Archives for January 2012

Obama’s war on religion

It is not hyperbole. I wish it was.

We Catholics are not generally confrontational. We prefer working with people to working against them. We know God is in each of us. Despite the efforts of some to rewrite history, we know our country was founded on religious freedom and cherish that. As Catholics, we are proud of our contributions to building this nation – the universities, hospitals, adoption services, services to the poor, advancement of science and so much more.

What would it take to make our most liberal bishops and the USCCB, to publicly and loudly protest against a president they want to support? Why did so many bishops write letters to their flocks, often directed to be read aloud (an extraordinary act), at Mass last weekend? Effectively an open declaration of war against us.

This has been building for some time. We saw in administration speeches the redefinition of “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship” – you can believe what you want, but not live it if it conflicts with their godless secular “values.” We have seen the administration withhold funds as a club against our own states and sovereign nations who do not accept abortion or unnatural unions. We have seen funding removed from critically needed, immensely effective Catholic social services, in favor of acknowledged inferior providers.

Notable skirmishes have been the lack of legally binding conscience provisions in Obamacare. We lost that. More recently the administration turned their heavy artillery against our “personnel.” The Obama administration’s position was that we can not “discriminate” in our hiring and firing of ministers based on all the leading-edge secular criteria. If you are not following, that means women priests, homosexual priests, etc. Incredibly (I was shocked), the Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY REJECTED that.

So what is the fuss all about now? Obamacare has come home to roost. Those promises and conscience protections guaranteed by his executive order and in numerous speeches – non-existent. In fact, quite the opposite. By the administration’s decree – health plans must include (1) contraceptives, (2) abortifacients, (3) sterilization. A view that pregnancy is a disease that must be treated. An anti-life position we find repugnant. No plan without such immoral coverage shall be legally available whether you like it or not. MOREOVER, the Church itself must offer such abhorrent plans to her employees. Of course, that is impossible for us so this would force us to drop healthcare coverage and pay huge fines for doing so.

The message Mr. Obama is sending, says Mr. Winters, is “that there is no room in this great country of ours for the institutions our Church has built over the years to be Catholic in ways that are important to us.”

Mr. Winters is not alone. The liberal Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, blogged that he “cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience” – and he urged people to fight it. Another liberal favorite, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., has raised the specter of “civil disobedience” and vowed that he will drop coverage for diocesan workers rather than comply. They are joined in their expressions of discontent by the leaders of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities, which alone employs 70,000 people.

William McGurn
Wall Street Journal

OK. With all the political noise out there you may not have been following this. Maybe you think that your bishop has over-reacted. Besides your bishop, who does this upset? Our Holy Father. Cardinal-designate and president of the USCCB Timothy Dolan. Our most liberal bishops.


In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Pope Benedict XVI


Scarcely two weeks ago, in its Hosanna-Tabor decision upholding the right of churches to make ministerial hiring decisions, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically reaffirmed these longstanding and foundational principles of religious freedom. The court made clear that they include the right of religious institutions to control their internal affairs.

Yet the Obama administration has veered in the opposite direction. It has refused to exempt religious institutions that serve the common good – including Catholic schools, charities and hospitals – from its sweeping new health-care mandate that requires employers to purchase contraception, including abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees.

Last August, when the administration first proposed this nationwide mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage, it also proposed a “religious employer” exemption. But this was so narrow that it would apply only to religious organizations engaged primarily in serving people of the same religion. As Catholic Charities USA’s president, the Rev. Larry Snyder, notes, even Jesus and His disciples would not qualify for the exemption in that case, because they were committed to serve those of other faiths.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President of USCCB


This decision from the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] is from the highest level of Federal government, and I cannot imagine that this decision was released without the explicit knowledge and approval of President Barack Obama.

And I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic Community can muster.

For me there is no other fundamental issue as important as this one as we enter into the Presidential and Congressional campaigns. Every candidate must be pressed to declare his/her position on all of the fundamental life issues, especially the role of government to determine what conscience decision must be followed: either the person’s own moral and conscience decision, or that dictated/enforced by the Federal government. For me the answer is clear: we stand with our moral principles and heritage over the centuries, not what a particular Federal government agency determines.

As Bishops we do not recommend candidates for any elected office. My vote on November 6 will be for the candidate for President of the United States and members of Congress who intend to recognize the full spectrum of rights under the many conscience clauses of morality and public policy. If any candidate refuses to acknowledge and to promote those rights, then that candidate will not receive my vote.

