Monday, April 7, 2014

Nashville Dominicans Apologize...for Truth?

(photo credit:
Why did the Nashville Dominicans apologize for Sister Laurel's comments about homosexuality? (read full article here)

"Sister Laurel holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of the Angelicum in Rome, one of the oldest schools in the world and the one that produced one of the world’s greatest theologians, St. Thomas Aquinas – also a Dominican like Sister Laurel.

Sister Laurel has reportedly given similar talks a few dozen times all over the country all without incident. It is reported that some of the data she used came from the highly respected Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Great Britain. Most of the the nun's talks are up at her webpage."

The article continued to say that much of what she taught came directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And, still the reaction from the Catholic HS parents was "swift and overwhelming", even bringing the Nashville Dominicans to claim that Sister Laurel lacked the proper credentials to speak with authority on certain issues. Is this just another example of the hermeneutic of rupture, as Pope BXVI called the dissent/misinterpretation after Vatican II? What could the Nashville Dominicans have been thinking?

It is to misunderstand love to allow your brother to remain blind and in sin. While the biological causation may yet be in question, the fact that self-control is still a possibility should be fully considered. Continence is a virtue -- one that is infrequently taught with any relevance or credibility in the current culture.

In any case, I am truly surprised that there was an apology of any sort. Did the school not realize, or properly vet this speaker before she was engaged to offer her topic to the students? And, just exactly what are they teaching in their HS Moral Theology classes in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Blog your way to holiness

Blogs are places to share opinions -- one's own little Op/Ed space to expound on things important to the writer; to elucidate regarding issues the writer thinks might be of some interest to others.

It opens a gateway for others to share their opinions. And on occasion, they aren't kind, or sometimes, even rational. But, if you offer a comments section, be prepared.

Blogging require is a thick skin, personal integrity and the virtue of humility.

St. Bridget offered, "It is a virtue and a prize to listen patiently to and put up with insults for the sake of God."

It doesn't matter what you choose to write about: cars, religion, children's activities, crafts, politics, etc., someone, anyone, can find fault with it. And that person who passes judgment on the work, who criticizes the efforts, knows nothing of the toil or trial, the joy and jubilation that might have inspired the piece.

Those who critique simply do what the writer has done -- express their opinion. This is blogging -- and it can be sanctifying!

It is a virtue to accept with kindness even the harshest comments. Consider the comments, consider the person who wrote them (even if they don't have the courage to post their names along with their comment). Most importantly, pray for them, and for yourself as a writer.

Ask yourself, "What was it in the piece that could have caused a negative opinion?"

If nothing, then thank God for the ability to suffer for His sake! Take it on the chin for Christ Jesus, and grow in the virtue of humility.

St. Augustine wrote: "Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance."

That means, it is impossible to love without first being humble. The writer must be able to accept that others will not always agree or have an agreeable attitude in the comment box, yet love them anyway for the sake of the Kingdom.

So, in my humble opinion, when writing a blog:

1. Set down securely the foundation of humility. Let it be God's blog -- let His will govern what is written and what is shared.

2. NEVER READ THE COMMENTS! (only kidding)

You can BLOG your way to holiness -- start with humility.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Atheism, Islam & violence against women in Sweden

I almost never read the comments on news pieces -- I learned my lesson long ago. They can be the undoing of me. This particular piece of news, however, was intriguing from the start. The 16% increase in rapes of women (approximately 1000 total rapes in the first 7 months of 2013 -- 300 of them under the age of 15) in Sweden by Muslim immigrants is a stunning statistic for a neutral, peace loving country. (as reported by Swedish Public Radio)

I decided to see what people thought of this shocking revelation. The first comment was one calling for white European supremacy, and those that followed were increasingly angry. They strongly opposed the cowardly "stand down" tactics that Europe has taken over the years.

Violence begets more violence, I thought to myself.  I can only imagine that no one wants to see another rise in holocaust-like tactics as a response to this indignity and harm  being perpetrated on women in Sweden.

