Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A pro-life outreach has started a new prayer campaign hoping for the conversion of pro-abortion Catholic politicians to the pro-life perspective. The web site and outreach OneNationUnderGod is starting the effort today, the feast day of St. Thomas More.
Pope John Paul II proclaimed More the patron saint of statesmen and politicians, so June 22 appears to be an appropriate time for prayer for Cahtolic lawmakers who deviate from the Catholic Church's longstanding pro-life teachings.
Lisa Correnti talked with LifeNews.com about the new effort.
"In the 1995 encyclical Evangelium vitae, John Paul II reiterates what the Catholic Church has always taught: that lawmakers have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that contradicts humanity's fundamental right to life," she explained.
"Months ago, we discovered that 50 percent of Catholic politicians serving in the 111th Congress have accepted large donations from pro-abortion lobby groups while reinforcing their support for abortion rights legislation," she added. "These elected officials are deeply confused about Catholic teaching on the morality of abortion."
Correnti says pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers fail to recognize that legitimate social policy must be guided by absolute truth -- in this case the understanding that human rights begin when human life begins, at conception.
She says many pro-abortion Catholic politicians cite "primacy of conscience" to justify their support for abortion, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.
"However, a properly formed conscience recognizes the essential truth of Catholic teaching--that human life is sacred and inviolable from the moment of conception until natural death," she told LifeNews.com.
Over the last few months, Correnti has contacted the bishops of these Catholic members of Congress to shed light on their pro-abortion voting records and the money they accepted from abortion lobbyists.
She said, "We respectfully asked that they continue to minister to these lawmakers. Their spiritual direction gives invaluable insight to our Catholic legislators, reaffirming 'that life is entrusted to man's responsibility.'"
Correnti asks that pro-life Catholics adopt a specific politician to pray for and contact with polite letters and emails urging that they convert to a pro-life perspective.
Related web sites:
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- In an interview with Jon Stewart of the "Daily Show" on Comedy Central last week, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee blasted the false notion that common ground exists in the abortion debate.
The notion that there is common ground on killing children and hurting women has been repeatedly taken to task by pro-life advocates.
Huckabee said that abortion advocates don't want to give an inch in the abortion debate by accepting even modest limits on abortion such as parental notification, which would allow parents to know when their daughters are considering the life-altering decision.
Stewart talked about how abortion advocates may have the best interests of women in mind, but Huckabee countered that pro-life advocates care for both mother and child.
"See, Jon, I don't know of a pro-life person that believes if the mother's physical health is in jeopardy that you just let the mother die in order to save the child. Your ideal would be to save both," he said.
Huckabee added that there can be no common ground on abortion just as there was no common ground on the issue of slavery.
"I think one of the fundamental questions that we would have to come to is does a person have a right to own another person. That really is the issue. Can a person own another person? Can a mother totally own the child? Can the father totally own the child?" he asked.
"The question is, is that life inside the mother a human life? If it is, then that human life has equal value to the 70-year-old man, to the 7-year-old child. There is no point at which human life loses its intrinsic worth and value. Do we have the right to own another person?" the former Arkansas governor added.
"There's an equality to human life. No one is worth more than another; no one is worth less than another," he said.
Pressed further to accept the notion that there could be common ground, Huckabee said he would be willing to support efforts that truthfully reduce abortions and don't just give more money to pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.
"I would be certainly favorable to anything that helps us preserve every human life and to treat it with dignity and worth," he said.
Huckabee also said the abortion debate itself is a place where both sides can be more hospitable than hostile to each other.
"We don't need to shout at each other and we sure don't need to shoot each other," Huckabee said.
During the discussion, Stewart said he identifies more with the pro-abortion camp but admitted he's in "the squishy middle" of the debate.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
In this Year of the Priest, O God, we ask Your blessing on those You have called to priestly ministry. May they, above all, be faithful and passionate followers of Your beloved Son, Jesus.
May they be compassionate, as Jesus was, toward all who seek spiritual comfort and forgiveness. May they open wide their hearts to all in need of Your merciful embrace.
May they be teachers, as Jesus was, steeped in Your Word and teaching, on fire with it, and breaking it open for all who are hungry for your holy and transforming Word.
May they be prophets, as Jesus was, speaking courageously for what is right and true, proclaiming Your kingdom to all in need of Your grace and giving voice to all Your children, especially the poor and marginalized.
May they be prayerful, as Jesus was, hearts burning within them and set upon You above all.
