Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2101-2109, 2135-2137 – Promises, Vows, Social Duty, and Religious Freedom

clock June 21, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss promises, vows, social duty, and religious freedom. Supporting material comes from the encyclical, “Dignitatis Humanae”.

Promises and vows

2101 In many circumstances, the Christian is called to make promises to God. Baptism and Confirmation, Matrimony and Holy Orders always entail promises. Out of personal devotion, the Christian may also promise to God this action, that prayer, this alms-giving, that pilgrimage, and so forth. Fidelity to promises made to God is a sign of the respect owed to the divine majesty and of love for a faithful God.

2102 "A vow is a deliberate and free promise made to God concerning a possible and better good which must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue of religion,"21 A vow is an act of devotion in which the Christian dedicates himself to God or promises him some good work. By fulfilling his vows he renders to God what has been promised and consecrated to Him. The Acts of the Apostles shows us St. Paul concerned to fulfill the vows he had made.22

2103 The Church recognizes an exemplary value in the vows to practice the evangelical counsels:23

Mother Church rejoices that she has within herself many men and women who pursue the Savior's self-emptying more closely and show it forth more clearly, by undertaking poverty with the freedom of the children of God, and renouncing their own will: they submit themselves to man for the sake of God, thus going beyond what is of precept in the matter of perfection, so as to conform themselves more fully to the obedient Christ.24

The Church can, in certain cases and for proportionate reasons, dispense from vows and promises25

The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom

2104 "All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it."26 This duty derives from "the very dignity of the human person."27 It does not contradict a "sincere respect" for different religions which frequently "reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men,"28 nor the requirement of charity, which urges Christians "to treat with love, prudence and patience those who are in error or ignorance with regard to the faith."29

2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is "the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ."30 By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them "to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live."31 The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church.32 Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.33

2106 "Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits."34 This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it "continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it."35

2107 "If because of the circumstances of a particular people special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as well."36

2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error,37 but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.38

2109 The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor limited only by a "public order" conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner.39 The "due limits" which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accordance with "legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order."40

IN BRIEF

2135 "You shall worship the Lord your God" (⇒ Mt 4:10). Adoring God, praying to him, offering him the worship that belongs to him, fulfilling the promises and vows made to him are acts of the virtue of religion which fall under obedience to the first commandment.

2136 The duty to offer God authentic worship concerns man both as an individual and as a social being.

2137 "Men of the present day want to profess their religion freely in private and in public" (DH 15).

In his encyclical, “Dignitatis Humanae” (15), Pope Paul VI discusses the need for religious freedom.

15. The fact is that men of the present day want to be able freely to profess their religion in private and in public. Indeed, religious freedom has already been declared to be a civil right in most constitutions, and it is solemnly recognized in international documents.(38) The further fact is that forms of government still exist under which, even though freedom of religious worship receives constitutional recognition, the powers of government are engaged in the effort to deter citizens from the profession of religion and to make life very difficult and dangerous for religious communities.

This council greets with joy the first of these two facts as among the signs of the times. With sorrow, however, it denounces the other fact, as only to be deplored. The council exhorts Catholics, and it directs a plea to all men, most carefully to consider how greatly necessary religious freedom is, especially in the present condition of the human family. All nations are coming into even closer unity. Men of different cultures and religions are being brought together in closer relationships. There is a growing consciousness of the personal responsibility that every man has. All this is evident. Consequently, in order that relationships of peace and harmony be established and maintained within the whole of mankind, it is necessary that religious freedom be everywhere provided with an effective constitutional guarantee and that respect be shown for the high duty and right of man freely to lead his religious life in society.

Footnotes

21 ⇒ CIC, can. 1191 # 1.
22 Cf. ⇒ Acts 18:18; ⇒ 21:23-24.
23 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 654.
24 LG 42 # 2.
25 Cf. ⇒ CIC, cann. 692; ⇒ 1196-1197.
26 DH 1 # 2.
27 DH 2 # 1.
28 NA 2 # 2.
29 DH 14 # 4.
30 DH 1 # 3.
31 AA 13 # 1.
32 Cf. DH 1.
33 Cf. AA 13; Leo XIII, Immortale Dei 3, 17; Pius XI, Quas primas 8, 20.
34 DH 2 # 1.
35 DH 2 # 2.
36 DH 6 # 3.
37 Cf. Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum 18; Pius XII AAS 1953, 799.
38 Cf. DH 2.
39 Cf. Pius VI, Quod aliquantum (1791) 10; Pius IX, Quanta cura 3.
40 DH 7 # 3.



Tuesday Ear Tickler – John McCarthy Spills Liberal Tripe Across the Page at the National Catholic Reporter

clock November 27, 2012 03:05 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s winner is John McCarthy, an Obama surrogate and member of the oxymoronic group, “Catholics for Obama”. This week, McCarthy came out swinging against the bishops for defending the freedom of religion and against the magisterium as a whole for upholding the sanctity of the marital act. Leading off with the title, “Can Birth Control be Pro-Life?”, he conveys his lack of exposure to both science and the Catholic faith. Apparently, campaigning for Obama leaves little time for reading authentic Catholic teaching such as the “Theology of the Body”. (McCarthy’s comments in the red quote boxes, my comments in black.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released numbers that said abortion rates have dropped 5 percent between 2008 and 2009 -- an all-time low. For so many of us in the faith community, we have to ask: Why the decrease?

I'd love to say that the answer was because of our swift economic recovery and that women finally have the resources they need to bring children into the world. Unfortunately, this isn't yet the reality. The Washington Post finds an important correlation: "At the same time the abortion rate took a big drop, use of more effective contraceptives had recently increased."

Let’s make this clear since McCarthy doesn’t get it. Surgical abortions decreased because chemical abortions increased. The numbers he quotes look only at surgical abortions. They cannot however track abortions caused by the “more effective” birth control methods which cause implantation abortions. I’m going to chalk this up to ignorance, but that is an assumption on my part. I like to presume the best of people, and therefore I will not assume that he prefers one type of abortion over another.

