Obama: Birth Control Mandate is Final; Catholic Bishops Vow to Fight

Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Archbishop Timothy Dolan

by Kathleen Gilbert -

After being deluged with complaints from outraged religious groups, Obama’s health department has dug in its heels, saying its decision to force employers to provide abortifacient birth control drugs will continue as planned – although faith-based groups will be given a year reprieve. In response, U.S. Catholic bishops have not minced words, vowing to fight the order as “literally unconscionable.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday that faith-based entities like hospitals and universities will have until August 1, 2013 to provide employees with free birth control as part of their insurance packages. The mandate will also force such groups to pay for sterilizations and, because the FDA has approved abortifacient drugs such as Ella as “contraception.”

The mandate is being implemented as part of the new health care legislation that was passed in March 2010 despite vigorous opposition from U.S. Catholic bishops, who called it dangerously open to being used as a means of spreading abortion. [Read more...]

Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz says Children in the Womb are Not Persons

Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D), Chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that calling a child in the womb a person is an extremist position.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D), Chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that calling a child in the womb a person is an extremist position.

by Deacon Keith Fournier -

On November 8, 2011, the people of Mississippi will have an opportunity to cast their vote to affirm a scientific fact, that a human being in the womb of his or her mother is a human person from the moment of conception. The lieutenant Governor of the State recently expressed what many of his fellow Mississippians believe in these words: “The Founding Fathers said that every American has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. On November the 8th, we’re going to give that right to every child in America, beginning in Mississippi”

If the people of the State pass this amendment to the State Constitution, intentional abortion, which is the taking of innocent human life in the womb, will be illegal – just like every other act of killing an innocent human person. The Mississippi amendment specifically includes them in the definition section of person in the State Constitution.

The Mississippi effort is a part of a growing trend in the States to pass such constitutional amendments to protect the lives of our youngest neighbors. [Read more...]

The ‘Gospel’ of Tolerance: You Must Approve

Tolerance Chesterton GK by Jennifer Hartline -
Judge not me nor anything I say, do, or want, lest ye be judged intolerant

The Gospel of Tolerance really only has one rule: thou shalt tolerate any action, belief, lifestyle, agenda, and person except the person who believes a certain lifestyle, action or agenda is wrong and has the gall to say so out loud. The real goal here is not acceptance but submission. It’s not enough to “get along” or tolerate quietly. You must approve. You don’t dare disapprove publicly. Those who don’t tow the line will be punished. …

Stacy Trasancos is one gutsy Catholic.  Last week she wrote a little blog post about how she’s getting tired of wondering “what in tarnation we’re going to encounter” every time she and her kids leave the house.  Two men ogling each other at the pool?  Two women engaged in public displays of affection in the park?  These are scenes she’d rather her young children not be exposed to every time they go out in public, but it’s become impossible to avoid in her community. [Read more...]

Spiritual Warfare: How to Wage that War in the Desert

Jesus Christ Desert Warfare Satan by Katie Peterson -
You will be engaged in spiritual warfare for the rest of your earthly life

Do you ever feel like you are in spiritual warfare? The devil doesn’t usually attack us in such blatant, physical ways as he did St. Anthony, but we must remember that he is always seeking to make war against us. So what are we to do? Arm ourselves, right? But with what? How do we anticipate the devil’s attacks against us, especially when they are so deviously subtle and often approach us in the disguise of seemingly ordinary life situations and decisions?

DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) – He sold everything he owned and he went into the desert to fight demons. He burned with a desire for God, and “the devil, an enemy of the word Christian, could not bear to see such outstanding virtues in a young man and so he attacked him” (from Early Christian Lives, the “Life of Antony by Athanasius”).

Spiritual warfare. We see it lived out to the extreme in the life of St. Anthony, early anchorite monk and fierce warrior of demons, all for the glory of God and the prayerful protection of men. Obviously, most of us are not called to rid ourselves of all our possessions and become hermits in a foreign desert (at least I’m not.), but we all experience spiritual warfare like St. Anthony, though often in different and subtler degrees. [Read more...]

The Church as the Bride of Caesar

Rev. Robert A. Sirico

Rev. Robert A. Sirico

by Fr. Robert A. Sirico -

It is telling that the Washington Post report on the religious Left’s Circle of Protection campaign for big government describes the effort as one that would “send chills through any politician who looks to churches and religious groups as a source of large voting blocs,” because, in fact, this is not an honest faith-inspired campaign to protect the “least of these” from Draconian government cuts, as claimed. It is a hyper-political movement that offers up the moral authority of churches and aid organizations to advance the ends of the Obama administration and its allies in Congress.

