Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feeneyites: Catholics in Good Standing with the Church?

I have completed a booklet entitled "Feeneyites: Catholics in Good Standing with the Church? A Response to Mr. Pete Vere, JCL

By clicking on the link to Lulu which is located on the sidebar of this Blog, one may purchase a copy of this booklet.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Which Messiah will we choose?

"I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him." (John 5: 43).

Our modern world is losing its struggle with the powers and principalities and, ignoring St. Paul's warning to "keep Satan from gaining an advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs" (2 Corinthians 2: 11), has fallen into a spiritual malaise which has allowed the demons to gain a tremendous advantage. Our Lady spoke of this with Fr. Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests saying that, "Even in the Church, the darkness will descend more densely yet and will succeed in enveloping everything. Errors will spread much more, and many will wander away from the true faith . Apostasy will spread like an epidemic, and pastors will be stricken by it along with the flocks entrusted to them....The contestation directed against the Pope will become stronger: theologians, bishops, priests and laity will openly oppose his Magisterium..." (January 1, 1992, Rubbio (Vicenza, Italy).

On March 11, 1995, Our Lady told Fr. Gobbi that, "In the Church, the great apostasy, which will spread throughout the whole world, will be brought to its completion; the schism will take place through a general alienation from the Gospel and from the true faith. There will enter into the Church the man of iniquity, who opposes himself to Christ, and who will bring into her interior the abomination of desolation, thus bringing to fulfillment the horrible sacrilege, of which the Prophet Daniel* has spoken."

It is not without reason that Our Holy Father Benedict XVI addresses the supreme temptation of the Man of Sin in his book "Jesus of Nazareth" which was published last year. His Holiness explains that, "..the choice is between a Messiah who leads an armed struggle, promises freedom and a kingdom of one's own, and this mysterious Jesus who proclaims that losing oneself is the way to life...If we had to choose today, would Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, the Son of the Father, have a chance? Do we understand him? Do we not perhaps have to make an effort, today as always, to get to know him all over again? The tempter is not so crude as to suggest to us directly that we should worship the Devil. He merely suggests that we opt for the reasonable decision, that we choose to give priority to a planned and thoroughly organized world, where God may have his place as a private concern but must not interfere in our essential purposes." (p. 41). His Holiness then reminds us that, "Earthly kingdoms remain earthly human kingdoms, and anyone who claims to be able to establish the perfect world is the willing dupe of Satan and plays the world right into his hands." (p. 44).

Dr. Von Hildebrand was right when he said that, "Modern man has lost that consciousness of being a creature which even the pagan possessed, and he lives in the illusion that by his own powers he can transform the world into a terrestrial paradise." (The New Tower of Babel, Sophia Institute Press, 1994, p. 21). Having decided against God, "modern man" has embraced the Flight. This flight from the Divine Other has led to the decline of man's confidence in the powers of human reason to attain reality and truth. Man in the Flight has concluded today that all truth is relative. In the same way that Pilate asked Our Lord, "What is truth?" and hastened in his flight to the judgment-hall without waiting for an answer (John 18:38), so "modern man," in his embrace of relativism, joins the flight without any thought of inquiring for the truth. Instead, he settles for illusion, rejecting the permanent authority of truth as founded by the Divine Other in reality, reason and revelation while setting himself up as the autonomous source of all truth:

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the 'mystery of iniquity' in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 675).

Why is Our Holy Father telling us now that we face a choice between two Messiahs, a secular "Messiah" who promises "freedom and a kingdom of one's own" and Our Savior Jesus Christ? Does he sense that the Man of Sin is about to reveal himself to the world?
* Matthew 24:15.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Evangelist Tony Alamo arrested on child porn charges

Authentic charity

In his classic work entitled "Liberalism Is a Sin," Fr. Felix Sarda Y Salvany [drawing from the Catechism of the Council of Trent] explains that, "Charity is a supernatural virtue which induces us to love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves for the love of God" (pp. 92-93). This teaching is reaffirmed in No. 1822 of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. Fr. Y Salvany continues, "The good of all good is the divine Good, just as God is for all men the Neighbor of all neighbors. In consequence, the love due to a man, inasmuch as he is our neighbor, ought always to be subordinated to that which is due to our common Lord. For His love and in His service we must not hesitate to offend men...Charity is primarily the love of God, secondarily the love of our neighbor for God’s sake. To sacrifice the first is to abandon the latter. Therefore, to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a true act of charity. Not to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a sin. Modern liberalism reverses this order; it imposes a false notion of charity: our neighbor first, and, if at all, God afterwards" (p. 94).

This truth has been forgotten even by many of those who profess to be Catholic. A few years ago I attended a vocation retreat at La Salette Attleboro as part of my discernment process (a period of some 15 months during which I was never even considered as an applicant or taken seriously - I suspect because of my orthodoxy). It was at this retreat that I overheard a couple of La Salette priests suggest that there is "wiggle room" on the question of ordaining women to the ministerial priesthood.

I wrote an email to the La Salette religious who had attended this retreat as well as to the other retreatants who were looking into the La Salette community (we had all been given an email list of retreat attendees). I expressed my concerns over being given the "run around" for some 15 months as well as my concerns over not being taken seriously because of my commitment to Magisterial teaching. I also addressed what La Salette priests had said about ordaining women to the priesthood. I received two very different responses from La Salette religious. The first response I received was from Fr. Dan Bradley, M.S., who said, "Paul, I am sorry you have not been dealt with by our community in a forthright manner. I cannot speak for the others you address this letter to, only to myself. I am not sure that your position on the teaching of the Church would be a sufficient reason for neglecting to dialogue with you about your vocation and our community. We do have a mix of people whose opinions vary, and who have different theological perspectives...Again, sorry that those charged with this responsibility did not do more to respond to you...hopefully your own experience will be a learning experience for us."

