Sunday, July 31, 2011

The sin of usury

Prophets of Baal
And at noon Eli'jah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is musing, or he has gone aside, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.
 – 1 Kings 18:27
I'm not going to research this article, because if I started to do that I would never even begin to be able to write about a very important topic. So this is just off the top of my head and I may get some of my facts wrong. I'll also engage in "sweeping generalities" but again I'm trying to get across the big picture and I'm not inclined to spend the time researching this right now.

In other words, this article is strictly my opinion. You may say that isn't any different from my other articles, but I usually spend a lot of time finding online references to back up my opinion. So don't expect to find any links in this article, not that most people follow links anyway.

I'm going to start off by giving my definition of usury. Again, this is just off the top of my head. If I were to look up an exact definition, that would just get me started down a giant rabbit hole of how to exactly define the word and how different people have defined it different ways at different times. I'm not interested in that right now.

I define usury as lending money at interest. And of course if someone is lending the money, then someone else is borrowing it.

Some may say that what is important is the interest rate. And that it only becomes usury when it involves high interest rates. I'm not going to make that distinction. I'm also not going to distinguish between simple interest and compound interest. Although obviously, compound interest only compounds the sin.

My understanding is that usury was a sin as defined by the Catholic Church throughout history. I don't know about the pre-Christian Jewish definitions so I won't get into that. I also won't get into whether or not Jewish merchants in medieval times were the source of usurious lending. I'm not interested in that, and it is another black-hole that I don't want to explore at this time.

The big change as I understand it happened with the Protestant Reformation. And the key figure was Calvin. He was the one that decided that usury should no longer be a sin. His followers became the Calvinists.

I don't know which Protestant denominations are considered the most Calvinist, but it doesn't really matter. As far as usury goes, virtually all Protestants have full adopted the Calvinist position that usury is not a sin.

Catholicism I believe still considers this to be a sin -- although you wouldn't know it in practice. The Church probably nuances it with some statement about very high interest rates, but that is like trying to distinguish between different forms of contraception and labeling some a sin while others OK.

Usury was what allowed capitalism to flourish. Capitalism is not just about a free economy, it is also about "capital" -- that is, money. And it is about banks. It is about an abstraction of money, which is no longer something tangible. It is just a line in a balance sheet. It is a number. It doesn't necessarily reflect a physical reality like so many cattle, or acres of land, or barrels of wine.

Money takes on a life of its own. It becomes a god.

All this is possible because of usury. Because without the lending of money, then once a transaction is completed it is over. You exchange your two pieces of silver for two rabbits and the deal is done. There is no need to maintain a record of the transaction.

But if you borrow the money to buy the rabbits then the transaction is not over. A record must be kept. And as money is borrowed to repay another lender, the web of debt gets ever more thick and complicated.

This begins to quickly affect prices. If people had to save up money to buy a home, and then pay in cash then undoubtedly home prices would be lower.

And it would also be true that people would purchase smaller and more modest homes because they wouldn't be able to save up enough money to purchase a larger and more luxurious home. And maybe that would be a good thing.

Like all false gods, this one is eventually exposed when the drought comes. No longer do the sacrifices to the false idols bring the rain. They never did, it was all just an illusion; a hoax perpetrated by the priests of the religion.

When the magic fails, the people who placed their belief in false gods become disillusioned. The faithful that trust in the LORD have no reason to lose their faith. In fact their faith will be increased.

Trust in the LORD!

Friday, July 29, 2011

National Day of Prayer for Marriage - Aug 29

Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
Mark 10:27
France had its Joan of Arc, we have Shawn Hernandez of Rochester, Minnesota.
Acting on an inspiration that came to her during Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, a 25 year-old Minnesota woman has launched the first national day of prayer for marriage which will take place one month from today – on August 29, 2011.

The idea to launch a prayer campaign for marriage came to her one night during prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. On this particular night, she had just finished praying the rosary when the idea to start a campaign popped into her head. At first, she thought it was just her own thoughts, but then she began to wonder if it could be from the Lord.

She prayed, “But Lord, I’m just a simple girl living in Minnesota! How would I get this done?”

Almost instantly, ideas for how to accomplish the mission began to flow through her head.

“But still, in my humanity I questioned it. I asked the Lord for a sign. Not just a small one, some way that I would know for sure this was really what He wanted.”

She went to the front of the chapel and knelt in front of the monstrance. There was a small Bible in the pocket of the kneeler and she had a sudden inclination to open it. The Bible opened to Mark 6:14-29, which is the account of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, who was murdered because he denounced Herod’s unlawful marriage to Herodius.

“Knowing his fight for marriage, even to the point of death, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, but Providence,” Hernandez said.

She went home and discovered that the feast of the beheading of John the Baptist takes place on August 29 – just enough time for her to put a plan into action.
Shawn has set up a Facebook page and made an announcement through a YouTube video and her blog. Now it is up to the Holy Spirit and all of us to make this dream a reality. She has already drawn support from Susan Brinkmann of Women of Grace who wrote the article I am quoting from.
She called into the Women of Grace daily radio show and her call was taken, which gave her the opportunity to speak to a national audience. By the end of the show, the ministry’s staff journalist offered to write an article about the campaign to get the word out even further.

At this point, the miraculous way her story was unfolding gave her almost as much inspiration as her main motive for launching the campaign – love.

“The meaning of Love has been so torn apart and destroyed,” she said. “One reason for this is the use of birth control. It teaches us to believe the marital act of love is only for pleasure, which means that if children are no longer the fruit of this act of love, homosexual marriage would be permissible because the meaning of marriage would no longer be life. Marriage has lost its meaning. Love has been brought down to meaning something that makes you feel good, which is not love at all. Love is sacrificing. Love is the ultimate gift of self. Love always creates.”

But we know that “with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27) and if we join together in prayer, He will hear us and respond.

Therefore, Hernandez is asking individuals, prayer groups, parishes, anyone who wants to participate to make August 29 a special day of prayer for marriage. Pray the rosary, make sacrifices, attend Mass, make a Holy Hour, put an announcement in your parish bulletin, post in on your Facebook page.

“I am asking for anything you can do,” Hernandez says.

Martha, Martha

St. Martha
But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her,

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things."

 – Luke 10:41

Today is the feast day of St. Martha.

There aren't a lot of people that look up to St. Martha and say "I want to be like her." But Martha was loved by Jesus. He says, "Martha, Martha". Who wouldn't want themselves to be mentioned by Jesus in the Scriptures -- not once, but twice. It shows the great love that Jesus had for Martha.

He corrects her, but in the softest, sweetest and most tender way possible. She is one of the sheep of his flock and he gently guides her with his staff. She is like a precious little lamb that has wandered slightly to nibble on some grass and is in danger of being left behind.

