Pope Benedict XVI to visit England

If you haven’t already been hearing about it in the news, Pope Benedict XVI will visit England in a few weeks for 4 days. Our Holy Father is definitely going to need prayers. There are already planned protests and everything anyone disagrees with regarding the teachings of the Catholic Church seems to be back on the table for discussion. The Church is never going to ordain women as priests. The Church is never going to allow contraceptives to ruin the marital embrace. Get over it. Find something else to complain about. Putting an ad on a London bus is not going incite an Ecumenical Council to overhaul the teachings of the Church. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s just wasted money.

And earlier this summer, it was reported that English Muslims were planning to protest the visit and “tell the Pope what they really think of him” (i.e., utter slanderous and spiteful words). Supposedly the UK police are going to be monitoring the situation, and I hope they keep on it. The extremist website promoting the hatred is still fuming over Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg Address… they obviously never read Pope Benedict XVI’s Truth and Tolerance.

Thus it becomes apparent that, beyond all particular questions, the real problem lies in the question about truth. Can truth be recognized? Or, is the question about truth simply inappropriate in the realm of religion and belief? But what meaning does belief then have, what positive meaning does religion have, if it cannot be connected with truth?
… we have to get a view of the phenomenon of religion as such and cannot simply start from an undifferentiated mass of “religions” in general. We first have to try to understand them as they are, in their historical dynamic, in their essential structures and types, as also in their possible threats to each other, before we try to arrive at any judgments…
And finally, we have inevitably to face up to the question of whether man is made for the truth and in what way he can, and even must, put the question of truth.

From the Regensburg Address:

…I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both… The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three “Laws” or “rules of life”: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point – itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole – which, in the context of the issue of “faith and reason”, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.
In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God”, he says, “is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”.
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature…

The Address was a speech on faith and reason, and the hullabaloo over Pope Benedict XVI’s quotation is pure childishness. He is making a point (in relation to faith and reason) about violence and God using an example from someone else. The Holy Father was never claiming Islam is a religion of violence, or making a statement about Mohammed. Though, the reaction of certain Muslims to the out-of-context quote following the lecture is demonstrating its own point… that it still continues to be a point of contention regarding the Pope is even more baffling. Anyone who flames up at the Holy Father for it, has completely missed the entire point of the lecture, and I hope they will read it (the whole thing), in context.

In any case, we should prepare for the Holy Father’s visit to England by praying hard for him, and for those who will hear him. Viva il Papa!

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat
eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
[Ps 40:3]

Pater Noster…,  Ave Maria….

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum
Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti,
propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo,
quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi
credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum
nostrum. Amen.

V. Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope.

R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make
him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the
will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]

Our Father…,  Hail Mary….

O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look
mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen
as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we
beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify
those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the
flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

“The Last Acceptable Prejudice” continues

The television (the tabernacle of Satan, as Fr Groeschel would say) is tuned to a show which shall remain nameless. I did not choose the show, and have been making a concentrated effort to ignore it. However, the past several minutes have consisted in repeated insults against the Catholic Church, and a long segment praising homosexuality…

It’s one thing to disagree with a thing from a rational perspective, and quite another to level insults, poke fun, and dismiss a thing irrationally.

More and more it seems like the Catholic Church is everyone’s favorite punching bag. The York Times, The Boston Globe…most news outlets in general. And apparently, with the testimony of this particular talk show, the Church is the best new punchline for everything. Especially whatever of the Church’s teachings that [the insulters] misunderstand.

This latest episode consisted in mocking the Eucharist (a very grave offense), one of the hosts talked about receiving [from the Chalice] multiple times when she went to Mass because she was “still thirsty” (an alcoholic insinuation). I pray it was a joke. More concerning than if she received mulitple times (which is unnecessary and obviously disrespectful), is the flippancy with which she dismissed the Most Sacred Blood of Our Lord. She preferred its alcholic accidents to its supernatural graces. The Eucharist is not wine. It is not a symbol. The substance of the wine is changed (into the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ), even though the accidents remain the same (it still looks, smells, and tastes like wine–but it is not). Her dismissal of the Precious Blood, mocking the fact that its accidents remain, is a mockery of the price of Salvation. It’s disgusting. It’d disheartening.

