Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 70(2) May 2020
Steadfast In Faith. Catholicism and the Challenges of Secularism
by David G. Bonagura, JR. Published Cluny Media
Reviewed by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
This is a great apologia for the Catholic faith. Especially so in an age when the secularist agenda prevails. We must not give into despair, says the author. Our faith in Jesus Christ and his Church can and must build our lives, our families and our societies.
There are two parts to this work. The first part on the preliminaries to faith include chapters on faith in the world today, the Catholic and secular world views and on the existence of God. The second part includes chapters on living our faith, on faith, certitude, doubt and conscience and a chapter on faith, action and politics. We are called to reflect on what it means to believe in God. Living our faith means that it has to have an impact on the way we live. As Pope Benedict so often reminded us, it is not possible to privatize our faith. I have spoken to practicing Catholics who vote in favour of the most pro-abortion of politicians. How is this possible? Because our parents always voted Labour, is the usual answer. What was once known as the Mario Cuomo option is to say that while I am personally opposed to abortion, I would not wish to impose my views on the rest of society. The author strongly argues against this pernicious view.
Is there a conflict between faith and science? Not at all. The author makes a good case in favour of the reasonableness of faith. Reason leads us to the conclusion that God exists. To argue otherwise is unreasonable. The problem with atheistic rationalism is that it is not rational at all.
I read this book at a time when somewhat despondent by the the strange goings-on during the Amazon Synod and found it the ideal antidote. Our faith is reasonable, beautiful and true. Only on this rock can we build our lives. To be steadfast in faith means never to think that the Catholic Church in her essence has succumbed to the spirit of the world.
For those of us in healthcare, the chapter on human suffering is highly relevant. Only Christianity ultimately makes sense of suffering because we alone have a founder who experienced the depths of suffering. It is in the crisis of suffering that what we believe is put to the test.
A work filled with hope.