Wednesday, December 23, 2015

7 historic photos with Catholic back stories II

This posts continues the theme of the first "historic photos post" here at The Catholic Voyager. Following are seven more historic photos with Catholic back stories.

1. Nuns on the swing, 1963

Credit: New York Daily News Archive / Contributor
In November 1963, the Catholic Committee on Scouting of North Bergen, Boy Scouts of America visited St. Joseph's Village, a home to nearly 200 dependent children in Rockleigh, New Jersey. The complex operated from 1958-1972 and was run by the Sisters of St. Joseph to give care to children without a viable home situation.

Jim Brown, webmaster and historian at the St. Joseph's Village website, recalls the boy scouts' visits:
There were two times the scouts had a clam bake there, as I remember. And I was at it one of the times. That day, they had different activities that the scouts were doing, like rope climbing and things like that. And the nuns were participating in them.
Pictured above are two of the sisters enjoying a ride on the Village's playground swing set, near the Barbara Givernaud Cottage, a residence home for the children.

Today, the Village is now a facility for a variety of human services, as summarized at the St. Joseph's Village website:
After the Village closed it doors for good in 1972, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark sold the property to the Bergen County Special Services on the condition that it be used to help people. After making considerable modifications, the county opened several human services programs — a 110 bed nursing home, a substance abuse rehabilitation program, a high school for autistic children, and other programs for youth with emotional and behavioral needs.

2. The Copiapó Mining Rescue, 2010


On August 5, 2010, over 2,000 feet beneath the earth's surface, the San José copper-gold mine in Copiapó, Chile suffered a cave-in. Over 700,000 tons of rock sealed the exit on 33 miners. The following days would prove taxing on the hearts of the watching world.

Mining companies throughout the globe offered their assistance. The owner of one company, Drillers Supply International, was Greg Hall, a Catholic deacon at Christ the Redeemer church in, Cypress, Texas.

In a recent interview with Aleteia, Deacon Hall recalls:
The miners were somewhere between 400 and 800 meters down. The mining equipment only goes to 400 meters. We were called in to help them get to 800. ... After day 10 I was convinced it was a recovery effort, not a rescue. There was a place in the mine called the “refuge” where trapped workers could go during an emergency, but there were only provisions there for three days.
Yet, on day 17, a drill penetrated the "refuge" chamber, and the rescue crew could hear tapping on the end of the drill. When they raised the drill, on the end was a note in Spanish reading: "We are OK in the refuge, the 33."

How did 33 men survive 17 days on 3 days rations? They ate two teaspoons of tuna, one biscuit, and a sip of milk every other day. They also had dug for water and rationed extra water from the radiators.

Now with an opening to the miners, supplies were sent for their continued survival. Yet the Chilean government's plan for rescue at this point was scheduled to last 5-6 months. Hall met with officials and convinced them to attempt what became known as Plan B.

With help from a team of specialists and high-tech equipment from around the world, the rescue team sought to widen a hole which was originally 5 inches in diameter to a hole 26 inches in diameter. Throughout the ordeal, Hall prayed and prayed. While praying the Liturgy of the Hours one morning, he recalls praying: "I’m going to do everything I can, Lord, but this is not my work, this is your work."

One hundred feet from finishing the widened tunnel, the drill stopped. "We were stuck, totally, 100 percent stuck," Hall recalls. The equipment had already defied computer modeling for that depth and that pressure to that point. The situation felt bleak. Hall prayed again, "I’ve done everything I can, Lord, this is your work.  You are going to have to send your angels." And the drill finally came to life again, finishing the 26-inch wide tunnel through which the miners would be rescued one by one via a narrow capsule. "God drilled the hole," Hall says.

Pictured above is Mario Gomez, the ninth miner rescued, pausing to pray after reaching the surface. The narrow transport capsule is in the background. The 33rd and final miner was rescued on October 13, 2010, over two months after the cave-in, and also the feast of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

The incident is now a major motion picture called The 33.


3. The Boxer Rebellion, 1900


In 1900, Chinese Christians sustained some of the worst persecution in Chinese history during "The Boxer Rebellion."

According to History.com, a number of Chinese rebelled against Christian residents and missionaries, and other Western immigrants, blaming "their poor standard of living on foreigners who were colonizing their country." Whether immigration attributed to their poverty was a matter of debate. For instance, a large percentage of Boxers came "from Shandong province, which had been struck by natural disasters such as famine and flooding."

