Friday, April 30, 2010

Science Validates the Catholic Sexual Ethic

Two articles that detail the the costs of the sexual revolution on our society, from a scientific (social sciences included) viewpoint.

Article #1 - "The Science of Sex"
A snip:
Thanks to medical science, we now know that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy. It can lead to diseases like emphysema and lung cancer, and increase the risks of heart disease and stroke. So we have acted swiftly on that information. In one generation, our attitude about smoking has undergone a remarkable transformation. Where smoking was once commonplace, and homes everywhere had ashtrays, even if only for visiting smokers, today it's almost shocking to see someone light up. Banned from airplanes, offices and many restaurants, smoking – and smokers – are viewed with a kind of disdain at worst, pity at best. TV shows and movies rarely show people smoking, except when they're villains. The dangers of smoking are taught to young people with almost religious zeal. Most modern parents who found evidence that their teenagers were smoking would haul them down to the nearest cancer ward for a close up look at the consequences of smoking, or at least to their doctor, who would undoubtedly back up parental warnings that smoking is dangerous to their health.

Now substitute the words "casual sex" for "smoking."

Thanks to medical science, we now know that casual sex is unhealthy.
You really should read it all, but if you refuse, here is her conclusion:
We don't expect our kids to take up smoking. We tell them so in no uncertain terms. We should expect no less when it comes to sex, and we should tell them that also.

The authors of Hooked sum up their findings about premarital sex this way: "[T]hose who abstain from sex until marriage significantly add to their chance for avoiding problems and finding happiness."

Science now backs up what religious traditions have been teaching for generations. Who knew?

Oh yeah. Him.
Article #2 - "Uncovering a string of lies" by Janet Smith.
Smith is an expert in the social costs of contraception. She lays it all out in this short article. A snip:
The science is unequivocal. Fifty years after the FDA approved the pill, chemical contraception is bad for women, couples, society and the environment

This year we “celebrate” the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, or “the pill.”

For the 40th anniversary of the pill, PBS produced a thorough retrospective on its history. The material is still on the PBS website and is an invaluable resource for those interested in this subject.

The story PBS tells is fascinating and, without meaning to denigrate PBS, the broadcaster tells the history of the pill in a surprisingly honest way — surprising not only because of PBS’ usual biases, but also because the pill is a subject that involves a great deal of dishonesty. PBS is even honest about the dishonesty and even simple foolishness that surrounds the pill. For instance, when it reports on early efforts to get the pharmaceutical companies — including Searle, which eventually became the first company to receive FDA approval to sell birth control pill — to develop a chemical contraceptive, PBS notes:

“Beyond the legal and religious complications, Searle executives just didn’t believe there would be a huge market for an oral contraceptive. The men at Searle found it inconceivable that any woman would consider taking pills every single day just for contraception. The prevailing wisdom was that no healthy woman would ever willingly take a drug that neither treated nor prevented disease.”

Sadly they were oh so wrong. Women have proven wretchedly willing to “take a drug that neither treated nor prevented disease” and, indeed, which has been plausibly identified as a cause of lethal diseases.

Green Energy Hurts the Poor?

This is the conclusion that the Austin Diocese came to regarding a steep price hike associated with a clean energy initiative in Austin.  From the Diocese:
Austin Energy Regeneration Plan
On Earth Day, April 22, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to accept a plan calling for 35 percent of the city’s electricity to come from “green” or renewable energy by 2020. The diocese had expressed concern over the costs of the plan and the effect it would have on churches and all Austin Energy customers. The diocese brought those concerns to the community and to the city council. We became the “social ustice conscience” for a group of Austin’s largest energy users. Due to the efforts of many, an amendment was added to the plan that suspends its implementation until cost controls are put in place. In addition, major purchases of energy will have to go through review process. No one disputes that energy costs will go up; however, we are encouraged that our requests for considerations on behalf of the poor and least among us were heard and acted upon.

Bishop Farrell of Dallas

Bishop Farrell does a great job in a homily for his two new auxiliary Bishops.

New Layout

Thoughts and comments about the new layout are welcome, just please be nice.

Twelve Things the Bishops Have Learned

A great article from Bishop Blase Cupich - "Twelve Things the Bishops Have Learned From the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis". A few from the list:
2. Despite the justified anger felt by victims toward the church, bishops still need to reach out to them as pastors. Meetings with victims can be challenging for all involved, but they also can be a moment of grace and insight.

6. Our priests have a resiliency that future generations will recall with admiration. They have remained committed to their vocation day-in, day-out, despite suffering from the actions of those who have besmirched the priesthood they love. Their steadfastness has built a reservoir of good will with our people and is a major factor in explaining why during this terrible crisis most Catholics in our country remain faithful to the church.

8. Bishops need to be mutually accountable in their efforts to protect children and must be willing to participate in transparent, independent audits to demonstrate they are keeping the promises we made. What happens in one place happens to us all.

9. Bishops need to resist the defensiveness that institutions often fall back on in crisis moments. Resorting to a conspiratorial interpretation of attacks and adopting a “circle the wagons” approach only prolongs a problem and does nothing to settle it or heal the victims.

12. Bishops must partner with public authorities by complying with civil laws with respect to reporting allegations of sexual abuse of minors and cooperating with their investigation. All leaders of the community whether religious or secular need to work together to protect children and young people.
Read them all.

Are you Blessed?

Yes - you are.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

10 Commandments of Internet Behavior

From the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Good stuff:
10 Commandments of Internet Behavior

1. You shall remember that you and those you communicate with on the Internet are created in the image of God and you shall treat all people with respect.

2. You shall take personal responsibility for holding up the dignity of all people by refusing to take part in activities that embarrass or threaten another person.

3. You shall communicate with your parents or other trusted adults if someone or something on the Internet makes you feel uncomfortable.

4. You shall not participate in cyber-bullying; your messages will be truthful and will not harm others.

5. You shall take personal responsibility for protecting your name, your passwords, and all of your personal information while using the Internet.

6. You shall not use the passwords of others at any time or for any purpose.

7. You shall use security software and update it regularly.

8. You shall never meet someone “in person” whom you’ve “met” online.

9. You shall never use the Internet to steal someone’s graphic, written, recorded, or real property.

10.You shall always think twice, and then think again, before clicking your “send” key.

