Monday, December 26, 2016

Secular Media Gives More Backhanded Insults to the Church Hierarchy

I came across an article in the New York Times that talked very highly of the new Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, while at the same time very slyly made it seem that Cardinal Tobin was different from any bishop not only in Newark, but virtually across the globe as he fancies himself a regular guy who asks others to call him "Joe" when trying to work out clandestinely at the gym.
"As the pope has made clear over the past three years, fancy lifestyles, formality and regal titles like Prince of the Church are out of style for cardinals. So is an emphasis on the divisive issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, even though the church’s underlying position on those issues has not changed.
"Instead, in the pope’s view, the church should emphasize humility and service to the poor. It should be multicultural, welcoming different styles of worship. It should reach out to other faiths and stand up for immigrants, refugees and nuns.
"And that, church experts and members of his flock say, is a close description of the priorities of Cardinal Tobin, who will be heading east just after Christmas to lead the approximately 1.5 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Newark."
Of course, we have to remember this is the same New York Times that "doesn't get religion". One commenter on the article observed how:
"The phrase 'different kind of Cardinal' seems to condemn all other cardinals as "the same" in the sense of indistinguishable from each other and lacking all of the positive characteristics this particular Cardinal exhibits. How is that not a backhanded insult to the other Cardinals, to the leadership of the Church in general and divisive purely by implication? The press certainly doesn't get religion and demonstrates that fact by pushing its own leftist views on what it is that makes Cardinals 'different' in any laudable sense."
Still other commenters, among them Catholic, praised the article as "excellent" or "splendid". Really? Let's take a closer look at this, but please be sure to read the entirety of the NYT article before going on.How this article can be called "excellent" or "splendid" is beyond me. There's some awesome bits in there about Cardinal Tobin's life and his devotion to the souls he pastors, but it's obvious the article (and its author) has an agenda to push with all its insinuations on the characters of many other prelates in the Church. So what if Cardinal Myers preferred to be called "Your Grace"? That, and they give no evidence of him preferring to be addressed as such, and even if he did I'm sure he wouldn't mind if he wasn't addressed by that title, as the article insinuates.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Differing Interpretations of Amoris Laetitia

As we get to the end of the new year, the controversey stemming from the varying interpretations of Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia grows more and more concerning. From distressing rumors to new interviews with those who submitted the dubia, it seems that our Church and our leaders need lots of prayer heading into 2017. Not too long ago, I was engaged in a discussion with someone on one Catholic apologist's Facebook wall. It was pretty amicable. I was trying to show how the varying interpretations of Amoris Laetitia, and those coming from just the U.S., are already contradictory, and prove why the dubia is definitely needed. Here is the great, original post from apologist Dave Armstrong's wall:
My Opinion as to Pope Francis Answering the Four Cardinals' "Dubia"
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
I stated many times in the combox for my long recent post on the topic that I think it would be good for him to answer and clarify: that it is *always* better to clarify than not to. 
I'm very reluctant to criticize the pope at all, due to my very strong Catholic reverence for the office (NOT due to some silly notion that he can never be criticized, which I have NEVER believed), but I have to call it as I see it, as an apologist who may be asked about it. 
I know from my own experience as a writer and apologist (which is a teaching function), that writers can be misinterpreted. Writing is an inexact art and we are too often insufficiently clear and precise: all the more so in proportion to the complexity of the subject matter. 
So if I am asked questions about *my* meaning and intent, I'm always quick (and glad) to clarify. In fact, I *appreciate* the opportunity, because I figure that if this one person didn't accurately understand me (either through his fault or mine, or both), chances are there are many others out there who also didn't. It helps no one, and hinders the development of a topic, to not be properly understood. 
Infinitely more so for the pope, who is the leader of all Catholics and our supreme teacher, if any one person can be said to be so . . . 
This topic (exactly who in difficult marital situations can receive Holy Communion, and why) is, of course, very complex, too. So that is a second good reason, I believe, and humbly submit, for him to clarify. 
Whether a non-answer "proves" he is a liberal or heterodox in general and/or on the disputed point, is another matter entirely. I would think not; however, it may very well make him *look* like he is, or that he is being "stubborn" or unnecessarily intransigent, or lacking pastoral and prudential wisdom, etc.. and that isn't good, especially given the wide and ever-growing "skepticism" or criticism sent his way, about this, and in general.
It's becoming increasingly inexplicable why he would not simply clarify the thing and be done with it. Again, that's not the same as denying that he may have a good reason; only to assert that it is difficult (as this thing becomes more and more controversial) to speculate as to what it might be. 
I'm not even denying that there can be any number of "hard cases" where communion for at least one party is perfectly admissible according to traditional Catholic morality and discipline. But, as the questions indicate, complexities and confusion need to be cleared up as to specifics. It's also true that those who have nefarious heterodox intent (as I believe I have already written in the past) will exploit any confusion or (rightly or wrongly) perceived "loopholes" as a license to depart from true Catholic practice, just as they did with Vatican II and the reform of the Mass. Yet another good reason to clarify with great specificity... 
I haven't reversed myself, compared to what I wrote before, because I said this many times in the comments under my post, but one might say I have considerably "developed" my opinion and have a little bit more perplexity (in terms of speculation) than I had when I wrote my piece. 
In my opinion (as a mere lay apologist), I think in the *very least* that it would be good for the Holy Father to tell us why he is *not* answering, should he definitely decide not to. But better to answer...
The conversation that followed is below, with my words in blue, Dave's in green, another person's in orange, and my interlocutor's in red:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Transgender Movement Is Not Beneficial to Our Children

God have mercy on us all. That's all I can think of when I see things like this popping up in my news feeds throughout the day. National Geographic has come out fully in support of the transgender movement that believes each people (both children and adults) have the right to define their gender/sex/identity (whatever other vogue words one wants to include to talk about one's sex) as they see fit, even if it's in contradiction to the realities literally in front of them. It's pretty clear by the editor of the magazine's statement regarding the issue in question, that this is the case and wishes to "spark thoughtful conversations about how far we have come on this topic"; and in saying we've "come so far" on the subject of transgenderism, he refers to the "progress" that many in or current culture believe can only come from when we subvert objective realities and traditional thoughts in favor of a brave new world that really doesn't look so "brave" after all.
Bernardino Luini- The Christ Child and the Infant John the Baptist with a Lamb

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Is Praying Towards the East During Mass "Rubbish"?

