Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oath of Allegiance

One of my staff members just became a citizen of the United States. It was a day of celebration. I had an opportunity to read the oath (see below).
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and
abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God. [Emphasis added]
Reading it I told her that there was no way she could vote for obama, or any Democrat. The reason is obvious. Her oath stated: "I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." If she is to be true to her oath, with the way obama and the Democrats have trampled on our Constitution and our freedom of religion, she must not, she cannot, vote for any Democrat.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Obama Rejects Pro-Life Catholic Cardinal's Benediction at DNC

From Breitbart, 8/24/2012:

President Obama and the "social justice" Democrats have just told Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan they don't want him at their convention next month, according to the New York Post. Earlier this week, the GOP announced that Cardinal Dolan will be giving the benediction at next week's Republican National Convention:

President Obama turned down a chance to have Timothy Cardinal Dolan deliver a prayer at the Democratic National Convention after Dolan told Democrats he would be “grateful” to deliver a blessing in Charlotte.

Dolan — considered the top Catholic official in the nation, as head of the Archdiocese of New York and president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops — tipped off Democrats a few weeks ago that he had agreed to deliver the prime-time benediction at the Republican convention in Tampa next week, Dolan’s spokesman Joseph Zwilling told The Post.

“He wanted to make sure that they knew that this was not a partisan act on his part and that he would be just as happy and grateful to accept an invitation from the Democrats as he would to have received one from the Republicans,” said Zwilling.

"He has not been contacted by them” since, he added.

Read the rest of the article here.

Audio: Obama Argues Against Born Alive Legislation in IL State Senate

It was always my understanding that when obama was in the State and Federal Legislature, he most often voted Present or did not show up at all. I find it interesting that a piece of legislation when he was a State Senator, intended to protect babies born during an abortion, was the one law he spoke out against. It is my understanding he was the ONLY Senator against the bill. Listen to his own words.

Road to Emmaus

There is a walking path very near my house that circles around some wetland. I would guess about ¾ mile in circumference. Recently, I’ve been taking advantage of it when I can, usually in the early morning. It’s a great way to admire God’s creation, the sights of trees, ponds, animals, birds, and geese. Their sounds add to the experience along with the chirping of crickets. Then, of course, the lovely sunrise: the sky, the clouds. It is also a great time to get lost in your thoughts and to pray.

This morning I decided to pray during the first lap; praise, thanksgiving, petitions. The second lap I tried not to think at all. To just enjoy the environment and give God a chance to talk to me if He so desired to do so.

The third lap I decided to feel God’s presence that he was walking beside me. I entered into a conversation as with a friend. Mostly about current events, my concerns, the economy, the elections, etc.

Then Emmaus came to mind; Jesus walking along the road with His disciples. They too were grappling with the events of their time; seeking to understand, wondering what these events were all about. Jesus, still not recognized, helped them to understand. Then finally they did recognize Him when He broke the bread.

As I walked with Jesus my thoughts continued. The road to Emmaus is a metaphor for the road we walk in life. Along the way, there are various people who walk this road with us; mostly family, relatives, friends, co-workers. Some may walk with us the rest of our lives – spouses, children. Some may be with us for only a brief moment, perhaps only a word or two.

As we walk with God we are provided with many things: first of course, is love, then assistance, advice, encouragement. So too, are these people. Often they provide the same things. Is this not also Jesus walking with us? As the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, we too recognize God in others in Communion at Mass. We need to embrace these people in our lives, literally or figuratively. Those who feed us, love, encourage, assist, in whatever way, those that emulate Christ we should stay close to, break bread with them, spend time with them, walk with them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Free Stuff

I received this email today and thought I would pass it on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for lending a hand when a hand is really needed. But you know the truth about the waste, fraud and corruption – the extent is unbelievable. All the while the truly needy are not being helped as they should be. I know this from an old friend’s personal experience.

We all have personal experiences we can relate. The first that comes to mind is I’m standing in front of a building waiting for a friend. Up the driveway comes a PACE van – those vans for the disabled to help them visit doctors etc. – a free ride door to door. Out of the building comes a woman, I would say in her early forties dressed in a full length leather coat. Her gait is quick; she walks better than I do no signs of any disability. She gets in the van and they drive off. I called PACE to complain. First comes the phone menu system to wade through and then the switching from one department to another, passing the buck. I stayed with it. Finally got to someone and they were totally disinterested. You know my complaint would go nowhere.
Then the time I was going to offer to help at a food pantry, but didn’t as many of those people getting free food drove up in cars newer and more expensive than mine.