Thursday's Reading List

1 - The new Missal has been approved. Now the US Bishops will roll out the changes quickly. Plan on seeing changes to the prayers of the Mass starting late next year or early 2012.

2 - You should read this great letter to Bishop Wilton Gregory from a man who is a father, husband, and employee of Bishop Gregory. It hits a home run in how the Bishops should respond to scandals within the Church.

3 - The Supreme Court is allowing the Mojave Desert Cross to stay in place.

4 - Bishop Tobin reacts to Catholic hospitals supporting federal the healthcare bill.

5 - Kenneth Woodward, who isn't exactly friendly with a lot of Bishops, thinks the NY Times is unfair.

Military Chaplain's Three Tenets

Pray for our armed forces and their families.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stinking Cool Tech

I love this kind of stuff.

Tip of the hat to Domenico.

A Cloistered Aggie Nun

Sr. Rose Marie entered the novitiate for the Passionist Nuns last year. She is an Aggie, class of 2007, and radiates joy. Check out this video which was sent to me by The Anchoress.

The Passionists have a blog - from the cloister, which is just dang cool. Check it out!

Also, she has written some reflections on the readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, which are very well done. Here is a snip:
My present understanding of the liturgy of the heart is that it is nourished by the communal liturgy, while it is simultaneously deepening our participation in the communal liturgy. It seems to me that as it nourishes the life and prayer of Christ in us through the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist, we are enabled to participate more in the communal liturgy. Our participation, then, becomes an expression of our communion as we all share more and more deeply in the life and prayer of Christ.

We go to receive God’s Word and Eucharistic Presence in the liturgy of the Holy Mass. This communion with God through the communal liturgy leads our hearts to pray and live in union with the life and prayer of Christ (our liturgy of the heart). Then, through the Spirit, life, and prayer of Christ, we are brought into communion with all souls in heaven, on earth, and purgatory. The communal liturgy, then, deepens the expression of the real and living communion that exists between souls (especially in Christ’s Mystical Body) as they offer their lives and hearts in prayer.

The mystery of this “communion” between souls and God and between other souls is so profound! I know that “liturgy” (even that of the heart) does not happen in isolation though it may happen in solitude. It is truly an amazing reality that we have others with us in our hearts, since we are one in the Heart of Jesus. “…we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually members one of another,” and, “All of us have been given to drink of the one Spirit.” (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:13)

My understanding of the liturgy is summed up in these words of St. Paul: “For me, to live is Christ.” (Phil 1:21) I receive Christ’s real presence when I participate in the communal celebration of the Mass. Through the Holy Mass (the communal liturgy), Christ’s word, life, and presence in my heart then leads my heart to offer all that I am, feel, think, say, and do in union with the offering of Christ in the Mass. So then everything in my life becomes, through faith, an experience of God and a response to Him. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7) In this way, life itself becomes a prayer through the Holy Spirit’s directing us in our interaction with the HolyTrinity and with one another. To me, this seems like one way of explaining what it means to pray “in spirit and in truth.”

Catholic Medicine

A group in the Austin Diocese has been doing medical missions for a while now. Here is their goal as an organization:
Our Goal as a Team

The goal of our medical missionary team is to provide health care services to poverty stricken families in the Mexico and Central/South American countries. Many of the villagers are farm laborers and earn meager wages for a day's work. Due to the remoteness and isolation, along with the non-availability of health care services, this has created dire hardship for the people in these areas.

We travel 2-4 times a year with medicines, doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, interpreters, and medical support staff. Our trips are usually a week in length and involve setting up clinics in remote areas and ministering to small communities. A typical mission will see between 2000-3000 adults and children in 5 days. Some of these patients will travel for hours to stand in line to see a doctor.

Many times we see children that have never seen
a doctor or dentist in their lives.
Now, they are starting a new project, which I think is a great example of subsidiarity put into action:
To continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ for those uninsured or underinsured people within the Round Rock, Texas area by promoting wellness and providing physical, emotional and spiritual care with dignity.

Our next Informational meeting is May 11th, 7:00 pm
St William Catholic Church
620 Round Rock West, Round Rock, TX

Come hear the details and check out the volunteer oportunities to get involved in our clinic. We are looking for Doctors, Nurses, office volunteers, community liaison persons, and financial backing for the clinic. It takes a community wide effort to help those in our own backyards. Why not join us and see if the Lord is calling you to help.
Please pray and support great works like this!

Economics and Contraception

A great article from First Things.
It is long, but worth a read. Here are a few snips:
Contraception and abortion are complementary forms of insurance that resemble primary insurance and reinsurance. If contraception fails, abortion is there as a fail-safe. This implies that we should see in the data a rise in both contraceptive use and the incidence of abortion until equilibrium levels of sexual activity are reached, after which abortion rates should remain relatively constant.

In fact, the data roughly bear this out. The graph (opposite) shows the incidence of abortion in the United States from 1965 to 2005, with 1990 as the index year. As the graph demonstrates, the rise in abortion after legalization was strongly correlated with the rise in the use of contraceptive technology.

The decrease in the abortion rate after the early 1980s may be related to greater public awareness of the nature of the abortion procedure. It may also be related to advances in contraceptive technology that make contraception (primary insurance) cheaper relative to abortion (secondary insurance). And, once again, women bear the cost—both monetarily and emotionally. The data show that when an abortion occurs, the woman typically pays for the procedure. And it is the woman, not the man, who bears the emotional costs of postabortion guilt and trauma.

By now, it should be clear to the reader that, in my view, contraception is, contrary to the rhetoric of the sexual revolution, deeply sexist in nature. Contraception has resulted in an enormous redistribution of welfare from women to men, as well as an intertemporal redistribution of welfare from a typical woman’s later, childrearing years to her earlier years.

Further, given that women’s welfare largely determines the welfare of children, this redistribution has in part been “funded” by a loss of welfare from children. In other words, the worse off are women, the worse off are the children they support. On net, women and children are the big losers in the contraceptive society.
Then he gets to the thesis:
The impact of this redistribution of welfare is profound—and alarming. Societies are structured around many objectives, but one of their chief reasons to be is the protection of the weak. This means the old, the young, and childbearing and childrearing women. Contraception undermines this fundamental imperative, and, in so doing, undermines the legitimacy of the social contract. When the social fabric of a society is geared to move welfare from the weak to the strong, rather than the other way around, it cannot survive in the long run.
So, why do women use contraception?
If the arguments above are true, why do women agree to use contraception? More pointedly, why are so many women so vocal that contraception is a necessity—indeed, that it is their birthright?

