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Catholic Culture : Commentary: Blog: "Is Mormonism Christian? Posted Sep. 30, 2008 3:51 PM || by Dr. Jeff Mirus || category Information

The October 2008 issue of First Things contains a very useful article entitled “Is Mormonism Christian?” The two-part article consists of an essay by a Mormon, Bruce D. Porter, who explains why he believes Mormonism is a form of Christianity, and a counter-essay by an evangelical scholar, Gerald R. McDermott, who explains why Mormonism is radically different from Christianity.

The key to the difference between the two positions is understanding that there is much more to Christianity than making Christ the central figure in your theology. Christianity must at the very least acknowledge Christ as the incarnate eternal Son of God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, through whom all things were made, and possessing a nature fundamentally different from our own. McDermott demonstrates that while Mormon theology places Christ at the center, this Christ is very different from the one in whom Christians have historically believed.

McDermott rejects the relatively superficial arguments made by some Christians that Mormonism is not Christian because it fails to emphasize grace, or because it rejects the divinity of Christ, or because it is more about Joseph Smith than Jesus Christ. These arguments are easily refuted. Instead, McDermott focuses on three more telling points.

First, he argues the implausibility that Joseph Smith really found another testament of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon, a testament supposedly based on an an extensive new mission of Christ to the Western hemisphere in the years following His Judaean ministry. The Book of Mormon is implausible because of the lack of witnesses, the vast stretch of time (1,800 years) between the alleged mission of Christ and its “discovery” by Joseph Smith, the significant inconsistencies between the teachings of the Palestinian Jesus and the “American Jesus”, and the very significant doctrinal differences between the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s later prophecies (which are also regarded by Mormons as inspired).

Second, for Mormons, Jesus Christ is a different person from the Father. Smith ended by teaching that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are really three different gods. Jesus was not always god but only gradually attained this status. In fact, Mormons believe that Jesus is essentially no different in nature from ourselves, and that we too can develop into gods, just as he did, if we follow the right path.

Third, Mormonism holds that matter exists coeternally along with the Father and the Son, who are themselves part of the cosmos and limited by its immutable laws. The gods neither transcend nor create the cosmos; they simply have a superior ability to exploit the natural law to bring about their own ends, a power we all have the potential to share one day.

McDermott’s excellent essay clarifies the central point in the dispute about whether Mormonism is Christian. Mormons “believe in Christ”, but what they believe is so different from historic Christianity that the name “Christian” cannot be applied without radically altering the meaning of the term." - Sarah's Law - Sarah's Law: "Sarah's Law
Question from James Roesser on 9/28/2008:

In a previous post, you criticized the proposed Sarah's Law, saying,

'The problem with laws like this, in the long term, is that pro-lifers are suggesting that if parents are informed, and then agree with the child's desire to have an abortion, the abortion can go forward.'

You truly have it backwards. The present law allows children to get abortions without their parents knowing about it. Studies have shown that where parental notification laws are passed, abortions are reduced.

That IS the goal of pro-lifers, not stubborn insistence on your personal opinion of ideals. The same impractical ideals you base your refusal to vote for the candidate who will do the most to advance the sanctity of life, unless they are 100% pure.
Answer by Judie Brown on 9/29/2008:

Dear Mr. Roesser

I fully appreiciate your opinions on the Sarah's Law question, and you have every right to hold them and to disagree with me. But please refrain from alleging that because I do not support laws that undermine the personhood of the child, I am somehow expecting only that which is 100% pure or that I am impractical. You know this is incorrect; all I expect is consistency based on Catholic teaching.

Thanks for your comments.

Judie Brown" - religion teachers and abortion - religion teachers and abortion: "religion teachers and abortion
Question from Tony on 9/28/2008:

If there is a religion teacher in my parish that supports Obama and all of his actions should that person be a teacher of the faith when their own beliefs are contradictory to it? Should I ask her resign or report her to our priest? I don't feel comfortable assisting this 'teacher' in her class. Is that wrong of me? Am I being a little harsh or am I on the money?
Answer by Judie Brown on 9/29/2008:

Dear Tony

We know what the Catholic Church teaches regarding abortion; it is a heinous crime and no public figure who supports abortion should be supported by a Catholic. You are totally correct in this matter.

Judie Brown"

ZENIT - Both Hands at Elevation of Host

ZENIT - Both Hands at Elevation of Host: "Both Hands at Elevation of Host

And More on Sacraments and Intentions

ROME, SEPT. 30, 2008 ( Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: At the consecration of the bread at Mass, is the priest required to hold the host up with two hands? In our church, the priest raises the host with only one hand in a rather casual manner. This makes me almost cry, as I cannot help but think that this gives a message of irreverence to the church community. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. -- K.S., Frankfurt, Germany

A: The General Instruction of the Roman Missal does not give a detailed description of this rite. Nor do the liturgical norms and rubrics surrounding the consecration in the missal explicitly determine that the priest takes the host in both hands. These rubrics are the following:

'1. In the formulas [of the consecration] that follow, the words of the Lord should be pronounced clearly and distinctly, as the nature of these words requires.

'2. The Priest takes the bread and, holding it slightly raised above the altar, continues:

'3 He bows slightly [and says “Take this” etc.]

'4. He shows the consecrated host to the people, places it again on the paten, and genuflects in adoration.

'5. After this, the Priest continues: [“In the same way” etc.]

'6. He takes the chalice and, holding it slightly raised above the altar, continues:

'7. He bows slightly [saying “Take this” etc.]

'8. The Priest shows the chalice to the people, places it on the corporal, and genuflects in adoration.'

If we were to limit ourselves to a minimalist interpretation of the rubrics, we would have to say that there is no strict legal requirement to hold the host in both hands.

However, the liturgical norms of the ordinary rite, even though they no longer describe each gesture in detail, tend to presume continuity in long-standing practice. Thus there is every reason to assume that when saying simply that the priest “takes the bread,” the legislator presumes that he will do so with both hands as is obligatory in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

This is certainly the most natural practice and it is followed by the overwhelming majority of priests worldwide. Holding the host and chalice in both hands allows for greater pause, reverence and composure in carrying out this rite. As our reader points out, holding up the host with one hand can evoke an impression of nonchalance on the part of the priest with respect to the Eucharist.

On the other hand this practice is perfectly justified when a priest is physically impeded, as was the case of Pope John Paul II who held up the host with one hand when he could no longer control both members. In such a case any lack of aesthetics is more than compensated for by the priest’s devotion to his ministry edifying and nurturing the faithful.

Finally, it is important to remember that we are above all before a consecration narrative of the saving events and not before a historical narrative mime or drama. It is therefore liturgically incorrect for the priest to add dramatic gestures that are not described in the rubrics and have no basis in traditional Church practice.

Some practices that crept into the liturgy, such as that of breaking the host while narrating Our Lord’s action of breaking the bread, have been explicitly forbidden in the instruction 'Redemptionis Sacramentum.'

Others, while not specifically mentioned, fall under the same logic that motivated that prohibition. For example, some priests have fallen into the habit of making a gesture of offering toward the faithful with the host and chalice while saying “Take this, all of you.” The addition of such a dramatic gesture is unjustified from the point of view of the rubrics and tends to be quite distracting.

Above all, however, this action tends to dislocate the fourfold action of the Last Supper that the Church has placed at various moments of the Eucharistic celebration. These four moments are succinctly described by (now Bishop) Peter J. Elliott in his 'Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite,' (footnote 59):

'(1) The preparation of gifts (he took), (2) the Eucharistic Prayer (He blessed or gave thanks), and then (3) the fraction (he broke), and finally (4) the communion (He gave).'

For this reason I believe that we can affirm that the Roman rite's characteristic sobriety and lack of dramatic flair is well-grounded in both theology and pastoral good sense.

* * *

Follow-up: Pedophiles and Ordination

After our Sept. 17 column on the validity of the sacrament of holy orders with respect to correct intention, a reader suggested a broader approach. He wrote:

'One of your last question-answer e-mails dealt with the intention of a sacrament as it affects the efficacy of the sacrament. I have a sidebar to that question as it relates to giving Communion to infants and children who might not be at a 'mature' understanding of the sacrament of the Eucharist.

'You stated: 'When the Church speaks of correct intention with respect to sacramental validity, the requirement is fairly minimal. It basically means that the person administrating the sacrament and the one receiving the sacrament want to administer and receive the sacrament as the Church understands it.

''It does not require a full theological knowledge of the sacrament, nor is it necessary to desire all of its specific effects. Thus it is theoretically possible for a non-Christian to validly baptize a person by simply intending to give what Christians give when they perform this rite.

''This fairly simple concept makes it hard to invalidate a sacrament from the standpoint of intention. To do so requires that at the moment of the celebration the person administrating the sacrament or the person receiving it mentally oppose and deny what externally they appear to accept.'

'My question is: Why doesn't this relate to infants and children concerning Communion? There seems to be an inconsistency in the practice of paedo-baptism and in the non-practice of paedo-Communion. I know that it was practiced in the West until the Council of Trent at which time it was formally changed. I also realize that the East (including Eastern Catholics as well as Eastern Orthodox) still practice paedo-Communion. Please explain. Also, in your opinion, will this practice in the West change?'

A complete answer to this question would require a full-blown treatise, but I believe that rather than inconsistency we could speak of different theological emphases that have their origin in diverse pastoral practices.

First of all, I would say that the reason for the Western practice of delaying Communion until the age of reason is basically a pastoral decision.

I do not believe that it is possible to make any sound theological objections to the Eastern practice of administering all three sacraments of initiation to infants, and it is perfectly coherent from the perspective of Eastern sacramental theology. Indeed it would be inconsistent for an Eastern Church to attempt to adopt the Western practice as initiation is intimately tied to the Eastern concept of Church and what it means to be a Christian.

The present Latin practice developed over many centuries and is therefore deeply embedded in the mindset of pastors and faithful alike as well as being encoded in law. Thus, while I believe that there is no theoretical reason why the Latin Church could not adopt the Eastern practice, the probability of this occurring is slight.

