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Cardinal Wuerl: Confronting secularism a priority for next pope




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13hp0101(CNS) — The man cardinals choose as the next pope must be someone with the requisite energy and mastery of modern communications media to promote a revival of the faith in increasingly secular societies around the world, said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

The cardinal, who will vote in the upcoming papal election, spoke with Catholic News Service hours after arriving in Rome Feb. 25. [more]





  1. Francis says:

    Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law. This quote from the National Secular Society doesn’t seem so bad. In fact, I could easily agree with it. I guess I’m a Catholic secularist who passionately believes in the mystery we call “God” and Jesus the unique human face of this mystery. In fact, I have discovered several definitions of the word “secular” including “secular clergy” as distinct from religious order clergy.

    I do agree that far worse is :clericalism; religious arrogance and pomposity; orthodoxy without orthopraxis , papalolatry; ecclesiolatry etc.

    • Donna says:

      Ungodly men are the great enemies of the faith of Christ and the peace of the church. Nothing cuts us off from the church but that which cuts us off from Christ; namely, reigning infidelity and ungodliness. Ungodly men who live without God in the world have no regard to God and conscience and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, who take encouragement to sin more boldly because of the grace of God. Jude 4 warns how certain men crept in unawares, ungodly men who would turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord
      God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Vs. 5 tells of how the Lord destroyed them that believed not even after he had saved them from the land of Egypt. Vs. 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Vs. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Surely, the clergy are helpers of their people’s joy, peace, and comfort; NOT LORDS OF THEIR FAITH! Whoever may attempt to corrupt the faith, we ought to contend earnestly against them.

      The Pope’s resignation is a statement to me that God truly spoke to him. He will go down in history as the first pope ever to resign. The lightning strike was a sign I believe also. I can only wonder what he must be suffering in his conscience and spirit, what all he knew. Whatever he was not able or worse yet, not allowed, to accomplish, our Lord God will see to it that justice will be done, that all hidden sins will be revealed. No one is above God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, not even Mary. The sins against God’s church are great. Condoning the covering of the sins, hiding them from God’s disciples, and allowing innocent children to be sodomized are enough to bring the wrath of God out in the open. God’s word does not return void. All that is hidden will be revealed. But be of good cheer, the gates of hell cannot destroy God’s church. While God is busy doing housecleaning, it is time for all of us to take a long, leisurely spiritual bath, and wash off our sins and put on new garments of righteousness. Question: if you were going to be put on trial for your faithfulness and righteous lifestyle, would there be enough evidence to convict you? May God have mercy on us because of the current state of affairs in our society. How did it get this bad and what can we do to return back to holiness and righteousness, without which no man will see God and our prayers will not be heard.

      • Tony says:

        Donna, Benedict is not the first Pope to have resigned. Remember too, God is Love, not wrath, not punishment, God is LOVE. John the Evangelist tells us that and Benedict’s first encyclical was God is Love.

  2. Ann says:

    The church needs to be protected from clericalism not secularism. Clericalism – read arrogance, hypocricy, secrecy, lack of integration, deviant sexuality due to imposed celibacy, and a bevy of other vices. Secularism looks positively sacramental compared to the clericalism we have had to endure these past years.

    • Andrew says:

      Ann honey, come on… clericalism at bare minimum acknowledges God. Secularism on the other hand, rejects God and marginalizes the Church. Anyone who sincerely believes in God would never favor secularism over clericalism. As for deviant sexuality within the Church… homosexual sex is to blame, not celibacy. The sin of Sodom is one of the sins that calls out for vengance from Heaven, (read the 1962 missal). If the Church’s problems with sexual sin were a result of celibate priests who can’t marry then we wouldn’t have virtually all the problems centered around homosexual activity (and yes, that includes men with underage boys). You can’t have it both ways Ann. On one hand, you criticize the Church for being “mean to gays” and then act shocked when the consequences of allowing practicing homosexuals into the seminaries comes to fruition.

