According to Progressives I am Racist, “Backward” and “Deplorable” Because, as a Catholic, I …

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  1.  Am pro-life and know that all lives matter :“Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense… (The Church) makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society… The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation… These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do represent a concession made by society and the state…” 1Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia: ““Black lives matter because all lives matter — beginning with the poor and marginalized, but including the men and women of all races who put their lives on the line to protect the whole community.”2

  2. Want immigration policies which join compassion and common sense:

    “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin…Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption.  Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” 3“Family‐based Immigration Reform:  It currently takes years for family members to be reunited through the family‐based legal immigration system. This leads to family breakdown and, in some cases, illegal immigration. Changes in family‐based immigration should be made to increase the number of family visas available and reduce family reunification waiting times.”4Pope Benedict XVI:  “Every state has the right to regulate migration and to enact policies dictated by the general requirements of the common good, albeit always in safeguarding respect for the dignity of each human person.”5

     

  3. Understand that marriage did not come from the state; therefore, cannot be defined by the state:

    “The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman , free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent…”“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.  They are contrary to natural law… Under no circumstances can they be approved… The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible.  This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.  They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity… Homosexual persons are called to chastity…”6
  4. Believe that the government should only do for us what we cannot do for ourselves:

    “Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative.  The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order… The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism.  It sets limits for state intervention.”7“In effect, the federal government has underwritten massive irresponsibility on the part of low-income fathers. They don’t need to act responsibly because the federal government has woven together a massive financial assistance system for single mothers with kids. The result is that multiple generations of low-income Americans have now grown up in neighborhoods almost entirely bereft of a responsible male presence… In fact, spending on these programs has exploded over the past three decades. Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution recently testified that spending on the ten largest federal programs for the poor increased from $126 billion in 1980 to $626 billion in 2011. That’s a $500 billion jump in spending, in real terms (after controlling for inflation). The idea that the entirety of this massive run-up in outlays is off-limits and should not be subject to budgetary scrutiny defies common sense.”8

  5. Know that freedom of religion does not mean that the practice of faith is to be held hostage inside church walls:

    “This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits…”
    “Furthermore, society has the right to defend itself against possible abuses committed on the pretext of freedom of religion. It is the special duty of government to provide this protection. However, government is not to act in an arbitrary fashion or in an unfair spirit of partisanship. Its action is to be controlled by juridical norms which are in conformity with the objective moral order…”
    “Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word…”9


Bishop Fulton J. Sheen: “If by ‘interference in politics’ is meant the interference by the clergy in the political realm of the State, the Church is unalterably opposed to it, for the Church teaches that the State is supreme in the temporal order.  But when politics ceases to be politics and begins to be a religion, when it claims supremacy over the soul of man, when it reduces him to a grape for the sake of the wine of Moloch, when it denied both the freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, when it competes with religion on its own ground, the immortal soul that is destined for God, then religion protests.  And when it does, its protest is not against politics but against a counter religion that is anti-religious.”10

6.  Understand that contraceptives, in vitro fertilization and human cloning are contrary to the dignity of human life because they relegate human reproduction to mere animal breeding: 

Contraception
“The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood.  Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).11

“Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection… The right and lawful ordering of birth demands, first of all, that spouses fully recognize and value the true blessings of family life and that they acquire complete mastery over themselves and their emotions.  For if with the aid of reason and of free will they are to control their natural drives, there can be no doubt at all of the need for self-denial.  Only then will the expression of love, essential to married life, conform to right order. This is especially clear in the practice of periodic continence.  Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms it by giving it a more truly human character.”12

In Vitro Fertilization

“It is quite legitimate, indeed praiseworthy, to try to find ways to overcome infertility. The problem causes great pain and anguish for many married couples.  Since children are a wonderful gift of marriage, it is a good thing to try to overcome the obstacles which prevent children from being conceived and born… But the Bible tells us there are limits to acceptable methods for conceiving a child.  Recall the story of Noah’s unmarried daughters who tried to get their father drunk so that they might have children by him! Obviously not any means can be used to achieve pregnancy… Obviously, IVF eliminates the marriage act as the means of achieving pregnancy, instead of helping it achieve this natural end.  The new life is not engendered through an act of love between husband and wife, but by a laboratory procedure performed by doctors or technicians.  Husband and wife are merely sources for the “raw materials” of egg and sperm, which are later manipulated by a technician to cause the sperm to fertilize the egg.  Not infrequently, “donor” eggs or sperm are used.  This means that the genetic father or mother of the child could well be someone from outside the marriage. .. But even if the egg and sperm come from husband and wife, serious moral problems arise.  Invariably several embryos are brought into existence; only those which show the greatest promise of growing to term are implanted in the womb.  The others are simply discarded or used for experiments.  This is a terrible offense against human life.  While a little baby may ultimately be born because of this procedure, other lives are usually snuffed out in the process… Never are they to be used as a means to an end, not even to satisfy the deepest wishes of an infertile couple.  Husbands and wives “make love,” they do not “make babies.” They give expression to their love for one another, and a child may or may not be engendered by that act of love.  The marital act is not a manufacturing process, and children are not products.”13