The Circle of Protection, led by Jim Wallis and his George Soros-funded Sojourners group, is advancing a false narrative based on vague threats to the “most vulnerable” if we finally take the first tentative steps to fix our grave budget and debt problems. For example, Wallis frequently cites cuts to federal food programs as portending dire consequences to “hungry and poor people.” [Read more...]

Archbishop: New York Times, CNN, MSNBC can’t be trusted on abortion, faith

Archbishop Charles Chaput

Archbishop Charles Chaput

by Jeremy Kryn -
When it comes to finding information on vital issues like abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and faith, the mainstream media simply can’t be trusted, the incoming archbishop of Philadelphia told a group of youth in Spain last week.

“Being uninformed about the world and its problems and issues is a sin against our vocation as disciple,” Archbishop Charles Chaput told his audience during a special World Youth Day session in Madrid. And yet, he went on to note, the Christian believer is faced with a unique challenge in finding accurate sources of information on key issues.

“In the United States, our battles over abortion, family life, same-sex marriage, and other sensitive issues have led to ferocious public smears and legal threats not only of Catholics, but also against Mormons, evangelicals, and other religious believers,” he said. [Read more...]

On Redistributing Wealth

Christ in the House of Simon Poor Redistribute Wealthby James V. Schall, S.J. -
Greed, some say, is the main reason the poor are poor. It isn’t. We rarely take a close look at envy. Because someone is rich, it does not follow that he is therefore greedy. A poor man is free to be both greedy and envious. Envy is as much a generator of extra work as want, perhaps more so.

Mandeville’s famous notion, that our vices not our virtues cause prosperity, has a point. Usable wealth must first be produced and made available. The primary causes of wealth production are brains, effort, and virtue. The world was given to us in a raw state to see what we would do with it, yes, for one another.

At first sight, the oft-repeated lament that the world’s goods need to be “redistributed” for the benefit of the poor seems logical. Usually behind this apparently innocent approach is the idea of the limitation of the world’s “goods.” If the world’s resources are “limited,” then we need to establish a system of control of human behavior, of our “desires.” [Read more...]

Beyond the Dictatorship of Relativism

Pope Benedict Moral Relativismby Robert Royal -
Almost everyone who pays attention to religion and public affairs knows of Joseph Ratzinger’s famous homily shortly before he was elected pope denouncing the modern “dictatorship of relativism.” The future Benedict XVI rightly drew the connection between, on the one hand, the alleged tolerance and openness professed by many people opposed to the old faith and morals, and, on the other hand, the highhanded public means by which they now force their views on everyone else.

All quite true and profound. But it’s become quite clear that what now most threatens traditional religious belief and behavior is not exactly relativism. Or openness. Or tolerance. Not by a long shot. It’s a substantial set of alternative beliefs and teachings. And claiming that this new faith is fairness or neutrality simply won’t survive a moment’s thought.

Take the gay marriage measures passed in New York State. The ground had been prepared for this and a whole host of other public policy shifts by claiming, for instance, that for all of us sexuality is fluid and “socially constructed.” A kind of relativism, if you will. [Read more...]

In a New York Minute: Coming Persecution of Christians over True Marriage?

New York marriage - persecution by Deacon Keith Fournier -
The truth about marriage is not only a ‘religious’ construct, it is objectively true

The leaders of the homosexual equivalency movement are dedicated to building a society where the positive law of the Nation forces us all to call to be a marriage what can never be a marriage – or face the police power of the State. They scored what they believe was a decisive “victory” for their brave new world in New York last week. History will prove them wrong. However, with the tragic act of the legislature in New York, hostility toward Christians will continue to grow.

Sadly, even those who knew they were doing something which violated the Natural Law and threatens the common good – voting to call something a marriage which can never be a marriage – succumbed to the pressure of the mob last week. And the mob celebrated in the streets of New York on Sunday. The mob also placed on display some of the behaviors which will soon be protected by the positive or “civil” law of the State. To borrow from the refrain of the old Eagles song, “In a New York Minute, everything can change. In a New York Minute, things can get pretty strange.” [Read more...]

Catholicism & Orthodoxy: A Common Sanctity of Life

Sanctity of Life Orthodox Catholicby Deacon Keith Fournier -
‘Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition emphasize the sacred dignity of the human person and God’s purpose in creating, to confer his blessings upon him. In today’s society, we have witnessed many attacks on human life, especially in its most vulnerable stages. As our heavenly patrons, Ss. Peter and Andrew were one as brothers and Apostles of the Lord, we too are united as brothers, as we affirm the sacred dignity and value of every human life.’ (From the Common Declaration) …

I am one of a growing number of people calling Pope Benedict XVI the “Pope of Christian Unity”. In his first Papal message he proclaimed, “Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. [Read more...]