During the rebellion, "the Boxers killed Chinese Christians and Christian missionaries and destroyed churches and railroad stations and other property." Pictured above, center, is a Roman Catholic priest identified as "Pater Schen," with two Catholic guards, preparing for a siege on their church by the rebels. In researching the back story of this photo, I was not able to ascertain the fate of these specific men. However, the Catholic Encyclopedia records a number of martyrs during the Boxer Rebellion, including the Lazarist priest, Jules Garrigues, Doré, two Marist brethren, and Father d'Addosio.

The Boxer rebellion officially ended in 1901 following the help of allied forces which included Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.


4. "Christ of the Abyss," 2009 (1965)

Photo by Stephen Weir, (stephenweir.com)

For our next photo, we go subaqua to the waters of Key Largo, Florida. Pictured above is a 2009 photo of one of the premier attractions of Key Largo––the Christ of the Abyss statue. It was installed in the underwater John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in 1965.

The statue is the third underwater sculpture of its kind, cast from the same mold as the original, which dates back to 1954 near Genoa, Italy. The second, installed in 1961, is off the coast of Grenada.

The Key Largo statue celebrated its 50th year this year. The man responsible for transporting the replica of the original Italian statue is Gabe Spataro. Earlier this year, at age 83, he celebrated the statue's anniversary by diving, while legally blind, no less, in Key Largo to lay wreaths on the statue.

Discovery News recently produced a short video on the Key Largo Christ of the Abyss. The video features the photographer credited above, Stephen Weir. Although Weir himself is not a Christian, he said of the statue, "For me, when I first saw Jesus, it was inspirational." Watch the Discovery News video here.


5. The Penitent Thief, 1961


If you think this photo looks like characters from Dragnet taking detectives' notes with Catholic statues, you're not far off. This photo appeared on the front page of the June 9, 1961 issue of the Denver Post with the headline: Religious Statues Prod Thief's Conscience. The brief story reads:
Denver detectives Walter Starr (left) and Arthur Moser make a list of the religious statues left, apparently by a thief, in vestibule of the parish house of Loyola Catholic Church, 2301 York St. The statues were in three suitcases, and the Rev. Ed P. Murphy left them undisturbed several days, thinking they belonged to a visiting priest. Finally he opened them, and in looking over the statues found the name of their owner, Hans Dorff, a San Francisco importer. Fr. Murphy wrote to Dorff, and Dorff notified Denver police. Seems the statues and other belongings were stolen from his car parked on a Denver street the night of May 29.

6. Smoke Signals, 1963


This gentleman is cooking up none other than smoke signals from inside the Vatican during the 1963 papal conclave at which Pope Paul VI was eventually elected. This was the first time special chemicals were added to the signal smoke. To outside onlookers, white smoke signifies a new pope has been chosen. Black smoke signifies no result. During the prior conclave in 1958, what was intended to be black smoke escaped white, confusing the audience into thinking a pope had been named, when in fact he had not.1 The confusion later led to the chemical additives of 1963. In 2005, ringing of bells were also added as part of the signal for an affirmative papal election.
1Burke-Young, Francis A. Passing the Keys. Madison Books. Maryland, Oxford. 2001. p.110

 

7. Comet Hunters, 1946


Either the two priests above were holding a pair of binoculars when they shrunk, or they are Jesuits at the Vatican Observatory. On February 2, 1946, the announcement was made of the "Timmers Comet," named for Brother Matthew Timmers above, with his associate Father Walter Miller.

The comet, visible with telescopic assistance, passed over the Americas. Subscribers of a Harvard "announcement" list received a mailing that included "Tables of position" for the comet's spring travels. Author J. Hugh Pruett for the Spokane Daily Chronicle recounted his observation:
Two of us first looked for Comet Timmers in a wonderfully clear and moonless sky on the evening of February 25. There...was in the position predicted, a fuzzy little object with a bright central nucleus and a faint indication of a nebulous tail pointing away from the sun––as do all orthodox cometary appendages. Surrounding it in the circular field of view were many little stars of various brilliancies. We were reaching into the great spaces for an interplanetary traveler far beyond the ken of unaided vision.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Reactions to CO Planned Parenthood shooting reactions

EDIT 12/2/15 to add: Witnesses, among others, apparently say the CO shooter initiated his violent actions outside Planned Parenthood and closer to a bank down the road. This contradicts the media's central narrative on this story. In the Nov. 29 Examiner, we read: "the Public Information Officer for the Colorado Springs Police Department 'told reporters that the entire incident started with shooting at the Planned Parenthood facility;' multiple reports conflict with this narrative, including accounts from eye witnesses." For the purposes of the blog post below, the sentiments remains the same, as they are a reaction to reactions about pro-lifers in relation to this tragedy. 
On Friday, November 27, 2015 a man entered a Colorado Planned Parenthood, shooting and killing three and wounding several others. We immediately saw a multitude of pro-life supporters and Christians condemn the act and pray for the victims and against future violence. See here for just a handful of examples.

