Archive for the ‘by Fredi D’Alessio’ Category

This year my birthday falls on Divine Mercy Sunday. A reminder that I am much in need of God’s mercy and, as all birthdays remind us seniors, my time to plead for that mercy is not far off. As a younger man, I didn’t expect to live beyond the age of sixty. More recently, I didn’t expect to live beyond my mid-seventies. Now that I’ve reached the age of seventy-one, I think I’ll give up all thoughts of my proximity to death. After all, it really doesn’t matter when I die, if my soul is ready to meet its Maker. Meeting that criterion is all that I should be concerned about. Hopefully, visitors to this site share or come to share that same concern. If we take that concern seriously and succeed in fulfilling God’s expectations of us, we can be sure that those whom we love will not be disappointed in us for putting God first in our lives. For it is through Him that we are able to serve others. Being faithful to God is the best example we can offer to others and that example is the most important service we can render them. Especially during the current crisis the Catholic Church is going through.

I have grave concerns about what is currently going on in the Church (and I do mean “in the Church), which I think may be Satan’s last battle. We all know that Satan had lost the war from the outset, but since he never knew or accepted that fact, he continues his attempt to satisfy his voracious craving for more souls to join him in hell. Only God Himself will declare when the last battle will be fought. But I have hope that it has begun and I know for certain that those who are not of the mind of Christ will lose. May his Divine Mercy save their souls from eternal damnation.

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

 

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As a follow-up to my post about the “uplifting” Easter Sunday “talk” I heard that had nothing to do with the readings of the liturgy for that most glorious of all Catholic solemnities (Christ’s resurrection), I share with you the following uplifting comments from Msgr. Charles Pope.

“… Even now, though, the Lord, by the grace of His passion, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us a new life—a life transformed and increasingly free from sin, sorrow, regret, anger, greed, lust, and all forms of negativity. To be a new creation in Christ is to be more confident, serene, joyful, virtuous, and chaste. It is to live a life that is orderly and properly directed to our noble and glorious end: life with God forever. Jesus, in his resurrection, manifests this capacity for us to walk in newness of life.”

Easter Sunday Sermon – A Missed Opportunity

I heard a very beautiful, sentimental, loving, uplifting, tear-inspiring “talk” at Easter Sunday Mass this morning. No one could have left the church without loving the presiding priest due to his humble, sincere and loving demeanor and the message he conveyed along with his personal emotionally affecting anecdotes. The standing-room-only attendees applauded Father for his “homily”. I didn’t, but I understood why everyone else did because I was as emotionally moved as were they. However, Father’s “homily” did not relate to the readings in the least regard. In fact, they were not even referred to. The presiding priest was not our pastor. He is a priest from a far northern state who visits our Florida parish annually for Easter week and helps the pastor cover all the Masses. So many people come from all parts of the country and beyond to spend time in our beautiful climate and surroundings that our parish must have two Masses simultaneously on Easter Sunday. In addition to the Vigil Mass, we have four morning Masses, two in the church and two in the parish hall (for those for whom there is no room remaining in the church). There is also a Spanish Mass at 1:30 pm and a fourth (actually a fifth) English Mass at 3:00 pm.

Based on percentages that we are all familiar with, I can’t help but presume that many of our Mass participants do not attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of obligation. A gentleman sitting next to my wife told her that he had to walk around outside the church (our church has a marvelous prayer garden) before he could enter it. I took that as a feeling of guilt and if so, it was actually a healthy feeling for him to have. He did, however, probably along with 99 or more percent of the attendees, approach for communion (I can’t say that he or everyone else that approached actually received).

The point I’d like to make is that however emotionally moved everyone was, I didn’t hear anything in Father’s “homily” that might provoke a good many of his listeners to attend Mass next Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if some, if not many, don’t attend another Mass until next Christmas.

