Formative professions in the course of normal work form the moral vision of a nation’s population.
Discerning the Profession
We begin by discerning the profession, or at least the broad direction, Rabbi Yeshua has prepared for us. Hans Urs von Balthasar has given us a book, The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2013) Its original German title was Der antirömishe Affekt, The Anti-Roman Feeling. John McDade summarized it in Von Balthasar and the Office of Peter in the Church.
Surely everyone has observed by now what Cardinal Ratzinger saw in 1997: “Certainly, at present Christianity is suffering an enormous loss of meaning, and the form in which the Church is present is also changing. The Christian society that has existed until now is very obviously crumbling.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997), p. 126. Second Exodus sees this phenomenon in the context of § 677 “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.”
Von Balthasar’s Introduction says, “The structure of ecclesiastical ministry can be made comprehensible only in terms of Christ’s salvific work on the Cross.” What does he mean? Von Balthasar describes several different ways of serving that have to work together. Rabbi Paul explained:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 1 Cor 12:14–18.
God has given us different ways of serving. No one is better or more important than the others. Rather, they fit together perfectly. Rabbi Yeshua subtly suggested them to us by the people he chose for his Church.
The Marian Way
The Marian way of service is the foundation for all the rest. It is this:
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever. Lk 1:46–55.
Rabbi Yeshua told Rabbi Yokhanan, “Behold your mother.” Mary, the gevira, crowned with twelve stars Rev 12:1, is Queen of the Church, so we speak of Holy Mother Church. The key to Catholic preparation for heaven is following the Blessed Virgin Mary, particularly her most important virtues, love and humility.
The Petrine Way
The Petrine way of service starts with the truth that the Catholic Church has one head: Rabbi Yeshua the good shepherd Jn 10:11. He commanded our first Holy Father “Feed my lambs … tend my sheep … feed my sheep” Jn 21:15–17. He never told Rabbi Kefa, “feed your sheep.” We are Rabbi Yeshua‘s sheep. Rabbi Kefa and his successors the popes are called “servant of the servants of God.” We the lay faithful serve Rabbi Yeshua in his priestly, prophetic, and kingly offices. By contrast, the hierarchy are § 876 “entirely dependent on Christ who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly slaves of Christ, in the image of him who freely took the form of a slave for us. Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the slaves of all.”
The Petrine way of service is about being a shepherd to Rabbi Yeshua‘s people. Every pope and bishop has a Petrine ministry. So does every father and every mother as they shepherd their sons and daughters on their journey to the Cross, preparing their souls for heaven by spiritually forming them in the image of Rabbi Yeshua and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Johannine Way
The Johannine way recalls that Rabbi Yokhanan rested his head on Rabbi Yeshua‘s bosom Jn 13:23 and listened to his heart. The Johannine way is mystical and contemplative. It emphasizes prayer and liturgy. Many parish priests have a primarily Johannine way. So do many in the Consecrated Life, prayer group leaders, and others who enter into mystery.
The Pauline Way
The Pauline way reflected Rabbi Paul, who was energetic, outgoing, a missionary world traveler. He was an evangelist, a thinker, a speaker. All who are teachers, preachers, evangelists, catechists, missionaries, and the like have a Pauline spirituality.
My Way and Yours
With God’s help, sought through prayer and reflection, each of us discerns to which of these spiritualities we are called. For anyone having difficulty discerning, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are often helpful. Once we sense God‘s guidance as to which place in the vineyard he calls us, we remain in that same spirituality for life, unless we can sense a call to change. For instance, a priest who becomes a bishop may well transition from a Johannine to a Petrine perspective.
Entry into any of the formative professions in our time to serve Rabbi Yeshua as his witness Acts 1:8 in the spiritual war is, in a sense, an exorcism of the possessed. A close priest-friend of Second Exodus served as the only exorcist in his diocese for more than a quarter-century. He taught me much about the weapons of war against the demonic and how Rabbi Yeshua’s power acting throughout the Church, the bishop, and the exorcist, can drive demons out of possessed persons.
True exorcisms of the possessed are done only by specially trained priests at the specific direction of their diocesan bishop. Apart from priests, none of the formative professions directly drive demons out of possessed persons. No one should ever try an exorcism of the possessed without the direct personal approval of his diocesan bishop! However, if the bishop allows, a conversation with an exorcist will highlight the reality of Satan and his demons, their constant seething rage, and their determination to attack God’s image and likeness and drag souls to hell.
However, every spiritual warrior will encounter demon-driven men and organizations along his path. Recognizing the demonic greatly helps us to be more effective. In the end, Rabbi Yeshua’s power will prevail. “Apart from me you can do nothing” Jn 15:5.
The priests most effective against Satan are manly men, men who boldly take up the Cross. Rabbi Yeshua told his shlikhim, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” Mt 16:24. This involves an emptying of self. Rabbi Yeshua “emptied himself” Phil 2:7. It takes radical transformation to give up so much of ourselves and instead “Put on the whole armor of God” Eph 6:11, “That you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:13. Rabbi Yeshua explained why we must. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” Mt 16:25.
Let’s unpack that. “For whoever would save his [earthly] life will lose [eternal life], and whoever loses his [earthly] life for my sake will find [eternal life]” Mt 16:25. If we empty ourselves of who we are and fill ourselves with The Old Rugged Cross 2:46 we will have the crown of eternal life we so greatly desire. But at the end of our lives if our song is, I did it my way 4:38 Rabbi Yeshua says we will lose our eternal life. (Thanks be to God for the Sacraments of Penance and Anointing. Frank Sinatra was a Catholic. We may hope that in the last moments a priest gave him sacramental absolution and anointed him.)
Does it look overwhelming? Rabbi Yeshua promised that if we ask he will help us Mt 7:7–8; Lk 11:9–10. Provided we do the same for him Rev 3:20. And if we cannot do great things, there is always St. Thérèse of Lisieux. “I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.”
§ 852 “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.”
Strictly speaking, martyr means “unto death.” Catholics who live as heroic witnesses for their faith are called living witnesses. However, here we will use the term as Rabbi Yeshua did. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it” Mt 10:39. Rabbi Yeshua assures us that being faithful to him will mean self-denial, suffering, and possibly death, but death and rebirth go together. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” Jn 12:24–25.
Say a young Catholic studies to become an engineer and builds strong bridges that last hundreds of years. It takes strong morals to build strong bridges. There is always the temptation to use substandard architecture or materials or labor that will not become evident for decades. A structurally sound bridge is a sermon in steel, but hardly anyone who drives across a bridge thinks in terms of moral strength.
Rabbi Yeshua also posed the converse: “He who finds his life will lose it.” If anyone lives an easy life as a lukewarm Catholic, he will have it easy in this life but, in the Particular Judgment, Rabbi Yeshua will spew such a person out of his mouth Rev 3:16.
To fight as Rabbi Yeshua’s soldiers in the spiritual war, we need to encourage young Catholics to enter the formative professions. In many cases, they will do so as martyrs. Some will be sidetracked into dead ends as soon as their Catholic faith is discovered. Others will conceal their Catholic faith until they have obtained tenure or other positions of power and then slowly emerge as voices of truth.
Malvina Reynolds wrote a song, “God Bless the Grass” 1:59 Our entry into the formative professions will be like the humble grass that grows between the cracks in a proud establishment’s concrete sidewalks, where grass is not supposed to grow. The martyrs will be humbled in their professions, but Rabbi Yeshua works through the humble.
Christus laborabit. “Be there. Christ will do the work.”
