Archives for June 2015

“Gay marriage”

Last week, as almost everyone now knows, the Supreme Court of the United States of America fabricated a new “right” for homosexual unions to be recognized as marriage.

A Legal Fiction

Legal fictions can be useful, although this one most certainly is not. A useful fiction, for example, is the way law treats a corporation as a “person.” As such it has certain rights and responsibilities including paying taxes or being subject to suit as if it were a person distinct from the owner or owners. This facilitates commerce and is morally neutral.

“Gay marriage” is simply a new legal fiction. What constitutes marriage and morality in general has never been up to government and never will be. Ideally, government is enlightened and informed by God, the creator, and recognizes all rights flow from Him. Our founding documents acknowledge this but we have “evolved” to an enlightened view of our own making to our detriment.

Consider:

  • Government long ago redefined the bond of marriage to be dissoluble. Legally marriage is a state one can enter into and exit as they wish as many times as they wish. That has also always been a fiction.
  • Government redefined life itself as something that comes into existence only when it says so (contrary to science). This allows the “termination” of life to not only be without (legal) consequences, but also to be a cherished “right.”

Built on Lies

Marriage as God created it and as it has been universally understood for millennia has not changed. This Supreme Court decision is just that, a deeply flawed and seriously harmful opinion of the narrowest majority. It is a legal construct, unfortunately divorced from reality.

The people of very few states approve of this. When put to a popular vote, with very few exceptions, “gay marriage” was defeated. In many cases however, the will of the people was overruled by their legislatures and most often by federal judges. The media ignores this fact, preferring to mislead by noting only 14 states at this point did not “allow” it. That the states who did “allow” it were forced to against their will is not mentioned.

Of special note are the Catholic justices who supported this decision: Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor. Their votes were a clear rejection of God, Jesus Christ and His Church. There is no wiggle room on this. This travesty passed only because both of them supported it. In the 5-4 decision, all 4 of the dissenters (Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas) are Catholic.

The Effect

There are three major effects of this:

  1. Religious freedom will be relentlessly attacked, long term. The heavy hand of the law will be used to bludgeon any who dare to publicly resist cooperation with this immoral fiction. Activists will seek to bully through intimidation, threats and whatever legal traps they can craft with great zeal.
  2. The valid role of government in fostering procreation within stable families, structured for the benefit of children, is further muddled.
  3. People who suffer with homosexual attraction are scandalized. Instead of helping them, they are increasingly told their unnatural and immoral temptations are actually completely normal, healthy and should be a source of pride. This will never result in their true happiness.

What to Expect

Beyond the long-lasting effects noted above, it is almost certain that further “evolutionary progress” will be made in the legal understanding of family and marriage:

  • marriage of brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters, etc.
  • reducing the minimum age for marriage
  • polygamy is more natural than homosexuality so why limit marriage to only 2?
  • polyamory, polyandry, polygyny, polyfamilies, poly-anything-goes – why not?

Most of the arguments for “gay marriage” apply to the above. Sympathetic stories will be told, individual plights of “injustice” presented in the context of fairness and civil rights, pride parades, media support followed by corporate support and it is done.

Expect to see the process of entering into and exiting marriages, however they are defined at the moment, to be streamlined.

Many more (although not all) countries will follow in our footsteps. The UN will push harder to “recognize” this as a basic human right. Hollywood will celebrate with gay weddings appearing in most television shows beginning this fall.

Christian Response

Our respect and love for people with same sex attraction must not diminish. We will be tested in this regard, count on it. Remember too that not all people with same sex attraction support this (although many who dissent are no doubt bullied into silence).

The word “marriage” has lost its common and proper meaning. We must separate what we mean by the life-long union of one man and one woman in formation of a family from the fiction presented by the law. Words have meaning and we clearly need a new one to replace being married, getting married, marriage ceremony, marriage invitation, etc. A word is needed to accurately convey the concept given to us by God. Continuing to use the word marriage will just contribute to confusion.

