The Dignity of Human Life

Standard

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

We are all made in the image and likeness of God. We are His and His we are. We have been purchased at a price and it is the price of the precious blood of Christ. Even those people who do not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God—well, He still died for them and He is still their Savior. God loves each and every one of us on earth from the hardened criminal to the living saint. Because we are all made in the image and likeness of God, we all have God-given dignity. According to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, dignity is defined as the quality or state of being worthy, honored or esteemed. Our dignity does not come from how beautiful in appearance we may be, from how much money we make, what college we went to or did not go to for that matter. Our dignity is not dependent on how big a house we have or how many cars we have. It is not dependent on how well we speak or write or how smart we are. Our dignity is because we are beloved children of God. Who are we to say that someone who is not what we think they should be has less or even no dignity? Who are we to play God and think that we know better than Him? What about the handicapped person who cannot speak and sits in a wheelchair all day long? What about the blind person who needs help to move around from place to place? Do you remember Helen Keller? She was deaf and blind and look at all the amazing accomplishments she had in her life. What about the brain-injured child who can read and write and move about on all fours by crawling but has not gained the ability to be continent? What about an infant who is totally dependent on his mother and father to care for all of his needs to even survive? Do these people not have dignity because they are not ‘up to par’ with the ‘standard’ that our materialistic and consumerism filled society has determined gives us worth? I don’t think so. Their lives are precious because God loves them and He made them and who are we to decide that they are not as good or worth living as the ‘normal persons’?”

When a loved one loses their memory and they do not know who they are or who their loved ones are that is very sad indeed but that does not take away their God-given dignity. Suffering is a part of life. No one can escape it. Jesus came not only to die to save us from our sins but to teach us that suffering is redemptive if only we offer it up in love and unite it to His cross. Redemptive suffering puts a whole new light on this ‘right to die’ mentality. We, as human beings are not animals that can and maybe should be put down when the pain or difficulties of life become unbearable. We are human beings and we are worth far, far more than animals. As the Bible teaches us, we are called to imitate Christ and that means even in our suffering. He could not escape it– for love of us he suffered far more than all of us on earth put together. Who are we to not follow in our Lord’s footsteps? Who are we to play God? Who are we to say to God “I will not accept your plan for me in my life or my loved ones’ life so I am going to take matters into my own hands and end my life or help them end theirs?” God’s will for us is often not our own; in fact most of the time it is not. God gives us many trials in life not to punish us or make us angry at Him but to draw us closer to Him. It has been said by the greatest of saints that those of us who suffer the most should count ourselves worthy to be the called the friends of God. Are we above the saints that suffered so very much that we should not imitate them in our suffering? God does not make mistakes—EVER. He does not punish people but He allows all things to happen, yes, even the bad things. Nothing happens in this world without His permission. He gave Adam and Eve free will because it was the only way they could truly love him. They disobeyed and hence sin and suffering and death entered the world. It was not supposed to be like this my friends. We were never supposed to suffer or die at all. However, he brings good out of EVERYTHING. As St. Paul says very clearly in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God who are called according to His purpose.”

I have been deeply moved to write this by the Holy Spirit for fear that my own conscience would not be clear in the sight of God until I did. As a faithful Catholic Christian, I am held accountable for not only what I do and say, but what I do not do and say. I must speak out when the Spirit of God compels me. I must admonish and instruct the ignorant as the Holy Word of God, the Bible says. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. May I remind you that I am not writing this blog to make people ‘happy’ all the time and I am certainly not worried about what others may think of me. I am writing it to speak God’s truths, not my own. I have over 2000 years of Universal Church teaching to back me up. I am writing it and I am not concerned with the possibility of offending some. Sometimes people need to be offended for them to take a good hard look at themselves—how they think or how they act. Sometimes when someone is offended they are struggling with the possibility that they just might not know it all. None of us do. We all need God’s loving guidance in our lives whether or not we admit it. God has called me to write this blog, of this I am certain and woe to me if I do not obey my Lord!