We don't recognize ourselves in Martha, but we should. She is the faithful Catholic that attends Mass every week; that prays her Rosary every day. And kneels before the Eucharist in silent adoration.

She may not always understand why she does these things. Others may accuse her of superstition because she is unable to explain her devotion. Hers is a blind faith, done out of a sense of obedience.

With what heroic fortitude does she persist in her devotions; never doubting, never questioning. Calling on those around her to follow her example and pray the Rosary daily; totally committed in her allegiance to the Pope. So much so that she cannot be swayed or distracted by the rumors, gossip and scandals in the Church.

Others may say that she clings to her religion. Jesus calls to her gently, "Martha, Martha..."

Martha carries on dutifully.

Martha is the heroic faithful who never waver in their devotion to Jesus and their obedience to the Church. They may not have the gift of a burning fire of faith like a St. Peter or her sister Mary; their gift is a faith formed from obedience and perseverance. They trust in the Lord even as they are led along a path which for them is dark and empty. They are His sheep; He is their Shepherd. They are His servants; He is their Lord and Master.

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:12)
Blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)
Blessed are those who are alive and keep thy commandments! (4 Ezra 7:45)
How blessed are those who love you! (Tobit 13:14)
Blessed are those who saw you. (Sirach 48:11)
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. (Luke 12:37)
Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:9)

Martha quietly says to us, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." (John 11:28)
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it." (Isaiah 30:20-21)
[Lectio Divina: The prophet Isaiah seems to be speaking to us through Martha here. She struggles with adversity as we all do in our daily lives. Then the Teacher appears. Martha is one of the fortunate few who saw Jesus with her own eyes. We can see Him through her witness. He appears as a man to her; as a friend. But also as the Teacher and the Son of God. He guides his sheep -- Martha and us -- with his gentle but firm words saying "Martha, Martha.... this is the way."]

+++

See also:
 +++

UPDATE:

Below I have expanded some of the Biblical quotations from above to show how the Old and the New Testament blend together so perfectly. There is a Divine Plan. You can see immediately how the blessings show us a path to our heavenly destination. (Also, I discovered that the name Martha in Hebrew is the feminine equivalent of Lord. So she would be a Lady, in the sense of a wife of a Lord. Jesus is her Lord and she has taken a solemn wedding vow to dutifully obey His every command.)

Kiss his feet,
 lest he be angry, and you perish in the way;
 for his wrath is quickly kindled.
 Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 2:12)
[Remember how Mary Magdalene kissed the feet of our Lord.]
 +++
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you;
 therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
 For the LORD is a God of justice;
 blessed are all those who wait for him.
(Isaiah 30:18)
[The LORD is merciful. The extent to which the Prophet Isaiah foretells the coming birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah is truly amazing.]
 +++
How blessed are those who love you!
 They will rejoice in your peace.
 Blessed are those who grieved over all your afflictions;
 for they will rejoice for you upon seeing all your glory,
 and they will be made glad for ever.
(Tobit 13:14)
[How can anyone read this and not be reminded of Christ's Passion and Resurrection.]
 +++
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them.
(Luke 12:37)
[Christ reveals that at the Second Coming there will be like a reenactment of the Last Supper when He washes the Apostle's feet. Will He greet each soul into Heaven this way? Rather than Martha serving Him, He will serve Martha.]
 +++


"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure" -- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God."

(Revelation 19:7-9)
[The angel reveals more about the Second Coming. Again the imagery is like the Last Supper, but now it is clearly revealed to be a wedding feast. The Bride appears to be the Church; or at least the Saints of the Church.]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The unholy deficit

Unconstitutional? What-e-ver...
"For the LORD your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow."
  – Deuteronomy 15:6
Two and a half years ago President-elect Obama was instrumental in the passage of the enormous Wall Street Bailout which was supposed to save Western Civilization from collapse.  As I say, he was President-elect at the time. He hadn't even stepped into the White House yet, but he used his influence with the Congressional Black Caucus and others to push hard for hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars to be handed over so that Wall Street executives could continue their decadent lifestyles.

That was followed by the huge "stimulus" program which was supposed to once again save Western Civilization but was really just another tax payer funded bailout of the plutocracy. And here we are again  with the threat of the collapse of Western Civilization if the debt ceiling is not raised by another few trillion dollars.

As an economic savior, Obama has been neither Superman nor Messiah -- he has been a failure. Faced with a Republican dominated House of Representatives that is finally showing signs of having had enough, Obama and his colleagues are floating a proposal of having the President raise the debt ceiling on his own using some contrived presidential power purportedly found in the 14th amendment.

What does Michele Bachmann have to say about this? She has pledged not to vote for any increase in the debt ceiling. The only exception she has mentioned is if Obamacare is repealed as part of the legislation. Michele has come out in a ground-shaking interview with CNN calling it like it is. She firmly states her opposition to an executive branch increase in the debt ceiling and states that this would effectively turn the President into a dictator.



In her reaction, the CNN anchorwoman abandons all pretense of objectivity and makes a face worthy of a schoolgirl who has just been given detention for speaking during class. "What-e-ver..." Very mature.

For all the adults out there -- this is very serious business. It doesn't require deep analysis to come to the conclusion that we cannot just continue borrowing and raising the debt ceiling. We have already seen what has happened in Greece.

This is not a partisan issue. Republicans are just as responsible for this mess as Democrats. It would be absolutely unfair to place all the blame on Obama. President Bush acted in the same way while he was head of the executive branch of government.

Here is Senator Barack Obama's statement on the debt limit in 2006, when he voted against increasing the ceiling:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here'. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
The only way to save Western Civilization is to adopt Christian principles within government. That means ending the corrupt practices that funnel taxpayer money to corporations and government bureaucracies.

In case you haven't noticed, our society seems to have abandoned basic Christian values. Lying, stealing and cheating are considered positive attributes in business and government. While virtues like honesty, respect and humility are looked down upon as undesirable.

At the core of this is the inevitable corruption that occurs in society as Christian morals are replaced with the utilitarianism of secular humanism. Christianity is what built up America and made it the greatest nation on earth. Once we began to abandon our Christian roots in the aftermath of WWII our nation began to decline. It did not happen immediately because there was still an upward inertia from our Christian heritage. But as that heritage declined over succeeding generations, the forces of nature caused our nation's trajectory to go from surging positive growth to sliding into decadence.

In 1835 the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville published his observations of American society in a book titled "Democracy in America". Here are his impressions on the influence of Christianity on American society.
"Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same. In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.

There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and their debasement, while in America one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world fulfills all the outward duties of religion with fervor.

Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country."
What would Tocqueville say if he were to visit America today?

