HUNTINGTON, Ind., Feb. 8, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- It's not enough to be an active Catholic citizen -- voting, staying reasonably informed, or even running for public office. The current culture -- with its growing indifference to God -- challenges Catholics to examine how they live their lives and defend their beliefs, argues the head of the Catholic Church in the nation's capital, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, in a new book, Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
A prime example of the choices facing lay Catholic Americans is the current assault on religious freedom contained in the new contraceptive mandate in the health care reform laws. The mandate is the first federal regulation in our nation's history to require all faith-based institutions to pay for coverage of abortifacient drugs, sterilization and contraceptives.
"Being forced to provide these services violates both our faith conviction and our freedom," says Cardinal Wuerl. "Our schools, hospitals and charitable organizations will be placed in the untenable position of choosing between violating civil law and abandoning our religious beliefs."
Cardinal Wuerl sees this as the latest challenge to Catholics to engage their faith on a plane that goes beyond private spirituality. In his book, he asserts that Catholic Americans need to recognize they are citizens of two worlds: a democracy and a divine kingdom. These citizenship privileges carry certain duties that Catholics must not neglect.
Cardinal Wuerl calls each Catholic to seize daily opportunities to make a difference in transforming today's culture, and offers practical tips to be optimally effective. "This is the time to speak up," he says. "This is the time for all our voices to be heard.
"What many don't realize is, God calls each one by name, from the very beginning of his or her existence, to represent Him in an unrepeatable way and extend His Kingdom into this harsh earthly arena," says Wuerl. "So every act of love, peace, kindness, compassion, goodness, justice, even Catholic clarification -- which we're all capable of -- brings God's kingdom a little bit more into this world."
Seek First the Kingdom helps readers navigate the rhetorical maze posed by peers, media, entertainment, politicians and even errant laws and policies that would, in effect, penalize Catholic belief. Readers will be encouraged and emboldened to take their place as Catholics dedicated to the renewal of America.
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