The last 500 years have seen a steady decline in Catholic culture and the public influence of the Church. Rabbi Yeshua instituted one Church, and prayed “that they may be one, even as we are one” Jn 17:11. “We” referred to the Father and Rabbi Yeshua, who declared, “I and the Father are one” Jn 10:30. Behold the oneness of the Holy Trinity!
We Are One
Rabbi Yeshua expanded on “we are one,” praying “that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” Jn 17:21. Here Rabbi Yeshua spoke of the oneness within the Holy Trinity.
But, we ask, “Rabbi Yeshua, why do you so ardently desire this oneness between God and man?” And he answers plainly, “So that the world may know” Jn 17:23. That takes us straight to Holy Mother Church ‘s primary mission.
The First 1,500 Years
During the first 1,500 years the world did know. Western civilization was Catholic. But then Protestant Christianity began to emerge. Rabbi Yeshua had warned us, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand” Mt 12:25. Soon Protestant Christianity began to call the age when the Catholic Church was the “light of the world” Mt 5:14 the “dark ages” and the slow fracture of western civilization “the enlightenment,” the exact reverse of the truth.
The Slow Falling Away
The falling away from the Faith began to accelerate after Pope Leo XIII ‘s vision of October 13, 1884. It accelerated faster after our Lady‘s Fátima apparitions of 1917. When the United States Supreme Court in 1947 declared a separation of church and state, Satan saw his opportunity. He transmogrified liberalism from centralizing governing power into a secular religion, making liberalism the only religion with access to state power.
Vatican II’s Response
Vatican II responded to the reality that, literally for the first time in human history, we have a secular culture: a way of life that actively seeks to exclude God. The Council’s response was a New Evangelization that concentrates on fallen-away Catholics and looks to the lay faithful for its fulfillment.
The situation is so serious that every Catholic, whatever his primary mission, should therefore have some part in the new evangelization. The same is true of pro-life, which is why Second Exodus has new evangelization and pro-life pages.
Preparing for the New Evangelization
All Real Living is Meeting
Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher of the early twentieth century, wrote:
“The primary word I-Thou can be spoken only with the whole being. Concentration and fusion into the whole being can never take place through my agency, nor can it ever take place without me. I become through, my relation to the Thou; as I become I, I say Thou. All real living is meeting” (Kindle Locations 278-281).
§ 50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
§ 104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, but as what it really is, the word of God. In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.
§ 683 No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” This knowledge of faith is possible only in the Holy Spirit: to be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit. He comes to meet us and kindles faith in us. By virtue of our Baptism, the first sacrament of the faith, the Holy Spirit in the Church communicates to us, intimately and personally, the life that originates in the Father and is offered to us in the Son.
§ 697 Cloud and light. These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory – with Moses on Mount Sinai, at the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the desert, and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and “overshadows” her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the “cloud came and overshadowed” Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and “a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'” Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.
§ 997 What is “rising”? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection.
§ 1380 The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.
Novo Millennio Ineunte
- § 40 (2) Those who have come into genuine contact with Christ cannot keep him for themselves, they must proclaim him. A new apostolic outreach is needed, which will be lived as the everyday commitment of Christian communities and groups. This should be done however with the respect due to the different paths of different people and with sensitivity to the diversity of cultures in which the Christian message must be planted, in such a way that the particular values of each people will not be rejected but purified and brought to their fullness.
St. John Paul II added,
- § 40 (3) In the Third Millennium, Christianity will have to respond ever more effectively to this need for inculturation. Christianity, while remaining completely true to itself, with unswerving fidelity to the proclamation of the Gospel and the tradition of the Church, will also reflect the different faces of the cultures and peoples in which it is received and takes root. In this Jubilee Year, we have rejoiced in a special way in the beauty of the Church’s varied face. This is perhaps only a beginning, a barely sketched image of the future which the Spirit of God is preparing for us.