There was the day I was with the same friend mentioned above waiting in a government assistance office. Waiting and waiting for her turn. I couldn’t help but listen to the conversations around me. Most of the topics were how to ‘beat’ the system and how to get this or that – free of course.

I could go on and on. The point is, is that the email has so much truth in it. There are two types of people: the producers and the takers. The number of producers is dwindling while the numbers of takers are exponentially increasing. There is no more money – I can’t pay any more taxes. I’m already drastically limiting my entertainment and eating out budget. Our nation debt is so great our grandchildren and their children will be paying for the dollars we spend today.

It was just two generations ago that people had to rely on themselves, relatives, or charities. There was no government assistance. At the same time the government is doing all it can to stifle Catholic outreach efforts with the HHS Mandate – now law, and other efforts to cripple our church. You will recall in a number of states, including Illinois, the Catholic church has had to back away from adoption services.
As the takers now outnumber the producers it is going to be very hard to turn this around. Our only hope is in the upcoming elections. If the current administration is reelected you cannot imagine how bad it will get when re-election will not be a concern. If you think the last four years were bad, wait for the next four.

Here is the email – you can smile, but not for long – as this reflects reality:

I am forwarding this email that I received today to a few of the "thinkers" in my address book.   It reflects the feelings of a lot of people.

I have never heard this said as simply or as well.  

Class warfare at its best.

The folks who are getting the free stuff don't like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff.

And, the folks who are paying for the free stuffwant the free stuff to stop.

And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting!

Now... the people who are forcing the people who pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff are being mean, prejudiced, and racist.

So... the people who are GETTING the free stuffhave been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff and giving them the free stuff in the first place.

We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff.

Now understand this.   All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between200 and 250 years after being founded.   The reason?

The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them.

The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 236 years ago.   The number of people now getting free stuff outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff.   We have one chance to change that in 2012. Failure to change that spells the end of the United States as we know it.

A Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!

For all our sake and the sake of our children and grandchildren PLEASE Take a Stand!!!

Obama: Gone!
Borders: Closed!
Language: English only
Culture: Constitution, and the Bill of Rights!
Drug Free: Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare!
NO freebies to: Non-Citizens!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Biblical Top 10s

Our Sunday Visitor had an article on “Taking a tour of biblical Top 10s." Following is an outline. Thought you would find it interesting. See the full article here.

Tip for fruitful Scripture reading:
10. Bible reading is for Catholics
9. Prayer is the beginning and the end.
8. Get the whole story.
7. The Bible isn’t a book.
6. Know what the Bible is – and what it isn’t.
5. The sum is greater than the parts.
4. The Old relates to the New.
3. You do not read alone.
2. What is God saying to me?
1. Reading isn’t enough.

Top 10 Cities:
10. Ephesus
9. Capernaum
8. Athens
7. Emmaus
6. Antioch
5. Damascus
4. Nazareth
3. Bethlehem
2. Rome
1. Jerusalem

Top 10 Biblical Mountains:
Mountains of Arara
9. Mount Hermon
8. Moriah
7. Mount Nebo
6. Mount Tabor
5. Mount Gerizim
4. Mount Carmel
3. Mount of Olives
2. Mount Sinai
1. Mount Zion

Top 10 Love Stories:
10. Tobiah and Sarah
9. The woman of worth and Her (unnamed) Husband
8. Hosea and Gomer
7. Abraham and Sarah
6. Moses and Zipporah
5. Zechariah and Elizabeth
4. Jacob and Rachel
3. The bride and groom in the Song of Songs
2. Joseph and Mary
1. God and his people.

Top ten sayings:
10. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be open to you."
9. "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;/lesson be the name of the Lord!"
8. "So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
7. "God saw that it was good."
6. "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
5. "May it be done to me according to your word."
4. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
3. “I am the way and the truth and the life."
2. "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is your God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength."
1. "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you."

Ten Biblical people, places or fax you should know:
10. People or places are often called by different names.
9. No single copy of the original Bible exists.
8. The Bible does not predict the end of the world.
7. "God helps those who help themselves" is not a biblical verse.
6. Several women were early supporters of Jesus and the early Christians.
5. Not all Pharisees were against Jesus.
4. The number of Magi visited Jesus is never specified.
3. The Bible is the most translated book in history.
2. The books of the Bible are not in chronological order.
1. The Bible is salvation history.