The Formative Professions
The Sacrament of Holy Orders
Most Jews assume that a rabbi or minister is the Jewish or Protestant counterpart of the Catholic priest. No. Catholic priests are sacrificers! The Jewish counterpart of the Catholic priest is the ancient Aaronic Jewish priest, who performed the Temple sacrifices until AD 70. Rabbis and Protestant ministers are teachers, proclaimers of the Word of God for their faith communities. Catholic Deacons too are the Church’s teachers and proclaimers of the Word of God.
The highest and best career decision that a young man can make is to be a priest. Whether he becomes a diocesan or a religious priest is in God’s hands, but we urgently need to offer God good men for him to make priests. Priests distribute Catholic teaching in its most pure and complete form. The amount of grace and teaching that a priest distributes in the population over his lifetime is literally incalculable.
A Warrior’s Heart
Above all, the spiritual war calls for a warrior’s heart. Marines wage military war while Catholics wage spiritual war. The two are as different as earth and heaven, but in at least one way they’re alike. Steve Barnes tells us, “The Marine Corps only has two basic missions: to make Marines and to locate, close with and destroy the enemy.” The Catholic Church for its sphere forms great Catholics and leads us to destroy Satan’s power.
Rabbi Yeshua, commander of the Catholic Church, particularly for us, in our division the Church Militant, has a cadre of priests. The best are manly men with warrior’s hearts. Yet he has appointed over them as his second-in-command in the spiritual war a woman, the New Eve. She dresses us in the armor of God.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having fastened the belt of truth around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God Eph 6:11–17.
And, having dressed us in the armor of God, she teaches us to fight like sheep. “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” Eph 6:18. If we fight like tigers we will be on our own. Satan’s power is much greater than ours, and we would lose to him.
Fighting like sheep brings us under the power of Rabbi Yeshua the Good Shepherd Jn 10:11, whose power is far above Satan’s. A sheep that wanders into a fighting situation immediately runs to its shepherd for safety.
We have seen what a good shepherd can do. “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” 1 Sam 17:45. “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; there was no sword in the hand of David” 1 Sam 17:50.
The Masculine Virtues
Father Donald Calloway, in Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest, has much to say about a warrior priesthood. He says of the priest as head of his parish:
Priests are soldiers, knights, and warriors. They share in the manly mission of Jesus Christ the bridegroom. Jesus is the bridegroom of the Church. Souls are spiritually espoused to him, and those souls are under attack. The role of a priest of Jesus Christ is to man-up. In the proverbial sense, it means to take up the weapons of war, put on armor, and go face-to-face with the enemy. Jesus will provide for all that the priest needs to fulfill his mission: the weapons, the armor, and the unconquerable battle Queen. Jesus himself is the warrior-King, and he knows what is needed to conquer the enemy. p. 160.
And where do we learn the ultimate model for what it means to be a man? Jesus Christ. He is the God-man who by taking on flesh and human nature, specifically manhood, placed himself under the laws of human development and anthropology. This means that he had certain human and masculine needs that needed to be met. He made the rules of human nature, and when he became man, he abided by them. Therefore, from him, the perfect man, we learn the true meaning of what it is to be masculine. p. 276.
The desert is a dangerous and wild place, and Jesus could get hurt there. But it was his Father who led him there, and the Son trusts his Father. As God, Jesus could have used his strength in the desert to turn stones into bread, but he did not use it that way because his strength was meant to serve others, not himself. He is all powerful (manly), but his power (virtue and strength) is at the service of others. p. 277.
And Father Calloway spoke of the father as head of his family:
In almost all cultures previous to modern times, a father would initiate his son into manhood through some form of a ritual passage. Whether it was going on a hunt, a sea voyage, or a fishing trip, the father took his boy out of the home, away from mom and the girls. He brought the boy through a rite of passage so that both the boy and the public knew that he was now a man. p. 279, K. 3760.
Most young men who sense a call to the priesthood should spend a lot of time with a holy priest. Every holy priest will counsel young men on vocations and invite those who are serious to work with them and show them how a priest spends his days. If this song strikes joy in your heart, US Army Chorus Battle Hymn of the Republic 4:44 pray to Rabbi Yeshua for help. He’s looking for a few good men. See Father John A. Hardon, S.J. If you sense a call, try the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word or the Fathers of Mercy. Or start with your own parish priest. Tell them you’d like to talk to them about exploring a vocation to the priesthood.
§ 58 “The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: … the king-priest Melchizedek—a figure of Christ …”
§ 1333 “The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who ‘brought out bread and wine,’ a prefiguring of her own offering.”
§ 1350 “The presentation of the offerings at the altar takes up the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the Creator’s gifts into the hands of Christ who, in his sacrifice, brings to perfection all human attempts to offer sacrifices.”
§ 1544 “The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique high priest after the order of Melchizedek, holy, blameless, unstained. By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.”
An Indelible Character
The Lord has Sworn
“The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek’” Ps 110:4.
A Priest Forever
“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal” Jn 6:27.
§ 698 “The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. The Father has set his seal on Christ and also seals us in him. Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible “character” imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders imprints this indelible spiritual character on a man’s soul. § 1581-1584.
Catholic bishops, priests and deacons receive the indelible character forever, which means they remain bishops, priests and deacons in the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. We may speculate that those who go on to the Church Suffering continue to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as they did in earthly life. There would be no need for Confession in purgatory as the poor souls have lost the capacity to offend God and are absolutely certain to someday reach heaven. In heaven we may speculate that they would not have to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass since Rabbi Yeshua is already present. Since the saints in heaven are already as happy as they can be there would seem no need for spiritual counseling. We may be certain only that Rabbi Yeshua will have something for them far more magnificent than anything we can imagine.
Sign Up With a Winner
Within the Church’s mission, the most important question priests and deacons need to answer today is, “Who wants to sign on with a loser? Why would anyone want to join, or deacon, or celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a Church that is losing members, seeing fewer people come to Mass as compared with decades ago””
The same attrition is going on in the Jewish and Protestant congregations because the same demons are at work everywhere today. Moses would not recognize most of Judaism today. Rabbi Yeshua‘s shlikhim would not recognize most of Protestant life today. Rabbi Yokhanan‘s Gospel tells us, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” Jn 21:25, but Protestants confine themselves to sola Scriptura.
The Catholic Church has been Rabbi Yeshua’s real presence on earth for two thousand years. The Catholic Church alone has survived the centuries and still teaches today all that the shlikhim traveled the world to teach two thousand years ago. Every Sunday morning, Catholics recite the same Nicene Creed their ancestors recited 1,700 ago. Through the Sacred Tradition and the apostolic succession it connects directly to Rabbi Yeshua. The Catholic Church is real. It prepares us for heaven. The evidence warrants belief.
Come, join Rabbi Yeshua. “Put out into the deep” Lk 5:4. § 677 “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.” Soon after that we will see the Glory to Come.
The highest and best vocation for a man who not called as a priest or religious is as a permanent deacon.
Deacons are the bishop’s eyes and ears within the parish community. Deacons report directly to the bishop. Above all they do, and supervise the laity in, charitable work in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, with the homebound and homeless, and elsewhere in the community.
Within the parish setting, deacons take direction from the pastor. During Mass they proclaim the Gospel, give homilies, and help the priest distribute Holy Communion. They also serve as ordinary ministers for the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Matrimony and teach RCIA classes.
Permanent Deacons receive income from their outside employment or from pensions, and represent the Church at their workplace as needed.
A deacon who is married at the time of his ordination continues in his marriage. But if his wife should pass into eternity after his ordination, he is not allowed to re-marry. A deacon who is not married at the time of his ordination cannot marry.
