The scandal has nothing to do with his personal sins. I hope he confessed them and was forgiven, as I hope myself to be forgiven. The Church is always generous to sinners who make even the slightest gesture of repentance. In that, she shows that she is not a merely human society bound by certain rules, but the living communion of saints and the presence in this world of the merciful heart of God.
The scandal likewise has nothing to do with partisan politics. If you think it does, as some of the Commentors on Brad Miner’s gentlemanly Friday column believe, you should compare Brad with the New York Times obituary, which felt obliged to record that Ted’s shoulders were “sometimes too narrow” for the task he inherited. And that, contrary to the eulogies, he could be savagely unjust and demagogic, as even some followers admitted (e.g., in the Bork hearings), tarring mere opponents as racists, sexists, and elitists. All such shenanigans are an unfortunate feature of partisan passions, but only of passing importance.
The distress – and the scandal – arise from only one thing: the Church’s failure to show the slightest reservation about the man who, more than any Catholic and perhaps more than any American political figure, has led the pro-abortion forces in Washington. Even worse, his longstanding pro-abortion leadership gave political cover to other Catholic politicians and confused simple lay people. That’s what scandal (in the theological sense) does: it becomes a stumbling block for the faithful about the very truths of the faith.
The American bishops have been admirably clear that the defense of life is not like their other concerns about the poor and social justice. Defense of life occupies a different level. It is the basis for everything else.
Yet most people watching the Kennedy funeral have never heard a word of our bishops’ teachings, except that Catholics are “not single issue voters.” They might with justification believe that you can be a notorious pro-abortion Catholic and still be publicly honored by the Catholic Church. No one mentioned the issue, let alone took steps to make it clear that the Church means business about life.
Some have argued that now is not the time to criticize Edward Kennedy. There will be time enough later. But this is not a matter of criticism. This involves a widespread public misperception of Catholicism – or is it a true perception now? Television coverage of the Mass has spread the image of the Church honoring a well-known Catholic, passionately disrespectful of life. The damage may be irreversible. -Read More
7:30 p.m. addition to story below - The Boston Globe reported today that "Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston will preside at the funeral of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy tomorrow at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the Mission Church). The Rev...." -Read More
Blessed are the students who stay in touch with God during their academic life, they will always have a friend by their side. So many times students see college as a good way to escape from church. It is important and very fruitful to pray daily and to be involved in one’s parish or campus ministry. Don’t wait until you have a test. It is amazing how thoughts of God come at exam time. When I was a campus minister I could always tell it was exam time when daily Mass was overflowing with students.
Blessed are the students who study and go to all their classes, they will become educated. Unlike high school teachers, very few college professors watch what students do. Most students are free to go to class or not. College calls for greater responsibility. Those who waste their education regret it later. They are often left with big loans and little knowledge to show for them.
Blessed are the students who get involved in extracurricular activities, they usually develop into well-balanced people. Study alone does not make for an educated person. It is very enriching to become part of campus ministry and other student organizations. It helps a student become a well-rounded individual. -Read More
From a Catholic perspective, the "Kennedy Legacy" is the reason abortion is in the health care legislation in the first place.
As I argued in my 2008 book, Onward Christian Soldier: The Growing Power of Catholics and Evangelicals , Ted Kennedy became the pro-abortion acolyte of Rev. Robert Drinan, S.J. who pioneered the bogus arguments leading Catholic politicians into open dissent with the Church.
Kennedy and Drinan, both now deceased, are directly responsible for a Congress where the majority of Catholic members serve the culture of death rather than the Church whose faith they profess. -Read More
LOS ANGELES, CA (MetroCatholic) - Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, a Southern California based pro-life group, will be present at the Congressional Send-off Rally on Thursday, September 3rd at 6:00PM in Los Angeles. The event, which is currently scheduled to take place at Cornfield Park in China Town, is meant to communicate constituents wishes about health care reform to their congressmen who are leaving from their recess.
“Abortion is not healthcare,” Charles Cox, a representative of Survivors stated emphatically. “No health care reform bill has any business mandating that we should pay for abortion.”
Obama’s health care reform bill, HR 3200, has come under fire by pro-life groups who feel that abortion should not be funded by tax dollars. Additionally, the bill will allow for elective abortion to be required coverage for all Americans, and has no clause to protect the Conscience Rights of physicians who believe that by performing abortions they would be violating their Hippocratic oath.
“To date, 80% of all hospitals do not generally provide abortions,” stated Timmerie Millington, a volunteer with Survivors. “Any public option should be sure to protect the Conscience Rights of all health care providers.”
Additionally, the group points out that a recent Zogby poll showed 71% of those asked oppose tax-funding for abortion.
Cox said, “When our elected officials in congress leave for DC, we want them to know that their constituents do not want this bill as is. We want a guarantee that our congressmen will vote ‘no’ on any bill that does not specifically exclude abortion.”" -Read More
WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - The Vatican has given its “recognitio” to a change in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which is set to go into a second printing.
The change clarifies Catholic teaching on God’s covenant with the Jews. The first version, in explaining relations with the Jews, stated, “Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them.” The revised text states, “To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his Word, ‘belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.’ (Romans 9: 4-5; cf. CCC, no 839)
The change was approved by the U.S. bishops following the bishops’ 2008 June meeting in Orlando, Florida.
The clarification is not a change in the Church’s teaching.
