Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More trust in God

Dear friends,

So, when you think your financial situation is already dire, it is usually then that more bad news hits. This was my yesterday. While the situation isn't as dire as some people's situation, it is still distressing, trying to figure out where money is going to come from to do basic things. As an addendum, to add insult to injury, my paycheck shrunk slightly (alas!).

But despite the bad news yesterday, I didn't despair. I went to the chapel, to turn to God, and I asked Him for help. I feel very at peace right now, although I don't know where the money is going to come from. I don't have any answers about the next year, except that I know the next year is going to happen, with or without me. I feel right now, that even though I don't have any answers, My wife and I will be ok, and that we will be able to do what we have planned. But let me reiterate: I don't have the answers. But it will be ok.

Actually, this is only half true. I called my wife after the news and told her, and I really had my doubts that everything was going to work out. It was her who told me to go pray, and it was her that helped me get back on the right track. Oh, me of little faith. I am always so quick to despair, and not so quick to say a prayer! Lord, increase my faith in you and your Divine Providence. Help me to always follow you, regardless of the circumstances.

I firmly believe that the trials of late are really tests; may these tests strengthen me, and may they allow me to follow Christ more clearly and more nearly.

We must pray for all of those who are really in dire straits, that God may bless them and give them the grace to persevere. May they be in Mary's arms during this time of need.

May God bless you. And please, if you have a moment, say a prayer for me and my intentions. Know that I pray for those who read these words which I speak. May the Holy Spirit abundantly make up for what I lack.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mary, Mother of God


Dear friends in Christ,

On Friday, January 1st, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This holy day of obligation celebrates the life of Mary in the life of Christ: that of being His mother. The term Mother of God harkens back to a term the Church first clarified in the fifth century at the Council of Ephesus. Mary just is not the mother of the human nature of Jesus, but also of the divine nature, since they are inseparable.

It is appropriate that the Church celebrates this solemnity when it does. It not only celebrates it on the first day of the New Year, but also a week after Christmas. On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and on the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we celebrate Mary as the Mother of God, Jesus Christ.

We also look forward to the new year as we celebrate this feast. We look to Mary as an example of love and fidelity; we look to her as a perfect example of motherhood and obedience to God the Father; and, we look to her as someone to imitate in our lives. How do we imitate Mary? We listen to God, and we follow His will for us. Was it not Mary who said "Let it be done according to your word" when Gabriel came to her, telling her about the birth of Jesus, and who Jesus was?

Mary is the perfect example for us to follow God most perfectly. We must listen to our hearts. What is God asking of you? How can you best follow His will? God calls each of us, like He called Mary. Let us make a resolution this year to be like Mary, following the will of God in all things, and listening to His will for us.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On Trust in God

Dear friends in Christ,

Has anybody noticed that when the going is easy, it is very easy to say "Trust in God", but when you actually have to rely on God because of changes in your life situation, it gets hard? It is in these moments which tell us how much we really do trust in God compared to just saying we do.

There are many things that come up in one's life. You can just reflect on your own life to know that. How often do we trust in God, and listen to Him? Trusting in God does not mean to do what we want to do, and then trust that God will bail us out! How many people pray to God after the bad investment, asking God to bail them out? The more important question: if God does bail you out, how often do you find yourself thanking Him afterwards. God's work is often thankless, but yet He still loves us, so He will continue to give us graces He knows we need.

What am I saying? Trusting in God is one of the hardest things we can do, but by doing it, we will find extraordinary amounts of graces given to us.

God bless.

On Obedience and Freedom

"St. Maurus instantly left his work to answer the call of his Superior, St. Benedict. The other monks all had something to finish first."
-St. John Vianney, On Self Denial (Sp.).

If we are to follow Christ, who attended to the needs of all, we must in fact ourselves attend to the needs of all; this feat is nothing short of sanctity. To follow Christ is to be like Christ, who was born of Mary in the lowliest and humblest of circumstances, in a manger surrounded by animals. Following Christ is to be truly free. Some say that freedom is that ability to do what you want. Real freedom is the ability to follow Christ is all things, for it is in Christ that we are truly free. Silly people! Do you really think that if God is love (1 John), he will give us restrictions and prohibit our freedom? God calls us to greatness, but we don't find greatness in earthly things and things which restrict our freedom, though many people think they can find freedom in these things. God calls us to live in freedom, and real freedom is the ability to follow Christ in whatever He asks of us. Are we truly free if we place limitations on God's love, and we don't let God into every aspect of our life?

We are to be obedient to the good God, just as the Christ child was obedient to His parents, and Mary was obedient to God. In some of the earliest stories of the Gospel, there is a lesson learned related to obedience. In the Annunciation, where Gabriel visited Mary and told her that she was to give birth to Jesus, son of the Most High God, it took a great deal of obedience on Mary's part to see "Let it be done according to your word." When Jesus was found by his parents in the temple after being lost, the Scriptures tell us "From that moment on He was obedient to His parents." When we are obedient to God, we are open to His divine will, which makes us freer than anything else can. Once again, I challenge you: if freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, then why is it that many of the things we think make us "free", in fact, ensnare us? Contraception is ensnaring, as well as pornography, adultery, and promiscuous sex. These things are things of addiction, not freedom. Complete obedience to God allows us to be truly free to follow His will.

But we are obedient to people at the same time; God puts people in our lives, holy people, that we are obedient to, to help us be obedient to God. We are obedient to our spouses only because God says to be obedient, because that obedience is an imitation of obedience to God. St. Paul brings this up very nicely in Ephesians 5, that through marriage spouses are called to be obedient to the other. Ephesians 5 is one of the most important passages in the entire Bible because it gives us a model of the Church as a family, and it gives us a model of what Christian marriage is supposed to look like (Christo centric!).

For the clergy, they take a promise of obedience to a bishop, not because they are giving up their freedom, but rather, because they desire to be truly free to do the will of God in all things. Who would willingly give away their freedom? Nobody! It is the trust in God which allows an ordained man to offer himself to God for the sake of His Church, and for the freedom which comes from that. It is a paradox: becoming obedient makes you free. But it is in obedience that we truly become free.

May God bless you during this Christmas season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Giving glory to God

"We must always act in the way that will give most glory to God." -St. John Marie Vianney, Catechism on the Word of God

When reflecting on what gives God glory, we can also reflect on what doesn't give God glory. Idleness, mindless chatter, gossip, laziness, sloth, and mediocrity does not give God glory. What good is it if you go to Sunday Mass, if you are reading the bulletin during Mass, and what good is going to Mass if you raise a fit about going in the first place, only to have happen after Mass that you are not internally changed and converted? How many leave church only to restart the argument from before Mass, and this time, with our precious Lord dwelling inside of us?

Does this give glory to God, idly going through life, being safe and neutral? Does it give glory to God by avoiding trouble, and by taking the easy road?

Giving glory to God means to glorify Him at every moment, whether you feel like it or not. Giving glory is not reserved just for inside the church, but rather, you give glory with every action that the good God can deem as glorifying. By serving the poor, protecting the unborn, fighting for the Truth of the Church and Jesus Christ, living holy lives, we give glory to God. I am trying to glorify God right now by writing about God, so that through my writing, at least one person may come closer to God. The God who beckons us to come, sit at His feet, and learn. You don't just raise your hands and shout glory; glorify Him internally, and glorify Him in all things.

We must always act in the way that will give glory to the good God. How do we do this? Sin no more, and replace our sinning and idleness with things that will glorify God.

Glorifying God also involves doing the will of God. By doing His will, we do Him greater glory. God loves us tremendously; he is our tremendous lover. Every man looking for love is looking for God, for God is love. We love Him mostly when we love Him and when we listen to Him. We don't need to waive our arms up and down and shoot Alleluia; all we need to do is kneel in silence and gaze in wonder at the tabernacle, the house of God where the Eucharist resides. The Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ himself, is present, ready to be spiritual food for the soul, so that we might do God honor and glory all the more through graces bestowed to us from the "true blood and true drink" (See John 6:55). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son" (John 3:16). As a result, there is also a glorifying aspect to sacrifice. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, glorifying His Father in a profound way in which we partake at Mass. In order to give God the fullness of glory, we must participate in the ultimate act of sacrifice, which gives God the fullness of glory. Glory is the effect of love. If we love God, then we will give Him glory in all things. Glory is also the effect of sacrifice. If we sacrifice for God, and if we truly recognize and participate in the sacrifice of God, we give Him glory.

So, is glory easy? No, but it is sanctifying. Holiness isn't easy, but it is joy filled for all who wish to take up the cross of Christ and follow after Him. By doing this, we give God greater glory and honor.

May God bless you. May we imitate the Mother of God, Mary, as she says "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word", and through the laying down of our lived and the acceptance of God will, may we give God glory, so that when our life ends, He may glorify us at the eternal banquet of the Lamb.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Custody of Words

Dear friends in Christ,

What I want to reflect briefly on is the casualness of damnation, mainly, of others damning others as a casual thing. Growing up, my family was a little chaotic. We would get in yelling matches that involved phrases that included "I hate you", and "go to hell". It rolled off the tongue very easily by whoever said it. It seemed to continue, not only in high school, but also in college, where these phrases rolled off the tongue very easily. I wised up eventually not to say them, but I know many others continued to do so. When they were challenged, provoked, or corrected, one of these phrases usually followed.

