Archive for the ‘*Life Issues’ Category

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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If you read this post on Msgr. Pope’s blog, you will find many of his other outstanding reflections. For your convenience it is copied below with his kind permission.

Pass the Salt and Put on the Light – A Homily for the 5th Sunday of the Year

by Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

In the Gospel today the Lord describes metaphorically what a Christian is and what He expects of us. Note five things about what God says:

I The Definitiveness of His Proclamation – The text says, You are the Salt of the earth. … You are the light of the World. … But if salt goes flat it is good for nothing. … No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket.

The Lord is definitive in two ways. First, He says, “You.” He is not talking just to people long ago or to the person next to you. He is not merely talking to your pastor or the Saints. He is talking to you. You are salt. You are light. You. It’s too easy to say, “Look at what the Lord is saying to those people long ago near the lakeside.” It’s not long ago; it’s now. It’s you.

The second way that the Lord is definitive is in saying that both images depend on us; if we are not salt and light then no one else will be and we will have utterly voided our worth.

  1. The metaphor of salt: You are either salt or you are nothing; in fact, you are good for nothing. As Christians, we have signed up to be specialists. This means is that if we go off and do something else instead, we are nothing and are good for nothing. It’s an all-or-nothing scenario. Jesus says that if you have decided to be His disciple you are either going to do that or else be nothing. You may go on to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, laborer, or social worker, but the Lord has plenty of those (and so does the devil). Your first and only mission is to be a true and uncompromised Christian; everything else is mere commentary. You may be a great doctor, but if you don’t do it as a clear and visible Christian you are nothing. You may be a skilled social worker, but if you don’t do it as a Christian you are good for nothing. Any non-believer can be socially useful as a doctor or social worker, but only a Christian can be a Christian. If you don’t do “job one,” you are nothing. If you supply your children with every good thing, but do not act as a Christian witness to them and bring them to Christ, you are good for nothing. Any parent can provide his children with material things, but only a Christian can give them Christ. Got it? You’re either salt (a true Christian) or you are nothing.
  2. The metaphor of light: The Lord says that you are the light of the world, not merely a light. What this means is that if we do not shine, the world is darker; no one can take our place. If we don’t shine by living our faith and proclaiming it, the world is in darkness. Buddha can’t help. Mohamed can’t pull it off. Science and humanism can’t substitute. Either we are light or there is none. Some may call this arrogant, but I just call it Scripture. The Lord said it, not us. We are either light or else the world is dark. And if the world is getting darker, whose fault is that? We need not go far. Too many Christians fulfill Isaiah 56:10, which says, Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. You may be an exception, but too many Christians are not.

Therefore, notice the definitive pronouncement the Lord makes here. We Christians are either with the Lord or we’re nothing. We’re either light or the world is in darkness.

II The Dynamics of Salt – When Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth, what are some of the lessons we can learn? Consider these four things:

  1. Salt seasons. Christians are called to add spice to life, to bring beauty, joy, and hope to the world. Joy is the surest sign of a Christian. Even our keeping of the Commandments is a source of joy, as we experience God’s power to put sin to death in us and bring forth order, self-discipline, and holiness. Hope, too, ought to distinguish us from a world that is often cynical and thinks sin is inevitable. To this world we are not only to declare that the Commandments are possible and bring joy, but to demonstrate it in our lives. We are to be zesty, passionate, alive, and free from sin in Christ. Yet, sadly, we Christians are known more for what we are against. Too many Christians are not spicy; they do not really add flavor. They are more like bored believers, depressed disciples, fearful faithful, and frozen chosen. In our best moments, look what spicy things the faith has contributed: Art, music, churches, hospitals, universities, the scholastic and scientific methods, and holidays (a mispronunciation of Holy Days). Our tradition and Scriptural teaching of justice, mercy, love, and the dignity of the human person has blessed the world. Do you bring spice to the lives of others? Do you bring hope and joy? Scripture says, Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). That means that people notice hope in you! Do they? How?
  2. Salt preserves. Before refrigeration, people often used salt to cure or preserve meat. The salt killed bacteria and other microorganisms that caused rot and decay. As Christians, we are called to prevent further decay in this sin-soaked world. The truth that we proclaim is meant to preserve people from the decay of sin and overindulgence. Chastity, justice, generosity, and the proclamation of the truth, are like salt that preserves this world from decay. We must be salt. If we are not, nothing else is. You are the salt.
  3. Salt heals. In the ancient world, salt was used on wounds. It helped to stop bleeding, killed bacteria, and prevented further infection. So, too, the Christian faith. Through our doctrinal and moral teaching, and our living of it, we are called to bring healing to this world, which is wounded by sin, strife, war, jealousy, anger, bitterness, retribution, promiscuity, unfaithfulness, greed, and countless other errors. The Word of God and His plan is a healing medicine for what ails this world.
  4. Salt burns. Yes, salt stings when applied to wounds. We Christians aren’t just sugar and spice and everything nice. When salt is applied to wounds it burns and often brings out loud protest. The truth stings, too. The truth of the Gospel can be irritating to a world that is wounded by sin. But despite the protests of the world, the sting is a healing one. It is driving out the disease of the world and preventing further infection. Just because people protest the Church and howl in complaint at the truth of the Gospel does not mean we have done anything wrong. In fact, protests often show that we are doing exactly what we must.