The clarification reflects the teaching of the Church that all previous covenants that God made with the Jewish people are fulfilled in Jesus Christ through the new covenant established through his sacrificial death on the cross. Catholics believe that the Jewish people continue to live within the truth of the covenant God made with Abraham, and that God continues to be faithful to them. As the Second Vatican Council taught and the Adult Catechism affirms, the Jewish people “remain most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues.” (Lumen Gentium, no.16).
The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults was approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2004 as a basic and concise introduction to the Catholic faith. It is a catechetical text rather than a theological textbook.
A “recognitio” is a statement from the Vatican that a document is in keeping with Catholic teaching." -Read More
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, the Catholic Church’s largest pro-life ministry, stated today, “The reason for the mess we are in with the health care reform debate is the elections of 2008, and the way out of the mess will be the elections of 2010 and 2012.”
Priests for Life has announced the formation of “Political Responsibility Teams” in communities across America. The purpose of such teams will be to educate and activate citizens to exercise their responsibility to participate in the electoral process in a way that is informed rather than impulsive, and based on principle rather than mere personal advantage.
“Churches provide our greatest opportunity to mobilize and educate voters,” Fr. Pavone explained, “and activating Churches for the pro-life cause is the primary mission of Priests for Life. But Churches can also become the biggest obstacle if they choose the path of fear and hide behind paranoid interpretations of the Internal Revenue Code as an excuse for not talking about politics. We have a lot more to fear from our silence than we do from speaking out.”-Read More
(NEW YORK – C-FAM) One of the world’s largest abortion advocates joined the onslaught against Nicaragua’s decision to ban abortion in two recently published Spanish language reports. Ipas, known for distributing the manual vacuum aspirator – a device used to perform early term abortions, particularly in countries where it is illegal – is claiming that Nicaragua is violating women’s human rights.
The Ipas reports claim that the abortion ban is unconstitutional and a "setback" for human rights. Nicaraguan lawmakers, on the other hand, say the ban is a step forward since the law which permitted “therapeutic” abortion violated the country’s understanding of its international obligations. Nicaragua is party to the American Convention on Human Rights which states in Article 4 that life shall be protected by law "from the moment of conception."" -Read More
This newest Obama czar openly stated his support for mandatory abortions in Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, a book Holdren co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich some years ago:
There exists ample authority under which population growth could be regulated. It has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe ...
Ecoscience also casually mentions sterilants in drinking water or staple foods of those who “contribute to social deterioration,” the implantation of long-term birth control devices in women who have already given birth to two or three children, and an international monitor empowered to enforce population limits on any nation under scrutiny. (The Ehrlichs and Holdren have claimed, quite implausibly, that they were just listing possibilities then under discussion.)
Grilled by Senator David Vitter about these and other disturbing views last month, Holdren stated that it was “no longer productive” to think about optimal population size – but conceded little else. The media, as has become their custom when some Obama appointee is revealed to have an outrageously radical past, merely noted the hysteria of Holdren’s opponents but did not explore his positions.
The Obama Administration’s social planners stand in a long tradition of progressives who reject the Judeo-Christian belief in the sanctity of human life. Many people still doubt that liberal-minded people actually hold such beliefs, but, as history shows, American progressives have often endorsed eugenics and other morally repugnant practices. Eliminating inferiors, they argued, is permissible in the name of preserving society as a whole. Holdren and his allies wouldn’t put it that way, because it plays badly – even to an adoring media. But they don’t hesitate to talk about restraining population in the name of preventing climate change – one of Dr. Holdren’s recent preoccupations.
And media acquiescence in progressive eugenics has its own long and “distinguished” past. E.L. Godkin, founder of the Nation, Herbert Croly, founder of the New Republic, and William Allen White, editor of the Emporia (Kansas) Gazette, endorsed population-control programs, because, they believed, America should be governed and populated by its “superior classes.” -Read More
Yet even without fears of imminent danger, baptism remains an urgent sacrament that should be conferred upon infants as soon as possible after birth. In the words of St. Peter on the first Pentecost, baptism both forgives sins and imparts the gift of the Holy Spirit. These are spiritual gifts par excellence that all Catholics of all ages and sizes require to live their respective vocations in the world. Therefore, baptism remains vital and relevant even in the lives of adults who were baptized decades ago.
Baptism, followed by confirmation and the Eucharist, is the first of the sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church. As noted in the first column of this series, the sacraments are necessary for salvation; baptism is the foundation of this promised salvation since through it recipients are born spiritually and given a share in the inner life of the Trinity. Sacraments are physical signs of God’s invisible grace of salvation. In baptism, the physical matter of water combines with the formal prayer “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” to confer the grace of the sacrament.
Many wonderful gifts are imparted by baptismal grace, but baptism itself is a gift God freely bestows on those whom He wills. Infant baptism highlights the sheer gratuity of God’s generosity, as infants obviously do not ask for the sacrament themselves. But even when parents have their children baptized, or when converts approach the baptismal waters at the Easter Vigil, they have done so only because God has called them first. -Read More
Sen. Edward ('Ted') Kennedy (D-MA) is dead. He died last night from brain cancer.
Ooookay - where do we begin?
Or, rather, where do we not begin? Because I have seen many people (some of them my friends) begin in completely the wrong way;
'Well, I don't agree with everything that he did or stood for, but he did some wonderful things for his State, and he was always positive towards the military, and he supported a lot of good causes. And his family has had such tragedy.'
That begins at the wrong place.