I worry about the state of the world.

I pray during this month of the Precious Blood that more Christians become aware of the price of their Salvation and turn in love to the Precious Blood that poured forth from Our Lord on the Cross and made present in the Chalice during the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Sex-Ed, in Kindergarten?!?

This is just disgusting:

MONTANA PARENTS WEIGH IN ON PROPOSED KINDERGARTEN SEX-ED

According to the 62-page draft proposal, beginning in kindergarten, school nurses will teach students proper terms such as “nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus.” Once they are promoted to first grade, children will learn that sexual relations could happen between two men or two women. By the time students are 10 years old, instruction will include the various ways people can have intercourse, be it vaginally, orally or through “anal penetration,” according to the proposal.

Melanie Reynolds, a district health officer, defended the proposed curriculum, saying early education and intervention was needed to prevent HIV infection or other sexually transmitted diseases. She cited a report that said 40 percent of reported Chlamydia cases in county were people between the ages of 14 and 18, the Helena Independent Record reported.

Angela Helland-Hansen told the board that she was surprised to see that staff from Planned Parenthood were included in the committee that developed the document.

Why are we allowing Planned Parenthood to help with this when they stand to profit from these people who will be their future clients?” the Record reported.

They think telling 10 year olds how to have sex will help lower the rate of STDs and teenage pregnancy?!? Seeing that Planned [Barren]hood helped develop the curriculum it should be quite obvious that they are not concerned about childhood development or education, but only concerned about how to make money in the future (more children having sex + more younger children having sex = more STDs + more teenage pregnancies = boatloads of money + funds + grants for Planned [Barren]hood). If this passes, the public ought to be ashamed for having been duped!

I’m not opposed to teaching children age-appropriate anatomy, etc…. working with children now, and being more concerned about child abuse– children knowing the proper names for their body parts is a good thing. Do they need to know what all those parts can be used for? Certainly not when they’re 5… and not even when they are 10! If you don’t want 10 year olds having sex, don’t teach them how to do it… that’s a no-brainer.

Furthermore, shoving a liberal sexual education curriculum down the throats of 6 and 7 year olds by teaching them about homosexuality is just plain wrong (…speaking of HIV and other STDs). I can be lambasted with “intolerant” and “hate speech” accusations all day long, but the truth of the matter is that ‘tolerance’ does not exist. Everyone is intolerant of something… at the moment, those who want me to be “more tolerant” are the ones engaging in “intolerance”. My opinions, arguments, thoughts, and feelings, don’t matter and are considered “wrong” so I should change in order to be “tolerant”.

But why am I the one that has to change? Can they prove me to be in the “wrong”? (No) Arguments about “tolerance” are a waste of time. The real argument is truth. What’s true? What’s right? What’s just?

The more the the world embraces liberalism, the further the world falls away from Truth, Righteousness, and Justice.

Truth matters.

Independence Day

I saw a shirt a few years ago with a big American Flag on it, it read, “In America we’re born to be free, too bad we aren’t free to be born!” and was followed by several statistics on abortion. It’s the perfect t-shirt slogan about abortion in this  country.  How ironic. Abortion is a travesty of “freedom”.

In truth, we have lost the meaning of freedom. Our modern world has completely forgotten the truth. Instead of reality, we seek only convenience.

There is no world in which the pursuit of the common good can allow for the death of anyone, no matter how young or helpless. Murder is senseless, even more so as a ‘solution’. However, abortion is not merely murder. I don’t think there’s a word to describe the utter horror of abortion. A mother slaughtering her offspring–in the womb. No woman, no person, has the ‘right’, the “freedom” to kill anyone. To decide who lives and who dies. Especially a mother. A mother is charged with the sacred duty of protection. It’s her job to protect, defend, and love her child. Murder is a gross denial of motherhood. A dross denial of the dignity of being a woman. To murder your own child is the most abhorrent act possible.

The late Pope John Paul II once said, “a nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.” This Independence Day, we, as a nation, celebrate our freedom and the hope of the “American Dream”. Abortion is the destruction of freedom, the destruction of hope, and the destruction of the American Dream.