The bishops aren't going to be moving anytime soon on the relationship between abortions and birth control -- probably because they're still fighting for religious freedom or something -- but the laity needs to start thinking more seriously about the issue.

Here we see a rather childish dig at the bishops of this country who courageously defend our religious liberty from the blatant frontal assault launched by the president and his administration. McCarthy feigns ignorance on the subject, with his “or something” remark, but the joke is on him. Clearly he doesn’t understand the issue, the rights and freedoms involved, or the enormity of the suffering inflicted on the Church and its members throughout the course of history by wicked governments. McCarthy, working for Obama of course would side with the President rather than the Catholic Church. The fact that a newspaper purportedly serving that Church would publish his liberal tripe is offensive and telling of the mentality that exists at the Reporter.

Is it more moral for a woman to use birth control than have an abortion? I certainly think most members of the laity (about 97 percent of who use birth control) would resoundingly agree. If it lowers the rate of abortions, should the church more actively advocate for prayerful use of birth control in family planning?

While these are certainly just a series of questions, the new information is important for the laity to consider as we tackle these larger issues. What are your thoughts?

Well, since he asked, I have a few thoughts on the matter. The first is that the end does not justify the means. This is not a matter of simply choosing the lesser of two evils as if one or the other of them is unavoidable. Surely McCarthy is not a moral theologian, but he should have been informed on this subject at some point by some faithful Catholic in his life. With his logic, we could simply forcibly sterilize everyone. Abortions would completely cease if that was the case. Is it more moral to sterilize than to abort? The Church is not concerned with the abortion rate. The Church is concerned with the salvation of souls. Abortion is murder. It is gravely sinful and destroys the light of Christ in the soul of the abortionist, the mother, and anyone who willingly cooperates with the abortion.

Here is the third option that liberals like McCarthy do not even acknowledge: self-control. Rather than throwing up our hands and assuming that people are unable to control their sexual impulses like rabbits, the Church in her wisdom preaches self-control. The will is not subordinate to the urges. There is a method of family planning that is both effective and moral: NFP. It requires self-control for a few days each month. Are we that devoid of willpower that we cannot control ourselves for a few days a month? Is it better that we violate the dignity of marriage and chemically abort children than we practice a little self-control?

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday November 27, 2012 to John McCarthy.

Ear Tickler Award for John McCarthy



A World Without God is Hell on Earth

clock November 14, 2012 15:14 by author John |

HellThere are many people who would like nothing better than to eliminate the faith of believing Christians. Call them secular progressives, call them atheists, or call them communists. Just don’t call them prophetic or wise. These folks have been vociferous of late, as victory emboldens the brazen. It seems that the noise coming from secularists has been amplified and focused at those things which the faithful hold most dear: family, morality, and religious liberty.

They began the attack years ago by calling for tolerance and separation of Church and State. Slowly, they moved God out of the public square. They acclimated people to immoral lifestyles by showcasing them on primetime television, books, and magazines. They promoted tolerance as a virtue, when in actuality it is antithetical to the spiritual works of mercy. We are called to instruct the ignorant and rebuke the sinner. As Christians, tolerance is not an end in itself. Tolerance implies living with evil or imperfection without attempting to change it. Clearly, this is not the call Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:19:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations

We have been coaxed into accepting immorality and amorality in our world as a condition of quiet coexistence. This has led to the situation we now find ourselves in. God is slowly being pushed out of our public lives, which ultimately results in God being pushed out of our private lives. We are seeing a slow transformation of our world into a world without god.

Hell is an eternity spent in the absence of the wonder and glory of God. God does not send us to hell so much as we choose to go there ourselves by hating God and pushing Him out of our life and grace out of our soul. An eternity in hell is one spent lamenting the decisions we made that excluded God or outright rejected Him. We are collectively pushing God out of our society. In doing so, we are only bringing sadness and hardship upon ourselves. A world without God is a Hell on Earth.

In the absence of God, evil fills the vacuum. Is it a coincidence that in our society as secularism rises, with it comes the evils of abortion, sexual depravity, and recently an uptick in religious persecution? I don’t see a coincidence. I see causality. Indifference toward evil begets acceptance of it. Acceptance of evil begets commission of evil.

There is hope for us.  Jesus gave us the assurance that evil would not triumph against the Church in Matthew 16:18:

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

That is not to say that times will not be difficult or that evil will never get the upper hand for a time. Quite to the contrary, being a Christian is not going to be a walk in the park. Throughout history the Church has undergone persecution. As Tertullian famously said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of faith.”

We have much work to do and so little time upon this earth to do it. We must transform the culture. We must bring Christ back into our society. It will not be an easy task. If you participate in it, you will be persecuted in some way, great or small. It is only through genuine love of God and with the assistance of His grace that we will be able to take up this task and bring it to fruition. Love demands sacrifice. God loves us enough to be crucified for our iniquities. Do we love Him enough to face the same fate? Do you love Him enough to transform yourself first? Conversion of the world begins with the conversion of yourself.



10 Things Catholics Must Do Now in the Face of the Next Great Persecution

clock November 7, 2012 14:40 by author John |

Prepare yourself. This might just be the most uncomfortable article you read today, and with the help of Divine Grace, I hope it is uncomfortable in a good way. On this day after the reelection of President Obama, the most pro-death president to govern this land, faithful Catholics are feeling defeated. On Twitter and around the Catholic blogosphere, I am witnessing despair, anger, and sadness over the results of the election, the state of our nation, and the unexpected and disappointing answer that was given to so many earnest and sincere prayers. So many masses, novenas, rosaries, and acts of sacrifice were offered for the election of a leader sympathetic if not invested in the common good. To many, it appears that those prayers have been left unanswered. They were answered, but perhaps not in the way most of us wished.