The highest and best career decision a young woman can make is for consecrated life as a nun or sister in an order faithful to the Magisterium. Her teaching, her prayers, and her service are of incalculable value to the body of Christ. Sisters professing the evangelical counsels who go out into the world evangelize by the gift of their lives to Rabbi Yeshua, which others can see. Cloistered nuns evangelize through prayer.
Religious life is for men as well. Religious brothers work and pray as religious sisters do for the greater glory of God. We emphasize women here because the dioceses so urgently need priests. As we know, St. John Paul II in 1994 reaffirmed two thousand years of Catholic teaching that Rabbi Yeshua reserved priestly ordination to men alone in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis § 4 (Responsum). However, a young man who senses a call to the religious life can profit as well by this guidance for women.
On March 25, 1996, St. John Paul II issued his apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata, on the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and in the world. May I encourage all who are discerning a vocation in the consecrated life to reflect prayerfully on the Holy Father’s words. That will take some time, but we should allow time for a decision with not only lifelong but eternal consequences. If God does have a vocation for us, perhaps, as we read and reflect, he will speak to our heart.
Young women considering a vocation should also read Verbi Sponsa, on the contemplative life and the enclosure of nuns, published on May 13, 1999 by the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life.
Faithful to the Magisterium
A young woman considering a religious order and making perpetual vows needs to be sure that the order is faithful to the Magisterium. The Catholic Church has more than a thousand years of experience with religious communities. Many orders formed around the time of the thirteenth century continue serenely in existence, dependent on the Holy Spirit’s guidance through the Vicar of Christ, and will probably continue for many centuries to come. But even new orders faithful to the Magisterium will be stable because they will continue to draw sustenance from the Holy Spirit’s guidance through the Vicar of Christ.
Look for an order in which joyfully consecrated women act enthusiastically in the name of the Church. I particularly emphasize joyful consecration as the mark of a faithful order. Branches firmly attached to the tree of life, the Cross of Christ, will receive through his Vicar the constant spiritual nutrition that they need. Suffering in union with Christ’s suffering on the Cross can be a great trial, but even in suffering an underlying joy can shine through. “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master” Mt 25:23. “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Jn 16:24 “But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” Jn 17:13.
Sometimes, along the journey, we find religious communities in which most of the sisters are aging, in their 60s and 70s, wearing sparse habits if any at all, and getting few if any religious vocations. A young woman encountering such an order needs to remember that, if she is 25 and most of the sisters are past 70, in 20 years most of the community’s women will have passed into eternal life leaving an empty shell, with nobody left to support her and no commercial skills by which she could earn a living in secular life. When God is not pleased by a religious community he often allows it to age, wither, and disappear. By contrast, a young woman of 25 who looks at a young community with abundant vocations can anticipate that it is pleasing to God and that he will provide a continuing inflow of young vocations that will keep the community alive and vibrant.
The Catechism on Religious Life
Evangelical counsels, consecrated life
§ 915 Christ proposes the evangelical counsels, in their great variety, to every disciple. The perfection of charity, to which all the faithful are called, entails for those who freely follow the call to consecrated life the obligation of practicing chastity in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, poverty and obedience. It is the profession of these counsels, within a permanent state of life recognized by the Church, that characterizes the life consecrated to God.
§ 916 The religious state is thus one way of experiencing a more intimate consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God. In the consecrated life, Christ’s faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come.
One great tree, with many branches
§ 917 From the God-given seed of the counsels a wonderful and wide-spreading tree has grown up in the field of the Lord, branching out into various forms of the religious life lived in solitude or in community. Different religious families have come into existence in which spiritual resources are multiplied for the progress in holiness of their members and for the good of the entire Body of Christ.
§ 918 From the very beginning of the Church there were men and women who set out to follow Christ with greater liberty, and to imitate him more closely, by practicing the evangelical counsels. They led lives dedicated to God, each in his own way. Many of them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, became hermits or founded religious families. These the Church, by virtue of her authority, gladly accepted and approved.
§ 919 Bishops will always strive to discern new gifts of consecrated life granted to the Church by the Holy Spirit; the approval of new forms of consecrated life is reserved to the Apostolic See.
The eremitic life
§ 920 Without always professing the three evangelical counsels publicly, hermits devote their life to the praise of God and salvation of the world through a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous prayer and penance.
§ 921 They manifest to everyone the interior aspect of the mystery of the Church, that is, personal intimacy with Christ. Hidden from the eyes of men, the life of the hermit is a silent preaching of the Lord, to whom he has surrendered his life simply because he is everything to him. Here is a particular call to find in the desert, in the thick of spiritual battle, the glory of the Crucified One.
§ 922 From apostolic times Christian virgins, called by the Lord to cling only to him with greater freedom of heart, body, and spirit, have decided with the Church’s approval to live in a state of virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
§ 923 Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church. By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is constituted a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church’s love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come.
§ 924 As with other forms of consecrated life, the order of virgins establishes the woman living in the world (or the nun) in prayer, penance, service of her brethren, and apostolic activity, according to the state of life and spiritual gifts given to her. Consecrated virgins can form themselves into associations to observe their commitment more faithfully.
§ 925 Religious life was born in the East during the first centuries of Christianity. Lived within institutes canonically erected by the Church, it is distinguished from other forms of consecrated life by its liturgical character, public profession of the evangelical counsels, fraternal life led in common, and witness given to the union of Christ with the Church.
§ 926 Religious life derives from the mystery of the Church. It is a gift she has received from her Lord, a gift she offers as a stable way of life to the faithful called by God to profess the counsels. Thus, the Church can both show forth Christ and acknowledge herself to be the Savior’s bride. Religious life in its various forms is called to signify the very charity of God in the language of our time.
§ 927 All religious, whether exempt or not, take their place among the collaborators of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral duty. From the outset of the work of evangelization, the missionary planting and expansion of the Church require the presence of the religious life in all its forms. History witnesses to the outstanding service rendered by religious families in the propagation of the faith and in the formation of new Churches: from the ancient monastic institutions to the medieval orders, all the way to the more recent congregations.
§ 928 A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which the Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially from within.
§ 929 By a life perfectly and entirely consecrated to such sanctification, the members of these institutes share in the Church’s task of evangelization, in the world and from within the world, where their presence acts as leaven in the world. Their witness of a Christian life aims to order temporal things according to God and inform the world with the power of the gospel. They commit themselves to the evangelical counsels by sacred bonds and observe among themselves the communion and fellowship appropriate to their particular secular way of life.
Societies of apostolic life
§ 930 Alongside the different forms of consecrated life are societies of apostolic life whose members without religious vows pursue the particular apostolic purpose of their society, and lead a life as brothers or sisters in common according to a particular manner of life, strive for the perfection of charity through the observance of the constitutions. Among these there are societies in which the members embrace the evangelical counsels according to their constitutions.
Consecration and mission: proclaiming the King who is coming
§ 931 Already dedicated to him through Baptism, the person who surrenders himself to the God he loves above all else thereby consecrates himself more intimately to God’s service and to the good of the Church. By this state of life consecrated to God, the Church manifests Christ and shows us how the Holy Spirit acts so wonderfully in her. And so the first mission of those who profess the evangelical counsels is to live out their consecration. Moreover, since members of institutes of consecrated life dedicate themselves through their consecration to the service of the Church they are obliged in a special manner to engage in missionary work, in accord with the character of the institute.
§ 932 In the Church, which is like the sacrament — the sign and instrument — of God’s own life, the consecrated life is seen as a special sign of the mystery of redemption. To follow and imitate Christ more nearly and to manifest more clearly his self-emptying is to be more deeply present to one’s contemporaries, in the heart of Christ. For those who are on this narrower path encourage their brethren by their example, and bear striking witness that the world cannot be transfigured and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes.