On the ever hilarious Catholic Memes page, a new meme was posted regarding the ad orientem kerfuffle that's been going on since the Second Vatican Council... but more recently since Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Sarah, addressed a liturgical conference earlier this summer in London. Now before I go on, I get the joke that is trying to be made in this meme, pictured below with everyone's favorite green Muppet, Kermit. But not everyone does when first reading this meme. Apparently, there have been a few bishops in the US and UK who have told their priests that they should not (note, not barred) expect to perform the Ordinary Form of the Mass ad orientem, or with both priest and congregation facing the altar in prayer.

I personally do not like this meme as the meaning can be misconstrued, especially for someone who has no foreknowledge of what has been going on the past few months. At first glance, it looks like the meme is advocating that priests and laity should disobey their bishops. Do I think it's funny? Yes, but the way it was executed is pretty bad. I think there was a better way to make the joke, and to make the meme not appear as if it were giving approval to someone disobeying their bishop.

That being said, there was of course, a fiery discussion ongoing in the comments section, and one caught my eye. hence, the title of this blog post. One Latin Catholic woman (in red) said the following, with another Latin Catholic man (in green) responding to her. Many of the things she says are nonsensical, especially her assertion that since "God is in our midst", there's no reason to face the altar in a common orientation. If that were the case, then it shouldn't be a problem if, when we're about to receive Communion and the priest holds up the Eucharist saying "the Body of Christ", we turn around facing the people behind us and say "Amen"! But of course that would be a problem! Not to mention God is among us in a way that is different in the Eucharist, he is substantially there before us. Christains do not believe in a pantheistic god, that God is literally everything. God is Being itself. He is locally, and substantially present in the Eucharist, reserved in all the tabernacles throughout the world. The conversation is below. My words will be in blue:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Musings on the Dubia Regarding Amoris Laetitia

There's been a lot of rumblings not only on the interwebs lately regarding Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, but also in print and on TV. I'm really scared that something disastrous might happen, but I trust in the Holy Spirit, and I know the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church. But still, souls are hanging in the balance, and hopefully none will be lost in all this confusion. 

I had posted some thoughts in regards to an essay written by apologist Scott Eric Alt on what's been going on with the five Dubia submitted by the Cardinals, and had also gotten into a little back and forth with some people on his Facebook wall. Below is a few excerpts from Alt's essay:
"So the question becomes: Are the “some cases” to which Pope Francis refers in footnote 351 the same that John Paul II mentions in Familiaris Consortio. Or are there other cases, unspecified in the text, in which couples can return to the sacrament? In one public address, Cardinal Schonborn seemed to say that 351 was merely an allusion to FC 84... 
"Well and good. Pope Francis even said that any questions about footnote 351 should make note of what Schonborn has to say, because Schonborn is a good theologian, and he gives great detail, so find what Schonborn says, what do I know, I can’t even remember footnote 351. 
"Problem is, it turns out that His Eminence Cardinal Schonborn has been a tad inconsistent about this footnote. His words above were in April. Three months later, in July, he gave an interview to Fr. Antonio Spadaro. In that interview, Schonborn says there has been “an evolution”—a “clear” one—in our understanding of factors that mitigate culpability for sin. 
"Okay, maybe so. But what are these new mitigating factors? Schonborn goes on to quote from Amoris, but that does not answer the question. The closest the text comes is this:
'A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values,’ or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to decide differently and act otherwise without further sin.' 
"That lacks—how shall I say?—precision. 
"...This is why there is a problem with Amoris Laetitia–because there are sections of it, important sections, that are vague, and which scream out for clarification; but attempts to clarify have led to further vagueness (as in Schonborn’s interview with Spadaro) and inconsistent opinions about what it was that the pope wants pastors to do, and not do, with couples in an irregular union seeking to return to the Eucharist. We have had assurances that Amoris is utterly consistent with Familiaris and yet there are two problems: 
-Schonborn’s words have been inconsistent and themselves not at all precise;
-None of these clarifications carry Magisterial weight. 
"And because they do not carry Magisterial weight, different bishops are interpreting Pope Francis to pretty much be saying what they want him to say, and doing what they want to do, and there is no uniformity or correction where there has been folly. 
"So four cardinals intervene with a series of questions asking the pope for clarification on footnote 351. 
"These strike me as fair questions. The cardinals are seeking a definitive, Magisterial answer to some people’s doubts—not answers in interviews, not private lectures, not “go listen to so-and-so.” The reason a definitive answer is needed is precisely to prevent bishops in some places from running wild and doing whatever they want to the potential harm of souls. If someone in a state of mortal sin, not disposed to receive the Eucharist, receives the Eucharist anyway, that compounds the problem. It is a harm to both the individual who receives and the priest who knowingly distributes. A definitive clarification would, potentially, forestall this."
The entire essay is worth a read, and is well written and really mirrors, I think, the feelings of many faithful Catholics. Below is my response to him, followed by another comment made by Scott on his page that set off someone who seems to not be a fan of Cardinal Burke. My comments will be in blue, with everyone else in varying colors:Great article, Scott. I think we're totally on the same page here, and you've articulated exactly what I've been feeling. I love Pope Francis, and I don't think what he's written in AL can be consistently read with Familiaris Consortio 84. But the confusion is there, and we can already see that just in dioceses in the US.
Pope Francis

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Can Catholics Subscribe to Polygenism in Evolutionary Theory?

Earlier in the week, I had gotten on the tangent of evolutionary theory, and the subject of our first parents came up. Are we actually descended from a literal Adam and Eve, two parents? Or is it possible that there was a "pool" of early humans where our species originated from? I found some great sources of information here, especially these articles written by Dr. Dennis Bonnette. Mongenism is defined as the theory that there are "two sole founders of humanity". Adam and Eve are historical figures. Polygenism is defined as "a theory of human origins positing that the human race descended from a pool of early human couples, indeterminate in number. Hence, this theory, Adam and Eve are merely symbols of Mankind. Rather than being an historical couple, they represent the human race as it emerges from the hominids that gave rise to them as they become homo sapiens, properly speaking."