Cloning

“There are a number of reasons why someone would try to engender a new human life through cloning. None would be morally legitimate.  For example, a couple may want to use a cell from a dying child to clone another baby as a way of perpetuating the life of the first child.  Obviously, this would not be a continuation of the dying child, but the bringing into being of a new child.  The dying child would become the “progenitor” of a new life without having agreed to it; the new child would not be treated as a unique individual with his or her own identity, but as an extension of another person.

A man or woman might also want to have a baby without getting married or involving a parent of the opposite sex.  Some homosexual people have said that cloning would be a perfect way to have children, because they would not have to marry someone of the opposite sex.  This would be terribly unfair to the child, depriving him or her of a natural father and mother… Most disturbing of all, some researchers want to use cloning to create human beings solely for experimentation and destruction.  They propose to supply genetically matched tissues for treating various diseases by making human embryos from patients’ body cells, then dissecting these developing embryos for their “spare parts.”13

7.  The first responsibility of educating children goes to the parents.  The parents allow the state to educate their children, not vice versa. Therefore, education policies should be made at the state and local level, not federal:

“Parents are the principal and first educators of their children… ‘The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.’… Parents should teach their children to subordinate the ‘material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.’… The state may not legitimately usurp the initiative of the spouses, who have the primary responsibility for the procreation and education of their children.” 14


“In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.”15

“Government, in consequence, must acknowledge the right of parents to make a genuinely free choice of schools and of other means of education, and the use of this freedom of choice is not to be made a reason for imposing unjust burdens on parents, whether directly or indirectly. Besides, the right of parents are violated, if their children are forced to attend lessons or instructions which are not in agreement with their religious beliefs, or if a single system of education, from which all religious formation is excluded, is imposed upon all.”16

 — Given this, the problem is not with Catholicism, but with the group more accurately called “regressive.”

(emphases in the above quotes were retained from the originals, not added)

1 – Excerpts from paragraphs 2272 and 2273 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November 2013.

2 – “USCCB president says violence calls for ‘moment of national reflection’,” by Catholic News Service, http://iobserve.org/2016/07/08/usccb-president-says-violence-calls-for-moment-of-national-reflection/. 7/8/2016.

3 – Excerpt from paragraph 2241, Ibid.

4 – “Catholic Church’s Position on Immigration Reform,” Migration and Refugees Services/ Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/churchteachingonimmigrationreform.cfm, August 2013.

5 – “Immigration:  A Principled Catholic Approach Avoids Emotionalism,” by Samuel Gregg, http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/immigration-a-principled-catholic-approach-avoids-emotionalism, 7/25/2014.

6 – Excerpts from paragraph 1625 and 2357-2359 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November 2013.

7 – Excerpts from paragraphs 1883 and 1885, Ibid.

8 – “Are Catholics required to support a continually expanding welfare state?,” by Carl E. Olson, http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/1341/are_catholics_required_to_support_a_continually_expanding_welfare_state.aspx, 5/11/2012.

9 – Excerpts from Sections 2, 4 and 7 of “Dignitatis Humanae” (Of Human Dignity) encyclical by Pope Paul VI, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html, 12/7/1965.

10 – “The Quotable Fulton Sheen,” edited by George J. Marlin, Richard P. Rabatin and John L. Swan, Doubleday, New York, 1989.  Quote was found in “Characters of the Passion, New York.  P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1946.

11 – Paragraph 2399 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November 2013.

12 – From sections 17 and 21 of “Humanae Vitae” (Of Human Life) encyclical by Pope Paul VI, http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html, 7/25/1968.

13 – “Begotten Not Made:  A Catholic View of Reproductive Technology,” by John M. Haas, PhD, S.T.L., http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/reproductive-technology/begotten-not-made-a-catholic-view-of-reproductive-technology.cfm

14 – Excerpts from paragraphs 1653, 2221, 2223 and 2372 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November 2013.

15 – Paragraphs 1894, Ibid.

