Posted by: Thomas Richard | February 23, 2013

Watching America Die Before Our Eyes

Is this a nightmare?  If I’m awake, what country and planet am I on?  It seems that here (wherever this is) adults believe that children and teens can decide whichever sexual identity they want.  Teenage boys can decide they are girls and thus free to use the girls locker room and bathrooms – etc.  Such is the “wisdom” of The Massachusetts Department of Education.

BOSTON (AP, 2/15/2013)  The Massachusetts Department of Education on Friday issued directives for handling transgender students, including allowing them to use the bathrooms or play on the sports teams that correspond to the gender with which they identify.

The guidance was issued at the request of state board of education to help schools follow the state’s 2011 anti-discrimination law protecting transgender people.


The document said whether a student identifies as a boy or girl is up to the student or, in the case of younger students, the parents.

In all cases, ‘‘the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity,’’ it said.

The guidance said some students may feel uncomfortable sharing those facilities with a transgender student but this ‘‘discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.’’ It urges administrators to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis, and recommends sufficient sex-neutral restrooms and changing areas.

The guidance also addresses what to do if other students consistently and intentionally refuse to refer to a transgendered student by the name or sex they identify as: ‘‘It should not be tolerated and can be grounds for student discipline.’’


Scott said disciplining students who won’t acknowledge a student’s gender identity is appropriate because it amounts to bullying. He said the directives simply aim to create a safe learning place for a group that’s statistically far more likely to be harassed.

‘‘The reality is that it’s about creating an inclusive environment for all students to learn,’’ he said.

“The reality is,” this is NOT REALITY!  The human body – designed and given by God – determines one’s sexual identity.  This culture is redefining insanity and calling it “normal.”  The Catechism gives the Catholic understanding of this incredibly simple issue:

2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.

2393 By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.

Church, wake up!  This culture is drunk while driving, and our Church is sleeping in the backseat.  The Church has an identity given by God – and we are called to more than parish suppers and pious platitudes.  “The Church exists to evangelize,” as the Church affirms again and again.  Jesus sent the Church to “make disciples.”  Will we become what we exist to be, will we do what He made us to do – will we become the voice and the witness of truth and life in this dark culture of death?  When?  The example above of cultural insanity is merely one in a cascade of edicts, laws and policies meant to overturn all common sense in favor of this very dangerous progressive ideology.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote recently and again our call to evangelization:

There is no action more beneficial – and therefore more charitable – towards one’s neighbor than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelization is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person. As the Servant of God Pope Paul VI wrote in the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, the proclamation of Christ is the first and principal contributor to development (cf. n. 16). It is the primordial truth of the love of God for us, lived and proclaimed, that opens our lives to receive this love and makes possible the integral development of humanity and of every man.

Essentially, everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love. God’s gratuitous love is made known to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. If we welcome it with faith, we receive the first and indispensable contact with the Divine, capable of making us “fall in love with Love”, and then we dwell within this Love, we grow in it and we joyfully communicate it to others.

Author George Weigel in a recent presentation(1) said this:

The Church of simple devotional piety will not withstand a Christophobic society. It takes a new way of being Catholic.  Institutional maintenance doesn’t cut it anymore.  The Church must understand herself as a platform of missionary culture.  Everyone is baptized into a missionary culture.

Weigel challenged the audience, The Miscellany reported, “to learn all they can about their Catholic faith and to show the courage to be Catholic in the public square.”

We need a deep and authentic renewal in the Church – a return to faith, living faith, dynamic and courageous faith in the holy Truth of God.  Our culture is bent on defining their own truth – convenient truths, accommodating truths, inclusive truths, immoral and untrue “truths.”  The Church must know, believe, live and proclaim the one saving Truth we have been entrusted with by our Lord.  Catholics – be the man or the woman God created and intended you to be!  Pray, ask God what He would have you stop doing, and reject it for the sake of God.  Pray, ask God what He would have you do, and do it with a full and trusting heart.

1.  The Catholic Miscellany, 2/21/2013, p. 15


  1. Dear Thomas,

    How truly you have expressed the present “insanity” which is accepted by too many as the “new normal”!

    Let us pray ever more fervently and work ever more diligently to “function properly” as unique members of the Body of Christ (cf Ephesians 4:15-16). As our popes have urged, may we, by God’s Grace, bring Jesus to a world so very much in need of Him.

  2. Thomas,
    You certainly hit the nail on the head. With all the threats about shut-downs and acceptance of same sex marriage by our government and a seemingly solid lapse in guidance from the Church, I wonder why the Church is quick to issue requests for financial aid but nothing much about social behavior?

    • I am sorry to say that I cannot answer “why the Church is quick to issue requests for financial aid but nothing much about social behavior?” I do know that the parish priests – the most usual sources of our homilies, have this responsibility from Canon Law:

      Can. 528 §1 The parish priest has the obligation of ensuring that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety to those living in the parish. He is therefore to see to it that the lay members of Christ’s faithful are instructed in the truths of faith, especially by means of the homily on Sundays and holydays of obligation and by catechetical formation. He is to foster works which promote the spirit of the Gospel, including its relevance to social justice. He is to have a special care for the catholic education of children and young people. With the collaboration of the faithful, he is to make every effort to bring the gospel message to those also who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith.

