I just read an excellent post over at Fr. Z’s blog. Right now the media is falling head over heels for Pope Francis and his humility. But you will see as Fr. Z so well points out, the media will be screaming shortly for us to crucify Pope Francis because while he is a Pope for the poor people, he isn’t a wishy-washy crackpot that the media is hoping he will be for the world.
We are still a bare few days into the pontificate of Pope Francis. I have therefore declined to gush out lots of entries here, burbling my every half-formed notion about what is going to happen. I have also avoided surfing from site to site, news agency to news agency, to sift the wonky grindings of those who want to be in-the-know.
Today, however, I went to see what the National Schismatic Reporter had to say. John Allen is a well-informed, hard-working analyst, of course, and well-worth consulting, while the rest of the writers over there are good for a laugh.
With amused anticipation I clicked open the remarks on Pope Francis by Jamie Mason, the Yale-presbyterian-educated disciple of Sr. Margaret Farley and lesbian activist darling of the LCWR. Knowing that Pope Francis upholds the Church’s teaching on marriage, I expected a slightly hysterical diatribe against him as a homophobe, and how the Church – in conformity with the world – needs more queering, etc.
I got a surprise!
Jamie doesn’t like Francis, yes, for the obvious reason, but her real dislike seems to come from something else. In her expression of this dislike, she may be ahead of the pack of liberals that are – fairly soon – going to turn on Francis. They will turn on him savagely.
In the meantime, Manson shows what direction they are going to go:
I have been touched by Francis’ clear love of the poor and the images of his bathing the feet of sick children and AIDS patients. [Predictable.] I am troubled by his alleged failure stand up with Argentine dictators during the “Dirty War” [She needs to get up to speed on the facts.] and his harmful words about LGBT families. [The Pope is Catholic, Jamie. Speaking clearly about the Church's teaching, is not "harmful", it is charitable... but let's go on...] I am worried by reports that he was unpopular among his brother Jesuits because of his unfavorable views of base communities and liberation theology. [Because she, of course, would support base communities and liberation theology.]
But what most piqued my interest [Now we get to it...] about Pope Francis is his strong tie to a movement called Comunione e Liberazione, or Communion and Liberation (CL).
There it is.
Now, to her credit, she does a little homework about CL. She didn’t like what she found. To wit…
Much of what I have learned about CL, other than from the organization’s website, comes from the essay “Comunione e Liberazione: A Fundamentalist Idea of Power,” written by theologian and political scientist Dario Zadra. …
In his article on CL, Zadra explains that the movement’s worldview stems from [NB: Whether Zadra is right or not is not the point here. Mason is taking Zadra at his word.] two main ideas: “That Christ is the saving event in human history, and that religious authority is a fundamental element of the human condition.” [Get that? "religious authority".] He continues: “Members place religion at the center of a new worldview and in their evangelistic efforts at transforming the relationship between modern society and religion.” [People like this are viewed as the enemy by the Fishwrap types. Religion, and religion which leans on authority, is at the center of everything? Imagine!]
[...] Zadra explains: “In CL the authoritative character of the event of salvation isdirectly translated into the authority of the Church. … The central event in life is a saving encounter with the communion embodied in the Church.” [Not just any Church, the Catholic Church. Not the catholic Church of theNational catholic Reporter, but the actually Catholic Church, which has a Mass with rubrics and a Catechism with teachings, and a Code of laws and ... all that stuff that you can look up. This isn't the National catholic ... Schismatic Reporter's de-centralized association of self-affirming blobs of vaguely catholic identity. Nope. What NSR/Mason fear is a vigorous and clear reiteration of Catholic morals and doctrine to counteract all the great strides that have been made in reducing the church to an instrument of social justice without any strong voice in the public square contrary to relativistic trends in society.]
[... ] CL’s insistence on “total fidelity and communion with the Succession of Peter” [sic] (a direct quote from Benedict XVI himself) has made the movement particularly popular among members of the hierarchy. [hierarchy (male) = enemy]
[Here it is...]Obedience to the authority of the church seems as crucial to Pope Francis as it did to his predecessor and as it does to CL. [Get that?] In a 2005 profile of Cardinal Bergoglio, Jose Maria Poirier, editor of the Argentinean Catholic magazine Criterio, wrote, “He exercised his authority as provincial with an iron fist, calmly demanding strict obedience and clamping down on critical voices. Many Jesuits complained that he considered himself the sole interpreter of St Ignatius of Loyola, and to this day speak of him warily.” [Papa Bergoglio isn't into interminable text/content distorting dialogue and consensus building?]
[...] CL boldly claims that the Church embodies authoritative truth that is binding on society at large. [Not just Catholic members of society but all members of society.] By claiming the presence of Christ, the Church also claimsdivine authority — a kind of inerrancy, not of the biblical text (as in Protestant fundamentalism) but of the Church.
This belief in the inerrancy of the church influences CL’s understanding of human conscience. “The conscience of the individual is shaped by and beholden to the Church,” Zadra writes, “and the Church ought to be considered the living and legitimate paradigm of society.” [In other words, you can't say "I'm Catholic, but I don't believe the Church's teaching on ___" (e.g., homosexual acts, abortion, contraception, to name a few items). No, we are bound to form our consciences according to the mind of the Church. This is enshrined in Vatican II's Lumen gentium, of course, but those paragraphs aren't generally read by liberals.]
Although CL members are comfortable in the modern, technological and political world, they reject the modern insistence on “a freedom of conscience that excludes the religious attitude at its very root.” [...]
Zadra concludes that “the political rhetoric and vision of the movement seem to continue a long-standing political position in the Catholic world — that of returning the Roman Catholic Church to its traditional role of political power.”
My [Jamie's] purpose in exploring CL is not to demonize the movement or the new pope, but rather to piece together a fuller picture of Francis by exploring in a little more depth an organization with which he has an enduring relationship. ["Not to demonize", eh?]
Manson’s piece is a foretaste of what is to come.
Liberals are all gushy and gooey about Pope Francis right now. Gosh, he’s the Pope of the poor! That means he is going to dismantle everything that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did, those meanies. They somehow manage to imagine that not putting on a mozzetta is the moral equivalent of donning sack cloth and a piece of twine as a belt. Wearing black shoes is the equivalent of wearing tattered sandals. Just like St. Francis of Assisi, right? He’s going to ratchet down all the high liturgy. How wonderful after these horrible years of gold and lace. Hopefully he’ll soon just wear a little wooden cross around his neck and maybe say Mass on a card-table set up in the middle of the Via della Conciliazione. Then he’ll walk down the Tiber River to the card-board box he sleeps in under the Milvian Bridge.
Nope. Pretty soon they are going to see that Pope Francis is hard core when it comes to Catholic teachings. They will become more and more afraid of him as his warm style, yes simpler style, begins to win people over.
Right now Francis is the Pope of El Pueblo. And since NSR is the Voz del Pueblo they are swooning for him… now.
I just read a news article on Fox News about women across the globe that are protesting against the Vatican. I had to read the article… I couldn’t help myself. Upon opening the page it was just as I expected, there was an image of all these women, numbering about 8 with one of them in mock vestments. Typical. The article goes on to state that there are 500 million women worldwide in the Catholic Church who are not being represented at the Vatican conclave. Ok… so your going to try and convince me that out of 500 million angry poed women only 8 showed up for the rally? =) So what is the anger all about? It’s a group of liberal women who have fallen into the trap of progressive theology and believe that somewhere along the lines Christ made a mistake by not ordaining women to be Priests and that women should be ordained in the Catholic Church. I said in my last post ‘Holy Priest‘, if you can’t deal with the Church then get out! Move along, go join some protestant denomination where you can freely dictate what you want to believe in. The article goes on to say that these rebellious ladies decided to hold their own conclave and burnt their own ‘pink’ colored smoke. Pink colored smoke? Are you serious??! While I am laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it.. I am also very sad for these poor souls who are so diluted and blind they cannot see the truth that is right in front of them.