Cardinal Roger Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles

In previous generations, Catholics were protected against individual and organized prejudice by an exemplary legal system. In a society that is pluralistic in its moral standards, the law always provided religious exemptions and conscience clauses that protected both individuals and religious institutions. These traditional safeguards of liberty can no longer be taken for granted. Now it is the law itself that has become, in some instances, our adversary. This is a new development for Catholics in America: the legal system is being changed to remove protections for our faith and our religious liberty. Catholics risk being once again excluded from the American consensus. That is my fear.

Francis Cardinal George
Archbishop of Chicago

I am writing to you on a matter of grave moral concern – freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).

Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Archbishop of Atlanta
(my bishop)

It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!? There is no other way to put it.

[…]

Let’s be blunt. This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself. In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.

This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone – not only Catholics; not only people of all religion. At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens. It forces every employer to subsidize an ideology or pay a penalty while searching for alternatives to health care coverage. It undermines the whole concept and hope for health care reform by inextricably linking it to the zealotry of pro-abortion bureaucrats.

[…]

Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said “To Hell with You” to the Catholic faithful of the United States.

  • To Hell with your religious beliefs,
  • To Hell with your religious liberty,
  • To Hell with your freedom of conscience.
Most Reverend David A. Zubik
Bishop of Pittsburgh

The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people – the Catholic population and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

[…]

We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

In every area touching the sanctity of human life and issues of sexual morality, the Obama administration is aggressively prosecuting the agenda its critics predicted and its most ardent left-wing supporters hoped for. Those who are driving the train, including key administration officials who self-identify as members of the Catholic Church, have no regard for the ethical beliefs of Catholics and others when they are in conflict with left-liberal orthodoxy. Their task, as they perceive it, is to fortify and expand the “right to abortion” and “sexual freedom” wherever they can.

[…]

Pro-life citizens, including many Catholics, who in 2008 allowed themselves to be persuaded that Obama wouldn’t, as his critics warned, push abortion hard and run roughshod over the religious liberty and rights of conscience of Catholics and other pro-life citizens and their institutions, have now gotten a rude awakening. His administration revealed its contempt for religious freedom and the rights of people and communities of faith when it embraced an extreme and utterly untenable position on the ministerial exemption in the Hosanna-Tabor case. In case anyone thought that was some sort of isolated mistake, the President’s abortifacient and contraception mandate leaves the matter in no doubt.

Professor Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence
Director, James Madison Program

The language is Orwellian. With stunning magnanimity, Sebelius tells Catholic non-profits that they can take advantage of their one-year reprieve as long as they seek the blessings of the federal government. If they pass muster with the bureaucrats, then they have time to figure out how they can prostitute their religiously ground convictions, or prepare for bankruptcy. To top things off, after shoving the radical secular agenda down the throat of Catholics – and other people of faith who share their concerns – Sebelius congratulates the Obama administration for striking a “balance” between religious liberty and Obamacare. But, of course, no balance was struck: the edict grants nothing to those who believe in religious liberty, and she knows it.

Bill Donohue
Catholic League President

Some months ago HHS refused to award an anti-trafficking grant to the U.S. Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). It did so despite MRS’s scoring higher on an objective scale (according to the government’s independent advisors evaluating grant applications) than two of the three organizations that were awarded grants. (And two of those scored so low that they were deemed unqualified.) I suggested then that HHS had an ABC rule, “Anybody But Catholics.” Now I wonder if ABC isn’t also the answer to who gets freedom of religion.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh
USCCB Communications

The present secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, a bitter fallen-away Catholic, now requires that all insurance, even when issued privately, must carry coverage for evil and grave sin. Most Reverend Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln

I am honestly horrified that the nation I have always loved has come to this hateful and radical step in religious intolerance. Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria

A dangerous line has been crossed. Most Reverend Paul Loverde, Bishop of Arlington

The HHS mandate tramples religious freedom. Most Reverend Allen Vigneron, Bishop of Detroit

This is all new, in the sense that never before in our history has any government simply issued a decree emptying the religious convictions and conscience protections of all the institutions that serve the poor. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

…deep disappointment at this unprecedented infringement on religious liberty in our country. Most Reverend Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston

This is the logical result of a seismic change in this administration’s approach to religious groups involved in providing social services to, among others, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the immigrant. Most Reverend John Nienstedt, Archbishop of Minneapolis – St. Paul

First of all, it’s much broader than just contraceptives, the Order also includes pills that can act as abortifacients. So it is a very serious threat to our Catholic moral tradition and belief; and, The Right of Conscience, or Freedom of Conscience, is supreme in our Catholic tradition. Most Reverend Patrick Zurek, Bishop of Amarillo


When you attack the Church, you attack Christ. Christ and His Church are inseparable. Saul of Taurus learned this the hard way.