Such a change would require deep adjustments in some basic pastoral, spiritual and social presumptions, many of which have proved to be of great value in bringing souls closer to God over the centuries.

Among the reasons why the practice of infant Communion disappeared from the Western Church was the different approach to the sacrament of confirmation. In the West, the desire to maintain the bishop as ordinary minister of this sacrament led to its separation from baptism.

For many centuries first Communion was still generally administered after confirmation, resulting in a further delay in this sacrament. Until the time of Pope Pius X most children received first Communion around age 12. After the saintly Pope lowered the age of reception to around 7, more children began to receive Communion before confirmation.

Another reason was the overall drop in the practice of receiving Communion itself. The number of regular communicants started to drop around the fourth century and did not start to pick up again until the 17th. It is hard to think of administering Communion to infants when their parents received only once a year.

A practical reason was the disappearance in the West of Communion under both species, making it well nigh impossible to administer the Eucharist to infants incapable of taking solid food. Communion under both species was never dropped from Eastern Christianity and it is administered to newborns under the species of wine.

These are just some of a complex web of causes that have led to the present practice. Reasons such as the need to ensure sufficient knowledge of the mystery one is to receive are sound, reasonable and valid in the context of the lived experience of the Latin Church. But they are practical and pastoral rather than doctrinal arguments."

ZENIT - Action Urged Against UK Abortion Amendments

ZENIT - Action Urged Against UK Abortion Amendments: "Action Urged Against UK Abortion Amendments

Bishops Say There Is 'Real Danger' of Worse Laws

LONDON, SEPT. 29, 2008 ( If Catholics don't act now, there is a 'real danger' that abortion on demand could become a reality in the United Kingdom, warn the bishops there.

This was the message of a two-page leaflet that Archbishop Peter Smith, chair of the Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the bishops' conference of England and Wales, sent to priests on Thursday.

He asked them to circulate the information in their parishes ahead of the forthcoming third reading of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill. The leaflet was distributed as a publication of the bishops' conference of England and Wales.

The Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill allows for the creation of human-animal hybrids, the creation of 'savior siblings,' legislates that fathers are not a necessary prerequisite for seeking in vitro fertilization, and sets the upper limit for abortions at 24 weeks of gestation.

The bill has passed in the House of Lords; the House of Commons voted in favor of the key issues in the bill last May, and is currently debating the remaining provisions and considering amendments.

Proposed amendments, to be debated in the third reading of the bill this fall, would effectively establish abortion on demand by permitting abortion with the approval of only one doctor, allowing nurses and midwives to perform abortions, and removing the right of doctors to conscientiously object to arranging or performing an abortion.

'There is a real possibility the law will be changed to make access to abortion easier,' the bishops stated.

1st victim

'The Church teaches clearly that every human life must be respected and protected from conception. The first victim of abortion is the unborn child,' the text continued. 'The woman is also a victim for she loses her child but is unable to grieve effectively.

'It is important to find practical ways to support women so they are not rushed into making harmful choices but are helped to make life-affirming choices.'

The bishops explained that the Abortion Act 1967, as amended in 1990, allows for abortion up to 24 weeks, with the condition that two doctors must approve the procedure.

There are 23 amendments to the current bill, however, that could amend the Abortion Act again, making it even more available in the United Kingdom.

The leaflet reports that in 2007 there were over 200,000 abortions in England and Wales, and that over 80% of the nation's citizens 'think that we should be seeking ways to make abortion less common, not finding ways to make abortion more widespread.'

'If conscientious people do not act,' the bishops warn, 'there is a very real danger that the law on abortion will become even worse than it is now.'" - Your TV Mass - Your TV Mass: "Your TV Mass
Question from Ruthven E Jackie on 8/8/2008:


Peace for the heart!

I recently read in the GIRM that there should only be one cross in the sanctuary either on the Altar or next to it but I noticed that you always have two during Mass on TV. Can you explain why for me please?

Shalom, Mr. Ruthven Jackie.

Answer by David Gregson on 9/29/2008:

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (308) implies a single crucifix, namely one set on or near the altar. This wouldn't preclude, however, the entrance of a processional cross into the sanctuary, which is (I presume) the second cross you refer to." - Almost worshiping dogs - Almost worshiping dogs: "Almost worshiping dogs
Question from Dot on 8/7/2008:

Isn,t it sinful for people to almost worship their pets? It seems that so many people in this day and age are so involved with their dogs and cats that's all they think about. Understad I like pets too, but aren't they still animals and not substitute people?
Answer by David Gregson on 9/29/2008:

The exaggerated affection some people show their pets may reflect a lack of affection they feel coming from friends and family. Dogs and cats, and other pets as well, often show an unconditional devotion to their masters, which is comforting. But we are still their masters. They weren't created in the image of God, nor given dominion over the other creatures of the earth (Gen. 1:28). Nor can we relate to them with anything like the depth with which we can relate to other human beings. Animals are too different from us, and as the saying goes, 'Like knows like.'"

ZENIT - Sister Faustina's Confessor Remembered

ZENIT - Sister Faustina's Confessor Remembered: "Sister Faustina's Confessor Remembered

Pontiff Comments on Father Sopocko's Beatification

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 28, 2008 ( Benedict XVI remembered the priest who was instrumental in helping St. Faustina Kowalska write her diary and communicate to the world her spiritual experiences.

In greeting Polish pilgrims today after praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope turned his thoughts to the faithful gathered in Bialystok, Poland, for the beatification of Father Michal Sopocko, confessor and spiritual director of St. Faustina Kowalska.

Father Sopocko (1888-1975) was also the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus and the lay institute of Divine Mercy. He was born in Juszewszczyna, near the region of Vilnius (which at that time was in Poland, but is now in Lithuania).

“At his suggestion,” Benedict XVI said, “[Sister Faustina] described her mystical experiences and apparitions of merciful Jesus in her well known ‘Diary.’” And also “thanks to his efforts,” the Pope added, “the image with the words ‘Jesus, I trust in you,’ was painted and transmitted to the world.”

The image of the merciful Jesus is the work of Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, a Polish artist to whom Father Sopocko entrusted the task of reproducing what Sr. Faustina described in her diary.

“This Servant of God became known as a zealous priest, teacher and promoter of the Divine Mercy devotion,” the Pontiff said.

The Holy Father noted that his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had “entrusted the world to Divine Mercy.”

Benedict XVI repeated John Paul II's words to the pilgrims gathered at the papal summer residence: “May God, who is rich in mercy, bless you!”

Family life

Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, was sent by Benedict XVI to be his representative at today's beatification Mass in the square of the Church of Divine Mercy in Bialystok.

Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow, delivered the homily during the Eucharistic celebration.

According to Vatican Radio, Archbishop Amato invited all to follow the teaching of the Polish priest, especially in family relationships.

“In families,” the archbishop said, “there is need for mercy every day; every day the wife must be compassionate with her husband and vice-versa, continually reconfirming their reciprocal fidelity.”

“Every day parents must be magnanimous in forgiving their children,' he said, 'in experiencing their disobedience and their mistakes. But children too must be patient with their parents.”

Everyone, the prelate explained, in the family, at work, in society, everywhere and always, “can exercise mercy, forgiveness, understanding: our society needs honest, good, generous, compassionate citizens.”"

Hundreds of thousands of Argentineans honor the Virgin Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolás

Hundreds of thousands of Argentineans honor the Virgin Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolás: "Hundreds of thousands of Argentineans honor the Virgin Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolás

Buenos Aires, Sep 28, 2008 / 10:45 pm (CNA).- Some 200,000 people participated in the Eucharistic celebration near the Sanctuary of Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolás, for the 25th Anniversary of the appearances of Our Lady in Argentina.

The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the Bishop of San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Héctor Cardelli who in his homily stressed that 'when Mary calls us together, the family is reinforced, because the Mother is bringing her children together.'

'How much she told us and how little we recall! How opportune was the intervention of Mary, who reminds us to listen to Christ the Teacher…an encounter with Him ensures the presence of the Kingdom here, among us,' he continued. The bishop went on to emphasize that it has already been 25 years since “her maternal accompaniment has come to us and spoken of her love and fidelity to follow Christ, who is our Way, Truth and Life. Christ is the point of reunion, because from Him, our steps have a course, our motivations have direction and our lives make sense.'

'Considering this brief history, if only 25 years, we see nothing more than grace after grace, where our faith has grown based on acts and the Word being translated into reconciliation, peace, prayer and mission,' he concluded."

Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen asks Obama to protect the unborn in new ad

Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen asks Obama to protect the unborn in new ad: "Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen asks Obama to protect the unborn in new ad

Gianna Jessen / Sen. Barack Obama

Washington DC, Sep 17, 2008 / 02:07 am (CNA).- Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen is featured in a new advertisement questioning Obama’s repeated opposition to legislation that would have protected infants who survive abortions. “If Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn’t be here,” she charges.

As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama opposed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in three separate attempts to pass it. In 2002, identical federal legislation passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-0.

The Illinois legislature did not pass a state version of BAIPA until 2005, after Obama had left that legislative body.

The new advertisement, from the 527 organization, shows abortion survivor Gianna Jessen asking:

“Can you imagine not giving babies their basic human rights, no matter how they entered our world? My name is Gianna Jessen, born 31 years ago after a failed abortion. I’m a survivor, as are many others…but if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn’t be here. Four times, Barack Obama voted to oppose a law to protect babies left to die after a failed abortion. Senator Obama, please support born alive infant protections. I’m living proof these babies have a right to live.”

Jessen was the victim of an attempted saline solution abortion which was performed on her then-17-year-old mother in the third trimester of her gestation. The saline solution burned Jessen’s body for eighteen hours until she was delivered at a Los Angeles County abortion clinic at a weight of 2 lbs.

Her cerebral palsy resulted from the attempted saline solution abortion. Though doctors did not expect her ever to be able to hold up her head, sit up, crawl, or walk, she began to walk by the age of three.

Jessen, who was later adopted, now walks with a slight limp and runs marathons.

