More Abortions Will Not Solve Our Problems!
Archbishop Gregory Aymond
On the weekend of February 1-2, Archbishop Aymond published the following letter (published here with slight editing) asking Catholics, and the people of New Orleans, not to participate with Planned Parenthood in their aim of building a regional abortion facility on Claiborne Avenue. The letter was published on the front page of the Clarion Herald (Catholic newspaper in New Orleans), in an ad in a local newspaper called the New Orleans Advocate, and on the home page of the Archdiocese’s website.
My brothers and sisters in Christ:
In March, 2013, the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans participated in an awareness campaign regarding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood is set to construct a 7,000-8,000 square foot facility at 4636 S. Claiborne Avenue near Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans. Although Planned Parenthood does not currently perform abortions in Louisiana, they have publicly stated that they will be performing abortions at this new facility and that it will be the largest of its kind in Louisiana. They intend to open in 2014.
In 2011, Planned Parenthood performed over 330,000 abortions across the U.S., representing over 1/3 of our nation’s abortions every year. Moreover, for every 145 abortions that Planned Parenthood performs, they facilitate only one adoption referral. Nine out of ten pregnant women who enter the doors of a Planned Parenthood facility have an abortion.
A New Construction permit was given final approval by the City of New Orleans on December 5, 2013. Documentation filed with the City Department of Safety and Permits provides substantial detail as to the design of the facility. According to records filed by Planned Parenthood’s Electrical Engineering Consultant, there will be “6 patient recovery areas…” Abortion industry experts have advised that this indicates Planned Parenthood could perform upwards of thirty (30) abortions per day. This is a staggering increase in the number of abortions in light of the 3,496 abortions performed in 2012 in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.
It has been the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church since the first century that abortion is a grave evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2270 that:
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
Your Courageous Priests Hoodies are going fast. Excellent response so far. If you want to support Courageous Priest by buying a hoodie, then please act now. The offer ends Tuesday.
We cannot be silent in view of the grave injustice presented by the abortions that will be performed at the proposed Planned Parenthood facility. The archdiocese is obliged to remind every person and organization involved in the acquisition; preparation and construction of this or any abortion facility that they are cooperating with the evil that will take place there. For this reason, the archdiocese, including its churches, schools, apartments for the elderly, and nursing homes, will strive in its privately-funded work not to enter into business relationships with any person or organization that participates in actions that are essential to making this abortion facility a reality. This policy applies to all businesses regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation. Our fidelity to Church teaching and our conscience necessitates this stance.
There is no justification, including economic hardship that will make a direct or indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood or any abortion provider, acceptable. Additionally, affiliation or support of Planned Parenthood by Catholics is a matter of serious scandal.
We will continue to pray for those that are blind to the destruction caused by abortion and invite those involved with Planned Parenthood to prayer and dialogue. There are many issues, from violence in the streets to poverty, which hurt this community. A regional abortion center will not solve our problems; it will only create more. This is not the future the New Orleans metropolitan area needs.
We hope that the community invested in the City of New Orleans and in her future, will join us in standing for life, not more abortion.
All citizens of the New Orleans area must stand together for a peaceful community, not one with more abortion and more Planned Parenthood.
Wishing You God’s Blessings, I am,
Sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond
Archdiocese of New Orleans.org
Repentance Is The Door, Is The Key That Unlocks Mercy.
Msgr. Charles Pope - There are of course many ways of describing the pastoral, liturgical and theological struggles of our day. But one very simple way of describing current problems that touches on all these areas is simply this: that a presumptive attitude of mercy without repentance is both taught and widely held by far too many modern Catholics, and other Christians.
There is much talk of how God loves us, is rich in mercy, is kind and forgiving. And all of these things are true. But another essential truth is that these gifts, these essential attributes of God, are accessed by repentance. It is repentance that opens the door to mercy, forgiveness, and kindness.
Perhaps an analogy will help. Consider a man who is in very poor health. Perhaps he has a host of problems that surround obesity such as hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes etc. Now modern medicine has a lot to offer people who are struggling with poor health. The healing help includes everything from medicine to surgery, to information on nutrition etc. But in order for this man to access that healing help, a number of things are first necessary:
- He may need others to testify to him some concern for his health, for many exhibit various levels of denial as to their condition especially when it involves things like overeating, smoking, or drinking.
- He then needs to accept that his condition is serious enough that needs both help and change.
- He needs to decide to seek the help of the medical profession and follow through on that decision by scheduling and keeping an appointment with a doctor.
Now, when he does this, AND ONLY when he does this, will the healing help of the medical profession unfold for him. It is not enough for him to say, “Well isn’t it great that there are doctors, medical professionals, information, and medicine that can help me! It’s just wonderful that there are so many caring and professional people out there who can help and save me!” No, that is not enough. He has to make a change and actually reach out and develop a relationship with the medical community. He has to actually take the medicine. It is not enough to praise the medicine, he has to take it. It is not enough to feel reassured that there are people out there, he actually has to go to them, interact with them, and set a new course.
