Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Woodstock Revisited

This is one of the most frightening things I have seen in a while. But, I laughed so hard I cried.


I am surprised anyone survived Woodstock.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random Things to Pray About

*Our President and other leaders.
It seems that Obama is filling his cabinet with radically pro-abortion friends. Take for instance the new Director of Communications. She once ran EMILY's List which gives support to electing pro-choice women.

*Our Bishops.
I would hate to be a Bishop. So many responsibilities and so many mistakes you can make. But, it is good when one says "I am sorry", as Bishop Corrada from Tyler did.
Soon the CDF will be releasing a new document on bioethics. I can't wait for this one.

*For an end to abortion.
It isn't going away soon, but hearts can be changed. When money is worshipped, like it is at Planned Parenthood, you can understand why someone would buy a gift certificate to a PP clinic.

*Persecuted Christians.
In India, the attacks continue.

FOCA and Bishops

Canonist Ed Peters lays out the options the Bishops have in responding to Catholic politicians who support the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).

Thanksgiving

*I can't stand Dear Abby's column, because she frequently gives bad advice, but this prayer is from her mother and is wonderful.
O heavenly Father:
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service
That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Catholics and Thanksgiving

Taylor Marshall, a Catholic convert, who happens to also be an Aggie, has a great post about the roots of Thanksgiving, with a nice twist at the end. I recommend you read it all, but if you can't stand it and want to jump to the end, here you go:
The penal laws of England regarding non-conformists affected not only the rigorous Calvinistic Puritans in england, but also the English Catholic recusants. The Pilgrims shared the same lot as the Catholic faithful of England. Interestingly enough, the Catholics who lived in Nottinghamshire where the Pilgrims originated were persecuted mercilessly.

So while Thanksgiving may celebrate the Calvinists Separatists who fled England, Catholics might remember the same unjust laws that granted the crown of martyrdom to Thomas More, John Fisher, Edmund Campion, et al. are the same injustices that led the Pilgrims to Plymouth.

Another bit of trivia is that the truly “First Thanksgiving” celebration occurred on American soil on April 30, 1598 in Texas when Don Juan de OƱate declared a day of Thanksgiving to be commemorated by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

And let everyone remember that “Thanksgiving” in Greek is Eucharistia. Thus, the Body and Blood of Christ is the true “Thanksgiving Meal”.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alex Jones

Alex is a heck of a Catholic preacher. This is part of his story.

Advent 2008 Resources Clearinghouse

Here you go. Enjoy.

USCCB Advent page.
Catholic Online's Christmast/Advent 2008 page - a great list of resources, prayers, activities, articles and more.
American Catholic's Advent FAQ
EWTN's Advent Page - Calendar, history, articles and more.
CatholicEducation.org's Advent traditions page.
Catholic Information Network's Advent Reflections - tons of good writing.
Our Sunday Visitor's Advent resources.
Catholic Exchange articles on Advent.
Catholic Encyclopedia on Advent.
Creighton University's Advent prayer page.

If you have any more, please leave in the comment box. I will try to update throughout the week, but blogging will be sporadic this week.
Thanks.

New World Order

A Vatican official says that a New World Order is taking hold and that it is based on relativism. I agree somewhat with the premise, and that the answer is found in evangelization by laity to laity.

I also hadve two immediate thoughts whenever I hear the phrase, "New World Order".

1 - Black helicopters, conspiracy theories, assassins, etc.
2 - This stuff:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pope on St. Paul

Pope Benedict XVI has been teaching about St. Paul. In this audience, he focuses on the idea of justification in Paul's writings.
“Being just simply means being with Christ, being in Christ, that is all. The other precepts are no longer necessary. Luther's expression 'sola fide' is true, if faith is not against charity, against love. To believe is to see Christ, to trust in Christ, to become attached to Christ, to conform to Christ, to his life."

"Paul knows that in the twofold love of God and neighbor the Law is present and fulfilled. So in communion with Christ, in faith, which creates charity, the Law is realized. We become just by entering into communion with Christ, who is love. We will see the same thing in the Gospel of next Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King. Love is the only criteria of the Gospel of the judge," the Pope explained.
Good stuff and if you go to this link, you can here the Pope speak.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Musician

Mark Shea posted these songs from Audrey Assad. Very, very nice. I am very picky about my music, especially female singers, and I really like her voice.


She has some other nice songs on YouTube, including:

Same-Sex Marriage and Catholic Canon Law

Dr. Ed Peters has found a reference to a prohibition to same-sex marriage from a Canon Lawyer's writings that is 750 years old.

Self-Defense and Martyrdom

Q - Where do we, as Catholics, draw the line between our God-given right to self-defense and our willingness to undergo martyrdom? I understand that a part of our dignity as human beings allows us to defend our lives and the lives of innocents, at least in our proximity, with proportionate force when an aggressor attacks. In history, European nations rightly defended themselves militarily from Islamic invasion. On the other hand, martyrs such as Blessed Miguel Pro faced firing squads for not denying God and the Catholic faith when captured by an aggressive regime. Does the difference lie in whether the individual is armed when they are attacked? Somehow I'm not getting this. I'm asking this purely from a Catholic standpoint. People may not want to have firearms in their homes to prevent against gun accidents. As I said before, the tool is irrelevant to the question.

A - Thanks for the question. We need to define some terms first.

Self-defense is self explanatory, but for the sake of the argument, we will define it as a legitimately defending yourself from aggressive harmful action.
Martyrdom - is bearing witness to the faith even unto death.

In some cases we are obligated to defend ourselves. The Catechism states:
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life.
For example, as a father I am responsible for protecting my children and would be obligated to do so if they were threatened with harm, and if necessary, I would have to take the life of another to protect them.

Now, martyrdom is different. it is offering your life for God when the only other choice would be to abandon the faith.

