Friday, December 30, 2011

There Is Nothing Gay About Homosexuality

If there was ever an oxymoron it would have to be with the use of the word "gay" when used by those espousing homosexuality. There is nothing within the lifestyle of active homosexuality that is gay, or happy if you will. It is perhaps one of the most riskiest and unhealthy of lifestyles and certainly one of the saddest. At the outset, it must be said that there is no conclusive evidence or proof that people who have a same sex attraction are born with it, nor is there any conclusive evidence of what is the cause of this attraction.

What is so gay about living a life that revolves around your sexuality? Since when is proclaiming your sexual preference a cause to hold "Pride" parades? I've heard people in the course of normal conversation say they're gay. Why would they say that and out of the blue? What is that to me or anyone else? Why would I go around telling others out of hand that I'm a heterosexual? I don't identify myself with some bodily function, but as a man. A human being. Normally, what people people identify themselves as is what they feel is the most important about themselves. If ones world revolves around ones gonads there is a serious problem.

If you doubt that militant homosexuals do not identify themselves by their sexuality, go to a gay pride parade, where the participants expose themselves to the bystanders, dress in a manner that places emphasis on their private parts and at times, even commit a sexual act in public or pretend to have sex. It's there for all to see if you have the stomach for it.  Several years ago, homosexuals barged into a Catholic church and threw condoms at the celebrant who I believe was a bishop. This is not being gay but angry. 

There was a time, not long ago, when we were told that homosexuals wanted to be left alone to live their lives in peace as they saw fit. Yet that is not the case. California experienced this lack of peaceful demonstration from homosexuals when they voted against gay marriage. The Mormon and Catholic Church experienced how 'peaceful' homosexuals were as their churches were vandalized and horrid threats were voiced against them for opposing same sex marriage. So gay.

Stacey Trancencos over at was also a recipient of the anger and hatred of homosexuals because of a posting on her blog a few months back. Her children were threatened with rape in the comments section of the blog following her post. Nice eh? The homosexual hate and anger for those that do not accept homosexuality as normal is thick and frightening.

What is so gay about contracting a disease from unnatural sexual acts between two men?? A disease that kills and has no cure? Why is abstaining from sex not an option, when ones life is in the balance and abstinence would go a long way in stopping this disease in its tracks? What is so gay about having a string of anonymous sexual encounters, sometimes over a hundred of them, and for what? Sharing anger? Using others repeatedly for ones own pleasure? This is nothing but selfishness and hate for another human being. This is not a cause to be gay.

NAMBLA is an organization of men wanting to have sex with very young underage boys. They have a website and they advertise their intents and teach its members how to entice young innocent boys for no other reason than to have sex with them. This is sex between young underage boys and men. This is a cause to be gay? Is this a reason for us to accept homosexuality as a good and normal thing? Think again. 

This whole notion that active homosexuality is normal, with its participants gay or happy and they just want to be left alone is a lie. It has always been a lie and will always be a lie. They are on the march to force everyone to accept homosexuality as a good and normal lifestyle. They employ hate and intolerance towards anyone that does not agree with them and will use violence as a means to achieve their end. 

There is no "gayness" in being gay, but there is plenty of rage. Rage stemming from guilt of what they do, but directed towards others that will not accept what they do as good and normal. Like us, they are sinners with a weakened nature because of the fall of Adam, yet instead of acknowledging this weakness and trying to rise above it with the grace of God, they display their weakness as if a badge of honor and fail miserably, falling deeper in their misery. The high rate of suicides among homosexuals is telling of this misery. There is nothing gay about suicide. 

I am angry also. I am angry with the repeated attempts by militant gays to coerce me into accepting homosexuality as normal and good. I am angry with the attempts by militant homosexuals  to try to induce young children into the perversity of homosexual sins while the rest of the world  is clamoring for a cure for AIDS. A disease that kills. Why introduce children into a world that consists of misery and anger? Why would anyone risk the life of a child in this manner unless it stems from hate? 

There are those who have same sex attractions who live celibate lives. Many are Christian and know that sex outside a marriage, a marriage that can only consist of a man and woman, is sinful. They live with their attraction to the same sex as best as possible. We all have weaknesses and we are all called to live our lives with these weaknesses as best as we can. There is no pride in falling into sin. There is nothing gay or happy about living a sinful life for any of us. There are no 'pride' parades for liars, cheats, thieves, murderers or adulterers and for good reason. There is nothing gay about sin, nor is sin anything of which to be proud. 

*Comments are closed for this article. I will not subject my readers or myself to vile, personal attacks that will invariably come as shown in other articles of this nature that have been posted by others in the blogosphere. Thank you. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Day The Lord Sat In Our Kitchen

I remember that morning as if it was yesterday. My brothers, sister and I were up early as usual since it was summer vacation and we didn't want to miss one minute of being out of school, but today we were up early for another reason. We were all in the kitchen with Maman and Papa. This particular morning was difficult for all of us, for we didn't know what was going to happen. You see, the afternoon prior, my Papa came home from the foundry as usual except he got out of the car very slowly, grimacing and slowly limped to the front door. He told us after settling into his chair in the kitchen, that a piece of cast iron he had been carrying slipped from his hands and crushed his toes on the right foot. He said it had happened around two o'clock in the afternoon, yet he had continued to work through the rest of the day.

We watched Maman that morning on her knees before my Papa, who had been getting ready for work, slowly and as gently as possible, place an old, stretched out woolen sock over his swollen foot. We saw his face. We saw Maman's face. I remember taking the breath I had forgotten to take earlier when I had seen his foot exposed for the first time. It was an ugly red and blue mass of what should have been a foot.

There was no extra money for anything in those days, especially for a doctor, so visiting his office wasn't even taken into consideration. No, going to work was his only thought. Maman then picked up the other sock and with the same gentle touch, she placed it over the other one she had just put on his foot. I had never seen my Papa's face like that. None of us had.

Waiting for him to take a breath, Maman then told my older sister to go and get the pair of galoshes that were kept in the closet, and bringing them to her, Maman took the right one and stretched it out with her hands as much as possible, struggling against the resistant rubber until my father touched her hand and took it from her. His strong arms stretched it as much as they could until he could no longer do it and gave it back to her.

On her knees again and pained with the image of my Papa's face, she slowly began to slide it over the woolen socks. It was so hard and painful for him and she felt every wince and grunt from this man, her husband, who allowed her to do this for him. There was no way he could have done this on his own. He didn't have too. She was there.

Finally, after she was done, my brothers, sister and I all lined up as we always did for bedtime or for when Papa went to work and took our turns to kiss him on the cheek. Picking up his lunch box he limped out to the car and got in without another word. We all stayed in the kitchen and watched Maman, with her left arm around her middle hugging herself and holding up the elbow of the hand that had swept the curtain to one side of the door window..

Maman watched as Papa drove away to work, like any normal day only it was not normal. Maman was biting her lower lip and I remember thinking that she only did that when she was really worried about something. I was to young to know how worrisome this day was for her. She continued to stare intently out the window until Papa's car was out of sight and then turned to us again and resumed being the mother that she was after her role of being the wife and fed us breakfast.

For three days Papa went to work like that until the swelling in his foot had subsided enough to put on his right work boot again. He never missed a beat, never missed day: always food on the table and a roof over his children's and wife's head.

It wasn't until years later, after getting married and having my own children and working to support my family did I understand what my father did for us that day. I look back and I see Jesus sitting in that chair, taking the pain for His children so they could live...doing what he did best...loving his family.

A couple of years ago, I reached the same age my father was when he died. I have yet to become a fraction of the man and father to my children that Papa was to us.

Vous etes souvent dans mes pensee Papa, et toujours dans mon coeur...

Merci mon Papa, Adieu
Votre petit

Thursday, December 15, 2011

King David for President

Listening to comments that are coming from people about the current field of Republican candidates, I have to wonder what it is they are looking for in a person they want as president. Every candidate is nitpicked for every little thing that may seem out of sorts or outlandish, yet people seemingly ignore the core message that these candidates espouse. Too many of us are looking for perfection in a candidate and because of this,  we are going to be sorely disappointed. As Catholics and Christians we should know better. No one is perfect. We all have our deficiencies in thought, word and deed. If King David were to run for president as a Republican, how he would fare? Not so good I'm afraid, for even he, though much loved by God, was not perfect. I'm sure the names Bathsheba and Uriah would be dredged up for scrutiny. 

I would find it intimidating to even consider running for a political office in our current society. Every aspect of your life would be considered fair game, even those little secrets that you harbor from long ago. There is no forgiveness of anything past or present that you may have said or done, and especially about what many predict will be your future and the future of this country should you be elected because of something that occurred decades earlier, even if you fully recanted and rejected your previous stance on an issue in your current maturity, but no matter. You said it, you did it, and it will be reported by the mainstream media, and usually in the most unfavorable light that they can conceive of shining on you.  Or, if you are lucky, the msm will ignore all your past transgressions if they agree with your agenda and they want you elected.

