Saturday, July 30, 2016

Party Platforms and the Family

I realize that whoever wins the Presidency, he or she is not bound by their party's platform. An analysis of the major parties’ platforms nonetheless reveals a difficult truth: Neither party is committed to the family in the same way or to the same extent to which Catholic social teaching demands.

Republicans, while implying an understanding of the nature of the family and its centrality to society, fail to consider its well-being consistently across the board. Democrats on the other hand, support some policies that provide needed relief to families, but this comes almost in spite of the severely flawed, individualistic, adult-centric vision of family life and marriage that they advance.
Thus, the believing Catholic must pray for our elected officials in the hope that they will develop a more profound reverence for the family and commit themselves to protecting and promoting it, and with it, the common good. Catholics must also continue to strengthen families in the culture and in our own communities, recognizing that public policy alone cannot solve the crisis of family life in this country.

Finally, Catholics across our country must acknowledge that much-needed changes in the political landscape will not come without our active participation, if not leadership, in the public life of our communities, states and nation.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Domestic Church (the Family) and Domestic Politics

The Church considers the dignity of the human person to be the foundation of its social teaching; indeed, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church tells us that the family is “the first natural society” and places it at “the center of social life.” The natural family, or the “domestic church,” is the context in which all men and women either live out their vocations or are prepared for them.
So—what’s good for the family is good for both the individual and for wider society, and good public policy is, therefore, family policy
Yet we live at a time when the family in America is being ripped apart by many social and market forces. All the crises our nations faces — from identity to economic — are either caused by the breakdown of the family or directly contribute to it.

Remember that Pope Francis says in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), “the welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church” (31). So as Campaign “16 begins, seriously consider the vision of the family offered by the Republican and the Democratic Parties, as well as how the planks of their platforms will help or hurt families. (to be continued….)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Modern Religion

After teaching in Catholic Schools for over 30 years, if I were to sum up her approach to the world prior to the Pontificate of Pope St. John Paul the Great, I would argue that she appears to have been trying to restore her lost public role by finding common ground with "the world" and tailoring her message to modern ways of thought. As Bl. Pope Paul VI recognized, at the end of the Second Vatican Council liberal modernity has its own religion. The outcome of the effort has therefore been a tendency to make Catholicism sound very much like worship of the god of this world, and lead many Catholics to forget that there is a difference between that worship and our own. This is a prime thesis of my book, written as a first-hand account of the Church in the United States following the Second Vatican Council.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Holy Communion and Kaine

A Catholic priest asked that pro-abortion Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine “do us both a favor” and not show up in his Communion line.
“I take Canon 915 seriously. It'd be embarrassing for you & for me,” tweeted Dominican Father Thomas Petri, the vice president and academic dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies.

Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law instructs that those “persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “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. ... Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law...Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense” (CCC 2270 - 2272).
As a U.S. senator from Virginia, Kaine has crusaded for the expansion of abortion on demand while claiming to be personally pro-life and a faithful Catholic. His stance on abortion has evolved to the left over the years. In 2005, Kaine supported abstinence-based sex education and measures to reduce abortions. He also came under fire from NARAL for authorizing the sale of “Choose Life” license plates. But once he was elected to the senate in 2012, Kaine became much more vocally pro-abortion. 
“I’m a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions,” he has said. He has also said he is “personally opposed” to abortion.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ad orientem?

Cardinal Sarah
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, urged priests and bishops at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London July 5 to start celebrating Masses"ad orientem," or facing away from the congregation, beginning the first Sunday of Advent this year.

After nearly 50 years of celebration of the Mass of Vatican II, it would seem that there is an increasing awareness that the focus of the Liturgy as God-directed has been displaced, and any sense of mystery and awe at being in the presence of God has disappeared. Behind this, whether it is recognized or not, is the philosophical belief that the community is necessary for God to be totally real. The dynamic of this new emphasis on the community has led to a total exclusion of any reference to God as transcendent….In fact the community from having first of all displaced the focus of divine worship is in danger of becoming itself the object of worship. A growing trend is happening wherein ordinary Catholics are embracing the traditional liturgy and other older practices of the Faith.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Smoldering Smoke in the Temple?