And this is an analogy for the spiritual life and repentance. God’s offer of mercy and healing love stand, and are offered to everyone. But these magnificent gifts must be accessed through repentance. That is to say, we must come to understand the seriousness of our condition, turn to God, call upon his mercy, and begin to receive the glorious medicine he offers: the medicine of his Word, of the Sacraments, of prayer, and walking in fellowship with the Church, which he established as his ongoing presence and voice in the world (cf Acts 2:42).
The Greek word that is usually translated as repentance or repent is metanoia and it means more than simply to clean up our act. Most literally it means to come to a new mind, or a new way of thinking. This is why God’s word, the teachings of the Church, and preaching are so essential for all of us. Whereas perverse councils separate us from God, (Wisdom 1:3), God’s truth proclaimed in the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church summon us back to him, summon us to a new mind, a new way of thinking. It convicts us of error and sin, but also announces the Savior who is the saving Truth who sets us free.
But of course it is not enough for us simply to hear of this new way of thinking, we must actually come to it, decide for it. Repentance is to actually embrace this new mind, and this unlocks all the blessings the healings, the mercy, and the salvation that is promised. We must allow the grace of God, interacting with our freedom to effect an actual change, a decision in our life that changes the way we think, the way we act, and puts us into a saving relationship with the Divine Physician Jesus.
Like the patient above, we must be brought to understand the seriousness of our condition, come to know that there is saving help available, and then by positive decision, rooted in grace, actually reach out to lay hold of that help.
Repentance is the door, is the key that unlocks mercy.
Yet too often today mercy is preached without reference to repentance. Too many who preach and too many who hear have come to see mercy as granted without any human engagement. One simply has it automatically, no matter what.
Yet that is not what Scripture teaches. Most notably, Simon Peter on Day One of Pentecot and the going for of the gospel preached a sermon laying out who Jesus is, and how we, in our sin and rebellion killed the very author of life. The text from Acts says,
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-38)
Thus, when asked what they are to do, Peter does not say, “Don’t worry, all is well, God is mercy. He says, “Repent and baptized.” In other words, come to a new mind, come to your senses, reject your sins, be washed clean and come to Jesus. And this will unlock the supreme blessing of the Holy Spirit of God, who is the mercy of God, the love of God the very life and grace of God!
And how is this accessed? Repentance.
Isaiah had said, The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD (Is 59:20).
And to the Disciples in Emmaus Jesus said, This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)
And thus preachers and teachers in the Church, who are Christ’s witnesses, must proclaim repentance that unlocks the forgiveness and mercy of God.
St. Paul warns, In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).
Thus those who preach and teach mercy without repentance are deceivers and likely themselves deceived. And those who think of mercy without reference to repentance are deceived.
Faith and repentance are the supernaturally transformed and assisted human element that is necessary to unlock mercy and the graces of God. To ignore or deny this amounts to a denial of human freedom and does not help God’s people. Rather it hinders them, for mercy is accessed through repentance, and without it, the door cannot open. Repentance must be preached to all the nations because repentance, by God’s grace opens the door.
Originally posted at: Archdiocese of Washington.org
Why is eating shrimp alright and gay marriage not?
by Fr. Casey Jones, Podcast- Into the Deep:
Ok, here is the basic premise that is floating around: The bible says homosexual activity is a sin, but it also says that eating certain foods (or using certain fabrics, or working on the Sabbath, or cutting your hair, or shaving, or anything else in the Levitical code) is also a sin. So, all of you backward-thinking Christians should lighten up. You pick and choose what you want. You follow your own version of the bible. So, stop “hating”, and embrace gay marriage since you make up the rules as you go along anyway.
Please know this is intended in love and in letting people know the truth about what the Sacred Scriptures and the Church teach about homosexuality, because, frankly I am tired of the memes and comments about the bible and homosexuality that are strawmen, constructed under poor logic with false premises whose aim seems to be only to ridicule.
Fr. Casey Jones
Before I begin, let me make some opening comments.
First of all, to all my gay friends out there: I love you. I can’t tell you how much I love you. I will never know the trials and prejudices that you have had to endure. This is not hate, but clarification. You know this, but I just want to say it. I say it because: one, it’s true and two, I need everyone else to know that I love you. The catechism of the Catholic Church says it well: “[Homosexual persons] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” (CCC 2358)
In that vein, secondly, I say: God loves you too. In fact, no matter who is reading this, I can assure you of God’s radical love for you and that he has a plan for your salvation. This is true of each and every one of you. Know that I love you all very much. I am selective of my Facebook friends.
Thirdly, no one group of people has a monopoly on sin. Many of my friends are living lives apart from Gods plan. I pray for you. I never preach at you. I never condemn. I try to present God’s love as an invitation, not as an imposition. You all know where I stand on the moral issues you know that I am a priest. You know that the Church teaches with the authority of Christ that certain moral actions are sins unto death and that these include sexual sins such as fornication (sex outside of marriage), adultery (sex with someone who is married, including those separated by a civil divorce, contraception, and anything else that takes God’s gift of sexual love outside of its context, which is both unitive and procreative, ends that are inseparable.
