Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Armitage Baptist Church on Chick-fil-A

Cardinal George on Chick-fil-A


Monday, July 30, 2012

Reflections on “Chicago values”

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago.  I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval.  Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?  Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it?  I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.”

The value in question is espousal of “gender-free marriage.”  Approval of state-sponsored homosexual unions has very quickly become a litmus test for bigotry; and espousing the understanding of marriage that has prevailed among all peoples throughout human history is now, supposedly, outside the American consensus.  Are Americans so exceptional that we are free to define “marriage” (or other institutions we did not invent) at will?  What are we re-defining?

It might be good to put aside any religious teaching and any state laws and start from scratch, from nature itself, when talking about marriage.  Marriage existed before Christ called together his first disciples two thousand years ago and well before the United States of America was formed two hundred and thirty six years ago.  Neither Church nor state invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Marriage exists because human nature comes in two complementary sexes: male and female.  The sexual union of a man and woman is called the marital act because the two become physically one in a way that is impossible between two men or two women.  Whatever a homosexual union might be or represent, it is not physically marital.  Gender is inextricably bound up with physical sexual identity; and “gender-free marriage” is a contradiction in terms, like a square circle.

Both Church and state do, however, have an interest in regulating marriage.  It is not that religious marriage is private and civil marriage public; rather, marriage is a public institution in both Church and state.  The state regulates marriage to assure stability in society and for the proper protection and raising of the next generation of citizens.  The state has a vested interest in knowing who is married and who is not and in fostering good marriages and strong families for the sake of society.

The Church, because Jesus raised the marital union to the level of symbolizing his own union with his Body the Church, has an interest in determining which marital unions are sacramental and which are not.  The Church sees married life as a path to sanctity and as the means for raising children in the faith, as citizens of the universal kingdom of God.  These are all legitimate interests of both Church and state, but they assume and do not create the nature of marriage.

People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life.  The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage.  This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages.  Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6).  Was Jesus a bigot?  Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan?  Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society?  One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free.

Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage.  Surely we can find a way not to play off newly invented individual rights to “marriage” against constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice.  The State’s attempting to redefine marriage has become a defining moment not for marriage, which is what it is, but for our increasingly fragile “civil union” as citizens.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI


I have not been to Chick-fil-A before, but after the recent controversy, I decided to try it out. You don't have to go there because their executive professes Christian, moral, and family values. You don't have to go there because he believes in true, traditional marriage. Go there for the FOOD and the delightful welcoming and attention given by the employees. A wonderful lunch experience.

I had the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe and I asked for the Chick-fil-A sauce. The sandwich was great with and without the sauce.

The attention I received was unexpected and appreciated. I will patronize this establishment at every opportunity. I also called the manager to complement them on their food and service.

Go Chick-fil-A!

As for the mayor of Chicago, he can eat dodo.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Parable of the Talents - Matthew 25:14-30

Over the years we might read a passage over and over again, and Jesus' message just does not hit us. We may read a chapter at a time and don't isolate our minds to one particular passage. Then one day we have an epiphany, we get it. This happened to me today.

So the master gives a certain amount of talents (read gifts, abilities) to care for until he returns (read until the Son of Man returns). The two use their talents (an interesting play on words in English - talents (money) and talents (abilities)) for the greater glory of their master (God). The one hides his talents. Perhaps he wants to play it safe, doesn't want to be hurt, is involved with his own world.

We are all called to use the gifts that God gives us. We call this today stewardship; time, talent, and treasure. Some of us see God as a harsh master, or think of themselves only, or perhaps they never opened the money bag to determine what their treasure/talents are. While others see themselves part of a community; that they are to share their gifts with others.

The master's responses contrast strongly: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" versus "You wicked, lazy servant!"

One day we will stand before the gates of Heaven. How will be be greeted?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Know the Mass, One Word at a Time - Forgive

As part of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Strategic Pastoral Plan for the Year of Sunday Mass and the Year of Faith my parish bulletin is including a series of articles called Know the Mass, One Word at a Time. This is a recent post:


No one enjoys freedom more than a forgiving person. To be unburdened of a haunting past that we regret or to be released from earlier missteps that seemed to doom our future — that is a real sense of freedom that flows from forgiveness. Make no mistake about it; every time we celebrate Mass together we meet the God who forgives us in Jesus Christ, "This is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins." At Mass, we know unmistakably and unforgettably that God forgives us.

The other side of forgiving belongs to us. Every Mass challenges us to forgive as we have been forgiven: "So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24)

Aesthetics - Woodworking - Peles Castle

There is something about the beauty of hand carved woodworking that touches me. I was struck by it years ago visiting the J R Watkins Mansion in Winona, MN. Then there were the choir stalls in Assisi. Sadly, this is all but a lost art. We can never duplicate this work today, not only because we lack master wood carvers, but the cost would be prohibitive, not to mention finding the wood itself.

Today I ran across some pictures of PeleČ™ Castle in Romania. I had not heard of this before and was highly impressed. Here are some samples:

Peles Castle - Wood Carved Spiral Staircase

Peles Castle - Dining Room

Peles Castle - The Honour Hall

You can see the Wikipedia article on the castle here.

More pictures can be found here.