Also immediately came a geyser of Planned Parenthood and abortion supporters on social media and elsewhere accusing the pro-life movement for causing this act. For instance:
Site Of Planned Parenthood Attack Is A Hub For Anti-Abortion Christians- so not surprised this happened there... ––Martina Navratilova, former professional tennis star and pro-abortion activist, Twitter post on November 29, 2015)
Perhaps Navratilova is unaware that for decades Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide have been the site of Christians praying against abortion, day after day, year after year, and yet violence is all but non-existent.

Another example:
Carly Fiorina and every single one of them has blood on their hands this morning. And these idiots that put out these deceptive videos in the first place... Yeah, it's because of them. … These videos are complete bull---. You get lunatics like this all ginned up. "Oh, they're selling baby parts, and blah blah blah blah…" ––Stephanie Miller, pro-abortion radio host, on her November 30, 2015 show.*
Common folk likewise expressed similar sentiments, often suggesting that pro-life rhetoric is responsible for the shooting. In social posts, the terms "Christian," "hypocrites," and "Planned Parenthood" are often assembled to suggest Christians condone this act.

And, as evidenced by Miller's rant above, often, The Center for Medical Progress is specifically brandished the culprit. The murders occurred "because of them," Miller indicted.

But what is the 800-lb gorilla in the room about these bold accusations against The Center for Medical Progress and other pro-lifers? The avoided questions are such as these: Is what they say true? Does abortion take a human life? Does Planned Parenthood kill enwombed babies and sell their body parts?

In the case of The Center for Medical Progress, what we have is not so much what The Center has said, but what they have revealed Planned Parenthood's own management and affiliates to have said. For example:
We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact. ––Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director for Medical Services, Planned Parenthood

On liver tissue, because that's such an area of demand for us. ... As you probably know, one of the issues with neural tissue, it's so fragile. It's insanely fragile...it's the hardest thing in the world to ship. ... [T]hey don't want to know where it comes from. I can see that. Where they're like, "We need limbs, but no hands and feet need to be attached." ... Or they want long bones, and they want you to take it all off, like make it so that we don't know what it is. ––Cate Dyer, StemExpress CEO

If we want to pursue this, mutually, I'll talk to Ian and see how he feels about using a less crunchy technique to get more whole specimens. ... When we first started this program, we had a situation, a policy that she would call the day before and how many ten-weekers do you have. She wouldn't come in unless we had a chance for getting tissue that day. ––Dr. Mary Gatter, President, Medical Directors' Council, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Medical Director, Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley

We've just been working with people who want particular tissues. Like, a, you know, cardia–– they want cardiac, or they want eyes, or they want neural. ... oh, gonads. Oh my god, gonads. ––Dr. Carolyn Westhoof, Senior Medical Advisor, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
These quotes are, sadly, a small sample and can be found among others at The Center for Medical Progress' Investigative Footage page in video and transcript. And these don't even include the procedural improprieties nor the visual evidence exposed in the videos. Pro-lifers don't have to say Planned Parenthood sells body parts. Planned Parenthood is saying it themselves.

So where does that leave us? Essentially, devout PP supporters are saying, "If The Center for Medical Progress hadn't exposed Planned Parenthood's management admitting to selling babys' body parts, no one would be upset with them!"

Perhaps a final example may help put this in perspective. Imagine a brothel consisting of victims of the sex slave trade. An undercover video exposes the evils occurring within its walls. Then an unstable individual enters the brothel and goes on a murderous rampage, killing several, including police staff on the scene. Would we turn a blind eye to the women and children victimized in the brothel? Would the killer's actions erase or nullify what had happened and what will continue to happen to the women and children victimized in the brothel? Would we focus blame on the undercover videographer for exposing what happened there? It would be irrational to do so.

