Some Of My Favorite Things

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Religion and Salvation

Someone recently asked me, “What must I do to be saved?” He wasn’t asking because he expected me to know the answer exactly. He was more interested in seeing what I would say. But, as you might expect, the answer to the question "what must I do to be saved" is both a lot shorter and a lot longer than we all probably expect.

The short answer is Christ's: Love God with everything you are and above all else and love your neighbor as yourself. The long answer is elaborating on what this means in day-to-day life.

Three modes
We know from Romans that even pagan Gentiles can be saved by the natural law written on their hearts (Rom 2:15). They can be saved precisely because "the heavens tell of the glory of God" and all creation is made in, by and for Christ. Thus, nature is a witness, a prophet that speaks of God. Since the natural world witnesses to Christ, even pagans can come to knowledge of Christ (albeit a very dim knowledge) through observation of and response to the natural world and the law written on their hearts.

But nature is hard to decipher. So God sent prophets who gave much more precise descriptions of what we needed to do. Now, prior to the Incarnation, this involved a lot of ritual intended to bring people to understand what Christ was going to do. The ritual was not religion because it didn't heal anything, as Paul testifies. But it prepared the people for healing. Thus, properly speaking, the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes were not engaged in religion, they were just engaged in ritual. But this ritual laid the foundation for the religion Christ lived on the Cross.

And this is the third mode of revelation. First we have nature, then we have prophets, third we have God Himself, come in the flesh to tell us and show us how we are to be saved. God fully reveals Himself to us and asks us to respond in kind.

Defining the Word
But notice how God reveals Himself to us. He does so through the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension: the four aspects of the Paschal mystery. Now, if you’ve read earlier essays of mine, you might remember something I pointed out about religion.
The word “religion” has two pieces: “re” meaning “again” and “ligare” meaning “to tie or bind together.” The second word in the phrase “tubal ligation” finds its root in the same word “religion” does. Religion means “to bind together again.” What is being bound back together?

In a word, us.

We, and all creation with us, were broken by the Fall. Christ established religion - the binding back together - on the Cross. He was the first and most religious man who ever lived, precisely because the Cross is the first thing that really ties back together what the Fall had broken in us. The Cross is the most concentrated religion there is.

The problem is precisely that we have gotten too used to religion to appreciate it. We tend to confuse it with ritual. But religion isn’t ritual, or rather, ritual is only part of religion.

The rituals of Hebrew worship were all meant to point to Christ and the Cross. All the Levitical sacrifices, all the prohibitions, everything was a way of foreshadowing something in the New Testament. All of that ritual was not, technically speaking, religious, because none of it had the power to bind back together. Like a batter who takes practice swings before he steps into the box, all the ritual of other Faiths are various ways of practicing for the fullness.

This is not to say that ritual is unnecessary. It is very necessary indeed. But it is necessary precisely because of the Cross – the ritual sacrifice which Passover signified.
Christ did not dispense with ritual, rather He began to emphasize how ritual was now fulfilled. The Passover meal became Eucharist, circumcision became the command to baptize. These are ritual activities, but now, because of Christ's religion, because He empowered them through the work of the Cross, they are ritual activities which actually heal, whereas before they were just empty works. Indeed, many of the empty works were no longer necessary because the fulfilled rituals did what the old works merely prophesied.

So, we no longer need circumcision because circumcision pointed to the tearing away of Christ’s flesh on the Cross, it pointed to the revelation the pagan soldier spoke as He saw the broken body, “Truly this is the Son of God!” Now baptism is the necessary thing, because it is burial with Christ and He commanded His apostles to keep and use this religiously-empowered ritual. Paul tells us the same thing regarding Passover-now-Eucharist - the apostles received it from Christ, he received it from the apostles, he passes it on to Corinth and the rest of the communities, and the communities are to pass it on to their children and their children’s children.

Right Worship
God made us body-soul composites, so He gave us a way to worship Him in both body and soul: the soul worships through prayer and praise, the body through physical action which mirrors the soul's internal disposition. That's the point of having ritual - it allows us to worship God body and soul. Everyone understands this. Evangelicals and fundamentalists sway during prayer with their arms raised, or fall down, slain in the Spirit, etc. Everyone understands we need to worship with our bodies as well as our souls.