And the official web site is here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taking Another Look at the Church and Politics

This article appeared in a recent parish bulletin:

Taking Another Look at the Church and Politics

by Father Louis J. Cameli


Is the Catholic Church to political? Or, is it not political enough? What exactly is the relationship between the church and politics. If Catholics depend on ordinary print and broadcast media for their information, they will not have a complete or accurate take on this important relationship. On the other hand, official church documents can be daunting to comprehend and digest. Besides the difficulty of getting accurate information, there is another important and practical complication. Many Catholics, even very traditional ones, have a very negative reaction to any hint that someone including a bishop or a group of bishops is going to tell them how to vote. American Catholics are very American in their sense of independence as citizens and as participants in democratic processes.

In the swirl of theoretical and practical issues, we do well to step back and identify a few simple principles and facts.

Is there a Catholic vote?

Pollsters and sociologists like to identify "the Catholic vote." In fact, there is no shared or prescribed Catholic vote for a specific candidate or on a specific issue. There is, however, a Catholic vision of the world rooted in faith, a vision which shapes or ought to shape how Catholics participate in a democracy as citizens and as public servants. The heart of that vision centers on the God-given dignity of each individual, our connection or solidarity with each other, in our shared commitment to fostering life, justice, peace, and reconciliation among all people. The Catholic vision of humanity is especially sensitive to those who are vulnerable, marginalized, and neglected. The Catholic vision often appears to be contrary to many currents of contemporary culture, because it assumes the great dignity and high destiny of all human beings from conception to natural death. The Catholic vision is different because it looks at the world critically both through the lens of faith and the lens of reason.

What, in fact, does the Catholic Church want when she proclaims her social teaching and vindicates her rights in American society?

In a word, the Church wants freedom, just as other groups and individuals want and have a right to freedom in this nation. That freedom, in the context of us Catholic social teaching, has a threefold direction:

·         The freedom to profess the faith and offer worship;
·         The freedom to practice faith or, in other words, live it out in the world;
·         The freedom to contribute to the good of society in various ways, especially as this has taken shape in the United States primarily through education, health care, and social services.

What is the fundamental assumption that Catholics hold as they participate in the life of the nation?

The fundamental assumption is that faith shapes life, not just a portion or a compartment of life but the whole of life. Catholics cannot bracket their faith, scratch that. It is an indispensable source of social values and social vision. Their commitment as believers and as citizens is an integral and integrated commitment.

Following the words of Jesus, Catholics want to be salt, light, and eleven in this world.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Future is Looking Good

Las Vegas "odds maker" opines on why Obama will get "killed" by Romney in November.

Wayne Allyn Root
May 30, 2012

Most political predictions are made by biased pollsters, pundits, or prognosticators who are either rooting for Republicans or Democrats. I am neither. I am a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, and a well-known Vegas odds maker with one of the most accurate records of predicting political races.

But as an odds maker with a pretty remarkable track record of picking political races, I play no favorites. I simply use common sense to call them as I see them. Back in late December I released my New Year’s Predictions. I predicted back then-- before a single GOP primary had been held, with Romney trailing for months to almost every GOP competitor from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt -- that Romney would easily rout his competition to win the GOP nomination by a landslide. I also predicted that the Presidential race between Obama and Romney would be very close until Election Day. But that on Election Day Romney would win by a landslide similar to Reagan-Carter in 1980.

Understanding history, today I am even more convinced of a resounding Romney victory. Thirty two years ago at this moment in time, Reagan was losing by 9 points to Carter. Romney is right now running even in polls. So why do most pollsters give Obama the edge?

First, most pollsters are missing one ingredient -- common sense. Here is my gut instinct. Not one American who voted for McCain 4 years ago will switch to Obama. Not one in all the land. But many millions of people who voted for an unknown Obama 4 years ago are angry, disillusioned, turned off, or scared about the future. Voters know Obama now-- and that is a bad harbinger.

Now to an analysis of the voting blocks that matter in U.S. politics:

Black voters.  Obama has nowhere to go but down among this group.  His endorsement of gay marriage has alienated many black church-going Christians.  He may get 88% of their vote instead of the 96% he got in 2008.  This is not good news for Obama.

Hispanic voters. Obama has nowhere to go but down among this group.  If Romney picks Rubio as his VP running-mate the GOP may pick up an extra 10% to 15% of Hispanic voters (plus lock down Florida).  This is not good news for Obama.

Jewish voters.  Obama has been weak in his support of Israel.  Many Jewish voters and big donors are angry and disappointed.  I predict Obama's Jewish support drops from 78% in 2008 to the low 60%s. This is not good news for Obama.

Youth voters.  Obama’s biggest and most enthusiastic believers from 4 years ago have graduated into a job market from hell.  Young people are disillusioned, frightened, and broke -- a bad combination.  The enthusiasm is long gone. Turnout will be much lower among young voters, as will actual voting percentages.  This is not good news for Obama.

Catholic voters.  Obama won a majority of Catholics in 2008.  That won’t happen again. Out of desperation to please women, Obama went to war with the Catholic Church over contraception. Now he is being sued by the Catholic Church. Majority lost.  This is not good news for Obama.

Small Business owners.  Because I ran for Vice President last time around, and I'm a small businessman myself, I know literally thousands of small business owners.  At least 40% of them in my circle of friends, fans and supporters voted for Obama 4 years ago to “give someone different a chance.” I warned them that he would pursue a war on capitalism and demonize anyone who owned a business...that he'd support unions over the private sector in a big way...that he'd overwhelm the economy with spending and debt. My friends didn’t listen.  Four years later, I can't find one person in my circle of small business owner friends voting for Obama.  Not one.  This is not good news for Obama.