III. The Destination of Salt – The Lord says that you are the salt of the earth. He did not say that you are the salt of the Church. For salt to be effective it has to get out of the shaker! Too many Christians are bold in the pew but cowards in the world. They will speak of the faith in the relative security of the Church and among certain friends, but don’t ask them to preach to their spouse, their co-worker, or even their children; that’s too scary. And don’t even think about asking them to knock on doors, or to go to the local mall and witness, or to stand in front of an abortion clinic.

Salt in the shaker is useless. It has to come out of the shaker in order to make any difference. You don’t salt salt. Witnessing to fellow Christians may have a limited benefit, but it is not really the true destination of salt. The salt has to go forth. When the priest or deacon says “The Mass is ended go in peace,” he might as well be holding up a salt shaker and shaking it!

It’s long past time for the salt (you and me) to go forth. Consider these observations about life in our country today:

  • In the last fifty years there has been an increase of more than a 500% in violent crime.
  • There are more than half a million abortions each year.
  • Since 1970, the divorce rate has quadrupled. The overall number of divorces may have declined recently, but it is due more to people not getting married in the first place.
  • More than 40% of children today do not live with both their biological parents. Since the 1970s, the percentage of children living in single-parent homes has tripled.
  • As the family has broken down, here is what has been happening to our young:
    • a quadrupling in juvenile arrests,
    • a 400% increase in births outside of wedlock,
    • one million teenage pregnancies annually,
    • three million teenagers treated annually for sexually transmitted diseases,
    • a 200% increase in the rate of teenage suicide,
    • a drop in average SAT scores,
    • two-thirds of high school students have experimented with illegal drugs.
  • In the schools, one cannot pray or mention religion, yet condoms are freely available and all sorts of aberrant and alternative lifestyles and philosophies are openly promoted.
  • Parental consent is required for a child to go on a field trip or to get an aspirin, but in many states abortion referrals can be made without parental consent.
  • Our neighborhoods are devastated by poverty, injustice, crime, and despair.

All of this has happened on our watch. It’s time for the salt to work. The world needs the salt to get out of the shaker and do its work of seasoning, purifying, and preserving.

IV. The Details of Light – Jesus goes on to say, Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. Let’s consider four things about this light:

  1. The CAUSE of the light – Notice that little word: “Let.” We are to yield to Christ, to allow Him to shine through us. He is the cause of our light. Let your light shine. There’s an old gospel song that says, “When you see me trying to do good, trying to live as a Christian should, it’s just Jesus, Jesus in me.”
  2. The COST of the light – The light is to shine, but there is no shining without burning. Shining costs us something. It may be Christ’s light, but it shines through us. This means sacrifice. It means letting Him use you. It means not always sleeping when you want to. It means not just sitting at home and saying, “Ain’t it awful.” It means getting out and getting involved. It means getting “out there” and risking a few things. It means being visible, targeted, and identified with someone (Jesus) who is hated by many. And in a world that prefers the darkness to light (cf. John 3:19-21), it means being called harsh, out-of-touch, and hateful. There is no shining without burning.
  3. The CONCRETENESS of the light – Letting our light shine is no mere abstraction. Jesus speaks of deeds. Shining involves concrete behavior. Your light shines by the way you live, the choices you make, the behavior you exhibit. It shines when Christians get married and stay married, stay faithful to their commitments, and are people of their word. Our light shines when we tell the truth instead of lying, live chastely instead of fornicating, are courteous and respectful instead of rude. It shines when we respect life, drive safely, and shun reckless and risky behavior. Our light shines when we clean up our language, give to the poor, and work for justice. It shines when we refuse to purchase pornographic, violent, or other degrading materials. Our light shines when we love instead of hate, seek reconciliation instead of revenge, and pray for our enemies instead of cursing them. It shines when we walk uprightly and speak the truth in love, without compromise. That’s when our light begins to shine.
  4. The CONSEQUENCE of the light – God is glorified when our light shines. We do not act or get involved merely to vent our own anger or to fight for our own sake. We are light to glorify God. It is not about our winning, it is about God shining and being glorified. When we do get involved, too often we seek merely to win the argument rather than to glorify God. Often we act in order to garner praise rather than to have God glorified. We need to pray for good intentions, for it is possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason. The desired result is God’s glory not our glory.