What a missed opportunity to inspire – more truly, to instruct – those who rarely attend Mass to do so every Sunday and holy day of obligation. And to remind them of the obligation to be in a state of sanctifying grace when they receive communion. Could priests not at least say “if you haven’t been to confession since you last failed to attend Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation, and yet were truly quite able to do so, please do not receive communion”? They could also add “you are welcome to come forth to “one of the priests” distributing communion for a blessing”. Okay, rephrase the message to be as gentle as you wish, but make the point! How else will they learn what they are missing out on, now, and might for all eternity?

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I heard a very beautiful, sentimental, loving, uplifting, tear-inspiring “talk” at Easter Sunday Mass this morning. No one could have left the church without loving the presiding priest due to his humble, sincere and loving demeanor and the message he conveyed along with his personal emotionally affecting anecdotes. The standing-room-only attendees applauded Father for his “homily”. I didn’t, but I understood why everyone else did because I was as emotionally moved as were they. However, Father’s “homily” did not relate to the readings in the least regard. In fact, they were not even referred to. The presiding priest was not our pastor. He is a priest from a far northern state who visits our Florida parish annually for Easter week and helps the pastor cover all the Masses. So many people come from all parts of the country and beyond to spend time in our beautiful climate and surroundings that our parish must have two Masses simultaneously on Easter Sunday. In addition to the Vigil Mass, we have four morning Masses, two in the church and two in the parish hall (for those for whom there is no room remaining in the church). There is also a Spanish Mass at 1:30 pm and a fourth (actually a fifth) English Mass at 3:00 pm.

Based on percentages that we are all familiar with, I can’t help but presume that many of our Mass participants do not attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of obligation. A gentleman sitting next to my wife told her that he had to walk around outside the church (our church has a marvelous prayer garden) before he could enter it. I took that as a feeling of guilt and if so, it was actually a healthy feeling for him to have. He did, however, probably along with 99 or more percent of the attendees, approach for communion (I can’t say that he or everyone else that approached actually received).

The point I’d like to make is that however emotionally moved everyone was, I didn’t hear anything in Father’s “homily” that might provoke a good many of his listeners to attend Mass next Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if some, if not many, don’t attend another Mass until next Christmas.

What a missed opportunity to inspire – more truly, to instruct – those who rarely attend Mass to do so every Sunday and holy day of obligation. And to remind them of the obligation to be in a state of sanctifying grace when they receive communion. Could priests not at least say “if you haven’t been to confession since you last failed to attend Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation, and yet were truly quite able to do so, please do not receive communion”? They could also add “you are welcome to come forth to “one of the priests” distributing communion for a blessing”. Okay, rephrase the message to be as gentle as you wish, but make the point! How else will they learn what they are missing out on, now, and might for all eternity?

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If you click here, you’ll find that over the years I have rarely mentioned Medjugorje. But a few moments ago, I had an impulse to make a statement regarding Medjugorje and I’ve decided that I should indeed do so.

The impulse was inspired while I was listening to a comment made by Frank Walker of stumblingblock.org as he was commenting on a headline posted at canon212.com which read: “FrancisEnvoy Abp. Hoser on Medjugorje farce: I can’t speak to the truth of the visions. That’s Card. Ruini’s job. All I can say is it’s dynamic, spiritually special, see?”

Walker made clear that he believes Medjugorje is a farce and obviously, the person who drafted the headline from which he quoted shares his opinion. The story behind the headline had to do with an interview conducted on April 5 in the village of Medjugorje with Archbishop Henryk Hoser and members of the press from various countries. Rather than read someone’s summary of or comments on the interview, you can watch and listen to it in fullness here.

My purpose for this post, as I have previously stated, is to fulfill an impulse to make a statement. It is not to expound on why I believe the apparitions are authentic or to debate with those who hold the opposite opinion.  I merely wish to state that I find it astonishing that any Catholic could believe that it is impossible for the apparitions at Medjugorje to be authentic and I find it sad that those who come across as orthodox Catholics could take such a stance.

