Public Moral Issue

Who Will Teach Them?

The Time Has Come to Start an Aggressive Catholic Education Campaign

There are many examples today of Catholics who openly depart from the Church with regard to Her Teaching and the principles upon which this Teaching is built. The one that has garnered the most attention of late has been the issue of gay marriage. There have been a number of recent polls in which a significant percentage of Catholics admit they support gay marriage. As is the case with other surveys, there are differences between Catholics who attend church weekly and those who do not.

For the most part, the results given can be highly deceiving because it does not measure depth of knowledge, just personal opinion. When surveying an opinion, we must recognize that it is often tainted by the verbal engineering of the secular world. Of course, there have been similar polls conducted on abortion, euthanasia, contraception, and the like, all of which report similar results, particularly that there are those sitting in the pews each week who dissent from Church Teaching. What these polls do not show is the level of Catholic knowledge among the respondents on either side of the debate.

From such surveys, can one assume that those who attend Mass weekly have a better basis for making an informed decision? I would answer cautiously with a qualified yes. The caveat is that 36% of weekly Mass attendees disagree with the Church's Teaching on gay marriage and 30% say abortion should be remain legal. These percentages are not insignificant and seem to indicate that many regular churchgoers do not know the depth of the Teaching. This high percentage could be due to poor preaching in some parishes and certainly a result of the catechetical failure of recent decades. Fortunately, many who attend Mass weekly are favorable to the Church's position, which indicates that there is some level of understanding but what that level is remains unknown.

It would be interesting to question those surveyed with regard to the Church's Teaching to determine if they know the basis for the Teaching. Because we live in an era of catechetical illiteracy, it may well be they do not have sufficient knowledge. In all cases, I would venture to believe that few in either camp can clearly explain the basis. In short, how many realize that the gay marriage Teaching is not about homosexuality but about the nature of Marriage? How many realize the ontological structure of Marriage that requires masculinity and femininity, male and female, for this reality to come into existence? How many appreciate the good of procreation that is intrinsic to Marriage? Or with regard to abortion, how many realize that we are talking about the existence of a human being that will be murdered? How many understand that there are no situations that justify killing an innocent human being? How many realize that supporting abortion laws is a form of cooperation in the evil committed agains innocent human life?

In times past, everyone was taught how to formulate a proper argument by establishing an informed basis for the argument. It typically involved every person researching the positions generated by both sides and even being able to argue both sides. Today, in the whim-of-the-moment culture, many people make decisions on important issues on the basis of personal feelings, which is often tainted to favor a position without understanding the foundation of the position. Indeed, there are many emotional arguments made in favor of a particular issue but it is necessary for clearer heads to prevail in the long run. Generally speaking, the clarity is rarely expressed and the arguments dwindle into ad hominem attacks.

In of the hot button issues we face today, we see the effect of the dictatorship of relativism. When soon to be Pope Benedict XVI coined this phrase, most of the world had already been living under this dictatorship for quite some time. It is in this light that the world can no longer identify the depth of so many issues and would prefer facile discussions to in depth arguments. The dictatorship exercised by the secularists has taken its toll. It is good to recall Cardinal Ratzinger's words:

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires.

If we are to move forward today, all those who teach the Catholic Faith must first accept the devastation that has been brought about through by trend. Every religious, bishop, priest, deacon, catechist, and teacher should make this trend part of his or her daily renunciation and seek to take hold of the pearl of great price. As part of this process, we need all Catholic educators to develop a strong relationship with Christ so as to come to an adult faith. Having a large number of Catholics who have achieved an adult faith is essential for the present and future of the Church. We are not an institution built on whims-of-the-day but one founded by and on Christ, Who is THE Teacher, Who is THE measure of all existence.

Sadly, to achieve this goal may mean a contraction for a time. At some point, standing up for what we believe will have to take precedence over the numbers, which means we have to challenge those sitting in the pews to get off the fence. To be Catholic means that one believes all that the Catholic Church Teaches, which implies that one knows what She Teaches. To move forward at this point will require more priests to take up such themes in their regular preaching. Yes, many of the themes are quite controversial. But just because they are controversial does not lessen the need to catechize those before us and to proclaim the Truth. The key in preaching the Truth is to avoid opinion and love the doctrine, love the Church. To Love the Church is to Love Christ!

Salus Animarum

Are We Not about Salvation?

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. It is also the Second Sunday of Easter where every year we read the resurrection story and St. Thomas' encounter with the resurrected Christ. An essential passage in today's Gospel needs to be highlighted:

Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."

It is with this passage in mind that I remind myself we are currently living in a culture that no longer values Christianity and certainly has little respect for religious freedom. Even worse is we live in a culture in which Sin has no place in any conversation. From Her earliest days, this passage serves as the mandate given to bishops, and by extension, to priests. Bringing God's Mercy to His people is at the heart of the ministerial priesthood, which means also that there must be a recognition of Sin. Two examples have risen in which a priest abided by Church Teaching, was trying to help by giving Catholic advice, and has subsequently been chastised publicly for it.

The first story is a campus minister in Washington DC who apparently advised gay persons who approached him to do their best to live celibately. Without having any further details, it appears the priest was following Church Teaching in the advice he gave and, for doing so, is being persecuted. Ironically, I am sure that this priest has given similar advice to the heterosexuals who approach him and express a desire to engage in unchaste activities. The difference is the latter does not make headlines in the secular news media.

The other is in New York where the pastor of a local parish had to ask an openly gay person to step down from various public ministries, which included being a catechist, after the individual "married" his partner. I would find it hard to believe that this individual did not know the Church's position in this regard and so far the local media has played it as a case of personal persecution. I must admit, this particular case is more difficult to deal with because it opens pandora's box on many other questions, such as the status of those divorced and remarried outside the Church or those in civil unions all of whom are involved in similar ministries in their parishes. As noted below, there needs to be consistency in such matters.

These stories bring about the need for several observations. The first observation is that the Church and Her magisterium exist for the salvation of souls. There is a task given to the hierarchy in which they are to proclaim the Truth revealed by God, particularly with regard to sins and that which impedes the salvation of the soul. The Teaching and proclamation, especially during the Easter Season, is that heaven is real and open to those who live a life of Grace. Christ died for our sins and that death is ordered to Resurrection. So too for us, we must order our lives for resurrection, which is why it is an essential statement in our Creed. The same Creed also makes clear that Christ will judge the living and the dead. This means that the resurrection hoped for does come with some conditions attached. Among those conditions is doing the Good and avoiding evil.

The second observation has to do with the notion of repentance. Those in the Church who are sinners, basically everyone, are called to repent, to turn away from their sins. This call was the message of Jesus throughout His time on earth. "Reform, repent, and change your life. The Kingdom of God is at hand." Yes, there are sinners sitting in the pews every weekend and even sinners sitting in the sanctuary. No one will ever tell a sinner to not come to church. But the presumption is that each sinner is aware of his or her sin and is working to overcome it. Every sinner must measure his or her life against the Gospel and not against worldly desires. A sin cannot be absolved in confession if the person shows no contrition or desire to repent. It does not mean a person will never sin again but just that he or she, at the point of confessing the sin, recognizes the sin for what it is and is making a firm purpose of amendment. Hopefully by his or her repentance in that moment he or she will not commit the sin again. This aspect of the sacrament is a forgotten fact by so many today.

The third observation is the lack of consistency by many today. For the record, the Church is not on some crusade to condemn any particular group of sinners. Her mission remains the same to them all. "Repent and reform your lives." No bishop or priest should preach any other message or ever give the impression that it is OK to continue sinning. Those who enter the Church today must do so with contrition in their hearts for the sins that offend God. God did not establish a Church of subjectivism and relativism. We do not get to pick and choose which sins we will repent of and which ones we can continue to do. Avoiding all acts of grave matter must be part of every catholic individual's repentance. The acts of grave matter are found in the objective order and it is from this treasury that the Teaching Authority in the Church draws Her specific Teachings. This is where the consistency is needed -- we must consider all sins with the same characteristic and need of repentance.

The fourth observation has to do with public and obstinate sins as opposed to the private sins that are best dealt with in confession or with a spiritual director. Those whose sin is known by all in the community should not minister publicly in the church until it is clear that a true repentance has occurred. Yes, there are individuals who minister in parishes on a regular basis and are not in a state of grace. But in many of those cases the sin has remained a private matter and it is presumed there is contrition in the heart. The priest in Washington DC was giving private advice to someone who approached him. He did not make a public spectacle of the sin. He merely offered salvific advice. The individual must take that under consideration as he or she works out his or her spiritual game plan. Under the Seal, this entire process is a private and closed matter for the priest. It was the individuals who made the sin public and are obstinate in their sin. There seems to be no desire to repent and reform. In the case in New York, the sin was made public and, thus taken as obstinate, through the celebration of public nuptials.

The fifth observation follows from the two previous ones. There has been an inconsistency by the hierarchy when it comes to dealing with Catholics whose sin is public and obstinate. Take for instance, all the Catholic politicians whose policies or life situations express grave public and obstinate attachment to sin. How many of them are divorced and remarried outside the Church? How many are living with someone to whom they are not married? How many of them openly support a redefinition of Marriage? How many of them have voted favorably for abortion on demand laws? The list goes on and yet there has not been any voice of authority who has made a public statement about their ability to participate in any public way in the Church or participate in the sacraments.

