Thursday, April 30, 2009

For Your Marriage

John T. Noonan Jr.

Notre Dame will have Judge John T. Noonan Jr. give the speech for the Laetare Medal, but not receive the medal himself since he is a past recipient, in place of Mary Ann Glendon who decided against receiving the medal and speaking. Here is part of the ND statement:

Judge John T. Noonan Jr., the 1984 recipient of the Laetare Medal, has accepted an invitation to deliver an address in the spirit of the award at Notre Dame’s 164th University Commencement Ceremony on May 17. His speech will be in lieu of awarding the medal this year.

“In thinking about who could bring a compelling voice, a passion for dialogue, great intellectual stature, and a deep commitment to Catholic values to the speaking role of the Laetare Medalist – especially in these unusual circumstances – it quickly became clear that an ideal choice is Judge Noonan,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame. “This commencement ceremony, more than anything else, is a celebration of our students and their families. Judge Noonan will join with President Obama and other speakers in that celebration, sending them from our campus and into the world with sound advice and affirmation.

“Since Judge Noonan is a previous winner of the Laetare Medal, we have decided, upon reflection, to not award the medal this year.”
His "commitment to Catholic values" does include a strong opposition to abortion, but it also includes being pro-contraception.

In other Obama news that concerns Catholics and abortion - a reporter decided to ask a tough question about Catholics, Notre Dame, and abortion. Obama gave the same fence-straddling answers he has recently and avoided other parts. But, kudos to the reporter who asked difficult questions.
Here is the exchange in full:

Ed Henry?

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. In a couple of weeks, you're going to be giving the commencement at Notre Dame. And, as you know, this has caused a lot of controversy among Catholics who are opposed to your position on abortion.

As a candidate, you vowed that one of the very things you wanted to do was sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which, as you know, would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion. And at one point in the campaign when asked about abortion and life, you said that it was above — quote, above my pay grade.

Now that you've been president for 100 days, obviously, your pay grade is a little higher than when you were a senator.

Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?

OBAMA: You know, the — my view on — on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.

I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they — if they suggest — and I don't want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women's freedom and that there's no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.

The reason I'm pro-choice is because I don't think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.

So — so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.

And so I've got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.

Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that's — that's where I'm going to focus.

Pray for our President.

Hasta La Vista Baby

Terminator wasn't too far off. Scary.

Discussion on Abortion, Politicians, Notre Dame, etc

This is a nice dialogue on contemporary issues facing the Catholic Church in the USA.

Tip o' the Hat to Amy.

The Hunt For Gollum

Now this is cool. If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings movies, you can appreciate this:

The Hunt For Gollum is an unofficial not for profit short film by a group of enthusiast filmmakers. As a Lord of the Rings Fan Film, we are not affiliated with the Tolkien Estate or New Line Cinema and are producing this project as an entirely non commercial film. As with other fan films we are making this purely for the enjoyment of the material and the experience of making a high quality low budget film.

It only cost a few thousand to make this? Amazing! I will be watching the whole film once it is made public.

Pope Answers 1st Communion Questions

I have never seen this - a Q&A between the Pope and children who received 1st Communion recently. Thanks to Amy Welborn for posting this. Here are a few of the questions with his answers:

3. Andrea

In preparing me for my First Communion day, my catechist told me that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. But how? I can't see him!

No, we cannot see him, but there are many things that we do not see but they exist and are essential. For example: we do not see our reason, yet we have reason. We do not see our intelligence and we have it. In a word: we do not see our soul and yet it exists and we see its effects, because we can speak, think and make decisions, etc. Nor do we see an electric current, for example, yet we see that it exists; we see this microphone, that it is working, and we see lights. Therefore, we do not see the very deepest things, those that really sustain life and the world, but we can see and feel their effects. This is also true for electricity; we do not see the electric current but we see the light.

So it is with the Risen Lord: we do not see him with our eyes but we see that wherever Jesus is, people change, they improve. A greater capacity for peace, for reconciliation, etc., is created. Therefore, we do not see the Lord himself but we see the effects of the Lord: so we can understand that Jesus is present. And as I said, it is precisely the invisible things that are the most profound, the most important. So let us go to meet this invisible but powerful Lord who helps us to live well.

4. Giulia

Your Holiness, everyone tells us that it is important to go to Mass on Sunday. We would gladly go to it, but often our parents do not take us because on Sundays they sleep. The parents of a friend of mine work in a shop, and we often go to the country to visit our grandparents. Could you say something to them, to make them understand that it is important to go to Mass together on Sundays?

I would think so, of course, with great love and great respect for your parents, because they certainly have a lot to do. However, with a daughter's respect and love, you could say to them: "Dear Mommy, dear Daddy, it is so important for us all, even for you, to meet Jesus. This encounter enriches us. It is an important element in our lives. Let's find a little time together, we can find an opportunity. Perhaps there is also a possibility where Grandmom lives". In brief, I would say, with great love and respect for your parents, I would tell them: "Please understand that this is not only important for me, it is not only catechists who say it, it is important for us all. And it will be the light of Sunday for all our family".

5. Alessandro

What good does it do for our everyday life to go to Holy Mass and receive Communion?

It centres life. We live amid so many things. And the people who do not go to church, do not know that it is precisely Jesus they lack. But they feel that something is missing in their lives. If God is absent from my life, if Jesus is absent from my life, a guide, an essential friend is missing, even an important joy for life, the strength to grow as a man, to overcome my vices and mature as a human being.