The second email was from Fr. Joe Bachand, the Provincial Superior of the La Salette Missionaries. Fr. Bachand dismissed my concerns over being given the proverbial run around ( I had said in my email that "..it has been fifteen months since I first approached the La Salette Missionaries and I am not one step closer to being admitted - or even considered - as an applicant) and wrote, "If I ever needed evidence of the evils of the internet, you have supplied it...If someone said something about women's ordination, it was not as part of the program."

Actually, it was "as part of the program." All of the candidate retreatants were sitting in the same room engaging in a conversation with the La Salette priests who suggested that there is "wiggle room" on the question of women's ordination. In fact, we had all been led to this room by La Salette priests conducting the retreat.

In his Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales ( a Doctor of the Church) says that: "If the declared enemies of God and of the Church ought to be blamed and censured with all possible vigor, charity obliges us to cry 'wolf' when the wolf slips into the midst of the flock and in every way and place we may meet him." This I did and the Provincial Superior of the La Salette Missionaries implied that I was engaging in "evil."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Pope John Paul II called "a sure norm for teaching the faith," has this to say:

"Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination." The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible." (No. 1577).

Because I defended this teaching, because I stood with the Church and expressed my concern over La Salette Missionaries suggesting that there is "wiggle room" on women's ordination, I was insulted and accused of engaging in evil. Fr. Bachand suggested that the talk about women's ordination was only "casual speculation." Is that all? That's not so serious right? Wrong. In his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, No. 4, Pope John Paul II stated clearly that:

"Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

In order to put an end to the erroneous idea that the ordination of women was "still open to debate," Pope John Paul II declared that the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women and that "this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faihful."

I was asked by one individual who I thought I was to question a priest (I'm not sure who I have to be to do so) and another reminded me of a private revelation allegedly given to Mutter Vogel from Our Lord: "One should never attack a priest, even when he's in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I'll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn't live after My example."

But fraternal correction does not constitute an "attack," read here. If anyone was unjustly attacked, it was me. I was accused (and this is an old story) of engaging in evil for defending the Magisterial teaching of the Church. What about my priesthood? Granted that I'm not an ordained priest. Granted that the ordained priest alone "fully represents" Christ. But let's not forget, as Vatican II taught us, that: "Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ." (Lumen Gentium, No. 10).

Lay people are not "second-class citizens" in the Church. We are not garbage to be tossed aside as "useless" or treated with contempt. The first La Salette priest who responded to my email recognized this. The second did not. Perhaps he should reflect upon Romans 2: 1-3?

Related reading: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2008/09/christian-yoga-doorway-to-demonic.html

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why Mr. Peter Vere, J.C.L. is wrong

It has often been asserted by followers of the late Father Leonard Feeney that they possess a "right" to defend his erroneous interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus and that this "right" has been affirmed by Church authorities. In fact, at the website of the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, a letter from Mr. Peter Vere, a canon lawyer and Catholic journalist, has been posted to convince others of this claim.

In this letter, which was written to "Brother" Andre Marie (the "Prior" of this community which has absolutely no canonical status in the Catholic Church), Mr. Vere writes:

"Dear Brother Andre Marie, I hope this letter finds you and the other brothers well. Allow me to apologize for taking my time in responding to your last letter. I wanted to be thorough in my response - especially since you have asked if my response might be made public, of which I have no objection. Please note that while I do not speak on behalf of the Church in an official capacity - given that I do not hold office with a tribunal or ecclesiastical entity that has been asked to investigate this question - what follows is my professional opinion as a canon lawyer.

To recap our last exchange, you wrote: “I'm wondering if you are able to put in writing something testifying to the lawfulness of holding Father Feeney's position as a Catholic in good standing with the Church. Back in January, you agreed to do this. Again, I'm not asking you to vouch for our canonical situation here in the Manchester Diocese; I'm simply asking for the expert opinion of a canon lawyer on the larger question.”

To begin, as you point out, the question concerning your canonical status with the Diocese of Manchester is separate from the question concerning Fr. Feeney’s status as one who died in full communion with Rome, as well as the status of his spiritual descendants who hold to his same position. Before we proceed to the larger question, I would just like to assure you of our family prayers that in God’s time the question of your canonical status resolve itself favourably. Should you require my assistance at that time, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Having said that, let us move to the larger question. It is clear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) promulgated by Pope John Paul II that the Church currently promotes a less exclusive understanding of the dogma “Outside the Church no salvation” (EENS) as well as the effects of desire for baptism (BOD) and pre-baptismal martyrdom for the faith (BOB). Lest I be accused of bias in my canonical opinion, I want to note up-front that I personally accept the teaching on these issues outlined in the CCC.

However, that is a debate for another time. The question currently before us is the following: What of those, like the spiritual descendants of Fr. Feeney, who hold to a more restrictive understanding on these issues? Are they Catholics in good standing with the Church? The answer is yes for a number of reasons:

1) There is no question Fr. Feeney died in full communion with the Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI lifted Father’s excommunication while Father was still alive, and there is no evidence that Father recanted his understanding of EENS, BOB, or BOD. The actual lifting of Father’s excommunication was executed by Fr. Richard Shmaruk, a priest of the Boston Archdiocese, on behalf of Bishop Bernard Flanagan of Worcester. While visiting Boston about ten years ago, I spoke with Fr. Shmaruk and he personally corroborated the events that led to him reconciling Fr. Feeney with the Church. On pages 259 to 262 of his book They Fought the Good Fight, Brother Thomas Mary Sennott diligently chronicles the reconciliation of Fr. Feeney, as well as the subsequent reconciliation of several of Father’s spiritual descendants. Brother Sennott quotes from two respectable Catholic news sources (The Advocate and the Catholic Free Press). I have independently confirmed the quotations and context of the primary sources. Brother Sennottt also notes that Father’s memorial mass was celebrated by Bishop Bernard Flanagan in the Cathedral of St. Paul, Worcester. This would have given rise to scandal had Father not been fully reconciled with the Church. Br. Sennott’s book received an imprimi potest from Bishop Timothy Harrington of the Diocese of Worcester, meaning the book is free from doctrinal or moral error. Thus unless one is willing to declare oneself BLEEP! or sedeprivationist, the evidence is overwhelming that Fr. Feeney died in full communion with the Church without recanting his position.

