by Fr. Christopher Pietraszko:
So long as a man lives in mortal sin, there is nothing meritorious within him. It does not matter how many homeless he feeds, how many children he saves from a burning building, how often he prays or attends mass with pious behaviour. So long as a man has sinned mortally, he stands condemned. If a murderer stood trial, openly admitting his sin without sorrow, yet boasted of good deeds, and acts of faith, it would mean nothing for the judge. The man is being sentenced for the injustice, and rightfully so. Man compartmentalizes his sins. He hates God with one breath, yet claims to love him with another. Like a husband who slaps his wife’s cheek and kisses the other.
Man cannot ever undo the Justice that is due to him. But God can. Confess your sins, and you are rewarded with the merits of Christ.
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Choices Have Consequences In This Life And In The Next!
Msgr. Charles Pope - The themes of early Lent are pretty basic. The ashes of Ash Wednesday announce the simple truth that we are going to die and thereafter face judgment. Hence, we need to repent and come to believe the good news that only Jesus can save us.
Another early reading from Thursday after Ash Wednesday featured Moses laying out the basic reality that all of us have a choice to make. He says to us,
Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom …
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse (Dt 30:15, 20).
So there it is, our choice: life or death, prosperity or doom. An old Latin expression says, Tertium non datur (no third way is given). We often like to think that we can plow some middle path. But in the matter of the last things, there is no middle path, no third way. Either we choose God and His kingdom, reflecting that choice in all of our smaller decisions, or we do not.
To those who think that a middle path is possible, I would say that it is in effect the way of compromise, ambivalence, and tepidness. Walking such a path shows a lack of real commitment and a refusal to witness to Christ. These are not virtues that belong to God’s Kingdom; they pertain more to the kingdom of darkness. Jesus says, Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil (Matt 5:37). He also says, No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Matt 6:24).
So we are back to a choice: for the Kingdom of Light or for the kingdom of darkness, for the world and its ways or for God and His ways. Do we choose to gratify the flesh or nourish the spirit, to serve Satan and his agenda or Christ and His will and plan?
You’re free to choose, but you’re not free not to choose. That is to say, you must choose. And if you think that you can go on simply not choosing one or the other, I’ve got news for you: not choosing is choosing the kingdom of darkness.
While it is true that many do not directly choose Satan, but rather indirectly choose him by following his ways, we are asked to choose God explicitly, by accepting the gift of faith and basing our life on what the Lord commands. Faith is not some sort of “default position” we can have by accident. Faith is the supernaturally assisted and transformed human decision for God and all that that choice implies. Faith is a gift freely offered, and one that we must also freely accept; it is a choice that will not be forced on us. And through many daily choices we are called to reaffirm, by grace, the choice we have made for God.
So again, life is about choices: the fundamental choice of faith and all the daily choices that either affirm or deny the reality of our faith.
We live in times in which people like to demand free choice but at the same time want to evade the responsibilities that come with making choices. Moses goes on in the reading today to describe the fact that the choice we make for or against God will have consequences:
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy (Dt 30).
Yes, choices have consequences. And even small daily choices have the cumulative effect of moving us in one direction or the other, toward God and our goal or away.
Many little choices also have a way of forming our hearts. Deeds become habits; habits become character; character becomes destiny. These choices move us into one future or the other.
And while it is true that sudden and dramatic conversions are possible as long as we are still living, it is more common that, as we make our journey, our hearts become more fixed and our fundamental character becomes less likely to change. As we get older, it’s harder to change because that’s what choices do to us: they move us in a certain direction, down a certain path. And the further along that path we go, the less likely we are to turn back.
Therefore, daily choices are important, and making frequent examinations of conscience and frequent confession are essential. Each day we ought to ask the question, “Where am I going with my life?” If we go on too long living an unreflective life, it is easy to find ourselves deeply locked in sinful habits and patterns that are harder and harder to break. Thus, frequent reflection is necessary and we ought not make light of small daily decisions.
We live in times in which, to some degree, it is easier to insulate ourselves from the immediate consequences of many of the choices we make. Medicine, technology, social safety nets, etc. are all good things in and of themselves, but they do tend to shield us from immediate consequences and they help cultivate the illusion that consequences can be forever avoided.
We also live in times in which, perhaps more than ever before, the community is willing to bear the burden of many bad individual choices. Again, this is not in and of itself a bad thing, but it does become an enabler of bad behavior and fosters the illusion that consequences can be avoided forever. They cannot.
