Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gay Marriage - A Pro-Life Issue

The video below is from the March 26 episode of Piers Morgan's show on CNN. By now you may have already heard about this video where Morgan and his guest Suze Orman try to debate Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation on the issue of gay marriage. Anderson did a brilliant job of defending traditional marriage despite the fact that the whole event was a farce and staged against him. I don't want to rehash the whole debate, but if you want more details please watch the video below and then read this article: How not to have a debate about gay marriage.

What I want to discuss here is what happened beginning around the 11:25 mark in the video. It was both eye-opening and disturbing. Anderson attempts to explain how the true definition of marriage  is not just about uniting a man and a woman, but also about the procreation and raising of children.It was at this point that Orman and Morgan mocked him and encourage the studio audience to do so as well. Their point was that Anderson was wrong and that marriage has nothing to do with children and is only about whatever two consenting adults want.

I shouldn't be too surprised about this reaction. Our society has embraced death through the use of artificial contraception and abortion. The logical progression from there would be to separate marriage from openness to life. Blessed John Paul II in the Theology of the Body, described marriage has having two important aspects that can never be seperated, the unitive and procreative. Unfortunately, as Ryan Anderson tried to explain in the video, we began to change marriage and split those two aspects 40 years ago with the sexual revolution and widespread use of contraception and abortion.

The sad result of that is exactly what we saw in the video, our society does not see the importance of both the unitive and procreative sides of marriage. Instead it sees marriage as just a type of recognition of a sexual relationship between two people. If children and openness to life is not important in marriage, then it's no surprise that a growing number of people support same-sex marriage.

This is why this battle to protect traditional marriage is a pro-life issue. It all goes back to the central issue of life. Gay marriage will only further the split between marriage and children that began 40 years ago. Future generations will not see children as a blessing and part of the very nature of marriage, but instead as an incidental outcome or even a burden. The daunting challenge that we face is changing people's hearts to accept that sex is sacred, every life is a blessing, and participating with God in the creation of a new human life is at the very heart of marriage.

Monday, April 1, 2013

We Are an Easter People

In this Easter season, we rejoice in the hope and promise of victory that we see in the Risen Christ. Just as the Lord conquered sin and death, we know that through Him we will be ultimately victorious. We, as the Body of Christ, are an "Easter People" because at the core of our faith is the hope of the resurrection.

This world constantly tells us that our Church is outdated and dwindling. Judging by the media, it seems as if we are losing the battles against intrinsic evils such as abortion and homosexual marriage. Think about how many times you have heard lately that the Catholic Church is on the wrong side of history and the most Catholics don't agree with Church doctrine on issues like contraception and gay marriage. Judging by all of these messages, it sounds as if the Church is on it's death bed.

The truth is that like Christ on Good Friday, we will be mocked and condemned in the court of public opinion. This world want's nothing more than to see the Church on its own road to Calvary, where it will be put to death once and for all.  As the Body of Christ, our Church will be persecuted and suffer. It seems we may be entering into those dark times right now with the threat to our religious freedoms casting a large shadow over us. But as an Easter people we know that the story doesn't end there. Because of Christ's Resurrection, we know that ultimately we as the Church will be victorious over sin and death.

During this Easter Season, let us celebrate and show the world that Easter is more than just a day about spring, eggs, and bunnies. It is a time to rejoice in the promise of victory that we have witnessed in the Risen Christ! Alleluia!

Related story:
How we can be Easter people

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update on my Last Post About the Catholic Vote and Non-Negotiable Moral Principles

I wanted to share a few responses I received to my recent letter to the Providence Journal regarding the Catholic Vote and the non-negotiable moral principles. Below are two letters published on the Journal' website rebutting my letter. (My comments about these and much more are after the fold.)
Think for yourself, rather than heeding pope
Ah, there is a rivalry of consciences in the letters to the editor. ("My conscience as a Catholic voter," Oct. 28, by Ray H__; and "Catholic teachings," Nov. 1, by Rob A).
Mr. H__'s discussion of the decisions of his conscience was reasoned and well explained. I admire his conscience.

Mr. A's conscience seems to rely on the teachings of a man who happens to be pope. None of those "non-negotiable moral principles" came from the pope under the cloak of infallibility, so a Catholic can disagree with him and follow his own conscience.
As I recall, there is not supposed to be anyone in the voting booth with us, directing how we vote.

I do not admire the conscience of Mr. A, who seems content to not struggle with these hard things himself, but, instead, lean on the words of the pope.

Peggy G__
Church is not a political party
Rob A's Nov. 1 letter ("Catholic teachings") states that Catholics cannot vote for President Obama because Obama violates moral principles that "Pope Benedict XVI has stated repeatedly ...should come before all other issues in politics."
If true, Benedict's political directive is contrary to the teaching of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

In addressing the question of legalized abortion in newly democratic Poland after the fall of communism ("Witness to Hope" by George Weigel), John Paul echoed the voice of Jesus with regard to politics: "The Church is not a political party nor is she identified with any political party; she is above them, and no political party can claim her."

It is the Church's role to be "a guardian of the moral order and a critical conscience... the laity's task to be directly involved in the area of politics." And it is the responsibility of the people to "learn to dialogue with one another in truth and with respect for their own dignity and that of their counterparts, who, although differing, are not enemies."

John Paul knew instinctively that mixing politics with the pulpit eventually will corrupt the pulpit.