Hate is usually considered the opposite of love. When we say "God is love", for example, we are equating God with love. Love is a transcendental. If hate is the opposite of love, then it is also the opposite of God. But pure hate is not possible; the reason is that it doesn't exist. When we say the word hate, it is the strongest word to non-love that we have. Hate then is the closest possible thing to the opposite of love. Now, you may be wondering, what about the devil? The devil, as evil as he is, is and will always be a fallen angel; originally he was created good, but because of his choice, he defied God, and became as evil as possible. The devil though was created with good in him, and there is still a minor speck of good in him, because it isn't possible for a being to be completely evil. The only way this was possible was if we said that the devil is as evil as God is good and loving. But that is dualism, and in a dualistic system, God and the devil would be equal: two cosmic forces duking it out for all eternity. In such a system, an innocent bystander to this cosmic brawl would be forced to appease both deities, since both are all powerful. But the truth is that because the devil is created (he was an angel), he can never be all powerful and opposite of God, but he is the most opposite a being can be. And as beautiful an angel of God is, that is how ugly and corrupt the devil is.

The devil hates us almost as much as God loves us. By saying "I hate you", we are quoting the devil, who says the same thing to every person in the world. The devil wants you damned. He doesn't want anything else but to control you for eternity. And when you say "I hate you", you are wishing, implicitly usually, that the person to whom you say it is cast into hell, and that you wish that person was dead and damned. In my opinion, saying "I hate you" is worse than calling someone a host of other things.

With the phrase, "go to Hell", do we know what we are saying when we say that? We are wishing upon the person we say it to an eternity away from the good God, and an eternity in the eternal flames of hell, punished forever. Scary stuff. So, why do we wish to say this to someone, except to express to them that you wish they were damned for eternity and that they suffer endlessly?

Now, you might be thinking, they are just phrases, and everybody uses them. They aren't just words. You say what you mean. If you say "I love you" to someone, is it just a phrase that everybody uses, or is there an important message in there? By saying "I love you", you convey to someone that you desire to love them as God loves them. We don't throw this phrase around, so why do we throw "Go to Hell" and "I hate you" around? We need to take custody of what we say, and realize that our words mean a lot more than we think. We need to think about what we say, and work better not to say certain things.

Try to separate yourself from these phrases, and others that convey to others that you wished you saw them dead and damned, and instead, pray for those people you feel tempted to say them to, that they, upon their death, may be lifted up to eternal glory and perpetual light.

If you have trouble with custody of words, try to pray to Mary, the Mother of God, someone who we can look to as an example of holy words, for she says to the Angel Gabriel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word". May it be done onto us according to the word of God, and may we reecho the words of Mary instead of the words of the devil.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Archbishop takes stand against contraception

begin article
-----
Milwaukee Archbishop: You Can’t Call Yourself Catholic and Support Contraception

By John-Henry Westen

MILWAUKEE, December 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The incoming Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome Listecki, has responded to a campaign by "Young Catholics for Choice" to promote use of contraception and abortion among Catholic youth.

Using media advertising the group is, says the Archbishop-Designate, "attempting to convey the message that Catholics can disregard Church teaching regarding contraception, abortion and human sexuality in general and remain Catholics in good standing." However, "Nothing could be further from the truth."

"While people can call themselves whatever they want, it is my duty as a bishop to state clearly and unequivocally that by professing and disseminating views in grave contradiction to Catholic teaching, members of organizations like 'Young Catholics for Choice' in fact disown their Catholic heritage, tragically distancing themselves from that communion with the Church to which they are called," added the archbishop.

Using language first employed by Catholic dissenters to Humanae Vitae, YCFC calls on Catholics to use an "informed conscience" to decide to use birth control and the morning-after-pill, also called "emergency contraception."

Their ad campaign states: "Young Catholics are having sex. We are using contraception and condoms. We are having abortions. We are bisexual, gay, lesbian, straight and transgender. And none of this makes us any less Catholic than conservative Catholics who speak out against us.

"The truth is, they don't represent what the majority of Catholics - especially those of us in our 20s and 30s - think about sex. It comes down to Catholic teaching on conscience. Basically, every individual has the right and responsibility to follow his or her own conscience - and respect others' right to do the same. With conscience and respect, good Catholic sex is not only possible, it's already happening. "

The group, claiming to be a youth wing of "Catholics for Choice," admits that it's mandate is to "take action to counter the bishops' impact both in the United States and around the world. "

Archbishop Listecki concluded his statement calling for prayers for the YCFC members. "We pray that they may reconcile their position which is contrary to the Catholic Faith they claim to profess."
---
end article


This is a real landmark article; most bishops take a stand against abortion, but rarely do they take a stand against contraception. It is a subject that makes people turn against you immediately. It is not a popular subject. But despite this, thank you, Bishop Listeki, for promoting the culture of life by fighting against the use of contraception. You will do great things in Milwaukee.

Catholics for Choice, Call to Action, and every other group like this attempt to do one thing, even if done implicitly. They attempt to divide the unity of the Church on teachings of faith and morals. They do this to destroy the Church from within. My previous post talked about being wary of the devil. The devil can also work from inside of the Church and try to subvert Church teaching that way. Always be aware of the devil.

God bless.

Be wary of the devil

Dear friends,

The devil tries his hardest to wave temptations at us. He does this through other people, people who say, "Its ok to do that; they'll never know".

The devil is also smart, but his intelligence is limited; God's grace is much more powerful than is the devil smart. God's grace abounds, if only you look for it.

I write this because someone wrote a comment for me on an earlier post on the sacrificial notion of marriage. He included websites that may not have been pornographic (I am not sure, since I didn't investigate, but they were definitely questionable in nature). This is also why I moderate my comments.

I don't believe it is coincidence that he posted the comment on this post, considering I talked about the sacrificial notion of marriage.

It is interesting, how subtle attacks can turn someone away from Christ very quickly. It says in night prayer, "Your opponent the devil, is prowling like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith." He stalks like a lion, waiting for an unsuspecting victim. Notice that when a lion pounces on something, that something is always looking the other way. The victim doesn't recognize danger when it is near. We must recognize that danger, and know when it is present. Often before temptations, we fail to see the devil's tail in the mix, but only after does the devil present himself as who he truly is: sadistic and evil. If we give into temptation, it is only after we give in that we can recognize the devil. But this is a God given grace, to recognize when we have fallen, so that we can have the grace to turn towards the good God and ask for His mercy. By recognizing, we also hope to avoid falling into sin in the future. If it was the devil's wish, he would stay concealed, staying hidden, so that we may not recognize him, and come even closer to him next time. But we thank the good God for giving us the hindsight to know when we have done wrong.

At the same time, we shouldn't turn to the devil to see him; instead, keep your eyes fixed on Christ. If one's eyes are totally fixed on Christ, then temptations will be able to be viewed as coming from elsewhere, so we need not worry about temptation, since it isn't from God. If we truly follow God though, the temptations we experience will be just that: temptations, and they will not be acted upon. I mean, this is someone who truly follows God. We can achieve this: it is called sanctity. This is what we strive for.

May the love of the child Jesus warm your hearts, and may you always seek the face of Christ. God bless.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Sacrificial Notion of Marriage

Dear friends,

How do I reflect on marriage, except to say that if you are called to marriage and you follow the will of God 100%, then you will lead a joy filled life. It will be hard, but you will do it with joy. Easier said than done.

True love is sacrificial. When you marry someone, you lay down your life for the other. It isn't just about who will make you happy; it is about who will sanctify you. True marriage and true love is joy filled, but as married people know (I am one of them), your day to day may not be the happiest. Marriage is sacrificial. If marriage was just about happiness, then every married couple would probably be seeking divorce. Arguments happen; disagreements happen, and they don't cause happiness, do they?

In marriage, the couple reflects in an intimate way the love of Christ, who humbled himself by being obedient onto death, death on a cross. How often do we hear about marriage being a reflection of the crucifixion of Christ, but it is precisely in imitation of Him who died for us that we are called to be sacrificial. A married man or woman is called to totally give him or herself, as Christ did on Good Friday, to his or her spouse. In the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen: "Do you know what is happening at the foot of the cross? Nuptials!" The cross is a nuptial union between God and Man, not just a final covenant, but so much more than a covenant. It is the self-giving of God for mankind. It is in that moment that we find true joy, true happiness, in the sacrifice of Christ for the sake of our salvation. It is true happiness, achieved only in heaven, that we seek, and we help our spouse seek.

Let me say this again, if we think that marriage was just about what brings us happiness, we are delusional, stupid, and idiotic. Sometimes I am delusional, and stupid, and idiotic by thinking that marriage would solve all of my problems. Once one gets married, you still have those problems and you still live with them, but now, other things come up.

In the end, marriage must be for something else. In the "end" marriage is for the "end". Marriage is about sanctification. One's vocation in life gives us a sanctifying quality; through our vocations, we are made holy. In the case of marriage, it is the other person sanctifying you by the love you share, and the concern you share for the other. A consistent theological point to Pope John Paul II would be to say that in marital intercourse, one is experiencing the sacrament of matrimony, and one is experiencing sacramental love. As Christ laid down His life for his bride, so a man lays down his life for his bride. It isn't "alter Christus" in the priestly sense, but we do become another Christ in a sacrificial sense. A way of putting this is that as a priest lays down his life every time he celebrates Mass and consecrates the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, a husband and wife lay down their lives during the most intimate of aspects of marriage, where both are totally vulnerable, gazing into the other's eyes with total love for him or her. I am not saying both sacrifices are equal, but yet they both share in the supreme sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

It is in the love of God expressed between a husband and wife that they can become mystics. As a priest consummates the Eucharist during Mass, so a husband and wife consummate their vocation during intercourse. Again, not equal ways, but both express the ultimate consummation of Christ on the Cross.

