Proud Parenting, a Pro-LGBT Blog, Endorses Jefferson City Diocese as a Pioneer

Bishop Gaydos’ Diocese is the Leader of LGBT Incusion

The following comes from Proud Parenting, a pro-LGBT blog.

Bishop Gaydos

“The Catholic diocese in Jefferson City, Missouri is a pioneer among other U.S. dioceses when it comes to crafting guidance on inclusion of students from families headed by LGBT parents. The diocese oversees 37 Catholic elementary schools and three high schools, with about 7,000 students in communities throughout Central Missouri.

“We probably are in the lead,” Sister Elizabeth Young, the diocese’s superintendent of Catholic schools, remarked how she views the diocese as a forerunner among other U.S. dioceses when it comes to crafting guidance on inclusion of students from families headed by LGBT, unmarried or divorced parents.

The diocese’s guidance, titled “A Pastoral Process of Accompaniment and Dialogue: Addressing Children and Youth in Relation to Gender Concerns and Non-traditional Families,” was presented May 9 to priests who have schools in their parishes, then on May 11 to the principals of those schools.”


In an “internal document only” letter, Bp. Gaydos endorses the “development and presentation” of this program. He further claims the program “promotes our Catholic moral teaching and supports the role of the pastor to act in the best interests of the people of his parish.”

Stay up to date at 30 Pieces of Silver.

Here is a copy of the internal document.

 

Please stop what you are doing right now and contact Bishop John R. Gaydos; Mr. John DeLaporte, Coordinator of Youth Ministry; Sr. Elizabeth Youngs, SCL, Superintendent of Catholic Schools; Fr. Joseph Corel; Sr. Julie Brandt, SSND, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools:

Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City
2207 West Main Street
P.O. BOX 104900
Jefferson City, MO 65110-4900

(573) 635-9127

We also strongly encourage you to contact the metropolitan,  Archbishop Robert J. Carlson:

Cardinal Rigali Center
20 Archbishop May Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63119

and

Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Evangelizing Priest Goes Viral

Fr. David Jenuwine Evangelizing at a Music Festival

By Mary Rezac, EWTN News:

“I think too often we get tied up in planning, planning, planning. But when the Spirit moves, go with Him! No excuses.”What’s a good way to reach a lot of young people all at once?

Plant yourself at an entrance of a popular music festival with a sign, some free stuff, and a smile.

That’s what Catholic priest Fr. David Jenuwine did last weekend, at BottleRock Napa, a three-day music festival with roughly 30,000 in attendance.

His sign read simply: Catholic priest. Blessings, Prayers, Confessions, Answers.

Fr. Jenuwine, parochial vicar at St. Apollinaris Parish in Napa, California, told CNA that he had been trying to brainstorm creative ways to reach out to young adults when he heard about the music festival. He said he was inspired after hearing a talk on evangelization a few weeks ago by EWTN personality Fr. Mitch Pacwa.

“My youth minister said well, BottleRock is this weekend, but it’s chaos,” he said.

“And I went, alright, let’s do it!”

Fr. Jenuwine placed himself on one side of the festival, while his St. Paul Street Evangelization team camped out on the other side. They prayed for 20 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament before hitting the streets, “begging for the graces we need and to get ourselves in the zone,” Father said.

Besides prayers and answers, they offered rosaries, prayer cards and miraculous medals. They went fast.

“That first night we gave away every rosary, every prayer card, every miraculous medal we had, but sure enough we found more, so we went out again Sunday,” Fr. Jenuwine said.

They stayed at the festival for about five hours on Saturday, and another couple hours on Sunday.

The responses varied widely, the priest said.

“I pretty much just made eye contact with people and said ‘Hi, how’re you doing?’” Father recalled. “And some people were like, ‘Is he really a priest?’”

Others greeted him warmly: “Hi Father! Nice to see you out here.”

Some were more skeptical. When one of the St. Paul team handed out a rosary, the recipient asked, “Does it come with a lecture?”

“There was one guy who said, ‘What are you bringing this here for?’” Father recalled.

“And I said, ‘We’re here to tell you God loves you.’ And he said, ‘I already know that.’ So I said, ‘Well good! You’re one of the few’.”

Others tried to avoid him by pulling out their phones and pretending to be busy.

“But even in that, if they were purposely ignoring us then we made an impression, because they knew we were out there,” he said.

There were also some people who got blessings on Saturday that came back for another on Sunday.

“There were some people getting out of their Uber and they said, ‘Hey he’s still here! Father, can we get a blessing?’”

