Tag Archives: Michael Coren

The Future of Catholicism

Michael Coren discusses how the Church is dealing with the rise in modern secularism . . .

CorenThe Future of Catholicism
Michael Coren
Signal, 2013
256 pages, $24.95 hardcover

When Pope Francis was elected, the news media insisted on old questions: Will the Church adapt to the times and alter its teaching on homosexuality, abortion, contraception, celibate clergy, and divorce?

In his signature frank style, Coren explains why the Church believes as it does on these pressing moral issues, giving reasons for teaching and belief, and applying these to contemporary challenges. The Church is at a crossroads, but perhaps more significantly and accurately, the Western world is at a crossroads, and how the Church deals with this phenomenon will define our future.

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Legatus Summit: A call to action

Speakers at the annual event asked Legatus members to bring Jesus to a hurting world . . .

Legatus’ 2014 Summit was a rally cry for Catholic business leaders to activate their faith and change the culture for Christ. Both speakers and attendees voiced concern for the way America is slipping further away from the Christian ideals it was founded on.

The three-day annual conference, hosted by Legatus’ Orlando Chapter, drew nearly 500 Legates and guests from across the country to the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 6-8.

Faithful citizenship

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Speakers from former Sen. Rick Santorum to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput called on attendees to embrace the Legatus mission statement to live, learn and spread the Catholic faith. In his Feb. 7 homily, Archbishop Chaput exhorted Legates to exercise their rights of faithful citizenship to create a culture for Christ.

“When we do that, the Church will change because the leadership of the Church will be multiplied thousands upon thousands of times,” he said. “Rather than waiting for the bishops to act, you can act on your own — in union with the bishop, of course, and encouraged by him.”

In his Saturday evening address, former presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum challenged Legates to mobilize and save America before it’s too late. He pointed out that the vast majority of Americans are conservative Christians, but the liberal secularists who make up less than 20% of the population are highly organized, passionate and relentless in changing hearts and minds.

“America is broken,” he said. “We have to take responsibility for that. It was [on] our watch. America is broken because we’re afraid to fight. We must be committed, be all in. We must know what is on the line — souls, eternal souls. We don’t live in a time in America when we can afford to stop fighting.”

Archbishops Wenski, Aquila and Chaput

Archbishops Wenski, Aquila and Chaput

Santorum called on Legatus members to repair the damaged culture by activating their faith. “This organization, the people in this organization, can have a profound effect, can move the needle,” he said. “You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to be all in. You can do it. I have no doubt.”

Legates also heard from Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz, Bill Donohue from the Catholic League, author Matthew Kelly, pro-life activist John Smeaton, CEO and business author William Thorndike, Canadian author and journalist Michael Coren, fitness pioneer Dr. Kenneth Cooper, and the hosts of EWTN’s The Catholic View for Women. Motivational speaker Ross Shafer served as the master of ceremonies.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gómez celebrated the opening Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. Orlando Bishop John Noonan celebrated the closing Mass.

Call to evangelize

David Bereit

David Bereit

Other speakers urged attendees to bring their faith boldly into a culture that has rejected Christian values. Members of a three-bishop panel — Archbishop Thomas Wenski (Miami), Samuel Aquila (Denver) and Chaput (Philadelphia) — said that kind of evangelization can only happen when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Curtis Martin — a member of Legatus’ Denver Chapter and founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students — told attendees that discovering Jesus and coming into right relationship with him is akin to the parable of the buried treasure (Mt 13:44).

“To have that kind of passion — because we discovered the treasure first — that unleashes a power in the world that will transform the world,” he said. “When we allow God’s grace to transform us through our wounds and brokenness, nothing is impossible.”

Picking up on that theme, 40 Days for Life founder David Bereit assured Legates that abortion will end.

“History books are going to document how it ended,” he said. “I believe they’re going to point back to 2014, the tipping point when people realized it was a spiritual battle and the revival that broke out as a result. They’re going to read about how business people brought their best practices into the fight.”

Stephen Ray

Stephen Ray

Engaging the culture

Summit co-chair Troy King of Legatus’ Orlando Chapter said he was thrilled not only by the speakers, but by Legatus members’ determination to engage the culture as a result of the conference.

“The highlights were seeing the passion for the faith in all the speakers, seeing the new-found fire for the New Evangelization, and seeing how much emphasis they’re placing on putting us all into action,” he said. “I can’t wait to get home and put these things into action.”

Baton Rouge Legate Sam LaVergne, attending his second Summit, said the event far exceeded his expectations.

“Rick Santorum brought the house down, but the speaker that most intrigued me was Stephen Ray,” he said. “He made us think that visiting the Holy Land is something we need to do.”

Bishop John Noonan

Bishop John Noonan

LaVergne said that Legatus has been a blessing to him and his wife Sally.

“The most important thing that Legatus has done for us — even thought my wife and I have been Catholics for a long time — is the amount of education we’ve gotten to defend our faith,” he explained. “Legatus has empowered us with a lot of information to help us live our faith.”