So, to be fair, does the other sort of obituary;
'Sen. Kennedy burns in Hell! Hahahahahaha!'
Neither of these begin, or end, at the right place. And they tend to go off a bit in the middle as well.
So, how should I begin?
Firstly, it is a simple fact that Sen. Kennedy spent most of his professional career in a state of unrepentant mortal sin. His support for abortion, the homosexual agenda and a whole host of other issues make that clear. There is no case to be made that he might have supported these things and then confessed his sins so he was, actually, alright with God. His constant support of these matters show that, even if he did confesses his support for abortion (which is highly unlikely) his confession lacked the required contrition. If he asked for forgiveness, it was clear he was not asking for it with genuine contrition (if you are sorry, why do you never say so publicly, Senator?)
Secondly, it is a simple fact that if he died in this state of unrepentant mortal sin, tonight his soul basks in Hell. That is something my Church teaches me. It is something simple logic teaches me. This is justice - those who die shaking their fists at God will burn forever. Kennedy lived shaking his fist at God.
Thirdly, it is not certain Kennedy died in a state of unrepentant mortal sin. He might have sought forgiveness (with the correct sort of contrition) before he died. I hope and I pray he did. Frankly, I find it very unlikely - he never said he was sorry during his life, so why would he say so at the very end? But, we can hope and pray for him - and I urge you to do so.
Fourthly, and most importantly ....
(this is so important it gets its own paragraph)
.... there is no way we can say 'Well, I might not have agreed with everything he did, but ...' or, as a friend of mine said, 'I don't think he can be reduced to a couple of issues [abortion and the gay agenda]'.-Read More
The conference was focused on the sacraments of service—matrimony and orders. After an introductory lecture by Brant, I delivered a talk on the Catholic view of marriage, based on reason and revelation. My first major point was that Catholic teaching on marriage is in agreement with reason—social scientific data supports the view that the two-parent, heterosexual marriage is superior to all other arrangements for the raising of children. Since the state has a vested interest in the welfare of the next generation, the state justifiably identifies and protects the life-long mutual commitment of a man and woman—marriage.
After making this point, I went into a biblical narrative theology of marriage starting from Genesis 2 and moving through the Pentateuch and even into the Historical Books, pointing out how the narrative implicitly valorizes monogamy and critiques other arrangements—i.e. polygamy and homosexuality. My students will remember this as the “implicit critique of polygamy” in the Old Testament. Of course, this view is not original with me. It has deep roots in the Jewish interpretive tradition, and my eyes were opened to it by reading the superb Jewish biblical commentator Umberto Cassuto on Genesis.
I also mentioned the concept of marriage as the climax of the creation story (Genesis 1-2) and the iconic significance of marriage vis-à-vis the creation of mankind in the image of God. Marriage is two persons whose love becomes hypostasized (personified) in a third; inasmuch as this is true, it is iconic of the relations of the persons of the Trinity.
In any event, after the talk was over, an officer of the local secular humanist society, who happened to be in attendance, approached me cordially and shared with me that he disagreed with “everything” I had said, and invited me to debate the issue of marriage in a forum provided by his organization. I declined to debate, but offered to arrange someone else to do so. I contacted Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who has since accepted the offer to debate. We will see how that develops.
In any event, the encounter led to some self-reflection, and I began to wonder if I had overstated the case for the importance of the two-parent family, with biological father and mother present, for the raising of children. That led me to do some searching on the internet, which turned up a remarkable link to none other than that bastion of Catholic dogma, Time Magazine. -Read More
Louis became a remarkable king. He married Margaret, the daughter of a count. They loved each other very much. They had eleven children. Louis was a good husband and father. And as long as his mother, Queen Blanche lived, he showed her full respect. Busy as he was, the king found time for daily Mass and the recitation of the Divine Office. He was a Third Order Franciscan and lived a simple lifestyle. He was generous and fair. He ruled his people with wisdom, charity and true Christian principles. There was no separation between what he believed as a Catholic and how he lived. He knew how to settle arguments and disputes. He listened to the poor and the underprivileged. He had time for everybody, not just the rich and influential. He supported Catholic education and built monasteries.
The historian, Joinville, wrote a biography of St. Louis. He recalls that he was twenty-two years in the king's service. He was daily in the king's company. And he could say that he never heard King Louis swear or use any kind of profanity in all those years. Nor did the king permit bad language in his castle.
St. Louis felt an urgent obligation to help the suffering Christians in the Holy Land. He wanted to be part of the Crusades. Twice he led an army against the Turks. The first time, he was taken prisoner. But even in jail, he behaved as a true Christian knight. He was unafraid and noble in all his ways. He was freed and returned to take care of his kingdom in France. Yet as soon as he could, he started back to fight the enemies of the faith again. On the way, however, this greatly loved king contracted typhoid fever. A few hours before he died, he prayed, "Lord, I will enter into your house, worship in your holy temple, and give glory to your name." St. Louis died on August 25, 1270. He was fifty-six years old. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297.
Reflection: "Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can." - St. Louis
WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 17, 2009 (Zenit.org).- As the U.S. president and Congress continue to consider health care reform, the nation's bishops are offering a Web page to support a package that protects human dignity.
The site includes letters from bishops to Congress, videos, facts and statistics, frequently asked questions, and links for contacting legislators.
Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, describes how abortion relates to the health care reform debate. Kathy Saile, director of Domestic Social Development, outlines the bishops' general position and concerns.
