Monday, July 26, 2010

The quote from George Orwell on their CNA banner ad caught my eye:

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Indeed it is, and we are living in just such a time, when, as the Casting Crowns song While You Were Sleeping says,

"We're lulled to sleep by philosophies that save the trees and kill the children."

TruthTV is a website out of Ireland that does a wonderful job of presenting the facts and pro-life bio-ethical arguments in one place, and in a way that's the "average Joe" can take with them.

Check it out:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Battle Fatigue

The Lord never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and timing in dispelling darkness.  He has so many special graces prepared, suprise gifts that are unexpected.  He grants them to us at just the right time, and very often before we realize we need them.  One particular grace--one that hadn't been in the forefront of my mind until this past week--is treatment of our battle fatigue.  Through his Spirit and Sacraments--particularly the Eucharist-- He restores re-energizes us to re-enter the fight (after all, lest we forget, this is a war we are fighting).  Let's face it, sometimes the challenges of discipleship, of both the internal and external struggles leave us weary.  Like Peter's encounter with Christ on the water (cf. Matthew 14: 22-32), even after the initial courage to step out of the boat, we become so worried and immersed in the mini-battles and "what-if's" of life that we allow our eyes of faith to be pulled off of Christ.   Slowly but surely, we begin to sink into the stormy abyss.  But, Christ is always there willing to pull us up--even to carry us when we need it--and sometimes without our asking.

Once in a while, in addition to the Sacraments, He supplements it with an additional gift.  Every so often He grants us the mental sustenance of a glimpse of the totality of his already victorious plan.  He lifts our eyes above the fog and the haze of the daily Christian struggle to the see the glory of eternity, and the fullness of what we are called to be in Him.

This past week, without even knowing it, I was slowly succumbing to that fatigue.  It is difficult not to when it seems that all of the forces of the world are bent on the demise of the Church and its faithful.  However, yesterday during Adoration (a tremendous refreshment in and of itself), I was pointed to a book that helped me several years ago to realize the infinite joy of life in the faith, C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.  I had not picked it up in some time, but flipped through it, eventually coming to the last chapter, "New Man."

In it, Lewis concludes his seminal work by reminding us of the mistake that we make in lowering our expectations to the frail, humanistic hope of the world around us.  In doing so--in allowing our gaze to be distracted from Christ--we forget that He did not just come to change things and to improve the world a bit.  As St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8, He came to be the New Man, to recreate us as new men, to restore us from being merely creatures to beloved sons, daughters, and heirs of God, and to bring about an unimaginable change in the history of salvation and of human events.  Not only that, but the two thousand years since he walked the earth--just like each of our lifetimes--are only a blink in light of creation and, more importantly, of eternity:

"Compared with the development of man on this planet, the diffusion of Christianity over the human race seems to go like a flash of lightning--for two thousand years is almost nothing in the history of the universe.  (Never forget that we are still 'the early Christians'.  The present wicked and wasteful divisions between us are, let us hope, a disease of infancy: we are still teething.  The outer world, no doubt, thinks just the opposite.  It thinks we are dying of old age.  But it has thought that very often before.  Again and again it has thought Christianity was dying, dying by persecutions from without and corruptions from within, by the rise of Mohammedanism, the rise of the physical sciences, the rise of great anti-Christian revolutionary movements. But every time the world has been disappointed.  Its first disappointment was over the crucifixion.  The Man came to life again. In a sense--and I quite realise how frightfully unfair it must seem to them--that has been happening ever since.  They keep on killing the thing that He started: and each time, just as they are patting down the earth on its grave, they suddenly hear that it is still alive and has broken out in some new place.  No wonder they hate us.)"
Yes! There is hope.  Thank you C.S. Lewis for putting it so tangibly.  The world is hard at work against us, but it will be disappointed.  The battle is already won in eternity and will be made real in time, the faith will be sustained, and we will be made to live forever with Him.  The gates of hell will not prevail.  In Him and through Him the world will be transformed, and that reality is brought to bear in us.  Back into the fight...

Vivat Jesus!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Where are our bishops???

When will the American bishops start using their shepherd's rods to separate out (excommunicate) these wolves who confuse the faithful, poison the message of the Church, and sanction the murder of unborn babies, all the while "wearing sheep's clothing" and daring to call themselves Catholic?

Catholics United raising $500,000 to monitor ‘religious right,’ defend against pro-life groups (CNA)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

'The Civil Rights Movement of the Century'

Let's be on our knees in prayer for and with those who'll be riding this weekend for freedom from the holocaust of abortion that has killed 50 million Americans before they were able to take their first breath.