Our own culture is currently struggling under the weight of a colossal number of poor individual choices, ones that have added up to a financial, spiritual, moral, and emotional debt we cannot pay. Sexual misconduct, divorce, cohabitation, abortion, STDs, the use of hallucinogenic and addictive drugs, the casting off of of discipline and parental responsibility, the rejection of faith and ancient and tested wisdom, rebellion, silence in the face of sin and injustice, greed, consumerism gone mad, factions, envy, discord, and on and on … all of this is taking a tremendous toll. The consequences are mounting and it is becoming clear that even the most basic functions of society such as raising the next generation, preserving order and stability, and ensuring the common good are gravely threatened.
And what is true collectively is also true for us as individuals. Lots of bad little choices quickly draw us into self-destructive patterns that become more and more ingrained. And without regular reflection and penitential seasons like Lent, we lose our way too easily! St. Augustine noted this in his Confessions, in which he described himself as being bound, “not by another’s irons, but by my own iron will … For in truth lust is made out of a perverse will, and when lust is served, it becomes habit, and when habit is not resisted, it becomes necessity” (Conf 8.5.10).
Moses’ warnings are before us as never before.
Back in 1917, a beautiful and holy Woman (Our Lady) appeared to three young children in Portugal. She explained that the horrifying war (World War I) was finally coming to an end. But, she warned, if people did not turn back to her Son Jesus and start praying, a worse war would ensue; Russia would spread her errors and great disaster would befall this world. Do I need to tell you what happened? Of course not! Any even casual assessment of the 20th century would find it hard to conclude that the century was anything but satanic.
Life and death, prosperity and doom. What will you choose? What will we choose?
Originally posted at: blog.adw.org
Yoga Is Outside Our Christian Domain
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St. Patrick, pray for us.
Time is running out.
Derry Journal, by Sheena Jackson:
Fr. Roland Colhoun, who is based he Ireland, issued caution when saying mass in Drumsurn two Sundays ago, when he says he was drafted in at short notice. He said his sermon was based on the devil and exorcism.
“I mentioned a number of things that are part of the new age movement. It’s so embedded in our culture now that it has gained a kind of a respectability, but the new age practices, they’re certainly not good for us and the Church is very concerned about people employing them and has written specific documents on the new age movement. There is a great body of research (theological, spiritual and physiological) already done on it.”
Fr. Colhoun said he mentioned yoga and Indian head massage. “The Indian head massage, the difficulty is that it involves the laying on of hands on another person’s head. There is a risk when you do that because that is a rite we use in the sacramental practice for the communication of the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation, and ordination as well,” said Fr. Colhoun, “but if you do that outside of a sacramental rite you’re running the risk of communicating a bad spirit, not the Holy Spirit.”
Fact: the poses in yoga each represent a “god.”
Regarding yoga, Fr. Colhoun said the medical journals have taken great interest in yoga and the case studies of yoga practitioners who gained injuries and long term disabilities.
The bad spirit can be communicated in a variety of ways.
“Pope Francis said ‘do not seek spiritual answers in yoga classes’. Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk. When you take up those practices from other cultures, which are outside our Christian domain, you don’t know what you are opening yourself up to. The bad spirit can be communicated in a variety of ways. I’m not saying everyone gets it, or that it happens every time, and people may well be doing yoga harmlessly, but there‘s always a risk and that’s why the Pope mentioned it and that’s why we talk about that in terms of the danger of the new age movement and the danger of the occult today. That’s the fear.”
Fr. Colhoun said yoga or Indian head massage “don’t have their origins in Christianity”.
“There is definitely power from them, but where it’s from the Church is nervous and that’s why it fits into the sermon on the devil,” said Fr Colhoun who accepts some people may be bemused by his comments, but said: “I would refer people to the evidence. The Church documents are written on it. It’s not an exhaustive study as the new age movement keeps changing. The documents give great caution about their practices.”
Additional related quotes: Prominent officials in the Catholic Church have expressed wariness about yoga in the past.
In 2011, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, said that yoga leads to a belief in Hinduism, and that “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation”.
“Practicing yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter,” he told the Telegraph.
Valentine’s Day & 50 Shades of Grace
Father Leo Patalinghug: By definition, “passion” comes from the Latin verb, “Pati.” It doesn’t mean passion exclusively in a sexual sense. It actually means “to suffer.” True passion means love worth suffering for. It’s the kind of love that made Valentine, the martyr for Christ, the inspiration for St. Valentine’s Day. It’s no coincidence that Cupid’s arrow painfully piercing the heart is a popular symbol of love. Love and passion don’t always feel good.