Finally, we must not cooperate. This must be opposed in every way possible for the benefit of society and every person in it. This is a major setback but not a lost cause. The cause is lost only when we accept it.

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.

But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #174)

This week: Comedian Michael Jr talks about fatherhood. A funny spoof video on the new encyclical on the environment. A classic Fulton Sheen show on angels. When an “angel” visited a terrible auto accident. The Archdiocese of Washington’s vocational promotion video for the priesthood. Children are asked (tactfully) for their views on abortion. Andrew Klavan tries to make sense of “gender.”

— 1 —

I have never heard of this comedian (but then again, the ones I can name are mostly dead). Anyway, Michael Jr (apparently his name) recorded this video for Father’s Day and it is really good:

— 2 —

Some people clearly have too much time on their hands. This video is entitled “Pope Francis in The Encyclical: the epic battle against the climate crisis”:

— 3 —

There was a reason the (now) Venerable Fulton J. Sheen had the #1 television show that even the popular Milton Berle could not top. Here is a wonderful episode that I watched recently on angels. Remember, this was live TV:

— 4 —

You may remember this story from last year of a terrible auto accident that critically hurt and trapped a young woman. Rescuers tried everything to get her out, but nothing worked. Then suddenly, a man appeared holding a bottle of anointing oil and asked to pray for and anoint the victim. As quickly as he appeared he vanished. None of the many people on the scene saw him come or leave, as if it were an angel.

The young woman survived and is recovering well. The “angel” was later identified as a Catholic priest (Fr. Patrick Dowling of the Diocese of Jefferson City), which makes the story no less awesome. This is what priests do. They attend, comfort – and most importantly – stand for our Lord to give desperately needed grace.

— 5 —

This is another great priest vocation promotion video. This one is from the Archdiocese of Washington, filmed last summer:

— 6 —

Children are asked, in a very tactful way appropriate to their age, for their viewpoint on abortion.

— 7 —

Andrew Klavan wonders what gender are you? The always sensitive commentator takes a look at the exciting world of “gender.”


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now continued by Kelly Mantoan. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Kelly for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: Church growth

Last month a Pew Research Center study (America’s Changing Religious Landscape) was widely covered in the media. Among the key findings is a significant decline in those who identify as Catholic (23.9% to 20.8%) or mainline Protestants (18.1% to 14.7%). Further, there has been a significant increase in those who identify as “none”(16.1% to 22.8%).

Last week the Catholic News Agency reported on a CARA study (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University) on how the (Catholic) Church is doing worldwide. Overall, it is strongly growing. Europe is described as “waning” while the Americas (overall, not just the US) and Oceania are “slowing”. More than balancing these trends is the explosive growth in Asia and Africa.

While various factors are noted, one of the disturbing trends is the fall-off in sacramental participation as individual members age. This seems to be a problem everywhere, although masked more in some areas by growth than in others.

The article offers some speculation on possible causes. In my opinion, it is largely the fruit of Vatican II “spirit” (not actual Vatican II teaching) applied over decades. This covers a lot, but specifically poor catechesis and the continual watering-down of the Mass (liturgy, music, architecture). Looking like mainline Protestants (declining themselves) has NEVER drawn non-Catholics to the Church.

The global Catholic population is growing — so quickly, in fact, that priest and parish numbers cannot keep up, says a new study on trends in the worldwide Church.

And this poses a challenge: With an overall growth in the number of Catholics, especially in Africa and Asia, but not enough growth in the number of parishes and priests to supplement it, there are fewer opportunities for Catholics to receive the sacraments and participate in their parishes.

“The Church still faces a global 21st century problem of keeping Catholics engaged with parish and sacramental life,” stated the study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.

The study “Global Catholicism” drew from Vatican statistics and other surveys since 1980 to detail where the Catholic Church has grown and shrunk at the parish level and to predict the demographics of the next few decades for the Church.