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? He said, “Who are you, sir?? The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Pray for the conversion of hard hearts like St. Paul’s. Write to your representatives. I believe we will win this particular skirmish, but the war will only be ended by you at the ballot box.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

See also:

UPDATE: This post is part of a series covering this very important topic. To see the whole series, click here.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #53)

This week: The 2012 March for Life. Allen West, an inspiring pro-life congressman. Comments from the marchers (and lots of pictures too). Using lingo to hide the fact that it’s a baby. The disappointing Girl Scouts (again). A hope-filled video from Students for Life. The March for Life press blackout.

— 1 —

In the United States of America this year, 2.4 million people will die from natural or accidental causes. The leading natural cause is heart disease (0.6 million). Dwarfing this is the number of people who suffer violent deaths at the hands of an abortionist – 1.2 million. If you are under 40, you are an abortion survivor. Your mother had the legal right to kill you but instead, chose life.

The 2012 March for Life was held in Washington and other cities around the country. Pray for an end to abortion. Pray also for those who elect pro-abortion politicians for the blood of these babies is on their hands.

— 2 —

Roe v. Wade will not end until we elect more pro-life politicians like Allen West (as opposed to this one, for example):

— 3 —

Here is another cool video on the March. Notice how all these pro-life people are old, secular, ex-hippie ideologues. No wait, that is the other side…

Thanks go to Matt Cassens who spotted this one. As before, Matt has some great pictures of the event.

— 4 —

The abortion industry is untiring in pushing their message everywhere they can, even in the Girl Scouts. Their message is one of lies and deceit. Attacking pro-life pregnancy centers, fighting against ultrasounds, every sort of legal restriction imaginable and re-branding life itself. Look how absurd their lingo is:

— 5 —

Please do not let your daughters be indoctrinated by anti-life, anti-family positions of the Girl Scouts USA. I wrote about this last September in Loss of innocense.

Mary Hasson gives comprehensive, up-to-date coverage with many links in her piece for Catholic LaneGirl Scouts Leadership: Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay Ideologues. Another good, recent piece was published in The Washington TimesRUSE: Say no to Girl Scout Cookies.

Yes, it is sad and you can not change it. However, you have an excellent pro-life, pro-family alternative in the American Heritage Girls. They are now what the Girl Scouts once were. If your parish still supports the Girl Scouts, work to change it.

— 6 —

A hope-filled video from Students for Life:

— 7 —

As always, the March for Life was subjected to a press blackout. I predicted this a couple weeks ago. It’s not that I am keenly insightful, just an observer of the obvious.

John Jalsevac has good coverage of the non-coverage for LifeSiteNews.com in his piece New York Times ignores March for Life for fifth year in a row: WaPo focuses on pro-aborts.


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

The Holy Rosary

One misconception some people have about the Rosary is that it is beads. It isn’t (at least primarily)! The Rosary is actually a form of contemplative prayer. No beads are necessary. It is in a class of prayers known as Marian devotions.

Praying the Holy Rosary is optional. It is not part of any liturgy or required in any way. I think it is looked upon by many interested in Catholicism, by recent converts and even some “cradle Catholics” as too Catholic. Some likely feel that because there is so much else they want to learn first. The Rosary gets put onto their long-term (if ever) “to be investigated” list. This is sad as the Rosary is one of the rich treasures of the Church. It is a gem that some Anglicans, Lutherans and other Protestants also pray.

Why exactly do people pray it? The short answer is “it works.” All prayer is powerful and the Rosary is like prayer on steroids. It gives many benefits, including 15 specific promises revealed by Our Lady to St. Dominic. Praying the Rosary regularly will also help you increase your holiness. It is so valuable that Holy Mother Church grants a plenary indulgence when prayed with others. Many parishes pray the Rosary before or after daily Mass.

At the heart of the Rosary are 4 sets of events (5 each) from the Gospel known as holy mysteries. These events are mentally reflected upon while repeating the Hail Mary. This short and beautiful prayer is said 10 times while reflecting on 1 mystery. This is known as a “decade.” One decade = one mystery.