Blue collar working class whites.  Do I need to say a thing?  White working class voters are about as happy with Obama as Boston Red Sox fans feel about the New York Yankees.  This is not good news for Obama.

Suburban moms.  The issue isn't contraception…it's having a job to pay for contraception.  Obama's economy frightens these moms.  They are worried about putting food on the table.  They fear for their children’s future.  This is not good news for Obama.

Military Veterans.  McCain won this group by 10 points.  Romney is winning by 24 points.  The more our military vets got to see of Obama, the more they disliked him.  This is not good news for Obama.

Add it up.  Is there one major group where Obama has gained since 2008?  Will anyone in America wake up on election day saying, "I didn't vote for Obama 4 years ago, but he's done such a fantastic job, I can't wait to vote for him today." Does anyone feel that a vote for Obama makes their job more secure?

Forget the polls.  My gut instincts as a Vegas odds maker and common sense small businessman tell me this will be a historic landslide and a world-class repudiation of Obama’s radical and risky socialist agenda.  It's Reagan-Carter all over again.

But I'll give Obama credit for one thing -- he is living proof that familiarity breeds contempt.

Scary Obituary

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.”

The Obituary follows:

Born 1776, Died 2012 
(It doesn't hurt to read this several times.)

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the last Presidential election:

Number of States won by: Obama: 19, McCain: 29
Square miles of land won by: Obama: 580,000, McCain: 2,427,000
Population of counties won by: Obama: 127 million, McCain: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Obama: 13.2, McCain: 2.1

Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory McCain won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.

Obama territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in low income tenements and living off various forms of government welfare..."

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegals and they vote - then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years.

This is truly scary! Of course we are not a democracy, we are a Constitutional Republic .Someone should point this out to Obama.

Of course we know he and too many others pay little attention to The Constitution. There couldn't be more at stake than on Nov 6, 2012.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Prayer Request - Drought

Boats sit on the dry, cracked bottom in a dry cove at Morse Reservoir in Noblesville, Ind., Monday, July 16, 2012. The reservoir is down nearly 6 feet from normal levels and being lowered 1 foot every five days to provide water for Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

This was sent to me by a friend asking for prayers for the drought. I have experienced it too. To and from work on the train I pass two wet lands/ponds, often filled with ducks, geese, egrets, and some others I don’t know by name. They are both now completely dry, the dirt cracked. Here is her appeal:

As evidenced by people living in Colorado, Oklahoma, West Texas and South Texas, New Mexico, throughout the entire Midwest and ever increasing areas in other parts of the country, the drought condition is reaching critical status; cattle are being auctioned off; crops have burned up; and drinking water is becoming a concern. Please join us in this prayer circle.

Let’s make this one of the largest prayer circles ever. It will be as though everyone is holding hands around the world.

Dear Heavenly Father, You said whatsoever any two or more come together and agree and ask in Your Son's name, it shall be given. We come to you, humbly, and ask that you bring down the rain to our parched lands. Our farmers and ranchers need it desperately, as well as our firefighters. We ask this all in Jesus' name. Amen.

Please pass this prayer request on to your circle of friends!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Morning Prayer

HHS Mandate Opposition and Religious Freedom Rally in Chicago

You have not seen this is the news, so I thought I would post it here.

A rally to protest President Obama's attack on religious freedom, held on March 23, 2012, in Federal Plaza in Chicago.

A Homily on Religious Freedom

A little tardy in posting this, but I just received a copy of this homily by one of my Deacons delivered at the Mass kicking off the Fortnight for Freedom initiative. Just because the FoF initiative is over, does not mean we should stop praying, learning about the issues and taking action. The HHS Mandate is still public law.

Deacon Ken received a strong round of applause after the homily, which is a rarity in a Catholic church after a homily.

A Homily on the Fortnight for Freedom, 6/23/2012
By Deacon Ken

We are all aware of the advice that one should never discuss religion or politics in a social setting, especially in church. It's a sure recipe for immediate controversy. But like all things, there is a time and place to discuss these topics. However, we frequent we seem to take this advice to in extreme — we never talk about faith in public.

We further compound this by mistakenly take the notion of "separation of church and state" to an extent that was never intended by our founding fathers...and to an extent that is not compatible with Catholic teaching.

We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should be instead complementary.

That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding fathers in our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together.

We cannot claim to be true disciples, and at the same time leave our religious principles at the doorstep of our homes or leave them out of certain discussions. To be authentic Christians, every aspect of our lives must be infused with the gospel. Our faith must shape our political views and actions.

Faith is not just a private matter. We cannot be true followers of Jesus and at the same time compartmentalize our lives so that our faith is confined to certain aspects but is included from excluded from others.

Often there are no simple concrete answers, but concerns for the dignity of each person and concern for the poor and needy must be part of what we as Christians bring to our society.

We need to address those areas of our personal and public lives where we justify leaving our faith and morals on the sidelines instead of bringing them into the heart of the fray. We need to bring our faith-based moral principles into the public square and the government and underline should not hinder us in doing so. One step about defending religious liberty is to talk about it, to make sure people understand religious liberty is not given by government, but by God.

The main intention of the First Amendment is to protect our free exercise of religion and prevent the government from enter either promoting or interfering with the practice of religion. In recent years, it seems that various federal, state and local laws and policies have been either attacking or eroding this protection.