 One comment in particular amidst all the venom struck me -- the don't lump all Muslims in among this scum who just do this in the name of Islam. I could go along with that if all the Imams and heads of Islamic groups stood up and called for an end to this atrocity in Sweden & beyond.

It doesn't happen.

My heart-felt and sincere question to that is: Why?

Until such a time as it does, the deafening silence from the Muslim community will ring out as tacit approval of this vile behavior.

Sweden, on the other hand, is noted to be one of the most atheistic countries in Europe. Perhaps working to bring God back into the culture is the only answer to this problem. When one turns a blind eye to God, the void is often filled with evil. What is happening to women -- and sadly, very young women -- in Sweden is nothing less than evil.

Pope Francis is ringing the bell of the New Evangelization loud and clear for Europe and the world to hear. Today in his Angelus address, he emphasized:
“Those who have encountered Jesus along the road experience in their hearts a serenity and joy that nothing and no one can deprive them of.” (courtesy of CNA)
Acting in violence, denying and disparaging the two great Commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor, is the response of those who have not encountered Jesus along the road. They need to be introduced.

Sweden first needs to encounter Christ for themselves, protect its society and resist the violence that they have allowed to enter into their sovereign nation. It's time to start believing again, and rising up with the standard of Truth to confront not only the current assaults against women, but also the infiltration of an radical ideal that will undo personal freedom.

H/T -- Dr. Gerard Nadal for posting the link to this information on Facebook.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A medicinal remedy with no known adverse side effects: The Rosary

At his Angelus audience yesterday (11/17/13), Pope Francis had boxes resembling medicine handed out to the thousands of people in the square by volunteers. Inside the box was a Rosary. He joked about being a spiritual pharmacist and offered the recitation of the Rosary as spiritual medicine for the heart.

As the Year of Faith comes to an end, Pope Francis is reaching out to those who can bring the message of the Good News and devotion to Our Lady to those who need to hear it most. While some may call this move gimmicky, possibly even in poor taste, what the Sovereign Pontiff realizes is this: in this material age, the younger generations tend to respond to fads, gimmicks, etc. Ask any toddler what a golden, double arch symbol means, and they can tell you: McDonald's. The same can be said for adolescents and young adults when it comes to symbol recognition. They know and appreciate consumer brands, and are even being encouraged through the mass media to recognize over-the-counter and prescription medicines by brand and purpose.

Score one for Francis -- the boots on the ground, meet them where they're at pope -- who understands how to make the New Evangelization ring true in every heart by sharing the Gospel message with a generation in their language and in the present moment.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An Abiding Anchor -- Marian works never before translated into English

A friend and I stopped to have a conversation one night after I finished teaching the RCIA class at my parish. We talked about how wonderfully made children with special needs are; how important they are to remind an ever calloused society what it means to sacrifice and love with a tenderness that can only come from caring for the most basic needs of another. She mentioned a young man and his family with whom she had become very close.

"People are afraid to engage him," she noted sadly, "they just don't know what to say."

Having a child with special needs, I understood her statement as fact. People are indeed afraid to engage because they fear the unknown, they fear offending, they are simply afraid of being uncomfortable and exposed.

"How did you overcome this obstacle?" I inquired.

"I got to know the son, by getting to know his mother," she beamed.

I looked her square in the eye and smiled knowingly.

She appeared momentarily perplexed, and then realized what she had said. In one sentence, she was given the grace, through a seemingly unrelated conversation, to understand Marian devotion!

St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary brings the believer to new heights of love and devotion of Jesus by fostering a deep and abiding intimacy with His mother, Theotokos.

He writes:
We fasten our souls to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are  now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor! (Treatise on True Devotion, n. 175).
Tethering our souls to the most perfected human creation -- Mary -- the woman so blessed as to be chosen, and then respected by God in her free choice to carry the the Son of God, will offer us graces beyond measure. She was the first to know God intimately, to contemplate the living God from within. Hers is an experience unlike any other, an experience from which we can gain both grace and wisdom.

Confidently, we should pursue a relationship with Jesus by getting to know His Mother. She will bring to light things about her Son that could be found no where else. And, with the establishment of that abiding relationship with the Mother of God, devotion to Jesus, The Holy Trinity, Mother Church, and all things holy will increase exponentially.