There must be greater consistency here. No one can ever be told not to attend Mass. No one can ever be told not to enter a church and say prayers. But it must be said that there are those who should not make a pubic spectacle of the Holy Eucharist, especially with regard to manifest sin. Unless an official decree of excommunication is made, which does not apply to many of these cases, one must ask where is the statement that says these individuals should be actively self-abstaining from reception of Holy Communion until they publicly repent of the sin made public by themselves? To say one is personally opposed but not take the opportunity to change the laws when in a position to do so does not change the sin committed through formal and material cooperation in grave sins such as abortion.

The sixth observation is that as Church, we must always be able to proclaim the salvation of souls. This proclamation is ordered to the Truth and is never relative to individual whim. This is why free speech in our country was assured by the founders. This is why freedom of religion was assured as well. And this is why the attack on religious liberty has become so important. How long will it be before the state begins to tell the Church what She can preach or not preach? For the record, the Church is not against homosexual persons but proclaims the truth about homosexual acts. If a priest publicly speaks against the Teaching or betrays the Seal of Confession, then he should be taken to task for not being faithful to his vocation and the Church he claims to love. But if he is operating within the Church and stays within the bounds of Church Teaching, then does the state have the authority to silence him? And where are the articles that laud him for remaining faithful to the person he professes to be?

The last observation is that catechetical illiteracy continues to plague the members of our Faith and has made the task of proclaiming the Truth much harder. So many Catholics do not know the origin of our Teachings and will attach to the voices they hear. Thus far, the only voices speaking have been the secular voices of the media. Because of the rupture from the foundation of the Truth in the minds of many of our own, it seems that we will be facing a much smaller congregation in the future. Until bishops, priests, religious, catechists, teachers, and others responsible for handing on the Faith begin to consistently impart the rich Teaching and Tradition of our Faith, the salvation of souls will remain endangered for many in the world today.

OK, I Get It

And It Is Still Not Right

I get it. Gay Marriage is a foregone conclusion and is legal in the state of New York. Beyond a shadow of doubt, the national laws of our country will eventually recognize these unions as well. I get it.

However, the civil laws are just that, civil. They are laws devised by human beings that only have one real goal in mind -- to "balance" the scales. At the heart of modern day justice, the apparent goal has become a process in trying to make all things equal, to try to find a balance between the concerned parties. Unlike years gone by when there was a True Wisdom that undergird justice, today there is no consideration of anything that seemingly disturbs the balance. There is no talk of the Nature of things and promoting justice as our rendering to God and neighbor based on the nature of each. And so in our mistaken approach to justice, we now have laws that give recognition to moral evils such as abortion, divorce and remarriage, mandated contraception, and gay marriage.

But a legal position devised by civil authorities does not make it right. Of course, in the minds of many, especially the secularists, the civil law is all that matters. If consensus can be reached, then the scale is balanced. In their minds, there is no such thing as the Natural Law. There is no such thing as the Divine Law. There is no such thing as moral absolutes. Only a teetering scale. The irony is that all the weight in our public moral debates has been placed on one side of the scale and, although it has tipped, it is like The Emperor's New Clothes. Those who want to court the favor of the powerful merely join along and say that there is nothing wrong -- the scale looks fine.

We must keep in mind that the Church remains the haven and guardian of the Truth. In fact, Truth is not part of a balancing act. Truth is not found as the midpoint of differing opinions. Truth is not had by agreeing to disagree. Truth does not come about through a call to tolerance. The Truth IS. And if something IS, then we must conform to it. Truth rises above the dialogue.

When it comes to realities like Marriage, Life, Human Sexuality, etc., we are responsible to the Truth. The reason for religious freedom is because the Truth IS. While Man labors under the weight of His rebel passion and errant desire, the Truth is what sets Him free. The yoke of Sin is a great yoke indeed. Normalizing that yoke does not remove it and only succeeds at increasing its weight around our necks. Always remember that the Church is where Man encounters the Truth with freedom coming through discipline and conformity of the self to the Truth encountered. In the Truth taught by Church is where the yoke is lifted.

For too long the dictator of the world has been trying to get the Church to conform to itself, by eliminating all talk of eternal realities. No heaven! No hell! Just now! Most people are deluded into believing that the Church is a mere human institution that is only responsible to Herself. Because of the Truth and Her responsibility to Almighty God, the Church can never be conformed to the world and worldly ways. It would be better to have a millstone about Her neck and cast into the sea than to deceive anyone by distorting the Truth to the views of the world. Jesus died and rose so that we can cast off the yoke of Sin. But that means we must yoke ourselves to Him, to the Truth.

So, I get it. The laws of the world are changing rapidly. The scales are completely tipped to the secular. Justice is no longer about rendering to God and Man based on what is due according to Their natures. While I get the point, I also realize that a warped view of justice exists. So just because the laws are changing does not mean they are changing for the better. Just because the laws are changing does not mean God is offended any less. To continue to believe the scales are balanced is to believe the emperor really has new clothes. The Church, for Her part, would say it is better to be like the little child and blurt out that the emperor is not wearing anything at all.

Marriage Issues

Front and Center

With all the talk about marriage, it is interesting how the public perception is terribly skewed to the secular and relativistic presentation. For the record, yes, I am staunchly committed to defending Marriage as a sacrament that can only exist between one man and one woman. By making this statement publicly, the ad hominem attacks begin. Rather than open a dialogue and respond to the position taken, including the scholarship that supports it, attacks on the person are the norm. But even after the attacks on the person, the basis for the position remain. For once, can we stop focussing on the credibility of the individual and address what the individual is actually saying?

Since the beginning of time, God is the One Who made Marriage what it is. The Meaning of Marriage, that is, what Marriage IS, has to be understood before any discussion to change how marriage is lived out in the world. In our relativistic culture in which Prometheus has become the god of choice, many today do not want to have an honest discussion about Marriage or even attempt to understand what it is. Instead, they would simply prefer to defy THE God. The reality that is Marriage and being defended by the Church is much greater than the current debates on same-sex marriage. And, from what I can tell, no one seems to be willing to talk about the whole reality.

As the public debates continue to unfold, it is distressing how many Catholics support the legal changes being proposed. Sadly, those same Catholics who support same-sex marriage (or any of the other attacks on Marriage) are unable to elucidate the Church’s Teaching in this area. The Church is not opposing an aspect of equality or rights but is defending a primordial reality established by God. As such, what IS Marriage cannot be changed by Man willing it.

If you have not read it, here is why I am staunchly committed to defending Marriage -- The Meaning of Marriage and the Contemporary Problem.

Shepherding Today

Is the Idea Outmoded?

In the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus has compassion upon the crowd because they were like sheep without a Shepherd. I believe this particular verse is highly relevant today. But I do not say this because of the Pope’s retirement, who made it clear he is not abandoning the Church. Rather, I refer to the perfect storm of contemporary pastoral life that has left a void in proper shepherding. In other words, this particular storm has erupted and left priests who renounce the role of shepherd as well as those who consider themselves good Catholics to wander through life like sheep without a Shepherd. To be clear, Jesus the Christ is and will always be THE Shepherd of the flock. And it was Jesus Who said He will give shepherds to guide the sheep of His flock.

Unlike times past, however, this modern day wandering has a dimension to it that may not be easily reversible as today many of the shepherds of the church eschew true shepherding and the sheep resist the possibility of being shepherded. This situation did not come about in isolation and is the result of many complicated factors that occurred over a span of history. Thus, we are dealing with the aftermath of a perfect storm in which we need to recapture Catholicism in the modern world. The shepherds should always be seeking to raise the flock to the level of God but, in today’s context, the flock would prefer to reduce God to the level of the flock and expect the shepherds to do the same. The problem we face is that, in an effort to remain popular, many shepherds have complied.

Let me explain…

To start, we must acknowledge that the situation in which we find ourselves grew out of the age of the Enlightenment. During that period, a tacit anger was directed toward the Church and an elitism formed among those who were scientifically “in the know.” Discoveries and scientific progress were happening at an astounding rate and anyone not up on the latest science was looked down upon as being out of touch. These discoveries were all beneficial to Man and clearly improved His situation, but did not make His being better. Within this age of rapid change, a secular force began to take hold of the popular mindset and scientific discovery became the new scriptures. Unaware of the fact it was happening, human beings around the globe, and especially in the West, began making doctors and scientists their new priests, i.e., those who were experts in the secular scriptures. Key to understanding what happened is rooted in the approach of science found in thinkers as early as Descartes — start as a skeptic toward everything, including God.

As skepticism became the rule of the day, anything that was previously accepted as authoritative had to be proven anew. It is one thing to learn about gravity or be able to demonstrate a heliocentric universe but that did not mean the experts of the past were demons who willfully misled generations. Those of the past simply operated on the science of the time. In fact, age after age of modern science has seen one expert after another challenged and his or her “science” refuted. Many popular scientific theories did not withstand the scrutinies of the community and many were considered passé within a generation or two, i.e., several times within the lifespan of the average person. This ongoing process left many subconsciously wondering if there is anything definitive at all. The result of this process was that many began to place their faith in progress. Keep in mind that the process is subliminal and not occurring with any overt intent. It is the result of a long process that left a state of uncertainty in the minds of most people and the only thing sure was that everything operated under the law of progress. The result of the process is the point — Man no longer knew where he was going — only that He had to keep going.