As a result, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for a "Fortnight for Freedom" to focus attention and action on protecting religious freedom in the United States. The fourteen days from June 21 (the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas more) to July 4, Independence Day, are being dedicated to this effort.

The church's liturgical calendar celebrates many great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power, such as St. John Fisher and St. Thomas more, St. John the Baptist, and SS. Peter and Paul, to name just a few.

Culminating on the day we celebrate our independence and freedom, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

[Our] parish, will be speaking about this topic at a special presentation on Monday, June 25, at 6:30 PM in the large meeting room by Mr. Patrick Cacchione, Executive Director of the Illinois Catholic Health Organization, he will speak on key issues involved in the "Fortnight for Freedom" effort.

Mr. Cacchione will speak on why these important Catholic ministries that serve both Catholic and non-Catholics are essential parts of our church's mission. We invite you to come to learn about the key issue in the "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign.

As we observe this fortnight (and beyond), you and I need to educate ourselves on the issues, which are often only superficially covered (and often slanted from the “right” or "left") in the media, while ignoring the inflammatory, distorting rhetoric used on both sides.

We need to look at societal issues with the moral lens rather than the purely political or financial lens we normally employ. We need to spend time praying over the issues that affect the larger community (and not just those which affect "me" directly). And we need to take action by voicing our consciences to those in leadership roles within our government and society.

You can learn more about the Fortnight for Freedom at the bishops website, www.usccb.org. There you can also find the statement they issued on the topic of religious freedom, entitled "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty."

Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?

Without religious liberty properly understood,  all-American suffer, deprived of the essential contribution in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that religious Americans make every day, both here and at home and overseas.

I would like to close this prayer for our nation:

Almighty God, father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus. We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good. Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties; by your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, our patroness of these United States and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Truth in Humor

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

D-Day Memorial - Absent Commander-in-Chief

In all the years since D-Day, there are three occasions when the president failed to go to the D-Day Monument that honors the soldiers killed during the Invasion.

The occasions were:

1. Barack Obama 2010
2. Barack Obama 2011
3. Barack Obama 2012

For the past 68 years, all presidents, except Obama, have paid tribute to the fallen soldiers killed on D-Day. This year, instead of honoring the soldiers, he made a campaign trip on Air Force 1 to California to raise funds for the upcoming election. 

Tale of Two Doctors

Two patients limp into two different medical clinics with the same complaint. Both have trouble walking and appear to require hip surgery.

The FIRST patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week. 

The SECOND sees his family doctor after waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, then waits 8 weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn't reviewed for another week and finally has his surgery scheduled for 6 months from then pending the review boards decision on his age and remaining value to society.

Why the different treatment for the two patients?

The FIRST is a Golden Retriever taken to a vet.

The SECOND is a Senior Citizen on Obama care...

In November if He and his Czars get another term we'll all have to find a good vet.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Homily – Deacon Stuart, 2012-07-01

Homily – Deacon Stuart, 2012-07-01

“Oliver Plunkett, Priest, Professor of Theology, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland, you have been found guilty of high treason and it is this courts decision that you will be executed for your crimes.”

“Have you anything to say?”

His reply : “Deo Gratias – Thanks be to God.”

And so on this date, July 1st, in 1681, Oliver Plunkett was executed – his crime - “Propagation of the Catholic faith in Ireland” [He was hanged, drawn and quartered.]

And so we honor the memory of Saint Oliver Plunkett , he was canonized in 1975 , on this date. He was the last Roman Catholic martyr to die in England and the first new Irish saint for almost 700 years. He understood the great risk of his vocation, and touched the lives of many Irish Catholics with his fearless and faithful leadership and paid the ultimate price.

Faith brings Risk as we heard in the gospel.

First, Jairus, – a synagogue official, devout Jew, and an establishment figure with considerable standing in the community, throws himself at the feet of Jesus.
Jesus, the radical rabbi, teacher, healer, and antiestablishment figure, who kept company with all kinds of sinners, and even performed acts of kindness on the Sabbath.
Jairus begs Jesus to come lay his hands on his 12 year old daughter, who is at the point of death, so that she might live. For those of us with children we can certainly understand how a father would risk almost anything to see his 12 yr old child saved from death.

However, the risks he took – discrimination in his synagogue, loss of standing within his community, ostracization of his family and ridicule if his daughter had not been healed were a measure of the incredible Faith he had in Jesus Christ!

As they journey to his home word comes that his daughter has died! And while Jairus’s reaction is not recorded, one can only imagine the father’s anguish at this news.
What is recorded is Jesus’s response to him – “Do not be afraid, just have FAITH.”

When they arrive at the house, they find a commotion, weeping and wailing. Jesus tells the crowd that the child is not dead but asleep. The crowd ridicule Jesus but with great faith in his Father, he takes the child by the hand says “Little girl, I say to you arise,” and of course she does.

We see the Faith of Jairus in Jesus; the Faith of Jesus in his Father, and the Risk to both their reputations.

In the second healing story: A woman has been hemorrhaging for 12 years, and her faith is such that she believes merely touching Jesus’s garments would heal her. So she pushes her way through the crowd, touches Jesus’s garment and is healed.

But Jesus feels the power leave him and asks of the crowd amassing around him “Who touched me?”
So I ask you to imagine Jesus’s disciples, looking at him incredulously, and saying (in Aramaic of course), Lord, you’re kidding, right? You see the crowd pressing all around you and yet you ask: “Who touched Me?”

