight, I want to speak directly to members of the House and the Senate: An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together, or none of them will be solved at all. The House has passed an immigration bill. The Senate should act by the end of this month so we can work out the differences between the two bills, and Congress can pass a comprehensive bill for me to sign into law.
America needs to conduct this debate on immigration in a reasoned and respectful tone. Feelings run deep on this issue, and as we work it out, all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone's fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain. We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.
I know many of you listening tonight have a parent or a grandparent who came here from another country with dreams of a better life. You know what freedom meant to them, and you know that America is a more hopeful country because of their hard work and sacrifice. As President, I've had the opportunity to meet people of many backgrounds, and hear what America means to them. On a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Laura and I met a wounded Marine named Guadalupe Denogean. Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean came to the United States from Mexico when he was a boy. He spent his summers picking crops with his family, and then he volunteered for the United States Marine Corps as soon as he was able. During the liberation of Iraq, Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean was seriously injured. And when asked if he had any requests, he made two: a promotion for the corporal who helped rescue him, and the chance to become an American citizen. And when this brave Marine raised his right hand, and swore an oath to become a citizen of the country he had defended for more than 26 years, I was honored to stand at his side.
We will always be proud to welcome people like Guadalupe Denogean as fellow Americans. Our new immigrants are just what they've always been -- people willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom. And America remains what she has always been: the great hope on the horizon, an open door to the future, a blessed and promised land. We honor the heritage of all who come here, no matter where they come from, because we trust in our country's genius for making us all Americans -- one nation under God.
Thank you, and good night.
Monday, May 15, 2006Rejoicing Over the Da Vinci Code
Here's the timely Scripture text:
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12 (RSV).
All Christians are called to be prophets-- and some respond generously to that call. All such Christians have had occasion to remember this passage from Matthew when they are falsely accused of being wrong or even of being "mad" by those who reject a prophetic, challenging message that upsets certain comfort zones. Today, as the false Da Vinci Code book and its movie consort take center stage, it is also time to rejoice in the face of slanderous persecution against the faith as a whole.
Let me give two small examples. I met someone, a college student, reading the paperback Da Vinci Code. The student was Catholic, but had no idea that Opus Dei (Latin for "Work of God") was a real, legitimate Catholic apostolate. I made it clear that Opus Dei was real, that it was good, not villainous, and that she could verify it for herself by going to www.opusdei.org. Recently, I also gave a friend a copy of the also recent Time magazine cover story on Opus Dei, which was, in my opinion, a very good portrayal of Opus Dei. I am sure that this Catholic friend also had likely never heard of Opus Dei before reading the magazine. Because of all of the hoopla over the Da Vinci Code, two more Catholics have been introduced to the great work and orthodox teaching that comes from Opus Dei whose founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá, was canonized not too long ago by John Paul the Great.
So, indeed, I rejoice that the persecutors have made it possible to spread the truth about the existence and value of Opus Dei in the Catholic Church. In addition, the whole spectacle of modern, supposedly educated, sophisticated people swallowing the blatant lies of the Da Vinci Code is a reminder of how easily false heretical myths have gotten propagated throughout history. The Da Vinci Code follows the classic Gnostic pattern: take parts of the canonical Gospel story--most prominently here the friendship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene--and fantastically falsify them as an alternative false gospel that caters to the fantasies of fallen human nature. That's the way Gnostic myths and heresies worked in the early Church and beyond. From all indications, the supposedly modern American is not that much more sophisticated than the gullible ancient pagan who swallowed the Gnostic heresies as if they were true. Humility toward our ancient ancestors is due.
So talk about Opus Dei. Give out the new, revamped Opus Dei web address (opusdei.org). With the internet, we moderns have at least this advantage over our equally or less gullible ancient ancestors: the moderns can go conveniently to a trustworthy source that debunks the Gnostic lies. Point out that Christians have faced all of this concerted attack and persecution before, centuries ago, when false gospels were being propagated. Just look at the recent false claims made about the significance of the so-called "Gospel of Judas" recently peddled by the National Geographic Society with the assistance of at least one extremely irresponsible and misleading academic specialist. The false gospel of Judas, like the Da Vinci Code, is a late parody of the genuine, canonical Gospels. Neither the false gospel of Judas nor the Da Vinci Code offers an alternative, historical conduit to the real, historical events of Jesus' life. Only the four canonical Gospels in our New Testaments do that.
The end result of all of this is that Christians should gain a renewed appreciation for the precious gift of the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They give us the real history about the greatest story ever told. Catholics especially should gain a renewed appreciation for the renewal brought to the Church by St. Josemaría Escrivá's founding of Opus Dei whose apostolate is centered on aiding lay Catholics in living the Gospel in their daily professional and family lives. So, rejoice! You have just been handed a golden opportunity to respond to your prophetic call as a Christian by easily pointing out the truth to those whose attention has now been focused on issues of faith by our enemies. Our enemies will never learn that you cannot beat Christianity precisely because it is from God who is perfect Truth.