With skepticism entrenched and progress as the philosophy of the day, defiance toward authority grew throughout the early part of the 20th century, especially when the industrial revolution was beginning to make a difference. The ire against authority was latent in this stage, but would manifest itself in future generations. The underlying perspective as this period unfolded, which began many centuries earlier but only made the mainstream at this point, was that all things must be questioned to make sure the claim is accurate. This era saw skepticism blossom on a widespread scale and by the middle of the 20th century it became the normative response to all things, especially authority. The stance taken on a broad scale, simply put, was that those in authority had to earn rather than receive respect, not just once but over and over again. Burdened by faith in progress, those in positions of authority had to repeatedly prove to the masses why he or she deserved to have the obedience of those subject to them.

This incessant process gave rise to an irreverence toward those in charge, which became manifest in the rebellious attitude of the 50s and 60s. All authority came to be suspect and had to be tested over and over. However, scientific progress by itself was insufficient. Horrific wars had become commonplace and abuses of power were witnessed by subsequent generations. The problem identified was that these things happened because of blind obedience to authority. This tendency to question authority was fueled by corruption in democratic governments in the 70s and the threat of totalitarianism from the Communist world. All of this together is the making of a perfect storm. Even long before the scandals in the Church became public, which in hindsight was a growing time bomb for the Church, the storm was being fueled by a desire in the Church to express Herself more clearly to a world in turmoil. Unfortunately, in this expression there was a disconnect between the magisterium of the Church and the local shepherds in the church. It is in these pieces that we find a trajectory that leads to the degradation of shepherding.

As we know, Vatican II was not a council of “change” or “progress” but one in which the Traditional Teachings of Christ needed to be re-expressed to a world that had truly become modern in the philosophical sense. Although never intended or foreseen by the council fathers, many priests and theologians began to abdicate their pastoral responsibility in favor of being popular in the mind of the flock. The reason for the abdication was due to the misperception that the Church was progressive like everything else when, in fact, She was not. Sadly, during this period of societal upheaval and confusion, many priests turned to secular sources to become “effective leaders” and to be “more pastoral.” These sources were along the lines of contemporary psychological models in which trust is gained by not challenging or judging a person but listening and affirming a person where he or she is at. The problem is that the technique is built on relativism and subjectivism. It would not be long before this same worldview was preached from pulpits around the country. The clearest example was the overt rejection by some priests of the Teaching in Humanae Vitae.

As we know, relativism allows a sheep to pick and choose what he or she considers to be right and wrong. Combined with emotivism and hedonism, the relativist concludes that the good is what feels good and evil is what feels bad. If someone disagrees with a sheep’s personal assessment of a given act, rather than try and understand the Truth of the act as expressed by the authority, the relativist merely rejects the discordant “opinion” espoused by the errant other. Ultimately, the relativist will have to reject the other because it is the only way he or she believes personal harmony can be achieved. Implicit in this rejection, therefore, is a denial that the other is an authority.

The relativist criteria would eventually be applied to and embraced by those who are shepherds in the Church. In this regard, many of the Church’s pastors falsely believed it was important to tell a sheep what he or she wanted to hear rather than what he or she needed to hear. Within this milieu, the sheep are now formed in the expectation that affirmation of what they wanted is truly “pastoral” rather than being told what is needed for salvation. The eventual result was that sheep would only seek shepherds that told them what they wanted to hear. A relativist sheep only seeks shepherds who speak in terms of what affirms their fallen desires and allows him or her to remain mired in acting on those errant preferences. In the aftermath of the perfect storm, many shepherds began preaching a secular gospel in fear of “losing” the sheep to some other shepherd. This discordant voice among the shepherds of the Church, and the resistance within the flock of being shepherded, has left many sheep to live as if there is no Shepherd at all.

Pro-Life and Politics

They Just Do Not Get It

The Internet has made it easy to send messages to our politicians on various issues. The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment is one of those organizations that has taken full advantage of this new technology. By going to their website and providing some simple information, an email can be sent to senators, congressmen, and representatives with the click of a button. Recently they provided such a service for those who wished to send a message for the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs Wade. The website provides a basic message that a user can easily edit or send as is. When I took action recently, I decided to use the standard message. Here is the message sent to Senator Schumer:

Dear Senator Schumer,
I join with all those marching in Washington and around the country in calling for the end of Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. The regime of Roe, imposed on this country for the past 40 years, is opposed by millions of Americans and has been severely criticized by many legal scholars as lacking a basis in the Constitution.

As your constituent, I urge you to work to end Roe. It is imperative to establish in law the protection of unborn children and to restore to citizens and elected officials their proper voice in addressing this issue.

Thank you.
Rev. Peter Dugandzic

Notice the simple message and the request it makes. The message raises constitutional questions, not religious ones, and asks him to work toward ending Roe. Of course, I am sure that his office has received hundreds of thousands of emails with this same message. Thus, the content of the email is no surprise and should allow him to generate a response that addresses the question raised. The following is the standard response that came a day later. N.B., although the message I sent included my title, the response did not include the title. Here is the response:

Dear Mr. Dugandzic:

Thank you for your comments on the difficult issue of abortion. I always appreciate hearing from my constituents.

As the father of two girls, I share your deep respect for the sanctity of life, and I realize the importance of honoring one's moral and religious heritage. But I also value the freedom under the law that all American citizens have to base our personal choices on our own values and moral convictions. I also believe that the decision to have children ought to be a personal one based on a woman's own religious and moral beliefs, not those of the government or outside organizations. Having said that, I support measures that aim to reduce the number of legal abortions, and I believe that education and prevention are critical to achieving that.

The decision to have an abortion will never be an easy one, nor should it be, but I believe that every woman should have the option to make her own determination in counsel with her minister, priest, or rabbi, her physician and her family.

Again, I thank you for voicing your opinion on this issue. If I can be of any further assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me again.


Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

I am sure that anyone who sent a message to him has received this response from his office. In looking over his response, I take insult to certain things. 1) He claims to share my deep respect for the sanctity of life… And then proceeds to tell me why he will allow the slaughter to continue. 2) He does not address the constitutional question, i.e., the right to life, and may believe that I am not smart enough to notice. 3) He completely dismisses fatherhood and the place of the father in his response. So I beg the question, Is abortion a woman’s issue only? 4) He contends that the decision to kill an innocent human being is a private matter determined by the woman, who may do so with counsel, if necessary. This last one is the most troubling because he seemingly abdicates the government’s authority over those who are allowed to kill innocent human beings.

Since he invited me to do so, I decided to contact him again. While I would love to say much more to him, I realize that such communication is near impossible in an email. Here is what I sent to him on January 28 and, as of January 31, have not heard back from him.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Dear Mr. Schumer,
I received your standard response with regard to abortion and I have to admit that I am very disappointed with what you said. You claim to share my deep respect for the sanctity of human life and then proceed to say that such respect is relative to the individual rather than the Truth with regard to Life. Please note, your response betrays the Constitution by trivializing the Right to Life. Once a human being comes into existence at conception, that being has a Right to Life and such must be guaranteed by people like yourself. No relative perspective can change the existence of a human being and such relativism cannot change the objective character of an act that destroys the innocent.

For the record, the decision to have a child is made BEFORE conception. Once conceived, you and I have a duty to uphold the Right to Life and you, who have the power to do so, have abdicated that by saying the decision is personal and relative to the individual. So answer this question, where is the line drawn on the limits for one to make personal decisions to end an innocent human life?

As someone of your stature and brilliance, I again state that you have disappointed me in your response and have made it impossible for me to support you in your endeavors. If you would like to have a more intelligent discussion on this matter, please feel free to contact me by phone or in person.

Fr. Peter Dugandzic

So, based on this exchange, I invite Catholics of good conscience to make their voices heard. Let your politicians know that they are missing the mark and it is time for them to come to grips with the reality of abortion. Since they are in office to represent you, even if you did not vote for them, make sure they do not dismiss you. Most especially, do not allow them to mire the conversation in relativistic language, which trivializes the foundations of our Country and our Faith.

Every Now and Then

A Well Written Article Comes Along

After the contraception mandate was imposed one of the things I have been saying is that bishops and theologians need to clearly express the teaching on Contraception. Because so many people today, many Catholics included, do not understand the teaching, it is roundly rejected or ridiculed. However, the basis for the teaching is beautiful. Every Catholic should read Humanae Vitae and learn as much as they can from the writings of Pope John Paul II, especially his book Love and Responsibility and his presentations on the Theology of the Body. In line with this need for more authoritative teaching, this morning I came across an excellent article written by Archbishop Coakley. This article is exactly what we need to hear from the teaching authority.

Well Said

It Is Good To Speak Up!

The conservative political commentator, Mike Huckabee, clarified comments he made in response to last Friday’s tragedy, comments that were distorted by the mainstream media. What he said is something that needs to be said at this point in history. Note: he is not talking about the shootings per se but rather offering a commentary on contemporary society.

Sadly, in looking at alternate sites where this video has been posted, the comments being made show no signs whatsoever for the possibility of a civil dialogue, which only further proves how far modern culture has deteriorated. Rather than make a well informed comment, the same latent anger that wants to rid society of any display of God forms the content against what Mr. Huckabee is saying. Go ahead and attack the individual who speaks or those who agree with him but that still does not respond to the issues he raises. What still eludes me to this day is the level of vehemence spewed against those who publicly display their Faith or even speak in public about God?

Hopefully commentaries like this will multiply and a true dialogue will ensue.