In remarks published in a press release, Jessen explained the reasons for her participation in the ad campaign:

“I want people to understand that there are babies born from failed abortions. No matter how they came to us, these babies are living and breathing human beings and deserve the same protections as the rest of us.

“Unfortunately, Barack Obama voted four times against affording these babies their most basic human right. I don’t trust Senator Obama on this issue given he voted against these protections four times as a state Senator. Just as abuse victims or rape victims share their stories to educate the public, fight for the common good and hope that as a result politicians do what’s right, I felt it was important to come forward and give these newborn babies a voice.”

According to the website of, the advertisement is now airing in Ohio and New Mexico. The advertisement is also available at"

Pro-life pharmacy owner explains his no-contraception policy

Pro-life pharmacy owner explains his no-contraception policy: "Pro-life pharmacy owner explains his no-contraception policy

Mike Koelzer

Grand Rapids, Sep 16, 2008 / 12:24 am (CNA).- Citing ethical objections and the potential of some contraceptive drugs to cause abortions, some pharmacies in the United States have decided not to carry contraceptives. One such store is Kay Pharmacy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, owned by Mike Koelzer, who explained his decision not to carry contraceptives in an e-mail interview with CNA.

Koelzer explained that he stopped supplying birth control pills because, as is written on the drugs’ packaging inserts, such pills decrease the lining of the mother’s uterus. This makes the womb less hospitable for a newly fertilized egg to attach.

“It would be similar to taking a field, putting an asphalt parking lot on top of it, and then trying to grow a lawn on it,” he said.

Koelzer, a Catholic, added that he also decided not to stock contraceptives because “the Church teaches that all use of contraceptives is intrinsically wrong.”

An August story from ABC News reported that Koelzer had received many responses to his decision, about 80 percent of which were critical.

Koelzer told CNA that he typically does not respond to the critical comments, most of which came by letter or e-mail.

“If the writer has a genuine question and the letter is respectful in nature, I then respond by answering their questions,” he remarked. “But letters like these are rare.”

Non-critical responses are normally “letters of encouragement,” which Koelzer said thank him for “taking a stand.”

To the criticism that a customer has a right to any product, he responds: “just as an OB/GYN physician is not required to perform abortions, I am not required to participate in something that is morally wrong.”

“As an owner of a store, I have a right to carry or to not carry any legal product. There are some states that are trying to fight this freedom but just as many states that are trying to defend this freedom.”

CNA asked Koelzer if his decision not to carry contraceptive drugs could interfere with patients who take the drug for a medical condition.

Estimating that about ten percent of his 230 regular customers of birth control pills used them for medical conditions, he said he discontinued all sales in 2002 for business reasons.

“It just made good business sense to not have my employees quizzing customers on their intentions and reasons for using the birth control pills,” he explained.

“According to an OB/GYN friend of mine,” Koelzer further noted, “there are plenty of other prescription choices available for women besides birth control tablets that would be just as effective for their needs.”

The group Pharmacists for Life International, which promotes a pharmacist's right to refuse to fill such prescriptions and supports pro-life pharmacies, lists on its web site Koelzer’s Kay Pharmacy and five other U.S. pharmacies that have pledged not to dispense abortifacient drugs or devices or to give referrals for such products."

More than 20,000 Brazilians march for unborn

More than 20,000 Brazilians march for unborn: "More than 20,000 Brazilians march for unborn

Brasilia, Sep 15, 2008 / 11:28 am (CNA).- More than 20,000 Brazilians participated in the second annual National March for Life last week in the country’s capital.

The theme for this year’s march was “How Can We Legalize Death if We Love Life,” with thousands of young people, children, and adults marching together as the country’s Supreme Court considers the possibility of legalizing abortion in cases of anencephaly.

“The march takes place every year in order to make leaders and citizens more sensitive so that they don’t accept the legalization of abortion,” said pro-life leader Lenise Garcia.

Jose Miranda de Siqueira, a lawyer with the Pro-Life and Pro-Family Association, said the march is a unique event in terms of pro-life activity in the country.

“This is the most intense, the most legitimate and authentic act in defense of the life of the entire Brazilian population. It is becoming clearer that the people are against abortion. Brazilians will never accept death,” he said." - Ted Kennedy-pro choice - Ted Kennedy-pro choice: "Ted Kennedy-pro choice
Question from Frank Kurtz on 9/13/2008:

Hi Judie: Thanks so much for the great job you do on this forum.

I happened to notice that Senator Kennedy's name was mentioned as a (pro choice) booster, which may as well be called 'death declaration'.

I will certainly pray for his conversion, but I cant help but wonder if he feels he can 'buy' his way into heaven.

Seriously, remember how enamored most Catholics were with JFK in 1962? He was our hero!! Tis a shame in todays confused society what a politician will do for his/her constituent's vote! How many more sacred lives would be saved if a candidate 'did what is right' rather than how their decision affects their bank account.

Praised be Jesus! Frank
Answer by Judie Brown on 9/13/2008:

Dear Frank

Thanks for the wisdom. God bless you!

Judie Brown" - VP-candidate pro-life? - VP-candidate pro-life?: "VP-candidate pro-life?
Question from anonymous on 9/15/2008:

Hello Judy, This past week, Sarah Palin was interviewed by Charles Gibson on ABC's World News. One of the questions asked of her was about abortion. She responded that abortion should be allowed only if the mother's life is in danger. So, why is she considered 100% pro-life when it's obvious she isn't? The same question holds true for McCain. If neither candidate, Obama nor McCain plan to do anything to overturn abortion rights, then why does it matter who the American people vote for? I appreciate any feedback you could provide. Thank you very much for your time! anonymous
Answer by Judie Brown on 9/15/2008:

Dear Anonymous

I cannot imagine why you are asking me about Governor Palin. I never said she was 100% pro-life.

Nobody would describe McCain as pro-life either. At least noone who understood the record.

Judie Brown"

McCain and Obama on ‘Catholic’ Issues

McCain and Obama on ‘Catholic’ Issues: "McCain and Obama on ‘Catholic’ Issues

BY The Editors

September 21-27, 2008 Issue | Posted 9/16/08 at 1:17 PM

Last week, we reminded readers what the candidates actually said at the conventions about issues of importance to Catholics. This week, as promised, we want to remind readers how the candidates have voted on those issues.


Pope Benedict XVI recently summed up the Church’s teaching: “The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right — it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society.”

John McCain

Opposes the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), a bill which would prohibit states from placing limits on abortion.

On Supreme Court: “Chief Justice [John] Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito would serve as the model for my own nominees.”

In the U.S. Senate:

Voted YES, make unborn children eligible for the SCHIP health-care program.

Voted YES, keep federal money out of abortion.

Voted YES, use taxpayers’ money to kill human embryos in stem-cell research.

Voted YES, a parent must be notified when a minor gets out-of-state abortions.

Voted NO on promoting contraception to teens.

Voted YES, unborn victims of violence count.

Voted YES, ban partial-birth abortion.

Voted YES, ban abortion on military bases.

Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions.

Voted YES on banning human cloning.

Barack Obama

Co-sponsored the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) and says his first act as president will be to prohibit states from placing any limits on abortion.

On Supreme Court: Obama sharply criticized the Supreme Court for its 2007 decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Voted to allow “live birth abortion” when the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act” came up in the Illinois Senate.

In the U.S. Senate:

Voted NO, don’t make unborn children eligible for the SCHIP health-care program.

Voted NO, parents needn’t be told if their children get abortions in other states.

Voted YES, use taxpayers’ money to kill human embryos in stem-cell research.

Voted NO, parent should be notified when their children get out-of-state abortions.

Voted YES on promoting contraception to teens.

School Choice

There is no official Church teaching on voucher plans that use government funding to help students afford private school, but many Catholics support vouchers.


In 1997, he voted YES on school vouchers for D.C.


He has not voted on the topic, but says he is opposed to private school vouchers.


The Church has long taught that immigrants must be welcomed. On Aug. 31, Pope Benedict added: “A sense of responsibility must also be shown by the countries of origin, not only because their citizens are involved, but also to remove the causes of irregular migration, as well as to eradicate, at the roots, all forms of criminality linked to it.”


Voted YES on comprehensive immigration reform.

Voted YES, make English our official language.

Voted YES, build a fence on the Mexican border.

Voted YES, create a Guest Worker program.

Voted YES, give Social Security to illegal aliens.

Voted YES, help Guest Workers become citizens.

Barack Obama

His record is the same as McCain’s except:

Voted NO, don’t make English our official language.


The Church has no official teaching on the Iraq war, but Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI called the invasion of Iraq unjust. The Church does demand that, once war is undertaken, an invader has an obligation to stabilize the area it invades.


Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq.

Supported the surge of U.S. troops in Iraq, which has helped stabilize the area after invasion.


Wasn’t in Senate when U.S. invaded Iraq.

Opposed the surge of U.S. troops, which has helped stabilize the area after invasion.


The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith taught in 2003, “Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex.”


In 1996, he voted to prohibit same-sex “marriage.”

In 2007, he voted to kill the federal marriage amendment without even allowing it to be debated in the Senate.


In 2007, he voted to kill the federal marriage amendment without even allowing it to be debated in the Senate."

Catholic Culture : Commentary: Blog

Catholic Culture : Commentary: Blog: "Mary Ever Virgin Posted Sep. 16, 2008 4:46 PM || by Dr. Jeff Mirus || category Spirituality

One day fairly early in my Catholic teaching career, a student raised a question about the importance of Mary’s virginity, and I responded that the doctrine was very important for this reason: “If Mary had sexual relations prior to the birth of Christ, it would call into question Christ’s Divine paternity.” This exchange took place in an apologetics class I used to teach at Christendom College. During the ensuing discussion, some other students wanted to know what the importance of Mary’s virginity was in partu.

What? Oh, it wasn’t the Latin that troubled me. I simply had always focused on the ante partum and post partum virginity of Mary—her virginity before and after the birth of Christ. It had never occurred to me to think about Mary’s virginity during the birth (in partu). The students, who had all completed Christendom’s first-year course in Catholic doctrine, knew precisely what the Church taught, but wondered about its significance. Their apologetics teacher, who lacked the benefit of a systematic Catholic education, sensed the significance, but didn’t recall the fullness of the Church’s teaching.