Monsignor Michael Scooyans

A principal adviser to Pope St. John Paul II who was also close to Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Michel Schooyans, has issued an ominous warning about the current course in the Catholic Church. In a paper, retired Professor Schooyans, a member of several Pontifical Academies and Councils, says that “the Synod on the Family has revealed a profound malaise in the Church,” writing of the 'crisis' in the Church: “it is futile to close our eyes: the Church is challenged in its very foundations.”
Monsignor warns of what he says is an organized group in the Church that operates with “backing from some of the highest authorities in the Church.”
The Synod on the Family showed, he says, the determination of “a group of pastors and theologians” that “do not hesitate to undermine the Church's doctrinal cohesion.” This group, he added, “functions in the manner of a powerful, international, well-heeled, organized and disciplined party.”
The active members of this cabal have easy access to the media, operating with backing from some of the highest Church authorities. Their main target is Catholic moral teaching condemned for having a strictness unsuited to the "values" of our time. Through this network these sophists will be able to hold sway over the helm of the Church, influence the selection of candidates for high office, and make alliances which put at risk the Church’s very existence (emphasis mine—here I think Monsignor’s contention is a bit  histrionic, though his findings warrant attention).

Professor Schooyans counsels specifically against suggestions for “decentralization” of the Church: “The actions of casuists today affect not only the Church's moral teaching but also the entirety of dogmatic theology, in particular the question of the Magisterium,” adding: “The unity of the Church is in peril where there are suggestions of biased, at times demagogic, proposals for decentralization, largely inspired by Lutheran reform.”
The renowned philosopher points to confusions (for Paul VI, a sign of the demonic) in the Church around “’remarried’ divorced persons, “models” for the family, the role of women, birth control, surrogate motherhood, homosexuality," and euthanasia. The Church “has not been given by the Lord a mission to modify” the truths taught by Christ about all these matters, Schooyans says. “The Church is the guardian of this treasure.”
“The causuist,” he says, (i.e., a sophist) “cultivates the art of confusing the faithful. Concern for the truth, revealed and accessible to reason, is now of no interest. … Progressively, the rules of behavior proceeding from the will of the Lord and handed down by the Magisterium of the Church are languishing in decline.” As I recount in my book, in 1972 Paul VI forewarned of the Devil’s role in such sophistry. Scbooyans summarizes this sophistry in the paper--the moral assessment of an act no longer depends on whether it conforms to the will of God, as made known to us by the Revelation, but the intention of the moral agent. This intention can be modified and shaped by the spiritual adviser who, in order to please, will have to soften the objectivity of the doctrine handed down by tradition. The pastor will have to adapt his words to the nature of man, whose passions are naturally led into sin. Schooyans continues:
How great is the number of pastors of all ranks who wish to make allegiance to the powerful of this world, albeit easily and without the need to swear publicly fidelity to the new “values" of the world today?” In pushing to facilitate ‘remarriage,’ the neo-casuists are giving their backing to all those political players who are undermining respect for life and the family.

I have reason to think that Pope Francis will prevail in the end, for speaking to a large gathering of charismatic Catholics in the Rome Olympic Stadium, Pope Francis spoke of how the devil “attacks the family so much. The demon does not love it and seeks to destroy it.”
Top of Form

Monday, July 11, 2016

Do Homosexuals Have Happy Traditional Marriages? Yes.

Today we see the Black Lives Matter movement distorting the truth concerning incidents of white police officers shooting black males. The same tactic is employed by the mainstrem media concerning whether or not those with same-sex attratcion can have happy traditonal marriages.  Read more.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What do the Words Mean?