St. John Paul II further added,
- § 58 Let us go forward in hope! A new millennium is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work. Did we not celebrate the Jubilee Year in order to refresh our contact with this living source of our hope? Now, the Christ whom we have contemplated and loved bids us to set out once more on our journey: “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” (Mt 28:19). The missionary mandate accompanies us into the Third Millennium and urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope “which does not disappoint (Rom 5:5).
NCR reports that back in 2010 Pope Benedict XVI said on Vatican Radio: “Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to qualify ourselves by living in the digital world with a believer’s heart, helping to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication.”
- The Internet causes billions of images to appear on millions of computer monitors around the planet. From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? For it is only when his face is seen and his voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption. This is the purpose of evangelization. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man.
- Dear Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and Roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately.
An Excellent Evangelization Approach
Visiting the Great Web Sites
Perhaps the leading Catholic evangelist for the new media today is Brandon Vogt. His book, The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet, is widely believed to be the most insightful around. Bishop Robert Barron authored his first chapter: “The Virtual Areopagus: Digital Dialogue With the Unchurched.” Bishop Barron writes on page 27:
- For the past 15 years, I’ve been engaged in the work of evangelizing the culture. I’ve written 10 books of theology and spirituality; I’ve taught courses in philosophy and systematic theology at Mundelein Seminary, one of the largest seminaries in the United States; I’ve broadcast and podcasted over 500 sermons; I’ve lectured business and civic leaders; and I’ve published dozens of articles in learned and popular journals. But I believe that the most effective work I’ve done in this arena is through the Internet.
For many of us, the best way to prepare for the New Evangelization is by visiting some of its best web sites.
Or we can read some of the top 50 Catholic blogs.
How then do we make a blog or a web site? And what’s the difference between them?
A blog (web log) is a daily log of our thinking that can be read on the web. Think of it as a daily newspaper. We read the newspaper as a whole, but it can have several columnists each of whom contribute an article several days each week. Both the “newspaper” and the “columns” are called blogs. Consider Bishop Barron’s blog. It’s a “newspaper,” a collection of personal blogs united by the overall subject matter of daily Catholic life. Uniting several daily or weekly blogs under one roof attracts more visitors who know that at least some will interest them. Some blog sites have a great many personal blogs, others have only one.
Second Exodus, by contrast, is a web site. Since the Catholic faith is Rabbi Yeshua‘s teaching “once for all delivered to the saints” Jude 3, it is very stable. We all teach the same two-thousand year old story, a story so rich it will last for eternity. In fact, Holy Mother Church has recited the same Nicene Creed during Mass for the past 1,600 years! So a Catholic web site can be rock steady, changing its pages only as needed.
Second Exodus believes that, for the New Evangelization, WordPress is the platform to use for these reasons:
- The same WordPress software can produce both blogs and web sites. If we’ve been using it for blogging and we decide we want to build a web site, we use the same software that we’re already familiar with.
- By getting into the WordPress family anywhere, it’s easy to migrate to anywhere else within the WordPress family. Most important, the blog or web site content is saved and does not have to be rewritten.
- WordPress software can be used as WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
WordPress.com is a fully managed package in which all the technical work is done by WordPress engineers. It’s a highly flexible package but, to maintain very high reliability, users are limited to the package as it is. WordPress engineers are very familiar with the entire WordPress.com package and are happy to help users with it. Learn WordPress.com.
WordPress.org is the same software managed by the user, for users who prefer particular themes and plugins that WordPress.com doesn’t offer. Many WordPress.org users also prefer the wider freedom for commercial advertising that it allows.
It’s not necessary to use WordPress to put up a blog or web site. There are many other authoring packages. Look at Top Ten Reviews. The top one may be the best for you personally, but I say look carefully at the top three or four, visit their web sites, and see whether any of them particularly attract you. We don’t all marry the same girl, and we don’t marry the same web authoring package. We marry the one that’s right for us, and in both cases that takes some research!