Currently, we have several GOP candidates vying for the office of the President. Each candidate has his or her good points and most have some baggage ( bad or dubious in some respect) as we all do, that they carry with them. Like the TSA, the msm continues to rifle through their baggage looking for contraband to use against the candidate du jour, be it Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain or Rick Perry. All the Republican candidates that surged to the top of the heap and had a conservative agenda have been viciously attacked by the media and fell. Sarah Palin, though not a candidate for president, was politically and personally decimated a long time ago by the left and the msm. Even her children were not immune. Newt Gingrich has now crept up near the top and again, the msm wants this guy down. Hence the attacks. If you want to know what candidate the left and msm fears the most and sees as a threat that may take Obama out of office, just look at which candidate they viciously attack. 

To date, Obama has been spared such 'vetting' by the media, and I suspect it will once again spare him during the upcoming election in 2012. It was this lack of vetting by the msm that that I believe got him elected. Those of us that did not have our head in the sand during the last general election knew what Obama's agenda and vision for our country was going to be. It was all there to see if you were willing to open your eyes and do a little bit of research. You had to look beyond the mainstream media for information and very few of us did that. Those that turned to the msm for their information, heard all good things about this up and coming star. Nothing bad was ever reported. So, what was there not to like? He was perfect. He got elected.

What was it that this nation voted into office? For whatever reason, this nation elected the most pro-abortion president in US history. He has systematically pushed the gay agenda into all reaches of society. He has brought the country on the brink of bankruptcy. He and his administration is currently trying to restrict our rights to freely exercise our religion and faith by restricting our freedom of speech. He is trying to do away with any and all 'conscience clauses' that would protect health workers who refuse to help a woman in procuring an abortion. He has fomented envy among the citizens by painting all rich people as the 'enemy' and the list goes on and on...

As imperfect as the list of Republican candidates is, anyone of them would be infinitely be better than what we have presently. Look and listen to what they have to say, and then listen at what Obama has said and then look at what he has done to this country. There is no comparison. The Republican in the running that has the least respect for our Constitution, has more respect for it than this president has: a hundred fold. Make no mistake: If we are waiting for the perfect candidate that is bullet proof to the msm and to defeat Obama in 2012, then we will not find him or her and the President will once again be elected.

It is not the msm that picks and chooses who runs against the President, though they will try if we let them as we did three years ago. There is a clear cut line between the Republican field of candidates and Obama. We will continue down our destructive slope, morally and culturally if we allow Obama another term, or God willing, we can attempt to minimize the damage done by electing a candidate that respects all human life, our rights as given to us by our Creator and a return to a land that respects our Constitution.

You and I are not perfect and to seek perfection in another person is grossly unfair and unjust. We simply need to look at what we have,  in what direction this country has been going and what both camps have to offer. No candidate will be a savior for this country, not even Obama as many thought he would be. If we refuse to vote for lack of a perfect candidate, then we as a country have lost, and deserve what we get for the next four years. We need another King David, as imperfect as he was.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day Job

Just to let you all know, the last few weeks have been hectic for me. We've had a major influx of new contracts where I work and I've been working 12 hour shifts of 4am to 4pm. Between getting up at an hour that is just ew and by the time I get home, I'm gone almost 14 out of 24 hours. That doesn't leave much time to write for my blog. Have patience with me. My responsibilities at church, home and work come first but I have not forgotten this blog. I am thankful however to have all this work while so many are out of work, especially during the Christmas season. I may be exhausted, but I will have a chance to rest soon. Patience... Thanks all. Have a very Merry Christmas.

The Ordinary Catholic

Monday, November 28, 2011

How I Survived the First Sunday of Advent

As I walked into church Sunday morning I was well aware that I was taking a risk, but then again, I've always lived life on the edge. I had read all the warnings about the corrected translation for Mass, and the consequences of implementing it on the First Sunday of Advent and I was prepared. Upon waking, I made sure I said extra prayers in hopes that the heavenly hosts would protect me against what I now knew to be the beginning of the end of the one, true Church that I've always known and loved. I blessed myself twice from the font of holy water...just in case.

As I genuflected and proceeded to sit in my pew, I immediately noticed and acknowledged with a slight nod, an elderly lady that I often see at the eight o'clock Mass. I wasn't sure if this frail woman was aware of the possible catastrophe that was about to happen, so I sat a bit closer to her than I usually do. Not too close, but close enough for me to be able to reach out and catch her should she fall over when we responded, "and with your spirit". If she survived that response, I knew "cosubstantial" would probably be the fatal blow, and I began thinking that if I did catch her before she keeled over, it would probably be too late anyway. The damage would have already been done. But one must try n'est-ce-pas?

As the opening strains of "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel" began, the alter servers led the way with Father Dennis bringing up the rear of the procession. Father Dennis is a good priest and very compassionate. Though I couldn't see clearly as I sat at a distance from the main aisle leading to the alter, I was sure Father was sweating bullets as he knew full well that what he was about to do would cause many in his flock to fall away from their faith, or at the very least, cause them to write to the National Catholic Reporter of the liturgical abuses that occurred on this First Sunday of Advent.

"The Lord be with you.....",  I watched the old lady next to me. Her lips parted as she was about to respond to the priest. My body poised and tense, ready to pounce to her aid, heard the old woman reply, "and with your spirit...". Nothing. She did not even flinch as she responded with the corrected translation, but I, in my total concern for her safety, had inadvertently responded with " and also with you..." falling back to the familiar. A quick look around me told me no one seemed to had noticed my faux pas. No matter, it was for a good cause.

As Mass progressed, I quickly surmised that this elderly lady was not paying attention to the Mass. The corrected translation flitted off her tongue as if she had been saying these words her whole life. I realized then and there that she probably had never really paid attention in Mass before, so she thought these new words that we were now forced to utter, had always been said: she just didn't remember the old ones. So sad....

I now began to look at others around me, the young and old alike, as they were holding up the pamphlets that were placed in the pews and contained the corrected translation for the people to follow during Mass, and realized that the damage was taking place. I didn't see any of the elderly reeling and swaying from the onslaught of "big" words, or children tugging at mama's dress while their little fingers pointed to a new word they were about to say, their faces pleading, "Whats this mama??" No, it was very subtle. I waited for the children to wail when we struck our breasts, "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault!!" What horror this did to the self-esteem of our children may never be known in full.  We were warned.

There! I heard Father Dennis falter while reading one of the new prayers of the corrected translation, instead of reciting the old and familiar prayers he had memorized during his time as a priest. There was no one to break his fall should he succumb to this pressure. The alter servers were the only ones close enough to help him, but they were much too young and weak to catch such a big man. I had to trust God in this as Father Dennis continued his prayers and then fed us with the Body of Christ.

The damage was now in full swing. The faithful had all become mind-numbed robots, responding in automatons, never seeming to realize what was happening. Didn't they know, as I had read somewhere, that this correct translation was "fraught with danger"? Weren't  they aware of the gravity of what was happening to their souls? Oh! the humanity!

Though I hadn't quite heard it, I knew there must have been a collective sigh emanating from everyone present as we were dismissed from the Mass. It was finally over. As the priest processed back out and the people followed, I knelt back down and prayed that God, through his mercy, had protected most of us this morning, and had kept the damage to a minimum. I wasn't damaged (I was prepared remember?) and I thanked him for that. I prayed for the strength and courage to return here next week for the second Advent Mass. I looked at all the empty pews and realized they would probably never be filled again.

I am man enough to admit, that in my concern for my fellow parishioners, I had missed several new responses, reverting to the old instead. But I was sure God would forgive me for I had placed my own life in the balance, while protecting theirs. There is no greater love...

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Myth Of Being Non-Judgmental

"Judge not lest ye be judged" has been erroneously used  by many to keep Christians from speaking out against the sinful actions of others and their lifestyles. In an effort to keep our voices quiet about the choices they have made, those who profess an atheistic or secular viewpoint have attempted to turn the tables on Christians by trying to expose Christians as hypocrites who are blind to the plank in their own eye while trying to remove the speck in the sinners eye.

The problem with judging others is not in the judgement itself but more in what it is we are judging. At first glance it may seem rather easy to say that Hitler, Stalin and Mao are now in hell for what they did in their lifetime on earth, yet we would be very wrong in saying so for the simple fact of not knowing what occurred between God and these men at the moment of death. If we turn to Him and ask for forgiveness at this late stage of our life, will He will forgive us or is there a limit to His forgiveness?

If each of these tyrants, at the moment of death, asked God to pardon them for their sins in their lives, what are we to conclude? Did God forgive them or not? Is he the God of forgiveness and mercy or is he not? Medical science is limited in it's knowledge of the human body and workings of the mind. Though medical science may declare a person dead, what do we really know as to when the actual 'death' of a person occurs in God's eyes?