The answer is that contraception sets up what game theorists refer to as a “prisoner’s dilemma.” The idea is a simple and powerful one. A prisoner’s dilemma is any social setting wherein all parties have a choice between cooperation and noncooperation, and where all parties would be better off if they choose cooperation. But because people in a prisoner’s-dilemma setting cannot effectively coordinate and enforce cooperation, all parties choose the best individual choice, which is noncooperation. The social result is disastrous, and everyone is made poorer.
Read the whole thing.

Fr. Barron on Creation

The Ark Found?

I have serious doubts. The Evangelical researchers say they are 99.9% sure it is the Ark. I am 99.9% sure it isn't.
A group of Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers say wooden remains they have discovered on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey are the remains of Noah's Ark.

The group claims that carbon dating proves the relics are 4,800 years old, meaning they date to around the same time the ark was said to be afloat. Mt. Ararat has long been suspected as the final resting place of the craft by evangelicals and literalists hoping to validate biblical stories.

Yeung Wing-Cheung, from the Noah's Ark Ministries International research team that made the discovery, said: "It's not 100 percent that it is Noah's Ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it." Continue reading.
UPDATE - looks like I was right - it is a fake.
Thanks to Mark for this.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Prayers Before Exams

Here are some prayers for your finals starting on next week.  St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron of students, so it is a common practice to ask for his intercession and use prayers that he wrote.
Ineffable Creator, Who out of the treasures of Thy wisdom has appointed three hierarchies of Angels and set them in admirable order high above the heavens and hast disposed the divers portions of the universe in such marvellous array, Thou Who art called the True Source of Light and supereminent Principle of Wisdom, be pleased to cast a beam of Thy radiance upon the darkness of my mind and dispel from me the double darkness of sin and ignorance in which I have been born.
Thou Who makest eloquent the tongues of little children, fashion my words and pour upon my lips the grace of Thy benediction. Grant me penetration to understand, capacity to retain, method and facility in study, subtlety in interpretation and abundant grace of expression.
Order the beginning, direct the progress and perfect the achievement of my work, Thou Who art true God and true Man and livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.
Another from St. Thomas Aquinas - patron of students. We used this one in Grad. school frequently.
Grant, O merciful God, that I may
ardently desire,
prudently examine,
truthfully acknowledge,
and perfectly accomplish
what is pleasing to You,
for the praise and glory of Your Name. Amen.
A good prayer to use before studying.
A Prayer before studying for exams.“God of Wisdom, I thank you for the knowledge gained and the learning experiences of the semester. I come to you this day and ask you to illuminate my mind and heart. Let your Spirit be with me as I prepare for exams, guiding my studies, and giving me insight so that I can perform to the best of my ability. Please grant me the strength to handle the pressure during these final days of the semester, the confidence to feel secure in my knowledge, and the ability to keep an appropriate perspective through it all. Help me to keep in mind what is truly important, even as I focus my time and energy on these tests in the immediate future. Finally, may I sense your peace in knowing that I applied myself to the challenges of this day.”
Here is a nine-day novena (in pdf format) for those who want to start today and end next Wed, the end of finals.

Two prayers from
Under thy patronage, dear Mother, and calling on the mystery of thine Immaculate Conception, I desire to pursue my studies and my literary labors: I hereby solemnly declare that I am giving myself to these studies chiefly to the following end: that I may the better contribute to the glory of God and to the promotion of thy veneration among men. I pray thee, therefore, most loving Mother, who art the Seat of Wisdom, to bless my labors in thy loving-kindness. Moreover I promise with true affection and a willing spirit, as it is right that I should do, to ascribe all the good that shall come to me therefrom, wholly to thine intercession for me in God's holy presence. Amen.
Incomprehensible Creator, the true Fountain of light and only Author of all knowledge: deign, we beseech Thee, to enlighten our understanding, and to remove from us all darkness of sin and ignorance. Thou, who makest eloquent the tongues of those who lack utterance, direct our tongues, and pour on our lips the grace of thy blessing. Give us a diligent and obedient spirit, quickness of apprehension, capacity of retaining, and the powerful assistance of Thy holy grace; that what we hear or learn we may apply to Thy honor and the eternal salvation of our own souls. Amen.
Lastly, a prayer recommended last time I posted prayers for finals:
Prayer Before Exams to St. Joseph of Cupertino

O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
Through Christ our Lord.
St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.

Another Prayer Before Exams to St. Joseph of Cupertino

O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of Examination) examination.
In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me
O Holy Ghost enlighten me
Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.
St. Thomas Aquinas pray for all students.

The Priest Who Died Three Times

A great story of a Jesuit priest who "died" three times. A full reading is highly recommended.
The first time Walter Ciszek "died" was in 1947. The American Jesuit had disappeared in 1940, shortly after slipping into Communist Russia to work as an underground priest. After seven years, his family and religious community gave him up for dead.

But the priest had been arrested on charges of espionage, and swallowed up into the Soviet prison system. Not until 1955, when Fr. Ciszek got a letter to his sister in Pennsylvania, did anyone outside the Iron Curtain suspect he was alive. When he was sent back to the United States in 1963—traded for two Russian agents—it seemed like a return from the dead.

Ciszek died for real on December 8, 1984, at age eighty, two decades after being released. But in between these two demises, he underwent a death—and a resurrection—of quite another sort.

This is the real drama of the priest’s lost years: how he died to self-will and self-reliance, and rose again through trust in God and his loving care. Recounted in his two books, With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me, the story of Walter Ciszek is a powerful witness to what can happen when a person—you, me, anyone—decides to live by faith. Continue Reading.

Anti-Catholic Cartoon?

The Catholic Church makes a big target for those who raise themselves up as moral agents of truth right now. The cartoon strips aren't free of this kind of posturing, as was evident in my morning paper.