From the rising of the sun to its setting, may they be the voice of praise and thanksgiving, and of faith, hope and love to all in their care. Amen.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The mother will certainly have a time of grieving. How am I to approach this young woman when she comes back to work? What can I say to her? How can I express my feelings about her situation? Is there something I can help organize that would show my support for her? We did not have a baby shower, but is there something else those of us at work can do to show our support? I have lots of questions but little in the form of answers. I am deeply saddened and I feel an obligation to do something to support this young woman and her family, but I don't know what. Can you help me decide? Please email me or express your comments and suggestions. Life is precious. I make sure to hug my baby Julie extra tight this past week. Please pray for this young woman and her family. Thanks and God bless!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Do you want to invest in a diversified mutual fund that is not only a solid investment, but one that comprises companies that do not violate core teachings of the Catholic Church? If so, I highly suggest considering investing in an Ave Maria Mutual Fund. The Ave Maria Mutual Fund is a 2009 Lipper Fund Award Winner, which means it has performed very well over the past 3 years.
If you would like more information on an Ave Maria Mutual Fund, please visit the website here.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I recently forwarded an email sent to me by Family Research Counsel regarding the appointment of Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to be Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. The opposition of this appointment stems around his extreme homosexual activist positions. GLSEN is the chief national group promoting policies to force affirmation of homosexuality in schools, beginning in kindergarten. Our opposition to Jennings is not based on the fact that he acknowledges that homosexuality exists, but that he wants to teach our young children that homosexuality is a normal and widespread condition, and that homosexual activity is acceptable. Of course we know as Christians that homosexual activity is sinful because it is a deformation of our sexuality. Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. Under no circumstances can they be approved. The Family Research Counsel and I believe it is wrong and extremely harmful to teach young students about gay sex practices. This kind of teaching is corrupting our young people and poisoning their minds, deforming the meaning and purpose of sex, confusing the meaning of marriage, and destroying the family. There is a very clear and real distinction between accepting and respecting a person and accepting and respecting a person's actions. I recently received the following comment from someone close to me regarding this issue.
"Sorry dude, can't forward this one on. I think that homosexuals are the next group of people who will be given equal rights. It took us a long time to give women and blacks rights that everyone is privilege to. I think that the next step will be giving gay couples the right to have insurance and tax benefits. There will always be a portion of the population that is gay, and I don't think those people should be discriminated against."
I was very saddened to read these words. I know that this person's intentions are in the right place, but his thinking is based on a misunderstanding of equality and human rights. I wouldn't expect someone to forward a message he or she does not agree with. It takes courage to speak up when you disagree with someone especially if they are someone you know. I appreciate his honesty. I don't think we can change the hearts and minds of people if we can not get them to express openly and freely about what their positions truly are. Once we understand the thinking behind some of these thing of which we disagree, only then can we go about proper methods of conversion.
His central argument is that "gay couples" should receive insurance and tax benefits equal to those granted to married couples and on this point he and I fundamentally disagree. He is comparing and trying to relate three completely different groups of people. Blacks were slaves and women did not have the right to vote. What equal rights are homosexuals denied? There is a difference between a right and a privilege. In fact, he used the word "right" and "privilege" in the same sentence. Each of us are deserving of certain basic human rights. The first and most basic fundamental right that all should be guaranteed is the right to life. Ironically, not even this first most basic right is protected in our country or around the world because abortion is legalized and we are seeing states start to legalize euthanasia. In fact, supporters of abortion deny the right to life in order to assure that women have "sexual reproductive rights," which is just another way to say the right to kill their own child. Homosexuals are not denied their right to life anymore so than a heterosexual. Today's culture is very confused about human sexuality and what it truly means to be equal and free. Freedom and equality is not about doing whatever we want and treating all lifestyles and actions the same, but to be truly free is to be able to choose to do what is right. That is freedom and in that freedom we find equality.
In addition to a right to life, every person has a right to those things required for human decency. The question then becomes whether or not insurance and tax benefits are a basic human right? Not at all! These are benefits or a privilege. You may argue that our health care system needs reform, but the answer is not to give "gay couples" the same benefits as married couples. Is marriage a right or a privilege? I believe that marriage is neither a right nor a privilege, but a calling. Why should "gay couples" be required to receive the same insurance and tax benefits that married couples enjoy? Marriage is not a right and "gay couples" are not and can not be married. If "gay couples" were given the same benefits as married couples, should non-married heterosexual couples also receive the same benefit? It seems to me they would in that case, and what is required to be a couple? Does it simply mean you live under the same roof? Do you think there would not be any abuses to this new "right" for gay and unmarried couples? Oh, I think there would be major scandals. The fact of the matter is that "gay couples" are not denied rights, but denied certain benefits because they are not in fact married. You may argue whether or not married couples deserve these benefits, but you can not argue that "gay couples" are denied rights. The acceptance and promotion of homosexual acts and "gay couple" benefits by our society will destroy the family. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined.