Jack O___
My first reaction to these letters is to be defensive. But the best course of action would be to pray for these people and our nation. These responses are unfortunate indicators of the state of faith in our world. They are also a reminder of the significance of Pope Benedict's call for a year of faith. Religion and faith are being increasingly ridiculed and pushed out of the public sector and confined to home or church on Sundays.

The Catholic Vote and The Non-Negotiable Moral Principles

With Election Day approaching, I think its important to clarify what Pope Benedict XVI has called the non-negotiable moral principles. I want to first start with a letter that was published recently in my local newspaper, The Providence Journal by a self identified "Catholic" voter.
My conscience as a Catholic voter
Conscience and voting have been the the topic of concern throughout the Catholic community as well as many other religious communities. Seeking to establish a clear and informed conscience, I have concluded:

* To gut many safety-net programs for the poor, the handicapped and the elderly would be contrary to the Vatican II declaration of "preferential option for the poor."
* To force us as citizens to make the lives of illegal immigrants who have not committed any other crime in our country so miserable that "they will want to leave on their own," flies in the face of our commitment to charity and the corporal works of mercy.
* To remove the long-overdue opportunities for so many more of our citizens to receive health care is blatantly unjust in our democratic society. Trying to justify this just to satisfy a "teaching" that all contraceptives are either a means of abortion or at least contrary to the unfounded notion that intercourse between husband and wife must be with the accepted knowledge that a pregnancy might result is wrong. 

Our Catholic leaders' role is to persuade; not to control. And the range of persuasion is to its own and those who might be interested. Many Catholic institutions employ large numbers of non-catholic people.

* To believe that running our country like a huge corporation will result in millions of new jobs, increase in wages and major reduction of debt in four years is, to say the least, unrealistic.
* To think that our modern world of global communication and myriads of governments and religions will be convinced by military domination is naive and dangerous.

Thus with a clear and informed conscience (which my Catholic Church teaches is the bottom line for any decision-making) I will vote for another term for President Obama.

Ray H__.

 This is my reply letter which was published the following day:
Catholic Teachings
This is in response to the letter by Ray H__ , “A Catholic's Vote”, published on the Providence Journal on October 31, 2012. While the issues of safety net programs for the poor, illegal immigration, and healthcare are all very important, Mr. Hodges own remarks demonstrate that his conscience is not as well informed on Catholic doctrine as he thinks it is.
Pope Benedict XVI has stated repeatedly that there are three non-negotiable moral principles that should come before all other issues in politics. Those principles are the protection of human life, the protection of traditional marriage and family, and religious freedoms.  President Obama has failed miserably on these three issues. Ray H. is correct that the Catholic Church teaches about the primacy of the conscience. But that applies to a conscience well formed by Catholic teachings grounded in moral and natural law. By this standard, no Catholic in good conscience can justify voting for Obama because of his disregard for these moral principles.

Secondly, Ray H__'s comments such as “gutting safety net programs” and removing healthcare demonstrates that his political beliefs are not formed by the Catholic Church or Vatican II documents but by the falsehoods of a Presidential administration that has been an abysmal failure over the last four years.
Rob A. 
I shared this to highlight how so many Catholics are in denial , misinformed, or poorly catechized about these moral issues. I agree that issues like aiding the poor, illegal immigration, and healthcare are all very important matters which deserve consideration when voting. However, the three non-negotiable moral principles, mentioned in my letter above, are the foundation stones which all others are built upon. When these are not properly respect and come under attack, society and all other issues will greatly falter as is clearly evidenced by what is happening in our nation today.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI as well as Blessed John Paul II have spoken and written extensively on the utmost importance of these moral principles. Unfortunately many Catholics and non-Catholics alike have yet to open their minds and hearts to this truth. Please pray for our nation during these final days before the election that all people and especially our newly elected leaders will embrace these principles and rebuild a culture of life. I have included links below to a voting guide on based on these moral principles and to a speech given by Pope Benedict in 2006 in Europe regarding these same issues. Please share this information with others.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Re-emergence of the Church Militant

 I want to share with you an outstanding article by Fr. Rick Heilman on the growing prosecution of  our church:
The Growing Persecution of the Church and the Re-emergence of the Church Militant.

In this article Fr. Heilman quotes Pope Pius XII and Pope Benedict XVI on the attacks the Church has faced in the past and up until the present day:
“The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
In 1953, the Pope who had led the Church through two decades of darkness in a world besieged by war, Pope Pius XII stated, “We belong to the Church militant; and She is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass Her destruction.”
We are becoming increasingly aware in our time that we are the Church militant as we battle the ravages caused by the culture of death. In addition, as we witness the growing hostility toward the church throughout the world, we realize that we are indeed engaged in a spiritual warfare.
This article from Fr. Heilman is a great reminder that there is an ongoing spiritual battle and we are all enlisted to stand against this evil and defend our Church and our faith. Pray for our Church, our Pope and Bishops, and our families, that God may strengthen us in this spiritual war and that more Catholics also wake up and stand with the Church Militant.

I have also included below the awesome video, "The Church Militant - Bringing Catholic Back", which Fr. Heilman included at the end of his article. Please take the time to read the full article and watch this powerful video.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Recently, the Vatican announced that the cause for canonization for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has progressed to the next step and he has been declared Venerable. This announcement was made on the same day as the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. I am not sure if this is just a coincidence, but we as the Church now have Venerable Fulton Sheen as an intercessor for us in this battle for religious freedom. 

To commemorate the Vatican's announcement, I have re-posted a video that I had shared here sometime ago that tells a great story about Archbishop Sheen and his passion for the faith.

Venerable Fulton Sheen, please pray for us and for our nation!