§ 933 Whether their witness is public, as in the religious state, or less public, or even secret, Christ’s coming remains for all those consecrated both the origin and rising sun of their life:
For the People of God has here no lasting city, and this state reveals more clearly to all believers the heavenly goods which are already present in this age, witnessing to the new and eternal life which we have acquired through the redemptive work of Christ and preluding our future resurrection and the glory of the heavenly kingdom.
The Institute on Religious Life
The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious
The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) is an assembly of major superiors who embrace a shared commitment to consecrated life as set forth by Vatican II. In October 1995 St. John Paul II (and the Vatican Congregations for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life) designated the CMSWR as a canonically approved national association of Women Religious for the United States.
The average age of nuns and sisters in CMSWR orders is under 35 years, and they have abundant vocations. Young women interested in religious life would do well to contact them for help in discerning the Holy Spirit’s call to religious life.
Vocation discernment begins as a comprehensive process. It begins with reflection on what kind of consecrated life God is calling a young man or woman to enter. Eucharistic Adoration and Prayer? Teaching? Missionary travels? The list goes on and on.
All the same, perhaps I will be forgiven for mentioning three personal favorites:
For men, Second Exodus especially likes the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Second Exodus is all about spreading and defending the Catholic Church. The Franciscan Missionaries run EWTN, perhaps the highest jewel of the New Evangelization. I call them my brothers in Christ.
Home School Mom
The Duties of Parents
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Duties of Parents:
§ 2221 “The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.”
§ 2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.
§ 2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones. Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:
He who loves his son will not spare the rod. He who disciplines his son will profit by him. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
§ 2224 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.
§ 2225 Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the first heralds for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church. A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.
§ 2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.
§ 2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.36 Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.
§ 2228 Parents’ respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and devotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.
§ 2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.
§ 2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them – quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.
§ 2231 Some forgo marriage in order to care for their parents or brothers and sisters, to give themselves more completely to a profession, or to serve other honorable ends. They can contribute greatly to the good of the human family.
Many Catholic families decide how many children they want. Second Exodus says, let God decide. Several years ago Second Exodus asked a good friend, a woman with 11 children, whether she expected to have more children. She replied with a smile, “If God sends them, I’ll raise them.”
Raising all the children Rabbi Yeshua sends, and making sure they’re firmly grounded in the Faith, is crucial in the spiritual war. Many Catholic families send their children to government schools that strip their Faith from them. “Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born” Mt 26:24. Catholic families who are “fruitful and multiply” Gen 1:22, who come “that they have life, and have it abundantly,” Jn 10:10, and are good shepherds for their children” Jn 10:11, immersing them constantly in the Faith, are few, and every family is needed.
Raising children, we always teach the Faith through our actions. If we live what we teach, all day every day, our children will believe what we teach them all their lives. If we do not live our Faith, it will have no roots in their souls, and be easily pulled out by the first person they meet who does live his faith, whether it be good or evil. “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary use words,” is a saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. “Attributed to” because no biography written within the first 200 years of his death mentions it. Either way, it’s good advice.
We Can Do It
In the spiritual war liberals have made the long march through all of the institutions of western civilization, the public schools, the colleges and universities, the political classes, journalism, on and on. We have during all that time not even been teaching our own children the Catholic faith. The situation has been the same with Jews. Ask an average Jewish kid on the street today what the Eternal Election is. Protestants say they’re guided by every word in the New Testament; ask them to explain how they’re guided by John 6:51–59. Liberals think in decades, sometimes even centuries. We rarely think past the next election.
We Catholic spiritual warriors need to start thinking in decades and centuries. Insofar as we can, we need to “go forth and multiply,” get our children “off the grid,” out of the government education loop. We need to teach our children the Catholic faith–do they even know what the word Catholic means?–and we need to be put on them the whole armor of God Eph 6:11–20.
§ 1653 “The fruitfulness of conjugal love extends to the fruits of the moral, spiritual, and supernatural life that parents hand on to their children by education. Parents are the principal and first educators of their children. In this sense the fundamental task of marriage and family is to be at the service of life.” Pretty strong stuff.
Right now the latest estimate for home-schoolers is that about one and a half million Catholic children are home schooled. Suppose each Catholic mother gave birth to ten children and home schooled them all. Within a generation we’d have 15 million well-informed Catholic voters. And if in the next generation each of five million Catholic families did the same we’d have 50 million well-informed Catholic voters. Shall we talk about a third generation?
Can we really make a difference? What if millions of home schooling moms taught their sons the joys of celebrating Mass? Here’s Isaiah Saying Mass – 3 Years Old 2:09. The happy daddy is Brandon Vogt. Two years later, Isaiah Saying Mass – 5 Years Old 4:04, he’s much better at it. In families with several sons, the boys could take turns at being the “celebrant,” with the other boys “concelebrating.” Maybe a “deacon” or two? And we can’t leave the girls out. Always good to have a few little “nuns.”
A couple at my parish taught all their 15 children to love the Mass. I remember one of them as a little boy. During Mass he always tried to walk away from his mother and up onto the sanctuary. She always had to follow him as fast as she could to bring him back before he could mount the steps. You never know. Another parishioner’s son, Father Daniel Brandenburg, is allowed to go up to the sanctuary whenever he wants. Whenever he comes home to visit his parents he celebrates Holy Mass for us. Even among priests he’s outstanding, full of joy and zest and drive.
Rabbi Yeshua promised, “All things are possible with God” Mk 10:27. “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” Mt 7:7–8. “Until now you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” Jn 16:24.
Certainly it will call for a radical transformation in our lives. But God really does make it possible. If happy Catholic couples are truly open to the transmission of life, God will decide how many souls he will give into their hands to prepare for eternal life. Remember forever: They are God‘s children. We are his servants, assigned to add to them abundant love and teach each one to live “a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way” 1 Tim 2:2.
Rabbi Yeshua explained all this in his Parable of the Talents:
For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents,d to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Mt 25:14–30.
See? Families who add value by preparing their children’s souls for heaven will enter into the joy of their Master. But families who “bury” their children, simply letting them go to government schools without supplementary Catholic education, will pay the price that Rabbi Yeshua described.
Before we even asked him, Rabbi Yeshua has already given us two advantages. First, in large families home schooling moms always assign some of their responsibilities to their children. In rural families the boys usually get the outdoor jobs while girls usually get the indoor jobs. And second, liberals don’t reproduce. They have become powerful by taking over our children’s education. That we have to stop.
But it’s do-able for many couples serious about Rabbi Yeshua. Families who want to home school can find more about it in any of several homeschool communities, including Homeschool.com, Homeschool World, and A2Z Homes Cool. Catholic parents who follow Rabbi Yeshua are the good shepherds Jn 10:11 for their children.
Second Exodus remembers a situation where a public schools advocate told a home schooling mother, “I care just as much about your children as you do.” The mother replied, “You do? Okay, what are their names?”
What about College
Some Catholic families, seeing the cost of a college education, and that most colleges are actively intent on annihilating the Catholic formation they have so lovingly imparted to their sons and daughters, look for a better idea. Families that would prefer to avoid college altogether can encourage their children to find work that pays well but doesn’t require a college diploma. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has statistics on these jobs.
We all want to depend on our knowledge for our income. There will always be a place for laborers such as longshoremen who are paid for the strength in their bodies, but as they get older that becomes less tenable. However, the information we accumulate over the years can be re-sold year after year. Many companies are happy to give their new employees on-the-job training.