16 – Excerpt from Section 5 of “Dignitatis Humanae” (Of Human Dignity) encyclical by Pope Paul VI, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html, 12/7/1965.

 

 

Looking for Truth in a Church, or Just Wanting To Be Comfortable?

Deciding the religion where we believe our faith will grow best is the most important decision of our lives.  From it, we are expecting to receive the necessary guidance for our most important destination – eternal life in Heaven.  This discernment takes top priority, over our choice of career or spouse and even over what nation we choose to be loyal to.1

Some  Suggest  a  Laid-back,  No-Big-Deal  Approach

There has been a strange increase in popularity of the notion that Christians ought to join a church based on where they feel comfortable instead of discerning whether it teaches Truth.2,3  In a disturbing denial of humility, we are being encouraged to be our own experts.  So, if we really do have it all figured out, then why bother?  We can “teach” ourselves and join a congregation just for the camaraderie.  (Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising because many feel that some Commandments don’t apply to them, including the one to attend church at least every Sunday and certain holy day.)

Here are two examples of the proponents for choosing a church using subjective yardsticks.

1)   One site has the “Christian Denomination Selector.”  It contains twenty-four questions regarding religious doctrines or practices, all having the choices “I agree,” “I disagree” and “No preference” with the ability to rate the question’s priority.

2)   “If you belong to a faith community, you’ll benefit even more if you volunteer.  If you don’t belong to one, seek new places of worship that suit your current values and beliefs.”5 (emphasis added)

With minor rewording, these could easily be helpful tips on how to buy a car.

Not  a  Decision  to  be  Taken  Lightly

The impact of this choice goes beyond an individual’s earthly life.  Deciding responsibly will require more research and discernment (especially prayer) than with any other decision.  It would be easy if all Christian churches taught the same doctrine.  Of course, if that were true, then there would be unity in one Church!  Unfortunately, it is not true that “any church is as good as any other.”

Necessary points to consider include:  what does it teach, who founded the church and with what authority, how does it guide formation of conscience, can it distinguish between unchangeable practices and those which may be altered, etc. etc.  The process is not easy, but it will be worth it!

 

1 – As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said, “We’re Catholics before we’re Democrats. We’re Catholics before we’re Republicans. We’re even Catholics before we’re Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us.  And this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries,” (Jeannine Hunter, www.washingtonpost.com, 10/24/2012)
2 — “The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.” — Pope Benedict XVI, 2005, as posted on www.gelvalle.wordpress.com, 3/10/2013 and corroborated by www.catholicglasses.com, 3/31/2012 as having been said to his first audience with German pilgrims
3 – “And, we need to do our part to help promote the healing, the reconciliation, and the authentic liturgical renewal that our Pope is trying to engender. If that means that we have to come out of our comfort zones a bit, well then, so be it. Just look at the Cross and ask yourself if He would do any less for you. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say, ‘Jesus came to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable.’” (John Martignoni, www.menofstjoseph.com, 11/23/2011)
4 – by Mike Hopkins, www.SelectSmart.com, November 2001.  Was referred to by Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist on its WordPress.com blog, article posted on 1/7/2011
5 – “Give Yourself a Happiness Makeover,” (quote was part of item #7 in a 10-step article) by Dan Buettner, AARP-The Magazine, February/March 2013

A Coincidence, or a Sign Which Aided the Pope’s Decision?

Contemplating Pope Benedict XVI’s decision-making impresses on me the enormity of what he must have gone through in considering resignation.  While papal resignation wouldn’t be a precedent, it was, after all, something which last occurred between the lives of Geoffrey Chaucer and Christopher Columbus.1

None of us can presume to know how he thought and prayed about the possibility of resigning.  However, it’s safe to assume that he was more concerned about doing the right thing in the eyes of God than he was with the history he might be making.

As I was catching up on some reading yesterday, the day of his announcement; I came across the article covering Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, whose resignation had been accepted on December 19.  He had been the Chaldean patriarch since December 3, 2003 and had been made a cardinal by Pope Benedict in November 2007.  It also said, “The 85-year old resigned for age and health reasons, the Italian newspaper La Stampa reported.”

I can’t help wondering, slightly wistfully, did the mere request of the patriarch or did something he may have said in his resignation request have an impact on the Pope’s discernment?  That the patriarch was also born in 1927 and had the courage to make the same difficult decision might have caught the attention of the Pope in a special way.

Maybe he’ll tell us someday.  Either way, I’m confident that his decision is in concert with God’s Will for him and the Church!