One day, we all will be certain of what is the truth. Not necessarily by what anyone has said, but by proof positive.

 

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Dear Readers,

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo. A needless death and as far as I and many others believe, a death by murder. Personally, I think this marks a day of shame for America as a country and as a people, including religious and political leaders and representatives. I am especially ashamed of those who are Catholic and more especially of those who were bishops – every single one of them who did not take a forceful stand against Terri’s local bishop. In fact, four days after Terri’s feeding tube was removed, one of them stated that “The bishops and lay faithful of Florida have the task of leading American Catholics in the Terri Schiavo case. They’re working hard to provide that leadership. Our job, outside Florida, is to support Ms. Schiavo and all those concerned for her well-being with our prayers. We especially need to pray for Ms. Schiavo’s family”. Nonsense! The local bishop did nothing to save Terri or to help her family. What Terri and her family needed (in addition to prayers) was intercessory action. Lacking that, many Americans including bishops, failed them.

Please read Bobby Schindler’s story about his sister (below) and (if you haven’t in the past) my reflection on the twelve days I spent in Florida supporting Terri, her family and others who supported and fought for them. At the time, I was one of those “non-Floridians” and I didn’t see many “lay faithful of Florida” or from anywhere else. [see Calvary in Pinellas Park.] One further comment: never assume others are doing the job God has called each of us to do – we must be Christians without borders.

From Bobby Schindler:

Hi Fredi – Last year I wrote about my sister in National Review [original publication]. It’s as relevant now, and I’m sharing it today in case there’s someone in your life who could benefit from learning her story. [See full story copied below because Bobby wants his story shared and I find that most readers don’t click on external links.]

I wrote earlier this week about what we’re doing for Terri’s Day, and I wanted to update you to let you know there’s still time to support our mission and have your name placed in our special “Guest Book” that we’ll be presenting to my mother in honor of your support and in memory of my sister.  [Learn about Terri’s day here.]

Our work continues only with support from you. Please consider a gift in honor of Terri today, during this painful time of year for my mother and our family. [Go to https://lifeandhope.nationbuilder.com/2017terrisday]

God bless you,

Bobby

What Terri Schiavo Still Can Teach Us

by Bobby Schindler March 31, 2016

Her name — my sister’s name — is seared into the national memory as a face of the right-to-life movement, but it’s now been more than a decade since her death. Many are now too young to remember her witness, or they have forgotten.

At the age of 26, Terri experienced a still-unexplained collapse while at home alone with Michael Schiavo, who subsequently became her guardian. After a short period of time, Michael lost interest in caring for his brain-injured but otherwise young and healthy wife. Terri was cognitively disabled, but she was not dying, and she did not suffer from any life-threatening disease. She was neither on machines nor “brain dead.” To the contrary, she was alert and interacted with friends and family — before Michael placed her in a nursing home and eventually petitioned the courts for permission to starve and dehydrate her to death.

It was this decision by Michael that made my sister’s story a national story rather than simply a family story. It was this decision — to deprive my sister of food and water — that transformed our family’s struggle. Rather than trying to work with Michael to care for and rehabilitate Terri as aggressively as possible, we now were battling against Michael to fight for my sister’s life.

Michael finally testified, after many years of legal maneuverings against my family, that Terri had told him before her accident that she would not have wanted to live in a brain-injured condition. It was this hearsay evidence that led the media and others to deny Terri’s right to life, and instead speak of “end of life” issues and advocate for her “right to die.” On the order of Judge George W. Greer, and despite the efforts of Saint John Paul the Great, a president, Congress, and a governor, Terri was deprived of water and food. After 13 days, my sister died of extreme dehydration on March 31, 2005.

We couldn’t save my sister, though millions of advocates did succeed in speaking for the fundamental dignity of every human life, regardless of circumstance or condition.

