Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mission Statements

Over on Nick Hardesty's blog here: phat catholic apologetics: Poll-Release Monday #47, he asked the question, "True or false? It is better that the universe be destroyed than that one sin be committed."

Here is my answer: True. John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote in his immortal Apologia Pro Vita Sua, "The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one willful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse."

JHN goes on to say, "I think the principle here enunciated to be the mere preamble in the formal credentials of the Catholic Church, as an Act of Parliament might begin with a "Whereas." It is because of the intensity of the evil which has possession of mankind, that a suitable antagonist has been provided against it; and the initial act of that divinely-commissioned power is of course to deliver her challenge and to defy the enemy. Such a preamble then gives a meaning to her position in the world, and an interpretation to her whole course of teaching and action." Ibid.

Many organizations these days proudly display something called a mission statement in the front lobby, employee lunchroom, or visitor area of their offices. A 'mission statement' is a brief statement setting forth the purpose of a company, charitable organization or religious group. The purpose of a mission statement is to keep an organization's members, employees, clients or visitors aware of the organization's raison d'etre or reason for being. The mission statement usually denotes the organization's values, its primary clientele, or objectives that it intends to accomplish.

What the Venerable Cardinal Newman wrote above is nothing less than the mission statement of the Catholic Church.

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