Fourth, please do not comment about me forcing my beliefs on anyone, this is intended as a presentation of what the Catholic Church teaches on homosexuality in light of Scripture, not an argument for or against civil homosexual marriage. That is a debate for another place and time.
Fifth, please do not come back at me with misplaced quotes from Pope Francis. Pope Francis upholds the teaching of the Church. Like him, (and for that matter, Jesus) I do not judge someone for an inclination, for an orientation that is not a choice made in freedom, but actions (be they hetero or homosexual) are choices. I do not judge anyone’s soul. That is for God, not me. But I can and, as a priest and a follower of Christ, should make judgments on objective moral actions.
Lastly, I do welcome honest and sincere questions in charity if they are on topic and fall into the parameters set above. Again, the topic is the Bible and Homosexuality.
Why is eating shrimp alright and gay marriage not?
In regard to the ceremonial and dietary laws of the Old Testament (the latter generally being related to the former), these were abrogated by the sacrifice of Christ. They aren’t necessary anymore. Christ has fulfilled the old law, it has passed away. It is not necessary to make sin offerings anymore. Christ came to fulfill it and to perfect these. They are done. He addresses this himself:
“Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him…Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on. (Mark 7:14-19)
In this Jesus declares all food to be clean. The same issue is addressed later in the Acts of the Apostles where Peter is given a vision in which he is told that there is no longer clean or unclean food, but that he is free to eat all; a message which he spoke to the Church. Just as Christ today guides his church in the person of Peter’s successor. (See Acts 11:1-18)
As the Catechism puts it: “Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation . . . What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.” For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts” and further “In presenting with divine authority the definitive interpretation of the Law, Jesus found himself confronted by certain teachers of the Law who did not accept his interpretation of the Law, guaranteed though it was by the divine signs that accompanied it. This was the case especially with the Sabbath laws, for he recalls often with rabbinical arguments, that the Sabbath rest is not violated by serving God and neighbor, which his own healings did.” (CCC 582)
Jesus also abrogated ceremonial laws about the Sabbath:
“Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Matt. 12:1-8)
Jesus was clear that he fulfilled the ceremony of the Old law, and therefore abrogated these aspects. In fact, large portions of St. Paul’s writings in the New Testament are spent dealing with this issue. He speaks quite a bit on why we don’t keep Jewish feats, why we don’t necessarily circumcise male children, why we are not bound to these ceremonial laws, because Christ, the perfect Sacrifice has fulfilled them.
This is not the case with the moral laws.
These are eternal. In fact, Jesus typically holds us to even higher moral standards. Jesus demonstrates this several times in the Sermon on the Mount, when he uses the formula: “You have heard that it was said…but I say to you” for example: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38)
One of these actually happens to address marriage:
“Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, [πορνεία, a Greek word that is hard to translate into English whose exact meaning remains an enigma] makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31)
And another: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5: 27) So, Jesus does not abrogate the moral Law, particularly the laws about marriage and Chasity. In fact, he holds us to an even higher standard that was acceptable before.
He specifies this again in Matthew 19:4-9:
He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity,[ πορνεία] and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.” Thus Jesus establishes that marriage is an insolvable unity between a man and a woman. He does not permit divorce.
Scripture also makes it clear that, as I said before, taking God’s gift of sexuality out of context is a grave offense.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals [literally ‘sodomites’ i.e. those who participate in the actions, not those who have the orientation] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Again, St. Paul makes the point that there is no one group who has a monopoly on sin, but that life in Christ entails putting sin behind us.
The same sentiment is found in the book of revelation: “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8) Again, fornication is sex outside of marriage.
Now, you may want to say “A-ha! If you would ‘let’ gay people get married than it wouldn’t be a sin.”
The problem is that from the beginning, the scriptures point that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Yes, there were concessions made for polygamy and other circumstances, but Jesus ended that when he brought the law to perfection, (See Matthew 19 above). So to someone who reads scripture honestly, saying “gay marriage” is like saying “square circle”. It is not this way because the bible or the Church says it is so. The scriptures and the Church say it is so, because it is so.
All of this being said, We as a Church, I feel, have a long way to go in reaching out to the LBGT community. I think it can be done in love. I know several people who identify as homosexual who are living chastely, even some in domestic partnerships, who follow the moral teachings of the Church. It’s not easy, just like it isn’t easy for the hetro couple who cannot perform the martial act for health reasons that arise during the marriage.
As the Catechism states “Homosexual persons are called to chastity [glossed as ‘The moral virtue which, under the cardinal virtue of temperance, provides for the successful integration of sexuality within the person leading to the inner unity of the bodily and spiritual being]. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” (CCC 2359)
We all have the things we struggle with as far as an inclination to sin, thank God I am not judged on my inclinations, nor on the actions of which I have repented, but by God’s grace we all are called to be holy.