The 5th commandment “Thou Shall not kill” is not up for discussion by any means. God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave Him the Ten Commandments for the Israelites and for all people of every single generation after that including us. The Bible is not changeable. The Bible speaks to all generations and it is interpreted infallibly only by the Catholic Church which Christ came to found. God is the only one who gives life and He is the only one who has any right to take it away. Life must be respected from the first moment of conception to natural death. Yes, there are justified times when life must be taken such as in self-defense or in defending innocent people. Yes, even if there is a justifiable war as Pope Francis has recently said because of the atrocities that ISIS is committing against countless innocent people. We are not God. WE do not have the right to decide when our life or the life of another is not worth living. Pope Francis, as the Vicar of Christ has recently denounced euthanasia as a sin against God. It is indeed misguided compassion.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2277 states, “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

I have heard the expression from more than one person in my life that,” When the mind goes” well, then that person’s life is not really worth living. Oh and if they do not know who they are or remember their loved ones, and if they are incontinent and in diapers then well, they have no dignity. This is not from just one person it is from several and I have also read it as well. This is such a warped way of thinking. Every single person has dignity because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Who are you to determine that they or you do not have dignity and should not go on living? My grandfather, whom I adored with all my heart was a devoted husband and father and grandfather. He served in WWII and received two purple hearts for his gunshot wounds. He was incontinent at the end of his life and yes, I was honored to be able to change his diapers. I am sure that was difficult for him but he was a very humble man and He knew and loved God with all his heart. I had the privilege of being able to feed him meals because he could no longer do that as well. I count myself blessed to have been able to do that for him towards the end of his life. Yes, he had his complete dignity and it came from God alone.

There are those out there reading this who will not agree with me at all. They will scoff or laugh and think I don’t know what I am talking about. There are those who call themselves tolerant or more liberal-minded and think they know better than that religious person who listens to a 2000-year-old Catholic teaching which, by the way, came from God himself. I, too, am a very tolerant person but there is a big difference between tolerating others because they do not agree with you and accepting just any old thing. But let me just say this one last thing. Moral relativism is a plague that is going through our great land. People think what is right for them is fine and what is right for others, well, that is fine too. Well, I am here to tell you that all of that is plain humbug. Truth is not relative. You must admit that. It does not even make sense to believe that people can believe whatever they want. God has laws and they must be respected and obeyed!

How many people are in the world today? About seven billion and even if you cut that in half that is still an awful lot of ‘truths’. There is only one truth and that is God’s truth which has been handed down to us through Apostolic Teaching. Where did the Apostles get their teaching? From Christ Jesus Himself. Whether or not you agree or believe it is certainly up to you. But just because you do not believe in God’s laws and the teachings of His Catholic Church does not make them any less true. God gave you free will because it is the only way you could truly love him freely. He does not force anyone to love him or his ways. The Truth is – life is sacred. Life is precious. God gave you yours and He is the only one who has the right to take it away. Suicide, or euthanasia or believing in the ‘right to die’ to avoid suffering is still murder of oneself or another. You cannot put a fancy word on something and make it okay. Believing that you have the right to decide when your life is no longer worth living or your life does not have meaning is just one step away from deciding when someone else’s life is not worth living or doesn’t have meaning. It is a risky, sinful way to think and it must never be acceptable. It is spitting in the face of God. It is telling Him that you know better than He does and that simply is not true. God is all-perfect, all-just, all-knowing and all powerful. He is God and He is the Author of Life.

My prayer is this: That we will all continually ask the Lord to give us the grace to seek His will and His ways and His mind and Never our own! May we never be so selfish as to think that we know better than God Almighty who is the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Saint Augustine and all you holy Saints in Heaven, pray for us and all people to seek God’s Holy Will and to come to respect all life from conception to natural death.

Our Pro-Life Legacy

Standard

I asked my eldest daughter for her permission to publish this on my blog and she gave it readily. This was a speech she gave in her public speaking class at our home school co-op yesterday. The topic was to be of her choosing. I am very proud of her. She is actively pro-life and knows the evil of abortion in our country and abroad. Every year she willingly goes with me to the Annual Respect Life Sunday Prayer Chain on the first Sunday in October. Also, she participates in Forty Days For Life vigils by going with me to pray for an end to abortion at our local Planned Parenthood abortion mill. I am extremely proud of her willingness to speak out about abortion and the pro-life movement. She is just one of the future leaders of the Pro-life movement in America. Here is her speech which is entirely of her writing with absolutely no help from me or my husband. I hope you enjoy it!