"Incorporation" means "to make bodily". Liturgy literally incorporates Scripture. It tells us how to bodily respond to the truths we hear in Scripture. All good liturgy is just a compilation of Scripture with appropriate body responses: kneeling, genuflecting, standing, etc.

So what must we do to be saved? We must respond to God with everything we know and everything we are. The more we know, the more nuanced and complex our response will be, because we will try more and more to reflect in our own bodies the infinity that is God, trying to wrap ourselves within Him as completely as we can. As any married couple can tell you, love is both very simple and very complex - both at once and neither first. So it is with loving God through Scripture and liturgy.

Religion finds its origin in Christ the Bridegroom because He is the only one Who can marry together what is broken. Ritual finds its origin in Christ because He demands we worship Him with our whole beings, body and soul. That is why liturgical ritual changes our relationships, as anyone who has been through a marriage ritual can attest: “With my body, I thee worship.”

Thursday, June 24, 2004

A Deafening Silence

Isn’t it odd? Although the leaders of dozens of Christian groups have denounced gay marriage, the rank and file have not had much to say about it. From such disparate sources as the Washington Post and Chuck Colson, the chattering class is beginning to become aware of a simple fact: most Christians don’t care.

It raises an obvious question: why don’t they care? Colson opines that the lack of outcry is due to pessimism and defeatism amongst the rank-and-file. Christians are so oppressed by the culture that they are throwing in the towel. Other Christian leaders pin the problem on larger distractions: the war in Iraq, the economy, etc. Everyone says it may have something to do with it being an election year, arguing that this is traditionally a time when controversial issues are avoided.

Bunk and balderdash.

Election years are precisely when controversial issues are embraced. Christians haven’t thrown in the towel: they are still pushing hard on things like television and radio decency controls, for example. Nor have they surrendered on a myriad of other issues. The problem is simply this: no one thinks homosexuality is a big deal. The left won this issue before the religious leaders even woke up to the idea that there might be a fight. And I can tell you exactly how it happened.

I became aware of the problem over a year ago in a discussion with a local activist. She and her husband were working to stop a strip bar from opening in a city neighborhood in Peoria, Illinois. They were gathering signatures in front of every church. I stopped after Mass to sign their petition, and to ask them a question. Peoria had recently passed an ordinance outlawing job or rent discrimination against active homosexuals. Why hadn’t I seen them out in front of the churches trying to stop that ordinance, which had been front page news just before the strip bar surfaced? The answer was simplicity itself: “Well, we don’t get into bedroom issues.”

“Really?” I responded. “So how is the door to a bar different from a door to a bedroom? They are both doors. They are both guarding access to private property. Would you drop your opposition to the strip bar if someone actually slept there every night, thus making it a bedroom? Would you drop your opposition if the bar featured live sex instead of simply featuring strippers?”

She was offended by the question. She insisted that gay sex was not something she had a right to an opinion on, but a strip bar was: it would lower property values.

You see? She was only allowed to have an opinion on the strip bar because it wasn’t a bedroom issue, it was a tax issue, a property valuation issue. Gay marriage is neither a tax nor a property valuation issue – at least not in any obvious way – so Christians don't care.

But it goes much deeper than this. The Christian attitude towards sex is, today, very simple: “as long as no one is hurt,” you may engage in whatever sexual practice you like. Dr. Dobson of the Family Research Center has no problem with masturbation. Most Christian denominations have no problem with contraception. So why should we oppose gay sex or gay marriage? After all, what is the real difference between masturbating, having condomized sex, or having gay sex? Each provides about the same amount of physical gratification, and sex – like marriage – is primarily about gratification, right?

I am married as long as my spouse is willing to serve me, as long as I am being fed, as long as I am getting something out of the relationship. When that stops, when the relationship is “spiritually dead” or my spouse is getting physical pleasure elsewhere through an affair, then I can divorce. If we assume that this is a reasonable way to act, it is not possible to make a case opposing gay marriage.

The reason we can’t make the case is we don’t have a case, not anymore. You see, contraception within marriage redefined marriage, just as the Washington Post and the Pope predicted it would back in the 1930’s. Once contraception is acceptable, marriage is no longer about family, it is now about me. Now every relationship hinges on one thing: what’s in it for me?