1
– Wikipedia
2National Catholic Register, 1/13/2013

The Pope’s Resignation and Our Trust in the Holy Spirit

Surprise events like Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement today that he will resign at the end of the month bring a wide range of emotions depending on the individual.  For starters, losing one of the greatest theologians to serve as pope is distressing.  I sorted through various feelings, arriving in staccato fashion, in a matter of minutes.  I soon realized that my primary concern was that an old nemesis, apprehension to change, was ascending to the top of the list.

This has been a nuisance companion dating back to my pre-memory days.  It all started when we moved from my first home, an apartment, to a two-family house.  I was seventeen months old at the time and my mother wasn’t with me because she was at the hospital having my first sister.  Life seemed out of control that day, as I have been told!  Other changes, perhaps not intentionally disruptive, nevertheless left their impressions over the years.  In all cases, however, fallible humans were involved.

But this will not be an issue as a new pope is chosen.  This verse keeps resonating: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

What more reassurance do I need than these words from our Savior?  The Holy Spirit will guide the coming conclave once again as it elects the 267th pope.  We’re in the best of hands!

 

1 – Matthew 16:18 as quoted in “What Catholics Really Believe,” Nineveh’s Crossing, Novi, Michigan, 2010

Administration Accelerates Intolerance of Truth

Pastor Louie Giglio is the Latest Example

The politically correct events of the last few years have made it much easier to empathize with Moses and his sense of betrayal when he came down from the mountain with The Ten Commandments.  When he found his people reveling in all kinds of disordered behavior and idolatry he knew that the consequences for their actions weren’t going to be pretty.

Here was a people who had been freed from slavery by more than its own efforts (by God’s intervention). The same nation which had professed an undying love and respect for the Creator was now re-enslaving itself to the Prince of Darkness, the Master of Deception.  The same I-know-what’s-best-for-me pride which got him bounced from Heaven had now been embraced by the people Moses had gone out on a limb for when he challenged the pharaoh.  It was, indeed, a sad day for truth.  It was also the beginning of forty years of wandering in the desert.

Fast forward to the 21st century.  Here we have the United States.  This is a nation which was freed from political bondage by more than its own efforts (only to speak His name invites derision now).  It won a war of independence which no odds makers would have bet on.  The nation survived a devastating civil war and moved on to greater times (although it took a century to make real civil rights part of its laws).  It has thrived despite world wars and other violence determined to destroy peace.   It has been a nation which instituted an annual day of thanks to God, while at the same time graciously protecting the rights of those who choose not to believe in Him.

Our  Moses  Moments

If Moses were alive today, he would have felt the same deep betrayal.  Over the last forty years, a nation which has been given more than any other in recorded human history has found ways to rationalize an intrinsic evil and call it a “reproductive right” and now is justifying the enabling of disordered behavior and calling it “marriage equality.”

To defend natural law, which no one us has the authority to rescind, invites the same verbal persecution formally reserved for real villains like King Herod, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Idi Amin just to name a few.  Pastor Louie Giglio realized this and “resigned” from giving the benediction at President Obama’s second term inaugural after groups took issue with a sermon he gave in the 1990s.

Public  Opinion  Cannot  Change  Scientific  and Moral  Truths

In his talk, he acknowledged that the “gay”1 movement is aiming “to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family… “It is a sin in the eyes of God.”2

 Technically, no temptation is a sin by itself.  It becomes one only if a person acts on it or dwells on it to spiritually dangerous levels.  So, while the clip of his 1990s sermon did not make it clear that he was addressing the acting out of homosexual tendencies and not just the temptations, we get the gist of his point whereas his detractors do not.  Morally speaking, he was correct.  By the way, all heterosexual activity outside of marriage is just as wrong.  Scripture is not picking on homosexuals, because we are all sinners.  Rather, it addresses all unacceptable behavior and states how we are to live if we are to be in harmony with God’s will.  Public opinion has been trying for generations to justify “free sex,” too, without recognizing that moral truths are not subject to referendum.

The same goes for scientific truths.  The understanding of nature should not change in our science publications because a grass roots effort simply takes a disliking to one aspect of the universe.  Unfortunately, that is what the American Psychiatric Association did in 1973 (a watershed year for bad decisions, re: Roe v. Wade).  In the early 1970s, it issued an update on its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders known as the “DSM.” At that time, “the ancient DSM-II had labeled homosexuality as a disorder till public reaction led to its removal in 1973.”3  Apparently, the label “ancient” was used to imply that parts of Natural Law have a shelf-life.  In any event, the change came about because of current fad.

Who’s  Next?

Pastor Giglio is by no means the first to experience intolerance from a self-proclaimed enlightened group.  Rebellion by spiritually adolescent organizations has been around since before the days of Moses’ trials with the Israelites.