However, the woman hearing this and understanding what has happened approaches Jesus with great trepidation and falls at his feet confessing what she did. Jesus tells her, “Your FAITH has saved you - be cured of your affliction.

But what a risk she took! In the Judaic culture of the time a ritually unclean woman touching a man she didn’t know.

Faith Brings Risk

So what does this mean to us today? We will in a few minutes approach the table of our Lord and receive Him, precious body and blood. With this most Holy Sacrament He touches us in a most wonderful way. Through the Eucharist He offers healing and fortification for our journey of faith, which the Lord knows is never easy. Strengthened with this gift we are able to take the RISKS that living as a Catholic in American society today requires.

Our religious freedom in this country is under attack.

You should be well aware of current healthcare legislation that negatively impacts the ability of Catholics and our institutions as well as other religions to operate freely and in accord with our beliefs. While this is serious enough when we look at the fine print, the government has decided it can define what is, and what a religious institution is not.

This is history because the constitution says that it can’t do that and I quote “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the FREE exercise thereof….”

Fr. Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University, who have filed a lawsuit against the government, said “If we concede that the government can decide which religious organizations are sufficiently religious to be awarded the freedom to follow the principles that define their mission, then we have begun to walk down a path that ultimately leads to the undermining of those institutions.”

Religious freedom was embraced by our country’s founders as “an essential condition of a free and democratic Society.”

When the bill of rights was ratified religious freedom had the distinction of being the FIRST amendment – because it is indeed the first liberty.

But this attack is more than healthcare; Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC and our state have driven local Catholic adoption and foster care services out of business.

But it’s not just Catholics – in NYC they barred sixty churches of various faiths from renting public schools for their services, but non-religious groups were welcome to rent them for a multitude of purposes.

Yesterday’s Sun Times’ opinion page was a full page article about the growth of non-believers, atheists, agnostics and other faithless. It said, 1 in 6 Americans are not affiliated with any religious group, while for 18-29 year olds it’s 1 in 4. Its hurtful conclusion – that if this trend continues, it’s going to be harder and harder for believers to continue to call to faith atheists!

A few months ago Cardinal George while talking about this attack on our religious freedom said “I expect to die in my own bed, that my successor will die in prison and that his successor will be martyred.”

Yes I’ll repeat that! “I expect to die in my own bed, that my successor will die in prison and that his successor will be martyred.”

Make no mistake – In this country Christians, and particular Catholics are under attack; and I implore you to study the issues, get involved in the debate and take a risk and defend your faith and resist this attack on our religious freedoms. If you have children or grandchildren under the age of 20, you owe it to them.

Martin Luther King Jr. – 50 years ago, said “The church is neither the master nor the servant of the state, BUT its conscience, guide and critic.”

And he added:
“On some positions:
A coward has asked the question ‘Is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question ‘Is it politic?’
Vanity asks the question ‘Is it popular?’
But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

For Christians and particularly Catholics in America I believe that time is now.

God Bless you all and the United States of America.

[Edited for punctuation and clarity by blogger]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Humor: obama & Bush on a Train

Sitting together on a train were Pres. Obama, George W. Bush, a little old lady, and a young blonde girl with large breasts.

The train goes into a dark tunnel and a few seconds later There is the sound of a loud slap.

When the train emerges from the tunnel, Obama has a bright red hand print on his cheek.

No one speaks.

The old lady thinks: Obama must have groped the Blonde in the dark, and she slapped him.

The blonde girl thinks: Obama must have tried To grope me in the dark, but missed and fondled The old lady and she slapped him.

Obama thinks: Bush must have groped the blonde in the dark. She tried to slap him but missed and got me instead.

George Bush thinks: I can't wait for another tunnel so I can slap the crap out of Obama again!!!

The Generations

In case you were wondering:

- People born before 1946 were called
The Silent generation. 

- People born between 1946 and 1964 are called
The Baby Boomers. 

- People born between 1965 and 1979 are called
Generation X. 

- And people born between 1980 and 2010 are called Generation Y. 

Why do we call the last group Generation Y?

Y should I get a job?
Y should I leave home and find my own place?
Y should I get a car when I can borrow yours?
Y should I clean my room?
Y should I wash and iron my own clothes?
Y should I buy any food?

But a cartoonist explained it very eloquently below...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Archbishop Charles Chaput -- Fortnight for Freedom Closing Homily

Archbishop Charles Chaput -- Fortnight for Freedom Closing Homily from Rocco Palmo on Vimeo.

Here is the text:

My dear faithful people of God and people of Good will,

Philadelphia is the place where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were written. For more than two centuries, these documents have inspired people around the globe. So as we begin our reflection on today’s readings, I have the privilege of greeting everyone here today -- and every person watching or listening from a distance -- in the name of the Church of my home, the Church of Philadelphia, the cradle of our country’s liberty and the city of our nation’s founding, so greetings to all of you from the people of Philadelphia. May God bless and guide all of us as we settle our hearts and minds on the Word of God.

Paul Claudel, the French poet and diplomat of the last century, once described the Christian as “a man who knows what he is doing and where he is going in a world [that] no longer [knows] the difference between good and evil, between yes and no. He is like a god standing out in a crowd of invalids . . . He alone has liberty in a world of slaves.”