OK, now pass the salt and turn on the light!

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Below is a marvelous homily given by Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit, Rector of SS. Simon and Jude, which is the Cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix of which Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted is Bishop.

If you are a Catholic who is considering voting for Hilary Clinton and you can’t or won’t take the time to read this, perhaps you should do some serious soul searching. Sadly, you won’t understand why if  you decline to read further. 

You can listen to the homily at http://simonjude.org/documents/2016/10/T001_20161003.mp3 or click on the video link below.

Homily given on the 27th Sunday OT – October 2, 2016 (posted with permission)

HAB 1:2-3; 2:2-4; PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; 2 TM 1:6-8, 13-14; LK 17:5-10

The Devil is a divider who will use almost any tactic to separate Christians from Christ…except for one. He doesn’t typically come right out and say, “Deny Jesus Christ!” because he knows that someone who loves Jesus would immediately reject the suggestion. So, he tends to use more subtle means and subtle words.  But more on that later…

For now, let’s deal with something closer to home, and very much in the forefront of many people’s minds: the 2016 presidential election. But let’s do so from a Catholic perspective. Let’s consider the intersection of the practice of our Catholic faith and the exercise of our civic duty, especially when it comes to voting.

Let’s first acknowledge that there has never been a political party in the United States that is perfectly aligned with Catholic teaching on every issue. That does not mean, however, that we are therefore automatically free to vote for either major party, because one party can be much further from Catholic principles on the most important issues than the other party. As a result of that, we are often faced with the task of discerning which party and which policies are most in line with Catholic teaching, and which ones aren’t.

So many issues are subject to the prudential judgment of Catholic voters. What does that mean? It means that Catholics can legitimately disagree, for example, on the best way to address issues such as racial injustice, education, the economy, immigration and healthcare and still remain in good standing in the Church.

There are other issues, however, which touch on matters of intrinsic evil—actions that can never, at any time, under any circumstances be committed, promoted or even enabled by a faithful Catholic.  But setting aside issues of intrinsic evil for now, let’s consider some of the more common issues for which Catholics can legitimately exercise prudential judgment.

One such issue is Affirmative Action. This program aims to eliminate perceived disadvantages that minorities face when competing, for example, for admission to college.  In our nation, one party favors Affirmative Action to bring justice and balance in our multiracial society. The other party holds that it penalizes high achievers by giving limited spots in the college classroom to less qualified candidates, while denying more qualified students access. One party sees affirmative action as a matter of justice…while the other party sees it as injustice.

But, suppose a candidate for president promoted a policy that would make it legal for someone to kill a black person if that black person created a hardship for them getting the education they desired.

How many of you would be comfortable voting for that candidate

Another issue that falls under the category of prudential judgment is immigration. One of the major political parties seeks to allow immigration with very little restriction. The other party is concerned that unrestricted immigration leads to, among other things, non-citizens taking jobs that could be worked by citizens. One party favors open borders—the other favors “law and order”.

Now, suppose a candidate for president promoted a policy that would make it legal for someone to kill a Hispanic person if the presence of that Hispanic person made it more difficult to pursue one’s career of choice.

How many of you would be comfortable voting for that candidate? 

Thank God we don’t have a candidate from either party who says that they condone such policies. Nobody in their right mind would say such a thing—that we could kill blacks or Hispanicsor anyone else—just for the sake of protecting personal economic or educational interests.

Nobody would say it, but, as you’ll see in a moment…

There is a candidate, in this 2016 race for president, who along with that candidate’s political party does, in fact, sanction the killing of blacks and Hispanics in the situations previously described…under one…particular…condition:

That the black person or the Hispanic person is still in his or her mother’s womb.

 Now, this candidate and party certainly won’t say it that way, not publicly anyway. Instead, they use words like “choice” or “reproductive rights” or “women’s health” or other sanitized statements in order to cover up what abortion is and what abortion does.