This again, was an attempt to explain what many people see as a contradiction. I hope that it was successful. Boundaries being set, questions/discussion is encouraged. God bless you all.
“And I Say To You, You Will Not Get Out Until You Have Paid The Last Penny”
Fr. Paul McDonald - THE LORD JESUS teaches us through His Church, that death marks the end of the earthly pilgrimage of man. Death marks the end of this life as the time when we can accept divine grace which is given to us in Christ. Death brings the end of the time of grace and mercy which God offers to us, so that we can realize the purpose of our existence. It is God’s plan that this life is when we decide our ultimate destiny. When “the unique course of our earthly life” has ended, we will not return to other earthly lives. “Man dies only once”. There is no “reincarnation” after this life.
After this life human beings will themselves be either among those who have responded to the love and mercy of God, or among those who have refused to accept grace right up to the end.
Among the friends of God who enter the next life, there are some who loved the Lord with all their hearts during this life, and there are some who truly loved Him, but imperfectly, with a divided heart; they need healing and purification before entering Paradise, and they have a preparation to make. Divine Mercy created Purgatory to accomplish this purification. “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1030).
But this is a family affair. We can help our sisters and brothers who find themselves amongst the poor souls. We can do so by our prayers, our sacrifices and our participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Now here I have to admit something. I am afraid that one day a parishioner will visit me from the “other side”, saying, “Why didn’t you warn me? Why did you never teach or mention that the sufferings of the next life are severe, if we have treated God as optional or of secondary importance?” But I am not really expecting an extraordinary visit like that. What is for sure is that one day the Lord will Himself ask me such things. “Why, my son, did you not tell the whole truth to my People?” To avoid having to endure such scrutiny, I will try to repair what I have omitted…
I am not speaking for the moment of the mysterious suffering of the “fires of Purgatory” that Pope Paul VI speaks of in his Credo. I will go to the essential. This is about the sadness and the thirst of these souls, deprived for a time of seeing God face to face. He is the Supreme Good and the source of all that is good, the source of infinite and eternal joy, for which our souls were created, like our eyes are for the light.
The doctors are in agreement to say that in general the sufferings of the next life are very rigorous. The Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine says that we must hold as certain that there is no comparison between the sufferings of this life and those of Purgatory. St. Augustine says so rather clearly in his commentary on Psalm 31: Lord, do not punish me in your anger, and do not reject me along with those to whom you will say: Go into the eternal fire; but do not punish in your anger: rather so purify me in this life, so that I don’t need to be purified in the next life. That ordeal will be terrible, that torment will be more unbearable than all one can suffer of what is sorrowful in this world.
That’s what St. Augustine says, and what St. Gregory, the Venerable Bede, St. Anselm and St. Bernard say after him. St. Thomas Aquinas goes even further and he holds that the least pain of Purgatory is greater than any pain of earth, no matter what they may be.
The author of the Imitation expresses this teaching by a practical and gripping sentence: “There, he says, one hour in torment will be more terrible than a hundred years here of the most rigorous penance.”
Let us practice charity towards the souls of the faithful departed so that we receive mercy in this life and in the next.
Originally posted at: The Remnant Newspaper
Child Sacrifice Is Alive And Well!
Fr. Dwight Longenecker
- In case you think the murder of little children, cannibalism and black magic are isolated practices or are simply part of a disgusting and primitive Chinese culture– the practice is increasing rather than dying out. The dried bodies of baby boys used to be replaced with wooden effigies. That wasn’t good enough. They’re bringing the real thing back again.
Furthermore, the practice of child sacrifice is not just an Asian phenomenon. It’s increasing in Africa too. Here is a BBC news story about the horrors of child sacrifice in present day Uganda. This article from Zimbabwe chronicles the scourge of child sacrifice in countries across Africa.
This is crude, primitive, barbaric and superstitious stuff. It doesn’t happen in United States and Britain does it? Sure it does. The medical industry in the USA “harvests” organs and body parts regularly from aborted fetuses. Here’s information about this industry which one industry worker calls “unpleasant but necessary”. If you have the stomach you might want to take time if you’re interested to watch this video about the presence of witchcraft within radical feminism and the abortion industry in the United States.
Of course the presence of a few witches in a couple of abortion clinics isn’t evidence of widespread black magic, cannibalism and primitive superstitious practices. Stop for a moment though and consider the reasoning behind child sacrifice, cannibalism and black magic. The occult practitioner–whether he is an African, a pre-Colombian South American, an ancient worshipper of Moloch or a Chinese businessman or Korean drug smuggler, wants the five “Ps”– protection, prosperity, potency, pleasure and power. The superstitious believe they will get this by making a child sacrifice to a pagan deity.
People in developed countries are doing exactly the same thing, but without messing about with pagan deities. The child in Uganda may be kidnapped, mutilated, murdered and cannibalized to give power, potency, prosperity and protection. The Westerners promote abortion because “the family can’t afford another child” and by saving money they attain prosperity and protection and power. By having sex unencumbered by babies the man and woman also achieve the other aim of the superstitious: increased sexual potency and pleasure.
