LA Rams kicker: ‘Most important goal of a married Catholic man’ is getting his family to heaven
LOS ANGELES, California, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Los Angeles Rams placekicker Greg Zuerlein might not have won the Superbowl this year, but he’s got his priorities in order.
In a recent interview with the National Catholic Register (NCR), the star football player explained why faith and family are even more important to him than football.
“I enjoy playing football but also know that it will come to an end one day,” Zuerlein, 31, said. “The older I get, the more I see that it is not who I am, but what I do for a job.”
“The most important goal of a single Catholic man is to get his soul to heaven, but the most important goal of a married Catholic man expands to getting not only his own soul to heaven, but also those of his wife and children,” Zuerlein stated.
“It’s almost as if, as a result of the love that you share, you have one soul as a family.”
Zuerlein and his wife Megan have four small children, and Zuerlein explained why a married couple having many children shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“...[The] whole point of getting married is to raise good children — first giving them natural life and then giving them supernatural life in the Church,” he told the NCR.
“Children are supposed to be valued highly, but not in the sense of being a scarce luxury. The default setting for a family is to have children, so it shouldn’t be considered odd when children come about.”
Zuerlein praised his parents for taking the Catholic faith seriously, saying that he was fortunate to have them.
“In our family, it was made clear that certain things are required of us in order to get to heaven,” he recalled.
“The Church is there in so many ways for us to achieve that goal, so it is a matter of whether we want to cooperate with the grace available through the sacramental and devotional life of the Church,” he continued. “It’s all centered on Christ and radiates out through Mary, Joseph, the apostles, angels, and so forth. I learned that growing up, but it’s becoming even clearer now.”
In an earlier interview, the then-recently married footballer mentioned that as a child he went to Mass every day.
“At St. Joseph Catholic [Elementary] School I would go to Mass every day during the week, often with my mother and three sisters, and then we would go to Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation as a family,” he told Trent Beattie in 2013. “We’d also go to Confession regularly, so we were taking in a ton of grace on a regular basis. Our lives were centered on Jesus in the Mass and other Sacraments, so there was a great stability present in the family.”
Zuerlein told NCR that he has been reading a book about some Early Church Fathers. Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett (and published by Ignatius Press) is about Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons, and what they learned from the the apostles. The football player finds knowledge of the history of the Church useful in explaining the Catholic faith to non-Catholics.
The writings of the first leaders of the Church after the apostles are good things to point out to Protestant friends who tend to see history as having a 1,500-year gap between the apostles and the origin of Protestantism, he told NCR.
“The Church was Catholic from the beginning; we’ve always been a family in faith, led by bishops and priests who can trace their holy orders back to the apostles, who themselves were ordained by Christ. Apostolic succession means the continuation of the life of Christ in the world,” he continued.
He added that he sometimes has to explain the faith to less well catechized Catholics, too, and used the injunction against the killing of the unborn as his example.
“It is unfortunate when Catholicism is not taught clearly, because then people can get really confused about the most basic things, even things that aren’t specifically Catholic,” he said.
“Abortion is sometimes presented as one issue among many or even overlooked, but you don’t even have to belong to the Church to know that killing babies is wrong and that it is more important than other issues.”