Fortunately, I did what any good teacher should do. I neither blustered nor starting spinning out my own opinions about what the Church probably taught, or ought to have taught, and why. I said I wanted to look into it a little more, and we’d take it up again in the next class. The incident took place roughly thirty years ago, but I haven't forgotten what I learned.

The Church teaches that Mary is perpetually virgin, that she retained her virginity before, during and after the birth of Christ, which makes even the physical reality of Christ’s birth in some senses miraculous. The virginity of Mary in both conception and giving birth was at least hinted at in the first chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, for the evangelist saw the virgin birth as a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, which he quotes: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Mt 1:23, emphasis added). But most of our evidence comes from tradition.

The Eastern Fathers consistently emphasized Mary’s experience of joy and freedom from pain in giving birth to Christ, and the Western Fathers clearly taught Mary’s in partu virginity as a preservation of her bodily integrity and exemption from the ordinary pangs of childbirth. After all, the bringing forth of children in pain was a consequence of the Fall, and both the Fathers and later theologians have specifically seen the virgin birth as one of several signs that Mary was immaculately conceived, and therefore exempt from both concupiscence and the pains of childbirth. Pope St. Leo the Great taught Mary’s virginal conception and virginal birth in 449, and this teaching was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon.

The tradition is universal that Mary remained a virgin, and had no other children, after the birth of Jesus. Tradition holds that the 'brethren' mentioned in Scripture are cousins (the term for 'brethren' was frequently widely applied at that time). The ancient formula for Mary's threefold virginity “ante partum, in partu, post partum” was already well-established by the fourth century. Some theologians, including Protestants such as Martin Luther, have seen a proof text for post partum virginity in Ezekiel 44:2 applied to Mary: “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.” Throughout the liturgical and doctrinal tradition of the Church, Our Lady has been frequently referred to as “the glorious ever Virgin Mary.” The phrase appears in the ancient Eucharistic Prayer I, and was reaffirmed very recently at Vatican II.

Mary’s three-fold virginity is not only appropriate to her as the immaculately-conceived Mother of God, but serves as a symbol of the sacramental fruitfulness of the Church’s spiritual motherhood. It also signifies the importance of consecrated virginity and celibacy, through which many devote themselves more wholeheartedly to the service of God. All of this is worth serious meditation: Ante partum, in partu, and post partum—in case you didn’t know."

McCain discusses role of religion in personal and national life

McCain discusses role of religion in personal and national life: "McCain discusses role of religion in personal and national life

Sen. John McCain / Whoopi Goldberg

New York, Sep 16, 2008 / 05:30 pm (CNA).- Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain spoke about the place of religion and politics in a Friday appearance on the ABC daytime talk show The View. While professing respect for people regardless of their religious beliefs, he said he prayed for God’s guidance and claimed the United States was founded upon “Judeo-Christian values.”

Whoopi Goldberg, one hostess of the show, asked whether McCain’s choice of evangelical Christian Gov. Sarah Palin was a possible threat to the “separation of church and state.”

According to, McCain replied that some of Palin’s remarks, in which she prayed that the military do God’s will, have been taken out of context. The senator claimed that Palin was echoing the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said “we should 'pray not that God be on our side, but that we be on God's side.'

While John McCain has been reticent in the past to talk about his faith in public, he has recently become more vocal about it.

McCain explained his own view of religion and American life, saying “Judeo-Christian values were the foundation of our nation. 'In God we trust' - clearly - the belief that God has a plan for the world, and that we should do what we can to live as good a lives as we can and trust that - 'in God we trust' - will guide the nation and this world to a better existence.'

When some of his hostesses asked about those who do not believe in God, he replied that atheists are entitled not to believe in God, but that this tolerance should also be accorded to those who do believe in God.

“We should respect the views of those who believe in God and believe that we are a special nation, and that it's a special world, and we believe that God does play a role - not in whether or not we win or lose elections - but in whether we have a better world, and a better future, and better lives,' Sen. McCain said.

Goldberg said she believed that Christianity could “take over” and disadvantage people of other beliefs.

'Are you to govern the way that God would have you do it, or do you govern this nation for the greater good of the people in it?' she asked.

'I think everybody obviously is entitled to their individual faith, including not believing in anything,” McCain answered. “But I pray every day for guidance, and to do the right thing... and to do what is in the best interest of the country.

'I am an imperfect person,' he concluded, 'but the point is, I respect those people who don't think they need spiritual guidance and help. I just happen to be one of those who does.”"

ZENIT - Nearly Half a Million Visit Holy See Water Expo

ZENIT - Nearly Half a Million Visit Holy See Water Expo: "Nearly Half a Million Visit Holy See Water Expo

Zaragoza Event Ends After 93 Days of Activity

ZARAGOZA, Spain, SEPT. 17, 2008 ( Nearly a half million visitors passed through the Holy See's pavilion at the international exposition on 'Water and Sustainable Development' that closed this week in Spain.

The Expo Zaragoza 2008 opened in June, bringing some 130 participants from various countries, autonomous communities and businesses to demonstrate their proposals in relation to water and sustainable development.

The Holy See's booth offered a reflection on the divine and human elements of water. One of its main attractions was the last work of art completed by El Greco, 'The Baptism of Christ.' Thirty-eight other works were also displayed.

During the 93 days of the expo, the booth was visited by 453,168 visitors, though it was one of the smallest pavilions available. Visitor surveys gave it an average 8.9 out of a possible 10 points.

Among the personalities who visited the pavilion were various Spanish government officials, including Spanish Queen Sofía. Several members of the Church hierarchy also paid a visit, including Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers; Cardinal John Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem; and Cardinals Antonio Cañizares and Carlos Amigo, archbishops of Toledo and Seville, respectively.

In statements to ZENIT, several of the visitors said they were grateful for the opportunity to visit a small adoration chapel with the Blessed Sacrament after they visited the Holy See's display.

In a message sent earlier this month to Cardinal Martino, who represented the Holy See at the Day of the Holy See at the expo, Benedict XVI noted that the right to water is based on human dignity and said that its use must be 'rational and supportive, the result of a balanced synergy between the public and private sectors.'"

Archbishop Chaput asks politicians, what about comprehensive immigration reform?

Archbishop Chaput asks politicians, what about comprehensive immigration reform?: "Archbishop Chaput asks politicians, what about comprehensive immigration reform?

Denver, Sep 17, 2008 / 03:23 pm (CNA).- What happened immigration reform as an issue in the 2008 presidential election? That’s exactly what Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver is asking in his weekly column in the Denver Catholic Register, as he calls for an end to raids by customs agents and pushes for comprehensive reform.

“Here’s the surest sign of an election year: Certain hot potato issues—the kind that nobody in either major party really wants to deal with in a tight race—mysteriously disappear,” writes the archbishop.

Archbishop Chaput notes that political calculations seem to be the culprit, saying, “Little more than a year ago, immigration reform drove a ferocious debate throughout the country. But in 2008, candidates know that if they seem too tough on immigration, they’ll lose the vital Latino vote. If they seem too soft, they’ll anger many non-Latinos worried about their jobs, national security and the solvency of their public institutions.”

The result of all this political maneuvering has been a kind of “unstated truce,” in which many candidates and public officials are offering “generic concern about the immigration issue, but few actually doing anything until after the election,” the Denver prelate writes.

Lest people raise an outcry that the archbishop is against the law of the land, he pointed out that “the Catholic Church respects and obeys our immigration authorities and discourages anyone from violating our laws.”

“It’s also true, however, that most undocumented immigrants in the United States are here filling jobs that Americans don’t want but upon which our economy depends. They live peaceful and productive lives, and many have children who are now American citizens. They deserve to be treated with the respect commensurate to their human dignity,” he says.

This is not the first time that a Catholic bishop has spoken out in favor of reforming the immigration system. Just last week, Bishop of Salt Lake City, John Wester, speaking on behalf of the rest of the U.S. bishops, called for an end to the raids being conducted on illegal immigrants. Bishop Wester, emphasized that the bishops did not question the right of the government to enforce immigration laws, but questioned whether worksite raids are effective and “most importantly, humane.”

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island also spoke out against raids in his state last month, calling them “unjust, unnecessary, and counter-productive.”

Archbishop Chaput agrees: “Immigration enforcement raids demonstrate politically the ability of the government to enforce the law. They do little, however, to solve the broader challenge of illegal immigration. They also reveal, sadly, the failure of a seriously flawed immigration system, which, as we have consistently stated, requires comprehensive reform.”

“Whoever takes power in Washington, the archbishop writes, this November needs to face the fact of a broken immigration system and the intense frustration and family suffering it continues to cause.”

The archbishop closes his column by reiterating that, “We need comprehensive immigration reform. But until that happens, we can at least end the use of worksite enforcement raids and the human turmoil they create.”"

Google agrees to allow religious pro-life ads following legal action

Google agrees to allow religious pro-life ads following legal action: "Google agrees to allow religious pro-life ads following legal action

London, Sep 17, 2008 / 08:07 pm (CNA).- The internet search engine company Google has settled a lawsuit filed by the UK-based Christian Institute out of court after the company refused its draft advertisement concerning abortion law. The amicable settlement includes a policy change to permit religious groups to purchase Google advertisements for factual campaigns against abortion.

The legal action began in April after Google refused an ad which read:

“UK abortion law: Key views and news on abortion law from The Christian Institute.”

The non-denominational Christian group was trying to publicize its articles against abortion before a controversial vote in the House of Commons that could have placed restrictions on abortion. Google policy at the time prohibited advertisements which mixed “abortion and religion-related content.”

According to the Daily Mail, the institute has the support of former Tory MP Anne Widdecomb, a Catholic. In April she criticized Google’s policy, saying “It does seem to me to be the most appalling and blatant case of religious discrimination and also to be a very silly attempt to stifle due debate.”