Now that we have established the difference between the two, we can see that there is no contradiction between them. The overall principle that informs both is that the earthly life is precious, but not more precious than eternal life. We have to seek to preserve lives we are responsible for, if possible, but if the only option were to die bodily or deny the faith, then the primacy of the spiritual life takes precedence.

Blessed Miguel Pro was killed because he was Catholic. He was hunted down, accused falsely of a crime and executed. Knowing there was nothing that would save him, he willingly witnessed to the faith by not taking a blindfold and before he was shot by the firing squad he declared ""Viva Cristo Rey", "Long live Christ the King".

Off topic a bit - Bishop Placido Rodriguez of Lubbock tells some cool stories about Blessed Miguel Pro. Bishop Rodriguez's father was member of the resistance movement against the anti-Catholic government that persecuted the Church - he also knew Blessed Miguel Pro.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fr. Barron on Culture

Fr. Barron does a very good job of critiquing culture and entering into a dialogue with those who have fallen for half-truths and error, esp. the atheists and those that believe in a kind of scientism.

Tip O' the Hat to CMR.

Classic Hymns

I like good Praise and Worship music. Not the kind where we sing to ourselves, putting ourselves in the place of God talking to His people. Not the kind of sappy feel-good music. But, that which truly puts our Lord in proper perspective and gives him what He is due. Here are a few of my favorites:

-How Great Thou Art
-Amazing Grace
-Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
-Holy, Holy, Holy,

I also like modern Praise and Worship, when done well.

I want someone to sing this at my funeral. Beautiful. I would want it without the steel guitar. I am no fan of Carrie Underwood, but she doesn't get carried away in singing this song. Some try to do too much with it. This is controlled and lovely.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiness and Sainthood

Last night in RCIA I gave a presentation on discipleship and evangelization. I encouraged the group to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In my exhortation, I told them that one of my own personal goals, though I am far from achieving it, is to be perfectly holy. This holiness was not for my own sake, but to glorify God's name. I want to be a saint, because that is what we are created for - not to have my picture on a holy card.

Of course, someone who was there had a bit too much time on their hands today. So, I found this in my box.
Notice the halo - it isn't just my shine.
Here is the back:
Did I say it was laminated? It is.
Nice.

Faith and the Eucharist

Q - I have prayer about this, talked to different people about it on both sides of the issue, and researched different things and I still feel that the Eucharist is not the actual body and blood of Christ. I see it as a symbol and the more I pray about it with an open mind, the stronger I feel that it is meant as just a symbol. Does not believing in the Eucharist keeps me from being Catholic? I do hope to learn much more about this.

A - Thanks for the question. God bless you in your struggles. There are several other questions that are a part of your struggles.

*How is it possible that Christ is present to us under the appearance of bread and wine?
Nobody knows. This is part of the mystery of God. He doesn't fill in all the details. We also don't know most other things about how God acts. How did God create something from nothing? How did God become man? How did God guide the human authors of Scripture to write the truth? How did God perform miracles? We just don't know.

*Why does God become present to us through the appearance of bread and wine?
Because just as our bodies need food and drink, so our souls need nourishment from God - his grace. We receive grace in many different ways, but the system that Christ established for us to primarily receive it is through the Sacraments. It binds us to Christ. St. Cyril of Alexandria said,
As two pieces of wax fused together make one, so he who receives Holy Communion is so united with Christ that Christ is in him and he is in Christ.
It is the primary way Christ draws us to Himself. This is the same thing that Christ tells us in John 6:
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. - John 6:56
The early Church saw the Eucharist as literally the body and blood of Christ that draws us to Jesus and unites us to the Father.
"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible"- Ignatius of Antioch (110 AD).

"They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes"- Ignatius of Antioch (110 AD).

"For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" - Justin Martyr(148 AD)

"If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" - Iraneus (148 AD)

"'Eat my flesh,' [Jesus] says, 'and drink my blood.' The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients. He delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" - Clement of Alexandria (202 AD)

"The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ" - Cyril of Jerusalem (350 AD)
The witness of the Church fathers is unanimous. Not until the reformation was there doubt about the Eucharist and the reformers (e.g., Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc.) almost were unanimous in having some kind of spiritual presence at the very least. So, the real rejection of Christ's presence in the Eucharist is even more modern than the Reformation. It comes from the Anabaptist tradition and entered into Evangelical thought in the USA. Several questions then arise:
-By what authority is the clear biblical evidence, the unanimity of the church and history tossed aside?
-What is so important about a mere symbol?

Not everything is supposed to be seen with mere reason. God becoming man is not irrational - it is above reason. The same with the Eucharist. If you still think it is so, then I recommend you read the following books and then ask if you still see it the same way:
-The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn.
-A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist by Vonier.
-The Hidden Manna by O'Connor

I would also recommend you talk to someone on staff and in person about your struggles. There is no pressure for you to believe, but we want to make sure you have the truth about the situation to help you.

As for your standing in the Church - you are certainly still Catholic and in your wrestling with these issues, we will keep praying for you. Faith isn't necessarily supposed to come easily. If you were to come to a final decision that the Eucharist isn't what the Catholic Church teaches that would effect your standing of full communion with the Church, though you would still be a Catholic.

Random Silliness

I admit it. It made me laugh out loud for a long time.



Still laughing...

Bush Issues Last-Minute Pro-Life Directive

It will be rescinded by Obama, but it is good news nonetheless.

With FOCA coming into the public square for debate soon, this will move the issue into the forefront of the public's mind. If we do see FOCA become a reality, I think many Catholic hospitals will have to shut down their OB/GYN operations or entire hospitals. Sad.

On a side-note, here is a story about a woman who became the first person to receive an organ grown from her own stem cells in a laboratory. What stem cells and medicine should do - heal, not harm others in order to help someone else.
Tip O' the Hat to Keith.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Open Letter To President-Elect Barack Obama

Great letter by the folks at Vox Nova. You can add my name to the list.