Pope Pius XII also rejected polygenism in his 1950 encyclical "Humani generis", but some Catholics have held that a form of polygenism could still be considered reconcilable with the faith, for instance, author Michael Flynn, who I'll mention again in a bit. So who's right? Luckily, scientist and catholic convert Dr. Stacy Trasancos recently came out with a book entitled "Particles of Faith: A Cathoic Guide to Navigating Science", which includes a section on this very subject.
The Rebuke of Adam and Eve- Domenico Zampieri

New Article on "Following Your Heart" At Catholic365

So I've forgotten to post this here for quite some time, but I have an expanded version of this essay on "following our hearts" up on Catholics365.com. Below is a short snippet from the updated essay, with the link posted once again at the bottom of the selection.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus being adored by the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Margret Mary Alacoque

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Tridentine Latin Mass From a Young Person's View

There seems to be a lot of sparks flying around the Church in recent days, and it's sad to see so many divisions coming out between the Pope, bishops, cardinals, priests, and lay people. There is so much on my mind regarding these things, but the first I'd like to address are some comments made by the Holy Father about a week ago regarding the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Latin Rite. A book was recently published featuring a collection of homilies and speeches given by Pope Francis when he was still archbishop of Buenos Aries. The Pope made a few remarks regarding those that have somewhat of an affinity for the Latin mass, but I'll focus on just one of those comments that was publicized. I give our Holy Father the benefit of the doubt always, and I feel that in his other comments he was talking about a specific group of people in mind, while nebulous, I assume refers to groups such as the SSPX as well as sedevacantists. The point I'd like to address is as follows:
"Other than those who are sincere and ask for this possibility out of habit or devotion, can this desire express something else? Are there dangers?" 
[Pope:] "I ask myself about this. For example, I always try to understand what is behind those individuals who are too young to have lived the pre-Conciliar liturgy, and who want it nonetheless.
I do wonder if the Holy Father ever got an answer to his question. Groups like Juventutem give a pretty good answer as to why young people have been drawn to the EF. I would like to answer his question in my own words though, especially so that people can see that many who "want" the EF of the Latin Rite in their spiritual lives, do not do so out of a misguided rigidity. Obviously, I am one of those young people that lived long after the Second Vatican Council. I'm in my late-20's now, and I only experienced my first EF Mass in my mid-20's when I was still dating my wife. I remember that first Mass. It was at St. John Cantius in Chicago. We both wanted to check it out, so we could learn a bit more about the traditions of our faith. I came in without a missal, didn't know where to grab one, and was lost for much of the Mass. I remember thinking to myself, despite liking the Gregorian chant, "Well, I'll probably never do this again. How can I possibly learn what's going on?"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

If Martin Luther Is a "Witness of the Gospel", Then What Are the Martyrs of Gorkum?

Recently, I came across a discussion on a Catholic forum that quickly changed topics to that of the recently passed Reformation Day. Of course, many of us are aware that Pope Francis traveled to help commemorate the anniversary in Sweden, leading several Internet pundits to believe that things such as open communion and the like were right around the corner. While that won't be happening, I was surprised to see the following statement from a priest in Europe on this forum, responding to an earlier comment:
" 'Yes, we agree. Luther was a heretic,' 
"No. What we would be in agreement on is exactly what was proclaimed by the Holy See in 1983: 
"Martin Luther is a 'Witness of Jesus Christ' and a "Witness of the Gospel" from the perspective and judgment of Rome in the 20th and the 21st century. 
"Since you are a faithful Catholic, I trust you are in complete and total to Pope Saint John Paul II on the conferral of those titles -- and that in all things you completely submit yourself to the superior knowledge and judgment of the Successor of Peter."

First off, I'm not surprised by the statement given by the Roman Catholic/Lutheran Joint Commission itself. This is where this priest is getting his "witness" terms from; a 1983 report from the international dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans. What I am surprised at, is that he would actually suggest that Catholics must "submit ourselves" to an opinion that was not given by the Successor of Peter with divine and Catholic faith. The main problem I have here is with calling Luther a Witness to the Gospel. I'll go much more in depth below, but first, a thought exercise. If Luther is a witness to the Gospel, then what does that make the saints the Catholic faith already recognizes? What does that make the Martyrs of Gorkum, for example. St. Leonard van Veghel and his 18 companions were martyred by Protestant Calvinists in 1572 in Holland. Their feast day is celebrated on July 9th.

I would argue that these men were witnesses to the Gospel, and much more so than Luther ever could have hoped to be. Why aren't people like the German bishops telling us more about the heroic witness to the Gospel of Jesus that these men gave in the same way we keep hearing platitudes heaped on Luther? St. Leonard and his companions were demanded to abandon their belief in papal supremacy. They did not waver in their Catholic Christian faith, even to the point of death. What amazing witnesses and intercessors we have for us in heaven! Intercessors I did not know about until researching more on this topic! Luther denied this belief that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ. How can that be truly called a witness to the Gospel, when our Lord prays fervently in that same Gospel that we " may all be one, as you, Father, are in Me and I in You"? Luther may not have wanted division, but we have seen first hands the fruits of his reform. Yes, his actions led to the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent, but we can chalk that up to God bringing good out of a horrible situation. That situation being a fracturing in the Body of Christ that continues to break to this day. In paragraph 2473, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says:

"The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine."

We see Luther called the same thing a martyr is defined as, a witness to Christ. But these witnesses, St. Leonard and his companions, by being witnesses to Christ also bear witness to Christian doctrine, i.e. the papacy. Are we really ready to say that Luther and the Martyrs of Gorkum are both witnesses of Christ in the same way, and should be venerated as such, as this priest is suggesting?

Certainly not, especially as the actual quote from the 1983 statement reads, my bolding:

"We see on both sides a lessening of outdated, polemically colored images of Luther. He is beginning to be honored in common as a witness to the gospel, a teacher in the faith and a herald of spiritual renewal."

