Sunday, December 28, 2008
This post has, unfortunately, been a long time in coming. I don't really want to go into all the details, as it involves others. Speaking for myself, I can say that the period of time beginning with my last semester of graduate school and continuing to the present - a period that, as of next month, will have encompassed three years - have easily been the most stressful and most frustrating of my life. I am painfully aware of the fact that God often puts these trials in our lives to test our faith and our fortitude; and with each passing day, I feel an ever-growing strain on both. There are many, many factors that go into what I am feeling and suffering right now, but they can be roughly divided into three categories: work, home life, and parish life (or lack thereof). The combined strain of living and working in a secular environment very hostile to the Catholic faith, being made to feel like a spiritual outcast in my own "culturally Catholic" family because of that same faith, experiencing the onset of financial and health problems that have made it difficult to move on with my life, and the fact that I have been afforded very few opportunities to put my degree to use in service to the Church has been a constant in my life these last few years, but the strain has become particularly pronounced in the past few months, and especially in the last few weeks.
I would ask that anyone reading this please offer up the following intentions: for the conversion of certain people who are very important to me but whose spiritual and emotional immaturity prevent them from seeing the truth (and which often lands them in easily avoidable trouble); that I may find a job that is not only less hostile to the Catholic faith, but which might even allow me to put my theology degree to better use; that I may find reliable transportation, which will afford me more opportunities to work my way out of my present predicament (not to mention regular access to my spiritual director); that my health and financial problems do not become an obstacle to the fulfillment of God's will in my life; and that my faith and my fortitude will not falter as I bear these crosses that God has seen fit to give me.
Please know that this is a two way street. I would not ask for your prayers if I was not willing to offer my own in return. If you would like me to offer up any prayer requests please feel free to e-mail me, or you can feel free to leave a comment with your prayer requests if you would like others to pray as well. Thank you ahead of time for your prayers. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
P.S. I know the Rosary Reflection for the 3rd Joyful Mystery is a bit overdue; I promise to have it out soon.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Avowed enemy of the unborn and President-elect Barack Obama has just named Harvard physicist John Holdren as the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Holdren is, like so many other self-proclaimed scientific experts, convinced that man is causing the world to get warmer and that this trend spells climactic doom for the Earth. And, like most global warming zealots, he advocates population control as a solution to this alleged problem, clearly implying that man is a parasite on the planet. The Powerline blog has a good overview of the sheer hypocrisy of this selection and some of the potential dangers this selection poses here.
An often overlooked aspect of the "global warming" agenda is how nicely it dovetails with the aims of the eugenicists, especially where "population control" is concerned. Sometime soon, I plan to devote a lengthier blog post to this highly disturbing issue. Suffice it to say, I see any advocate of policies that address the "global warming" problem as either being counterproductive to the aims of the culture of life (at best) or as a handmaiden of the culture of death (at worst). The global warming cult has become the last refuge of the eugenicist movement, and those who rise in opposition to the alleged "consensus" of global warming deserve our support on this critical issue.
Let us remember this Christmas season exactly who and what Jesus Christ came to save, because it is no coincidence that the global warming cult has set itself up as a false savior that seeks to depose the real Savior in the minds and hearts of mankind. God bless!
Not the best segue into Christmas, I know; but it is a good reminder that neither the devil nor his minions ever takes a holiday (and we certainly can't expect them to observe a truce during holy days).
Link to Article
Saturday, December 20, 2008
This Second Joyful Mystery, more than any other, is truly the Mystery of the Advent season. Like the Blessed Mother, like Elizabeth, and like the unborn John the Baptist, we wait with joyful anticipation for the coming birth of Our Lord.
The account of The Visitation, which immediately follows the account of the Annunciation in Luke's Gospel, brings us our first narrative account after the event of the Incarnation, the first narrative in which Our Lord is physically present - body, blood, soul, and divinity - as true God and true man. The first thing that immediately strikes me about the following passage, taken from Luke 1:39-56, is the amazing effect the unborn Son of God has on all who are near Him. Indeed, all creatures rejoice at his presence - even the unborn child in Elizabeth's own womb - and the one who bears Him in her womb is given a special place of honor by virtue of His presence inside of her. The account, once again from the Douay Rheims Bible, is as follows:
"39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.
40 And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
46 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
51 He hath showed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:
55 As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house."
The wording of the opening verses of this account is absolutely beautiful. The reaction of the unborn child stands in stark contrast to the all-too-familiar present-day denigration of the humanity of the unborn child. It was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who came over Elizabeth, that inspired this response from the child. And it was the greeting of the pregnant Mother of God - fittingly, the patroness of the unborn - which served as the catalyst for this prompting of the Holy Spirit. As Mary herself says in her subsequent Magnificat, she is merely a vessel whose soul magnifies the Lord. Indeed, her greeting to Elizabeth - as with her greeting to countless others throughout the history of the Church - not only serves as the prelude to direct divine action, it prepares the one being greeted for that action by making her more receptive. We often think of the Blessed Mother as an intercessor only in the sense that she brings our petitions before God, but we often forget that her role as intercessor also includes preparing us for God's response to those petitions.
The actions of Elizabeth and her unborn child also have parallels in our liturgical life. As the first vessel to carry Jesus Christ body, blood, soul, and divinity, Mary was the first and holiest of tabernacles. Elizabeth's words to Mary - which, like the words of the angel Gabriel, are repeated in prayer by millions worldwide each and every day - show that she understands the divine nature of the presence inside of Mary. Elizabeth adopts a prayerful, worshipful tone in the presence of her Lord, and proclaims her unworthiness to be in the presence of the Mother of her Savior (her status as an elder kinswoman to Mary notwithstanding). What we are seeing, then, is the first recorded act of adoration of the Word made flesh.
Elizabeth also makes it a point to thank Mary - as we all should - for believing the words of the angel Gabriel, and for consenting to let it be done unto her according to God's word. Elizabeth is the first to acknowledge the importance not only of Mary's status as the Mother of God, but of the significance of Mary consenting to this. For it was not until she said "yes" that the words of the angel were fulfilled, and it was through that "yes" that Our Savior entered into the world.
Mary, of course, makes it clear who the recipient of that adoration should be. She acknowledges that all generations will call her blessed, but only by virtue of what God did to and through her. And she does so in the form of one of the most beautiful prayers recorded in the written Word, one that has parallels to the Beatitudes that Jesus would later share in one of His most famous sermons. Both attest to the fact that the greatest shall become the least and - much like the poor young virgin from Galilee - the least shall become the greatest.
In keeping with that theme, Elizabeth is attended to in the final three months of her pregnancy by the Mother of her God. And thus does Mary help provide prenatal care for the one who would prepare the way for the coming of her divine Son. Then she goes back to her own home and, like the rest of us, awaits the joyous day when a Savior shall be born unto the world.
May you continue to have a joyous Advent season, and God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Friday, December 19, 2008
In Jesus and Mary,
December 15, 2008
For Information, Please Contact:
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EWTN Global Catholic Network
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EWTN's Christmas Specials To Include
"The Star of Bethlehem" Documentary from
"The Passion of the Christ" Producer
Irondale, AL (EWTN) – Christmas specials on EWTN Global Catholic Network this year include a new documentary proving the existence of the Star of Bethlehem from the producer of "The Passion of the Christ") as well as classics with stars such as Loretta Young, Christopher Plummer, Frankie Avalon, Snooky Larson, June Valli, Mario Lanza, and Rosalind Russell. There is literally something for everyone. Highlights include: (All times below are U.S. Eastern Time.)
"The Star of Bethlehem"
From "The Passion of the Christ" Producer Stephen McEveety comes a documentary that proves the existence of the Star of Bethlehem, whose existence has been debated for centuries by historians, scientists and scholars. "Either they believe the Star is true or they think it was made up by the early Church," says Texas A&"M Professor Rick Larson. "I took a different approach in my research and treated the Star as a mystery or puzzle, looking at the Bible and comparing the facts of Scripture with facts from science and history." (10 a.m. Dec. 21, 11 p.m. Dec. 25, 8 p.m. Dec. 27, 3 a.m. Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 29, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 31)
"The San Juan Children's Choir Presents: Siempre Navidad (Always Christmas)"
This festive concert, with music from around the world, displays the joyful spirit of Christmas in Puerto Rico. (30-minute version: 9 a.m. Dec. 20. 60-minute version: 6 p.m. Dec. 22 and 4 p.m. Dec. 27)
"The Story of the Selfish Giant"
A grandfather uses Oscar Wilde's timeless tale to unlock the true meaning of Christmas for his granddaughter. This is a charming story with a strong Christian message about the meaning of love and sacrifice. It is bound to become one of your Christmas favorites.