In the typical human way, people are dwelling on the problems. They are replaying the last few months in their heads. “What went wrong? How did this happen?” They are looking ahead to a future that doesn’t seem bright or welcoming. The unknown lies before us. How the President and the secular progressives will treat the faithful in the next four years is yet to be seen, but that uncertainty is part of the problem. We just don’t know what will become of us in the near future and it scares the daylights out of us.

Many of us are embodying the cliché “People spend 90% of their time worrying and 10% of their time finding solutions.” We of course need to reverse those percentages in order to solve the problems before us. I will attempt to do that as I lay out for you a roadmap to be used in reversing the avalanche of evil and ignorance that is bearing down on us and in some cases crushing us. Here are 10 steps to saving yourself, your family and your culture.

1. Identify the Problem

In the past 18 months, the elections have dominated our news coverage, conversations, and daily life. We have been inundated with statistics, talking points and negative advertising. In a sense, we have been played. We have become spectators. We have allowed the media and politicians to feed us our beliefs. Let’s face the hard reality. A man was elected yesterday who has failed in every major area of social and economic policy from an authentic Catholic perspective. He won roughly half the Catholic vote. If you are not puking right now, perhaps it is because reality hasn’t set in. Take the time now to let it sink in and grab a bucket.

Think about it. This man launched a direct attack on the Catholic Church and half of Catholics willingly and happily supported it. The Catholic citizenry of this nation is in a state of disgrace right now. Shame on those Catholics who abandoned their faith through ignorance in forming their conscience or willful disregard of it.

This is a problem, but it is not the root of the problem. The problem is not the culture. I mean it. The problem is not the culture. Sure the culture is corrupt, ignorant, intolerant of Truth and beauty, and increasingly hostile to our beliefs, but I mean it when I say that the problem is not the culture.

The problem is us, the 20% of Catholics who attend mass each week and even the 4% of Catholics who regularly attend confession. We have failed in our duties. We have not evangelized, catechized, rebuked, and prayed enough. We have let the culture dictate terms to us. We have let our fellow Catholics, Church-going or not live in ignorance and disobedience without fraternal correction. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this: “Have I done everything I possibly could to convert the culture?” I will answer that question for you: “No”. You are a human. You are not God. You are imperfect. You have failed in some way.

2. Contemplate the Problem and React Passionately to it

Now that we have identified the problem, our focus naturally shifts toward a solution. I propose that we first spend a little time dwelling on it. A little righteous indignation is useful and warranted. Allow the sting of this election, of this cultural rebuke of our faith and our God to sink in. Remember this day. Remember how you feel. Think about the choices we were given in this election. Neither man truly represented an authentic moral ethic. The man who lost was likely the lesser of two evils, but what does it say about our culture that the best two men we could produce to lead this country represent merely 2 evils? Think about the unknown that lies before us. Does it scare you? It scares me and that is alright with me.

God has given us passions. They are a gift to us that when used appropriately are powerful tools which motivate and energize us. If God didn’t intend for you to experience the emotions, He wouldn’t have given them to you. He also gave you a will and an intellect. In the perfect order of things, the passions are subordinate to the will and the intellect. That does not mean that they are useless.

We must use the will and the intellect to drive and direct the passions. Working together, the will, the intellect and the passions are the tools we use to achieve greatness. They propel us toward perfection, which is God. Channel the emotions, the passions, and the pain you may feel right now. Use those passions to drive you toward changing the culture, starting with yourself.

3. Pray for Fortitude

The task ahead of us is not easy. You may be passionate about changing the culture, but once you begin to engage the culture, you will soon meet with resistance. Immediately, in fact. When someone doesn’t like your message, they will attack you. How will you respond? People admire conviction, but they lash out when your conviction compels them to reevaluate their life.

Keep that in the back of your mind. You will need courage when facing the culture, but an even more challenging obstacle lies in your immediate path.  Before you can effectively engage the culture, you must prepare yourself by identifying your own sinfulness and failures. This is the step at which most people turn back. In this step, we perhaps see how we are not so different from those in the culture that personify the moral collapse we are witnessing around us. I am not giving in to moral equivocation here; I am simply telling you that the first step toward purification of the culture is purification of your soul, which I will address in the next item.

Fortitude is part resolve, a product of the will, and part grace, a product of the Holy Spirit. Direct your will to be resolute, unflinching in the face of adversity. Pray for fortitude. You will need it when facing the culture, but it is more warranted when facing your soul. Don’t just pray generally for courage. Pray for the infusion of the Holy Spirit’s most valuable gift: grace. Pray directly to the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, which came down upon the apostles and empowered them to carry out the same mission you now face. As He enkindled in them the fire, pray that He will ignite your heart to carry out your mission.

4. Clean your soul

The first target of a sinful culture is a hypocrite. Look at the way the culture attacks the Church over the abuse crisis. Do you think abuse is limited to the Catholic Church? No. There are plenty of organizations that have experienced the same failure. The Church was attacked because of the hypocrisy of proclaiming purity while its priests lived in defiance of that call. Do not attempt to convert the culture before you have converted yourself. You cannot give that which you do not have. If you do not have grace in your soul, you cannot work as effectively for the conversion of others. A clean conscience and a spotless soul give you the freedom to proclaim the gospel to others.

Be sure that you have prayed for fortitude because this is the most difficult step in the process. You must be forthright and examine your conscience. Clean your soul. Be ruthless. Be thorough. Many times people will confess a few sins, but out of embarrassment or pride leave out sins that they allow to linger in their lives and which weigh on their consciences. This is a burden these people carry around with them day in and day out. Confess everything. Just do it. Go to another priest for confession if you are embarrassed to confess something troubling to your priest. Go to another parish. Go to another state if you want to. Just confess everything. Make a clean start.

An earnest prayer to the Holy Spirit before a difficult confession will give you the strength you need to make a good confession. Sometimes it is only by this grace that you will be able to truly be free of your sins.

5. Learn your faith

That which you do not have cannot be given. Your knowledge of the faith will be put to the test as you engage people who do not understand Jesus and His Church. Daily reading of spiritual works in necessary to grow your faith and strengthen your understanding of the many difficult requirements of being a faithful Catholic. Do not take this as a suggestion. This is an order. Actively learn the faith daily.

