15 Quotes from Cardinal Wuerl’s “Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge”

On Pentecost Sunday, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington issued a new pastoral letter, Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge. Here are 15 highlights from the letter:

  1. “Being a Catholic means to recognize a unique and special relationship with Jesus risen from the dead, and his mission to bring everything to God the Father. We are not bystanders but rather participants in this work.”
  2. “As Catholics, we do not make our way through life alone, but as members of God’s family, his Church. Its members, those baptized into the life of Christ, are brothers and sisters with each other and form a body with Christ as its head.”
  3. “We are called to manifest the kingdom of God not merely within our church buildings, but out in the world, building up the common good.”
  4. “Pope Francis often calls on the faithful to “go forth” and be Spirit-filled missionary disciples, bringing Christ’s love and hope to the poor and forgotten, especially those on the margins of society, and also our family members, friends and coworkers, and all the people we meet. This is what we do; this is who we are.”
  5. “We experience the source and summit of our Catholic faith at Mass, when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Then at the end of the liturgy, we are called to “go forth” and bring the Lord’s truth and love to the world.”
  6. “The rich diversity of the communion of saints honors those numerous ways men and women have lived the perfection of the Gospel.”
  7. “The school should provide a moral climate where excellent education in a faith-based situation benefits each student. The lessons learned about faith and love in these institutions help graduates build a better world.”
  8. “Our failure to live up to the demands of the Gospel is a reality of life, but we are blessed with God’s mercy and forgiveness. The Lord’s capacity to forgive is infinitely greater than our ability to sin.”
  9. “When people are faithful and give good witness, they lead people to Christ. But when we give bad witness, we can lead people away from Christ.”
  10. “Our society prefers to listen in sound bites, rather than in semesters. Slogans replace thoughtful explanations. Consumerism suggests that our worth is found in the things we accumulate (Caritas in veritate, 22, 34; Evangelium vitae, 23). Individualism demands that we rely on no one but ourselves and our personal needs always take first place. Skepticism pressures us to trust only what we can observe and measure, and purports to destroy the classical and time-tested relationship between faith and reason and threatens to reject the basic right to religious liberty and freedom of conscience (Caritas in veritate, 42; Evangelium vitae, 23).”
  11. “An aggressive secularism and relativism assert a new morality. Those views that do not follow the new “moral” order are effectively “outlawed.” Anyone who challenges the new order as false is branded as “intolerant” and pressured to remain silent.”
  12. “Christian belief is grounded in an authentic humanism of truth in love which sees every human being as possessing inherent dignity and invaluable worth. It is neither discrimination nor an undue imposition on the freedom of others to promote that belief and live by it.”
  13. “Catholic teaching presents a beautiful vision for life even as we struggle to live it – even as we struggle fully to understand it.”
  14. “The newly formed Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington helped people during the Depression, and now in a new millennium, Catholic Charities is the largest private social services provider in the Washington area, bringing help and hope to 120,000 people annually in more than 65 programs at 48 locations.”
  15. “As we open ourselves to life in the Spirit, radiating fully Christ’s truth and love, we can also bring joy to a world that so desperately needs God. By being true to our Catholic identity, we can help manifest and realize God’s kingdom, coming to be here and now, a kingdom of truth, peace, joy and love that truly sets us free.”