    • Tony says:

      Anne, you are entirely correct, clericalism is an evil that leads to lording it over others, it is particularly sexist, anti feminine, it attempts to set people apart rather than bringing them together, it is against the humble teaching of Jesus.

      • Andrew says:

        Ann and Tony. If you two want to be taken seriously as Catholics, you need to educate yourselves about the Church and submit to the Churchs teaching. Study the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Supplement those two mandatory texts with some of the writings of the saints. “Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Liseux is a good one to start with. I also recommend Pope Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth” series but your hatred of the author won’t let that happen in the short term. Anyway, it’s Lent for Heaven’s sake. Its a season when we as Christians need to show some humility. Get cracking now while you can. Easter will soon be upon us.

        • Tony says:

          Andrew shall I bury my head in the sand as you do and play make believe? Shall I make believe that everything is really really nice in the church and deny reality as you do?

      • Concerned says:

        Andrew you really do sound like the character of Archie Bunker except you are not playing a role – you really are ignorant. Homosexuality and podophilia are two very separate things. You really do make yourself look so foolish. And then to say you favor clericalism? It happens to be something that Jesus was completely against – anything that you do to puff yourself up is against the message of Jesus. You see you are the one who is wasting Lent – you need renewal and to find truth in your life. And what of all those priests who have fathered children while they were priests? You don’t hear as much about that but it has been a real issue. You need to do some reading. You need to stop being such a blatant ignorant person trying to pass yourself off as some holier than thou saint or spokesperson for the church – the church has enough problems without your Archie Bunker approach to religion and life.

        • Andrew says:

          Hey Concerned, Tony and Ann: why are you three still Catholic? Everything you advocate and want to see in a church can be found in several dozen denominations from the Episcopal Church to the Unitarians. Women priests, married priests, modernism, etc. all of that and more exists, just not in the Catholic Church. All three of you resent and reject the pope, the Majesterium. I’ve never seen any of you post a word about believing in the Real Presence or devotion to the Blessed Mother. All three of you reacted with anger last Friday when I posted passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So why are you bothering to stay Catholic? You can’t change the Church and deep down you know that. I personally don’t wish anyone to leave the Church as this is the one true church established by Jesus Christ Himself. But, when people like yourselves harp on relentlessly with anger, hatred and contempt then seriously, don’t you think it’s a waste if your time to stay with a Church you resent?

          • Tony says:

            I stay in the Catholic Community because I find it to best articulate my faith in God and one another.
            I love the church, its proclamation of the resurrection of Christ, its sharing of Eucharist, and its lived presence for the past two thousand years.
            I am a member of the Church, and like a member of a dysfunctional family I long to see it survive its dysfunction and grow into all that it is called to be.

          • Concerned says:

            Oh Andy first, you confuse disagreement with anger and hate – is that because it is what you do and you transfer that to everyone? You see, people can love the CHurch without being in complete agreement. People can express their disagreement without hatred. When you come down to it, those of us who have disagreements with the church but stay love the church a heck of a lot more than someone like you who are indifferent to the problems, deny the evidence of wrongdoings, refuse to call those in leadership to repentance, say anything is permissable for the leadership as long as they take the church where youp want it to go (the end jstifies the means) and watch the leadership participate in horrible things. You see, we disagree and stay. But because you have never taken the time or gone through the agonizing process of understanding that a positoin does not give power not does it make someone all of a sudden infallible in every aspect of life, you just can’t understand anyone who does not defend the hierarchy when they are wrong or challenge them to continual discernment. It would seem that you have the anger, hatred and contempt that you want to transfer to others. St. Paul, as Saul, committed devastating sins – he was accepted because upon his conversion he offered no excuses, he did not hide behind anything or anyone, he admited his guilt, even wrote about his guilt and was able to do God’s work. If the hierarchy expects to carry on they too must stop making excuses, admit their guilt in these matters that have caused great scandal and then go on. The greatest scandal is not the acts of pedohilia (they are dastardly, hoorible, sinful acts) the real scandal is the hierarchy covering it up and hiding behind excuses. They will never bring healing that way – only more pain.