Have you ever noticed that these groups of angry women who are protesting the Church are always over the age of 60? I have yet to see a picture with beautiful young ladies who are wearing chapel veils. Where are they? Why are the women who are featured in these articles always looking like they have one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave? You can read the article here: Women Protest Vatican
There is a quote from a movie that I greatly enjoyed as a child that I think adequately applies here: ”Morons! I’m surrounded by morons!” — Carface – All Dogs Go to Heaven
(I would like to apologize for the delay in writing. I have felt so uninspired to write anything for the past week. After coming home from work tonight, I finally felt the needed inspiration to get my thoughts out and put this post together. I have lots of things I want to write on and I promise to write more in the next few days.)
On February 28th our dear Holy Father Pope Emeritus Benedict retired from his position as our 265th Pope. I and the rest of the world were in a state of shock when he announced his retirement. After all it was the first time in over 600 years that a Pope had not died while in office and had instead sought retirement. After the shock had worn off and I had time to reflect on the implications of the Pope’s decision, I came to see just how important his decision was for the Church and why he chose the time to retire that he did. He chose to do so after he had investigated and closed the Vati-leaks scandal and also after reviewing a similar corruption scandal involving some of the important people in the vatican. By waiting until these things were resolved he stopped the media and the rest of the world from speculating that his retirement had anything to do with these scandals (although some people still think that and other wild conspiracy theories).
Lent is a time of penance for our Church. Christ himself chose to enter the desert for 40 days and 40 nights to do penance in preparation for his public ministry. A few nights ago before going to bed I reflected upon our Lord’s time in the desert and the retirement of Pope Emeritus Benedict and I had an inspiring reflection that I hope will I can convey through this blog posting. I found myself thinking of Moses being stripped of all his honor and sent out into the desert to die. Moses was given enough food and water to last at most a few days and after wandering the desert for a long time he came to find his new life as a shepherd. What is also interesting to note is that when Moses encountered God on Mt. Sinai, he spent 40 days and 40 nights in prayer to Our Lord as his commandments were spelled out. Moses also went up the mountain a second time and spent another consecutive 40 days in penance and fasting with our Lord. After many long years in the desert and after receiving the command from God, Moses was given the power to go and release his people from bondage and so the Jewish people were liberated and went out from Egypt. So too, our Pope Benedict, now Pope Emeritus Benedict, left all the power and glory of holding the title of Vicar of Christ and entered into his own desert. The Church too has entered the desert during this Lenten season without a visible Vicar of Christ leading us.
What I find so beautiful is that while our Church is going through this difficult time of transition and the conclave is about to start, we, the people of the Church have been invited by God to enter into the desert with Christ and purify ourselves while the Church is being purified during these next few weeks. Our Lords resurrection is just around the corner and hopefully by Easter we will have a new Pontiff that will be sitting in the Chair of St. Peter and helping to guide our souls to our heavenly home. The liberal media is taking the opportunity of the Pope’s retirement to run the Church into the ground over the past mistakes and abuses crisis. With this cruel beating being executed, we Catholics are being called to suffer for the Church and with the Church. What the media doesn’t see at this moment is that nothing they can do will ever destroy the Church. And while it may seem that they are winning, we Catholics need to remember that at the end of the day Christ will always be triumphant.
Rest peacefully in the grace our Our Lord knowing that in the coming weeks the Holy Spirit is going to impart upon our Church a new leader and Pope that upon his election to the Papacy a great wind from the very nostrils of God will blast through the world proclaiming the good news and everyone in the world will recognize the new Vicar of Christ and await with bated breath for his guidance and direction.
Today while in Mass I got annoyed with the ‘hand holders’; those people who choose to hold each others hands during the Our Father and who at the end of the prayer raise up their hands a bit higher when the prayer ‘For the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory are yours”. Not only is it distracting to those who are preparing their souls to receive Christ, it is against the rubrics of the mass to do such nonsense. The Priest is the only one that is supposed to have his hands raised, as it is he who is in ‘Persona Christi’ and not us. I remember as a child when my family attended a Church in the Richmond Virginia Diocese, you may have heard horror stories of that Diocese, it is one that has been the cause of a few scandals throughout the years. Anyways, our Church was in Woodlawn, Va and our Priest was a hippie priest of the 70′s era, he wore gold earrings and had a pony tail (go figure). The masses were in such violation of liturgical abuses that my family finally left and we ended up attending a Catholic Church in Mt. Airy North Carolina which was an hour drive from our house each way. The straw that broke the camels back was a particular Sunday in which the parishioners tried to hold our hands during the Our Father. My grandparents and parents staunchly refused and some people in the mass got so upset at our refusal that after mass was over, they blocked our way when we tried to drive out of the parking lot and then chewed my family out for not being ‘Catholic’ and participating in ‘Unity’. The Priest then got into the furor and also got angry about us not holding hands as well. That was the last time we attended that Church and I haven’t been back in 25 yrs!
A few years ago while attending a mass while on vacation, a parishioner reached out in invitation to me at the beginning of the Our Father to hold their hand. I refused with a smile and continued my prayer. The person then reached out and grabbed my hand and as I pulled my hand away, they slapped my hand with their other hand and then gave me a very dirty look! I was flabbergasted and really ticked off, I think my blood pressure shot to about 240 when they did that and it ruined my reception of Holy Communion because the only thought I had on my mind after that was exacting revenge on the ‘hand holding’ terrorist sitting next to me that attacked me during mass! So where did this phenomena begin and what does the Church have to say about it?
Believe it or not, you might assume that ‘holding hands’ during the Our Father might have originated from the Charismatic movement in the 70′s and many people attribute it to that time period when wacky things were being introduced and forced on the laity. However, you might be surprised to learn that there are people who attribute the practice first beginning at Alcohol Anonymous meetings and then finding its way into the Church. The source for that opinion can be found here.
In all of the liturgical documents for the universal Church or of those particular ones issued by the United States Bishops Conference, no where is the holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer mandated. Frankly, this gesture arose among the various liturgical innovations in the aftermath of Vatican Council II. Perhaps the holding of hands was introduced with good intentions to highlight the unity of the congregation as they pray, “Our Father,” not “My Father.” Yet, if unity is the key, then should we not be holding hands throughout the entire Mass?
The unity that is sought really comes later and after a spiritual progression: First, we fall on our knees as the priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass: we recall not only our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection but also our need as individuals to offer ourselves to Him. Second, we pray in the words our Savior taught us, the Lord’s Prayer, in which we ask, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” even the person next to us in the pew. Third, we offer the Sign of Peace, a gesture found in the earliest Masses to show a genuine unity based on peace and forgiveness. Finally, we receive Holy Communion, which truly brings us into communion with our Lord and with each other. Looking at the logic of this spiritual progression to real unity, the holding of hands at the Our Father is extraneous.
What does the Church say on ‘holding hands’ during the Our Father or other prayers?
A question was submitted to Catholic Answers and James Akin had a good response regarding this topic:
It is true that praying with arms outstretched is one of the historic postures of prayer. However, this fact alone does not mean that it is to be used in any and all circumstances. Prostrating oneself on one’s face is also a historic posture of prayer, but neither the priest nor the laity are directed to assume this posture during a regular Mass. During a Mass where ordinations are taking place, the candidates for ordination are directed to prostrate themselves during the Litany of the Saints. However, if people were to assume this posture willy-nilly, in any Mass, the liturgy could be seriously impeded.
There are also symbolic problems associated with their doing so. No matter how the posture may or may not have been used in antiquity, today it is a priestly posture in the liturgy. This is repeatedly made clear in the Church’s liturgical documents. For example, the Ceremonial of Bishops notes: “Customarily in the Church a bishop or presbyter addresses prayers to God while standing with hands slightly raised and outstretched” (CB 104). Similarly, in the Book of Blessings, whenever there is a blessing which can be performed either by a member of the clergy or the laity, the rubrics invariably directs that “A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined” (BB 1999). Over and over again, the rubrics direct clergy to pray with hands outstretched and laity with hands joined.