2) Most of Fr. Feeney’s spiritual descendants have been reconciled with the Church without having to renounce or recant their interpretation of BOB, BOD, or EENS. This was the case with those who reconciled in 1974 and would go on to found St. Benedict Abbey in Still River, as well as the sisters of St. Anne’s House in Still River who reconciled in 1988, and most recently with St. Benedict Centre in Still River who reconciled under Br. Thomas Augustine, MICM. Regarding the last group, I should note they had achieved a sacramental reconciliation long before their juridical reconciliation. This was the subject of the first paper I ever wrote as a young licentiate student in canon law. While researching this paper in 1997, I visited the various communities descended from Fr. Feeney and the Harvard student movement, noting with interest how despite no formal reconciliation at the time, Br. Thomas’s community had an in-residence chaplain appointed by the Bishop of Worcester. I also noted with interest that the Bishop visited the community regularly, and that he also confirmed the community’s children. In reading canon 844, sacraments should only be shared with non-Catholics under the most strict and extenuating of circumstances. It is clear, that in keeping with canon 213, the Diocese of Worcester was ensuring for the pastoral and sacramental care of Brother Thomas’s community as if they were Catholics. It was similarly clear from talking to Br. Thomas Augustine, as it was from talking to Mother Theresa next door at St. Anne’s House, that each of these communities still held the same interpretation of BOB, BOD and EENS as Fr. Feeney. With regards to the 1988 reconciliation of Mother Theresa, MICM and the sisters of St. Anne’s House in Still River, Fr. Lawrence A. Deery, JCL, at the time the Diocese of Worcester’s Judicial Vicar and Vicar for Canonical Affairs and acting in his official capacity, wrote the following: “1) The Sisters were asked to ‘understand’ the letter of the then Holy Office dated 8 August 1949. They were not asked to ‘accept’ its contents. 2) The Sisters were asked to make to make a Profession of Faith. Nothing else was required [...] In our discussions with the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] it seemed rather clear that proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views. Summarily, Mother Theresa and her community in no manner abandoned Father Feeney’s teachings.” Need I remind you that the man who was Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the time of this consultation is now Pope Benedict XVI, the Church’s Supreme Pontiff? 3) In 1988, Mr. John Loughnan, a layman from Australia who happens to be a friend of mine, wrote the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED) requesting clarification on several controversies surrounding the SSPX. Mr. Loughnan also inquired as to the status within the Church of Fr. Feeney’s followers. Concerning this last question, Msgr. Camille Perl, secretary of the PCED, replied to Mr. Loughnan as follows in N. 343/98 dated 27 October 1998: “The question of the doctrine held by the late Father Leonard Feeney is a complex one. He died in full communion with the Church and many of his former disciples are also now in full communion while some are not. We do not judge it opportune to enter into this question.” While not wishing to engage in this controversy, Msgr. Perl clearly confirms that Fr. Feeney died in full communion with the Church, and that several of his spiritual descendants who hold his same doctrinal interpretations are in full communion with the Church. Such a statement is clearly within the mission of the PCED as this commission was established by Pope John Paul II to oversee the reconciliation and well-being of traditionalists within the Church.

On that note, the evidence is clear: while the position held by Fr. Feeney and his spiritual descendants may be controversial, holding these positions does not, in itself, place one outside of the Catholic Church. In short, it is clear from the Church’s current pastoral and canonical practice that the Church considers this an internal controversy, and that she acknowledges the good standing of most of those who uphold a restrictive interpretation of EENS, BOB and BOD."

Pax Christi,
Pete Vere, JCL

While it is good that Mr. Vere acknowledges (and accepts) the Church's authentic teaching regarding the dogma Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, a teaching which he admits is "clear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church," he is simply wrong in his assertion that one may reject the Church's interpretation of the dogma in favor of Father Feeney's rigid [and rejected] interpretation and that "proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views."

First of all, what are we to make of his argument that Father Feeney (and some of his followers) "reconciled" with the Church? In his excellent refutation of Fr. Feeney's rigid interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, Fr. William Most, an internationally acclaimed Scripture scholar and theologian writes: "In the late 1940s Leonard Feeney, S. J. began to teach that there is no salvation outside the Church. He was correct in saying that there were official teachings, even definitions, on that score. But his tragic error came when he adopted Protestant method, thinking that in that way he would be one of the only true Catholics! We spoke of his protestant method with good reason. First, he was excommunicated for disobedience, refusing to go to Rome to explain his position. Then the Holy Office, under Pius XII, sent a letter to the Archbishop of Boston, condemning Feeney's error. (It is known that Pius XII personally checked the English text of that letter). In the very first paragraph pointed out what is obvious: we must avoid private interpretation of Scripture -- for that is strictly Protestant. But then the letter said we must also avoid private interpretation of the official texts of the Church. To insist on our own private interpretation, especially when the Church contradicts that, is pure Protestant attitude...

What the disobedient Feeney said amounted to this: he insisted that all who did not formally enter the Church would go to hell. Hence he had to say, and he did say, that unbaptized babies go to hell. Further, all adults who did not formally enter the Church - get their names on a parish register - would also go to hell, even if they never had a chance to hear there was a Church, e.g., those in the western hemisphere during the long centuries before Columbus. Therefore Feeney consigned literally millions upon millions to hell, even though He gave them no chance. Not just the documents of the Church as interpreted by the Church should have kept him from this: merely common sense, and the realization that God is not only not a monster, but is infinitely good - that alone should have stopped him. We have, then, most ample reason for calling his error tragic. Even the sexually immoral do not deny that God is good. Feeney does worse than they."