Has America become a nation of Heretics? No!

Has America become a nation of Heretics? No!

The August 5th issue of Our Sunday Visitor has an article about a book by Ross Douthat’s new book entitled “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.” It reports that the book is quite a pessimistic. Now,

Mr. Douthat works for The New York Times. Knowing the bent of that newspaper, I wouldn’t expect anything else but pessimism from Mr. Douthat.

So it inspired me to write these thoughts. Yes, the Church is and has been in decline for some time. It is even understandable given the secularization of our society, the turn to materialism, hedonism, “me first”, just do it,” the loss of respect for authority, the sexual revolution, even the palpable agenda of our government to squash religion. I could go on and on listing the reasons. The “downsizing” of the church is not only realized here but globally.

I doubt if I will buy or read Mr. Douthat’s book. Perhaps he is doing nothing more than calling our attention to a known fact. Everything, including the church is subject to change. Everything has its ebbs and flows. The one thing to remember is God is in control.

The domestic church, the family has changed. We no longer eat together, during the week we seldom see each other with both parents working, kids going to this or that function. We have a myriad of distractions and a host of things that refocus our attention. Not to mention the kids and even many of us “adults” addicted to computer games. Dad/Mom come home from work, a quick easy to make dinner and we plop in front of the boob tube in hopes of some escapism to get our minds out of reality and the exertions of work, to be entertained. Then during this most vulnerable time be are met with the propaganda of TV commercials – you got to have this, you got to have that, you got to be thin, sexy, beautiful, etc. Are we susceptible? You bet we are. Like the ancient Israelites, we all have our Ba’als. Not gods mind you, but we do worship them, our addictions; drugs, alcohol, power, money, the need to put others down to make us feel better about ourselves, even violence – I can go on.

“We’re not in Kansas anymore” – we’re no longer in quiet and comfortable surroundings. Gone are the days, before TV, before high-tech, when a family would gather together and perhaps one would read the Bible, or they would pray together. We’re even afraid, yes, afraid, to talk to our children about faith. Where has the responsibility to get each other to heaven gone?

Then we experienced Vatican II - a very traumatic event for the Church. Yes, it was needed, very much so - just like an operation is needed at times -but still traumatic. The liberals ran away with it; change, change, and more change. We lost our sound footing. The strong foundation we knew we could always go to was in flux.

Now let me turn on this pessimism to optimism. First, again, God is in control. There is a strong core of faithful Catholics that will bring us through this. I have seen them. I experience them, I am part of them. We love God, deeply, we acknowledge we are all sinners and go to Him for forgiveness. We know it is our responsibility to love our neighbor, whether they are fallen away Catholics or some other religion, or none at all. We know that we are called to serve our Church and each other. We find time for Mass, prayer and service. Many of us find the rewards of joining in the prayer of the Church by praying the Liturgy of the Hours. We understand that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Magisterium and therefore we listen to it, we obey it. We have put aside our televisions and our mind numbing toys

There is hope for God is in control. Do you not see it? Look at the rise in our youth craving for structure, for something to hold on to, to believe in. They find it in Church. Where is there growth? Just look at conservative churches. Growth is there. If your church is moderate there will be no growth. If your church is liberal, it will decline. The liberals of the past couple of decades are growing old and dying off, replaced by true Catholics. When you dismiss the authority of the church you are in the tide of a flowing river. Change for the sake of change has a fracturing element to it, unity diminishes. Just look at our Protestant brothers and sisters and their many denominations. Their root cause is a lack of central authority – each one goes their own way.

Why is it that the very things that inspires Catholics are not in our churches, or hard to find: Adoration, Holy Hours, litanies, devotions, Gregorian chant, etc. If your church does not offer these go to one that does. Associate with these people and you will be filled and satisfied.

There is reason to be hopeful. God is in control.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reflection - Today's Mass Reading - Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63

Every now and then we run across a Bible passage that we don’t recall reading before, or it didn’t hit us and now it does. This happened to me today when reflecting on today’s Mass readings. And the reflection on it I found in the booklet “Living Faith.” So I thought I would share it.

Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations.
Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem:
By origin and birth you are of the land of Canaan;
your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.
As for your birth, the day you were born your navel cord was not cut;
you were neither washed with water nor anointed,
nor were you rubbed with salt, nor swathed in swaddling clothes.
No one looked on you with pity or compassion
to do any of these things for you.
Rather, you were thrown out on the ground as something loathsome,
the day you were born.
[Emphases added]

Then I passed by and saw you weltering in your blood.
I said to you: Live in your blood and grow like a plant in the field.
You grew and developed, you came to the age of puberty;
your breasts were formed, your hair had grown,
but you were still stark naked.
Again I passed by you and saw that you were now old enough for love.
So I spread the corner of my cloak over you to cover your nakedness;
I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you;
you became mine, says the Lord GOD.
Then I bathed you with water, washed away your blood,
and anointed you with oil.
I clothed you with an embroidered gown,
put sandals of fine leather on your feet;
I gave you a fine linen sash and silk robes to wear.
I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms,
a necklace about your neck, a ring in your nose,
pendants in your ears, and a glorious diadem upon your head.
Thus you were adorned with gold and silver;
your garments were of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth.
Fine flour, honey, and oil were your food.
You were exceedingly beautiful, with the dignity of a queen.
You were renowned among the nations for your beauty, perfect as it was,
because of my splendor which I had bestowed on you,
says the Lord GOD.

But you were captivated by your own beauty,
you used your renown to make yourself a harlot,
and you lavished your harlotry on every passer-by,
whose own you became.

Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl,
and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you,
that you may remember and be covered with confusion,
and that you may be utterly silenced for shame
when I pardon you for all you have done, says the Lord GOD.

From “Living Faith

Attention must be paid

Then I painted you with water, washed away your blood, and anointed you with oil. (Ezekiel 16:9)

In Chapter 16 of Ezekiel, God speaks to Jerusalem through an allegory, describing God's loving care for the city from infancy to marriage, given in spite of its unfaithfulness. This beautiful passage of devoted attention reflects the generosity and fidelity of divine love and calls us to bring those same qualities to our own relationships

This is especially required when the other person or persons do not respond as we wish. They may be short – tempered when we desire them to be carefree, silent when we want them to speak, talkative when we wish them to be quiet, self – centered when we need them to give their attention elsewhere. Jesus noted well that it is much easier to love those who love us than it is to reach out to those less pleasing. It is tempting to close our hearts to someone who fails to meet our expectations of a viable relationship, but should love continues to offer a spacious and kind welcome.

- Sister Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.

I couldn’t help but think of the aborted babies while I reflected on the beginning of this Srcipture passage.

Article: Bishop of Madison, Bishop Robert C. Morlino

From the Diocese of Madison’s Catholic Herald

Subsidiarity, solidarity, and the lay mission

Bishop's Column

Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Dear friends,

It was no shock at all for me to learn that our diocesan native son, Paul Ryan, had been chosen to be a candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States. I am proud of his accomplishments as a native son, and a brother in the faith, and my prayers go with him and especially with his family as they endure the unbelievable demands of a presidential campaign here in the United States. It is not for the bishop or priests to endorse particular candidates or political parties. Any efforts on the part of any bishop or priest to do so should be set aside. And you can be assured that no priest who promotes a partisan agenda is acting in union with me or with the Universal Church.

It is the role of bishops and priests to teach principles of our faith, such that those who seek elected offices, if they are Catholics, are to form their consciences according to these principles about particular policy issues.

However, the formation of conscience regarding particular policy issues is different depending on how fundamental to the ecology of human nature or the Catholic faith a particular issue is. Some of the most fundamental issues for the formation of a Catholic conscience are as follows: sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, marriage, religious freedom and freedom of conscience, and a right to private property.

Violations of the above involve intrinsic evil — that is, an evil which cannot be justified by any circumstances whatsoever. These evils are examples of direct pollution of the ecology of human nature and can be discerned as such by human reason alone. Thus, all people of good will who wish to follow human reason should deplore any and all violations in the above areas, without exception. The violations would be: abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, government-coerced secularism, and socialism.

Where intrinsic evil is not involved

In these most fundamental matters, a well-formed Catholic conscience, or the well-formed conscience of a person of good will, simply follows the conclusions demanded by the ecology of human nature and the reasoning process. A Catholic conscience can never take exception to the prohibition of actions which are intrinsically evil. Nor may a conscience well-formed by reason or the Catholic faith ever choose to vote for someone who clearly, consistently, persistently promotes that which is intrinsically evil.