Therefore, we cannot immediately see the effects of being with Jesus and of going to Communion. But with the passing of the weeks and years, we feel more and more keenly the absence of God, the absence of Jesus. It is a fundamental and destructive incompleteness. I could easily speak of countries where atheism has prevailed for years: how souls are destroyed, but also the earth. In this way we can see that it is important, and I would say fundamental, to be nourished by Jesus in Communion. It is he who gives us enlightenment, offers us guidance for our lives, a guidance that we need.

6. Anna

Dear Pope, can you explain to us what Jesus meant when he said to the people who were following him: "I am the bread of life?".

First of all, perhaps we should explain clearly what bread is. Today, we have a refined cuisine, rich in very different foods, but in simpler situations bread is the basic source of nourishment; and when Jesus called himself the bread of life, the bread is, shall we say, the initial, an abbreviation that stands for all nourishment. And as we need to nourish our bodies in order to live, so we also need to nourish our spirits, our souls and our wills. As human persons, we do not only have bodies but also souls; we are thinking beings with minds and wills. We must also nourish our spirits and our souls, so that they can develop and truly attain their fulfilment.

And therefore, if Jesus says: "I am the bread of life", it means that Jesus himself is the nourishment we need for our soul, for our inner self, because the soul also needs food. And technical things do not suffice, although they are so important. We really need God's friendship, which helps us to make the right decisions. We need to mature as human beings. In other words: Jesus nourishes us so that we can truly become mature people and our lives become good.

7. Adriano

Holy Father, they've told us that today we will have Eucharistic Adoration. What is it? How is it done? Can you explain it to us? Thank you.

We will see straightaway what adoration is and how it is done, because everything has been properly prepared for it: we will say prayers, we will sing, kneel, and in this way we will be in Jesus' presence.

But of course, your question requires a deeper answer: not only how you do adoration but what adoration is. I would say: adoration is recognizing that Jesus is my Lord, that Jesus shows me the way to take, and that I will live well only if I know the road that Jesus points out and follow the path he shows me.

Therefore, adoration means saying: "Jesus, I am yours. I will follow you in my life, I never want to lose this friendship, this communion with you". I could also say that adoration is essentially an embrace with Jesus in which I say to him: "I am yours, and I ask you, please stay with me always".

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

USCCB on Swine Flu

Yep - it has gone national.

Priest Forgives Attacker

Forgiveness is a gift from God. When we forgive we share that gift with others.
"I was in the confessional, putting my coat on, and felt a piercing sensation in my back left side," the priest recalled. "I looked up and she was standing there, and I felt it again in my back. Then I realized I was stabbed and my hand was covered with blood."

Massaro said his alleged attacker stared at him but never said a word.

"I ran and got to the car and hoped I could make it to the hospital before I passed out. I was worried about becoming unconscious. Thanks be to God that I didn't hurt anyone driving," he said.

An emergency room doctor told police that the knife "went through muscle, a few veins and chipped a rib," according to an arrest affidavit. The blade missed vital organs by two to three centimeters, the affidavit said.

Massaro underwent surgery to repair the damage. Doctors used 14 staples to close the "T"-shaped wounds.

The priest feels compassion for the woman who attacked him, and he is turning the other cheek.

"We have to continue to pray to do the church's work. To love, and most of all to forgive," he said. "To be sure she doesn't do this again, she needs proper medical care. No one in their right mind would do this."

Read the full story here.
When asked why she did it she said that Fr. Michael was the Antichrist. He said this:
And just for the record, "I am not the Antichrist, that I know of," Massaro said with a laugh.
Good for him...and us.

Swine Flu

Remember these facts when you think about the swine flu:

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.

Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications; and
  • about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications.

The biggest fear people have is the quick spread of the virus because there is no vaccination yet - though one is coming later this year.

Swine Flu Update - Dallas Diocese

The Diocese of Dallas says don't come to church if you feel sick. The Diocese posted this letter.
Dear Friends in Christ:

During recent days we have all become aware of the potential danger of the possibility of a serious epidemic of “swine flu” for which there is no vaccination. To assist in preventing the spread of such a possible epidemic, I have asked that each pastor give mindful consideration to the following items:
a. Remind all of our people at Mass to be attentive to the indications of our public health officials with respect to the transmission of this flu; and
b. Consider suspending in your parish the reception of the Holy Eucharist under both species for an appropriate period of time;
c. Ensure that all Eucharistic Ministers use proper hygiene before the distribution of the Eucharist at masses.

I thank you all for your attention to this matter and ask that you offer prayers for the well-being of those afflicted by this illness and for all public health officials as they guide us in eradicating this threat.

Faithfully in Christ,
Most Reverend Kevin J. Farrell, D.D.
Bishop of Dallas
Then they recommend:
Father Michael Dugan, Director of the Office of Liturgy for the Diocese of Dallas, offers the following reminders and recommendations.

Sunday Obligation: The Obligation to attend Mass on Sunday other Holy Days of Obligation, (Canon 1247) is the ordinary expectation of Catholics. Obviously, extraordinary circumstances such as sickness, travel, or bad weather excuse the faithful from this obligation. If you are not feeling well, especially during this time of concern, please stay at home and do not risk spreading infection to others. Please stay at home and do not attend Mass.

Sign of Peace: Members of our congregations should not be offended at this time if someone chooses not to shake the other person’s hand at the sign of peace. If you are ill, the appropriate response to someone extending a sign of peace might be to bow to them and say, “Peace be with You,” to avoid bodily contact or one might wave slightly at the other person.

