Saturday, August 29, 2015

Courageous Conference Goer

document preparing the groundwork for this fall’s synod asks some hard-hitting questions about homosexuality:
How can the Christian community give pastoral attention to families with persons with homosexual tendencies? What are the responses that, in light of cultural sensitivities, are considered to be most appropriate? While avoiding any unjust discrimination, how can such persons receive pastoral care in these situations in light of the Gospel? How can God’s will be proposed to them in their situation?
Joseph Prever

At the end of August, Ignatius Press will publish a book-length treatment of those questions entitled Living the Truth in Love. Based on a recent Courage International conference held in Plymouth, Michigan, the book will include a contribution from Joseph Prever, a celibate, gay Catholic who blogs at Prever is known for his prominent role in an April 2014 documentary about gay Catholics entitled The Third Way. As a speaker and writer, he has been grappling with the same questions to be considered this fall in Rome.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Parents: Plan To Fight This as You Send Off Kids to Catholic Colleges

In a report released this week, there were found more than 60 instances of Catholic college ties to Planned Parenthood through counseling and medical referrals, internship and job referrals, faculty, staff, and leader appointments, or honors and platforms. 

Now if a Catholic college cares about its faith identity, there is no reason for it to be associated with an organization that directly opposes Church teachings and values. Thankfully, there are actions that colleges can take to stand up for the dignity of life and faithful Catholic colleges who do care about their mission are doing so through thriving student groups and academic programs..

Speaking the Truth in Love: Courage Helps Frame Synod’s Homosexuality Discussion | Daily News |

Speaking the Truth in Love: Courage Helps Frame Synod’s Homosexuality Discussion | Daily News |

I have had the distinct blessing to have met and heard Fr. John Harvey, founder of Courage, speak, as well as read all of his books. People with same-sex attraction have no greater friend than Fr. Harvey and his organization, Courage, now headed by Fr. Paul Check. Check them out!

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Friday, August 21, 2015

A Beating Heart With an Open Mind

Many Pro-life Catholics/Christians object to too much specificity in telling the story o f the Planned Parenthood infanticide, arguing that they "get it" without all the graphics.... I humbly disagree. To change the hearts and minds of many who are morally neutral on the subject of killing babies, this is a sine qua non-- so watch  this and weep.

Crisis in Crisis?

Ad for Tinder

Mark has a point in his FB share below, but I would go him one further when it comes to the breakdown of sanctity in traditional marriage: the part played by employment of artificial contraception, as JPII reminded us in Familiaris consortio:

When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings [procreative and unitive] that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as "arbiters" of the divine plan and they "manipulate" and degrade human sexuality-and with it themselves and their married partner-by altering its value of "total" self-giving. Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality….

When, instead, by means of recourse to periods of infertility, the couple respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings of human sexuality, they are acting as "ministers" of God's plan and they "benefit from" their sexuality according to the original dynamism of "total" selfgiving, without manipulation or alteration.

No fault heterosexual divorce was the bullet to the brain of marriage. Gay "marriage" is just kicking the corpse. So the smart thing for Crisis Magazine to do is waste our time attacking faithful chaste Catholics like Joseph PreverEve Tushnet, and Joshua Gonnerman. ‪#‎eyeroll‬

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BREAKING: Most Disturbing Video Exposé Yet

BREAKING: Most Disturbing Video Exposé Yet:

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A recent survey specifically targeting U.S. Catholic men, reaching large numbers of practicing Catholic men across age groups and zip codes suggests large numbers of faithful Catholic men are frustrated with the lack of engagement by priests, who do little for them in the area of equipping them to be fishers of men. This has resulted in large numbers of lukewarm Catholic men who do not know and practice the faith, and a mass exodus of Catholic men from the Church. The survey also demonstrates that priests who make it a personal priority to evangelize Catholic men have a significant impact on the faith lives of these men. Also hopeful, most current priests have the personal leadership characteristics that men respect; men are prepared to follow priests who take the initiative to lead.  What is required is not dramatic new spending or programs, but the commitment of bishops and priests to personally engage men on a regular basis, a remedy first suggested in the Vatican II documents! Such a commitment draws the lukewarm into faith-building fraternity, challenging them to Catholic manhood and reinforcing the essentials of Catholicism,  including meeting Jesus, devotion to Mary and Joseph, engaging in the Sacraments and prayer and teaching basic apologetics.