Now, before we go any further in discussing the extremely sensitive issue of abortion

I want to say a word to any woman in this congregation here today—or among those watching or listening on TV or radio—who has chosen abortion:

God’s mercy is bigger than your sin and your pain. In ten years of priesthood, I have often been blessed to welcome a woman back to the merciful embrace of God the Father after she has admitted to, and repented of, her abortion in the Sacrament of Confession. A priest in such a situation has the privilege of assuring the woman that she has never lost the love of God the Father, nor her dignity as his beloved daughter, no matter what she did. And so I say to these women today: You do not have to hide from God any longer. I know it’s exhausting to pretend that your pain is not real, that your loss is not immense and that your choice was not devastating.  But when you experience God’s loving mercy even after the abortion, you will really come to know and experience that God’s love in forgiving our most serious sins is even greater than his love in creating us. Your Father has been waiting for you for a very long time. It’s time for you to come home!

So, now, having shared that important word with grieving mothers let’s return to the subject of our duty as Catholics in the public square.

When we consider that a woman can walk into Planned Parenthood and have her baby put to death because she doesn’t want to jeopardize her education or career, we must acknowlege that the shocking scenarios described previously are not only possible…not only real…but also among the most common reasons for abortion in America.

Even the word “abortion” has been drained of its meaning—we treat it like nothing more than a term that starts a heated debate rather than a procedure that stops a heartbeat. Many want to treat abortion as merely one issue among many—but that requires that a person pretend not to know what abortion is and what abortion does.

So let’s stop beating around the bush with regard to the current presidential race:

  • Do you know which candidate and party in this election promotes abortion and even promises to expand its availability here at home as well as abroad?
  • Do you know that this candidate and party intend to make you and me pay for other people’s abortions with our tax dollars—something that has always been illegal?
  • Are you aware that this candidate and party, which until recently, said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” no longer even bothers to say that it should be rare—but rather, that it must be available any time, any place, even up to the last moment that the fully formed, full-term baby remains in the womb?

If you do not know which candidate and party I’m referring to, then you should not even consider voting until you do know! Ignorance in this area is unacceptable, because ignorance in this area costs millions of babies their lives and jeopardizes the souls of many Catholics voters.

On the other hand, if you DO know which candidate and party want to promote and expand abortion, and you still intend to enable them to continue their war on the unborn with the help of your vote, then it is my duty as a priest to tell you that your soul will be in grave danger, especially if you present yourself for Holy Communion after casting such a vote with the full knowledge of what you’re doing.

Every election season, when a priest addresses such topics from the pulpit, a certain portion of the population complains that he’s preaching politics:

“A priest has no business discussing politics in church!”

That’s what some people say.

But what does God say to the priest whom he has designated to be spiritual father for the people entrusted to his care?

The same thing he said to the Prophet Ezekiel: “…I have made [you] a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his [sin], but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his [sin], but you will have saved your life. (Ez 33:7-9)

Another of the Devil’s tactics is to encourage us to make excuses for our participation in really bad things by appealing to other good things that we support, which we try to convince ourselves somehow “cancel out” the grave evil we enable.

Take capital punishment, for example. If you bring up abortion, some people will say, “I’m against capital punishment…and if you’re against abortion, then you should be against capital punishment!”  Fair enough. What is the biggest objection to capital punishment? That innocent people might be mistakenly put to death. And it must be acknowledged that innocent people very well could be unjustly executed due to the many flaws in our legal system.

And this very reason for opposing capital punishment is precisely the reason that Catholics must never willingly support or even enable abortion with their vote.  Because, while some innocent people have no doubt been put to death mistakenly through capital punishment, in abortion an innocent person is always put to death, and never by mistake. It’s always chosen…always intended.

If a person is against capital punishment, then, they necessarily must be against  abortion because the intention of abortion is to knowingly and deliberately kill an innocent boy or girl—each and every time. 

What about war? People who vigorously oppose the wars in the Middle East, for example, often quote statistics on the great number of innocent people accidently killed in the crossfire. “Collateral damage”—the innocent people killed in war—is, perhaps the greatest tragedy of war.  But if a person opposes the accidental killing of innocent people in war, while enabling the intentional killing of the most innocent human beings on the planet with their vote—well…this is hypocrisy of the most extreme kind.

If a person opposes war because of the accidental, unintended deaths of innocent people, they necessarily must oppose abortion because the killing in abortion is neither accidental nor unintended, but always directly willed.

Sometimes we hear the stupendously deceptive claim that a candidate or party will reduce abortions by improving economic or social conditions, while simultaneously promoting abortion as a right worth protecting.