Monday, July 25, 2011

NY Bishops using the silent treatment against "homosexual marriage"

Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.
 – Genesis 13:13


Hear that? No? It's the sound of silence. This is the tactic of Archbishop Dolan to combat "homosexual marriage".

This might work in an argument with your husband or wife, but in politics... I don't think so.

On July 24 "homosexual marriage" in New York was made official. Officially the NY bishops seem not to have noticed.

While Mayor Bloomberg staged a huge PR promo at NY taxpayer expense on Sunday, the NY Church remained mute.
Senator Diaz has chided New York City Mayor Bloomberg for making special concessions for gay marriages. "In a city where teachers and public employees are being laid off, and fire houses are being closed for lack of funds, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to spend city funds to have government offices open on a Sunday to perform same-sex weddings," the Bronx senator said last week.
There was a rally that same day organized by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to spearhead the movement to overturn "homosexual marriage" in New York. Senator Ruben Diaz (who is also an evangelical minister) sent a personal invitation to Archbishops Dolan and DiMarzio. There was no RSVP.

Not a word has been mentioned about denying Communion to Catholic Andrew Cuomo. More of the silent treatment.

While pro-Life politicians like evangelist Christian Michele Bachmann boldly confront the culture of death, the NY Church seems to have forgotten the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, "Be not afraid!"

Abp. Dolan may have bigger problems in the near future. The whole Irish sex abuse scandal may be about to blow up in his face. They are really, really angry at the Church for covering up crimes in the past and Irish politicians are retaliating. Dolan was part of the Apostolic Visitation to the Church in Ireland which was supposed to address the issue of coverups among other things. I would think that the Irish government would want to know exactly what Abp. Dolan discussed during the Visitation over beer and Jameson.

I don't want to seem to be going all Maureen Dowd on you, but for your information Archbishop the silent treatment is no longer considered acceptable. It is not acceptable when it comes to sexual abuse by members of the clergy, nor is it acceptable when responding to political issues that affect the very life of the Church.

If you are not with us, then you are against us. (Matthew 12:30) If you are for us, then in the name of Jesus speak up!
For truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel.... And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness.... And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
 – Acts 4:27,29,31

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The few, the loud

The men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them."
 – Genesis 19:4-5
Local New York paper headline

Homosexual activists can be very loud when it comes to denouncing those who oppose "homosexual marriage", but when it comes to actually legalizing their relationships few seem interested.

In New York State "homosexual marriage" becomes legal today, but smaller towns in the state have seen little to no inquiries. Here is a quick survey based on articles from three local papers from Poughkeepsie, the Finger Lakes region and New Rochelle.
Pleasant Valley - "We have gotten none and not even any inquiries," said Pleasant Valley Town Clerk Deborah Bjorkman on Thursday. "I'm kind of surprised."

Hyde Park - Hyde Park Town Clerk Donna McGrogan said she was sent about 50 forms, but her office has received no calls, or had any residents coming in, asking about obtaining a same-sex marriage license.

Poughkeepsie (a larger town) - Poughkeepsie's city chamberlain and town clerk have received about a dozen phone calls each asking about what's involved in getting a same-sex license. City of Poughkeepsie Chamberlain Deanne Flynn said her office has one same-sex marriage ceremony scheduled for Tuesday at city hall.

Beacon City - Beacon City Clerk Iola Taylor said she has received seven calls from residents interested in obtaining a same-sex marriage license. She has scheduled appointments for Monday and Friday for couples to acquire licenses.

Seneca Falls - Nicaletta Greer, Seneca Falls’ town clerk said three or four calls came in to her office.

Waterloo - “We’re ready to roll,” said Waterloo Town Clerk Sandra Ridley. But Ridley said she hadn’t received any requests as of Friday morning.

Arcadia, Geneva, Lodi, Manchester, Milo, Savannah, Seneca - no requests.

Canandaigua - City Manager Kay James said the city clerk’s office has gotten four or five inquiries, including one from a couple who said they would be there at 9 a.m. Monday to apply for a license.

Benton - Town Clerk Bobbi Wolfe said one person called to ask about the timeframe. Wolfe said she would have opened for business on Sunday if anyone had requested it.

New Rochelle - No one has indicated they will apply for licenses.
Since it is quite impossible that the homosexual community just hasn't heard the news yet about legalized "homosexual marriage", the only conclusion that one can come to is that the whole issue is one big charade. Homosexual activists made thousands of phone calls to politicians about the urgency to change New York marriage laws, but there seem to be very few phone calls indicating interest to actually take advantage of the new laws.

The impact of the change in the marriage laws is huge. Thousands of New York laws that mention marriage, or husband, or wife or children will need to be changed. All sorts of state documents that indicate marital status or marital relationships or child/parent relationships will also need to change.

The education of children will change drastically. They will be taught that it is morally acceptable and not just legally acceptable to engage in homosexual activity. TV and movies will increasingly show a false image of the homosexual lifestyle as a valid and harmless alternative – as if young people weren't already confused enough about how to live moral lives when it comes to their sexuality.

The hurt and the despair that young people now feel over failed sexual relationships will only increase. There will be an increase in alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide as people struggle for an answer when society's formula for happiness and success turns out to be a false promise; a lie.

Young adults will blame themselves for their failure to form meaningful relationships, when it is our society which is to blame for leading them down a false path. Single parenthood will increase; divorce will increase. Children will suffer. Our schools will struggle with the emotional needs of young students.

Families will fall into poverty. Abortion will increase. Gang violence will increase. Neighborhoods will fall into decay.

We've already seen these symptoms of the moral disease that is ravaging our country as a result of the "sexual revolution" that began in the 1960s. And now the degenerative process will only accelerate.

How much stress can you put on a society before it finally breaks? And that seems to be the goal – to breakdown society to the point where it can be remolded into something totally different.

Unless Christians in the United States react strongly and swiftly, then I'm afraid a "brave new world" is coming.

 +++
Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming soon.
 – Revelation 3:10-11

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Christian testimony

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
 – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Michele Bachmann speaking at Des Moines First Assembly of God church
[My apologies to my regular readers for seemingly turning this from a Catholic blog to a political blog. I just feel the need right now to strongly defend a fellow Christian.]

This following article appeared in IowaPolitics.com:
Speaking to more than 500 people at the Des Moines First Assembly of God church, Bachmann shared how she grew up as a Lutheran and lived in Waterloo until the sixth grade, when she was 12.

The Minnesota congresswoman talked about how the issue of human life is the “watershed issue of our time” and how she and her husband have been very active in the anti-abortion movement. The couple ultimately had five biological children and during the ensuing years helped raise 23 foster children in their home.
Her Christian testimony is inspirational and well worth listening to:
http://www.iowapolitics.com/1009/110717Bachmann_speech.mp3

I've been closely following the coverage of the Bachmann campaign. The way that the media has attempted to smear her is shameful. The reason that she is so hated by the secular media is that she is a faithful follower of Christ.

