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Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

As we gather with our loved ones today let's not forget those with whom we owe a debt of gratitude, those whom we shall not embrace until we are with them in the presence of the Lord.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."
Jesus Christ (John 15:13)

May God bless all those whom we remember today that gave that last full measure of devotion and may He continue to bless all those who have served and are serving today so that we might remain free.

May we always remember who died so that we may be eternally free - our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ!

God Bless America and all who serve!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"What Is It You Seek?" - Answering the Irish Scandal

What Is It You Seek?

Over on Facebook, there's one fellow whom I added as a friend to play a game who completely disagrees with both my Catholic faith and my conservative values and has taken to making that point quite clear to me. Respectful disagreement or intelligent discourse among adults is absolutely fine and always welcome, but this is neither. What it is however, is numerous condescending and snide little remarks criticizing my conservative and Catholic posts and aimed at my morals, values and faith.

I've never insulted him, never posted a single thing to his page or made a single comment that wasn't in reply to his initial remarks to me nor have I engaged in reciprocity. I'm not certain why he feels threatened by me and I could easily delete him from my friends list but I actually enjoy the fact that he is intent on challenging me, my faith and my values. I'd like to think that perhaps it's his way of reaching out, of seeking to understand the truth (John 1:37-39) because each and every time, he seeks me out and engages me first.

Ignorance or Incredulity?

Fact is that he comes to my page to read what I've posted and then comment on it. But then why come to my page at all if we're so different and why doesn't he just delete me? My faith and morals aren't so weak as to be threatened by one person or even a whole world of people.

Does he wish to convert me? Not likely, as he's made no intelligent or logical attempt at a theological or moral argument. Does he hate me for my beliefs? Perhaps, since he's a declared social liberal and likely a progressive. Based on quite a lot of bashing on his page of the Catholic Church, he definitely seems to hate the Catholic Church not for what it truly is, but for the lies that he is believing about it. (Fundamentalist or Evangelical perhaps?) For whatever reason, I've been flagged by him either as a mortal or moral enemy or both.

That said, this morning he came to my profile page and posted on my wall a link to a Yahoo news article reporting on the recent horrible Irish abuse scandal with the following remarks:
"Catholic Church Shamed by Irish Abuse Report"

"Mighty quite [sic] on this one - Here is your chance to weigh in on a real - ongoing issue. How do you justify this?"
First, I don't rely on him for a chance at anything. Next, his opinion that this is a "real - ongoing issue" does not make it so. It certainly is news, and bad news at that, but this is merely a bash-du-jour to provoke a response. Issues such as this require much prayer and reflection to ensure we just don't open our mouths and say the wrong thing at the wrong time. I only wish others could do the same thing.

A Church of Sinners

I cannot and will not even attempt to justify the sins of another and to do so would be to condone intrinsic evil and is a sin itself. Nor will I speak to the details of this or of any other scandal as I do not know all the facts, only what is reported.

Even praying intently upon it to God His Father, Jesus still chose from among thousands of followers, a traitor to be one of his apostles. Even one who witnessed His miracles, performed miracles in His name and had his feet washed by Jesus Christ, betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver. Why? Because he chose to let Satan enter into him as have these perpetrators and as do each of us every single day in some way. It is the "Price of Weak Faith".

The closer we get to God, the stronger the pull of sin by Satan. Everyone whom has ever chosen to walk the narrow path of faith has felt that pull. It is very real and it is very tempting. Knowing this, we understand that the devil tempts each of us and we arm ourselves with a deepening faith and a stronger Love of God and of one another.

A Church of Saints

We are indeed a church of saints and sinners. We can produce pope's like John Paul II and pope's like Alexander VI. People like Blessed Mother Teresa and Mother Angelica and people like Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius.

The fact of the matter is that while the church herself is divine, the people within it are still sinners and all fall short of the glory of God. When things such as this happen it's compounded because they are in a unique position of trust. The sin is the same as if a lay person committed it, but the effects of the sin are obviously greater because of the betrayed trust. St Frances de Sales said "While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder, those who take scandal — who allow scandals to destroy their faith — are guilty of spiritual suicide."