Some think it is critical commentary and the Church deserves it. I have never thought the Church was above criticism, esp. where evil happens. But, where is the outrage over the Boy Scouts, the public school system, etc. which has an even bigger problem?

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Details On My New Book

I am getting excited about seeing my book printed. The title is Set Free to Love: Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body.

It is coming out in September. The publisher is Servant Books.

More details about the book can be found at my website.

Here is the draft cover art.

The Running Nun

This is a really cool story that is being picked up from a bunch of different websites. A religious sister who runs to raise money for AIDS orphans.

From ESPN:
When is a habit more than a habit?

When it's made of a special wicking material to better allow the nun wearing it to complete whatever ultrarun she's currently competing in.

One company made just such a garment for Sister Mary Elizabeth Lloyd, who as a member of the order of the Religious Teachers Filippini is required to wear her full habit -- a black wool tunic, headpiece and woolen belt over a white shirt and underskirt -- even while running.

Now Sister Mary Beth, as she's known, and Lisa Smith-Batchen will attempt to run 50 miles in all 50 states in just 62 days.

Or -- more accurately -- Smith-Batchen, 49, will attempt to run, jog or walk the 2,500 miles, while Sister Mary Beth, 61, will walk as far as she's able -- her goal is 20 miles a day -- and provide support and encouragement as part of Smith-Batchen's crew when she can't help keep the pace.

And while the sister appreciated the apparel company's efforts to adapt her clothing needs to her sport of choice, she found that the wicking cloth made the tunic too heavy. She prefers to wear her regular black wool tunic.

"It's funny, because Lisa's always worrying that it's too hot," Sister Mary Beth said of the habit. "But when you're hot you're hot, no matter what you have on."

When is a habit more than a habit?

When it's a lifelong passion, the thing that drives a person and the thing for which that person will be known long after he or she is gone.

Here is the website about the project.

Tip o' the hat to Daniel for this one.

Pope News

Two related stories:

1 - An offensive memo from the Foreign Office in the UK government was released recently about the Pope's visit. It suggested the Pope do the following, among other things, in order to make an "ideal visit":

  • asked to open an abortion clinic
  • bless a gay marriage
  • launch a Benedict-branded condom range

The Vatican is downplaying the memo and the UK has apologized, but the damage it done. It shows the anti-Catholic sentiment in much of Western Europe.

2 - This is why the Pope has called for a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The New Evangelization is a term that JPII coined to go and re-evangelize peoples and cultures that have been baptized Christian and left the faith. Western countries are the targets of this New Evangelization.

Western Europe, and to a smaller degree the USA, has left Christ. We need to be actively seeking to evangelize these people, who believe that secular atheism is the path to an enlightened and happy life.

I know that they aren't asking for volunteers, but if they were, I would be the first in line to help with this initiative.

The Numbers Behind the Internet

Yes - times have changed.

A Day in the Internet
Created by Online Education

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hearing the Devil's Confession

This is the winning story of the "Priestly Anecdotes" competition sponsored by, which received 820 entries from presbyters in 78 countries.

Father Manuel Julian Quiceno Zapata, of the Diocese of Cartago, Colombia, won the competition with this story, and was awarded a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
As parish priest of a small village, I would often go out through the streets on Sunday, to greet people and give them a written catechesis, especially those who for different reasons did not go to church.

In the parish dedicated to St. Joseph, many had a habit that they fulfilled every Sunday without fail, as if it was a duty. This was to drink "some cold ones" -- as they called beer. Hence, it was easy to know where to find this type of "faithful," and he was also among them.

One day, when I finished my run, a lady approached me to ask me if I had recognized the "devil." According to her, I had greeted him and he had received one of the messages that I gave out.

I had not seen the "devil," or at least I don't remember having seen any woman or man who looked like him.

On another occasion I had to go to the neighboring village to help a brother priest, but the parish car broke down and so I needed someone to take me.

What was my surprise when on asking some persons who might help me with this service, a boy immediately said to me: "Father, if you like I'll call the 'devil' to take you."

You can't imagine what I thought at that moment. It seemed a joke, but then I accepted the proposal and that day I saw him for the first time.

I kept silent for a long time, as it was the first time I was making such a trip. Moreover, I thought, what can I talk about with the devil? Continue reading.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Aborting the "Wrong Baby"

Horrible. But, it is horrible in more than one way.
(CBS/AP) A Sarasota doctor has lost his medical license after performing a pregnancy termination procedure on the wrong fetus.

The Florida Board of Medicine revoked Matthew Kachinas' license at a meeting Friday. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Kachinas was treating a woman who was about 16 weeks pregnant with twins in January 2006.

The woman had asked the doctor to perform a selective termination procedure on the male fetus, which had congenital defects. An ultrasound later showed that other fetus, a female that did not appear to have medical problems, had been terminated.

Kachinas told the newspaper that he thought he would be able to do the procedure "safely and appropriately," though he had never tried it before.

Kachinas also told the paper that he settled with the woman, identified in state records as K.M. A $250,000 liability settlement was paid out for an incident on the date of the mistaken termination, according to records.

K.M. eventually returned to Kachinas to terminate the second fetus.
Why is it horrible in more than one way? Not only were two children killed, but the one with Down Syndrome is considered to be the "wrong" one. Why? Because it isn't "normal". This is eugenics by abortion.

Lord have mercy.
More on this story here and here.

Friday Fun (AKA - poke my ear drums out)

I don't know whether to thank Mark for this or hurt him.

Obama Uses Abortion As A Litmus Test

But, not in a good way:
Surprise. President Barack Obama will name a supporter of legalized abortion to the Supreme Court to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens. Meeting with reporters at the White House April 21, Obama employed one of those rhetorical sleight-of-hands for which he’s famous, saying he’d have no “litmus tests” for the Supreme Court — and then announcing one.

It’s this: the nominee must be someone committed to women’s “ability to make often very difficult decisions about their own bodies and issues of reproduction.” Translated from the code language common on such matters these days, that means someone committed to uphold Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which for the first time ever legalized abortion in the United States. Surprise. Continue reading.
Unfortunately, this isn't a surprise.

Free Catholic Book

I like Matthew Kelly. I think he is an engaging speaker and has a good message. The best description of him, I believe, is a Catholic motivational speaker.