Some time ago, Fox News’ Cheryl Casone pointed to 5 high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. 2:49 They include shipping (transportation storage and distribution management). Everything we buy has to be shipped from where it was made. Escalators in shopping malls, subway stations, etc., all need technicians who know how to install and repair them. So do electric power lines. Detectives and criminal investigators work their way up to comfortable income levels. Aircraft pilots only require an FAA license to fly. The big commercial airlines pretty much require college diplomas, but not unscheduled flights such as tour operators, helicopter pilots, private pilots employed by wealthy corporate executives, etc. Finally, railroad transportation inspectors who manage cargo, security clearances and so on may not require college diplomas. Home schooling moms should start researching current opportunities by the time their children enter high school so they have plenty of time to think about that path.
As we consider education as a profession to enter, we may as well also consider it as a resource for home schooling. The Newman Guide provides reliable information on Catholic colleges and universities that provide secure Catholic formation.
What If We Can’t
Home schooling is not practical for some families. There are mothers who have to take care of their own parents, who have to take care of a husband who is in poor health, and mothers who absolutely have to work to earn the living for their families. God knows our limits. But we are in the middle of a spiritual war that has already taken us into unprecedented territory. We find other ways to teach our children the Catholic faith. Perhaps we can send our children to a Catholic school of good reputation. If we must send our children into the government schools for a state-approved education we make sure to teach them situation awareness, that we’re in the middle of a spiritual war, and that they have to go to the government schools. But they’re to accept what they hear understanding that they have to go along with it, but that their mother or father will always teach them that Rabbi Yeshua loves them just as much as a home schooled child, that they will be fully taught all that the Catholic Church teaches, and that they can be just as much a spiritual warrior temporarily operating behind enemy lines. Parents can and certainly should pray Rabbi Yeshua that he will help them in this.
In the United States, Religious Freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment, which declares: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
But religious freedom has been under serious attack since 1947, when Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black ignored a mountain of evidence and concentrated instead on a lonely letter by Thomas Jefferson to reverse the First Amendment.
Liberal politicians are the hirelings Jn 10:12 who want to take our children away from their parents, teach them what the parents don’t want them to learn, and outright refuse to teach them what the parents want them to know, that Rabbi Yeshua is the true organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that we need.
Asking a young Catholic to take up a career in the government school system is inviting him to martyrdom. Rabbi Yeshua calls us to be martyrs. Teachers in government schools cannot overtly teach the Catholic faith, but there are subtle ways to convey it all the same. The Catholic teaching that every man and woman is God’s image gives him inherent dignity and underlies the morality of human acts. Without God-given dignity, all public welfare systems are arbitrary redistributions of ordinary income. When they teach the origin of representative bodies such as Congress and the various Parliaments, they may be able to raise as classroom discussion issues the ideas underlying the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
When their situation allows, they can teach more about the Declaration of Independence, with its appeals to Divine Providence. They can teach the Constitution, using the text itself as the primary source, and the Federalist Papers as the primary source for its interpretation based on the original intent of the framers and the people in whose name it was ratified and whose understanding of its provisions constitutes the “consent of the governed” that gives it moral legitimacy.
In some situations they can teach redistribution of income by proposing to socialize class grades. Everyone with an A will donate a letter grade to everyone who got a C so all will have a grade of B. Students usually object strenuously, pointing out that those who worked the hardest should not have to give the fruits of their work to those who chose the least work. A teacher may be able to have a class discussion on whether the same moral principle should apply to adults who work hardest to earn money.
At the very least, they can be conduits, informing parents about what the bureaucracy is doing. The spiritual war is in many ways an information war as to whether God or government is and should be the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that we need. This is the most fundamental of all questions, since our children’s immortal souls will depend forever on their decision for or against God. The bureaucracy is not on God’s side.
Catholic or Private Schools
Catholic schools should be the bridge between the level of commitment that home schooling requires and the outright surrender to Satan that many government schools have become. A young man or woman interested in following Rabbi Yeshua as his witness Acts 1:8 can have a lively and joyful career leading toward eternal life. No one gets into heaven alone. We get in by sharing “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” Jude 3 with everyone Rabbi Yeshua sends to us.
Second Exodus recommends consulting closely with the Cardinal Newman Society before making any crucial decisions. They have a Catholic High School Honor Roll. Read all you can on their web site, then contact them to answer your particular questions.
A Teaching Career
Before we can enter upon Catholic life we need to prepare for our college years by selecting a Catholic college. The Cardinal Newman Society is faithful to the Magisterium. Its Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College is the best resource I know for finding a Catholic college that will for true Catholic formation.
Raising a child is first and foremost preparing him for heaven. We prepare our children for the spiritual war, for vocations, for Holy Orders for Consecrated Life, for Holy Matrimony, for raising children of their own, for earning a good living at a job they enjoy doing. There are many things we prepare our children for, but each one is important only as it contributes to their preparation for heaven.
Without hope for eternal life in heaven as our primary mission, Second Exodus wonders what the point of living would be. St. Augustine, at the beginning of his Confessions, declares, “You have formed us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you.”
The high Middle Ages saw the rise of Catholic colleges and universities. As these colleges and universities grew they gave rise to intense competition among the schoolmen (teachers) for students. The competition was usually in the form of a quaestio. Each schoolman would invite challenges (“questions”) to his opinions, and respond to them with virtuosic displays of learning and argument.
In our time, by contrast, many colleges and universities deliberately cripple their students. They teach that there is no such thing as moral truth, that all ideas are of equal importance. That can be exposed simply by responding, “Professor, that’s only your opinion. By your own standard, my sense that absolute truth exists should have equal standing with your sense that it does not.” But the student who does risks a failing grade. R.R. Reno’s First Things article, “The Closing of the American Mind Revisited” explains it with sharp clarity.
Moral relativism as practiced in the universities is a bait-and-switch that would be prosecuted if a corporation ever tried it in an advertisement. When a Catholic declares that § 2271 “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion” he finds that moral relativism does not apply in that case.
We need devout and faithful Catholics in the college and university faculties. Some parents, seeing the word Catholic in an institution’s name, assume that it will give their children a good Catholic formation. The few seriously Catholic professors in those colleges and universities today are doing heroic work protecting the formation of these children as best they can. The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars is their honored gathering place. Catholics who would prefer to teach in a friendly environment can consult the Cardinal Newman Society with its annual Newman Guide to authentic Catholic colleges for a faith-filled future.
St. John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae § 5:2 states: “Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character.” Canon 812 states: “Those who teach theological disciplines in any institutes of higher studies whatsoever must have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority.” The original Latin word is mandatum. In the United States, each professor teaching Catholic theology must apply to the bishop for a mandatum. The professor declares that he will teach in full communion with the Catholic Magisterium. If the bishop is aware that the professor has a reputation for teaching in full communion with the Church he grants the mandatum. Solidly Catholic institutions require that all their professors have an approved mandatum as a condition of employment.
Canon 833 adds: “The following are obliged personally to make a profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See:” § 6 states: “in the presence of the local ordinary or his delegate and at the beginning of their function, pastors, the rector of a seminary, and teachers of theology and philosophy in seminaries; those to be promoted to the order of the diaconate.” This Oath of Fidelity is required only of seminary faculty.
Franciscan University of Steubenville, one of the best, reminds us that a majority of America’s colleges and universities are treating the mandatum as a private matter between the professor and the university, so that students and parents cannot find out which professors have one. Second Exodus understands this to mean, “We don’t have ‘em, we don’t want ‘em, none of your business.” The Newman Guide is of course well aware of the mandatum and will not approve a Catholic institution of higher learning without assurance that all theology faculty are in compliance. Second Exodus of course would give its highest recommendation only to a Catholic institution like Franciscan that enthusiastically volunteers to also have at least all its theology faculty take the Canon 833 Oath of Fidelity.