When I say daily, I mean it. Just as your body needs daily nourishment to function properly, so too does your mind need daily nourishment in the ways of the faith to function properly. Without refreshment of the concepts of the faith, the demands of life begin to crowd out the light of spiritual knowledge. Knowledge begets understanding and acceptance of the Truth.

Knowledge provides the foundation upon which we can make our appeal to others. The light of truth can be made known in many ways to people, but essential in any appeal, whether to reason or the emotions, is a firm understanding of the truths of the faith. If you know the faith, its transmission will come more easily.

6. Put God and your faith first

You hear this slogan often. Take it to heart. Our culture is perfectly tuned to place entertainment and work between you and God. If you have a full-time job, it likely takes at least 8 hours – one third of your day. When you factor in a commute, preparing and eating meals, taking care of children, meeting with friends and relatives, hardly any time is left over. The demands on our time do not stop there, however. We have still to satisfy the requirements of entertainment. 

The average household has the TV on in the background for more than 7 hours per day. Where, then is the time for God? How many of us, tired from working sit down after dinner and watch television for several hours, rise exhausted from our chair and go straight to bed, repeating platitudes about just not having the time for anything? We have no time for God because we do not make time for God.

We must place God first. We must make time for Him. I’m not talking about a quick prayer before bed or grace before meals. These are the bare minimum. Make abundant time for Him each day. We must not fear the impression people get when we limit the start of our day at work so that we can go to mass. Who is more important – your boss or the omnipotent and just God? Can you not make time to go to mass at 6:00 in the morning, or during your lunch, or after work each day? It isn’t convenient if you don’t make it convenient. It doesn’t have to be convenient in the first place. God should not be a convenience. He should be the first priority.

Don’t set aside time for God after work. This is the wrong approach. Set aside every other concern and pray to Him with your family. Don’t worry about time constraints, allotting God 15 or 30 minutes each day. Pray to Him and forget about everything until you are satisfied with your prayer; that you have conversed appropriately with Him. Do spiritual reading every day. Read from the Bible, the Catechism, the writings of the Saints, the Liturgy of the Hours. Give God primacy of your time.

You don’t have to give God most of your time, but you should make the time with him first and foremost. Who cares if that means you can’t make an early morning meeting. If your employer can’t respect your time, you have the option of finding another employer who will. Don’t answer calls from work while you are praying. The matter cannot be as important as your relationship with God. Don’t structure your prayer life around work or household responsibilities. Structure your responsibilities around your time for God, leaving adequate buffer so that you don’t feel rushed in your prayer.

7. Get Used to Discomfort and Make Sacrifices

Do you love God? The answer should be yes, and if it is, then you must be willing to sacrifice for Him. Love without sacrifice is shallow. Would you claim to love your spouse, your parents, or friends but refuse to help them in need? Of course not. Love demands placing the object of your love before yourself. God asks us to do difficult things in our lives. You cannot truly love God without sacrificing for Him. A virtuous life requires the pain of sacrifice.

Take sacrifice and discomfort on yourself. Perform works of mercy regularly for others. Pray whether it is convenient or not. Give alms to help the Church and those in need. Fast on a regular basis, not just when the Church mandates it. These things strengthen the will against the urges. If our urges are disproportionate to our will, we become slaves to them. Strengthen your will by making voluntary sacrifices so that when sacrifices are demanded of us, they are but an ordinary part of our life.

If you are not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, which is your very life, you are not yet perfected in the training and strengthening of your will. Of course not everyone is at the point where they can offer their lives for God, but it should be a goal of ours to perfect our will so that we one day will have that courage necessary to offer it willingly. God loved you enough to be tortured and Crucified for your sins. You should be willing to endure the same for Him. Your reward will not be on this Earth, but in the joy of eternal happiness in Heaven among the angels and saints. Let us hope that it will not come to that in this country in our lifetimes. On the other hand, don’t think it could not happen both here and now. In every age and in every nation of the Church, men and women of faith have been persecuted for their love of God. Why should our age and our nation be any different? Cardinal George, who is a scholar of history, has said,

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

8. Be Cheerful and Optimistic

Building on the resolve which results from self-denial, we can find everyday sacrifices to be ordinary, and in time, they can even be a joy to us as we realize the benefits of grace. As we grow in virtue, we can even meet extraordinary sacrifices with peace and acceptance. Our sacrifices should never be evident on our faces. We should be cheerful and optimistic to everyone we encounter, as we bring the joy of Christ to them.

This is perhaps a bit of a superficial effort at first, as it takes time to become accustomed to it. After time, true joy will spring up in us as we feed off the reactions of others to simple things like a smile or a positive response to a difficult task.  We should seek to enjoy our reward in Heaven, and by keeping this in mind: that every good deed will be rewarded, every challenge acknowledged, and every wrong righted in this life or the next; we will be disposed to bring joy to every situation.

If given the grace, even the grim foreboding of a religious persecution can be met with composure and dignity. Using the saints as our guide, we can accept the opportunity to sacrifice for God:

Perpetua and Felicitas were exposed to a mad heifer. Perpetua was tossed first and fell on her back, but raised herself and gathered her torn tunic modestly about her; then, after fastening up her hair, lest she look as if she were in mourning, she rose and went to help Felicitas, who had been badly hurt by the animal. Side by side they stood, expecting another assault, but the sated audience cried out that it was enough. They were therefore led to the gate Sanevivaria, where victims who had not been killed in the arena were dispatched by gladiators. Here Perpetua seemed to arouse herself from an ecstasy and could not believe that she had already been exposed to a mad heifer until she saw the marks of her injuries. She then called out to her brother and to the catechumen: "Stand fast in the faith, and love one another. Do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." By this time the fickle populace was clamoring for the women to come back into the open. This they did willingly, and after giving each other the kiss of peace, they were killed by the gladiators. Perpetua had to guide the sword of the nervous executioner to her throat. – From the book, "Lives of the saints, with excerpts from their writings: selected and illustrated" by Joseph Vann, Thomas Bernard Plassmann

9. Be a Saint

By any realistic measure, these works are difficult and fraught with failure. We are prone to error and sin. Our motivation will at times wane. We have competing desires and responsibilities. We must acknowledge our frailties, imperfections, and mistakes. We must constantly evaluate our lives and reorient ourselves toward the right path.