Matthew is also a good writer. He has written several books that I have really enjoyed.

One of Matthew's books is available for free (Rediscovering Catholicism) when you pay shipping and handling.

Buy it for yourself or buy to give away to others. Either way, it sounds like a good deal to me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fr. Mitch Pacwa Tickets Still Available

You don't want to miss this one!

Tomorrow, Friday, we will host Fr. Mitch Pacwa here at St. Mary's as part of our Distinguished Speakers' Series.

Tickets are on sale at the receptionists' desk at St. Mary's - for $5.

Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, S.J.
Founder and President, Ignatius Productions

  • Scripture Scholar
  • Fluency in 12 Languages
  • World Renowned Lecturer
  • Holy Land Pilgrimages
  • EWTN Host, Television and Radio

Father received his B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Detroit, summa cum laude. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 with the Society of Jesus and then continued his studies and received his Master of Divinity and S.T.B. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Loyola University, magna cum laude. At Vanderbilt University, he received his Master of Arts, Ph.D. in Old Testament. Father Pacwa is fluent in twelve languages and has a unique understanding of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East.

He has taught at the high school, university, and seminary levels. Being a well-known biblical scholar, he has lectured at hundreds of conferences and churches around the world. He is best known for his appearances on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), where he currently hosts two programs – “Threshold of Hope” and “EWTN LIVE.” Father Pacwa also serves as the weekly host of EWTN Radio “OPEN LINE” program.

In the year 2000, Father Pacwa established Ignatius Productions,a Catholic media production apostolate, whose mission is to teach people the scriptures, educate Catholics about their Faith, and promote unity and understanding within the Mystical Body of Christ. Father has recently announced that Ignatius Productions will raise funds for a much needed unique ten part documentary on the history of the Reformation. Check out to see a short preview.

Father Mitch Pacwa appears courtesy of Ignatius Productionsto share with you his knowledge of scripture and the Church. Father Pacwa’s teachings and travels are available as CDs and DVDs on his web site at There you’ll find a list of all his available teachings, his calendar of upcoming events, free PACWACASTS as well as information about his video production company. You may also sign up for his monthly newsletter that brings you Father Pacwa's “Words of Wisdom” on a variety of subjects.

Your Daily Reading List

**A 92 year-old woman enters a convent.

**Is sexual abuse a Catholic problem only? Absolutely not. This isn't to say the Catholic Church doesn't contain sin, but that the spotlight on the Church isn't necessarily fair, in many respects.

**Mark Shea hit a home run with this article on miracles, The Bible, John Paul II, and faith. A good read.

**Looks like the US Bishops and the Obama administration may be on a crash-course over end-of-life issues. Pray for our country.

**Here is one bishop who isn't giving the religious sisters who opposed the Bishops a free pass.

**Janet Smith uncovers the lies about the Pill.

An Open Letter from George Weigel to Hans Kung

On the First Things website:
Dr. K√ľng:

A decade and a half ago, a former colleague of yours among the younger progressive theologians at Vatican II told me of a friendly warning he had given you at the beginning of the Council’s second session. As this distinguished biblical scholar and proponent of Christian-Jewish reconciliation remembered those heady days, you had taken to driving around Rome in a fire-engine red Mercedes convertible, which your friend presumed had been one fruit of the commercial success of your book, The Council: Reform and Reunion.

This automotive display struck your colleague as imprudent and unnecessarily self-advertising, given that some of your more adventurous opinions, and your talent for what would later be called the sound-bite, were already raising eyebrows and hackles in the Roman Curia. So, as the story was told me, your friend called you aside one day and said, using a French term you both understood, “Hans, you are becoming too evident.”

As the man who single-handedly invented a new global personality-type—the dissident theologian as international media star—you were not, I take it, overly distressed by your friend’s warning. In 1963, you were already determined to cut a singular path for yourself, and you were media-savvy enough to know that a world press obsessed with the man-bites-dog story of the dissenting priest-theologian would give you a megaphone for your views. You were, I take it, unhappy with the late John Paul II for trying to dismantle that story-line by removing your ecclesiastical mandate to teach as a professor of Catholic theology; your subsequent, snarling put-down of Karol Wojtyla’s alleged intellectual inferiority in one volume of your memoirs ranked, until recently, as the low-point of a polemical career in which you have become most evident as a man who can concede little intelligence, decency, or good will in his opponents.

I say “until recently,” however, because your April 16 open letter to the world’s bishops, which I first read in the Irish Times, set new standards for that distinctive form of hatred known as odium theologicum and for mean-spirited condemnation of an old friend who had, on his rise to the papacy, been generous to you while encouraging aspects of your current work.

Before we get to your assault on the integrity of Pope Benedict XVI, however, permit me to observe that your article makes it painfully clear that you have not been paying much attention to the matters on which you pronounce with an air of infallible self-assurance that would bring a blush to the cheek of Pius IX.

You seem blithely indifferent to the doctrinal chaos besetting much of European and North American Protestantism, which has created circumstances in which theologically serious ecumenical dialogue has become gravely imperiled.

You take the most rabid of the Pius XII-baiters at face value, evidently unaware that the weight of recent scholarship is shifting the debate in favor of Pius' courage in defense of European Jewry (whatever one may think of his exercise of prudence).

You misrepresent the effects of Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg Lecture, which you dismiss as having “caricatured” Islam. In fact, the Regensburg Lecture refocused the Catholic-Islamic dialogue on the two issues that complex conversation urgently needs to engage—religious freedom as a fundamental human right that can be known by reason, and the separation of religious and political authority in the twenty-first century state.

You display no comprehension of what actually prevents HIV/AIDS in Africa, and you cling to the tattered myth of “overpopulation” at a moment when fertility rates are dropping around the globe and Europe is entering a demographic winter of its own conscious creation.

You seem oblivious to the scientific evidence underwriting the Church’s defense of the moral status of the human embryo, while falsely charging that the Catholic Church opposes stem-cell research.

Why do you not know these things? You are an obviously intelligent man; you once did groundbreaking work in ecumenical theology. What has happened to you?