Looking to the future, a great movement of the Holy Spirit (now ongoing) and strong leadership from bishops, priests and deacons, supported by large numbers of Catholic laymen, will be needed to staunch the hemorrhaging of Catholic men from the Church. A commitment to a “New Evangelization” by bishops and priests will grow large numbers of evangelized and well-catechized men for the future rebuilding of the Church in the decades to come. This “New Evangelization” will lead to a dramatic renewal in the Church, a renewal that at its heart is in passionate obedience to Christ’s final Great Commission:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Libido Redux: TransJennerism

The transgender suicide epidemic: is accepting their confusion really the answer? | News | LifeSite:

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Why Evangelize?

I have witnessed the reality in the United States, where we are conditioned by a spirit of modernity to view religion as a private matter, where far too many Catholics grow uncomfortable with the call to evangelization and deep conversion of mind and heart. This is significant, for only from a personal relationship with Christ can effective evangelization develop. For Catholics like myself, there is a burning need to recover the certainty that we have the Truth urgently needed for the redemption of mankind.  Why evangelize? When we evangelize, we act on baptismal grace “to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” “To evangelize means: to show this path [toward happiness]—to teach the art of living.” If we are serious about our sonship in Christ Jesus then let us be not afraid to make the new evangelization the top priority in our lives.

Here is a wonderful little book which can help should you be willing to take your baptismal grace seriously!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Libido Redux: Tindering Unhinged serious sin, in Paul’s thinking became the occasion and the effect of interference by the “hidden enemy who sows errors,” who undermines our moral equilibrium — the Devil.  In Paul’s teaching The Devil is the clever tempter who makes his way into man through the sensual, the libido, a “crack” through which the Evil One attempts to prevail....        
                              -from The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God

Some people still catch feelings in hook-up culture.”

Of all the depressing lines spoken by young adults in the article “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’ in the September issue of Vanity Fair, that one takes the cake.

Meredith, a sophomore at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., explains that “It’s not like just blind f—ing for pleasure and it’s done; some people actually like the other person. Sometimes you actually catch feelings, and that’s what sucks.” 

P.S. See also 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dawn is Patrolling!

Dawn Eden, featured from time to time on this blog, comes to Michigan to speak on "My Tangled Road to Rome" in the Wege Ballroom at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI, 7 p.m., as part of the Catholic Studies Speaker Series.


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On the LGBTQIA Appropriation of Pope Francis

In a letter written on his behalf last week, Pope Francis expressed, "Today, when the institution of marriage is under attack from powerful cultural forces (LGBT lobbying groups, others) the faithful are called to bear witness to this basic truth of biblical faith and natural law, which is essential to the wise and just ordering of society. In meeting the moral, social and political challenges of the present hour, great wisdom and perseverance will be required of them – “the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to their faith in Jesus” (Rev 14:12)."

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fact Check on Freep's "Vigneron softens tone on Communion for Catholic gay supporters

Vigneron softens tone on Communion for Catholic gay supporters:

Freep: Vigneron’s softened language comes at a key time, just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on gay marriage and just weeks before Pope Francis, who has displayed a more welcoming, inclusive attitude about gay Catholics, is to visit the U.S. in September. 

Fact Check: Francis has declared same-sex “marriage a diabolical effort of “the Father of Lies” to “destroy God’s plan … and deceive the children of God.” He said then—only four years ago—that gay “marriage” discriminates against children “in advance,” depriving them of “their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God.” At stake, said Cardinal Bergoglio, was “the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts” and the very survival of the human family, with Satan at work. 