But let’s face facts: Abortion is not caused by economics or social conditions.  Economic and social factors are, no doubt, circumstances that affect a mother’s decision in some cases, but they are not causes.

After all, if eliminating abortion were merely a matter of economics, or access to healthcare, or other socioeconomic factors, then why do wealthy mothers also abort their babies?

There are plenty of Catholics who, quite rightly, have criticized bishops and priests in recent years for not having spoken out more forcefully against the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Why, then, do many of these same Catholics want to silence bishops and priests who speak out forcefully against killing innocent children?

Why is opposing sexual abuse of children a matter of justice, but opposing the murder of children a matter of “preaching politics”?

Regardless of the resistance, a priest must follow the example of Peter and John in the Acts of the Apostles when it comes to preaching difficult truths. To those who sought to silence their proclamation of the Gospel these Apostles boldly responded:

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for [I] cannot but speak of what [I] have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:1920)

A priest is not only protected by the 1st Amendment (at least for now).

He is also bound by the 5th CommandmentThou Shalt Not Kill.

If a priest doesn’t speak up for those most vulnerable in our society, and if the Catholic faithful don’t actively protect the most vulnerable in our society by refusing to enable their deliberate destruction with their vote, then such Catholics are condoning the killing by their cowardice.

And what did St. Paul say to Timothy about cowardice in today’s 2nd Reading?

God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and selfcontrol. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord…but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. (2 Tim 1:7-8)

Part of every Catholic’s share in the hardship for the Gospel is that we must repent of our actions that are offensive to God and destructive to our brothers and sisters.  And we must oppose the threats to innocent life that are most real and most urgent. Make no mistake! There is no single issue that threatens innocent human life more directly, consistently and urgently than the deliberate killing of baby boys and baby girls in their mother’s womb. Noissue!

In the time since this homily started, at least 30 children have been deliberately executed in the womb in the United States—and that’s just the ones that are reported.

Let me sum up with some very challenging words:

“We have a serious obligation to protect human life, and especially the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Whoever fails to do this, when otherwise able to do so, commits a serious sin of omission. They jeopardize their own spiritual wellbeing and they are a source of scandal for others. Should they be Catholics, they should not receive Holy Communion.”   Catholics in the Public Square, 4th Ed., p. 25

Now, I hope you realize that it takes a lot of courage for a priest to communicate such challenging words as these—reminding his people that some actions are so gravely sinful that they render a Catholic unworthy to receive Holy Communion until there is complete repentance.

A priest who is more concerned about the state of his people’s souls than they are themselves, deserves the esteem of his people for his willingness to speak such difficult truth to them with genuine love—to put the welfare of his people’s souls ahead of his own reputation, popularity or comfort.  Such a priest should receive respect, admiration and support, rather than their resistance or criticism.

So please pray for, thank and encourage the spiritual father that God has appointed for you and who loves you enough to tell you the truth.

Because the priest who said these particular words…is your bishop…and mine.

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By Msgr. Charles Pope

Satan is no idiot. He has successfully convinced most Catholics that moral issues are political issues. And in so doing he has successfully shut down a huge amount of moral exhortation and reflection. This is especially true in a political season such as this, when the distinctions between the candidates on critical moral issues could not be clearer or sharper.

Among the moral issues that have been most politicized are non-negotiable issues for any Catholic: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same sex “marriage.”  These are non-negotiable issues because there is no room for nuance or degree of support. You are either for them or against them. There is no middle ground. They are outright forbidden by Church teaching and no Catholic may agree with or support abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research or same-sex “marriage” in any degree whatsoever. This goes for every Catholic from the highest political officials to the lowliest and most unknown Catholic in the pew. This precedes politics, party loyalties, political leanings or any such thing.

But did I mention Satan is no idiot? Indeed, he has convinced many that Catholics who clearly articulate Catholic moral teaching on these non-negotiable issues are merely “talking about politics; and how dare they!” And cowed by this satanic trick and lie many clergy and other Catholics sadly cave and run for cover in speaking to these issues at all, not just in political seasons. Other dissenting Catholics buy Satan’s lie because it gives them cover and helps to silence foes.

To again be clear, abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same-sex “marriage” are moral issues, and the Church must teach against them no matter where the political lines fall.

The Catholic position on these matters currently coincides with one political party’s platform over another. But this not the intention or fault of the Catholic Church. These are matters that most Americans once agreed on and are now matters that have divided out along political lines.