Reception of Holy Communion: It is the teaching of the Church that the Fullness of the Body and Blood of Christ are contained in the Holy Eucharist, under the form of the Host that is distributed at the Mass. The Church has extended the privilege to receive at communion the Blood of Christ in the form of wine. We highly encourage the following practices during this time. If you are feeling sick, please receive communion in the hand, and refrain from receiving communion under the form of the Blood of Christ.

Persons with Compromised Immune Systems: Persons who have been directed by their medical advisors that they are particularly susceptible to infection may choose to refrain from any practices by which they might become sick, including shaking hands, receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, drinking from the Precious Blood, etc.

The Liturgy Office of the Diocese of Dallas with the Secretariat for Divine Worship will continue to monitor closely the situation and provide the best advice possible to the parishes and institutions and people of the Diocese of Dallas.

I know more dioceses will follow suit soon.

Pope to Holyland

FYI - got this email recently.


My name is Michal Moreno, and I have just visited your blog and was very impressed by it- it is very well written, and seems like it has a big crowd of loyal readers.

What I haven't mentioned yet is that I live in Israel, and among the rest - am also a fellow blogger who works from home.

As you may know, Pope Benedict XVI is about to embark on a pilgrimage tour in Israel in a mission of peace and reconciliation. His Holiness defined his pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a visit to the birthplace of the Christian faith.

The Pontiff’s pilgrimage will take him to Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem, and will take place between May 11th and May 15th 2009.

In order to provide catholics around the world with as much information as possible regarding the pope visit, the Israel Ministry of tourism has set up a website that will cover all the planned pilgrimage details, and supply news and updates on the pope visit to Israel in real-time.

you may view the website here:

There is also a short video that has been produced with respect to pilgrimage to the holyland:

If you find the website and/or video as appropriate content for your blog – you're more than welcome to use and implement any of them.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please don't hesitate to contact me by email.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Michal Moreno


This is a great story. But, to get the most out of it, watch in order.

Story background:

For more background info, click here and here.
Now watch this and smile.

Pope Visits Earthquake Victims

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why Catholics Leave The Church

A new study from the Pew Forum has isolated some of the reasons that Catholics leave the Church. I have been sitting on this for a few days trying to sort out some of my thoughts. There are many making comments on the issue already including this story from CNA, which quotes the author in one conclusion based on the study:
Adolescence is a critical time in religious development and, as the poll shows, what happens in the teen years has a long-lasting affect. We have to help young people and their parents appreciate the importance of going to weekly Mass so teenagers know Jesus is there for them now and always.
That quote and this graphic really struck me.

My initial thoughts were that the three factors above made no difference, statistically speaking, in whether one stayed Catholic or not. So, I asked a friend who has a Ph.D. in statistics, who I run all stat questions by, to look at my conclusion. He wrote me back and said:
Here’s my stat answer: not exactly.
I tried to extract the raw numbers, and it would have been nice to be able to disentangle the overlaps (i.e. if someone had two or more of the formation categories), consequently I can’t examine all three factors simultaneously. Apart from that, here’s what I see from the data:
  • There are no significant pair wise differences in retention rates for Catholics who attended either RE or youth groups.
  • There is a significant pair wise difference in retention rates for those who attended Catholic high school. Approximately 1 out of 3 students remained Catholic if they attended Catholic high school, compared to slightly over 1 in 4 of those who did not. To put another way, a person who was Catholic and attended a Catholic high school is 33% more likely to remain Catholic.
I didn’t look into the source material. I don’t suspect there are school quality measures or anything else to reflect differences among Catholic schools.
The best conclusion from this study might then be that raising your kids "Catholic" means more than dropping them off at RE and sending them to a Catholic school. We have to truly "hand on" the faith in the family. We have to live it, breathe it, pray it, talk about it, reflect it, and enflesh it.

God does the rest. But, we probably already knew that.

Swine Flu

From the Diocese of Austin:
April 28, 2009

Priests and Deacons of the Diocese of Austin

Dear Brothers in Christ:

I have been in conversation with members of the State of Texas Health Department. There seems to be more unknown, than actually known about the swine flu virus. We do not want to create a “panic” but the reality remains that the virus has infected people in Texas and many unanswered questions remain. Therefore, it is wise to be cautious. For the sake of caution and respect for life, I am requesting that we do not offer communion under both species until further notice. Please do not offer the Blood of Christ at Eucharist until more is known about the virus. It seems that having the public drink from the chalice may be an unnecessary risk. This is also an opportunity to make sure all ministers of communion, ordinary and extraordinary, should have clean hands. Thanks for your cooperation. Let us pray for those whose lives have been taken in death and for those fighting the virus.

Fraternally in Christ,
Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond
Bishop of Austin
Good decision and not unexpected.
Remember that we receive the full presence of Christ with either species.
"Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ" - CCC 1377

Also, "species" speaks of the Body of Christ and the Bread of Christ - not different kinds of animals. One of our employees mis-read and thought someone was making a joke about not giving Communion to humans & pigs. That would give a whole new way to understand Jesus saying "Don't throw your pearls before swine".

17 Years

At 17 years old you can NOT:
  • Drink alcohol
  • Vote
  • Sign for a loan
  • Buy cigarettes
  • Join the military without parental consent
At 17 you CAN:
I don't think that smoking cigarettes is nearly as bad a decision as killing your baby and not having to tell anyone about it. Esp. when the side-effects are so dangerous.