Because of the special association praying with hands outstretched has with priestly office, some dissident elements in the Church have desired to get the laity into the habit of praying in this posture during Mass. This furthers the dissident agenda of continuing to blur the line between the laity and the clergy. Fortunately, the recent Instruction on Collaboration (Nov. 13, 1997)drew the line on this issue and specifically mandated that “Neither may . . . non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the . . . priest celebrant” (ICP, Practical Provisions 6 §2).
What does the USCCB have to say on this subject? I think their response is deafeningly clear:
Many Catholics are in the habit of holding their hands in the “Orans” posture during the Lord’s prayer along with the celebrant. Some do this on their own as a private devotional posture while some congregations make it a general practice for their communities. Is this practice permissible under the current rubrics, either as a private practice not something adopted by a particular parish as a communal gesture?
No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.
What are you thoughts on this? Are you currently a hand holder or have you done so in the past and then stopped?
I know this will be a controversial post for many people, mostly those who do not know the true facts surrounding the origins of ‘Communion in the Hand’. It is my hope that after reading this, anyone who currently receives Our Lord in their hands for communion will rethink their decision and instead receive Jesus on their tongue which is the most reverent way to receive Our Lord.
I have always received communion on the tongue; Mom taught me catechism and told me that it was a sacrilege to receive communion on the hand and thus I never received Our Lord that way. In 2008 while getting my heart checked out at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, Mom and I went to a Sunday Mass in downtown Rochester. We both knew how liberal the Minnesota Diocese is and weren’t to shocked with the liberal wack-a-doodle antics that occurred during the service, but what we were not expecting was to be yelled at and humiliated by a Priest in front of the whole Church. Mom was in front of me in line to the Priest for communion, we made sure to get in his line as neither of us wanted to receive communion from an old lady. Mom went first and received on her tongue without a hitch, I stepped up to the Priest next and when I stuck out my tongue he yelled “Stick your hand out like everyone else!!“. I was shocked, embarrassed, and feeling really small up there in front of everyone. I held my own and I told the Priest “I’m sorry Father, I cannot receive Jesus with my hands, I never have and I cannot receive him that way“. Father sighed and made another remark before again telling me rather loudly and rudely, “Well then, stick your tongue out!“. He roughly put the host on my tongue and I quickly made my way back to the pew red-faced. Mom and I were in a state of shock. As we left Church we both said “Thank God we are in a conservative diocese that respects the Eucharist“.
Origin of Communion in the Hand
Some people will tell you that Communion in the Hand originated with Vatican II, those who promote such thoughts apparently have not read the documents of Vatican II, no-where in any of the documents is Communion in the hand mentioned. After Vatican II, some ecumenically minded priests in Holland started giving Communion in the hand, in a monkey-see, monkey-do imitation of Protestant practice. But the bishops, rather than do their duty and condemn the abuse, tolerated it. Because Church leaders allowed the abuse to go unchecked, the practice then spread to Germany, Belgium and France. But if the bishops seemed indifferent to this scandal, the laity were outraged. It was the indignation of large numbers of the Faithful which promoted Pope Paul VI to take some action. He polled the bishops of the world on this issue, and they voted overwhelmingly to retain the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion only on the tongue. And it must be noted that at this time, the abuse was limited to a few European countries. It had not yet started in the United States.
The Pope then promulgated the May 28, 1969 Instruction Memoriale Domine. In summary, the document states:
1) The bishops of the world were overwhelmingly against Communion in the hand.
2) “This manner of distributing Holy Communion (that is, the priest placing the Host on the tongue of the communicants) must be observed.”
3) Communion on the tongue in no way detracts from the dignity of the communicant.
4) There was a warning that “any innovation could lead to irreverence and profanation of the Eucharist, as well as gradual erosion of correct doctrine.
The document further says “the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the Faithful should not be changed. The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests and people to observe zealously this law.”
Communion in the hand – Early Church
Communion in the hand was allowed in some instances in the Early Church. However many councils were heard in which communion in the hand was time and time again banned and people were threatened with excommunication if they were caught taking communion or giving communion in the hand. If the practice was good and holy, why then have so many saints and Church Fathers been against it?
St. Sixtus I (circa 115)
” The Sacred Vessels are not to be handled by others than those consecrated to the Lord . “
St Basil (330 -379 AD)
“The right to receive Holy Communion in the Hand is permitted only in time of Persecution.” He considered Communion in the hand so irregular that he did not hesitate to Consider it a grave fault.
The Council held at Saragozza (380 AD )
It was decided to punish with EXCOMMUNICATION anyone who dared to continue the Practice of Holy Communion in the hand, . The Synod of Toledo Confirmed the Decree.
Pope St. Leo I
The Practice of administering Holy communion on the tongue of the Faithful was energetically defended and faithfully obeyed.
The 6th Ecumenical Council, III of Constantinopolis
It forbade the faithful to take the Sacred host in their hand, Threatening the Transgressors with EXCOMMUNICATION.
St Sixtus I
He Prohibited the Faithful to even touch the Sacred Vessels: “Statutum est ut sacra vasa non ab aliis quam a sacratis Dominoque dicatis Contrectentur Hominbus…”
Pope St. Eutychian (275- 283 AD)
He forbade the faithful to take the Sacred Host in their hand.
The Synod of Rouen (650 AD)
“Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman but only in their mouths.” Thus again Communion in the hand was condemned as an abuse.
St Tomas Aquanis (1225-1274)
“The body of Christ Must not be touched by anyone, other than a Consecrated Priest. No other person has the right ot touch it, except in case of extreme necessity.”
The Council of Trent (1545-1565 AD)
“The Fact that only the Priest gives Holy Communion with his consecrated hands is an apostolic tradition.”
Pope Paul VI (In the Letter Memoriale Domini)
” . . This Method (on the Tongue) must be retained . . .”
Let us note the words of John the Baptist in his speaking of Christ, as he has said that of Christ ” He is the one who comes after me , the thongs of whose sandals I am not worth to untie.”
Pope John-Paul II
“To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained” (Dominicae Cenae, 11)
Started in Defiance, Perpetuated by Deception
Not only was Communion in the hand started in disobedience, it was perpetuated by deceit. Space doesn’t allow all the details, but the propaganda in the 1970s that was used to sell Communion in the hand to a trusting, vulnerable people was a campaign of calculated half-truths that didn’t tell the whole story. A quick example will be found in the writings of Monsignor Champlin. His writings:
give the reader the false impression that Vatican II provided a mandate for the abuse when, in fact, it is not hinted at in any Council documents.
do not tell the reader that the practice was started by clergymen in defiance of established liturgical law but makes it sound as if it were a request from the laity.
do not make clear to the reader that the world’s bishops, when polled, voted overwhelmingly against Communion in the hand.
do not mention that permission was only to be a toleration of the abuse where it had already been established by 1969. It was not a green light for it to spread to other countries, like the United States
Communion in the Hand – Protestantism
400 years ago, Communion in the hand was introduced into “Christian” worship by men whose motives were rooted in defiance of Catholicism. The 16th Century Protestant revolutionaries (more politely but undeservedly called Protestant “reformers”) re-established Communion in the hand as a means of showing two things:
1) That they believed there was no such thing as “transubstantiation” and that the bread used at Communion time was just ordinary bread. In other words, the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is just a “Papist superstition”, and that the bread is just bread and anybody can handle it.
2) Their belief that the minister of Communion is no different in essence from laymen. Now, it is Catholic teaching that the Sacrament of Holy Orders gives a man a spiritual, sacramental power, it imprints an indelible mark on his soul and makes him different in essence from laymen.
The Protestant Minister, however, is just an ordinary man who leads the hymns, reads the lessons and gives sermons to stir up the convictions of the believers. He can’t change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord, he can’t bless, he can’t forgive sins. He can’t do anything a normal layman can’t do. He is not a vehicle for sacramental grace.
The Protestant’s establishment of Communion in the Hand was their way of showing their rejection of belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, rejection of the Sacramental Priesthood — in short, to show their rejection of Catholicism altogether.