This growth was examined at the parish level because parish life is ultimately the “brick and mortar” of the Church where Catholics receive the sacraments, associate with fellow Catholics, and participate the most in their faith, the study explained.

It tallied the growth of Catholics, priests, religious, parishes, reception of sacraments, seminarians, and Catholic welfare institutions like hospitals and schools in five regions — Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and the Americas.

The overall finding of the report is that the Church is in the midst of a “dramatic realignment.” It is waning in its historical center of Europe, its growth is slowing in the Americas and Oceania, and it is booming in Asia and Africa.

This forecasts a Catholic shift away from the traditional centers of Europe and the Americas and toward the “Global South,” the mostly-developing parts of the world that include Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Oceania, and much of the Far East.

Dr. Mark Gray, a senior research associate with CARA, explained the implications of this shift to CNA in an interview.

One problem highlighted by the study is that most of the world’s parishes are still in Europe and the Americas, where the Church is declining or stagnating in population. The developing world is seeing more Catholics, but not nearly enough parishes to serve them.

“You’ve got all these beautiful parishes,” Gray said of Europe. “You can’t pick them up and send them from one part of the world to another very easily. So in one place the Church is going to have to close parishes, and in another place it’s going to have to build a bunch more, and it’s going to have to figure out how to manage its clergy.”

Another finding of the report is that Catholics are participating less in the Church as they grow older, as seen in sacramental participation rates.

In every region, the number of infant baptisms per 1,000 Catholics is greater than the number of first Communions, which is greater than the number of confirmations, which is greater than the number of marriages conducted within the Church.

While this may not be surprising in regions like Europe, which is seeing an overall decline of priests and religious, it is also the case throughout other regions where Church numbers are growing.

The whole article is not long and worth the read: Priests needed: As Church growth explodes worldwide, parishes can’t keep up.

The CARA study itself is also available: Global Catholicism: Trends & Forecasts. There are lots of charts and graphs!

Elsewhere: the “eco-encyclical”

The long awaited encyclical on the environment was officially released yesterday. Laudato Si’ (“Laudato Si’, mi’ Signore” which is “Praise be to you, my Lord”) is very good, taken as a whole to teach the truth of our faith. Unfortunately, my bet is that many will pull quotes out of context to buttress partisan political positions.

It is NOT a political document. It teaches our unchanging faith applied to modern times. Of course, it is not perfect as the product not only of the Holy Father, but I am sure many collaborators. Where it is weak is when it deviates from faith and morals to draw scientific and economic conclusions. IMHO, this is a mistake both because those assertions are not as conclusive as presented and because they distract from an otherwise good presentation.

Buckle-up. Expect to see all manner of misrepresentation in the liberal (which is most of it) mainstream media. Their focus will be tight, very tight, on climate change, its magnitude and man’s direct role. They will also misrepresent the level to which Catholics must assent to every statement in the document, particularly those on science and economics. They will completely ignore most of the document as it runs fairly counter to their agenda.

To that end, the editors at The Stream have put together a list of things you probably WON’T hear about (from the MSM):

(1) Creation has a Creator, and is more than just “nature-plus-evolution”:
(75) A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable. That is how we end up worshiping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot. The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth, is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality.

(77) “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Ps 33:6). This tells us that the world came about as the result of a decision, not from chaos or chance, and this exalts it all the more. The creating word expresses a free choice. The universe did not emerge as the result of arbitrary omnipotence, a show of force or a desire for self-assertion. Creation is of the order of love. God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things: “For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it” (Wis 11:24). Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of his love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection. Saint Basil the Great described the Creator as “goodness without measure,” while Dante Alighieri spoke of “the love which moves the sun and the stars.” Consequently, we can ascend from created things “to the greatness of God and to his loving mercy.”