I cannot say it any more eloquently than Father Roger J. Landry did in this homily he wrote to his congregation in 2002 after the scandals in Boston that really puts it into perspective and I've already touched on a couple of the same points. Please read the whole article

"Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness"

What I will say is this;

This is a very horrible thing. My sympathies and prayers go out for all those involved, those that were abused, the abusers and even for people such as this guy, who are using other people's pain as weapons against the Church. May God bless and protect all those involved. May He comfort all those who seek to be comforted and may He forgive those who are truly repentant.

God's Blessings,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Links to Catholic Conservative American

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God's Blessings!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"If I Were Not a Catholic"

I thought it would be very fitting to restate this article by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, especially in these times.

"If I Were Not a Catholic"
by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

"There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing.

These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues;” because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God;” because they “say indulgence is a permission to commit sin;” because the Pope “is a Fascist;” because the Church “is the defender of Capitalism.” If the Church taught or believed any one of these things, it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates.

My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world.

Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world.

Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned.

Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth.

Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils.

Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because he called Himself the Truth.

Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. ... the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many miss its obviousness..."

God's Blessings,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pro-Life and Pro-Gun Christian

You know, mom always said I never did as I was told and was over opinionated and argumentative. She had no idea what she was saying at the time, but it was indeed a "mom-fulfilling prophesy".

I was told we shouldn't talk about money at the table and never talk about politics or religion. Well, the simple fact is that rich people DO talk about money at the table, politicians DO talk about politics and the faithful DO talk about religion all the time. So we didn't talk about money and we had none. We didn't talk about politics and we had none. We didn't talk about religion and except for Easter, Christmas, funerals and our Communion and Confirmation preps, we had none. Noticing a pattern?

I have got to be out of my mind crazy to have a blog that talks about religion, politics, abortion and guns! Or so sane it's scary. Well, let's give all those topics a try in one article, shall we?

In a recently released report by the Pew Research center, the tide of public opinion regarding two hot topics of gun control and abortion are taking a more conservative turn toward individual responsibility and morality based on FACT not government/media controlled hype.

Law abiding citizens don't just throw a gun in their pants without thinking long and hard about the possible consequences of carrying a gun and what it might mean both good and bad. It might prevent crime, might save a life, might take a life. It's a huge responsibility and one we don't take lightly. Most, if not all, should have studied and read on the subject, trained on their weapon, applied for and received the proper permits when required and have weighed the moral questions in their own minds long before publicly carrying for self-defense.

In weighing those questions, we come to understand what religious and pro-life people have been saying for years; the protection of all innocent life is sacred. Pro-gun, pro-Constitution and pro-self-defense people all understand that since life itself comes from God, so does the right to defend that life against any evil that would take it. Make sense? Our founding fathers thought so and recognized that right and merely guaranteed that our government, through the Constitution, would guarantee that which already is ours from God.

You cannot argue that since one person or even a million people might not believe in God that it in any way negates the common sense application of these basic moral principles or the principles themselves. Case in point; I have friends that are atheist and agnostic, democrat voting, pro-life gun carriers so it is possible through the simple use of reason. Here's a great article that speaks to that: "Why the Gun IS Civilization"

We Catholics understand our responsibilities regarding the respect for human life through the church's teachings in our catechism canons 2263-65 and regarding abortion through canons 2270-75. Sometimes that means even respecting your own God given life over the evil that would attempt to take that life from you, perhaps enough to deal a lethal blow only if and when absolutely necessary.

Here we have the dilemma. How can the protection of your own innocent life be so valued from a religious, moral, ethical and legal standpoint that you would be willing to carry a gun for your own self defense, and yet an even more innocent and helpless unborn baby is not protected or defended and laws even allow for it's killing?

Simple. There's no money in it!

There's no money in self-defense, but there is a huge industry in providing you protection using your own tax dollars. There is no money in allowing women to have babies at will, but there is a huge industry in birth control and abortion. Where the money is, there will be the law (and politicians with their hands out).

Personally, I'd be very interested to see the numbers of how many gun owners are pro-life vs how many gun owners are pro-abortion/choice/infanticide. I'd bet there's a huge correlation between the data sets.

We have made into a diabolical art this incessant monetizing of everything around us. We tend to look at things only with a cash value rather than the inherent value given by God, including one another. We idolize things more than people. We would rather watch TV and be entertained than help one another. We've become so hypnotized by the programming that we've failed to see the beauty in our world and in one another and that's exactly how "they" want it.