From that point on, Communion in the hand received a distinctly anti- Catholic significance. It was a recognizably anti-Catholic practice rooted in disbelief in the real presence of Christ and the priesthood.
Video’s detailing the great sacrilege’s that occur from people receiving communion in the hand.
This is a very powerful video, it will open your eyes.
Cardinal Burke Speaks about WHY we should only receive communion on the tongue.
Cardinal Arinze speaks on the Eucharist and receiving on the tongue while kneeling
Despite their differences in faith, Pope Benedict and a leading French rabbi see eye to eye on at least one thing: gay marriage. Pope Benedict, indicating the Vatican’s desire to forge alliances with other religions against gay marriage, on Friday said the family was threatened “to its foundations” by attempts to change its “true structure.” The pope threw the full weight of his office behind a study by France’s chief rabbi on the effects the legalization of gay marriage would have on children and society. The pope made his latest denunciation of gay marriage in a Christmas address to Vatican officials in which he blended religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology to illustrate the position of the Roman Catholic Church. “There is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the Western world,” the pope said, adding it had to be protected because it is “the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence”.
The 85-year-old pope, speaking in the frescoed Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, said the family was being threatened by “a false understanding of freedom” and a repudiation of life-long commitment in heterosexual marriage. “When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost,” the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholic said. The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio.
In some countries, the Catholic Church has joined forces at the local level with Jews, Muslims and members of other religions to oppose the legalization of gay marriage, in some cases presenting arguments based on legal, social and anthropological analyses rather than religious teachings. Significantly, the pope specifically praised as “profoundly moving” a study by France’s chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, which has become the subject of heated debate in that country. Bernheim, also a philosopher, argues that homosexual rights groups “will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse” in a wider campaign to “deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences” and “undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society”. His study, “Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say”, argues that plans to legalize gay marriage are being made for “the exclusive profit of a tiny minority” and are often supported because of political correctness.
In his own speech on Friday, the pope, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, repeated some of the concepts in the Bernheim study, including an assertion that children raised by gay couples would be more “objects” than individuals. Last month, voters in the U.S. states of Maryland, Maine and Washington state approved same-sex marriage, marking the first time marriage rights have been extended to same-sex couples by popular vote. Same-sex unions have been legalized in six states and the District of Columbia by lawmakers or courts. Also in November, Spain’s highest court upheld a gay marriage law, and in France the socialist government has unveiled a draft law that would allow gay marriage. . (Additional reporting by Tom Heneghen; Editing by Alison Williams)
I found a great apologetic’s course on how to engage and talk with Atheists. This has greatly helped me in the past when I was confronted with a person calling themselves atheist and not realizing that they themselves really didn’t understand what an atheist was and why they believed the way they did. I think you will all find this very informative and it will help you address those people who tell you that they do not believe in a ‘god’, even though the God they are refuting doesn’t compare to our true understanding of God.
It is not easy to give a simple guide to refuting atheism, simply because the philosophical belief can vary so much between individuals who all identify as atheists. It will be necessary for the Catholic apologist to identify the reasons why the person is an atheist, and then to address those specific issues. As pointed out elsewhere, it is necessary to determine what the person’s real reasons are, rather than that he or she says they are.
Who is this God fellow anyway?
Atheists deny the existence of “gods” – but that necessarily includes a definition of what “god” means. Few atheists realize this logical necessity, and it is up to the apologist to point this out. The word “god” is just a label, and without a definition the atheist doesn’t actually mean anything.
The apologist should ask the atheist, “Tell me about the god you don’t believe in.” Although this might seem totally illogical and impossible, the atheist will usually be able to give some characteristics of the being he does not believe in. These characteristics are normally a simplistic version of the Christian God – so the atheist denied-god is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving and so forth.
However, very few atheists have a picture of their denied-god which is, in fact, completely in-line with the Catholic definition of God. Atheists may confuse omnipresence with pantheism, or all-loving with being tolerant of evil (or, even, use the infamous “problem of evil” argument). In short, the atheist is rejecting a god which the Catholic apologist doesn’t believe in either!
Technically speaking, Catholics are pagan-atheists, and Hindu-atheists, and New Age-atheists – we deny the existence of these gods! Arguably, we are also Moslem-, Jewish- and perhaps even Protestant-atheists too.
The self-identified “atheist” will deny a particular sort of god – it will be necessary to find out what that god is like and then demonstrate (most likely) that that god is not the real God whom Catholics worship. The atheist can retain his cherished beliefs that a particular being cannot exists because they are not actually incompatible with worshiping the real God.
Lack of direct experience of God
If the person is an atheist because he or she has never had a direct experience of God, then all the Catholic apologist can do is pray and ask the person to pray. It is very difficult (some would say practically impossible) toargue someone to a belief in God through pure logical means – it requires a great intellect (on the part of the apologist and the atheist) and a very solid grounding in philosophy. Saint Thomas Aquinas came up with a number of very good arguments for the existence of God (and also the existence of the human soul) in his Summa Theologica, but these arguments themselves are very complicated and rely on foundational philosophical understanding which is simply beyond or not possessed by most people. Although many atheists claim to be highly educated and clever, this is often simply not the case.
Fortunately, God does not just want those who are intelligent enough to know about Him – He wishes for everyone to come to know and love Him. Most people have an experience of God through prayer – this is the normal method of communicating with God. If the person is an atheist just because he or she has never had any direct experience of God (remember, atheists may not be entirely honest about why they are atheists) then the apologist should ask the person to pray – in their own words, as humbly and genuinely as they can manage.
At that stage, the next phase of apologetics is out of the apologist’s hands – and is firmly in God’s! All the apologist can do is encourage the person to pray and – if they refuse or do not treat the exercise seriously, or have excessive cynicism about it – tell the person that he or she is being intellectually dishonest, and that there are clearly other – emotional reasons – why he or she is an atheist.
Religion hampers science or leads to violence
Many atheists use these arguments, but these arguments are logically flawed, and the apologist should be able to demonstrate this via the use of logic. In order for the argument that God is not real because religion hampers scientific progress / causes violence to be true, the following two points must be true;
Religion actually is a source of violence or hampers scientific progress
The fact that religion causes violence or hampers scientific progress means that it is untrue.
The second point is a logical jump – just because something causes problems does not mean it does not exist, nor does it mean that its claims are not true. It may mean that a person does not want it to be true, but that is not the same thing at all. From a logical perspective, one point does not lead to the other – there are plenty of things which cause violence (human greed etc.) which clearly exist.
In addition, religion when considered as a single phenomena doesn’t cause violence or hamper scientific progress – there are certain religions which do this. A Catholic apologist’s duty is to prove the validity of Catholicism – not to defend the entire notion of religion or every single religion in the world. The fact that certain religions have hampered scientific progress and / or caused violence and suffering can actually work to the apologist’s advantage; in that Catholicism hasn’t (when the historical evidence is examined dispassionately and accurately) and therefore is seen as being “better” than other religions.
The Problem of Evil
This is a predominant theme from atheists – it is exceptionally common and virtually every self-proclaimed atheist uses it in one form or another. It is, however, easily refuted and is – without wishing to sound too dismissive – really Basic Philosophy & Theology 101.
The argument runs as follows; if God is all powerful then He could prevent evil from happening. If God were all-loving, He would want to prevent evil from happening. Evil exists. Therefore, God is either not all-powerful or not all-loving. In either case, He is not worth worshiping (alternatively, God as defined by the Catholic Church does not exist, so I do not worship Him specifically).
Refuting this argument depends on refuting the premises and also refuting the logical structure which forms the conclusion from the premises – both are flawed.
Firstly, God is all-powerful. God could eliminate evil from the world. This is true and accurate.
Secondly, God is “all-loving” or infinitely compassionate. This is true, but there is an implicit third premise in this argument – that infinitely compassionate means that He would wish to prevent “evil” acts and is prepared to take the necessary steps to do so.