Like most of the great writers of his time, Claudel was a mix of gold and clay, flaws and genius. He had a deep and brilliant Catholic faith, and when he wrote that a man “who no longer believes in God, no longer believes in anything,” he was simply reporting what he saw all around him. He spoke from a lifetime that witnessed two world wars and the rise of atheist ideologies that murdered tens of millions of innocent people using the vocabulary of science. He knew exactly where forgetting God can lead.

We Americans live in a different country, on a different continent, in a different century. And yet, in speaking of liberty, Claudel leads us to the reason we come together in worship this afternoon.

Most of us know today’s passage from the Gospel of Matthew. What we should, or should not, render unto Caesar shapes much of our daily discourse as citizens. But I want to focus on the other and more important point Jesus makes in today’s Gospel: the things we should render unto God.

When the Pharisees and Herodians try to trap Jesus, he responds by asking for a coin. Examining it he says, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” When his enemies say “Caesar’s,” he tells them to render it to Caesar. In other words, that which bears the image of Caesar belongs to Caesar.

The key word in Christ’s answer is “image,” or in the Greek, eikon. Our modern meaning of “image” is weaker than the original Greek meaning. We tend to think of an image as something symbolic, like a painting or sketch. The Greek understanding includes that sense but goes much further. In the New Testament, the “image” of something shares in the nature of the thing itself.

This has consequences for our own lives because we’re made in the image and likeness of God. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the same word, eikon, is used in Genesis when describing creation. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” says God (Gen 1:26). The implication is clear. To be made in the image of God is more than a pious slogan. It’s a statement of fact. Every one of us shares -- in a limited but real way -- in the nature of God himself. When we follow Jesus Christ, we grow in conformity to that image.

Once we understand this, the impact of Christ’s response to his enemies becomes clear. Jesus isn’t being clever. He’s not offering a political commentary. He’s making a claim on every human being. He’s saying, “render unto Caesar those things that bear Caesar’s image, but more importantly, render unto God that which bears God’s image” -- in other words, you and me. All of us.

And that raises some unsettling questions: What do you and I, and all of us, really render to God in our personal lives? If we claim to be disciples, then what does that actually mean in the way we speak and the way we act?

Thinking about the relationship of Caesar and God, religious faith and secular authority, is important. It helps us sort through our different duties as Christians and citizens. But on a deeper level, Caesar is a creature -- a creature of this world -- and Christ’s message is uncompromising: We should give Caesar nothing of ourselves. Obviously we’re in the world. That means we have obligations of charity and justice to the people with whom we share it. For Christians, patriotism is a virtue. Love of country is an honorable thing. As Chesterton once said, if we build a wall between ourselves and the world, it makes little difference whether we describe ourselves as locked in or locked out.

But God has made us for more than the world. Our real home isn’t here. The point of today’s Gospel passage is not how we might calculate a fair division of goods between Caesar and God. In reality, it all belongs to God and nothing – at least nothing permanent and important – belongs to Caesar. Why? Because just as the coin bears the stamp of Caesar’s image, we bear the stamp of God’s image in baptism. We belong to God, and only to God.

In today’s second reading, St. Paul tells us, “Indeed religion” -- the RSV version says “godliness” – “with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.” My dear friends, true freedom knows no attachments other than Jesus Christ. It has no love of riches or the appetites they try to satisfy. True freedom can walk away from anything -- wealth, honor, fame, pleasure. Even power. It fears neither the state, nor death itself.

Who is the most free person at anything? It’s the person who masters her art. A pianist is most free who -- having mastered her instrument according to the rules that govern it and the rules of music, and having disciplined and honed her skills -- can now play anything she wants.

The same holds true for our lives. We’re free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God’s plan. When we do this, when we choose to live according to God’s intentions for us, then -- and only then -- will we be truly free.

This is the freedom of the sons and daughters of God. It’s the freedom of Miguel Pro, of Mother Teresa, Maximillian Kolbe, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and all the other holy women and men who have gone before us to do the right thing, the heroic thing, in the face of suffering, adversity and death.

This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty – religious or otherwise.

I say this for two reasons. Here’s the first reason. Real freedom isn’t something Caesar can give or take away. He can interfere with it; but when he does, he steals from his own legitimacy.

Here’s the second reason. The purpose of religious liberty is to create the context for true freedom. Religious liberty is a foundational right. It’s necessary for the good of society. But it can never be sufficient for human happiness. It’s not an end in itself. In the end, we defend religious liberty in order to live the deeper freedom that is discipleship in Jesus Christ. What good is religious freedom, consecrated in the law, if we don’t then use that freedom to seek God with our whole mind, our whole strength, our whole soul and all that we are?

Today, July 4, we celebrate the birth of a novus ordo seclorum – a “new order of the ages,” the American Era. God has blessed our nation with resources, power, beauty and the rule of law. We have so much to be grateful for. But these are gifts. They can be misused. They can be lost. In coming years, we’ll face more and more serious challenges to religious liberty in our country. This is why the Fortnight for Freedom has been so very important.

And yet, the political and legal effort to defend religious liberty – as vital as it is – belongs to a much greater struggle to master and convert our own hearts, and to live for God completely, without alibis or self-delusion. The only question that finally matters is this one: Will we live wholeheartedly for Jesus Christ? If so, then we can be a source of freedom for the world. If not, nothing else will do.

God’s word in today’s first reading is a caution we ignore at our own expense. “Son of man,” God says to Ezekiel and to all of us, “I have appointed you as a sentinel. If I say to the wicked, ‘you will surely die’ – and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them . . . I will hold you responsible for their blood.”