President-elect Barack Obama,

As American Catholics, we, the undersigned, would like to reiterate the congratulations given to you by Pope Benedict XVI. We will be praying for you as you undertake the office of President of the United States.

Wishing you much good will, we hope we will be able to work with you, your administration, and our fellow citizens to move beyond the gridlock which has often harmed our great nation in recent years. Too often, partisan politics has hampered our response to disaster and misfortune. As a result of this, many Americans have become resentful, blaming others for what happens instead of realizing our own responsibilities. We face serious problems as a people, and if we hope to overcome the crises we face in today’s world, we should make a serious effort to set aside the bitterness in our hearts, to listen to one another, and to work with one another

One of the praiseworthy elements of your campaign has been the call to end such partisanship. You have stated a desire to engage others in dialogue. With you, we believe that real achievement comes not through the defamation of one’s opponents, nor by amassing power and using it merely as a tool for one’s own individual will. We also believe dialogue is essential. We too wish to appeal to the better nature of the nation. We want to encourage people to work together for the common good. Such action can and will engender trust. It may change the hearts of many, and it might alter the path of our nation, shifting to a road leading to a better America. We hope this theme of your campaign is realized in the years ahead.

One of the critical issues which currently divides our nation is abortion. As you have said, no one is for abortion, and you would agree to limit late-term abortions as long as any bill which comes your way allows for exceptions to those limits, such as when the health of the mother is in jeopardy. You have also said you would like to work on those social issues which cause women to feel as if they have a need for an abortion, so as to reduce the actual number of abortions being performed in the United States.

Indeed, you said in your third presidential debate, “But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.’”

As men and women who oppose abortion and embrace a pro-life ethic, we want to commend your willingness to engage us in dialogue, and we ask that you live up to your promise, and engage us on this issue.

There is much we can do together. There is much that we can do to help women who find themselves in difficult situations so they will not see abortion as their only option. There is much which we can do to help eliminate those unwanted pregnancies which lead to abortion.

One of your campaign promises is of grave concern to many pro-life citizens. On January 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when speaking of the current right of women in America to have abortions, you said, “And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) might well undermine your engagement of pro-life Americans on the question of abortion. It might hamper any effort on your part to work with us to limit late-term abortions. We believe FOCA does more than allow for choice. It may force the choice of a woman upon others, and make them morally complicit in such choice. One concern is that it would force doctors and hospitals which would otherwise choose not to perform abortions to do so, even if it went against their sacred beliefs. Such a law would undermine choice, and might begin the process by which abortion is enforced as a preferred option, instead of being one possible choice for a doctor to practice.

It is because of such concern we write. We urge you to engage us, and to dialogue with us, and to do so before you consider signing this legislation. Let us reason together and search out the implications of FOCA. Let us carefully review it and search for contradictions of those positions which we hold in common.
If FOCA can be postponed for the present, and serious dialogue begun with us, as well as with those who disagree with us, you will demonstrate that your administration will indeed be one that rises above partisanship, and will be one of change. This might well be the first step toward resolving an issue which tears at the fabric of our churches, our political process, our families, our very society, and that causes so much hardship and heartache in pregnant women.

Likewise, you have also recently stated you might over-ride some of President G.W. Bush’s executive orders. This is also a concern to us. We believe doing so without having a dialogue with the American people would undermine the political environment you would like to establish. Among those issues which concern us are those which would use taxpayer money to support actions we find to be morally questionable, such as embryonic stem cell research, or to fund international organizations that would counsel women to have an abortion (this would make abortion to be more than a mere choice, but an encouraged activity).

Consider, sir, your general promise to the American people and set aside particular promises to a part of your constituency. This would indicate that you plan to reject politics as usual. This would indeed be a change we need.

Sincerely,

Deal W. Hudson
Christopher Blosser
Marjorie Campbell
Mark J. Coughlan
Rev. James A. Nowack
Craig D. Baker
Susan DeBoisblanc
Megan Stout
Joshua D. Brumfield
Ashley M. Brumfield
Michael J. Iafrate
Natalie Navarro
Matthew Talbot
Paul Mitchell
Todd Flowerday
Henry C Karlson III
Darren Belajac
Adam P Verslype
Josiah Neeley
Michael J. Deem
Katerina M. Deem
Natalie Mixa
Henry Newman
Anthony M. Annett
Mickey Jackson
Veronica Greenwell
Thomas Greenwell PhD
Robert C. Koerpel
Nate Wildermuth

New, Online Signatures:
Deacon Keith Fournier
Mary Ruebelmann-Benavides
Jesus Benavides
Steve Dillard
Toby Danna
William Eunice
Mark Shea
Fr. Phil Bloom
Christopher Gant
Robert King, OP.
Peter Halabu
Kelly Clark
Eric Giunta
Mark Gordon
Linda Schuldt
Michael Mlekoday
Bryan McLaughlin
Victoria Hoffman
Jonathan Jones
Jim Janknegt

Marcel LeJeune

Monday, November 17, 2008

Too Much Time On Your Hands?

Then you should become a YouTube star. Just come up with a fun/crazy/stupid/wild idea and make a video. Like this guy -


Tip O' the Hat to Mark.

Preach it Papa!

Pope Benedict XVI had a great homily about yesterday's Gospel, which if you remember (and you should), was about the multiplication of talents and the response of the master who came to collect from his servants.

PBXVI said:
Today's parable, insists upon the interior attitude with which this gift is to be received and valued. The wrong attitude is that of fear: the servant who is afraid of his master and his return hides the coin in the ground, and it bears no fruit. This happens, for example, to those who having received Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation hide these gifts beneath a blanket of prejudices, beneath a false image of God that paralyzes faith and works, betraying the expectations of the Lord. But the parable puts greater emphasis on the good fruits borne by the disciples who, happy over the gift they have received, have not kept this hidden out of fear and jealousy, but have made it bear fruit by sharing it, imparting it.