Being both opposed to the murder of adults and the murder of babies doesn't make one a hypocrite. It's nonsensical to suggest otherwise. Nonsensical, emotional, irrational rants on social media are one of the hallmarks of our time.  The Christian needn't let another's mad ravings define him/her.




*Attempts to discredit the content of The Center for Medical Progress' videos based on the videos being "edited" are hardly honest, particularly when an accusation is never paired with examples. Lengthy segments of the Planned Parenthood representatives proceed unedited. The words they spoke are in context. Readers can see the videos or transcripts for themselves. Even the Fiorina accusation, mentioned in the above quote by Miller, is an embarrassing attempt to cloak what actually occurs at Planned Parenthood clinics. Essentially, PP supporters reacted to her comments by insisting the baby she described was different than the one whose brain was actually procured. See a breakdown of that matter here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Catholic Voyager now on Facebook

Visit The Catholic Voyager on Facebook by clicking here and give a "Like" while you're there!
And a reminder, TCV is also on Twitter here!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

7 21st century reasons to consider the Church

Edit 11/9/2015 to add:
Listen to my interview about this blog post on The Don Johnson Radio Show from 11/6/2015 at MP3 archive here. My segment begins at 35:30, but I encourage anyone to listen to the whole episode or any other archive of Don's show.
The centuries have seen manifold ways by which converts, reverts, and lifelong Catholics experience a spark of faith ignited into a fiery love story. This post is intended as a thought exercise with regard to some reasons that may compel the ponderer to consider Catholicism. These are by no means all the reasons someone might be moved to consider Catholicism. Theses are by no means even necessarily the best. Also, these are in no particular order. These are merely reasons perhaps pertinent to 21st century themes and attitudes.

1.  The Church is pro-science
The current talk of water on Mars reminds us how much scientific discussions are prevalent today. Despite what stereotype you may have heard, the Church has been overwhelmingly an advocate of science throughout the centuries. Hundreds Catholic scientists are listed here, and those are just the clergy. Many don't know even the Big Bang theory was spearheaded by a Catholic priest (here he is hanging with Einstein). I've profiled a few others on this blog.

The Galileo affair seems to be a totem of sorts, used by those who seek to paint the Church as anti-science. But not only would that, if true, be among the exceptions of the Church's pro-scientific history, but it's not quite true. The Church didn't reject Galileo's view simply because it was scientific. Many articles have been written to clarify the subject (e.g. Catholic.com or even by atheist writer Tim O'Neil who details where Galileo's proofs fell short).

Nevertheless, our focus here is on modern times. Are you a believer in, say, biological evolution, but afraid you might have to forfeit that view if you joined the Church? Worry not. Pope Benedict XVI said, "there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such." Pope Francis, who has a degree in chemistry, has likewise acknowledged no opposition between faith and science. Prior Popes have made similar sentiments.

As discussed in prior posts, the Church avails herself to science when scrutinizing claims of miracles. Priests with scientific backgrounds even operate the Vatican Observatory. Recourse to science is not an exception for the Church, but the norm.

2. No "hashtag" theology
Have you ever found yourself yearning to understand someone's view, but the best you can get is some hashtag or bumper sticker slogan in response? Maybe the extent of your colleague's view is nothing deeper than changing their social media photo to some symbol. You want to know how your colleague's view accounts for a fair question or two. But if you challenge that view, you get either the slogan repeated, or perhaps you are called a bad name. And you wonder to yourself, if my colleague's view can't account for any scrutiny, how baseless must it be?

Yet, often, the Church is accused of offering a faith without evidence. Not so. If you've ever taken the time to pick up an encyclical or document of a Church council, you can expect depth of reason. Even in the Catechism, which is more of a summary of doctrines, the paragraphs build upon one another. A great doctrinal thesis like St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica, written in the 13th century, is fraught with opponents' arguments against any doctrine. It's very structure confronts multiple "objections" at every turn.

The Council of Trent in the 16th century was largely a response to clarify and fortify doctrines in the face of Protestant objections. So, for instance, when the Church was accused of worshipping saints or icons, the Council assured objectors: "not that any divinity, or virtue, is believed to be in [the saints], on account of which they are to be worshipped..." Or when the Church was accused of abusive sale of indulgences, the Council confronted the scrutiny and conceded:  
And being desirous that the abuses which have crept therein, and by occasion of which this honourable name of Indulgences is blasphemed by heretics, be amended and corrected, [the Council] ordains generally by this decree, that all evil gains for the obtaining thereof, whence a most prolific cause of abuses amongst the Christian people has been derived, be wholly abolished.
Reason and consideration of objections is nothing uncommon in the Church. Even at the first Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-35), Peter and James elaborated on circumcision, the relationship with Gentiles, and salvation with much reason and recourse to Scripture.

