Thursday, December 29, 2016

Steve Ray here. I conceived of the idea of a Family Holy Land Pilgrimage a few years ago when I saw how many young people were leaving the faith as soon as they got into college. I remember how my four children were fundamentally changed by their early trips to Israel with us.

I though, “Why should parents and grandparents pay $50,000+ to send their children to university where so mean lose their Faith when they could spend a fraction of that to send them to the Holy Land with us — to insure they will NEVER lose their faith?”

So, here we are in the Holy Land in conjunction with Franciscan University of Steubenville with two full buses of marvelous excited kids and young people galore! Enjoy our first day arriving in Israel! We had our first Mass at Mount Carmel at Stella Maris and you can listen to the opening homily here.

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Slogan on their sign

We have a “church” near our house that is making it comfortable for anyone to join no matter who they are, what they believe or what they practice. They say it is our job to accept and love, to be nice, not to judge.

Celebrate Diversity is a slogan of acceptance, multiculturalism, non-judgmental inclusion. Some of this is great. We should welcome people, recognize and appreciate different customs, cultures, languages and traditions. We should love and accept any and every human person.

(Side note: But I guarantee that they would not not be accepting of me and my stand on Catholic and biblical morals unless I kept my mouth shut and my thoughts to myself. Those who claim to be the most liberal and tolerant and usually the most intolerant bigots of all.)

But this is also a nefarious slogan when it means we must turn our eyes for moral deviance and sinful lifestyles and conduct. We use these slogans to change society and to force everyone to accept anything. Celebrating Diversity is not just aimed at cultures and languages and peoples, it is also calculated to indiscriminately accept lifestyles and conduct that is immoral, deviant and sinful (oh, don’t those words smack of intolerance and judgmentalism??)

How do we choose our churches today? Do we ask what the God of heaven and earth requires of us? Do we ask whether Our Lord actually started a Church which still exists or whether the “church” is merely a gathering of diverse people who love (i.e. “nice”) and don’t judge each other; a “church” conformed to fit anyone’s set of principles — what the particular groups votes on to be right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable?

Americans tend to choose their churches like they choose their restaurants. On Monday afternoon we drive down Main Street and notice all the restaurants — we ask ourselves, “What do I FEEL like today?” Our stomach tells us which drive-thru to turn into.

On Sunday we drive down Main Street and see all the churches lining the street and ask ourselves the same question, “What do I FEEL like today?”

Under the Rainbow anyone and anything is included and OK (except my conservative worldview :-)

We pick a “church” that fits OUR way of thinking, acting, living, conduct. Very few choose a church based on what God has revealed and what He expects.

That is why I am a Catholic Christian. While it is not the easiest, the softest, or the one that approves of anything and everything. But it is multi-cultural, and accepts all people like a hospital accepts all those who seek healing. It stands immovable in its love of the human person but not of immoral or sinful lifestyles and conduct. She won’t change her views because this is the Church Jesus founded and He is building. He doesn’t change him mind on these matters nor does He define truth based on a popular vote.

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