The teaching of the Gospel has also had an effect on the historical-social level, promoting an active and enterprising mentality in Christian populations. But the central message concerns the spirit of responsibility toward God and toward humanity. This attitude is perfectly embodied by the heart of the Virgin Mary, who, receiving the most precious of gifts, Jesus himself, offered him to the world with immense love.
We should listen and respond.
I should listen and respond.

Colbert At His Best

Tip O' the Hat to several people at St. Mary's who told me about this. It is greatnessitous, which means extra special greatness.

Anglican Trouble in Fort Worth

The Episcopal diocese of Fort Worth has voted to separate itself from the national church. This is only the beginning of what is surely going to be a long and ugly legal battle over property and authority. Pray for all involved.

I don't think the national Episcopal leaders grasp the problems in front of them or they don't see them as problems. The presiding head of the Episcopal church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said:
The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and the Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.
The problem that other Episcopalians see is that the diversity in theology allows for a relativism and "anything goes" mentality. As the article says:
Some of the controversy within the Episcopal Church erupted with the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. But others say differences run deeper and that the Episcopal Church is at odds with Christianity’s premises.

"Bedrock issues" are that Jesus is the divine son of God and the sole way to salvation and that the Bible is authoritative, Werley said.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fun - Switchfoot

One of my favorite Christian bands is Switchfoot. Their musical stylings are different on every album and they have the ability to recreate themselves. This takes talent. They also have lyrics that are make you think about life more than most bands.

One of my favorite songs - "Dare You to Move"
Snippet of the lyrics:
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be
And
Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here
I love songs about conversion.


Danger of Planned Parenthood

If you don't think that Planned Parenthood is a danger to the moral underpinnings of our society, then you ought to read this story. It details how:
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has issued a new document that declares that governments are obligated to guarantee a sweeping definition of “sexual rights,” including abortion, “sexual freedom” and “comprehensive sexuality education,” as an integral component of human rights.

The IPPF declaration defines sexual rights as “an evolving concept that encompasses sexual activity, gender identities, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.” IPPF differentiates “sexual rights” from “reproductive rights,” a term that it equates with abortion, specifying that “sexual rights encompass more than entitlements related to health” and that “many expressions of sexuality are non-reproductive.”

Evolving sexual "rights" are coming to a country near you. Be forewarned.

Thanks for Asking!

The American Humanist Association has launched an ad campaign around the question "why believe in God?"

I hope they get people to really start thinking about it. So, I say, thanks for asking.

Really?

AmP has posted one of the most strange videos I have ever witnessed. But, what is scary, is that I understand part of what they are saying, though I disagree with everything they stand for. NARAL is about abortion.
This video is about making abortion your cause.


Watch. Puzzle. Question.
That isn't a good catch-phrase, but better than the one in the video.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Great Pro-Life Story

The "most renowned abortion doctor" in Serbia had a conversion. I couldn't imagine. Thank you Father for your mercy on us all!

Acorns Falling Farther from the Tree of Life

The Bishops have cut funding to ACORN.

Cardinal DiNardo - Pro-life Chair

Cardinal DiNardo has been elected as Chair of Pro-life Activities for the US Bishops.
I posted earlier this year part of a homily, which included some statements on pro-life issues.

Blessing for Babies In the Womb

Now official.

Whale Explosions

Not kidding. Tip O' the hat to Matt.

Ice Age

It seems short posts are the theme today.
So, I am confused by this? Help me understand.
Tip o' the hat to CMR.

Uh Oh

Shouldn't have done that.

Prayers

Off to Austin. Please pray for a safe trip.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

US Bishops Speak FORCEFULLY Against Abortion

When our Bishops speak our this strongly against anything, we need to listen. Cardinal George is speaking for ALL of the US Bishops when he issued the following. My highlights appear in bold.
STATEMENT of the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
"If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil." (Psalm 127, vs. 1)

The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States welcome this moment of historic transition and look forward to working with President-elect Obama and the members of the new Congress for the common good of all. Because of the Church's history and the scope of her ministries in this country, we want to continue our work for economic justice and opportunity for all; our efforts to reform laws around immigration and the situation of the undocumented; our provision of better education and adequate health care for all, especially for women and children; our desire to safeguard religious freedom and foster peace at home and abroad. The Church is intent on doing good and will continue to cooperate gladly with the government and all others working for these goods.

The fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God and our parents. A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself.

In the last Congress, a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was introduced that would, if brought forward in the same form today, outlaw any "interference" in providing abortion at will. It would deprive the American people in all fifty states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.

Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated. The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life.

FOCA would have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil.

On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will. They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby. Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted.

The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world. If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve. Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.

This statement is written at the request and direction of all the Bishops, who also want to thank all those in politics who work with good will to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Those in public life do so, sometimes, at the cost of great sacrifice to themselves and their families; and we are grateful. We express again our great desire to work with all those who cherish the common good of our nation. The common good is not the sum total of individual desires and interests; it is achieved in the working out of a common life based upon good reason and good will for all.

Our prayers accompany President-elect Obama and his family and those who are cooperating with him to assure a smooth transition in government. Many issues demand immediate attention on the part of our elected "watchman." (Psalm 127) May God bless him and our country.
Go read that again. Talk about drawing a line in the sand.
This will not be going away soon. We need to fight for this one.

Here is how the secular press is running it - Bishops vs. Obama.
Pray for our leaders in our Church and country.

New Blog

Patrick Madrid has started a blog.

Patrick is a great guy, a very good speaker and he just published an article of mine in Envoy Magazine. So you have to go see his blog now, don't you?