The Pope (or the Holy See) wasn't saying Luther was a witness to the Gospel. A few theologians are saying he is beginning to be honored as such. By whom, I cannot be sure. Certainly Lutherans, and I suppose not a few Catholics as well. But is it at the expense of forgetting those that were true witnesses to Christ? That same Christ who is inseparable from His Body, the Catholic Church? The Church which Luther and the other reformers eventually willingly separated from? I would much rather honor St. Leonard and his companions with that title. I pray for reconciliation always, just like our Lord did, but I feel that such a notion given by this priest is confused. Catholics do not have to believe that Luther was a witness to Christ when he denied the legitimacy of His Bride. Below is the rest of the conversation that was had between myself (in blue) and various others on this forum:

The Martyrs of Gorkum, St. Leonard and his Companions

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's Getting Old Hearing About the "Wasted" 3rd Party Vote

I apologize for not being as active lately. Work has been hectic, but I'm hoping to get back into posting some more things in the near future. One thing that's been on my mind recently, and most Americans lately, is the Presidential election. Many people are torn on what to do, but are mostly sticking with the two major party candidates. I will be voting third party, as there are a few good options available to me in my state. The frustration I've been feeling was summed up in a short exchange I had with a person on a Catholic Libertarian page. You can find out why I'm voting third party below, and why it's being done in good conscience, in accord with the teachings of the Church. The meme that started all this is pictured here:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Is Anointing of the Sick Primarily for Spiritual or Physical Healing?

Recently, there was a quick little Q&A posted over on Catholic Answers regarding the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in regards to a baby being denied the Sacrament. Apologist Michelle Arnold gave the following answer on why the child was refused the Sacrament:
Anointing of the sick primarily is for spiritual healing. Physical healing might occur, but it is not the main purpose of the sacrament. Certainly the sacrament should not be expected to automatically cure the sick person. Such an expectation tends toward superstition (cf. CCC 2111). Baptized children below the age of reason cannot commit personal sin and so do not need anointing of the sick if they are in danger of death. Rather, when in danger of death, such children can be given confirmation, for spiritual strengthening and more fully to initiate them into the Christian religion.
This quick answer led me to read up on this specific sacrament from the Catechism and other sources, and what I already knew about the Sacrament was bolstered even more. A discussion ensued on CA's Facebook page, in a couple of different spots, and ended in a very fruitful conversation where I and the people I talked with both learned a lot about the Sacraments at the same time. Both of the people I talked with claimed that Ms. Arnold's answer "didn't seem right" and that it was not "compassionate" as Christ was. I thought this was ridiculous on its face, and below are the two conversations that ensued. My main interlocutors' words ("Tom" and "Harry") will be in shades of red, mine in blue, and other people joining in represented by other varying colors:
Seven Sacraments: Extreme Unction II- Nicolas Poussin

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Government Requests Comments on Contraception Services Mandated by HHS

The United States government has asked the public to weigh in on the five-year war it has waged against religious non-profit groups over the HHS mandate. As many of you may know, the regulations in the mandate decreed that all employers, including religious organizations such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, had to provide contraception coverage including abortifacients such as Plan B and RU 486. The Supreme Court has overturned the rulings made by the lower courts that were in favor of the government. The Supreme Court has now sent all cases (such as those of the Little Sisters) back to the federal appeals courts for rehearing.
The HHS is now inviting public comments on how an accommodation may be reached between the government and religious non-profit organizations. This is a little late, but please follow the link to leave your comment to the government that religious non-profit groups cannot be part of the chain of distribution of contraceptive materials that also act as abortifacients. Comments must be received by Tuesday night. Fr. Frank Pavone gives more insight here on his website. My comment, which had to be edited a bit for length before I submitted it, is below.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Abortion Is Safer Than Childbirth?

There's been a lot of confusion going around the interwebs in recent months regarding the safety of childbirth. Thanks to a ridiculously deceptive and patently false video, several pro-choicers now believe that having an abortion is actually safer than giving birth. Let that kind of logic sink in for a minute. Well, it would take longer than a minute... seeing as the assertion is anything but logical. Somebody quoted this "revelation" in response to a post on social media regarding a woman who died from complications following an abortion. The following is the short conversation that ensued, with the person making the claims in red, my thoughts in blue, and the thoughts of others in the conversation in various different colors:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Being Born Into the New Covenant

The following is basically stream of consciousness type thinking...

I always find it interesting how certain things fall into place in a short period of time. Just yesterday, I was thinking a little bit about how it makes perfect sense for Catholics, Orthodox and several other non-Catholic Christians to hold the belief that it is a good and proper thing to baptize infants and children. And then, just this morning while watching some of the new Youtube uploads of Catholic Answers Live, I saw that apologist Tim Staples had just posted the same thought process I had a couple days earlier. Obviously, Catholic theology is no secret (the Church has taught the practice of infant baptism since the Apostolic Age)... but it's kinda cool how things fit together and I was able to reach this conclusion just as Mr. Staples was making his thoughts known. These thoughts of mine stemmed from a conversation I had the other day with an older relative, in which we agreed it's easy to know where Christ's Church truly lies; i.e. not in the various Protestant denominations, but in the Catholic Church. We both can't be right about salvation; we can both be wrong theoretically, but only one can be right on matters of salvation. Anyways, the point Mr. Staples and I were getting at, was that infant baptism is indeed biblical, especially when we're dealing with biblical types.So, Jesus said that he came to redeem all men, the entire human race. Infants, 2 year olds and 5 year olds fall into the human race. Now, it's clear that when St. Paul talks about baptism, he calls it the "circumcision of Christ", and also "the circumcision made without hands". As with all biblical types, the Old Testament type is fulfilled by the type in the New Testament. Circumcision in the Jewish religious tradition, was a type of water baptism that we see instituted by Christ in the Gospels. When did babies get circumcised? Once they were 8 days old, and at that point, they had the "sign of the covenant" upon them. They had entered into the covenant that God had made with Abraham. Of course, Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for all of us, therefore making the new covenant in His Blood. How are we today able to take part in this covenant? Baptism.
The Baptism- Julius L. Stewart