The Catholic Church has not moved one inch. Rather, it is a confused culture that has changed and politicians and parties have moved and maneuvered for reasons of their own. But to say the abortion is a grave moral evil is no more political today than it was in 1950. And just because politicians and dissenting Catholics say it is political does not make it so.

I, and I pray every other faithful Catholic, will vigorously and confidently refute the charge of “being political” when we teach on these non-negotiable truths. I pray we will refute such charges as did St. Paul when he said, We do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor 4:2). No true Catholic or disciple of Jesus can do anything other than to manifest the truth plainly and draw others to conversion.

An additional problem at the intersection of Catholic moral teaching and politics is that there are a number of other moral issues that, while important, admit of distinctions and varying solutions. They   involve matters in which reasonable people will differ. These include matters of economic justice, care for the poor, immigration issues, and so forth. Unlike the non-negotiable issues above that admit of no exceptions or middle ground, these sorts of issues can call forth various policy solutions.

Continue reading this article here.

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As an update to my previous post (copied below), I strongly recommend reading The Gospel of Life and the November Elections by Father John McCloskey (click on the link).

Father McCloskey’s message, in fact God’s message, couldn’t be any clearer.

Previous post:

I hadn’t planned to post this until October, but I feel compelled to do so at this time. I write this as a registered voter who is not affiliated with any political party. The only label I am willing to wear is “orthodox Roman Catholic”.

I have been reading very cogent commentaries by persons advocating voting for Donald Trump (of whom I am no fan) even if only for the purpose of defeating Hilary Clinton as well as equally cogent commentaries advocating to refrain from voting or writing in the name of someone who isn’t even a candidate so as to spare our consciences and relive ourselves of any culpability in the election of either Clinton or Trump. However, I firmly believe that eliminating our culpability is impossible.

Below is a post I wrote in October of 2008 and updated on 1/20/2009, the awful day of the first inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Just swap “the first black president” and “Barack Obama” with “the first woman president” and “Hilary Clinton” and everything I stated eight years ago equally applies today (perhaps even more so) to Hillary Clinton. I pray that when the country has elected a new president, I will not have to update this post with “now that the worst has happened”.

It is my belief that humanity as a whole, by its lack of – or insufficient – opposition to abortion, has committed the gravest offense possible against God (Creator of all life). Therefore, I believe that humanity as a whole and every individual human being must participate in an active, not passive action, to bring about the abolishment of abortion worldwide. We Americans must start in our own country. There is no doubt in my mind that a vote or a non-vote that would in any way enable Hilary Clinton (possibly the most pro-abortion person in America) to become President of the United States would be a grave act of negligence and the absolute opposite path for those who wish to abolish abortion. It would indeed make us liars and hypocrites in the eyes of God and our pro-abortion opponents. We have enough of those in our Church and political offices. Mean what you say and do what you mean or walk among the spiritually dead.

Obama or Clinton – as Hilary would say “What difference does it make now?”

*ABOLISH ABORTION NOW! – The second civil war?

Should the worst happen (1/20/09) Now that the worst has happened, will Obama as the first black president be responsible for starting the second civil war? It is true that we are already engaged in a civil war (and of course a spiritual one as well), but the only persons dying are those who can’t defend themselves, the children in their mothers’ wombs. With Obama as president, will pro-lifers finally get fed up enough to fervently protest the killing of the unborn at the risk of being physically attacked by those who support the slaughter of these innocents? We can say, but can’t prove, that we would have laid down our lives for our captive brothers and sisters if we had lived during the slavery vs. abolition era. What say we now during this phase of the abortion vs. abolition era? We must continue to be prayerful and peaceful, but we must also be much more active and fervent in our defense of the unborn and not allow fear of anyone or anything to deter us.

Quotations worth reflecting on:

The first thing I’d do as president is to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.
Barack Obama.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?.” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?.” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?.” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
Mother Theresa

Being unwanted is the worst disease that a human being can ever experience.
Mother Theresa

America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! … Every human person – no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society – is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival – yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn.
Pope John Paul II

A people which kills its own children is a people without a future.
Pope John Paul II

The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears. The unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb.
Pope John Paul II

As far as abortion is concerned, it’s part of the fifth, not the sixth, commandment: “Thou shalt not kill!” We have to presume this is obvious and always stress that the human person begins in the mother’s womb and remains a human person until his or her last breath. The human person must always be respected as a human person.
Pope Benedict XVI

See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven…So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
God the Son

You shall not kill.
God the Father

ABOLISH ABORTION – AND BEGIN NOW!

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