The page also contains facts and statistics about Catholic health care in the United States, which includes 624 hospitals, 164 home health agencies, and 41 hospice organizations.
Bishops' health care reform site: www.usccb.org/healthcare
" -Read More
Washington D.C., Aug 23, 2009 / 07:06 pm (CNA).- Responding to President Barack Obama’s efforts to rally sympathetic religious groups to back his proposed health care legislation, pro-life groups have organized prayer campaigns and issued protests of the proposal’s “abortion mandate.”
During a Wednesday teleconference sponsored by the left-leaning religious organizations Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Faith in Public Life, both White House Director of Domestic Policy Melody Barnes and President Obama denied that the health care bill would allow for federally funded abortions.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), charged that Obama “brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component of the health care legislation that his congressional allies and staff have crafted.”
The NRLC said that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Capps-Waxman Amendment explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions.
In response to the situation Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has announced an effort to build the “largest prayer group in history” by promoting membership in a “Pray to End Abortion” cause on the social network site Facebook.
At present the effort has posted a special prayer regarding the health care reform debate.
The prayer, addressing Jesus as the “Divine Physician,” intercedes for elected officials and asks that they have both “the humility to know that they are servants, not masters” and also “the wisdom to realize that every life has equal value.”
“Let every reform in our public policy be based on the reform of our hearts and minds,” the prayer concludes.
The prayer site is accessible at http://www.ProLifePrayers.org
The group Concerned Women for America has joined the large coalition known as Stop the Abortion Mandate, which opposes the coverage of abortion in proposed federal health care legislation.
Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, claimed that “liberal religious leaders” of a dwindling population are siding with the dwindling numbers of those who support the “Obama/Reid/Pelosi government takeover of health care” that she says would require Americans to fund abortions.
Wright noted liberal Evangelical leader and Obama supporter Rev. Jim Wallis’ July 22 statement in which he said that the prohibition on federal abortion funding should be maintained.
“This last-minute rally for legislation that includes taxpayer funding for abortion and special privileges for abortionists to have access to school children (with Planned Parenthood in position to run school-based clinics) reveals that liberal religious leaders and Obama are not sincere in their claim to ‘reduce abortions’ and ‘find common ground’,” she charged.
“The vast majority of Americans, even those who call themselves pro-choice, do not want to fund abortions because they know that what the government funds, we get more of,” she said.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) was also critical of the health care legislation.
“Nationalized health care is a recipe for disaster, for our country, for the unborn and for the elderly. The Party of Death cannot be trusted with such profound life decisions,” C-FAM told CNA in an e-mail." -Read More
Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 23, 2009 / 09:45 am (CNA).- Before Sunday’s Angelus prayer with pilgrims in the courtyard of Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about today’s Gospel, in which Jesus’ teaching about his presence in the Eucharist is met with resistance from the Jews and his own disciples. Followers of Christ must respond to his challenging teachings with lifelong commitment instead of trying to adapt his teachings to the fashions of the times, the Pope said.
“The fourth Evangelist,” Pope Benedict explained, “relates the reaction of the people and disciples, shocked by the words of the Lord to the point that many, after having followed him until then, exclaim, ‘This saying is hard, who can accept it?’”
Benedict XVI continued reading, reciting, “And from that moment on ‘many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.’”
The Pope then noted, “Jesus, however, does not lessen his claim. Indeed, he directly addresses the twelve saying, ‘Will you also go away?’”
“This provocative question,” the Pope taught, “is not only addressed to listeners of the time, but to believers and men of every age. Even today, many are shocked by the paradox of the Christian faith.”
Because “Jesus’ teaching seems too hard, too difficult to accept and put into practice,” Pope Benedict observed that, “As a result there are those who reject and abandon Christ, those who attempt to adapt his teachings to the fashions of the times distorting its meaning and value.”
“Will you also go away?’ This unsettling provocation resounds in our hearts and awaits a response from each one of us. Jesus in fact is not contented by a merely superficial or formal belonging, an initial and enthusiastic adhesion is not enough for Him. On the contrary, we must take part in ‘his thinking and his will’ throughout our entire life,” the Holy Father said.
Drawing his words to a close, the Pope said, “Faith is God’s gift to man and is, at the same time, man’s free and total trusting of himself to God.” “Docile faith, listening to the word of the Lord, that lamp for our feet, light for our path…We ask the Virgin Mary to keep alive in us this faith steeped in love, which has made her, a humble maiden of Nazareth, Mother of God and mother and model for all believers,” he prayed.
After the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted participants of the lay movement Communion and Liberation, who are gathering for their 30th annual Friendship Among Peoples meeting, which opened today in Rimini, Italy. Commenting on this year’s theme, “Knowledge Is Always An Event,” he referred to his recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”: “’Learning is not only a material act, because…In all knowledge and in every act of love the human soul experiences something ‘over and above,’ which seems very much like a gift that we receive, or a height to which we are raised.”" -Read More
Madison, Wis., Aug 23, 2009 / 02:13 am (CNA).- The bishops of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) have issued a statement to the state’s Catholic faithful expressing their “deep concern” about a state provision that requires providers of health insurance include contraceptive services. The rule will force Catholic dioceses and other agencies to pay for a “gravely immoral” service, the conference says.
A provision in the new state budget mandates the coverage as a “benefit.”