Resurrection of the Body / The Incarnation / Human Beings

Q - At All Soul's Day Mass, I noticed Fr. Brian emphasize in the Creed the words "[we believe in] the resurrection of the body", which I must admit I don't know much about. In my catechesis, this wasn't really fleshed out, so to speak, and I remember previously believing that we'd be just spirits in heaven, without thinking much of it. I heard that the Church used to forbid cremation because it was previously understood to be a denigration of the body that God will resurrect on the last day. I was then taught that God can work miracles, so we can trust him to "put the ashes back together" or something. I also read recently of a new process, already being criticized by Catholics, that some medical schools use to dispose of cadavers. It involves dissolving the body's bodily tissues in lye and flushing them down a drain, which creeps me out. So, what do we need to know about the resurrection of the body, which we profess our belief in, weekly.

A - Good questions. It is good for us to wrestle with these things that we have little understanding of and I am happy to see you seek out clarification. I hope I might be able to help shed some light on this area of our faith.

The basics of the resurrection of the body are:
  • The principles of the resurrection of the body have their foundation in the Incarnation.
  • This is an important doctrine to understanding our human nature.
  • God values our bodies much more than we do.
  • We are meant to be with God in heaven - but as fully human, which necessarily means having both our bodies and souls present.
INCARNATION
God became man. This is a completely mind-blowing doctrine. God - infinite, omnipotent, all-loving, etc. - became one of us. Why? Out of love. Christ reveals to us what it means to be human. Part of understanding what it means to be human is found in Christ teaching us that our bodies are important. The body is important because without it we are not fully human. Humanity is made up of souls and body. The body isn't just a vessel that captures the soul as if our souls need to be freed of them. Rather, it is part of what makes us human and helps reveal who God is and who we are. Thus, while reflecting on the Incarnation earlier this year, I wrote:

What is the truth? It is that each of us are created in the image and likeness of God. Big deal, you might think. But, it is. It is our identity. We are adopted into the family of God (the Trinity) and made partakers of the divine nature. This means we that our nature is caught up into God, by our participation in God's divine life. A new-found identity in Christ means we can no longer look at ourselves or others in the same way. This is why the John Paul the Great quoted the following verse more than any other from Vatican II:

Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. (Gaudium et Spes 22)

If we want to know who we are, who others are, and the answers to the other questions that have been planted deep within us, then we need to understand who Jesus is and who we are in light of Christ. When God became man in the Incarnation, He didn't lower His own divine nature, which is impossible - because God is unchangeable, rather He raise up our human nature higher.

The Incarnation teaches us, through the revelation of God, who we are to be. This being then informs what we are to do. In today's society we have reversed the order. We identify who we are with what we do. This is a lie. I am not who I am based upon what I do. I am who I am, based on my identity as a human made in the image and likeness of God and redeemed through Christ.
THE BODY
What does any of this have to do with the Resurrection of the Body? Well, once we know that our bodies have a special part to play in our lives both on this earth and in making us fully human - we can see that they to are part of Christ's plan of redemption, just as Christ's body was part of all of creations' redemption (e.g., Christ's suffering, dying resurrection). Part of the plan of redemption of our bodies is that once Christ comes again, our bodies are raised up and reunited with our souls forever in heaven. This is why Christian tradition treats the body with respect. To do such things as flush the body down the drain is sacrilegious because of the sacred purpose of it.

St. Paul tells us about the resurrected body:
There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the brightness of the heavenly is one kind and that of the earthly another. The brightness of the sun is one kind, the brightness of the moon another, and the brightness of the stars another. For star differs from star in brightness. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one. 1 Cor 15:40-44
Based on the Scriptural evidence of the Resurrection of the body, the Church teaches us about this doctrine in the Catechism

997 What is "rising"? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection.

998 Who will rise? All the dead will rise, "those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."

999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself";but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, "all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear," but Christ "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body," into a "spiritual body":

But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel. . . . What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. . . . The dead will be raised imperishable. . . . For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.

1000 This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Christ's transfiguration of our bodies:

Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God's blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection.

1001 When? Definitively "at the last day," "at the end of the world."Indeed, the resurrection of the dead is closely associated with Christ's Parousia:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.


Peace.

Catholic Carnival #198

I have missed several Catholic Carnivals recently.
Go see the latest one out here.

Catholic Marriage and the Eucharist

Q - We were married by a pastor in his office as we are both over 75. One of us is Catholic the other Protestant. Can the Catholic still receive Communion?

A - Thanks for the question. If the pastor was Catholic, then the Catholic can most likely still receive Communion. If he was a non-Catholic pastor (and you didn't receive permission from the Catholic Bishop beforehand), then the marriage needs to be convalidated (sometimes called "recognized") by the Catholic Church before the Catholic spouse can receive the Eucharist. This is because the Catholic is still bound to marry according to the guidelines set forth by the Church. Until this happens, the marriage is not considered valid by the Church.

To have the marriage convalidated is a fairly simple process. You will need to meet with a priest or deacon, tell them your situation, fill out some paperwork, and then schedule a ceremony for the convalidation. It is usually a small, private ceremony. If one of you was divorced and the former spouse is still living, then the process of anullment (technically a declaration of nullity) must be done before the convalidation. This takes much more time and effort, but is necessary because the Church still recognizes the first marriage as valid, until death, unless the couple was never validly married int he first place.

The church views all marriages with the utmost respect and considers them sacred in the eyes of God. It is a bringing together of two people, until death of one of the spouses. This joining together is the beauty of the marriage. The ultimate purpose of the marriage is to help the spouses grow in holiness, get to heaven, glorify God and raise their children with the same goals. With this in mind, the rules of the church help us to achieve these goals by giving us guidelines for how to proceed properly. We shouldn't see them as impediments to doing as we wish, but rather as help to us in achieving higher goals.

Peace to you both.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Dad - The Veteran

Thank a veteran on this Veteran's Day.
Here is what I sent my dad.

