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Our general mission is to share and defend the Catholic Church's perennial teachings, especially those in regard to marriage and education. KIC's special focus is Catholic education at home, also known as Catholic homeschooling.

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imitates the Catholic Action apostolate of old, adopting its motto as our own:

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Light a Single Candle:

         The Secret of the Catholic City

by Marianna Bartold

-From "The Return of the King: A Catholic Study Guide" a Special Issue of the
Keeping It Catholic Study Guides

"If you find it, you keep it," is an adage that applies to the whole "mission," so to speak, of Keeping It Catholic - but it is one that makes us wonder the truth of its meaning.

Que veritas? What is truth? Pontius Pilate's question of old, recorded in the Gospels for all time, has ever resounded throughout the centuries. The Same Person Who revealed, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" taught that the "kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man, having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." (Matt 13:44) A person of sound mind would never take that treasure and exchange it for something of lessworth. Yet if such a person was somehow convinced to do so, he would find himself cheated.

Ours is a generation of cheated Catholics. The "new and improved" modern philosphies and methods, to which most of us were subjected during our school years, were merely the practical instruments of the modernist agenda. Today, the question of how our culture became thoroughly poisoned with the heresy of modernism is the thesis of practically every article in what remains of the Catholic press. We see the poison's effects in society and we search for the antidote.

As we search, we will eventually be urged to join parish or political committees, organize fund-raisers, run to meetings, run ministries, etc., all the while believing that if we keep busy we have somehow found the answer - or are, at least, contributing to some kind of solution. Action can be good but we must guard against loving action for action's sake or, even worse, believing that God somehow cannot manage without us.

Our Lord, Who so often spoke in parables, said that "a tree is known by its fruits." What did He mean by fruits? We tend to determine fruits by that which can be seen, by a flurry of activity, and, too often, by a subconscious "might makes right" theory. Is that what Our Lord intended?

To find the answer, let us consider a decades-old description of Catholic Action, a lay apostolate: "Its end is to win men to Christ as men were won to Christ by Peter and Paul. It is a social apostolate. It seeks to restore right order in society, to re-create society. But its action is not political. The breaking societies of the West cannot be renewed by economic or political panaceas. It is a moral sickness from which the body of society suffers, and it will not be cured by local plasters upon local symptoms. Politics [and] economics are phases of human behavior, but human behavior is inevitably determined by their sense of right and wrong...Catholic Action restores society by converting it to Christ." (Restoring All Things: A Guide to Catholic Action by John Fitzsimmons and Paul McGuire).

Over 100 years ago, a pope wrote, "The times we live in demand action - but action consists entirely in observing with fidelity and zeal the divine laws and the precepts of the Church, in the frank and open profession of religion, in the exercise of every kind of charitable work, without regard to self interest or worldly advantage." (#14, E Supremi) Such were the aims of Catholic Action as an organization within the Church. Yet it failed. Why?

Step by step, it abandoned the pope's wise counsel. The final steps of failure were made when "some organizers of Catholic Action imagined that they could fight political enemies with more or less worldly and political weapons," explained Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard in his Introduction to The Soul of the Apostolate. "In defending the Church against state persecution, they thought the most important thing was to gain and preserve political and social power. They believed that these gains could best be consolidated by wealth, influence, and material expansion. They expended all their efforts in running newspapers, holding conventions, publishing pamphlets and magazines...above all, they measured the growth of Catholic life by the number of new school buildings, new church buildings, new hospital buildings, new orphanages, new social centers...as if the Church of God were built exclusively of bricks and mortar! Such apostles tended to congratulate themselves when they had raised large sums of money, when their churches were filled with throngs of people, when public figures became converts, and when politics were favorable to the Church."

And yet, "there was a deep-seated and subtly pernicious error in all this. Were these the means to be emphasized in the defense of the King Whose Kingdom is not of this world and Who said, 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you' "? The errors of Catholic Action were the same errors made by the Zealots of Jesus' time, who believed they could force the hand of God by their own actions.

"Buildings, newspapers, meetings, conventions - all these things were important, vitally important. But they were not the 'Kingdom of God.' And those who had become entirely absorbed in this work of more or less material growth seemed to have lost sight of the fact that the Church is built of living stones. It is built of saints. And saints are made only by the grace of God and the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Ghost, not by speeches and publicity and campaigns which are all doomed to sterility without the essential means of prayer and sacrifice."

Prayer, study, and action are the three things necessary for any apostolate of the Catholic City. As for the Catholic City itself, the same pope - now a canonized saint - penned one of  the most sublime truths ever written about it:

"We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker - the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be setup unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City."

The saint then added both a course of action and an important reminder of perennial Catholic teaching: "It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. OMNIA INSTAURARE IN CHRISTO (To restore all things in Christ)." (Pope St. Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate, 1910)

The admonition is clear: The Catholic City exists; it is Christian civilization; it is the Kingdom of God. Set up and restoration of the Catholic City can only be accomplished by God's design and building; the work can never be accomplished by human beings alone. The great City is illuminated by the light of grace emanating from the Wounds of its crucified and risen King and Savior. Each street of the Catholic City may bear a different name but it spiritually remains the same road. It may be called the Narrow Gate, the Royal Road, the King's Way - but it is always the Way of the Cross. The world works to convince us to forego the Way of the Cross and seek only the Road of Resurrection. But the world forgets - there is no Resurrection without the Cross. It is that path alone upon which lies the true "secret" of Catholic life.