(10:30 a.m. Dec. 20 and 4 p.m. Dec. 26).
Written by Charles Dickens and narrated by Derek Jacobi, this is the story of a poor and discouraged 19th Century porter. Chiming church bells magically transport him to the future where his hope is renewed. (4 p.m. Dec. 23 and 6 a.m. Dec. 27)
"Loretta Young: 3 & 2 Please"
Academy Awarding Winning Actress Loretta Young starts as "Sister Ann," a nun who brightens the lives of patients in a Catholic hospital at Christmas. (6:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 11 a.m. Dec. 23, 2:30 a.m. Dec. 26, and 2:30 a.m. Dec. 27)
"The First Christmas"
Narrated by Christopher Plummer, this colorful animated production tells the traditional story of the birth of Jesus. (4:30 p.m. Dec. 24, 11 a.m. Dec. 25, and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 27)
A 1967 dramatization of the Annunciation and Nativity, followed by a brief discussion of the film by Father Patrick Peyton and Frankie Avalon. (2:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 3:30 a.m. Dec. 24, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 27, 3 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29)
"Christopher Close-Up: Christopher Classic Christmas"
Christopher Founder Father James Keller, M.M. celebrates Christmas with stars of yesteryear, including Snooky Larson, June Valli, Mario Lanza, Rosalind Russell and more. (6:30 a.m. Dec. 21, 9 p.m. Dec. 22, and 3 a.m. Dec. 24)
"Catholic University of America Christmas Concert"
This annual concert presents a brilliant blend of angelic voices and the wonderful sounds of the Christmas season. (11 p.m. Dec. 23 and 2 p.m. Dec. 25)
"The World is Born: Christmas with the Louisville Chorus"
The Louisville Chorus celebrates the sounds of the season in this special presentation of Christmas favorites. The choir performs in the historic St. Martin of Tours Church in Louisville, Kentucky. (10 p.m. Dec. 23, 2 p.m. Dec. 27, and 11 a.m. Jan. 1)
"Dana: Our Family Christmas"
Join Dana, her family and friends as they present an old-fashioned family Christmas. Hear the meaning of many traditional customs, and gather new ideas for you and your family. (9 a.m. Dec. 24 and 4:30 a.m. Dec. 27)
"Solemn Mass at Midnight with Pope Benedict XVI (Live from Rome)"
Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord: Midnight Mass with the Holy Father from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. (6 p.m. Dec. 24 (live), 8 a.m. Dec. 25, and 4 p.m. Dec. 25)
"Choral Meditations and Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Live from Washington, D.C.)"
From the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, USA. (10 p.m. Dec. 24 (live))
"Urbi et Orbi from Rome: Pope Benedict's Christmas Message to the World (Live)"
From St. Peter's Square. Join the Holy Father for his inspiring Christmas Day message to the world on the celebration of Christ's birth. (6 a.m. (live) Dec. 25, 10 p.m. Dec. 25, 3 a.m. Dec. 26, and 5 p.m. Dec. 26)
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 27th year, is available in over 148 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
December 8, of course, was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, one of the central feast days honoring Our Lady. It seems fitting that there is such a focus on Our Lady during the Advent season, and that the two big feast days honoring her - to say nothing of the one big upcoming feast day honoring Our Lord - focus on the sanctity of life from the moment of conception.
December 12 is twice blessed in my family, both as the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe - patroness of the Americas, patroness of the unborn, and the single biggest reason why Latin America is predominantly Catholic (and has not completely succumbed to the intellectually and spiritually corrosive effects of liberation theology). This past December 12 also marked the 5th birthday of the younger of my precious little nieces, who was fittingly baptized Jessenia Guadalupe Lamb.
December 14 carries a more somber note. My father, who died of complications stemming from a 19 year bout with multiple sclerosis during my senior year of high school, would have been 61 years old yesterday. I continue to offer up prayers for the repose of his soul, and would welcome any prayers you can find your way to offering up on his behalf.
Today, December 15, marks the 10th birthday of my oldest niece, Jessica Marie Lamb. She is something of a miracle child, as a stroke suffered at birth due to labor complications has thankfully not resulted in any lasting ill effects. She was also named under circumstances that...Richard, let's just say that I have NOT forgotten! :-) (You can see a photo of my nieces, along with my brother, by clicking here).
Well, that's all for now. Just wanted to mark those dates before too much time had passed. Look for my meditation on the Second Joyful Mystery in the coming days. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Instead, as we enter into the season of Advent and the new liturgical year, I'd like to do something different. From now until the end of the Easter season, I'd like to offer reflections on the 20 Mysteries of the Rosary. As the Advent and Christmas seasons have come to be associated with the Joyful Mysteries, Ordinary Time with the Luminous Mysteries, Lent with the Sorrowful Mysteries, and Easter with the Glorious Mysteries, it seems a perfect time to begin this series of reflections, which is something I've given a lot of thought to these last few years. As I present these, I will introduce a new category for Rosary Reflections, and will frequently link to that category to encourage readers to revisit what has been written. I will also post these as notes on my Facebook page. I welcome any and all feedback and comments you may have to offer. My aim is simple: I want anyone I can reach to develop a deeper appreciation of the Rosary, to understand just how deeply the Rosary is immersed in the life, liturgy, and theology of the Church. These reflections are by no means comprehensive, nor will I claim them to be the product of original thinking. As I have stated many, many times before, there is nothing new under the sun; and I guarantee you that everyone in the history of the Church who bears the bears the abbreviation "St." before their name has contemplated the mysteries of the Rosary far more than I have, as have countless holy men and women throughout the ages and in the present day. That said, these are the things that most strike me when I contemplate these beautiful mysteries; and if they can be of any benefit to anyone, I gladly offer them.
We should always bear in mind that the prayers of the Rosary, though chiefly invoking the intercession of our beautiful Lady, are at their core Christocentric prayers. It is no coincidence that the very first of the mysteries begins with the event of the Annunciation of the Incarnation of Our Lord, an event so important in the history of man that all of Western Civilization, with all its varying degrees of belief, makes it the basis upon which its system of historical dating rests (thanks in large part to the efforts of St. Bede the Venerable). The account of the Annunciation is recorded in the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38. The text is recounted here (unless otherwise noted, all verses are quoted from the Douay Rheims Bible):
"26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:
37 Because no word shall be impossible with God.
38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
St. Gabriel, often identified as one of the seven angels who stands before the throne of God, came to visit a young virgin, and his greeting immediately suggests that there is something special about the young woman he greeted: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." (As an aside, the angel's very greeting is repeated daily by millions upon millions worldwide, thus fulfilling the prediction Mary subsequently makes in her Magnificat that all generations will call her blessed). Mary knew enough to know that this was not a typical greeting from an angel, hence her puzzlement. The angel's language, his entire demeanor towards her, is one of deference. Yet, in the Scriptures she had likely been taught growing up, when angels greeted men they spoke in a way that indicated that they expected to be feared and respected. To be called full of grace by an angel, to say nothing of being called blessed among women, is truly unheard of. And her reaction to such deference is not one of satisfaction and swollen pride that so many in today's day and age would likely feel; instead, she is troubled and puzzled, humbled from beginning to end.
The narrative also establishes her betrothal, of which she was surely aware; and it establishes the lineage of her future husband as that of the House of David. Though it is not mentioned here, Mary was also of the House of David, so that God's promise that the long awaited King would be of the House of David was fulfilled. Yet she hails from Nazareth, in the region of Galilee, long derided by people of the time as a place from which nothing good came. The theme of humility - of the lowly being raised up and those in high places being laid low - is established early and often in the Gospels, and it begins with the Word Incarnate and the one who would be called blessed among women coming from humble origins despite their royal lineage.
