Everything the Devil Said Was a Lie

Uncovering Satan’s Three Lies

by Fr. Stephen Hellman –Anybody here play poker? Here’s a great quote I came across last week:

“If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.”

The more I think about it, the more I’m thinking… maybe that explains why I never win at poker.

Sometimes people are targeted… Sometimes they are targeted fairly by others when they play games, and sometimes they are targeted unfairly by con men.

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

And that’s what we see in the account of Adam and Eve.  The biggest con man of all, the devil, Satan, targeted Adam and Eve.

He lied to them and they accepted his lie and hence we heard the story of … the Fall.

The Church does not claim that there were two historical persons named Adam and Eve, but it is a tenet of our faith that humanity can trace its lineage back to one pair of human beings who were our First Parents, and that through their act of disobedience sin entered the world.

And by the way, science bears out this ancient teaching that we had one pair of first parents: it is pretty well established that the human race is truly one human family and that the DNA of every human person does lead back to the union of one man and one woman, a single pair of human beings… our two “first parents”.

Isn’t that funny how the world always eventually catches up to the teachings of the Church?

 The devil and targeting today.

You know, many people hear the scripture that we heard and they actually kind of believe that what happened is that Adam and Eve were kind of in a vague pre-moral state, and that it was only after they ate the apple, after they had committed the first sin, that they came to recognize the difference between right and wrong, good and evil…

But this just shows that many of us even today fail to clearly see what the devil had done. In point of fact, everything that Satan said to Adam and Eve was a lie.

And whether we believe this account to be literal or not, it is valuable to treat the story as literal when analyzing its parts due to the important truths that it conveys. This is not fundamentalism, this is valuable biblical exploration, for God’s Word has much to say to us.

So, let’s look at the account…

Satan got Adam and Eve to question what God had told them… God told them them they would die if they ate of the tree, and the devil told them that they would not die.

In fact, God was correct. Through their disobedience they did die — through the disobedience of our First Parents sin and death entered the world.

In the intimacy of their original state of Holiness, Adam and Eve had been destined to live forever with God in Paradise. But once they disobeyed God, they were expelled from Paradise and condemned to eventual death. This is described as the loss of their natural integrity.

And worse than that, their sin killed their perfect connection with God, destroying the state of their harmony within themselves, and bringing the stain of Original Sin to all of humankind… And this is described as their loss of sanctifying grace.

Later in the Genesis narrative, if you look carefully, you will see that there are the elements of Confession, where Adam and Eve admit to God what they’ve done.

And besides his lying to Adam and Eve about death, the devil told them two other things: if they ate of the tree they would be like gods, and they would know what is good and what is evil.

Now here’s the interesting trick the devil played on them, and if you remember nothing else today remember this: everything the devil said was a lie.

The fact is, Adam and Eve were already like God, and they already knew what was good and what was evil.

There was nothing new that came to them through the devil. What the devil succeeded in doing was make them question God and question themselves.

The devil never adds anything new. That’s because the devil never has anything of his own to work with. All the devil can work with is reality, which is created by God and belongs to God. So, the devil has to take the stuff of reality and twist it to attempt to trick us into making decisions that turn us away from reality and against God.

How were Adam and Eve already like God?

Well, in Paradise they were in the image and the likeness of God. Adam and Eve were in God’s image and likeness in their ability to feel, to love, to reason, and to know God in their hearts, and especially in the perfect intimacy they shared with Him and with one another.

The Fall took away their perfect intimacy, and the effect was that human beings became corrupted. And, while the ability to be the image of God remained, it no longer was clear and beautiful but was forever stained by sin…

The human intellect was darkened, the human will weakened, and from that moment forward, the human being, having lost his inner harmony, became separated from God and at war within himself…

So, Original Sin degrades the ability of men and women to have the true and full intimacy with God and with one another that they have been created for.

Let me say that again…Original Sin degrades the ability of men and women to have the true and full intimacy with God and with one another that they have been created for.

Adam and Eve had been like God already but the devil deceived them into not recognizing what they had, and so they threw it all away.

And what else? The devil told them also that they would learn the difference between good and evil.

But the thing is, Adam and Eve already knew the difference between good and evil! God had already told them what was good and what was evil: it was good to obey God, and it was evil to disobey God and the one rule He had established for their happiness… to not eat of the tree.

So they already knew right from wrong… they knew what was good and what was evil, for God had told them.