“I even heard a couple confessions,” he said, though the confessees were people he already knew.

And although he advertised “answers” on his sign, there was one thing people asked that Father didn’t know: “Where is the parking lot?”

“I said I promised I’d try, but I do not know where the parking is,” Father said, laughing.

His youth minister, Dominic Figueroa, snapped a photo of Father hanging out under his street lamp with his sign, and Father posted it on Facebook. Yesterday, friends started to realize that the post was trending on Reddit. It now has more than 640 votes and nearly 100 comments.

It’s an evangelization experience that he and his St. Paul team are looking to do again. They already have an event scoped out this weekend.

“I think we made a little splash,” Father said. “In a sense, this kind of started something for us.”

The biggest takeaway, he said, was “how easy it was.”

Birth Control and Catholic Priests

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head:

That little pill has changed everything.

The effect of birth control and a contraceptive culture has altered our world in ways we could never have expected.

Think for a moment about the effect contraception has had on the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

First of all, if a family has ten kids it is more likely that they are going to be happy for a few of them to pursue the priesthood or religious life. Mothers will quite happily send a few off to the seminary or monastery. If she has ten she can spare a few.

But if the neat and tidy suburban career woman only has two she is going to treasure them that much more. The idea that one would become a priest would be a shocking idea, but there is another more subtle attitude shift beneath this.

When mother and father decided to limit their family to two children by artificial means they usually do so in order for the woman to go back to work. The silent statement is, “What is most important to this family is to have as much income as possible.” and “The career. The career is everything! It comes first. Children? Meh.”

This attitude is then transmitted to the children who also put career first. Will there be any vocations from a home like that? Probably not.

Think further of the effects of this revolution in family life on the question of vocations. Before the invention and acceptance of artificial contraception a young man considering the priesthood would look around and weigh up his option.

Let’s say he lived in Philadelphia in the 1950s. He came from an Italian American family. He sees his Dad, his uncles, his grandfather. They are working class. They sweat in dangerous jobs to support their large families. They come home to a little house full of kids. Its a good life, but its a hard life.

The priest, on the other hand, doesn’t have his own wife and family, but he’s in Philadelphia. He gets sent to St Anthony of Padua parish. He’s surrounded by a big extended Italian family. He has status. He’s the priest. He gets an education. Maybe he travels to Rome. He lives in a big house with maybe three or four other priests. They have a nice Italian mama who cooks and cleans and looks after them.

The point I’m making is that, from a human point of view, the young man’s choice is fairer. With a wife and family he will have certain joys and certain sorrows and sacrifices. With the priesthood he will have certain joys and certain sorrows and sacrifices.

You pays your money and you makes your choice.

But think of the young man’s choice in today’s contraceptive culture. To be married and have a family doesn’t seem to require any sacrifices at all. Indeed, it seems like the passport to perfection. You get married. You eventually have two nice trophy children. Your wife continues her education and career. You’re both earning enough money to have everything. No sorrows. No sacrifice.
Of course I know it doesn’t always pan out that way, but that is what seems to be on offer.

On the other hand, for a young man to be a priest? He’s faced with a life of loneliness–stuck in Rectory by himself with onerous duties and little reward.
Again–I know it is not really like this, but this is what it may very well appear to be.

What’s to be done?

I happen to feel optimistic about the problem because I think the pendulum is going to swing back. I think an increasing number of young people are going to reject the contraceptive culture and choose a life giving alternative, and with that will be an increasing number of young men and women who choose a religious vocation, and they’ll be choosing for all the right reasons.
Why do I think this? Because a lie cannot sustain itself. All that is false eventually implodes. It can’t last.

On the other hand, all that is beautiful, good and true will always be attractive. Like fresh shoots on a tree that has been felled, it will spring back.

Breaking News! Jefferson City Diocese Paving Way for Transgender Students

Is Your Diocese Next?

On May 9, 2017 the Jefferson City Diocese held a meeting with all priests to present the new policy for transgender students. On May 11th,  the policy was presented to all Catholic School principals of the diocese.  This Diocesan policy will be the fundamental policy for every diocese with accommodating Bishops.  Don’t be fooled, your diocese is next.

The result will be boys being in the girls bathroom.  To stay up to date on this issue, bookmark 30 Pieces of Silver Blog!

Here is the full document:

 

How bad is the process?  Check out the glossary of terms.