It was the trauma of our experience fighting for my sister that led my family to create the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network a decade ago, both in memory of my sister and in service to medically vulnerable persons today. Unbeknownst to my family at the start of our struggle, the method of Terri’s death — the fatal denial of food and water — was not altogether uncommon. It has only become more common in the decade since her passing, as Wesley J. Smith so routinely documents.

Indeed, new “rights” to death are paradoxically being enshrined through the international medical system, reshaping a vocation meant to care for and heal the sick into one that eliminates suffering by eliminating the sufferer. Increasingly, medical professionals do this — end life — even without the patient’s consent. A stranger, in other words, may very well decide how and when you die.

It was once true, for instance, that food and water were considered “basic and ordinary care.” Yet now the presence of a tube (as distinct from a spoon) to deliver food and water means that basic nourishment is considered “extraordinary” and a form of “medical treatment.” Yet tubes are often used for the same reason that automation is revolutionizing the work force: They’re cheaper and more efficient than round-the-clock human care. It is now legal in every U.S. state to deny food and water, leading to fatal dehydration. This is simply one step on the path to controlled and regulated access to all forms of food and water, including whatever a bureaucrat decides can be placed on your mother’s nursing-home supper tray.

Hospital ethics committees are often leading the effort to reshape medicine, giving themselves unilateral power to decide whether a patient deserves to receive treatment or whether life-affirming treatment will continue when there is a dispute within a family. The tragic case of Chris Dunn, who was filmed last year literally begging for his life in a Texas hospital, illustrates all too well what happens when an ethics committee decides to appoint itself as a legal guardian in order to deny treatment — even when such a course is opposed, as it was in Dunn’s case, by both the patient and his guardian-mother.

Not only is death often imposed, it is now also encouraged as if death itself were a form of medicine. As of last year, more than half the states in the country were considering a form of physician-assisted suicide legislation. It appears likely that suicide will, within the next five years, be enshrined as a personal “health” right in most of the country. In this, we would only be following some of our European neighbors. In the Netherlands and Belgium, as Wesley Smith recently documented, Alzheimer’s patients, infants with disabilities, the aged, and the chronically ill are routinely encouraged to die or have death imposed upon them.

Brittany Maynard, who committed suicide in November 2014 after already having outlived her doctor’s terminal-brain-cancer prognosis, was able to choose her death by suicide, but how many now will die not because they embrace that sort of death but because they feel pressured — by smiling physicians or hovering children and heirs — to accept it? To die without hope seems the furthest thing from death with dignity. Other, less fortunate patients will face what Smith explains is considered “termination without request or consent,” a wonderfully anodyne way to describe murder through terminal sedation or the denial of food and water.

My experience in fighting for my sister, and the experiences of assisting more than 1,000 patients and families through the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network over the past decade, have strengthened my resolve and my belief that we can do better as a culture, and for those requiring authentic medical treatment, than what our present attitudes and laws suggest.

It’s why the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network affirms essential qualities of human dignity, including the right to food and water, the presumption of the will to live, due-process rights for those facing denial of care, protection from euthanasia as a form of medicine, and access to rehabilitative care. Each of these were rights my sister was denied, and they are rights of every patient that are often at risk or contested outright.

As we mark the anniversary of my sister’s death, I’m hopeful that we can remember some of these genuine means of upholding human dignity. If we do, we can be assured that when we face crisis in our own lives and the lives of those whom we love, we will meet the moment with a dignity and grace that elevates us in our weakest moments — regardless of the outcome.

That was the promise of medicine once, and it’s what my sister continues to inspire me to fight for daily.

— Bobby Schindler is president of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, author of A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo, and an internationally recognized pro-life advocate.

[See Calvary in Pinellas Park.]

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My personal preface:
It is honor for me to have been denigrated before a gathering of the priests of the Archdiocese of San Francisco by Bishop McElroy for my effort to expose the truth about the Millennium Development Goals in an article published in the archdiocese’s newspaper, Catholic San Francisco. I guess he saw my article as an attempt to disrupt his and the UN’s agenda. Sadly, now that the MDGs have been replaced with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have Pope Francis in full support of the UN’s agenda.