So, in summary, the devil somehow deceived our First Parents into believing:

* that God had not told them the truth,

* that they could receive a greater divine life than they already had,

* and that the fruit of the tree would give them a knowledge that they did not already possess.

Three lies…

And if you look at the scripture passage, you see in Eve’s action of eating the apple that actually the act itself was based on three reasons.

“The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

So, three lies from the devil, and a three-fold action on the part of the woman followed by the man, and thus occurs the Fall of the human race and all of creation along with it.

The Three Sins of Eve

This action of Eve is understood as expressing what the Jews called the three-fold concupiscence, which consisted of: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life.

Today we call these three lust, greed, and pride — or maybe sensuality, vanity, and pride are good terms — and all the sins of humanity fall under one of these three categories.

… and you know, some people have trouble with this whole concept of Original Sin, but, actually, isn’t sin the one indisputable fact? Consider G.K. Chesterton’s famous observation: “[it] is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.”

Now, I know this is a long homily today, but please bear with me, this is important… just a little more.

— let’s look briefly at today’s gospel  where Jesus is tempted by Satan in the desert. Anything interesting there?

Jesus encountered in the desert the same three temptations to which Eve succumbed —

…lust of the flesh in the temptation to turn the stone into bread,

…lust of the eyes in the temptation to possess kingdoms of the world, and

…pride of life in the temptation to prove that he is the Messiah by throwing himself down from the temple.

So, we see in these powerful readings today that where Adam and Eve fell to sin, Jesus withstood the universal temptations of lust, greed and pride…

Jesus is showing at the beginning of his public ministry that where Adam fell, he will succeed.

Jesus thus is the New Adam, the one who brings the New Creation, restoring what our First Parents lost.

And so, Holy Mother Church gives us these readings this First Sunday of Lent because during Lent, we focus on coming to Christ to seek restoration of what has been lost in our own lives.

What needs restoring in our lives?

With Jesus’ help and the three practices of fasting, good works and prayer which are our weapons against sin and temptation, we can ask God for the restoration we need.

May Lent bring us special blessings this year.

With God’s help, let us undo the work of the con artist, let us engage in the difficult work of rooting out any lies that we’ve allowed ourselves to believe, that all of us in our parish community may grow in holiness in these coming days. Amen.

The Rash One Has No Integrity, But The Just One Shall Live!

It Is A Great Poverty To Decide A Child Must Die So You May Live As You Want!

Fr. Stephen Hellman – This month of October is a month in which the Church gives special reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary and in the United States it also is Respect Life Month where we give a special focus on the issues which revolve around life…And Mary our Mother, in her “fiat”, her yes to God when the angel Gabriel came to her at the Annunciation–Mary gives us the greatest example of faithful acceptance of God’s will, apart from that of Jesus himself, in all of Sacred Scripture and in all of human history, and it is from her yes, her faith in God, that she is given the privilege to bear in herself the New Life that is Jesus Christ.

So we see in Mary that faith gives life.  So it’s no coincidence that the month of Mary and Respect Life month are one and the same, for great faith leads to a more profound and greater reverence for life and all three of our readings today speak a lot about faith and how it works in our lives.

What I want to focus on today is this first reading, from the Book of Habakkuk.  Habakkuk was a minor prophet who lived during the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and encouraged his fellow Jews to retain their faith during this disaster. What was the disaster?  Jerusalem was overtaken by the Babylonians and brought under their rule.  This “Babylonian Exile” lasted for 70 years from around 597 BC until 538 BC.  And during this period, it was difficult for the Jews to maintain their traditions, to practice their religion without it being corrupted by the religious practices of the pagan conquerers.   Some Jews succeeded in staying true to their faith during the period; some did not.  Habakkuk interprets faith as a persistent confidence in God’s saving power and the first two chapters of the book of Habakkuk are in the form of a dialogue between Habakkuk and God where the prophet repeatedly complains and the Lord answers each time.

At times, Habakkuk is concerned and feels that the Lord is punishing his people too severely, and we heard today…

How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.