Signatories of the August 20 WCC letter were Bishop of Green Bay David L. Ricken, Bishop of Madison Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of La Crosse Jerome E. Listecki, Bishop of Superior Peter F. Christensen and Bishop William P. Callahan, the Administrator for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
“This mandate will compel Catholic dioceses, parishes, and other agencies that buy health insurance to pay for a medical service that Catholic teaching holds to be gravely immoral,” the Wisconsin bishops explained. “Contraception prevents the full and reciprocal self-giving that is essential to Christian marriage and diminishes the role of God, the giver of life, within marriage.”
The statement explained that only dioceses or agencies that are self-insured, such as the dioceses of La Crosse and Superior, will not be covered by the mandate.
“As Catholic teachers and pastors, we strongly object to this blatant insensitivity to our moral values and legal rights,” the bishops continued, noting that most other states provide accommodations for those whose religious or moral values are compromised by such mandates.
The bishops charged that the state government’s mandate violates constitutional rights as well as religious values, citing the right of conscience established in the Wisconsin Constitution. Religious freedom also includes the ability to publicly witness to one’s values in what one does and in what one declines to do, they explained.
“Nowhere does the Constitution say that the right of conscience is protected except in matters related to human reproduction,” their statement said. “Whatever course we pursue in this matter, we want all Catholics in Wisconsin to know that we will also continue to affirm and communicate the teachings of our faith.”
The bishops of the WCC also objected that the mandate was not a matter of open debate and “due deliberation.”
Acknowledging that many Catholics find Catholic teaching on contraception “difficult to accept or live out in practice,” the bishops emphasized that the immorality of artificial contraception is not a “Catholic issue.”
“Rather, the prohibition of artificial contraception is a principle of the natural moral law, which is inscribed in the mind and heart of all human beings,” the statement said. “The bond between husband and wife, in their inseparable love-making and life creating Vocation, is evident to human reason itself – another powerful consideration which should lead our legislators to take very seriously our conviction.”
The WCC statement suggested that this truth is not recognized because the “fashionable proposition” that there is no objective truth renders human reason “directionless.”
“We commit ourselves to continue listening to your objections and to explaining the Church’s understanding of human sexuality in such a manner that you may discover a greater understanding and appreciation of this teaching and the reasons for it,” the Wisconsin bishops pledged.
They added that Catholic teaching only seems overly restrictive of human freedom and in reality serves a “greater freedom” for both individuals and society.
“Our faith always challenges us,” the bishops said in conclusion. “We are measured by how we respond to those challenges. We ask for your support and prayers as we respond to this one.”" -Read More
New York City, N.Y., Aug 22, 2009 / 06:07 pm (CNA).- A new book on Our Lady of Guadalupe intended to explore her history and her message of love has debuted on major U.S. bestseller lists.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of a Civilization of Love” debuted at number six on the August 14, 2009 release of the New York Times bestseller list. It has also appeared on the bestseller list of the Wall Street Journal and Publisher’s Weekly.
The book is authored by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and Guadalupe expert Msgr. Eduardo Chávez. It traces her history as a religious and cultural symbol from the sixteenth century to the present.
The Knights of Columbus held their First International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe in Phoenix on August 6-8. The festival drew a crowd of 20,000 in what was said to be the largest Catholic celebration of the year in that area.
Carl Anderson is also the author of the bestselling 2008 book “A Civilization of Love.”
Msgr. Chávez was the postulator of Guadalupe visionary St. Juan Diego’s cause for canonization and is one of the most prominent experts on the Guadalupe apparitions. He is the first dean of the Catholic University Lumen Gentium of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
The web site for “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of a Civilization of Love” is at http://www.guadalupebook.org/-Read More
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – The media is filled with reports concerning the slide of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) into heresy. Yes, that is exactly what occurred when the leadership of that community “voted” to abandon Christian orthodoxy. The Associated Press in an article entitled “Lutherans’ gay clergy vote hints at major shift”, led with these loaded words “In breaking down barriers restricting gays and lesbians from the pulpit, the nation's largest Lutheran denomination has laid down a new marker…. The ELCA — the nation's seventh-largest Christian church — reached its conclusion after eight years of study and deliberation. That culminated Friday when the church's national assembly in Minneapolis struck down a policy that required any gay and lesbian clergy to remain celibate.”
Read the whole story from Catholic.Org by Deacon Keith Fournier.
Thus says the president! We might be fellowworkers in the gospel (1 Th 3:2) but to suggest that we are God’s “partners” in matters of life and death is audacious beyond belief. These words imply that President Obama considers himself at the right-hand of God as a partner, an equal, to decide matters of Life and Death.
You can read more on this here and here.
I thought liberals wanted a separation between church and state, religion and politics. So, it is OK for Obama to be prancing around the religious arena to garner support for his “life and death” policies? It is also acceptable for Reverend Jackson too. It is only the rest of us, especially Catholics who are told to shut up.
As Ben Smith said, “Obama’s call with the rabbis today . . . freights health care reform with a great deal of religious meaning, and veers into the blend of policy and faith that outraged liberals in the last administration.”
Commentator James Taranto says in the Wall Street Journal Opinion page, “We are God’s partners”?! Hmm, God & Obama? No, wait! Obama & God. Yeah, that’s much better!” (Excellent article; read the whole thing!)