Excuse Me Mr. President?

Are You Listening to Yourself?

The tragedy that occurred on Friday is without question the worst in American history. The senseless killing of innocent children is horrific and it is impossible for any human being to remain unmoved by it. Yes, this tragedy should make every American citizen, and every person around the world, stop for just a moment and ask how something like this could happen. There is no psychological profile of a killer that can explain this madness. There is no circumstance that one could list that will put this act in context. The actions of this individual are pure evil and nothing can justify them or even make sense of them. It is truly senseless. Because Man is tainted by original sin, we must always be working as families and communities to form consciences according to the Will of God. And most especially, we must go out of our way to ensure we are working toward a culture of Life.

I have to admit, however, that President Obama has succeeded in demonstrating to me that he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. First, he sheds tears in front of cameras and waxes philosophical on the lives shortened by a maniac. I am sure he is bothered by this tragedy like any human being would be. No one can question the sincerity of his emotions or that this tragedy has deeply effected him. Then he stands in front of those directly devastated by this tragedy and says that protecting our children is “our first job… If we don’t get that right, then we won’t get anything right. That is how we will be judged… Can we honestly say we are doing enough to keep our children safe from harm?” So from which side of your mouth are these words coming?

These words have a great truth to them and yet the messenger makes them suspect. Lest we forget, this president has been responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent American children and countless more worldwide through his national and international policies on abortion. Yes, his radical pro-abortion policies and financial support of the abortion industry has repeatedly ended the lives of innocent children. So I agree Mr. President, if we don’t get this right and put an end to the culture of death, then we won’t get anything right. This is not about gun laws or putting new locks on school buildings. It is about having a consistent ethic of Life. On this, we will be judged! Yes, there is a subversive “conspiracy against life” and the president and his closest advisors are all conspirators. So, Mr. President, before you even dare to suggest we need legislation to protect our most innocent citizens from madmen, which would be a good thing, you should work on legislation that protects the most vulnerable children from yourself. As long as you continue to feed the culture of death and remain a conspirator against life, it is hard to accept your sincerity.

Ironically, on Friday the president said of these children, “They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own…” These are beautiful words and are the exact same words I said about the lives of babies in the womb on the day Mr. Obama was elected.

May God shed His Love on those poor families who lost a child last Friday and may He sustain them by the grace of the Holy Spirit now and for many years to come.

An Ongoing Question

When is being late too late?

More than once in recent days, I have had a conversation regarding people coming late to Mass and still receiving Holy Communion. As it stands today, the discussion centers on whether there is a point when someone arrives for Mass that is too late to receive Holy Communion. Most priests and regular churchgoers agree there is something wrong with the practice but are hard pressed to substantiate why it is wrong. The reasons given typically center on the scandal or distraction it causes others. There is no talk at all about the objective order, the fonts of morality, or what the act is in itself. Almost no one uses words such as sacrilege to describe the practice, which is where the breakdown occurs. For the most part, there is no talk of grave matter or sin. The only question asked is whether the person should receive Holy Communion after coming in late because others are scandalized by his or her lack of preparation.

In trying to move beyond the subjective arguments, many attempt a legalistic approach by looking to canon law, which is silent on the matter. Others look to liturgical law, which is also silent on the matter. In fact, in searching for an authoritative statement, there is none to be found with regard to this specific issue. The only statement we typically find with regard to the reception of Holy Communion in general is that a Catholic must be “properly disposed," which does not speak directly to the question at hand. The usual clarification of being properly disposed is, “Participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour.” Again, this broad statement does not give any real insight to the question at hand and makes the error of using the word “conscious” with regard to mortal sin (which is a discussion for another time).

In order to understand the act more clearly, it may be helpful to return to the moral manuals and examine the discussion on how much of the Mass one must attend in order to fulfill the Sunday obligation. In the manuals of Moral Theology, the question of fulfilling one’s Sunday obligation was framed in relation to the definitive point of the Mass when a person was considered too late and, if they did not attend another Mass, committed a sin against the Third Commandment. With regard to the manuals, we must recall that the reception of Holy Communion was not the explicit question but rather what it took to avoid committing a sin against the Third Commandment. In the moral life, discernment of actions should always be focused on remaining in a state of grace by understanding what constitutes gave matter and avoiding such acts. Amongst actions that constitute grave matter, we must emphasize Sacrilege, which the Catechism (2102) defines as “profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions” and is “a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist.”

In the era during which the moral manuals were written, most Catholics did not receive Holy Communion frequently. In this regard, the faithful had a strong sense that “properly disposed” for the reception of Holy Communion meant being in a State of Grace and approaching the Eucharist worthily. It would never have dawned on someone to come late to Mass and receive because many who were on time for Mass did not receive. To come forward for Holy Communion after arriving late was understood to be sacrilegious. With regard to the question on how late one could arrive and still fulfill the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, one manual states, “It must be a complete Mass, i.e., assistance at it must extend from the beginning of the Mass to the last blessing.” In the subsequent discussion in the manual, anyone who was late or left early committed sin (against fulfilling the obligation) and the ensuing discussion was with regard to whether the sin was venial or mortal with the gravity being determined by how much or what parts of the Massed was missed. All lateness was seen as matter for sin but clarification was made as to when one’s lateness when went from venial to moral, from lesser matter to grave matter. The matter was considered grave if one voluntarily missed that which preceded the Gospel and left early, or if one came in as late as the offertory, or if one missed the consecration. In other words, the gravity of matter was determined by the amount of the Mass missed or the importance of what part of the Mass was missed. Again, we must keep in mind that the discussion centered on fulfilling the Sunday Obligation, which did not mean one had to receive Holy Communion but only had to be present and attentive during the Mass.

In the post Vatican II liturgical reforms, the encouragement for full and active participation was rooted in this same line of thinking. The faithful in attendance should be prayerfully engaged in the whole Mass, from beginning to end. The encouragement also included a more frequent reception of Holy Communion but this did not mean a suspension of the requirements such as being in a state of Grace and approaching Holy Communion worthily. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung to the other extreme and now everyone receives at every Mass with little consideration of being properly disposed. It has reached a point where many seem to believe they have a “right” to receive whenever they want for any reason at all.

It is in this context that there are so many today who have no problem arriving at a church as the distribution of Holy Communion begins and get right on the Communion line. What is wrong with this act is that it is sacrilegious, which is grave matter. This is so because the requirements for full and active participation for the whole Mass are needed in order to be properly disposed. In this regard and in light of the discussion of the gravity of matter from the moral manuals, to be properly disposed demands one be present for the entire Mass, from the opening blessing to the dismissal, and be fully attentive to what is happening at the Mass. Anything less than this would require one to NOT come forward for Holy Communion without being culpable of committing a sacrilege. Thus, one should NOT receive Holy Communion at a Mass to which they voluntarily arrived late and should NEVER receive at any Mass when they arrive at or after the Offertory without being guilty of committing a sin.

Religious Freedom

A New Day Begins

With the results of the election in, it appears the attacks on Religious Freedom will grow. Of course, such an assertion is based on the fact that past performance can be a predictor of future events. The United States Bishops have launched a new website to keep Catholics informed. For those interested, click here.


Will or Choice?

In speaking with a Catholic the other day about the upcoming elections, I reminded the person that one of the central factors for Catholics to consider when voting regards the candidate’s stance on life issues. I said that Catholics only vote for candidates who support limiting or eliminating abortion.

The response from this well educated Catholic was, “I do not believe in abortion and I would never have one myself. But it is not for me to choose that for another person. He or she should be able to choose on his or her own.”

In reply I asked, “Do you not agree that abortion is an intrinsic evil that can never be chosen?”

The reply was, “Yes, it is an evil but everyone should be free to make the choice on his or her own.”

This conversation reminded me of the grand error that has worked its way into the minds of so many today with regard to freedom. Under the dictatorship of relativism, we are all told that choice is an individual aspect of existence and every human being is free to choose, within certain limits. The effect has been a transfer of freedom from the will to choice. In our public dialogues today, the most oft cited freedom is free choice -- a woman should be free to choose what she wants to do with her body. But that is not freedom and in fact is just the opposite.

Choosing is part of a process called discernment. During this process we determine what is good and evil in our actions and seek to will only the good. Through this process, which is enlightened by the natural law, we are able to know what is truly good in the objective order. What is truly good must be freely willed and what is evil must be avoided. Any time someone wills an evil, it is a defective use of freedom.

In this light, what many Catholics have forgotten is that we are our brother’s keeper. We are certainly responsible for our own actions and must ensure through discernment that they remain good, but we are also to engage in fraternal correction when we see another willing something we know is an evil. As part of the mandate to help the other, we should make sure that evil is not even available to that person. If it is an intrinsic evil in the objective order, it is wrong for anyone to will it and we are responsible to ensure that others are made aware of that fact.

Yes, we are compelled to prevent horrific evils by force of law. Truth is immutable and that which in the objective order is an intrinsic evil is evil no matter what perspective the acting person takes. No circumstance or intention can change the act from being what it is - evil. Out of Charity for the other, it is our responsibility to instruct the ignorant and to safeguard the person from committing an abominable act before God. In this regard, we cannot wait until he or she “gets it.” We should keep instructing but while we are instructing we must keep the other free of sin. To do so is a virtuous and loving act.

Thus, ensuring abortion is outlawed is a loving and virtuous act. As Catholics who know the Truth, we must vote Pro-Life.