Second Exodus does not understand why any Catholic parent or student, or prospective faculty member, would accept an institution that is not Newman-recommended. Surely the obligation to prepare for eternal life in heaven far exceeds any possible transitory career benefit. In such circumstances the career benefit could be seen as a near occasion of sin. Where special circumstances exist, Second Exodus suggests that the prospective instructor, or parents, personally visit the college. Most colleges are very good at appearances. Second Exodus’ famous one-minute test will tell you about the moral formation the college imparts to its students. Go to a dormitory bathroom and look around. If contraceptives are offered for sale, Second Exodus recommends that the family kick that school’s dust from its shoes and hurry home. The people who put the contraceptives there know all about the school’s moral formation.
New Online Institutions
Information transmission has changed drastically in recent years. Social media has become the new frontier because it provides an extraordinary exchange of views.
Online college educations are already well established. Professors like the plush college campus environment and easy course loads where they spend perhaps 15 hours a week lecturing students, itself a pleasant way to earn a living. Naturally, they eagerly promote the “campus experience,” as being good for students. But pleasant for students and good for students are not at all the same. A beautiful campus is surely pleasant, but expensive to maintain. The costs they run up will be added either to student loans or to the national debt those students will soon confront as adults.
Second Exodus sees many college and university tuition costs as disproportionately high compared with their value. Abundant alumni cash donations and federal and state taxpayer aid help lower income students, but even so, many students run up ferocious debts. Far better to teach using far less expensive techniques. Collectively, the universe of social media prove conclusively that young people can and do acquire a great deal of their information online. Catholics who are active soldiers for Rabbi Yeshua in the spiritual war and have gifts in this area can certainly find ways to replicate the social media experience in ways especially conducive to Catholic needs.
It may even be that these new institutions can work with two simultaneous tiers. The first tier would be for active college students, college credit, diploma, etc., that would include active participation by professors, testing, grades and academic records, for which students would pay the necessary tuition costs without subsidies of any kind.
Hillsdale College already operates without federal or state subsidies, and shows that works. The college can be “sampled” through a subscription to Imprimis. It is not a Catholic college, but I would much sooner entrust young Catholics to it than to many “Catholic” institutions.
“No subsidies” is important because as soon as someone takes a tax deduction for a subsidy the federal government will impose requirements on the institution opposed to Church teaching. A second tier would retain access to the college’s online library but have no examinations, grades, or academic records, and only interaction among students who wish to teach the Faith to others at no cost, in accordance with Rabbi Yeshua’s “You received without pay, give without pay” Mt 10:8.
Traditional accreditation institutions often emphasize anti-Catholic approaches. For instance, over time they may come to insist on “open inquiry,” refusing to accredit Catholic inquiry because it is focused on “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” Jude 3. However, their “open inquiry” is not really open. A college that emphasizes research into areas prohibited by government may find itself barred from traditional accreditation. Second Exodus proposes the Cardinal Newman Society as an initial accrediting agency for evaluating devoutly Catholic online Catholic colleges and universities. Alas, for now, USCCB’s putative Ex Corde Ecclesiae system would not suffice.
Major Media Journalists
Journalists write the first draft of history. We Catholics “have no lasting city but we seek the city which is to come” Heb 13:14. Liberals do see their lasting city here, with government as the organizing principle of their lives, so they have filled the ranks of journalism.
Most Americans think separation of church and state is in the Constitution because journalists tell them it is. Most Americans think the Constitution guarantees the right to an abortion, the right to privacy, the right to remain silent.
Anyone who does can look for them himself in the Constitution including its Bill of Rights. After all, that’s what we do in Sacred Scripture. When we tell someone, “The Bible says we have to consume Rabbi Yeshua’s Body and Blood to have eternal life,” they say, “show me the passage,” and we show them Jn 6:53. It’s the same with our nation’s chartering document, the Declaration of Independence and the government’s chartering document, the Constitution. We listen respectfully, but then we say, “Show me the passage.”
Most journalists today write about abortion as a normal part of everyday life. They favor abortion, and everyone they know favors abortion. It’s not so much that they conspire to keep secret a truth that they privately know. Rather, they themselves have no idea of what an abortion really is. We need Catholic journalists who write about abortion in ways that make clear what it is. We need Catholic journalists who will show on national television images of the unborn child at various ages, the street battle in the streets, the battle in the courts, so many courts, the March for Life, the battle for religious liberty and the deceptive forces arrayed against it, the day-to-day story the media refuse to show. Rabbi Yeshua told Rabbi Yokhanan‘s, disciples, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” Mt 11:4–5.
Liberal journalists today see the Church as the voice of an obscurantist minority that seeks to impose its medieval agenda on the whole country. Bishop Sheen once said that there are not a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they falsely believe it to be. We seek to bring wayward Catholics back to the Church, wayward Protestants home to the Church that Rabbi Yeshua instituted, Jews to the completion of what they have already begun, and atheists into the light of God’s presence and power. We can do it only if Holy Mother Church and her witness are widely understood.
In short, we need major media journalists who respect objective truth and report it accurately. Print journalism is on its way out, but digital journalism is alive and well. As our thirst for information increases, so will our need for digital journalists and commentators.
These days, the major media put a thumb on the scales principally by giving a story strong prominence or not giving it any prominence at all. If a story highlights liberal values it will get a lot of coverage, but if it highlights conservative or Christian values it probably won’t. In that way they create an image that the country is becoming more liberal. Cath
Time was when “real” journalists were published by major corporations like the New York Times, or CBS where Walter Cronkite was “the most trusted man in America.” Journalism has changed so much that many young people today have no idea who Walter Cronkite was. Now, in the age of new media, America has millions of journalists. I’m a journalist and commentator; Second Exodus is my journal.
We also need citizen journalists who respect objective truth and report it accurately.
New Media Shepherd
Until recently, the world’s information media have been built on the one-to-many model. Journalists set up radio and television stations to disseminate information to everyone else. Many young people today have become so immersed in many-to-many media, new media in which people can talk to one another as well as back to broadcast journalists.
It’s not as new as most of us think it is. Amateur radio has been around for more than a century; an amateur radio station built for evangelization at the very top of Graymoor’s beautiful Mount Atonement helped lead me to the Church.
But the emergence of information technology as an advanced science has led to the formation of a vast number of many-to-many institutions by which we can send messages to one another, bypassing the liberal filters that the old news networks imposed. The New Evangelization, including the Second Exodus Apostolate, invites us into the digital sea.
Holy Mother Church urgently needs young Catholic men and women to enter the newest formative profession, new media shepherd. The liberals have built an impenetrable old media wall to shut out Catholic views. The liberal TV networks, and what’s left of the old liberal newspaper lions, lied by commission, loudly stating what was not true. More recently, as the truth made its way through the new media into the nation’s information stream, these lies were exposed. The new liberal model is lying by omission. They simply don’t report anything that supports Catholic views. We need new media shepherds to send God’s truth across the wilderness into the lost hearts.
This is far, far more than putting out a few tweets every hour. New media warriors are highly skilled in Catholic theology, technology, and messaging, to get the word out that the liberals refuse to publish and will try to suppress. They will work with entrepreneurs and other specialists to get the word out. Women can even help us get out the message of elegant modesty.
Let us not imagine that shepherd is a tranquil profession. The young shepherd David told King Saul, “Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God” 1 Sam 17:36. We speak for Rabbi Yeshua, the Son of David. “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” 1 Sam 17:45.