And don't think that it is just liberal Democrats that are bashing Michele Bachmann; she has been attacked just as viciously by conservative Republicans.

She is clearly not the establishment Republican candidate. This indicates to me that she has not sold out to the powerful economic interests that control American politics.

Michele speaks of her "fear of the Lord", and placing the Lord above everything else. This is the message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We need a God-fearing President to set things right in America. If we truly lived in a democracy, then Michele Bachmann could easily be elected the next President of the United States. But the way things are, Michele will have to fight her way through this campaign inch-by-inch and day-by-day.

Bachmann had some very tough words today on the campaign trail for those who want to continue with business as usual:
“I will guarantee you, you will hear wailing and gnashing of teeth and screaming and squealing all the way from Washington, all the way to Iowa,” Bachmann told about 75 people at a campaign event in the backyard of Jim and Linda Fehl’s home. “Because all of the special interests have been used to a lot of perks along the way. We can’t afford it anymore.”

“It will require some very tough love. It will require sacrificial cuts. But we have to sacrifice now,” she said. “At the federal government level, the music is going to stop. Eventually, we can’t earn enough money for what they can spend. They always spend more money than what we earn. Those days are over.”
Michele may not be familiar with the Biblical character of Judith since the book of the Old Testament that bears her name was considered apocryphal by Martin Luther and removed from Protestant Bibles. But I'm sure that Michele could identify with these words of Judith, "For now is the time to help thy inheritance, and to carry out my undertaking for the destruction of the enemies who have risen up against us." (Judith 13:5)

"Inheritance" clearly refers to future generations. Similarly, Michele has made a strong appeal to save our children from being buried underneath the debt that the federal government is rapidly accumulating.



In the Bible, Judith comes to the rescue of her town which is under attack by the Assyrians. She lures the Assyrian general Holofernes into her tent and then gives him wine to drink until he falls into a drunken stupor. She then uses the general's own sword to cut off his head.
She went up to the post at the end of the bed, above Holofernes' head, and took down his sword that hung there.  She came close to his bed and took hold of the hair of his head, and said, "Give me strength this day, O Lord God of Israel!" And she struck his neck twice with all her might, and severed it from his body. (Judith 13:6-8)
Judith then rallies her townspeople to victory by proclaiming, "See, here is the head of Holofernes, the commander of the Assyrian army.... The Lord has struck him down by the hand of a woman." (Judith 13:15)

"By the hand of a woman" with "the will and the courage to see this through".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

God is Love

He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
 – 1 John 4:8
Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Joni Mitchell once expressed in her lyrics, "All romantics meet the same fate someday. Cynical and drunk. And boring someone in some dark café."
[Lyrics are from "The Last Time I Saw Richard" on the "Blue" album.]



This vision of love lost seems inevitable. The decline from the naïve, to the sophisticated, to the simply cynical; as reason and reality crash into love and romanticism.

This seems like an unwritten and inescapable law of nature. An unavoidable path that destiny leads us along.

Joni replies to her disillusioned friend, "Richard, you haven't really changed. It's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head"

The romantic spirit never dies, it finds a new ideal to place up on a pedestal and worship.

We are made to worship, to adore. We seek out an object of affection that we can idealize and pour all of our love into. Our undying affection.

Without that our lives are empty. And to quench the fire that rages through our souls we seek out diversions. And we manage to temporarily stop the spreading flames, but new sparks ignite new flames. And so we engage in a never ending internal battle.

The one balm that could heal us is the one that we have tossed aside. A voice inside us hisses, "Why such a cure is nothing but an old superstition. There is no scientific evidence that it can heal – never mind perform miracles – as claimed by the religious zealots."

"And besides," we tell ourselves, "we are not sick. We are perfectly healthy. There is no need for a remedy."

A chorus of voices from within affirms this sentiment saying, "The 'pain' that you feel is purely psychological. In the mind; not the heart; not the soul."
But deep within us a child cries out, "Father! Father!"
And the Father replies, "Here I am my beloved child. Come to me."

The Love that we seek is deep within us

The One who loves us and only asks for our love in return
The One we should adore and worship and bow down to
The One who will never disappoint us

The radiance that emanates from Him is pure Love
His healing touch vanquishes the flames that torment us

 + + +

+ St. Teresa of Avila, you showed us how to pray; you showed us the Trinitarian Love that resides within each one of us. Pray for us.
+ O Lady of Mt. Carmel, show us your son. Make us worthy of His promises. Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Votes for sale in NY

"Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you."
Matthew 7:6
Animal Farm by George Orwell

Selling your vote never goes out of style. It's a time honored democratic tradition.

Just ask Republican NY State Senator Alesi who changed his vote from nay to yea on "homosexual marriage":
Alesi received the $10,300 maximum each from Tim Gill, a wealthy Colorado entrepreneur who heads the gay-rights group Gill Foundation, billionaire Robert Ziff and Frank Selvaggi, a member of the Empire State Pride Agenda board. Ziff also gave Alesi $6,500 for a potential primary election. Alesi also received $10,300 from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
$10,300+$10,300+$10,300+$6,500+$10,300 = $47,700
Not bad for "just saying yes".

Here is a quote from Democratic state Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. of the Bronx -- "a reverend and vociferous gay marriage opponent":
"It appears that State Senators Stephen Saland, Mark Grisanti, James Alesi and  Roy  McDonald  sold  their votes to the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg for $10,300 each," Diaz said in a statement today.

"At least this is the impression and feeling everyone is getting by reading the city newspapers  that two weeks after their vote, Mayor Bloomberg, who previously declared his intentions to support and help finance any senator who would vote in favor of gay marriage and complied with his edict, sent a check to each one of them for the maximum amount allowed by law. If this is not a quid pro quo, please tell me what this is?"
There ought to be a law...

Now if the Catholic Church tried to do this, then the secularists would scream about a "violation of the separation of Church and State". Please!

Oh how they rant about the threat of a theocracy. And they say it with such moral superiority. But I hear no complaints about a plutocracy as long as the votes are going their way.

They cry and want us to feel sorry for them until they have convinced us to relinquish our power – and then watch out for their serpents bite.

And where are our bishops to lead us?

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle. Be our protection against the malice and snares of the Devil. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

News flash: Protestants are not Catholic!

And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.
 – 1 John 4:21


All of the sudden the secular humanist press has discovered that Protestants are not Catholic – as if this is news!

Hello? Martin Luther, remember him? Anybody home?

Amazing how humanists care nothing about religion unless they can use it to justify one of their "human rights" campaigns. Homosexuals suddenly wanting the blessing of the Church for their orgies comes to mind.