Frequent confession and the daily exercises of prayer, reception of the Eucharist, examination of conscience, acts of contrition, and sacrifices will help us to stay focused on Jesus and promoting His Church. In short, we must be saints. We are all called to it and we must all respond to that call.

10. Evangelize

If we ever expect our culture to improve, if we hope to prevent the next great persecution, we must evangelize the culture. John Paul II called us all to be agents of the New Evangelization. We must take this call as a serious and personal challenge. We must not be afraid to offend people by our beliefs. Their offense is not a result of the truth we convey, but of the improper disposition they maintain toward that which is right and just. We do not have to chastise at every opportunity, but we must teach, catechize and encourage virtue and truth. On an individual level, once a person understands the truth, we can charitably correct them.

This task is not easy. It is not a simple process of spewing facts of the faith and then rebuking someone. It is an iterative process whereby we are constantly teaching, encouraging, loving, and correcting with joy and truth.

Start Today

Start this process today. Do not wait for a convenient moment. Do not wait for someone to invite you. The stakes are high. You do not know what tomorrow holds for you or your ability to practice the faith. Prayer, fasting, penance, sacrifice, and evangelization are our only hope to change the culture and bring about a nation where our beliefs and freedoms are cherished and protected. No one will do this work for you. Take it upon yourself today to change the culture starting with your own soul.

The Truth will be made known to all one way or another. Throughout history, God has allowed tribulations to bring His people back into the fold. Let us work together now so that our culture does not require such stern correction and reminding of the realities of truth and justice.



Tuesday Ear Tickler Award: Catholics For Obama Confusing Consciences

clock November 6, 2012 01:02 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s winner is a group known as “Catholics for Obama”, comprised of several politicians and shills for Obama who have either an improperly formed conscience or are outright sellouts for a quick political buck. That group’s oxymoronic title is akin to slogans such as “Vegans for Meat”, “Hamsters for Housecats”, or “Dentists for Coca Cola”. I have outlined several of the licentious claims and moral equivocation found on the website, which was designed primarily to allow people to violate their conscience in supporting the “First Gay President” as Newsweek crowned him.

Let’s get the obvious facts down first. Obama stands for unlimited abortion rights, including taxpayer funded abortion, abortion up to the last day of pregnancy, partial birth abortion, and abortifacient contraception. He is in support of homosexual marriage, which the Bible calls an “abomination”. He is also the president who has forced the Catholic Church to pay for contraception, sterilizations, and abortifacients in violation of their consciences. If a Catholic votes for Obama in accordance with their conscience, it would appear to me that they have an improperly formed conscience. If a person murdered 5 people, but gave money to 20 homeless people, would you consider them a good person? I wouldn’t. It follow then, that a person who advocates for the right to kill 1.3 million people each year could not be called a good candidate for president, no matter how much his social safety nets help people.

Caroline Kennedy of Catholics for Obama

“I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. I believe I have found the man who could be that president – not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans”. - Caroline Kennedy

I hate to break it to you Carline, but inspiration is empty if it is devoid of goodness and grace. As a Catholic, you should know that inspiration to the good is honorable and virtuous. Inspiration is evil if it promotes evil. Barack Obama promotes the culture of death. He is eyeball deep in the blood of unborn children. Shame on you Caroline Kennedy for promoting evil.

Marcy Kaptur of Catholics for Obama

“From his time as a community organizer in eight Chicago parishes, Senator Obama has demonstrated his appreciation for the Catholic Social Tradition and its focus on the common good.” – Marcy Kaptur

Marcy Kaptur sounds so shallow. Does she really not understand that the primary social justice issue is abortion? Does she really not know that abortion is murder or is she simply ignoring the fact in order to achieve a prestigious appointment in the Obama administration and reap campaign money from Planned Parenthood? Shame on you Marcy Kaptur for abandoning your conscience whether though malformation or disregard.

Senator Bob Casey of Catholics for Obama

“He has appealed, as Abraham Lincoln asked us to do many years ago, to the better angels of our nature” – Bob Casey

Bob Casey claims that Obama has “appealed… to the better angels of our nature.” If by better angels, you mean the angel of death, then yes, I believe Senator Casey is correct. Barack Obama is the most unapologetic abortion-minded president in the history of our country. If you support that man, I find it hard to believe that you are truly “Pro-Life” as Casey claims to be. Shame on you Bob Casey for muddying the waters, confusing Catholics and promoting the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-Catholic Obama.

Douglas Kmiec of Catholics for Obama

“One of the things I kept discovering was that Obama was sounding more Catholic than most Catholics I know.” – Douglas Kmiec

Well, I can’t argue with that statement because I don’t know how many Catholics Kmiec knows. Perhaps that is an indictment of the people Kmiec associates with. Perhaps Kmiec doesn’t get out much. Perhaps Kmiec is being disingenuous. Regardless, that kind of moral equivocation is disgraceful. Kmiec received a comfy ambassador assignment as his 30 pieces of silver after providing cover for Obama-supporting Catholics in 2008. A man of his education should have a better-formed conscience than that. Shame on Douglas Kmiec for confusing the consciences of countless Catholics.

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award to Caroline Kennedy, Marcy Kaptur, Bob Casey, Douglas Kmiec, and the rest of the disgraceful “Catholics for Obama” group.