The Jews in Rabbi Yeshua’s time, for instance, sought witness. “Jews demand signs!” 1 Cor 1:22. The evidence warranted belief, and many Jews followed him. Their witness, their excitement, pervades every page of the Gospels written by Rabbi Matityahu, Rabbi Marcus, Rabbi Lucas, and Rabbi Yokhanan.
The others who did not follow, despite their own blood oath Ex 24:7–8, had not been attentive to God’s word for centuries. No matter. Rabbi Yeshua asks us to call the strays home Mt 18:11–13. If we say no, their judgment will be on us Mt 7:2.
Johnny Appleseed was an early pioneer at planting seeds. The legend is that he wandered the young American land planting seeds everywhere. In reality, he was careful. He planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in care of neighbors who sold trees on shares, and then returned every year to tend them. Once he attended a missionary preacher’s sermon on extravagance. When the preacher said, “Where now is there a man who, like the primitive Christians, is traveling to heaven barefooted and clad in coarse raiment?” Johnny Appleseed walked up, put his bare foot on the stump that had served as a podium, and said, “Here’s your primitive Christian!” Rabbi Yeshua said, “You will know them by their fruits” Mt 7:20.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was an early 1950s pioneer evangelist. He spoke boldly and clearly on Rabbi Yeshua’s moral law. It is a measure of how far we have fallen since then that millions of American families, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, everyone, turned on their television sets every week and listened intently to a Catholic archbishop speaking on the moral law, and how inconceivable that would be today. I was Jewish then, but our family like all the others stopped what we were doing every week, tuned our black-and-white television sets to the Dumont Television Network, and watched Life is Worth Living. But Bishop Sheen, as he was known then, spoke directly about the Church but he had to depend on people turning on their televisions and tuning in to his channel at a particular time.
In our time Bishop Robert Barron is the acknowledged pro for sowing seeds of Catholic faith. Like Archbishop Sheen, his knowledge of the Catholic faith is immense, and his range of commentary is awesome. One difference stands out. Bishop Barron is quite capable of talking directly about God’s law the way Bishop Sheen did, but he comments on the culture, books, music, movies, what’s happening in the culture, usually in a positive way. He is speaking the language of his audience, sowing Rabbi Yeshua’s seeds, leading his worldwide flock to think about the Church.
EWTN’s Global Catholic Network is primarily a worldwide television network backed up by a web site. Catholic Culture’s Website Review of EWTN is extremely positive. Its television network is watched in many parts of the world, both by Catholics and inquirers into the Faith from many other faith communities. The television network is superb. The web site is also excellent, but it doesn’t offer as much feedback opportunity as the new-media providers do. Michael Voris offers a very different model with his ChurchMilitant.TV. Catholic Culture’s Website Review of ChurchMilitant.TV summarizes its strengths and weaknesses. New media spiritual warriors need to build on the strengths that each model provides, while avoiding their weaknesses.
To show an inquirer the Catholic faith, until recently we had to invite him into our parish church. Now the Church can go out to where he is, but we have to express it in a new way for today’s new culture. The new atheists speak of God as a noisy mythological being, a threat to man’s reason. They often see God as competing with us for the same ontological space, for our freedom. In their eyes, if God is free, then we are constrained. If God is constrained, we are free. True free will is possible for us only with a deep friendship with God. We have to find ways to explain that God is the discovery of our own deepest freedom. God made us his image and likeness.
Our highest desire is eternal life in heaven. We are free only if we seek and attain our highest desire. If our culture closes off that possibility we have lost everything. Eucharistic Miracles are everywhere.
We can show by the Big Bang and by such mysteries as the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdesin the Pyrenees foothills of southwestern France and by the Loretto Chapel’s spiral staircase ➝ in Santa Fe, New Mexico that Rabbi Yeshuacontinues to work miracles in our own time.
We have new technologies that can span the world. Bishop Robert Barron 49:55 remarks that he can put a talk up on Youtube and “literally within ten minutes I can get an e-mail from Nepal, an e-mail from the Philippines, an e-mail from an American sailor off the coast of Japan.” We recall the Parable of the Sower, Mt 13:3–9. We sow good seeds. Some fall on fertile soil and bring forth abundant grain. Others are devoured 1 Pet 5:8, and so on. But we can sow many seeds, and by it bring Rabbi Yeshua abundant souls.
Brandon Vogt is the acknowledged expert on methods for our time. He appeared on Marcus Grodi’s The Journey Home 55:50 where he also discussed new media. His My Favorite Resources and Tools is a great introduction. His book, The Church and New Media is the encyclopedia. Perhaps you who read these words will create new and even better methods to reach the strays.
Entertainer and Film Maker
The powers that be in Hollywood are socialists. Most actors and actresses realize that they have to go along to get good parts. But Charlton Heston and a few like him have been lights amid the darkness. Think of the movie The Ten Commandments. Imagine for a moment that Moses had been played not by Charlton Heston but by Alan Alda. The heroic dimension, the sense of living in the sight of God and with his judgments, would have been entirely gone. Instead, we might have had a Moses whose chief ambition was sex with all the attractive Israelite women, contrary to the sixth and ninth commandments. Thanks be to God, we had Charlton Heston.
We need not imagine what The Passion of the Christ would have looked like if it had been made by a liberal Hollywood studio. The heroic dimension of the divine Rabbi Yeshua’s absolute fidelity to His Final Sacrifice would have metamorphosed into a purely human Jesus who commits mortal sin.
Act One, a program that trains Christian screenwriters, is doing some good work in this area. Christians of all denominations can and should work together to restore a Christian perspective to the entertainment industry.
The Church always needs inspiring musicians. We have our great Gregorian chant 3:37, we have Mozart 56:06 and Bach 1:50:04 with their beautiful Masses, but we need greater numbers of musicians who are able and willing to play these works during Holy Mass. We also need secular music informed by a Catholic worldview so that it can reach wide audiences, instead of the very limited audience for “Christian rock.”
Video Game Designer
Many young people love to play video games. Catholic web designers could produce healthy applications. Instead of World of Warcraft, we could have Eternal World, a game about earthly life, in which players accumulate virtues and sins, and go to heaven, purgatory, or hell (no, it doesn’t exist, but I’d like to see a Catholic web designer produce it), games that model religious life for monks and nuns, games that model Catholic end-of-life teaching, games that model Catholic marriage, a church building game in which the player builds a church by accumulating donations of money and work time.
We all know that young women are the biggest market for retail clothing because they want to look attractive for young men. Since the 1960s, clothing marketed to teen-college women has been designed to signal the wearer’s sexual availability. Women who signal easy availability attract men looking for easy availability. Very poor husband material.
We need Catholic clothing designers and marketers who will produce clothing of elegant modesty, designed to attract a young man’s attention to a woman’s head and heart, her mind and her soul, to signal, “I am beautiful, inside and outside.” The elegant modesty designers also have a mission to teach young women how the clothing they wear during their youth can have a powerful impact on their lifelong happiness, and perhaps even their eternal happiness.
I lived all my adult life passionately in love with one woman. During our 44 years together every time she got near me she’d get an enthusiastic hug. I always protected her, more than she needed. Occasionally, when she’d say it wasn’t necessary to go that far, I’d explain, “I love you, my darling. I want you with me as long as possible.” Then she was happy to be protected. Above all, I did all I could to help her prepare for eternal life. She did all she could to help me. God willing, I want to spend all eternity with her. Young women, think about the kind of man you’d like to attract and dress for him. You’ll find the good young men in your parish church doing volunteer work. Ask your parish secretary.