But the answer from the Lord is always clear:  maintain a steadfast faith and love for God, and you will receive God’s blessing.  Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

You know, in many ways, the last part of this statement really goes so much to the heart of what it means to have faith.  The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.  Many times, we see this today, faith is really the opposite of rashness.  Rashness consists in allowing ourselves to be pushed and prodded by forces outside of ourselves, by allowing our emotions, our impulses–sometimes the people around us–to drive us to do things that in our heart if we really think about it, when we calmly consider it, just aren’t right.  Did you know that the Alan Guttmacher Institute puts the “hard cases” of abortion — for rape or incest, or the health of the mother, or for birth defects — at less than 1% of all abortions?  Over 99% of abortions are for social or economic reasons, according to the abortion industry analysts themselves.  And according to some studies, the majority of women who have abortions, feel rushed or uncertain when they undergo the abortion, and as many as 64% felt pressured by others to obtain the abortion…

Is that liberation?  Is that autonomous and free decision-making that enhances women’s rights?  No.  That’s not authentic womanhood.  That’s not authentic personhood.   That’s the rashness that we heard about in the Book of Habakkuk:  The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Such rashness is opposed to faith.  In faith, we maintain our connection to the sacredness of human life, and like Habakkuk in times of difficulty we stand up for the good and the true, and in our culture today that means recognizing that abortion harms both the babies who are aborted and the women who have abortions.  You know, if you want to imagine the problem of abortion in this country consider this:  125 innocent babies are killed by abortion every hour in the United States.   And that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of the number of students at St Vincent de Paul School, isn’t it?

So, imagine if you had a child at school here and you dropped him or her off at 8 a.m. and then came back an hour later, and the whole school was gone–that’s what happens in the U.S. every day…  Every hour the entire population of St Vincent de Paul school is aborted in our country, and that’s 125 emotionally and spiritually scarred women as well.  Is there any question that the lives that are taken are innocent human lives?  And as I said, over 99% of the abortions are for economic or social reasons; only a very, very, very small percentage of the cases are for rape or incest, or for the health of the mother, or for birth defects.  No doubt these situations are tragic.  And there’s no doubt that the economic and social pressures can seem very real for many women, and these can be very painful decisions, and yet, when made due to economic and social pressures… these are still rash decisions.

Mother Teresa, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who knew about social and economic deprivation, said it best:  “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”  If you are Catholic and you consider yourself pro-choice, I urge you:  pray about this.  Go to the former abortion clinic — and now pro-life museum — Claire’s Hope on Sage Avenue in Mobile and learn… and then ask yourself if you really can turn a blind eye to this issue.  The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Lord, as we come to the Eucharist today — where you willingly allowed for your body, innocent, to be destroyed for the sake of our salvation.  Lord, we pray for an end to the evil of the practice of abortion, and for the conversion of those who support abortion and who believe that abortion is an acceptable option, and we also pray for emotional and spiritual healing for all women who have had abortions.  AMEN.

 

 

Life And Love Are Inseparable

“If You Weaken One Aspect Of The Marital Bond, You Will Inevitably Weaken The Other.”

By: Father Stephen Hellman

God’s Plan In The Beginning

The question that is directed to Jesus in our Gospel today sounds very similar to many of the questions that people throw at the Church about marriage today.  Questions like, Why can’t people divorce and remarry?  Why can’t two people engage in premarital sex?  Why can’t two women or two men marry each other?  All of these questions ultimately stem from the fact that, because we are affected by sin, it is a struggle for human beings to love in the way that God created us to love.

In our Gospel when the Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce they are trying to trip Him up as so many people try to “trip up” the Church today…

But Jesus responds to them in a way that cuts at the heart and speaks to man’s deepest desire:  In the beginning it was not so.  Jesus points us back to the beginning…

He points us to the fact that in the beginning, God intended man and woman’s love to be an image of God who is love.  God intended man and woman to be able to love in a way that was free, that was life-giving, that was totally focused on the other.  God intended man and woman’s love to be a sign of the first Covenant that God would establish with the Israelite people and a sign of the New Covenant that Jesus would establish with all of humanity on the Cross.  Marriage was to be the first sacrament.

God’s Plan Was Ruptured Through Sin

But Jesus tells us that the reason this plan was ruptured was because of sin and the hardness of our hearts.  And we know from the rest of the story, that the only way that God’s plan for spousal love could be recaptured was through redemption.  Christ’s free gift to us setting our hearts free to love perfectly came through the grace that was offered to us on the Cross.  We have to be healed by the Cross in order to love in the way that God intended.  If we never allow Jesus to come to us and heal us personally, then we will always have the tendency to turn in on ourselves, and our love will not be true love but counterfeit love, which is never free and never life-giving.