Created by Casimir Valla, a devotee who made his Consecration to Jesus through Mary more than two decades ago, his site had a title that should ring familiar: unique in its purpose, it was designed to promote and help foster Marian devotion by making available works never before translated into English.

The books are not only valuable on a personal level to deepen ones own spiritual devotion, but are magnificent resources through which to share the devotion with others. Perhaps as the season of Advent draws nearer, these books might be a source of inspiration to you or to someone you love, deepening the understanding of who Mary is as the Mother of God, and our Mother, while also increasing appreciation for the Incarnation and birth of Our Savior.

 For more information and to order your own copies, please visit:

 "We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor Him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus, her Son."--Saint Louis de Montfort

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The family, the Church & preparing for III Extradorinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

This is a must read as the episcopate throughout the world prepares to discuss and discern.

Here's an excerpt:
Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation, which does not lead to marriage, and sometimes even excludes the idea of it, to same-sex unions between persons, who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children. The many new situations requiring the Church's attention and pastoral care include: mixed or inter-religious marriages; the single-parent family; polygamy; marriages with the consequent problem of a dowry, sometimes understood as the purchase price of the woman; the caste system; a culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migration and the reformulation of the very concept of the family; relativist pluralism in the conception of marriage; the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life; underlying trends of thought in legislative proposals which devalue the idea of permanence and faithfulness in the marriage covenant; an increase in the practice of surrogate motherhood (wombs for hire); and new interpretations of what is considered a human right. Within the Church, faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the Sacrament of Penance show signs of weakness or total abandonment. 
 Any questions, based on this, the second paragraph, where the pope stands on the issues? Yet, he goes on to teach and prepare with love and acceptance of all. Holding out his arms and exhorting them to come home; bringing his bishops together to address just how to find those lost sheep.

It starts with the family -- protecting and preserving and empowering the family, the soul of society.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Royal Babies: baby steps

Seriously, yesterday I saw more Catholic statuses, tweets, blog posts, etc. regarding the disproportionate attention given to the birth of a royal in England while Our Lord is summarily forgotten or rejected.

Stop. Think.

In a world where pregnancy is viewed as a disease, the child is considered a parasite, and abortion is available on demand almost anywhere to include floating clinics off the shores of countries where the procedure is illegal, isn't it ironic that we are rejoicing over the birth of a baby?

Shouldn't we be using this moment as an opportunity to teach Christ, not ridicule people's enthusiasm over a royal baby?

Wouldn't the pro-life cause be better served if we joined in the enthusiasm
and reminded everyone by our actions and our prayers that babies are indeed special. In other words, would all of us be wise to approach the issue of faith in this matter with baby steps toward understanding and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to each individual soul through us?

I did see one quote that I loved and shared from Catholic Vote yesterday: "All babies are royal in the eyes of God. -- D. Bolling"

That is all.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

On the move -- literally

I've had to take a few weeks to get down to business -- the business of life, and how to best maximize the potential for faith, hope and charity to grow in the family. Of course, that starts with prayer, but there were practical matters to consider, as well.

For some time now, we have prayed about and pondered ways to minimize the stress in our lives. With that in mind, I thought, why not take seriously the effort to consolidate education, activities and home life? We would talk about it, but never get to the "doing of it" stage.

Well, we are finally DOING it -- making a move to bring the people, places and things around which our lives revolve closer to home.

I'll be packing and cleaning and preparing to move over the next month.

So much for preparing the kids planners with their assignments before the school year begins for us. That's fine, though. I can go a couple of weeks at a time.

And, I do love my job at CDU -- very flexible, almost entirely from home, and colleagues who will help at the drop of a hat if I need some backup.

I'll write more when I get a chance about the blessings of the Novena to St. Joseph, but until then, I will just link to it for anyone who is preparing to buy or sell their home. It is a powerful prayer to a wonderful and generous protector and provider for the family.

Please hold me and my family in your prayers as we joyful entertain so many wonderful changes that are happening in our world. You are all remembered in ours!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You might become rich

Each day begins with a prayer of thanksgiving for being given another day.