It may seem confusing at first to do 2 things at once, to say 10 Hail Mary’s AND to reflect on the mystery. After a while, it becomes surprisingly easy. Think of when you learned to drive. At first, all of your attention was on the mechanical actions while focusing on the road. In time, you find that you can split your attention (within reason) with other things (mentally planning your day, prayer, speaking with passengers, listening to music and so on). Learning the Rosary is like that.

Why not just do the meditation and skip the Hail Marys? The Hail Marys and other prayers (I will get to those in a moment) give your prayer time more “punch.” St. Augustine said that singing is praying twice. This is similar. Additionally, saying 10 Hail Marys gives you just the right amount of time for reflection.

Praying the Rosary (a/k/a “a Rosary”) means reflecting on one of the 4 sets of mysteries. Since each set has exactly 5 individual mysteries on which to reflect, praying the Rosary involves saying 50 Hail Marys. That may seem like a lot, but it isn’t – you really don’t notice it. The entire prayer takes only 15 minutes or so.

Sometimes people pray a “full Rosary” which means they pray all 4 sets of mysteries (20 in all). Most folks, most of the time, pray 1 set of (5) mysteries. The Church recommends a specific set for each weekday. They are as follows:

  • The Joyful Mysteries (Monday and Saturday)
    1. The Annunciation – The Archangel Gabriel “announces” to Mary that she shall conceive the Son of God.
    2. The Visitation – Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist.
    3. The Nativity – Jesus is born.
    4. The Presentation – Mary and Joseph “present” Jesus in the Temple where they meet Simeon.
    5. The Finding in the Temple – After losing Him, Mary and Joseph find young Jesus teaching the Rabbis in the Temple.
  • The Luminous Mysteries (The Mysteries of Light; Thursday)
    1. The Baptism in the Jordan – The voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son.
    2. The Wedding at Cana – Christ changes water into wine, his first public miracle.
    3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom – Jesus calls to conversion and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him.
    4. The Transfiguration – The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ.
    5. The Institution of the Eucharist – Jesus offers the first Mass at the Last Supper with his apostles, establishing the sacramental foundation for all Christian living.
  • The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday and Friday)
    1. The Agony in the Garden – Jesus sweats water and blood while praying the night before his passion.
    2. The Scourging at the Pillar – Pilate has Jesus whipped.
    3. The Crowning with Thorns – Roman soldiers crown Jesus’ head with thorns.
    4. The Carrying of the Cross – Jesus meets His mother and falls three times on the way up Calvary.
    5. The Crucifixion – Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies before His mother and His apostle John.
  • The Glorious Mysteries (Wednesday and Sunday)
    1. The Resurrection – Jesus rises from the dead.
    2. The Ascension – Jesus leaves the Apostles and bodily “ascends” to heaven.
    3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit – The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire in the upper room with Mary.
    4. The Assumption – Mary is taken bodily (assumed) into heaven by God at the end of her life here on earth.
    5. The Coronation – Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

There you have it! Praying the Rosary is meditating on (1 set of) 5 mysteries while saying 10 Hail Marys for each one.

Well, almost. That certainly is the heart of the Rosary. There is just a little bit more structure. Each decade is said as follows:

  • The decade is announced – to focus on the specific mystery.
  • Optional intentions – some people apply specific intentions to each decade.
  • Optional reflection – a specific reflection or scripture reading (when prayed with a group).
  • The Lord’s Prayer – Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
  • 10 Hail Marys – (while reflecting on the current mystery as explained above) Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
  • Glory Be – Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
  • Fatima Prayer – O my Jesus, forgive us of our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.

Before the first decade, we begin the Rosary as follows:

  • The set of mysteries are announced.
  • Optional intentions.
  • Sign of the Cross – (while saying) In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Apostles Creed – I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
  • 3 Hail Marys – often said for specific intentions, for the gifts of faith, hope and love from the Holy Spirit, Jesus and God the Father respectively, or for the similar theological virtues of faith, hope and charity
  • Glory Be – Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

After the last decade, we conclude the Rosary as follows:

  • Salve Regina – Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us O Holy Mother of God, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
  • Optional prayers

Pray the Rosary regularly, ideally each day. Don’t give up after only 1 time! The only prayer you really need to memorize to get started is the Hail Mary. You can use a “cheat sheet” or other resource to remember the mysteries and other prayers while necessary.

Once you are comfortable with the basics, praying with a group (even if online or recorded) is particularly easy. When praying with a group, a leader introduces the mysteries, begins each prayer and keeps track of the Hail Marys. It could not be easier.