Our society today is enslaved to numerous forms of such counterfeit love.  We see that in the beginning life and love were inseparable.  Yet over time we came to believe that we could separate life from love.  And so the permanent, faithful and life-giving love of marriage began to change.  With artificial contraception, man and woman no longer gave of themselves to each other with consistent openness to new life.  And once the life-giving part of marriage became treated as independent of the marital bond, the strength of that permanent and faithful bond of marriage was also weakened.  It became clear that weakening one part of marriage, the life aspect of marriage, ended up weakening the other part of marriage, the permanent and faithful love of marriage.  Weaken one part, and you weaken the other.

Society Confirms What The Church Teaches, But Society Continues To Ignore The Church

Society was proving what the Church has always taught:  that life and love are inseparable.

And yet society continued to ignore the Church, and the domino effect began.

After the widespread adoption of contraception, divorce rates skyrocketed.  After all, if children aren’t a part of marriage, why should marriage be permanent?

And once our society came to question marriage’s permanence, the logical question arose:  why should the marital act then be restricted to marriage?

And if the marital act is allowed outside marriage, why should it have to result in children?

And if the act is to result in children, why should we have to accept them?

Human Life Is Now Viewed As A Commodity, Not A Gift

Do you see how it is, that step-by-step over the course of time, denying God’s plan for man and woman has led our society to the point where we are today, the point where many, many people quite casually hold to the principle that the willful killing of innocent unborn human life is entirely acceptable?

We have taught mothers that the baby in their womb is not a gift always to be welcomed, but rather property—to be not merely discarded but destroyed if it creates inconvenience…

So in creating a culture of death that disparages marriage and fails to respect the sanctity of innocent human life, we have also driven a wedge between the natural intimacy of mother and child…

In the beginning it was not so.

Life and love go together.

Catholics Are Called To Be A People Of Life

We Catholics are a people of life.  When a couple is married in the Catholic Church, the priest asks them if they will “accept children lovingly from God.”  This question lies at the heart of the holy Sacrament of Marriage, because marriage is both directed to the good of the spouses and ordered to the procreation and education of children.

Yet, so many in our culture fail to get this teaching…so many fail to understand that life and love go together….

And if, for whatever reason, you consider yourself a “pro-choice” Catholic—frankly, you are in denial about your own faith, about the facts of science, about what is written on your own heart….

In the beginning, it was not so.

A Civilization of Love requires a Culture of Life.  We Catholics are a people of life and of love.

As we come to the Eucharist today, let us recommit ourselves to this Gospel message that we’ve heard today, as we come to share in the body and blood of the One who is love and who gives us life.  Amen.

Developing Virtue Is The Path To True Freedom

“Freedom” Without Virtue, Is License

By:  Fr. Stephen Hellman

God’s Rules Are For Our Own Happiness

I think our teams at St. Ignatius do well mainly for one important reason:  the players listen to the coaches.  The coaches know about sports—be it football, or volleyball, or soccer… they know about what works and what doesn’t, they know how to play the games properly, how to play well and how to play with good sportsmanship…  That’s why our teams are so successful and we have so much fun at the games…

There are certain things needed to become good at sports, a lot of little principles involved in successfully playing any game.  And the coaches teach the players those little principles and it is by internalizing those principles that they become good players, and that the teams become good teams…

Imagine if there were no coaches, and we didn’t even know the rules of the game and just showed up and tried to play?  We probably would not do very well at football, for example, would we, if we didn’t know what a touchdown was?  Or we wouldn’t do very well at soccer if we didn’t know how to pass the ball to our teammates…

Actually, believe it or not, that’s what we are hearing about today in our scriptures…  When we hear about the Jewish Law of the Old Testament, we are hearing about the principles that govern the moral life, the rules that govern human happiness and fulfillment…

Rules And Virtue

In the modern world, we tend not to think of rules as helping us to be happy.  We tend to think of rules only as limiting us.  But that’s a big mistake.  Would we be happy if there were no traffic lights, or no police, or no laws against stealing?  Of course not.

The rules of life, when they are in harmony with God’s plan for us, help us to satisfy our needs.  We human beings have an innate hunger for truth, beauty, and goodness, and we are not indifferent to these needs.  We have an affirmative desire for these things, for truth, beauty, goodness…  We desire… excellence.

The Jews understood this desire for excellence and they teach us three important things about “the Law”:  the Law comes from God, the Law gives life, and the Law is our teacher…

But following rules is just the beginning of success in life.  We use the rules to develop virtue, which are the habits where we have internalized the rules and they no longer feel so difficult.  Virtues are the habits which free us up to be the persons that we are meant to be.