The secret of the Catholic City is found in the interior life, which is also called "the life of the elect." The interior life is defined as the "state of activity of a soul which strives against its natural inclinations in order to regulate them, and endeavors to acquire the habit of judging and directing its movements in all things according to the light of the Gospel and the example of Our Lord." How does one do all this? Our Lord, who showed us the secret, taught: "Pick up your cross and follow Me."

What is the Cross? It is "all that goes against self. All that it costs to subdue self - to act on principle, submit to authority, to follow common life, to accommodate ourselves to others, to bear correction, to be faithful to irksome duties, to be submissive and humble during sickness, to struggle against self-indulgence and the softness of our times, persevering attention to the rules of modesty, to be energetic in attention to our weak point, to bear up against failure and monotony of daily routine, to be resigned when all seems to go wrong, whatever is contrary to our liking in our circumstances, our health, our companions, the way things are done, the way things turn out - all that is our cross." The truth is that "true holiness does not consist in not feeling the Cross, but in bearing the pain with true conformity to God's Will." (Meditation on the Passion, Rev. R. Walsh, O.P.)

How do we bear that Cross with true conformity to God's Will? The answer is only through love and generosity, born of compunction of heart for what our sins cost Jesus. Such is the work of each member of the Catholic City. All those who are citizens and labor in the Catholic City, whether in the home, at work, and perhaps also in some Catholic apostolate, must always remember that "one must have divine grace, and the apostle receives it only if he is united to Christ. Only when he has formed Jesus Christ in himself shall he more easily be able to restore Him to the family and society. Therefore, all who are called upon to direct or dedicate themselves to the Catholic cause, must be sound Catholics, firm in faith, solidly instructed in religious matters, truly submissive to the Church and especially to this supreme Apostolic See and the Vicar of Jesus Christ. They must be men of real piety, of manly virtue, and of a life so chaste and fearless that they will be a guiding example to all others. If they are not so formed it will be difficult to arouse others to do good and practically impossible to act with a good intention. The strength needed to persevere in continually bearing the weariness of every true apostolate will fail. The calumnies of enemies, the coldness and frightfully little cooperation of even good men, sometimes even the jealousy of friends and fellow workers (excusable, undoubtedly, on account of the weakness of human nature, but also harmful and a cause of discord, offense and quarrels) - all these will weaken the apostle who lacks divine grace. Only virtue, patient and firm and at the same time mild and tender, can remove or diminish these difficulties in such a way that the works undertaken by Catholic forces will not be compromised. The will of God, Saint Peter wrote the early Christians, is that by your good works you silence the foolish." (Il Fermo Proposito; On Catholic Action in Italy, 1905)

The continual setting up and restoration of the Catholic City begins one small step at a time. As a great saint taught, we must pray, study, and act - in that order. Each "small" but good action is the Catholic truth to an old maxim: "It is better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the dark." Although it is true that ours was a cheated generation, it is also true that - through God's infinite grace - we have found the truth and beauty of the Catholic City. However it happened for each one of us, now that we have it, we must keep it. And we must "keep it Catholic."


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"A priest who understands the purpose and aim of Catholic homeschooling once told me, 'Many parents today have no notion of Catholic textbooks and, if they do not have that experience, it is a gaping lacuna (hole or gap) in their formation as Catholics.' In one of our many discussions about Catholic home education, the late Fr. John Hardon also addressed this subject when he said, 'Many parents think it is permissible to use non-Catholic materials, but this is not what the Church teaches.' "
-From KIC Home Education Guide, Volume I: The Foundations

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The Age of Mary is this year's theme for the Catholic Study Guides

Use your home computer and the Net   via this Internet-based, all-Catholic curriculum in which the Catholic faith permeates all the subjects!

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"The Keeping It Catholic Home Education Guides"  
by Marianna Bartold

Volume I:
The Foundations of Catholic (Home) Education

Volume II:
(Teaching) History with a Catholic Conscience

-Written  especially for the parents who want to "Keep It Catholic" in their homes and homeschools!

Featuring educational tips, details, review of products, programs, publishers & other homeschool suppliers, the Home Education Guides create a complete Catholic family resource guide that helps you:

-Customize your own Catholic curriculum
-Select a Catholic home study program or service
-Learn over 12 points about parents as educators
-Locate the best materials for your family
-Get the scoop & find out more before you buy!
-Mix and match the main educational methods
-Set goals & keep records
-Reference handy Catholic reading lists
-Know your family's character traits
-Discover how temperament affects teaching and learning styles
-Create your own Catholic unit studies
-Use the Internet to supplement your homeschool with screened links
-Provide a Catholic education in your home
-Recognize "Red Flags" in Resources

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