What has happened, I suggest, is that you have lost the argument over the meaning and the proper hermeneutics of Vatican II. That explains why you relentlessly pursue your fifty-year quest for a liberal Protestant Catholicism, at precisely the moment when the liberal Protestant project is collapsing from its inherent theological incoherence. And that is why you have now engaged in a vicious smear of another former Vatican II colleague, Joseph Ratzinger. Before addressing that smear, permit me to continue briefly on the hermeneutics of the Council. Continue reading.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

American Idol and Abortion

From the Christian Newswire.
Once again, "American Idol" is aligning itself with pro-abortion groups. Among the groups benefiting this year's "Idol Gives Back" fund-raising campaign are Save the Children and the United Nations Foundation. "Idol Gives Back," which airs tonight, will feature several celebrities who will urge Americans to make a donation.

Save the Children has a working relationship with what it calls "prominent international organizations." Several of these groups are actively pro-abortion, including Better World Fund, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Action International, and the U.S. Committee for UNICEF.

In 2001, Save the Children worked with Planned Parenthood, the Population Action Council, and the pro-abortion Audubon Society on its five-year "Planet Campaign." Funded by the rabidly pro-abortion/ population control David and Lucile Packard and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, the purpose of the campaign was to "raise awareness of the connections between international family planning and the health of children, women and the environment." The Planet Campaign used television and print advertising, community outreach, special events, and other activities to spread its message. Save the Children said the campaign's website provided "an international forum for discussion of, and action on, women's reproductive health---including family planning---in various countries and diverse cultures around the world."

Save the Children has stated that "family planning" has been a "critical component" of its work for nearly 20 years. The group quoted a UNICEF document which stated that "family planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology now available to the human race." Save the Children noted that the report identified "access to family planning" as a "key factor contributing to maternal and child survival and well-being."

Several divisions of the United Nations have donated funds to Planned Parenthood and the body has wholeheartedly embraced its abortion and population control agenda. Continue Reading.

Pray for the Chinese

Their totalitarian government is forcing sterilizations:
Doctors in southern China are working around the clock to fulfil a government goal to sterilise — by force if necessary — almost 10,000 men and women who have violated birth control policies. Family planning authorities are so determined to stop couples from producing more children than the regulations allow that they are detaining the relatives of those who resist.

About 1,300 people are being held in cramped conditions in towns across Puning county, in Guangdong Province, as officials try to put pressure on couples who have illegal children to come forward for sterilisation.

The 20-day campaign, which was launched on April 7, aims to complete 9,559 sterilisations in Puning, which, with a population of 2.24 million, is the most populous county in the province.

A doctor in Daba village said that his team was working flat out, beginning sterilisations every day at 8am and working straight through until 4am the following day.

Zhang Lizhao, 38, the father of two sons, aged 6 and 4, said that he rushed home late last night from buying loquats for his wholesale fruit business to undergo sterilisation after his elder brother was detained. His wife had already returned so that the brother would be freed.

Mr Zhang said: “This morning my wife called me and said they were forcing her to be sterilised today. She pleaded with the clinic to wait because she has her period. But they would not wait a single day. I called and begged them but they said no. So I have rushed back. I am satisfied because I have two sons.” Continue reading.
Tip o' the hat to New Advent.

Celebrate Earth Day... celebrating life.


One of the great Texas A&M traditions is Muster, which is an annual tradition of remembering fallen Aggies.
Tonight, we will once again gather to remember, as we have for a very long time. A bit of the history:
Aggies gathered together on June 26, 1883 to live over again their college days, the victories and defeats won and lost upon the drill field and classroom. Eventually the annual gathering evolved into a celebration of Texas Independence on San Jacinto Day – April 21st. Over time the tradition has changed, but its very essence has remained “If there is an A&M man in one hundred miles of you, you are expected to get together, eat a little, and live over the days you spent at the A&M College of Texas.” Muster is celebrated in more than four hundred places worldwide, with the largest ceremony on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.

Muster is a time to look to thepast, present, and future…not only to grieve but to reflect and to celebrate the lives that connect us to one another. A gesture so simple in nature yet so lasting in spirit, Muster is the lasting impression every Aggie leaves with us; it reminds us of the greatness that lies within these walls, of the loyalty we possess, of the connection that binds us, and of the idea that every Aggie has a place of importance – whether they are present in flesh or spirit.
The tradition involves a "calling of the muster" or roll call of the deceased. There is also a candle-lighting, firing of a salute, playing of taps, and a speaker.

Other Aggie traditions include:

Benedict Talks About Meeting With Sex Abuse Victims

A statement about the situation:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Some potpourri for everyone.

**Two new bishops were appointed today. One for Miami and one for Springfield.
Bishop Paprocki of Springfield had these great lines at his news conference:
Before I open the floor to questions, there are a couple of other things you should know about me. One, I am a marathon runner. I have run sixteen marathons since 1995. As I marathon runner I have developed a sense of endurance and a commitment to going the distance. So you may see me from time to time literally running around town. Of course, I won’t be dressed like this, but you’ll recognize me by the SOX cap that I’ll be wearing. Second, my favorite sport is hockey. I still play hockey. I am a goalie. My nickname is, the “Holy Goalie.” If you’re trying to figure out how my mind works, you should know that most hockey players say that goalies are different. I get enjoyment from standing in front of a hockey net and having people shoot pucks at me at 100 miles per hour. I am used to taking shots. With that in mind, I will now take your questions!

**CNN, among others, is amazed that college students might choose not to have premarital sex. A snip:
The hook-up culture on campuses may seem more pervasive than ever, especially as media outlets, books and documentaries rush to dissect the subject, but some college women and men are saying no.

Some, like Boyle, experimented with hooking up and quit. Though she is Catholic, she says her reason for disengaging herself from the hook-up culture had more to do with the unhappiness she experienced afterward. Others influenced by religion have abstained from casual physical activity from the moment they set foot on campus.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Over 550 Followers

Thanks to everyone who subscribes to follow us.  We have hundreds who have signed up to follow us through readers, Facebook, etc.  Here are the numbers:

*Google Reader subscribers - 290

*Google Followers - 147

*Networked Blogs Followers (through Facebook) - 115

If you add them up we have 552 followers.

This doesn't even count almost 2,500 fans of St. Mary's Facebook page that receive all blog posts in their Facebook feed.

Where Are You Today?

Feeling the burdens of life lately?
Feeling far from God?