Developing Virtue

Imagine someone learning to play the piano…  When they first are taking lessons, they are just learning notes, and they are learning how to sit, and what hand movements to make…  And it doesn’t seem to be very enriching or enjoyable at first…  But imagine if the person comes to love the piano and continues learning and practicing …  Imagine years later after all that practice and the beautiful, beautiful music they make which seems to come so naturally!  That is what the development of virtue is like…

We do not live in a time or in a society that really encourages the development of virtue…  We denigrate marriage and family which is really the first school of virtue…  We practice the intrinsic evil of unrestricted abortion…  And we as a nation live well beyond our means financially…

All of these are strongly contrary to the development of virtue, and that is because these result from the society’s empty view of freedom as only being freedom from coercion.  John Paul II taught us that this impoverished understanding is really not freedom at all, for our freedom is self-contradictory if it is disconnected from our innate need for truth, beauty, goodness…

And historically the societies that follow such an empty view of human freedom, because they undermine the development of virtue in their citizens historically those societies tend to lose the freedom that they do have…

For The Christian, Rules Are Just The Beginning

But for us as Christians, rules and virtue are not the whole story.  Yes, we are made to live according to the Law, but Jesus reveals something very important about the Law:  the Law of God is written in the human heart…

 In other words, Jesus reveals to us that the Law is not external, the Law is the reality of Love and Truth which is in the depths of our being and which derives from our having been made in God’s image and likeness, and made for ultimate union with God…

This place of the Law in the depths of the person is what Jesus calls “the heart.”  And our hearts are not emotion but rather they are the inner depths of our being where we decide to find our happiness in aligning ourselves with God’s will, or where we choose to deny God, and thus to deny ourselves…

So… rules lead to virtue… and virtue leads to the heart…and they are all connected….

How Do We View Freedom?

When Jesus in our gospel today is castigating the scribes and Pharisees, he is telling them that they have denied the Law written on their hearts by promoting their own superficial religiosity as a substitute for true obedience to God’s will.

The scribes and Pharisees practice outward observance of the laws, but they do not believe.  They pretend to be upright but they love neither their fellow Jews nor God.  They observe God outwardly, but inwardly they are far from Him.

They have neglected what is truly of God in favor of their own human agendas. So, we can ask ourselves today, “How do we view our own freedom?”  Do we see it as something arbitrary, something we create?  Or do we recognize our freedom as a gift from the Lord?  Do we recognize that our freedom exists in the depths of our hearts where God’s plan for us and for all of humanity is truly found?

Do we see our lives and how we participate in society as being part of God’s plan?  Do we seek to use our freedom in a way that promotes the true, the beautiful, the good?

Our freedom is a precious gift, and when we freely receive God in the Eucharist, we receive immeasurable grace, grace which will help us to know Him…

that we might obey his laws…

that we might grow in virtue…

and that we might become true Lovers of the One who loves us so much that He has poured out his love for us on the Cross and endured all things for us…

Today let us renew our commitment to God’s agenda for us, knowing that our happiness is to be found by being who we already are:  creatures made to know, love and serve God in this life, that we may be granted eternal happiness with Him in the next.

Catholics Need To Heed The Prophetic Voice Of The Church!

Society And Many Catholics Have Ignored The Prophetic Voice Of The Church!

By: Father Stephen Hellman

This past January I had the opportunity to attend the pro-life march in Washington DC with some high school kids from Montgomery.  It’s a good trip, and I think it’s a worthwhile practice for students and parents to go to it at least once.  But that’s not what I want to say about it.  I want to tell you what left the deepest impression upon me.

I remember seeing a sea of people on those streets of our nation’s capital.  These wide avenues packed with thousands upon thousands of people, mostly young people, many carrying signs or banners.  Many, many Catholic groups there.  It had to be, literally, three or four hundred thousand people in all.  One report I read estimated five hundred thousand.  Think about it:  five hundred thousand people peacefully protesting about the most sensitive social-political issue of our age, crowding the national mall and the streets of the US Capitol building and in front of the Supreme Court….

I had gone once before, in 2009, and that year the major networks each mentioned it briefly in their evening newscasts.  This year, not one of the major television networks gave it even ten seconds mention on the evening news…

That combined experience of seeing this major event and then seeing nothing about it in the major media astounded me.  It continues to astound me.  Regardless of what one thinks of the issue, any protest of that magnitude of people in this country regarding any social or political issue is a news event.