Here’s what that means for each of us: We live in a time that calls for sentinels and public witness. Every Christian in every era faces the same task. But you and I are responsible for this moment. Today. Now. We need to “speak out,” not only for religious liberty and the ideals of the nation we love, but for the sacredness of life and the dignity of the human person – in other words, for the truth of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God.

We need to be witnesses of that truth not only in words, but also in deeds. In the end, we’re missionaries of Jesus Christ, or we’re nothing at all. And we can’t share with others what we don’t live faithfully and joyfully ourselves.

When we leave this Mass today, we need to render unto Caesar those things that bear his image. But we need to render ourselves unto God -- generously, zealously, holding nothing back. To the extent we let God transform us into his own image, we will – by the example of our lives – fulfill our duty as citizens of the United States, but much more importantly, as disciples of Jesus Christ.
May God brings to completion the good things he begins in us today.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pastor John Hagee on Obama

Message to ALL Christians in America from Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Greetings to all of our Salt Covenant Partners and friends across the nation and around the world.

First, I want to express my profound appreciation to President Barak Obama for doing what all of the Republican candidates have not been able to do for months: he unified the Bible-believing church in America in one week over the issue of abortion.

When the President ordered the Catholic Church to provide contraceptives to prevent the birth of new life, he hit a nerve in the heart of every true Catholic and Evangelical.

Being a politician, he will attempt to compromise his position until after the election and then release the full power of government to force the church to obey the state.  Think about this!  If he made this bold statement before the election, consider how brutal he will be if he is re-elected!

I have said it before and I will say it again:  the election on November 6, 2012 for the office of President is the day of decision for America.  Four more years of Obama will bring absolute socialism to America.  Our children and grandchildren will never know the greatness of America that we have experienced.  THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN!


I am asking the Christians of America to join us in 40 days of prayer for this Presidential election.  These 40 days of prayer will begin on September 28, 2012.  You can do it individually or in groups, but prayer is the most powerful force God has given us to bring our nation back to righteousness.  I'll be saying more about this as the year progresses, but mark it on your calendar and start telling your family, friends, and church members NOW about the 40 days of prayer.


Pastor John Hagee

If my people, which are called by my name, 
shall humble themselves, and pray, seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear
from heaven, and will forgive their sin, 
and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 

Fortnight for Freedom - Day 14

Happy Independence Day! Thanks for putting up with me these past 14 days. I hope my postings inspired you to pray and take action to protect our religious liberties. History teaches us that religious freedom is a precious gift, and it can be taken away swiftly, Mexico in 1926, or slowly, Nazi Germany. Many say “It cannot happen here.” But it is already happening.

The culmination of the “Fortnight for Freedom” initiative does not mean we can relax, stop praying, stop writing our elected officials, stop learning about the issues, stop exhorting our friends and relatives. It begins.

Taking one word from Scripture “Watch!”

We are Catholics. Our faith teaches us to be good citizens, but we are near the time, perhaps the time is already here, that calls for civil disobedience. The call has been heard: “I will not, I cannot, I should not comply.”

Prayer for the Nation
Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore (First Bishop of the United States)

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

U.S. Constitution - Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

God bless America. God bless you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom - Day 13

I would be remiss if I let this religious freedom initiative pass without a day devoted to the Sacred Heart. This devotion has seemed to decline with the excitement of Vatican II, as many traditional rituals/liturgies have; as I've previously mentioned Perpetual Adoration - I wonder why? Then there is some 'competition' with the Divine Mercy devotions. But I think the greater cause is the secularization and hedonism of our society: religious discarding their habits, Mass attendance way down; retreat houses, when you can find one, are more about ecology then renewing our relationship with God.

But I see a revitalization of many of our traditional forms of devotion. I see churches bringing these back. Those that do are growing, those hanging on to the aging liberal movement of the '60s and 70's are declining. Youth want something to hang their hats on, not a constantly changing movement. People are looking for direction from the Vatican, not their liberal pastors or bishops.

My parents had a devotion to the Sacred Heart which I picked up on. It went latent for years passing through young adulthood. But I gradually reacquainted myself and found the devotions rewards and blessings. I'm currently reading "Heart of the Redeemer" by Timothy T. O'Donnell, S.T.D., Ignatius Press, that will tell you all you want to know about the devotion and its history.

With help from Wikipedia, I can express that the Sacred Heart is one of the most famous religious devotions to Jesus' physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity. The devotion especially emphasizes the unmitigated love, compassion, and long-suffering of the heart of Christ towards humanity. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a French Roman Catholic nun, Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a mystical experience.

How soothing and refreshing to contemplate that the Father gave His Son to us, and the Son gave his life for us, out of His great love, so we may share eternity with Him.

Worship of the Sacred Heart mainly consists of the Salutation of the Sacred Heart, and the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

And so I pray for the intention of our religious freedom - join me if you like:

Sacred Heart A Salutation Prayer by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque:

Hail, Heart of Jesus, save me!
Hail, Heart of my Creator, perfect me!
Hail, Heart of my Saviour, deliver me!
Hail, Heart of my Judge, grant me pardon!
Hail, Heart of my Father, govern me!
Hail, Heart of my Spouse, grant me love!
Hail, Heart of my Master, teach me!
Hail, Heart of my King, be my crown!
Hail, Heart of my Benefactor, enrich me!
Hail, Heart of my Shepherd, guard me!
Hail, Heart of my Friend, comfort me!
Hail, Heart of my Brother, stay with me!
Hail, Heart of the Child Jesus, draw me to Thyself!
Hail, Heart of Jesus dying on the Cross, redeem me!
Hail, Heart of Jesus in all Thy states, give Thyself to me!
Hail, Heart of incomparable goodness, have mercy on me!
Hail, Heart of splendor, shine within me!
Hail, most loving Heart, inflame me!
Hail, most merciful Heart, work within me!
Hail, most humble Heart, dwell within me!
Hail, most patient Heart, support me!
Hail, most faithful Heart, be my reward!
Hail, most admirable and most worthy Heart, bless me!