Thirdly, the term “evil” is never defined in this argument – what is evil? Asking the atheist will not get a clear answer – given the fact that the only clear definition is “that which is against God” and the atheist denies the existence of God. The atheist will probably give examples of evil – the Holocaust, child rape, murder, war, starvation. All of these things are certainly unpleasant, and many of them are actively evil (some of these things are simply the natural results of evil, selfish actions, and others – like hurricanes and floods – are just natural disasters).
The unspoken premise in this argument is that an all-loving God will intervene to prevent what the atheist defines as unpleasant. This is a key issue – if God interfered prevented everything that was genuinely evil (i.e. what He saw as evil) then no-one would be able to deny His existence, no-one would be able to have premarital sex, no-one would be able to advocate or have an abortion and so forth.
This would result in the complete subjugation of free-will. This is a necessarily logical step – God cannot prevent evil without removing free-will from people (and removing it not just to a degree of coercion – i.e. “Do as I say or you will suffer” – but rather totally removing it so that humanity has no free-will whatsoever and cannot choose to do anything.)
If there is no free-will and humanity cannot choose evil, then humanity cannot choose good either. A rock has no free-will; it is not a moral thing, but neither is it amoral. It simply exists.
So, what does it mean for God to be all-loving? It means that He wants us to choose Him and choose the good. He wants us to reject evil. God’s highest good is the correct exercise of free-will to choose Him. He sees death and suffering as, while very unpleasant for humanity, not evil in and of themselves. Death and suffering are often the results of evil actions, but they are not evil themselves.
God is both infinitely loving and infinitely just; in His love He gives everyone the chance to know Him and respond to Him, the chance to choose good. A person who has chosen God and who is killed by an evil man is in a better position than the evil man; he is going to Heaven. God is interested in allowing humanity to choose Him, not in trampling over their wills and turning them into inert objects who have no ability to choose good or evil.
A similar argument to the problem of evil is the idea that an infinitely loving God would never send people to Hell – this is basically the universalist heresy, but with the additional element that God Himself is denied, rather than just the existence of Hell.
A number of atheists will simply ask “If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?” A short and snappy answer (which is also very accurate) is “If there is no God, why is there so much good? Why do we even have the idea of good if there is no source for it?”
Individual scientific / historical / social / moral beliefs “prove” that religion is false
There are wide variety of specific belief systems (such as evolution, the notion that homosexuality is okay, the belief that the Church has been responsible for countless deaths) that atheists bring up as “evidence” that there is no god. Addressing these issues – although different in the details – involves basically the same tactic.
Firstly, determine if the belief being advanced is, in fact, true. Is the theory of evolution being advanced accurate, or are there holes in it? Is homosexuality actually moral from a purely secular standpoint, or does it lead to problems and issues which – even when God is taken out of the frame – are disadvantageous to society? If the initial belief isn’t accurate, then the whole argument falls apart.
Secondly, and most importantly, does this belief mean that religion isn’t true, or does it just mean that the person would find it easier and more appealing if it were not? If a person condemns the Church for forbidding the use of condoms, is that actually proof that God does not exist? Or is it simply proof that the Church (and God) have a different morality to the atheist? Disagreeing with God does not necessarily mean that God does not exist – it means that either you or God are wrong. When this point is reached, it will be necessary to show that the Church’s moral positions are – in fact – valid.
The Church contains corrupt individuals and therefore God can’t exist
There are two ways of refuting this argument – the first is by pure logic. Merely because corrupt people follow a religion does not mean that the religion is a sham! That is a total logical disconnect. It may be that an individual atheist does not wish to belong to a group which contains such members, but that does not prove that God does not exist. This is the argument of infallibility verses impeccability applied to the Church as a whole.
The second method is by simple example; there are many atheists who have killed people (the Chinese government, for example) – does this mean atheism isn’t real? Are Martin Luther King’s ideals untrue because he was an adulterer? Are the values of the Founding Fathers wrong because some of them kept slaves? Or are these people just hypocrites?
The truth of a position is not determined by the morality of those who profess to believe it. If a doctor who says that people must lose weight for their health and then dies weighing 350lbs of a heart attack, that does not mean his science was wrong – it means that he just didn’t practice what he preached!
The Apologist Strikes Back!
The above examples are all reactive not proactive. The apologist reacts to objections raised by the atheist. However, this should not be the only tactic the Catholic apologist has. Below are a number of active methods of refuting atheism – asking questions and raising objections to that belief!
Humanity’s tendency towards depravity
This is an excellent argument to use against evolutionists – not against evolution itself, but rather against atheism.
Most atheists, if asked, will agree that humanity is not morally perfect – there is evil and depravity in human nature. Regardless of what source they ascribe this to (many will ascribe it to “religious men trying to control people!”) the fact remains that it has to have an ultimate source which is external to human consciousness. While people have invented religions to control people and take their money, where did the idea that this could be done come from? Human depravity is not an advantageous trait – it damages the group (because it causes one individual to desire more resources and to hurt others) and is therefore not a beneficial survival trait. It in fact confers no survival advantage to be selfish in terms of resources for a co-operative creature like humanity (although for a lone hunter – like a cat – this would be advantageous.) Most evolutionists think that humanity is genetically predisposed towards a communal living and hunting pattern.
Most theories of evolution maintain that a non-desirable survival trait will rapidly be weeded out of the gene pool – how does this trait (which is not desirable given humanity’s nature as a pack animal) survive?
The only logical answer is that either i) it is external to evolution and genetics (and is therefore attributable to what? The Church tells us that the Fall is responsible) or ii) evolution is flawed (and if evolution is flawed, what made life?)
This is an appealing argument to use, but be warned that a number of atheists will either deny humanity’s depravity, or will state that it is – in fact – a valid survival mechanism (despite all evidence to the contrary!)
Pascal’s Wager is truly effective only against agnostics, although it will work on a number of atheists who haven’t thought their position through. In brief, Pascal’s Wager states that it is better to believe in God than not because the benefit of believing is potentially infinite (Heaven) and the downside of not believing (Hell) is potentially infinite. The actual act of believing requires only a finite expenditure of energy (as we are finite creatures) therefore it is always worth believing and never worth not believing.
Pascal’s Wager sounds exceptionally appealing, but clever people may notice that there is a flaw in it. The wager speaks of belief and it is impossible to act belief through an act of will. What it is possible to do is behave in a certain manner. The hope of Pascal’s Wager rests on the notion that God will judge deeds rather than just beliefs. Fortunately, this is the correct teaching and is supported by Catholic theology!
Pascal’s Wager does not work very well on died-in-the-wool atheists – but it is very effective on genuine agnostics. Agnostics are not sure if there is a god, but generally speaking act as if they are very sure there is not! Pascal’s Wager can be used to suggest to them that – if they are genuinely not sure (as opposed to tied to atheism because of its emotional appeal) – then it is always better to act in a Christian manner. Once someone is praying and conforming their morality to the Christian ideal they are far more likely to actually become a Christian.
Be honest with the atheist
This is perhaps the hardest of all the proactive tactics – be honest with the atheist. You should tell him or her why you think he or she is an atheist; address the emotional appeal of atheism right at the heart. Tell the atheist that he or she is afraid of having to change, of ridicule, of having to waste Sunday mornings. Very often, an atheist will say something like, “So, you think I am going to Hell because I am in a homosexual relationship?” – the primary reason he does not believe is because he would have to change his lifestyle.
The apologist should always be ready to “call out” an atheist – to tell him or her the real reason why he or she rejects God. Very often, this will end the conversation – no-one likes to be called a liar or a coward (which is what this basically is). But the fact remains that unless the real reasons for atheism are addressed they will never be overcome.
Very often, an atheist will be a “fundamentalist atheist” – which means someone who, when presented with any evidence which challenges the position “there is no God”, immediately says that the evidence is flawed, or who says there must be some other explanation. Or, people may be so attached to their lifestyles or so poisoned against religion, for whatever reason, that intellectual arguments will have no effect. With people such as this, apologetics is – sadly – a complete waste of time.
At this stage, the responsibility of a Catholic apologist is twofold;
To pray for the person – the apologist might not be able to get through to the person, but God certainly can!