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Article on the Mass Said Ad Oriemtem on Catholic365

Forgot to post this, but I recently turned one of my dialogue blog posts into an essay format, which is now posted at Catholic365.com. Be sure to check it out, and you can find a snippet of the article below:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Reflecting on "the Narrow Gate"

So in the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite, today was the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time. The readings, especially the Gospel reading from St. Luke, was especially timely today in a world that has seemingly become enamored with universalism instead of Truth. I have an amazingly well-versed pastor, who is great at Biblical exegesis, and often quotes the Church Fathers and other prominent Catholic clergy in his homilies. Today, he gave his homily on the readings from the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time. He tied it in to last week’s Gospel, and told us how both of these Gospel readings, especially today’s are difficult passages for many. He told us many people would rather it not be included in the Bible, and that it’s something that causes him to really examine himself.
St. Luke Painting the Virgin and Child- Maarten van Heemskerck

Friday, August 19, 2016

Telling Our Children the Truth When It Comes to Our Gender

It seems every day we hear more and more about what Pope Francis calls the "gender ideology". We see at an alarming rate that buying into transgenderism as a good thing has become highly fashionable and politically correct. It's so sad to see many confused children, teenagers and even adults affected by this form of thinking; the form of thinking that one's sex is defined on how they perceive themselves subjectively, instead of considering the objective realities before them. Pope Benedict XVI had a good point on this phenomenon back in 2012:
“These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.” 
There were some headlines made in the last week or so, where a single mother has decided to allow her five year old son to live as a girl, and is now fighting the state of Texas to change its bathroom laws. How someone can not see this as child abuse is beyond me. This seems more like a severe form of Munchausen Syndrome than anything that can be attributed to this young child. I shudder to think that this mother will one day give her son artificial hormones to stop puberty, damaging the young child's perfectly functional male body. I shudder even more to think that a good portion of Western society thinks that this is OK and we should "live and let live", showing once again where moral relativism has got us.

I replied to a comment over on a prominent Catholic blogger's profile regarding this story, and saw how this moral relativism regarding transgenderism has really affected the general public. My interlocutor's words will be in red, mine in blue and a few other people's in various colors to make reading easier. Unfortunately, the "dialouge" ended in Tom launching a personal attack. Apparently, having discourse on opposing viewpoints isn't something many people want to do much at all. if you don't agree, you're apparently supposed to roll over and be quiet. This is why I always say "I don't agree with that" when someone tells me we should "agree to disagree". This person does not say that explictly, but it'll be apparent that he means as much by what he says towards the end of his final comment. This man, who I honestly can't tell if he's Catholic or not, seems to believe these young people taking artificial hormones is not a negative thing, morally or physically. We will see why this is false in both cases:
Christ Blessing the Children- Lucas Cranach the Elder

Thursday, August 11, 2016

To Humiliate Ourselves and Proclaim Our Unworthiness Before God is (Apparently) a Bad Thing

As I was perusing random news headlines (again), one ridiculous title caught my eye. Yes, the clickbait worked and I felt less intelligent for even doing so. I need to stop doing this to myself. In any event, the ridiculous headline read as such: Dear Pope Francis, End the Religious Ritual That Devalues Human Life. The sound of the collective rolling of eyes is deafening, no? You can read the whole article at the link above, but the most egregious part of this woman's article is as follows:
"Every single day before communion, millions of Christians verbally declare one of the most destructive phrases in human history... In the Bible, a Centurion soldier relates, 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof…' (Matthew 8:8)
"Dialogue and constructs that perpetuate 'I am not worthy' are the root of all evil behavior. It is divisiveness personified. By believing we are not worthy, we open the door for the mistreatment of ourselves and the mistreatment of others as we seek to assuage the psychological pain the false belief imparts. The guilt of unworthiness calls for us to judge ourselves and to judge others just as harshly."
The author, Chrisitne Horner is also a self-described "healed ex-Catholic, [and] her religion is love." She is basically a new age pantheist, as seen through her various writings. There are several reasons why this misguided person is absolutely wrong.
Christ and the Centurion- Adam Camerarius

Friday, August 5, 2016

More on Facing Ad Orientem

So the dust has settled somewhat following Cardinal Sarah's controversial, but really not-so controversial, comments on the Sacrifice of the Mass being celebrated ad oreintum, that is towards liturgical East facing the altar. There was an interesting thread I had been following over at Catholic Answers, and after enough time had passed, I finally decided to jump in after reading some confusing statements from an European priest and another person.

The discussion was in regards to Cardinal Nichols comments on what cardinal Sarah had said. In short, he formally deterred his priests from saying the Ordinary Form (OF) of the Mass ad orientem. This of course, is something that the Church has already spoken about, and proved that the Church does not necessarily favor one (ad orientem or versus populum) over the other. In the thread I replied to, the charge was made that the Church now favors worship facing the people. This of course couldn't be further from the truth, as seen in the link above. My reply follows after the jump, and I'll probably make this into an article at some point, but for now, I'll just post my direct comments on the issue, which is alos supported by various quotes from Doctors of the Church who talk about the use of ad orientem during the Holy Mass is actually an apostolic tradition.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Reflections on Corpus Christi

Obviously, the feast of Corpus Christi has long since passed, but I wanted to call attention to a holy priest I know. This is the man who has baptized my children, and he is a wonderful speaker and homilist who truly can be called a pastor of souls, and also loves the beautiful traditions of the Latin Rite. He actually posts many of his homilies in his parish's bulletins, so there are many that may catch your attention if you look, but this one really caught my eye and I thought would serve a good first look for those that haven't heard of him before. He talks about the Real Presence in his homily, which you can find after the jump here. But here's a snippet of it before you follow the link to read the rest:

Another college seminary story—we were going up for Communion in the line and the priest who was giving out communion in our line—dropped a host—and said to the seminarian “Pick it up—its yours.” 
Did he or anyone else in charge of the seminary think that that seminarians belief in Jesus Real Presence and his love for Our Lord in Holy Communion was enhanced by ‘Pick it up its yours” ? 
What a struggle during that time—and this time—to maintain our belief that after the Consecration—there is neither bread nor wine upon the altar—but the Son of God. The change in substance is not imaginary or symbolic or allegorical. That change actually happens and that is why the priest genuflects—and why we ring bells and chimes. 