Why then was Fr. Feeney not required to recant his erroneous interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus? Fr. Most explains:"When Feeney was old, some church authorities out of sorrow for him, let him be reconciled to the Church. As part of the unfortunate looseness we see so often today, they did not demand that he recant. So he did not. As a result, some former followers of his came back to the Church. Others even today insist that the lack of demanding a recantation meant Feeney had been right all along. Of course not. We have proved that abundantly with official texts above and the texts of the Fathers of the Church." (http://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/FEENEY.txt).

And what do we make of Mr. Vere's claim that "proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views"? First of all, those who hold to the Church's understanding of the dogma are not holding to a "liberal" view. They are holding to Christ's view as made known through the Magisterium of the Church. Therefore, we should immediately dispense with any childish attempt to portray this as some sort of battle between "conservatives" and "liberals." Rather, it is a question of whether we hold to the Church's teaching or choose instead to adopt that protestant attitude which Fr. Most referred to.

In his Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, No. 113, Pope John Paul II teaches us that, "Opposition to the teaching of the Church's Pastors cannot be seen as a legitimate expression either of Christian freedom or of the diversity of the Spirit's gifts. When this happens, the Church's Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission, insisting that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected."

By arguing that Catholics who hold to Father Feeney's erroneous interpretation of EENS "should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who accept the Church's authentic interpretation," Mr. Vere is in effect suggesting the very opposite of what Pope John Paul II taught. He is saying that opposition to the teaching of the Church's Pastors can be seen as a legitimate expression of Christian freedom and the diversity of the Spirit's gifts.

Should Catholics be free to choose which interpretation of EENS to hold? Not according to the Church herself. In a Letter of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing given on August 8, 1949 we read: "Your Excellency: This Supreme Sacred Congregation has followed very attentively the rise and the course of the grave controversy stirred up by certain associates of 'St. Benedict Center' and 'Boston College' in regard to the interpretation of that axiom: 'Outside the Church there is no salvation.' After having examined all the documents that are necessary or useful in this matter, among them information from your Chancery, as well as appeals and reports in which the associates of 'St. Benedict Center' explain their opinions and complaints, and also many other documents pertinent to the controversy, officially collected, the same Sacred Congregation is convinced that the unfortunate controversy arose from the fact that the axiom, 'outside the Church there is no salvation,' was not correctly understood and weighed, and that the same controversy was rendered more bitter by serious disturbance of discipline arising from the fact that some of the associates of the institutions mentioned above refused reverence and obedience to legitimate authorities.

Accordingly, the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Cardinals of this Supreme Congregation, in a plenary session held on Wednesday, July 27, 1949, decreed, and the august Pontiff in an audience on the following Thursday, July 28, 1949, deigned to give his approval, that the following explanations pertinent to the doctrine, and also that invitations and exhortations relevant to discipline be given: We are bound by divine and Catholic faith to believe all those things which are contained in the word of God, whether it be Scripture or Tradition, and are proposed by the Church to be believed as divinely revealed, not only through solemn judgment but also through the ordinary and universal teaching office (Denzinger, n. 1792).

Now, among those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach is contained also that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church. However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church..."

Notice the wording here? The Church was being crystal clear, "..this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it." But, unable to accept this judgment of the Holy Office, followers of the late Father Leonard Feeney will go to great lengths to convince themselves that opposition to the teaching of the Church's Pastors is somehow "legitimate." This even though the Holy Office stated clearly that "it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church."

When one wants to justify one's own dissent from Church teaching, the Church's voice grows more and more faint. Dissent has a way of clogging the ears. The wording of the Holy Office in the above-quoted letter leaves absolutely no "wiggle room" whatsoever. Catholics are not free to understand the dogma in another sense but must understand it in "that sense in which the Church herself understands it."

No one, not even a "canon lawyer and Catholic journalist," may argue otherwise.

Related reading: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-philip-lawler-accept-churchs.html

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chinese government paper urges New World Order for economy

Paul Henri-Spaak, who served as Belgian Prime Minister and gained international prominence in 1945 when he was elected chairman of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, once said:

"We do not want another committee, we have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man* and be he God or the Devil**, we will receive him."

* St. John of the Cleft Rock (14th century) : "It is said that twenty centuries after the Incarnation of the Word, the Beast in its turn shall become man. About the year 2000 A.D., Antichrist will reveal himself to the world."

** "Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb's but spoke like a dragon. It wielded all the authority of the first beast in its sight and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. It performed great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of everyone. It deceived the inhabitants of the earth with the signs it was allowed to perform in the sight of the first beast, telling them to make an image for the beast who had been wounded by the sword and revived. It was then permitted to breathe life into the beast's image, so that the beast's image could speak and (could) have anyone who did not worship it put to death. It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast's name or the number that stood for its name." (Revelation 13: 11-17).

Related reading: http://www.spiritdaily.com/newworldorder.htm

America approaching third world status

On the verge of total economic collapse: A prophecy
being fulfilled.

Our Lady to Fr. Stephano Gobbi,
November 15, 1990,
Malvern PA

"I announce to you that the hour of the great trial is on the point of arriving. The great trial has arrived for your country. How many times, as a concerned and sorrowing mother, have I endeavored to urge my children to follow the path of conversion and of return to the Lord. I have not been listened to. You have continued to walk along the way of rejection of God, and of His law of love. Sins of impurity have become ever more widespread, and immorality has spread like a sea which has submerged all things.

Homosexuality, a sin of impurity which is against nature, has been justified; recourse to the means of preventing life have become commonplace, while abortions - these killings of innocent children, that cry for vengeance before the face of God - have spread and are performed in every part of your homeland.The moment of divine justice and of great mercy has now arrived.

