Archive | February, 2014

Archbishop Naumann on “Religious Freedom Act”

28 Feb

archbishop NaumannLast week Archbishop Naumann wrote an excellent column for The Leaven on HB 2453, known as the “Religious Freedom Act.” While the proposed legislation has been misrepresented by the opposition, the law is limited to protecting conscience rights in the context of the celebration of marriage. The law would prevent business owners who are opposed to same-sex marriage on moral grounds from being legally coerced into participating in a same-sex “marriage” ceremony and/or reception.

Archbishop Naumann gives compelling reasons why in today’s climate such a law is even necessary. He also emphasizes that HB 2453 would be fairly applied to all citizens:

“The bill is written to protect everyone’s religious freedom, not just those who have moral objections to same-sex marriages. If a business objected to participating in a Catholic wedding, we do not believe our laws or courts should coerce them to do so. We do not believe the state should force anyone to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, unless it is absolutely necessary for the common good and there are no other viable options.”

In case you missed it, the Archbishop’s article appeared on p. 2 of the February 21, 2014 issue of The Leaven, which can be viewed here. For more information on HB 2453, check out this helpful Q and A at the Kansas Catholic Conference site.

Leaping to Action

12 Feb

frogs on log“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” –Matthew 28:19-20

Like St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Mass ends with a commissioning, as we’re to go forth and glorify the Lord by our lives. We are sent to bring the light of Christ to all the world. Deep down we know we’re not supposed to keep our faith to ourselves or under a bushel basket, but instead it is given to us so that in turn we can give it away.

Faith, without words, without actions, is dead (cf. Jas. 2:17). A faith that does not change us and does not lead to godly action is ineffectual–for ourselves and others. As Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia once said, it’s not an accident that the book of the Bible is called “Acts of the Apostles” and not “Pious Sentiments of the Apostles” or “Good Intentions of the Apostles.” Our faith impels us to act for, as recent popes have stressed, the Church by her nature is missionary.

Pope Francis has beautifully written that once we accept the faith, which draws us into God’s love and leads us to love Him in return, “brings forth in our lives and actions a primary and fundamental response: to desire, seek and protect the good of others” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 178).

I’ve used the following riddle with my children: Three frogs are sitting on a log. Two of them decide to jump into the water. How many are left on the log? The answer, of course, is three, because there’s a huge difference between deciding to jump and actually jumping. Good actions come from good intentions, but are not their necessary consequence. Sometimes my kids will very sincerely tell me they’ll clean their room or be attentive at Mass, but something is lost in the execution. At that point, I tell them to be “wet frogs,” and they finally begin to put their good intentions into action.

Jesus warns all His disciples, both through parables and explicit exhortations, that one doesn’t dabble in Christianity. If we’re truly with Him and His Church, we must jump off the log and bear witness to Him in word and action.