Am I making you blush? Human sexuality can indeed be hard to talk about; one speaker I know says that human history is really dependent on who is having sex with who (think about that). It is precisely in the marital act that married couples can be truly complete.

Being a married man myself, I am constantly reminded of the love of God, the same love that created my wife, and the same love that created me, so that the love my wife and I share may be fruitful.

God bless.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Twitter Problems

Friends,

As you could probably tell, I was having some problems with Twitter. Instead of picking up my tweets, it was picking somebody else's up, who seems to have been a scientist or something. I was waiting to see if the problem would get fixed, but it has been about a week. In addition, this gentlemen was using language not consistent with this blog, and he was taking the Lord's name in vain, so I had to remove the application. I hope to get it up and running soon.

Until then, click here for my Twitter page.

God bless.

Supporting Archbishop Wuerl

Dear friends,

Archbishop Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is in a battle over same sex marriage. He is seeking religion-neutral language in a bill being passed by the Washington DC Council. The basic thing is that he wants a religion-neutral amendment so Catholic Charities can continue to work in Washington DC without being subject to the allowance of same sex marriage. He is avoiding the church in Washington from being in material cooperation with something our Faith opposes: same-sex marriage.

Here is an article that was in a local Pittsburgh office. He has battled local legislation efforts similar to this in the past. Good for you, Archbishop Wuerl!

Let's all pray for Archbishop Wuerl, that he may continue to take a stand for truth and the sanctity of marriage.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Manhattan Declaration

Dear friends in Christ,

Recently the Manhattan Declaration went public. This is a declaration of Judeo-Christian beliefs, stating the ideals of religious liberty, defense of life, and defense of traditional marriage as ideals for which we should fight. This is an affirmation of biblical truths that we, as an American people, should take to heart.

The United States was built on the basis of Judeo-Christian beliefs, and yet at this point in the history of this great country, we have a society and an administration that completely ignores our past, a society that ignores God and His precepts, and a society and administration that disregards human life, and is more concerned about the pushing an extremist agenda that says that it is already for two homosexual men to get married, that says that slaughtering the unborn as a women's right.

This Manhattan Declaration is an affirmation of the reality of biblical truths: that all men are created equal (they weren't born equal, but rather created equal), that marriage is for a man and a woman, and that God is the creator of all, no matter how much we try to ignore him.

The time has come for Christians in the United States to be united in the fight for our society, a society of death and indifference. A society where God is cast to the side, as much as the unborn are cast to the side. A society which ignores the lessons of the Old Testament and says that sodomy is not only OK and tolerated, but we will recognize it as a legitimate marriage.

It is time to pray for our country, and it is a time to resist the attacks of the secular forces that seek to implicitly destroy our country from within. We need to tell our friends about the declaration; we need to sign the declaration and be in unity with the other 245,000+ people who have already signed it. We need to take a stand for life, not only in front of the abortion clinic, but also in front of our congressmen. We need to take a stand, saying that marriage is between a man and a woman. We need to say "In God we trust", and he will not lead us astray.

It is no coincidence that our society is going down the tubes when we have removed God from every aspect of public life. We need to act locally and fight for the rights which many men and women before us have died for. We need to do it for George Washington, for Abraham Lincoln, for those thousands of soldiers who have died in combat, defending this country from tyranny. We need to do it for the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; we need to do it for the victims of 9/11/2001. We need to do it for ourselves, so that our kids and their kids can enjoy an America under God, with liberty and justice for all. May God bless us, and may we take a stand and fight for liberty for all, and justice for all!

Madison's Department Store Display

A department store in Los Angeles has caused quite a stir.

 

If you are outraged, here is the contact information for the store. Call to tell them that you are offended, and ask them to remove the display:

Madison Website and
Corporate Office
8745 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 310.273.9900, Ext. 307
Fax: 310.273.9901
Store Hours 11am-7pm Mon-Sat, 12-5pm Sun

Their website

Italian translations

I went on Word Reference today to figure out how to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Italian. When I looked on the "happy" entry, and the sentence examples, I got this:

happy adj (having pleasure) contento, felice, allegro, sereno agg
I was happy last spring when we were dating.
Ero contento la scorsa primavera quando ci frequentavamo.

happy adj (pleased) felice, contento agg
I'm happy you came.
Sono felice che tu sia venuto.

happy adj (fulfilled) felice, sereno agg
I suspect I'll never be happy in this life.
Ho il sospetto che non sarò mai felice in questa vita.

I guess the poor person who wrote these sentences was somewhat love-sick. Let's offer a prayer for them.
Source: Word Reference

Pro-aborts rallying

begin article
-------
Hundreds of Pro-Aborts Rally, Pressure Congressmen to Erase Stupak Amendment
Rep. Maloney: "Fortunately, we have President Obama on our side,"


By LifeSiteNews Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Hundreds of placard-waving abortion lobbyists descended upon a rainy Capitol Hill Wednesday to lobby against the pro-life Stupak amendment in the Democrats' health care bill, and receive encouragement from top pro-abortion leaders and lawmakers.

The "Stop Stupak-Pitts Lobby Day" was sponsored by Feminist Majority Foundation and co-sponsored by a plethora of leading pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood, National Organization for women, NARAL, the National Abortion Federation, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the ACLU.

An overflow crowd of abortion supporters packed into the auditorium and Russell Caucus room in the Dirksen Senate Building midday to listen to lawmakers decrying the Hyde-amendment restrictions in Rep. Bart Stupak's amendment, and giving advice on how to lobby congressmen against it.

Lawmakers in attendance included Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rep. Jerrod Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA). Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards acted as Master of Ceremonies.

One theme stressed by the speakers was the notion that the Stupak amendment went beyond Hyde-amendment restrictions, and prevented women from purchasing abortion coverage with private monies. "Don't let any office tell you that the Stupak amendment is Hyde revisited," warned Rep. Lynn Woolsey. "It is not. If they say it, you tell them that's not true: it's way, way more serious than that and it takes even more away from women than the Hyde amendment does."

Pro-life analysts have denied that the Stupak amendment would prevent women from privately purchasing abortion coverage, a claim first stated by pro-abortion Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. Last month, the non-partisan fact-checking site Politifact.com also deemed the private-purchase claim false.

Rep. Maloney praised President Obama for his dedication to their efforts against the amendment. "Fortunately, we have President Obama on our side," she said.

Some speakers directed criticism at the U.S. Catholic Bishops for their role in the Stupak amendment's success.

"The nature of this bill was pro-life legislation from the start. That is what health care reform is. It was a pro-life piece of legislation before the bishops engaged in trying to [take this down]," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro.

Rev. Carlton Veazey, President and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and a minister of the National Baptist Convention, took a moment to "call out" the bishops' involvement before closing the conference with a prayer.

"No one religion, no theological perspective, should get the kind of weight that they can put pressure on the Congress," said Veazey. "We in the religious community resent that, and ... we believe that no religion should carry that kind of weight in legislation."

"You not only have a constitutional right for abortion, but you have a God-given right - given to you by God," he continued.

Richards paused the rally at one point to offer applause, in memory of late-term abortionist George Tiller, in support of all abortionists.

Pro-life leaders responded by questioning whether lawmakers would heed the ralliers' message over the majority opinion of American voters regarding the bill's abortion funding. The National Right to Life Committee last month compiled a string of poll results showing broad public support for the abortion restrictions represented by the Stupak amendment.

"As intimidating as the coat hanger deliveries might be, the longer term effect of voting for a health care bill that involves every American in almost every abortion that takes place in the nation will be far more consequential in the minds and actions of voters," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony list.

Eric Scheidler, the Executive Director of Pro-Life Action League, said the abortion lobby was "showing its true colors ever more clearly" as the battle over federal abortion funding heats up. "Not satisfied with legalized abortion, they're now seeking to force all of us to pay for abortion through our tax dollars," he said.

"It is amazing to me to see Planned Parenthood, who would benefit financially from the current national healthcare legislation, join up with their pro-abortion allies to continue to further their lies about what the Stupak-Pitts status quo amendment really does," remarked Students for Life executive director Kristan Hawkins.

"Their tired rhetoric of the 1970s no longer works and they now know with their declining profits each year they need this Obama healthcare bill to stay in business," said Hawkins.

"At the end of the day, Planned Parenthood and their pro-abortion allies only care about their own survival and not the best interest of American women."


----
end article

"Fortunately, they have Obama on their side". Unfortunately for them, it won't get to him without the Stupak Amendment, at least that's what I pray.

And by the way, abortion isn't a God given gift; it is an atrocity.

God bless.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Obama's approval ratings

Obama is the fourth quickest to slip below majority level in popularity in post war presidency. Interesting read about who the other three were.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/122627/Obama-Job-Approval-Down-49.aspx

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Season of Advent

Dear friends in Christ,

The season of Advent is upon us. This is the holy season where we seek to encounter the living God as He prepares to become human, becoming like us for the sake of our salvation. For God to be truly redemptive, He chose to become Himself human, not because He couldn't be redemptive any other way, but for true redemption, which is an outpouring of divine love of the umpteenth degree, one has to be like which is being saved. For God to redeems mankind, He must become man Himself for true redemption. Remember that redemption is the end game, but humanity must be attracted to the love of God and respond to the love of God for redemption to be truly appreciated. Could we truly love a God who did not become man Himself and not sacrifice Himself for us? This sort of deity risks disconnection between God and man; but God isn't disconnected! We experience Christ in an intimate way every time we go to Mass, since it is truly God with us in the Eucharist. If we believe that Jesus is God, then we must believe that God is truly present in the Eucharist. Disconnected? Hardly, but rather the most extreme opposite: more than connected, he is intimately connected to our lives.