The following column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. (Source)

The Disruptive Church Now Has a Spokesman

By

March 7, 2017

In 1970, I took part in an early anti-abortion protest in Washington D.C. at George Washington University Hospital. It was intended to be a sit-in at the offices where hospital employees interviewed women seeking abortions. The hospital was violating the laws of the District of Columbia, which back then still prohibited abortion. But abortions were being performed at the hospital nonetheless.

Our purpose was simply to demand that the hospital comply with the laws of the District of Columbia. Protesters never got beyond the entrance to the office building and were hit with pepper spray to force them from the entrance. Several of us were arrested (I was not) for trying to prevent ourselves from being sprayed, another example of the victims being arrested while the perpetrators went free. The case against the protesters was extremely weak and eventually was dropped.

What was notable about this incident was the way the Catholic bishops responded at the time. Most took no notice at all, but the bishops who did respond were obviously embarrassed that Catholics would be involved in such disruptive behavior. It was one thing to resist abortion by words, but quite another to actually engage in actions that disrupted public order.

Since this was a peaceful protest, they were not criticizing violent attacks, but nonviolent actions that would shut down a public institution, even if that institution was engaging in taking the lives of the unborn. Not only did we get no financial help with fines and legal fees resulting from the arrests, but we were clearly designated the black sheep of the Catholic Church.

How things have changed. Now we have San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy advocating “disruptive” actions to accomplish his favored political goals. So far as I know, he has never suggested we should take disruptive action to end the slaughter of the unborn in places like Planned Parenthood, nor to check a government that supports this mass murder. But in his address to the U.S. regional gathering for the World Meeting of Popular Movements in California, this activist bishop said that with the election of President Trump, “Well now, we must all become disruptors.”

He then went on to give a series of misleading accusations against the new administration, which included the following, “We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. . . .who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. . . .who train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God. . . .who seek to rob our medical care, especially from the poor, who would take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.”

These are the kinds of “fake” accusations that we have seen from leftist activists and their media supporters who quite literally want to overthrow a validly elected government.

Words often take their meanings from context, and the word “disrupt” in today’s political context means “bring down’ and “overthrow.” It’s a buzzword widely used by people like Michael Moore and other left-wing revolutionaries, Saul Alinsky types who want to see the present government overthrown. Bishop McElroy may argue that this is not his intention. But when he adopts the language of revolution, he cannot avoid the implication that he approves of such aims.

If we had used such language back in 1970, it would have been clear that we were implicit revolutionaries. And it would’ve been quite appropriate for the bishops to call us out and warn Catholics that overthrowing the government was not the position of the Church. I’m waiting for some such rebuff to Bishop McElroy, but I won’t hold my breath.

The Modesto meeting was co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development and the U.S. Bishops’ Conference. Indeed, the annual World Meeting of Popular Movements is the result of an initiative of Pope Francis himself according to their web site. But such movements, though well-intentioned and professing noble goals, have sometimes been turned into a movement that co-opts the Church.

For instance, Don Luigi Giussani, who had worked closely with the Italian movement Gioventù Studentesca for years, was faced with a problem in 1968. The majority of this student organization had taken what the Italians call a “volta alla sinistra” (“turn to the left”), and joined the Italian Student Movement, a Marxist group in Italian universities and schools. His solution was to lead the minority in a new undertaking, Communion and Liberation, which would be faithful to the Christian ideals and practices that he had set forth in his writings over his years.

The problem we face today is that we cannot replace the Church with a new movement. If Church leaders embrace this kind of politically driven radicalism, distorting the truth while calling for disrupting a legitimate government, we are in deep trouble.