You will know the hour of weakness and of poverty; the hour of suffering and defeat; the purifying hour of the great chastisement. The great trial has arrived for your Church. How great is your responsibility, O Pastors of the Holy Church of God! You continue along the path of division from the Pope and of the rejection of his Magisterium; indeed, in a hidden way, there is in preparation a true schism which could soon become open and proclaimed...And then, there will remain only a small faithful remnant, over which I will keep watch in the garden of my Immaculate Heart.The great trial has arrived for all humanity. The chastisement, predicted by me at Fatima and contained in that part of the secret which has not yet been revealed, is about to take place. The great moment of divine justice and of mercy has come upon the world."

Related reading:

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Christian Yoga": Doorway to the Demonic

"..yoga would make us all christs - without need of a savior.." - From The Cross and the Veil website.

According to Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist for the leader of Catholics in the UK, yoga puts people at risk from devils and the occult. Fr. Gabrielle Amorth, in his book entitled "An Exorcist Tells His Story," also warns against Yoga and adds: "Yoga, Zen, and TM (Transcendental Meditation) are unacceptable to Christians. Often these apparently innocent practices can bring about hallucinations and schizophrenic conditions."

Many Catholic retreat centers, including the La Salette Center for Christian Living in Attleboro, have offered "Christian Yoga" (See here).

What does the Catholic Church have to say about the New Age movement? Find out here.

And still we don't listen...

Our Lady to Fr. Stephano Gobbi,

November 15, 1990,

Malvern PA

"I announce to you that the hour of the great trial is on the point of arriving. The great trial has arrived for your country. How many times, as a concerned and sorrowing mother, have I endeavored to urge my children to follow the path of conversion and of return to the Lord. I have not been listened to. You have continued to walk along the way of rejection of God, and of His law of love. Sins of impurity have become ever more widespread, and immorality has spread like a sea which has submerged all things. Homosexuality, a sin of impurity which is against nature, has been justified; recourse to the means of preventing life have become commonplace, while abortions - these killings of innocent children, that cry for vengeance before the face of God - have spread and are performed in every part of your homeland.

The moment of divine justice and of great mercy has now arrived. You will know the hour of weakness and of poverty; the hour of suffering and defeat; the purifying hour of the great chastisement. The great trial has arrived for your Church. How great is your responsibility, O Pastors of the Holy Church of God! You continue along the path of division from the Pope and of the rejection of his Magisterium; indeed, in a hidden way, there is in preparation a true schism which could soon become open and proclaimed.

And then, there will remain only a small faithful remnant, over which I will keep watch in the garden of my Immaculate Heart.The great trial has arrived for all humanity. The chastisement, predicted by me at Fatima and contained in that part of the secret which has not yet been revealed, is about to take place. The great moment of divine justice and of mercy has come upon the world."
Related reading: Here.

More on the heroism of Pope Pius XII

Hateful, anti-Catholic propaganda which suggests that Pope Pius XII was "silent" during the Holocaust or "didn't do enough" to help the Jewish People continues to be dispelled.

Related reading: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2008/01/it-is-unfair-to-blame-catholic-church.html

And: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2007/12/call-for-apology.html

Monday, September 15, 2008

Further scientific proof that homosexuality is a choice

"Homosexuality is not hardwired...whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations."

"..there is an inescapable component of heritability to many human behavioral traits. For virtually none of them is heredity ever close to predictive."

-Dr. Francis S. Collins, one of the world's leading scientists who works at the cutting edge of DNA.

"A predisposition is not a predetermination. It allows more than ample room for choice (free will)." - Marie Tremblay

Related reading: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2008/03/is-moral-opposition-to-homosexuality.html

Related reading: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2008/06/more-intolerance-from-homosexual-hate.html

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vatican II and our vocation within the political community

Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council reminds us that, "All Christians must be aware of their own specific vocation within the political community. It is for them to give an example by their sense of responsibility and their service of the common good. In this way they are to demonstrate concretely how authority can be compatible with freedom, personal initiative with the solidarity of the whole social organism, and the advantages of unity with fruitful diversity." (No. 75).

In an interview with The National Catholic Register back in 2004, I defended Bishop John B. McCormack who came under attack from a Manchester, New Hampshire newspaper (The Hippo) for circulating some 40,000 voter guides based upon a document entitled "Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility" provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I said that "The Gospel has political implications for those who follow Christ and who have a role to play in the political process...Bishop McCormack's voting resource represents an attempt by him to to care for the spiritual needs of his community."

The Hippo (and this a favorite tactic of the mainstream media), was attempting to intimidate faithful Catholics in an effort to silence opposition to a liberal, pro-abortion agenda. But Catholics (and other Christians) who are called upon by the Council Fathers to be aware of "their own specific vocation within the political community," cannot in good conscience ignore that vocation or betray it by supporting candidates or political agendas which are not consistent with Catholic moral teaching and principles.

There are even those within the local Church who would like to silence faithful Catholics who are committed to their vocation within the political community. For example, I can remember leaving a voter's guide on a bulletin board at St. Joseph's Parish in Gardner. The purpose of this guide was not to endorse a particular political party or candidate but merely to show how the various candidates (both Democratic and Republican) had voted with respect to the issue of abortion.

This voter's guide was torn down and I was instructed by the pastor not to leave anything else in the parish as he didn't want it to become "a literature factory." While this pastor had a problem with my voter's guide, he apparently had absolutely no problem with one of his Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist being an ardent supporter of abortion-on-demand. This woman was very public in her support of Congressman John Olver and flat out told me (in a letter) that my opposition to abortion was "wrong, wrong, wrong."

If you're a Catholic (or Christian of any denomination) and you are reading this, do not be intimidated into silence. When you cast your vote in the coming elections, remember your vocation as a Christian. And remember that we will all have to give answer to Christ for what we stood for.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Our beloved Holy Father Benedict XVI thunders against the idolatry of money and power

"Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even for knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?" - Pope Benedict XVI.

Related reading: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2008/09/solidarity-with-poor.html

The change we need?

"Senator Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate the same year I was born, and the actuaries tell me I'm approaching middle age...Barack Obama's decision to put a career Washington insider like Biden on his ticket suggests Obama isn't serious about bringing change to Washington."