Find the full homily here on the parish's website.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

When Does Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils Become Untenable?

With the Republican Convention looming in the next day, we're getting closer and closer to the reality that the the next Presidential election in the United States will come down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Obviously, Clinton is a no go for faithful Catholics, with her track record on abortion and a number of other social issues. In my opinion, Donald Trump is too. This article nicely spells out why. But now, we're starting to see hashtags such as "anybodybuttrump" and "anybodybutclinton". Obviously, many people don't like Clinton or Trump, but are settling for one because they perceive that the other person is far worse. Things is, I don't trust either of them.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The So-Called "Altar Wars": Is All the Arguing Worth It?

So if you haven't heard, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, had some not-so startling things to say. He made a suggestion that pastors and bishops of the Latin Rite worldwide consider turning East towards the altar (ad orientum) in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. He said in part:
"I believe that it is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction—Eastwards or at least towards the apse—to the Lord who comes, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God. This practice is permitted by current liturgical legislation. It is perfectly legitimate in the modern rite. Indeed, I think it is a very important step in ensuring that in our celebrations the Lord is truly at the centre."
There truly is nothing controversial in this, as facing towards the East has always been permitted since Vatican II, although it's something that isn't commonly seen in the Ordinary Form since the 1960's. However, many people have made a big deal about it, and it caused such a stir (apparently) that a clarification had to come out that the good Cardinal did not issue a mandate to be implemented this Advent, but merely a suggestion. I, and many others, thought that this being a suggestion was apparent. It seems to me that with all this correction and clarification going on, we've been seeing a lot more recently (and not just on this issue) the words of Our Lady at Akita in 1973 coming to pass: "The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops." We should never see cardinals opposing cardinals, as it's scandalous not only for Catholics, but other Christians and non-Christians as well... and yet here we are.
Robert Cardinal Sarah

Monday, July 11, 2016

Should We Ever Disregard the Law and "Follow Our Hearts"?

Perhaps this post won't make total sense, as it's more a stream of consciousness type deal I'll be writing here. I apologize in advance if it isn't totally coherent, and really, this is going to be my sounding board so I don't lose the thoughts floating around in my head. It's just that something really bugged me about the homily given by a visiting priest at Mass today, and it left me scratching my head, trying to figure out what point the priest was trying to get across. Now I don't think there's anything wrong with this man, he is a priest following his vocation and brings us the Eucharist, but there are some questionable things that he says, and it's a bit disconcerting. The part that really got me was when he said that mantra we all seem to hear from the secular world and Hollywood: "Follow your heart". Seeing as we're humans who suffer from concupiscence, it might not be good to always follow our heart, especially if by "heart" we mean our "conscience" and "good intentions", as the connotation seems to mean so often today.
Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Aloysius Gonzaga- José de Páez 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Addendum and Clarification to Article on Muslims

In response to a piece I wrote a few days ago on an Episcopalian church allowing Muslims to worship inside the church building on a weekly basis, I received a letter from a commenter who felt I was being overly-critical, and had perhaps crossed a line in the way I had worded what they thought was an otherwise good article that made valid points. Below is the e-mail I sent back with some minor alterations, and I hope that if anybody else had similar questions regarding the piece, that this might clear it up. Obviously, I disagreed with the commenter for the most part, but realized I could've been a little more explanatory at some points. The commenter understood my reasoning after reading the reply you can find below, and hopefully it clears up any questions one might have had regarding it. I make it clear here why we must stand on guard for Truth, and help to lead as many souls as we can to Christ. I apologize if I was not clear enough before.
The Holy Trinity

Saturday, July 9, 2016

News Flash: Archbishop Chaput Has Not Changed Church Teaching... And Neither Has the Pope

"Archbishop Chaput's Arrogant Contradiction of Pope Francis"
"Archbishop Chaput's actions 'are not Christian'"
"Divorced Catholics Must Avoid Sex"

These are actual headlines in response to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia's letter “Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia” released last week.  You'd think three things from headlines in the secular main-stream media (MSM) looking at the examples above:

1. Pope Francis changed Church doctrine to be more lax
2. Archbishop Chaput has thought he can change this doctrine again to make it more "rigid"
3. This is actually news.

Here's a hint for number 3... it's not news. It's not because the first and second points are false. Pope Francis didn't change anything with Amoris Laetitia, no matter how bad people in the secular or liberal Christian world want it to, and Archbishop is saying nothing new; he's just reiterating Catholic teaching. And judging by the response, the world, especially those Catholics who have embraced modernity and the lifestyles of the secular culture, need to hear it.
Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Christians Sharing Worship Space With Muslims: When Is It Too Much?

Apparently, at an Episcopalian Church in Washington D.C., there are two congregations sharing the same worship space at different times: Christians and Muslims. My curiosity was piqued when I saw the lede for the article on the story, and after reading it, I have to say I'm thoroughly disappointed in the leaders of this church, and in some Episcopalians who proclaimed they were "proud" of this church and pastor for what they did. I'm all for tolerating other people's religion, but not in the sense that the buzzword of "tolerance" has in the modern-day lexicon. Instead, what I see, is that at one service at this Christian church, the God-Man is not being worshiped as He should be.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Intro to the Eastern Catholic Churches Part V: The Antiochene Rite

Just got my latest essay up on the Eastern Catholic Churches. This time we're looking at the ancient Antiochene Rite, which houses the Syriac Catholic Church, the Maronite Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, and you can check out the full article over on Catholic365.com. Hopefully, my next essay on the Byzantine Rite will be up in the next week or so, but there's a lot more detail going into that one, and I have some other things being worked on, so please bear with me if that next part is delayed a bit. Same goes for a lack of posts lately; things may be more sporadic in the coming weeks, but I plan on still getting on here at least once or twice a week. Here's a preview of the current essay:
St. John's Syro-Malankara Catholic Cathedral, Kerala, India

Monday, June 27, 2016

Secularists and Short Memories

Apparently, everyone is losing their minds over what Pope Francis just said on his latest papal presser. And this goes for reactionaries and secularists alike. The full text of Pope Francis' off-the-cuff answers to the media can be found here. Now, one can argue on whether or not it's necessary to apologize for wrongs that have already been absolved in the Sacrament of Confession or those that are non-existent to a specific person, but the main focus should be this: what the Pope said isn't really all that new.