Jesus becomes incarnate at every Mass, since it is Christ coming into the world on the alter of sacrifice. We celebrate, on Christmas, that very first incarnation, where Jesus enters the world in the lowliest of places: a stable surrounded by animals, to a carpenter and his betrothed, Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. Advent, which means in latin "coming" (see advenio, advenire), is the season where we prepare for His "coming" as man into the world.

As a result of this, we must in this season prepare. We don't prepare by buying a million gifts for friends, but we must spiritually prepare. We must make an extra effort to prayerfully go through Advent with a spirit of appreciation for God and His Incarnation.

So how do we do that? What are specific ways to add prayer to our daily lives? I decided to take up the breviary for Advent. I did this consistently during my time in seminary, but had fallen away from the practice. I hope to use this time as a way to get acclimated to the prayer again. And I usually don't mention my own things that I take up; I do so only that you can offer a prayer that I stick to it. There are other things, but I decline comment because penances are usually private, and I try to stick to that. Other practices to pick up for prayer: the Rosary, and Daily Mass. There is also the Angelus, which is especially pertinent during this season. I will continue to write on Advent during the next few weeks.

May you remain close to the Incarnate Christ and His mother Mary, who bore Jesus in Her holy and spotless womb, and was nourished by her Immaculate Heart. God bless

Obama Makes History

Dear friends:

Obama made history on Thanksgiving: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09112701.html.

Lesson of the day: The further we go from our roots, the harder it is to figure what exactly we are grounded in.

Stay close to Christ in this season of Advent, where we eagerly anticipate the coming of Christ at Christmas. May God bless you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bishops who take a stand against CCHD

This is an article of four bishops in the United States who decided not to participate in the annual CCHD collection:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09112305.html

On Sunday afternoon, I remembered that at Mass on that morning in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, there was no second collection, and thus, no money raised for CCHD this past Sunday in Philadelphia. That is because they did the collection back in July, as a Life Site News writer directed me to this letter written by Cardinal Rigali: . The answer has been solved, but Philadelphia still participated in the campaign. Pray for CCHD reform.

(CCHD, or Catholic Campaign for Human Development, to remind the readers, is the anti-poverty wing of the USCCB which has been in a fierce battle these last few weeks over their funding to groups that subvert Catholic teaching.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Disagreeing with Archbishops?

Dear friends,

Today is a sad day, as it will really be the first time I call out a Bishop on this blog regarding the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, the Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, wrote in his diocesan newspaper this.

Please read the article before continuing.

While I have a lot of respect for His Excellency, he is wrong in saying that the opposition to the CCHD campaign is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If the bathwater is dirty enough, you have to rewash the baby. Reform is necessary for the CCHD, and until then, I must reiterate that our money as faithful Catholics can't go towards organizations that oppose Church teaching.

While the archbishop says that some groups have been defunded as a result of their radical stances, he is willing to concede to further reform, accepting status quo results.

I don't know if I have stated on this blog or not, but I am proud of the Bishops for standing up to Notre Dame earlier this year, and for their involvement in the health care bill. Are they not due for more reform internally if they want even more credibility? At the same time they don't want abortion in health care reform, they are unwilling to accept reform within their own organization to prevent money from going to pro-choice organizations.

Here is my theory why the bishops in general are supporting this, and for this purpose, it is a noble one: for the unity of the episcopacy. Unity among bishops is essential; if they start infighting, then it goes downhill. Despite this, the USCCB needs to honestly look at the CCHD and do an honest assessment of it; only then can reform be done. Right now, they are saving face, and trying to play down the controversy for the upcoming collection.

Again, I encourage you not to give to this Campaign for CCHD; I encourage you to give your money to Church organizations that are funded by the CCHD that promote the Gospel of Life, but not to CCHD, since we don't know where are money is going. The last thing I want is for my money to go towards promoting abortion or contraception.

God bless.

More Condoms can help fix climate change?

begin article
-----

More Condoms, Fewer Poor People in Developing Nations will Solve Climate Change: UNFPA

By Hilary White

LONDON, November 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The fight against "climate change" can be won with the distribution of more free condoms and decreases in population, especially in the developing areas of the world, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said in a report.

"Women with access to reproductive health services ... have lower fertility rates that contribute to slower growth in greenhouse gas emissions."

While the UNFPA acknowledged it had no actual evidence of a connection between population increase and climate change, the report insists there is no doubt that "people cause climate change" through CO2 emissions.

"The linkages between population and climate change are in most cases complex and indirect." Nevertheless, the report said, "As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the Earth's capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme and conceivably catastrophic."

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the UNFPA's executive director, told a news conference in London that although the largest amount of CO2 emissions do not come from the developing world, the organisation would continue to focus its population control efforts there, saying that women and the poor will be the worst hit in the coming climatological disasters.

"Our impending climate disaster is perhaps the most inequitable threats of our time," the UNFPA's Richard Kollodge told journalists.

But not everyone is as convinced. A Times poll released last week showed that less than half the UK's population believes human activity is responsible for climate change.

The Times says that only 41 per cent accept as a scientific fact that global warming is taking place and is largely man-made. 32 per cent believe the link is unproven and 8 per cent said it is anti-human environmentalist propaganda. 15 per cent said they do not believe the world is warming.

In the run-up to the Copenhagen climate change summit set for next month, others are offering suggestions that do not involve artificial population control. The head of the US Forest Service, Tom Tidwell, pointed out that trees consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen.

Tidwell told a Senate panel on Wednesday that his agency is trying to manage forests to combat climate change and that politicians might want to consider the benefits of planting more trees.

"It is time to manage the nation's forests to address climate change and unlock their potential," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the panel's chairman.

---
end article

So, let's get this straight: The UNFPA says that free condoms can be a weapon in the fight against global warming, yet they admit there is no studies to suggest a connection? I mean, he calls the links complex and indirect!

These organizations risk their work turning from scholarly to political, and in this case, that is exactly what has happened.

I did some research into the UNFPA, and I went onto their F&Qs page. Turns out, it seems one of their main goals as an organization is to promote contraception and family planning. Regarding abortion it says this on the Questions page:

"Does UNFPA promote abortion?

No. Guided by paragraph 8.25 of the Cairo Programme of Action, UNFPA does not support or promote abortion as a method of family planning. It accords the highest priority and support to voluntary family planning to prevent unwanted pregnancies so as to eliminate recourse to abortion. UNFPA supports governments to strengthen their national health systems to deal effectively with complications of unsafe abortions, thereby saving women’s lives (every year, an estimated 68,000 women die as the result of unsafe abortions)."


The last half of this statement is ambiguous. What does it mean to strengthen health systems to deal effectively with complications of unsafe abortions? This question also sidesteps the reality that of the 68,000 women who died, there were also 68,000 other victims: the unborn who are aborted. So really, we are talking about 136,000 victims in this case.

Problems abound with this organization, and the fact that not only are they politically driven, but they are money-hungry (there is more money involved in contraception than in abstinence, just as there is more money involved with abortion than with natural delivery and adoption).

I can actually go on and on about this organization and their fallacies, but it would take too long. Just know that morally, contraception doesn't have moral legs to stand on because it affects drastically the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse. The reasons that UNFPA put out in favor of contraception and family planning methods are all exterior to this argument, and they are bad arguments, at that. We must pray that the UNFPA realizes the error in their ways and take steps to back away from condom use and other family planning, including emergency contraception, which can act as an abortive treatment. We entrust the UNFPA to Mary Immaculate, that the example of Her Immaculate Heart may triumph in the end.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. God bless.

To contact the UNFPA here in the United States:

UNFPA Washington, D.C. Office
401 Ninth Street, N.W., Suite 450
Washington, D.C. 20004

Tel: (202) 326-8713
Fax: (202) 682-2154

Ms. Sarah Craven
Chief
Tel: (202) 326-8713

Their website: http://www.unfpa.org/public/pid/1

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lighter News, and Tastykakes

Press release from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
begin
-----
CARDINAL RIGALI CONGRATULATES
ARCHBISHOP DOLAN ON YANKEES' WORLD SERIES VICTORY


Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, presented a case of Tastykakes to Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York today. The World Series wager exchange took place during a break at the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, MD.

Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Dolan made the bet on the outcome of the 2009 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees, which the Yankees won, four games to two.

Cardinal Rigali also sent the following letter to Archbishop Dolan:

Congratulations, my good friend, on the New York Yankees' Game 6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies which made you the winner of our spirited World Series' wager. Though I had planned to enjoy your New York bagels with Philadelphia Cream Cheese after another Phillies World Championship, the loss of our wager stings a little less knowing that the forthcoming Tastykake gift package is going to you and how much you will enjoy the taste of Philadelphia.

Since a talented nucleus is returning for the Phillies next season, I join so many in Philadelphia in already looking forward to next season and a possible rematch with you!

---
end press release

Can you imagine a rematch next year? The Phillies need another starting pitcher badly if they want that to happen. And their offense needs to do more than just float by; they were in an easy division this year.