Truth makes strict demands, and distorting the truth by distorting the facts is equivalent to lying. Politicians and the press do it all the time, but it cannot be tolerated in the Church, especially not among Church leaders. Trump may not be your ideal president, but it’s simply calumny to suggest that he is in favor of, or has a plan to “send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. . . .portray refugees as enemies. . . .train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God. . . .rob our medical care, especially from the poor. . . .take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.”

This is raw, dishonest, political rhetoric – the most dangerous disruption of all, the suppression of truth for political ends, which can easily lead to violence, regardless of the intentions of those who use such language.

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I copied this from Bishop Rene Henry Gracida’s website. He copied it from ‘Church Militant’.

The author states that what the term “Catholic” means is extremely difficult to determine without an adjective in front of it. I agree. I personally identify myself as an “orthodox Catholic”. With extreme sorrow I confess that I haven’t always been so and consequently, have gravely sinned. I have empathy for those who are now committing the same grave sins of my past, but I do not condone those sins. I also have empathy for those who are committing the same sins that I currently commit, but I do not condone those sins. I have sympathy for those who are committing sins of which I was either fortunate to not to have been tempted or succeeded in resisting such temptations, but I do not condone those sins.

I DO NOT THINK IT MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS

Be careful what word you use.

January 24, 2017

There’s a famous pop culture line from the goofy cult movie Princess Bride. The line is: “You keep using that word {“incredible”}. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Unfortunately, this thought could be applied to the label “Catholic.”

Many people use it. Many inside the Church use it. But to many of those people, we say, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” The reason we say this is because the current crisis in the Church now demands a modifier in front of the word “Catholic” — a descriptor, an adjective. Think about it: charismatic Catholic, social justice Catholic, traditional Catholic, liberal Catholic, progressive Catholic and so on.

What the term “Catholic” means is extremely difficult to determine without the adjective in front of it. And why is this?  Because Church leaders have allowed all sorts of nonsense to fly under the radar and dilute the Catholic brand, Catholic identity, so much so that Catholics don’t even know each other anymore; that is, if you could even call some of those subdivisions of Catholics actually Catholic.

There is the standard baseline understanding of Catholic, and that is one who is baptized into the Church. And after that, it’s a free-for-all. A common unofficial understanding would include a number of factors, one would think, including actually believing what the Church teaches and participating in the sacramental life — meaning attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. Seems like those activities would be a bare minimum, beyond baptism.

However, if we would consider those things — which are requirements of Jesus Christ to be considered living members of His Mystical Body — if we consider those minimum, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

Most of the U.S. bishops are in complete denial about this. The way they do a headcount is: Anyone who is baptized is Catholic ,and that’s that, even if they later formally reject the Faith by joining another religion. Doesn’t matter; once a Catholic always a Catholic — which is true on the face of it, but in practice is completely worthless for assessing the reality of Catholicism in modern-day America, or any other country, for that fact.

We know that more than 75 percent of Catholics do not attend Mass. We know that many of those who do do not believe in all of the Church’s teachings, which you need to. We also know that many who attend Mass haven’t gone to confession in a very long time, yet still go up to receive Holy Communion every Sunday, meaning they are committing sacrilege — again, something you would consider a disqualifier from being counted as a “Catholic.”

Best-guess estimates are that there about 73 million Catholics in the United States. We know that 30 million no longer identify as Catholic. We also know that about 23 percent attend Mass, meaning only about 17 million out of the 73 million. And again, many of those 17 million don’t believe what the Church teaches, don’t go to confession except very infrequently, if at all, support abortion, support homosexuality, believe Catholicism is just one path to salvation among many, support contraception, and so forth.

The ways to part from the Church are many. The ways to conform to the Church and be Catholic are just one — very narrow — and that is, completely. There are a heck of a lot  fewer Catholics walking around than most of us care to contemplate. We could venture a reasonable guess and say less than 10 percent, maybe even closer to 5 percent. That’s probably not far off.

That word “Catholic” — I do not think it means what you think it means.

Pray for the Church and all these “Catholics.”

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