Yes, there is a time when we can no longer ask for forgiveness, but the fact is, we don't really know with certainty when that time has come, so the chance to be forgiven may still be present to us, though from all outward appearances we are dead. The body may be "lifeless" according to medical experts, but is the soul actually separated from the body at that particular time also? We don't know for sure nor do we know if a person is condemned to hell. What is in the hearts and minds of men God alone knows and for that reason, God alone is the only one who may judge the state of our souls.

We however, can and do judge actions of others. We do it all time. Our whole justice system is based on a set of standards that all are held accountable under the law. It is not the person's soul that is judged in court, but his actions against the law of the land. A person is sent to prison or fined if he has broken the law. The court does not send a man to prison for being evil or obnoxious, but only if these traits cause him to break the law. In these cases, the law is the standard and a person is judged as to whether or not he is in good standing with these laws.

We as parents also judge our children. We judge their actions in accordance to what is acceptable behavior in our individual families. If our children lie, steal or hit their siblings then there will be dire consequences for those actions within my family. We have a family standard of behavior and all are expected to live by it. We do not judge our children souls, but their actions.

Today however, "judging" has been redefined by secular society to include all forms of judgements and it is from this viewpoint that Christians are being targeted as hypocrites. It has long been said that we are to love the sinner but hate the sin, yet today this distinction as been blurred and those of us that criticize sinful actions are said to be judging the person committing those sins. Nothing could be further from the truth. It may seem like a small point to make, however if Christians are cowed into believing that all judgements on our part are anti-biblical and outside of our purview of authority, then nothing stands in the way of evil to act whenever and where ever it wishes.Today, with this redefining of "judging", hating the sin equals hating the sinner.

Like our justice system, we as Catholics have a standard with which to live our lives. This standard is Christ and His Church, and if we profess ourselves to be true and faithful Catholics and to uphold what the Church teaches then we have a duty and responsibility to call out sinful actions when we see them committed by others especially by those of our own faith.

It is fairly obvious that many politicians that call themselves Catholic do not uphold the teachings of the Church by their actions. I have read several articles concerning Nancy Pelosi and her denigration of  Catholics who have this "conscience thing" when it comes to employers, even Christian employers, who refuse to provide contraception as part of their insurance coverage and have a conscientious objection to it's morality in accordance with Catholic teaching. Yet she considers herself a devout Catholic though she has routinely defied Church teachings when it comes to birth control and abortion. She may be Catholic, but her actions place her in poor standing AS a Catholic. She in her stance against the Church as a Catholic politician, who has influence over many people because of her position, can and should be brought to task for her defiance and refused communion at Mass.

We, as her brothers and sisters in the faith, have the right and duty to call her out on her stance against the Church as well as with all other politicians whose actions belie their Catholic membership. We have the responsibility to try and bring her back into the fold and show her the errors of her beliefs. We do have the right to judge her actions. We do have the responsibility to point out her offenses against the Church, but we do not have the right to judge her standing with God. That is the difference. I'll leave you with this verse from Matthew 18:15 and let it speak for itself concerning judging others. As you see, Christ Himself gives us the authority to judge a person's sinful action.

15.“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Being Smug In Our Faith

As humans, we've a tendency to make assumptions and judgements on the faith, strengths and weaknesses of others in relation to these same characteristics in ourselves. Think how often we've said to another, "If I can do it, you can." Or, "Well, the reason you still have this problem is that you've not prayed enough, or are asking God in the wrong way!" And again, "You need more faith." I've uttered these statements more than once in the past, but it wasn't until recently, in the last few years have I realized how unfair to others it was to say these things.  Not only is it unfair, but it borders on the arrogant, and setting ourselves up as the standard for others to set their goals.

We are all unique individuals. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and in those that we do share, we do not all have the same degree of strength and weakness, yet very often we assume we do. In other words, we may all have a weakness for chocolate, and it may be difficult to pass on eating it everyday, but for some, the difficulty is less than for another. Yet, when we say "If I can do it, you can." we are saying that they are not trying hard enough. That if I, as weak as I know I am, am able to do this, then there is no reason you can't. We are assuming that we are weaker than anyone else on earth, that passing on chocolate cannot be more difficult for anyone else than it was for us, so you have no excuse for your lack of will power.

I've had a certain difficulty in my life that I have not been able to overcome and I mentioned this to a person once and I was told to pray about it. I told them I did, very often, so they concluded with all certainty, that I was not praying hard enough and that I lacked faith. I wonder if they would have told St. Paul the same thing if he had told them of his 'thorn' that he had asked God to remove and God replied that His grace was sufficient? Did St. Paul not pray enough or have enough faith?

Apart from our strengths and weaknesses, we do not all have the same amount of faith, yet we seem annoyed when finding someone unable to accept things in faith as we do. We seem to forget that we were not born with the faith that we have today. Our faith is a God given gift, free for the taking and hopefully it grew in strength over the years, so why assume that others should have the same amount of faith as we do? Have we forgotten that there were certain times in our lives where we did not have all the faith we do today? Perhaps that is where they are today and instead of accusing them for their lack of faith, we should encourage them to ask God for an increase in faith.

Next time you are tempted to scold someone for their inability to do something that you can, perhaps you should just consider that you may have been the fortunate recipient of God's grace and be thankful for that, while praying for the other person. And the next time you are tempted to think your faith is stronger than another person's faith, perhaps it would be good for you to show the other person what strong faith can do, even if it is the size of a mustard seed. You know your faith is stronger than theirs, so show them. Tell that mountain to uproot itself and move over there. Go on. Do it. Show them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Questioning Father Ryan at New Theological Movement Blog

Over at, Father Ryan writes this concerning God's love:

"We must understand: God DOES NOT love all people equally. The Most Blessed Virgin Mary has been loved more than any other human persons – hence, without any merit of her own, she was conceived immaculate. Likewise, we may consider St. Paul who, while yet a sinner, was given the grace not only of conversion, but also of the apostolate to the gentiles.
God loves some more than others, but he still loves all. Love does not have to be equal when it is gratuitous – for, most assuredly, none of us (not even our blessed Lady) deserver the love of God. To show us that he is merciful and compassionate, God gives some graces to all people (hence, all receive at least one talent). Yet, to prove to us that his love is gratuitous and not a legal requirement, God loves some more than others and gives special graces to some which he does not give to others (hence, some receive five, others two, talents)."

I do not claim to be a theologian and have not had any formal theological instructions, but considering Father Ryans statements above, I must disagree with him, based on reason and my own life experience. I believe the problem with his thinking about God's 'unequal' love for us is based on what he perceives as the more God loves us, the more graces He will give us. I do not think for one minute that the amount of grace one receives is determined by "how much" God loves each one of us. Let me give you an example.

I am a father of five children. I can tell you honestly that I have never loved one child above another. I may have LIKED one child more than the others, but liking and loving are two different things. How do I know I Iove my children equally? Because I would not give a second thought to giving up my life for any of my children. Even for the most annoying child. Do I give to all equally as far as responsiblities, duties, chores, favors or rewards go? No, I don't. The reason being is that I know my children. I know their characters and personalities and I know which of them can handle what ever it is I will dole out to them.

Some of my children can shine when it comes to being responsible, or given a particular chore to do, and I will allow them more liberties, while one or another must be treated differently for whatever reason, be it weakness or some other deficiency in character they may have. It has nothing to do with my love for them, but what their roles in the family are, their ages and their characters. In all of this, my love is equal, not more and not less for one over another. The love I give my children is free for me to give. They may accept it or reject it. Nevertheless, I give it to them equally because they are part of me as we are made in God's image. My equal love for them is not determined by their love for me. It never has been.

For Father Ryan to believe that God does not love us equally then one must consider this: If our souls have value and are loved by God, and for Jesus to say that there  is no greater love than this, to lay down ones life for another, then it stands to reason that Jesus DID die for ALL of us. Not just for a few. If there had been only one soul on earth at the time, He still would have taken up His cross would He not? How many fathers reading this would not give his life for his child even if he had NO other children? Jesus gave ALL His love for Mary, St. Paul and for us when He was nailed to the cross. Not one more than another. There is no greater love than this and since there is no greater love and He died for all of us, then that love is equal for all of us.

I have received graces from God in my life but perhaps not the same ones that another received or in the same amount, because my 'role' in life was different than the other. Perhaps I did not need as much, or by withholding certain graces from me, he sought for me to ask for those graces. Our reception of grace is also determined at times to our asking our Lord for them. Yes, grace is unmerited and can be withheld, but not for the reason that Father Ryan believes, that God loves some less than others.

Was Mary given more grace because she was loved more or because she had a role to play that was special in creation that no other could fill and she needed to be immaculate? Or St. Paul? God saw something in Saul's misguided passion to hold on to the Hebrew faith and persecute those he perceived as an enemy of his faith. God offered him the grace to turn that passion into something positive because perhaps God had a special role for St. Paul to play in the conversion of the gentiles that perhaps none of the other apostles could fill. If there was anyone that would be considered annoying at the very least, or unlikeable and less loved it would have been St. Paul, but he was still offered grace. He chose to accept it and cooperate with those graces. He prayed that God would take away his 'thorn' yet God responded he would not, that His grace was sufficient.