The angel announces to Mary that she will conceive and bear a son. Mary wonders how this can happen, since she does not know man, and the angel proceeds to explain how it will come about. This exchange reveals two very important things, both of which are essential to the development of the Church's doctrine regarding the Blessed Mother. The first is this: why would a woman who was betrothed to marry a man wonder how she could conceive and bear a son? It is vital to note that the angel did not mention when the conception would take place (and there was certainly nothing in the account to indicate that Mary knew it would happen that very night), so the natural assumption here is that the conception would happen in natural course. Mary's response reveals that she knows how babies are conceived, yet she still seems confused as to how she can bear a child. Some may say that she was barren, but she is never referred to as such (even as her cousin Elizabeth - who also conceives miraculously - is called barren twice in the same chapter of the Gospel) and it would have been impossible in those days to know whether a physically healthy girl was barren until she was no longer a virgin and many years had passed. So if Mary was not barren, knew how babies were conceived, and was soon to marry (and presumably begin engaging in the activity by which conception took place), why would she be puzzled by the angel's announcement? Her confusion only makes sense if she never intended to physically consummate her marriage. And the angel's response indicates that he saw nothing unusual about Mary's response. It was only when Gabriel explained the conception in a way that safeguarded Mary's virginity that she consented to becoming the Mother of God.
The second thing to take from this exchange is this: the angel showed no sign of anger, no hint of frustration, at having his proclamation questioned by the young virgin. Yet a few verses prior to the account of the Annunciation, Gabriel announces the conception of John the Baptist to John's father Zachary. Zachary is a respected priest of the Temple and identified as an upright man. He questions how his aged and barren wife could conceive a child, and there is nothing in Zachary's tone to indicate disrespect towards the angel. Yet for questioning the angel's word, Gabriel strikes Zachary mute for six months. So a respected priest of the Temple questions the angel's proclamation and is struck mute, while a young virgin similarly questions another of the angel's proclamations only to be rewarded with a thorough explanation. It seems that Gabriel was well aware of his place relative to the priest and the young virgin, which speaks volumes about the place of honor the young virgin even then occupied.
When the angel mentions that the Holy Spirit would come upon Mary and that the power of the most high would overshadow her, scholars of the day would have immediately noticed the parallels to the Exodus account of the pillar cloud that hovered over the tabernacle at the tent of meeting during the Israelites' period of exile (references to the cloud appear throughout all of Exodus, but the most explicit mention of the cloud and the tabernacle appears in Exodus 40:32-36). The presence of the cloud was known to be a sign of the presence of God, and the shadow cast by the cloud was always acknowledged as sacred space. Now, in the Gospel of Luke, this sacred shadow would come upon a virgin, and once again the presence of God would ensue.
The account concludes with Mary's proclamation that she is a handmaid of the Lord, and consenting to what the angel announced. Her humble proclamation is also echoed in the life of the Church, particularly during the Sacred Liturgy. To proclaim herself as a handmaid was to proclaim her lowliness, her unworthiness, to receive the Most High into her womb, into her very being. Her humble proclamation and gesture of faith prefigures that of the Roman centurion, who approaches Jesus in Matthew chapter 8 with a request to heal his servant. Jesus agrees to come to the centurion's home, but in verse 8 the centurion replies: "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed." This proclamation, reminiscent of the Blessed Mother's own proclamation of unworthiness, is the proclamation that we make at every Mass during the Eucharistic rite. And like the Blessed Mother, if we are in a state of grace we are rewarded for our proclamation by immediately receiving the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord into ourselves.
From start to finish, the Rosary is a very Eucharistic prayer, a prayer that pervades every aspect of the Church. As I progress through these reflections, this theme will become increasingly more pronounced. Everyone have a Blessed Advent season, and God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I leave the reader/viewer to draw his own conclusions, but I will say that this is what happens when the liberal arts education curriculum is hijacked by liberal con artists...
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This reflection comes from Dr. (and Deacon) Mark Miravalle, one of my favorite professors at Franciscan University of Steubenville. If you have never heard this man speak in person, I highly encourage you to do so if and when the opportunity presents itself. This reflection is great food for thought. Continue to pray for America and for the conversion of those whose votes have wrought an imminent national tragedy upon us. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary
"STEUBENVILLE, OH (NOVEMBER 6, 2008) - On the day following the election, Dr. Mark Miravalle, Professor of Theology and Mariology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, offered the following statement on the election of Sen. Barack Obama.
It is Wednesday, November 5, 2008 , the day after the election of the United States President.
I believe that for Catholics, for Christians, for people of sincerely good will, that whether it be in a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or in the not too distant future, those who cast a vote for the pro-abortion candidate, our President-elect, are going to wake up at some point with the shocking question and the realization, "What have I done?" I say that without judgment of heart, but I say it with objectivity of mind, in light of the President-elect that now will be guiding the United States of America and a ll its worldwide outreaches, in terms of both public policy and moral policy.
Evidently, based on exit polls, more than half of the Catholics in the United States voted for a candidate who has voiced the following positions:
1. The immediate putting forth and ratifying into law the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). This is an act which removes all bans on any form of abortion, including partial-birth abortion. Since that is now public policy, it is important that you know precisely what that is. That means giving partial birth to a human being, and getting the head out of the womb, and then literally sucking the brain out of his or her tiny human head.
2. This president elect, and the policies that he will advance, do not protect a child who survives an abortion. Based on legislation in Illinois previously backed by the President-elect, if a child does survive an abortion, the child has no rights, and therefore the child could be strangled or drowned, as has bee n the grisly case in some of these particular instances.
3. This country has elected a president elect, who has said that children a young as 13 years old can have an abortion without parental consent. This means a new undermining of the basic authority of father and mother in the family.
4. This president elect has expressed his intention to revoke the Defense of Marriage Act, which translates into the removal of any limitations of marriage in terms of being exclusively between a man and a woman. This was a policy given in an open letter in February 2008 to a gay, lesbian, and transsexual organization. There every reason to believe that this will also be enacted.
Sadly, the list goes on and on and on, as the president-elect will be promulgating a policy of moral degeneration which puts at risk most every foundational Judeo-Christian moral code or basic principle of the natural law.
My friends, if you feel a certain sense of violation in the coming days and weeks, it is understandable. The dignity, the goodness, the history of America in some real sense has been violated through the election of an individual who is so clearly against the dignity of the human person and so against the culture of life.
Many U.S. Catholics fatally decided to vote economy over morals. Now, tragically, we shall be losing both. Where do we go from here?
There is a new call for Catholics who still put their faith first and foremost in Jesus Christ, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the Holy Father, in the Magisterium, for people who understand what the President-elect's policy stands for. It is a call to spiritual action. Now is not a time of despair. It is a time to come forward like never before with the deepest conviction of the human heart that our faith does not lie first in our government or in any government. It lies first in the power of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the mercy that comes to us through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and in the eternal and inestimable graces that come to us through the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ under the appropriate leadership by the power of the Holy Spirit through the leadership of Pope Benedict (who is not elected by man, but by God).
While it is justified to feel the great loss of what we have done as a country in the United States , there's no time to lose in terms of responding in a way that disciples of Jesus Christ should respond. What precisely is that? More courage, more hope, more prayer.
I would invite each of you, if you are not already in the practice, to consider adding to the end of each Rosary three Hail Marys for the end of the horrific scourge of abortion (we must never grow accustomed to its horrific face), and also in reparation for culture of death policies which our new administration will soon be implementing.. We are called to a new level of prayer and dedication. The Rosary is an indescriba bly powerful pro-life prayer.
Greater Eucharistic Adoration, where possible, is, along with the Mass, of the greatest possible spiritual benefits and spiritual weapons for these upcoming times. We can also exponentially add to the power of our prayers for life and family but adding some form of fasting to our prayers, typically offered on Wednesdays and Fridays as traditional Christian days of penance. Spiritually, we must increase are generosity, our efficacy, and our protection in light of the serious new challenges we will be facing in our country.
Secondly, we keep our joy. Why joy? Because joy is a sign that the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. Joy is a sign that Jesus Christ will be the ultimate victor and in the full Catholic understanding through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of America, who wants to return this land to a land of purity, even though now it will be an even greater uphill battle. Ultimately, the Immaculate Heart w ill triumph and we indeed will be the country we are called to be.
In these difficult times, we must convey the light of Christ and the hope that only can come through Him by being living icons of his joy. Bl. Teresa of Calcutta put it very clearly and succinctly when she said to her sisters that if they could not leave the convent with joy, with smiles on their faces, then they should not go out at all.