A current movement is afoot to garner enough signatures to require a White House response to its claim that the Catholic Church is a hate organization because of Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks last month regarding the inherent dignity and unchanging nature of marriage when he said,”This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation… When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears.4

When eternal truths are discarded and their defenders are in danger, our outlook isn’t pretty once again.  In this case, God won’t have to make us wander for another forty years.  We are doing it on our own by, in a sense, discarding His map for a happy life and are relying on GPS’s calibrated by the same Master of Deception who turned Moses’ Israelites toward evil.

1 – Euphemisms and other literary devices are commonly used to disguise a wrong or misrepresent something which contrary to an agenda.  Thus, we have a new, erroneous concept labeled “marriage equality,” which has nothing to do with the equally inherent dignity of the man and woman involved with the sacrament.  Other people aren’t “pro-life,” they’re called “anti-abortion,” as if being against a form of murder was deserving of criticism.  Others aren’t against intrinsically disordered behavior, but are called “homophobic,” a particularly devious term because the opponents of “gay rights” are not disturbingly afraid of human beings/mankind as the manufactured word states.
2 – MSNBC news, 1/10/2013
3 – Kent Sepkowitz, Newsweek, 12/17/2012
4 – Vatican.va, translation of the Pope’s message, 12/21/2012

NEITHER THE CHURCH, NOR THE STATE, CAN REDEFINE MARRIAGE

This should be an easy concept to understand:  absolutely no one has the authority to change the Ten Commandments or the sacraments, which obviously includes marriage.  These are divinely inspired and they stand for all time.  In today’s parlance, God is the author and retains all rights, explicit or implied.

BILL  BEFORE  THE  ILLINOIS  STATE  LEGISLATURE

What set my fingers to tapping on the keyboard this time was a news article about yet another legislative group which is being presumptuous enough to vote on legalizing “gay marriage.”  In this case, the Illinois state legislature will vote on its bill before the next assembly is sworn in on January 9.1

A declaration was issued by “more than 250 Illinois clergy” who stated their support by for the bill noting that “fostering faith, justice and compassion is a key component of their jobs.” 1 (While my article is addressing how attempting to redefine marriage contradicts Scripture and Church teaching, I must also point out that they are incorrect in calling church leadership a “job.”  Leading God’s flock is one of the three “vocations” [from the Latin “vocare” which means  “to call” or “to summon”].2  That is why candidates for the priesthood go through a period of discernment involving not just study, but prayer, reflection and guidance from experienced priests and their bishop. The man and the Church must have a significant degree of certainty that he is being called to this life, not just wanting, to be.)

WHAT  IS  A  VALID  MARRIAGE?

Our human sexuality is a gift from God; thus, from the beginning of our existence we have been bound by His rules on this.  Scripture and Church teaching have always been clear that sexual relations outside of a validly married man and woman are serious wrongs.  Valid marriages are described in many ways.  Here are a few:

1)  Genesis 2:24 “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.”3
      
2)  Mark 10:6-8 “But form the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife] and the two shall become one flesh.’”3

3)  1 Peter 3:7  “Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.”4

(Note:  The term “weaker sex” refers to general strength differences, not implied inferiority.)  All of the myriad of Biblical references to marriage describe a union of one man and one woman.  “Same sex marriages” are not part of God’s design.

HOMOSEXUAL  ACTS  ARE  SERIOUS  WRONGS

Again, both the Old and New Testaments are clear and in agreement:

1)  Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.”3

2)  Romans 1:25-27 “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshipped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions.  Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another.  Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.”3

3)  1 Corinthians 6:10 “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 3

Homosexual actions are “disordered behavior” (see next section).  So, when the declaration supports “equality for same-sex couples,”1 it must be reaffirmed that the Church cannot grant equality between spiritually healthy actions and disordered ones.

CHURCH  TEACHING  IS  CONSISTENT  WITH  SCRIPTURE

Paragraph 2357 of the Catechism includes this on homosexuality: “… It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures.  Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.  Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’  They are contrary to the natural law…” 5

This statement and the verses listed earlier contradict Rev. Kevin Tindell’s (New Dimensions Chicago and one of the Illinois clergy supporting the bill) assertion that “It has nothing to do with natural order…”With all due respect, it has everything to do with natural order, which God created from the beginning and which no human has the authority to change.