We are all loved equally by God, but we are not all equal recipients of His grace, for each of us have different roles to play in creation, we all have different needs and some of us just simply ask for them. Just as my children do in my family.

RCIA: A Travesty

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a program that was instituted to help non-Catholics make the journey into the Catholic Church and/or to help those who were not Catholic but had an interest in what the Church taught. Some Catholics enter RCIA to refresh their own Catholic faith. Sounds good so far. Yet, it is no  secret that the RCIA program is in dire straits. Being the gateway for most converts to the Church, it is a well known that many parishes have "do it yourself" RCIA programs that have a lot to be desired. It's also no secret that the ignorance of many of today's Catholics is the result of poor catechesis of the last forty years. How has this challenge been met? It simply hasn't. The same old "Catholic Lite" is continued to be taught with no end in sight.

Though some parishes have a great program that teach solid Catholic doctrine, too many parish programs are filled with laymen who teach heresies or distort traditional doctrines, and these 'teachings' are passed on to unsuspecting candidates that do not know any better. In many parishes, pastors are not the ones conducting the classes and have picked certain people from the parish, with many being progressive Catholics, to take over the responsibility of teaching with little or no oversight and so abuses abound. If the Church is capable of standing up against abortion, restructuring the whole system of protecting children from abusive priests and putting on the brakes against same sex marriage, then what of the RCIA program? What will it take to build a solid RCIA program that is standard in all parishes and requires strict supervision over what is taught?

The troubles concerning RCIA hit home this week when a protestant friend of mine emailed me and told me of her experience. Due to scheduling problems because of university classes falling on nights that RCIA classes were conducted, she has inquired from a certain parish what was needed to enter the RCIA program and how to work around the scheduling conflicts. A protestant from birth, she began to study the Church in relation to her own faith and has come to see the Catholic Church as the one, true Church and has fallen in love with it. She now has an overwhelming desire to see this through and become a Catholic.

She has met with the Deacon and spoke to him at length, yet since that meeting, she has heard nothing more. She has sent multiple emails to the parish office asking about their program, but has yet to receive a reply. Not stopping there, she also called another parish in the area about their program and left a message. Nothing. There is one other parish that she considered calling but thought better of it. She knew from having gone to mass at this third parish that it would not be for her. She herself called it a "Catholic Lite" church, and this is from a protestant.

She searched deeper into the RCIA and found that doctrinal errors are being taught and everyone seems to know, yet nothing is done about it. She found the mentality of those that know of the abuses and errors, as unacceptable. In her email to me she writes a summary of what she's found of the prevailing thought in RCIA;

"So you want to enter the Church?  We are going to help you. You may get real fortunate and end up in a class that is faithful to the teachings of the Church, or you may end up being taught things that contradicts Church teachings.  If you end up in the latter, we are just going to assume that it won't matter. People are fallible, and you just have to overlook that they may teach you heresies. In this case, heresies are no big deal. Heresies or not-- you must attend these classes.  Cross your fingers and hopefully we'll see ya at graduation.  Have fun!" 

Further excerpts of her email to me, remember, she is a protestant... emphaisis mine.

I've spent my LIFETIME attending classes that teach heresies!!!!!!  It's called 'Sunday School' in a Protestant Church!  I've DONE my time. My whole reason for being attracted to the Church was that she is supposed to be consistent in her doctrine. It isn't as if you all are taking a guess here as to what the Church teaches. You've got the manual that is not up for personal interpretations! 

But the RCIA gets treated as if heresies and inconsistencies are 'no big deal.' For crying out loud-- THIS is the doorway you all have proclaimed is the gateway to the Church.  We protestants don't get in unless through this means-- and it gets treated by the Church with less consideration than a University in Peru??

Everybody gets all up in arms over a Catholic Hospital or place of business having to provide artificial birth control (and I am too, I promise you!)  but when it comes to people entering the Church, there is a yawn. "Yeah, man............we probably ought to do better when it comes to teaching the catechism, but it's not that important to us. As long as the people show up, we'll trust God to take care of it in the end. It doesn't matter-- there are way more important things to be worried about."

Yes. Abortion is important. It's about the sanctity of Life. Entering the Church is about the sanctity of Life, too. Condoms don't cause abortions, but they impede the potential to life. The requirement of a badly done RCIA class is like a big condom-- it impedes the potential to an individual's life within the Church.

But there is something dreadfully, sinfully wrong when a group of people shrug at something that is this important and say, "Yeah, there are some problems with the system, but that's how it is."

The 'that's how it is' mentality ain't gonna cut it. I've seen more stuff written on the need for Latin Masses than I have the practices of RCIA classes. I think it is commendable and understandable that the Church want prospective members to discern the body and be aware of what the Church teaches. I also find it deplorable that they have selected such a lousy and untrustworthy method of implementing it. It is possible that it would be faster for me to join an Episcopal Church and then take the' back door' into the Catholic Church than it would be for me to wait on an RCIA class that I could attend-- and THEN risk getting fed some real garbage. 

Her email was not pretty and yet, she spoke the truth. I cringed when I read it. It is not only the bishops that are responsible for this travesty, but priests and the Catholic layman alike for allowing this to go on without putting up a bigger stink about it. There are several things that the Church could do to try to alleviate the problems existing in the RCIA program. There are no quick fixes but here are some suggestions that may be viable enough to be worked on and developed:

1. Bishops, in a joint session and all in agreement,  need to issue a guideline as to what will be taught in RCIA. That guideline needs to be comprised of strong, authentic Catholic doctrine without any deviancy of what will be taught in ALL parish RCIA programs. Furthermore, 'touchy' issues such as women's ordination, the real presence in the Eucharist, marriage between a man and a woman, contraception and abortion, and acceptance of homosexuality must not be presented to those entering the RCIA as issues that are still open to debate. They are not. The Church has spoken on these issues and the debate is over.

2. Pastors and/or Deacons have to take on a greater role in teaching these classes, or at the very least, oversee what is taught. No longer are layman to be assigned in this role without strict supervision. We have seen the results of this lack of oversight in the last forty years. The diocese also needs to take a greater role in making sure what the parish teaches is in line with Church doctrine, and that is not always the case.

3. If the Church is to invite people to the RCIA, then it should be ready to give a quick reply to those inquiring about becoming Catholic. There is nothing that will put off a future member of the Church more than getting the impression no seems to care by not replying to their inquiries in a reasonable time.

4. Sponsors that are chosen to share their faith and help an RCIA candidate through their discernment, need to be chosen for their adherence to orthodoxy. That is not to say they have to be put through an inquisition, but rather, that the sponsor should be asked certain questions concerning doctrine and does not hold and teach deviations to doctrine because of ignorance or willful disobedience to the Church. Remember, sponsors are chosen by the candidates and are usually someone that the latter trusts as a Catholic friend. A sponsor may go to mass every Sunday and regularly receive the sacraments and to an observer, may seem very faithful, but that does not mean they do not hold errant doctrinal thoughts as though they are Church approved.

I will not say that all parish RCIA programs are failures for they are not, but a person such as my friend should not have to shop around to find a parish that teaches doctrinally sound classes. We should all  be on the same page. We've lost a whole generation of Catholics due to poor catachesis and the continual sweeping of the problems of the RCIA under the rug will produce another unless systematic changes are made to the program.

On a sadder note, because of all the obstacles placed in my friends path, she is now entertaining the idea that perhaps God doesn't want her to enter His Church. And it's all our fault.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The World Ends Today...Again

I'm sitting here frustrated having just read of another "prophecy" from the less than accurate Harold Camping. You will recall that he created a hubbub with his end of the world prophecy that was suppose to occur May 21 of this year. Never happened. But never fear, it's suppose to happen on Oct. 21 of this year! Wait...It's Oct 21 and I'm still here. I cannot count how many times I've heard of 'predictions' of the end of the world that included the day that it will happen. I mean really? Several things come to mind when I hear of these 'detailed' prophecies that predict the day of it's arrival.

First, Jesus himself said that no one knows the day or the hour of the coming of the Lord's day, not even the Son of Man. But did God make an exception with Camping and the others like him? What have they got for sources of information that our Lord himself wasn't privy to two thousand years ago? Our Lord did say we need to read the 'signs of the times' and to prepare ourselves and not let the day come to us as a thief in the night. I agree with that of course, but then again we should always have our souls ready to meet God, since we may die before the end itself comes. However, some of these Christians who see the bible as the sole authority in their lives continue to overlook that verse about not knowing the "day or hour" and invariably believe it does not pertain to them. That is arrogance or ignorance. You choose.

Some 'prophets' use all kinds of mathematical equations and computers as well as scripture and a vivid imagination to come up with a date for the end of the world. Again....really? Out of almost seven billion people on this planet, God confides in one man or woman  when the day will occur but won't confide in any one else, including His son? Does it mean that we need computers and a math degree to figure out when the last day will come upon us? Well then, that leaves out a third of the world's population that do not have computers or access to education, let alone having enough food to eat for the day. I guess the poor would be out of luck then.