Perhaps one considering the Church's position on this or that doctrine still disagrees. But one could not accuse the Church of offering an explanation with the mere depth of a hashtag. Nor could one accuse the Church of turning a blind eye to objections. Wouldn't it be characteristic of a Church that brokers in truth to have no fear of objections, nor fear of delving deeply into those truths?

3. No "yes-man" mentality
It's election season. And if you're old enough to remember any election, you can probably think of a politician's promise that somehow never made it to the table. Maybe you can think of a lot. Or perhaps you've been with a date who just affirmed everything you did or said, having no perceptions of his/her own. Or if you're a boss and you have one of those "yes-men" underlings, who are only interested in making you feel good about yourself, even if the truth would otherwise help you.

It's no secret the Church is willing to say things many people don't want to hear. Don't think it's just about hot-button issues like "gay marriage," toward which the Church is perceived to take an "unpopular" view. There are plenty of other people who don't like hearing the Church's stance on fornication, masturbation, confessing sins to a priest, or even the existence of hell. Perhaps you don't like those views yourself. You're still invited to study, scrutinize, and give an honest examination of the Church's views on any moral or faith-based doctrine. If the Church was into mere membership numbers, all of these teachings might go out the window. But the point here in reason #3 is that you can expect answers from the Church not founded on coddling or patronizing you. Does that kind of directness sound refreshing?

4. Consistency
Tying into reason #3, you will get consistency from the Church on matters of faith and morals. There has never been a single defined teaching on such a matter that was ever reversed. The Church has studied the Scriptures and the Apostolic deposit of faith for centuries, deriving truths from that single "wellspring." So, for instance, the Church never has said God is not Trinity after defining God as Trinity at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. We're celebrating the 1690th anniversary of that dogma this year. Divinity of Christ? Articulated at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. Happy 1584th anniversary to that dogma. Many other teachings have been taught consistently throughout the centuries or through other councils and documents.

In the early days of the "gay marriage" debate, Slate, which is not by any stretch a champion of all things Church, published a harsh critique of those who do not support "gay marriage." Of those critiqued, the author conceded, "Only the Catholic Church has maintained logical consistency" with regard to sexual teaching. The author refers to the Church's view that the proper context of a sexual act is within marriage and open to life. Thus, for centuries, the Church has taught as disordered not only something like a "gay marriage," but fornication, masturbation, adultery, contraception, etc. Not every supporter of "traditional" marriage bears this consistency.

So the Church doesn't change faith or moral dogmas. Perhaps a flippant skeptic would simply accuse the Church of stubbornness. On the other hand, if the Church claims to posit sacred truths, one of the characteristics we should observe is consistency. Water is not H2O on Monday and something else on Tuesday while still called water. The purpose of this particular post is not to give a thorough defense of this or that dogma, but to invite souls to consider what the Church is proposing. Isn't consistency something you seek in a truth?

5. Don't worry about hypocrite Christians
We've heard it before. Someone tells you they reject Catholicism on account of this or that scandal by this or that priest, friend, or whomever. They don't want to be part of the Church of which that person is a part. Christian hypocrites misbehaving on Saturday but back in church on Sunday were actually used by Anton Lavey as a reason for founding of his brand of Satanism. The Hindu leader Ghandi is known for stating some version of the quote: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Even the well-known Catholic convert and theologian, Dr. Peter Kreeft, when asked what is orthodox Christianity's greatest obstacle, replied, "Our own sins."

First, I'd like to note there are many holy persons in the Church, practicing the faith heroically in charity and persistence. The skeptic should grant these souls due consideration as well. In fact, these souls are those about whom Dr. Kreeft says, "Only saints can save the world." If you think you can be one, please consider the Church! We can use more saints!

But let's return to the notion of sinful Christians. The bad news is, there are Christian hypocrites. The good news is, our faith is not founded on the sins of the Church's members. Our faith is founded on Jesus Christ. There is no other. As Scripture states, "For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 3:11)

As well, there is no institution free of sinners. To reject the Church on account of sinful members is to embrace some other sinful body, including the self-governed irreligious individual. Thus, rejecting the Church on account of sinful members cannot be a deal breaker.

