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Chapter 4. Bring About the Obedience of Faith • 43

independence and dignity of both church and state, has evolved into a

“wall” of separation that seems to say that faith should have no impact

on the state or society.

The Church, however, continues to apply principles flowing from

her faith to public policy, most notably in her teaching on the dig­

nity of the human person and the culture of life. The Church’s advo-

cacy for the poor, the elderly, children, and immigrants are further

examples of the Church’s commitment to advance social justice in

America. The Church’s unflagging pro-life stand is an outstanding

example of calling our society and government to protect life from con-

ception to natural death.

Deism, or at least a form of it, has been replaced by an ideological

secularism, a belief that we are self-sufficient and self-explanatory and

do not need religious faith. The Church’s response to this ideological

secularism is helped by joining with thoughtful people who are raising

basic questions: Who are we? What is the meaning of suffering, evil,

and death? Why has modern progress not eliminated them? What is the

value of our country’s achievements in light of their cost to human dig-

nity and life?

These questions point us to the transcendent origins of humanity.

The resulting discussion can awaken the seeds of eternity planted by

God in each soul.

Finally, we need to affirm again our faith that Jesus Christ can show

all of us the way—believers to stronger faith, and others to be brought

to faith. When we are newly aware of the Holy Spirit’s power to trans-

form us and others, we will have both the energy and imagination to find

paths to faith for those in need. We always need to rediscover the truth

that the key to our history is to be found in Jesus, the Lord of history.

Beneath all the rapid changes in our culture, there are still many people

who possess and live enduring values rooted in Christ, who “is the same

yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8). We need to rely on our faith

in Christ when we reflect on the mystery and dignity of man and woman,

and as we address challenges to faith and its relationship to culture.