In recent decades the art of the homily has seen serious decline. As a result many churchgoers for whom the Sunday sermon constitutes much of their catechetical and spiritual sustenance go home ill-fed. It needn’t be so: Good preaching has the power to build up Christians and equip them to share the gospel.
We all know the story from school: In 1588, the plucky English navy took on the supposedly superior military might of the Spanish Armada—and won. Was it, as conventional wisdom has it, a victory for free enterprise, religious pluralism, and England’s national pride? Or have the historical accounts been colored by anti-Catholic bias?
Laws are necessary for a just society. But when the government passes laws that are contrary to justice itself, are we still required to obey them? The Church’s answer to this question goes to the heart of what it means to "render unto Caesar."
Catholics who reject the Church’s teaching authority dismiss it as man-made—rules arbitrarily set forth by mere human agents. What enables us to yield to the authority of the Church, given by Christ and eternally guided by his Spirit? We must practice docility, a rare virtue in a culture that prides itself on willful self-determination.
"The gravest obligation requires the acceptance and practice, not of the religion which one may choose, but of that which God prescribes and which is known by certain and indubitable marks to be the only true one."
~ Leo XIII in his Encyclical Immortale Dei (November 1, 1885); on our fundamenal duty; (from the article Religious Toleration)