Rev. Tindell continued with, “and everything to do with support, family and love.”The Church does instruct us to support individuals with such inclinations.  Paragraph 2358 of the Catechism states: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not neglible.  They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. [“trial” meaning a challenge, not an experiment (my clarification)]  They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.  These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they encounter from their condition.”5

“DISCRIMINATE”  HAS  TWO  MEANINGS

Where well-meaning people may become confused is with the term “unjust discrimination.”  In addition, what is often forgotten is that the word “discrimination” has two meanings, the now more popular legal aspect and the original definition.

1)  The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
2)  Recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.6

Discrimination does not always pertain to matters of fairness.  To discriminate can also mean to discern differences.  The Church recognizes that differences in behavior are due to our fallen state as human beings.  When a behavior falls outside of what Scripture says is acceptable, the Church has no authority to say “it’s OK” even though the secular world has rationalized it otherwise.

Likewise, “sexual orientation” may have become a protected legal issue when it pertains to things like housing and employment.  However, civil law cannot make it apply to marriage because:  1) it is contrary to the entire concept of marriage itself and 2) civil law has no authority to define something not originating from that law.

JESUS  WAS  COMPASSIONATE,  BUT  NOT  AN  ENABLER

Often we hear of people’s desire to be compassionate to “gay” individuals and to invent a category of same-sex unions so that they may share the same legitimacy which heterosexual married couples have.  While we are always called to love the sinner in his struggles, we cease showing true love to him/her if we also condone the wrongdoing.  By enabling disordered behavior, we risk serious eternal consequences for all involved.

Jesus loved the sinner, but was intolerant of sin.  We can recall the way He dealt with the scribes and Pharisees who wanted to trap him on the issue of the woman caught in adultery.  The law at that time required for her to be stoned to death.  Jesus, whose life and eventual sacrifice represented the New Law, refused to condemn her.  He made His point firmly when he acknowledged the existing law’s penalty, but ordered that “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”However, while He forgave her sin, He also reminded her of the gravity of the wrongdoing by instructing her to “… Go, [and] from now on do not sin [any more].”8

WHAT  IS  TRUE  COMPASSION   AND  TRUE  LOVE?

The Church teaches that compassion should be in the forefront of our actions.  When assisting a fellow human being with a challenge, we must do so in a way which respects the person’s dignity.  However, the Church would be abdicating her responsibility if she ignored those differences which conflict with God’s design for the human race, His creation not ours.  To suggest that homosexuality can be legitimized as a form of marriage would be as nonsensical as expecting the Church to disregard the Commandments regarding adultery and coveting thy neighbor’s spouse for those who have a seemingly uncontrollable desire for heterosexual activity with persons they are not married to.

Compassion means being supportive and not judging harshly when someone fails over and over despite sincere attempts at conquering a moral weakness.  True love means a desire to aid the individual, without becoming an accessory to the weakness.  For example, an alcoholic may have a genetic cause for his predisposition to drink excessively.  Loving behavior would be to encourage him in his attempts to remain sober, not to give him a few bottles and say “I’ll pray you don’t hurt anyone.”

THE  FAMILY  IS  AT  STAKE,  TOO

Rev. Tindell’s statement tried to associate the acceptance of homosexual so-called marriage with promoting the good of the family.  This is not accurate if we understand the actual origin of the family and from whom it came.  As Pope Benedict XVI said recently, “Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.9

PROTECTING  AN  ALREADY   INALIENABLE  RIGHT?

Supporters of the Illinois bill also said, “The important thing is that the Religious Freedom Protection and Marriage Fairness Act protects religious freedom and guarantees that all faiths will decide which marriages should be consecrated and solemnized within their tradition.”How generous of the bill’s authors!  However, as I recall, freedom of religion is already an inalienable right and, just to make sure, we have the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”  Perhaps the authors were hoping to distract the defenders of marriage from the illogic of the bill by pretending to add protection to something which is technically already secure (the infamous HHS mandate notwithstanding).

IN  CONCLUSION

The state has no authority to redefine marriage or to dictate its terms as it did not create the institution.  It regulates the secular legal effects of marriage insofar as they impact inheritance or if the man and woman decide to go separate ways.  In other words, it handles the materialistic effects of marriage.  However, marriage is much more than its tangible aspects.  The inherent reason for marriage, its spiritual origin and commitment, is far beyond the state’s authority.  Its interference on this level is as absurd as if it decided that gravity represented an unreasonable burden and should be banned from the universe.

The Church is responsible for administering the sacrament of marriage.  However, it too, cannot redefine marriage.  That is the domain of its creator, God Himself.  Recognizing that His truths are eternal, then everyone might as well accept the fact that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.  This definition is reality: past, present and future.