 



Tuesday Ear Tickler: Eric Miller Hails Obama as a "Pro-Life Hero"

clock October 22, 2012 21:52 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s winner is Eric C. Miller, who makes the specious claim that Barack Obama is a “Pro-Life Hero”. Sorry, I should have warned you to put that hot coffee down before I conveyed Miller’s ridiculous canonization of the pro-abortion President. Any claims of personal injury as a result of that statement should be directed toward Mr. Miller. Anyway, without further delay, let’s get down to taking apart his argument and exposing the shallow thinking it espouses. (Miller’s comments in the red quote boxes, my comments in black.)

On October 3rd researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine published a study with profound implications for policymaking in the United States. According to Dr. Jeffery Peipert, the study’s lead author, abortion rates can be expected to decline significantly—perhaps up to 75 percent—when contraceptives are made available to women free of charge. Declaring himself “very surprised” at the results, Peipert requested expedient publication of the study, noting its relevance to the upcoming election.

First, we should assert that when this study mentions abortion, it fails to consider chemical abortions caused by pills/hormones that cause an “implantation abortion”, where the child is conceived, but cannot implant or dies shortly after implantation. Peipert asked for expedient publication because it had positive political connotations for the Obama campaign. If the results had been the opposite (which I now doubt could be in the realm of possibility given Peipert’s jubilant “expedient publication) I wonder if they would have been published at all.

As most observers surely know, the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) requires insurance coverage for birth control, a provision staunchly opposed by most of the same religious conservatives who oppose legalized abortion. If Peipert is correct, however, the ACA may prove the single most effective piece of “pro-life” legislation in the past forty years.

Wrong! If being “pro-life” means that surgical abortions decrease while chemical abortions increase, then perhaps this statement could be true. The same reasoning could be used to call a fielding error by the shortstop a nice hit by the batter, or a doctor who cheated on his final exams in medical school a valedictorian and top-ranked surgeon. If you want to change definitions, then you can make any statement true.

Encouraging as these results are from both a women’s health and, ostensibly, pro-life perspective, they become even more so in light of their economic benefits. Author Brian Alexander notes that, according to a 2011 study from the Guttmacher Institute, “unplanned pregnancies cost the United States a conservatively estimated $11 billion per year,” money that may be saved simply by covering the cost of birth control.

Working from a false assumption allows you to claim that contraceptives are “pro-life”. If contraceptives are so powerful and positive in their societal impact, then we would have seen great decreases in unplanned pregnancies, STDs, and abortion since their widespread incorporation into society decades ago. The opposite has happened. As contraceptives have become more widely used, these societal scourges have likewise increased. One statistic that you will not hear mentioned by the likes of Miller or other culture of death apologists is the fact that the higher the devout Catholic population of a country, the less abortion, STDs and unplanned pregnancies that country has.

Peipert himself touted this benefit. “The way I look at it as a gynecologist with an interest in women’s health and public health and family planning, is that this saves money,” he said. “When you provide no-cost contraception, and you remove that barrier, you finally reduce unintended pregnancy rates. It doesn’t matter what side one is on politically, that’s a good thing.” Dr. James T. Breeden, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, called the data “an amazing improvement,” adding, “I would think if you were against abortions, you would be 100 percent for contraception access.”

Peipert has identified himself as a contraceptive pusher. Do you think that the “lead author” of a study’s personal bias would translate into skewed results? Pardon the pun, but that is surely a “conceivable” possibility. Hey I’m not the only one using lame puns. Peipert started it with his blatant reference to “removing the barrier” around contraceptives. While we are at this, if Dr. Breeden thinks that simply reducing abortions would make someone in favor of a morally corrupt way of achieving that end, then why not simply sterilize all the poor people? That would also reduce abortions. Both are morally unacceptable. That’s why. Repeat after me, “The end cannot and does not justify the means”.

But it remains the case that, by and large, those most opposed to abortion are not “100 percent for” contraception access. In fact, Peipert’s study comes at a time when more than thirty federal lawsuits have been filed by social conservatives bent on overturning the ACA’s contraception mandate. In many cases, these suits are “religious freedom” complaints, arguing that requiring religiously affiliated organizations to include contraception in their health care plans violates their rights of conscience. These claims are, in most cases, dubious given that the ACA offers a religious “accommodation” whereby the onus of contraceptive coverage is placed on insurance companies rather than organizations.

Notice the inflammatory language about conservatives? “Bent” Those federal lawsuits were filed because the Obama administration trampled on the right of conscience for Christians. How clueless do you have to be if you fail to grasp the reason that over 100 institutions are suing the Obama administration? This is the most insidious violation of religious freedom in recent memory. The dubious claims are found in the phony “accommodation” given by the administration, which basically states that religious organizations will still fund contraception and abortion-causing drugs, but the administration will pretend that isn’t the case and expect Churches to follow the lead. In a word, the policy is arrogant.

Such efforts by social conservatives to oppose the ACA betray both an unseemly partisanship and a nervous insecurity. It seems entirely plausible that, in the contraception mandate, leaders of these groups see not a violation of their own freedom so much as a weakening of their ability to dictate the terms by which their members live.

Miller claims the “social conservatives” are exhibiting an “unseemly partisanship” and “nervous insecurity”. There are two problems with that assertion. First, it is judgmental, assuming that the religious groups and private businesses have a political agenda when they are fighting for their most basic right – the right to honor God. Second, it would seem a “nervous insecurity” is warranted given the boot the President has firmly placed on the neck of the Church. Miller shows his utter ignorance of Church teaching by claiming that the Church dictates the terms by which their members live. The Church doesn’t do that, Mr. Miller. God does. The Church doesn’t want to pay for sin. It is a pretty simple concept, yet one that Miller cannot grasp.

But by addressing the problem of unintended pregnancy—rather than the politically fraught problem of abortion—“Obamacare” addresses the issue at its root. Though abortion has served as the central locus of the “culture war” for nearly forty years, it has always been a secondary concern—a problematic solution to a deeper and less sensational problem. By insisting on mere illegality, pro-life forces have turned a blind eye to the troublesome side-effects of illegal abortion even as they dedicated themselves to a largely symbolic political victory. And since the political divisions accompanying the debate have become so intractable, hope for a deliberative resolution has long ceased to exist.