Canonization of 5 New Saints

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great Literature

I had a conversation with several students today about good literature and they asked for recommendations. I provided them with a list of several dozen off the top of my head. I decided - in my small and vain attempt to get all of us to read more good fiction - I will provide a list of good novels (mostly) that all have a redeeming value to them. In other words, they can be good for the spirit as well as the mind. Of course, this list is incomplete and full of my own personal bias. It spans a broad spectrum of books - from ancient to modern - foreign to domestic - children to adult - easy to difficult - provocative to simple.
  • The Brothers Karamozov – Fyodor Dostoevsky (my favorite of all novels)
  • The Power and The Glory – Graham Greene
  • The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  • Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  • The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • The Catcher in The Rye – JD Salinger
  • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beacher Stowe
  • The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  • The Lord Of The Rings – JRR Tolkien
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  • Animal Farm - George Orwell
  • Anything by Shakespeare
  • Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  • The Iliad - Homer
  • The Odyssey - Homer
  • The Aeneid - Virgil
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (a series of books) - CS Lewis
  • Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
  • A Farewell To Arms - Ernest Hemingway
  • The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
  • All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
  • Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls
  • Don Quixote – Cervantes
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
  • David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  • Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  • Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
  • Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  • Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare
  • The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
What did I miss or what should I be reading?

White House Responds to Mary Ann Glendon

AmP points us to CBN.
“President Obama is disappointed by former Ambassador Mary Glendon’s decision, but he looks forward to delivering an inclusive and respectful speech at the Notre Dame graduation, a school with a rich history of fostering the exchange of ideas.  While he is honored to have the support of millions of people of all faiths, he does not govern with the expectation that everyone sees eye to eye with him on every position, and the spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country.”
Many who support Notre Dame's decision to invite President Obama to speak, thought that having Mary Ann Glendon as a "counter" to Obama would soften the blow.  Now that she is gone, the excuses are getting thinner.


I am thinking about re-doing the layout of the blog, but am not real savvy with templates that are not blogger oriented. Any suggestions?

Notre Dame Not Done

Fr. Jenkins has announced that Note Dame will give their award to someone else besides Glendon.

The following statement from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, is in response to the decision by Mary Ann Glendon to decline acceptance of the University’s Laetare Medal:

“We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.”

This is not going well for them. On top of it all, they have had 47 Bishops criticize and disagree with the decision, had millions of dollars in donations lost and badly tarnished their reputation. Others, including Ed Peters and Fr. Raymond de Souza, have taken them to the cleaners when writing about ND's reasoning behind it all.

Notre Dame is in trouble, bigger than they have been in a long time. Pray for the school.

Monday News Items

*Cardinal Newman's beatification is coming next year. He is a mighty intercessor for campus ministry, and if you know anything about campus ministry you should know this - we need all the mighty intercessors we can get.

*Carl Olson examines Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Good stuff.

*The swine flu is a very serious issue, especially in Mexico where many Masses were canceled because of fears that it is spreading so quickly. Even though it isn't as bad in the US (yet?), the government has declared a public health emergency.

*Lila Rose, who has been doing the undercover videos which expose Planned Parenthood, was featured in an article from the LA Times. The story appeared in the local paper (The Eagle) this morning.

*Something we need to keep a close eye on - embryo banks - where people can put babies and use them for "spare parts". Sick.

Notre Dame Scandal UPDATE

From an email from Joe Carter, Web Editor of First Things:
Mary Ann Glendon has declined the Laetare Medal, the annual award from Notre Dame, which she was to receive this spring at the university's graduation ceremonies.

At 9:30 this morning, April 27, 2009, Mary Ann Glendon faxed to the university's president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and published online at First Things a letter explaining her decision to refuse the medal.
Here it is:

April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,

Mary Ann Glendon

Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.

This is not going to get better soon, unless Notre Dame rescinds the invitation to the President, which doesn't seem likely.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another Catholic University Honoring Abortion Supporter

Xavier University in New Orleans has invited Donna Brazile, a Catholic political strategist who supports abortion and embryonic stem cell research, to speak at commencement next month. Archbishop Hughes has said he will not attend and wrote the following letter to the president of Xavier.

Dear Dr. Francis:

I write to you to follow up our telephone conversation. It is with regret that I make the decision not to participate in the Commencement Exercises this year at Xavier University in light of the university’s decision to invite Ms. Donna Brazile to be the Commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree. Ms. Brazile has a public record in support of keeping abortion legal.

In our document released in 2004 the Catholic bishops of the United States provided explicit direction for all Catholic parishes and institutions: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

I recognize that Ms. Brazile is a Catholic Louisiana native who has worked effectively in service to the poor and African Americans in particular. However, her public statements on the abortion issue are not in keeping with Catholic moral teaching. She has supported President Obama’s decision to reverse the Mexico City policy allowing federal funds to organizations that provide abortions overseas by saying that this policy will “save lives.” She has also relativized the importance of the fundamental life issues on national television suggesting that there are more important things for the American people to discuss than abortion. She has supported and worked for the election of candidates who support contraceptive practices and abortion on the basis that this stance is pro-woman.

The Catholic Church stands in support of all of those who want to serve and plead for the poor and vulnerable in our midst. This, however, must include those who are most vulnerable in their mother’s wombs. Moreover, contraceptive practice actually leads men to be less responsible toward women and abortion both harms the mother and kills the child.

I , again, reiterate my disappointment. I have always enjoyed being a part of the Xavier Commencement when I was able to do so. I applaud the remarkable history of Xavier University in offering highly respected university education to African Americans. I also admire your remarkable record of public service.