The public acceptance of gay sex and gay marriage is functionally identical to public acceptance of contraception. Heterosexual contraception has already brought us legal abortion, a fifty percent divorce rate and a pornographic society: all of these problems mushroomed only after contraception was legalized. Gay marriage is just contraception without the chemicals or condoms. How can you convince a woman on the pill or a man with a wallet full of condoms that gay marriage is going to harm heterosexual marriage?

It can’t be done because it isn’t true. Marriage was dealt a death-blow when the Protestant Comstock laws were struck down. Once we were no longer permitted to forbid the manufacture or sale of contraceptives, we lost the ability to deal with deliberately sterilized sex in any form whatsoever. Like masturbation, gay sex and gay marriage are just another form of contraception. Indeed, the beauty of gay marriage is that their divorces are much less likely to impact children, since they will, by definition, tend not to have any. Contracepting heterosexuals know a kindred spirit when they see one. They certainly aren't going to cast a stone at gays.

The move to amend the Constitution to defend heterosexual marriage will fail. If it succeeds, it will follow Prohibition in being repealed. It cannot be otherwise.

No one quarrels about contraception anymore. The people who used to do so are mostly dead. Likewise, the only generation that quarrels about the gay issue will be dead in another thirty to sixty years. The next generation will care even less than this one about that topic. The next fight will be over pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, sado-masochism and the rest. And Christianity will lose those fights too. Pleasure is the measure. The war was over when we surrendered the Comstock laws. And that surrender could not have happened if Christians had not acquiesced.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Judas Priest

Pax Christi of Illinois’ recently held up Judas as an example of how we should treat our Catholic pro-abort politicians. They point out that Jesus permitted Judas to share in the Eucharist. They further insisted that Jesus hated violence and was essentially non-judgmental. We should take a lesson from Him as we contemplate the heart and soul of our Faith. In a certain sense, I couldn't agree more.

The Eucharist is indeed the heart and soul of our Faith. That is why it must be guarded from those who would profane it. Meeting Christ in the Eucharist is not only a medicinal encounter that heals venial sin, it is also immediate participation in the Last Judgment, when Christ comes not to invite, but to command. At the Last Judgment, “every knee shall bow, every tongue proclaim, that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Phillipians 2:10). That is why reception of Eucharist on bended knee, accompanied by a loud “Amen” is always appropriate liturgical practice.

Jesus always emphasized judgement. His wedding feast parables describe the people who were cast out, into the darkness, there to wail and gnash their teeth, or guests who did not prepare themselves to come and were therefore killed and their city burnt to the ground (Matthew 22, 25).

Judas’ example is a fine case in point. He ate and drank of the Eucharist unworthily. He had already decided to betray Jesus (John 13:2), but he partook of Eucharist despite his mortal sin. “And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him: That which thou dost, do quickly… He therefore, having received the morsel, went out immediately. And it was night.” (John 13:27, 30) Notice the tremendous emphasis John puts on Judas having “received the morsel” in conjunction with Judas’ sin. In short, Judas’ unworthy reception of Eucharist increased his desire to betray Christ and thereby increased his condemnation.

This is the peace of Christ:
 Christ in the Temple with a bullwhip, scourging the moneychangers out of the courtyard for having profaned the holy place (John 2:13-17),
 Christ exhorting His disciples with the words, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-38),
 Christ refusing to tell the centurion that he must give up soldiering (Matthew 8, Luke 7),
Christ telling the apostles at the Last Supper, “"But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36),
 The Holy Spirit choosing a soldier to be the first non-Jew admitted to the Faith (Acts 10).

It is not for nothing that we are the Church Militant. The fact that it would never occur to a few of the members of Pax Christi to exclude anyone from the Eucharist just goes to demonstrate how badly formed some members of Pax Christi are. If we followed “the Pax Christi formula” to its logical conclusion, we would have no basis upon which to deny Eucharist to anyone – Evangelical, fundamentlist, Buddhist, Wiccan, etc. Christ, on the other hand, was perfectly willing to exclude even the apostles from this fellowship (John 6:67), and the whole history of the Church demonstrates that excommunication is a perfectly appropriate response to heresy and sin.