To ensure that – by using these apologetics techniques against the people the atheist talks to – he or she does not have free rein to spread his or her falsehoods. Apologetics may not be able to convince the atheist to become a Christian, but it might be able to stop Christians from becoming atheists!
ROME, NOV. 30, 2012 – The popularity of yoga and various forms of Eastern philosophies and meditation methods has grown enormously in recent years. Questions remain, however, as to what extent they are compatible with Christianity.
The latest contribution to the debate over this topic is a book just published by an Australian De La Salle brother, Max Sculley, titled “Yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki: A Guide for Christians” (Connor Court Publishing).
These techniques are widely recommended as being good for fitness and relaxation, and few would at first see anything dangerous about them, Bishop Julian Porteous, one of Sydney’s auxiliary bishops, commented in his foreword to the book.
However, he warned, “The world into which the practitioner is introduced is inimical to the Christian faith.”
While some of the practices they promote may be helpful at a superficial level they are, Bishop Porteous adverted, “a Trojan horse for dangerous spiritual infiltration.”
Brother Sculley explained that one of the main problems lies in the promotion of altered states of conscience. This, he noted, is a practice designed to lead people to experience a sense of oneness with the cosmos and the divine and to enable feelings of bliss. It brings with it, however, dangers ranging from mental illness to demonic influence.
Many Christians who practice yoga, tai chi and similar techniques do so without any desire to embrace the underlying philosophy or spiritual beliefs, yet, he commented, the mind-altering techniques in themselves bring with them serious spiritual risks.
In the section on yoga he explained that it is inextricably linked to the religious beliefs of Hinduism, which is in contradiction with Christianity on many fundamental points.
Pantheism, belief in reincarnation, and the idea that this mortal life is not worth living are just some of the non-Christian aspects of yoga, Brother Sculley noted. Karma, he added, is also a very non-Christian concept as it involves the concept of a strict justice based on an impersonal god, with no place for forgiveness or mercy.
“This is in complete contrast to Christianity in which Jesus Christ through his suffering, death and resurrection atones for our sins,” he commented.
In addition, the belief in yoga that the only reality is the divine essence in all created things, and that whatever is visible is just a passing mirage, is in stark contrast to the Christian belief of a cosmos being created by God
Brother Sculley quoted one of the best-known promoters of yoga, Deepak Chopra, who said that performing yoga on a regular basis will lead to a change in the mind and emotions.
Passing on to tai chi, the author commented that this too is often considered to be a means to good health and reducing stress. In common with what underlies yoga, however, it also involves altered states of conscience and the belief that one can become divine.
Tai chi teachers, he explained, affirm that it is based on the philosophy of Taoism and not on religion. What this fails to explain, he added, is that Taoist philosophy is itself a system of religious beliefs that are in conflict with the beliefs of Christianity.
Chi is presented as some kind of life-force, but according to the underlying philosophy all created things are divine manifestations of chi and the ultimate purpose of tai chi is to enable the practitioner to become divine, Brother Sculley affirmed.
He also pointed out that Taoism seeks to explain all reality in terms of yin and yang. What this means is that there are no moral absolutes, all is relative and the Christian terms of good and evil have no place.
“Even if one seeks to distance oneself from the chi philosophy, the techniques involved in this meditation in movement are such as to significantly alter the practitioner’s state of consciousness,” he argued.
Some Christians, he admitted, do not accept the philosophy behind it or any of the mind-altering techniques. “Any tai chi master would deplore such a hollowed out version of the art,” which he added, would not be tai chi but just a form of calisthenics.
Reiki is another widespread practice, promoted as a healing technique. It is, he explained, composed of two Japanese words that mean literally universal divine energy.
It involves a pantheistic belief and the affirmation that all humans have the capacity to become divine. Moreover, Reiki promotes reincarnation and the concept of a supreme divinity essentially different from that of the Christian faith.
Christian healing, Brother Sculley explained, takes place in an atmosphere of faith in the healing power of Christ and is accompanied by the confession of sin. In Reiki no faith is required, and sin and evil do not exist.
Not for nothing, he added, in 2009 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops published a statement explaining that Reiki healing is not Christian and that it contains elements of a religion.
Brother Sculley’s book provides a thoughtful reflection on what lies behind practices that are widely accepted by many Christians, who are unaware of what underlies them.
Soon after waking up this morning, I was scrolling through my Catholic News sites and came across a disturbing article in the NY Times about a ‘Sister’ in the Congregation of St. Joseph who had written a song against the Vatican censure on the liberal LCWR ‘Sisters’. As I read through the article I felt a deep sadness in my soul for these women and how lost they are to the truth which Christ had originally called them to. Halfway through the article I came across something that explained how these sisters first entered into this confusing mess:
Sister Bergen and Sister Sherman spoke over breakfast in the community’s sunny dining room, where women(shouldn’t that be sisters?) were preparing to set off for work(work?)dressed in everything from sweatsuits to tailored blazers and skirts.(Arch-Bishop Fulton Sheen said it all… when the clothes come off the devil comes in. When the Sisters removed their habits, they lost their identity!)
Sister Sherman the woman at the center of this controversy who wrote the song titled ‘Love Cannot Be Silenced‘ describes herself and her community as being persecuted by the Vatican. The lyrics of the song are as follows and the notes in red are mine:
Love cannot be silenced. It never has. It never will. Let justice roll like a river from the oceans to the hills. (Justice.. oh you mean social justice the hallmark of the LCWR) Rise up Sisters. Rise up. (Fight for what? Give these ladies 10-20 more years and they will be no more) And stand with you your heads held high. (That sounds rather prideful, held high for what, disobedience, defiance?) We are faithful, loving, and wise. (Faithfulness is not disobedient. Wisdom comes from God as a gift to living a faithful life to the duty and charism of which one is called. Love is not born out of disobedience.) Dancing along side by side. (Dancing to what beat? The war drums of disobedience?) With a Gospel vision to lead us. (I don’t know what Gospel these women are following, but it’s not a gospel born out of Christ in the Church) And Holy Fire in our eyes. (Again the only fire burning in their eyes is the fire of rebellion, the same fire of which Moses witnessed when coming down the mountain with the commandments he saw the rebellion, dancing, and idol worship in the camp below)
I know many of you will remember the infamous book by C.S. Lewis called ‘The Screwtape Letters’. The book is written as a series of letters by a senior semi-retired demon named Screwtape to a much lower and demon in training who happens to be his nephew named Wormwood. In the letters Screwtape is teaching Wormwood how to tempt the Patient (The human they have been assigned to try to damn to hell). For those familiar with the dialog, imagine this:
Screwtape: “My dear Wormwood, what you must do is whisper in the ears of these women seeking liberation, remind them that the habits they wear are collars in which the men in the Church can yank and pull them every which way and the only way for them to be free of this influence is to remove these chains which hold them.”
Wormwood: “Uncle.. uncle.. how can I reach these women?”
Screwtape: “You must use the language Justice, Peace, and Liberation… these will be the downfall of millions of souls… YES.. millions will be damned by this very battle cry.”
Wormwood: “Uncle Screwtape?”
Screwtape: “Yes Nephew”
Wormwood: “There are some women who are resisting and who are still wearing their habits and following their founders charism, how do I convince them?”
Screwtape: “These are but a few! What you must do is turn their Sisters against these few faithful, harass them, make their lives miserable, in the end we will be triumphant!”
Wormwood: “Uncle.. our patients are doing well, they have formed a leadership team called the LCWR and are wearing lay clothing”
Screwtape: ”Good job my little maggot! Excellent work Wormwood, I will pass on your success to the upper management to our … Master.. of darkness. He will be most pleased with the work you have done to bring about the downfall of so many.”
We can see just how easy it was for the devil to infiltrate our religious orders and now we are having to pick the bitter fruit of this harvest of iniquity. While the NY Times and other liberal news agencies make these sisters look like poor women who are being harassed by the evil Vatican.. we can see that it is really the other way around. The Vatican and Church as a whole has been forced to deal with this disobedience for 40+ years and now they are taking care of this problem once and for all. Sister Sherman and her other Sisters are in dire need of finding their true charism again, putting on their habits, and living the life that they were called to live. Unfortunately at the rate they are going and the blatant disrespect they have for authority and for the Church, theirs will be a dying rebellion that will dissipate and fall into the annals of time as their ages wane and they enter the court-house of our Lord for their final judgement.