After thinking about it, I came to realize:  the pro-life protest didn’t fit the narrative.  The event did not fit the way those media want to present the world; it didn’t fit their approach to reality.  So, it was ignored.

I think that’s what happened with Jesus in our gospel today.  Here he is in his hometown of Nazareth, and his preaching about the Kingdom of God amazes the people… and he is performing great works in front of them…

And yet…

And yet, they looked at him and all they saw was this lowly carpenter’s son.  Who is this guy from this nondescript family, who is he to be saying and doing such things?

They were astonished by Jesus’ presence—but they didn’t let it affect their hearts.  Jesus didn’t fit their narrative.

And Jesus in turn was astounded by their lack of faith…

The Church Has Been The Prophetic Voice That Society Has Ignored

I think many of us are coming to realize that we Catholics today, we are the prophet who is ignored in his own land.  Beginning with Pope Paul VI and his issuance of the encyclical Humanae Vitae over 40 years ago, our Church has been the prophetic voice that our society has ignored.

Paul predicted that if society went down the path of uncritically embracing the new technologies of artificial contraception, it would have a devastating impact on human relationships, because in severing the connection between the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage, dimensions of married life that belong together, it would undermine the dignity of the human person by undermining marriage, the family, and the proper understanding of human sexuality.

Consequences Of Widespread Use And Acceptance Of Artificial Contraception

In Humanae Vitae Pope Paul predicted that widespread use of birth control would have four major effects:  there would be a general lowering of moral standards; there would be an increase in marital infidelity and illegitimate births; there would be a tendency to reduce women to objects used to satisfy men; and, finally, government would attempt to force the use of contraceptives on everyone.

Is there any doubt that these four predictions have come true?  And not only did our society wholeheartedly embrace this technology, but a significant number of Catholics, most of whom have probably been well-meaning, have as well.  And Pope Paul’s predictions have proven, quite tragically, to be prophetic.

 If you don’t believe that these predictions have come true, consider the following facts:

* in 1960 illegitimate births were 5.3% of all births in America; by 2010 they were 40.8%

* in 1960 married families made up almost three-quarters of all households; by 2010 they accounted for just 48%

* there are ten times as many people cohabiting in 2010 compared to 1960

And is there any doubt that our society has experienced moral decline?  And is there any doubt that there’s been an explosion in pornography, which reduces women to objects…

And Now The HHS Mandate

And now with this HHS mandate the government is trying to force us to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients—without even providing a reasonable exception for those who object on religious grounds.

Clearly, in this case the facts of history prove in a fairly obvious way the correctness of Church teaching.

So, Pope Paul VI was a prophet whom the modern world has ignored when it comes to the issue of artificial contraception… Just as our society ignores it when prolifers come out in the hundreds of thousands to proclaim the inviolability of unborn human life…

I think this Gospel scene of Jesus at Nazareth presents us Catholics today with a clear challenge:  Do we ourselves recognize that the Church teaching has proven prophetic?  Are we willing to recommit ourselves to listening to the Church, trusting in the teachings of the Pope and Bishops, those who’ve been given the authority by Jesus to lead, to teach, and to sanctify—

Catholics Must Heed The Prophetic Warnings Of The Church

We Catholics desperately need to listen to – and to heed – the prophetic voice of the Church when it speaks about the most fundamental issues of creation and human life.  Politics is not our goal but it is part of our concern:  as Catholics we understand, as Catholics have always understood, that not just our actions at Church but all of our behaviors, our private behaviors as well as our participation in civil society—all of our behaviors bear upon our relationship with God and thus upon our salvation.

Our young people in particular need to commit to chaste behavior and to modesty in dress.  All of us need to support Archbishop Rodi and the bishops wholeheartedly in the battle against the unjust HHS mandate.  We need to adhere to Church teachings on the sanctity of human life, the nature of marriage as between one man and one woman, and the importance of the procreative dimension of the marital union…

Let us recommit ourselves to recognizing Christ as the prophet who comes among us through the Church and her teachings, teachings which exist for our well-being, and for the well-being of our society.  Our Lord who died that we might have life is the same God who loves us and wishes that we honor Him by acting in a manner that promotes human flourishing and a civilization of life rather than a culture of death.

May God help us to be faithful members of His body, the Church.  And may He have mercy on our wayward society.