Dad,

I don’t say it enough, but thanks.


Thanks for handing on the faith of Jesus Christ to me.

Thanks for imparting in me a value for every human life and soul.

Thanks for giving me life.

Thanks for helping me realize that I had a purpose and a mission.

Thanks for watching over me, protecting me and nurturing me when I was young and innocent.

Thanks for seeking to build virtue in me.

Thanks for respecting my freedom.

Thanks for loving me.

Today, Veteran’s Day, I have some extra thanks to give you.

Thanks for risking your life to fight for our freedoms.

Thanks for being brave enough to go to war for what you believe in.

Thanks for putting it all on the line in order that the ideals of this country could continue.

Thanks Dad.

I love you.

Marcel

My dad rocks.
Thank you God for our armed forces. Please protect them and their families.

O'Brien on FOCA

Rocco has a sneak-peak of an article that Archbishop O'Brien on Baltimore is set to release about the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Here are a few snips:
We pray there will be many issues upon which we can work in wholehearted unity with our country’s new administration and members of Congress. But today I urge all Catholics—those who voted for our president-elect and those who did not—to respond to President-elect Obama’s promise in his November 4 acceptance speech: “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”

Of particular concern to Catholics and others seeking to promote a culture of life, is Senator Obama’s public commitment to passing the Freedom of Choice Act. It is critically important that we voice our early and grave concerns to our elected officials regarding this uncompromising legislation, which is currently pending before Congress.
This is a call to action. He explains further:

The Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, eliminates even the most modest regulations on abortion and creates a “fundamental right” to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Despite its misleading title claiming freedom of choice, FOCA, co-sponsored by Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger and Chris Van Hollen…
  • Removes the choice of medical providers to refuse in good conscience to provide morally offensive services.
  • Removes the choice of taxpayers to decline to have their money pay for morally abhorrent procedures.
  • Removes the choice of state legislatures to undertake reasonable and widely accepted regulations of abortions, including those that increase education and family involvement while reducing the number of abortions.
Not only does FOCA eliminate legitimate conscientious choice, it actually expands the scope of laws to enhance abortion on demand by…
  • Making abortion a “fundamental” right: Thus, policies now in place by the will of the people and legislatures in many states would be overridden across the nation. (e.g. informed consent, parental notification, and restrictions on government funding of abortions).
  • Requiring an expansion of government-assisted abortions through military and public hospitals.
  • Requiring greater taxpayer subsidy of abortions.
A threat to all life, this legislation would also have a terrible impact on Catholic and other pro-life healthcare providers. Of particular note:
  • FOCA trumps state laws that protect rights of providers (e.g. Catholic hospitals, pharmacists, etc.) to conscientiously object to performing abortions if such state laws are seen to in any way “interfere” with a woman’s decision to have an abortion.
  • FOCA undermines the freedom of religion upon which our country was founded.
  • I pledge that we will join with other all law-abiding religious and public interest groups in taking every action necessary to resist this blatant attempt to stifle the consciences of those who continue to hold innocent human life sacred.
    FOCA is dangerous. We need to oppose it. Here are some resources:
    1 - The FOCA fact sheet by the US Bishops.
    2 - The Fight FOCA petition.

    Follow Us

    Google recently added a new function that enables you to follow a blog.
    It is an easy way to keep up to date with blogs you regularly visit - like us.
    Check it out.

    Church Structure?

    Q - How do less structured, Protestant denominations function without an authority? What I mean really is, where is the line drawn between one denomination and the next if there is no real authority that makes concrete decisions and creates boundaries? Believing in certain things may categorize you as not being in accordance with the Catholic Church, whereas the same may be true for Protestant denominations, the lines seem less fine.

    A - Thanks for asking. I think you understand part of the difficulty of not having an authority to solve doctrinal disagreements. I will be speaking in generalities to answer your question, so please remember that not every Protestant denomination or group functions the same. Some have hierarchies - such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians - though none are as defined as the Catholic Church. Others have little, if any, hierarchy - such as non-denominational churches, Baptist, and Pentecostals.

    For those groups with little, if any, authority - the decisions about doctrine and belief are ultimately left up to the believer. Hence, the Southern Baptist Convention has a statement of belief that says:
    Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons.
    Therefore you join a Church that believes as you do. These churches then join organizations that share their belief systems. There is no central authority. When doctrinal differences arise, you either live with the differences or separate. This is why there are thousands of different Protestant denominations. Each group has something that divides them from others.

    The line is less fine when doctrine is not quite as clear. But, many groups have a clear belief system that draws a firm line as well. But, this does not make things easy. For instance, even though the Anglican Church (Episcopalians are the US Anglicans) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) both have those that are made bishops and have leaders with some authority, it hasn't stopped differences from starting to divide their churches. The Anglicans are suffering quite a bit with how to handle openly homosexual priests and bishops. Some others have thrown down the gauntlet and many think it is only a matter of time before there is a split again.

    Pray for Christian unity. But, not a false unity of holding hands and ignoring our differences, but a real unity in belief and beatitude.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Questions and Such

    Thanks for all the questions that many of you have been sending in. Rest assured that I am not ignoring them, but am backlogged a bit. No worries, I will try to get to them all soon.

    The Pope and the Patriarch approve of this message.

    Grace and the Image of God

    Q - Actual grace versus the image and likeness of God. Actual grace constantly points us toward God, but doesn’t naturally the fact that we are made in His image do the same thing, to fulfill ourselves as humans our hearts would naturally look toward God, or in some cases something that resembles it?

    Also, taint of sin, a little confused by that, how is sin not irrevocably taken away at confession?


    A - Thanks for asking. What does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God? That is a very deep question and one which I cannot address fully in so limited a space. But, suffice it to say that we are called by our creation in God's image to heaven and communion with Him. We are made for Him and His purposes and our imaging of Him reflects this reality.