However, a conscience well-formed according to reason or the Catholic faith, must also make choices where intrinsic evil is not involved. How best to care for the poor is probably the finest current example of this, though another would be how best to create jobs at a time when so many are suffering from the ravages of unemployment. In matters such as these, where intrinsic evil is not involved, the rational principles of solidarity and subsidiarity come into play. The principle of solidarity, simply stated, means that every human being on the face of the earth is my brother and my sister, my “neighbor” in the biblical sense. At the same time, the time-tested best way for assisting our neighbors throughout the world should follow the principle of subsidiarity. That means the problem at hand should be addressed at the lowest level possible — that is, the level closest to the people in need. That again, is simply the law of human reason.

We can disagree on application

As one looks at issues such as the two mentioned above and seeks to apply the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, Catholics and others of good will can arrive at different conclusions. These are conclusions about the best means to promote the preferential option for the poor, or the best means to reach a lower percentage of unemployment throughout our country. No one is contesting here anyone’s right to the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, etc. Nor is anyone contesting someone’s right to work and so provide for self and family. However there can be difference according to how best to follow the principles which the Church offers.

Making decisions as to the best political strategies, the best policy means, to achieve a goal, is the mission of lay people, not bishops or priests. As Pope Benedict himself has said, a just society and a just state is the achievement of politics, not the Church. And therefore Catholic laymen and women who are familiar with the principles dictated by human reason and the ecology of human nature, or non-Catholics who are also bound by these same principles, are in a position to arrive at differing conclusions as to what the best means are for the implementation of these principles — that is, “lay mission” for Catholics.

Thus, it is not up to me or any bishop or priest to approve of Congressman Ryan’s specific budget prescription to address the best means we spoke of. Where intrinsic evils are not involved, specific policy choices and political strategies are the province of Catholic lay mission. But, as I’ve said, Vice Presidential Candidate Ryan is aware of Catholic Social Teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with the principles mentioned above. Of that I have no doubt. (I mention this matter in obedience to Church Law regarding one’s right to a good reputation.)

Peace and reconciliation in coming months

I obviously didn’t choose the date for the announcement of Paul Ryan’s Vice Presidential Candidacy and as I express my pride in him and in what he has accomplished, I thought it best to move to discussion of the above matters sooner rather than later. No doubt it will be necessary to comment again on these principles in the days ahead for the sake of further clarification, and be assured that I will be eager to do so.

Above all, let us beg the Lord that divisions in our electorate will not be deepened so as to have a negative impact on pre-existing divisions within the Church during this electoral season. Let there be the peace and reconciliation that flow from charity on the part of all. Thank you for reading this. God Bless each one of you! Praised be Jesus Christ!

Bishop Robert C. Morlino

I Love Ben Stein!

Paradoxical Quote of The Day From Ben Stein:

"Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured, but not everyone must prove they are a citizen."

Now add this,

"Many of those who refuse, or are unable, to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens."

Important Obama Quote

The Quote of the Decade:

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
– Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flashback: Ryan Destroys Obama, Obamacare in Six Minutes

Excuse the ad.

February 25, 2010: Rep. Paul Ryan picks apart the myth of Obamacare's budget neutrality thereby exposing President Obama's health care overhaul to be a deficit creating disaster.

Living Faith: Going the Extra Mile

Going the Extra Mile

In the Living Faith booklet I graciously receive each quarter, I made note of today’s reflection:

Psalm Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth,
in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Your decrees are… The joy of my heart… (Psalm 119:111)

I wish I could always say God's decrees are the “joy of my heart." I have a ways to go on that one, especially when they require that I eliminate my desire for a neatly scheduled day and plenty of time for self – satisfying projects. Decrees such as go the extra mile, give them not count the cost, welcome the stranger, visit the sick and imprisoned do not exactly delight my heart when I'm struggling with meeting deadlines of my own making. However, once I have let go of my cherished ones and follow through with action for others I do find joy in my heart.

When I give my carefully guarded time or limited finances to someone in need, I know it is the right thing to do. There is satisfaction in this reality. Psalm 119 notes that God's decrees "are my counselors." These decrees can guide us to live as our best self, nudge us to be the persons of a great love, mirrors of Jesus, our superb teacher.

Sister Joyce Rupp, O. S. M.

