Monthly Archives: March 2010

Will a Real Catholic Please Stand Up?

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the press and certainly in the pews, about whether one politician or another should call themselves Catholic based upon their public support for abortion.

In article written by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, entitled Time to End the Catholic Wars, she posits that there is room in Catholic Church for all, and that there will always be differences of opinion.  She lists issues such as the environment, social justice, whether Vatican II was a good idea, whether Natural Family Planning is wrong, and whether you send your children to Catholic schools, as some of the issues that divide Catholic’s into groups.

I do agree that some people in the Church may disagree about those topics and still remain faithful Catholics, however I do disagree with her premise that you may consider yourself Catholic, and still disagree with the Magisterium of the Church.  That is where the line is drawn in order to be Catholic.  If you cannot follow the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, then you cease being a member of the Church, whether you consider yourself to be a member in good standing or not.

Catholics in public life who outwardly oppose the teachings of the Church and the Magisterium, should be disciplined by the local ordinary.  That is a good way Catholics who are not in the public eye will see how their own views may conflict with Church teachings and have the opportunity to reflect on why the Church teaches as it does and possibly come into the fold of the Church.  Leaving the public Catholics to continue with their public opposition to Church teachings without retribution is damaging the flock now and in the future.

So what is a real Catholic?  One that follows and assents to all of the teachings and obligations of the Catholic Church.  What is so hard about that?

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Take a Look and Listen to What We are Up Against

http://buildingacultureoflife.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/take-a-look-and-listen-to-what-we-are-up-against/

Self-Flagellation: What is Wrong with this Practice?

Blessed Henry Suso

Some Filipino Bishops have made public announcements against the practice of self-flagellation, especially during Holy Week, when the practice is very common in their country.

It seems from the article, that their biggest problem with the practice of self-flagellation is that it  “expresses superstitious beliefs and are usually done out of the need for money and for tourism purposes which is totally wrong.”

As far as self-flagellation done for tourism and money-making, I think everyone would be in agreement that if that were done for those reasons, it would always be wrong.  Again, if self-flagellation were done for superstitious beliefs, I think we all could agree, that would be wrong as well.

However, what if someone was self-flagellating for none of those reasons, but was doing it for a legitimate penitential motive?  Would it be wrong in that case?  How about Blessed Henry Suso?  Or the other great saints throughout the history of the Church.  Were they somehow “sinful” for self-flagellation?  If it was proper for saints in the past to practice self-flagellation, why is it wrong now?

I might add that it has recently been reported that Pope John Paul II practice self-flagellation as well.  I think that obviously, self-flagellation would not be for everyone, and could only be done under strict guidelines from a respected spiritual advisor.  But given those conditions, I believe that if the history of our Church is filled with saints who used this practice to enhance their spiritual life, it cannot be a practice that is no longer “needed” or somehow we have “outgrown”.

40 Days for Life September 23-November 1

Good afternoon my brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re closing in on 3 weeks prior to another 40 days for life prayer vigil. 40 Day’s for Life is a peaceful, prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life. As faithful servants to our Lord Jesus Christ, we must make a public protest against the encroaching culture of death that so thoroughly corrupts our society. Please join me in offering one hour per week in a prayful witness at the Planned Parenthood abortion mill at 990 Broadway in Vallejo. The vigil will go 24 hours for 40 days beginning September 23rd and ending on November 1st. I am actually responsible for filling the hours on Tuesday’s throughout the vigil. If you can choose an hour on Tuesday’s that would be most helpful, but of coarse any day that best suits your schedule is fine. I will be calling all of you in the next week to see if you can help. Please prayfully consider this opportunity to truly live out Christ’s call for us to be light to the World and salt to the Earth. God bless you and thank you for considering making a sacrifice for the pro-life movement in our community.

Sincerely,

Tony Hensley

Catholic’s Becoming Like Protestants?

In a recent article in Christianity Today the author explores the reasons why Pro-Life Protestants ignore the Annunciation.  It is a good question and it seems the answer is that the Annunciation is “too Catholic” .

I think that as a Catholic, we too are falling away from the importance of the Annunciation in our liturgy and theology.  The Annunciation is a Holy Day of Obligation.  It is just not a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States.  One of the many reasons why it is not a Holy Day of Obligation is because it is considered a “Marian Feast”.  Because it is considered a Marian Feast and that it always occurs during Lent, or in the Holy Week, the U.S. Bishops in 1887 decided not to include it as a Holy Day of Obligation.  However, throughout the Universal Church, not only is it a Holy Day of Obligation, it was also considered a Feast of Christ.