More pictures

End abortion. Fight it. Pray for God’s mercy and justice.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness 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 cast into Hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Kudos to Bishop Sample

It’s amazing and awesome to see a Bishop with some guts! The Church needs more Bishops like Bishop Sample! (and less dissenters like Bishop Gumbleton! … pray for his piteous soul!)

From the website for the Diocese of Marquette:

http://www.dioceseofmarquette.org/upcarticle.asp?upcID=2123

“I attempted to handle this matter in a private, respectful and fraternal manner with Bishop Gumbleton. It is unfortunate that what should have remained a private matter between two bishops of the Catholic Church has been made available for public consumption.

I want to first of all say that my decision to ask Bishop Gumbleton not to come to Marquette had absolutely nothing to do with the group who invited him to speak, Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice, nor with the topic of his publicized speech, since the Church is a strong advocate of peace and justice. I am sorry for the negative impact this has had on those planning this event.

There is a common courtesy usually observed between bishops whereby when one bishop wishes to enter into another bishop’s diocese to minister or make a public speech or appearance, he informs the local bishop ahead of time and seeks his approval. Only on October 9 did I receive any communication from Bishop Gumbleton, after this situation had already become public.

As the Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility.

I realize that these were not the topics upon which Bishop Gumbleton was planning to speak. However, I was concerned about his well-known and public stature and position on these issues and my inability to keep these matters from coming up in discussion. In order that no one becomes confused, everyone under my pastoral care must receive clear teaching on these important doctrines.

I offer my prayers for Bishop Gumbleton and for all those who have been negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.”

-End-

Abortion is NOT healthcare!

What ailment does abortion heal? What medical condition does abortion cure? What lifesaving benefit does abortion offer? What life does abortion save?

The answer to all of the above: nothing. NOTHING. None. No one.

Abortion is an elective “procedure” if we can bear to call it that (perhaps that’s what Hitler called the gas chambers?). Abortion is a murderous anti-medicinal abomination that destroys the goal of all medicine: to protect LIFE.

I hate, loathe, and abhor the rhetoric. The complete selfishness demonstrated by pro-abortion advocates is downright scary. It’s TERRIFYING. Slogans like, “it’s a personal decision, not a legal debate”, “my body, my choice”, etc. are pathetic in comparison to the reality of abortion:

When did we forget our responsibilities to protect and defend the weak? Where was his “choice”? Where was his “personal decision” regarding his body?

Given the chance, no one would opt to be slaughtered in their mother’s womb.
That’s the ugly, real side of abortion that pro-abortion activists don’t want you to think about. The murder of innocent children in the wombs of their mothers.
Abortion is NOT healthcare. Abortion is murder.

Book Review: American Babylon

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ American Babylon is a weighty description of what it means for Christians to be in the world, but not of the world. It is an often repeated phrase that holds a variety of meanings, but Fr. Neuhaus likens it to the relationship between the soul and the body: “The soul is captive to the body, yet it holds the body together. So Christians are held captive to the world, and yet they hold the world together.”

While a good read, American Babylon is not light reading. Fr. Neuhaus does a great job demonstrating the difference between living in the city of men (earthly life) and the City of God (eternal life), but he often explains these differences by references to competing contemporary philosophies that could be confusing to the inexperienced reader unfamiliar with persons like Richard Rorty, Peter Singer, or the Niebuhr brothers.

Surely the most polemical topic of Fr. Neuhaus’ book is the chapter which asks, “Can an Atheist Be a Good Citizen?” Fr. Neuhaus responds in the negative. Surprising this may seem (to some) at first, I found it interesting that Fr. Neuhaus’ sentiments are echoed in our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s most recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate. The Holy Father explains that atheism is an impediment to integral human development (see Caritas in Veritate #29). Fr. Neuhaus says that the “new atheism” growing in the world today has no real moral accountability. The atheist is unable to give compelling reasons defending the society (and the actions of the society where he lives).

I found American Babylon to be a thought-provoking and necessarily slow read in order to digest the many wise words of Fr. Neuhaus. Fr. Neuhaus definitely had a talent for engaging the public square on matters of religion and philosophy.

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Catholic Store online. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

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