- New Hampshire GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen.

Granted that the McCain/Palin ticket is far from perfect from the Catholic perspective. But that ticket is (for the most part) pro-life. Both McCain and Palin oppose Roe v. Wade. Both have committed themselves to reform of government. And McCain's choice of Palin suggests that he is serious about bringing change to Washington.

The Obama/Biden ticket promises "the change we need." Senator Biden was in Nashua, New Hampshire the other day singing the praises of Senator Obama while continuing his attacks on Senator McCain. In order to form a more accurate picture of Senator Biden, let's review Jim Geraghty's compilation of Joe Biden quotes which he presented to National Review Online on August 20, 2008 in an article entitled "'Just Words' that Joe Biden Would Like To Forget":

On McCain: Biden, on a post-debate appearance on MSNBC, October 30, 2007: “The only guy on the other side who’s qualified is John McCain.”

Biden appearing on The Daily Show, August 2, 2005: “John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off, be well off no matter who...”

On Meet the Press, November 27, 2005: “I’ve been calling for more troops for over two years, along with John McCain and others subsequent to my saying that.”

On Obama: Reacting to an Obama speech on counterterrorism, August 1, 2007: “‘Look, the truth is the four major things he called for, well, hell that’s what I called for,’ Biden said today on MSNBC’s Hardball, echoing comments he made earlier in the day at an event promoting his book at the National Press Club. Biden added, ‘I’m glad he’s talking about these things.’” Also that day, the Biden campaign issued a release that began, “The Biden for President Campaign today congratulated Sen. Barack Obama for arriving at a number of Sen. Biden’s long-held views on combating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” That release mocked Obama for asking about the “stunning level of mercury in fish” and asked about a proposal for the U.S. adopt a ban on mercury sales abroad at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Assessing Obama’s Iraq plan on September 13, 2007: “My impression is [Obama] thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany” of peaceful coexistence among warring sects. “I’ve seen zero evidence of that.”

Speaking to the New York Observer: Biden was equally skeptical — albeit in a slightly more backhanded way — about Mr. Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” Also from that Observer interview: “But — and the ‘but’ was clearly inevitable — he doubts whether American voters are going to elect ‘a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate,’ and added: ‘I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.’”

Around that time, Biden in an interview with the Huffington Post, he assessed Obama and Hillary Clinton: “The more people learn about them (Obama and Hillary) and how they handle the pressure, the more their support will evaporate.”

December 11, 2007: “If Iowans believe campaign funds and celebrity will fix the debacle in Iraq, put the economy on track, and provide health care and education for America’s children, they should support another candidate,” said Biden for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro. “But I’m confident that Iowans know what I know: our problems will require experience and leadership from Day One. Empty slogans will be no match for proven action on caucus night.” Also that night, Biden said in a campaign ad, “When this campaign is over, political slogans like ‘experience’ and ‘change’ will mean absolutely nothing. The next president has to act.”

September 26, 2007: Biden for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro said, “Sen. Obama said he would do everything possible to end the war in Iraq and emphasized the need for a political solution yet he failed to show up to vote for Sen. Biden’s critical amendment to provide a political solution in Iraq.

December 26, 2006: “Frankly, I think I’m more qualified than other candidates, and the issues facing the American public are all in my wheelbarrow.”

On Iraq: Biden on Meet the Press in 2002, discussing Saddam Hussein: “He’s a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security… “We have no choice but to eliminate the threat. This is a guy who is an extreme danger to the world.”

Biden on Meet the Press in 2002: “Saddam must be dislodged from his weapons or dislodged from power.”

Biden on Meet the Press in 2007, on Hussein’s WMDs: “Well, the point is, it turned out they didn’t, but everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them. He catalogued — they catalogued them. This was not some, some Cheney, you know, pipe dream. This was, in fact, catalogued.”

Biden, on Obama’s Iraq plan in August 2007: “I don’t want [my son] going [to Iraq],” Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said from the campaign trail Wednesday, according to a report on Radio Iowa. “But I tell you what, I don’t want my grandson or my granddaughters going back in 15 years and so how we leave makes a big difference.”

Biden criticized Democratic rivals such as Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama who have voted against Iraq funding bills to try to pressure President Bush to end the war. “There’s no political point worth my son’s life,” Biden said, according to Radio Iowa. “There’s no political point worth anybody’s life out there. None.”

Biden on Meet the Press, April 29, 2007: “The threat [Saddam Hussein] presented was that, if Saddam was left unfettered, which I said during that period, for the next five years with sanctions lifted and billions of dollars into his coffers, then I believed he had the ability to acquire a tactical nuclear weapon — not by building it, by purchasing it. I also believed he was a threat in that he was — every single solitary U.N. resolution which he agreed to abide by, which was the equivalent of a peace agreement at the United Nations, after he got out of — after we kicked him out of Kuwait, he was violating. Now, the rules of the road either mean something or they don’t. The international community says “We’re going to enforce the sanctions we placed” or not. And what was the international community doing? The international community was weakening. They were pulling away.”

Biden to the Brookings Institution in 2005: “We can call it quits and withdraw from Iraq. I think that would be a gigantic mistake. Or we can set a deadline for pulling out, which I fear will only encourage our enemies to wait us out — equally a mistake.”

Analyzing the surge on Meet the Press, September 9, 2007: “I mean, the truth of the matter is that, that the — America’s — this administration’s policy and the surge are a failure, and that the surge, which was supposed to stop sectarian violence and — long enough to give political reconciliation, there’s been no political reconciliation... The reality is that, although there has been some mild progress on the security front, there is, in fact, no, no real security in Baghdad and/or in Anbar province, where I was, dealing with the most serious problem, sectarian violence. Sectarian violence is as strong and as solid and as serious a problem as it was before the surge started.”

Biden in October of 2002: “We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after.”