            • Andrew says:

              Concerned, the content if your posts on this board from what I’ve bothered to read are 100 percent critical, disrespectful, abusive and in the more recent ones directed at pope Benedict: dishonest and slanderous. That is not love: it doesn’t even qualify as “tough love.” You do not love the Catholic Church: you resent it and expect it to change to meet your worldly expectations. It is YOU who needs to change to meet the expectations of the Church. It’s ironic that you bring up St. Paul: a man who left behind the demands of the sinful world to conform to the Church. All of us could learn a lot from St. Paul.

              • Concerned says:

                Oh Andy – Paul also called the leadership to task when needed – he could have done of it without making himself credible – something the hierarchy has lost and you don’t seem to know much about. With your satisfaction to accept any behavior from those you agree with it is quite clear you do not love the church – remember the opposite of love is not “hate,” it’s “indifference.”

  3. Shocked says:

    Regarding the victims of rape…Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Vs. 10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Judgment has come. Nothing is hidden and all will be revealed. On the outside rapists go to prison for many years.

  4. Andrew says:

    Secularism is much more stealth but is every bit a threat to the Church as communism and freemasonry was and still are. Secularism seeks to marginalize Christianity to the point that the Church is no longer relevant to society. That’s the goal and sadly, we’re seeing the effects in today’s America. Secularism preaches a strict separation of Church and State (such wording is nowhere in the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence or Bill of Rights). By repeating this lie enough though, the lie becomes the truth and today, we have lost generations of Americans who are unaware of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage. Secularism has fostered radical feminism, gay marriage rights and an “anything goes” mentality which has resulted in broken families, deadbeat and absentee parents, out of control youth, broken down morals and sex scandals even within the Church (sorry liberals, its the truth). By marginalizing the Church, secularism replaces God with the government and supremacy within the government such as activist/unelected judges. That’s how we wound up with legalized abortion, no fault divorce, contraception, legalized pornography, etc. etc. etc. All of which has had a devastating impact on society. Throughout this entire valley of tears, the Catholic Church has maintained the Truth to much persecution. That persecution is about to intensify as the Church is purified from the sinful infiltrators (ushered in by the mistakes of secularism). The new holy father like those before him will have much to suffer but the Church will become stronger (albeit smaller) as a result.

    • Donna says:

      Secularism is Satanic and the downfall of all the churches. Thank you, Andrew, for not backing down to your moral and religious values and principles. If everyone including the Pope on down, had been steadfast and immovable, and not conforming to the world, we would not be in this situation we are in. All you bloggers should realize that everything Andrew has pointed out is true. Instead of ganging up on him, examine your own hearts. Is there sexual perversion in your life? Is that why you want the church to go soft on sin? You will find no peace because God hates hypocrites. He promised he would separate the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the tares. That includes everyone even up to the Pope. We are in a spiritual warfare. Start praying that there will be a worldwide revival of holiness, and righteousness, without which no one will see God. Get back into reading the word of God. Are all of you aware that God will not even hear our prayers if we are not honest? Isaiah 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I WILL NOT HEAR: your hands are full of blood.. Vs. 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. Vs. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. One more thing, be kind in your words for we will all give an account to our Holy God for every idle word we speak.

  5. Jo Ann says:

    When we, the Body of Christ, become penitent people of prayer,not pointing out the speck in another’s eye while doing nothing to remove the plank in our own,then and only then will the Church be relieved of the temptation to commit the sin of hypocrisy. Ora pro nobis.

    • Larry Perssiko says:

      I guess you don’t have a clue on what being raped as 6 year old child by a 30 to 60 year old adult does to that child. One would have to have a log in their eye to want to avoid addressing this issue.