To anyone who has been permitted to read this document, it is apparent that the diocese now plans to join the secular world in questioning the very binary gender system created by God Himself.  Once we begin tampering with redefining what is clear to the naked eye or a simple genetics test, what comes next?  Will biological boys be allowed in the girls’ restrooms?  Will men who “identify” as women be allowed in my church’s restroom?  Will we start entertaining trans-species, trans-racial, or trans-age?  Where will the line be drawn?

If there is no security in knowing what we see, how can we expect anyone, much less these children to come to know God on a personal level?  If there is nothing certain in the physical world, how can a person begin to grasp the truths of our Holy Catholic Faith?  If they cannot even come to know God, how can they come to love God and serve Him?  Ultimately, isn’t that going to worsen our vocations crisis?  If the diocese chooses to “go with the flow” of the secular world, we will become like the fish that go downstream, dead.

Please stop what you are doing right now and contact Bishop John R. Gaydos; Mr. John DeLaporte, Coordinator of Youth Ministry; Sr. Elizabeth Youngs, SCL, Superintendent of Catholic Schools; Fr. Joseph Corel; Sr. Julie Brandt, SSND, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools:

Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City
2207 West Main Street
P.O. BOX 104900
Jefferson City, MO 65110-4900

(573) 635-9127

We also strongly encourage you to contact the metropolitan,  Archbishop Robert J. Carlson:

Cardinal Rigali Center
20 Archbishop May Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63119

and

Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

 

The Truth is Real, Not Rigid

Does Reality Matter?

By Fr. Gerald E. Murray, The Catholic Thing:

Does reality matter? Is it the decisive and necessary reference point for discovering what is and what is not, what is true and what is false? Or is reality subject to revision based one’s preferences, desires, or some other factor? These questions come to mind when we consider the astounding report concerning remarks made by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio on the question of the validity of Anglican orders. According to Christopher Lamb in The Tablet, Coccopalmerio characterized the Church’s teaching on the question of Anglican orders as follows: “We have had, and we still have a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity: this is valid, and that is not valid. One should be able to say: ‘this is valid in a certain context, and that is valid another context’.”

The Cardinal speculates on the doctrinal implications of past papal gestures of friendship and respect, stating: “What does it mean when Pope Paul VI gave a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury? If it was to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, it was meant to be done validly, no?” He continues: “This is stronger than the pectoral cross, because a chalice is used not just for drinking but for celebrating the Eucharist. With these gestures, the Catholic Church already intuits, recognizes a reality.”

These remarks are published in a new book, whose title is not given by Lamb, presenting the contents of a meeting of the Malines Conversation Group held near Rome in April of this year. Vatican Radio covered the meeting, noting the participation of Cardinal Coccopalmerio. The Vatican Radio story included comments by Fr. Tony Currer of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. Regarding Anglican orders he comments: “I think it’s true to say we don’t use the language of ‘null and void’ any more,” as that’s “clearly not what is spoken by the gestures, generosity, and warmth which we see time and time again.”

Validity is another word for reality when speaking about the sacraments. The Church teaches clearly what is necessary for the valid – that is, true and real – celebration of the sacraments. By invoking the pejorative buzzword “rigid understanding” regarding validity and invalidity, Coccopalmerio reduces the Church’s determination of what counts as a valid sacrament to the expression of a psychologically unhealthy attitude rooted in ignorance or irrational fear.

Rome, Paul VI, and Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, 1966

The question of validity is simple: Does the Church consider an Anglican ordination to be a valid administration of the sacrament of Holy Orders? The answer is no, as determined authoritatively by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Apostolicae Curae. Anglican ordination does not make a man into a Catholic priest. That determination is objective, grounded in a careful and reasoned study of the history, doctrines and practice of both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

Coccopalmerio also states: “When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’.” The choice presented in this statement is that at an Anglican ordination either a man is validly ordained a priest, or that nothing happened. But there is a third possibility: Anglican ordination results in someone becoming an Anglican priest, not a Catholic priest.

The Church teaches that such an ordination is not a valid Catholic ordination. The man ordained in an Anglican ceremony does not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. The sacrament of Holy Orders is not administered. (I leave aside the question of Anglicans ordained by bishops who themselves received valid episcopal consecration by Orthodox or Old Catholic bishops.)

Coccopalmerio and Currer apparently resist this truth. The Cardinal claims that the Papal gift of a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury means that Pope Paul VI considered the Anglican Communion Service to be a valid celebration of Mass because “it was meant to be done validly.” But Pope Paul never said what Coccopalmerio infers. A gesture does not equal a doctrinal pronouncement.