It’s not real difficult: you can only serve one God. It’s either Mammon (the five “Ps”) or God. The way of the first is the way of brutality, child sacrifice and the worship of Satan and the Self.
The was of the second is to follow Christ–who overcomes the forces of darkness and death to bring light and life.
Originally posted at: Standing On My Head
The Culture of Death: Its History, Failures and How to Overcome It
by Rev. Fr. Robert Fromageot, FSSP
Many years ago (in 1955, to be exact), Frank Sinatra sang about “love and marriage”, and how they “go together like a horse and carriage”; how “you can’t have one without the other”, and how the institution of marriage is “an institute you can’t disparage.” That was when contraception was still taboo, and when the mores of society still supported the institution of marriage. But things have changed since 1955.
- The year 1960 saw the introduction of the first oral contraceptive pill, without which the sexual revolution would not have been as far-reaching as it was.
- 1965 saw the Supreme Court rule, in Griswold v. Connecticut, that a Connecticut statute prohibiting the use of contraceptives infringed on the constitutional privacy rights of married couples.
- 1972 saw the Supreme Court rule, in Eisenstadt v. Baird, that limiting the sale of contraceptives to married persons violated the Equal Protection Clause.
- 1973, of course, gave us Roe v. Wade, which struck down every law in the country prohibiting abortion.
But let’s not forget 1968, the year Pope Paul VI promulgated what would be his last encyclical, Humanæ Vitæ. With this document, Paul VI upheld the Church’s perennial condemnation of contraception and abortion as a means of regulating birth.
But what this document upheld, countless Catholics rejected in favor of the idea of love without responsibility. Had Catholics understood the nuptial aspect of Catholic worship, I suspect they would have been in a better position to understand why Paul VI was right and Plan Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, wrong, and hate “that which is evil” and “cleave to that which is good.” Today, Catholics are even more ignorant of their faith than those who were around in 1968, and therefore have even less understanding of that faith as it is reflected in Catholic worship. Is it any wonder, then, that the Catholic Church is losing the battle for the hearts and souls of the next generation of Catholics? And so, it is well worth my time and yours to understand the content of our faith and how that faith is reflected in the way we worship, especially as regards marriage and sexuality.
For the better you and your children understand the unfolding of history as a love story culminating in the grandest of royal weddings, the better you and they will be able to cherish and fight for the institution (indeed, the sacrament) of marriage by the choices they make and the habits they cultivate. Notwithstanding the errors and the corresponding mores prevalent in 2014, you and they will be better able to appreciate that “love and marriage” do indeed “go together like a horse and carriage”.
Now, what are these errors?
The first is that, assuming mutual consent, everyone has the right to experience sexual intimacy with whomever (and however many) he chooses — man or woman. Chastity, especially its mode of abstinence, is for abnormal people. Those who insist that “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage” are stuck in the past, enemies of progress. Likewise, anyone who dares to condemn masturbation, fornication, sodomy, cohabitation, or same-sex unions will be (and is) branded a judgmental prude, a self-righteous bigot — as happened recently with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson.
Public Schools Are Not Helping.
Also, consider the what our children are being taught in public schools. Just two days ago, a 13-year old girl in Kansas came home from her public school and showed her mother a picture she had taken of a poster — a “resource supplement” meant to foster classroom discussion in a purportedly abstinence-based sex-education science class. At the top of the poster was the question: “How do people express their sexual feelings?” The answers listed below followed no particular order, and ranged from simply talking to dancing, from the naturally sinful to buggery and other aberrant behavior. But the point of the poster, at least in its layout, was to impart a value-neutral, non-judgmental acceptance of all the answers. The idea that “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage” was nowhere in sight.
The second error is this: everyone has the right to experience “free love”; that is, consequence- and commitment-free sexual intimacy. But, as we all know, “free love” does not exist without recourse to science and technology; i.e., contraception and abortion. Even with such recourse, it does not exist, though secular society would have us think so. In an attempt, therefore, to minimize the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or becoming pregnant, so that the right to “free love” might be exercised, secularists claim that everyone has a right to have access to contraception and abortion services. That is why they want nothing more than to make these services a part of everyone’s comprehensive health care plan. Is it any wonder, then, that in its push to implement a national health care system, the government wants to oblige as many people as possible to pay for these services?
The Hell-Bound Social Bandwagon
Now, since the vast majority of Catholics, including undoubtedly many priests and not a few bishops, have gone along with secular society and developed a contraceptive mentality, what will prevent your child from jumping onto the hell-bound social bandwagon? “Everyone else is doing it,” he will say to himself. Or worse, “My priest tells me in confession that I can contracept, or that it’s okay if I get an abortion.” “How can it be all that bad?” I tell you, only when Catholics see sex and sexuality in relation to God’s saving plan to reconcile the world to Himself through Christ will they be in position to recognize and withstand the perversity of contraception, to say nothing of abortion.
