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A Temptation: The Cult of Personality

Father Charles Coughlin, c. 1938

By the grace-filled cooperation of individuals within the organization called “the Catholic Church,” we come to know Jesus Christ and His Way. The Church has no army divisions; no tanks; no hellfire missiles; just Christ, His Mystical Body, Sacraments, and saving message.

In a sense, the “Cult of Jesus” is the only authentic “cult of person” in all human history. All other “cults of person” (to distinguish from the Person of Christ, call them “cults of personality”), when not resisted, easily become forms of narcissism.

The Incarnation has logical consequences. If God truly became man and dwelt among us, it means He is a man with flesh and blood with all the limitations of time and space associated with His earthly humanity. He comes in peace and freedom. But He’s not superman, or the Terminator, or Robocop. Hence, in God’s providence, even Christ as man “depends” upon our free response to His teaching (always acknowledging the hidden working of God’s grace). Jesus does not force us. He persuades by the power of who He is and what He does and says.

God needs helpers because Jesus, the Word incarnate, is “only one man.”  “And he called the twelve; and began to send them two and two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.” (Mark 6:7). Then He enlists the seventy-two disciples and sends them out on His behalf.  Such was the beginning of what would become the Church, the “Mystical Body of Christ.”

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