Suddenly, the secular humanists are the latest and greatest defenders of the papacy against the attacks of the Lutherans. So why do they even care?

This is probably just a coincidence, but Michele Bachmann used to be a Lutheran. And also coincidentally the secular press is in full smear mode against Bachmann who is emerging as the likely Republican candidate for President. And Michele is outspoken about her Christian faith which has humanists so scared and confused that they are looking to their Ouija boards for answers.

When did being a mainstream Protestant even become an issue in American politics? When that Protestant actually takes her faith seriously and formulates her political campaign on Christian principles.

If Michele were a faithful Catholic, then we would be warned about her allegiance to the Pope. That's always been standard procedure for the secular press.  Now it seems like any Christian presidential candidate is going to come under attack from the secular press one way or the other.

What's really happening here is that Obama and the Democrats are in serious trouble with Catholic voters. The Democrats undying support of abortion and "homosexual marriage" have alienated Catholics who normally support them on social justice policies.

If the Bachmann campaign is able to sway Catholic voters to support her, then the Democrats could be in big trouble in 2012. And they know it. Desperate times call for desperate measures – in this case mud slinging and name calling.

Well, body of Christ, don't fall victim of the old divide-and-conquer strategy. Haven't we been talking about ecumenism all these years? Support your fellow Christians. Build bridges. Let's use this as an opportunity to gather the flock.

Pope Benedict XVI addressing Lutheran Church in Rome
And maybe American Lutherans could use this opportunity to disassociate themselves from the old "the Pope is the Antichrist" heresy. Can't we all just get along in the name of Christ?

Snapshot of Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod doctrinal "Statement on the Antichrist"

What next? Investigative reports on the question, "Is the Pope Catholic?" Wait, wait don't tell me. I think I know this one.

St. Paul the Apostle, you preached the Word to Jew and Gentile, Greek and Roman; you fought against divisions in the early Church. Pray for us.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Michele Marie Bachmann

"You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much."
 – Luke 7:46-47
If Michele Bachmann had appeared on the scene in the 2008 presidential race, I would have been among those rejecting her out of hand. I've changed a lot in the last few years and so has our country under the leadership of President Obama.

Where once I was proud to be tolerant, I am now fearful of being persecuted for my personal views. Where I once was apathetic about religion, I have become resolute in my convictions.

What changed? Did I change or did our nation change?

Both.

The deepening denigration of Christianity became an avalanche of attacks on followers of Christ in the wake of the Obama election. Never have Christian beliefs been so under siege in America than today.

Obama, who is the embodiment of secular humanism, opened wide the floodgates of anti-Christian activism through his very presence. He is a walking symbol – an icon – of the intolerant mob of church burning atheists that have waged an implacable campaign of hatred against the Christian Church.

His presidency has prepared the way for a new reign of terror against the Church.

There is nothing moderate about our current President. He began as a radical "community organizer" in Chicago and he is still a radical today. The primary focus of his presidency has been the advancement of a radical social agenda that sees the Christian Church as its biggest obstacle. Population control, radical feminism, "gay liberation" are at the very top of his priority list as seen through his undying support of Planned Parenthood and his never ending attacks on the institution of marriage.

[2009 video of Michele Bachmann discussing the radical leadership in Washington including then Speaker of the House "catholic" Nancy Pelosi.]


As Michele Bachmann surges in the polls, she has become a lightning rod attracting a storm of hatred aimed at Christian Americans. She has stood firm in her Christian beliefs and has been a bulwark against the constant barrage from the anti-Christian forces.



For there is nothing that the secular humanist forces fear more than a Christian woman becoming President of the United States. They will do everything in their power to keep this from happening.

Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus have dedicated their lives to the pro-Life cause; and they have helped active homosexuals turn their lives around and overcome this destructive condition.



Bachmann is the very antithesis of Obama. This is why his supporters hate her so much. They know that she will dedicate her presidency to destroy every social policy that Obama has implemented.

I don't agree with everything that Michele Bachmann stands for, and I don't expect any politician to be a messiah. I do offer her my prayers of support. And I do believe that God has a special plan for her.



And I will make a bold prediction right now. Michele Bachmann will become the first woman President of the United States in 2012.

No man or woman can save us from our own sins. Only Jesus can do that. But if Michele can become President, then it will be a sign that Americans still believe in the one true God of Abraham and Moses.
Without morality the State cannot endure -- a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, [George Washington], with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.
 – Pope Leo XIII, 1895
God bless America!

-----

"Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much"

The reason that I placed this quote from the Gospel of Luke at the beginning of this article is that I believe that in one sense this blessing upon the woman (who many believe to be Mary Magdalene) applies not just to this one sinner but to all women. In so doing Jesus lifts the curse that was placed by God on women since the time of Eve. This is in keeping with the blessings that were heaped upon his mother Mary, the new Eve. The absolution that the woman receives is the same as that given in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

There are some Christians that will object to Michele Bachmann becoming President simply because she is a woman. They will point to the letters of the Apostle Paul. And yet Paul acknowledges the leadership roles played by many women in the early Church.

This is not an argument however for the ordination of women to the priesthood. This is a matter for the Church to decide according to scripture and the teachings that have been handed down to us. Pope Benedict XVI has reaffirmed the Church's teachings in this matter in a definitive way.

Jesus absolves the woman by saying, "Your sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48). But He goes even further by saying that she is forgiven much because "she loved much". He elevates women in a spiritual sense and places them equal before God with men. This is radically different from the teaching of the Old Testament, and is part of the New Covenant with God; a priceless gift paid for by the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ , the Son of God, who sacrificed Himself for us on the Cross.

------

UPDATE:

One extra footnote. I noticed that Jesus says, "You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment." Messiah means "anointed one". In the Old Testament the prophet Samuel anointed the boy David as the new King of the Jews to replace the corrupt Saul. The anointing would have been on the head of David and would have been accompanied by a kiss as when Samuel anointed Saul: "Then Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said, 'Has not the LORD anointed you to be prince over his people Israel?'" (1Sam.10)

Since the woman did not have any priestly powers she humbly anointed his feet which are as far removed from the head as possible. If the head represents God and Heaven than the feet represent man and earth. Note that Jesus had already been publicly chosen (the purpose of anointing) by God at His baptism by John the Baptist.

Still, the feet have an importance in the Gospel. I have come to associate the feet of Jesus as showing us the path to follow in our pilgrimage on earth so that we may attain heaven in the afterlife. We do this by "following in the footsteps" of Jesus. The feet also represent the human nature of Jesus as opposed to the head which represents His divinity.