(Original article is posted here)

50 Years After Freedom Rides, Pro-Life Activists Take to the Road

‘The Civil-Rights Movement of the Century’

Joseph Pronechen
Register Staff Writer
National Catholic Register - North Haven, CT

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. — As the civil-rights movement was simmering in the early 1960s, black men and women, often accompanied by white sympathizers, boarded buses in the American South and sat wherever they wanted. These “freedom riders” challenged local and state laws and customs that kept the races separate on public transportation as well as in waiting rooms and restrooms.

This Friday, a new kind of freedom rider will take to the road as “Freedom Rides for the Unborn” turns the ignition key.

A rally and concert will kick off the first Freedom Ride in Birmingham, Ala., featuring a new anthem for the rides called “The Least of These.” Saturday begins with a prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood before pro-life leaders board a bus and head to Atlanta for a late afternoon pro-life service at the tomb of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Priests for Life, the organization behind the Freedom Rides for the Unborn, is inviting people and families to drive along in a caravan with the freedom bus.

“We’re obviously linking this to the civil-rights movement,” explained Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

He and Alveda King, Martin Luther King’s niece and director of Priests for Life’s African-American Outreach, envisioned the Freedom Rides for the Unborn and officially introduced the movement in Birmingham April 27.

Linking the Freedom Rides for the Unborn to the concept and method of the 1961 Freedom Rides for civil rights was the result of a conversation Father Pavone and King had while attending a March for Life.

“This is the civil-rights movement” of this century, King concluded.

“I always see the pro-life effort and my own involvement as a striving for freedom,” said Father Pavone. “We’re talking about real people who are really enslaved, oppressed. And the whole ministry of the Gospel and priesthood is what Jesus said about his ministry: ‘I come to proclaim liberty to captives.’”

The first Freedom Ride for the Unborn, to be led by Father Pavone and King from Birmingham to Atlanta on July 23-24, is coming just months before the 50th anniversary of the original Freedom Rides in 2011. On the original Freedom Ride, 13 people boarded a bus in Washington to travel to New Orleans to test a Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation on interstate transportation vehicles. When the riders ran into opposition in Alabama, hundreds of others joined them. That one Freedom Ride multiplied into 60 across many states.

Plans call for today’s Freedom Rides for the Unborn also to multiply.

“This is not just a one-time event,” stressed Father Pavone, who looks forward to scheduling dozens of rides in all parts of the country over the next year. “We want it to be a continuing opportunity for unifying the pro-life movement.”

‘Truth Will Rise’

During this week’s event, Father Pavone plans to announce the next cities for the Freedom Rides.

The symbolism of the bus and the ride is significant.

“You know a destination, and you’re set in that direction and moving,” explained Father Pavone. “With the bus ride we are on our way to a specific destination — in this case, protection for the unborn. The bus brings in the idea there are many people who can be riding the same time to the same destination.”

The goal is also to mobilize and unify people.

King sees the rides bringing together “pro-life people from many walks of life, from across the country, of (different) denominations, ethnic groups, ages, younger and older,” she said. “We’re all together for a common cause, and that is for life.”

Birmingham has significant memories for King, whose father, A.D. King, was also a civil-rights leader. Their home was bombed in 1963, and a classmate was killed in the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church across the way.

Yet her family of Christian preachers - father, grandfather and uncle - “preached the love of God and we’re all equal in the sight of God,” said King.

She envisions the same ultimate success with Freedom Rides for the Unborn as the original civil-rights Freedom Rides realized: This ride will be “for justice and freedom for all, from conception until natural death.”

“Certainly in this decade America has become pro-life,” she explained. “We are moving toward a victory. My uncle would always say, ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ And the truth for life is arising for America.”

Freedom From Lies

Among the pro-life leaders planning to be on the bus this weekend are Theresa and Kevin Burke, founders of Rachel’s Vineyard.

“Freedom from lies” is one lesson the ride will teach, said Kevin Burke, because “abortion from the very beginning is where lies are implanted in the heart, particularly of fathers.” Once a father denies the truth of his vocation as a man to defend the life of his child regardless of his circumstances, Burke said, he is deeply wounded. “He becomes imprisoned by those lies and needs to be set free from those lies.”

Theresa Burke finds great significance in linking the Freedom Rides for the Unborn with the civil-rights freedom rides. “It’s a wonderful unification of lots of different people and history together to take this to the next level to promote freedom for everyone, including the unborn,” she said.

Furthermore, the Burkes believe the symbolic connection of the first Freedom Rides with the new one also underlines the generational trauma on African-American families: Many minority communities are targeted for abortion and contraception, with abortion clinics set up in very poor neighborhoods.