Another thing that comes to mind is this: All the prior prophecies on the exact day of the end of the world were wrong.. That makes them false prophecies made from false prophets. We were all warned to beware of false prophets yet many continue to believe in these false prophets despite their lousy track record and our being told by our Lord that the date of the last day is beyond our reach to know. Believing in these false prophecies, people make all kinds of changes in their life to the point of quitting their jobs, selling their homes and waiting for that day, or in some cases, committing suicide. Someone will have to answer for that.

Another bone of contention is that the continued prophesying of the end of the world is like the boy who cried wolf. The more this happens the more some people are going to believe there will be no end and the world will continue merrily along. That is dangerous thinking. We know the end will eventually come and there will be accompanying signs of it's coming, but people having heard the false cry of wolf so many times will no longer take any of it seriously. The media, who have a field day with these 'prophets', will continue to portray all Christians as nut jobs. False prophets make it very difficult for Christianity to be taken seriously and they place obstacles in our responsibility to spread the Word.

Lastly, (and this may tweak a few noses), since Jesus founded His Church upon Peter and the Church is the organ that He chose to guide the world in faith and morals, would it not make more sense that if God had any warnings to give mankind of the impending day, it would come from the Church? Just sayin'...

Maybe there is a good reason why the Church continues to teach the Truth handed to her two thousand years ago and is willing to go through her trials and tribulations for that Truth, for perhaps if and when the time comes for all of us to know that the end is truly near, we will hear it from the Church and know it is the Truth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Open Letter To My Catholic Priests

My dear priests,

The thought of composing this letter came to me Saturday afternoon after I left the confessional and knelt down for my penance. I'm not sure why it came to me then and there, but what is important is that it did and I've a few things to say to all of you who hold the office of the priesthood in the Catholic Church and are faithful in the manner you carry out your vocation.

In all my years as a Catholic, I have been remiss in not expressing my gratitude for what you have done for God, me and the Church. I have been neglectful in offering my prayers of thanks to God for all of you. Not to say I don't pray for you, but it certainly is not often enough for the things that you do.

First, I want to thank you all for saying yes to God as our Blessed Mother did long ago, and allowing Christ to come to us through you as priests. Mary did it through her motherhood, and you through the power bestowed to you at your ordination. God plucked you out of the masses as ordinary men and made you ordinary priests to do extraordinary things. Yes, you are ordinary priests for the most part, but that is where I see your perfection as priests of God. Let me explain.

If I had had the chance to go to a Mass celebrated by Padre Pio, I probably would have been in awe. I would probably have come out of the church and remembered that Mass celebrated by a future saint for the rest of my life and recounted to my grandchildren that I once saw Padre Pio celebrate Mass. But you see, not all priests are a Padre Pio, or even an homilist that gives everyone an "ah ha!" moment every time they speak. Not all of you are called to be a great and powerful influence in the Church because God only chooses certain persons for specific purposes when He feels the time is right for the Church's needs. You may not be able to lay your hands on an invalid or sick person and see an instant miracle occur, and perhaps you may not be able lead your entire parish to a deeper conversion with your presence in the confessional, but that isn't the point.

The point is, when I go to Mass every Sunday I usually see it celebrated by you and what I see is an ordinary priest that can do the very same thing Padre Pio did at his own Mass: nourishing us with Christ. The fact that you are an ordinary priest and not famous, even nondescript if I may, means I am not focused on you as I would have been if you were Padre Pio. Instead I can focus on God, through your words and your actions at the alter. Without drama or flare you reverently recite the words of consecration that you know from memory, then you 'decrease' so that  Christ 'increases',  as He becomes present to us in the Host that you hold aloft. Very visible and and very real. That is what I remember at the Masses  you celebrate and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You may not think much of your homilies, but I can assure you that the prayerful time and effort you give to prepare that homily that comes from your lips on any given Sunday touches someone sitting in the pew. You may not know it, or get a pat on the back for a great homily, but then again, that is not the purpose is it? Someone sitting there needed to hear those words you spoke no matter how staid you think your homily was. It doesn't matter if the homily touches on many of the same things week after week, because we, being human, have a tendency to forget what is important at times and we need reminding often, especially after living in the secular world for a week, and your homilies do exactly that. I promise you. Someone is having an "Ah ha!" moment, and it's usually me. Thank you for that.

Ok, you made a mistake at Mass, so what? I don't care if you forget a prayer or stumble over one, or if you forget some action that you were suppose to do during Mass. We all have our days like that and I know you didn't do it deliberately. That mistake stands as a reminder that you were taken from our midst as an ordinary man, one of us, called to do the extraordinary and that is no small matter. No apology is needed from you,  for again it is a reminder to me that you are human and we all make mistakes. Thank you for your humility. We notice.

Speaking of mistakes, or sins actually, remember how nervous I was when I entered the confessional Saturday? Remember how I told you that I very often feared and loathed coming to confession and having to publicly confess my faults, my shortcomings, my sins to another, a priest, because I found it humiliating and shameful? You told me I shouldn't feel any fear and what mattered is that I came anyway and that I was sorry for what I had done. Then you said the words of absolution. Just like that. No scolding or harsh words came from you, but words of encouragement to try and do better and advice on how to do just that. I know that it was Jesus that forgave me, but it was your face I saw and your voice I heard and it reflected Christ in every way. Through Christ, you healed me. Thank you.

With all the scandals that have happened because of some of your brother priests, I really don't know how you hold it all together, but I'm glad that you do. I know the temptation to remove your collar before going out in public on your days off must be strong, just to avoid those suspicious glances you get from people wondering if you are one of those priests. But with courage you wear it anyway. Let me tell you what it's like to see a priest wearing his collar in some unexpected place where I happen to be.

I was at Walmart one day and getting very annoyed at all the pushing and grabbing that was happening. I was in the middle of a sea of people, and I was quickly becoming anxious and claustrophobic. Then suddenly I thought I saw you walk by but I wasn't sure it was you until I saw your collar. Immediately my mood changed and I relaxed considerably. The sight of your collar had a soothing and healing effect whether you know it or not. It reminds me and others like me that no matter where I am, or what is happening, Christ is there. Thank you for being strong and wearing your collar. It means more than you know.

I once heard an actor portraying a priest in a movie say, "I didn't become a priest to judge you but to heal." I want to assure all of you, that is what you do as ordinary priests and you do it in an extraordinary way. I just wanted to thank you all for that. I truly am grateful to God for all of you.

In Christ,
The Ordinary Catholic

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Feeling of Anticipation and Urgency

There seems to be a sense of anticipation, an urgency that something is going to happen in the world as we know it. Something big. I can't really put my finger on it but its almost as if the world and the Church are being prepared for a showdown both within the Church between dissidents and the faithful, and within societies pitting governments against its citizens and ultimately, between the Church and secularism. Many changes have occurred in a short period of time but it's not necessarily the changes or what I see as preparations that I find disconcerting or even amazing, but the speed at which they are occurring. Changes are coming fast.

If someone had asked me a few short years ago what I would have envisioned the world to be like today in 2011, I would have been dead wrong in my assessment. I never would have imagined Europe on the brink of a spiritual, cultural and economic catastrophe, or the middle east in the center of an Arab uprising with Egypt falling and Libya next in line. I never would have thought of an America that is on the precipice of economic failure, taking the world along with it, while losing its status as the leader of the free world. For sure, I would not have imagined having a president that seems not only intent on bringing this country down to its knees, but quickly and systematically leading it to socialism while decimating or curtailing freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

I would have been aghast to find the Catholic Church fighting for its moral life because of an horrific scandal. She is going through one of the most scandalous times in her history with the clerical sexual abuse uncovered only a few years ago and recently again in Ireland and elsewhere. The Church is still reeling from it and probably will for a while. Whatever it is that we now see happening, we must remember that we are engaged in a spiritual war and the world is the battlefield. However, despite all this chaos there is something afoot, especially in the Church.

1. Abortion

More and more people are starting to have a change of heart concerning abortion. Reports have shown that the overall abortion rate has declined and polls are indicating that a larger number of people are opposed to abortion on demand. Pro-life marches have younger participants, younger women with children tagging along. States are using their legislative powers to place more restrictions on abortions or abortion clinics. Though only a few states have begun the process, it is my hope that this trend continues unabated.

Planned Parenthood has been under more attacks than at any other time in recent history and they are being exposed for what they truly are: death mills. Bills are being introduce in legislatures to cut public funding of this monster. This is a good thing. The country, or its citizens at least, are stepping in the right direction, a direction that has been long in coming despite having the most pro abortion president in our history who seems obsessed with death to the unborn.

The pro-abortion movement is beginning to lose ground and influence and they know it. There is panic among the leaders of this billion dollar death industry and that is an other very good thing.

