kelly wahlquist

Catholic Evangelist & Speaker

Kelly Wahlquist is a dynamic and inspiring Catholic speaker whose gift of weaving personal stories and Scripture together with practical advice allows her audience to enter more fully into what Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have called us into - to be witnesses of our faith and part of the New Evangelization.



Daily Reading for Dec. 12: Evangelii Gaudium paragraphs 93-109

Reflection by Kitty Cleveland 

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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I have to be honest with you. My brain hurts after reading these paragraphs!  I did my homework, though, and I think I now understand what he means by "self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism," among other things.  I hope I can shed a little light on it for you if you struggled as I did.



In "No to spiritual worldliness," Pope Francis essentially exhorts us to reject becoming "whitewashed tombs" (Matt. 23:27) who look good on the outside but are motivated by a desire for human accolades and good feelings rather than true love of God and neighbor. 

There are two things that fuel this worldliness: 1) "Gnosticism" (e.g. the Cafeteria Catholic with a purely subjective faith); and 2) "self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism." Essentially, these are the "spiritual snobs" who reject the necessity of grace for salvation, assuming they can earn salvation by their own excellence and attention to the liturgical and doctrinal rules (and necessarily exclude from righteousness those who, in their opinion, don't measure up).  

"These are manifestations of an 'anthropocentric imminentism," continues Pope Francis, i.e., an attitude that gives credence only to one's subjective religious feeling, denies the transcendence of God, and dismisses reason, intellect, and the objective foundations of our faith as irrelevant.  

At the risk of oversimplifying, I've stereotyped the different ways these he says this "insidious worldliness" manifests in the Church:

1) The ostentatious liturgy police 

2) The ambitious corporate climbers

3) The vain socialites

4) The cold business managers

"The mark of Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen, is not present; closed and elite groups are formed, and no effort is made to go forth and seek out those who are distant or the immense multitudes who thirst for Christ. Evangelical fervor is replaced by the empty pleasure of complacency and self-indulgence." [95]

"We need to avoid [this tremendous corruption] by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor... [It} can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit, who frees us from self-centeredness closed in an outward religiosity bereft of God." [97]



On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, it seems only right that we look to Our Lady to teach us how to "breathe in the pure air of the Holy Spirit" and be healed of any spiritual worldliness that may have crept into our own faith life. 

Unlike the whitewashed tombs filled with dead men's bones, she is the Theotokos, the pure and spotless tabernacle bearing within her very body and soul the One True God.  

So how do we imitate her purity of heart? Her zeal for God and for souls? Her tender love for the poor? How do we bear Christ within us and carry him to others as she did? It must begin with one thing:


Humility is the antidote to spiritual worldliness, a humility that recognizes our status as sinners in need of God's great mercy every single day of our lives; a humility that submits to the authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals; a humility that recognizes our need for grace to do anything of any lasting value in this life; and a humility that leads to a heart overflowing with gratitude for God's goodness to us, which can only express itself in humble service to others.


Let us pray:

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Spouse of the Holy Spirit and my Mother, I beg you to obtain for me and for all members of the Church a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May the Refiner's Fire purify us of any spiritual worldliness and increase in us all of the virtues, especially humility, purity of heart, zeal for souls and a great love for the poor.  Amen.



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Kitty Cleveland is an award-winning singer/songwriter, actress and inspirational speaker who has been delighting audiences around the world for many years, having appeared multiple times on EWTN, on the radio, in concert and as a keynote speaker throughout North America and in Europe.

Though she put her singing on hold after college to pursue careers as a lawyer, university professor and career counselor, Kitty’s life as a Catholic evangelist and music missionary began in earnest after launching her first CD in 2000.  She has since released eight CDs, plus three popular CDs with Lighthouse Catholic Media.  Her latest attempt to "cast out into the deep" as part of the New Evangelization is a recording of jazz standards with some of New Orleans' finest jazz musicians, which will be available in February 2014 .

Kitty makes her home in the New Orleans area with her musician husband and young daughter, whom they adopted from China in 2005.  For more information about Kitty or to book her for your event, please go to or call Caroline Sholl at (504) 559-8076.

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