Fear is big business, perhaps the biggest business of all. Many people today have fear of crime, fear of global warming, fear of guns, fear of having a baby, fear of disease, fear of commitment, fear of AIDS, fear of conflict, fear of responsibility, fear of death. And yet interestingly enough there seems to be little to no fear of God, or no belief in Him at all.

Now I don't carry a gun because I'm afraid; in fact, it's quite the opposite. Those of us who carry guns for self-defense know it's so we can walk without fear. When I carry a gun, you cannot force me under threat of life to do anything illegal or against my will and cannot threaten me with harm. If you want something from me, fear will not work; you must use reason.

We also understand this is a very serious responsibility and as such, law abiding gun carriers are responsible for an estimated 2.5 million legitimate and legal uses of guns for self defense each year in the U.S. That means about 2.5 million thefts, brutal beatings, hate crimes, rapes, murders, etc. avoided or prevented

We know that knowledge conquers fear, but so does faith. As a Christian I don't fear death and really don't fear anything that man can do to me but it does pain me to see us heading down a path of unnecessary suffering as a people, a nation and a world so I do what I can to help push, pull, lead or whatever to those that will listen. What I do fear is God and the eternal fires of hell. I would rather live a life in respect and fear of a God that can condemn me to the eternal fires of hell than in a life with no God at all.

Since we know that fear is profitable, which do you think is easier to profit from? A world full of people that fear only God and nothing else? Or a world that doesn't believe in God and fears everything else? Are you seeing the picture yet? Do you see why it's in "their" best interest that you not believe in God and in your best interest to believe in God?

Where there is no faith, let knowledge first conquer fear. So what can we do to turn things around? How can we get more people to believe that the protection of ALL innocent life is sacred? Simple. Start with their own life. Appeal to that common self-preservation instinct in each of us. According to the report, we need to work harder on getting more women to understand the facts about guns and self defense and rightly so since they're the targets of most violent crimes. Nothing puts a 100 lb woman on equal footing with a 300 lb rapist like a trained woman with a handgun.

I challenge everyone reading this who owns a gun to take a woman or an anti-gun friend to a shooting class or to a range. Safety is paramount of course. There is nothing like seeing the face of an anti-gun person shooting for the first time and watching all that fear and doubt just melt away.

Once they learn the simplest use of the tool, then then can begin to understand the moral responsibility that goes along with gun ownership and perhaps they might even begin to understand the need for self defense of their own innocent life. From there it's only a small step to understanding that ALL innocent life is worth defending. Nothing changes people's minds like the truth whether it's about guns, self-defense, fear, politics, abortion or God.

In the approximate 8 minutes it took you to read this article, there have been:

.24 Murders
1.3 Rapes
8 Robberies
4 Auto Thefts
14 Aggravated Assaults
21.8 Violent Crimes
96 Larcenies
160 Property Crimes
480 Innocent Unborn Babies Aborted

Me? I'll be clinging to my guns and my bible. Please pray for all victims of crime, especially for those 480 that can't pray for themselves

God's Blessings,

Some excellent web resources:


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On Angels and Demons

There has been a lot of talk recently on the upcoming movie "Angels and Demons", especially in Catholic circles and I wanted to share my thoughts. I believe it is absolutely wrong for a Christian, especially a Catholic, to read or watch Angels and Demons for many reasons and I'll try to explain them here.

The author Dan Brown is intent on writing sensationalist blasphemy that lines his pockets and there is just no need to provide financial support to someone such as him, especially in these hard times. There are much more constructive things to do with your $10.

In this and his earlier controversial book/movie "The DaVinci Code" he stirs up anti-Catholic sentiment bases on his false interpretation of the scriptures and of church history, again, in the name of making a name for himself and making money. He mixes fact with fiction and blasphemy and I wonder just how many people watching or reading those works truly have enough scriptural, theological and historical education and knowledge to discern the difference? Not hardly enough as witnessed by those "Christians" that support him.