Indeed, the very liturgy of the Feast of Corpus Christi tells us this in the prologue to the Gospel reading:

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
Is with unlike issues rife.

All may be brothers at the table, but according to the Scriptures, the Magisterium and the liturgy, some are eating and drinking damnation on themselves precisely because they refuse to admit that war can be just, that the death penalty is sometimes appropriate, that abortion is always and everywhere evil. Wherever a man knowingly refuses to accept Jesus’ teaching but still insists on accepting Jesus on his tongue, he “eats and drinks judgement on himself. That is why many of you are sick and some have died.” (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).

That is why excommunication is an act of charity, as Paul points out when he excommunicated a man committing sexual sin, “You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 5:5). If you lack charity, if you are willing to allow men and women to eat and drink their own damnation, then by all means, let pro-abortion Catholics approach the Eucharist. But if you care even the slightest for their salvation, then you will prevent them from tasting the bread of angels, lest their hearts grow as cold as Judas’ and they enter into darkness forever.

Telling John Kerry not to approach Eucharist lest he be damned is no more threatening or coercive than telling Bill Clinton not to approach a McDonald’s, lest he grow even more obese. It isn’t a threat. It’s a simple statement of fact. Let us pray that the ill-informed members of Pax Christi learn their Faith well enough to distinguish fact from fiction.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Lots of News

Point #1
Check out this link on the legalization of sharia in Ontario. Seems my piece on the Three Faces Towards Eve was prophetic - secularism and sharia law are beginning to join hands.

Point #2
Check out this link on the percentage of homosexuals in the population. If you remember, I posted information on this several months ago. The Canadian government just confirms what the gays already agreed was true in the friend of the court brief to the Texas sodomy case.

Point #3
I am no longer writing for Catholic Exchange. I had a philosophical disagreement with Tom Allen, the man who runs the website. He took issue with several aspects of my writing, but most lately with the opening lead for Three Faces Towards Eve. Too harsh, it seems.

That's me: harsh.
Reality tends to be that way, and I like to stay in contact with it.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Lies, Damned Lies, and Nancy Reagan

Like jackals at the edge of an antelope herd, con artists attack the vulnerable. Widows and orphans are the easiest marks. At least today’s scientists have found them so.

“People need a fairy tale,” said Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Maybe that’s unfair, but they need a story line that’s relatively simple to understand.”

Thus did Dr. McKay defend the bald-faced lie that embryonic stem cell research can cure Alzheimer’s disease. But, he also inadvertently demonstrated how much embryonic stem cell researchers respect the intelligence of the average citizen. Americans like you and I, Americans like Nancy Reagan, we are too stupid to be worthy of the truth. We do better with lies. It’s for our own good, you know.

This kind of conversation is typical of embryonic stem cell discussions. I. Richard Garr, president and CEO of Neuralstem Inc., a private company in Gaithersburg, Md., working with adult neural stem cells, points out: "This is a field that has more hype in it than almost anything outside of professional wrestling. The last thing we want to do is take away hope from anyone, but even a higher priority for us is not to give anybody false hope. I think the hype that's out there is not productive."

So why do people like Nancy Reagan and Michael J. Fox think embryonic stem cell research is useful for their Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease? Because, like the communists that Ronald Reagan fought, embryonic stem cell researchers deliberately mis-represent the facts in order to drum up public support. The researchers want to feed at the public trough because private enterprise refuses to fund their idiocy. Once they have our tax money, they can honestly tell us that they are from the government and they are here to help. Won’t that be nice?

What is a stem cell?
As you might recall from high school biology, all of us started as a single cell in our mothers’ Fallopian tubes. By the time we reached the uterus, we had grown into embryos. As embryos, we implanted into our mothers’ wombs and eventually grew into the fine, upstanding people we are today. But all the hundreds of different kinds of cells we have in our bodies today came from that first cell and its progeny.

A stem cell is one of those very early cells; it is a cell capable of turning into almost any type of cell the body needs, depending on the mechanical and hormonal influences it is subject to. There are two kinds of stem cells: embryonic stem cells (ESC) and adult stem cells (ASC).