In support of the Freedom Rides, Birmingham Bishop Robert Baker sent a letter to all parishes to encourage participation.

“It’s another event like the March for Life in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to the plight of the unborn,” Bishop Baker told the Register. “It’s important to do all humanely possible to underline the moral gravity of abortion and help women in distress to find alternatives. The Freedom Ride for life is a visible, peaceful expression of concern for the right to life for the unborn. It is in the tradition of Freedom Rides for civil rights in the past.”

Those who cannot travel to Birmingham can still participate. Said Father Pavone, “We want to mobilize people right where they are. We want people to identify themselves as Freedom Riders for the unborn.”

Priests for Life is offering Freedom Rider lapel buttons, and people can participate in an ongoing prayer campaign.

“Prayer is at the heart of this pro-life movement,” Father Pavone emphasized. “People need to pray very deliberately, specifically to end abortion.”

Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

America's Ruling Class--And the Perils of Revolution by Angelo Codevilla

Ever so often an article comes along that is worthy of being saved on the hard drive for re-reading and future reference.  Professor Angelo M. Codevilla's article, America's Ruling Class--And the Perils of Revolution, is one of those articles.  Conservative talk show hosts raved about it yesterday, but it was not until it Alan Keyes listed it as a featured link on his Loyal to Liberty blog that I knew it was a must-read.

Professor Codevilla's piece could not be a more timely and accurate barometer of the pressures that exist between the two, polarized and diametrically opposed classes that have emerged in American society today--as he calls them, the "ruling class" and "country class."  He analyzes from all angles--social, political, economic, and religious--the manner in which each group defines and identifies itself.  Specifically commenting on the groups' differing views on authority and power, Codevilla writes,

"While the unenlightened ones believe that man is created in the image and likeness of God and that we are subject to His and to His nature's laws, the enlightened ones know that we are products of evolution, driven by chance, the environment, and the will to primacy.  While the un-enlightened are stuck with the antiquated notion that ordinary human minds can reach objective judgments about good and evil, better and worse through reason, the enlightened ones know that all such judgments are subjective and that ordinary people can no more be trusted with reason than they can with guns.  Because ordinary people will pervert reason with ideology, religion, or interest, science is "science" only in the "right" hands.  Consensus among the right people is the only standard of truth. Facts and logic matter only insofar as proper authority acknowledges them."
He continues,

"Though they cannot prevent Americans from worshipping God, they can make it as socially disabling as smoking--to be done furtively and with a bad social conscience", and "The ruling class's manifold efforts to discredit and drive worship of God out of public life--not even the Soviet Union arrested students for wearing crosses or praying, or reading the Bible on school property, as some U.S. localities have done in response to U.S. Supreme Court rulings--convinced many among the vast majority of Americans who believe in and pray that today's regime is hostile to the most important things of all."
I'll proudly and thankfully remain part of the "unenlightened" country class.

Monday, July 12, 2010

BP Oil Spill Update 2: A Brief (Eye-opening) History

Lauren at posted a great synopsis last week, "Thoughts on BP," of the legal and historical background behind the Gulf oil spill, beginning with the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, and what led BP to take on such a high-risk drilling venture.  The facts are ones that have never even been discussed among all of the emotionally-charged finger pointing.  It is a shame that we have lost such perspective on history that we cannot (will not?) even look back twenty years to see where a chain of bad deals and poor decisions contributed to the disaster we find ourselves still in the midst of today.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Counterfeit Catholics

For some time now, there has been a feeling among many Catholics that there are sinister forces at work within the Church, seeking to undermine its mission at the base by dividing and conquering.  Holy Mother Church has always had to be on guard against heresies (see previous post about Calling A Spade A Spade), but as Michael Voris from RealCatholicTV commented in the YouTube spot, Armies Gathering, the incredible amount of financial resources and communications media at the disposal of forces aligned against the Church, combined with decades of poor catechesis within, has led us to the situation we find ourselves in today, where the cancer of progressivism has laid deep roots and is hard at work.

In their second lecture, Obama's Counterfeit Catholics, Voris and the team at RealCatholicTV's "CIA" (Catholic Investigative Agency) have done a wonderful job of researching and laying out a logical presentation of how this plague of political progressivism, sold to us over the past several decades as "social justice" and work for the "common good", has gotten as far and done as much damage in detracting from the Church's mission as it has.  The next time you can spare 90 minutes, you will not want to miss it.  In addition to the presentation itself, their 600 man-hours of research is laid out with all supporting documentation.