Linda Karle-Nelson in FREEP: interpreted ArchbiVigneron’s most recent comments to reflect church-going Catholics such as she and her husband, parents to gay sons, who “if your conscience tells you that you are in line with Christ, that you’re thinking like Christ, then you are certainly welcome at the Communion table.”

Fact Check The Church sets out specific guidelines regarding how we should prepare ourselves to receive the Lord’s body and blood in Communion. To receive Communion worthily, you must be in a state of grace, have made a good confession since your last mortal sin, believe in transubstantiation, observe the Eucharistic fast, and, finally, not be under an ecclesiastical censure such as excommunication. 

First, you must be in a state of grace. "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Cor. 11:27–28). This is an absolute requirement which can never be dispensed. To receive the Eucharist without sanctifying grace in your soul profanes the Eucharist in the most grievous manner. 
A mortal sin is any sin whose matter is grave and which has been committed willfully and with knowledge of its seriousness. Grave matter includes, but is not limited to, murder, receiving or participating in an abortion, homosexual acts, having sexual intercourse outside of marriage or in an invalid marriage, and deliberately engaging in impure thoughts (Matt. 5:28–29). Scripture contains lists of mortal sins (for example, 1 Cor. 6:9–10 and Gal. 5:19–21). Bottom Line: 

As the U.S. bishops note in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, we need to form our consciences in an ongoing manner. How do we do this? 1) When examining any issue or situation, we must begin by being open to the truth and what is right. 2) We must study Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church. 3) We must examine the facts and background information about various choices. 4) We must prayerfully reflect to discern the will of God (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, no. 18). The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults adds: 5) The prudent advice and good example of others support and enlighten our conscience. 6) The authoritative teaching of the Church is an essential element. 7) The gifts of the Holy Spirit help us develop our conscience. 8) Regular examination of conscience is important as well (p. 314). ..."if your conscience tells you that you are in line with Christ, that you’re thinking like Christ," is not Catholic conscience formation.

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of Maryland New Ways Ministry in Freep piece:
[Vigneron’s latest comments]... recognizes that people, in their consciences, have to weigh the church’s teachings in their own lives and relationships. That is authentic Catholic teaching."  

Fact Check Authentic Catholic teaching is set down in the fact check above-- people must form their consciences in accord with Church teaching

FreepSmith, an outspoken conservative, is blunt in delivering a message that some gay Catholics might find unwelcoming.

Fact Check: Professor Janet Smith is not a "conservative;" She is Catholic.

FreepCatholic gay rights supporter DeBernardo said Smith’s comments show that some church leaders are “burying their heads in the sand.” 

Check: Professor Smith's hear is a light in the darkness, which influences the "gay" lifestyle. She was quoted in the Freep as saying, “Parents should always express and live out unconditional love for their children, for those who are living in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and those who are not. But this does not mean that the parents must violate their own beliefs to accommodate those of their children.” Remember the words of Jesus on this point: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple."

TransJennerism: The Absurdity of Transgenderism: A Stern but Necessary Critique

The Absurdity of Transgenderism: A Stern but Necessary Critique | Public Discourse:

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Enlightenment: Behind the Dictatorship of Relativism

In his Smoke of Satan" homily, Paul VI warned that those who do not think with the mind of the Church may be exposed to “the influence of ‘the mystery of iniquity” in evidence when “the spirit of the Gospel is watered down or rejected…” The reason behind this disregard of the authority of the documents of divine revelation was the neomodernists'’ assimilation of the principles of modernity. Fr. Jonathan Robinson has shown how various Enlightenment themes have played a role in the formation of the modern consciousness as it has impinged most directly on the Church. To cite one example of this, Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar criticized the Enlightenment’s understanding of religion in an analysis of its influence on Karl. Rahner’s anthropocentric theology:

The Enlightenment was the change from a theocentric to an anthropocentric viewpoint; for religion . . . this means the change from a positive historical religion to a religion valid for man in general, who is essentially religious. . . . Everywhere in the world and in history, God's self-communication takes place in the Holy Spirit offered to every human being, a self-communication which itself already possesses as such the character of a revelation of truth and which finds in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, only its full historical tangibility. Positive dogmas, based on history, are transcendentally outlined in human nature. . . . The better the Enlightenment understands its own program, the less it will seek this absolute in contingent historical facts rather than in the inner enforcement of truth in the subject. This also applies to the Church, which wants to make the transposition of Christian faith into today's modes of understanding her business. As a necessary consequence, there must ensue a shift of accent from the objective dignity of truth in itself to recognition of and respect for the dignity of the subjective awareness of truth.