The University has received an extraordinary legacy from its holy founder, Saint Katherine Drexel. I pray that the university will be faithful to that legacy in every way including respect and protection of all human life.

Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend Alfred C. Hughes
Archbishop of New Orleans

Friday, April 24, 2009

Catholics Come Home

I don't know when they changed course, but decided to allow embedding of their videos. Here is their "Epic". It is the best Catholic commercial for the Church ever made. No other is close. Enjoy.

Lent and Celebration

Q - My parish priest who was ordained during Lent in 1999 celebrated his 10th anniversary on a Friday. Was it proper that the GLORIA be sung at his anniversary Mass? The concelebrating priests were wearing white. Is purple not the color in Lent? Some parishioners had a party it his honor after Mass. Can you really have a celebration during Lent? His dinner had wine and red meat. I thought eating meat on Friday is not permissible.

A - Thanks for the questions. We do not celebrate fully during the Lenten season, even when we celebrate our liturgy. The reason is that the season calls for repentance and fasting. One way to look at these parts of the Mass being taken out is in order for us as a Church to fast from certain joyful celebratory parts of the liturgy.

But, there are exceptions to the Lenten penitential season in our liturgical celebrations. When there is a solemnity (St. Joseph and the Annunciation are regularly in Lent) the Church celebrates with the Gloria, Alleluia, the creed, and no fasting (with the exception of singing alleluia as the Gospel acclamation). Also, when celebrating the patron saint of a parish's feast day, it becomes a solemnity and is an exception. Lastly, the Gloria can be sung on a feast day in addition to solemnities.

The celebration of a priest's anniversary of his ordination is neither a solemnity or a feast. The Sacramentary (under the section "Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions" has the directions for a priest celebrating his ordination. For the entire section it reads:
Masses for various needs and occasions are celebrated in the color proper to the day or the season or in violet if they bear a penitential character
So, the Mass, as you describe it, was probably not liturgically proper, nor was the eating of meat (unless a special dispensation from the Bishop was granted for the celebration). There is nothing wrong with having wine on a Friday of Lent.

While the desire for a Mass which is properly celebrated is a good thing, be careful not to become so distracted in playing the "liturgical cop" role that it takes away from our celebration of the Eucharist.

Diocese of Austin Appointments

Some priest appointments that might be of interest to some in the area:
  • Rev. Mike Sis, pastor, St. Thomas More Parish, Austin, effective July 15, 2009.
  • Rev. Dean Wilhelm, pastor, St. William Parish, Round Rock, effective July 15, 2009.
  • Rev. Brian McMaster, Director of the Vocation Office and Director of Seminarians, effective July 15, 2009.
  • Rev. Brian Eilers, Director of Campus Ministry, Catholic Student Center, Texas State University, San Marcos, effective July 15, 2009.
  • Deacon Chris Downey, to be ordained a priest June 6, parochial vicar, St. Mary Catholic Center, College Station, effective July 15, 2009.
  • Deacon Jonathan Raia, to be ordained a priest June 6, parochial vicar, St. William Parish, Round Rock, effective July 15, 2009.
  • Deacon Will Straten, to be ordained a priest June 6, parochial vicar, St. Helen Parish, Georgetown, effective July 15, 2009.
In other news, a Catholic hospital is no longer Catholic.

Trinity Medical Center in Brenham

The Franciscan Services Corporation and the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, have agreed to separate from Trinity Community Medical Center and its affiliated entities in Brenham. The 1989 merger of St. Jude and Bohne Memorial Hospital placed Trinity under the sponsorship of the Sisters of St. Francis, which operated as a Catholic health care organization pursuant to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services promulgated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Due to a recent clarifying interpretation of the Ethical and Religious Directives, Trinity’s board of directors, in consultation with its medical staff, requested to terminate Catholic sponsorship. Trinity will continue to serve the Brenham and Washington County area as a nonprofit health facility, but it will not be a Catholic sponsored hospital.

Sad, but this won't be the last one.

Catholic New Media

The Catholic New Media Conference 2009 will be held in San Antonio on June 27. I am thinking about going, because it is so close (a few minutes from my parents house) and because it would be a good opportunity to meet some of the other Catholics who are interested in new media. I wonder if any of you readers are going?

Speaking of blogs, don't forget to vote for your favorite Catholic blogs in the cannonball awards. There are some great blogs out there that don't get the recognition they deserve. This is one way to give them some free publicity.

Interpretation of Scripture and The Catholic Church

For more on this topic, click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

2009 Cannonball Awards - Catholic Blogs

This is pretty funny. I especially like these categories:
Vote here.

Congressman Lectures Clinton

Mr. Smith from New Jersey gives Secretary of State Clinton a lecture about Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood, and abortion. Then he asks a pointed question - does "reproductive health" = abortion, when used in language and federal policy. The answer is yes.

In this video she says the administration will export abortion and protect "abortion rights".

Ambrose Autpert

Fr. Barron

This is really good stuff on the Mass.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bishop D'Arcy on Fr. Jenkins and Notre Dame

Bishop D'Arcy talks details in a "Statement to the Faithful" about Notre Dame, Obama, and Fr. Jenkins. I have added bolding.