Joy during the great trials ahead is more important now than ever. Ten people will be standing in a row in some public forum. Nine of those ten people will show the difficulties and despair of these times in their faces, their attitudes, their demeanor. Then they will see you, and you will have joy. They will see you with a smile on your face and peace of heart, and realize that in spite of all these grave crises inflicting our country, you can still smile. Then they will say, "I want what that person has." And they are going to come to you, and you will let them k now, by actions or by words, that it is Jesus Christ who gives you this supernatural Christian joy, regardless what happens in this world and in this country. This joy comes only through the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, we must take as our platform "no moral compromise." No moral compromise on a personal level, in an environment where I'm afraid we will be soon be ubiquitously surrounded by moral compromise on a national level.
Yes, in a true sense, our country has compromised by electing an individual whose policies are so antithetical to the moral teachings of Jesus Christ and Judeo-Christian tradition. At the same time, we are going to be called upon to be witnesses of no moral compromise, a position which will call for sacrifice on an ever-increasing level. We can do it because of Jesus and Mary. We can do it because of the graces of the sacraments. We can do it because we can see our brothers and sisters in places like China and India who are uncompromisingly loyal to Christ and the Church in the midst of the greatest persecutions and sacrifices, including, for some, their lives.
We are called to be people of prayer, especially through the Rosary. We are called to have joy. We are called to be people who will not morally compromise based on faith in Christ and the conviction of hope that one day this country will ultimately return to its Judeo-Christian roots.
Have hope. Have peace. The Immaculate Heart will triumph. Our country will be transformed to its original greatness and much more."
- Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The devil looks to America with an unquenchable, ravenous lust. There are many, many souls for him to feed upon.
Let us continue to do what we have always been called to do: denying the evil one souls one at a time, and letting God deal with the obstacles that no human can overcome.
It is somewhat ironic that today is the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, whose name is often associated with reform. St. Charles, ora pro nobis!
This should serve as a sobering reminder to us that Jesus only promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. He said nothing of benevolent democracies. Do not expect Barack Hussein Obama to a friend to the Bride of Christ.
One silver lining from the evening is that the odds of a filibuster-proof Senate for the Democrats has shrunk considerably. Hopefully it will be enough to block passage of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).
One news story to follow in the coming months is that there is likely to be a rising clamor for Barack Obama to produce proof that he is a United States citizen. I have not really given much credence to this story, although I have heard that Obama's Kenyan grandmother has attested to the fact that he was born in Kenya rather than in Hawaii as has been widely reported. Under our laws this would mean he is not a natural-born U.S. Citizen (since both his parents would have to have been citizens, and only his mother was so)). If there is any truth to this, then Obama would be Constitutionally barred from taking office, and you can rest assured that all political hell would break loose if this came to pass. The only thing that gives me reason to think that there is any truth to this is the fact that the Obama campaign has blocked all attempts to access his birth records. Clearly, they have something to hide, though whether it is something of such a devastating magnitude is another question entirely.
Be that as it may, I believe that Christians in general and Catholics in particular are in for a very difficult few years. And it has the potential to get much, much worse.
Let us now, as we always should, look for guidance from the One who has consistently led us out of far more dire straits, and who has already won the ultimate victory through the shedding of His blood.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tomorrow, we will elect the next President of the United States. All signs indicate that John McCain - and America - is in for a very rough night. If by some miracle (keep the prayers coming!) McCain pulls this thing out, you can expect America to be a very dangerous place on November 5, 2008, because Obama loyalists will not take the loss well; and it will continue to be so until our law enforcement authorities can bring things under control (a trick Obama will no doubt borrow from the playbook of his Kenyan tribesman, Raila Odinga, who seized power in Kenya by instigating widespread rioting and genocide among his supporters when the Presidential election failed to go his way). We will then be faced on January 20, 2009 with the inauguration of a man who will inherit an unusually vitriolic Congress, a Congress that he will inexplicably bend over backwards to please. The talk of a "stolen" Presidency will haunt the McCain administration from the outset. McCain will be ineffective while he deals with this heavily Democratic Congress, and any disaster that befalls America during his first two years will be placed squarely on his shoulders by an antagonistic media, who will laughably attempt to paint McCain as the new standard of right-wing extremism, even as this newly-branded "extremist" will, like clockwork, find a way to irritate the conservative base every few weeks. The negative press will be used by the Democrats to gain even more seats in Congress in the 2010 midterm elections, possibly even pushing for 60 seats in Congress if they fail to reach that mark tomorrow (though I suspect that the 2010 elections may not be as kind to Democrats as the 2006 election was and the 2008 election is likely to be).
On the other hand, the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" will not find its way to a willing signer in the Oval Office, and Ruth Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens will have to decay on the bench a little longer if they want a partisan Democrat to name their replacements. This fact alone - and the liberal hysteria it is likely to cause - will make a McCain victory a marvelously entertaining spectacle.
If Obama wins, the question will quickly become just how much damage he, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid can cause in two years' time. I mentioned some of the dire consequences in a previous post. The degree to which they can succeed in pushing their agenda will rest largely on two things: a) whether or not they can succeed in reaching a 60 seat supermajority in the Senate to override any Republican filibusters (or get near enough to it for Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, and/or Olympia Snowe to serve as enablers to their cause); and b) the quality and tenacity of the new Republican leadership that is sure to arise from the ashes of the 2008 debacle.
About the only silver lining in the latter scenario is that the Democrats are sure to make an even bigger mess of things, and they (along with their media accomplices) will be unable to focus the frustrations of the American voters on a Republican scapegoat for the third consecutive election. The liberal media will only be able to do so much to stem the tide against the Democrats in 2010, and this is sure to bode poorly for the Democrats, if the Republican leadership in Congress grows a spine and provides solid resistance to the Democrat agenda (otherwise the media may succeed in branding them as part of the problem and as being no better than the Democratic majority, which would severely blunt an otherwise promising political climate).
While it would be nice to see a voter backlash against two years of bungled Democrat control of the government, I don't know that two years of bungling under these particular Democrat leaders is something that we can afford. It is certainly not something that the millions of unborn victims between now and the mid-term elections will be able to afford. Keep that in mind while casting your vote tomorrow. Millions of lives are literally in the balance, as is the prospect of putting a Marxist radical like Obama in charge of a system of government whose collapse has long been desired by every single mentor Obama has ever chosen for himself. God bless you, and God bless America!
In Jesus and Mary,
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm curious: how does one secure the blessings of liberty to a posterity that one allows to be killed in the womb? Or even imagine that the author of that Preamble could possibly see abortion as consistent with his stated reasons for helping to ordain and establish the Constitution in the first place?
It's amazing how much self-delusion a person has to engage in to find legal and moral justification for such a barbaric practice...
Monday, October 13, 2008
- Pope St. Pius X, Lamentabili Sane
"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already, in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after."
- Ecclesiastes 1:9-14 (RSV Bible)
In today's day and age, it is virtually impossible to go through an entire hour - to say nothing of an entire day - without hearing someone, somewhere, speak of the need for change, whether that change is of a personal, communal, social, political, economic, physical, psychological, or spiritual nature, and everything in between. It has gotten to the point where people speak of change simply for variety's sake. This is unfortunate because change, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. There are indeed many things in the present day that are in dire need of change, particular in the realm of morality. Of course, sometimes the only kind of change necessary is a return to the very things that those who clamored for change steered us away from in the first place.
The desire for change in man is natural. We are all in a naturally restless state that is born from a desire to be reconciled with God. As St. Augustine so succinctly put it: "My heart is restless, O God, until it rests in Thee." Ideally, we orient ourselves towards God throughout the course of our lives as a natural manifestation of our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth; and if there were no other factors to stop us, that is indeed how man would always orient himself. However, there are indeed other factors, all of whom have their root in the same source: namely, the evil one.
How, exactly, does this tie in to the title of this post? Simple: the most effective way that the devil distracts man from his natural inclination towards God is through the spread of heresy. One particularly pernicious heresy, known as Modernism - which has its roots in the philosophical Liberalism that itself was an outgrowth of the virulently anti-religious secular humanism of the Enlightenment - was described by Pope St. Pius X as "the synthesis of all heresies" in his landmark encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis. This description flows from St. Pius' assertion that Modernism embraces every heresy that came before. As such, it is difficult to give a succinct definition of the theory of Modernism. A good place to start is with the very definition of the word, which literally means an exaggerated love for what is modern, for modern ideas, and for the general "spirit of the age." This leads to a tendency to disregard all that has come before (a classic example being the way in which present-day "Catholic" dissenters disregard all that came before Vatican II even as they work to distort the documents of Vatican II itself to conform to modern secular notions), and with that the tendency to "rediscover" centuries-old notions and pass them off as new.