In light of the controversial highly female-erotic movie based on the popular book to be released on St. Valentine’s Day, I wanted to offer a reflection that can hopefully respect the many different opinions about this film and the topic of love. Since everyone else is talking about 50 Shades of Grey, I instead want to talk about “50 Shades of Grace”!
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The classical philosophers note that love has many dimensions, generally characterized as “shades
” or ways of understanding love. Philosopher and Theologian, CS Lewis describes the Greek understanding of storge (affection), philia (friendship), agape (a Godly love of charity), and eros (erotic or romantic love) in his book “The Four Loves
.” While the commercially popularized fiction novel-turned-movie 50 Shades of Grey
may not be the best context for discussion, all the talk about this movie shows a real need to discuss the topic of eros for the modern world.
People of faith cannot be afraid of the topic of human sexuality. There just needs to be a better place to discuss the inner secrets, longings and our human need for physical love in a world that is so broken and inhabited by people equally broken. While the commercialization of this topic is shameful, we have to overcome the shame that people have when discussing this topic.
Where is the best place to discuss this topic? Our faith teaches us that we ought to talk about these topics in a few different places – and the movie theatre is not the best place! Instead of talking about this topic so publicly, it is best to start a conversation with God in prayer. Yes, God won’t blush if you’re honest with Him in prayer.
Another place to discuss this topic, especially if we let the brokenness get the best of us, is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
. Confession isn’t a “counseling” session per se. The priest – especially an experienced confessor who has heard a lot of confessions – can tell you that private sins, if brought to the light of grace in the Sacrament can be a real opportunity for true and humble love. Confession really provides education about this sensitive topic – which is much more than a novel or movie can offer.
Finally, another place to discuss this very private topic is with your spouse. What should be obvious is not. Admittedly, many couples do not know how or have the courage to share their concerns about physical intimacy or sexual needs with their spouses. Despite the age of information, many couples are uninformed or misunderstand the church’s very positive outlook on human sexuality. Certainly, the Church’s teachings approach the topic of sexuality with sensitivity but not out of embarrassment. It is always out of respect for the power erospossesses. Eros has power to do great-saint-making-good, but also great destruction. It requires a sensitive, honest, and faithful discussion!
A priest can’t stop a person from watching the movie or reading this book or other books and movies like it. It is interesting that even many secular observers have deemed this movie raunchy, seedy, or inappropriate for public consumption. That should be prevention enough! Perhaps in prayer you may realize that God offers you a better experience of love – all shades of it – if we allow Him into the inner, most intimate recesses of our hearts. While the content of the book and film will raise eyebrows, and in some regards, bolster the efforts of a misguided sexual revolution, it remains a legitimate topic that ought to be discussed. My questions and challenges for you are where, how and with whom ought this discussion take place?
The title of this email blast “50 Shades of Grace” came from my meditation on the 50 beads of the Holy Rosary. Yes, Mary was a passionate woman. She can really help women understand the deeper meaning of love. Do something romantic and passionate with your spouse: pray the rosary together. It’s truly more than 50 shades of Grace!
As you prepare for St. Valentine’s Day, use this opportunity to learn more about what the Church teaches about marriage, sexuality, intimacy and couple’s conversation through my book, Spicing Up Married Life
. This book has been used by marriage preparation programs, couple enrichment nights, and couples across America. Counselors use the book to help heal and strengthen those relationships that need God’s grace. Couples who have used this book develop an understanding of the theological language of marriage. They begin to appreciate, not fear, the Catholic Church’s very positive teaching on human intimacy, sexuality, and the need for all types of love – including romance! Consider this book a gift for you and your spouse, fiancé, or a couple preparing for marriage.
Click to order the book.
In our world where love and sex can become mutually exclusive or confused, it’s always helpful to know that there is someone you can talk to about your deepest desires of love and intimacy – the true doctor, the Divine Physician. Let God pull you out of the grey areas of this topic and bring you into the light of true love. The Doctor will see you now!