Mary Magdalene is depicted at the feet of Jesus when she listens to Him teaching, and at the Cross, and when the resurrected Christ appeared to her. (See Mt. 28:9 "And behold, Jesus met them and said, 'Hail!' And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.") Add to that the anointing of Jesus' feet if the unidentified woman is Mary Magdalene. I believe this attention to the feet of Christ, is intended to demonstrate Mary's humility before Christ and her devotion towards Him. She reveres Him like a King and bows humbly before Him. It shows us that the path to heaven begins at the foot of Christ.

My own devotion towards St. Mary Magdalene is based on her humble example of devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Mary Magdalene, God blessed you and revealed to you the divine nature of His Son, pray for us.

-------

UPDATE 2:

By anointing the feet of Jesus and kissing them, the woman demonstrates that she has accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. Michele Bachmann says:
"The Lord is my compass and he is my rock and my salvation. In Him do I trust. It wasn't until I was 16 years of age however that I truly understand that I was a sinner and that I needed to repent of my sins and that I needed to have a savior who paid for those sins and so when I was 16 i went to my Lutheran altar, knelt before that altar, confessed my sins before Jesus Christ, asked Him to come into my heart, cleanse me of my sins so that I could receive his righteousness and have an assurance of salvation that when I die that that wouldn't be the end, that that would just be the beginning, that I would spend eternity forever with Him and with those who have come to know Jesus Christ. My world changed when I was 16 years of age. It was like I'd lived in darkness my entire life and it was like a door was thrown open and I saw for the first time the fullness of life of all that there can be because life is not just about this world. We really are pilgrims here in this world. Our true life is our eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ."
Notice the similarity to the woman from the Gospel who recognizes that she is a sinner and throws herself at the feet of Jesus. Notice also the contrast between Barack Obama's tepid "Christianity" and Michele Bachmann's total devotion to Christ.

-------

UPDATE 3:

I changed the title of this article from "Michele Bachmann" to "Michele Marie Bachmann". I had been thinking that Michele's first name is not a very "Christian name". But then I realized it is a form of Michael, as in St. Michael the Archangel. Then I found out that her middle name is Marie and of course that is a form of Mary, as in the Virgin Mary. So her name becomes Michael Mary, and what could be more Christian than that? It brings to mind an image of Revelation 12 and the battle of St. Michael with the dragon, while the "woman clothed with the sun" gives birth to a child. And Michele is certainly been doing some battle with the dragon lately.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An open invitation to Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz
"That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us."
John 17:21
Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz is the only Democrat in the New York State Senate that voted in opposition to the "homosexual marriage" bill. He has been outspoken in his support of marriage between one man and one woman in accordance with God's plan

He has invited Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio in an open letter to join him in support of marriage at a rally in New York City organized by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) on Sunday, July 24th.

This is a historic opportunity for Christians to join in unity and show the world our love for God. I hope and pray that our Catholic bishops will join Rev. Diaz and that this will only be the beginning of a shared and fruitful labor of love in the vineyards of the LORD.

Full text of the open letter from Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz dated July 13, 2011:
Dear Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio:

In the great spirit of interfaith unity, I invite you to join me and my fellow ministers on Sunday, July 24th at 3PM at a March for Marriage that has been organized by the National Organization for Marriage to be held outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s midtown office at 633 Third Avenue.

Our peaceful and prayerful rally will protest the redefinition of marriage and demand that all New Yorkers have the right to vote on this very serious social issue.

You know that I have tremendous respect for you and I am most hopeful that you and your fellow bishops and clergy will join us on the 24th.

Respectfully,
Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

National Organization for Marriage

Lord Jesus, at the request of your Holy Mother Mary you miraculously turned the water into wine. Turn this tragic defeat into a blessed victory for your faithful followers, so that all may believe in the power of Your Mighty Word. We ask this in Your Holy Name.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus, we trust in You!

An Orthodox Christian response to homosexual marriage

St. Andrew - the first Apostle
And behold, a man from the crowd cried, "Teacher, I beg you to look upon my son, for he is my only child; and behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him till he foams, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not."

Jesus answered, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here."

While he was coming, the demon tore him and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he did, he said to his disciples,

"Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men."

 – Luke 9:38-44
Part 2 of an Orthodox Christian response to the August 2010 ruling of Judge Walker regarding overturning the California gay marriage ban, Proposition 8. The speaker is Fr. Josiah Trenham pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside, California.



I hope and pray that our Catholic bishops can hear this message, and have the courage to proclaim unapologetically the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our culture is possessed by an unclean spirit. The only one that can heal us is Jesus Christ. As Christians we must come together, have faith, repent of our sins and ask forgiveness if we are to be healed. The time has come to take up the Cross and begin the slow ascent of Mt. Calvary in unity and in strength.

St. Andrew, brother of Peter, you immediately recognized the Messiah. Show us the way to the true path which is found only in Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

St. Andrew, pray for us.
St. Peter, pray for us.
All ye Apostles, pray for us.
All ye Saints, pray for us.

Kyrie elèison.
Christe elèison.
Kyrie elèison.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cuomo tells us why he should be excommunicated

[Governor Pilate] washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent"
 – Matthew 27:24
GOVERNOR CUOMO: "THE LAW IS THE LAW!"
I think Governor Cuomo was trying to tell us something when he remarked on the resignation of a town clerk who said she could not "marry" homosexual couples.
"The law is the law. When you enforce the laws of the state, you don't get to pick and choose which laws," said Cuomo, who previously served as state attorney general.

"You don't get to say, 'I like this law and I'll enforce this law, or I don't like this law and I won't enforce this law' -- you can't do that," Cuomo added, according to our intern, Alex Katz, who was on the scene for Cuomo's presser. "So if you can't enforce the law, then you shouldn't be in that position."
Right you are, Governor! The law is the law! And you don't get to pick and choose which laws you are going to obey! Otherwise, get out of town!

That's the way it works in any government or any business or any other large organization. There are rules. There are procedures. And if you can't respect the rules then you just don't belong!

This is the classic case of seeing the speck in the eye of the other, and not seeing the log in your own eye!

Or maybe, Governor Cuomo is actually directing his comments to Archbishop Dolan??? Did Cuomo really mean to say...
"Canon law is canon law. When you enforce the laws of the Church, you don't get to pick and choose which laws," said Cuomo, who secretly wishes he was a canon lawyer like Edward Peters.

"You don't get to say, 'I like this canon law and I'll enforce this canon law, or I don't like this canon law and I won't enforce this canon law' -- you can't do that," Cuomo added, in a fantasy dream of Ed Peters' son, Thomas Peters, who is also known as the American Papist. "So if you can't enforce canon law, then you shouldn't be in that position."
Care to comment Archbishop?