Gimme Shelter

GIMME SHELTER IS A BEAUTIFUL, WELL-ACTED, AND VERY PRO-LIFE MOVIE. IT IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY. THE MOVIE IS ABOUT A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL NAMED AGNES BAILEY.VANESSA HUDGENS FROM HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL PLAYS AGNES IN THE MOVIE. AGNES LIVES WITH HER DRUG ADDICT MOTHER, JUNE, WHO IS VERY ABUSIVE TOWARDS AGNES. SINCE HER MOTHER TREATS HER SO HORRIBLY, AGNES RUNS AWAY FROM HER MOTHER TO FIND HER FATHER, TOM, WHO SHE HAS NEVER MET. HER FATHER IS A VERY RICH MAN AND HE WANTS TO HELP AGNES.

 

SHORTLY AFTER AGNES FINDS HER FATHER, SHE FINDS OUT THAT SHE IS PREGNANT. SHE HAS A SONOGRAM DONE, AND SHE HEARS THE BABY’S HEART BEATING. THE DAY AFTER THE SONOGRAM, JOANNE TELLS AGNES THAT SHE MADE AN APPOINTMENT FOR HER AT AN ABORTION CLINIC. AGNES DOESN’T WANT TO HAVE AN ABORTION, BUT JOANNE SAYS THAT SHE WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH WITH IT OR LEAVE. THE NEXT DAY, SHE GOES TO THE ABORTION CLINIC WITH JOANNE, BUT SHE STILL DOES NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH WITH IT. BEFORE THE ABORTIONIST COMES INTO THE ROOM TO DO THE ABORTION, AGNES LOOKS AT THE BABY PICTURE THAT SHE GOT AT THE ULTRASOUND AND SHE RUNS OUT OF THE BUILDING. SHE CHOOSES LIFE FOR HER CHILD AND LEAVES HER FATHER’S AND JOANNE’S HOUSE.

 

SHORTLY AFTER LEAVING TOM’S AND JOANNE’S HOUSE, AGNES GETS INTO A BAD CAR ACCIDENT. SHE WAS DRIVING A BIG CAR, BUT SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE. SHE CRASHES THE CAR INTO A BUILDING AND SHE ALMOST DIES. SHE IS ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL, WHERE THEY HAVE A SONOGRAM DONE. THE BABY SURVIVES, WHICH IS A HUGE BLESSING. AT THE HOSPITAL, AGNES MEETS A PRIEST. THE PRIEST HELPS HER FIND A SHELTER FOR PREGNANT TEENAGE GIRLS WHO WANT TO HAVE THEIR BABIES WHO ARE ABUSED.

 

AGNES MAKES A LOT OF NEW FRIENDS AT THE SHELTER. THE PEOPLE THERE BECOME FAMILY TO HER. AFTER LIVING AT THE SHELTER FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, AGNES HAS A BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL. SHE NAMES THE BABY, HOPE. AT THE HOSPITAL, SHORTLY AFTER SHE HAS THE BABY, HER FATHER COMES TO SEE HER. SHE DOESN’T WANT TO TALK TO HIM, BUT SHE LETS HIM SEE THE BABY. AFTER AGNES AND HOPE GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL, AGNES’ FATHER TAKES HER AND THE BABY TO HIS HOUSE WHERE HE HAS A SURPRISE FOR HIS DAUGHTER. HE HAD A LITTLE HOUSE BUILT NEXT DOOR TO HIS HOUSE FOR AGNES AND HOPE. IN THE NEW HOUSE, IT IS PAINTED PINK, THERE IS A CRIB, AND A BUNCH OF TOYS FOR THE BABY. HE TELLS AGNES THAT HE WANTS THEM TO COME LIVE WITH HIM AND HIS FAMILY. SHE SAYS YES, BUT THEN SHE CHANGES HER MIND AND TELLS HIM THAT SHE WANTS TO STILL LIVE AT THE SHELTER BECAUSE THE SHELTER WAS HER FIRST REAL HOME. SHE SAYS THAT SHE WILL BE HIS DAUGHTER SOMEDAY, BUT SHE NEEDS SOME TIME TO GET TO KNOW HIM, AND SHE DOESN’T WANT TO BE SEPARATED FROM HER FRIENDS AT THE SHELTER.

I HOPE THAT ALL PEOPLE WATCH THIS WONDERFUL MOVIE AND REALIZE THAT ABORTION IS WRONG AND BECOME PRO-LIFE. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO THIS SPEECH ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES.

In Thanksgiving Of Mom

Standard

“Honor your father and your mother. This is the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.” (Ephesians 6: 2-3)

In this month that we as a country celebrate Thanksgiving, I wanted to take the time to give thanks and honor to my Mother whom I love with all of my heart and always will. This one is for you, Mom.

In thanksgiving for the gift of your life.