When praying alone, you will need to count Hail Marys (externally, not consciously). This can be done perfectly well on your fingers. While not necessary, Rosary beads are very nice to keep track of where you are. They vary quite a bit, but usually smaller beads represent Hail Marys and larger ones represent Our Fathers. While the Rosary is the prayer, many people use the term to also refer to Rosary beads, which is also a sacramental when blessed.

These days, terrific web resources are available. See the links below to get started. Various sources of Rosary reflections are useful preparation. CDs, DVDs, many Internet and regular Catholic radio sources (EWTN, Immaculate Heart Radio, Sacred Heart Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Covenant Network, St. Joseph Radio, etc.) also lead Rosary prayer daily.

Praying the Rosary is a wonderful addition to your daily prayer time, with Daily Mass where offered and (silently) at Eucharistic Adoration. Just do it!

Online Web Resources:

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #52)

This week: 7 excellent video responses to hating religion (but loving Jesus). The lucrative business of killing babies in the womb. 39 women speak on how abortion has affected them. Blob of tissue saves father’s life. America, blessed with incredible fuel resources. Martin Luther King was not a “community organizer.” Selecting candidates consistent with your Catholic faith.

— 1 —

You may have seen or heard about a YouTube video entitled Why I hate Religion, But Love Jesus. 15+ million people have viewed this very misleading, error-filled video. It must make Satan quite pleased.

Marcel LeJeune at Aggie Catholics wrote an excellent response. He has followed that with more coverage, including finding these good video responses:

Finally, even Jeff Bethke (the creator of the video in question) admits there are problems with it. Replying to one critic “God has been working with me in the last 6 months on loving Jesus AND loving his church” (his emphasis). I think that he is sincere and really did not intend for it to come out the way it has – and be received / interpreted the way it has.

— 2 —

Say what you want about murdering children in the womb, it sure is lucrative! American Life League reports that CEOs of Planned Parenthood affiliates average over $150,000 per year. 30 out of 81 enjoy salaries over $200,000 and 18 over a cool $250,000! No healthcare background is needed – only 12% have any.

That’s not all! Back at PP HQ, 8 management folks pull in an average $269,541. The business of death has a fine career path.

— 3 —

39 women speak on how abortion has affected them. One representing every year since Roe v. Wade. In March, they undertake a 21-day Trek for Life:

— 4 —

Blob of tissue saves father’s life. LifeSiteNews.com has the story of a 7 1/2 month pregnant woman who was awakened by her baby. After a sharp kick, she found her husband not breathing and with no pulse. Read the story to see how it unfolds.

— 5 —

We are blessed with abundant fuel in America, enough to sustain us for 175 years at the current consumption rate. Recent discoveries estimate 1.7 trillion barrels (1.4 in the US alone). We also have 4,244 trillion cu.ft. of natural gas and 497 billion tons of coal. Our reserves dwarf many other suppliers. We are energy rich!

So, why are prices so high? Crushing government regulation, implemented with the intention of blocking development. To what end, let Maxine Waters (D) explain:

— 6 —

Martin Luther King was not a “community organizer.” He was a Christian minister who viewed everything he said and did in the light of his faith. You can not read more than a few of his words before stumbling over scripture references, God, Jesus or Lord.

It takes a very sharp knife to edit that out and that is exactly what the secular world has done. Not rewriting history per se, but highlighting and suppressing it to meet a political agenda. Stalin would be proud.

Terence Jeffrey addresses this in his informative piece Missing From MLK Memorial: God over at Crisis Magazine.

— 7 —

Catholic Advocate is a wonderful resource for faithful Catholics who do not want to vote Democrat or Republican, but vote Catholic. As they note on their about page:

It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner coherent with the teaching of the Church, bringing their well-founded reasoning and great ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among everyone who cares about the defense of life and freedom, the protection of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy, and the vital search for the common good.

Pope Benedict XVI


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: but how does “gay marriage” hurt you?

Often when we explain why (regardless of any attempt to the contrary in civil law) there is no such thing as “gay marriage”, we are asked this question. The position suggests that we are not harmed by gay people getting married. Our marriages remain unchanged and no one is forcing us to change our religious viewpoint. Even people sympathetic to our faith feel that “separation of church and state” and general “fairness” dictate that such marriage should be permitted. To oppose it is nothing less than unjustly forcing our religious views on others.

There is so much wrong with that! A very poor understanding of separation of church and state for one. A complete lack of understanding of not only the religious purpose of marriage, but of the purpose of civil protections for it. That this is a very recent concept is ignored.