  6. Concerned says:

    The first role of the next Pope needs to be fixing the horrible culture of hypocrisy and cowardice that exists in the Hierarchy of the Church. There is no way to deal with “Secularism” (the favorite buzzword of the Church which they believe diverts attention from the real issues) until they deal with the hypocrisy and cowardice that has shrouded the Hierarchy. All the tweeting, texting, posting or anything else is not going to restore the integrity, honesty, openness that is needed. Wuerl and too many other so called “Princes” of the church need to realize that they can not be taken seriously until they confront and tackle the real issue of scandal that is causing the church to crumble. They all should enter the Conclave in sackcloth and sit in the ashes as they pray for the guidance they need to put aside their pride, arrogance, pompous attitudes, denial, hypocrisy and cowardice. Maybe they would then have the chance of coming out humbled and ready to serve selflessly as Jesus instructed.

    • Andrew says:

      You want to talk about cowardice and hypocrisy? Well then let’s start with YOU! You spend the entire day pointing out the alleged faults of the Church on this board. That’s hypocrisy. Why? Because liberals like you are always throwing out the “don’t be jugemental” line and yet you people are the most judgemental and intolerant bunch around. You post the things you do within the safety of an online message board where you hide under the ruse of a name “concerned.” That’s cowardice. I swear, people who sit around and watch soap operas and reality television all day are more admirable than hatemongers like you concerned.

      • Tony says:

        Thank God for people like Concerned who calls for openness, transparency, and honesty in today’s institutional church.
        People like concerned call the prom pus asses like Cardinal Burke into line and not allow them to act like Lords and Master of the faithful.
        Thank God for people like concerned who calls the Curch to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

        • Concerned says:

          Thanks Tony – I wouldn’t even bother with someone like Andrew except that members of the hierarchy like to use people like him to say that everyone is happy with the Church. But his postings are nothing but dribble.

          • Andrew says:

            No Concerned, YOUR postings are the dribble and your inflated ego could really use a good ole humility smack down but obviously, the season of Lent means nothing to you do no point going there. Rant all you want: you’re only talking to yourself and a breed of like minded CINOs who are viscous and full of hatred right now because the Church isn’t changing to please the sins if the world. If you really were concerned about the state of the Church you’d be praying and encouraging others to pray for the Church. But, instead you’ve chosen to be an armchair critic on an obscure, irrelevant message board, pretending like you’re such an important intellectual who has the solution for it all. Well, you are not important and you are a hypocritical coward as I said earlier. The Church is in Gods control and if you had any wisdom, you’d understand that, respect that and pray for its intentions.

            • Concerned says:

              Oh Andrew, do you ever listen to yourself – if this message board is so obscure and irrelevant why are you here and why are so upset? And Andrew if the hierarchy allowed God to be in control and listened to God’s guidance and followed God’s way, why are they in such disarray and riddled with such scandal? Why? Because they act like you – in denial of the truth. I think it is pretty disgusting and silly of you to blame the current crisis in the church on God. Do you keep your eyes closed while your head s in the sand or do you open your eyes and offer it up as an act of penance?

      • Concerned says:

        Oh Poor pathetic ANdrew – let’s see – what difference does it matter if I post under Concerned or my first name – how brave of you to post under “Andrew” I wonder how many Andrews there are in the world, so we should have no problem picking you out. We can narrow it down to someone named Andrew who reeks of the smell of stagnation, decay, indifference, denial, and hate for the Church – the people of God. Are you denying the whole sex scandal that is still rocking the Church? Are you denying the hypocrisy of those who act like the Pharisees as Cardinal O’Brien has by denouncing homosexuality while has been engaged in it? Are you denyiing the cowardice of theose Bishops who have acted in a manner that has caused harm to children? Are you denying the self-serving actions of Joseph Ratzinger and then POpe Benedict who still refuses to take any action that will offer closure and healing to the horrendous sexual abuse of children that went on in the church for so long? In your mind is all of this good or does it simply not exist? Atheists do more to benefit the Church than people like you who are simply content to hide it all and not deal with it so that you can say that everything in the church is wonderful.


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