For whatever reason, many secularists, and even several heterodox (or those tip-toeing the line between orthodoxy and heterodoxy) and liberal-minded Catholics, seem to think that Pope Francis is the first pope to have ever been compassionate or Christ-like. This is just empty rhetoric and does a disservice to all the great things previous popes in the last century have said about those who have been marginalized and treated unjustly in accordance with the dignity and love that is supposed to be given to every human being.What we have to realize is that Pope Francis is very different from Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Phil. 2:6... A Proof For or Against Christ's Divinity?: A Response to a Jehovah's Witness

Recently, my wife and I had our first run in with a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses. They actually came back twice after my wife asked a question regarding their less than accurate New World Translation. However, the discussions were amicable, our guests were very well-mannered and nice, and I was surprised that some of the stereotypes that are given to Jehovah's Witnesses didn't stick. For example, we both used our own translations of our Bibles, and they even compared theirs to others on their tablet. I was even able to pull out the Catechism at one point in order to rebut a point from one of their publications. But that will be another post. Right now, I'd like to focus on one particular claim they made before they left earlier this week. It was a claim I wasn't knowledgeable of and wasn't exactly sure on how to respond to it.

For starters, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the divinity of Christ. Actually, they believe He is a created being and that He is one in the same with St. Michael the Archangel. Much of our discussion focused on the divinity of Christ, going a little bit into the Trinity, which they also, obviously reject. The one verse that I wasn't able to accurately reply to at the time was from St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians, which reads "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped..." Apparently, this was supposed to be a proof that Jesus Christ was not equal with God the Father, a position held by the Arians. Below is the rebuttal I sent to them, and I have sources that I used linked throughout, so hopefully this will help someone else when the Jehovah's Witnesses come to discuss our faith in Christ, and they may be better prepared than I was.
Christ Pantocrator

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Intro to the Eastern Catholic Churches Part IV: The Chaldean Rite

The 4th installment of my series on the Eastern Catholic Churches is up, this time on the Chaldean Rite, which includes the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. I was able to visit the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Cathedral a year or so ago. It was a beautiful church with a beautiful liturgy. You can check out the full article over on Catholic365, but here's a preview of it below.
St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy, MI

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

There is a Difference Between Deaconesses and "Female Deacons"

Ever since Pope Francis said a while back that he'd look into the issue of women as deaconesses in the early Church, people of a certain stripe seem to think that the Pope is going to OK women deacons. That obviously won't happen because it can't, and it never did happen. The idea of a female deacon is as much a misnomer as "female priest" is. It can't happen, plain and simple. But deaconesses are another story. More on that in a second. The reason this got my attention today was because this article was posted earlier on Cardnial Gerhard Muller's recent reaction to the issue. The short article said, in part, "The head of the Vatican’s doctrine office is suggesting little new will come from a study commissioned by Pope Francis into the role of women deacons, according to Associated Press. Cardinal Gerhard Muller says the Vatican is putting together a list of experts for the study. But he says the focus will be historic in nature, studying the role of women deacons in the early church, and that regardless a comprehensive study was completed in 2002."
Archbishop Muller

Friday, June 3, 2016

On Gorillas and Human Children

You know what's really sickening about this whole Cincinnati Zoo situation? That fact that so many people seem to care more about a gorilla than a human boy. That we anthropomorphize an ape and are callous to the plight of our fellow man. I have seen so much vitriol showered upon the parents of this boy, and so much sadness expressed for the death of an animal, yet no one has talked about how this traumatic situation has affected (and will CONTINUE to) affect this little 4 year old boy. This is something that will live with this boy forever and you can be sure that he will have issues that will be prevalent throughout his life due to his 10 minute ordeal in the gorilla's enclosure. Instead of anthropomorphizing a gorilla, we should be worried about the mental (and physical health) of this scared little boy, a human being.

Because of internet anonymity, it seems everyone on various blogs and news outlet websites has become an armchair judge, jury and executioner. There aren't enough facts to go on to call these parents "negligent", and there aren't enough facts to mock the mother who called out to her boy that she loved him by saying "if she loved him why'd she let him get in the enclosure. Nor is it fair to say that these parents are worthy of the "Darwin award" and this 4 year old boy won't make it to adulthood with these parents. These are all comments I've read by people who are making a knee jerk reaction to the situation. Watch the video below and get the facts. Did you know that this boy also had a 7 or 8 year old sister who was horrified at what had happened, and saw the gorilla get shot as her little brother was in between the gorilla's legs at the time of the shooting? Could it be that the parents were tending to this little girl and took their eyes off the boy for a second? If your a parent of multiple kids (as I am) you know that this might happen occasionally, God forbid, and it doesn't make you a negligible parent.


Introduction to the Alexandrian Rite is Posted

For those that have been keeping up on my essays on the Eastern Catholic Churches, my next essay is up on Catholic365.com, and this time I'll be covering the Alexandrian Rite. Hopefully I'll have the next up in the series on the Chaldean Rite of the Church live pretty soon.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Discussing the Differences Between Transubstantiation and the Sacramental Union

There aren't too many Lutherans that I know in my life, and those that I do are either former Lutherans or the practice of their faith isn't one that has many outward signs. That's why I was pleasantly surprised to have a great conversation with a Lutheran who belongs to the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. In response to a meme on the different ways that various religions describe the Real Presence in the Eucharist, this person took the time to explain what Lutherans (at least those who claim to be LCMS) actually believe. While we know as Catholics that Lutherans don't possess valid sacraments, we are both close in our theology regarding the Eucharist. This was a very productive and informative discussion we had, and a very civil one as well. Below is the following conversation, with some closing thoughts by me after. My words will be in blue, and my Lutheran friends's (we'll call him John) in red. There were many people taking part in this conversation, but I'll just focus on the relevant parts of John's points and our the conversation between the two of us:
The Victory of Eucharistic Truth over Heresy- Peter Paul Rubens

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Part II of Intro to Eastern Catholic Churches... Plus a Preview of Part III: The Alexandrian Rite

The second part of my essay series on the Eastern Catholic Churches is live over at Catholic365.com. This specific essay deals with the Armenian Rite which houses the Armenian Catholic Church. If you missed the first part of the series, which briefly went over the many different sui iuris Churches and rites, you can check that out HERE.