In his Feb. 7 homily, Archbishop Chaput gave Legates all the advice they need to do just that. “Be embraced by the Lord Jesus,” he said. “Put on the Lord Jesus, as St. Paul says. Make him all of your life. When we do that, we will transform the face of the earth.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine. This article contains reporting from LifeSiteNews.com.

2013 Award Winners

Defender of the Faith
Matthew Kelly, Erin Mersino

Ambassador of the Year
Larry Blanford

Officer of the Year
Scott Teepe

Courage in the Marketplace
Paul Barron, Bruce Barron, Rod & Karen Mersino

Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization
Curtis Martin

Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award
David Bereit, Reggie Littlejohn, Rita Marker, John Smeaton

Angott Award
Baton Rouge, Cincinnati

Campbell Award
Cleveland, Mobile, Las Vegas, Twin Cities, Wichita

Reading Pope Francis

Michael Coren writes that Pope Francis is not the left-leaning socialist many think he is . . .

Michael Coren

Michael Coren

In addition to my work as a television host, radio panelist, columnist and author, I am a Catholic apologist — which doesn’t mean I say sorry for Catholicism. Rather, I explain and justify the Church I embraced nearly 30 years ago in my hometown of London, England.

On one particular weekend last November I left Dallas on a Saturday morning with the temperature rising to 84°F. Within 24 hours I was in Saskatoon, Canada, and it was -18°. It struck me that in spite of more than a 100° climate disparity, it was the same Church I was defending. It’s always the same Church, whatever the weather or language or context.

Random House asked me to write The Future of Catholicism after Pope Francis’ election in an attempt to explain to an often ill-informed and hostile media (and a public eager for knowledge) what could and could not change in Catholicism. The media’s questions were always the same: Would the Pope change Church teaching concerning abortion, same-sex “marriage,” contraception, and female ordination? In spite of wishful thinking from the usual anti-Catholic coalition, the answer is No. What is contained in Scripture, the deposit of faith, and natural law is written in perfectly formed, ancient, timeless stone.

The Church is not a product of fashion but an institution given to us by God and rooted in truth rather than time. The Church may change the way the message is delivered, may emphasize certain aspects over others, may even reform certain non-fundamentals, but it exists not to reflect but to shape the world.

We saw this at the end of November with Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). It’s a lyrical, compelling document that affirms the exclusively male priesthood and simultaneously calls for more women in positions of Catholic influence; it magnifies the dignity of the human person and simultaneously condemns the gossip-driven, obsessive triviality of celebrity culture; it explains the necessity of papal authority and simultaneously calls for more national autonomy so the Holy Father can be helped and supported.

There was one particular aspect, however, that seemed to fascinate a media which increasingly reduces the solemn to the sound bite. We have seen this intellectual flabbiness again and again when journalists respond to the pope’s comments. In this case it was his criticism of “unfettered capitalism” and need to make God — and not money — the object of our love and worship. He wrote that extreme economic inequality was cruel, that people were entitled to jobs, food and education — and that some of those who controlled the world’s economies were not always to be relied upon.

Hardly Vladimir Lenin on a rant! The Church has been committed to the poor and the marginalized ever since Our Savior walked the earth. Jesus came for all of us, but if some of those “all of us” are in despair and poverty, the Church has to take notice.

The papacy formed its modern economic teaching as far back as 1891 with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. The late 19th century witnessed a vehemently aggressive capitalism that often refused to empathize with workers and their families. This in turn led to the rise of state socialism. Leo condemned both, outlining private property as a basic right but reminding employers that they had a Catholic duty to pay their employees a fair wage.

Fast forward 125 years and Pope Francis is not condemning capitalism, but outlining how a free market without any Christian imperative — especially in the developing world — can lead to ethical disaster. Even in the West, we all know the “low taxes, low morals” brigade who care not a fig for marriage, life, and faith but obsess about fiscal issues. The Church is grander, deeper, better than that. It defies political labels.

Socialism has always limited religious freedom, which is why no Catholic can embrace such a materialistic ideology. But capitalism without God and Christ also runs contrary to religious liberty as we see when the super-wealthy of Hollywood and Wall Street mock and suppress those of us who defend Catholic values and virtues.’

We are Catholic not to be loved but to love. And if anybody is looking for popular approval, the Church is probably the wrong venue. Pope Francis is experiencing something of a honeymoon with the media right now, but his refusal to compromise Christ’s teachings regarding an all-male priesthood, for example, is already earning disapproval from the usual suspects. We look neither right nor left but up; we work to make this world a better place but know that this is merely the land of shadows and that real life has not yet begun. This is the past, present, and future of Catholicism.

MICHAEL COREN is a Toronto-based columnist, author and television broadcaster.

Summit Speaker: Michael Coren

Legatus editor Patrick Novecosky speaks to Canadian journalist Michael Coren . . .

