How can a Christian live in culture?

Father Julián Carrón, Communion and Liberation leader, to discuss his new book

Therese Bussen

Following the release of his book Disarming Beauty in May, Father Julián Carrón, international leader of the Communion and Liberation movement, will be speaking in Denver next month on Oct. 10 at the Denver Press Club at 7 p.m. to discuss the themes and ideas he proposes in his book.

Curtis Martin, founder of FOCUS (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students), and Michael Huemer, philosophy professor at CU Boulder, will join him in the discussion, who will each speak for 20 minutes on their perspectives of the book and then ask Father Carrón questions.

Rather than doing a book tour, Father Carrón decided to have a dialogue about the ideas and themes in Disarming Beauty with local leaders, encouraging them to offer their perspective whether they’re Christian or not, and to examine the main point of his book: How does a Christian live in a culture that’s changed so much today?

“When I decided to publish this book, I tried to verify whether Christian faith could offer a contribution to the challenges we all are facing today,” Father Carrón told Denver Catholic. “I’m interested in meeting different people in order to enter in dialogue with them, to receive suggestions or criticism that allow me, and I hope others, to understand our time better and what the challenges are that the Christian faith has to face today.”

Following other recently-released books like The Benedict Option and Strangers in a Strange Land, which have also grappled with this same question, Father Carrón’s Disarming Beauty offers unique and provoking ideas.

“Our time is somehow unique. Many of the past certainties are collapsing before us. Many of us are bewildered without knowing how to deal with this situation,” Father Carrón said. “We are less presumptuous than in the past. We are more open to enter in dialogue with other’s experience. I’m convinced that this is a historical moment to show what Christianity is about.

“In a context of freedom, we can testify the beauty of the Christian faith without support other than its beauty,” Father Carrón continued. “I remain surprised by the reactions of different people before this way of living the Christian faith. They are so shocked that they discover a new interest for something that they considered definitively closed.”

Ultimately, Father Carrón responds to the question of the book by offering the idea that Christians need not fear culture or where it’s headed — we have Christ, and the time we are placed in for good reason is an opportunity for us to give a new kind of witness.

“Fear is a symptom of weakness of faith. Christianity doesn’t have panic facing today’s challenges,” Father Carrón  said. “Christianity was born in a context in which there were different versions of living Judaism (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, ect.) and spread in a multicultural world, as the Roman Empire, soon after. Ancient Christians could communicate the newness of Christian faith without having been blocked by this multicultural environment. Why can’t Christians today do the same and look to our historical circumstances as an opportunity instead of an obstacle?”

The event, which is open to the public, is free. Following the discussion, books will be on sale and there will be an opportunity to meet Father Carrón at a no-host cocktail (self-paid drinks).

Holly Peterson, a member of the Communion and Liberation community who has helped organize the event, echoed Father Carrón’s sentiments in the book.

“I’m really excited about his desire, and the desire of other people, to dialogue about what he’s saying in Disarming Beauty, which is that there is this new cultural context [as Christians] that we shouldn’t be afraid of,” Peterson said. “Father Carrón is someone who is not afraid to dive into that context…[and say], ‘I’m disarmed because I am so full with Christ.’ I’m really excited for his perspective…we’re so afraid of different, politically, or with religions, but we shouldn’t be afraid.”

COMING UP: Catholic Charities joins with St. Raphael Counseling to increase services

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Two Catholic counseling agencies serving the Denver Archdiocese have united to expand services to the community, officials said. The change was effective May 1.

St. Raphael Counseling, founded in 2009, has partnered with Catholic Charities’ Sacred Heart Counseling (formerly Regina Caeli Clinical Services), which was established in 2011. The two are now one ministry under Catholic Charities of Denver sharing the name St. Raphael Counseling.

Licensed clinical psychologist Jim Langley, co-founder of St. Raphael’s, will serve as director.

“Frankly, it seemed kind of silly for two entities to be doing the same thing from the same pool of resources,” Langley told the Denver Catholic.  “I reached out to [Catholic Charities] … to see about removing obstacles. It really must have been from the Lord because there weren’t any big obstacles.”

The combined resources mean clients seeking care aligned with Catholic values will now have access to more therapists and locations: a total of 18 clinicians at 11 offices and six schools across the Front Range region, including Denver, Littleton and northern Colorado.

In the coming months, St. Raphael’s will accept more insurances and will introduce diagnostic testing for behavioral and learning disorders and Autism to families at affordable cost, Langley said.

“We are excited to welcome the team of psychologists from St. Raphael Counseling to Catholic Charities,” said Amparo García, interim president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Denver. “Under Dr. Langley’s guidance, and with his expertise and business acumen, the team has built a trusted and professional counseling service that is faithful to the Church and compassionate to those in need.

“We are optimistic that offering expanded services in a combined organization will provide an added benefit to the community.”

St. Raphael’s offers individuals, couples and families clinical counseling services for issues ranging from depression and anxiety to grief and addiction. It also offers marriage preparation, school counseling, psychological evaluations for seminary applicants, and counseling for priests and religious. It provides outreach and education through presentations and retreats that integrate psychology and spirituality.

St. Raphael’s is named after the Archangel Raphael, who in the Old Testament Book of Tobit is sent by God to help the young man Tobias confront nature and evil. Raphael helps to bring healing to Tobias’ family. Of Hebrew origin, Raphael means “God heals.”

“The name was chosen very deliberately,” Langley said. “We [as therapists] are only instruments of God’s healing, God’s medicine; it’s ultimately God who heals.

“One of the ways the Lord has given us as a path to holiness is through our own brokenness,” he added. “We all have emotional wounds and the healing of these wounds helps us to become the saints God made us to be.

“We work with individuals and families to help them face their woundedness, their brokenness. We do it in a way that is supportive of their Catholic values and can leverage all the awesome, beautiful things about Catholic spirituality that can help us grow as people.”

The recent suicides of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade show that no one is immune from depression and suicidal thoughts, Langley said.

“Even St. Therese [of Lisieux] said there were moments when she was tempted by the medicine bottle on the nightstand,” he noted about the saint who was named a Doctor of the Church in 1997. “We think of her as being a joyful saint, yet she too struggled immensely with depression.

“If people are struggling, they need help,” Langley said. “But counseling isn’t just for people with big issues. It’s also for those who have normal issues and are trying to have a healthy family life.

“There’s nobody who doesn’t need support and good human relationships.”

RAPHAEL COUNSELING

Visit: straphaelcounseling.com

Phone: 720-377-1359