Let us Pray: Lord, teach us how to love. It’s so easy to get caught up in the confusion of emotions that we get lost on our way as we seek the Love that fulfills. We pray for those who are hurting because of unbridled and abusive power of the eros. We pray for those caught up in the industry that confuses sex for love. We pray that none of us become destructively critical, but humbly aware that these sins – no matter how embarrassing they may be – are ultimately forgivable by God’s loving mercy. Help us to love dear God as Jesus taught us by his Passion! Amen.
How to Reclaim St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick is one of the best known Catholics Saints. His feast day is celebrated by the secular world as well as Catholics. Sadly, St. Patrick’s feast day may best known for beer. Lots and lots of beer. In some sects, the homosexual agenda has ravaged the parades with highly offensive sexual immorality. No details are needed.
As a matter of fact, if today you were to google images of St. Patrick’s Day, well let’s just say that you better have a parental control filter installed. And you won’t find anything about St. Patrick.
Even good Catholics forget to remember the St. Patrick purged Paganism from Ireland.
“St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate” is said to have been composed by St. Patrick in preparation for this victory over Paganism. Here is a portion of his prayer.
Honestly, does this sound like a man who would endorse most of the parties that celebrate his name? Would littering be the proper way to celebrate Earth Day? Why don’t we just take a 12 pack to an AA meeting? Neither is rowdy drunkenness (or worse) the way to celebrate St. Patrick’s feast day. Sure, have a green beer, but avoid the secular shenanigans.
I am sure St. Patrick is honored to be honored, but not by the way our society does it today. So how should we honor St. Patrick’s Day?
5 Sure Fire Ways to Honor St. Patrick
- Go to Mass! Offer the mass to the reparation of sins that will happen on this day. This is the best way to honor a man such as St. Patrick.
- Say a Novena to Saint Patrick. Click here to for the Saint Patrick Novena.
- Learn more about the Life of Saint Patrick.
- Say the prayer we have the listed to the right. A portion from the “St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate.”
- Do Not Wear St. Patty’s Beer Shirts. Please go with a Catholic Alternative that truly honors the Saint and the way he lived his life. BTW: We are offering a St. Patrick’s Tee, which actually honors St. Patrick. Because you are a valued subscriber, we have a St. Patrick’s $5 off promo which ends this February 28th.
Saint Patrick, Pray for us!
by Dan Quinn: You can find him at the Immaculation Conception of Mary Facebook Community Page.
PS – Jeff and I are teaming up with my twin bother, Dan, promoting St. Patrick. The sale ends March 2nd with the $5 off promo ending February 28th. Please check it out. We also have shirts for your children or grand children. Thanks!
The Battle We Are Fighting Is Against More Than Ignorance. It Is A Battle Against Powers And Principalities
Bishop Athanasius Schneider – It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:
Spread The Gospel And Teachings Of The Church
We must create groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God.
As a means to this aim, we must make use of all the resources that the modern world offers to us. We are not confined to waiting for the media to spread these messages. We do not have to wait for each individual pastor to preach them from the pulpit. We should embrace the new media forms that allow us to spread the Gospel and the teachings of our Holy Mother, the Church. We should take our message to the Internet, publish it on websites, blogs, and social media.
But we must not forget to engage with our fellow Catholics in more traditional ways. We should organize conferences and symposiums on a scholarly level. We should use these to create publications, papers, and books that can be used as a reference and broaden our discussion.
Witness In Truth And Love God’s Design For The Family And Sexuality
We should also create a movement of Catholic families, of “domestic churches”, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.
We must, at this dangerous time, be courageous in illuminating the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the “Kasper agenda,” demonstrating the continuity of the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of the history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers. We should demonstrate, on the one side, the real beauty of a marital, family, or single life in chastity and fidelity. On the other side, we must point to the demonstrated ugliness, unhappiness, and schizophrenia of a life against the divinely-established order.
To give hope to those who are struggling, it is important for us to give examples of repentant Catholics from the past and present time. Those who converted from their sinful life in adultery, divorce, or sodomy.
To address the errors currently being spread, true Catholic husbands, families and single persons must write to the pope, to the their bishops, and to the competent dicasteries of the Roman Curia, notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events with such an agenda which are being promoted though ecclesiastical persons or groups.
This Is A Spiritual War And Must Be Fought With Spiritual Weapons
These are all means of education and formation. But the battle we are fighting is against more than ignorance. It is against principalities and powers. It cannot succeed unless we organize a great national and international net of prayer through Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages, solemn Masses, intercessional and penitential processions with themes such as “The Holiness of Family and Marriage,” “The Call to Chastity,” “The Beauty and Happiness of a Chaste Life,” “The Imitation of Christ in Family Life,” and “Expiation for the Sins Against Family and Marriage.”