A natural - and highly unfortunate - consequence of such shortsighted thinking is the belief that truth must necessarily conform itself to the "spirit of the age." This is a form of Relativism, which denies the existence of objective, timeless truth - and thus necessarily denies the existence of the Eternal Truth - and which is very possibly the worst consequence of the Modernist heresy.
Which brings us to the point of this post. It is no coincidence that those who are most preoccupied with the pursuit of novelty are the very same who have yet to discover or acknowledge the fact that the most important truths are not subject to majority votes or recent trends in human thought. They seek novelties as a way to fill the void in their lives, to relieve the natural longing they feel but which they are either unwilling or unable to acknowledge. They continue to look for the perpetual quick fix, distracting themselves with things which for them are new. Again, there is nothing new under the sun, but this timeless truth is rejected by Relativists. If it is new to them, then it is new, as for them truth is based on personal experience - an idea very much in keeping with the spirit of the modern age. And as the novelty of one thing wears off, they abandon it to pursue the next new thing. Oscar Wilde - whose pursuit of novelty manifested itself in increasingly vulgar acts of sodomy, resulting in his eventual imprisonment and the ruin of his literary career - cynically quipped that he read St. Augustine's Confessions so he could discover new sins to commit (reading St. Augustine appears to have had some beneficial effect, as Wilde pursued one other "novelty" few other Relativists pursue: a deathbed conversion to Catholicism).
We see the effects that the pursuit of novelty has wrought on modern society. People who pursue cheap thrills find themselves over the course of time having to do more and more for less and less satisfaction. The Howard Sterns of the world - the so-called "shock jocks" - have to commit increasingly more outrageous acts just to maintain the attention of a quickly jaded audience. The pursuit of sex for pleasure's sake results in the dissociation of the unitive (love-giving) meaning from the procreative (life-giving) meaning of sex, and in the process both of these aspects of the sexual gift are severely impaired (one need only see the skyrocketing divorce rates and nearly 50 million aborted babies in the last generation alone to see just how devastating the introduction of the pill and so-called "worry-free sex" has been for modern society); and as the pleasure derived from so-called "recreational sex" becomes less and less satisfying, sex between uncommitted partners has taken on more perverse forms as people try to get more "creative" in order to achieve the same fleeting sense of satisfaction. This because man has become convinced that the most important aspect of the sexual gift is the physical pleasure it gives (the selfish aspect), rather than the emotional bond it creates between a married man and woman and the manifestation this bond takes in the creation of new life (the selfless aspects). Two guesses as to who did the convincing...
What, exactly, does St. Pius refer to when he speaks of the rejection of the legacy of the human race? He refers to the gift of redemption purchased through the Precious Blood of Christ, and the promise of salvation that this gift entails. Rather than pursue the fleeting novelties the devil throws in our path to divert us from our goal, let us pursue the One novelty that is eternal, and never fleeting. Let us pursue the path that leads to reconciliation with God. Let us not waste the most precious of all gifts, purchased for us freely by the One who loves us most. And if we are to pursue any change in our lives, let it be a change that leads to further sanctification, for any other kind of change is of this world, and by definition fleeting. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monday, October 6, 2008
If present trends continue, on the morning of November 5, 2008 America - and the world - will awaken to find itself facing one of the most dire of moral crises we have seen in a very long time. I am not prepared to say that the United States as we know it will be destroyed, but if Barack Obama wins the Presidency, the Democrats reach a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and Nancy Pelosi is allowed access to this nation's purse-strings with NO restraints on her, we will be in a world of trouble. America has faced greater trials, to be sure: we have, after all, survived a Civil War. But one thing the United States had in 1860 in far greater quantities than it has in 2008 is the strong moral and religious fiber that allowed it to overcome its problems and move forward. With the havoc that Modernism, Communism, Relativism, and various other -isms have wrought in the world's political, philosophical, and religious ideologies, man simply is not as inclined to turn to God in these times of crisis as he was more than a century ago (mind you, Catholicism is not a religious ideology of this world, but the world has succeeded in creating widespread confusion about what the Church teaches and Who is at the root of those teachings).
Even if the 2010 midterm elections prove disastrous for the Democrats and Republicans are swept into power in both houses of Congress, consider the kind of damage that the unholy Trinity of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi can cause in two short years:
- All abortion restrictions will be overturned courtesy of the demonically misnamed "Freedom of Choice Act"
- Ruth Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, and possibly even David Souter could retire within those two years, leaving Obama to name their replacements, who are sure to get sped through the Senate with little to no vetting, costing the pro-life movement what is likely to be the only opportunity to achieve a pro-life Supreme Court majority for the next generation.
- It is very likely that an effort to codify gay marriage into federal law will be attempted, and the next two years would be the best chance for such a codification to succeed.
- Embryonic stem cell research will receive massive federal funding, ensuring that this practice will continue well beyond our lifetimes.
- There is a good chance that Obama and Congress will attempt to pass numerous pieces of subversive legislation of the sort that will make it easier for groups like ACORN (which Obama worked for during his community organizing days, and whose members he helped train in the very tactics that have gotten many of them indicted for voter fraud in 7 states) to act in secrecy and with relative impunity, paving the way for massive voter fraud in future elections which will lead to a built-in handicap working against Republicans and conservative initiatives at the ballot box.
- Taxes. Taxes. Taxes. Did I forget to mention the possibility of taxes? Any financial crisis we think we might be facing today will pale in comparison to what is sure to follow if jobs are lost courtesy of over-taxation of businesses, if gas prices shoot up due to newly-imposed drilling bans, and if the disastrous subsidies for ethanol-based fuel continue to drive food prices through the roof.
- Government oversight over private enterprise will grow, as will government oversight of first amendment rights. Can you imagine Democrats having no obstacle to passing laws that would make it possible for Catholic priests to get arrested as accessories if they preach against homosexuality during Mass and one of that priest's parishioners subsequently commits any act perceived as criminal or discriminatory against someone they may or may not have known to be homosexual? When government imposes itself in any area of private life, history has shown that it is not so easily pushed out again.
- The abominable "Fairness Doctrine" - designed specifically to drive conservative talk radio (the one media outlet liberals don't have a monopoly on apart from the Internet) out of business - is sure to be revisited and snuck through Congress with as little fanfare as possible.
The list goes on and on. We know from personal experience, history, and Catholic teaching that if you give the devil an inch, he will take a mile (and then scream to the press that you shortchanged him and have you successfully branded as the greedy one). So why allow a foot in the door (to the White House) to a man (Barack Obama) whose path to the top was inspired by a man (Saul Alinsky) who once acknowledged the need to thank Lucifer for showing radicals how to successfully get their way against "the establishment"?
Look, I'm no fan of John McCain. I voted against him in the primary; and if I thought he would win Florida handily in the national election, I would probably write in someone else's name (Bobby Jindal or Sarah Palin, anyone?). But for those of you who are easily taken in by platitudes about "hope" and "change" and are seriously considering voting for Barack Hussein Obama, think long and hard about what your vote could potentially visit upon all of us.
Let us be eternally grateful that the one battle that really matters has already been won; and let us pray and do our part to make sure that as many people as possible convert to the winning side. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
LET'S STOP GIVING BILL MAHER EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS
You know that adolescent relative who didn't get spanked enough as a child who feels the occasional need to do something infantile just to be the center of attention? You know, the spoiled brat who feels the need to occasionally lash out at those who didn't give him everything his little heart desired during the "Mine! Mine! Mine!" phase of his life (a phase which may or may not still be in progress)?
You ever notice that little juvenile delinquent smiling to himself when everyone suddenly makes a big fuss over him after he goes and does something stupid?
Take a look at Bill Maher, and you might recognize him.
Let's not kid ourselves. He is absolutely reveling in all the attention he's receiving. The worst that'll happen to him is that he'll get fired by HBO (I wouldn't hold my breath), in which case he'll quickly land on his feet with some other far-left broadcasting entity with an ax to grind against Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular (and likely owned by Ted Turner).