On Meet the Press, January 7, 2007, assessing the proposal of a surge of troops to Iraq: “If he surges another 20, 30, or whatever number he’s going to, into Baghdad, it’ll be a tragic mistake, in my view, but, as a practical matter, there’s no way to say, ‘Mr. President, stop.’”

On Meet the Press, November 27, 2005: “Unless we fundamentally change the rotation dates and fundamentally change how many members of the National Guard we’re calling up, it’ll be virtually impossible to maintain 150,000 folks this year.” (The number of troops in Iraq peaked at 162,000 in August 2007, during the surge.)

The change we need? Or just more Washington double-speak? Senator Biden says one thing when he feels it is appropriate and then directly contradicts himself when he considers it expedient to do so.

The change we need? Or simply empty slogans and politics as usual?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The truth about the homosexual lifestyle

On June 3, 1989, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady told Fr. Stefano Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests:

"Beloved sons, today you are gathered in cenacles of prayer to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of your heavenly Mother. From every part of the world I have called you to consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart, and you have responded with filial love and generosity. I have now formed for myself my army, with those children who have accepted my request and have listened to my voice.

The time has come when my Immaculate Heart must be glorified by the Church and by all humanity because, in these times of the apostasy, of the purification and of the great tribulation, my Immaculate Heart is the only refuge and the way which leads you to the God of salvation and of peace. Above all, my Immaculate Heart becomes today the sign of my sure victory, in the great struggle which is being fought out between the followers of the huge Red Dragon and the followers of the Woman Clothed with the Sun.

In this terrible struggle, there comes up from the sea, to the aid of the Dragon, a beast like a leopard. If the Red Dragon is Marxist atheism, the black beast is Freemasonry. The Dragon manifests himself in the force of his power; the black beast on the other hand acts in the shadow, keeps out of sight and hides himself in such a way as to enter in everywhere. He has the claws of a bear and the mouth of a lion, because he works everywhere with cunning and with the means of social communication, that is to say, through propaganda. The seven heads indicate the various Masonic lodges, which act everywhere in a subtle and dangerous way.
This black beast has ten horns and, on the horns, ten crowns, which are signs of dominion and royalty. Masonry rules and governs throughout the whole world by means of the ten horns. The horn, in the biblical world, has always been an instrument of amplification, a way of making one's voice better heard, a strong means of communication

For this reason, God communicated his will to his people by means of ten horns which made his law known: the ten commandments. The one who accepts them and observes them walks in life along the road of the divine will, of joy and of peace. The one who does the will of the Father accepts the word of his Son and shares in the redemption accomplished by Him. Jesus gives to souls the very divine life, through grace, that He won for us through his sacrifice carried out on Calvary.

The grace of the redemption is communicated by means of the seven sacraments. With grace there becomes implanted in the soul the seeds of supernatural life which are the virtues. Among these, the most important are the three theological and the four cardinal virtues: faith, hope, charity, prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance. In the divine sun of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, these virtues germinate, grow, becomes more and more developed and thus lead the soul along the luminous way of love and of sanctity.

The aim of Masonry: blaspheming God

The task of the black beast, namely of Masonry, is that of fighting, in a subtle way, but tenaciously, to obstruct souls from traveling along this way, pointed out by the Father and the Son and lighted up by the gifts of the Spirit. In fact if the Red Dragon works to bring all humanity to do without God, to the denial of God, and therefore spreads the error of atheism, the aim of Masonry is not to deny God, but to blaspheme Him. The beast opens his mouth to utter blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his dwelling place, and against all those who dwell in heaven. The greatest blasphemy is that of denying the worship due to God alone by giving it to creatures and to Satan himself. This is why in these times, behind the perverse action of Freemasonry, there are being spread everywhere black masses and the satanic cult. Moreover Masonic acts, by every means, to prevent souls from being saved and thus it endeavors to bring to nothing the redemption accomplished by Christ.

If the Lord has communicated his law with the ten commandments, Freemasonry spreads everywhere, through the power of its ten horns, a law which is completely opposed to that of God.

To the commandment of the Lord: “You shall not have any other God but me,” it builds other false idols, before which many today prostrate themselves in adoration.

To the commandment : “You shall not take the name of God in vain,” it sets itself up in opposition by blaspheming God and his Christ, in many subtle and diabolical ways, even to reducing his Name indecorously to the level of a brand-name of an object of sale and of producing sacrilegious films concerning his life and his divine Person.

To the commandment: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day,” it transforms the Sunday into a weekend, into a day of sports, of competitions and of entertainments.

To the commandment: “Honor your father and your mother,” it opposes a new model of family based on cohabitation, even between homosexuals.

To the commandment: “You shall not commit impure acts,” it justifies, exalts and propagates every form of impurity, even to the justification of acts against nature.

To the commandment: “You shall not kill,” it has succeeded in making abortion legal everywhere, in making euthanasia acceptable, and in causing respect due to the value of human life to all but disappear.

To the commandment: “You shall not steal,” it works to the end that theft, violence, kidnapping and robbery spread more and more.

To the commandment: “You shall not bear false witness,” it acts in such a way that the law of deceit, lying and duplicity becomes more and more propagated.

To the commandment: “You shall not covet the goods and the wife of another,” it works to corrupt in the depths of the conscience, betraying the mind and the heart of man.

In this way souls become driven along the perverse and wicked road of disobedience to the laws of the Lord, become submerged in sin and are thus prevented from receiving the gift of grace and of the life of God.

To the seven theological and cardinal virtues, which are the fruit of living in the grace of God, Freemasonry counters with the diffusion of the seven capital vices, which are the fruit of living habitually in the state of sin. To faith it opposes pride; to hope, lust; to charity, avarice; to prudence, anger; to fortitude, sloth; to justice, envy; to temperance, gluttony.

Whoever becomes a victim of the seven capital vices is gradually led to take away the worship that is due to God alone, in order to give it to false divinities, who are the very personification of all these vices. And in this consists the greatest and most horrible blasphemy. This is why on every head of the beats there is written a blasphemous name. Each Masonic lodge has the task of making a different divinity adored.