Perhaps most fundamental of all, we should pray fervently that God may give to His Church holy bishops and holy popes. Such a prayer should be prayed especially by children, because the prayer of the innocent ones penetrates heaven like no other.
Originally posted at OnePeterFive.
The Liturgy, Signs of the Times, Sulphur, Lawlessness & Disobedient Shepherds
by Fr. William Moser:
I’ve never been one who wants to ignore the law of God and His Church – even if at times I perceived them narrowly or legalistically. As I grow older, and – please God! – more mature, I have come to love the law of God and His Church. I even confess I love all the rubrics of the sacred liturgy. Yes, all of them! You see, I’m of an age – 57 – at which I have seen a lot of disobedience and dissent and downright disdain for the Church’s liturgical laws. Worse, I have seen disdain for ecclesiastical laws. And, worse yet, I’ve seen disdain for divine law as proclaimed by the Word of God and the constant teaching of the Church.
So, I’m really wondering what’s going on these days, even within high ecclesiastical circles. Jesus, perfect God and perfect man has warned us, with His fatherly heart, to read “the signs of the times.” (cf. Mt. 16:3). As I’m wondering about this, and what’s going on in the Church and civil society, so much lawlessness and Godlessness and defiance – I come across that mysterious passage in the second chapter of St. Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, wherein St. Paul speaks of “the man of lawlessness … the son of perdition.” (cf. 2 Thess. 2:3) Chills go up and down my spine as I read his further explanation: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work … and then the lawless one will be revealed … the coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (cf. 2 Thess. 2: 7-10)
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. 2 Thess. 2:7
Am I catching a whiff of sulphur these days? If St. Paul could say in his day that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work,” (cf. 2 Thess. 2:7) what would he be saying in our day? If these are not the last days (and I’m not suggesting they are – not at all) what will it be like in the last days? No wonder people of those times would rather be dead and our Lord mercifully shortens those days!
I am here observing and wondering, not proclaiming the last days. Actually, I am writing to bring hope. Hope for a more positive proclamation of the new evangelization, one that is not at all as it seems to be presented by some, as an announcement of change (notice those who shout ‘change!’ never define what it is, until its fateful consequences are upon us) or an abrogation of all laws, that is, all previous laws without consideration of their merit and wisdom. I am actually writing to promote a new appreciation of law and law for a more secure and firmly established evangelization.
A scene from a movie comes frequently to mind. It’s a wonderful point and counter-point argument between St. Thomas More and his son-in-law, Will Roper, in the perennial masterpiece, “A Man for All Seasons.” Here’s that tense, but splendid dialogue when St. Thomas More is considering his possible dreadful fate:
“Will Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
St. Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Will Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
St. Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake!”
So, I ask: who can stand upright in the lawless winds that are blowing now? Our country is planted thick with laws because of the prevalent disdain for God’s law. If we don’t respect God and His laws, how on earth do we expect people to respect man’s laws?
Conforming to the World’s Way
This brings me to the place where we must be able to find respect for law: the Church. Alas! The Church (at least among some of her sons and daughters) seems to manifest a sign of conformity to the world’s ways instead of being “a sign of contradiction.” I could amass a book full of examples. Who is alive since the 1960s who doesn’t know about liturgical abuses, defiance of the Church’s basic morality, especially on the conception of new human life? Don’t forget the proud dissenters, lining up to show off – to any camera in sight – their latest heresies! Oh, what Godlessness! What … lawlessness!
Which is Worse?
Furthermore, there is the sight of so many shepherds defying God’s laws. But, I’ll tell you what may be even worse, shepherds who never defend the faithful who are scandalized by such defiance. They turn a blind eye to all manner of clerical deceit. They are even annoyed by the faithful who complain about abuses when they have a right to hear the truth proclaimed and the Sacraments properly celebrated. How many holy popes and bishops have counselled clergy to conform to the Church’s teaching and practice and to govern their people with truth and justice, but have found only deafness?
It is the Faithful Ones Being Punished
So, here we are in 2015 where dissenters are not disciplined, and note this well: a Church wherein orthodox people, people who simply want to be faithful without any contention, are the ones who are punished. What has happened? What is that I smell? A rat? No, a bit of sulphur. It’s the lawless one having his day.
What Will God Do Now?