Wrong! The root of the problem is immorality. If people didn’t devalue sex, we wouldn’t have unintended pregnancies. Liberals have promoted free and indiscriminate sex. The effects are plaguing our society. Illegalizing abortion will reduce abortions. Less abortion means less innocent children killed. It is a very straightforward principle. Saving lives isn’t symbolic. It is heroic. Shame on Miller for suggesting otherwise.

I am not so naïve as to believe that this conclusion is likely to be reached soon, or without further contest. Nor do I anticipate that Tom Minnery or Bryan Fischer will embrace President Obama as a pro-life hero. But it seems to me that, if conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so impressively.

If Miller wasn’t so naïve, he would understand that the only force which morally obliges us is God. Shallow logic, hollow rhetoric, and empty insults do not constitute a moral obligation. Miller is ignorant of Church teaching, which precludes him from speaking intelligently about conscience, morality and religious freedom. He fills this hole in his argument with judgmental, condescending accusations devoid of merit. Miller is tickling ears and leading souls away from Christ.

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, October 23, 2012 to Eric C. Miller.



Matthew 10 and a Kick in the Pants for Soldiers of the New Evangelization

clock October 13, 2012 13:26 by author John |

Here is the latest step toward a dictatorship of relativism - St. Michael the ArchangelPro-abortion Protesters Storm Church, Chant “If Mary had known about abortion, we wouldn’t have this nonsense”

War is coming. The culture is growing more calloused, despising truth, beauty and goodness. Immorality is being trumpeted as virtue, sin is being given primacy over conscience. Increasingly over the last 5 centuries, the Catholic Church has been mocked and attacked. Today we are seeing the results as the energy of this movement has amplified over time, growing larger and more dangerous, like a small spark that started a great forest fire. Evil spreads and consumes, leaving ash and desolation in its wake.

On the other hand, we are seeing a revival in the Catholic Church. Good solid priests and nuns are answering the call to serve Christ and His Church. Faithful priests are becoming bishops. The Church has launched a Year of Faith in which multitudes of believers will come to better understand what they believe and what that belief requires of them. The liturgy is being strengthened, thereby strengthening the faithful.

What do these two movements mean? How will the growing distinction between the people of God and the people of the world play out? Only God knows the answer to what will happen in the future, but reason and a solid understanding of history can give us some indications. If history is a guide, we will see a conflict between these two movements. Evil cannot tolerate good, and people are quickly realizing that good cannot tolerate evil. Archbishop Chaput addressed this reality:

My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.


We are at war. This war is being fought over souls. The devil is fighting against humanity with an intensity that has not been seen in ages. Protesting and neutrality are not viable options. Everyone is drawn into this war whether they willingly enlist or not. We only have the option to choose a side. It may come to pass that the spiritual war will manifest itself in a physical war pitting countries, countrymen, neighbors, or even family members against one another. Let us hope it does not come to that, but at the rate things are progressing, it seems to be only a matter of time.

Jesus gave one of his longest discourses on this theme. Commanding his disciples to travel light, be courageous, strong and resolute, he warned them about the reactions to their ministry. Our culture is currently treating us the same way. Read this charge from Our Lord and internalize it. Remember it as you battle with the forces that the devil has raised against us.

These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomor'rah than for that town."

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes."

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Be-el'zebul, how much more will they malign those of his household."

"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it."

"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."

Matthew 10:5-42



Disgrace - Jesuit University President Withers Under Pressure - Will Pay for Contraception

clock October 11, 2012 08:44 by author John |

Xavier University President Fr. Michael Graham, S.J. stood up for the teachings of the Church and refused to pay for contraception in the University’s health care plan. After some faculty members raised a stink about it, he reversed course and has sold out to the relativists.

This is the first case I am aware of in which a Catholic institution has opposed the HHS Mandate and then reversed course. Let us all pray for Fr. Graham, the faculty, staff, and students of Xavier University that our Lord will touch their hearts and help them to return to the teachings of the Church. In the meantime, if you are looking for a good Catholic College for yourself or your children, browse around the Cardinal Newman Society website. They are pretty good at identifying faithful, solid Catholic schools.

My personal recommendation is of course my alma mater, Franciscan University, where you can be taught by some of the greatest minds in the Catholic Church like Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Regis Martin, Dr. Alan Schreck, and Dr. Mark Miravalle. The faculty takes an oath of loyalty to the Church’s magisterium, and Franciscan was the first University in America to institute the oath – back in 1989.

Here is an excerpt from the post over at the Cardinal Newman Society about Xavier University’s disgraceful decision…

Jesuit University Reverses Itself, Will Cover Contraceptives

A Jesuit university that saw faculty protests after the president of the university announced earlier this year that it would no longer cover contraceptives in its insurance plan has now reportedly reversed itself and announced that it will in fact continue to cover contraceptives.

In an interview with Cincinnati.com, Xavier University President Fr. Michael Graham, S.J., said that in light of the Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare, he is reversing himself and the university will cover contraceptives for its 950 employees. And on top of that, he seemed to apologize for not being in the “center” on this issue.

Continue reading the full article =>



Tuesday Ear Tickler: Paul Moses Leads Commonweal Readers into the Desert

clock October 2, 2012 04:29 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s winner is Paul Moses, writing at Commonweal, a publication that prides itself in distorting the teachings of the Church and acting as its own magisterium. Moses’ attempts to diminish Obama’s support for the murder of unborn human beings, promotion of homosexual marriage, and frontal assaults on the rights of the Catholic Church earn him the award today. (Moses’ comments in the red quote boxes, my comments in black.)

Tom Moran, a veteran New Jersey political columnist, wrote today on what he said is Archbishop John Myers’ politicking for the Republican presidential ticket.