Michael Cohen

Michael Coren

He may not be a household name in the Lower 48, but Michael Coren has earned his place as Canada’s most respected conservative journalist. A convert to Catholicism, he has worked in print, radio and television. The author of Why Catholics Are Right and Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity, Coren spoke to fellow Canadian Patrick Novecosky, editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine, about his upcoming appearance at the 2014 Legatus Summit.

You’re not so well-known in the U.S. You might be called “Canada’s Bill O’Reilly.” Fair comparison?

I wish I earned his money! I don’t want to be critical of Bill, but I consider myself a little more thoughtful person. I don’t do “outrage,” and my politics have never been as polarizing or polarized as his. I can’t imagine him writing long, boring biographies on G.K. Chesterton or H.G. Wells.

You’re a to-the-point conservative. Have you won converts to conservatism?

My conservatism is a byproduct of my Catholicism; it’s never the other way around. I’m not a partisan in the political sense. There’s no party I could embrace completely.

People have come to the Church because of my books. I’m not a theologian. I’m not a scholar. I’m a journalist. I see myself as someone from the tradition of G.K. Chesterton or Hilaire Belloc. Most of the work I do is in the non-Catholic public square. I have put people off, but I certainly have won people over.

The current administration has wreaked havoc on the economy and religious liberty. Where do you see this going?

The U.S. can survive most things. It’s not a political shift. It’s a cultural shift, a societal shift. In the United States, certain assumptions have been moved. On the same-sex “marriage” issue, for example, this was an open, viable debate. But now, if you question it — it’s not that you’re wrong on that issue — you’re considered irrational or even un-American.

Secularism is advancing at a rapid rate. Is the Catholic Church in trouble?

If I relied on how I feel at the moment, I would cease to function. I have to go back to Chaucer and Dante and realize how bad things have been in the past. The Church will be fine, but it’s going to be a persecuted Church. I’m writing a book called The Future of Catholicism, which comes out in November. I can tell you that we will face the open hostility of society at large in the years to come. In your place of work, if you say that you don’t believe that two men can be married, you’re going to be ostracized. The whole culture is going to turn against you.

What’s closest to your heart? What are your personal priorities?

I would like to be able to communicate the Catholic message in the best way I can. If I’ve been given any sort of gift, I seem to be able to defend the Church which, in the end, is the only thing that matters. It’s not about party, it’s not about nation, it’s about the Church, which hasn’t been defended well enough. There is no meaning for me without that.

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Sharing the faith one book at a time

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan uses popular Catholic books to spread the faith . . .

Thomas Monaghan

Thomas Monaghan

Throughout my life I have always been a ravenous reader. The topics of the books have changed over the years, but I’ve always found reading to be a tremendous means of expanding my horizons and broadening my knowledge on a variety of topics.

In recent years, most of the books I’ve read have been spiritual. This past Lent, I resolved to read a spiritual book a week, and I found it very beneficial (and not so hard if you don’t watch TV). In fact, I have found that it’s a good way to evangelize or simply share the faith. When traveling, I have ample opportunities to read. I typically carry a book in my briefcase for easy access. My books have also led to many interesting conversations. People notice what I’m reading and comment on it. I often use the book as a conversation starter.

In fact, I have gotten into many discussions on airplanes about a book I was reading and ended up just giving them the book. Often times though, I will be talking to someone about the faith or a related topic and ask if I can send them a book that I have recently read, which I think they might find helpful or answer some question they might have. It may be a fallen-away Catholic, a Muslim or someone who doesn’t understand the Church’s teaching on abortion.

I’ve found that most people are willing to share their address with me. I write it down on the back of my itinerary, and when I get back to my office, I mail them a copy of the book we were talking about. This is actually pretty easy to do, and while I obviously have no idea what percentage of people actually read the books, I have received a good number of letters thanking me for sending them a book.

We all know Legatus’ mission to study, live and share our faith. This is one relatively simple way of sharing our faith that I thought would be worth sharing. Finally, let me leave you with a list of the books that I commonly send out. It’s by no means exhaustive, but it may be helpful.

Why Catholics Are Right by Michael Coren; If Protestantism Is True by Devin Rose; The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic and Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly; Evangelical Catholicism by George Weigel; Unplanned by Abby Johnson and Did Muhammad Exist? by Robert Spencer.

THOMAS MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder and chairman. He is a member of Legatus’ Naples Chapter.

Why Catholics Are Right

You won’t be able to put down Michael Coren’s profound work of apologetics . . .

Why Catholics Are Right
McClelland & Stewart, 2011
240 pages, $26.99

In this brilliant work of apologetics, Coren examines four main aspects of Catholicism as they are encountered, understood and misunderstood. Beginning with a frank look at the clergy abuse scandal, he demolishes some of the most common attacks on the Church.

Tracing Catholic history, he deconstructs anti-Catholic arguments regarding the Crusades, the Inquisition, Galileo and the Holocaust. Finally, he explores the dignity of life argument and why it’s so important to Catholicism.

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