      I am sad to say that the “truths of the faith” are seldom proclaimed adequately and forcefully, especially when they are most needed: when they conflict with the fashionable and immoral trends in the secular culture.

  3. “The Church of simple devotional piety will not withstand a Christophobic society. It takes a new way of being Catholic. Institutional maintenance doesn’t cut it anymore. The Church must understand herself as a platform of missionary culture. Everyone is baptized into a missionary culture.”

    Yes. It is undoubtedly a Christophobic Society, and everyone’s born into a missionary culture, but sadly, I find myself having to disagree with Weigel.

    The Catholic Church is ‘et-et’/both-and, not ‘aut-aut’/either-or, isn’t it? It requires the way the Tradition has always been Catholic – the ‘old’ way of being Catholic. If anything, a ressourcement, and I wonder whether that’s Pope Francis’ charism?

    It seems to me that wherever Catholics have the ‘aut-aut’ mentality – which came to a head in the Protestant Revolt – we do more harm than good. It ends up breeding a form of Catholic Fred Phelps. Dare I suggest Michael Voris? I have little disagreement with his analyses, but…

    It’s not a case of being ‘this’ kind of Church or ‘that’ kind of Church, is it? If so, we are Protestant, aren’t we? We are the Catholic Church. There is a real place for both the Cenobitic and the Evangelistic, even simple piety, isn’t there? But, more importantly, have we a right to assume that ‘simple piety’ isn’t ‘doing anything’, when it could be like pouring salt on slugs in the super-natural Spiritual Battle we are in? The demons could be screaming in Hell for the simple pious souls to stop what they’re doing.

    It seems to me that the real problem is that people today are unprepared to discover their vocation and live out that apostolate. There are those who use quietism as an excuse to avoid their vocation, and those who use Mission as self-promotion.

    Good and healthy Examen, Discernment, and Spiritual Direction, seems to be what is lacking in an environment where personal freedom trumps discipline and docility to the Word of God in Christ’s Church.

    I think it’s always tempting, especially in the modern age, to use social utility and the existential as criteria as to what’s doing, or likely to do, any ‘good’.

    I think it’s far too easy to be distracted by the agendas of ‘experts’, especially if they happen to agree with us. Self-deception is just too tempting…

    • Hello Paul, thank you for your comment/criticism of Mr. Weigel’s recent talk. I’m not troubled by his negative coloring of the term “simple devotional piety” as you were, nor do I see in it an “either-or” and protestant perspective – not at all. I personally have also and often criticized the Church membership for substituting a mere, outward, shallow, part-time and only-when-religiously-required “devotional piety” for the full, conscious and active participation in the life of Christ. Hearing of Weigel’s comment, I filled in all my modifiers as applying to his phrase – I trust that that was what he meant.

      Piety is, in fact a holy word having holy meaning. But precisely because many people pretend a piety – seem to show piety but not its fruit – the word itself can have a negative connotation. Another word having lost its real meaning because of hypocritical pretense at it, is the word “religious”. Among evangelicals, to be “religious” is a bad thing! Some of them instead insist, “No I’m not religious – I’m a Christian!” So also with “piety.” In common use, sometimes the exact opposite of the original meaning is meant. Note the third meaning of the word “piety” in the Bing Dictionary on-line:
      1) religious devotion: a strong respectful belief in a deity or deities and strict observance of religious principles in everyday life
      2) devout act: an action inspired by devout religious principles
      3) insincere attitude: a conventional or hypocritical statement or observance of a belief.

      So – this is a long way of saying that I agree with you in holding the beautiful and true meaning of piety, but I also agree with Weigel (believing that this was what he meant) that mere outward show on Sundays in not enough .

  4. Thanks for replying. Your books are great, BTW, as is this blog.

    I agree, if it’s put like that.

    • I’m happy to hear that you found some value in the blog, and in my books. Please “feel free” to suggest them to others, who might be helped in some way by them. By the way, how did you come to hear of them?

  5. Oh, I do! 🙂

    I came across you, rather than the blog, actually – when you wrote those superb articles over on HPR on Adult Formation – must be over a year ago now – which took me to Renew the Church Website through a Google search…where I found the books and this blog!

    I find myself particularly inspired by the ‘earthiness’ of what you and Sherry Wedell are writing about the New Evangelisation.

    That said, I haven’t been able to get a decent definition of Mystagogy, yet it seems to me that ‘Formation’ seems far more aligned to that, than ‘chalk and talk’ or ‘facts and figures’ catechesis (and apologetics?): the ‘usual’ approach which seems to reduce catechesis to an epistemological exercise rather than a metaphysical one. As if ‘Mystagogy’ is tagged on as an afterthought after Easter in RCIA rather than absolutely integral.

    That is, trying to persuade and convince, rather than lead into an encounter with Christ, which I think, in the long run with non-Catholics and the lapsed, might get them into the pews, but…

    What do you think? I’d really like your thoughts, if you’ve got time, please, as I’m no expert, but keen to learn!

    • The distinction between “formation” and “instruction” (for lack of a better word) that you write of here, strikes me as really important. Crucially, fundamentally important. Please let me think about this more, because maybe this ought to be the focus of a new blog entry. I was, just before checking the Blog this morning, praying over the 2nd reading for this Sunday’s Mass (PHIL 3:8-14) – and hearing something in it that is directly related to this same issue you’re addressing. So – two suggestions toward the same question – that gets my attention!

      Thank you.

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