In his recent address on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, The Holy Father warned that the greatest threat to the Church is not from external persecution, but from the "negative attitudes" of the world that can "infect the Christian community" from the within.  His comments were quite an indictment of the sinfulness (including, in my opinion, heresy) that has taken hold within the Church: "In fact, it suffers the greatest damage from what pollutes the Christian faith and life of its members and communities, eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face." (Pope says greatest danger to Church is internal pollution- CNA/EWTN).

In the difficult struggle that lies ahead, to correct these false teachings, we would do well to remember the words of St. Paul as he exhorted St. Timothy to continue the work of the Christ and the Apostles:

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth...In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary.  All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:15, 20-21)

And Christ's warning himself to avoid Pharisaic precepts and remain in the "Tradition of the Elders":

And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God.  You hypocrites!  Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.' (Matthew 15:3, 6-9)

Click below to play the 1:37 presentation.

This program is from

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Catechism on Sin by Saint John Vianney

In a previous post, The Reality and Insanity of Sin, I commented on the necessity of "owning up" to our sins before the acts of repentance and redemption can take place.  In preparing for a scripture study this past week, on Chapter 3 of Father Larry Richards' just-released book, Be A Man (more on that in later posts), I was pointed to a powerful reflection on the stark reality and destructiveness of our choice to sin by renowned priest and confessor, Saint John Vianney:

Catechism on Sin
by Saint John Vianney

Sin is the executioner of the good God, and the assassin of the soul. It snatches us away from Heaven to precipitate us into Hell. And we love it! What folly! If we thought seriously about it, we should have such a lively horror of sin that we could not commit it. O my children, how ungrateful we are! The good God wishes to make us happy; that is very certain; He gave us His Law for no other end. The Law of God is great; it is broad. King David said that he found his delight in it, and that it was a treasure more precious to him than the greatest riches. He said also that he walked at large, because he had sought after the Commandments of the Lord. The good God wishes, then, to make us happy, and we do not wish to be so. We turn away from Him, and give ourselves to the devil! We fly from our Friend, and we seek after our murderer! We commit sin; we plunge ourselves into the mire. Once sunk in this mire, we know not how to get out. If our fortune were in the case, we should soon find out how to get out of the difficulty; but because it only concerns our soul, we stay where we are.

We come to confession quite preoccupied with the shame that we shall feel. We accuse ourselves by steam. It is said that many confess, and few are converted. I believe it is so, my children, because few confess with tears of repentance. See, the misfortune is, that people do not reflect. If one said to those who work on Sundays, to a young person who had been dancing for two or three hours, to a man coming out of an alehouse drunk, "What have you been doing? You have been crucifying Our Lord!" they would be quite astonished, because they do not think of it. My children, if we thought of it, we should be seized with horror; it would be impossible for us to do evil. For what has the good God done to us that we should grieve Him thus, and put Him to death afresh -- Him, who has redeemed us from Hell? It would be well if all sinners, when they are going to their guilty pleasures, could, like Saint Peter, meet Our Lord on the way, who would say to them, "I am going to that place where thou art going thyself, to be there crucified afresh. " Perhaps that might make them reflect.

The saints understood how great an outrage sin is against God. Some of them passed their lives in weeping for their sins. Saint Peter wept all his life; he was still weeping at his death. Saint Bernard used to say, "Lord! Lord! it is I who fastened Thee to the Cross!" By sin we despise the good God, we crucify the good God! What a pity it is to lose our souls, which have cost Our Lord so many sufferings! What harm has Our Lord done us, that we should treat Him so? If the poor lost souls could come back to the earth! if they were in our place! Oh, how senseless we are! the good God calls us to Him, and we fly from Him! He wishes to make us happy, and we will not have His happiness. He commands us to love Him, and we five our hearts to the devil. We employ in ruining ourselves the time He fives us to save our souls. We make war upon Him with the means He gave us to serve Him.

When we offend the good God, if we were to look at our crucifix, we should hear Our Lord saying to us in the depths of our soul, "Wilt thou too, then, take the side of My enemies? Wilt thou crucify Me afresh?" Cast your eyes on Our Lord fastened to the Cross, and say to yourself, "That is what it cost my Saviour to repair the injury my sins have done to God!" A God coming down to earth to be the victim of our sins, a God suffering, a God dying, a God enduring every torment, because He would bear the weight of our crimes! At the sight of the Cross, let us understand the malice of sin, and the hatred we ought to feel for it. Let us enter into ourselves; let us see what we can do to make amends for our poor life.