As Tevi Troy notes at National Review Online, “The reference to the ‘who shall live and who shall die’ prayer was strange. . . . Is this really the context in which he wishes to discuss health reform–a powerful and unseen being making determinations of life and death? One would think that he would want to avoid anything that could raise the specter of rationing, death panels, or the like.”-Read More
BEAVERTON, OR (MetroCatholic) - Oregon will join Pennsylvania as the only states that forbid teachers from wearing religious attire.
The nationwide debate over religious observances in schools and the workplace made its way to Oregon. During the 2009 legislative session, leaders in Salem passed the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act. The act requires employers to accommodate employees’ observance of religious holidays and allows them to wear religious garments as long as it does not pose a significant difficulty or expense to the businesses.
On the surface, the bill appears to be a step toward diversity. However, a clause in the bill specifically singles out public schools as workplaces where religious freedoms do not apply. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) joined forces with the Sikh community in Portland and argued against the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act. Their efforts failed.
When the law goes into effect on January 1, 2010, Oregon will join Pennsylvania as the only states in the country that forbid teachers from wearing religious attire on school grounds.
This bill is troubling for some Muslims residing in Oregon because they view their religious attire as a part of their identity, not an expendable piece of clothing or an accessory. The Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act seeks to assure public schools remain neutral. Yet, some argue that this can be done through other means such as establishing a particular code of conduct.read more
This Monday August 24, jury selection and her trial begins at the El Cajon East County Courthouse - along with a lively protest beforehand of the rights that were violated as a result of this firing.
“This is a tremendous injustice and violation of religious liberties” said Mary Kuper, Protest Organizer “Our Country was founded upon ‘In God we Trust’ and ‘One Nation Under God’, mentioning the name of Christ is an honor and a blessing, certainly not a reason for termination of employment. We hold the public school system accountable for this unreasonable act of injustice.”read more: "
SAN DIEGO, CA (MetroCatholic
WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - A new Website from the U.S. Conference of Catholic will educate Catholics about the forthcoming English translation of the new Roman Missal.
The site, www.usccb.org/romanmissal, launched August 21, includes background material on the process of development of liturgical texts, sample texts from the Missal, a glossary of terms and answers to frequently asked questions. Content will be added regularly over the next several moths. The bishop’s Committee on Divine Worship hopes the site will be a central resource for those preparing to implement the new text.
“In the years since Vatican II we have learned a lot about the use of the vernacular in the liturgy and the new texts reflect this new understanding,” said Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ, in a welcome-to-the-site video.
“The new texts are understandable, dignified and accurate,” said Bishop Serratelli, who chairs the Committee on Divine Worship. “They not only strive to make the meaning of the text accessible for the listener, but they also strive to unearth the biblical and theological richness of the Latin text.”
After more than five years of consultation, study and reflection, the bishops are expected to conclude their review and approval of the final portion of the translated texts at the end of this year. Final approval (recognitio) of the text from the Holy See for the complete translation will be the last step before the publication of the texts for use in the liturgy.
A basic moral principle
There is a basic principle of morality which states: “The end does not justify the means.” Just what is the meaning of this statement? Each of us can be faced with an array of problems. Our goal may be to solve those problems. That, in itself, is a good thing. However, simply because we wish to bring about a good solution, or end, as it is more technically called, does not mean that we can use any and every way, or means, to bring that about. To give a simple, and somewhat exaggerated example, let us propose the following: “I would like my family to have a nice vacation.” In itself, that is a good and praiseworthy end. However, if I then go out and rob a bank in order to pay for that vacation, I am not using a legitimate means!
The confusion of a praiseworthy end, along with the blurring or justifying of any means to attain that end, is not a new problem. Satan tempted our first parents in the garden by promising them great knowledge if they gave in to his temptation. Knowledge is a good thing. Disobeying God’s commands in order to achieve such knowledge is not.
Saint Paul also addresses this in his Letter to the Romans (3:8), in which he answers those who accuse him of claiming that the end does justify the means.
Saint Augustine reminds us that no morally wrong action may be taken, even if we seem to have a good reason for that action, and even if we have a good intention motivating us (Contra mendacium, chapters 1 and 7).
Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) was always conscious of giving clear direction in the midst of a society which was undergoing great upheaval after the Second World War. He restated the Church’s traditional moral teaching on this question in these words: “God desires us always to have, above all, an upright intention, but that is not enough. He also requires that the action be a good action. It is not permissible to do evil in order to achieve a good end” (Address, 18 April 1952).
Appeal to emotionsread more: "
PHILADELPHIA, PA (MetroCatholic
Minneapolis, Minn., Aug 21, 2009 / 07:41 pm (CNA).- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on Wednesday approved a new policy that no longer declares marriage as “the appropriate place” for sexual relations, but rather calls for “social trust” in associations that are “loving” and “committed.” One critic characterized the move as an embrace of moral relativism.
The ELCA claims about 4.6 million members. Its numbers have declined by 1 million over the past forty years.
The ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly, meeting from August 17 to 23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, formerly said that marriage is “the appropriate place for sexual intercourse.” Such language is absent from the new policy, which says that heterosexual relationships are “best served through binding commitment, legal protections, and the public accountability of marriage.”
“Some cohabitation arrangements can be constructed in ways that are neither casual nor intrinsically unstable,” the policy adds.
The policy calls for “social trust” in relationships that are “loving,” “life-giving,” “fulfilling,” “nurturing,” and “committed.”