But here is what secularists fail to tell you:
When the horse is separated from the carriage, love from marriage, the practice of fraternal charity becomes impossible: men and women wind up degrading each other. Women especially suffer degradation. And no pill, no scientific innovation or technological bypassing of nature will ever change that. Paul VI put it this way: When a man “grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods” he “may forget the reverence due to a woman”; will disregard “her physical and emotional equilibrium”; will “reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”
Here is What We Must Do. . .
If it is true that cult cultivates culture, what can be done to give expression to the invisible nuptial dimension of the Mass to reinforce the truth that marriage is ultimately meant to be a sacrament, a sacred sign of the marriage between Christ and His Church? Moreover, what can be done to cultivate in men the reverence due to women? After all, what I say here today will not continue to resonate in your hearts and minds tomorrow and the day after. You’ll most likely forget about it as soon as Mass ends. And I doubt anyone here will want to enroll himself in the latest sensitivity training course. Not that it would be very helpful, anyway, since such courses are usually based on a false notion of tolerance. Besides, we don’t need more words, more information.
What we need is a sign.
Ideally, we need a visible sign which will serve to remind everyone of the nuptial dimension of the Mass and which will remind men of the respect they owe to all women. And what is the sign that will accomplish both tasks at once?
The chapel veil!
What Does the Chapel Veil Signify?
Practically every bride wears a veil at her wedding, whether or not she knows what it means. And every marriage is meant to be a sacrament: a grace-giving sign that points to and makes present the reality of the nuptial love between Christ and His Bride, the Church. But every Mass anticipates the royal nuptials between Christ and His Bride. Moreover, every woman, even if she is not married, personifies, however imperfectly, the Church and her bridal status. Accordingly, when the Church gathers to worship Almighty God through Christ her head, every woman has the privilege (it’s no longer obligatory) of signifying this bridal status of the Church by wearing a veil — not because she is getting married, but because she aptly signifies the bridal character of the Church.
Moreover, by wearing a veil a woman discreetly communicates her own dignity, for we veil what we treasure and consider sacred. Just look at what is veiled in the sanctuary: the tabernacle, for, like a woman with child, it “bears” Christ contained in the Blessed Sacrament. And because the tabernacle is sacred (or set apart), it is not permitted that anyone can open it to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament. The same may be said of the chalice, for only the priest is permitted to handle it. Thus, by wearing a veil a woman reminds us that she too is a sacred vessel because of her natural capacity to bear children, and thus deserves the respect similar to that accorded to tabernacles and sacred liturgical vessels, a respect that entails a life-long commitment from a man in the bonds of holy matrimony open to life.
This respect, moreover, goes hand in hand with the cultivation of the virtue of chastity and purity, which in turn give to both men and women the maturity that the life-long commitments of both marriage and religious life demand.
Reviving the ancient tradition of wearing a veil in church is by no means a panacea for today’s social problems. Nevertheless, inasmuch as it would serve to foster respect for the dignity of women and manifest the truth that the Church is a Bride, whose wedding with Christ we anticipate at every Mass, the dignity of the institution of marriage would also be promoted, as would the virtues of chastity and purity.
Thus, in this unobtrusive yet powerful way, the better a Catholic understands Catholic worship the better poised to cultivate a genuine Christian culture so that, once again, everyone will appreciate and live by the truth Frank Sinatra sang about almost sixty years ago; that love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.
Full article here.
Note: Slight editing for length and readability.
“Could You Not Spend One Hour With Me?”
By, Fr. Louis Guardiola, C.P.M. Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever felt depressed and suicidal? Do you think that no one cares for you or understands you? Do you think you can’t go on?
Jesus loves you, Jesus understands you, and Jesus cares for you from the infinite depths of His Divine spirit and Sacred Heart. Jesus waits for you to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus understands your loneliness and despair. Jesus was betrayed and abandoned on the cross by His best friends, the Apostles, in His hour of supreme need and trial. Let us not do what the Apostles did, but share our needs, our concerns, our weaknesses and put our troubles before Jesus and His Sacred Heart that eternally throbs with love for you and me. Put your troubled sons and daughters, spouses, brothers and sisters, friends and grandchildren, each one before Jesus Himself and dedicate them to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and by extension to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Jesus is there, body and blood, soul and divinity, really, truly and substantially present before us. Jesus listens to us on His Eucharistic throne with a human ear and loves us with His Sacred human Heart.
Jesus is your God-friend. Jesus is my God-friend. Jesus will never betray you, Jesus will never hate you, Jesus will never separate Himself from you, and Jesus totally understands you. Jesus is your best friend; Jesus is my best friend, forever loving us with a love that is not of this world. God is love, and He who abides in love abides in God and God in Him.
When we adore Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus dwells in us, lives in us in a very special way. We directly experience the comforting, consoling rays of His healing love and heart. He gives us directly the strength to go on, the courage to face our problems and the wisdom to know how to resolve them. Remember that the greatest saints and orators like St. Thomas Aquinas and Bishop Fulton Sheen did their most inspired work before the Blessed Sacrament. It was Bishop Fulton Sheen who established in the minds of the American clergy the necessity to spend one hour a day before the Blessed Sacrament to not only maximize, but also even to continue to persevere in their priestly vocation.