2. The New Mass Translation

I for one am eagerly awaiting this change. It will better follow the Latin texts giving us a deeper meaning and reverence for the Mass and reawaken our faith through the Eucharist. Sure, it will take some getting used to, but so what? I'm an old dog, and if I'm ready to learn a new trick, so can others. The new translation will also allow fewer occasions of abuse in the Liturgical prayers by priests who have a penchant to ad lib.

One of the best ways to know that a change is good is by looking at those that oppose it: The progressive Catholics. They certainly are not known to uphold traditional Catholic Doctrine. They claim that the translations make no sense, the laity will have a hard time understanding the new prayers and responses, it is archaic language, big words are going to be used that people have no clue as to their meaning and that the Church will be turning the Catholic clock back to the Middle Ages. This is all nonsense. The Catholic faithful are not stupid, contrary to the claims above. If we were able to handle the changes after Vatican II, we can handle the new translation.

What progressives are really worried about is losing what ever ground they have may have gained in trying to compromise authentic, Church teaching during the last forty years. They see this translation as the foot in the door for more changes and to a quick demise of their agenda which is creating a modern Catholic Church in their image, not Christ's. This may be one of the last straws for dissidents.

3. The Anglican Ordinate

  We have seen the acceptance of the homosexual agenda within certain Christian faiths. Many protestant faithful and clergy have severed ties with their churches because of liberalism infecting their denominations, and for what they see as the accepting of homosexuality that is contrary to Gospel teachings. This is a major crisis for many of them and their only recourse was to remain or leave without any place to go. Until now.

Last Sunday we heard the parable of the wedding feast held by a king and I immediately had a thought that corresponded to something that is happening today. The invited guests who made excuses of why they couldn't come remind me of those that have left the Church for whatever reason or excuse and are now being replaced by Anglicans, Lutherans and other Christians to whom the Catholic Church has graciously opened her arms. The Catholic Church may have lost some of her faithful but she has gone in the streets and invited others. They accepted the Church's invitation while many others that were originally invited have declined and left. I believe we are seeing this parable come to life. Who would have thought just a few years ago that Protestants would be filling the pews abandoned by Catholics?

4. Vocations

Ireland, a bastion of priestly vocations only a few years ago, is close to being the most anti-catholic nation in Europe. As shocking as this may be for many of us to consider about Ireland, God had other plans. During that same period of time, God saw fit to take Africa in His arms and filled her with faith. Now the continent is becoming a new source for priestly vocations. African seminaries are turning out priests in great numbers and in a few short years we will see many of our parishes being led by these fine young men untarnished by western, liberal ideologies, bringing an undiluted, authentic Catholic faith with them which our country and world sorely needs.

5. Loss of Faith In Europe

Not much can be said of this but that it is a cause of profound sadness. As the Pope has said, Europe needs to be the target of re-evangelization if it is to survive. I have hope

6. Schism

This is the elephant in the room that many are not willing to talk about or even want to notice. Its been said by some that a schism has already occurred in our Church and I would tend to agree, but I think it will finally be made manifest with the creation of a 'new' Catholic Church comprised of dissidents and progressives and unfortunately, many Catholics that don't know any better, who follow their feelings rather than Truth. The signs are all there for this to happen. The groundwork has been done and the foundation laid in the last forty years and I believe they are ready to build.

The new Mass translation may be the catalyst that finally propels the progressives into schism. In any case, they won't take the new translation lying down. Already opposing Church teachings against homosexuality, contraception, abortion and women's ordination, the new translation may be the last straw for them.

There's been talk of a smaller, purer Catholic Church in the future, and again I tend to agree. Is this a good thing? No, it is never a good thing for people to leave the Catholic faith, but with fewer dissident clergy to blur the teachings of the Church and taking up residence in their own church, the lines between the Truth and deception will be further clarified for all to see. Even if the Church is much smaller because of  schism, we have to remember back two thousand years ago. The Church started with only twelve men with Christ as their head. You can't get much smaller than that, yet look at the influence they had with the Holy Spirit guiding them. Keep your eye on Rome, for therein lies the True Church.

7. The Showdown

Bishop Dolan sent a letter to the President telling him that if his administration is intent on disregarding the Church's right to speak the Truth of her faith and to defend marriage as a union of a man and woman, then he will have a major battle on his hands between the State and the Catholic Church. The Bishop would never have written a letter with such a tone unless he saw dire times coming down the pike for all Catholics and Christians in general.

Obama has not hidden what he thinks of the Catholic and Christian faith. He is in an all out war against the Church for she interferes with his agenda and he is using everything at his disposal to hamstring the Church's influence and force her to accept abortion, contraception as well as accepting homosexual marriages. I never would have thought to see this a mere three years ago, where our freedom of religion would be so highly disregarded as to silence the Church. Yet here it is, and I think it will get much worse, especially if he gets re-elected.

Bishop Dolan has drawn his own line in the sand. His writing of this letter to the president tells me that the Bishops are well aware of what the government's intent is when it comes to freedom of religion in order to push their immoral agenda, and I thank God that the bishops are not taking this lightly. Confrontation between the Church and the government came to a head with Obamacare and taxpayer funding of abortion. The bishops stood their ground against this funding and Dolan has just done it again. I am a bit surprised this letter was written in such strong terms, but I am very pleased. I hate to say it, but we've needed more backbone from our Church leaders when dealing with this government.

Is the Catholic Church being set up for prosecution under the law for her faith? I don't know. It would seem to be, seeing how the government is taking an aggressive stance toward her, a stance I never would have believed would happen in this country. But then again, with all the changes going on in the world and in the Church, and at so fast a pace, I'm not even sure I'm living in the same country as I did three years ago. Perhaps I should start asking some of the martyrs that died in the early Church to pray for us for it looks like we may need their prayers sooner than I thought.

All the changes mentioned have occurred rather fast, too fast for it to be coincidental. The chaos in societies and what seems to me the solidifying of our faith in the changes that have come our way, indicates that something is coming that is good, bad and profound depending on where we stand in matters of individual faith. I think the Church is being prepared and strengthened for this. The end of the world? No, that is not what I am thinking at all so I won't even go there. We have more to worry about at the moment.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Delaying the Sacrament of Confirmation: Time For an Overhaul

How many Catholic parents would sit down with their high school children and tell them that now the time has come for them to make a decision on whether to continue going to school or to drop out? How many parents I wonder would give their children at this age the choice of dropping out of high school, try to get a job in the meantime if they can find one, and when they reach adulthood, decide for themselves if they are ready to continue their education? I suspect not many parents would even conceive of letting such a conversation come to be and for good reason.

We as parents know best when it comes to educating them, despite what our children may think of our wisdom. Having lived on our own for several years and being in the job market, we know the challenges of landing a good job and what it takes to earn a decent living in this world. Our experience tells us that the best way for our children to be ready for leaving the nest is in getting the best possible education and giving them the tools necessary to be ready for the challenges they will face once they leave school. No loving parent, Catholic or not, would deliberately send their children out into the world unprepared.

As faithful Catholics we have our children baptized, then later, at the age of reason we begin to prepare them and enroll them in a CCD program that teaches them about the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Reconciliation, readying them for the reception of these sacraments. The sacrament of Confirmation however, is delayed in many parishes until their high school years and the choice is placed squarely on our children's shoulders as to whether or not they want to receive Confirmation if they don't feel ready, allowing them the choice to opt out. This is tantamount to sending our children out into the world unprepared, unarmed and without the tools necessary to face the challenges of  living a Catholic life.

Again, as Catholic parents, we know what we face in the world because of our Faith, and though some our children may have some inkling of the spiritual dangers they themselves may face, reality is, many children do not and are not prepared. We are constantly barraged with reminders by educators that our children today face more dangers than we did when we were their age. Our children, we are told, are fed daily with the "Sex, drugs and rock n' roll" mentality that has held our society in it's grip, along with the the denial of God's existence and all that it encompasses.

How do we expect our children to defend their faith and protect their souls against the godlessness that is waiting for them without giving them the proper tools necessary? Is delaying Confirmation and letting them make the decision of whether to receive it or not, a wise choice by parents and our bishops? If we believe our children are not mature enough to make a choice about continuing their education then why do we think they have the spiritual maturity it takes to make the choice of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation (or not) that provides the good and necessary gifts and graces to help them stand fast in their Faith, especially making this important decision at an age where faith for many of them, is not a very high priority in their lives?

Here are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we receive in Confirmation:
  1. Wisdom - desire for the things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honor and glory
  2. Understanding - enable us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith
  3. Counsel - warn us of the deceits of the devil, and of the dangers to salvation
  4. Fortitude - strengthen us to do the will of God in all things
  5. Knowledge - enable us to discover the will of God in all things
  6. Piety - love God as a Father, and obey Him because we love Him
  7. Fear of the Lord - have a dread of sin and fear of offending God
These are gifts are freely given by the Spirit, the grace that is needed by our children long before they reach their teens years, yet we delay Confirmation thinking all the while that they can make an informed decision only after being assaulted by the illicit pleasures and dangers of life rather than before facing the evils of this society. This makes no sense at all. Our children are targeted at an early age by pornography, drugs, alcohol, free sex etc, yet we wait instead of allowing them to receive the graces of this sacrament. We wouldn't wait to give our children an academic education or let them decide to quit school until they after getting a job, if they could even get one. Yet this is exactly what we are  doing with their spiritual lives. We are sending them out against a world intent on destroying not only their purity, but also their sense of a God that loves them.