In any event, the Annunciation is not widely celebrated in the Catholic Church.  Why?  There are too many answers for that question, so I will pose another.  Why not?  Why not celebrate the Annunciation as if it were a Holy Day of Obligation.  There is little doubt about the powerful affect celebrating this Feast day would have in our Parishes:  Not only would we be celebrating the Paschal mystery of our Lord, but we would also be celebrating and educating our parishioners about the importance of God becoming man, Mary’s “yes” to be a mother unconditionally, and the upfront fact that from the moment of conception, one is a human being and is precious.

So let us start being Catholic, and celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation as if it were a Holy Day!   And maybe even bring a Protestant friend along as well.

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Personhood Amendment: Winning the Abortion War Without Exception

Since 1973, many different tactics and approaches have been put forward by the Pro-life movement here in the United States.  I think it can be safely stated, that as far as these approaches and tactics have concerned making abortion illegal in this land, they have all been an unmitigated disaster.  37 years later, we are farther away from making abortion illegal in this country, and the more the years go by, the farther and farther away we go.  Can we really say that the approaches we have taken are even slightly successful, when there is still debate about whether taxpayer money should be used to kill the innocent?  The fact that it is still debateable should be a sign to all of us who deeply care about the unborn, that what we have been doing to accomplish our goal is not working.

So what needs to change you ask?  I think the only approach that will finally and once and for all end the killing is a constitutional amendment granting “personhood” to all from conception to natural death.  However, this idea of a personhood amendment is not new.  In 1974 a New York Senator named James Buckley brought a human life amendment to the Senate, and a quick search on this topic shows that 12 other human life amendments have been presented to Congress from 1973-2003.

The most outspoken proponent for a “Personhood” Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is Jude Brown of the American Life League.  Jude Brown has been at the forefront of the Pro-Life movement since before Roe v. Wade became the desecration and abomination of the land.  Mrs. Brown has on many occasions clearly articulated the reasons why a personhood amendment is the only way to win the abortion war going on in this country.  In this article, Mrs. Brown further states the reasons as why the amendment process is the only way to proceed at this point.  Further, and more to the point, Mrs. Brown discusses the reasons why allowing exceptions to our cause, has doomed us to failure.  We cannot allow “exceptions”, such as the “health and well-being of the mother” or “in cases of rape or incest”, to be used any more in pro-life speak.  Those “exceptions” are not Pro-Life!  We are being hypocrites when we say that abortion is wrong, but it is okay in these instances.  We must now take a firm inventory of ourselves and the pro-life movement and decide what we really want.  Do we want to limit abortion?  Or do we want to end abortion?

As Catholics we are all called to end abortion.  Limiting abortion may sound good in practice and at cocktail parties, but in reality, innocent life is still being murdered, and mothers womb’s are still being ripped apart.  We must do all we can to end the horror.

So, can a personhood amendment achieve the end to abortion?  I believe it is the only way we can win the war.  But, we won’t win with the “exception” mentality.  As mentioned above, Sen. Buckley’s amendment in 1974 was the first human life amendment proposed in the Senate.  The “exceptions” were of course debated at that time.  The cardinal from Boston,Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, made the following statement at the time:

“As for an amendment which would generally prohibit abortion but permit it in certain exceptional circumstances, such as when a woman’s life is considered to be threatened, the Catholic Conference does not endorse such an approach in principle and could not conscientiously support it.”

Interestingly enough, and despite the good Cardinal’s reiteration of Catholic teaching, guess what was in Sen. Buckley’s human life amendment?  You got it, an exception to abortion in the case of the life of the mother!  If you look at the other 12 proposed human life amendments, most, if not all, had language providing “exceptions” to abortion.  Is it any surprise that none of these proposed amendments had any success?

The pro-life movement needs to unite around this personhood amendment strategy in order finally and forever, defeat the culture of death.

I am well aware that the majority of Americans support abortion; either outright, or within one or more of the “exceptions”, but that should not matter when trying to prevent an abhorrent evil.  We cannot compromise with evil, lest we condone evil ourselves.

It is my belief that we are not winning, or even on the verge of winning this war, because too many good people in the pro-life movement have bought into this incrementalist approach that allows exceptions to abortion or worse, abortion itself, because the legislation may limit abortion in some unforeseen way.

These good people also believe that taking the “all or nothing” approach is too extreme and too hard a fight to see any results.  However, what results have we seen with the current approach?  In 37 years there have been over 40 million abortions in this country!  It is plainly obvious we need to reorganize our attack and focus all of our efforts on promoting and passing a Personhood Amendment that would protect all life from beginning to natural end.

To that end, California is in the process of gather petitions to place a Personhood Amendment on the November 2010 ballot.  Please go to this website for further information: http://www.californiahumanrightsamendment.com/