Benedictine Monk: Remaining in Jesus the True Vine

Jesus the True Vine

I am the vine, you are the branches

by Fr. Gregory Gresko -
In listening attentively to the Word of God, we come to realize authentic communion with our Lord and are perfected slowly but surely in love of His Will through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who is able to safeguard us from despairing or presuming. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you” (Jn 15.7).

As we continue celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ during this joyous Easter season, the Gospel passage from Wednesday’s liturgy called us to pause reflectively upon the image of Jesus as the true Vine and His people as the branches. Jesus teaches us: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit . Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me” (Jn 15.1-5). [Read more...]

Why Catholic Schools Matter

Catholic Schools Matterby Sol Stern & Patrick J. McCloskey

They’re still the best hope for poor, inner-city kids.

Who can doubt that the fortunes of charter schools are on the rise? Philanthropists both liberal and conservative have been showering money on charters, viewing them as a promising alternative to traditional public schools because of their relative freedom from union contracts and education bureaucracies. The number of charter schools across the country has soared. Charters have even inspired movies, including the 2010 documentary Waiting for “Superman,” which tells the story of several successful charter school networks in Harlem—where black and Hispanic parents, desperate to avoid the awful public schools, enter their children in lotteries to try to secure seats in the charters.

What’s missing from this narrative, however, is an alarming fact: for every charter school recently opened in Harlem, two Catholic schools have had to close because of financial trouble. The same holds for New York City as a whole. Since inner-city Catholic schools have historically provided lifesaving educational choices for minorities and the poor, the result has been a net loss of good schools for Gotham. [Read more...]

Blasphemy: Pastor Uses Parable of the Sower to Encourage Abortion

Rev. Matthew Westfox

Rev. Matthew Westfox

by Jennifer Hartline
Anyone unwilling to defend human life from the moment of conception has no pro-life theology. Rev. Matthew Westfox is stunningly deceived. His “reproductive choice” theology is not remotely pro-life. He is a mouthpiece for the culture of death.

After I finished reading Rev. Matthew Westfox’s article entitled, “Resurrecting Pro-Life”, I couldn’t shake an image in my head of the father of lies smugly patting himself on the back for this one. A very delicious deception, indeed.

Rev. Westfox begins, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” reminds me that Easter is a celebration of life itself and what Christians honor and revere about life. Easter reminds me of the respect and reverence for life that is at the core of my theology, that I am in my heart a deeply “pro-life” person.”

That first paragraph left me with a vague uneasiness in my stomach, and the next paragraph got worse. A lot worse. [Read more...]

The Courage to Refuse to Cooperate in Evil

Tim Roach and his family

Tim Roach and his family

by Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. -
Modern health care is replete with situations that tempt us to cooperate immorally in evil.

An electrician by trade, Tim Roach is married with two children and lives about an hour outside Minneapolis. He was laid off his job in July 2009. After looking for work for more than a year and a half, he got a call from his local union in February 2011 with the news anyone who is unemployed longs for, not just a job offer, but one with responsibility and a good salary of almost $70,000 a year. He ultimately turned the offer down, however, because he discovered that he was being asked to oversee the electrical work at a new Planned Parenthood facility under construction in St. Paul on University Avenue. Aware that abortions would be performed there, he knew his work would involve him in “cooperation with evil,” and he courageously declined the offer.

Significant moral issues can arise if we knowingly cooperate in another’s evil actions, even though we don’t perform those evil actions ourselves. [Read more...]

To Seek God and to Let Oneself Be Found by Him

Faith and Reason Define Christianity by Deacon Keith Fournier -
Naturally, the humility of reason is always needed, in order to accept it: man’s humility, which responds to God’s humility

Christians of the nascent Church did not regard their missionary proclamation as propaganda, but as an inner necessity, consequent upon the nature of their faith: the God in whom they believed was the God of all people, the one, true God, who had revealed himself in the history of Israel and ultimately in his Son, thereby supplying the answer for which all people, in their innermost hearts, are waiting. [...]

Yesterday, I covered the launch of Pope benedict XVI’s outreach called “The Court of the Gentiles” intended to encourage a dialogue with non-believers. The effort debuted in Paris over the weekend. It already has appointments in Tirana, Albania, Stockholm, Sweden, numerous locations in the United Sates, Canada and Asia. This effort is the inspiration of Pope Benedict XVI, the Missionary Pope, and is being led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi who heads the Vatican’s culture office. [Read more...]