More on CCHD: Bishop Morin on the Defensive

begin article
------
CCHD Head Calls Critics "Outrageous," but Makes Vague Admission of Need for Reform


By Peter J. Smith

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 18, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A US Catholic bishop who has oversight of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), on Tuesday blasted what he said were "outrageous" allegations that the bishops' charitable-arm funds pro-abortion and anti-family organizations. He charged that some such claims were motivated by "ideological or political agendas." Nevertheless, Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi admitted that the CCHD needs reform and that developments are underway for the charity's overall renewal.

Bishop Morin gave his report on CCHD to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Fall 2009 General Assembly in Baltimore.

"The bishops of the committee, as those responsible for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, continue to pledge ongoing support of efforts to ensure that all CCHD funds are used faithfully, effectively and in accord with Catholic social and moral teaching," said Morin.

CCHD is the subject of an independent and ongoing investigation by several Catholic groups that have exposed it for having contracted projects with some groups that are involved with or who have signed onto efforts, activities, or mission statements that conflict with the Catholic Church's defense of the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. CCHD has already defunded two of those groups, but further investigations are continuing to reveal numerous other problematic groups.

A Reform CCHD Now (RCN) coalition has formed that includes Human Life International, Bellarmine Veritas Ministry, Catholic Radio International, Americans Life League, and fifteen other groups. It has demanded concrete reforms of CCHD's vetting process for groups seeking funds before Catholics are called upon to donate on November 22.

Regarding the criticism of CCHD, Bishop Morin told his fellow bishops that the charitable arm had experienced both fair and foul allegations about CCHD funding.

"Some [critics of CCHD] are motivated by a concern for the poor and respect for the Church, and some are seeking answers to legitimate questions about what and how and why CCHD does what it does, and how it can be made better," Morin said.

However, Morin proceeded to lash out at certain unnamed critics who he said harbor ulterior motives against the bishops and the Church.

"There are a few who have their own ideological or political agendas, they repeat or spread outrageous claims that the bishops are funding groups that are pro-abortion, groups that are not in support of the family, or other untruths," Morin insisted. "For these groups, this seems to be just another way to attack the Church and its shepherds."

Morin said that these groups, "constantly insist that the bishops are not as faithful to their responsibility to their caring for the life of the unborn."

Bishop Morin reiterated that CCHD is "absolutely pro-life from conception to natural death," and that social justice ministry to the poor was a form of pro-life advocacy.

He also denied the allegation that CCHD gives to any group "that is specifically involved in any activity contrary to church teaching," and emphasized that CCHD has a "zero tolerance" for grantees who violate the conditions of their contract, which requires respect and promotion of the Church's core values.

Morin told the bishops that he believed that three "very particular isolated instances" were being used to paint CCHD and its 250 other grantees "with the same brush."

However, in recent days members of the Reform the CCHD Now movement have presented evidence for inappropriate activities on the part of a wide number of CCHD grantees, significantly widening the brush beyond the three cases of problematic funding alluded to by Morin.

On Monday, the day before Morin's speech, the American Life League, an RCN member, revealed that they had discovered six more CCHD grantees engaged in activities contrary to Catholic teaching, such as promoting birth-control through sex-education, as well as Marxism, homosexuality, and greater access to condoms. In total these groups are allocated $220,000 for the year.

Michael Hichborn, ALL's lead-researcher on CCHD, charged that given the ease with which they found the information on these groups, the bishops' charitable organization could only be one of two things, either "incompetent or complicit."

"We're finding more and more evidence every day with far less information than the CCHD receives through its granting process," stated Hichborn.

Hichborn and Rob Gasper, founder of BVM, both appeared Friday on EWTN's "The World Over" program with Raymond Arroyo and argued their case for the needed reforms, explaining the evidence they had compiled, and revealing some new discoveries.

In his speech on Tuesday, Bishop Morin promised his fellow bishops that reform and "renewal" of its mission is in the works for CCHD, saying that even one case was one too many.

"We are using new tools to help ensure that groups keep their commitments, to avoid actions which conflict with Catholic Church teaching, and to not engage in any partisan political activity," Morin concluded.

Discussion on Morin's report by the bishops, however, was tabled until Wednesday. Since the bishops did not discuss the CCHD report before the public session ended at 11 A.M., any discussion on the report will occur in their private session, which is closed off to reporters.

-----
end article

To Bishop Morin: I pray for bishops daily, and you are among them. I pray that under your leadership, you may lead the reform of the CCHD, helping it to be stronger by being faithful.

To all you other bishops who read my blog (I say this with a chuckle), the people who are reporting on this are devoted Catholics who are concerned about where their money is going. We give to pro-life organizations, and we can't in good conscience, give to CCHD even if there is a chance that some of the money goes to fund abortion, contraception, or homosexual agendas (and it seems there is a good chance).

To everybody else, we must stand strong, and make sure we hold accountable the CCHD, calling for its reform, and to make sure that the money we give them doesn't work against the works of the Catholic Church across the United States.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May God bless you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sisters of Saint Francis in Rochester having trouble with new vocations

Dear friends in Christ,

This article, to me seems to embody the problem with many women's religious orders. These are my musings over this article. Here are the problems I see with this article pertaining to the order, and what many orders face as problems. Take it for what you will.

1. The Habit

It has been stated by many before me, and will continue to be stated by many after me, but religious who wear the habit are more effective witnesses in the world, and thus, more women are attracted to them. The picture of the sister whom they are interviewing is not wearing a habit, so is it a surprise that in three years, there have been no new members?

2. Age

If I was a young twenty year old woman, why would I be attracted to an order whose vocation director looked like she was in her 60s-70s. Not to discredit older religious, but it sends a bad sign when there are only old religious, showing that for years they haven't attracted any. At the same time, there are orders where there are an abundance of young religious. I wrote about a Poor Clare Monastery in Spain that has a waiting list to get in (note they are also wearing habits).

3. Marketing

The article says "The sisters don't do much beyond occasionally speaking in local parishes to try to bring in new members". What about putting into the deep? What about hosting retreats? What about speaking in schools? Again, I wouldn't be attracted to an order if the only time they gave to my parish was an afternoon talk on their order. Put out into the deep. Provide retreats, nun runs; provide many opportunities.

4. Charism

In this article, there is no mention of what the order actually does. Do they teach? Do they serve the poor? The lack of a common charism is a common indication that the order has lost their way. The Dominicans, for example, have a charism of being educators. What do the Sisters of Saint Francis do? By the picture, it looks like the sister exercises, but what do they do to bring souls to Christ?

5. Theology and Vocabulary

"Speaking occasionally to bring in new members" presents a theologically poor understanding of vocation. They aren't looking for members, as a Rotary Club would look for new members. They are supposed to be seeking out those who have a vocation. They are called by God to enter that order, and thus they really should be providing opportunities (real opportunities) for young women to hear the voice of God, sacramentally and through the order's charism (still a mystery to me).

This article seems to bring to light many of the problems of modern women's religious, not only with the lack of new vocations, but stemming from a lack of identity (loss of habit makes them look like everybody else, and a loss of a common charism loses their identity with the others in the order).

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May God bless you.

CCHD fight getting ugly

Friends in Christ,

This upcoming weekend will be the special collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which is the anti-poverty wing of the USCCB. I don't know the history of it, but it has turned into a branch of the USCCB that gives money to organizations that directly go against church teaching. Money from the CCHD goes to fund groups that promote abortion, contraception and same-sex "marriage".

Now, don't get me wrong. I am anti-poverty. It is very sad that there are so many that go hungry, and don't have a place to live. But, as a people of Faith, the one true Catholic Faith, we cannot compromise things essential to our faith for the sake of ameliorating the human condition. In fact, funded such things that are opposed to our faith does the opposite affect: it worsens the human condition. There are countless studies that talk about the psychological impact of abortion; there are studies about how regular use of contraception increases the risk for divorce and broken families; there are also studies that show that the allowance for homosexuals to be married breaks down the family. The result of all three of these is a human condition worse than before. And the CCHD is going to fund such things?

I invite you to look into the CCHD. The American Life League speaks very badly of the organization. Life Site News talks extensively about it here.

Matt Abbott of Renew American has also gotten into the fray, especially with the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office. You can read his article here.

To be neutral and open minded, Here is the USCCB press release on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and its upcoming collection.

Now, having written all of this, I can't in good conscience give to the campaign, and I invite you to consider withdrawing your support for this campaign. Remember, we can't give up tenants of our faith for the sake of a greater good. This common philosophical error is called proportionalism, where we weigh the good with the bad, and decide what to do according to the greater good. Even though the CCHD does do good things with anti-poverty, it also does bad things with abortion, contraception and homosexual groups. Morally, we cannot give.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May God bless you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Homosexual Newspapers Shut Down

From Life Site News:

begin article
-------
Largest U.S. Homosexual Publisher Shuts Down, Closing Major Gay Newspapers

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The largest publisher of homosexual newspapers has shut down, leading to the closure of a string of homosexual newspapers, including the influential Washington Blade, which had just celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the news first broke when employees at the Southern Voice, a homosexual weekly paper in Atlanta, discovered the keys changed and the doors locked on Monday morning, with a sign informing them that their parent company Window Media LLC had closed.

Window Media LLC had hoped to establish a chain of thriving gay and lesbian journals across the country. However, financial difficulties already endemic to the struggling newsprint industry and the current recession reportedly made it impossible for the publisher to maintain its extensive news acquisitions.