Papal Letter to the Knights of Columbus "Plugs" Religions Freedom Efforts of U.S. Catholics

Pope Benedict encouraged the Knights of Columbus and indirectly all of us to continue our efforts for religious freedom. This is the responsibility of all of us. This is our time. Each generation has it challenges – religious freedom is now ours. Will you step up to the plate or let it pass with indifference? Following is the text of the message the Vatican sent to the Knights. The elections are just around the corner. Will you vote to defend the church, to stop this harassment of Catholics, to stop the trampling on and removal of our religious rights?

Via Zenit
[Emphasis added by me]

"concerted efforts are being made to redefine and restrict the exercise of the right to religious freedom"

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 3, 2012 ( Here is the July 19 letter sent by Benedict XVI's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus. The letter is on the occasion of the Knights' 130th Supreme Convention, which will be held next week, and deals with the matter of religious freedom.

* * *

Dear Mr. Anderson,

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was pleased to learn that from 7 to 9 August 2012 the 130th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus will be held in Anaheim, California. He has asked me to convey his warm greetings to all in attendance, together with the assurance of his closeness in prayer.

The theme of this year's Supreme Convention - Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land - evokes not only the great biblical ideals of freedom and justice which shaped the founding of the United States of America, but also the responsibility of each new generation to preserve, defend and advance those great ideals in its own day. At a time when concerted efforts are being made to redefine and restrict the exercise of the right to religious freedom, the Knights of Columbus have worked tirelessly to help the Catholic community recognize and respond to the unprecedented gravity of these new threats to the Church's liberty and public moral witness. By defending the right of all religious believers, as individual citizens and in their institutions, to work responsibly in shaping a democratic society inspired by their deepest beliefs, values and aspirations, your Order has proudly lived up to the high religious and patriotic principles which inspired its founding.

The challenges of the present moment are in fact yet another reminder of the decisive importance of the Catholic laity for the advancement of the Church's mission in today's rapidly changing social context. The Knights of Columbus, founded as a fraternal society committed to mutual assistance and fidelity to the Church, was a pioneer in the development of the modern lay apostolate. His Holiness is confident that the Supreme Convention will carry on this distinguished legacy by providing sound inspiration, guidance and direction to a new generation of faithful and dedicated Catholic laymen. As he stated to the Bishops of the United States earlier this year, the demands of the new evangelization and the defense of the Church's freedom in our day call for "an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-a-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church's participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society" (Ad Limina Address, 19 January 2012).

Given this urgent need, the Holy Father encourages the Supreme Council, together with each of the local Councils, to reinforce the praiseworthy programs of continuing catechetical and spiritual formation which have long been a hallmark of your Order. Each Knight, in fidelity to his baptismal promises, is pledged to bear daily witness, however quiet and unassuming, to his faith in Christ, his love of the Church and his commitment to the spread of God's Kingdom in this world. The forthcoming inauguration of the Year of Faith, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, is meant to deepen this sense of ecclesial responsibility and mission in the entire People of God. His Holiness prays that the celebration of this Year of spiritual and apostolic renewal will inspire in the Knights an ever firmer resolve to profess their baptismal faith in its fullness, celebrate it more intensely in the liturgy, and make it manifest through the witness of their lives (cf. Porta Fidei, 9).

In a particular way, His Holiness wishes me to convey his profound personal gratitude for the spiritual bouquet of prayers and sacrifices which the Knights and their families have offered for his intentions throughout this year which marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of his episcopal ordination. He is pleased to see in this act of spiritual solidarity not only an outstanding testimony of love for the Successor of Saint Peter, who is "the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the Church's unity in faith and her communion" (cf. Lumen Gentium, 18), but also a sign of especial fidelity, loyalty and support during these difficult times.

With these sentiments, the Holy Father commends the deliberations of the Supreme Convention to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. To all the Knights and their families he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.

Adding my own prayerful good wishes for the work of the Supreme Convention, I remain

Yours sincerely,

[Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone]

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Vortex - Disinvite Obama

A friend and sister Franciscan brought my attention to this video and I think it is very important to watch. Go to the Vortex's link - click here, and sign the petition. It does ask you to make a donation after you enter your email address. I do not understand the logic of Cardinal Dolan (I love him so much) inviting Obama to a Catholic fund raiser.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bill O'Reilly on Chick-fil-A

Video: We the People

Already 10.3 million views on YouTube. Great. You must share it.