Where do we get stem cells?
Embryonic stem cells come from embryos. Children are deliberately conceived in artificial conditions, these children are allowed to grow to a specific stage of development, and they are then torn apart so their cells can be used for experimentation. So embryonic stem cell research requires the deliberate deaths of thousands of children. It is happening right now. It just doesn’t receive government funding. Yet.

Researchers who support abortion like to argue that ESCs are the best thing to use for research, as they clearly have not differentiated, so we can learn more from these kinds of cells and we can adapt them for treatment more easily. Unfortunately for abortion supporters, getting stem cells from embryos has not turned out to be a good idea. Stem cells from embryos don’t know they are no longer part of an embryo. No matter where they are placed in the human body – heart, pancreas, skull - they tend to try to grow into a child. Since having a child growing inside your skull does not usually contribute to improved health, this kind of growth is considered cancerous.

Embryonic stem cells -- unlike the fetal and post-natal varieties -- have a tendency to produce tumors after implantation. "We have to find ways to minimize that," says Pamela Gehron Robey, chief of the Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch of the Division of Intramural Research of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. “And we’re willing to kill thousands of children if that’s what it takes to get what we want,” she might have added.

Adult stem cells, on the other hand, can come from darned near anywhere. Umbilical cord blood is the best source because the newborn immune system is not very advanced so the cells tend to be accepted by the recipient’s immune system. But, ASCs have also been obtained from blood, bone marrow, olfactory nerve endings (these are constantly regenerated, so taking them from an adult’s nose has no side effects), skin cells, even fat. That’s right. You can go ahead and eat that Big Mac. Just donate the results to science.

Which are more useful?
Adult stem cells have been used for decades to treat disease. Leukemias, immune system and other blood disorders, cancers, autoimmune diseases: the list is nearly 100 illnesses long, with more on the way. As you can see, adult stem cells work very well and they work right now.

What about ESCs? Do they work? In a word, no. Though they have been tried dozens of times, no one has ever been successfully treated with embryonic stem cells. No one. Typically, ESCs make people more sick or kill them. Less often, they simply have no effect.

To their credit, on June 10th’s World News Tonight, Ned Potter and Dr. Michael Shelanski, Alzheimer’s researcher, Columbia University, told the truth about how Nancy Reagan had been lied to:

Potter: “Stem cells, which are found in human embryos, may be able to replace almost any damaged cell in the body. But with Alzheimer’s it’s not the cell that need to be replaced.”

Shelanski: “The early changes of Alzheimer’s disease are a loss of the connections between nerve cells without death of the nerve cells themselves.”


Remember, stem cells, whether ASC or ESC, can only replace dead or damaged cells. They can’t fix living cells that don’t communicate well.

So why are people like journalists Tom Shales, Tom Brokaw, Sandra Hughes, Barbara Walters, the crew of Good Morning America, the president of the Alzheimer’s Association, and a couple dozen Congressmen all pushing for more embryonic stem cell research? Why are so many embryonic stem cell researchers either actively promoting lies or at least remaining silent while their stooges promote lies?

The reasons range from the political – reducing respect for very small children is a great way to promote legal abortion – to the mundane. After all, even embryonic stem cell researchers have house payments. From a social justice perspective, these are apparently good reasons to promote killing small children.

Embryonic stem cell research should be entirely banned. But instead, if the embryonic stem cell crowd is successful, your tax money will be poured down this rat-hole research, and the Evil Empire will be reborn. Here. There is a bright side. If it happens, Mr. Reagan will at least have died before he was forced to watch it.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Three Faces Towards Eve

“My God, you’re hurting me” the woman began to scream. “You’re killing me, I’ll never be able to have babies… Stop! Stop… Let me out of here!”

In this world, women are viewed in essentially one of three ways: through the lens of secular atheism, through the lens of Islam, and through the lens of Christianity. The paragraph above is a quote from the Population Research Institute Review, which in turn quoted court testimony from a recent case, a case decided by the United States’ Eleventh Circuit Court on January 23, 2004. In that case, a woman sued Dr. William P. Egherman for forcibly committing an abortion upon her.