The company was forced into receivership by the federal Small Business Administration earlier in the year upon discovering that it had insufficient capital to remain afloat. The decision means that the SBA has the ability to sell off Window Media assets, but potential buyers would also have to pay off the debt accrued to these publications at federal rates.

Window Media owned the Washington Blade, Houston Voice, South Florida Blade, David Atlanta, and 411 Magazine. All these homosexual publications have closed as well, and their websites no longer function.

-------
end article

Updates; Praying the Rosary under assault in France

Back from a short hiatus to writing on my blog, as the last couple of weeks got ahead of me. I was in the field for a few days, teaching kids about vocations, which was fantastic! I pray that through my witness, and what the Holy Spirit inspires me to say, that the kids were moved to consider God's call in their life.

I believe that every person is called to something great: sainthood. We are all called by God to be saints. Sainthood isn't for the lofty mystic, or the martyr who dies a horrible death; it is for individuals like me, you and the average Joe or Jane who walks past us on the way to work, or the conductor on my wife's train. We are all called to be great saints. How often do at least I fall short of that goal.

I strive daily to be a saint, and daily I fail to live up to my calling; yet, each morning, I resolve to try again. I want to be a saint. I want to be Christ to others, to preach the love of God and to preach His message of salvation, which is the most loving example of love in the history of humanity.

This is why assaults against the love of God are so painful to me, like the one below. How loving is the Father, yet oftentimes we choose hatred, a complete dichotomy of what the Father wants.

I pray that the faithful in France and abroad may inspire those who turn to hate to instead turn to the loving Father's embrace, and sow love, not hate. I pray that for myself, that I may turn to the example of the love of God, and not get wrapped up in the daily struggles of my life.

Please pray for those who hate the symbol of the Rosary and the Gospel of Life, especially those protesters talked about below.

The following is from Life Site News. You can read more article here.

begin article
-----------
France's National Rosary for Life Sparks Pro-Abortion Counter-Protests


By Patrick B. Craine

FRANCE, November 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - To mark their 23rd anniversary, the French pro-life group SOS Tout-Petits held their annual National Rosary for Life on Saturday, sparking heated protests from the country's pro-abortion activists.

Catholics gathered to pray outside cathedrals and churches in at least 28 cities throughout France, as well as in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Philippines. In many of these cities, the peaceful event attracted large anti-Catholic counter-demonstrations.

For example, at the St. André Cathedral in Bordeaux, police were called to the scene as a large crowd opposed the 150 people gathered to pray. The crowd carried pro-abortion signs and shouted "Caca Catholic," "Mary, Jesus, we f*** you," and "If Mary had had an abortion, we wouldn't have this sh**." At the St. Étienne Cathedral in Toulouse, the protesters were held back by police. At St. Nicolas in Nantes, they threw eggs.

---------
end article

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May God bless you and keep you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spanish Cloister sees dramatic increase in vocations

Dear friends in Christ,

I came upon this story of a group of cloistered Poor Clare nuns, a convent founded in 1604 in Lerma, Spain.

Sr. Veronica has even been hailed by the Catholic newspapers sympathetic to the Socialist government as a modern day Mother Teresa. After being names abbess, the convent went from a convent with her as the first girl entering in 23 years to a convent that now has 135 sisters with the median age of 35. By the way, there is also a waiting list of 100 girls who want to enter. The following is a clip which shows their complete joy, with Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher of the Papal Household.



I was very much moved by this group of sisters. They are so joyful, and they seem completely in love with Jesus to the point that they left their rewarding professions and professional lives to live as Brides of Christ.

Click here to read the full article on Catholic News Agency.

Praise be to God.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Praying for an end to the House Healthcare bill

Dear friends in Christ,

With the House version of the Health care Bill expected to go before a vote in the House over the weekend, I invite you to pray a Rosary, or even multiple rosaries, that this bill may not pass in Congress. It can't be given to Barack Obama to sign it into law. It would be disastrous, and millions of dollars will go towards allowing abortion on demand. We will have to pay for other people's abortions. Is that right?

Here is a link to a post from earlier this week of a website called Come Pray the Rosary. I invite you to look into it, and pray the Rosary for the intention of this health care bill not passing.



Pushing Abortion for Profit


I published a post the other day on Abby Johnson,
the former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion mill near the campus of Texas A&M university, who, after seeing an ultrasound of an aborted fetus, had a conversion of heart and quit her position. She has since gained national attention by her conversion. The following is an article by Life Site News on the conversion, and her remarks and the subsequent fallout with Planned Parenthood.

'Planned Parenthood Pushes Abortion for Profit': Ex-Abortion Facility Director

By James Tillman

BRYAN, TX, November 5, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Abby Johnson, the ex-director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility who recently made national headlines after converting to the pro-life position, has revealed that Planned Parenthood pushes employees to strive for more abortions to boost profits.

"There are definitely client goals," Johnson told WorldNetDaily. "We'd have a goal every month for abortion clients and for family planning clients."

Abby Johnson had worked at Bryan's Planned Parenthood facility for eight years and been its director for two when she resigned on October 6th, near the beginning of Bryan's sixth annual 40 Days for Life Campaign.

She said that she grew uncomfortable with Planned Parenthood when they told her to try to bring more abortions through the door because of the economic downturn.

"Every meeting that we had was, 'We don't have enough money, we don't have enough money - we've got to keep these abortions coming,' " Johnson said in an interview with Fox News. "It's a very lucrative business and that's why they want to increase numbers."

The latest financial report Planned Parenthood, for the year 2006-2007, shows that the abortion behemoth increased the number of abortions it committed from 264,943 in 2005 to 289,650 in 2006. Total revenue amounted to over $1 billion dollars, with the organization's profit margin - "excess of revenue over expenses" - soaring from $55.7 million in 2005 to $112 million in 2006. The organization typically receives over $300 million in taxpayer funds every year.

Johnson said she became involved with the clinic "to help women and ... [do] the right thing." The idea of increasing abortion numbers to increase revenue was repugnant to her. She said that ideally the facility's director would provide "so much family planning and so much education that there is not a demand for abortion."

But this ideal was not shared by the rest of Planned Parenthood, she said, because "abortion is the most lucrative part of Planned Parenthood's operations."

"With the family planning corporation really suffering," Johnson said, "they depend on the abortion corporation to balance their budget, help get them out of the hole and help make income for the company."

She continued, "They really wanted to increase the number of abortions so that they could increase their income."

Johnson said that the Planned Parenthood facility performed surgical abortions every other Saturday, but also began expanding access to abortion by other means.

"One of the ways they were able to up the number of patients that they saw was they started doing the RU-486 chemical abortions all throughout the week," she said.

Although Planned Parenthood's policies of pushing for abortion made her uncomfortable, Johnson said that at first she just kept "pushing down the guilt."

"I struggled with it for a long time," she told CBN.com. "But you learn to justify it somehow and I've learned over the years and through this conversion that if you're doing the right thing, you shouldn't have to justify it."

She said that she reached her "breaking point after witnessing a particular kind of abortion on an ultrasound," according to 40 Days for Life.

"I could actually see it was a 13 week old baby and I could actually see the side profile of the baby on the ultrasound," she said. "And I could see the cannula going into the uterus. And I could see the baby moving away from the cannula, trying to get away from the probe."

"I saw the baby crumple during the procedure, and that was just life-changing for me. I'd never seen that done before."

Since Abby's resignation, Planned Parenthood has retaliated by filing a restraining order against her. The injunction temporarily prevents her from releasing information until after a hearing scheduled for November 10th in the 85th district court.

Johnson has said that she is not sure why Planned Parenthood is concerned.

"Planned Parenthood is an organization that really runs on fear. If somebody crosses them, they are quick to threaten that person. I've worked for them for a long time and seen them threaten lawsuits multiple times," she said.

"I'm not sure what they're scared of. When I first got the restraining order, I was so surprised. My initial response was, what do they think I know? What are they feeling guilty about?"

Johnson is one of eight abortion industry workers who left their jobs during the 40 Days for Life campaign that concluded on November 1st; she was the highest ranking of the eight. 40 Days for Life has also received at least 534 reports of mothers who turned away from abortion appointments.


See related stories on LifeSiteNews.com:

Director of Planned Parenthood at 40 Days for Life Birthplace Resigns after Watching Abortion Ultrasound
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09110204.html

-----
End article

As this continues to gain national headlines, I pray that many may see the example of Abby Johnson and realize the truth behind abortion: murder.

I offer many prayers for abortionists, and those who work for Planned Parenthood and other abortionist groups, javascript:void(0)that they may convert and believe in the Gospel of Life. May they be drawn towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus and be washed of His Divine Mercy.

Say no to the House Healthcare Bill

Abortion is not health care because health care does not involve the killing of a human being.



Dolan gets his tastykakes



The Yankees won their 27th World Series Championship last night, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3. They took the series in six games. Equally important (well, maybe) is that Archbishop Dolan has won the bet with Cardinal Rigali and His eminence will be sending Dolan a case of Tastykakes for the enjoyment of Archbishop Dolan (for this moment, I wish I worked for New York just to enjoy a Tastykake passed from the hands of Rigali). If the Yankees lost, Rigali would have been enjoying a dozen bagels with his cream cheese, but alas, the bagels remain in New York.

You can read more about the original bet here.