The first head bears the blasphemous name of pride, which opposes itself to the virtue of faith, and leads one to offer worship to the god of human reason and haughtiness, of technology and progress.

The second head bears the blasphemous name of lust, which opposes itself to the virtue of hope, and brings one to offer worship to the god of sexuality and of impurity.

The third head bears the blasphemous name of avarice, which opposes itself to the virtue of charity, and spreads everywhere the worship of the god of money.

The fourth head bears the blasphemous name of anger, which opposes itself to the virtue of prudence, and leads one to offer worship to the god of discord and division.

The fifth head bears the blasphemous name of sloth, which opposes itself to the virtue of fortitude, and disseminates the worship of the idol of fear of public opinion and of exploitation.

The sixth head bears the blasphemous name of envy, which opposes itself to the virtue of justice, and leads one to offer worship to the idol of violence and of war.

The seventh head beats the blasphemous name of gluttony, which opposes itself to the virtue of temperance, and leads one to offer worship to the so highly extolled idol of hedonism, of materialism and of pleasure.

The task of the Masonic lodges is that of working today, with great astuteness, to bring humanity everywhere to disdain the holy law of God, to work in open opposition to the ten commandments, and to take away the worship due to God alone in order to offer it to certain false idols which become extolled and adored by an ever increasing number of people: reason, flesh, money, discord, domination, violence, pleasure. Thus souls are precipitated into the dark slavery of evil, of vice and of sin and, at the moment of death and of the judgment of God, into the pool of eternal fire which is hell.

Now you understand how, in these times, against the terrible and insidious attack of the black beast, namely of Masonry, my Immaculate Heart becomes your refuge and the sure road which brings you to God. In my Immaculate Heart there is delineated the tactic made use of by your heavenly Mother, to fight back against and to defeat the subtle plot made use of by the black beast.

For this reason I am training all my children to observe the ten commandments of God; to live the Gospel to the letter; to make frequent use of the sacraments, especially those of penance and eucharistic communion, as necessary helps in order to remain in the grace of God; to practice the virtues vigorously; to walk away along the path of goodness, of love, of purity and of holiness.

Thus I am making use of you, my little children who have consecrated yourselves to me, to unmask all these subtle snares which the black beast sets for you and to make futile in the end the great attack which Masonry has launched today against Christ and his Church. And in the end, especially in his greatest defeat, there will appear in all its splendor, the triumph of my Immaculate Heart in the world."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Solidarity with the poor

"Christianity hasn't failed; it's never been tried." - Gilbert Keith Chesterton

A meditation on the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador:

"The poor have shown the church the true way to go. A church that does not join the poor, in order to speak out from the side of the poor against the injustices committed against them, is not the true church of Jesus Christ."

"The church's social teaching tells everyone that the Christian religion does not have a merely horizontal meaning, or a merely spiritualized meaning that overlooks the wretchedness that surrounds it. It is a looking at god, and from God at one's neighbor as a brother or sister, and an awareness that "whatever you did to one of these, you did to me."

"We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed tonight with nothing to eat..."

"We wish to shake our baptized people out of habits that threaten to make them practically baptized pagans, idolaters of their money and power. What sort of baptized persons are these? Those who want to bear the mark of the Spirit and the fire that Christ baptizes with must take the risk of renouncing everything and seeking only God's reign and his justice."

In the sixteenth chapter of Luke, verses 19-31, Jesus provides His listeners with a parable:

"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Do we imagine, as a people who profess to be Christian, that this parable was intended only for others? Do we live as baptized pagans hording everything we can while telling others how sinful they are? Are we idolaters of money and power? If so, can we honestly expect to escape the fate of the rich man in Jesus' parable?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Children: A blessing or a punishment?

How we answer that question indicates much about ourselves. Having had the privilege of working with developmentally-disabled children and adults for years, I believe with all my heart that every human being is created by God and is a unique treasure placed here for a purpose.

Senator Obama apparently sees things differently. In his own words, "..look, I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old..I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." See here. Children as a punishment which should be avoided by murdering them? One has to wonder whose "values" the Senator intends to pass down to his children. Attila the Hun's?

Speaking on her husband, Michelle Obama is quoted as having said that, "He'll protect a woman's freedom of choice, because government should have no say in whether or when a woman embraces the sacred responsibility of parenthood." Read here. Has Mrs. Obama never heard of adoption? When has anyone suggested that government should force women to accept the sacred responsibility of parenthood? But does one have to kill an innocent human being to avoid the sacred responsibility of parenthood? Protecting innocent human life is also a sacred responsibility. Do we have to violate one sacred responsibility to avoid the other? Is this what the Democrats mean when they say that Senators Obama and Biden represent "change we can believe in"?

By way of contrast, Governor Sarah Palin (if she weren't already married I'd be at her doorstep with a fistful of roses), who has confirmed that her baby Trig Paxson has Down syndrome, is quoted as having said that, "Trig is beautiful and already adored by us..We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives...We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed." Read the full article here.

Are children a blessing or a punishment? It all depends upon your world view doesn't it? For some, children are viewed (when they are deemed "inconvenient") as a "punishment." For others, "every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place." For some, a baby with Down syndrome is a blessing.

Since Michelle Obama has invoked the word responsibility with regard to the question of abortion, let's examine what Pope John Paul II had to say in his book Love and Responsibility some years ago:

"A person is the kind of good which does not admit of use and cannot be treated as an object of use and as such the means to an end...A person is a good toward which the only proper and adequate attitude is love." (Love and Responsibility, translated by H.T. Willetts, New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1981).

A person is a good toward which the only proper and adequate attitude is love. This is why those of us who are authentically pro-life will not vote for Senator Obama. We view children not as a "punishment" but with the "only proper and adequate attitude" which is love.
Related reading: Hurt.
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