The opposition to Arne Duncan's appointment of Ken Jennings had nothing to do with "gay couple" rights, even though I've explained why I don't believe gay couples deserve the same benefits as married couples and families, but it had to do with teaching children about gay sex acts and the acceptance of these acts. We may always have homosexuality in our world, but that does not mean that we should accept and encourage homosexual acts. In fact, we are required as good Christians to prevent such teaching to our children. It is our responsibility as parents to protect our children from such teachings that contradict the teachings of Jesus and His Church. Rejection of homosexual acts is not denying homosexuals the basic rights guaranteed to all humans, but a rejection of the sinful act. Same sex attraction is not a sin in and of itself, but acting on that attraction is sinful. It is no different than the sin heterosexual couples commit when they have sex before marriage. Both actions are equally wrong. The conjugal act is reserved for married couples. Those who are unable to marry, for whatever reason, are called to live a life of celibacy. We must not confuse basic human rights with societal benefits and the benefits that can only come from marriage such as the conjugal act and the family. We must protect marriage and the family against the attacks in the name of "equality" our culture is constantly throwing at us. I pray for the strengthening of marriages and families, and I pray for the children of the world. May God bless us and give us strength to promote the culture of life and love. God bless!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Unfortunately, I am not able to attend this year's Eucharistic Congress June 12th - 13th, we have baptism class tomorrow, but I am praying that this year's Eucharistic Congress will be a huge success. I know that some of my favorite Catholic speakers will be there: Lino Rulli of the Catholic Channel and Teresa Tomeo of EWTN to name just two. Below is the website for more information. God bless!
Atlanta's 2009 Eucharistic Congress
Monday, June 8, 2009
As Christians, our ultimate goal is to one day reach the kingdom of heaven. Each one of us has individual and unique talents that can and should be used to help others and glorify God. Not all are called to same vocation. Most men and women are called to married life, but some are called to priesthood or religious sisterhood. Both of these vocations are necessary and equally valuable in an effort for us to reach heaven. Of course, both vocations must be lived out according to their unique purpose. Both vocations require living a virtuous lifestyle and a life of service.
With this in mind, I reflect on the recent scandal surrounding Fr. Cutie and also on the wise words of the late Pope John Paul II in his work Theology of the Body. First, I would like to address the controversy surrounding Fr. Cutie. In case you have not already heard about this story, I will give a brief summary of the scandal surrounding Fr. Cutie. Last month Fr. Cutie, former Catholic priest from Miami, was seen kissing a girl on the beach. He spoke to the archbishop of Miami and requested and was granted a temporary leave. Last week, Fr. Cutie announced that he was leaving the Catholic Church and joining the Episcopal Church. He also plans on marrying the woman he was seen kissing on the beach.
This story is very disappointing to me on many different levels. First of all, Fr. Cutie made a vow of celibacy when he entered the priesthood. His actions are no different than a husband or wife breaking their marital vows. While a husband is married to his wife, a priest is similarly married to the Church. Secondly, his decision to leave the Catholic Church because of what appears to be based primarily on a disagreement over the discipline of priestly celibacy is very sad. Changing churches and faith is not like changing shirts. It should not be something you do frequently and without much discernment and thought. His decision appears to be a rash decision based on the disagreement of a discipline of the Church he once accepted and vowed to follow. He is willing to leave the Catholic Church and lose out on ministering and receiving the Eucharist all because he may have feelings for a girl? I am not responsible to offer final judgment on anyone, but is it worth it to be with any human being if it could severely damage your chances for salvation? His mind is certainly troubled. The decision to join the priesthood is not one that can be made without serious discernment and full commitment. Seminarians must go through many years of schooling and preparation before they can become priests unless there is an extraordinary circumstance. We should also not neglect the fact that Fr. Cutie abandoned his parish. His selfish actions, both in breaking his vow of celibacy and in leaving the Church, left his parishioners without a priest. He did not inform the archbishop of Miami of his decision to leave the church; he found out through the media. So without even getting into whether priestly celibacy is right or wrong, we should all be able to agree that by breaking his vow of celibacy as well as his abandonment of his Catholic faith and faithful, Fr. Cutie was very much in the wrong.