Way to go Yankees!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Planned Parenthood Director quits, has a change of heart


Dear friends in Christ,

I try to put uplifting stories on here about the pro-life movement, stories of conversion, redemption, and forgiveness, all related to the pro-life movement, but one that has its roots in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the sake of our salvation. But yet this sacrifice, we find ourselves in the midst of the greatest genocide in world history: the genocide of abortion. Despite the genocide taking places in our neighborhoods, our hospitals, and the disregard for life in our legislature and in the White House, there are still small victories that I like reporting on, since it can sometimes feel like there is nothing good to report on with the pro-life movement. But there is! Conversions really do happen. Here is the story of one: The power of an ultrasound.

It happened at the local Planned Parenthood to Texas A&M University, of which I know personally two people who graduated from there. What an inspiration her change of heart can be to the local college students there. The university has a great Catholic and Protestant presence there, but the conversion of this woman, the director of the local Planned Parenthood, can do a lot to inspire women on campus to reconsider what is considered the norm for pregnant college girls: abortion. Consider adoption. If there are any pregnant women out there who is considering an abortion, please know I am praying for you, that you may do the right thing and not fall into the genocide of abortion. There are always other options.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. God bless.

Cohabitation: one couple’s story of conversion

While I hope to do some writing on the problems of cohabitation, I merely present you today with a link to the Denver Catholic Register on a couple who cohabitated, and after attending pre-Cana and learning about the Church's position on cohabitation, decided to live "as brother and sister", in a chaste relationship.

They also attributed their decision to remain chaste to learning about Natural Family Planning, (NFP).

How counter-cultural!

God bless.

Sick. Skincare Company Now Using Aborted Fetal Tissue in Anti-Aging Cream


From the ethical realm (warning: don't read on a full stomach):

Sick. Skincare Company Now Using Aborted Fetal Tissue in Anti-Aging Cream

So basically, the message this company is sending is that they don't mind using aborted fetal cell lines to make someone look younger in an anti-aging cream.
Does anybody else see a problem with this? Click here for contact information to the company, and let them know what you think.

Where are things going to stop regarding the blatant disregard for respect for human life? St. Michael, defend us in battle, and pray for us.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Come Pray the Rosary

This is a website I found that offers a perpetual Rosary, that you can pray with other people over this website. It goes through the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. You can also write your intentions.

Click here for the website.

MAJOR NEWSPAPERS BLAST CATHOLICISM

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

Last Friday on the Washington Post blog, “On Faith,” English atheist Richard Dawkins said the Catholic Church was “surely up there among the leaders” as “the greatest force for evil in the world.” He labeled the Eucharist a “cannibal feast,” adding that “possession of testicles is an essential qualification to perform the rite.” He also blamed the Church for sending missionaries “out to tell deliberate lies to AIDS-weakened Africans” regarding condoms. The Church’s outreach to Anglicans, he said, makes it “a common pimp,” noting that those who convert “will be joining an institution where buggering altar boys pervades the culture.”

On Saturday, a Los Angeles Times editorial said that “church leaders, including popes, have changed their thinking over the years about everything from usury to the culpability of Jews for the Crucifixion….” It concluded, “You don’t have to be Catholic (or Anglican) to realize that society as a whole would be better off if the church’s views of women and gays underwent a similar evolution.”

"On Sunday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recalled that when she was in grade school, “Nuns were second-class citizens then and–40 years after feminism utterly changed America—they still are.” She called Pope Benedict XVI the “uber-conservative pope,” a.k.a. “God’s Rottweiler,” who was once “a conscripted member of the Hitler Youth.” She also accused the Church of enabling “rampant pedophilia.”

On Monday, James Carroll in the Boston Globe called the outreach to Anglicans “a cruel assault,” “an insult to loyal Catholic liberals” and “a slap at women and homosexuals.” He characterized the outreach as a “preemptive exploitation of Anglican distress.”

These deranged comments—all voiced in America’s premier newspapers—demonstrate that anti-Catholicism is the most virulent expression of bigotry in the U.S. It also shows why these newspapers, quite unlike the Catholic Church, are dying. As for the writers, they need to go to church. Either that or check into an asylum."

end article

Allow me to make an observation or two. The first is that the mainstream media, in the past week, has come out with all of this, after the big announcement last week regarding the Anglican Ordinariates. Headlines such as "Catholics fishing for disgruntled Anglicans" were on the pages of the Washington Post, and newspapers "On Faith" sections featured the liberal side of the story, about how homosexuals and women continue to be repressed.

Listen people: the Church does not repress women or homosexuals. Homosexuals repress themselves by their immoral behavior, just as couples not married do when they engage in sexual intercourse. Women are not repressed by the Church. Women are called to beautiful vocations, just like men are called to beautiful vocations. But let's call a spade, a spade: there is a difference between men and women. I am not a woman, and I can never be a woman, nor do I want to be a woman. Women who want to be priests are missing out on the mystery of their femininity; they themselves think that their feminine behavior is inadequate, so that is why they reach out to try to masculinate themselves. In short, men and women are called to different things (even if I wanted to, I could never be a mother, nor could I every be a religious sister). People make these arguments because they are arguing according to the society in which we live (the Godless society is their starting point); I argue for something greater than the society (which will eventually change and pass away). I am arguing from the starting point of the Universal Truth called God, and His Church. This is the Church He instituted at the Crucifixion of Christ. Now, I can give you a whole argument against women priests, and against gay marriage, but that will have to come in another post. This post is already long enough.

Getting back to my main point: the newspapers are deliberately attempting to harm practicing, faithful Catholics and their devoutness. The article has a good point: this is why they are losing readership, because it is out of touch with the average person. Newspapers have instead resorted to pushing an agenda of hate, something they accuse us of. I pray that people will look above what they read in the paper and realize the real truth of things.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. God bless.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Dolan Make World Series Wager




From the Archdiocesan Press Office:

Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, have placed a friendly wager on the outcome of the 2009 World Series.

These two long-time friends spoke on Tuesday evening to settle the terms of the bet. If the Phillies win, Archbishop Dolan will ship a dozen bagels to the City of Brotherly Love; if the Yankees prevail, Cardinal Rigali will send a case of Tastykakes to the Big Apple.

Archbishop Dolan said, "Cardinal Rigali is one of my closest and dearest friends; for several years he even served as my Archbishop so I feel a particular loyalty to him. I know he has exquisite taste in most matters. I just wish he had better taste in baseball teams."

Cardinal Rigali said, "I have great esteem for Archbishop Dolan. He is a gifted spiritual leader who has been a true friend for many years. That is why I am so sorry he will be disappointed when the Phillies successfully defend their World Championship. We have the cream cheese ready for the bagels that I know will be arriving shortly after the Repeat in the City of Brotherly and Sisterly love."

end press release

The stakes are high; I am in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, but I have to go with Dolan on this one. Go Yankees!


Mission

Dear friends in Christ,

Consecration to Mary. Is this an outdated idea, belonging in the pre-Vatican II Church, where sodalities, nocturnal Adoration societies, and the Knights of Columbus thrived? Is there a role for consecration to Mary in 2009, 50 years after Vatican II?

Mary is the Mother of God; Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. I have written in earlier posts (from 2008) about the role of Mary in our lives, as well as apologetics surrounding questions of her role in the life of the Church. I will continue to write posts about Mary, probably until I die.

But the question today: is there a place for consecration to Mary? In a Church where only 33% believe in the true presence of the Eucharist (I am humbly one of those 33%), in a Church where there are more non practicing Catholics than practicing Catholics? Is there a place for consecration to Mary, an act of totally giving yourself to Mary as a way to grow closer to Christ, walking with Mary as Jesus walks towards the Hill of Calvary? Is the society just too far gone for Consecration to have any affect on our lives, much less the society? Is our situation so desperate that Consecration to Mary won't fix it, or even help it?

We must remember that as Jesus walked towards the Hill of Calvary, carrying that heavy cross, that bittersweet instrument of death, the people around him, and the soldiers ridiculed Him. The soldiers beat Him, dragged Him, and finally nailed Him to a cross. They taunted Him. And Jesus did not throw out curses, or insults. With the dignity of God, He took it and offered His sacrifice for what they were doing to Him. I watched a video earlier of someone praying quietly in front of an abortion clinic, when a pro-choice woman came up, gave them the finger, and uttered a string of obscenities and curses. When we practice our own faith, we are often ridiculed, even by friends, family, and co-workers. The media ridicules us, even if it isn't a direct ridicule; most of Hollywood scoffs at anything holy; even supposed Catholic politicians vote according to pro-choice lobbies, but don't care what they faith informs them as the right thing to do. And where was Mary during the Passion of her son? Quietly following behind Jesus, even amidst the torment.

We do not walk through life without struggle. As we continue our life, slowly walking up the Hill to Calvary to our eventual death, we are faced with struggles, with challenges. We sometimes come face to face with people who absolutely hate us; and yet, we are called to love them. We are called to love abortionists, dictators, and people we don't like (while at the same time pointing out the follies and evil of their ways). They may hate us, and they definitely hate what we may stand for, but we are called to love them, and to pray for them.

So I pose the question again: is there a place for consecration to Mary? Consecration is that where we dedicate (or rededicate) our commitment to Jesus through Mary. Living a life of Christ involves sacrifice, suffering, and, if called, a white martyrdom (or red). We are called to walk with Mary, living our life in direct imitation and emulation of the life of Christ. Consecration helps us do that, by publicly proclaiming your love for the Holy Mother, and asking for her aid and intercession as we walk through life.

Yes, we need consecration; not because it is the popular thing to do, or even not because it is from a more traditional time. We need consecration to Mary because the world needs it, and we are called to be a light to the nations, as Christ, our High Priest, through His sacrifice on the cross, is a light to the nations. Be a witness, and consider being consecrated to Mary for the sake of following Christ.