You can ask friends of mine if you want, they will tell you I have never been confirmed in the idea that these are the last days. Oh, I do get close. I do wonder. I am a realist and the sights and sounds of a world going insane gives me pause. Here we are in a crazy world with omnipresent pornography, abortion on demand – almost demanded in many places – and what’s that I read lately? – of a school district offering transgendered education to our youth? Sodom and Gomorrah were burnt to a crisp, but what will God do now?
Nevertheless, I hopefully hold on to the idea once proclaimed so confidently by St. John Paul II that there is going to be a “new springtime” in the Church. He even said – God bless him! – he could see its first signs. St. John Paul II wasn’t just a wistful optimist. Need I remind you, this is a man who endured tyrannical communism? He was not a naïve churchman kept carefully coddled in academic institutions. St. John Paul II had the “smell of the sheep” as our present pontiff loves to say.
Thank You Homeschooling Moms
There are a lot of places I can point to as splendid examples of what that brilliant and beloved pope, St. John Paul II, observed. Two quick examples are all that are needed for a quick review: home schoolers – thank you homeschooling moms – you have done a wonderful but thankless task for the Church without support almost anywhere. Another example, those wonderful young priests showing up and unabashedly and bravely ready to join the battle. God bless you, young men! Never give up, but above all, remember, we need holy priests, priests who love the Church – and her customs and her laws based on the apostolic and sacred Tradition she so lovingly upholds.
That brings me back to my point about the law. Here, I want to suggest that, it’s most certainly an absolutely necessary support for the new evangelization. None other than the great Cardinal, Raymond Burke, lights the way. He did so at a previous synod of Bishops in Rome, on October 25, 2012. Because it didn’t get the notice that it should have, I want to quote his words now:
“Among the most serious wounds of society today is the separation of legal culture from its metaphysical objective, which is the moral law. In recent times this separation has been much accentuated, manifesting itself as a real antinomianism which claims to render actions which are intrinsically evil as legal, for example, abortion on demand, artificial conception of human life with the aim of carrying out experimentation on the life of a human embryo, the so-called euthanasia of those who have a right to our preferential assistance, legal recognition of same-sex unions as marriage and the negation of the fundamental right to conscience and religious liberty.
“This antinomianism embedded in civil society has unfortunately infected post-Council ecclesial life, associating itself regrettably with so-called cultural novelties. Excitement following the Council, linked to the establishment of a new Church which teaches freedom and love, has strongly encouraged an attitude of indifference towards Church discipline, if not even hostility ….
“Devoted to present-day evangelization, we have the task of laying the foundation for awareness of the disciplinary tradition of the Church and respect of the law of the Church. How indeed will we be able to witness our faith in the world if we ignore or neglect the demands of justice within the Church?” (Cardinal Raymond Burke, Synod 2012).
Law Must be Respected and Loved
Renewing our respect for law in the way back on course, and the way forward in the “new springtime” ahead. Law must be respected! Law must be loved! And, as our Lord would say, not one “jot or tittle” less!
Who better as models of this recovery of respect and love for the law can you find than St. Joseph and Holy Mary, our Blessed Mother, Mother of the Church? In divine and civil law Joseph and Mary were models of respect! The holy gospel of St. Luke reports: “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled …. And Joseph also went up from Galilee … to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.” (cf. Luke 2:1-6) So, despite her advanced pregnancy and all the difficulties, Joseph and Mary followed the law. Thus, they were good and law-abiding citizens.
Two other examples of their fidelity to the law of God will complete the picture as presented by the Word of God in written form. Further along in chapter two of St. Luke’s gospel we read: “And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’) and to offer sacrifice according to what was said in the law of the Lord ….” (cf. Luke 2:22-24). The other passage reports: “And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.” (cf. Luke 2:39).
Joseph and Mary are models of respect for the law of God and their own country. May this respect, based on love, give us all a new respect for the law and propel us forward, into the new evangelization. Let us leave the lawless one behind!
Britain Approving Genetically Modified Children
Bishop John Sherrington says the Church remains opposed to procedures where the destruction of human embryos is part of the process
Catholic Herald: The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has condemned the House of Commons decision to vote in favour of legalising three-parent children.
Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster issued a statement on behalf of the bishops, stating that “Whilst the Church recognises the suffering that mitochondrial diseases bring and hopes that alternative methods of treatment can be found, it remains opposed on principle to these procedures where the destruction of human embryos is part of the process.