A Real Dose of Vice

There is No Debate Here

In watching the Vice Presidential debate yesterday, there were certainly many sparks flying. Since both are Catholics, the moderator put them on the spot with regard to their Catholicism. She wanted to know about the role religion plays in their view on abortion. Congressman Ryan’s answer was good but the exceptions he listed are not. Of course, Vice President Biden took the secular route and basically said that Life beginning at conception is not an absolute Truth. For the most part, his answer reflected a relativistic approach to morality. It is not possible to be a “practicing” Catholic and not be totally pro-life. If you believe in Life beginning at conception, then you cannot tolerate any abortion at all. Of the two, Ryan’s position is clearly better.

With regard to their positions, Mr. Biden spoke about “imposing” a doctrine as if it is OK for someone else to kill the innocent because they are not Catholic. Killing is killing and the intentional killing of an innocent is always a grave moral evil. In his response, Mr. Biden made it clear that he is not personally convicted as a Catholic and has not made the Catholic Faith his own. It sounds like he views himself merely in categorical terms with regard to being Catholic. Based upon his answer, he should refrain from receiving Holy Communion until such time as he embraces the Truth about Life (and in his case, many other things).

On the other hand, is encouraging to know that for Mr. Ryan Catholicism informs everything he does. If only every Catholic would come to this realization. Of course, we know it is not “popular” to acknowledge the full Truth about Life beginning at conception and that this is true for every life conceived. When someone realizes this truth, he or she must see it though completely. In this regard, no human being conceived, even if it happens as the result of an evil act such as rape or incest, should be killed. Human beings do not get to pick and choose which innocent human beings gets to live and which do not. The most disturbing part is that many today believe it is best to predetermine the fate of a child because he or she came into existence through an evil human act.

The Catholic Teaching on abortion is clear and, between the two Catholics represented in this debate, a good Catholic cannot support Mr. Biden or his platform. For all Catholics who will cast a vote this year, recall that the principle when voting is to choose candidates whose position will work toward limiting or eliminating this evil from our midst.

For those who are interested, there is a site called Catholic Vote. Check it out…

Pride and Joy

Georgetown’s Finest

Having watched the speech given by the pride and joy of Georgetown University School of Law at the convention, all that can be said is that the Church hierarchy should start being more direct and public with regard to Church Teaching during this very challenging period of history. Even if it were possible to pare away all the ad hominem rhetoric and impassioned speech, we would still be left with a catechetically illiterate generation in which the Truths of human existence are unimportant and summarily dismissed in any conversation on topics of morality.

In reading the “comments” people post on various news websites, there is an undeniable anger and hatred toward the Truth (and the Church) -- and it is these characteristics that were at the heart of the speech last night. In this context, should leaders in the Church speak the Truth and become the target of such anger and hatred (which it is evident we already have), we must remember that the same happened to Jesus. But speak the Truth we must!

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and other every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” -- Matthew 5:11-12

Fr. Benedict Groeschel

Apology Accepted

While in academic circles is it complete acceptable to speculate and ponder certain theories, I am not sure what Fr. Benedict Groeschel was thinking when he made his comments the other day regarding abuse. Yes, it is possible to theorize and even speculate but one would expect that a man with his academic credentials would realize that his comments were simply off base. I am sure his failing health played a factor and that his comments were really different than his thoughts on the matter. Fortunately he has retracted the statement and apologized for his error.

44 Years Ago

The Truth Proclaimed

It was 44 years ago today that Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae in which he proclaimed the Truth about the Transmission of Human Life and the moral status of contraception. Although many thought he would change direction on this issue, he did the only thing a pope could do -- he upheld the Church's long Tradition and Teaching on the issue. In this regard, no pope can change the Truth or issue a statement that contradicts the natural moral law.

It seems that today many ignore the Teaching and act in ways contrary to It. A recent Gallup poll found that 89% of the general population believe contraception is morally acceptable. More distressing is that 82% of the Catholics surveyed said they believe contraception is morally acceptable. While it would be easy to hold the people accountable for a mistaken view, the fact of the matter is that many simply do not know the Teaching in this area. The reason may well be the silence many priests and religious have kept on the issue.

In this regard, we again see an example of the catechetical failure that has hindered multiple generations with regard to the Truth. However, regarding Catechesis on the intrinsic evil of contraception, the failure has extended to priests and religious as well as popular theologians who claim the Teaching is mistaken. It is not just that the people are unaware but that, in some circumstances, they have been given misinformation. To correct this failure, more parishes and priests need to make note of initiatives like the National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.

Consistently Inconsistent

The Media is at least Predictable

Imagine if a group of American diplomats were to openly deny the principles of democracy in the country where they serve. Imagine if those representatives of the United States were to openly support an oppressive military regime and state they believe in the Constitution of the United States but have to do what is best for the people where they find themselves. Imagine them undermining the United States efforts in combatting such unjust situations in the world. And imagine the outcry that would come from the media who would demand their immediate removal and would unilaterally avoid giving them a place to spread their message by denying them unchallenged interviews.

Yet the CBS Nightly News did just that to the Catholic Church in a report on "the Nuns on the Bus." The liberal media always loves a good persecution story and they see these dissenting women as an opportunity to undermine Church Teaching. Instead of reporting on the real issue, they prefer to present it as the big bad Vatican bullying innocent women who are merely trying to help people. The entire interview did not address the concerns presented by the Vatican and did not press the nuns on their dissent from Church Teaching. No one is saying that caring for the poor is a problem. In fact, it is good that the sisters are doing so.

The problem that the Vatican inquiry identified has to do with dissent and the fact they advocate for contraception and abortion as solutions to poverty or at least accept them as a necessary evil. As consecrated representatives of the Catholic Church, their message betrays the Church and their vows. The reporter did not even attempt to point out their obvious hypocrisy or they fact that they are rebelling against their legitimate authority. Although the media want to make this a women's issue and pit them against the male hierarchy, the fact of the matter is that the action taken by the Vatican has nothing to do with their being women. It has to with upholding Catholic doctrine as leaders in the Church. It has everything to do with living out the Catholic identity their consecration demands.

And for the record, lest anyone forget, similar inquiries have been done on seminaries and male religious orders. Such inquiries are not about "attacking" or "silencing" but about calling Catholic Institutions and Her representatives to embrace the fullness of Catholic identity. These examinations of Catholic groups are part of the work to reverse the catechetical failure and raise the level of catechetical literacy. If someone is going to represent the Catholic Church, he or she must publically uphold the Teachings of the Church. No one forced the nuns to take vows and no one forced them to be part of the Church. No one forced seminary professors to teach in the seminary and form future generations of priests. But if they wish to be public representatives of the Church, then they are asked to represent the Church as She is, not as what they want it to be. In many ways, it is that simple.

Every Now and Then

A Story Comes Along

The local newspaper picked up "an entertainment story" that made me stop and wonder. In just a few short paragraphs they managed to present a situation in which there are simply too many immoral issues to discuss in any reasonable forum as each one is a grand issue in itself. In the article is a lesbian breakup with a custody battle; children "manufactured" via IVF for obvious reasons; a reference to the children as "theirs" with no mention of a father (probably an anonymous sperm donor); children from a previous lesbian relationship that are "hers"; one lesbian claiming the other as an unfit mother - just to name a few. If anyone even ponders the whole thing for a few moments, he or she should be scandalized. And yet most people will read it as a curiosity piece.

This short article should be terribly disturbing for anyone who reads it but it comes across as completely normal and matter of fact. It is present with the tone, "another Hollywood breakup - how sad!" It is bad enough this situation exists but the fact that it is considered newsworthy is even more disturbing. The only reason to make this situation into a national news item is that it supports the secular tactics of social engineering. Because these situations exist, they must be normal. If this is normal then it should be acceptable. If it is acceptable then it should be tolerated. If it is tolerated then it will proliferate. If it proliferates then we can find out more about it. Once we find out more about it then there is further proof that it is normal… and the circle spins from there.

And woe to anyone who criticizes them or tries to challenge them to change their ways. Anathema to anyone who points out that just because it exists does not make it acceptable or tolerable. What really makes it even more ironic is that I read this article shortly after Mass this morning in which Jesus said, "I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the Truth." If you say you are a Catholic then make sure you do not belong to the world.

A Roadmap

To Recovery of Values

Anyone who looks around today and observes closely enough will be able to discern the deterioration of true values in our society. The sources of this deterioration are many but there is one that stands at the center -- the dismantling of the family through the consistent attacks on Marriage. What makes a discussion difficult in this regard is that relativists have created doubt with regard to what is meant by values. As far back as Greek Philosophy there was a distinction between intrinsic and instrumental value of things. A correct determination of Good or Value requires an understanding of intrinsic value, that is, something that is good in itself. To make a correct determination in this regard requires a proper understanding of metaphysics and the natural law, both of which have been rejected by many today.

Unfortunately, secular humanists like John Dewey effectively eliminated a proper understanding of intrinsic value and instead pushed for values based only on the ends in view, that is, the immediate ends. In this model, if a desired immediate end is achieved, it is said to be good. Such would lead him to claim that we can construct the good for ourselves rather than conform ourselves to what is Good. The effects of this approach are clear throughout the 20th century in which the proper understanding of family was dismantled. Instead of understanding what the family is and calling all families to "become what they are," social engineers began a campaign to develop an appreciation for "alternative families."