    But, we are in a wounded state where we can't see this reality clearly. This is because we have a tendency to sin - we call this tendency concupiscence. We all struggle with sin because of the freedom we have been given (part of the gift of being made in God's image). But, this is where actual grace comes in.

    Actual grace, is different from sanctifying grace. Actual grace is something that works on us from the outside of our souls that pushes us toward God. Sanctifying grace is interior. It makes us pleasing to God and is necessary to go to heaven. We are able to lose sanctifying grace, but since actual grace isn't interior, we cannot free ourselves from it.

    Actual grace comes for a time to prod us toward God. We are always free to accept or reject these moments of grace, but they never stop coming until we die. We need this, because even though we are made for God in His image, we are fallen and sin.

    As for the taint of sin or stain of sin, this is what concupiscence is - the tendency to sin. We won't be free of this, because we are not fully in communion with God (and therefore our redemption, salvation and justification are not fully complete) until we enter into heaven. Until this happens, we will always have this stain of sin, though we are freed from the guilt of sin by having them forgiven by God.

    Original Sin

    Q - Original sin: how does that propagate from person to person, no man is punishable by another’s sin, but at the same time there was a void that the whole race created when Adam and Eve fell as humans. Also, if every person does have it then how did Mary come to be without it?

    A - Great question. Thanks for asking. The simple answer is that just as humans share in the redemption of Christ, so we also share in the fall with Adam and Eve.
    Just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned - for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come. But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person's transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many. And the gift is not like the result of the one person's sinning. For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation; but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal. For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ. - Romans 5:12-17
    We all share a nature and when Adam was tested, it wasn't so much as an individual, but as the representative of all of humanity. Thus, all of humanity failed the test and fell from grace.
    Thus, the Catechism teaches:

    404 - How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

    Support a Catholic Blogger

    Thomas Peters who writes American Papist is in a blogging contest for a scholarship. If he wins, he gets $10,000 to pay down loans. He is a good guy, the son of one of my former professors (whom I greatly admire) and has a great blog. Go vote for him.

    Words and Caesar

    In Archbishop Chaput's newest book, Render Unto Caesar, he does a masterful job of laying out a Catholic's responsibility to engage in public debate and service by bringing the faith into the public square, not leaving it at the Church door. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to know how to engage in civic debate while retaining your faith or those who doubt that faith is good for our country.

    I will not get into a detailed analysis of the book, but one section I read recently stood out to me. It is here that Chaput focuses on the loss of language in our society. We have re-created the meaning of words to fit what we want them to mean or we have washed the meaning of those words clean. Without meaning, we are at a loss when we try to communicate. Without the basic means of communication, we end up speaking past one another or at one another, not with each other.

    Words have meaning and meaning underpins our actions.
    Words have consequences!

    Therefore, when we start to redefine or obscure the meaning of words such as "marriage", "freedom", "sin", "human", etc. we change more than just words.

    The root of such problems lies in the relativistic way we approach truth in our society. We want to make truth into whatever we want it to be, this is the same thing that Adam and Eve did. they told God "it may be true for you, but not for me" and they ate the apple.

    We have to fight this creeping relativism and the ignorance it betrays. We must fight to form ourselves and others into THE Truth - Jesus Christ and His Church. We can't just allow society to re-define truth, we must engage in public debate and bring THE Truth with us. Otherwise we allow lies and feelings to trump reality.

    Archbishop Chaput also quoted Stephen Colbert and I found the video he quoted. Oh, he speaketh the truth. - "We are divided by those who think with their head and those who know with their heart."

    Truth. Live it. Speak it. Believe it. Just don't feel it.

    Pray for Our Bishops

    They are meeting currently. They will be tackling some issues that clearly divide them, such as how to deal with pro-abortion politicians.

    They need our prayers. Here is what Cardinal George said to them to open it all up. Here are a few snips:
    The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice.
    He then ends with:
    We meet amidst enormous challenges to our Church, our country and our ministry, but that is, to some extent, always the case. Sometimes I’ve been tempted to think that bishops should be given, at their consecration, not crosiers but mops! What we are given before the crosier, if you recall, is the Word of God in written form, held above our head so that it may permeate our spirit. With you, I pray that all the topics we consider in our meeting now and all we do in the difficult days to come will be done together in the charity of Christ, who is the source of our unity and our strength. In so governing, in calling all to join us in listening to the incarnate Word of God from within his body, the Church, what we do now will have consequences for eternity; and we will be good shepherds to our people, good servants in our society and good disciples of Our Lord.

    Fr. Dresser Issue - Continued

    Fr. Dresser denied that Christ is God, among other silliness.
    I wrote that a response would be forthcoming and as I predicted - here it is.

    Of course Fr. Dresser's "apology" wasn't much of one.

    Tip o' the Hat to Carl.

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    Ecumenism

    Some times it is easier to define something by what it is not. For instance, when we study theology, we are better able to say what God is not, than what He is. God is not selfish. God is not evil. God is not limited to space and time.

    In the case of ecumenism, it is sometimes given the simple definition of working toward true Christian unity. This is well and good, but what does that look like on the ground? That is harder to say. But, what we can say is - this incident is most certainly NOT ecumenism.

    Friday, November 7, 2008

    Friday Fun

    Competition time. Based on the Oxford list of top ten most irritating phrases, you are charged with coming up with the most irritating combination of them, when combined with my own personal list. Also, add your own.

    Oxford's most irritating phrases:
    1 - At the end of the day
    2 - Fairly unique
    3 - I personally
    4 - At this moment in time
    5 - With all due respect
    6 - Absolutely
    7 - It's a nightmare
    8 - Shouldn't of
    9 - 24/7
    10 - It's not rocket science

    Marcel's most irritating phrases (not exhaustive):
    1 - Like
    2 - You know what I am saying? OR You know?
    3 - LOL / ROFL
    4 - Don't judge me / You are being judgmental / Judge not (when misunderstood)
    5 - Dubya
    6 - Legit
    7 - That's hot
    8 - OMG
    9 - True story
    10 - Any word that ends in "z" when it should be an "s" (e.g, boyz, songz, kidz, etc)

    Ready. Set. Go.
    Tip O' the Hat to Keith.