The only Sisters that are flourishing are those women who are living out their vows, who have kept their habits and charisms, and those women who are truly seeking God as brides of Christ. Take the pictures I have posted above and compare them with this beautiful video. Can you not the see difference?
Written by: David L. Gray (David is an excellent Catholic writer that I just found tonight via google while doing research on this topic. David hit the nail on the head. If you get a chance, check out his blog!)
1. President Barack Obama Has Endorsed and Supported through Policy and Executive Orders Four out of the Five Issues that Catholics recognize to be Intrinsically Evil.
The Five Non-Negotiable issues in regard to public policy are:
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Human Cloning, and
The reason why we cannot vote for any candidate who supports these issues is because they are intrinsically evil; meaning, that by their very nature they are immoral acts. These five actions are never virtuous and can never instantly produce or promote a common good. Therefore, they can never be promoted in law, and can never be deliberately performed under any circumstance. Because these actions are intrinsically evil they do not allow for a diversity of opinion, versus issue like when to go to war, when to apply the death penalty, and when should civil divorce be permitted.
“Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.
“The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made a similar point: It must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. (Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, no. 4)” ~ Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship – USCCB
To vote for a person who supports any of these intrinsically evil acts is to deliberately endorse and promote that same action. In the instant case, President Obama supports four (4) out of the five (5) non-negotiable intrinsically evil actions that fundamentally conflict with the moral law and can never be performed under any circumstances. Barack Obama supports:
Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and
Therefore, to vote for Obama in 2012 would be to endorse and promote Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and Homosexual Marriage. It would also put you out of harmony with the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church on these issues.
2. President Barack Obama is Attacking the Catholic Church and all Religions that Disagree with Him: If there were a man outside of your house with a flame thrower who was actively engaged in doing all that he could to burn down your house would you just stand there and let him, or would you do something about it? Would you call 911 or would you invite him to a dinner to raise money for your favorite charity? If your family were inside would you try to protect them or would you let them burn to death? President Obama is the man outside of your house and his HHS Mandate is the flame thrower.
By next August 2013 there might not be any more Catholic Hospitals, Catholic Universities, Catholic Charities, large Catholic ministries like EWTN or the Knights of Columbus. The reason being is that because Obama’s HHS Mandate compels all employers (including religious employers) to offer their employees health coverage that includes products and services that are or lead to intrinsically evil acts (e.g. sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception). If Catholic employers obey this unjust law we commit and immoral act, if we don’t obey the unjust law we will have to pay enormous fines and end up having to close.
We have faced kings, princes, emperors, and despots in the past. Satan has been using men to try to destroy the Catholic Church from within and from without for nearly 2,000 years. Consistently, they always try to come against our teachings with unjust laws and penalize us for not obeying them. They have always tried to put up our heretics as models for appropriate submission to the government. This time is no different – therefore, we must be no different. We must hold fast to our faith and be true to it no matter the cost.
3. We Must Protect Our Church, Our Community and Ourselves: For the two reasons mentioned above we need to take action at the ballot booth this year to ensure that we as Catholics will be able to live our faith out in the open and without interference from the government. We are living in precarious times, and this election will sway the pendulum to one way or the other. What we once thought was unimaginable has become legal, and what remains to be unimaginable is soon to become legal – unless we act now for a regime change!
I am not a Bishop of the Catholic Church; therefore, what I don’t have is an institutional teaching authority. Yet, what I do have is a well-formed opinion on this important issue, which has been guided and shaped by the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. I recognize that some Catholics may disagree with me and find justification to vote for President Obama again this year, and I don’t demonize those Catholics for doing so, but I do pray that they prayerfully lay their vote before the altar of Christ Jesus and vote their Catholic conscience for the best interest of God, neighbor, and self.
In the last 50 years our world has changed so much, faster than anytime in the written and oral history of mankind. In these 50 years, our morals and understanding of moral deprivation and evil has taken a dramatic nose dive into open & shameful debauchery. Our forefathers, the Founders of America would not only be disgusted by our behavior, they wouldn’t believe what has become of the nation they and their brothers fought and died for.
In June of this year 2012, the Pentagon hosted the first ever govt. sponsored gay pride event. Let’s take a look to see what our first President General George Washington had to say about gays in the military.
Head Quarters, V. Forge, Saturday, March 14, 1778.
At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778) Lieutt. Enslinof Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false Accounts, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the
[Note 28: Lieut. Frederick Gotthold Enslin.] Army never to return; The Drummers and Fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose. (Library of Congress)
In my search I found that many of the founders and those who were inspirations to our founding fathers viewed homosexuality as not only a threat to society, but they knew that homosexuality is the last step a country or nation takes before it’s downfall. Here are a few more quotes:
Sir William Blackstone, whose authored extensive Commentaries on the Laws of England from 1765-1769 became the preeminent legal authority that was admired and used by America’s Founding Fathers, stated:
IV. WHAT has been here observed…, which ought to be the more clear in proportion as the crime is the more detestable, may be applied to another offence, of a still deeper malignity; the infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast…. But it is an offence of so dark a nature…that the accusation should be clearly made out….
I WILL not act so disagreeable part, to my readers as well as myself, as to dwell any longer upon a subject, the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature. It will be more eligible to imitate in this respect the delicacy of our English law, which treats it, in it’s very indictments, as a crime not fit to be named…This the voice of nature and of reason, and the express law of God, determine to be capital. Of which we have a signal instance, long before the Jewish dispensation, by the destruction of two cities by fire from heaven: so that this is a universal, not merely a provincial, precept.
The first law-book of the America, authored by founding jurist Zephaniah Swift, referring to sodomy, stated, This crime, tho repugnant to every sentiment of decency and delicacy, is very prevalent in corrupt and debauched countries where the low pleasures of sensuality and luxury have depraved the mind and degraded the appetite below the brutal creation. Our modest ancestors, it seems by the diction of the law, had no idea that a man would commit this crime. . . . Here, by force of common law, [it is] punished with death. . . . [because of] the disgust and horror with which we treat of this abominable crime.
Sodomy was a criminal offense at common law and was forbidden by the laws of the original 13 States when they ratified the Bill of Rights. In 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, all but 5 of the 37 States in the Union had criminal sodomy laws. Until 1961, all 50 States outlawed sodomy, with about half in 2003 continuing to provide criminal penalties for sodomy performed in private and between consenting adults.
Miller reports that the penalty for homosexuality in several states was death — including New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and South Carolina. Thomas Jefferson advocated “dismemberment” (castration) as the penalty for homosexuality in his home state of Virginia, and even authored a bill to that effect, reducing the penalty from death.
Dear Readers – the choice for how this all plays out lies in your heart, your soul, and your mind. Please do not stand by idly while our country is destroyed from within. While our govt has been trying to ramp up security to stop terrorists from blowing us up, they and WE have allowed moral terrorists to tear down our constitution, our values, and our standards and we have allowed them to replace those great things, with political correctness, homosexuality, and debauchery all in the name of ‘equality and civil rights’ with the 4 letter word attached at the end… LOVE.
STAND UP AND FIGHT, DO NOT ALLOW THIS GREAT COUNTRY TO FALL INTO THE ANNALS OF HISTORY AS THE NEW BABYLON!
Earlier tonight I saw a news article that caught my eye, the title ran as “Nun, 82, Allegedly Splashed Human Blood on Nuke Plant”. You can guess my shock and disgust at seeing such a news article and of course I had to read it. I called my Mom and told her about the news article and the first thing she said to me was “she must be a Franciscan”. After I did some digging, I saw that once again, Mom was right. What in the world makes an 82-year-old Roman Catholic Franciscan Nun break into a government nuclear facility and splatter human blood on it? What possesses a person to do that? And the worst part is.. they were doing this in the name of … wait for it… PEACE! So let me get this straight. You are an extreme environmentalist peace activist and you advocate peace, right? So what are you doing when you break into a govt facility, destroy property, and then splash human blood ‘the nuns blood?’ on the walls of the silo?