In all of the public discussions today on specific moral issues, the roadmap to renewed wholeness goes through the family. At the heart of this roadmap is Marriage. This theme was developed throughout the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and, even to this day, much of his wisdom remains relatively unknown, even by many Catholics. Without an infusion of this wisdom into the discussion, any attempt to recover lasting values and avoid further deterioration will be futile. In this regard, the axiom still applies, "as goes the family so goes the society." But in the discussion today we need to take this axiom more to heart -- "as goes marriage so goes society." To redefine marriage means we must redefine the nature of the family, which means we implicitly redefine society itself. To put such realities into a relativistic tailspin will continue to be detrimental to the good of society.

For anyone who cares about faith, society, religion, salvation, the family, and the like, defend Marriage as reality that can only be between a man and woman and work to protect the traditional nuclear family.

From Vice to President

The Gay Marriage Debate Is On

Cardinal Dolan broke silence today after President Obama confirmed what everyone already knew -- that he supports gay marriage. Of course, the Cardinal's comments have not been picked up by the liberal media but that is to be expected. At this point, the bishops must not let their opposition to anti-family and anti-marriage legislation slip into the background, especially in an election year in which so much is at stake. Too often in election years the candidates are not put in a position to publicly answer the concerns raised by the bishops or other religious leaders. Because the media control the soundbites, candidates tend provide polished responses and public statements they know will be picked up by the media, which allows them to ignore the concerns of the rest.

Wouldn't it be great if candidates for political office agreed to a public debate in which religious leaders were able to ask them open questions?

Roaring Silence

Not A Word

A few days ago, the most politically powerful Catholic in our country, vice president Joe Biden, stated that he is "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage, even though his comments were couched in entitlement and rights language. What is distressing, however, is that there has not been one statement released by the Catholic Hierarchy addressing the remarks. This statement would have to be made in two parts: the first to address the errors in his remarks, errors that clearly separate him from the Church Teaching on the issue, and the second to address his status within the Catholic Church since he is not a private citizen holding a private opinion but a public policy maker. What needs to be made clear is that through these very public comments, he has espoused a position diametrically opposed to Church Teaching and that through his position he has distanced himself from the Catholic Church.

While his comfort with gay marriage has been the most quoted and is troubling in itself, in the interview he prefaced his remarks by first redefining the Catholic Teaching on marriage when he said, "Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that is what people are finding out is: what all marriages, at their root, are about, whether they are marriages of lesbians, gay men, or heterosexuals." To use the expression "at their root" with regard to what marriages are indicates he is talking about the meaning of marriage. Thus, this prominent Catholic has publicly demonstrated that he does not believe that the meaning of marriage includes the good of procreation, even though the good of procreation has been a central tenet of Catholic Teaching on marriage for millennia. With such a redefinition in mind, drawing the errant conclusion of being comfortable is made easy. But the fallacy is in the redefinition and it is time to be clear about his error.

What is more disturbing than the deafening silence toward these mistaken comments is that more Catholics are following his lead and accepting the error with regard to gay marriage. In just one year from 2010 to 2011, the number of Catholics supporting gay marriage went from 46% to 52%, with the increase coming strictly from White Catholics (who went from 49% to 57% supporting it). Thus we see that the influence of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Kathleen Sebelius has been swaying Catholics from Church Teaching. In this regard, we must admit the sad reality that most people are "taught" through the media in the form of vicarious learning. Apparently Catholics are no exception in this regard and, due to the vicious circle, do not have the catechetical foundation to understand the depth of the issue.

One final point needs to be made, we must recall that gay marriage is but one issue among many in which Catholic opinion is being shaped by errant politicos and the media rather than the bishops. In addition to the bishops, the silence from parish priests and religious also contributes to the growing number of Catholics who are unclear about Church Teaching on key issues such as homosexuality, contraception, abortion, and euthanasia to name a few. Yes, the circle is vicious and needs to be broken!

Just Keep on Slipping

Without Direction, Sin Worsens

I saw a news report flash across the bottom of a screen about a man who works in a fertility clinic and used his own semen in many procedures. The report stated that he has fathered over 600 children, a feat that would make even King David blush. The secular response will be an increase in regulations to prevent this practice from happening again. Yet it is apparent that more civil laws are not the solution.

If one really examine what happens at most fertility clinics he or she will find that it is a place in which sinful methods are multiplied in order to assist couples with infertility issues. As we already know, "sin creates proclivity to sin." Once on the slippery slope, it is inevitable that one would conclude that it is OK to take the sin one step further. A situation like this should not result in more civil regulations but should make modern Man question the road He is on. A return to moral living is demanded but that return will not happen through a multiplication of laws and regulations. It will require a conversion of heart! May the Church continue to call all souls to that conversion…

Speaking Up

In Favor of Morality

Melissa Moshcella may not speak for the Church but she has spoken well about Church Teaching. The linked article also appeared in the New York Daily News, a secular newspaper that often does not print favorable articles about the Church. While this article could be stronger about the place of sex within Marriage, many of the points made are excellent and, at a minimum, advance the argument into the public square that there is something inherently wrong with contraception and abortion.

For those interested, a very good series is available on YouTube from the Catholic Information Center. Here is just one segment from the larger discussion:

The Good Old Days

Where Have They Gone?

There was a time when spirited dialogue was the rule of the land. In fact, the United States was built upon and sustained by the desire to have open and true dialogue in the public square. In following the current discussions on the freedom of conscience and the HHS Mandate, it seems that few want to actually have dialogue on the questions at hand. Many of the secular articles have not represented the Church's position, especially with regard to the immorality of contraception, and the online comments attached to some articles/blogs have been downright nasty. It appears there are many who prefer to level attacks against the Church or the bishops as being out of touch or stuck in the middle ages rather than understand the Teaching.

The most interesting attack is that the Church opposes the mandate because it is anti-women. I guess there are many who have forgotten that conjugal relations and contraception involves both men and women...

And So It Is

Hard to be Truly Catholic

We are certainly at a cross road in the Church. It is very difficult to determine where the line is drawn and whether or not it is time to take action. A priest made a decision based on the facts before him to deny Holy Communion to a lesbian who had made her orientation known to him beforehand. As is the general rule, unless there is the possibility of public scandal, anyone who presents himself or herself for Holy Communion should not be denied. The sad reality is that today there are many who receive Holy Communion while in an unworthy state (i.e., not in a state of Grace) while others use the opportunity to "make a statement." Those unworthy should not come forward to receive and certainly should not put the priest in a difficult pastoral circumstance, especially if he is aware of a person's state.

Canon 915 speaks of denying Holy Communion to someone in manifest grave sin. The key here is that the sin is public and there is no equally public sign of contrition or remorse. By the same token, the sin must be "manifest," which means that it is clear and obvious to others. If it is manifest, then something need be done. The hard question is "what?"

While there is not easy way to deal with such a situation, the Church needs to take the opportunity to catechize the faithful about Sin and being in the state of Grace in order to receive Holy Communion. Generally speaking, most people who should refrain from coming forward for Holy Communion still come to receive. In these cases, the sin may not be "manifest" and thus the person should not receive on his or her own initiative. But most today do not understand this to be the case and still present themselves nonetheless.

In this regard, the U.S. bishops have prepared a document meant to teach the faithful about receiving worthily. Like so many other teachings, this particular document should be entered into the growing database of what constitutes catechetical illiteracy. In the end, the responsibility remains on priests, religious, and teachers to work toward correcting the level of illiteracy in helping people attain the Kingdom of heaven. Unfortunately, the catechetical failure has been widespread and will take a long time to correct. It has to start somewhere and maybe this situation can be a starting point for many.

Mandating Cancer

The Irony in the Mandate

Interesting how no one has yet talked about the how the HHS Mandate, which is based on delivering “health care” to women, is actually asking insurance companies to pay for treatment that can cause cancer. Although the mainstream media has failed to report on it, using the pill has been directly linked to an increased chance of breast cancer later in life.

How ironic that this supposed medical treatment that insurance companies are forced to cover has ill effects that are ignored by the medical community?

No Rush

Debate the Issues

As has been in the news, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh has launched a personal attack against the Georgetown Law student who testified regarding the mandate. In so doing, he has drawn much attention to his radio program and himself but has done serious damage to the cause at hand. For someone who has made his life’s work pointing out the error of the liberal media, he has played right into their hands. In his vitriolic attack, he has provided a victim that can be put on posters everywhere. Even before his tirade, the media was already portraying the issue as a male hierarchy versus women. Now there is a face for the woman.

It is unfortunate how the current form of debate in our country has shifted from issue based to ad hominem. Caustic caricatures of church hierarchy and celibacy have nothing to do with the moral issue underlying the mandate. A law student who wants coverage for her contraceptives has nothing to do with the moral issue underlying the mandate. The personal narratives of lives affected by the mandate fails to address the moral issue underlying the debate. The sad reality today is that no one wants to have an honest discussion on the issues but would prefer discussing stories and narratives.

Until there is a return to honest and open discussion ordered to the Truth, these situations will continue to be convoluted on a good day.

