I often catch the O’Reilly Factor on TV. The anchor, who refers often to his Catholic roots, is a protagonist of some style and grace, yet not without strong and unfettered opinion. There is much to ponder given the world scene and I appreciate the delivery of commentary that sometimes dances on the edge of the insightful and the caustic without too much self-indulgence. I find that here, more often than not.
One troubling thing O’Reilly has said more than once is that there is no strong voice in America speaking a unified message of faith and morals. He specifically notes the aging of Reverend Billy Graham without an heir-apparent; I think of the Venerable Servant of God,Archbishop Fulton Sheen. No one was able to hold a candle to him (pardon the pun) in his day—not even Milton Berle! Mother Angelica does not have a wide enough audience to inspire a nation. So what has happened and where is our voice?
Quite frankly, I am sadly beginning to think that Catholics do not believe there is “one” voice. Some have become quite comfortable with a “cafeteria” style of practice and belief that has muddied our mindset to a considerable degree in recognizing, hearing, and understanding the Truth about our Faith. The cafeteria approach, while being selective and subjective, is also arrogant and dismissive. The very “judgmental” attitude that many wish to avoid is easily displayed in choices made precisely by bad judgments. The loser is, more often than not, the Faith itself. Jesus taught clearly: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Equivocations about that could become disheartening, if not downright misleading.
So much in our secular society speaks differently to today’s Catholics. It’s almost as if there is a different language, different signs and symbols. Personal sacrifice and commitment find their expression in new ways relative only to those making up the definitions. Subjective realities dictate new moralities. Objective thinking, reliance on natural law, and morality founded on virtue is disputed, debated, and denied. I believe that everyone seems to be making it up as he or she goes along.
We must remember: the Holy Spirit still guides the Church. With that guidance the Church does not mislead or deceive the Faithful. The Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, is not an empty call to private piety, but rather an announcement of the presence of an old friend: Jesus Christ. He speaks in His Church with a relevance that is born of personal association, unique love and immense passion. He suffered, died, and rose again so that a clear message could be communicated across time with its personal relevance. It is staggering Good News that Jesus entrusted to His Church—His mission for Her to guard and teach: He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the voice for Catholics today!