At the time, Cardinal Ratzinger had written that the best measure of theological speculation is its spiritual consequences; given his position as the most influential speculative theologian after Vatican II, Rahner’s capitulation to Enlightenment religious thinking has proven poisonous to the both Christian gospel and the Liturgy

Friday, August 7, 2015

‘You're Not Really Pro-Life Because . . .'

I recently took issue with the Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittester's age-old anti-life mantra. It is nice to see that David Koyzis has joined  me in You're Not Really Pro-Life Because . . .' | David T. Koyzis | First Things:

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Et Lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt

What Is the Source of This Darkness of Our Times? |Blogs |

What prompted me to write a book about the current spiritual war ongoing in the world in which we live?  Stumbling upon this quote by the Pope of the council, Pope Paul VI:

We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation. And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil. We thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned instead was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties

I am an avid reader of Msgr. Charles Pope, who has written recently on this our adversary in the NCR link above..

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Holy Father and the Divorced and Remarried

Pope Francis on August 5, 2015 gave a general audience in which he discussed the situation of those who have divorced and remarried without an annulment. Here is the translation of the Italian. Francis explained that divorced and remarried couples are not at all excommunicated—as such, they are always part of the Church. Remember that the Church does not let people who have divorced and remarried without an annulment receive communion (unless they are living as “brother and sister”), but this is not the same thing as excommunication. Excommunication does not cancel one’s membership in the Church, and divorcing and remarrying without an annulment does not gain excommunication. An exerpt:
[T]oday I would like to focus our attention on another reality: how to take care of those that, following the irreversible failure of their marital bond, have undertaken a new union.
The Church knows well that such a situation contradicts the Christian Sacrament. However, her look of teacher draws always from her heart of mother; a heart that, animated by the Holy Spirit, always seeks the good and salvation of persons. See why she feels the duty, “for the sake of truth,” to “exercise careful discernment.” Saint John Paul II expressed himself thus in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio (n. 84), pointing out, for instance, the difference between one who has suffered the separation and one who has caused it. This discernment must be made.
 He went on to say:
…. the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”

The reason for his catecheses, apart from the good of the spouses, why these situations need to be looked at carefully is: how children are affected:
If, then, we look at these new bonds with the eyes of little ones – and the little ones are looking – with the eyes of children, we see even more the urgency to develop in our communities a real acceptance of persons that live such situations.  Therefore, it is important that the style of the community, its language, its attitudes are always attentive to persons, beginning with the little ones. They are the ones who suffer the most, in these situations. Otherwise, how will we be able to recommend to these parents to do their utmost to educate the children in the Christian life, giving them the example of a convinced and practiced faith, if we hold them at a distance from the life of the community, as if they were excommunicated? We must proceed in such a way as not to add other weights beyond those that the children, in these situations, already have to bear! Unfortunately, the number of these children and youngsters is truly great. It is important that they feel the Church as a mother attentive to all, always willing to listen and to come together.
Building on the remarks of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis went on:
Hence the repeated invitations of Pastors to manifest openly and consistently the community’s willingness to receive and encourage them, so that they live and develop increasingly their belonging to Christ and to the Church with prayer, with listening to the Word of God, with frequenting of the liturgy, with the Christian education of the children, with charity and service to the poor, with commitment to justice and peace.
The biblical icon of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18 ) summarizes the mission that Jesus received from the Father: to give his life for the sheep. This attitude is also a model for the Church, which receives her children as a mother that gives her life for them.
He then quotes his own apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium:
“The Church is called to be the House of the Father, with doors always wide open [...]”
No closed doors! No closed doors!
“Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community. The Church [...] is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, n. 47).
The significance of his remarks have for the upcoming Synod on the Family show that on balance The Holy Father seems to favor continuity with the Church’s historic practice more than it indicates any forthcoming change on this point.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Catholic Church and the First Amendment