"What a pity it is!" the good God will say to us at our death; "why hast thou offended Me -Me, who loved thee so much?" To offend the good God, who has never done us anything but good; to please the devil, who can never do us anything but evil! What folly! Is it not real folly to choose to make ourselves worthy of Hell by attaching ourselves to the devil. when we might taste the joys of Heaven, even in this life, by uniting ourselves to God by love? One cannot understand this folly; it cannot be enough lamented. Poor sinners seem as if they could not wait for the sentence which will condemn them to the society of the devils; they condemn themselves to it. There is a sort of foretaste in this life of Paradise, of Hell, and of Purgatory. Purgatory is in those souls that are not dead to themselves; Hell is in the heart of the impious; Paradise in that of the perfect, who are closely united to Our Lord.

He who lives in sin takes up the habits and the appearance of the beasts. The beast, which has not reason, knows nothing but its appetites. So the man who makes himself like the beasts loses his reason, and lets himself be guided by the inclinations of his body. He takes his pleasure in good eating and drinking, and in enjoying the vanities of the world, which pass away like the wind. I pity the poor wretches who run after that wind; they gain very little, they five a great deal for very little profit -- they five their eternity for the miserable smoke of the world.

My children, how sad it is! when a soul is in a state of sin, it may die in that state; and even now, whatever it can do is without merit before God. That is the reason why the devil is so pleased when a soul is in sin, and perseveres in it, because he thinks that it is working for him, and if it were to die he would have possession of it. When we are in sin, our soul is all diseased, all rotten; it is pitiful. The thought that the good God sees it ought to make it enter into itself. And then, what pleasure is there in sin? None at all. We have frightful dreams that the devil is carrying us away, that we are falling over precipices. Put yourself on good terms with God; have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance; you will sleep as quietly as an angel. You will be glad to waken in the night, to pray to God; you will have nothing but thanksgivings on your lips; you will rise I towards Heaven with great facility, as an eagle soars through the air.

See, my children, how sin degrades man; of an angel created to love God, it makes a demon who will curse Him for eternity. Ah! if Adam, our first father, had not sinned, and if we did not sin every day, how happy we should be! we should be as happy as the saints in Heaven. There would be no more unhappy people on the earth. Oh, how beautiful it would be! In fact, my children, it is sin that brings upon us all calamities, all scourges, war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, fires, frost, hail, storms -- all that afflicts us, all that makes us miserable. See, my children, a person who is in a state of sin is always sad. Whatever he does, he is weary and disgusted with everything; while he who is at peace with God is always happy, always joyous. . . . Oh, beautiful life! Oh, beautiful death!

My children, we are afraid of death; I can well believe it. It is sin that makes us afraid of death; it is sin that renders death frightful, formidable; it is sin that terrifies the wicked at the hour of the fearful passage. Alas! O God! there is reason enough to be terrified, to think that one is accursed -- accursed of God! It makes one tremble. Accursed of God! and why? for what do men expose themselves to be accursed of God? For a blasphemy, for a bad thought, for a bottle of wine, for two minutes of pleasure! For two minutes of pleasure to lose God, one's soul, Heaven forever! We shall see going up to Heaven, in body and soul, that father, that mother, that sister, that neighbour, who were here with us, with whom we have lived, but whom we have not imitated; while we shall go down body and soul to burn in Hell. The devils will rush to overwhelm us. All the devils whose advice we followed will come to torment us.

My children, if you saw a man prepare a great pile of wood, heaping up fagots one upon another, and when you asked him what he was doing, he were to answer you, "I am preparing the fire that is to burn me, " what would you think? And if you saw this same man set fire to the pile, and when it was lighted throw himself upon it, what would you say? This is what we do when we commit sin. It is not God who casts us into Hell; we cast ourselves into it by our sins. The lost souls will say, "I have lost God, my soul, and Heaven; it is through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault!" He will raise himself out of the fire only to fall back into it. He will always feel the desire of rising because he was created for God, the greatest, the highest of beings, the Most High . . . as a bird shut up in a room flies to the ceiling, and falls down again, the justice of God is the ceiling which keeps down the lost.

There is no need to prove the existence of Hell. Our Lord Himself speaks of it, when He relates the history of the wicked rich man who cried out, "Lazarus! Lazarus!" We know very well that there is a Hell, but we live as if there were not; we sell our souls for a few pieces of money. We put off our conversion till the hour of death; but who can assure us that we shall have time or strength at that formidable moment, which has been feared by all the saints -- when Hell will gather itself up for a last assault upon us, seeing that it is the decisive moment? There are many people who lose the faith, and never see Hell till they enter it. The Sacraments are administered to them; but ask them if they have committed such a sin, and they will answer you, "Oh! settle that as you please. "

Some people offend the good God every moment; their heart is an anthill of sins: it is like a spoilt piece of meat, half-eaten by worms. . . . No, indeed; if sinners were to think of eternity -- of that terrible forever -- they would be converted instantly.