Priestly celibacy is a Catholic discipline that can be justified by several different biblical texts as well as common sense. The vocation of the priesthood requires a complete commitment to serving God and the Church. How can one commit himself fully to the Church when he must also commit himself to a wife and family? A priest is an imitation of Christ, who lived the celibate life Himself. If our Lord and savior lived a life of celibacy, why do we as a society believe that priest should marry? Why do we as a society look down on those who chose to live a celibate life? Why do we think that bodily pleasure is the equivalent of happiness? Our fulfillment of our bodily desires is only temporary, while our spiritual fulfillment lasts a lifetime. The priests that I've had the pleasure to get to know are some of the happiest and most pleasant people I've ever met. Love leads to happiness. Celibacy is not a denial of happiness, but a mastery of oneself and a sacrifice for the kingdom. Even married couples must learn to become masters of their body. Just because a couple marries does not give them the freedom to do whatever they want whenever they want. Married couples must also practice abstinence for periods of time. Many people believe, erroneously, that priestly celibacy is the main reason for much of the scandal in the priesthood. Ironically, married ministers are 5 times more likely to leave their church because of morality issues. Jesus taught that while married life is good but the celibate life is just as admirable if not more so. Don't believe me? Below is a biblical defense for priestly celibacy, many quotes of which John Paul II referenced in his work Theology of the Body.
Found on www.cathlicapologetics.org
The Roman Catholic Church demands celibacy--no voluntary sexual pleasure, hence, no marriage--as a prerequisite to the order of presbyter.
The primary basis for the requirement of celibacy is clearly the lifestyle example of Jesus himself.
The Church notes that the practice is sanctioned by the New Testament.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.
1 Cor 7:6-7
This I say by way of concession, however, not as a command. Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am (single? widowed?), but each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
1 Cor 7:25-26
Now in regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is.
1 Cor 7:32-34
I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
The law of celibacy has no doctrinal bearing in the Catholic Church--it is a mere disciplinary law. Even today, there are married Catholic priests in the United States. Each is a former Episcopalian priest who joined the Catholic Church. There are Uniate Churches, churches in union with Rome, e.g., the Greek Byzantine Church, who have a married clergy.
Priestly celibacy became law in the Roman Church in the 6th century.
In Theology of the Body, JPII discusses celibacy and marriage and each vocation in how each is uniquely designed to help us reach the kingdom of heaven. He repeatedly defends the importance of marriage and acknowledges the sacredness of the body. Marriage is necessary for the advancement and creation of life. While the married life is the calling of most, some are called to the exceptional calling of the priesthood or religious sisterhood. JPII described priestly celibacy as becoming a eunuch for the kingdom. What does this mean? I had never heard of the word eunuch before, but while watching an EWTN program called Theology of the Body for Teens, an excellent show that every teen should watch in preparation for confirmation, the analogy of eunuch for the kingdom was explained. Apparently, a eunuch is an Old Testament word for men incapable of having intercourse and whose job it was to protect the king's bride. Jesus is the king and the king's bride is the Church. I just think this is an awesome analogy. Marriage on earth is a sign of the perfect union with God. Priests' free choice to be dedicated to God and the Church is an Eschatological sign pointing us to heaven. It points us toward the marriage we're all called to, the marriage of Christ and the Church. Celibacy skips the earthly sign to more perfectly embrace the marriage in heaven. There is so much more that can be discussed about this issue. If you want to learn more about this, I suggest reading Theology of the Body or watch Theology of the Body for Teens on EWTN.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009, 2:05 PM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020
“Christians shouldn’t be punished for exercising their faith publicly,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “It’s ridiculous to be sentenced to jail and probation for doing what churches have traditionally done throughout history, especially when the sound of the church’s bells did not exceed the noise level that the law allows for ice cream trucks. We are reviewing the legal options available to us to defend Bishop Painter’s rights.”
The bells at the Cathedral of Christ the King normally chime at the top of every hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The bells have been registered to emit only 67 decibels from the nearest property line. A whisper is 30 decibels, and a normal conversation is about 60 to 70 decibels. Ice cream trucks are allowed to emit up to 70 decibels at a distance of 50 feet under an exemption to the city’s ordinance, but no exemption exists for church bells. In addition to Painter’s sentence, the judge issued an order restricting chimes at the church to no more than 60 decibels for two minutes on Sundays and specific religious holidays.
“The church bells chime a short, ancient melody of praise to God,” said Stanley. “It’s too bad that the value of the bells is lost on many in our society. In a busy neighborhood full of sirens, heavy traffic, and loud motorcycles, these chimes are a sound of peace that do not exceed the noise level of an average conversation. Certainly, that should be at least as acceptable as the sound of an ice cream truck.”
- Order issued by the Phoenix Municipal Court in State of Arizona v. Painter