1Hamilton JournaNews,12/29/2012, article by Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune
2www.ablemedia.com, Latin-to-English site
3The New Catholic Answer Bible, Fireside Catholic Publishing, Witchita, KS, 2005
4The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Thomas Nelson & Sons, Camden, NJ, 1966
5Catechism of the Catholic Church, Liguori Publications, 1994
6 – google.com
7– John 8:7, The New Catholic Answer Bible, Fireside Catholic Publishing, Witchita, KS, 2005
8 – John 8:11, Ibid.
9 – Vatican.va, translation of the Pope’s message, 12/21/2012

FISCAL CLIFF: OBAMUNISM POISED TO WIN EITHER WAY, U.S. LOSES EITHER WAY

The debate on whether President Obama is truly a communist or merely acts like one will probably make the rounds up until his wife begins to run for the presidency – four long and potentially devastating years from now.  (Michelle Obama cannot be discounted.  After all, she is a lawyer – the most popular occupation of Democratic presidential candidates and its movers-and-shakers over the last thirty years.  It was her insider’s knowledge and connections which helped launch an otherwise nondescript Barack Obama into the political forefront in Chicago.)  Whether one believes Xavier Lerma:  “He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so.  How shrewd he is in America. His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance.  They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion,” 1 or Sam Webb, national chairperson of the CPUSA:  “We meet on the heels of an enormous people’s victory.  It was a long and bitterly contested battle in which the forces of inclusive democracy came out on top. The better angels of the American people spread their wings,”2 the issue can be settled simply by observing the President’s actions.

THE  “SAVIOR”  AND  OBAMA-AYERS  CONNECTION

A totalitarian state comes to power either by force or when a citizenry willingly submits itself to what it believes to be its only hope, its “lord and savior” as we have already heard Jamie Foxx say of Obama.   (Force was the modus operandi of William Ayers and his cronies when they published “Prairie Fire – The Politics of Anti-Revolutionary Imperialism” in 1974, but they have adjusted their tactics probably due to the complexity of the U.S. which relegates force to an “end game” if necessary.  Incidentally, the book was dedicated to numerous individuals, including Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy’s assassin.)

Despite Obama’s attempts to minimize his connection to Ayers, there are numerous examples of Obama-Ayers interactions in the public.  They include:

1)  Collaboration on a school reform program, the “Chicago Annenberg Challenge”
2)  Serving together on the board of the Woods Fund, a charity organization
3)  Being on a panel about juvenile justice (organized by Michelle Obama) and others3

THE  ASCENT  TO  OVERTAKING  A  NATION

Therefore, how does an aspiring despot arrive to his lofty position?  There must be a seemingly endless flow of crises.  Or as taken from “Prairie Fire:”

“Our intention is to disrupt the empire, to incapacitate it, to put pressure on the cracks, to make it hard to carry out its bloody functioning against the people of the world, to join the world struggle, to attack from the inside.”
“Our intention is to engage the enemy, to wear away at him, to harass him, to isolate him, to expose every weakness, to pounce, to reveal his vulnerability.” 3

When a godless society feels overwhelmed, the people begin grasping for any promise of help, regardless of its insanity.  Or as Lerma added about the success of Obama in a crisis,“His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance.”1

DEMISE  BEGINS  WITH  THE  ECONOMY,  PLUS  CLEVER  PR

This is not to accuse Obama of creating all of the serious problems facing us.  Far from it.  He deftly diffused outspoken New Jersey Republican Governor Christie with his now infamous arm-around-the-shoulder after the destruction of Superstorm Sandy.

In addition, Obama has shown a remarkable ability to aggravate any crisis in the bud.  Take the federal debt.  It was already doing poorly when he took office in 2009.  Federal budgets were going out of control so, instead of carefully maneuvering the economy, as a Formula I driver would around dangers, he simply floored it to a new total of $16 trillion.  His “fiscal cliff” pseudo-negotiations have demanded a year of “no debt ceiling” then, maybe, he would discuss spending cuts.  At this point, the “promise” of discussing his small cuts at such a late date should conjure up an image of Wile E. Coyote desperately jerking the steering wheel as he plunges earthward.  If only our problems could be fixed in the next frame like a cartoon.