And if you don’t find any good husband prospects at your parish, ask Blessed Mother for help. She found a holy husband. Pray the Rosary every day, and then remain both patient and alert. She will show you the husband her Son wants for you, exactly when he wants you to find him. And if her Son wants you to live a consecrated life, all the more reason to prepare by dressing with elegant modesty.
Catholic doctors today are urgently needed to protect the culture of life.
It is an astonishing fact that today, doctors do not see their work as protecting human life and dignity. Most doctors today prescribe contraceptives, which close sexual relations to the transmission of life; God alone knows how many human lives have been snuffed out before they even had an opportunity to be created. Most doctors today refer requesting patients to abortion providers, who snuff out human lives after they are created. Many doctors today, faced with a patient whom they judge will have an unacceptably low quality of life, will kill the patient by euthanasia, often by withholding food and hydration.
In our time, when an aging or seriously disabled patient is admitted into a hospital, if at all possible his faithful family members need to be there around the clock, watching what is going on and asking questions if the patient does not seem to be responding well. Many health care professionals do this routinely.
It has reached the point where most graduating medical students today no longer take the Hippocratic Oath, which physicians have taken for 2,400 years. A popular adage among physicians today is “treat ’em and street ’em.” Their practice managers push them to see large numbers of patients per day, which means the doctor rushes in, looks at the medical history, asks a few questions, makes a quick diagnosis, and he’s out of there. A faithful Catholic physician will care more about his patients than about his own convenience or income.
A deeply faithful Catholic doctor will, consistent with Church teaching, protect the patient’s life and dignity as best he can. He will use all ordinary means to keep the patient alive, such as food and hydration, and ask the patient, or the patient’s representative, whether extraordinary means are to be used. He will provide relief from pain as best he can.
If the patient is a Catholic, the faithful Catholic physician will call a priest when he believes there is serious risk of death and keep the patient alive as best he can until the priest can administer the last sacraments of Penance, Anointing of the Sick and Dying, and Viaticum. He is concerned for the patient’s earthly life, and also his eternal life.
Catholic physicians can be particularly helpful on hospital bioethics committees, where they can explain why human life is sacred from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, and promote specific policies and practices to protect the lives of hospital patients.
Faithful Catholic nurses are also certainly needed, but Catholic doctors are all-important because doctors give orders. Nurses do what they are told. If the doctor gives instructions that will protect the patient’s life, the nurse will generally go along. If the doctor gives instructions that will foreseeably kill the patient, the nurse can resist only at risk of her job.
Catholic lawyers are urgently needed today to defend the faithful against the slowly rising tide of persecution through laws against “hate speech,” laws that punish discrimination against sin, and content-specific laws that prohibit certain kinds of protests against abortion when the same protest at the same time in the same place on any other subject would be allowed.
Catholic lawyers are also urgently needed to restore respect for objective moral principles. At present, the operation of law in society has deteriorated to the point where raw political power prevails.
The “deep pockets” principle has become so much a part of legal practice today that it is hardly noticed anymore. Lawyers no longer sue the person who actually caused the problem but rather the corporation with the most money that can somehow be involved.
“Piling on” has become commonplace today. A group of federal and state attorneys-general get together and decide to attack a particular corporation or industry. When this happens to joggers in Central Park it is called “wilding,” but when it happens in federal and state courts it is called due process of law.
The cigarette industry is a case in point. If cigarettes are deadly to those who use them, they should be banned. Instead, the federal and state governments have gathered together to sue the industry. Now, if the attorneys-general meant what they said in court to obtain judgments against the cigarette companies, they would demand the judgment money all at once, forcing the cigarette companies out of business. But they deliberately allowed the cigarette companies 25 years to pay. The only way they can raise money to pay these judgments is to sell cigarettes, both within the United States and all over the world. Therefore, the federal and state governments now have a vested interest in continued sales of cigarettes.
Once piling on becomes an accepted principle, we are on a slippery slope where no institution is immune. The day is fast coming when the Catholic Church is the one piled on. Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor near Berlin imprisoned by the Nazis, reminds us,
In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
A young Catholic, or any orthodox Christian, who serves as a soldier for Rabbi Yeshua in the field of law needs to be in touch with the Alliance Defending Freedom. They’re an alliance because they have allies. Second Exodus has seen some excellent work done by the Thomas More Society and the Becket Fund, but all of the allies do good work.
Young Catholic or other Christian lawyers, or lawyers-to-be, who want to change the world as Rabbi Yeshua’s witnesses Acts 1:8 in the field of law can best start through their own radical transformation toward him.
More at Catholic Answers
Some liberal “Catholic” politicians say that they cannot impose their moral beliefs on the American people. They are “personally opposed” to abortion but cannot impose their moral values on the citizenry. The same liberal politicians every year vote to transfer money from people who work to those who do not, force landlords to rent apartments to unmarried couples, and force employers to hire and retain persons living sinful lives. The only place they’re ever “personally opposed” is abortion.
Catholics have exactly the same right to impose their moral beliefs by law as does anyone else. If the objection is that our values are religious, so were Rev. Martin Luther King’s 17:28. We shall overcome 4:21 is still a Georgia Baptist hymn. Either we allow religious values including Catholic values or we declare unconstitutional all of the “civil rights” legislation. After all, the “civil rights” legislation restricted the traditional American right to free association, which recognized that each man had the right to decide with whom he wanted to transact business. Whether or not the “civil rights” legislation was morally good, it was certainly Baptist in its origins.
We need Catholic politicians. A Catholic politician does all he can to enact Catholic social teaching into law. Sometimes, when liberals hear this, they have lurid visions of the Pope running the American government, making phone calls to direct that this or that legislation be signed or vetoed. It is not that at all. Catholic social teaching is a body of general principles emphasizing reliance on God rather than government as the organizing principle of our lives, and on treating one another with the dignity due God‘s image and likeness.
So far, Formative Professions has followed the traditional model that upholds the artium baccalaureus, a college education in the arts, as a rite of passage that prepares us for a lifelong career. Here I’m going to question that.
In 1982 a high school valedictorian told a reporter for the Miami Herald that he wanted to “build space hotels, amusement parks, and orbiting colonies for two million or three million people who would be in orbit. His goal was to ultimately move the earth’s population into outer space, so that the earth could be preserved as a park.” He failed at that, but his intense concentration continued. Jeff Bezos started and still runs a little company called Amazon.
After a lifetime of observing ways to provide for our material worth to help lead others to Rabbi Yeshua, I have become convinced that for some of us the college-university track is essential. For persons who want to lead souls to Rabbi Yeshua by becoming a Catholic priest or theologian, a doctor or lawyer, or taking up most of the formative professions, college and post-graduate work are absolutely essential. And for millions of others who want only a 9 to 5 office job, it will continue to be essential as long as most of the country’s corporations ask for a college degree as their entry-level credential.
But for many others, a college education is a millstone. The entire Obama administration, from start to finish, was built on ideas taught as self-evident in most of America’s colleges and universities. When the moral dilemma comes, Will God or man be the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that we need, the universities’ answer is always “Government.” It resists subsidiarity at every opportunity. Every big American city is a monument to its failure. If I had it to do over again, I might not have gone to college, and certainly not graduate school. With my youth, energy and drive I would have started working for a fast track company in a formative profession and worked my way up, learning real-world economics along the way.
In the United States today millions of college graduates still live with their parents wondering when they will ever be able to get a job. College graduates earn higher incomes than high school graduates. But is that because the college experience adds actual value to their skill set, or is it simply that high school students who decide to go to college are more intelligent and motivated than those who don’t, and that these intelligent and motivated students could actually do better than college by getting an early start in the world of work, preparing to be entrepreneurs. Depends on the career field. I report, you decide.