For more information on Consecration to Mary under the rule of St. Maximilian Kolbe, click here. See the side bar, and former posts for more information about St. Maximilian Kolbe.

May you remain close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May God bless you. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Theology of the Body: Cornerstone of the New Evanglization


My wife Angela is quite the gifted writer (if I don't say so myself). Below, I present a reflection/ article that she wrote. It deals with her work with Theology of the Body. She works for Christopher West, and has a lot to say about him regarding the criticism that arose over the Summer. Here is the article:

"Recently, there has been a lot of criticism and discussion concerning Christopher West's presentation and interpretation of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. I currently work at the TOB Institute which organizes and promotes Christopher's talks and courses, as well as those of other speakers. Last month, I was privileged to attend a week long course on TOB, taught by Christopher West. Before the course began, I was skeptical about the "spiritual impact" of TOB, particularly since I considered myself familiar with it. I expected to learn more, but wasn't really expecting that God would touch my heart. God certainly had a surprise for me! I came to see that TOB is not just another theology course, nor is it just for people who have been wounded by sexual sins. Rather, TOB is an integral part of the new evangelization and I believe that all people, even Catholics with a strong faith life and years of really good Catholic education, need to read and understand the Pope's teachings in order to develop a deeper love of God and of others.

The goal of the Christian life is God, and since God is love, loving God, others, and ourselves forms the core of our calling as Christians. But how do we live this calling? As Catholics, blessed with the fullness of the Faith, the Sacraments are the foremost means of holiness, and then prayer, mortification, works of charity, etc. But are all those enough? St. Paul says that without love, they are nothing. The practice of virtue and avoidance of sin are doubtless essential to the Christian life, but they must be accompanied by a profound transformation of heart in which we begin to love as Christ loves. Grace, of course, is necessary for any good to be achieved in us, but what about knowing who God is and who we are? Why do we receive the sacraments, avoid sin and practice charity, anyway? Faith is not ignorance, it is knowing in a profound way who we are as creatures of God. This is where TOB is vital to our whole life: it explains who we are in relation to God and in relation to each other.

Before I go on about TOB, I'd just like to address a specific issue which I have heard raised as an objection to Christopher West's presentation of TOB. I have read several people who think that he downplays this dimension of pray, mortification, reception of the sacraments, perhaps even the need for grace. After spending a week with Christopher I would say this: rarely have I seen such a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Mother, the saints, and a constant recourse to prayer. From his very example, as well as his words urging the need for the Sacrament of Penance, the reception of Communion, prayer to the Blessed Mother, etc., it is clear that these things are absolutely essential for anyone who wants to even begin understanding or living the Theology of the Body. Furthermore, Christopher encouraged us to practice self-denial and penance, both in reparation for sin and as a means to holiness.

So if prayer, sacraments, mortification is so important to a life of chastity and virtue, why does Christopher West move beyond those things to a deeper, more mature form of chastity? Because that is what the Pope calls us to do. For anyone who thinks that Christopher has made up the following theological and spiritual truths I'm going to talk about, I urge them the read the text of John Paul II's audiences, found at http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM. I have read them and I know this is from the Pope. They are dense and need to be broken down and explained, and I believe Christopher West does a good job of this. But if anyone thinks he makes up certain things, read the documents before judging the interpretation.

God created us male and female. Therefore, our bodies in their "male and femaleness" speak a "language"(JPII) which reveals to us fundamental truths about who we are and how we relate to God and others, and even more precisely, what the relationship is between Christ and the Church. JP II seeks to correct the "modern Manicheanism" which asserts that the body and sex are bad in themselves. Here is where the misunderstanding about West's comparison of Hugh Hefner and John Paul II enters. He never "favorably compared them". What West says is that each recognized that society was wrong in its rejection of the body and sex as inherently bad. But their reaction was totally different, and while Hefner's devalued the whole human person, John Paul has raised man, body and soul, to the very heights of heaven, for the Son of God Himself came to us in a human body, and was born of a woman.

Of course, JPII was not saying something "new" to Catholic teaching, but he was reminding a world and a Church that had lost a key part of its heritage that man is not Manichean body/soul duality, nor is he a Cartesian "pure-thought" being. In developing the truth about man as a body soul creature, the Pope drew of the riches of Biblical and Catholic tradition, especially the Song of Songs, St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and the writings of the mystics, especially St. John of the Cross. (Probably why Christopher West frequently quotes John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.) It is in these very Biblical and mystical works that we encounter the rich and complex analogies of human and spiritual nuptial union, the very "sex" which Christopher West is accused of "harping on". But, I read on one blog, isn't this nuptial union of the soul with God, this state of holiness known as the unitive way, isn't it only reserved for and experienced by a few very holy saints? Isn't it too complicated for ordinary Catholics, too far from our everyday experience, too holy for our great sinfulness which has not been purified by intense trials like those of the few mystic saints?

To this, Pope John Paul II would answer no; holiness is not for a few special saints, holiness is for ordinary people. (Remember how much he loved St. Therese.) Through his writing on the Theology of the Body, JPII was giving ordinary people the means for understanding man's call to nuptial, even mystical, union with God. Furthermore, once man begins this journey of love for God his journey of loving others, especially in the particular context of his vocation, becomes filled with ever more depth and meaning too. The Theology of the Body is 144 (including 15 newly published talks on the Song of Songs) talks in which JPII offers men and women the insights they need to understand who they are and who God is. This is why people like Christopher West are necessary, just as Thomistic theologians are necessary: to unpack the depth of a saint's thoughts for others to better understand. I don't think that West is an "authority" on JPII. The more people the better who read and begin to teach and spread this message of the Pope. But Christopher West has begun the work. He's not perfect, and over the last 15 years his examples and presentation have been developed and will continue to develop.


The need for this mature purity is found directly in the Pope's words:“The task of purity,” as John Paul II observed, “is not only (and not so much) abstaining from ‘unchastity’ and from ... ‘lustful passions’.” In the illuminative and unitive stages of the journey, we discover “another function of the virtue of purity... another dimension – one could say – that is more positive than negative” (TOB 54:3). In this “positive” dimension, we come to experience “a singular ability to perceive, love, and realize those meanings of the ‘language of the body’ that remain completely unknown to concupiscence itself” (TOB 128:3). The reference to the illuminative and unitive stages may lead some to question the practicality of this for ordinary people. After all, aren't most of us going to be in the purgative stage all our lives? From the spiritual works I have read which guide the spiritual life according to these three categories, the writers state that most of us, while on the purgative a lot of the time, enter in to each of the stages at various points in our lives; there is not necessarily a linear progression, though virtue will be increasing. And if Pope John Paul emphasizes the need for such a radical dimension to be realized in our practice of the virtue of purity, is it strange that Christopher West would also emphasis this?

The truth is that as Catholic Christians we are being called to a deeper, much deeper relationship with Jesus, Mary, the saints, and others, than most people have ever heard of. If we are aware of the deeper levels of the spiritual life, we probably figure we're a long way off from that goal. So how can West repeatedly state that all people can develop this more "mature purity", which seems to be a far advanced state of holiness? Not just by observing the external norms of mortifying the senses and avoiding the topic of sex and the body because those things could lead to lust, but transforming our understanding so that we will see them at their true value as part of our divine birthright as human beings. Does this mean that will be able to dispense with prayer and mortification and look at naked images or engage in sexual behavior with no more danger of falling into lust? Of course not! Knowledge, certainly, is not necessarily action, and we can know all this and still feel a temptation to lust. But knowing a person's true value will help us to overcome the temptation.

Now this doesn't mean we should tempt ourselves or put ourselves in occasions of sin just to prove our knowledge. That would be presumption. But we should be better able to view individuals as persons and not objects. For the record, West does not advocate that men go around staring at naked or scantily women; in fact, he encourages them to take the opportunity to pray for the healing of their own sinfulness and to pray for the woman that she might discover her own worth. Also, I think the example, often quoted, of staying in the same house as one's fiance is not to encourage people to put themselves in occasions of sin, but to recognize that our sexual appetites can be governed to the point that an occasion of sin does not become a sin itself.

Also related to this is the idea that those who are not able to control their passions except through distance from any form or occasion of sin are not virtuous. I remember learning very clearly in moral theology that the continent man is not fully virtuous. There are degrees of virtue and Aquinas, JP II and West all mention this fact that there are degrees of virtue and holiness, and the continent man is not yet fully virtuous. Indeed, is it not ludicrous to assert that an unmarried man and woman who can never be alone together without engaging in sexual activity are actually virtuous if they just make sure they are always around other people? It's pretty clear they need a much better control of their passions and respect for themselves and each other (which they would learn from TOB) could encourage them to begin to change their hearts to start practicing virtue.

Ultimately, debates and criticism about Christopher West miss the point that it's not about Christopher West. It's about the truth that Pope John Paul II offered humanity, that man could better learn to know and love his Creator and his fellow human beings. If you don't like West's approach, than read the documents themselves or someone else's books on TOB. And if you think that Christopher West is misleading people, read the testimonies of those touched by his talks and classes. Those can be found on our website: Theology of the Body Institute. I invite you to take a look.

In the words of a recent TOB student: "I am CONVINCED that theology of the body will heal the world. This is because theology of the body reminds us that Christ, the Bridegroom, is the ultimate answer to all the brokenness we face in this world."~Sr. Miriam Heidland "