------

UPDATE 7/13:

An official statement from Nassau County District Attorney, Kathleen M. Rice, went out on July 8 threatening City Clerks that did not fully comply with the "homosexual marriage" legislation when it goes into effect July 24.
Recently, a local clerk in upstate New York made headlines when she said she would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Marriage Equality Act provides that an application for a marriage license cannot be denied on the grounds that the applicant parties are of the same sex and the law affords no discretion to public officials charged with granting marriage licenses. Therefore, any such refusal may be subject to criminal prosecution.
So, if I've got this right, in order to appease a small minority of people that are cohabiting and not even necessarily in a monogamous relationship, the State of New York is throwing the full weight of its police powers against any citizen that objects on the grounds of religious freedom to this newly invented civil "right". Is the State really going to incarcerate people who take a stand for their religious beliefs – the very same religious beliefs upon which our country was founded?

Christian Americans have been tolerant. We have been accepting. But we cannot allow ourselves to be bullied into denying our Christian beliefs with regards to the fundamental institution of marriage.

This isn't funny anymore. I hope that all Christians in New York will do whatever they can to support those State workers who object to issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples on the basis of their religious beliefs. Certainly there are many solutions to this problem other than fines, imprisonment or firings. Which just goes to show how "tolerant" the supporters of the homosexual agenda are when the shoe is on the other foot.

Is this democracy in action, or are we witnessing a Machiavellian State apparatus coming into being?

h/t – National Organization for Marriage (NOM)

------

UPDATE-2 7/13:

"The law is THE LAW! We don't make no stinking exceptions!" Except to create a massive PR event in support of "homosexual marriage" by opening City and State offices on a Sunday. "The law is THE LAW!" except when Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg are looking for ways to get around the New York marriage law that requires a 24 hour waiting period from the time of obtaining a license.
Maybe the law isn't always THE LAW! Maybe the law always tries to remain flexible and allow for special cases and exceptions. Or are those exceptions only for Mayor Bloomberg and his friends? Why so much anger towards faithful Christians, Governor?

------

UPDATE-3 7/13:

Lillian Ladele
I can't find very many details on this, but there is a woman in the UK that was disciplined for refusing to "marry" homosexual couples. Her name is Lillian Ladele. She challenged this action in court and lost. Now the case is going up before the European Court of Human Rights. The British Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had insisted that her religious rights had not been denied, but now seems to have made a u-turn and says, "Judges have interpreted the law too narrowly in religion or belief discrimination claims." On the face of it this sounds like good news, but knowing how entrenched secular humanist ideals are among the British elite I suspect that there is more going on than meets the eye.

I bring this up to draw obvious parallels with the case in New York, and to suggest that the law can and should respect the religious rights of Christians.

Archbishop Dolan's missing homily

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.... A man's foes will be those of his own household.... He who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.... He who loses his life for My sake will find it.... He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.... He shall not lose his reward."
 – Matthew 10:34,36,38,39,40,42
St. Benedict of Nursia – patron of Europe
Yesterday, July 11, was the feast day of St. Benedict. Lately I have been watching the daily Masses on EWTN. It's a poor substitute for actually attending Mass at my local parish, I know.

I have missed Sunday Mass for the last two weeks. I have begun wondering why I should even bother attending. The reaction of the Church in New York to the imposition of "homosexual marriage" indicates to me that many (if not most) of the bishops of the Church don't really believe what the Church teaches.

I have begun wondering if I should even bother remaining a Catholic.

Imagine a child being born today and raised in the Church. Would that child have a good chance at achieving the salvation of its soul? There are so many unorthodox teachings that are widely accepted within the Church and tolerated if not supported by the bishops that I don't know how much being a member of the Church brings us closer to God.

As a result of the publicity that has been shined on the Church by the "homosexual marriage" debate, I have learned that there are "homosexual parishes" in Boston and New York. How can this be? Why do the archbishops of Boston and New York tolerate this?

The sex abuse scandal within the Church is undeniably linked to poisonous teachings that found there way into the seminaries. One of those teachings was that homosexuality was not a sin.

We hear that the sex abuse scandal is behind us. But I disagree. The fact that the American bishops do not thunderously express their opposition to "homosexual marriage" says that the moral crisis in the Church continues and in fact is even deeper entrenched than 20 or 30 years ago. This moral crisis is the ultimate source of the sex abuse scandal.

The bishops have now institutionalized immoral teachings. The reason we don't hear a deafening denunciation of "homosexual marriage" from the bishops is that the teaching that homosexuality is a sin has been abandoned by many of them.

Don't they understand that the teachings of the Church come from God?

The proof of this – if one needs proof – is the way that the teachings form a divine architecture. Each piece is like a keystone. If only one piece is removed the whole building collapses and comes crashing to the ground.

Father Joseph Mary has delivered a stunning homily on this topic. He does not rant as others sometimes do when addressing these same topics, but in his homily he clearly shows us the consequences on society of the loosening of the moral order.

Once we abandon our common moral principles and each individual is allowed to form his or her own morality, then the society loses its cohesiveness. This leads to a never ending power struggle among different factions in society. This instability causes a breakdown of society which threatens to end in anarchy. In a desperate attempt to avert disaster society turns to a despot to restore order.

Father Joseph also reminds us that Archbishop Dolan of New York was one of the signers of the Manhattan Declaration. Here is the concluding statement from that declaration.
Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan would do well to study Father Joseph's homily in order to learn how to preach the Gospel without compromise.



St. Benedict of Nursia, patron of Europe, you brought the light of Christ to the world through the monasteries you established. Ora pro nobis. Pray for us.

 --------

UPDATE (July 12): 

Here is an excerpt from the speech by Cardinal Raymond Burke titled "The Fall of the Christian West" given in March 2011. (Father Joseph refers to this speech at the end of his homily.)
Finally, there is the martyrdom of witness, the most common form of martyrdom, the martyrdom which is inherent to the Christian life. It can take the form of suffering personal hostility or simply indifference in giving the witness of holiness of life. The Servant of God Father Hardon describes the martyrdom of witness with these words:
All that we have seen about the martyrdom by violence applies here too, but the method of opposition is different. Here the firm believer in the Church's teaching authority; the devoted servant of the papacy; the convinced pastor who insists on sound doctrine to his flock; the dedicated religious who want to remain faithful to their vows of authentic poverty, honest chastity and sincere obedience; the firm parents who are concerned about the religious and moral training of their children and are willing to sacrifice generously to build and care for a Christian family – natural or adopted – such persons will not be spared also active criticism and open opposition, But they must especially be ready to live in an atmosphere of coldness to their deepest beliefs.
The hostility and the even more pervasive indifference to the beliefs we hold most dearly tempts us to discouragement and even to avoid the more public witness to our faith. But the martyrdom to which we are called and for which we are consecrated and fortified by the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, requires us to offer tirelessly our witness, confident that God will bring forth the good fruit. Given the breakdown in family life, the wholesale attack on innocent and defenseless human lives, and the violation of the integrity of the union of marriage in our society, the call to the martyrdom of witness is ever more urgent.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel at Garabandal

La Virgen del Carmen
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion:
  He was manifested in the flesh,
  vindicated in the Spirit,
  seen by angels,
  preached among the nations,
  believed on in the world,
  taken up in glory.