Jonathon Van Maren has offered a prescient article which struck home with me. It inspires one who endeavors to "enter the narrow gate" in our sexually-befuddled times.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Dancing With Mr. D: Major Minor Sex

Could this have happened 50 years ago? More than a year after Rachel Lehnardt of Evans, Ga. was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of minors she has finally learned her punishment.
The 36-year-old divorced mother of five participated in a wild, parent-approved teen party. The mother allegedly allowed her 16-year-old daughter and others to smoke weed, get drunk and play “naked Twister” in her home.
Lehnardt allegedly had sex with an 18-year-old teen in a bathroom while others continued playing “naked Twister,” used sex toys in front of the teens and claimed she woke up to find a 16-year-old raping her.
As a result of all of this, Lehnardt was sentenced to six years of probation and $600 in fines. The mother, who has lost custody of her five children, must also receive drug and alcohol treatment.
Lehnardt had once been a member of the Mormon church and never touched alcohol, but that changed after her 2014 divorce from her husband James.
Lawyer Shawn Hammond said his client feels remorse and is trying to start over again.
“Mrs. Lehnardt has recommitted herself to her faith and her family,” he said. “She is hopeful that her children, members of her faith and others will learn from her poor example as to just how easy it is for people to exercise such extremely poor judgment while intoxicated.” Oremus.

Frankly Francis

In his new letter on marriage and the family, Amoris LaetitiaFrancis teaches that teaching kids about safe sex “promotes narcissism,” that transgender teens should just stop complaining and “accept their own body as it was created,” and that same-sex couples are not “legitimate families.”

Claiming that transgender teens are “self-centered” and “self-absorbed,” Francis said:
The young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created, for thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.
An appreciation of our body as male or female is also necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.
In addition, Francis says that gay people should receive “assistance” to bring them back to “normality,” affirming that there are “absolutely no grounds” for considering recognition of “homosexual unions:
In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.
As well as condemning abortion, the document contains many references to Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and John Paul II’s writings on contraception (68, 81 82, 151, 155, 283) Perhaps the strongest restatement of Church teaching is this (80):
Nonetheless, the conjugal union is ordered to procreation ‘by its very nature’. The child who is born ‘does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfilment.

He or she does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself. From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning, even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life.
The transgended phenomenon is worth of investigation. Of Pope Francis no doubt the LGBTQIA community will retort, "Who is he to judge?"

Friday, July 1, 2016

Why the Extraordinary Form?

Fr. Billy Bob Presiding at the Altar "Table"
While the Band of Piano, Guitars, and Drums
Renders "Oecumenical" Songs

Recently James Kalb penned something with which I vehemently agree:

 If you look at religion that way a worship service becomes something like a lecture, pep rally, self-help meeting, or social get-together. Other people do those things at least as well as Catholics, so why bother with Catholicism? Why not go with something even more modern and American than the New Mass as presented in the average suburban parish? Why not do praise and worship at a megachurch?

I have witnessed the reality of the  following:

"...a poorly catechized Catholic attends a worship service at a megachurch, mistakenly believing the worship service simply to be a modern, non-Catholic version of the Mass. The Catholic feels emotionally drawn to the megachurch worship service and decides Mass, in comparison, is boring. A typical view might be, “Wow, I’m being fed here like I’m not being fed at Mass.” 

Kalb summarizes what brought him to the Church:

The Traditional Mass made it clear that the Mass is something different from all that. The formality, the silences, the use of an ancient language, the orientation and gestures of the priest, the indifference to popularity—all those things meant the Mass wasn’t anything like an ordinary meeting. It wasn’t about the people present, and at bottom it wasn’t even their doing. To the contrary, those present evidently understood what was going on as awe-inspiring, mostly invisible, and dependent on someone other than themselves. There was no other way to make sense of how they were acting.

Worshipping God in the way He wishes to be worshipped! Hardly boring. So to me it seems that those falling for the megachurch scene are not truly being fed, but spend all of their time reading and discussing the menu and the entertainment, while the Extraordinary form is centered around the meal, the sacrifice, and not  the  mere coming together in a community of mutual concern, acceptance, and support.