In thanksgiving that you loved me from the moment you knew I existed.

In thanksgiving that you carried me lovingly in your womb for nine months and endured much nausea and vomiting.

In thanksgiving that you bore me in childbirth for thirty-six hours.

In thanksgiving that you gave me a sister and two brothers.

In thanksgiving that you raised me with unconditional love in your heart.

In thanksgiving that you have forgiven me for all of the times I have offended you.

In thanksgiving that you taught me that a baby is a precious gift from God, no matter what the circumstances are.

In thanksgiving that you have taught me how to celebrate in style.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to make the Sign of the Cross (I cannot imagine what it is like going through life without doing that each and every day).

In thanksgiving that you ensured that I received the Sacraments at the proper time.

In thanksgiving that you helped make my wedding day one of the happiest days of my life.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to pray.

In thanksgiving that you taught me about God.

In thanksgiving that you faithfully took me to Sunday Mass each week.

In thanksgiving that you taught me to love and honor the Mother of God, Mary most Holy, as Jesus honors her.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to clean and organize even though I will never be as good at it as you are.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to iron.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to be a loyal friend (as you have so very many lifelong friends).

In thanksgiving that you taught me to accept a $1 gift in the same way as a $100 gift—with a smile and “I love it” –with sincere gratitude towards the giver of the gift.

In thanksgiving that you taught me to love and respect the elderly for the long life that they have led and for the wisdom they have attained.

In thanksgiving that you taught me from a very young age, by the example of your life, that we are ALL children of God no matter what religion we are.

In thanksgiving that you taught me to always offer up my little sufferings to help the poor souls in purgatory.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to work and study hard.

In thanksgiving that you taught me that my HOPE is not of this world.

In thanksgiving that you taught me to treat my family as friends and my friends as family.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to properly welcome someone into my home.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to be a loyal daughter of the Church.

In thanksgiving that you love my children with your entire being.

In thanksgiving that you are the most generous person I know.

In thanksgiving that you always spend the time to find the most fitting gifts for your family and friends.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to honor the Saints.

In thanksgiving that you know how to cook a feast fit for a king and queen and always make sure there is more than enough for everyone including making everyone’s favorite dishes.

In thanksgiving that you taught me that the most important thing I do in this earthly life is to pass on The Catholic Faith to my children.

In thanksgiving that you taught me not to hold a grudge against anyone.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to keep the memories of loved ones alive after they have passed on from this life and entered the next.

In thanksgiving that you taught at the same wonderful Catholic school for thirty years and taught so many young children about Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church.

In thanksgiving that you can play the piano very well and bring music into the home especially at Christmas time.

In thanksgiving that you do not have even one ‘lazy bone’ in your body.

In thanksgiving that you passed on to me your love of babies and children.

In thanksgiving that you truly believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

In thanksgiving that you honor our Blessed Mother by saying the Holy Rosary.

In thanksgiving that you taught me how to be a mother.

In thanksgiving for all you have done for me with love throughout my whole life—the things I do not even remember and the things I do.

The Media and The Church

Standard

I have always wanted to write about the negative bias in the secular media towards the Holy Catholic Church but have not found the time as of yet to do the research necessary. A fellow Catholic homeschooling friend of mine who also blogs recently published her daughter’s research paper that she wrote for school. I asked for her permission today to publish it on my blog because I wanted to share it with all of you as well. It is very well-written and I hope and pray all of you reading it will come to understand the importance of reading trusted Catholic sources to learn about the Catholic Faith and not believing the secular news media.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°The mainstream media reports on many important issues in our nation, making sure that millions of people are aware of issues and topics influencing our culture and society. In addition, the Catholic Church has multiple news outlets and other easily-accessible sources to ensure that there is an accurate account of Church teachings and events that occur throughout the world. Even with this presence, the media rarely gives a truly fair report on these topics. Despite the media’s claim of fair reporting, there is a prevalent bias against Catholics in today’s news organizations that can easily be seen in such topics as abortion, same-sex marriage, and women’s ordinations.