   – 1 Timothy 3:16
From 1961 to 1965 the Virgin Mary appeared to four children in the small village of Garabandal, Spain. This apparition has neither been approved nor condemned by the Church. The girls who saw Our Lady are Mari Loli Mazón, Jacinta González, Mari Cruz González and Conchita González.
"Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are following the road to perdition."
 – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel at Garabandal (1961)




One cannot help but think of the sex abuse scandal of the Church when one hears the message of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Garabandal.

-----

There is another video about Garabandal that I would have liked to have posted, but I haven't found a way to embed it. You can find it at this website:
http://www.garabandal.us/joey.html
(Look for a link that says Mother Angelica Live. If you just want to hear the audio from the program click here.)

It is an interview that Mother Angelica conducted with Joey Lomangino who visited with the girls in 1962 and became an apostle of the message of Garabandal despite the fact that he is blind. He tells us that he was instructed to go there by Padre Pio. The whole story is quite amazing. In addition to Our Lady the girls also saw appear before them the Archangel St. Michael.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bishop DiMarzio on EWTN

For a bishop, as God's steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.
 – Titus 1:7-9


Bishop DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn, NY was interviewed on EWTN's "World Over Live" news program on Thursday, July 7. Host Raymond Arroyo focused the interview on the recent passage of the "homosexual marriage" bill which was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo who is a Catholic. Below is the video of the interview which lasts about 20 minutes.



Here are some comments I left over at the Cleansing Fire website regarding this interview.

Comment 1:
I was kind of baffled by Archbishop Dolan's statement [Some Afterthoughts] when I first read it. I just watched the interview of Bishop DiMarzio on Raymond Arroyo's "World Over Live" news program on EWTN. Now I think I understand what is going on.

I think Dolan realized that he couldn't remain silent while DiMarzio was speaking out. So he rushed out a statement to indicate that he is still engaged in "dialogue" on the issue of "homosexual marriage". That explains why his statement is so rambling, pointless and basically incoherent.

Don't you think that EWTN's Arroyo would have extended an invitation to Archbishop Dolan before inviting Bishop DiMarzio? The implication is that Dolan refused to go on EWTN to discuss the topic of "homosexual marriage". It may seem like I am conjecturing, but it's just plain logic.

And don't you think that if Archbishop Dolan would initiate a request to go on EWTN, that the network would oblige him? Ergo Dolan has not reached out to EWTN.

Arroyo continually pressed Bishop DiMarzio to respond to the statement by Canon lawyer Ed Peters that Gov. Cuomo should be denied communion. The Bishop did not totally reject the idea, but suggested that the situation was "complicated".

I haven't always been a fan of Arroyo. But I admire the work he has done to raise the issue of the scandal caused by Gov. Cuomo's rejection of Church teachings.

The bishops of New York are hoping that this storm will just blow over. We shouldn't allow that to happen.

No amount of "catechesis" can undo the message that Catholics get when they see Governor Cuomo openly defy the Church without retribution. He must suffer the consequences of his actions. Our God is a god of mercy and justice. The Church does not demonstrate true mercy when it forsakes justice.
Here was the response from Gretchen:
I listened to Raymond Arroyo’s interview also and was dismayed by Bishop DiMarzio’s comments regarding a proper response to the public scandal of our NY politicians in general, and Gov. Cuomo in particular. He went on for a bit about how one could never judge what is going on in a person’s conscience. It seemed as if he was saying that the bishops and priests should not refuse anyone communion, ever, based on the idea that if a person’s conscience is impelling them to support SSM then one should not judge them. If that is what he was implying, I assume the same could be said for abortion, and all other public and private sins.

I will say that Bishop DiMarzio seems genuinely upset that SSM passed in NY. He also seemed very uncomfortable during the interview, as if he was being constrained from speaking his heart on the matter.

He also spoke about not having the hearts and minds of the laity, particularly those who do not attend Mass or are ‘nominally Catholic.’ He said that the Church needs to do a better job of teaching the faithful what is right and wrong, but that withholding communion would not necessarily accomplish that goal.

I have heard statistics that state up to 50% of priests may be homosexual. I wonder if this, along with admittedly poor catechesis, is presenting a Gordian Knot to the bishops.

Comment 2 in response to the repy from Gretchen:

Gretchen. I echo your sentiments. I am cutting Bishop DiMarzio considerable slack, because I think he is "constrained", as you say.

I have the impression that the Bishop is instinctively a fighter, but that he has his hands tied. He's the only one of the New York bishops that has taken any action, and that should tell you something. I interpret his action as saying he is pushing the issue as far as he can and that he can't go any further at this time. He says he "got the attention" of others and that was his goal. His diocese of Brooklyn is home to over 1.5 million Catholics so I think that gives him more freedom to speak out than other bishops.

I wrote an article on Bishop DiMarzio immediately after he released his statement condemning the vote on "homosexual marriage". I embedded video of an interview that DiMarzio did where he speaks more openly about his feelings regarding this. I think its worth watching:
Bishop DiMarzio speaks out against homosexual "marriage"

Comment 3 was posted after I re-watched the interview I mentioned at the end of comment 2. I reposted the video below and have cued it up to the interview with Michael Long of the New York Conservative Party.



Comment 3:
Gretchen. If you have a chance to watch that video, let it continue playing after the Bishop DiMarzio segment. At around the 11 minute mark there is an interview with Michael Long who is Catholic and the Chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State.

Q: What do you think happened in the last week or two?

LONG: I may get in trouble for saying this, but if there were more voices like Bishop DiMarzio… I think we could have turned this thing around and stopped this vote. He was a very steadfast, clear voice in opposition to this.

Translation: Archbishop Dolan was not a “steadfast, clear voice in opposition” to “homosexual marriage”.

Bishop DiMarzio indicated in the EWTN interview that the answer was not denying politicians communion, but denying politicians a victory at the polls. That dovetails very well with what Long is advocating.

One last thought. It may be that the Catholic Church is being threatened with the charge of violating the Constitutional separation between Church and State if they refuse Communion to Gov. Cuomo. Maybe that’s what the Bishop was referring to when he said it was “complicated”.

I don't expect to see Archbishop Dolan on EWTN anytime soon. He seems to be waiting for the "homosexual marriage" storm to blow over.

Over at the National Organization for Marriage there is a decidedly different approach. They are organizing a rally to "Let the People Vote!" on the issue of "homosexual marriage" for Sunday, July 24.