Statement to the faithful

Angels And Demons Movie

The first Dan Brown book (Da Vinci Code) made into a movie did poorly, compared to what the producers expected or hoped to do. Now the second one is coming out this summer (Angels and Demons) and Carl Olson, who co-wrote The Da Vinci Hoax, has some good reasons on his blog on why we should avoid this movie as well. They include disputations of Ron Howard's defense of the movie as friendly toward the Catholic Church.
FACT: As I've noted before, in Angels & Demons, it is the most fervently orthodox Catholic character, Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, the papal chamberlain, who turns out to be the villian, while the agnostic/atheistic/hubristic "hero", Robert Langdon, is the cool voice of reason and science. And the recently deceased pope in the novel (which takes place in a short window of time during a papal conclave) is revealed to have had a son (Ventresca, of course!) by artificial insemination. So, the greatest enemy of the Catholic Church, the novel indicates, is not a mysterious group such as the Illuminati, but devout and loyal Catholic leaders. So the "vicious attack," at least in the novel, is being carried out by the most orthodox, traditional Catholic character, with the obvious implication being that orthodox, traditional Catholics tend to be unstable, narrowminded, and even violent.
Of course the fact that the Church would not let Howard step foot in a Catholic church in order to film tells you something about it as well. Then we have this:

FACT: The novel, Angels & Demons, very obviously depicts the Catholic Church as opposed to reason, logic, and science. “Since the beginning of history,” Langdon states nonsensically at one point, “a deep rift has existed between science and religion” (ch. 9. Of course, modern science, which he is referring to, hasn't been around sicne "the beginning of history".) Brown tosses the bone of Fr. Leonardo (a priest who has an adopted daughter. Say what?), but that is only used as a foil to demonstrate how unusual and upsetting it is to the Catholic leaders in the book that a priest would be an accomplished scientist. The novel claims Galileo was persecuted by the Church and that Copernicus was murdered by the Church, neither of which is true. Never mind that the Catholic Church has a long and illustrious history of supporting scientific investigation and scientists (not a few of them priests).

What the novel does, in addition to generally pitting the Catholic Church against science, is to suggest in several ways that the only way the Catholic Church can survive is to either renounce or seriously rework many of her doctrines and beliefs. In Brown's world is appears that science and religion can co-exist, but only if religion defers in all matters to science and secular interests.

I would just suggest we not attend.


Amy Welborn is posting about evangelization often right now. I highly recommend her blog, esp. this series of posts she is doing. We need to do more work as evangelists individually and as a Church - it is who we are.

As the Archbishop of Valencia, Spain tells us in this interview - evangelization is uber-important.

In an interview with Religion Digital, the archbishop said, “What concerns me is that we Christians understand that it continues to be true that evangelization constitutes the joy and vocation of the Church and her most profound identity. For the Church exists to evangelize, to preach and to teach, in order to be a channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile mankind with God, to perpetuate the sacrifice of Christ.”

The great concern of the Church should be to recover the enthusiasm of the proclamation, knowing where she stands and the difficulties she faces, without shrinking from difficulties or constantly crying about it,” he added.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pretty Cool

Here are two websites which allow you to make your own hero. Cool.

Bishop Finn says "We Are at War"

This is getting right to it...
But as I speak a word of encouragement today I also want to tell you soberly, dear friends, “We are at war!”

We are at war.
Harsh as this may sound it is true – but it is not new. This war to which I refer did not begin in just the last several months, although new battles are underway – and they bring an intensity and urgency to our efforts that may rival any time in the past.

But it is correct to acknowledge that you and I are warriors - members of the Church on earth – often called the Church Militant. Those who have gone ahead of us have already completed their earthly battles. Some make up the Church Triumphant – Saints in heaven who surround and support us still – tremendous allies in the battle for our eternal salvation; and the Church Suffering (souls in purgatory who depend on our prayers and meritorious works and suffrages).

But we are the Church on Earth – The Church Militant. We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises. If we fail to realize how constantly these forces work against us, we are more likely to fall, and even chance forfeiting God’s gift of eternal life.

The ultimate promise of the Gospel.
Before I go any further I must proclaim a most important truth – a truth that we have just been celebrating throughout the last week: Jesus Christ, in His life, death, and Resurrection, has already won the war: definitively and once for all. He has conquered sin and death and has won the prize of life on high in heaven forever. We know the final outcome, but the battle for eternal life is now played out in each human heart with a free will to love or not, to be faithful or to walk away from the life which has been offered as God’s most wonderful gift.

Every day the choice is before us: right or wrong; good or bad; the blessing or the curse; life or death. Our whole life must be oriented toward choosing right, the good, the blessing; choosing life.

If you and I fail to realize the meaning and finality behind our choices, and the intensity of the constant warfare that confronts us, it is likely that we will drop our guard, be easily and repeatedly deceived, and even loose the life of our eternal soul.

As bishop I have a weighty responsibility to tell you this over and over again. This obligation is not always easy, and constantly I am tempted to say and do less, rather than more. Almost everyday I am confronted with the persuasion of other people who want me to be silent. But – with God’s grace – you and I will not be silent.

This work of speaking about the spiritual challenges before us is not just the responsibility of the Bishop. I am not the only one entrusted with the work of faith, hope and charity. You are baptized into this Church militant. You are also entrusted with the mission of righteousness. You have the fortification of the sacraments, and the mandate to love as Jesus loved you. You share in the apostolic mission and work of the Church.

What can we say about this constant warfare?
Our battle is ultimately a spiritual battle for the eternal salvation of souls – our own and those of other people. We are not engaged in physical battles in the same way military soldiers defend with material weapons. We need not – we must not – initiate violence against other persons to accomplish something good, even something as significant as the protection of human life.