“This is about a human life with potential, arising from a father and a mother, being used as disposable material,” he added. “The human embryo is a new human life with potential; it should be respected and protected from the moment of conception and not used as disposable material.”
MPs voted yesterday to legalise a genetic process to fight the transmission of mitochondrial diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, in which the DNA of a third individual is added.
If the legislation is approved in the House of Lords, Britain would become the first country to allow scientists to alter the human germ line in trying to defeat incurable diseases.
3 Parent Babies
The two procedures covered by the regulations are highly controversial because they are not permitted in any other country in the world, with international scientific opinion divided over their effectiveness.
After a 90-minute debate in the House of Commons, members voted 328-128 to approve the unamendable legislation.
Mitochondria are the biological power packs that give energy to nearly every cell of the body. Genetic defects can leave the cells starved of energy, causing muscle weakness, blindness, heart failure and death in the most extreme cases. It is estimated that, each year, defective mitochondrial defects affect one in every 6,500 babies in the United Kingdom.
Two procedures were covered by the regulations.
The maternal spindle transfer technique involves the extraction of the genetic material from a mother’s egg, which is then inserted into a donor egg in which the maternal spindle has been removed and discarded. The reconstituted egg then is fertilised by the father’s sperm before implantation in the mother. The procedure is known as “three-parent IVF.”
The second technique, pronuclear transfer, involves up to four parents. Potential parents would go through the procedure for in vitro fertilization with the embryo from the parents seeking a child to be combined with parts of a donor embryo. The process requires that both embryos be destroyed while the mother’s embryo is effectively cloned and repackaged before the cells begin to multiply and grow into a baby.
During the House of Commons debate Jane Ellison, public health minister, told politicians they had nothing to fear.
“This is a bold step for Parliament to take, but it is a considered an informed step,” she said. “This is world-leading science within a highly respected regulatory regime and, for the many families affected, this is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”
After the vote, Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Scotland, said the proposed techniques fail on ethical grounds.
“They destroy human life, since in order to construct a disease-free embryo, two healthy ones will have to be destroyed. The technique is not a treatment, it does not cure anyone or anything, rather it seeks to remove anyone affected by certain conditions from the human gene pool. Destroying those who have a particular disease and presenting it as a cure or as progress is utterly disingenuous and completely unethical,” he said.
The practice “distorts the natural process of fertility,” Bishop Keenan said.
“It is surprising that a society which increasingly favors and supports natural and ‘environmentally friendly’ products and services should countenance the genetic modification of human beings. How can we object when scientists genetically modify plants, but not when they do the same with people?” he said.
Helen Watt of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, an Oxford-based institute serving the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland, called the vote’s outcome “a disaster”.
“We can only hope that the House of Lords will take a more skeptical approach,” she said. “No one will be treated by these techniques, which transfer nuclear DNA out of and into eggs or embryos in the course of producing genetically modified babies.
“Children born and their descendants may be harmed in ways we are currently unable to predict,” she said. “This is human experimentation, to say nothing of the embryos destroyed — in the case of one procedure, two embryos destroyed every time that procedure is performed.”
During the House of Commons debate, Fiona Bruce, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, told members they were being asked to authorise experiments on children, adding that “the implications of this simply cannot be predicted.”
“But one thing is for sure, once this alteration has taken place, as someone has said, once the genie is out of the bottle, once these procedures that we’re asked to authorize today go ahead, there will be no going back for society,” Bruce said.
The proposed technologies are prohibited by the European Union, opposed by the United Nations, and have been questioned by the US Food and Drug Administration, which has stated that the “full spectrum of risks … has yet to be identified.”
Among those concerned is Stuart Newman, professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College, who told Catholic News Service on February 3 that he was “very disappointed” by the vote.
“With all the science that has been done on this it is still being portrayed as mitochondrial manipulation,” he said. “It is not, it is nuclear manipulation.”
Newman said he had no doubt the procedures amounted to the genetic modification of human beings.
“It’s basically the creation of a being from the bits and pieces of cells from different people,” he said.
“Scientifically, it you try to put together an organism from fragments of cells, it’s going to mostly not work. Frequently it will look normal, but there will be things wrong with it. That has been shown experimentally.”
He said it was dangerous because it disrupted the “evolutionary compatibility” between the nucleus of a cell and the mitochondria of the cell.
“It is going to lead to children with conditions which, in some cases, will probably be worse than the conditions they are trying to avoid,” he said.