We are taught that the sacraments are gifts freely given by the Holy Spirit, but we make demands on our children when it comes to Confirmation. I know in my parish we tell children they have to attend retreats, work at soup kitchens etc, in order to be confirmed. As soon as we place conditions on a gift, it is no longer a gift. It becomes a matter of merit and Confirmation is the badge received for doing something. We give our children the message that they have to earn grace and that is the farthest thing from the Truth. Grace is not merited. Yes, there are requirements made of parents in order for them to have their children baptized and the baptism is offered through the faith of both the parents and the Church. Confirmation should also be received in this manner.

Having been a CCD teacher for over a decade, I have heard some of the reasons why the children that do choose to receive the sacrament decide to be confirmed. The best reason I heard at the time from a student was that she wanted  to strengthen, defend and increase her faith in God. That was certainly heartening to hear, but at the same time I heard these other reasons: "Grandma wants me to", "my parents really think I should, why? I dunno, but they do", and this one, "Well, the other kids are going to so I might as well be confirmed too..."  Even though it would be great for them to fully embrace their faith of their own free will and be confirmed, that is rarely the case. They just don't  know enough about the importance of this sacrament let alone having to make a decision about it's reception.

I know some argue that faith is personal and it should be their personal choice. Some will also argue that it is better for them to make their own decision to follow their faith when they are good and ready for they will have a better appreciation of their faith and Church. I agree to a certain point, but using the example of academic education earlier, many children do not understand the importance of both education and faith. Both are a low priority in their lives at this age, that is why most of us would not give the choice to our children to opt out of school if they should so choose to; it would be disastrous to do otherwise. And neither should we do the same with the sacrament of Confirmation. Academic education will only be necessary in this short lifespan that we have on earth. The sacrament of Confirmation involves eternity and the salvation of their souls.

Some parishes baptize and confirm children at the same time providing them with the necessary graces for their spiritual life. In the early reception of these sacraments, the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to work within each of their souls in a special way throughout their lives, strengthening them. These children need the sacrament or confirmation long before they enter school and the world, not after.

In case you are wondering, I am a Catholic father of five children, two of which decided against receiving confirmation, and they still have not yet received it. That saddens me a great deal. My responsibility in raising my children in the faith and making sure they receive all the necessary sacraments the Church offers us for our state in life, has been taken from me by not allowing me the choice of having them confirmed. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. I know there are ongoing discussions in some diocese about bringing back the sacrament to an earlier age in a child's life. I think the time for talking is over and actually doing something about it has come. We are doing a great disservice to our children and putting them in grave spiritual danger  by delaying their reception of  this important sacrament.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Little Popes

In 1968, after reviewing the recommendations of a commission convened to study contraception and population,  Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae and all hell broke loose: literally. To the dismay of the commission, the Pope dismissed their conclusions, affirming instead, the Church's long Tradition of rejecting contraception, and in turn, Pope Paul was shocked by the negative reaction that his encyclical received from the world.

The reaction from the laity was even more shocking as many publicly voiced their opposition to the Pope and his encyclical, and for the first time in recent memory, saying they would follow their own conscience on a matter of what they considered a personal and private issue as well as other teachings of the Church. As far as they laity was concerned,  a pope had no business telling them what to do especially in regard to the bedroom. Like Luther and the protestants of 500 years ago, many of the Catholic laity now decided to become their own little popes in matters of their faith. What ensued from this dissension  has been forty years of chaos and confusion in the Church, and a falling away of the faith.

Right after Vatican II ended, progressive priests and bishops began to implement changes in the Church, as I wrote here,  under the guise of their own false interpretations of the "Spirit of Vatican II", greasing the wheels of discontent among the faithful. Tabernacles were being were removed from front and center of the sanctuary, and put instead to a lesser place of prominence and alter rails were dismantled, blurring the roles the priests and laity played in the Mass. Many churches also removed their statues and icons depicting saints and heavenly scenes and replaced them with felt banners instead. Though the Council never banned any of these things, the progressives thought it was time to displace 'tradition' and create a mirror image of the anti-establishment mentality that pervaded society  in the sixties. While observing these changes in age old traditions that the progressives were making, Catholics began to believe the Church as less stable, less important in their lives than before the Council.

Devotions such as First Fridays, First Saturdays, and praying the rosary were no longer widely promoted from the pulpit but instead seen as cute little traditions that really had no meaning in today's world. Even the "Family that prays together stays together" theme was now just a quaint little saying that just wasn't a reality in today's busy world. Though none of those devotions were obligatory for the Catholic, they were and are still  important aids in our spirituality though practiced by only a few.

The sense of the severity of sin was greatly reduced as more homilies about sin faded away. The new "gentler and kinder" Jesus that did not judge was preached instead, while what St. Paul said, "We preach Christ crucified" took a back seat or was watered down as to why he WAS crucified. It's no wonder the practice of receiving the Sacrament of Confession fell off sharply. Sin was not important anymore.

All these things and more contributed to the mass confusion and chaos in our Church of the last forty years. Now that we have become our own "little popes", missing Mass on Sundays, receiving the sacraments while in a state of  mortal sin through divorce, practicing contraception or even having had an abortion is no longer considered a sin for us, because as popes, we say so. Some Bishops and priests continue to openly defy the Pope and the Church for they are also their own little popes, just like we are. Liturgical abuses by some priests continue in many parishes as their bishops seem to nod in approval or are silent out of fear of being seen as insensitive or being perceived as a stick in the mud.

We've wandered for forty years in a spiritual wasteland.We've allowed progressive clergy and laity alike to experiment on us as spiritual guinea pigs for all these years and it is now time for this to stop. I'm tired of it. Many of us are tired of it. The Church leaders need to get back to what they were commissioned to do; Teach the true Catholic faith and defend it. The Church is also to be the light of the WHOLE world and that includes non-Catholics, but what has happened in the last forty years has not only confused Catholics but others as well as seen here from an article by a protestant friend of mine. Truly...I can feel her pain.

If I had the audacity and arrogance to make myself a little pope I would write a letter to some of my Catholic brothers and sisters, along with some of the bishops and priests of the world and in that letter I would say a few things to them such as;

If you consider yourself a Catholic then get on the same page as the rest of the Church. If Paul needed to visit Peter to make sure he taught the same thing as Peter and the Church in Jerusalem, then you can take a trip to Rome and visit with the Pope and get your stories straight. No more ambiguity. No more confusion.

If you feel you know more than the Pope or the Magisterium, then start your own Church instead of changing the one that was founded by my Lord. It's His Church and it was given to us in a pure, unadulterated form.

If you no longer believe in the Real Presence, then please, do us all a favor and refrain from receiving communion. It only makes you a hypocrite and it offends those of us that DO believe in the Real presence for to us, receiving communion without this belief is a sacrilege of the highest degree.

If you don't believe in some of the Church doctrines and traditions then that's fine. It's your choice. Just don't try to change what the Church believes and teaches to suit your needs because many of us don't have a problem with what she teaches. It's your problem not ours.

But since I am not my own little pope I cannot send this letter. I can only pray for the Church and all within her. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the parched desert we have been made to travel since the '60s. I want to be fed the good, red meat of True Catholic Faith and not the daily dose of granola bars and yogurt of "feel good" theology. My spirit is thin enough.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Christianophobes: Herod's Modern Offspring

Though Herod the Great died 2000 years ago, his fear of the Christ may in fact be the first recorded case of Christianophobia, or Christophobia to be exact.. His fear drove him to massacre all the children two years of age and under in Bethlehem, hoping that the new born "King of the Jews" was among the victims. Herod was afraid that his throne would be usurped by this new king, ending his murderous reign and the status quo he enjoyed.

Today, Christ is being attacked again, however, not by Herod the Great this time, but by his offspring: today's Christianophobes. Christianophobia, or the irrational fear of  Christ and Christianity is very real and very dangerous. The Vatican takes this threat very seriously and has engaged the U.N. in condemning Christianophobia,  here , along with Antisemitism and Islamophobia. So, what do Christianophobes fear from Christians? Like Herod, they fear the loss of power and their status quo. They fear the message of Christianity and its attempts to thwart their agenda to oust God from society and replacing Him with secularism. 

Christianophobe's main target and enemy is the Catholic Church. I find it ironic that anti-catholic Christianophobes target the Church since they claim the Church is irrelevant, backwards, an evil institution that protects pedophiles, anti-women, hateful and has no hold on being the moral voice in the world considering her history. If their claims are true, then why give the Church so much attention? Why is their hatred and attention so focused on her instead of letting her fade away into the dustbins of insignificance, ignoring her, and just go on their merry way? 