Don't get me wrong. I support the current movement to boycott HBO and have Bill Maher removed from the air. I'm just saying that we should remember to keep this in the proper context. The only people who take Bill Maher seriously are those who were predisposed to take the latest of Maher's many anti-Catholic diatribes seriously (they can usually be identified by their Oscar trophies, their Nobel prizes, and the prescription anti-depressants they consume at 10-20 times the recommended dosage).
Let's do our part to dwindle Bill Maher's available outlets for his illogical, slanderous drivel and hold his employers accountable for giving him said outlets. But let's not lose our heads in the process. To do so is to ascribe a level of relevance to Bill Maher that he neither possesses nor deserves. And that is exactly what he wants.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
"Abortion, Catholic Sex Scandals, the Bishop of Scranton, and Joe Biden's Communion
By John Mashek
Posted September 23, 2008
Once again, the emotionally charged issue of abortion has penetrated a presidential campaign, especially among Roman Catholic voters.
The bishop of Scranton, Pa., home to a strong conservative Catholic population, has forbidden Sen. Joe Biden, a Scranton native, from receiving communion in his hometown.
Biden, like 14 other Democrats in the Senate, is both pro-choice and Catholic. So the bishop decreed that the party's vice presidential candidate was not welcome at the communion rail. These Senate Democrats and many other Catholics—including this writer—do not necessarily favor abortion, but we do not feel our religious views should be foisted on others in a nation where church and state are divided.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. is the only Senate Democratic Catholic who is against abortion rights. Yet, he voted last year with the others on a bill that would have overturned the "Mexico City policy," which prohibits U.S. foreign aid for organizations that provide abortions. (Casey's late father, Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey, was also against abortion rights, and in 1992 Democrats made a big mistake by not allowing him to speak at the Democratic convention. He should have been heard. In 2008, the younger Casey did address the convention.)
In the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts felt the wrath of some Catholic organizations for favoring abortion rights. A few prelates of the church said Kerry and other lawmakers who agreed with him should not receive communion.
As a Catholic since birth and one raised by a devout Irish Catholic mother, I have serious problems with my church on this matter.
I admit it relates in large part to the pedophilia scandals that have ripped the church in recent years. Many priests (roughly 5,000 were accused) have been found to have abused young males and young girls, some of them altar boys. For years, the problem was hidden from public view, with priests routinely sent to other parishes without warning the new church—and certainly without informing the authorities. Some cardinals were even involved, and they were, in my view, committing criminal acts as conspirators.
For the record, rape and child molestation are crimes. Covering it up is a crime. Abortion is not a crime because of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
More than $1 billion in church and insurance money has been paid to victims of pedophilia and their families for the suffering they endured. Most of the victims were youngsters who looked on priests as moral guardians and were afraid to even tell their parents.
In the past few years, but too slowly for me, the church has attempted to get rid of these men and prevent such an outrage from taking place again. Pope Benedict, in his trip to the United States earlier this year, talked forcefully about the personal sorrow he felt about this outrage.
Is it any wonder, though, that some of us resent this bishop in Scranton telling Biden he could not receive communion? He had to know it would hit the national news.
That division of church and state has application here. No priest, minister, or rabbi should be telling the flock how to vote or for whom. Some do, and they are wrong.
The Knights of Columbus, in a harsh attack on Biden in a full-page ad on September 19 in USA Today, said in sum: "Your unwillingness to bring your Catholic moral views into the public policy arena on this issue alone is troubling." Here's an answer to the Knights: Every survey in recent years shows that at least half the Catholics in the United States are pro-choice. I assume you would like to read us out of the church. I will not let you dictate to me on public policy, nor should Senator Biden.
In earlier days, the Catholic vote was strongly Democratic, largely among working-class citizens in urban areas. There has been a remarkable shift to the GOP in recent elections, and Sen. John McCain, the party's nominee, is certain to get strong Catholic support from conservatives in the church. Abortion is not the only reason, but it will be a significant factor.
Whether Joe Biden is allowed to receive communion in his hometown may not seem like a big event in this fall campaign, yet it is important and disturbing to this Catholic."
Like so many others have in recent years, Mashek uses the sex abuse scandal as a scapegoat for his real prejudices against the Church (and like every other person who seems more interested in tarnishing the Church's reputation than in getting to the truth of the matter, Mashek prefers to cite the number of priests accused, but says nothing of how many of the accused have been found guilty of wrongdoing or - as is far more likely to be the case - exonerated). In fact, if one goes by what is written in the article - Mashek's own words - the entire basis of his disagreement with the Church's opposition to abortion supporters giving scandal to the faithful through sacrilegious Communion seems to be the fact that 5,000 priests have been accused of sexual abuse of minors and some members of the hierarchy were involved in covering it up, and the Church did not react to it as quickly as he would have liked.
Going by this logic, then, Mashek must really have it in for the teaching profession, since incidents of teacher sex abuse are far more prevalent on a per capita basis than they are in the priesthood. I look forward to Mashek's article discussing his opposition to the NEA's agenda based on that entity's lack of a strong stance against the problem of teacher sex abuse. I'll know it's coming because it will be immediately preceded by the one in which he confesses that it was he, and not the midi-chlorians, who fathered Anakin Skywalker.
A few more fallacies to point out:
- The fact that Bob Casey Jr. supports repeal of the Mexico City Policy logically contradicts Mashek's assertion that Casey opposes abortion rights (so does Casey's unabashed support of the most radically pro-abortion Presidential candidate in American history, but I digress...)
- Biden, like 14 other Democrats in the Senate, is pro-abortion and are by virtue of that fact latae sententiae excommunicates, and therefore not part of the communion of the Church's faithful.
- Mashek claims that the "separation of Church and state" keeps him from wanting to impose his religious views on the rest of the country. Increasingly, this unwillingness seems to apply only to opposition of abortion. It certainly does not seem apply when it comes to imposing abortion on an unreceptive populace, which I assure you is about as fervently religious a tenet as the political left embraces. So remind me: why am I not supposed to take it as an insult to my intelligence when you tell me you are "personally opposed to abortion, but unwilling to impose your views on others" when such a position would logically dictate that you abstain from voting on abortion-related issues, rather that having a perfect voting record that directly contradicts your purported "personal opposition"?
- Mashek makes the argument that the Catholic Church is more criminal in its behavior than pro-aborts based on current laws regarding the criminality of sex abuse and the legality of abortion, and lets the argument hang as if to imply that this somehow makes the Church more morally corrupt than abortion supporters. Like most dissenters, Mashek seems to think that human lawmakers have more of a say in what is right and what is wrong than does the Divine Lawmaker Himself. He also uses the argument that half of American Catholics are "pro-choice." OK. All that means is that half of American Catholics hold a view that is in direct contradiction to the Church to which they claim to belong. Only those who do so in ignorance of the Church's position have any legitimate claim to still being Catholic.
- Mashek implies that the legitimate exercise of a Bishop's right to direct a self-described Catholic to refrain from receiving Communion while causing grave scandal to the faithful is somehow an endorsement of a political candidate and a breach of the wall that separates Church and state. Little wonder that he criticizes the Bishop of Scranton for this decidedly Catholic stance: those words could just as easily apply to Mashek himself for the grave scandal he gives to the faithful in writing this atrocity of an article.
There are other things to point out. I shall leave it to any readers out there to comment on them. I pray this message finds you well. Pray for this election, and pray for a conversation of the souls of unfaithful pseudo-Catholics like Joe Biden and John Mashek. It is hard enough to spread the Gospel truth without having to deal with their counterproductive seeds of confusion. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I know posting has been a bit less frequent lately, I hope to be able to get back to posting more regularly as time progresses. Please keep me in prayer, as there are some periods of transition that lay ahead of me: some good, some not so good.
In the meantime, I just thought I'd share this video I found on Youtube. I've made mention a few times of the name Saul Alinsky, the so-called "Father of Community Organizing" (you can read my original post on Alinsky here). Among other things, Alinsky was a known associate of Frank Nitti, Al Capone, and other members of the 1930's Chicago criminal underground, and was also a known collaborator with the Communist Party in the United States. Alinsky's life and thought were such a great influence to Barack Obama that Obama actually chose to move to Chicago and become a community organizer in order to follow in Alinsky's footsteps.
