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The World’s Worst and Best Ideas

As a writer, I find that my thoughts quickly turn into articles in my head. A recent at-rest thought was:  What are the worst ideas in the world?

High heels were my first thought. Heels prove that vanity lacks wisdom. Feet are for walking; high heels are anti-walking so regardless of what’s in your shoe closet, let’s at least agree they are a bad idea.

Being a Catholic writer, my thoughts quickly led to the spiritual realm where bad ideas have bigger consequences than mere bunions. So, here is my list of the worst ideas followed by a refresher: the best ideas.

Zero Population Growth

The citizens of many of the world’s developed countries belong on the endangered species list.  Never before in the history of the world have so many countries lost so many people without disease or war to blame. In Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia, the only thing we are running out of is people.   We are witnessing the self-extermination of entire nations.

According to the United Nations Population Division discussing the 2007 population changes in Eastern and Central Europe: “The expected global upheaval is without parallel in human history.” 

If crowded cities have clouded your perspective, get out of Dodge and notice that most of the land is empty.  I grew up in the Seventies when people were warned that soon we would run out of food. Forty years later, we have more food than ever.  It’s always going to be something, so just think about this:  If God made a world we could outgrow, that would mean he messed up:  “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion … (Gen 1:28). Get it?

Contraception

It’s challenging to follow Catholic teaching. Getting to heaven is challenging too, so let’s give this our best shot. Marital love is expressed both physically and spiritually and removing the life-giving force of this gift by tampering with our bodies to disrupt healthy functioning means:  1) lifeless sex  2) committing mortal sin.  Pope Paul VI’s  Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae lays it all out so have a look if you have not read it yet. 

He was prophetic in predicting that widespread use of contraception would lead to “conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.” I think we can all agree, that is the case since the birth control Pill became available in 1960. Pope Paul VI also predicted that the widespread acceptance of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon… in the hands of those public authorities that take no heed of moral exigencies.” China, sadly, proves his point.

The Church allows for married couples to use natural methods in union with God for planning families, so don’t whine or reach for contraception, educate yourself and make your marriage a union of three working together:  you, your spouse and God.

Abortion

A mother ending the life of her unborn baby can’t be good for her or society.  Half of all abortions result from pregnancies resulting from failed birth control. Another reason why contraception and having sex with someone you don’t want to raise children with is a bad idea.

Same Sex Marriages

Governments got into marriage as a legal institution to give protections and rights to unions which lead to families.  We should love everyone, including homosexuals, but the parts don’t fit because it’s against the nature God created. Just because a person wants something doesn’t make it right.  Desires are not the same as rights.

Pornography 

Big temptations lead to big consequences. Even non-religious sources and expert testimonies before Congress cite the addictive consequence of pornography that alter brain functions and lead to the destruction of families and individuals. Religious leaders also point to the destruction of the soul. Porn has the devil’s signature on it so any way you look at it, it’s a very bad idea.

That was the worst part of this article so now for antidote:  the things that pull us up out of darkness and lead us to heaven.

Mass 

The best activity is to attend a Mass in the state of grace, and receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Through time and space, we are present at the original Last Supper (the Church does not re-sacrifice Jesus, it is a re-presentation of the original Sacrifice). At the first Mass, Jesus commanded, “Do this in remembrance of me.” At Mass we are present as the Church offers perfect praise to the heavenly Father, and offers us union with God the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. Shopping or going to the movies or sports events can’t even compare.

Going to Our Blessed Mother

God went to the Blessed Mother when he wanted to send his only Son to save us. The first recorded miracle by Jesus was performed at Cana because Mary interceded at a wedding when the wine ran out. The Bible says the prayers of the righteous provide powerful intercession.  So going to Jesus in the company of his Mother is going to the most righteous human in the history of the world—the only one worthy enough to be the mother of Jesus. And that is a great idea.

Eucharistic Adoration

Try it and you will like it. Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist so coming before him exposed to us in the monstrance puts us directly in his presence. Quiet time of prayer and mediation before Jesus Christ is definitely one of the best things you can do for yourself.

The Rosary

“If I had an army to say the Rosary,” Pope Pius IX once said, “I could conquer the world.” The Rosary, next to the Mass, is the most powerful weapon in the Church’s arsenal.  Since the holiest saints attest to the power of the rosary, we can be sure the rosary is one of the best things in the world.

“There is no more excellent way of praying” (Pope Leo XIII).

“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…if you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors” (Pope Pius XI).

“Among all the devotions approved by the Church, none has been so favored by so many miracles as the Rosary devotion” (Pope Pius IX).

Reading the Bible

Reading God’s inspired Word is one of the best things you can do. Without the Bible, much of the world would be completely different today. This book changed history and it can change us too.

There are lots of other good and bad ideas in this world. Feel free to share your own in the comment section of this article. My God bless you with all the best and protect you from the worst as we enter the new year.


Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. Her newest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families, a collection of stories to inspire family love, and Dear God, I Don't Get It and the sequel, Dear God, You Can't Be Serious, children's fiction that feeds the soul through a fun and exciting story. FacebookFamily website. Her blogTwitter. Read more: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/author/patti-maguire-armstrong#ixzz2x8GW9PlN


  • noelfitz

    Dear Ms Maguire Armstrong,

    I like your articles, but this one has worried me, as it reawakened a permanent concern of mine.

    Are most of us going to end up in hell, and if so is God good?

    Do you imply practicing contraception is a mortal sin, condemning one to hell for all eternity. It seems that in the developed world the majority of Catholic couples practice contraception. Starting from a young age do most people appear to sin against the 6th and 9th commandments, where all sins are grave matter?

    In Ireland at Christmas many people attend Mass who have not been in a Church for a long time and receive Communion. Are some of these adding to their sinful state?

    Abortion and same sex marriage are not issues. Abortion is killing and clearly against the 5th commandment. Same sex marriage does not exist.

    Was Mary a creature worthy do be the mother of God?

    For over 1000 years, prior to St Dominic, Catholics managed without the rosary.

    I really think all we can do is our best, and hope in God’s mercy, that “all may be well and all may be well and all manner of things may be well”.

  • Oh, I was concerned about stating the “mortal” sin as a consequence of contraception. That is what the Church teaches. However, one has to know it is a mortal sin and choose to do it anyways for it to be a mortal sin, so it’s a big sticky but it’s clearly taught against by the Church. And no sin condemns us to hell because we have the sacrament of confession that breathes new life into our souls.

  • noelfitz

    Ms Maguire Armstrong,

    I am most grateful that you took the time to reply so clearly to my query. At this busy Christmas time, with all your responsibilities, you considered my concerns and wrote to me and I am most grateful.

    You point out that we have confession if we sin. But most seem not to consider contraception or missing Mass needlessly sinful. JP II claimed the sense of sin has been lost. It seems a case of “when ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise. Especially at Christmas people attend Mass and receive communion after a year without confession. Do they condemn themselves further?

    This seems a rerun of the Reformation. The Law condemns us.

    If we obey all the commandments we may be like the Pharisees or the “Rich Man” who was damned just because he had received good things in this life.
    We read in Genesis “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”. It is not given to us the knowledge of good and evil. We just have to accept and obey, and hope we shall “end up in that number when the saints go marching in”, even though we have no guarantee we will be saved.

  • Contraception is objectively morally wrong because it is intrinsically evil. The sin incurred by persons practicing contraception – I hope I say this right, I’m not a moral theologian – depends on their interior dispositions. Are they deliberately rejecting God, are they ignorant of what they are doing, or somewhere in between?

    As far as “most of us going to hell,” frankly, I am gravely concerned about my contemporaries. Apostasy from the true Catholic Faith is so widespread as to be all-but universal in some parts of the world. How does God judge the situation? I don’t know – why don’t you ask Him yourself?

  • noelfitz

    PH,
    well said.

    You are a sound man!

    I am not a moral theologian either. Are theologians who are not moral immoral?

    For a sin to be grievous it must be grave matter and committed with clear knowledge and full consent. So perhaps at the final judgement we might plead one or both of the latter criteria.

    As I have said before here where I live about 14% of Catholics attend Mass, and these are usually over 60.

    Again, hope in God’s mercy!

  • I agree, PraireHawk. Whether a person realizes it’s a mortal sin or not is one issue but the fact that it’s an intrinsic evil remains regardless. That means that the individual and society suffers consequences as a result of participating in the evil. Part of the problem is our leaders and well-informed Catholics not speaking up. We don’t want to offend anyone participating in activities that are wrong so we say nothing.

    I’m not one to point my finger and attack. I believe many people don’t understand they are doing something that is a sin. I once was in that category on several fronts. But ignorance isn’t bliss. Ignorance gets in the way of fully living a grace-filled life.

    • The sad, even tragic, thing is that so many people have a “how much can I get away with” mentality. Statements that I’ve heard over the years include, “It’s only a venial sin”; “I’ll settle for the lowest rung of Purgatory” (I heard that from a priest once); or “I’m invincibly ignorant” (no, friend, if you know enough to say that, you’re not).

      Aside from the fact that you’re tempting the patience of the One who holds you in existence from moment to moment, the tragedy is that you’re rejecting the riches God very much wants to give you. Angels scatter gold and gems at our feet, asking only that we stop long enough to pick them up – and we go our own way, convincing ourselves that we’ll be happy to settle for less. It makes absolutely no sense at all.

      One question that I often bring to prayer is, “God, why are you such a well-kept secret?”

  • noelfitz

    Many thanks Patti and PH.

    I am encouraged by your solid faith and commitment, and also by you kindness in replying to me.

    The whole problem of evil is huge and all we can do is our best and hope we will hear “Come you blessed”.

  • Thanks for the thoughts and conversation. Catholic teachings are not always easy, especially when you have to take them out into a world that disagrees. It’s always good to take a closer look and consider the ramifications. A continued Merry Christmas to you.