Google explained its change of policy in a Tuesday statement which read:

“The issue of abortion is an emotive subject and Google does not take a particular side.

'Over the last few months we have been reviewing our abortion ads policy in order to make sure it was fair, up-to-date and consistent with local customs and practices.

'Following the review we have decided to amend our policy, creating a level playing field and enabling religious associations to place ads on abortion in a factual way.'

The Christian Institute also issued a statement about the settlement.

“We are delighted to confirm that our legal proceedings against Google for blocking our abortion ad have been settled on amicable terms,” the Christian Institute said.

According to the statement, Google has reviewed its AdWords policy to enable religious associations to place ads on the topic of abortion in a “factual and campaigning way.”

“The new policy will apply world-wide with immediate effect,” the organization said. “This is an important issue of free speech and religious liberty and we are pleased with Google’s constructive response to this matter.”" - Organ Donation - Organ Donation: "Organ Donation
Question from Tom Schmid on 9/16/2008:

I realize that this question has been touched on before, please forgive me but I still am somewhat puz zled. I am currently a blood donor. I am considering becoming an organ donor as well. However, I have heard horror stories of medical facilities harvesting organs for a recipient before the donor has expired. If I donate my organs, am I furthering the cause for the culture of life or am I providing the means for furthering the cause for the culture of death? In essense, which avenue would be more in line with Catholic teaching?
Answer by Judie Brown on 9/16/2008:


The important thing to know is that as the Church teaches, there is something charitable about donating organs, but that the process of taking those organs can never CAUSE the death of the donor.

There is a very interesting article about this on line and you may want to read it. The article, 'Organ donation: the grim harvest' by Paul Byrne, M.D. is at

You will find a 'life support directive' with the article.

Judie Brown" - Voting in the presidential election - Voting in the presidential election: "Voting in the presidential election
Question from Andy on 9/16/2008:

Dear Mrs Brown: Thank you for keeping us so well informed on the upcoming presidential election. I have read some of the Bishops statements concerning it, and I cannot in good conscience vote for either canidate.I believe it would be mortally sinful for me to vote for a canidate who will only limit, not work to abolish abortion as Senator McCain promises to do, but support embyronic stem cell research. Thank you and God bless you!
Answer by Judie Brown on 9/16/2008:

Dear Andy

Give all praise and glory to Our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

Judie Brown" - Tubal Ligation - Tubal Ligation: "Tubal Ligation
Question from Anonymous on 9/15/2008:

Hi: I have a situation and need some advice. My wife is seeking to have her tubes tied. She is in her upper 40's and she says here Dr.'s are recommending that she not become pregnant due to her stomach conditions, etc. She is not Catholic but I am. I want nothing to do with the procedure and have always asked that she not do it. I am the major breadwinner and would have to pay for the operation above what the insurance does not pay, which I have refused to so far. If I do not back her up our marriage will be severly damaged and could end. I don't want that becuase we have two kids now and it would be hard on all. Should I be more supportive and assist with her choice or follow what my conscience is saying is wrong?


Answer by Judie Brown on 9/16/2008:

Dear Anonymous

I sent your question to Anthony Dardano, M.D. and following is his reply:

As you well know, tubal ligation (sterilization) is forbidden by the church Not only is it permanently contraceptive, it also falls under the category of a 'mutilation' procedure. It then follows that there are no circumstances, medical, financial, social, emotional, etc., which can justify it. As might be expected, Catholic hospitals do not allow the procedure to be performed in their institutions. Therefore you are correct in that you may not give your approval or financial support. This would be direct cooperation and equally sinful. You must continue to voice your firm disapproval of the procedure. If after all your honest attempts to change her mind fail, she alone is responsible for the decision, and your conscience should be clear. Prayer and compassion are key elements here, as she as well as you is undergoing an emotional struggle. My prayers are with you and your wife for a morally acceptable solution to this dilemma.

Anthony N. Dardano, M.D." - List of organizations that fund abortion - List of organizations that fund abortion: "List of organizations that fund abortion
Question from Jack on 9/17/2008:


What organizations out there, such as charites, fund abortion and such misconduct. I've seen a list once that you've provided to soemone that reveals such information.

It would be good for the public to be aware of it so they don't put their hard earned money towards such organizations by exposing them here. Knowledge is power!

Answer by Judie Brown on 9/18/2008:

Dear Jack

You may acquire this list from Life Decisions International. The information on acquiring it is on their web site:

Judie Brown" - St. Peregrine - St. Peregrine: "St. Peregrine
Question from Elaine on 9/10/2008:

I was given a holy card by a friend of St. Peregrine, the patron saint for cancer victims. I went to Catholic school for eight years and never remember hearing anything about him. So, could you please give me some information about him so I can share it with my sister who is battling pancreatic cancer?
Answer by Catholic Answers on 9/11/2008:


You can find out more about St. Peregrine by clicking the links in this response and by visiting a St. Peregrine Shrine for cancer victimes, several of which have information available online.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers" - Use of saint names for babies - Use of saint names for babies: "Use of saint names for babies
Question from BBS on 9/11/2008:

Are Roman Catholics required to name their children after a saint (either first name or middle)?
Answer by Catholic Answers on 9/12/2008:


Recommended reading:

Must a child have a saint's name to be baptized?

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers"

Washington assisted suicide ballot push is part of national plan, critics claim

Washington assisted suicide ballot push is part of national plan, critics claim: "Washington assisted suicide ballot push is part of national plan, critics claim

Seattle, Sep 19, 2008 / 05:34 am (CNA).- Critics of a proposed assisted suicide initiative in Washington state have charged that it is part of a strategy to legalize assisted suicide throughout the country. Arguing that the passage of Initiative 1000, also called the “Washington Death with Dignity Act,” would make doctors into killers, they argue the bill lacks mental health safeguards and claim its adoption into law would also reverse longstanding beliefs that suicide is a tragedy.

Rita L. Marker, executive director of the Steubenville-based International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, argued in an article on the American Thinker website that assisted suicide advocates had believed Oregon’s adoption of an assisted suicide measure in 1994 would be followed by similar laws in other states.

When other states failed to pass laws, Marker reported, the Portland, Oregon-based Death with Dignity National Center and the group Compassion & Choices, which was formerly known as the Hemlock Society, in 2005 organized a plan called 'Oregon plus One.'

“It is based on the premise that, if just one more state follows Oregon's lead, then other states will fall in line,” Marker wrote, saying that assisted suicide activists selected Washington state as a target for their advocacy.

The Death with Dignity National Center, which backs Initiative 1000, argues on its web site: “The greatest human freedom is to live, and die, according to one's own desires and beliefs. The most common desire among those with a terminal illness is to die with some measure of dignity. From advance directives to physician-assisted dying, death with dignity is a movement to provide options for the dying to control their own end-of-life care.”

Initiative 1000 is opposed by John Peyton, a Washington man who is paralyzed and dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease. He explained his opposition in a video posted on the website of the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide.

“I’m one of those people who is somewhat a target of the initiative,” he said. “I don’t know how we, as a society, could really consider making doctors into killers.”

The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) also opposes the initiative, saying the proposal is “contrary to Catholic teaching that life is sacred and that God alone is the true sovereign over life.”

“Human dignity and worth are simply innate to our relationship to God and not dependent on our social usefulness,” the WSCC continued on its web site. “As Catholics we believe that a caring society assists persons with terminal illnesses, and their loved ones, to live as fully as possible the time they have left together.”

The WSCC also argued Initiative 1000 “reverses a longstanding social belief that considers suicide a tragedy” and thus undermines trust in doctors’ dedication to health care.

“Assisting in a suicide would turn the care-giving relationship between physicians and vulnerable patients upside down,” the WSCC said. “Once committed solely to the well-being of their patients, physicians would be legally allowed to help their patients kill themselves.”

Further, the WSCC charged that the bill lacks requirements to notify families of a suicidal patient and to evaluate the mental health of a person requesting assisted suicide.

Initiative proponents are well-backed financially. According to the web site of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, as of Tuesday the “Yes on 1000” committee has reported receipts of $1,856,252.

Of that sum, $775,330 is attributed to assisted suicide advocacy groups and the campaign spokesperson, former Governor Booth Gardner. The International Task Force reported that the figure is almost double the amount of donations in the same time period reported by the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide. reports that a poll of 1,000 adults and 718 likely voters in Washington State was conducted from August 11 to 12. The poll claimed 51 percent of survey respondents said they were leaning towards supporting the measure, with only 26 percent saying they were leaning against it.

Another statewide poll reported 39 percent favoring the initiative, with 26 percent opposing it."

Video shows abortion supporters harassing Catholics outside church

Video shows abortion supporters harassing Catholics outside church: "Video shows abortion supporters harassing Catholics outside church

Buenos Aires, Sep 19, 2008 / 09:15 pm (CNA).- A video posted on put on full display the ferocity of abortion supporters who were participating in the National Meeting of Women in the Argentinean city of Neuquen last August. It shows them harassing and insulting a group of Catholic young people who were standing outside the Cathedral of Neuquen to keep the church safe from the protests.

The National Meeting of Women is a feminist event that takes place each year to pressure authorities to legalize abortion and to promote reproductive rights and gender ideology.

Financed by anti-life NGOs and supported by the government of Argentinean president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the meeting brings together pro-abortion, feminist, homosexual and left-wing organizations.

The meeting usually ends with a protest through the streets of the host city, with organizers planning the route to include a stop at the local cathedral. This year, in order to keep protestors from trashing the cathedral grounds, a group of young people from Neuquen stood outside the cathedral to pray and form a barrier against the protestors.

The YouTube video shows abortion protestors shouting and throwing objects at the young people."

India’s Newest Martyrs

India’s Newest Martyrs: "India’s Newest Martyrs

Christians Die for Their Faith in Troubled Orissa



September 28-October 4, 2008 Issue | Posted 9/23/08 at 9:35 AM

BHUBANESWAR, India — An armed Hindu mob landed at the doorstep of evangelists Samuel and Daniel Nayak on Aug. 25, with an ultimatum: Denounce the faith or die.