In the following Youtube video, we are given a bit more insight into just what Obama's career as a community organizer entailed. Pay special attention to what is said about Alinsky and also what is said about Obama's connection to the notorious group ACORN, which in press releases has proudly identified Obama as one of its own (without any argument from Obama) and which is currently under indictment in seven states for voter registration fraud relating to the 2004 and 2006 election cycles (with more indictments likely to come).
It's a comfort to know that if Obama becomes President, he can draw upon his vast experience as a disciple of the Saul Alinsky model of "community organizing" to get enemy dictators voted out of office by finding a handful of that country's dissidents (or, as dictators commonly refer to them, "victims of unfortunate accidents"), whipping them into a frenzy with empty promises of undefined "change", and then getting them to vote 20,000,000 times apiece. All he has to do is wait for those dictators to hold their regularly-scheduled democratic elections.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I wanted to direct your attention to two great articles I read recently. I strongly encourage you take the time to read them both:
Why The Left Hates Sarah Palin - I haven't really commented on the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's vice-Presidential choice. I still would have preferred Bobby Jindal, but I must say I feel a lot better about voting for John McCain in the coming election. Seeing the hysterical response from the left - especially from the radical feminists, the self-appointed "representatives" of women everywhere - has me in stitches. It illustrates the hypocritical double-standard the left applies to women based entirely on ideology. It also shows just how misogynistic the radical feminist movement really is, as their vitriolic denouncements of Sarah Palin as a "step backwards" for the cause of women everywhere is based entirely on the fact that Palin, unlike the Gloria Steinems of the world, has actually chosen to embrace her femininity and those aspects of humanity - such as being a proud wife and mother - that are unique to womanhood (and which the radical feminists have chosen to abandon in a pathetic attempt to emphasize their equality with men. If only they realized that equality and sameness are two distinctly separate things...).
What most strikes me about this article is that author Jeffrey Bell goes right to the root of the agenda of the political left. Unlike other pundits, who prefer to deal with the War on Terror, the economy, and immigration at the expense of the more important (but infinitely more contentious) issues of morality that are at the core of social conservatism, Bell tackles the problem head-on and correctly identifies the need to reject the morality of Christendom as the core of the liberalism that arose out of the French Revolution in the 1790s and which is wholly obsessed with creating a completely secular morality over which they can exercise full control and of which they can serve as sole arbiters. Please, please read the article. Bell hits the mark like few other political columnists have in recent memory.
The Speaker's Unusual Description of Catholic Dogma - Paul Weyrich has long been one of my favorite political writers; and thanks to this treasure nugget of an article, Thaddeus McCotter has just become one of my favorite Congressmen.
Nancy Pelosi looks like a deer in the headlights anytime she ventures outside the comfort zone of political obfuscation and tries her hand at theological obfuscation. We should have seen it as a sign of things to come when, upon taking over as House Minority Leader following the 2002 congressional mid-term elections, the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-embryonic stem cell research, former priest wannabe had the gall to state: "I'm a liberal Democrat, but I'm a conservative Catholic." Naturally. I'm guessing in Madame Speaker's parallel universe, the Marquis de Sade had a healthy sexual ethic.
I congratulate her on one positive accomplishment, however: she has succeeded in stirring many usually lethargic U.S. Bishops to issue pastoral corrections against her ill-advised (and blatantly disingenuous) remarks. Perhaps this will force the USCCB to accept the fact that pro-abort Catholic politicians do not deserve our vote just because they happen to support minimum wage increases.
Read both articles, and enjoy. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monday, September 8, 2008
My comfort, my advocate, my sweet and beautiful Lady. May you ever be near me, enfolding me in your loving embrace and leading me, through your own Immaculate Heart, ever deeper into the Sacred Heart of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Happy Birthday!
Your grateful child
Monday, September 1, 2008
Enter Barack "Citizen of the World" Obama, who a few weeks ago made a tour of Europe where he was greeted with a hero's welcome at every stop. Of course, the people of Europe don't vote for President of the United States (thank God for that!) and Obama is not in fact President of the United States (though given the people he surrounds himself with, such presumptuous behavior should surprise no one). Like Kennedy before him, he attempted to show solidarity with the people of the world. Unfortunately, his display showed a definite lack of solidarity with the people of the United States of America.
Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy engaging in deep theological and philosophical discussions. I do also enjoy lighthearted discussion, but I have little tolerance for people who present themselves as having all the answers yet refuse to share any of them. This tends to apply to most politicians, though people like Barack Obama tend to elevate the "intelligent fluff speech" to an art form.
It frustrates me to no end that we live in a day and age where people are so intellectually lazy that they demand all of life's difficult questions be answered in a convenient 10 second soundbyte. Like George Costanza, these intellectual sloths are drawn to toilet humor because they like things they don't have to think about too much. When discussing religion, they insist on using an arbitrary interpretation of select passages of the Holy Bible that is based on nothing more than personal experience and completely ignores the context in which the passages were written or the 2000 years of wisdom that have gone into interpreting such passages. When discussing politics, they prefer pre-selected Youtube questions to a classic Lincoln-Douglas debate, and obliging politicians have complied and in the process reduced political discourse to a pitiful pre-Kindergarten playground banter. And in their personal lives, they adopt a "live and let live" mentality devoid of personal accountability because they don't want to offend anyone and demand not to be offended themselves.
I apologize if this comes across as belittling or condescending to anyone; but in a day and age where people speculate about the vast potential of the parts of the human brain we are unable to use, is it too much to ask that we first concern ourselves with mastering the use of those parts of the brain we actually do understand?
One of the greatest weapons the devil has in his ongoing war against humanity is our own ignorance. He has worked overtime to ensure that we remain ignorant to his evil machinations, and we must grudgingly admit that he is very good at his job. Ignorance is the same weapon employed by the Saul Alinskys of the world, and continues to be employed by their disciples (including one Barack Hussein Obama).
We have brains, people. Let's use them. Unless, of course, we are content to let others believe that we think of ourselves as jelly doughnuts. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Friday, August 22, 2008
With that in mind, I went back and reread a 2000 interview that appeared in the Italian Catholic magazine 30 Days with Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who as an exorcist for the Diocese of Rome and author of two bestselling books on the subject, is probably the most famous real-life exorcist in the world today. The subject of the interview was the 2000 revision of the Ritual for Exorcists, a revision Fr. Amorth wastes no time in denouncing as counterproductive to the work of the exorcist. The interview is also of interest because it addresses the problems in the world and within the Church's hierarchy in failing to take seriously the spiritual threat the devil poses to our immortal souls. The link to the interview can be found here, and I strongly encourage you to read it. In the meantime, I wanted to post this excerpt from the interview, which I found of particular interest:
"30 Days: Is it down to the bishop to appoint exorcists?
Fr. Amorth: Yes. When a priest is appointed bishop, he is faced with an article in the Code of Canon Law which gives him absolute authority to appoint exorcists. The minimum one can ask of a bishop is that he has taken part in at least one exorcism, given that he has to make such an important decision. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case. But if a bishop finds himself before a serious request for an exorcism - that is to say one that has not been made by someone deranged - and he does nothing, he commits a mortal sin. And he is then responsible for the terrible sufferings endured by this person. Sufferings which sometimes last for years or even an entire lifetime, and which he could have prevented.
30 Days: Do you mean to say that the majority of the bishops in the Catholic Church are in a state of mortal sin?
Fr. Amorth: When I was a child, my old parish priest taught me that there are eight sacraments: the eighth is ignorance. And the eighth saves more than all the others together. To commit a mortal sin, there must exist grave matter, but also full awareness and deliberate consent. To fail to give one's aid is, for bishops, a grave matter. But these bishops are ignorant: there is therefore no deliberate consent and full awareness.
30 Days: But if one does not believe in the existence of Satan, does one's faith remain intact, is it still the Catholic faith?
Fr. Amorth: No. I will tell you a story. When I met Don Pellegrino Ernetti for the first time, a celebrated exorcist who had practiced in Venice for forty years, I said to him, "If I could speak to the Pope, I would tell him that I meet too many bishops who do not believe in the devil." The following afternoon, Father Ernetti came back to see me to tell me that that same morning he had been received by John Paul II. "Holiness," he had said to him, "there is an exorcist here in Rome, Father Amorth who, if he met you, would tell you that he knows too many bishops who do not believe in the devil." The Pope answered him briefly: "He who does not believe in the devil does not believe in the Gospel." That is the reply which was given to him and which I repeat.