FYI - The song if from Matt Maher.

The Pope Speaks To Young Adults

I think Benedict XVI is at his best when addressing young adults. Here is some of what he said in Malta:
To all of you who wish to follow Christ, as married couples, as parents, as priests, as religious, as lay faithful bringing the message of the Gospel to the world, I say, do not be afraid! You may well encounter opposition to the Gospel message. Today’s culture, like every culture, promotes ideas and values that are sometimes at variance with those lived and preached by our Lord Jesus Christ. Often they are presented with great persuasive power, reinforced by the media and by social pressure from groups hostile to the Christian faith. It is easy, when we are young and impressionable, to be swayed by our peers to accept ideas and values that we know are not what the Lord truly wants for us. That is why I say to you: do not be afraid, but rejoice in his love for you; trust him, answer his call to discipleship, and find nourishment and spiritual healing in the sacraments of the Church.

British Atheist Comes To The Pope's Defense

A British atheist author who has some common sense, unlike Hitchens, Dawkins, et al. who want to "arrest the pope". Here, Brendan O'Neill is quite rational.
A few snips:
It’s worth asking why otherwise fairly intelligent thinkers get so dementedly exercised over the pope and the Catholic Church. What exactly is their beef? What are they objecting to? Very few (if any) of the pope-hunters were raised Catholic, so this isn’t about personal vengeance for some perceived slight by a priest or nun. And despite their current lowdown, historically illiterate attempt to equate a priest fondling a child with a state’s attempt to obliterate an entire people – under the collective tag ‘crime against humanity’ – the truth is that some of these pope-hunters don’t really think child abuse is the worst crime in the world. In 2006, Dawkins criticised ‘hysteria about paedophilia’ and said that, even though he was the victim of sexual abuse at boarding school, he would defend his abusive former teachers if ‘50 years on they had been hounded by vigilantes or lawyers as no better than child murderers’. Yet now he wants to put abusive priests on a par with genocidaires.

Also, while of course one incident of child sexual abuse by a priest is one too many, it simply isn’t the case that the Catholic Church is a vast, institutionalised paedophile ring wrecking the lives of millions of children around the world. One pope-hunting columnist describes the Vatican as an ‘international criminal conspiracy to protect child rapists’, yet the facts and figures don’t bear that out. If these anti-pope crusaders really were interested in justice and equality, there are numerous other, even worse crimes and scandals that they might investigate and interrogate and try to alleviate.
Then he rightly gets to the reason behind all the madness.
Remember, this is an atheist.
The reason this crusade is so hysterical is because it is not really about the pope at all – it is about the New Atheists themselves. The contemporary pope-hunting springs from a secularist movement which feels incapable of asserting a sense of purpose or meaning in any positive, human-centred way – as the great atheists of old such as Marx or Darwin might have done – and which instead can only assert itself negatively, in contrast to the ‘evil’ of religion, by posturing against the alleged wickedness of institutionalised faith. Continue reading.
Tip O' the hat to Carl.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Do You Love Someone Enough to Evangelize Them?

A question I think about every time I see this video - why don't we evangelize more?

If you have never seen it, the following video is from Penn Gillette, who is an atheist and no friend of Catholics (or Christians for that matter). He is part of the Penn and Teller duo who describe themselves as "eccentric magicians with a psychotic twist".

After a show, he had an encounter with a Christian man that he describes in this video. It is one of the most compelling cases I have ever seen as to why we should evangelize - and it comes from an atheist.

He says:
"If you believe that there's a heaven and hell and you believe people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, or whatever, and you think that well it is not really worth telling them this, because it would make it socially awkward....How much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize (he means evangelize)? How much do you hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? If I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a truck is come at you and you didn't believe it, and that truck is barreling down on you then there is a certain point where I tackle you and this is more important than that..."

The Other Side of Using Drugs

More innocent people are victims of drugs used here in the USA.
EL PORVENIR, Mexico – The 14-year-old boy tied a few mattresses and a bedstead to the family pickup truck. He went back into his single-story yellow house for the cat, and chained up the gate. Then he drove off with his family, which was abandoning home, jobs, school and country.

All because the drug smugglers told them to.

Hundreds of families are fleeing the cotton-farming towns of the Juarez Valley, a stretch of border 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Ciudad Juarez. In a new strategy, Mexican drug cartels seeking to minimize interference with their operations are using terror to empty the entire area.

They have burned down homes in Esperanza ("Hope") and torched a church on Good Friday in El Porvenir ("The Future"). Wherever they strike, they leave notes ordering residents to leave.
"They were typewritten, and they said, 'You have just a few hours to get out,'" Christian, the 14-year-old, said as he set off for a new life in Texas. Like others cited in this story, he would give only his first name for fear of reprisal. Some were so afraid they wouldn't even give that.

In El Porvenir, which normally has about 3,000 residents, only a couple hundred appear to remain. During Easter Week, when schools were closed and the plaza would normally bustle, the only things moving in the center of town were a few stray dogs.

The exodus appears to be the work of the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug organization. The Associated Press, citing U.S. intelligence, reported last week that the group has seized control of smuggling corridors through the region after a bloody, two-year battle with the Juarez cartel. Continue reading.
Sadly, it just keeps getting worse and continues to spill into the US. Here are a couple of scary videos detailing problems rising up:

Pray for Mexico.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Salvation Outside of Christ?

Q - We believe, as Catholics, that Jesus is the way to Salvation (Jn 14:6 , Jn 6:40, Jn 3:16), further in Scripture it is said that whoever rejects Jesus rejects The Father and cannot enjoy eternal life (Luke 10:16, Matt 10:40). As explained also by you (in other questions) we believe this in respect to other religions that though they may contain elements of the truth and GOD will judge them in his mercy, however having had the opportunity to confess Jesus if they deny him they cannot achieve salvation.

Now we come to JESUS's earthly mission where he comes first to bring the Good news to the Jews (Matthew 10 , Matthew 15:22-26) and when they reject him to then take it to all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20).

Coming to today's scenario we are in a period of rapprochement and apology to the Jews for our misdeeds towards them over the centuries, which I absolutely agree with as GOD is love and we should be ashamed for the treatment meted out to the Jews by the Catholic community over the years. When our Lord JESUS forgave them on the cross, we need to reflect his teachings and so I read with Joy the visit of the Holy Father to the Synagogue in Rome (sometime back now) and reaching out to the Jews for our mistakes.