“Do you want Christ or your life?” the mob leaders demanded of the Nayaks and five other members of the Nayak family. Unfazed, the brothers replied, “Christ is everything for us.”

Enraged, the Hindu fundamentalists hit two children in the house with iron rods, breaking their skulls. After pouring gasoline on the adults, the fanatics gave them “one more chance.” They stood firm and raised their hands in prayer.

Within seconds, five adults were aflame. Foreseeing that they might try to escape, the mob had poured gasoline on the outside walls of the house. The house was set on fire, reducing all seven members of the family to ashes.

History is replete with accounts of how the early Christians were persecuted for their faith under the Roman Empire. Many Christians in the troubled Kandhamal district of eastern Orissa state are being subjected to similar persecution in the 21st century — in the largest democracy on earth.

Rakesh Digal, a young Catholic working outside of Orissa, was on a vacation in his native Pupuria, a village near Udaigiri. When one of the roaming Hindu mobs spotted him, he tried to run away but was chased and caught. He was beaten and buried alive for refusing to renounce his faith.

When he asked why they were burying him alive, the Hindu assailants told him, “Jesus will save you.”

According to numerous first-person accounts, these are not isolated horror stories from the jungles of the Kandhamal district, where Christians account for more than 100,000 out of a population of 500,000. Church workers have already documented as many as 28 murders of Christians, who have lost their lives for their faith. Unconfirmed figures are still higher.

Apart from this, more than 4,000 Christian houses, along with dozens of churches and Christian institutions, have been emptied and torched in troubled Kandhamal. Half of the Christians have been forced to flee their houses to jungles or refugee camps since late August.

The orgy of violence was let loose by Hindu fundamentalists after Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, senior leader of Hindu nationalist groups in Orissa, was shot dead, along with five of his junior monks, by Maoist rebels who stormed his base the night of Aug. 23.

Even though the Maoists claimed responsibility, Hindu groups are convinced Saraswati’s murder was a Christian conspiracy, as the 85-year-old monk had carried out a vociferous campaign against conversion to Christianity in Kandhamal.

In fact, Christian targets across Kandhamal had been attacked last Christmas after an alleged altercation involving Saraswati’s motorcade took place at a Christian-majority village.

“Christians are being hunted out now. If they don’t renounce their faith, their life is in danger,” Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, said in an interview in Mumbai Sept. 6.

Archbishop Cheenath rushed to Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai after three seriously injured priests from Orissa were airlifted to the hospital.

“Now there is hardly anything [Church owned] left to be destroyed,” said Archbishop Cheenath. Kandhamal accounts for three-quarters of the 64,000 Catholics and 24 of the 34 parishes in the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar."

Details of first investigation into Padre Pio’s stigmata revealed

Details of first investigation into Padre Pio’s stigmata revealed: "Details of first investigation into Padre Pio’s stigmata revealed

St. Padre Pio

Rome, Sep 22, 2008 / 12:39 pm (CNA).- In an article published by the L’Osservatore Romano, Francesco Castelli, a biographer of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, has revealed details of the first investigation in 1921 by the Holy Office—now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—into the life of the Italian priest and the authenticity of his stigmata.

Castelli explained that the recent opening of the archives that contain the information on the first investigations show that it is not true that the Holy Office was suspicious of Padre Pio, but rather that there was admiration and appreciation for him.

In 1921, the Holy Office charged Bishop Carlo Raffaello Rossi, who would later be made cardinal, with visiting Padre Pio to investigate his life and the origin of his stigmata. In his report, Bishop Rossi wrote that Padre Pio “held his head high and was serene, his look lively and sweet, his words gleamed with kindness and sincerity.”

The task that began on June 14 of that year lasted for eight days, during which Bishop Rossi observed Padre Pio in detail. He wrote that he was very gentle with his brothers, beloved by his superiors for being a “great example and not a gossiper.” He spent 10-12 hours a day in the confessional and he celebrated the Mass with “extraordinary devotion.”

Bishop Rossi said the observations were not sufficient and he decided to interview Padre Pio, who responded to 142 questions under oath with his hand on the Gospels. Castelli says his answers almost constituted a complete biography.

Questions such as, “Who gave you the stigmata? For what reason? Were you given a specific mission?” were answered serenely by the Italian saint in the following manner:

“On September 20, 1918 after celebrating Mass, while I was giving thanks in the Choir, I was repeatedly overcome by trembling. Later I became calm again and I saw our Lord as if He were on the cross—but I did not see if He did have a cross—lamenting the lack of response from mankind, especially from those consecrated to Him who are His favorites. He was showing that He was suffering and that He desired to unite souls to His Passion. He invited me to enter into His sufferings and to mediate upon them: and at the same time to concern myself with the health of the brothers. Immediately I felt full of compassion for the sufferings of the Lord and I asked Him what I could do. I heard this voice: ‘I unite you to my Passion’. And immediately, the vision having disappeared, I came to and I saw these signs from which blood was flowing. I did not have them before.”

Castelli said Bishop Rossi went even further. He asked to examine the wounds and as he did so he asked Padre Pio about them. He saw that the wound in his side “changed aspects frequently and at that moment was in the shape of a triangle, never before seen. Regarding the wounds of Padre Pio, he gave me precise and detailed answers explaining in addition that the wounds in his feet and side had a sort of radiant aspect.”

Bishop Rossi concluded that the wounds were not “the work of the devil” nor were they the result of “deceit, fraud or a malicious or evil ability. Much less were they the result of external suggestion, nor do I consider them to be the result of suggestion.” The distinctive elements “of true stigmata were found in those of Padre Pio,” he added. Other details such as his high fevers and perfume-like scents confirmed the veracity of the phenomenon.

Castelli said the first thing that emerges from these investigations is that the “feared Roman dicastery was not, in these circumstances, an enemy of Padre Pio, but rather the complete opposite! Bishop Rossi showed himself to be an absolute inquisitor but he was also a mature man of true valor, devoid of unjustified harshness towards the one he was questioning.”

Thanks to these investigations, the former Holy Office possesses a history of Padre Pio written by his “spiritual father, Benedetto, a document extremely rich in information that up to now had been almost completely ignored.”

Upon writing that after 1939 there is no clear way to tell what happened to the Capuchin friar who died on September 22, 1968, Castelli recalled how Bishop Rossi would remember the saint in his own words: “Padre Pio is a good and exemplary religious, trained in the practice of virtue, given over to piety and perhaps elevated in degrees of prayer that go beyond the external, resplendent in particular with a profound humility and singular simplicity that have never waivered even in the most difficult of times, in which these virtues have been tried in a serious and dangerous way.”

Francesco Castelli is professor of History of the Contemporary Church at the Romano Guardini Institute of Religious Science and Director of the Historical Archives of the Diocese of Taranto."

ZENIT - The Secret Story of Padre Pio's Stigmata

ZENIT - The Secret Story of Padre Pio's Stigmata: "The Secret Story of Padre Pio's Stigmata

Volume Reveals Report of Vatican Investigator

By Mirko Testa

ROME, SEPT. 22, 2008 ( A volume detailing the report of a Vatican investigator into Padre Pio gives new information on the wounds of the Passion that the friar suffered.

Padre Pio da Pietrelcina received the stigmata from the crucified Christ, who in an apparition invited the Capuchin friar to unite himself to his passion so as to participate in the salvation of others, particularly consecrated persons: This is what we can know with certainty thanks to the recent opening -- at the request of Benedict XVI -- of the archives of the former Holy Office up to 1939, which contain information on revelations to Padre Pio that were not previously published.

These revelations have been released in a book titled 'Padre Pio Sotto Inchiesta: l''Autobiografia Segreta'' ('Padre Pio Under Investigation: The 'Secret Autobiography''). The volume is prefaced by Vittorio Messori and edited by Father Franceso Castelli, historian for the beatification cause of Pope John Paul II and professor of modern and contemporary history of the Church at the Romano Guardini Institute for Religious Sciences in Taranto, Italy.

Until the publication of this book, many assumed that Padre Pio -- whether for reasons of modesty or because he thought himself unworthy of the charisms he had received -- had never disclosed to anyone what happened on the day he received the stigmata.

The only known reference to these events was in a letter Padre Pio sent to his spiritual director, Father Benedetto da San Marco in Lamis, in which he speaks of the appearance of a 'mysterious person' but does not offer any details.

The new book, which contains the first complete version of the report penned by Bishop Raffaele Rossi of Volterra, (later cardinal), apostolic visitor sent by the Holy See to secretly investigate Padre Pio, clarifies that on the occasion of the reception of the stigmata the saint had a conversation with the crucified Christ.

The book also contains a number of statements that Padre Pio made under oath, which provide an interpretive key to Bishop Rossi's report.

Asked to swear on the Gospel, Padre Pio for the first time revealed the identity of the one from whom he received the wounds.

It was June 15, 1921, and in answer to a question posed by Bishop Rossi, Padre Pio said: 'On Sept. 20, 1918, I was in the choir of the church after celebrating Mass, making the thanksgiving when I was suddenly overtaken by powerful trembling and then there came calm and I saw Our Lord in his crucified form.

'He was lamenting the ingratitude of men, especially those consecrated to him and favored by him.'

'Then,' Padre Pio continued, 'his suffering was apparent as was his desire to join souls to his Passion. He invited me to let his pains enter into me and to meditate on them and at the same time concern myself with the salvation of others. Following this, I felt full of compassion for the Lord's pains and I asked him what I could do.

'I heard this voice: 'I will unite you with my Passion.' And after this the vision disappeared, I came back to myself, my reason returned and I saw these signs here from which blood flowed. Before this I did not have these.'

Padre Pio then said that the stigmata were not the result of a personal request of his own but came from an invitation of the Lord, who, lamenting the ingratitude of men, and consecrated persons in particular, conferred on Padre Pio a mission as the culmination of an interior mystical journey of preparation.

Common theme

Father Castelli, the book's editor, noted that the theme of the ingratitude of men and especially those favored by God is not something new in the Capuchin friar's private revelations.