The New York Times reported on the March for Life in 2013, but the March was not accurately represented. While the March itself is not a purely Catholic organization, it is run largely by Catholic laity and clergy. The single picture provided of the March that year cut out most of the participants and instead focused on the few, greatly outnumbered abortion supporters present. It did nothing to mention the record-breaking 500,000 men, women, and children at the 2013 March for Life, choosing instead to focus on the incorrect assumptions about the intentions of the March. In addition, some mainstream media articles made their bias in favor of abortion clear in the articles written. “These laws have one real purpose: to make it almost impossible for a woman to get an abortion, no matter what circumstances she may be facing,” quoted an article on CNN’s website, discussing the desired laws being proposed by the pro-life citizens in Louisiana. When it came to the laws themselves, the same article read, “Last week, the Louisiana legislature passed a bill that could force all but two of the state’s abortion providers to close their doors, which means Louisiana is preparing to join Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi to the list of Southern states on the verge of wiping out access to safe and legal abortion.” By not truly representing and displaying the March’s side of the story, these news organizations prevented the public from having a fuller and more open view of the world and of the March itself.

Priests for Life, a group of clergy and laity who actively oppose and fight against abortion, is often criticized in the media for their contributions to the pro-life cause. Pam Chamberlain of the Huffington Post wrote an article condemning the group’s assertions when it came to racism in abortion statistics. The report reads:

The anti-abortion right wing is hard at work trying to drive a wedge into communities of color. A conspiracy theory — which alleges that abortion amounts to genocide perpetrated by white people on minority communities — is gathering steam. It started this summer in Birmingham and Atlanta, targeting African Americans, and quickly spread to the Midwest. … Mark Crutcher, a white anti-abortion activist (and associate of Priests for Life president Fr. Joe [sic] Pavone) can really pull old ghosts out of the closet.

The article does nothing to provide the true Catholic standing on abortion, focusing on out-of-context quotes and alleged mistakes made in the past by Priests for Life.

Though a definite bias exists against Catholic teachings on abortion, it can be counteracted by simply looking at news sources from a Catholic or Catholic-supporting viewpoint. These sources can be found either online or in magazines written by priests or the laity. One such source is on the official March for Life website, especially the “About Us” page. The first two paragraphs of the page state:

January 22, 1973 is ingrained in the minds of pro-lifers because on that infamous historic day the Supreme Court invalidated 50 state laws and made abortion legal and available on demand throughout the United States in the now-infamous decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton.

The March for Life in Washington, D.C., began as a small demonstration and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world.  The peaceful demonstration that has followed on this somber anniversary every year since 1973 is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand.

The March for Life site is not the only source for accurate information about the pro-life cause and the Catholic Church’s teachings on it A specific and reliable website based around pro-life views is the 40 Days for Life site. This organization focuses on arranging daily protests outside abortion clinics throughout a forty day period. They have an About page which describes, to some extent, the semi-annual protests against abortion outside of abortion clinics around the world from the standpoint of the Catholic Church. By looking at sources such as these and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which has an entire section devoted to the teachings of the Church on abortion, a fair representation of both the mainstream media and the Church can easily be found in articles and discussions of the topics being debated in the news.

Discussions and articles on the topic of same-sex marriage are also highly biased, which results in many people getting the wrong impression when it comes to the Church’s teachings and views of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. For example, many people had hopes that the recently elected Pope Francis would change the Church’s teachings on issues and topics such as gay marriage. A quote taken from a CNN article reads:

“He told me. … ‘I’m in favor of gay rights and in any case, I also favor civil unions for homosexuals, but I believe that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law,'” said Marquez, a gay rights activist, a self-described devout Catholic and a former theology professor at a Catholic seminary.

However, Edward Pentin, a writer for the National Catholic Register, cleared up any mistaken beliefs in one article, saying:

The Holy Father was also ‘saddened’ by legislative proposals in Malta to extend equality legislation to homosexual couples, particularly those who wish to adopt. … In an interview with the Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire published today, Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Charles J. Scicluna said that when he met Pope Francis on Dec. 12, he expressed his concern to the Pope about the proposed law. ‘The Pope showed his sadness at this development, especially on the question of adoption.’

In this article, he presented the Catholic viewpoint of same-sex marriage clearly, while also making certain that people would realize that the Church does not consider homosexual activity to be any worse than fornication or adultery.

Even more recently, there have been articles and reports posted in regards to the belief that Pope Francis would change the Church’s standing on same-sex marriage. In February of 2014, the New York Times published an article, stating, “As they reel from a succession of defeats in courtrooms and legislatures, opponents of same-sex marriage have a new chance this week to play one of their most emotional and, they hope, potent cards: the claim that having parents of the same sex is bad for children.” This report argued about the “injustice” of not supporting same-sex marriage, but never mentioned any Catholic reasoning for not supporting it; instead, Mr. Eric Eckholm proceeded to accuse the Church of oppression and discrimination against homosexuals and their demand for marriage.