Two in One

The Issues of the Day

In recent weeks, the bishops of the United States have been mired in the conflict over conscience protection. Yesterday, in another battle lost, theUnited States senate voted against protecting the conscience rights of believers and the Catholic Church. This loss should ignite Catholics of all ages to send a message to the government that such actions and laws are not acceptable. In a country that preaches tolerance, the only acceptable intolerance is against Catholics. As anyone who understands war terminology, it is entirely possible to lose a battle but still win the war. But what is the war that is being waged? Are the battles being fought properly focused on achieving the ultimate end? In the former rite of Confirmation, the newly confirmed received a slight slap on the cheek and were sent forth as “soldiers for Christ,” a theology that remains to this day. Are all fully initiated Catholics in the United States members of Christ’s Army in these battles and war? If not, why?

There is no doubt that the real issues in the conscience protection fight are contraception and abortion, which are disordered human acts that violate Divine law and can never be supported by the Church. Digging deeper into what is at stake in this war, we must first recognize it is the beauty of human sexuality that will be ultimately compromised through the secular proliferation of abortion and contraception, which in many ways spawn from the same font of rebel human passions. Thus, as we examine the larger strategy that must be employed in this struggle, we must admit that abortion and contraception are symptoms of a much larger moral dilemma. Any battles fought on these fronts must be focused on promoting the fullness of human sexuality, which must include the fullness of what it means to be human.

Buried in the current rhetoric over conscience protection is the other public assault on human sexuality and marriage. As most of the attention centers on the mandate and violation of conscience, gay marriage continues to spread with little notice. As the bishops focus all their attention and energy on conscience rights, gay marriage continues to become the law of the land, state by state. During the time the bishops attention has been diverted, first
Washington, then New Jersey, and now Maryland, have put forward legislation that directly attacks the Sacrament of Marriage by legalizing gay marriage.

As was noted previously, the antidote to these assaults on the beauty of human sexuality and Marriage is the catechesis given by Pope John Paul II at the beginning of his pontificate. This catechesis was taken from a
book written before he was elected pope but had not been published. In it, he identified the core issue in the catechetical failure in the modern world -- the lack of an adequate anthropology. It is upon this base that he builds the proper understanding of human sexuality, one that is integrated into the ontological structure of being human. Yet many Catholics do not appreciate this depth and beauty, believing instead the secular approach in which pleasure is the only reason for sex. The end of sexuality being unitive and procreative, requiring the matter to be male and female, is no longer even considered as the basis for human sexuality.

For many decades now, the Church has been forming and confirming young men and women to be “good” Christians without giving them ammunition for the battle. Rather than preparing them to be soldiers for the Truth, we ask them to be nice to each other and to make sure they keep doing good deeds without any understanding of what the True Good is. In many ways, the reason so many Catholics are not engaged in the battle is due to the catechetical failure -- they do not know what the Church Teaches and have been given a counterfeit. This failure has occurred both within and outside of our own institutions. As the battles continue, we must arm ourselves with the knowledge of what is truly at stake these days -- the dignity of what it means to be human. How true today, then, are the words of Pope Paul VI in section 17 of Humanae Vitae:

Careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife. Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions.

Take Two

There Are Some Who Speak Up…

After the previous post I came across an excellent article on the Catholic News Agency website. For those who are unfamiliar with it, this site is a great resource for Catholic News and information. On the site is an article written by Archbishop George Lucas on the Teaching with regard to contraception. Of course, just when I thought it might be an article written in a timely fashion as a corrective to what underlies the problem in the mandate, I see it was written in 1997, two years before he became a bishop. In any case, it was relevant then and it is even more relevant today.

Kudos to Catholic News Agency for posting this article and providing links to it during the upheaval caused by the mandate. As has been noted before, while we are behind the eight ball in catechesis regarding contraception (and many other moral issues), this mandate provides an excellent opportunity for the Church to Teach the faithful on this most important moral issue.

Ironically, Pope John Paul II began his pontificate with a series of presentations now known as the Theology of the Body. These presentations were his corrective for the catechetical failure of the modern world in the area of human sexuality. Rather than merely reiterate the Teaching of Humanae Vitae, the pontiff demonstrated the depth and beauty of what it means to be human, which is the basis for this Teaching. In fact, although he notes the whole presentation was to support this great encyclical, he does not refer to it directly until the 115th presentation. This is because he realized just how important it is to understand the whole picture of human sexuality in order to understand the violation contraception does to it. For those who think the Church is out of touch regarding contraception and sexuality should get to know the Theology of the Body. Here is an introduction to it from Christopher West:


The Snowball Grows

Once again, it is important to note that the recent HHS mandate has certainly crossed the line in the area of conscience violation. This violation is certainly one that must be addressed and will require great effort to have it corrected. But the underlying problem of the sin of contraception and the silence of Church leaders in this country continue to grow.

The recent testimony by a Georgetown (Jesuit run) Law student only points out how great the catechetical failure is. This student makes it clear that the university has, for all intents and purposes, become a brothel. Are the Jesuits at all concerned that a student is making a mockery of the Catholicity of their university in this testimony? Of course, this is the same university that makes news on a regular basis for betraying the Catholic Faith on campus so why would the revelation that large numbers of students are hooking up and want the university to pay for their contraception and abortifacients concern them?

The underlying fear in taking a strong stand seems to paralyze the institutions and the hierarchy. The fact of the matter is that this issue is not just a conscience issue. It is a moral issue, first and foremost, which has implications for eternal life. There are no shortage of Catholics who do not understand why mandating contraception is an issue because no one has taught them the Truth. Yet in all the rhetoric we hear each day, there is still no one talking about why contraception is immoral.

Standing up for the Truth may mean the numbers will drop, but so be it.

And So It Continues...

Conscience and Morality

The recent HHS mandate that clearly requires a violation of Catholic conscience continues to make headlines. Apparently everyone has an opinion and no one wants to pursue the Truth. The secular media has certainly mired the question in rhetoric and apparently refuses to allow the Church to present the problem as it truly is -- one of morality. Human sexuality is not a medical condition but a personal human act that must be guided by moral norms, which are ultimately established by God. Violating moral norms and conscience places one in danger of eternal damnation.

In this regard. the Church is not “anti-contraception” or “anti-healthcare” but pro-eternal life. The Church is not imposing Her “views” on society but rather engaged in the works of mercy that impels Her to instruct the ignorant and warn the sinner. Conscience must be pure in this regard -- every person must act “CON SCIENTIA,” that is, “WITH KNOWLEDGE.” The Church, established by Jesus Christ, is tasked with Teaching the fulness of knowledge, that is, knowledge that cannot come from a laboratory or some medical experiment or even a public debate. The Church is not offering a perspective or opinion but stating the Truth about human sexuality and its connection to moral living with an eye on eternal life.

Contrary to the secular claim that the issue is about access to family planning measures, the fact of the matter is there are other ways to plan the spacing and timing of children -- ways that are completely faithful to human nature and honest to the nature of the human sexual faculty called natural family planning. Contrary to the secular media rhetoric that we are dealing with a “health issue,” fertility is not a health “condition” but an integral part of the human sexual faculty, which is integral to the human person. It is not something that is “controlled” by human manipulation but relationally expressed through free human action, ordered to its own end and perfection. Fertility must always be integrated within the whole of human sexuality and understood as a good of Marriage. And sadly, the secular rhetoric has continuously left out this important aspect of the problem at hand.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not note that a great deal of this issue is the U.S. Bishops, Catholic priests, and other Catholic theologians fault. For too long there has been a deafening silence on the immorality of contraception in this country, evidenced in the arguments put forward of the number of Catholics who use artificial means of contraception and have no problem with it. Regardless of the moral and catechetical failure, artificial contraception is still an intrinsic evil and no Catholic can be said to be in “good” standing (aka, a state of Grace) if he or she uses any artificial form of it. This can be extended to anyone who cooperates formally and materially with those who do. It is within the latter that the Church cannot pay for contraception, even for non-Catholics who work in their institutions, as doing so is clearly a form of cooperation. Having heard all the rhetoric, it is extremely disappointing that no one is presenting a public statement with regard to the Truth and speaking of the morality that is at the heart of the issue.

So how much longer do we wait before we start Teaching again?

Job Well Done

Good Homily

A local pastor in the Bronx used the readings this weekend to preach on the diseases in today’s world that destroy Marriages. Here is an audio recording of the homily. This past weekend was World Marriage Day and he was able to show the issues in today’s world that slowly deteriorate Marriages today. Congratulations on a job well done!


The Bishops Have Reacted and the Word is Spreading

In recent weeks, the attacks on Religious Liberty by the current administration have finally pushed the limits for the USCCB and parishes around the country have been asked to read a prepared statement. Many priests took the opportunity to take the challenge one step further and preach on the issue of abortion, which is one of the key moral evils with which we must contend.


We Need to Keep the Ball Rolling…

The recent incursion by the government into religious freedom has mobilized the U. S. Bishops in a way that has not been seen in recent decades. This mobilization is much needed and hopefully will get the attention of the Catholic Faithful. While calling the people to action cannot be an everyday method, it is necessary from time to time to wake up the people. The fact of the matter is that the faithful today are lethargic in regard to the Faith. There are so many reasons for this lethargy. Probably the biggest contributor to this state of affairs is lack of uniform action and teaching. For too long, from one parish to the next or one diocese to the next, people lived under the dominance of relativism, particularly with regard to liturgy and Church teaching. Now more than ever we need the USCCB to unite but that unity must be reflected in Teaching.