He told ZENIT: 'What is decisive is that Padre Pio made no request for the stigmata. This helps us to understand the freedom and the humility of the Capuchin who is clearly completely uninterested in making a show of the wounds.

'Padre Pio's humility also manifests itself in his reaction to seeing the signs of the Passion traced in his flesh once he had come back to himself. In fact, in the conversation with the bishop, once the mystical scene has finished, it is not elaborated on further.'

From the conversation with Padre Pio, from the letters, from the witnesses questioned by Bishop Rossi and finally from his own report, it is plain that the friar was unhappy about the signs of the Passion, that he tried to hide them and that he was uneasy in showing them at the request of the apostolic visitor, the editor explained.

A 6th wound?

The book conveys Bishop Rossi's conclusions about the stigmata, of which there had only been partial information, and so provides new information, especially about the form of the wound in the side and a rumored sixth wound on the friar's back.

In his report the apostolic visitor says that there was no festering in Padre Pio's wounds, they did not close and did not heal. The remained inexplicably open and bloody, despite the fact that the friar had tried to stop the bleeding by treating them with iodine.

'Bishop Rossi's description of the wound in the side,' Father Castelli told ZENIT, 'is decisively different from those before and after him. He did not see it as an upside down or slanted cross, but as having a 'triangular form' and so therefore with definite edges.'

Contrary to what certain doctors have said, Bishop Rossi concluded that the wounds did not appear to be externally inflicted.

'This speaks in favor of the authenticity of the stigmata,' Father Castelli explained, 'because carbolic acid -- which according to some was what Padre Pio might have used to cause the wounds -- after it has been applied, consumes the tissue and inflames the surrounding area. It is impossible to think that for 60 years Padre Pio could have caused himself these wounds of the same definite shape.

'Further, the wounds emitted the intense odor of violets rather than the fetid stench that degenerative processes, tissue necrosis or infections usually cause.'

According to the report, Padre Pio said that apart from the stigmata in his hands, feet and side, there were no other wounds, and therefore no wound on his back as Jesus might have had from carrying the cross. Some have suggested that Padre Pio might have had this wound.

Father Castelli maintains that it is not possible to speculate beyond the information gathered in Bishop Rossi's 1921 investigation and attribute to Padre Pio any other sign of the Passion."

Liberal Democrat argues same-sex marriage makes society less 'pro-child'

Liberal Democrat argues same-sex marriage makes society less 'pro-child': "Liberal Democrat argues same-sex marriage makes society less 'pro-child'

Los Angeles, Sep 22, 2008 / 07:16 pm (CNA).-

A self-described liberal Democrat has explained his opposition to same-sex marriage in an opinion column for the Los Angeles Times. Arguing that marriage is not “simply a private love relationship between two people,” he argues that marriage unites the “biological, social and legal” dimensions of parenthood into the “pro-child” form of the married couple.

David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values and pioneer in the “fatherhood movement,” makes his case in the September 19 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

He writes that despite cross-cultural differences, the purpose of marriage is clear.
“Marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood,” Blankenhorn states. “Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children.”

The social institution of marriage ensures that children grow up with a secure family life and parents are accountable both to their spouses and to their child.

“Marriage is society's most pro-child institution,” he asserts.

Blankenhorn notes that the Child Trends nonpartisan research center supported this conclusion in a 2002 report, saying “family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

The 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child also “specifically guarantees” children the right “to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world.”

“The last time I checked,” Blankenhorn adds, “liberals like me were supposed to be in favor of internationally recognized human rights, particularly concerning children, who are typically society's most voiceless and vulnerable group.”

“Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him,” the liberal Democrat continues. “Every single one.”

Changing the meaning of marriage, he says, “further and perhaps definitively undermines” marriage’s distinctive pro-child contribution to society.

Blankenhorn also voices his concerns about the constricted range of debate on same-sex marriage. People must “be careful” if they believe that every child deserves his mother and father, or believe that fathers and mothers are different from each other, or believe that biological ties matter to children, or believe that the best family has only two parents, he says.

If one opposes same-sex marriage, he adds, “More than a few grown-ups will be quite willing to question your integrity and goodwill. Children, of course, are rarely consulted.”

Saying he rejects “homophobia” and believes in the “equal dignity” of homosexual love, Blankenhorn concludes by emphasizing that society should seek “to maintain and to strengthen” marriage for the sake of children."

Please Candidates: Defend True Marriage Now! - Catholic Way

Please Candidates: Defend True Marriage Now! - Catholic Way: "Please Candidates: Defend True Marriage Now!

Marriage is a life long union between one man and one woman

Please Candidates: Defend True Marriage Now!
Deacon Keith A. Fournier
(c) Third Millenium, LLC

The political air is filled with the oxymoronic phrase “gay marriage”. The two words have no connection.There is no such thing.The Presidential election is underway. The enforcers of the new cultural revolution will try to make those of us who insist that marriage is what it is seem to be intolerant. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those who support marriage as a lifelong committed relationship between one man and one woman are being pilloried in the press. No matter where one stands on other issues, if you support marriage - as marriage – you are being brushed with all the disparaging terms thrown at people who insist that there is any such a thing as objective truth in an age of moral relativism. As a convinced and committed Catholic Christian, I know that there are immense social implications to living the truth as revealed by the Natural Law and confirmed in Revelation.

This is an age deluded by the siren song of moral relativism.

I have fought for decades in the noble fight to restore the fundamental human right to life for all men and women from conception to natural death. I have been labeled a “conservative” because of my absolute insistence that the womb is the first home of the whole human race and that every child has a right to life and a freedom to be born. Yet, I insist that I am not a “conservative”.

I openly opposed the initial incursion into Iraq, insisting that it could not be justified under the classical “just war” analysis. Now, I do not know whether we can exit without serious consideration of what will happen to these dear people who rely on our protection.We have to continually assess all public policy positions.

I have long opposed capital punishment - as no longer necessary to protect society. I have raised deep concerns about the insistence that we build walls to prevent people from following their hopes for freedom on our Nations borders.Of course we need proper protection against terrorism. But, we also need to reamain the land that welcomes the pilgirms.

I long ago gave up any hope that either major political party had a place for me. I am pro-life, pro-marriage and family, pro-freedom, pro-peace and pro-poor. I am neither liberal -nor conservative, neither right nor left. I support the Federal Marriage Amendment because it is essential to authentic human freedom. Marriage matters. It serves the common good.

Monogamous Marriage, and the family founded upon it, is the first society, the first school, the first economy, the first hospital, the first church and the foundation of a just social order. The oxymoron, “gay marriage”, once used by only the fringe elements of the extreme homosexualist movement, has quickly become an acceptable expression. It is being wielded by the media - “conservative”, “liberal” and “mainstream” - as it reports on efforts to defend and promote marriage.

In an Orwellian spin, those who support marriage as marriage are being called “narrow minded” and accused of trying to push our “values” or, even worse, “religion” on others.


The efforts of the homosexualist movement to force legal recognition for homosexual relationships has gained great momentum through a sophisticated, intelligent and well funded and multi-faceted effort. The goal was clear - the total re-ordering of civil society in a new cultural revolution. Proponents had a clear verbal, social, legal, cultural and political strategy. On the legal front they were led by the “Human Rights Campaign”, a well funded public interest legal group dedicated to convincing the public that there is some kind of “civil” or “human right” to engage in homosexual sexual practices. They have very able lawyers.

The “Human Rights Campaign” has succeeded in reframing this entire issue. They speak of “the freedom to marry”, as though the efforts to protect authentic marriage as marriage is to somehow deny homosexual practitioners from “freedom” or to refuse them a “right” to marry. This was a smart and calculated move. I understand the approach very well. I practiced public interest law for years. They simply recast the effort and redefined the word. Now, it is the proponents of true marriage who are on the defensive. In short, some of our difficulties are of our own doing.

I understand public interest law because, as a practicing Catholic, I helped to establish and lead the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a predominantly evangelical public interest legal group, for seven years. This was long before many of my fellow Catholics either knew that the battle for marriage had been engaged, or accepted the idea that Christians could come together, in an authentic ecumenical effort, to engage the cultural struggle. In 1990 I wrote a book entitled “Evangelical Catholics: A Call for Christian Cooperation” with a forward by Chuck Colson. One year after I began the ACLJ I hired Jay Sekulow, who now continues the struggle.

I note that the new public interest legal efforts, including the “Thomas More Law Center”, a Catholic effort funded by Tom Monahan, are continuing the fight in the public interest legal fray. I have had many people ask me whether they should give to the ACLJ or the Thomas More Center. It is a hard question for me to answer. I actually came up with this name, Thomas More Law Center, years before while I was a Dean at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I proposed the idea to Tom Monahan and Dick Thompson, the Chief Counsel, years later in a cabin in Michigan after I had left the ACLJ. They took the idea. Sadly, I now feel like much of the fundraising in these legal efforts, Catholic and evangelical Protestant, is duplicative.While the various groups compete for donations, the struggle to defend marriage suffers.


In addition, well intended “orthodox” (by which I mean classically faithful) Christians and Jews, in trying to defend marriage, have sadly used expressions such as “traditional marriage”. They might as well walk around with a huge bull’s eye on. The expression has become fuel for the homosexual activist war machine which is intent on redefining “marriage” to include those who engage in homosexual sex with one another for a protracted period of time. The proponents of equal status for homosexual paramours with authentically married heterosexual couples can now simply ask the question “whose tradition”? They can also argue that we Christians are trying to force our “religious” views on the Nation. They follow this by painting the effort to defend authentic marriage as a “religious” bigotry.

Philosophers speak of ontology as the science or philosophy of being, the essence of a thing. For example, a rock is a rock and not a cabbage; a man is a man and a woman is a woman. Marriage is ontologically between a man and a woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to life through the conjugal act in procreation. It also forms the foundation of family. There can be no such thing as “marriage” between two same sex people engaging in sexual acts, even if they engage in such acts only with one another and for a protracted period of time. This is true no matter what a Court or legislature may try to impose to the contrary.