    Evangelization

    Q - What can I do to help spread the word of Jesus Christ if I am only one person?

    A - Great question! I love to evangelize and so does the Catholic Church. But, before we get to the 'what', we need to answer a few other questions.

    Evangelization can be defined as spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is done in a variety of ways, but it is primarily done in relationships with others. So, it is necessary that every Christian is an evangelist. We must live out the gospel and talk about it with others. It can be as simple as inviting someone to church with you or telling your story. It can also be lived out in a prayerful, holy life.

    I have written a great deal on evangelization previously. So, if you want to know more then check out some of these:
    That will get you started. For a different perspective, then check out what Sarah had to say about sharing your faith.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    Freedom Of Choice Act - FOCA

    The Freedom of Choice Act would roll back every pro-life law and restriction that is currently on the books. To sign a petition to fight it and to find our more - check this out.

    Prayer Request

    The American mentioned in this article was a schoolmate of mine in High School. Please keep her and her family in her prayers. She is back in San Antonio being treated and is in bad shape. She was doing humanitarian aid.

    An Afghan national in Meywand, Khandahar province, reportedly doused a U.S. civilian working with the U.S. military with a flammable liquid and lit the worker on fire. Another U.S. civilian then shot and killed the attacker.

    The burn victim sustained serious injuries and was transported to a Coalition forces medical facility for treatment.

    The U.S. civilians were working with teams of anthropologists and psychologists that help the U.S. military with cultural awareness.

    The incident is under investigation.

    Go to a Catholic College and Lose Your Faith?

    Many do.
    A study on students at Catholic Colleges reports the following.

    Key findings clearly demonstrate that large numbers of students at Catholic colleges and universities are in clear conflict with the Catholic Church.

    Clearly, some of the findings are troubling, but some are a result of living in the USA. Most know someone that got an abortion or had friends that had premarital sex. The troubling part, for me, is found in what the students did not believe.

    Here are the stats I found troubling:
    -Sixty percent (60%) agree strongly or somewhat that abortion should be legal (including 53% of those who currently identify as Catholic, and half those who were sacramentally-active Catholics during their last year at a Catholic college or university).
    -Sixty percent (60%) agree strongly or somewhat that premarital sex with someone
    you really care about is not a sin (including 55% of current Catholics, 53% of sacramentally-active Catholics).
    -Seventy-eight percent (78%) disagree strongly or somewhat that using a condom
    to prevent pregnancy is a serious sin (including 73% of current Catholics, 69% of sacramentally-active Catholics).
    -Fifty-seven percent (57%) agree strongly or somewhat that same-sex marriage should be legal (including 53% of current Catholics, 48% of sacramentally-active
    Catholics).
    -Sixty-one percent (61%) of both current Catholics and sacramentally-active Catholics agree strongly or somewhat that women should be allowed to be ordained as Catholic priests.
    Ouch. Here is the full report.

    Dos and Don'ts of Reading The Bible

    My latest on CatholicExchange.com.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Salvo

    I discovered a new magazine today that has very good writing in it. It is called Salvo Magazine. The stated purpose is:

    Blasting holes in scientific naturalism, marveling at the intricate design of the universe, and promoting life in a culture of death;

    Critiquing art, music, film, television, and literature, interrupting mass media influence, and questioning the sanity of our consumerist lifestyle;

    Countering destructive ideologies, replacing revisionist fictions with undeniable facts, and paring away political correctness;

    Debunking the cultural myths that have undercut human dignity, all but destroyed the notions of virtue and morality, and slowly eroded our appetite for transcendence;

    Recovering the one worldview that actually works.

    Nice!
    Check out these two articles to get you started:
    -The Tyranny of the Minority
    -7 Things You Can't Do as a Moral Relativist

    Benedict and Obama

    *The Pope has sent our President-elect a hopeful to-do list in a letter. It includes:
    -build a world of peace, solidarity and justice.
    *The US Bishops, through Cardinal George, sent a letter to Obama as well. It reads as follows:
    Dear President-elect Obama,

    I write to you, in my capacity as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to express our congratulations on your historic election as President of the United States. The people of our country have entrusted you with a great responsibility. As Catholic Bishops, we offer our prayers that God give you strength and wisdom to meet the coming challenges.

    Our country is confronting many uncertainties. We pray that you will use the powers of your office to meet them with a special concern to defend the most vulnerable among us and heal the divisions in our country and our world. We stand ready to work with you in defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person.

    May God bless you and Vice President-elect Biden as you prepare to assume your duties in service to our country and its citizens.

    Sincerely yours,

    Francis Cardinal George, OMI
    Archbishop of Chicago
    President
    *Across the Atlantic, Britain has enacted new rules about who can and cannot visit the UK. The ban includes all those who are "preachers of hate". By this definition, pro-life activists will be excluded. Read more.

    Armageddon or Utopia?

    Yesterday we got a call from a person who chose life over abortion. She walked away from the abortion clinic and then called us to try and find help. We referred them to a local organization that supports pregnant mothers.

    It was a poignant reminder that neither utopia nor Armageddon will come by way of politics. Our hope is always in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. His power is supreme and no earthly power will reign over Him. We are the soldiers and in many ways we lost several pro-life political battles yesterday, but they were merely political ones. Yes, it is important to fight for leaders and laws that will protect all life, but our battle is a spiritual one and we are winning that war one soul and one baby at a time.

    Yesterday we lost some political pro-life battles.
    But, we won the life of a human being.

    I think we won yesterday.