He claims to be a Christian and yet his writings and beliefs wreak of progressive "new age" feel-good thinking. He seems to have no grasp of how absolute Christianity is and that as a Christian he doesn't know that there is only one truth. Faith is not an "ethereal concept" at all for us Christians. Sadly by his own words he has shown that he has no idea what Christianity is and by his works he shows that he does not know who Jesus Christ is at all. From his website FAQ;

"ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN? Yes. Interestingly, if you ask three people what it means to be Christian, you will get three different answers. Some feel being baptized is sufficient. Others feel you must accept the Bible as immutable historical fact. Still others require a belief that all those who do not accept Christ as their personal savior are doomed to hell. Faith is a continuum, and we each fall on that line where we may. By attempting to rigidly classify ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious–that is, that we are all trying to decipher life's big mysteries, and we're each following our own paths of enlightenment. I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress."
- Source: The Da Vinci Code - FAQs Official Website of Dan Brown
He was asked a direct question and instead of talking about what he believes, he talks about what others believe; "three people", "some", "others". His "yes" should have been enough but then he goes on to say he's a student of many religions. Interesting, no? If he believes in Judaism or Islam then he does not believe that Jesus Christ is
the messiah, the son of the living God, but rather merely a prophet. Which is it? He either is a Christian or he is not. Based on his reply I would have to say he doesn't know what to believe even when all the facts are staring him in the face.

Faith is a continuum? Not even close. Using words that the average person likely doesn't truly understand without looking them up does not make one seem more intelligent, especially when they're improperly used. I would expect better from an author. A continuum is anything that goes through a gradual transition from one condition to a different condition without any abrupt changes or "discontinuities". Faith is not a continuum, knowledge,(perception and understanding is and here's why.

Christ is fixed, immutable and eternal. He is the only Truth and there is no "different truth" to change to. Faith is belief without knowledge. Our human perception of truth changes as knowledge of truth increases or decreases, therefore it is human understanding that is the continuum, not faith. One's faith can increase (or decrease) in intensity but the condition of our faith that is Jesus Christ, does not change. Besides, do we really need to have all that knowledge? Absolutely not! We need faith and not even that much of it. The size of a mustard seed should suffice.

To be honest, Dan shows his ignorance of Christianity in that while faith is important, of the three; faith, hope and Love, Love is the greatest. You can have all the knowledge AND faith in the world but if you have not Love, you have nothing!

"And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing." -1 Cor 13:2

Had he even a little faith but great Love of Christ he couldn't have possibly written these works. Christ is not about mere human faith. He is about unconditional and eternal Love. He is Love.

Angels and Demons is Poison

Would it be ok for a Christian even with a properly formed conscience and a strong marriage to watch pornography? Of course not! Pornography is the nearness of sin that defiles the act of Love between a husband and wife as created by God, twisting it into a selfish lie with all the consequences that go with it.

Movies such as Angels and Demons defile the morals and truth of Christianity and of the Catholic Church as created by God, also twisting it also into selfish profit driven lie. How then is it any different from pornography? At the very core, it isn't.

Now of course not everyone buys into the lie of pornography and not everyone will buy into the lie of Angels and Demons or anything else of Dan Brown's, but how many is too many? I believe even one lost sheep is too many. Is not one lost sheep cause for the shepherd to leave the flock to search?

Though many are crying "it's just a work of fiction", far too many people have been led astray by mere "works of fiction". The cult-like media followings of the "Harry Potter" series and "Twilight" should speak well enough of that fact. Romanticizing or adventurizing blasphemy is still blasphemy.

Then how much blasphemy is "enough"? Even if the movie was 90% fiction, 5% fact and just 5% blasphemy, is that good enough for you to watch it? Or bad enough for you to not? Would you drink from a glass that contained only 10% poison? How about 5%? Perhaps just 1%? No, of course not! Only a fool would do such a thing and yet how many times each and every day do we drink from that same cup. Who is it that plants these seeds of doubt in our minds? Ask yourself this. Would you let Satan in your home and your life for just 10 minutes out of your whole life? How about just 5 minutes? Perhaps just 1 single minute?

Even having what I hope is a well formed conscience, I choose not to watch it. It's moral poison. "Kindle not the coals of a sinner, lest ye be consumed." (Sirach 8:10)

Let's not make matters worse. Our tickets or book purchases would be a vote for more blasphemous works like this. BE a Christian and don't watch the movie or read the book. You will gain nothing from it and it in fact may hurt you. Instead spend that two hours feeding the hungry at a shelter, visiting a prison or a nursing home or even that relative that you haven't bothered to visit in a long time. Take that $10 you would have spent on the ticket or book and next time you pass a homeless beggar on the street - give it to Christ through them or drop it in the poor box at Church.

May God bless and forgive Dan Brown, Ron Howard and all those that may be led astray by this movie.

God's Blessings!

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