Do you recall the joy you experienced when in your loneliness an estranged son or daughter of yours came to visit you? The same joy a parent experiences from an unexpected visit is multiplied infinitely when we as His adopted sons and daughters in baptism visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Jesus told the Apostles, “Could you not spend one hour with me?” in the garden of Gethsemane during His passion. Jesus tells us today, “Could you not spend one hour with me,” in this hour of the Church’s passion, this hour of scandal, dissensions, divisions, abortion, international terrorism, apostasy, etc., etc. Remember, fellow members of the Eucharistic Body of Christ: The Church is Christ. The Church is Jesus Christ extended into space and time.
I firmly believe that in Eucharistic adoration, whether it be one day a week, 40 hours or Perpetual Adoration, your hour of Eucharistic power, your hour of adoration, your hour of conference with the Lord of lords, the King of kings, really, truly and substantially present on His Eucharistic throne can and will change the world. I firmly believe that if every one of the billion plus Catholics in the world spent an hour one day a week before the Blessed Sacrament, every major crisis, every major scandal, abortion and acts of international terrorism would stop! Think about that!
There is power in numbers. We have the numbers and we have the Eucharistic power. We have the power of the very enfleshed love of God Himself, who redeemed us and the world, whose power of the resurrection continues today through the Eucharist that can and will totally transform the world. When we become Eucharistic adorers, we form an army, a Eucharistic army armed with the power of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood, soul and divinity, the real, true and substantial presence of Jesus Christ that transformed the world in the Resurrection and continues to do so today through the Holy Eucharist. When we become Eucharistic adorers, we form an army, a Eucharistic army armed with the power of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. When we become Eucharistic adorers, Jesus unleashes through us His very real grace and presence outward to the entire world, so that the world itself can become a holy tabernacle of the Lord.
Can you not spend one hour with Jesus for the salvation of the world? We do not ask you to sign your life away. Indeed, we ask you to sign your name in the book of life through Eucharistic adoration. Jesus asks you as He asked the Apostles, to spend one hour with Him, to become an Apostle of the Eucharist, a member of His Eucharistic army. If you do, you will never be alone again. Instead, you will grow day by day more holy, more convicted, more assured in your faith, more steadfast in the knowledge that you are a member in solidarity with Jesus Christ Himself and millions of Eucharistic adorers throughout the world. When you spend one hour with Jesus you walk with Him as two of the disciples did on the road to Emmaus. When you spend one hour with Jesus, you walk arm in arm with the other members of the mystical Eucharistic Body who happen to adore Him throughout the world at that same hour.
Come and pray to Jesus. Recite your favorite prayers, do some meditative reading or just bask in the healing rays of Jesus before you. St. John of the Cross-said, “One moment of pure love is more precious in the eyes of God and more profitable to the whole Church than all the good works put together.” Imagine what an hour can do! Allow Jesus to work through you. By your presence, your prayers and your sacrifice, have Christ’s grace reach through you into your family, into your parish, into your community, into our country, and even into purgatory. There are different levels of commitment to Eucharistic adoration. If after choosing a day, an hour, you have to change it or even volunteer as a substitute, that’s possible. The Lord has given us 168 hours in the week. Surely we can give one back to Jesus.
Originally posted at: Knights of the Holy Eucharist
Easter Bunny and Barney Masses
by Fr. Richard Simon, host of Relevant Radio’s “Go ask your Father”
Note: This a parody. The attitudes are fake and the answers are excellent. Fr. Simon has an alter ego on his website Reverend Know-it-all, adapted from Bullwinkle the Moose. You can go here see his site.
Dear Rev. Know-it-all,
My pastor has done it again. He is now celebrating the first Mass of Sunday facing the wall. There is already some Latin sung at
the Mass, and he allows people to receive communion kneeling. Doesn’t he know that the Vatican Council did away with
Latin at Mass and kneeling for communion and facing the wall? Is he trying to drag us back to the dark ages? My parents built this
church and now he is changing my Mass, the Mass I have always gone to. How dare he turn his back on us!
Patty D. Maison
It is clear to me that you are an enlightened progressive person, who will not tolerate intolerance. I can see that you want nothing but the best for God’s Church and you will not allow people to slip back into former modes of prayer from the dark days when the churches were full and confessional lines long. It is clear that you feel it your duty as an enlightened person to make sure that everyone does what you think is right. Bravo!
I fear however that you may be mistaken about a few things. Before launching into a few slight corrections, I urge you to be flexible with your old pastor. He is probably an aging hippy who read Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book one too many times, particularly the line “Let a thousand flowers bloom….” You said that he allows people to kneel for communion. Does he force them to kneel, or does he let them make up their own mind about the matter? He has brought back Latin, or is there Latin at all the Masses? It is curious that you say it is your Mass. Are there other people at the Mass, or are you the only person in attendance? The Mass I would think belongs to the Lord and the Church Universal. If you don’t benefit from his antique style at the early Mass, you might go to one of the Masses that is more to your personal taste. It doesn’t sound like he has forced this foolishness on all the Masses, just the earliest one on Sunday.