Putting all that aside for now, how indeed does “gay marriage” hurt others? That question is clearly addressed in a January 12th open letter from leaders of the largest US religious communities. It is signed by 39 representatives from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Pentecostal and Evangelical communities. That number includes 4 US Catholic bishops: Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the USCCB; Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

The full text of the letter (with my bold highlights):

Dear Friends:

The promotion and protection of marriage – the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife – is a matter of the common good and serves the wellbeing of the couple, of children, of civil society and all people. The meaning and value of marriage precedes and transcends any particular society, government, or religious community. It is a universal good and the foundational institution of all societies. It is bound up with the nature of the human person as male and female, and with the essential task of bearing and nurturing children.

As religious leaders across a wide variety of faith communities, we join together to affirm that marriage in its true definition must be protected for its own sake and for the good of society. We also recognize the grave consequences of altering this definition. One of these consequences – the interference with the religious freedom of those who continue to affirm the true definition of “marriage” – warrants special attention within our faith communities and throughout society as a whole. For this reason, we come together with one voice in this letter.

Some posit that the principal threat to religious freedom posed by same-sex “marriage” is the possibility of government’s forcing religious ministers to preside over such “weddings,” on pain of civil or criminal liability. While we cannot rule out this possibility entirely, we believe that the First Amendment creates a very high bar to such attempts.

Instead, we believe the most urgent peril is this:forcing or pressuring both individuals and religious organizations – throughout their operations, well beyond religious ceremonies – to treat same-sex sexual conduct as the moral equivalent of marital sexual conduct. There is no doubt that the many people and groups whose moral and religious convictions forbid same-sex sexual conduct will resist the compulsion of the law, and church-state conflicts will result.

These conflicts bear serious consequences. They will arise in a broad range of legal contexts, because altering the civil definition of “marriage” does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once. By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status – such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, healthcare, elder care, housing, property, and taxation – will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage. That requirement, in turn, will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries – including running schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other housing facilities, providing adoption and counseling services, and many others.

So, for example, religious adoption services that place children exclusively with married couples would be required by law to place children with persons of the same sex who are civilly “married.” Religious marriage counselors would be denied their professional accreditation for refusing to provide counseling in support of same-sex “married” relationships. Religious employers who provide special health benefits to married employees would be required by law to extend those benefits to same-sex “spouses.” Religious employers would also face lawsuits for taking any adverse employment action – no matter how modest – against an employee for the public act of obtaining a civil “marriage” with a member of the same sex. This is not idle speculation, as these sorts of situations have already come to pass.

Even where religious people and groups succeed in avoiding civil liability in cases like these, they would face other government sanctions – the targeted withdrawal of government co-operation, grants, or other benefits.

For example, in New Jersey, the state cancelled the tax-exempt status of a Methodist-run boardwalk pavilion used for religious services because the religious organization would not host a same-sex “wedding” there. San Francisco dropped its $3.5 million in social service contracts with the Salvation Army because it refused to recognize same-sex “domestic partnerships” in its employee benefits policies. Similarly, Portland, Maine, required Catholic Charities to extend spousal employee benefits to same-sex “domestic partners” as a condition of receiving city housing and community development funds.

In short, the refusal of these religious organizations to treat a same-sex sexual relationship as if it were a marriage marked them and their members as bigots, subjecting them to the full arsenal of government punishments and pressures reserved for racists. These punishments will only grow more frequent and more severe if civil “marriage” is redefined in additional jurisdictions. For then, government will compel special recognition of relationships that we the undersigned religious leaders and the communities of faith that we represent cannot, in conscience, affirm. Because law and government not only coerce and incentivize but also teach, these sanctions would lend greater moral legitimacy to private efforts to punish those who defend marriage.

Therefore, we encourage all people of good will to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and to consider carefully the far-reaching consequences for the religious freedom of all Americans if marriage is redefined. We especially urge those entrusted with the public good to support laws that uphold the time-honored definition of marriage, and so avoid threatening the religious freedom of countless institutions and citizens in this country. Marriage and religious freedom are both deeply woven into the fabric of this nation.

May we all work together to strengthen and preserve the unique meaning of marriage and the precious gift of religious freedom.

I am not optimistic that this letter will have much impact on our politicians. Not even the “gay marriage” supporting Catholic politicians. They place their agenda and base of support above all else. Hopefully, it will change the hearts and minds of voters.

The letter and all signatories are here on the USCCB website, along with their press release.

show