In opposition to the mainstream media, the Catholic apologetics website, Catholic Answers, the Catholic approach to same-sex marriage is well-explained and simply put in the questions and answers section of the website. The answer is as follows:

The reason homosexual acts are wrong is not simply that they take place outside of marriage, but that they are contrary to natural design. For various reasons, both inside and outside of their control, some people have desires that are not in accord with nature. When these desires are acted upon, the result is an unnatural and immoral act. Even if two homosexuals were ‘married,’ they would still be having unnatural sex.

The Church cannot change its teaching on marriage, which is grounded in natural law. Under natural law a man can marry only whom he was designed to marry: a woman. He cannot validly marry another man any more than he could an animal or a plant. Any attempted marriage between a man and another man would be invalid by definition. It might be recognized by the state as a legitimate marriage, but it would not be so before God.

Because these mainstream journalists, such as Pam Chamberlain, Erik Eckholm, and Cecile Richards, are seemingly so lax in their investigations of true Church teaching, they are failing to assist the public in learning about the morality of homosexual marriage. Due to this, the modern culture has a twisted view of the morality, and for those who read only the stories of popular media sources, there is little chance for them to find the truth when it comes to these matters.

Women’s ordination is another highly debated topic in the media, and another issue about which the Church is constantly condemned. Judith Levitt, a writer for the New York Times, reported in an article, “Reformers within the Roman Catholic Church have been calling for the ordination of women as priests. The Vatican, however, refuses to consider the possibility and uses its power to silence those who speak out.” In this commentary, when it comes to Church doctrine, Ms. Levitt offers only the statement, “The Roman Catholic Church’s argument against the ordination of women is simple and relies on the logic of tradition: ‘that’s what we have always done.’ Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter in 1994 saying that the church had no authority to ordain women because, among other reasons, Christ chose only men to be his apostles. Pope Benedict XVI agrees with his predecessor and insists that the church need offer no further justification for its opposition to women as priests, calling instead for a ‘radicalism of obedience.’” There was no mention in this column that the Church does agree that women have a particular calling in the Catholic faith; instead, she portrays the pope and all clergy in union with him in a misogynistic, oppressive, and sexist light.

Another example of this kind of bias can be seen in a 2012 write-up on women’s ordinations found in the Los Angeles Times. Maria L. La Ganga, the publisher of the article, wrote, “The Vatican has said that women who presume to be priests, and those who help them, are committing a grave sin. And like Catholics who have abortions or commit heresy, female officiants are subject to the ultimate penalty — automatic excommunication. The church [sic] does not acknowledge ordained women or the sacraments they offer.” With that being said, there was little further mention of the Church’s teachings on women’s ordinations. The report mainly focused on the “liturgies” the women in question were leading, rather than on the morality of these women’s actions, and she did not truly condemn the women’s behavior.

The truth in this matter of women’s ordinations is made clear in an answer on the Catholic Answers website, given by a man named Jim Blackburn. He wrote:

The Church does not have the authority to ordain women. In his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II declared ‘that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.’ Some of the reasons cited include: 1. The example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his apostles only from among men; 2. The constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; 3. The Church’s living teaching authority has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.

Another well-written explanation can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The section in question reads, “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. … The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the 12 apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.” This sheds light on the fact that ordaining men alone as priests is part of the Catholic Church’s Sacred Tradition, and that the Church has no plans to change that part of Tradition.

In conclusion, it is virtually impossible to find a completely unbiased report on current events, whether it be against the Catholic Church or not. There will never be a report on these matters entirely uninfluenced by someone’s opinion, whether the news source be the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or the Huffington Post, because it is rare that a journalist sufficiently checks his facts and resources. The only thought on these matters that is closest to being unbiased is the Catholic Church’s, because the Church’s teachings are from the Creator himself. Journalists in the media who stand against Catholic teaching publish articles that suggest a lack of research into what the Church teaches, despite how simple the information would most likely be to find. That being said, the best way to counteract the bias and ignorance in the media against Catholics is to research any topics of interest in Catholic media sources, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Answers website, and the Life News website.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°Bibliography

“40 Days for Life: Mission.” http://40daysforlife.com/mission/, (July 7, 2014).

Blackburn, Jim. “Why can’t women be ordained priests within the Catholic Church?” in “Catholic Answers: Quick Questions.” http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/why-cant-women-be-ordained-priests-within-the-catholic-church, (July 11, 2014).