It's also worth clarifying what "hypocrisy" actually is. A person who sins and is Christian is not automatically a hypocrite. I think some critics make this mistake. Consider this analogy. A father addicted to cigarettes is not a hypocrite if he tells his son not to smoke while confessing the harm of his own smoking. Rather, he would be a hypocrite if he tells his son not to smoke while justifying his own smoking.

But wait, says the skeptic, the Bible also says, "you will know them by their fruits." (Matt. 7:20). So that's proof the Church is bad! But is the sinner practicing Catholic teaching? No. But wait again, says the skeptic. You're just saying Christians who sin aren't acting Christian. That's the "No true Scotsman fallacy!" Not so. Catholicism has identifiable moral doctrines. One can read summaries of these in the Catechism. (See the Catechism index here for an alphabetical topic list.) It is Catholic teaching that stealing is sinful. If a Catholic steals, he's not practicing Catholicism, even if he is a baptized Catholic. The Scotsman fallacy refers to making up false or arbitrary criteria after the fact in order to protect the original claim.

Let's consider another example. This is fitting, because the Church often refers to herself as a "hospital for sinners" (a moniker which admits to the sins of members, by the way). Let's say there is a certain fever going around in a village. A doctor visits and prescribes a medicine. After a month, 90% of the villagers still have the fever. So the medicine is faulty, right? Not so fast! We need more information. As it turns out, 90% of the villagers stopped taking the medicine. The 10% who took the medicine no longer have the fever. In this example, one can't judge the medicine based on the actions of those not taking the medicine. Similarly, one can't judge Catholicism based on occasions when Catholicism is not practiced.

6. Never be a pawn of your time
Have you ever heard someone say, "The Catholic Church needs to get with the times?" or something like, "Too much Church teaching is out of step with 21st century thinking..." And you wondered, if the 21st century has the "right thinking," what happens when a flippant 22nd century blogger says "get with the times"? And what happens to, say, the idea that it is wrong to steal because the 18th century B.C. decried it in Hammurabi's Code?

And then, perhaps you asked yourself what relevance does a calendar date have on the soundness of a moral teaching?

If you ask these kinds of questions, then perhaps you prefer to live in accord with sound morals regardless of whether some other century taught them.

The early 20th century Catholic philosopher and convert G.K. Chesterton, in his essay "Why I Am a Catholic," said one of the reasons he became Catholic was: "[The Church] is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

This is not to say that a good development of moral thought cannot occur in the present day. But this is to say the date a moral teaching is asserted does not make it right or wrong. A person who attempts to align his teachings merely on the cultural zeitgeist of his day is indeed a "degraded slave," as Chesterton says. He is merely a pawn whose morals are on as firm a ground as the calendar date about to change.

That the Church is accused of not conforming to "the times" is indicative that "the times" are not a basis for the Church's teaching. Since, as we have posited here, moral truth is not subject to "time," it would be expected that one who asserts that truth would not use a clock to test its validity.

7. No coersion
In the 21st century, like many others focused on freedom, whether or not someone wishes to join the Church or depart is up to that person's free will. This is a long-standing Catholic teaching, as has been cited on this blog previously. e.g.:
[A Christian evangelizing a brother] does not drag him and force him, but leaves him his own master. (St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Romans, ca 390 A.D.)
(See similar quotes) To consider Catholicism is an enterprise in discernment. It is to examine the Church based on characteristics that would be native to a true Church. Previously on this blog, in "Is faith belief without evidence?" several evidences and qualities of a true Church were reviewed. There are many online resources collecting source material, Church documents, bloggers, multimedia, and more (e.g. Vatican, NewAdvent, EWTN, Catholic.com, Ave Maria Radio, Patheos Catholic blogs, Catholicforuminc testimonials/episodes, Sonitus Sanctus audio, etc.) There's also a good, free discussion forum at Catholic.com, frequented by this blogger, where visitors can converse with other Catholics and inquisitors about all things Church.

And the considerer of the Church may depart whenever he/she wishes. It's a type of "money back guarantee," if you will, without ever having to put up any money.

I invite anyone considering the Church or seeking to engage truth to make a list of what traits would be characteristic of truth. Test that criteria. Scrutinize it. If it fails logical fallacies, discard it. This is a good way to purify ones views and develop a sense of examining doctrines as true/false or right/wrong, and never merely something like "modern," "popular," or "comforting."

To quote Chesterton once more:
The difficulty of explaining 'why I am a Catholic' is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.