The question that remains is whether the bishops will continue to ride the momentum and turn the mobilization into an opportunity for catechesis. The fact of the matter is that most Catholics do not understand the Church’s Teaching on abortion and contraception, much less on a host of many other issues. Coming out of the era of catechetical failure, we now have many Catholics who do not know the depth of the Teaching in these areas. There were leaders in parishes and schools who did not teach the Truths of the Faith and many suffer for it today. Now that the bishops are asking everyone to listen, they can also begin the process of correcting the errors. The process of renewed catechesis must begin at some point and this seems to be an excellent opportunity, hopefully one that will not be wasted.

Catechesis Desparately Needed

Our Own Need to Know More

So many issues in the public forum today indicate the lack of Catholic Formation in many today. In reading the online articles, comments, and blogs on the recent HHS mandate it is evident that our own do not understand the depth and breadth of our Catholic Faith and Teaching. Some comments state that there are “rules” that must be abided by and the rules are made by the pope. Others claim that the prohibition against contraception is not in the Bible and the Church’s Teaching is not binding. Others claim that we are dealing with a health issue, as if sexual activity and pregnancy are diseases. The most common mistake is that many make claims to support the mandate which rely on opinion polls that include Catholics. Yet this latter mistake is the one that is most distressing in that it indicates how many Catholics do not know the Church’s Teaching and that the Teaching is not based on popular vote.

For too long we have not provided a solid foundation in the catechetical programs, leaving many Catholics ignorant of the Truths of the faith. Many of the recent proposals to overhaul Catholic Schools speaks about restoring the Catholic identity to the institutions. However, this identity did not deteriorate overnight and will not be restored overnight. Thus we are dealing with multiple generations of Catholics who are “lost.” The overhaul is very much welcome but will need time and effort to put things back on track. The hard question is -- are those putting the plan into effect qualified enough to address the failure and do they actually have a plan. To say something needs to be done is one thing but to get that accomplished is a whole different problem.

It is at this point that we must always recall that the Church was founded by Christ, is sustained by Christ, and will always belong to Christ. May we all make an offering of these weaknesses we find in the Church today to Christ and ask that He restore the Church through His Grace.

What Are Words For?

Linguistic Gymnastics!

Everyone is aware of the various issues of public morality and the lack of honest discussion due to the dominance of secularism in the public forum. As has been the case for some time, the debates are clouded by misusing certain words and phrases. Since it was first introduced to the public, the notion of “Plan B” has been rejected by the Church for many good reason, most notable the intrinsic evils of abortion and contraception. Yet this has not had any impact on Shippensburg University. It is bad enough that society has made contraception a norm that has been tied into discussion of “health”. Now they are dispensing contraceptives and abortifacients from vending machines and many think that the delivery method is the issue.

To enter this conversation, every Catholic must be clear -- Plan B is NOT only a contraceptive, even though they continue to use this terminology. Albeit reluctantly, there are medical experts who admit it also works as an abortifacient. In both cases, making such items available from an impersonal machine further deteriorates any possibility of encouraging moral behavior in young people. In the battle of words and linguistic manipulation, no one seems to be using the public forum to discuss the root causes of such illicit uses of the sexual faculty and why better catechesis is needed to form good consciences.

Ironically, most Catholics will most likely miss the depth of this issue and become mired in questioning the wisdom of dispensing such things in vending machines. Because they have not been well catechized, the discussion of sexual morality will most likely never enter the discussion. We can play with the language all we want, but in the end all linguistic gymnastics will not impress the Lord on Judgment Day.

Time to Catch Up?

Better Late than Never…

As part of a recent mandate in the United States, yet another piece of civil legislation blurs the lines of morality using “health” language and leaves religious institutions in a vulnerable position. In recent decades, the voice of religious leaders has been slowly minimized on public moral issues, typically claiming certain moral issues as private matters, yet the most recent incursion strikes directly at religious liberty. In this ruling we once again see the meaning of tolerance as proposed by the secularists -- tolerance is a good thing until it is to be given to a religious institution.

It is interesting how some are interpreting the Church’s response to the contraceptive mandate as one in which the Church is attempting to impose morality on others. However, the mandate to cover contraception and abortifacients in all medical coverage is not a matter of the Church telling people what they can or cannot do… it is the government telling the Church what It can and cannot do. Every Catholic should be outraged and take action on this matter. Those in New York State can learn more here about how to send an email to their representative.

Cold Hard Science

Just Because we Can…

As we consider the moral evil of abortion and fertility treatment, we often have to ask whether we are losing sight of the Truth. Today we turn to science for so many things and can say with great confidence that science has made a difference in the world. But science, for the most part, is a detached and disinterested discipline. Science gives facts and options but does not attempt to interpret the morality of its own actions.

To further complicate things today, we have the problem of language, which is reflected in the secular media’s bias in reporting. The New York Times is certainly one of the most influential newspapers in the world. There is no doubt that this influence is known by its writers and staff as they often comment on things in such a manner as to influence the reader to accept a certain view.

A recent article in the magazine section is case in point. The discussion is about the cold science of reproductive services without any comment whatsoever about the morality involved. Not only is there a bias to present such medical science as a positive value that is deemed a good but it avoids presenting any “science” that wold educate the reader with regard to why such procedures are problematic and morally unacceptable. The procreation of new life should result from the most loving and intimate union of persons and that life should be protected at all costs. Just because science can does not mean that science should.

To all those who read anything in the secular media, please remember to read such articles with great care. Often, the treatment of “science” by the secular media is biased and requires a corrective commentary that the author will never include.

Every Now and Then

A Point Can Be Made…

Here is one of those videos that makes an excellent point. The only thing that could strengthen the video is Catholic Teaching on Reconciliation and the need for Sanctifying Grace to be cleansed from the Sin of abortion. A video as compelling as this one should make us wonder why such has not been produced by a Catholic source or even from the USCCB?

For those who watch this video, especially Catholics, remember that professing faith in Jesus Christ is only the first step. It would be great if a version of this video could be produced with an alternate ending that instructs Catholics on what to do following their “180.” Repenting of Sin also requires one to seek Sacramental Absolution and to have the bond of excommunication lifted. But the point made is still compelling… so stick with it.

Can You Say Bias?

Pro-Life Rally and Media Bias!

This weekend will be the annual March for Life in Washington DC. As has been the case for three decades, people will take a public stand on the Right to Life, especially for the weak and forgotten. And has been the case for as many years, even though hundreds of thousands will converge on the Capital -- young and old, male and female, rich and poor -- the media coverage will be minimal and will most likely give as much or more time to the pro-abortion platform. As the video below documents, this perception is more than just speculation -- it is fact.

Who Will Stand Up?

More Than Just Marching!

Each year the March for Life draws hundreds of thousands. While so many will walk the streets of Washington DC, there are many who cannot make the trip for one reason or another. For those who cannot make it, your voice can still be heard. Politicians can be contacted throughout the year and voting booths can send messages. In addition to taking action publicly, the most important action is prayer.

So ask yourself, if not you, who? Who will pray for the 50+ million who have already died? Who will protect the 50+ million who will be killed in the future if abortion remains legal? Stand up for Life!

Life at Its Best

Why Does It Remain a Question

As voters head to the voting booth, it is amazing how many still do not consider voting pro-life as a key issue that will influence their decision. Ironically, those who are pro-abortion and pro-death do choose candidates on their stand on this issue. Yes, we are dealing with a very complicated issue but there should be no equivocation by Catholics about voting pro-life.

Of course, there are many moral issues that now dominate the public discourse. Marriage, religious liberty, sex education, contraception, and many other issues are currently being debated in our society and the Church continues to offer guidance in these areas as well. Yet, generally speaking, these issues are not considered by Catholics who enter the voting booth. Even with some of the debate that could ensue with these other issues, abortion should be an obvious one because an abortion obviously kills an innocent human being. In this regard, everyone agrees that it is wrong to kill an innocent human being until that being is in the womb.

So why is abortion still the law of the land? Could it be because of our Fallen proclivities and our desire to engage in unrestricted sexual pleasure? If not, then why is abortion still legal and why do so few vote for the pro-life candidate?

Contemporary Shepherds

Woe to Blind Guides

Jesus was quoted as pointing out that the leaders and shepherds of his time were “blind guides.” In this sense, He clearly was noting that these shepherds tasked with leading God’s flock in the way of salvation had become misguided by their own rebel passions and proclivities. Rather than focusing on the Truth and the ways of God, they became concerned with their own worldly power structure.

The politicians today, especially those who “claim” to be Catholic, are doing the same thing. The recent mistake on
Marriage that was put into law by Governor Cuomo has left many confused about the reality and even more so about Sin. Whether he like it or not, the governor is more than a politician -- he is a shepherd as well. People will follow him where he leads. In this regard, the authentic shepherds, the bishops, must work even more diligently at evangelizing their own and ensuring the flock does not follow these errant guides.

Catholics should not be fooled with regard to the so-called gay marriage laws. Even though a civil law is passed, it does not trump the moral law as established by God. Thus, even though a
gay person “marries,” the objective moral disorder has not been resolved and the possibility of sinning remains. But, as Jesus tells us, woe to the one who misleads… Where are the voices of moral authority today? Who are the authentic shepherds? If governor Cuomo continues to present himself a shepherd in areas such as this, then the real shepherds are obliged to make sure the faithful know that he is an impostor. Sin and living in Sin are not corrected by changes in civil law.

To those who are today’s guides, we must always recall the words of Jesus in
Matthew 23:13ff, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.” Today more than ever we need True Shepherds and Guides with vision!