Fr. Currer claims that “we don’t use the language of ‘null and void’ anymore.” If by “we” he means the Catholic Church, he is wrong. Pope Leo XIII’s determination has never been rejected by any of his successors. The fact that Fr. Currer and others are unhappy that Anglican orders were found to be null and void is evident. Currer’s dissatisfaction with this exercise of the papal magisterium does not, however, mean that the Church no longer upholds the invalidity of Anglican orders.

Coccopalmerio seeks to dismiss the objective truth of what constitutes sacramental validity in the Catholic Church by making it changeable according to a “context.” Is this not relativism plain and simple? The Cardinal does not claim here that the criteria for determining the validity or invalidity of the administration of Holy Orders were misapplied by Leo XIII when he examined Anglican orders. (Perhaps he addresses this question elsewhere in his published remarks.) He simply says that those criteria should not apply because they are “rigid.” Pope Leo XIII’s determination that Anglican orders are invalid is maligned as rigid when one does not like the particular truth in question. One man’s rigidity is another man’s solidity. Is the Church stubborn or steadfast in this matter? I would say She is both. That is what the truth requires regardless of any context. If She made a huge mistake here, what else will be put on the chopping block?

Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in his essay The Dethronement of Truth: “Disrespect for truth – when not merely a theoretical thesis, but a lived attitude – patently destroys all morality, even all reasonability and all community life. All objective norms are dissolved by this attitude of indifference toward truth; so also is the possibility of resolving any discussion or controversy objectively. Peace among individuals or nations and all trust in other persons are impossible as well. The very basis of a really human life is subverted.”

Truth is cast aside at our great peril.

“This column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Those Pesky Cell Phones During Mass

The Devil’s Den of Distraction

By Fr. John Lankeit:

When the Temple in Jerusalem degenerated from reverent “house of prayer” (cf. Mt 21;13) into raucous public market, Jesus cleaned house! Since Lent is the perfect time to get our own house—our own soul—in order, I’d like to address one of the most insidious impediments to our respect for God and our charity toward others during Mass:

CELL PHONES!

Have you ever noticed how the words “cell phone,” sounds remarkably like “self phone”? Besides obliterating manners and destroying common courtesy, a cell phone seems to possess the power to make other people completely disappear from its user’s consciousness or concern. A prominent Catholic blogger observed insightfully in an Internet article on device addition last September:

“When someone next to you answers the phone and starts talking loudly as if you didn’t exist, you realize that, in [his or] her private zone, you don’t.”

As a priest who celebrates an average of eight to twelve Masses per week, I invite you to consider the epidemic of cell phone disruption during Mass—from a priest’s perspective. In my experience, we priests hear an average of three or more phone intrusions per Mass—whether the device is ringing, or beeping/chiming to indicate the arrival of an email or “Tweet”. Multiply that number by eight to twelve Masses per week, and a priest must endure this devilish distraction somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 to 36…or MORE…times per week! And most often, it’s not just one ring…or one beep. Sometimes the phone’s owner lets it ring—and RING—and RING—all through the Scripture readings…and even during the Consecration!

At a televised Mass some time ago, someone let their phone ring through its entire cycle during the homily…not once…not twice…but three times! It takes extremely inappropriate behavior to force me to interrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but by that point—live TV or not—I had reached the limit of my patience, as had all the people who kept looking in the general direction of the noise. I stopped the homily, looked toward the anonymous perpetrator and asked the person to turn the phone, “all…the…way…off!” It was extremely unsettling to have to confront this rudeness during a live broadcast of the Mass—especially with thousands of viewers tuning in—but when the prayers of the Mass are drowned out by electronic noise pollution, even a priest with heroic patience can only take so much.

After that particular Mass, a well-meaning parishioner approached me and said, “Father, don’t get so upset. Be patient.”

With all due respect to that parishioner, he only noticed that one phone during that one Mass—though, immediately after the first offending phone was finally silenced, another person’s phone rang. No joke! By that point in the week, I had probably already endured dozens of rings and chimes during the many Masses I celebrated. Since I had confronted that incident on live TV, I expected a backlash. Instead many parishioners, phone callers, emailers—and even the TV crew—offered enthusiastic expressions of encouragement and gratitude.

Anyone with a modicum of social awareness recognizes how modern “communications devices” are actually destroying genuinely human interaction between individuals. A growing number of scientific studies also catalog the damaging effects on brain development—not to mention the common symptoms of addiction and withdrawal—from device misuse and overuse.