IGNORANCE  IS  BLISS  UNTIL …

But yet, how could we possibly accept this budgetary situation so unwittingly?  Even Putin and the former Soviet Union figured it out.  As he was quoted, “During the time of the Soviet Union the role of the state in economy was made absolute, which eventually lead to the total non-competitiveness of the economy. That lesson cost us very dearly. I am sure no one would want history to repeat itself.”1

Lerma’s article went on to say, “President Vladimir Putin could never have imagined anyone so ignorant or so willing to destroy their people like Obama much less seeing millions vote for someone like Obama. They read history in America don’t they? Alas, the schools in the U.S. were conquered by the Communists long ago and history was revised thus paving the way for their Communist presidents. Obama has bailed out those businesses that voted for him and increased the debt to over 16 trillion with an ever increasing unemployment rate especially among blacks and other minorities. All the while promoting his agenda.”1

PUT  RELIGION  IN  ITS  PLACE

”The red, white and blue still flies happily but only in Russia.  Russia still has St George defeating the Dragon with the symbol of the cross on its’ flag.  The ACLU and other atheist groups in America would never allow the US flag with such religious symbols. Lawsuits a plenty against religious freedom and expression in the land of the free. Christianity in the U.S. is under attack as it was during the early period of the Soviet Union when religious symbols were against the law.” 1

UNDERMINE  THE  BASIC  UNIT  OF  SOCIETY  (THE  FAMILY)

Contaminating a society with disordered behavior under the guise of “inclusiveness” or “equality” is also an effective disruptive tool.  Anyone aware of history knows that no society has ever flourished when the basic family unit was replaced with a variety of behaviors contrary to natural law.  Check out Sodom, Gomorrah and the Roman Empire.

As Pope Benedict XVI said in his annual “state of the Church” address at the Vatican, as reported by USA Today, that opposition to gay marriage is a way of defending humanity.  The article also said, “The address echoed his recently released annual peace message, which said gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia are threats to world peace.”4

Of course, the Pope and the Church do not refer to “gay marriage” as such because that euphemism would be legitimizing something which is intrinsically disordered.  The Pope’s actual translated statement was as follows: “Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.5

FINALLY,  WEAKEN  THE  MILITARY  TO  INEFFECTIVENESS

Now that we have a disintegrating financial situation and a society which is abandoning the family unit, what’s left to knock out and finalize collapse?  The military is a good place to start.  If the country falls over the “fiscal cliff,” major cuts will be made to the defense budget.  While not all of the crippling effects will be immediate, the erosion will be noticeable nonetheless.  Even worse, will be the impact on civilian companies who produce much of the military’s advanced weaponry.  As contracts decrease, many firms will not be able to remain solvent. Lose sophisticated manufacturers, and one cannot simply flip a switch to revive them when the mistake is realized.

Chairman Obama wins one way or another:  either he gets absurd liberties with the debt ceiling with no commitment to curb the spending which is devouring our nation or the military takes a hit.

POLLS  GIVE  OBAMA  CONFIDENCE

The President is also a master of public opinion.  Despite his obvious lifetime connection to ideologies opposing the vitality of a United States republic, he continues to win the popularity measurements.  As Fox News reported yesterday, the most recent Gallup poll shows that Obama has a likeability rating in the 50s with regard to the “cliff” while Republicans in the House have been saddled with a rating in the 20.7  Its conclusion is that a majority of Americans will not blame the President for any damage caused by going over the “cliff.”

WHAT’S  NEXT?

As a nation, we missed the opportunity to do something constructive seven weeks ago.  Two options are left:

1)   Pray that all members of Congress accept the wisdom which God may grant them.  I will not be intimidated by the smirks of those who will label me as hopelessly outdated.  Washington and his troops had no earthly reason to expect victory, especially during the winter of Valley Forge.  After the incredible surge to victory for independence, he emphasized where our thanks were due.  As USA Today stated last month, “While a few modern critics might be rankled by, as Washington’s proclamation puts it, an official ‘day of public thanksgiving and prayer,’ for most Americans the holiday stands as an enduring reminder of Washington’s wise vision for American religious freedom.”8
The current spiritual winter is of our own making.  The God of today is the same as in the 18th century and always will be, even beyond time itself.  We are the ones who have changed.  Let’s give him a little thought because we cannot fix this by ourselves.

2)   Pray and work actively to charitably inform those who don’t know or seemingly don’t want to know the entire picture.  It would be an utter shame and disgrace for the Greatest Generation to be followed by the Worst Generation.

1 – Xavier Lerma, pravda,ru web site, 11/19/2012
2 – Sam Webb, national chairperson of the Communist Party USA, main report to its National Committee, 11/17/2012
3www.zombietime.com, 10/22/2008
4 – USA Today article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/22/2012
5 – Vatican.va’s text of the Pope’s message, 12/21/2012
6– Fox News, television interview, aired 12/28/2012
7 – Jon Scott, Fox News, quoting Gallup, aired 12/28/2012
8www.principledpolicy.com, 11/24/2012