Catechism of the Catholic Church. Washington DC: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997.

Eckholm, Erik. “Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage Taken Bad-for-Children Argument To Court.” February 22, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/us/opponents-of-same- sex-marriage-take-bad-for-children-argument-to-court.html? module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI %3A13%22%7D, (July 9, 2014).

Jervis, Rick. “Texas Abortion Law Creates Obstacles for Valley Women.” May 17, 2014, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/17/texas-abortion-law- women-valley/8804871/, (July 7, 2014).

La Ganga, Maria L. “Women Becoming Priests Without Vatican’s Blessing.” May 25, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/25/local/la-me-female-priests-20130526, (July 12, 2014).

Levitt, Judith. “Women as Priests.” September 29, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/opinion/sunday/women-as-priests.html?_r=0, (July 12, 2014).

“March for Life History.” http://marchforlife.org/about-us (July 7, 2014).

Pentin, Edward. “Pope Repeats that Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ is ‘Anthropological Regression.’” January 3, 2014 http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/pope- repeats-that-same-sex-marriage-is-anthropological-regression (July 8, 2014).

Peters, Jeremy W. “Parties Seize on Abortion Issues in Midterm Race.” January 20, 2014, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/us/politics/parties-seize-on-abortion-issues-in-midterm-race.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Aw%2C%7B %222%22%3A%22RI%3A16%22%7D&_r=0 (July 8, 2014).

Ragusea, Adam. “Gay Teacher Files Sex Discrimination Claim Against Georgia School.” July 9, 2014, http://www.npr.org/2014/07/09/329235789/gay-teacher-files-sex- discrimination-claim-against-georgia-school (July 9, 2014).

Richards, Cecile. “Women Won’t Stand for Abortion-Rights Rollback.” May 28, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/28/opinion/richards-abortion-access-restrictions- south/index.html?iref=storysearch (July 8, 2014).

Romo, Rafael; Rodriguez, Jose Manuel; and Shoichet, Catherine E. “Behind Closed Doors, Pope Supported Civil Unions in Argentina, Activist Says.” March 21, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/20/world/americas/argentina-pope-civil-unions/, (July 23, 2014).

(Unknown Author.) http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/could-the-church-ever-allow-homosexuals-to-marry (July 11, 2014).

In Communion With the Saints – Repost

Standard

“And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:31-32

Last week, when I was outside with my daughters enjoying the beautiful fall weather, an unexpected conversation with my deceased neighbor’s friend occurred. My neighbor died last February and she really misses her. She told me that she feels closer to her friend by going to visit her house and still even talks with her; although that sounds weird, that is what she continues to do after all this time. I told her that it wasn’t weird at all. After all, it is a very “catholic” way of thinking. This elderly friend isn’t Catholic but a very good Christian lady and she has God’s law written on her heart. Although, she didn’t know it, she was sharing with me about the Catholic teaching of the communion of saints. How fitting that this conversation happened so close to November 1st, which is the day that the Catholic Church sets aside each year to celebrate All Saints Day. At Holy Mass, we not only remember all those who have been canonized a Saint by our Holy Father, the Pope, but all the saints who are in heaven.

Why is it that so many people believe that the only one in heaven that we can talk to is God himself? Do they not realize that God allows all those who have entered heaven to hear us? We are all a part of the communion of saints, as we profess in the Apostles or Nicene Creed each Sunday at Holy Mass. Death does not separate us from our loved ones. We all belong to the Body of Christ. Our loved ones in heaven can most assuredly hear us and most certainly Canonized Saints can hear us as well. “We are not at all separated from one another by death, because we all run the same course and we will find one another again in the same place.” (Symeon of Thessalonica, mystic and theologian, died in 1429)

In the Bible, Saint Paul’s favorite term which he uses to refer to all those baptized into Christ is “saint.” It comes from the Latin word sanctus which means holy. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are in Ephesus faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:1) All those who have been baptized and are in the state of sanctifying grace, which is to say they do not have any mortal sin on their souls are “saints” whether they are still on earth or are in heaven. The Early Church, which is so evidently written down in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, describes all of Jesus’ followers as saints. However, the Saints that are most often talked about in our society are the canonized Saints, those who the Catholic Church knows without a doubt as definitively being in Heaven. The Saints are those people who while they walked this earth lived extraordinary lives of holiness. They loved God and neighbor with a heroic love and practiced heroic virtue. They served Him and others with amazing charity and some even gave their lives as martyrs.