Moses, clearly an Obama supporter, despite the many attacks on life and liberty that the president has launched, takes exception with a Bishop who speaks the truth. Myers highlights the evil present in Obama’s platform and actions. What Moses can’t stand is clarity. The Devil lives in the gray areas. Shining light on evil will make the morally weak attack from the shadows, as is the case with Moses in this piece.

The quote Moran refers to, contained in a pastoral letter on marriage that Myers released, is: “We must exercise our right to vote in defense of marriage and life. This is our duty as citizens and believers.” In an editorial, the Star-Ledger said Myers maintains it was a coincidence that the pastoral letter was issued at this point in the election season. The paper disagreed, saying that “to issue a pastoral letter such as this, at this time, is clearly intended to influence the vote of New Jersey’s more than 1 million Catholics. It may not be an explicit endorsement of Romney, but Myers’ meaning cannot be missed.”

What makes this particularly hard for Moses and many other pro-party-of-death evangelists is that the distinctions are crystal clear. When a party officially endorses unlimited access to death for the unborn, it becomes increasingly more difficult to evangelize for them without attacking those who highlight their evil positions. A person of well-formed conscience cannot help but make the right choice. Myers is simply attempting to aid people in properly forming their consciences.

It’s reasonable and necessary for an archbishop to explain the church’s position on marriage and the family. In fact, I think church authorities have stumbled on that somewhat. But Archbishop Myers had to know that reporters would zero in on his reference to the “duty” of Catholic voters in a document issued at the height of the presidential race. For my own part, the most eye-catching passage in the pastoral letter states that if Catholics are “unable to assent to or live the Church’s teaching in these matters, they must in all honesty and humility refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they can do so with integrity; to continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting would be objectively dishonest.”

I would think that Myers wanted reporters to zero in on the “duty” of Catholic voters. In this election, voting for the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-Catholic candidate can only be done in 3 ways: 1) The voter is not aware of the candidate’s positions, 2) the voter is not aware of the moral gravity of the candidate’s positions, 3) the voter understands the first 2 points, but chooses to vote for the immoral candidate anyway. Myers is simply attempting to eliminate #1 and 2. While Moses might find Myer’s statement on worthy reception of the Eucharist eye-catching, it is a valid point, which highlights the gravity of choosing the 3rd path, namely voting for an immoral candidate willingly.

Especially since we are in the midst of a heated and divisive political campaign, this passage serves as an invitation for Catholics to follow Tom Moran’s path out the door. This evidently was not lost on the Episcopal Church’s bishop of Newark, who responded in an op-ed article: “My hope and prayer is that we can move beyond arguments about unfounded threats to the flourishing of families and focus our attention on the real threats, such as the rising tide of unemployment and poverty, which has left more than 295,000 children in our state — including 42 percent of children in Newark — living below the federal poverty level. … Let us use the reach and blessing of our religious traditions to help all families and children flourish — housed, clothed, fed and healthy.”

Moses frames the debate as a matter of driving people away from the Church due to the trouble some people have in a bishop speaking with moral clarity. A bishop cannot help a person that refuses to follow the teachings of the Church. If a person leaves the Church because the teachings are too difficult, then it wasn’t the bishop who sent them away. It was the person who sent Jesus and His commandments away.

Finally, quoting the bishop of a sinking denomination, which is losing membership by the droves due to its watered down teaching does not make for the best source. Claiming to be concerned for the “real issues” does not establish those issues as having primary importance. Protection of life and liberty should come before actions to alleviate the massive unemployment and poverty that the current administration has neglected until the election season. That is not to say that these issues are unimportant – because they are. We must first be concerned with addressing the greatest evils.

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, October 2, 2012 to Paul Moses.



Whoever is not Against Us is For Us

clock September 30, 2012 12:39 by author John |

Millstone

At that time, John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"

The words of today's gospel are particularly timely and appropriate. Christ uses some very powerful and vivid images. For those that like to stir confusion and dissent into the people of God, this reading stands as a warning that they are not only causing harm to the souls of other people, but they are playing with fire, quite literally when it comes to their own soul.

We must ask ourselves, “Who is for us and who is against us?” Whoever is not against us is for us. This reading requires us to look carefully at those around us. Are those friends who tease you or “joke” with you about your large family, the rosary in your car, or the religious images in your home bringing you closer to Christ? Are they helping you grow in your faith? Are they “For us”?

Are the politicians we vote for really “For us”? Do they believe in the sanctity of human life? Do they protect the unborn? Do they defend the family unit against degradation from those who violate the natural law with unnatural acts and seek to call their deviancy “marriage”? Are these politicians helping you practice your religion? Are they respecting your conscience? Are they helping you raise holy children, who love God and His commandments?

On the other hand, you must ask the same questions in reverse. Are the politicians we vote for “Against Us”? Do they promote the destruction of human life? Do they allow or promote the murder of the unborn, calling it “choice”? Do they embolden the enemies of the family by promoting homosexual marriage and adoption? Are these politicians placing limits on the free exercise of your religion? Are they forcing you to violate your conscience? Are they making it harder to raise your children in the faith? Are they forcing sex education on your children who are too young to hear these messages? Do they mock your God and His commandments? Are they causing our children to stray from the faith?

Jesus tells us, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimedthan wit h two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire” How can we not take a step back and think about this statement? What is Jesus saying? He is saying that your soul is more important than anything else in your life, even your body. If there is something that is holding you back in your relationship with God, get rid of it! If your friends are causing you to sin, or to be embarrassed by your faith, get rid of them. They are not your friends. If politicians are impinging on your religious freedoms or placing “stumbling blocks” between your children and God, get rid of them. Vote them out of office!

Jesus does not mince words about those who cause sin, particularly in children:
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.

Life is too short to fill it with sin, indifference, or people that cause these spiritual diseases. Cut it off! Get rid of them! Get yourself and your family to Heaven. That is your mission. That is the only thing that will matter in the end. God will not ask how many Facebook friends you have or how many times you voted for “your parents’ political party”. He will ask how ardently you loved Him and how earnestly you lead your family in the journey to Heaven.