The late great C. S. Lewis coined the phrase, “verbicide” in his Book entitled “Studies in Words”. The term referred to the murder of a word. In the past, when I wrote concerning the fundamental human rights issue of our age, the right to life, I referred to the current assault against words as “verbal engineering” and maintained that it is always the first step in social, legal, political, and cultural engineering. Remember, it was by using the word “choice” to describe the killing of a child in the womb that advocates of legalized child killing paved the way for abortion on demand, once universally opposed, and opened the door for it to be heralded as a “right” in America - and throughout the West. The same deluded revolutionary trajectory has been at work in marriage.

Monogamous Marriage between a man and a woman forms the first cell of civil society upon which family is founded. Monogamous two parent marriages form the healthiest framework for the rearing of children. This fact was once widely accepted by the overwhelming majority of sane people. Marriage between a man and a woman was not seen as simply a “religious” idea but a human understanding, a natural institution. Monogamous heterosexual marriages and in tact families formed the basis of civil society. Even those who broke their marriage vows and divorced did not call for scrapping the institution. Marriage and the institution of family were viewed as promoting the common good of society. Stable marriage between a man and a woman was seen as a “good” that promoted human flourishing. Marriage was viewed as a “good” of persons which promoted and protected the “common good” of the society as a whole by forming the foundation of family, the first society.

Let me be clear. To defend marriage- as what it is and not what cultural revolutionaries seek to redefine it to be - must never be used to justify discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies, desires - or even those who choose to live in homosexual relations. However, genuine tolerance does not mean the re-ordering of civil society to accommodate these “alternative” lifestyles and the use of the police power of the State to enforce them. There is a difference between freedom liberty and libertinism. Yet, that is what the “Human Rights Campaign” seeks to do with their carefully orchestrated legal campaign.

In order to help us to comprehend what is occurring let me borrow a Property Rights Analogy. It does not even come close in terms of the magnitude of the danger we now face because persons and their flourishing are so much more vitally important than the ownership of property. However, it may help to unmask the tactics being used. In order to comprehend what is occurring let me borrow a Property Rights Analogy. It does not even come close in terms of the magnitude of the danger we now face because persons and their flourishing are so much more vitally important than the ownership of property. However, it will help to unmask the tactics being used.

We still accept a uniform definition of “private property.” We defend the private ownership of property as a “right”. It forms a basis for our social, economic and political order. Let’s say that next year; a group among us had decided that “private property” should mean that our land also belongs to the neighbors on adjoining land. Why? Because they decided that approach was better and they changed the definition, first among themselves, and then they had decided to enforce that private opinion upon the broader society. Next, they insisted that the law recognize their new definition by giving it an equivalent status to the “traditional” notion of private property. Well, we can see where this is headed. You simply cannot have two distinctly different things being called the same thing. One has to yield to the other.


The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, speaking on behalf of the “Magisterium” (teaching office) of the Catholic Church, released a definitive document in 2003 concerning the defense of marriage. It unequivocally addressed growing efforts in some Western nations to redefine the word marriage and thereby eliminate the institution of the family. In it they said:

“The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes, reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.”

True marriage is the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship proposed by and written in the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor confer upon anyone a “right” to marry. The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage against those who would redefine it. As a Catholic, I am seriously embarrassed by some of my fellow Catholics, such as Senators Biden and Kennedy, who errantly lead the efforts to grant legal equivalency between homosexual paramours and married couples. They should be ashamed of themselves! They are wrong in their policy position. They are also unfaithful to the teaching of their Church.

Government has long regulated marriage for the common good. For example, the ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society. In now “redefining” marriage, these renegade Justices and their complicit public officials have imperiled the stability of our society and struck a blow against the common good. To confine marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition.

To “confer” the legal benefits that have been conferred in the past to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is very bad public policy. Sadly, those who claim that this is simply a matter of “tolerance” are often the most intolerant. They insist on forcing their brave new world on the rest of us. Notice how intolerant they are of those who, though respecting the dignity of every person, including homosexuals, also insist that marriage is what it is.


The current cultural situation we face as Christians in America is not unfamiliar. We need to consider it in terms of our 2000 year Christian history. I do not care how “scientifically advanced” the contemporary West thinks it has become, or how “modern” the issues of the modern cultural revolutionaries purport to be, there is nothing new about it. The struggle we are engaged in as Christians in contemporary western culture concerns a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, and competing definitions of freedom. In the circles of contemporary cultural and social revolutionaries, Christians (at least orthodox, faithful ones) are once again being presented as unenlightened, forcing “our view” on others.

Yet, our position on marriage and family, the nature of authentic human freedom, the dignity of every human person, the right to life and the reality of objective moral truth, are what brought freedom to those in bondage to disordered appetites and enslaved to totalitarian regimes, left and right, for centuries. Truth is. It exists. It is not a matter of “my truth” and “your truth”. There is an objective truth for all men and women that can be known, having been revealed by the Natural Law.

As Christians, we need to reassess the political terrain and our role in it. Many of my fellow Catholics succumbed to a delusion, hoping that following a politically “conservative” line would effect true change. They either never understood the social teaching of our Church or failed to critically think through the implications of its claims. Now, they are seriously disillusioned. There is now a “Compendium of the Social teaching of the Catholic Church”, which should place the Catholic issues in perspective. Catholic Christians cannot be first “conservative” or “liberal” or “neo-conservative”. We must first be Catholic.

Some of the strongest voices insisting on legal equivalency between homosexual paramours and married couples are self professed “libertarians”. Libertarians are often characterized as being “on the right”. I remember when I served the Presidential campaign of Steve Forbes as an advisor on pro-life, pro-family and faith based issues. I saw the “alliance” between libertarian groups such as the “Cato Institute” and evangelical and Catholic activists, in its infancy. I knew then that the implosion of the Republican coalition was inevitable.

One morning, a self professed “libertarian Catholic” (another oxymoron) engaged me at a meeting of the advisors of the campaign. I told her, with as much sincerity and kindness as I could muster, that libertarianism and Catholicism were antithetical. Libertarianism exalted an atomistic individualism as the measure of freedom while Catholic Christian faith insisted that we are by nature and grace social creatures, made for family and called to find authentic freedom only through serving the common good.

It was Christianity that taught such novel concepts as the dignity of every person and their equality before the One God. Christians proclaimed the dignity of women, the dignity of chaste marriage and the sanctity of the family. It was Christianity that introduced the understanding of freedom not simply as a freedom from, but as a freedom for living responsibly and with integrity.

In 1996, a professor of Sociology and comparative religion named Rodney Stark wrote a compelling book entitled “The Rise of Christianity.” Rich in sociological and empirical data it details the growth of Christianity at the beginning of the first millennium. The book chronicles the rise of the Christian faith from a small Jewish sect in the first century to extraordinary cultural dominance 300 years later. Using historical documents, the author demonstrated how the early Christians lived in faithful, heterosexual, monogamous marriages in the midst of a pagan culture, claiming to be “enlightened” while they decayed from within. The lifestyle of the Christians had an extraordinary affect over time on that debased culture.

Christians insisted that freedom must be exercised with reference to an objective moral code, a law higher than the emperor, or the sifting sands of public opinion. It was Christians who understood that choice, rightly exercised, meant always choosing what was right and that the freedom to exercise that choice brought with it an obligation and concern for the other. The Christian faith presented a coherent and compelling answer to the existential questions that plagued the ancients, such as why we existed and how we got here. What was the purpose of life? Questions like how evil came into the world and why we could not always make right choices? What force seemed to move us toward evil and how we could be set free from its power? Christian philosophy began to flourish and the arts also flourished under the Christian worldview. Philosophies of government and economic theory began to be influenced by these principles derived from a Christian The Christian understanding of marriage and family is not some outdated notion of a past era but the framework for a future of true freedom. We are now living in a new missionary age. The mission field is our own Nation.

During the first millennium, in the pagan culture of ancient Rome, fidelity between a husband and wife was uncommon. Sexual promiscuity, reflected in “hetero” and “homo” sexual aberrant behaviors were common. Women (and some men) were considered to be property - and used as sexual objects. Abortion, infanticide, and exposure (placing children on rocks to die by the elements or be picked up by slave traders) were not only commonplace practices but proclaimed to be “lawful” by an arrogant and misguided government. Epidemics began to multiply among the promiscuous Romans, apparently related to the lifestyle of sexual excess, causing civic and (Pagan) religious leaders to flee the cities, leaving the sick to die.

In contrast to this ancient pagan culture, the Christian way of life stood out as an alternative. The emphasis of those ancient Christians was upon marrying once. Husbands and wives remained faithful to one another. Children were welcomed, cherished and seen as both gifts from- and the means of - serving the God whom they proclaimed in both word and lifestyle. Christians did not abandon the sick, but cared for them, even the sick pagans, to the point of sacrificing their own health.

According to Stark, Christianity helped to answer the question 'why bad things happen to good people'? It was answered through understanding the implications of the suffering and Cross of Christ.

In addition, the Christian faith answered the existential questions that were unanswered in classical paganism. The Christians lived the love they proclaimed and had a strong family system that was increasingly attractive to the pagans. This lifestyle also allowed the Christians to live longer. The author writes: 'Christian values of love and charity, from the beginning, had been translated into norms of social service and community solidarity. When disasters struck, the Christians were better able to cope, and this resulted in substantially higher rates of survival. This meant that in the aftermath of each epidemic, Christians made up a larger and larger percentage of the population even without new converts.'

Stark noted that Christianity in the first millennium brought about the formation of a new culture: 'To cities filled with homeless and the impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachments. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fires, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services.'

In short, the Christian Way of Life transformed Christianity from a sect into the major dominating faith. It also transformed the world of the First Millennium…and the Second. It can and it will do the same in the Third Millennium, even in this contemporary Rome. A new missionary moment has come with this assault on Marriage. Let us put our hands to the plow, for the fields are ready.

Marriage Matters. In fact, it is the foundation of a free society. No dispensable, changeable instituion... it is what it is!Candidates who truly care about the common good will defend it."