If the Catholic Church is so insignificant and has no moral power over individuals as Christianophobes claim, why is it so important for them to insist that the Church change her teachings on social issues such as contraception, abortion, active homosexuality and euthanasia? The answer lies in this dirty little secret; Christianophobes may say otherwise, but they know in their hearts that the Catholic Church is the moral voice in the world and she teaches with authority: an authority they hate for it interferes with their sinful lifestyles. They need her to justify their lifestyles and to give them legitimacy in the eyes of the world. They know that those that adhere to Church teachings on these social issues need to be swayed away from the faith, so in striking the shepherd (the Church), they hope to scatter the sheep. To the Christianophobe, the Church is a visible and loud reminder of what their conscience is accusing them of doing. The Church needs to be silenced.

The U.N., governments and the mainstream media are rife with Christianophobes. Though they do not directly follow their father, King Herod, and go out and murder Christians, they are indirectly complicit in the killing of Christians in many parts of the world, particularly in the middle east, when they turn a blind eye to these atrocities when they fail to report what is happening through mainstream media outlets here, and if they do report a massacre, they rarely mention that the victims were Christians and that many times the murderers were Islamic Radicals. The U.N. and governments are also indirectly responsible when they refuse to even acknowledge that it is open season on Christians and again, refuse to afford them legal protection as they do for Islam and the Jews.

Content in letting others soil their hands with the blood of Christians, Christianophobes seek other means to restrict Christians from expressing their faith. Through legislative means, Christianophobes have given special rights to homosexuals based purely on their sexual preferences, and  speaking out against homosexuality could be construed as discrimination and hate speech with the risk of being prosecuted by law. This type of legislation seriously restricts the freedom of religion if ones faith professes active homosexuality as sinful, which traditional Christianity does. here

Like the ancient Herodians who allied with the Pharisees to trap Jesus in the question about paying the tribute to Caesar, hoping to charge him with sedition, today's new Herodians, the Christianophobes, have set their own traps against Christians and the Catholic Church by trying to restrict the gospel message to the point of making it against the law to witness about ones own faith if that witness is considered hateful or discriminatory. In this country, the protection of the conscientious objection by nurses or doctors of the Christian faith who refuse to participate in abortions, or pharmacists that do not dispense contraceptive drugs or the morning after pill is slowly being dissolved through laws. 

Unable (yet) to dismantle our freedom of religion, Christianophobes have begun a pogrom of hamstringing the Christian's public witness here through legislative action and relegating them to the private sphere of their homes to silence them. Christianophobe judges have interpreted the U.S.Constitution in ways to find 'rights' for special groups ("Look Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!") to aid and abet Christianophobic institutions such as the ACLU to prosecute anything and everything Christian that even resembles a violation of church and state.

Christianophobes however, are ignorant of history. The Church has had her share of  enemies for two thousand years and she has witnessed the death and burial of all of them while she continues to exist. It will be no different for her enemies in our time. The Church cannot but continue to witness about Christ, for that is her mission on earth. As a sovereign state, the Vatican has been given an official voice at the U.N., and through this international body she has defended life of the unborn, the poor, the marriage of a man and woman as the foundation of civilization, spoken against homosexuality and unjust wars. There are many Christianophobes at the U.N. that would be happy to see the Vatican's membership in the U.N. withdrawn, for her voice is powerful and influential against secularism even though it cannot cast a vote. 

I wonder at times if Christianophobes have thought through their agenda. If one day they are indeed successful in silencing the Catholic Church and the other Christian churches, it may also be the day that Christ proclaims from heaven, "Mission accomplished! Let the judgement begin for those that followed me and those that rejected me."  Perhaps Christianophobes should be more careful for what they wish.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Catholics Dire Need For Courage

As Catholics, we live in very interesting times. The first time I read the scripture passage where our Lord asked whether the Son of Man would find any faith left on earth upon his return, I thought at the time that things would have to be real bad for so much faith to be lost. Well, it is real bad and a lot of people, Catholics, as well as many non-Catholic Christians have now lost their faith.

In the early Church, to be Christian meant risking martyrdom at the hands of pagan Rome. Even within the Jewish community we see Saul(St. Paul) rooting out the adherents to "The Way" to persecute and execute them. By the time St. John the Evangelist died around 100AD, the Church was already on her fifth pope and all had succumbed to martyrdom. To be pope meant dying for the Faith and this would continue for years to come. Indeed, to be a Catholic in the early Church took courage for one to keep his or her faith in the face of being killed for that faith. It wasn't until after the Edict of Milan during the 4th century, which protected all faiths from persecutions, did things ease up considerably for Catholics.

Today, we have come full circle as we see more and more persecutions against Christians happening all over the world. It is estimated that the last century saw the deaths of more Christians in many parts of the world than at any other time in first two thousand years of Church history. Though western, industrialized nations with democratic governments tend to be less aggressive towards Christians, it is increasingly apparent that there is a strong renewal of  persecution being conducted toward Christians and Catholics in particular by secular society. Pope Benedict was right when he said that the greatest threat to Christian life today was from secularism; the squeezing out of God from our society. As opposed to being killed for your faith through martyrdom, which is very real, very in your face physical suffering and immediately recognized, secularism has a subtly that masks and insinuates itself into society to the point that many do not realize that it is happening until it hits them. They now find themselves in a Godless society that promotes the state as the new deity that dictates what the new truths are.

The virtue of Christian courage to live in our world today and face its onslaughts, while holding on to the faith, is an absolute necessity today, and I daresay, probably more so than in the past. In the United States, we do not have the immediate concern for the physical safety of Catholics, as many Catholics in third world nations do, but we are subjected to insidious attacks on reason, our emotions, our consciences,  and our ability to discern what is the 'truth' concerning morality, and our choosing between right and wrong, and it is done through deception.

The truth of abortion, active homosexuality, euthanasia, contraception etc.,  has been successfully blurred by those opposing Church teachings on these social ills. Many Catholics have fallen by the wayside thinking that these sins do not affect them, so live and let live they say and they remain silent for fear of appearing closed minded and being accused of pushing their beliefs on others. When we do stand up to voice our objections to these sins, we are called intolerant and hateful. It takes tremendous courage to stand up to these lies and face the hatred that is cast upon us. You see this happening to pro-lifers praying outside abortion clinics as vile and hateful words are hurled at them, yet those praying continue to defend the unborn, knowing that they are on the side of Truth. That takes courage.

It takes courage today to speak out against homosexuality because so many faithful have fallen for the lies spouted by the gay community and those that support it. The homosexual agenda has been successfully inserted into our nations consciousness, slowly but surely, over the years through television and movies to the point that many see nothing wrong with same-sex marriage or adoptions by same-sex couples. Speaking against  homosexuality brands you a homophobe, a hater of the highest degree. To speak against homosexuality makes you a hated target. Defending the truth of Catholic teaching against homosexual acts today takes a heavy dose of the virtue of courage

Today, contraception is so prevalent among our population, that teaching against the use of contraception makes us the laughing stock of many. We are told that we are out of touch with reality and we have a medieval mindset. Try explaining and defending Humanae Vitae and watch the incredulous looks you get from others. I get the same looks when I tell people I have five children. Five? In today's world? That's ridiculous and irresponsible on my part as far as many that are taken in by the lies are concerned. If you want to be laughed at even more, then defend marriage as a union between a man and woman, and criticize co-habitation between unmarried couples. That should get you a guffaw or two. Courage is needed once again to continue to defend the truth of marriage and the gift of sexuality that God gave to us.

The abuse by some clergy has been an effective weapon against our Faith. We are ridiculed for defending good priests and bishops while condemning the actions of those that have abused children. We know our Church is a Church of sinners and that our sins reflect badly upon her. It takes so much courage to say yes, I know how bad members of our Church can be, but I will remain in her despite what has happened for the Truth still resides in her.

To be Catholic today is no easy task to undertake. It is indeed a "pick up your cross and follow me" endeavor. The godless use pretty words to mask their real intentions and blur the lines of truth. Deceptive arguments  and the redefinition of words to sway the weak of faith has worked very well for them, enough to place doubt in the minds of many of whether the Church is up to snuff and not behind the times.

Courage, the virtue to stand up against the lies of the godless and stand fast in your faith while defending it in the face of the evil that surrounds us is a necessity. We care too much of what others think of us instead of standing up and defending our faith. We cannot keep our faith in the private realm of our homes as society is now asking us to do. We are called to "go out and teach all nations" and that cannot be done if we are left to practice our faith alone, in our own rooms with the door shut. That is our duty, our responsibility as Catholics. To stand up and defend our Faith is to make ourselves a target of ridicule and hate. The only way to do this in today's world is through the use of courage. Pray for this virtue. Exercise it everyday and become stronger in your Faith. I promise you, you'll need it in the days and years to come as things will get much worse before they get better.

The Ordinary Catholic