When the Obergefell ruling came down in late June, extending the right to marriage to members of the same sex in all 50 states, some observers felt that the Catholic Church was fairly immune to any requirements that it would have to allow same-sex weddings before her altars. 

Now, though, calls for the Church to allow such nuptials are bubbling up. How far they will get is another question.
The issue was raised Tuesday by a report in the New York Times that featured “gay and transgender Catholics” who are making noises with the approaching visit to these shores of Pope Francis. And the noises are not exactly joyful.Read all about it in Gay and Transgender Catholics Urge Pope Francis to Take a Stand - The New York Times:

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Satan's Sophistry

The Smoke of Satan offers an accounting of the sophistry of neomodernists theologians pitted against the magisterium which influenced most Catholics’ views in the face of the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s. In reading several of the more notable examples of this deceptive reasoning, remember that in Catholic teaching the Tempter is a “consummate deceiver” whose real designs are concealed behind what may seem to be divinely inspired, but are in reality instigated by him. Here is an example in the form of an icebreaker prior to a talk given by one under the influence of neomodernist thought:

  1. Did you ever believe in Santa Claus?  And do you believe in Santa Claus now?  
  2. Did you ever believe that God was a man living in Heaven?  And do you believe that now?
  3. Did you ever believe that Heaven was a place that existed above us?  And do you believe that now?
  4. Did you ever believe that God created the universe in seven days?  And do you believe it now?
  5. Did you ever believe that you had to be a member in good standing of the Roman Catholic Church to be saved?  And do you believe that now?
  6. Did you ever believe that you would only be saved, provided that you follow the specific rules and believe specific dogmas?  And do you believe that now?
  7. Did you ever believe that the U. S. was the best country, and always operated out of its highest good?  And do you believe it now?
  8. And did you ever believe that white persons were better than people of color; or men were superior to women?  And do you believe that now?
A Catholic raised prior to Vatican II would, it is inferred, answer no to the second question to each of the 8 items, and feel no need to try and discover what Our Lord revealed to us whilst He was on earth, and continues to teach through His Church in response to items 5 and 6 (italicized) on "What must I do to be saved?" Remember--Satan's goal is to damn souls, which necessitates disregarding what Christ revealed regarding salvation.

The inference in this sophistic line of questioning is: 
  • change is inevitable.  
  • We all change.  
  • We evolve over time.  
  • Our bodies change, our emotions change; our spirituality changes; our consciousness changes. 

Under the wiles of "the Father of lies," the neomodernist reflects on the conditions we experiencing today in our society and in our Church, and posits that they are connected to the various stages of development that we are at in our lives and how we find ourselves in conflict with those who are at different levels of consciousness, which can also be articulated as different world views.... 

For example, the neomodernist asks cradle Catholics to think about some of the current issues before us:

  • The new translation of the Roman Missal.
  • Women’s ordination.
  • The acceptance of Gay and Lesbian marriage.
  • Adoption by Gay and Lesbian couples.
  • A woman’s capacity for moral decision making, especially regarding her body.
  • Married priests.
  • More democratic governance of parishes and dioceses.
  • (add your own-here's mine)
 The intent here is to elicit response in lukewarm Catholics, i.e.,for them to articulate how they feel about these issues-- do they get angry when they hear it said that gay and lesbian couples cannot marry or adopt children? That married couples may not contracept? Etc.

I  If they do grow angry, the neomodernist suggests that such a Catholic is at an impasse, which presents an opportunity....  It invites those of us on the spiritual quest to continue their own inner work... 

 This sophistry is much the same as that employed in the following video:

Resist him, solid in your faith.