(2) Human ecology means recognizing and valuing the difference between masculinity and femininity:
(155) Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an “ecology of man,” based on the fact that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.” It is enough to recognize that our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.”

(3) Jesus sanctifies human work:
(98) Jesus worked with his hands, in daily contact with the matter created by God, to which he gave form by his craftsmanship. It is striking that most of his life was dedicated to this task in a simple life which awakened no admiration at all: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mk 6:3). In this way he sanctified human labour and endowed it with a special significance for our development. As Saint John Paul II taught, “by enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity.”


(4) Look up from your phones and encounter each other

(5) Save the baby humans

(6) Helping the poor requires more than just handouts

(7) Overpopulation is not the problem

(8) True ecology requires true anthropology and respect for human dignity

(9) Real change requires a change in culture, not just politics

(10) The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions, and we need an honest and open debate

(11) Stop with the cynicism, secularism and immorality

You should be shaking your head “yes!” Read the entire piece 11 Things You Probably Won’t Hear about Pope Francis’ Encyclical.

Other good resources:


Against Evil

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”(Ephesians 6:10-11)

By all accounts Adolf Hitler killed nearly six million Jews during his reign. What many don’t know is that it was not the Jews alone that he brutally murdered. In addition to somewhere between five and six million Jews, he also slaughtered about two million Poles, between five hundred thousand and one million Serbs, about two hundred and fifty thousand disabled, hundreds of thousands of Free Masons, 100,000 communists, approximately 25,000 homosexual men, and about 2000 Jehovah’s Witnesses. In other words, just about anyone who didn’t fit his mold of who was worthy to be part of the Third Reich. Yet, history books of today rarely, if ever, refer to him as evil.

Joseph Stalin, in establishing communism in Russia killed somewhere between twenty and sixty million people. Still, evil is rarely the word history books use to describe him.

In 1994 Hutu “militia” killed approximately eight hundred thousand Tutsi citizens, calling them “cockroaches” as they brutally raped, beat and hacked them to death with machetes. The United Nations refused to call it a genocide; that would have required that some action be taken to stop it. Again, evil was a word rarely used except by those who suffered from the genocidal killings.

On September 11, 2001 over 3000 people died as the result of a radical Islamist terrorist attack on the United States using passenger planes as their weapons. Thousands of innocent people were murdered simply for going to work that day. The United States eventually went to war as a result and yet the word evil was rarely heard.

On December 14, 2012, a young man walked into a school in Newtown, Connecticut and brutally murdered twenty grade school children and six adults. He had earlier killed his mother in their home. Evil didn’t make it into the headlines as the cause.

In the aftermath of many of these, and other horrific events, there is virtually never a mention of the evil that prompted these actions. The news media take their usual path of speculating without facts, interviewing those who had no knowledge of the event and bringing in everyone they could find to discuss the causes and means of preventing such atrocities in the future. All in their 24/7 news style, with little regard for the families and friends of those so brutally taken.

Some call for more restrictive gun laws and some cry for better treatment of the mentally ill. Perhaps there is some benefit to be gained in each of these efforts, but what is truly troublesome is that in all of the reporting and speculating I can recall no outcry against the evil growing in our society. By all definitions, acts such as these are evil, but no one seems to realize that. Or if they do, they chose to ignore it.

From the Columbine killings to the Virginia Tech shootings, to the movie house shootings in Denver, I heard no one in the news organizations discuss the fact that there is and always has been evil in the world and those perpetrating these monstrous acts are among those who are evil. Dare I say they might even be possessed by demons”

Imagine the outrage if someone publicly stated and reported the fact that these acts were committed by evil people. If a reporter speculated that perhaps the efforts in this country to remove God from all aspects of public life was a part of the cause of these atrocities, they would be in danger of losing their job. Yet, failure to recognize and identify evil when it occurs opens the door for Satan and his minions to fill the void. However, in today’s society, acknowledging the existence of evil is not politically correct and is unacceptable in public discourse. Satan must be loving the depths to which our society has plunged. No one ever thinks to place the blame for evil squarely on his shoulders.

