Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Review: Life and Love

Never have I seen in one document such a succinct summary of key Church teachings on the value of human life, Marriage, contraception and how these teachings interacted with the culture.  From Pope Leo XIII, 140 years ago, to Pope Francis today, this book reviews critical
Papal letters and teachings, how and why they came about, and their predicted results of misunderstanding or ignoring those teachings.  Terry Polakovic, who wrote this masterpiece, is a co-founder of ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women).  Much of her feminine love comes through the smooth-flowing structure of this book.
In order to combat lies, you need to know the truth.  Terry explains the truth, and how it is today denied or misunderstood.   I especially liked her chapter on Pope Francis and his letter Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).  She provided me a new insight into Francis’ thinking in this document, which I had read no where else.  Church leaders, teachers, and critics should read this book.  The deep questions at the end of each chapter would make this an excellent tool for a Bible study group.

 Some quotes I especially liked:
·         “What was missing in the world was a correct understanding of what it means to be human.”
·         “The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.  Don’t be afraid, because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. … Nevertheless, our Lady has already crushed his head.”  (Sr. Lucia)
·         “We live in an age in need of wisdom.  ‘Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized.  For the future of the world stands in peril unless wise people are forthcoming.  Moreover, the great task has to be faced today for the renewal of society is that of recapturing the ultimate meaning of lie and its fundamental values.’   -- Guadium et Spes
·         “A culture of death is an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency.  When efficiency becomes a primary good, those who are weak and vulnerable come to be viewed as useless, or as an intolerable burden.”
·         “Love – caritas – will always prove necessary, even in the most just society.  There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love.  Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such.  There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help.  There will always be loneliness. …  The State, which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person --- every person --- needs, namely, loving personal concern.”   Deus Caritas Est
·         “The humility of realism helps us to avoid presenting ‘a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families.’  Idealism does not all marriage to be understood for what it is, that is, a ‘dynamic personal development and fulfillment.’”  … “The root of many challenges that families now experience is rampant individualism so prevalent today.”

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