On October 11, 2012 Catholics began The Year of Faith with an emphasis on the “New Evangelization.” This was also the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council (a.k.a. “Vatican II”), which was primarily an effort to facilitate greater involvement of the laity in the life of the Church.
The mission of the Church is not only to bring men the message and the grace of Christ but also to permeate and improve the whole range of the temporal. The laity, carrying out this mission of the Church, exercise their apostolate therefore in the world as well as in the Church, in the temporal order as well as the spiritual. These orders are distinct; they are nevertheless so closely linked that God’s plan is, in Christ, to take the whole world up again and make it a new creation, in an initial way here on earth, in full realization at the end of time. The layman, at one and the same time a believer and a citizen of the world, has only a single conscience, a Christian conscience; it is by that he must be guided continually in both domains. (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, 772)
A Pope’s Prophecy Fulfilled
About the same time as the Second Vatican Council, there was a general rebellion by many against any recognized authority; civil and religious. This coincided with the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. It was at that time when Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) and predicted that if society would accept artificial birth control as a desirable way to eliminate pregnancy, there would be severe consequences. He said artificial birth control seeks to eliminate the possibility of procreation from sexual union; reducing it to an experience of pleasure only. He said the result would be an increase in abortions, divorce, and rape, violence against women, pornography and homosexuality. His predictions have come true.
First of all, adultery and fornication became acceptable and then unfaithfulness in marriage, which has led to a high divorce rate. And presently, there is an all-out effort by many in the entertainment industry, media, educational system and politicians to accept homosexuality as a legitimate alternative lifestyle.
The family has been decimated. In this country, more than half of marriages end in divorce and only one-third of children will live with both biological parents. Even children who live with both parents often have little quality time with them because both parents work. Psychologists tell us that if children do not bond with their parents in their formative years, they will likely develop psychological problems, some very serious. Children need to bond with both their mother and their father. The number-one reason why young girls find themselves in troubling situations is because they never bonded with their father. God has a great plan for families, but He must be part of the plan. When a husband and wife pray together, pray with their children and spend quality time with them, the children have a much better chance of doing well in school and in life.
Are We Free, or Enslaved?
More than two hundred years ago Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Because of the moral decline in this country we find that the government is becoming our “master” and our religious freedoms are being taken away. Many who call themselves Christian do not recognize the danger of the direction in which we are headed.
This is why we need a “New Evangelization.” To be evangelized is to become a new creation in Christ so that we can “…know, love and serve God in this life and be happy with Him for all eternity.” It is in a faithful relationship with God that we reach our potential for happiness in this life and for all eternity. When we are evangelized, we will have a desire to form a truly Christian conscience that will be our guide in all matters—secular and spiritual. Only then will we be able to fulfill our task of “making this world a new creation.”
The promises that Jesus gives us in Holy Scripture are true, but we, for our part, must undergo conversion and surrender our lives to Christ. It is in the plan of God that every person goes through this process, so that we can live in His love and mercy.