Like many of the Orders now days, this one is on its way out as the sisters all begin to fall like the petals from a dandelion that spent too much time in the sun with no water to refresh it. In my search for answers I found a picture of its holy foundress Mother Magdalen Damen who was born in 1787 at Laek, in Dutch Limburg. She received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis in 1817, and gathered a few other women around her to teach children and care for the sick. There were no institutions to provide these services. The local priest profited from their help, but opposed their efforts to form a religious community. Once they had become a community, however, he stepped in and replaced Mother Magdalen with another superior who was better educated. Mother Magdalen went back to the kitchen and garden. Mother Magdalen grew deaf as she became older. She ended her life as she had begun it, a contemplative wrapped in silence and prayer. She died on August 7, 1858, having just said, “Yes, I shall pray for you all!”
Here is a picture of Mother Magdalen:
Can you imagine what she would say if she were to see the state of her order today? Her order was founded to visit the sick and work in education with the poor. I hate to say this, but the only good thing to say about this order at this moment is that they are dying out, there are no young good vocations entering in the USA as far as I can tell and they are not renewing or going back to their foundress’s charism. We should all pray for these sisters, pray that they find conversion before it is too late and before they leave this life in such a state of soul! I found a link on their site for ‘Meet the Sisters‘ and it was shocking to see how many of their poor sisters have died, that number will only rise as time goes on with their average age being around 70+. How sad it is to see what has happened to what was once a thriving and beautiful order! I believe my earlier post from today that spoke on the prophecy of Our Lady of Good Success was a direct revelation on what happened to this order. May God heal this broken and lost community and bring it back to its mission before it dissolves into history.
I’m still on retreat for another while, but I couldn’t resist putting this up.
Although I’m on retreat, it happens that I was speaking at length to a Lebanese nun, though not by bilocation, though not on the phone either. And, no, she’s not on Holy Souls Mountain! It happens.
Anyway, she said that Pope Benedict XVI instituted a new feast called “Our Lady of Peace”, which, mind you, I haven’t googled, nor do I intend to do so. That takes place, if I remember correctly, on 25 June or roundabouts. [Just to say, that doesn't mean that she is correct. I see that many websites are claiming this post on this blog as proof of an approval of Medjugorje because of some new feast for Our Lady of Peace. Wrong! That seems to be mere hearsay, especially after this post went viral and no one can point to anything official in that regard, right?]
The instant I heard that I thought that means that the decision about Medjugorje will be negative[but that is not the reason why I think the decision will be negative. For that, scroll down a bit...], and that this is a way to demonstrate that our Holy Father and the Church don’t hate our Lady. And… really… they love Jesus’ Immaculate Mother. If it was to be a positive decision, it seems that one would wait for saying something about such a memorial of our Lady.
Then she said that the decision about Medjugorje is scheduled for this coming November, 2012. We knew it would be before the end of the year. This is more precise.
I bounced this off a most reasonable, faithful friend, and he said that this absolutely means without any doubt whatsoever that the decision about Medjugorje will be negative. He said no decision can be made positively about any apparitions while they are ongoing. Since the apparitions are continuous, daily, non-stop, this means that the only possible decision will be that the apparitions are not consonant with anything supernatural, or something even more negative than that, but nothing positive, except maybe to say some nice things about conversions that have taken place there, etc., trying to save any good that could have taken place just because so many people were involved from all over the world.
I’m sure there will be much to do about saying positive things, and that will be helpful. But it seems to me that the decision must be negative about the fact of apparitions taking place.
Click Here to read more of what Fr. Byers had to say on this.
Earlier this week I read an article in the news about vice president Biden (Catholic in name only and almost as great a Catholic as Pelosi) bringing ice cream to some ‘Nuns’ who were personal friends of his. It was supposed to be a private meeting, away from the media. We are presented with the idea of Biden as being some sort of gentle soul who wanted to bring joy to some cute and innocent little ‘nuns’ in a convent in Dubuque, Iowa. Isn’t that a beautiful painted picture? Can’t you just picture that in your head, Biden sitting down around a table with ‘Nuns’ in the habits, sipping on tea and eating some of that fantastic ice cream he brought for them and talking about the faith.
I actually can’t imagine it. What ‘Nun’ in her right mind would sit down for tea and ice cream with man who supports and promotes the killing of innocent children? I would like to see Biden head over to the Mother House of the Nashville Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia and try to pull this same stunt. He wouldn’t last a minute with Sisters that actually live their faith and believe in and practice what they preach.
So what kind of ‘Nuns’ did Biden visit with you may be asking? First off, let me correct the misunderstanding of the author who wrote this article; by calling the women ‘Nuns’, the author was arbitrarily portraying the women as traditional prayerful women whom are known to be good. You see, Hollywood has always portrayed women religious in a certain light, that light is of a traditional kindly habit wearing woman who lives in a convent and dedicates her day to prayer. So when the name ‘Nun’ is used, it instinctively creates that image in the minds of the readers who may not actually know the difference from a ‘Nun’ and a ‘Sister’. For those of you who do not know the difference, here is an explanation:
A Catholic nun is a woman who lives as a contemplative life in a monastery which is usually cloistered (or enclosed) or semi-cloistered. Her ministry and prayer life is centered within and around the monastery for the good of the world. She professes the perpetual solemn vows living a life according to the evangelical counsels of poverty, celibacy, and obedience.
A Catholic sister is a woman who does lives, ministers, and prays within the world. A sister’s life is often called “active” or “apostolic” because she is engaged in the works of mercy and other ministries that take the Gospel to others where they are. She professes perpetual simple vows living a life according to the evangelical counsels of poverty, celibacy, and obedience.
Many of ancient Sister Orders have grown liberal and are now dying out from lack of vocations do to their feminazi ideologies and liberal views of social justice and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Recently in the news you may have heard about the Vatican cracking down on the LCWR, which is a group that represents many of the liberal sister orders in the United States. This group has come under fire for promoting sexual deviancy, homosexuality, homosexual marriage, contraception, and abortion among other liturgical heretical teachings.
So what was the big issue with Biden out visiting these awesome Sisters? Well, let’s take a look at these sisters. Below is an image of Biden shaking hands with most likely the only woman in that ENTIRE convent that actually wears a veil on her head.
Do you see any woman religious in this picture that is under the age of 65? No. What is also strange to note is the person standing directly in-between Biden and that sister he is shaking hands with, I can’t honestly say if that is a man or a woman. Here is a perfect picture of the Sister’s behind the support of the healthcare law!
Bonus factoid for those who enjoy their inside baseball, be it politics or Catholicism: Sr. Pat Farrell, the Sister who as head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is based in the Dubuque mother house. Oh.. so now we are getting somewhere. Sr. Pat Farrell is also in full support of the health care law that was recently passed and she and her sisters are supporters of Obama and Biden.
Do NOT be fooled, this was NOT a kindly ice cream social to visit some good sisters, this was a campaign visit to ‘help’ the sisters continue to fight for social justice and peace.. I guess Biden forgot to mention the 55 million babies that have been slaughtered .. I hope they enjoyed that ice cream on account of that.
This particular order was founded in Germany in the year 1864 and was founded to take care of homeless children and also eventually took care of the sick and the elderly. The founder was a great woman named Mother Xavier Termehr, can you imagine what she thinks of the state of her Order today? Here is a picture of Mother Xavier Termehr and some of her sisters:
And now look at the Order that is in full support of abortions, homosexual marriages, social justice, and contraception as well as being in disobedience to the charisms of the founder, not wearing a habit, and allowing the order to slowly die out due to open acceptance of liberalism!
Vice President Biden and those sisters can keep their ice cream, I certainly don’t want to put my soul in danger in order to enjoy a spoonful of ice cream with either of those two.
Let us all pray for these ‘Sisters’, that they will have a conversion of heart and be the true sisters that they were founded to be!