But it is true that we might have to endure physical suffering to prosper the victory of Jesus Christ. He carried the Cross. He promised us that – if we were to follow Him – we also would share the Cross. We must not expect anything less. When you stand up for what is right – you will be opposed. The temptation will be to avoid these attacks. But through our responses we must see what kind of soldiers we are.

Who is our enemy in this battle of the Church Militant?
Our enemy is the deceiver, the liar, Satan. Because of his spiritual powers he can turn the minds and hearts of men. He is our spiritual or supernatural enemy when he works to tempt us, and he becomes a kind of natural enemy as he works in the hearts of other people to twist and confound God’s will. In our human experience people deceived by Satan’s distortions and lies may appear as our “human enemies.”

But, in his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul makes, for us, a very important distinction. “Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power,” He tells them and us. “Put on the armor of God, in order that you can stand firm against the tactics of the devil.” “For, our struggle,” St. Paul tells us, “is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the rulers of this darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Eph 6:10-12).

So let’s be clear: Human beings are not Satan, but certainly they can come under his power, even without their fully realizing it. When we, in our sinfulness, put something in the place of God: pleasure and convenience; material success; political power and prestige, we open a door for the principalities and contrary spirits who war against God. They want you and me for their prize. When we forsake God and outwardly reject His law and what we know to be His will, we make an easy victory for our supernatural enemies. We fall right into their hands.
I recommend a reading of it all.

New Bishop for St. Louis

All the info here.

More C. West

How Can the Body have a Theology?

Is the Theology of The Body All About Sex?

Christopher West

Good stuff.

Playboy and the Pope

The Language of the Body

Celibacy for the Kingdom

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dr. Janet Smith on Monkeys and Contraception

You want to see this.

Another Planned Parenthood Problem

This is getting to be a bad habit. I have posted several of these videos about this issue and PP doesn't seem to learn that people are filming their lies.


I gave a parish reflection for St. Anthony on Saturday. After I was finished several people approached me to talk. At the very end of the line was a teenage girl and her mom. They introduced themselves and then handed me the sketch to the right.

The mom said that both she and her daughter are a bit ADD and that they sketch in order to keep them engaged in doing something else. They assured me they had been listening to me, but needed to sketch to maintain their attention.

I thanked them both for the gift of the sketch and I asked them who the man in the sketch is, because he certainly is better looking than I am.

I was very flattered by the gift. The girl is very talented, if not accurate in artistic realism (though there is a "shine" in the right spot).

Child Addicts

Almost 1 in 10 young video game users "addicted".

JPII's Rule for Spouses Found

This is cool, I can't wait to read it.
Thursday printed edition, the Italian daily Il Messagero published an unknown booklet written by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in 1968 to help married couples in his Polish diocese implement the Encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” released that same year by Pope Paul VI. The text, entitled “Rule for Spouses,” was never made public outside the Archdiocese of Krakow, but was recently discovered by a student from the John Paul II Institute for Life and Family in Rome.
A rough translationof the introduction can be found here. Here is a snip:

The present Rule arises from a series of pastoral experiences with several couples and, at the same time, on the basis of the marital experiences of these same couples. This was born at the same time as the release of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which proposes again to couples and their pastors the evangelical needs of an authentic Christian marriage. The couples’ group that adopts this rule could take, consequently, the name “Human life.”

The Rule is addressed to married couples in their wholeness, and not simply to individual spouses. It is important, in fact, that this is adopted and realized by both spouses, and not by the husband or wife without the commitment of their respective partner.

In principle, this Rule teaches the spouses only about life according to the norms of Christian morality which derive from the order of the Commandments; it does not, conversely, oblige one to life according to the evangelical counsels as strictly intended. In the strictest sense, actually, the relation of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience can only give themselves to those people called to the religious life. However, the experience of conjugal life demonstrates that the observance of the moral rules announced by the Church is not possible without a certain degree of asceticism; married couples belonging to Humanae Vitae groups should, then, reflect on how to put into practice the spirit of these evangelical counsels.

We will have to wait a short while for a full and better translation from the original Polish.

The Cost of a Dollar Just Went Up

Treasury Department Issues Emergency Recall Of All US Dollars

WOW - Archbishop of New York is CATHOLIC!

This could have been the headline of a ridiculous article about Archbishop Dolan in the New York Times. Pitiful writing includes these deep insights:
His first homily adhered closely to Roman Catholic doctrine.
A bishop who believes what he has followed his entire life is a surprise?
The next one is even worse.
He did not refer to it, but there is conflict between Catholic dogma and scientific conventions on several fronts, including the medical definition of brain death, the legal definition of the beginning of human life and the ethics of embryonic stem cell research.
Translation - he didn't bring it up, nor is this statement accurate, but I thought I might add my own bias instead.
Thanks to Amy for this one.

God's Mercy

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Vatican Orders "Doctrinal Assesment" of LCWR

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a group that represents the majority of women religious in the USA, will be investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, due to some issues that have arisen within the organization. More here:
NCR reported that Cardinal Levada described the assessment as a follow-up to a 2001 meeting between LCWR leaders and officials of the doctrinal congregation, at which the women religious were asked to report on “the initiatives taken or planned” to promote acceptance of Vatican teachings on “the problem of homosexuality,” the ordination of women to the priesthood and the 2000 declaration “Dominus Iesus.”

“Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses given at the annual assemblies of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the intervening years, this dicastery can only conclude that the problems which had motivated its request in 2001 continue to be present,” Cardinal Levada wrote, according to NCR.
This is separate from the visitations the Vatican plans to religious orders. Pray for our religious.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Divine Mercy

I will be leading a day of reflection at St. Anthony's Parish in Bryan, TX on Saturday. It will be about Divine Mercy in our lives, since Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday.

