Surprising Statistics

Unfortunately it’s not surprising, but it is disappointing… according to the latest statistics from CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) only a mere %14 of Catholics think pre-marital sex is wrong, and even among Catholics who regularly attend Mass (i.e., at least once a week) only %30 said pre-marital sex is wrong. Msgr. Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington noting the statistics said, “we have a lot of work to do”… YA THINK!?! Archbishop Chaput also said last week that this generation has failed in catechesis… in handing on the faith to the next generation and as a result young people today have lost a “moral vocabulary”:

“Our culture is doing catechesis every day. It works like water dripping on a stone, eroding people’s moral and religious sensibilities, and leaving a hole where their convictions used to be.”

“Christians in my country and yours – and throughout the West, generally – have done a terrible job of transmitting our faith to our own children and to the culture at large.
Instead of changing the culture around us, we Christians have allowed ourselves to be changed by the culture. We’ve compromised too cheaply. We’ve hungered after assimilating and fitting in. And in the process, we’ve been bleached out and absorbed by the culture we were sent to make holy.
We need to confess that, and we need to fix it.”

“The central issue is whether we ourselves really do believe. Catechesis is not a profession. It’s a dimension of discipleship. If we’re Christians, we’re each of us called to be teachers and missionaries.”
“If we’re embarrassed about Church teachings, or if we disagree with them, or if we’ve decided that they’re just too hard to live by, or too hard to explain, then we’ve already defeated ourselves.”
“We need to really believe what we claim to believe,” he stressed. “We need to stop calling ourselves ‘Catholic’ if we don’t stand with the Church in her teachings – all of them.”

In response to the crisis, the Archdiocesan website put up a PDF of relevant passages from the Sacred Scripture condemning pre-marital sex. You can find it here.

While it is clear that the Bible condemns pre-marital sex (“fornication”), and the Church has always taught that sex before marriage is wrong; it’s also clear that either people don’t understand this, or very few care anymore. This baffles me. Even aside from the religious aspect of things, look at the situation rationally: what has promiscuity brought us? … STDs, children who don’t know their fathers or who must grow up in a ‘broken home’, and all the mental consequences of casual hookups (depression, etc.), etc. Not one good thing has come from embracing promiscuity.

I have to also admit, given the popularity of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, especially with Christopher West and others supporting and teaching it all over the country… I am surprised at the numbers… but as the good Archbishop Chaput said, “the central issue is whether we really believe”.

 

What does the Catholic Church teach regarding Christian Marriage?
Casti Connubii (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Pius XI
Arcanum (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Leo XIII

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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.

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.

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.

Who’s telling the truth?

Many others have commented on Obama’s speech at the Notre [Sh]ame commencement; I wasn’t planning to, but after coming across some stats that show that States with federally funded abstinence-only sex education programs have significantly lower abortion rates than those States which reject funding for abstinence-only programs, I can’t be silent.

Why?

Because just this month, a few weeks prior to Mr. Obama’s chatter about “common ground” to “reduce the number of abortions” he cut abstinence-only sex education programs from federal funding.

According to the data then, if we abandon abstinence-only sex education programs (because, who’s going to use them if you can’t afford them?) abortion rates will not go down, but will shoot up the opposite direction: up. Cutting federal funds for abstinence-only sex education programs is NOT a step towards reducing the number of abortions in this country (it’s a step in the other direction). Cutting federal funds for abstinence-only sex education programs is NOT a step towards “common ground” (it’s an entrenchment of the same pro-ABORTION politics Obama has been lobbying for since he began campaigning).

The appeal and pleas for “common ground” and “dialogue” during his Notre [Sh]ame commencement speech were empty promises dressed in fancy rhetoric (which obviously fooled more than a few people).

Notre [Sh]ame: the Decline of a Catholic identity

By now it’s practically old news, reading about President Obama’s invitation and honorary law degree to be received this weekend at Notre Dame University (former Catholic institution of higher learning); it’s getting to be a wary topic. And what’s the hullabaloo? There’s a standing invitation for the President (whomever he may be) to speak at Notre Dame’s commencement activities. Why all the Catholic uproar, protests, and talk of scandal?

It’s not because President Obama is speaking at Notre Dame. No sir. Sure, if Obama were simply speaking at Notre Dame’s commencement, many Catholics would “tsk, tsk” and shake their heads. But, (and this is key) Obama’s being awarded (i.e., honored) with an honorary (there’s that honor again) degree of (here’s the kicker,) Law. A law degree. An honorary law degree to the most pro-abortion President this country has ever seen. An honorary law degree to a man who voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, who promised Planned Parenthood enthusiasts that he would remove all restrictions on abortion by signing the Freedom of Choice Act, who had the audacity to call unplanned children punishments, etc., etc., etc. the list goes on.

It’s a slap in the face to Catholics in this country. It’s a slap in the face to citizens of this country who have fought tirelessly against the evil of abortion.

This is not a matter of politics– it never has been– it’s a matter of LIFE. This is the real life or death situation. The lives of millions of American children depend upon our speaking up for them who cannot speak for themselves. Life is sacred, life is special, life is full of meaning. This is the foundation for EVERYTHING.

To trample and take lightly the pro-life movement– the fight to save the morals and basic human rights in this country– is an affront not merely to humanity, but robs Notre Dame of its Catholic identity. You cannot be Catholic and devalue life. You cannot embrace Catholicism and reject the sacredness of human life, reject the Gospel call to defend and help the weak, the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized, etc. Social justice issues DEPEND upon a foundation that respects, at its base, the right to life.

Notre Dame truly has become Notre Shame under the watch of Fr. Jenkins and those who support the honoring of President Obama at this year’s commencement activities.