From all of this comes the fact that we, as a culture, fail to recognize evil in the world. Even if we should recognize it, we fail to name it for what it is. We blame a difficult childhood, or the influence of others, or virtually anything we can think of to keep from using the forbidden determination of evil. We say we can’t judge, yet to stop evil we must recognize and confront it.

“Satan made me do it” is a laughable cliché in our society. However, the fact is, Satan will take every opportunity to make us, or convince us, to commit evil. He convinced Cain to kill his brother. He convinced David to commit adultery with Bathsheba and then have her husband killed so that he could take her for his wife. Satan prompted Herod to send his troops to Bethlehem to kill all male babies in an effort to kill Jesus because he thought him a threat to his kingship. Under Satan’s direction and influence, Judas betrayed Christ. Satan convinced the Jewish religious leaders to falsely accuse Jesus of treason against Caesar in order to have him brutally murdered by hanging on a cross.

Today, we see evil wherever we look, if we only chose to look. Mostly we turn aside and pretend not to see. We find excuses for the evil that is done. We ignore the hundreds of inner city teens and children who are murdered every year. We want to find a medical or psychological illness to treat in those who would brutally abuse children rather than punish them. We’ve reached the point of not wanting to punish evil. We actually refuse to punish it in many cases, claiming the punishment is worse than the crime. We will explain it, treat it, accept it, but we are loathe to punish it.

Every year thousands of innocent babies are torn from their mother’s wombs and thrown in the trash. This is the very definition of evil. Yet it is the mothers and fathers who seek out this horror. So we call it a right to privacy; the woman’s right to choose. What of the babies rights? The most basic of all rights, the right to live is stolen and it’s legal in this country. Not only is it legal, those who speak out against it are the ones considered evil for wanting to deprive a woman of the right to kill her own child. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) I can envision Jesus welcoming these innocent souls into his kingdom. But what of those who perpetrate this evil? It is my fervent hope that they will come to realize the evil they have done and repent of their actions. Some have done so and are some of the strongest voices against the continuing evil of abortion.

What are we, as Christians, to do in a society which has chosen to force God out and ignore the presence of Satan? Can we also turn a blind eye? If we do, are we not enabling the evil of those who perpetrate these acts? Is our inaction actually encouraging their evil? Failure to confront evil makes us an enabler no less than refusing to confront the drug addition of one we love. In our society, evil is like a cancer, it continues to grow unless eliminated. We would perhaps question the mental state of one who would choose to ignore a cancer growing within them, yet we ignore the cancer growing within our society.

The starting point to correct these wrongs is within each of us. We must make a commitment to confront evil whenever possible. If we continue to remain silent our society, our culture, and our nation will suffer. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah failed to recognize this and paid a terrible price (see Genesis 19). On the other hand, the people of Nineveh chose to listen to the warning of Jonah and repented of their evil and were saved. The book of Jonah is one of the shortest books in the Bible. Take a few minutes to read it. You will read of a nation perhaps approaching the state of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet when Jonah warned of their coming doom, the people and their leaders listened and repented of their evil ways. They saved their lives and turned back to God.

We are offered the same choice as Nineveh. We can repent of the evil in our society and actually do something to stop it or we can go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s up to us, we have the choice. God will accept whatever choice we make and we will enjoy the benefits or suffer the condemnation appropriate to that choice.

Let’s chose to be Nineveh. Let us listen to the warnings of God and change our lives. Let’s confront the evil in our society and force it out. We have the power. We can elect those leaders who will stand with us rather than those who stand against us or take no stand at all. But it requires us to be committed rather than just turn a blind eye.

Let us choose to stand with God! If we stand with Him, He will stand with us.

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalms 34:15-17)


The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “The Narrow Gate”. Available now for only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and other fine publishers.

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