May God's mercy be with us all.

Mission Trips Cancelled

Sad - but necessary.
From Bishop Aymond.

Trips to Mexico -- Caution

Due to the violence that continues on the Mexican border, I am requesting that parishes, schools and Catholic organizations in the Diocese of Austin do not plan mission trips in Mexico until further notice.

The Resurrection Really Happened

Dream Big - Never Stop Dreaming

This is an amazing story. Do yourself a BIG favor and watch the video (almost 20 million views already). To top it all off, she is singing a song from my favorite musical - Les Miserables - beautiful woman.
Parish Choir Singer Susan Boyle Becomes Overnight Sensation
A middle-aged Scottish woman who sang in her Catholic parish’s choir for decades has become an internet sensation after a stunning performance on a British talent show. Susan Boyle, 47, appeared on the show Britain’s Got Talent before judges and a live audience skeptical of her ambition, her age and her plain appearance.

The audience laughed derisively when she said she wanted to follow the example of West End star singer Elaine Paige.

However, Boyle’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical Les Miserables won over the crowd and the judges.

Her performance was broadcast on April 11, the day before Easter. A video of her performance posted on YouTube on the same day had received more than 13 million views as of Thursday afternoon....

Discussing the Britain’s Got Talent audience’s initial hostility, she said “Modern society is too quick to judge people on their appearances.”

“There is not much you can do about it; it is the way they think; it is the way they are. But maybe this could teach them a lesson, or set an example.”

According to the Washington Post, Boyle received a standing ovation at her parish’s Easter Sunday Mass.

"We let out a wee bit of a cheer for her. We are quite proud of her," Boyle's parish priest, the Rev. Ryszard Holuka, said in a telephone interview. He described Boyle as a "quiet soul."

Seriously. Watch the video.

Theology of the Body Institute

Our Revolution (theology of the body team) was featured in Christopher West's Theology of the Body Institute newsletter. We had Christopher come in to speak in March and several of our staff have attended classes at the institute. Our team is now in the process of dreaming / planning for how to grow our Theology of the Body programs. Please keep us in your prayers. We hope to have Christopher return soon.

Here is a snip of the newsletter article:

Once every semester, The REVOLUTION hosts a high-impact evening including a talk about theology of the body, prayer, testimonies, videos made by students, and an invitation to join other students in study groups. This semester the group is adding an event called "The REVOLUTION: Rich in Mercy," an evening consisting of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and guided prayer for the healing of memories from past sins. The mission is to deepen hope and to strengthen chastity. "As the REVOLUTION continues to grow, we hope to introduce more events focusing on men’s and women’s specific struggles and topics dealing with homosexuality, contraception, etc.," continues Stephanie. "In past events, the church has been almost completely packed. So we will… be looking to move on campus and expand our outreach to embrace our Protestant brothers and sisters in the near future."

Recently, Christopher West spoke to a completely packed crowd at St. Mary’s Church on Texas A&M. Afterwards, he had an opportunity to spend time with the students of the REVOLUTION. Stephanie described the encouragement they have received from Christopher West and TOB Institute, “We have been in contact with them over the past year and their prayers, support, and example of holiness have been an inspiration. From the beginning Christopher’s advice to us has been to ‘pray, pray, pray, study, pray, pray, pray, study, pray…’ encouraging us to go farther than just learning the theology of the body, to truly let sink into our hearts and live it out....God’s thirst for our love has been so evident as we have watched His Spirit stir throughout this movement,” says Stephanie. “The REVOLUTION has already changed so many lives just here at Texas A&M by giving students an opportunity to hear about TOB, study it, and become immersed into a community that encourages them to live it out. Through the REVOLUTION, the theology of the body has brought immense healing and truth to the brokenness of our college campus."

The first picture is with some of the Revolution team, Sr. Marie Bernadette, me, and Bishop Aymond. The second is of Christopher when he visited in March.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Obama and Georgetown

Georgetown covered the name of Christ at the request of the White House when Obama spoke at the university this week.

He should not have been given the platform in the first place and then you cover up the reason the university is supposed to exist in the first place? Shameful.

Missing Cat?

What college students with too much time on their hands do - post flyers around campus with this on it:


Follow the logic. Help me out if I am wrong.

Premise #1 - the following definition of love is an accurate one.
Love is choosing what is best for another despite the cost to yourself.
-My own definition cobbled together from several others.

Premise #2 - the following statement is true.
"Love your neighbor as yourself"
from Matt 22:39 / Mark 12:31 / Lev 19:18 / Gal 5:14 / James 2:8

Premise #3 - if we love as we defined love in #1 and we follow the command of #2, then we are supposed to choose what is best for ourselves, even if it costs us everything, including our lives.

Premise #4 - the "best choice" for ourselves is eternal beatitude, also known as heaven.

Premise #5 - if the best choice for ourselves is heaven and we are to love others as ourselves, then we should love others enough to choose what would help get them to heaven - even if it costs us everything, including relationships, our reputations, our possessions, or our lives.

Makes sense to me. If only it were easy.

Marriage and the Natural Law

On marriage:
You cannot change a law of nature, only fight against it. For instance, you can throw a heavy object upward, but that does not change the law of gravity, and the object will eventually fall. Similarly, if there are natural laws inherent in marriage, and if one of these is fidelity for life, then you cannot abrogate that law, though you can work against it rather than with it. But the law remains. - Peter Kreeft