On the issue of homosexuality, the ELCA claimed that “consensus” does not exist and recognized four “conscience-bound beliefs” ranging from disapproval of all homosexual relations to honoring them as equally valid marriages.Read more
“Ms. Richards has done a favor to all pro-lifers and people of good faith in her hate-filled rant against the shepherds of our beloved Church,” said Fr. Euteneuer. “First, she has reminded everyone that, despite President Obama’s recent statements to the contrary, abortion is absolutely going to be covered in any health care reform legislation that crosses his desk. He and his cronies in Congress are much too beholden to the abortion lobby for any different outcome.”
“Second, she again highlights the extreme position of the organization she leads, and their hostility to the Catholic Church. No Catholic Organization should be comfortable finding themselves on the same side of the table as this hateful anti-woman outfit,” said Fr. Euteneuer.Read more: "
FRONT ROYAL, VA, (MetroCatholic
Proposition 9 is another big one:
The seven days of Genesis 1 relate to the cosmic temple inauguration.
Put this differently: the seven days are not about the duration of bringing matter into existence, but a period of time devoted to inaugurating the various functions of the temple. That is, they prepare the cosmos for God's dwelling and humans as those who are to worship the God in whose temple they dwell.
As with Solomon's temple, the temple was not built until God indwellt it -- so Genesis 1's seven days (Solomon's took seven years) indicates the completion of the temple when God indwells. Genesis 1 could be an enthronement-of-God text used annually.
Now let's agree on one more: that competition with those insurance and drug companies could and would make a difference.
Is the co-op the best competitive alternative?
Here are a few paragraphs from Timothy Egan in a piece I read today on the Co-op alternative:
But if you get sick in that land of deep lakes and ponderosa pines,
a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care provider -- Group Health
Cooperative of Puget Sound -- offers extensive coverage at some of the
lowest premiums in the nation. And if you need advice on bailing twine
or baby chicks, the Co-op Country Store, now in its 75th year, can
provide service that the nearby Home Depot cannot.
I mention these successful member-owned businesses in a deeply red
state because as the public health care option gets hammered by a
campaign of disinformation, the co-op model deserves a fair hearing.
Plus, co-ops are built around something that's been missing thus farRead Morel
in a debate dominated by ill-informed shouters: the consumer.
“Public support for abortion is on decline, and the President knows that openly advancing an abortion mandate in health care reform is unpopular with the American people. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Obama’s statements conflict with the proposed legislation. Americans demand an explicit exclusion of abortion coverage, not more obfuscation and confusion from the President and his allies.”Susan B. Anthony List on President Obama’s Health Care Conference Call: "
WASHINGTON, DC (Read more
WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) - Students at Catholic universities across the nation are banding together with students at Belmont Abbey College in a stand for religious liberty and conscience rights.
Students from the University of Dallas, Franciscan University of Steubenville, De Sales University and Catholic University of America are fighting back as one private school in North Carolina is being forced to fund contraception and chemical abortion under the Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC ignited the First Amendment firestorm when it ruled Belmont Abbey College must include coverage for contraception in its employee health insurance plan. Hormonal contraceptives often function as abortifacients.
“People need to wake up!” said Michael Barnett, American Life League’s director of leadership development and its LiveCampus college outreach program. “Under Obama, the federal government is forcing a religious institution to commit an act that violates its core values. This is religious persecution and a clear signal of what Obamacare would bring. This is the government imposing its will against the people’s will.”
In a letter to the Belmont, the EEOC claimed that it is discriminating against women by not covering contraceptives: “By denying prescription contraception drugs, [the college] is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives. By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women.”
In a letter subsequently sent to EEOC chairman Stuart Ishimaru, Judie Brown, president of American Life League, pointed out, “The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is an evil and certainly not the sort of ‘treatment’ one would expect to find in a health insurance plan designed for staff at a Catholic facility. Your discriminatory actions against the college are unfounded and unconstitutional.”Read more
In giving so liberally to those who had worked only a short time, the landowner was taking nothing away from the laborers who had worked all day. “I am doing you no wrong,” he reminded those who felt cheated. “Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?” (Matthew 20:13). Then he got at the heart of the problem by asking the grumblers, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (20:15).
As he so often did during his public ministry, Jesus once again turned customary rules and expectations upside down. He was not concerned here with labor relations or market-based economics. Rather, with this story and its surprising twist, Jesus exposed the canker of envy in the human heart and vividly illustrated the mercy and generosity of God—generosity so unstinting that it confounds not only our logic but also our sense of justice.Read more
August 22: Feast Day of Mary Queen of Heaven
A while ago a man called in to say my argument for the Assumption of Mary from the Old Testament was wrong. I had quoted 1 Kings 2:19 where Solomon had raised his mother to Queen of the Kingdom was the ONLY case of a mother being queen in the Old Testament. He prefaced his comment by saying he knew the Old Testament. Well, it seems he is incorrect.
In the Old Testament, the queens of the Judean kings were their mothers — with one exception of the queen being a grandmother. Solomon had 1,000 wives and concubines — but he only had one mother. Click here to read the section on The Great Lady or Queen Mother in Roland de Vaux’s book Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institution.
The Queen Mothers of the earthly kings of Judah were not always good queens. Many of them were sinners and would make improper intercessions to the king. But, this takes nothing away from the perfect King and Queen –Jesus and his mother Mary. It is the pattern and the office that is important.
Jesus is a king sitting on the throne of his fathers David and Solomon and all the subsequent kings of Judah. They all had queens and the queens were not their wives, they were their mothers. This is the pattern and ultimately Christianity and the Kingdom of God are based on the Old Testament model.