However reading part of the Holy Fathers message is where the dilemma sets in, The Concept of the Chosen People has Changed with the coming of JESUS, while the Jews would have earlier been GOD's Chosen people, JESUS came to fulfil the old testament and all those who believe in him are now 'his' chosen people.

So considering my argument above can there be salvation for the Jewish people? Will they be eligible for eternal life? Having rejected GOD who first came to them with the Good News, In fact even today when time and history have proven that JESUS is the messiah, they still reject him. So can they be saved?

I will deeply appreciate your views and IF the Church believes they can be saved (will be waiting for your argument), then isn't it unfair to condemn people of other religions who reject Jesus?

A - Thanks for your well thought out questions. I hope that I can do a decent job in giving an answer. I will try  to give the Catholic Church's teaching in this matter, not just an opinion on it, to the best of my ability.

All who are saved are saved because of Jesus Christ. Thus, no grace comes by any other means, because it is by His suffering, death, and resurrection that we are freed from sin and made able to go to heaven. Scripture is very clear on this and as Jesus said - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6
The Catechism says:
620 Our salvation flows from God's initiative of love for us, because "he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I Jn 4:10). "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor 5:19).
Thus, the Church teaches that there is no other way to heaven, except through Christ. Those who know this, then reject is, cannot be saved.

The question then arises, what about non-Christians who do not believe in Jesus or do not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel? Vatican II answers this question:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation. - LG, 16
But, if they do receive salvation, it comes through Christ. Since we cannot be assured of the salvation of non-Christians, the Catechism states:
CCC 851 - "Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";344 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary."
With this in mind, what is the relationship of the Church to the Jewish people, as you have asked? It is one of faith.
839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God. "The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ", "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."

840 And when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.
So, can Jews be saved? Yes. But, not by the Old Covenant, but through the New Covenant and never apart from a relationship with Christ. Paul was knocked down when Christ came to him, as a Jew.

Some, throughout the history of the Church, have abused this understanding of the Jewish people. Some think Jews killed Christ and are to blame for His death. Wrong. WE are to blame for His death - all of us. Some have tried to force conversion (which is impossible), some have persecuted and killed Jews, etc. All of these acts are horrible and this is what the Pope has asked forgiveness for - the sins of the Church's members - not the teachings of the Church.

To sum up, I would put the Church's teaching on these matters like this:

--No person is ever saved apart from the grace of Christ.
--The fullness of this grace comes only through an explicit relationship with Christ and His Church.
--Salvation is offered to others, through the limited means they are connected with Christ and His Church. This includes the Jewish people.
--All are called into the Catholic Church.
--Catholics must evangelize and bring the Gospel to "all nations."

Christ came and preached the Good News to Israel. So did the apostles. We should do the same.

As for condemning others to hell, that is never our job. See this article about what the real role of judgment is.

I hope this helps.

Some other links that you might find useful:
**Outside the Church There Is No Salvation
**Faith Alone?
**Salvation and Catholics
**Am I Saved?

Prayer Request For Deacon Wade Russell

Deacon Wade was assigned to St. Mary's during his pastoral year, two years ago. He was hit by a car while riding his bike yesterday.

He has a fractured arm which is being operated on today. He also has a fractured hip, which they will operate on later.

He is in good spirits and is doing well, but could use all the prayers you can offer.

He will be ordained to the priesthood on May 29.

Happy Birthday Papa!

Pope Benedict XVI turned 83 today. Happy Birthday!

In honor of the Pope's birthday, I give you footage of a secret meeting of British atheists who want to arrest the Pope when he visits the UK.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Discernment of a Vocation and Your Parents

Q - The parents of many young men and women my age do not share the same knowledge or understanding of the discernment of God's will for one's vocation as their children. This is particularly true for the discernment of religious life (the Lord knows my mother does not like the idea of me becoming a priest). Being that you are a parent, how would you advise that children speak with their parents about such things, be it the discernment of married or priestly life?

A - Thanks for the question. This can definitely be a touchy subject and sometimes there seem to be conflicting things to think about.

1 - we have to honor our parents - Commandment #4 demands it.

2 - we have to honor God above all people.

So, if you find yourself hesitant to talk to your parents about what you think God may want for you, place it in God's hands and be not afraid.

God has a plan for your life that is more adventurous, more amazing, and more fulfilling than any we could ever draw up. But, do we believe this? Only partially. Fear comes when we do not trust that God's plans could include conflict.

Another way of bluntly putting it is this - don't fear talking to your parents about such things, but rather fear a lack of trust or faith.

With that being said, there are better ways of approaching this subject. No matter what, you are still your parents' child. While in college most parents will still see you as stuck somewhere between a teen and a full-blown adult. They don't quite know how to react to you or treat you. So, you have to tread lightly. Don't throw it in their faces by saying something rude, for example - "MOM, THIS IS GOD'S WILL!!!"

Also, don't presume that you are going to teach or guide your parents into learning about discernment. But, on the other hand, you want to let them know you aren't taking final vows or getting ordained tomorrow - rather it is just another step in figuring out God's will for your life.

You do want to be respectful and truly listen to any concerns they have. Don't just dismiss their concerns either, but take them to prayer and to your spiritual director. Make sure you see where they are coming from and their intent is to help you and desire your good - as they understand it.

Remain calm and patient. Don't disturb them while talking. Try to explain your view if you get a chance and if they are open to it - pray with them.

You are their baby. They love you. They want what is best for you. It is difficult to watch time pass and their baby grow up. Just think about how they used to hold you (as this pic shows I did with my youngest a few short years ago). For many parents it is hard to let go of the dreams they have made for your life. Give them time to do so if they struggle with this.

I hope this helps.

Fr. Barron on The Prosperity Gospel

The Prosperity Gospel (aka - The Health and Wealth Gospel) is a false Gospel - because it is "Good News" without a cross. This is contrary to the Bible and orthodox Christianity. They make the mistake of equating blessings with material things, which they can be, and forget that the real blessing is faith, hope, love, and ultimately salvation.

Fr. Barron, as he usually does, does a great job.