Catholics are often asked the question, “Why do you pray to the Saints?” and, “How can the Pope just make saints?” I have even read it in articles about the Church. Of course those articles are often slanted, for most secular reporters do not know the beauty of the teachings of the Catholic Church including the teachings on the Saints. The Pope does not make or create Saints. He simply recognizes what God did for that person while they were still on earth and what He continues to do for them in Heaven. The Saints are alive in Christ in Heaven. They are more fully alive than those of us still on earth. St. Paul says, “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Phillipians 1:21-23)

We are all called to Sainthood. All those who are in heaven are “saints,” just not all of them are recognized as canonized Saints by the Church. By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as role models and intercessors. “The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history.”(John Paul II) Indeed, “holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal. (CCC 828)

Let me ask you some questions. Do you ask your family and friends on earth to pray for you to God for your needs and desires? Well, then why is it so hard for you to believe that those who are already in heaven can pray to God on our behalf? God allows them to hear our prayers. This is such a huge misconception among so many people. It isn’t that we pray to the Saints as an alternative to praying to God or that we believe they can answer our prayers on their own. We pray and we ask them to intercede for us in the same way we ask our loved ones on earth to pray for us. No one thinks that is weird, so why should it be confusing or taboo for us to ask those who are with God to pray for us. They have fought the good fight. They have been purified of all selfishness and attachment to sin and they are indeed in Heaven. We owe them honor and devotion because they are truly the friends of God. We do not take anything away from God by honoring the Saints. God shows us how much He loves them by answering their prayers that they have offered to Him for us. Heaven is our true home. We come from God and will go back to God at the end of our earthly life. St. Paul says, “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3) Do you really believe that God would want us to stop praying for one another when we reach our true homeland? I don’t think so.

Why is it that people use the Bible verse from Timothy to prove that only Jesus can intercede for us and not the Saints or Mary, the Queen of all Saints, “There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus.”?(1 Timothy 2:5) Is not Christ allowed to give out His mediation to who he pleases? According to The Catholic Bible Dictionary, edited by Scott Hahn, the definition of mediator is one who brings together or reconciles separate or opposing parties. Whether on earth or in Heaven, all the saints who intercede for one another do not take anything away from Jesus’ power as sole mediator between God and man. They can intercede for one another because He shares His life with them. Our Lord lives in us because we have been made holy by our Baptism. As long as we remain free of mortal sin and our souls are not deprived of sanctifying grace; we absolutely can continue to intercede for others. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

Do you really believe that this will end for us when we are with our Lord in Heaven or have you convinced yourself of this because praying for the Saints’ intercession is a Catholic teaching and you do not want to be Catholic? “Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.” (St. Dominic’s dying words to his brothers.) I urge you to read, study and research the REAL teachings on the Saints and all The Catholic Church teachings; they are filled with all the beauty and fullness of truth that Christ came to give us. The Catholic Faith is the only True Faith; it is filled with mystery and passion. It is our Lord’s gift to us, the Davidic Kingdom on Earth and you are depriving yourself of it. The Saints knew this and they dedicated their lives to upholding Her teachings. As St. Thomas Aquinas once said when his sister Theodora asked Him how to become a Saint, “Will it!” Each day when I wake up, I pray for the grace to be able to conquer my own sinfulness and selfishness because as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Holiness is not the luxury of a few people, but a simple duty for you and me.”

I guess the real problem for certain individuals is that they just can’t understand how we as Catholic Christians can believe that the Saints should be honored the way they are. It is such a shame and how I wish they knew the beauty of the lives of all the Saints from Saint Augustine to Saint Zita. I have read and will continue to read biographies, writings and teachings of the Saints and oh, how drastically it continues to change my life. They are my heroes, my friends in heaven, my older sisters and brothers in Christ. Without them, I do not know where I would be. I trust and rely on their intercession so implicitly. I have learned so very much from them. My life has been altered by the knowledge of how they loved God and others while they were on earth. They are my role models for Christian living. They have been rewarded with the beatific vision of seeing God face-to-face for all eternity. Oh, how I dream about that glorious day when I will, hopefully, come to see my Lord Jesus and praise and worship Him along with all the Saints for all eternity. If you haven’t already, I invite all of you to begin your journey into the lives of the Saints. I promise you, you will not regret it; it is indeed a whole new world!

All you Holy Saints in Heaven, pray for us!

Originally posted October 26, 2013.