Follow the logic: 1) The Solomon and subequent kings of Judah raised their mothers to Queenship which became established as an official office; 2) the mothers were referred to as the Queen Mothers or the Great Lady; 3) they sat on a throne near their sons (1 Ki 2:19); 4) Jesus is the quintessential Jewish King with an eternal kingdom; 5) Jesus is the fulfillment if the Israelite offices of Prophet, Priest & King; 6) As the Davidic king, Jesus would honor his mother more than earthy kings honored their mothers; 7) It is biblical, historical, and reasonable to expect the perfect Jewish king to follow in the stead of the kingdom and his fathers by assuming his mother to a throne at his right hand. It is proper and biblical to consider Mary in a position of intercessor."
But belief and faith are not quite the same thing.
When many people say “I believe in God” they mean that they believe that God exists, that “there is a God” somewhere up there. Nothing wrong with having such a conviction, of course. But bear in mind that Satan has no doubts about the existence of God. He just refuses to serve him. -Read More
Apparently, I am not alone in this view. Below are some various ancient interpretive takes.
Philo, The Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, 52: “[Cain’s offering] was ‘of the fruit’ but not ‘of the first fruit.'"
Genesis Rabbah 22:5: “[Cain’s offering] was from the refuse. The matter may be compared to the case of a wicked sharecropper who ate from the first fruits of the figs and handed over to the king the late figs.
Ephraem, Commentary on Gen. 3:2: “Abel chose and brought for sacrifice from the firstborn and the fattest, but Cain brought [merely] the fruits he found at the time . . . [God] chose not to accept his sacrifice from him in order to teach him how it was to be offered up… [Cain] did not bring these on the day of the first fruit offering, but brought the fruit of his land.” -Read More
Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, 883
Jesus, give me the strength and wisdom to get through this terrible wilderness, that my heart may bear patiently this longing for You, O my Lord! I always remain in holy amazement when I sense that You are approaching me, You, the Lord of the awesome throne; that You descend to this miserable exile and visit this poor beggar who has nothing but misery! I do not know how to entertain You, my Royal Prince, but You know that I love You with every beat of my heart. I see how You lower yourself, but nevertheless Your majesty does not diminish in my eyes. I know that You love me with the love of a bridegroom, and that is enough for me. Although we are separated by a great chasm, for You are the Creator and I am Your creature, nevertheless, love alone explains our union. Without it, all is incomprehensible. Only love makes it possible to understand these incomprehensible intimacies with which You visit me. O Jesus, Your greatness terrifies me, and I would be in constant astonishment and fear, if You yourself did not set me at peace. You make me capable of communing with You before each approach.
Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, 885
Why is this relevant? It's not - but N.C.I.S. returns to our screens in September! And I have been in communication with an Italian-American gentleman today and I want to talk about him, but not use his real name. So, in honor of Agent DiNozz0, I am going to call him "Tony". -Read More
This may be the only time you see me blogging news from the tabloids (I hope) -- but the recent People Magazine story about reality TV starlet Kourtney Kardashian's surprise pregnancy and decision to keep the baby is worth a look:
Kardashian discussed abortion with her physician, and then headed to the Internet to do further research.
"I looked online, and I was sitting on the bed hysterically crying, reading these stories of people who felt so guilty from having an abortion," she recalls. "I was reading these things of how many people are traumatized by it afterwards." -Read More
Tom McFeely from the National Catholic Register has filed a report of the conference call on which both Obama and his domestic policy advisor, Melody Barners, former head of Emily's List, denied that abortion funding is included in the pending health care legislation. -Read More
An equal protection suit was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples, one from Berkeley and one from Burbank. They are represented by two high-profile attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies -- famous for representing George Bush and Al Gore, respectively, in the post election lawsuit that decided the 2000 Presidential election. -Read More
St. Bernard (1090-1153) was born near Dijon and died in Clairvaux, France. He was of a noble family and received a careful education in his youth. With his father, brother and thirty noblemen he entered the Benedictine monastery of Citeaux. Two years later he led a group of monks to establish a house at Clairvaux, and became its abbot. The monastic rule which he perfected at Clairvaux became the model for 163 monasteries of the Cistercian reform. He was a theologian, poet, orator, and writer. He is sometimes considered as a Father of the Church.
Bishop Nickless first distinguishes between a "natural right" and a "political right," the former derives directly from God's "bounty," like the air we breathe. Political rights, he says, come from "human efforts, creativity, and compassion." -Read More
And yet boredom is a reality that good liturgy can help fight. Many parishes try to do so by inventing every manner of new enticement: brighter and larger banners, forced attempts to create an upbeat environment of friendliness and community, big bowls of incense carried by special ministers, and Donahue-style homiletics. -Read More
It is more perfect [to have Mary as our mediator to Jesus] because it supposes greater humility to approach God through a mediator rather than directly by ourselves. . . It is certain that our good works will be tainted and carry little weight with [Jesus]. They will not induce him to unite himself to us or answer our prayers. -Read More
Goldhill's father passed away two years ago as the result of a hospital-borne infection he contracted in the ICU, an experience that prompted Goldhill to begin a closer examination of our health-care industry. Looking at his father's experience in the hospital from the perspective of a businessman "left him befuddled" -Read More
Asking Mary and the Saints to Pray for Us Rather Than Going Straight to God: An Introductory Explanation