The third part of this series should be going live this coming week and will be on the Alexandrian Rite. This is a liturgical tradition many in the West might not have too much interaction with, outside of the occasional Coptic Orthodox Church, which dwarfs the Coptic Catholic Church in size. Here's a preview of that essay for you to check out now, and I'll post the link to the full article once it's live this coming week.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Is God Capable of Changing His Mind?

I have to say, I enjoy replying to people's comments and questions in comboxes on matters regarding our Catholic faith. i often learn just as much as they do. I feel so fortunate to have a nearly 2,000 year old institution, where basically all the answers on a myriad of subjects have been given to almost an infinite number of questions. Recently, I saw someone asking how it was possible that God was always the same in both Testaments of the Bible; in that He never changed His mind.This person was not being belligerent at all, but genuinely asking. Here's part of what he wrote:
"God never changes His mind about anything? Incest used to be fine, then it wasn't. Gathering firewood on the Sabbath used to be grounds for a painful execution, then Jesus pronounced it was fine after all. I'm not saying God changes His mind on everything. I'm just trying to figure things out and for many many reasons the Bible confuses me."
First off, I was thinking on a philosophical level that God is a fully actualized Being. All potentialities have been explored and actualized by him. If He had the potential to "change His mind", then He wouldn't be God, the Supreme Being. How can pure Act, Being itself, change? It's something that I can reach by thinking it through, but not all are familiar with classicla theism. Here's the answer that I gave him, thanks in part to some great posts from this thread over on Catholic Answers' forums:
Stoning of a violator of the Sabbath from the 1545 Luther Bible

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Armenian Catholic Church: A Preview

Recently I posted an essay I had written on the Eastern Catholic Churches that was to serve as a sort of introduction for those not very familiar with Eastern traditions. This was to be the first in a series with subsequent articles going more in depth in regards to each different liturgical rite of the Church. Unfortunately, my time has been limited as I've been working overtime, have a new addition at home to look after, and other things coming up as well. There's a lot to research with these essays, so my posting will be pretty sporadic here for the next few weeks as I get these essays done in my spare time.

My next essay on the Armenian Rite will hit Catholic365 on Monday night, with the next in the series on the Alexandrian Rite coming out the following Monday. Here's a preview of the next essay to hold things over, and I'll post a link here to the full essay once it's live.
The Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Gherla, Romania

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Guilty of Selectively Using Scripture?

A friend of mine recently posted an article from a big Evangelical website, Relevant Magazine. In it, the author gives a list of five things that he thinks Christians should admit about the Bible. I have to admit, some of the author's points are pretty good... but then there are some thing said that makes you scratch your head. Simply, all these problems could be solved if we looked to how the Catholic Church has always interpreted Scripture.
Christ Preaching at Capernum- Maurycy Gottlieb

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Further Dialogue on Transubstantiation, Salvation and the Church's Authority

The following exchange took place in the combox of an article I had written in response to another combox discussion I had had with the same Protestant Calvinist. The article I had written was entitled "Transubstantiation, Scripture and Church Authority" and you can see the original conversation here on this blog. This was another learning experience for me, as I was able to better express my Catholic faith on items I had never gotten the chance to fully articulate. We will call the person I am debating with "Tom" and his words will be in red, mine in blue. A couple other Catholics joined in the conversation, represented by the purple and green fonts, one of which was a parish priest (who will be denoted in green).

Tom still believes that the Church has no authority to claim that what happens during the Sacrifice of the Mass is transubstantiation, and still won't concede that the Eucharistic species truly become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The conversation gets a bit skewed at certain points, but we get it reeled back in to the main subject points of transubstantiation and Church authority, as well as what salvation really means. Therefore, you will notice at some points I'll skip ahead in the conversation (marked by ellipses) so as to keep this dialogue somewhat on-track and readable. As I said before, if anything, it proved a great learning experience, and showed me why the Protestant understanding of the Eucharist and the hierarchy of Christ's Church is deeply flawed.
The Four Doctors of the Church

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Primer on the Eastern Catholic Churches

Being part Ukrainian, and being Catholic, I've always had the best of both worlds: being able to take part in the great patrimony and traditions of the Latin and Byzantine Churches, that is, the Churches of the East and West. Many Roman Catholics, though, don't have this opportunity, and often are left scratching their heads asking, "what ARE the Eastern Catholic Churches?" In the first of a series of essays, I give an introduction to the various Eastern Catholic Churches, with each future essay going into each particular liturgical tradition, or rite, of the Catholic Church. I hope to have my next article on the Armenian Catholic Church up soon. You can check out the full article over on Catholic365.com, but here's a snippet from the article:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Are Religious Objections the Only Objections to Abortion? Hillary Clinton Seems to Think So

I was struck by an article that had floated onto my webpage recently where presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested that too many women are denied abortions. In her comments on the matter, she said:
"Far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced... Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."
How ridiculous is this? Bill Donahue of the Catholic League was right on the money when he said in response, "Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion. It’s time for Hillary to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge." But I also think it's ridiculous for another reason. Mrs. Clinton really seems to believe that the only real objections to abortion are those that stem from a religious or cultural basis. That couldn't be further from the truth, as seen by the myriad of secular and feminist pro-life groups. But sometimes, some Christians really push away those that are non-religious and pro-choice with their rhetoric. It's pretty easy to know that abortion is wrong with out being religious, and I think it's time that all those that are pro-life use more arguments that are strictly secular at certain points, as the science is certainly behind us on the pro-life side, and not on the pro-choice side.
March for Life Berlin 2012