But it’s when our phones disrupt our relationship with God—and distract others from God—that it’s time for priests to “cleanse the temple” of this modern scourge that turns the Father’s house of prayer into the Devil’s den of distraction.

For all the rationalizations people make for bringing their phone into church—and I’ve probably heard them all—we would better serve our souls, better respect our neighbors, and better honor the Lord…if we checked our excuses at the door…and left our phones in the car!

The Little Known Blessing of Parents After a Miscarriage or Stillbirth

By Father B. Jerabek, J.C.L., Father Jerabek’s Blog:

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for all mothers!

I recently had the opportunity – for the first time in my 8.5 years as a priest – to do a “Blessing after Miscarriage”. I wanted to post about it, because I suspect that it is simply not widely known that it is even a possibility.

Nowadays, I ordinarily use the 1962 Roman Ritual for blessings, as I generally find the prayers contained therein to be more meaningful and efficacious. However, in this case, there is no such blessing found in the older rites! It is the newer Book of Blessings that has this ritual/blessing, in both a longer and a shorter form.

You can see a somewhat simplified form HERE. (In the actual Book of Blessings, there are some additional options given, as well as a short form – so I recommend to any priest who may want to offer this blessing to use the deadtree version and not the online edition.)

If you know anyone who has recently suffered a miscarriage, you might suggest that she approach her priest to receive this blessing.

 


More Resources:

Where is the Church in Pregnancy, Miscarriage, and Birth?

Your Choice: Life or Death, Prosperity or Doom?

We All Have a Choice to Make

By Community in Mission:

Life or Death, Prosperity or Doom

Life or Death, Prosperity or Doom

The Lent reminds us of the simple truth that we are going to die and subsequently face judgment. Hence we need to repent and come to believe the good news that only Jesus can save us.

Deuteronomy features Moses laying out the basic reality that all of us have a choice to make:

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 is our choice: life or death, prosperity or doom. There is a Latin expression, Tertium non datur (No third way is given). We often like to think that we can take 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, and then reflect 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 the way of compromise, ambivalence, and tepidity. Walking such a path demonstrates a lack of 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 to serve Christ and follow His will and plan?

You are free to choose, but you’re not free not to choose. That is to say, you must choose. 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.

Many do not directly choose Satan, but rather indirectly choose him by following his ways. We are asked to choose God directly, by accepting the gift of faith and basing our life on what the He 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 freely accept; it is a choice that will not be forced on us. Through our 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 also like 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. Even small daily choices have the cumulative effect of moving us in one direction or the other, toward God or away.

Many small choices also have a way of forming our hearts. Deeds become habits; habits become character; character becomes destiny. These choices form our hearts, establish our character, and move us into one future or another.

While sudden and dramatic conversions are possible as long as we are still living, it is more common that our hearts become more fixed over time and our fundamental character becomes less and 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. It is essential to examine our conscience regularly and make frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession. Each day we ought to ask the question, “Where am I going with my life?” If we go on for too long living an unreflective life, it is easy to find ourselves deeply locked in sinful habits that become harder and harder to break. Frequent reflection is necessary and we ought not to make light of small daily decisions.

We live in times in which it is often easy to insulate ourselves from the immediate consequences of the choices we make. Medicine, technology, and social safety nets are all good things in and of themselves, but they do tend to shield us from immediate consequences, and help to cultivate the illusion that consequences can be forever evaded. They cannot.

We also live in times in which, perhaps more than ever before, the community is willing to bear the burden of poor 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 that we cannot pay. Sexual misconduct, divorce, cohabitation, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, the use of hallucinogenic and addictive drugs, the casting off 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, 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. Many poor choices in small matters quickly draw us into self-destructive patterns that get more and more deeply entrenched. Without regular reflection and the reminder of penitential seasons like Lent, it is easy to lose our way. 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” (Confessions 8.5.10).

Moses’ warnings are before us as never before.

In 1917, a beautiful and holy woman (Our Lady) appeared to three little children. She explained that the horrifying war (World War I) was finally coming to an end, but also warned that if people did not turn back to her Son Jesus and start praying, an even more devastating war would ensue; Russia would spread her errors and great disaster would befall the world. Do I need to tell you what happened? Any even casual assessment of the 20th century would find it hard to conclude that it was anything but satanic in terms of its wars, death rates through violence and abortion, and in its persecution of the Church.

Life or death, prosperity or doom; what will you choose?

Choices! Consequences!

Slight editing.