I am writing you because of the concern of a relative who loves you and is saddened by
your apparent drifting away from the Catholic Faith, and in danger of losing the Faith
as has happened to so many other college/university students. I know from personal
experience the suffering of parents and grandparents who in tears have seen their young
people no longer practicing the Catholic Faith "which comes to us from the Apostles"
and indeed from Christ Himself.
What you learned from your parochial schools seems to have been negligible but surely
you recall some basic words of Jesus Christ. He whom we Catholics worship at Mass
declared Himself to be the "Light of the World", "the Way, the Truth, and the Life",
and God Himself. No merely human teacher ever dared to teach as He did. It was divine
authority He claimed. It is Jesus, Risen from the dead, Who is the Lord, Redeemer,
Savior, and future Judge of the living and the dead at His Second Coming. It is Jesus
Christ Who is adored and worshiped in the great Family of the Catholic Church
throughout the world.
Ann, you cannot be unaware that many University/College students today live in an
educational environment that is frankly neo-pagan and that openly contradicts the
truths and values of historic Christianity. "Historic Christianity", of course, can
only refer to the Catholic Church which alone has existed in its institutional identity
from the days of the Apostles and the first bishops they ordained. It is this Church
that is attacked today from without and within for standing against the moral collapse
afflicting our society where wrong has become right and right has become wrong. Ann, I
must ask, where do you stand in the spiritual and Cultural War of our time?
The evidence on every side is that millions of our youth on college campuses have
fallen victim to false ideologies directly opposed to that historic Christianity
embodied in the Catholic Church. Liberalism, Modernism, Relativism, Marxist Socialism,
and Nihilism are the dominant currents of what passes for "thought" on our University
campuses and furthered by professors and academics who play the role of the "false
teachers" and "false prophets" denounced in the word of God.
It is they who promote the educational ethos in which millions of students live:
Liberalism which reduces all truth to personal opinion; Modernism which declares the
Revelation of Christ to be anti-scientific mythology'; Relativism which declares all
morals relative (and rejoices in the Sexual Revolution of the Sixties "where anything
goes"; Marxist Socialism which is totally materialistic and engages in social-economic
class warfare; and Nihilism which preaches that life is meaningless and not worth
living. It is in this context of conflicting or overlapping ideologies that
the alcohol-drug-sex-violence culture in our nation has
flourished and led to so many broken lives of bewildered young students who had once
sought career enlightenment and successful vocations.
Ann, your years preceding college happily did not follow the same course as other
Catholics who have clearly apostasized from the Faith. In a Catholic grade school, you
even wanted to be a saint, and frequented the Adoration chapel. When you became 18,
your mother said you could decide for yourself what religion you wanted, if any.
That was not much encouragement to continue to be a Catholic, to be devout, or to
ground yourself in the Faith.
Your mother, a single parent, clearly spoiled you, Ann, and upon reaching 18 years of
age thought her intelligent daughter needed no spiritual advice. Her first concern
should have been your faith, for that is the prime duty of a parent. Unfortunately, her
interests were to assure that you had the "in" clothes, fancy hairdos, and even facials
(at 18!). Your mother was like so many other mothers these days, living in an "Oprah"
world and reading faithfully "People" magazine. Why not read
the Saints? Answer from mother: That would be "boring".
Despite all this, Ann, you are regarded as a good girl, a very caring young adult.
It's just that your faith and spiritual life are farthest from your thoughts, and not
surprisingly, since you go to a non-Catholic college exposed to ideas contrary to the
Faith and sure to influence your behavior along secular lines. Your situation is
similar to that happening to so many Catholic families where there result religious
conflicts as parents and grandparents remain steadfast in the Faith and will not
abandon Christ, the Word and Wisdom of God. Such parents and grandparents or other good
Catholic relatives seek the Anns of this world to have a deeper love of Christ and to
become strong Catholics, for they know that your generation will be our future Church.
You have been offered a summer job by an employer impressed with your intelligence,
air of confidence, and abilities. Your future will doubtless see your putting much
effort into work and studies. May I add my own plea to those who love you that you
will put an equal amount of work and effort into the study of that Catholic Faith in
which you were baptized and confirmed.
When I was at University and beset by the conflicting murderous ideologies giving rise
to World War II, I was graced to sense the vanity of this world characterized by false
values and contempt for the true goods proclaimed in the Gospel of the only Man who
came into this world proclaiming and proving that His teaching was from on High.
Declaring Himself the Savior of the human race, and God Himself, He promised to give
the happiness and holiness longed for by every human heart.
True happiness could be found in this world by serving Him who asked for the love of
sinners. The perfection and everlastingness of this happiness would, moreover, be
finalized in a heavenly Kingdom where the faithful will enjoy the company of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, Saints, and Angels reigning in glory. That Kingdom of God was
also present on earth in the form of the Church whose Keys of supreme authority were
given to Peter, leader of the Twelve Apostles. All men and women are called to be
disciples and to love Jesus Christ in word and deed, and to be with Him in heaven.
That is what the Catholic Church is all about; the salvation of souls.
The words of Blessed Cardinal Newman have left an indelible impression. I offer them
for your serious consideration, and more, for your meditation:
"If we were created, it was that we might serve God; if we have his gifts, it is that
we may glorify Him; if we have a conscience, it is that we may keep it before us; if
we have grace, that we may save ourselves by means of it. Alas, Alas, for those who
die without fulfilling their mission! Who were called to worship Christ, and who
plunged into this giddy and unbelieving world; who were called to fight, and who
remained idle; who were called to be Catholics, and who did but remain in the
religion of their birth."
(Sermon "God's Will the End of Life.")
It was such stirring words which led me, a young Greek Orthodox student and many other
converts to study the Catholic Faith in which the true meaning of life is to be found.
The witness of history and the monuments of Western civilization testify to the truth
that the Catholic Church is indeed the Church Christ built on the Rock of Peter and
against which the Gates of Hell (heresies and schisms) had never prevailed. One cannot
describe the happiness of Catholics made secure in the Bark of Peter. Recently, Pope
Benedict who knows so well the aspirations and longings in the hearts of young people
invited young people to:
"study the Catechism of the Catholic Church with passion and perseverance. This book
is fascinating because it speaks to us of our very destiny and that is why it concerns
each one of us very closely. It calls for a new life on your part. You must know what
you believe; you must know your faith with the same precision with which a specialist
in information technology knows the working system of a computer. Yes, you must be
much more profoundly rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents. You have
need of divine help, if you do not want your faith to dry up as a dewdrop in the sun."
Ann, with respect to your academic work, you are seen to study, study, study. You
regularly receive "A's" in your work, including one for your required paper on
"Witchcraft". It is my prayer for you that you will study further, and heed the words
of Our Lord who calls you to follow Him and thus to holiness:
"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God; believe also in Me (Jn. 14: 1)...For
what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul? Or what shall
a man give as a price for his soul? (Matt. 16: 26-27)"... Everyone who acknowledges Me
before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever
disowns Me before men, I in turn will disown him before My Father (Matt. 10: 32-33)".
Ann, may you stand strong in the Catholic Faith, and be an example of faith and love to
all your family and to your fellow students. You are in my prayers.
— James Likoudis,
P.O. Box 852,
Montour Falls, NY 14865