The Secular View of Women
In 1997, the young mother had entered the abortion clinic seeking to have an abortion. The woman was put on the procedure table, where the abortionist attempted to use a 12 millimeter dilator to begin the procedure. As the opening paragraph to the article indicated, the doctor’s choice of instruments changed her mind. She screamed. She didn’t want the abortion. She tried to get off the table. Nurses entered the room and held her down while the abortionist, who had barely begun, eventually ended the procedure by partially disembowling her because he mistook her intestines for uterine tissue.

But don’t worry. The doctor was very careful after that. He called an ambulance and told it to come slowly, with lights and siren off. Her screams had already disturbed the other patients. No sense adding this “lights and siren” nonsense to their day.

The woman sued the abortionist for violating her reproductive rights. The Eleventh Circuit Court disagreed with her. The abortionist had every right to forcibly abort her child, said the court. It was his medical decision to make, not hers.

In the secular world, women are objects to be used, cleaned out and re-used. Entire women’s magazines are devoted to how to become a more pleasing object. Women, especially young women, read the thirty-seven tricks they must know in order to please him. Today, we see the spectacle: young women are taught how to be objects by older women.

That’s why eleven-year old girls are given birth control pills, for instance. Everyone who has studied the issue knows that the younger the girl, the older her partner. Young teens and pre-teens are generally being exploited by twenty and thirty year old men, such as their public school teachers. But the secular world insists on providing birth control to such young girls without parental notification. If the girls suffer bad effects from the drugs or the surgeries, well… the girls are replaceable. The key here is the men. The men must be protected from negative consequences.

Islam’s View of Women
And that view, the idea that men must be protected from women, is not unique to the secular world. Women are the source of evil in Islamic theology. According to Mohammed’s visions, hell is populated primarily by women. Apparently, most deserve that fate. Heaven, of course, is also populated by women, but not human women. The perpetually virgin houris of song and story are spirits who occupy heaven solely for the pleasure of heaven-bound men.

As Daniel Pipes points out, the entirety of Islamic custom and belief is ordered around the idea that women are inherently dangerous. The female is the hunter, and the man her passive victim. That is why she must be muzzled and chained: bound by law, dress and custom so that her wiles and appetites are not unleashed to the detriment of society.

Pretty much everyone agrees the West is becoming more decadent. That’s why Western society is so dangerous. From the Muslim viewpoint, it has none of the controls necessary to keep women from destroying civilization. The lack of these controls is precisely why Western culture is decaying. Western cultural icons like Sex and the City are, in this sense, very Muslim in character. As far as Muslims are concerned, such displays merely prove their point.

The Catholic View of Women
The decay of Western culture is precisely what Christian thinkers in the West have been trying to combat. While many, though certainly not all, evangelical and fundamentalist preachers blame Eve exclusively for being the origin of this decay, Catholicism has always denied this.

As is pointed out in Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, the New Testament is the first place we see the tendency to blame women stridently rejected. While Paul twice states that Eve was deceived by the serpent (2 Corinthians 11:3 and Titus 2:13), he blames Adam exclusively for both the trespass itself and for being the cause of death (Romans 5:14 and 1 Corinthians 15:22). Even Genesis insists that “the eyes of both were opened” only after Adam ate of the apple.

In Dante’s Inferno, most of the occupants of hell are men, not women. John Paul II famously said that the Marian profile of the Church is more fundamental than the Petrine. Why? Because Christ entered the world through Mary and reserved the greatest gifts for her. Peter is merely the steward of God. Mary is the Mother of God. Peter would not be the Rock if Mary had not shown him the way. After all, she was the rock from which the Living Water emerged into the world.

Catholics know Western society is decaying because it has stripped God out of its life. With God gone, original sin rules. Original sin is that which takes away our humanity, a tendency in ourselves that each one of us cooperates with, not unique to man or woman, but common to all.

But, Catholic Faith is also the only faith to understand how to solve the problem. Salvation comes to us through a man born of a woman. Though woman may have begun the work of the Fall with her refusal to obey, the man is the primary cause of the Fall. Likewise, the Man is the sole cause of our salvation, but that salvation depended upon a woman’s “fiat.” Both sides get the blame, and both sides get the glory.

For Catholics, we’re all in this together. It’s a better way to live.