30 Days: Explain to me if you would: does this mean that there are many bishops and priests who are no longer Catholic?
Fr. Amorth: Let us say that they do not believe in a Gospel truth. Therefore, I would possibly accuse them of propagating a heresy. But let us understand: someone is only formally heretical if he is accused of committing an error and he persists in it. But because of the situation in the Church today, no one would ever accuse a bishop of not believing in the devil or in demonic possession and of not appointing exorcists because he has no belief in these things. I could mention a great number of bishops and cardinals who, as soon as they had been appointed to a diocese, withdrew from all exorcists the faculty of exercising their powers. Or of bishops who openly maintain: "For myself, I do not believe in these things. They are beliefs of the past." Why is this? Because unfortunately there has been an extremely pernicious influence exerted by certain biblical experts, and I could mention the names of some very well-known people. We who every day come into close contact with the world beyond, we know that this influence has had a hand in many of the liturgical reforms."
To wit: no one this side of Heaven is fully safe from the wickedness and snares of the devil. This is especially true in an age when those entrusted with the task of protecting us from such wickedness and snares become hopelessly entangled themselves.
Please read the full interview and post your comments. I am very interested to hear your take on this. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Friday, August 15, 2008
Today is the Feast of the Assumption. On November 1, 1950 His Holiness Pope Pius XII proclaimed as dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed, body and soul, directly into Heaven at the conclusion of her time here on earth.
Whether or not the Blessed Mother experienced an earthly death prior to her Assumption remains open to debate, as the proclamation made no attempt to address the issue. I myself have not really taken a stance on the matter, preferring instead to think about what those final moments must have been like.
While contemplating the sufferings of the Blessed Mother during the events of the Passion, I often rely on the visual and mental imagery supplied by two primary sources: Maya Morgenstern's heart-wrenching performance as the Blessed Mother in Mel Gibson's powerful film The Passion of the Christ and the book that served as the film's chief inspiration, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. These two works paint a very vivid picture of the anguish Mary felt in seeing her beloved Son take upon Himself all the sufferings of the world. But what one most comes to understand in both the movie and the book is the incredible love that the Blessed Mother has for her Son, a love surpassed only by that of the Father and the Holy Spirit and unmatched by any other creature. It is a love so intense, a union of two hearts so intertwined, that the Blessed Virgin's sufferings parallel those of her Son even when they are not physically near each other. We think back to the sorrow she felt when she lost Him at the age of twelve, the grief that struck her as she searched for Him, and the obvious relief (tempered with the maternal instinct to scold her child for worrying her so) when she found Him in the Temple. The intense pain of being separated from her 12 year old Son for three days foreshadows the infinitely more painful three day separation from her 33 year old Son. This pain of separation from the beloved Son, in fact, is a recurring theme in Mary's life; and it mirrors the pain that we feel at being separated from God here on earth. Paradoxically, this sense of separation becomes more pronounced the closer we grow to the heart of God. A trademark of all Saints - indeed, a trademark of all those who live a life of heroic virtue - is a growing alienation from the world and a growing desire to be with God in Heaven. How much more intense, then, must this feeling have been for the one who among all creatures was closest to the heart of God, the one who lived a life of such heroic virtue as to be surpassed only by that of the Word Incarnate Himself?
We hear often of the pain Mary felt when she searched for her Son in Jerusalem, the joy when she found Him in the Temple, the sorrow that defies all understanding during the events of the Passion, and the equally indescribable joy that must have come over her when He rose again. But how often do we hear of yet a third instance when Mary must have felt the pain of separation from her Son, the pain she must have felt after His Ascension into Heaven? Certainly, she must have felt great joy for her Son when He returned to His rightful place at His Father's side; but this joy had to have been tempered by the realization that she would live the rest of her earthly life separated from Him once again.
We know little of the life she led after His Ascension, other than the bits and pieces that have been handed down to us. Most sources seem to agree that she remained in Jerusalem for a time after the Ascension, though at some point in her life she ended up in Ephesus (present-day Turkey), where tradition holds that she spent her final years on earth. She was no doubt a beloved mother figure to all those who knew her Son to be the Son of God, just as she would become a beloved mother figure to all the faithful in the ages to come. We know she lived a life free from sin, and no doubt was, after her Son, the greatest model of human holiness to those who knew and loved her, just as she has been to all the faithful who have known and loved her throughout the ages. Even so, it would be impossible for the rest of mankind, who suffer the effects of the Fall, to grasp how hard it must have been for her to live from day to day, obediently following the will of God and living her earthly life, all the while fervently desiring with a desire no other creature could ever possess to be reunited with her Son in Heaven.
If Mary died an earthly death, there were no doubt those who gathered around her bed to mourn the passing of one they loved so dearly. If she simply looked heavenward and stretched her arms out towards the angels who were to carry her to her beloved and to the queenly accolades that awaited her - with few if any witnesses to mark her passing from this life - there were no doubt those who still grieved at her removal from their midst. Still, those who knew her best - especially St. John the Apostle, who was there when her Immaculate Heart was pierced, and who may even have been holding her in his arms and consoling her at the exact moment of that piercing - must have been overjoyed at the thought that her greatest desire was even then being fulfilled.
What must it have been like for the Blessed Mother - she who had known the joy of finding her Son in the Temple, and had known the joy of His Resurrection? In those last moments before she was taken from this world, what wonderful sense of anticipation must she have felt, what tears of joy must she have shed, knowing that she would presently be reunited with the One whom she loved most - this time forever? What ecstasy must have gripped her tender and loving heart - a heart once broken by the many evils unleashed upon her Son - at the thought of seeing that Son in all of His divine splendor? Whatever the circumstances of her departure from this world, there is no doubt in my mind that no one save Jesus Himself looked forward to the life that is to come more fervently than did our beloved Mother. Where we are moved to tears of sorrow for the sufferings visited upon her pure, innocent heart, let us be moved to tears of joy at the knowledge that her life had a happy earthly ending, and an infinitely happier heavenly beginning.
Happy Feast of the Assumption! God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,
Saturday, August 9, 2008
"Well, I'm Personally Opposed, But Unwilling To Impose," Said The Smiling Politician As He Handed The Scissors To The Doctor...
Still, why is it that the "personally opposed, but unwilling to impose" argument gets used only when referring to abortion? Why is it alright to express this idea on abortion but not, say, on racism? I can only imagine how quickly the press would devour the politician who says, "I'm personally opposed to racism, but I don't see how I have the right to tell a restaurant owner that he can't hang a 'Whites Only' sign in the front window of his establishment." If such a politician were given a 100% rating for his voting record on race issues by the KKK (no offense meant to any elderly senators from West Virginia), I imagine he would be tarred and feathered and run out of Washington. Certainly, this politician's claims to be "personally opposed" to racism would be ridiculed, and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would do their usual round of chasing down the nearest available TV camera and calling for this politician's resignation in righteously indignant tones.
And if a politician whose voting record consistently favored capital punishment were to say, "I'm personally opposed to capital punishment, but I don't see where I would get off telling a government how to punish its convicted felons," I seriously doubt anti-capital punishment activists would shrug their shoulders and say, "To each his own." Instead, they'd come out in full force and denounce the politician as a supporter of capital punishment who was trying to have it both ways.
Yet the politician who says, "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but I don't see what right I have to tell a woman what to do with her body" is not only not challenged by the media on such a stance, but is usually praised for having such strong "principles." Well, I'm used to the double standard the media employs concerning the issue of abortion (and in general concerning Christian moral teachings they happen to reject), but that doesn't make this any less cowardly or pathetic.
I have just one question for those who think they can pass themselves off as pro-life despite refusing to oppose the horror of abortion just because they claim to be "personally opposed": do you or do you not believe that it is a human being growing inside a pregnant woman's body? If the answer is yes, then no amount of "personal opposition" will change the fact that you are condoning the slaughter of innocents by others on a scale that King Herod could never have imagined. If the answer is no, however, then you do not believe that abortion is murder; and if this is the case, then what logical reason can there be for being "personally opposed"? No matter how you view it, the "personally opposed but unwilling to impose" argument is a dishonest and cowardly way of trying to avoid having to make one's true beliefs on the issue of abortion known.
I'd like to say that in this case actions speak louder than words; but given the proliferation of obnoxiously loud politicians infesting our nation's capital, I think it's better to say that actions speak more forcefully. God bless!
In Jesus and Mary,