This article is the first in a series.

It is the mission of the Catholic Church to address and reform contemporary culture not the other way around.  That mission is rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ and his Gospel.  He has called the Catholic Church to be the “light of the world (Matthew 5:14).”

There is no question that contemporary culture pushes back constantly and hard with “lights” and messages contrary to his.

It attempts to convince us of the “reasonableness” of its messages with all kinds of clever suggestions that appeal to the emotions, even to the intellect.

“The Catholic Church is out of date, out of touch with the real world.”  We hear that all the time and it is hard to resist that challenge with a Gospel that is 2,000 years old, and teachings based upon that Gospel that have accompanied the Church through its long history.  Let’s not forget, however, that the Lord Jesus Christ is at the center of it all.

But truth is always truth and does not change from one day, one century, one era to the next.  Of course, we have to adapt the manner of presenting and teaching truth to each generation so that it might be clearly understood and authentically applied to life in this world and within the culture of every age. That, however, does not change truth.

It is not easy to see our way forward in a world and culture that “prefers darkness to the light because their deeds are evil (John 3:19).”  The Catholic Church has to function in this world and respond to this culture.  To do so effectively, it needs leadership and direction, rules and structures to accompany and translate truth and faith into a convincing, compelling and inviting institution and Gospel community.  It needs believers who are committed to truth and faith come what may.  It needs a life of prayer that permeates all that it is, says and does and that sustains its mission by never losing or compromising its relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  It needs the Eucharist as its “source and summit (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324),” its “sum and summary.”

One thing became clear in the discussions and deliberations reported from the Trenton Diocesan Synod this year: we need to deepen our life of faith through an ongoing “re-acquaintance” with the truth and teachings of our Catholic Church in a deliberate effort at every level.  Only in this way can we Catholics respond to the allure and enticements of contemporary culture to “turn off the light.”

For information in the Diocese of Trenton, go to:


Denise Contino, Director of Catechesis


Josue Arriola, Director of Evangelization and Family Life