The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord,
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.

Sacred Heart of Jesus an offering prayer - The Raccolta

O Divine Heart of Jesus, grant, I beseech Thee, eternal rest to the souls in purgatory, final grace to all who are to die today, true repentance to sinners, the light of faith to pagans, Thy blessing to me and to all who are mine.

To Thee, O most loving Heart of Jesus, do I therefore commend all these souls, and for them I offer all Thy merits, together with the merits of the most Blessed Mother and of all the saints and angels, and also together with all the Sacrifices of the Mass, the Holy Communions, the prayers and good works that are made today throughout the entire Christian world.

You may want to read my post on the Feast of the Sacred Heart which was the work by Saint Bonaventure found in the Office of Readings for that day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom - Day 12

I've been wondering what to post for Day 12, I decided to do a little surfing and see what I can come up with to share to help you become more acquainted with the religious freedom issues. So see below.

* * * * *

Homily by Fr. Martin Fox at Bonfire of the Vanities blog - Spreading God's Life" He has a great site. Visit him some time.

As you know, right now all Catholics in America--all 70 million of us-- are focusing intently on a “Fortnight for Freedom,” which will conclude this Wednesday as celebrate our nation’s independence.

It’s inspiring to see your responses! Between both parishes, over 5,000 rosaries, prayers, sacrifices and so forth, that we know of.
We have all that posted in the vestibule. And, of course, many others are praying and sacrificing but didn’t turn in a response. Multiply that by the tens of thousands of parishes nationwide, and it adds up, doesn’t it?
Also, remember this isn’t just Catholics. Many of our fellow Americans, of different faiths, likewise see the threats to religious freedom; and not just at home, but everywhere.
For example--in Germany, a court ruled that
parents commit a crime if they circumcise their children.

If that ruling is upheld, that makes an essential part of Islam and Judaism is now a crime.

Now, we are all, also, aware of the major decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court last week. It isn’t my place to talk from the pulpit about that whole decision. But, it does connect to the question of religious freedom-- because the mandate hanging over our heads, that would force our Catholic institutions to act contrary to our Faith, was authorized by the President’s health-care law.

A lot of folks are asking, how does that ruling last week affect the mandate threatening us?

The answer is that we continue our efforts. There are lawsuits against the mandate that would force us to provide contraception and abortion services, and those are still working their way through the courts. They haven’t been decided yet. So we keep praying and we keep sharing our message.

 If you are tempted to give up, call it over, remember the woman in the Gospel.
She waited twelve years! Remember the official whose child died-- they said, don’t trouble the teacher any longer. They gave up. And yet Jesus answered the prayer.

A lot of folks are reacting to this discussion of religious freedom by saying, it’s all political. Well, it’s partly political of course. The politicians are making decisions that affect our mission as Christians. They chose to do that; and so we must respond. Our response is prayer and asking them to relent. This is totally legitimate. The Mass prayers, you’ll notice, are for our public officials. We’re praying for them. We want good for our President, our Congress and our courts. Let’s not give up on them.

But let’s step away from that arena and talk about the bigger picture.

We must defend the freedom of the Church to carry out her mission because that mission is about fostering God’s Life in the world. As the first reading said: God fashioned us for life; God desires all Creation to enjoy the fullness of life.

Everything we profess; everything we do, is about that fullness of life.

We defend marriage because that makes a difference for families. That’s about life.

We stand for all unborn children to have life. We want mothers to have the help they need to choose life. Many of the institutions now in danger exist to do just that.  Instead of contraception, we stand for welcoming and cooperating generously with the gift of life, because we know the problem is not too much life--too many people-- but too little justice in how this world’s abundance is made available for all.

We built countless schools, charities and hospitals precisely to help share God’s life with the poor and those in the shadows. And we aim to keep doing that, without interference.

Other people are questioning our motives, perhaps attacking us. But you and I are clear on what we stand for. God’s Creation which is fashioned for life. We are sent to heal and to restore--to give God’s healing and life.

* * * * *

Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington has a very good reflection drawing from 1Kings - the efforts of Elijah seemingly alone and depressed, but God it with him. God will not abandon him. So too for us. We are fighting the fight, we are running the race. At times it looks like we are loosing, but take hope. God is with us. Read his post here.

H/T The Happy Catholic.

* * * * *

From the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the Diocese of Tyler, comes this sermon from Fr. Anthony McLaughlin on June 21st, the opening of Fortnight for Freedom. 22 minutes long, but a great synopsis of what is going on. Don't miss this. It provides great information for entering into conversation with others on religious freedom.

* * * * *

If you have not seen this video yet, it is a good one, well done - gets to the point. You want to fee good, you want hope? Watch this.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our Most Cherished Liberty - Fortnight for Freedom - Day 11

A short but good video from CatholicTV.