As for the Vatican Council ending kneeling for Communion, that is not quite true. As far as I can find, the first incident of standing for Communion had nothing to do with the council. It was something used at a liturgical convention in Seattle in 1962. The reason given for the change was that it would speed things up, a deeply spiritual reason if ever there was one, I’m sure.
And as for the Vatican Council taking Latin out of the mass, it just isn’t so. Surprisingly, the Vatican Council foresaw a limited use of the common modern tongue at mass for pastoral reasons, but intended the Latin rite Mass to continue in Latin. The Council said that “. . . the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”(Sacrosanctum Concilium, #36; December 4, 1963)
The council never mandated that the priest face the people at the liturgy. Altars were to be moved out from the wall, making it possible to walk around them, but I have never been able to find the document that says the whole liturgy must be offered facing the congregation.
Still more shocking,
the newest Roman Missal assumes that the celebrant is facing away from the people for large sections of the Novus Ordo, or Ordinary Form of the Mass. In the Missal there are black letters and red letters. The red letters are called rubrics, form the Latin word for red. The black letters are what the celebrant is supposed to say, the red letters indicate what the celebrant is supposed to do. In the 3rd Roman Missal the rubrics indicate that the celebrant must face the people only seven times, as far as I can tell. Here are the citations from the missal. You can look ‘em up if you don’t believe me.
1. When the people are gathered, the Priest approaches the altar…..venerates the altar with a kiss… then… with the ministers, he goes to the chair. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest and the faithful, standing, sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, while the Priest, facing the people, says: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (The rubrics seem to imply that the greeting and the penance rite are said facing the people, since they are addressed to the people, not to the Lord and thus are included in the rubric indicating that the celebrant face the people at this point in the Mass.)
29. Standing at the middle of the altar, facing the people, extending and then joining his hands, he says: “Pray, brethren…” (The end of the offertory)
127. The Priest, turned towards the people, extending and then joining his hands, adds: “The peace of the Lord be with you always…” (The sign of peace)
132. The Priest genuflects, takes the host and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or above the chalice, while facing the people, says aloud: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb…”
139. Then, standing at the altar or at the chair and facing the people, with hands joined, the priest says “Let us pray…” (The final prayer)
141 Then the dismissal takes place. The Priest, facing the people and extending his hands, says: “The Lord be with you…” (The blessing)
144. Then the Deacon, or the Priest himself, with hands joined and facing the people, says “Go forth the Mass is ended.”
The part of this that I find most interesting is not just that the priest may face away from the congregation, but that it seems expected. Still more interesting is that almost no one except the Pope Emeritus and a few curmudgeons like your pastor seem to notice or follow what seems to be clearly implied in the rubrics. Go figure.
Why no one seems to notice, much less follow the rubrics is completely beyond me. I suppose that’s because no one actually reads the rubrics. They assume these things were mandated by the council and are demanded by the rules. You know what they say about the word “assume.” “To assume makes a beast of burden out of you and me.”
I suppose that it is allowed to say Mass facing the people, but it seems odd when you think about it. The rubrics seem to indicate that when the priest is speaking to the people, he faces the people. When he is leading them in prayer, standing in for Christ, he faces the Lord, with the people. This makes sense.
It isn’t as earth shattering as it first appears.
The priest faces the people these seven times and while he is seated in the presider’s chair. In the average mass of 50 minutes, using the 2nd Canon and including a homily, the priest faces away from the people for all of 10 minutes maximum.
Easter Bunny and Barney Masses
In the old days there were quite a few mortal sins that a priest could commit while saying Mass if he willingly altered the structure of the Mass. It used to seem absurd to me that the rubrics were that important. I have had my mind changed in my old age. After seeing enough clergy skipping down the aisles distributing Easter eggs, or wearing clown makeup or dressed as Barney the Purple Dinosaur, I understand that the prohibitions were aimed at clerical narcissism. They were not simply medieval taboos.
You said that the 8 am Mass was your Mass. I understand what you mean. It is your custom. However a priest who decides that the Liturgy of the Church is “his” to play with as he pleases does commit a very grave sin. The Mass is unfortunately a wonderful stage for those who fancy themselves actors. The Mass is no one’s property except the Lord’s and the celebrant is nothing more than the servant of the Lord and of His bride, the Church. To personalize the Mass excessively is to take what belongs to the Lord for one own self expression and even aggrandizement. Perhaps it is a good thing that the priest occasionally turns to the Lord with the people whose servant he is and of whom he is just a part by virtue of his Baptism. Perhaps by turning away from the people and facing the Lord with them, the celebrant will remember that he is not the center of the Mass. It is the Lord who is the object of adoration as Pope Francis has reminded us.