It's important to remember that every new day provides an opportunity to surrender ourselves to the love of God and to serve our neighbor.

Why should we do this?

For this reason:
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.( 2 Cor 8:9)
He became poor so that we might become rich!

This generosity simply needs to overflow in our words and our actions each and every day that the Lord provides for our lifetime here on earth.

This is not how we live, sadly. Our world have become individualistic and relativistic.

Should we continue to live this way?  Can we afford to allow our lives to become so dramatically impoverished in spirit when Our Lord wishes us to be rich?

Embrace "the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ"! It's part and parcel of our dignity as a creature of God; made in His image and likeness.

He did this FOR YOU! Now, go and serve following His example so that you might also be rich.

Practical ideas:

Set aside prayer time -- get to know He Who died for you. You can't love and serve someone you don't know! His Blessed Mother would be happy to introduce you formally -- have a chat with Our Lady.

Get your family involved -- family prayer, family meals, family outings; show Christ to others by living the Trinity of love in your own family.

Service to others -- visit a soup kitchen, food bank, make a meal for an ailing neighbor or one who just had a baby, take up a task around the yard for an elderly neighbor, or visit a nursing home and just spend some time making people smile.

There are many, many more ways in which you can imitate Christ and become rich in faith, hope and charity.

Have other ideas on how to become rich by surrendering to Christ in service -- share them in the comment box!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pope Francis -- don't be ridiculous

Pope Francis addressed priests studying to be diplomatic representatives of the Vatican yesterday.

He gave them a profound piece of wisdom.

What did he say?

"Please don't be ridiculous..."

I am not kidding, and I couldn't be more thrilled that finally someone, and the pope no less,  is saying what many have been thinking: Vatican diplomat means service in the name of Christ Jesus -- it is not a station on par with secular diplomats, and this should be reflected in both demeanor of holiness and service.

What pope in recent times spoke the truth so simply?

John Paul the Great was a philosopher and visionary. His writings, homilies and addresses were eloquent and rich in wisdom, but not simple.

Benedict XVI was a master educator and theologian, brilliant in every regard. His writings, homilies and addresses were eloquent and rich in wisdom, but not simple.

Enter the new pope -- Pope Francis. A man of deep humility; the odor of sanctity is upon him.

This man is meant for this time in salvation history. God's timing is perfect, and what He has sent us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is a Vicar of Christ who leads by virtue of prayerful service, not by virtue of intellect (although, that is obviously not lacking).

He is the beatitude pope -- for to live them well, one must practice them daily. We see this in his witness.

He is the people's pope -- for he speaks the language of the masses: direct, clear and unequivocal.

He is the shepherd's pope -- for he looks at those in his service and first serves them with love and affection, caring deeply about their holiness, their priesthood, their holy orders, their vows.

He is the world's pope -- for the emerging message of his pontificate is that first we must be holy, striving to renew and restore what and who we are so that we can be a credible influence on the world.

It is difficult to criticize Pope Francis precisely because of how he behaves. He's a mystery to the secular world, the left leaning Catholic, the social justice driven faithful, because he agrees with them wholly and substantially that service to the poor is quintessential to being a Christian.

But, there's more.

His humility is coupled with veracity -- the fullness of truth is both his sword and his shield. And, that leaves many people scratching their heads.

For instance, in remarks made on 5 June, the day the UN celebrates as "World Environment Day", Pope Francis offered this:
This culture of waste tends to become the common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful - such as the unborn child - or no longer needed - such as the elderly.
The "Culture of Waste"!

He speaks their language; they want to fawn all over him as a result, but it is not spoken without doctrinal context.

How does one contend with a pope like this?

The answer is simple: Love, Obey, Serve -- and don't be ridiculous!

Friday, May 31, 2013

GSA & BSA merging ideals, deteriorating morals

The Girl Scouts of America (GSA) is involved with WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). Here's an excerpt from an article linking the groups:

In May 2013, WAGGGS participated in Women Deliver, a global conference with the purpose of “call[ing] for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women.”
The conference featured speakers such as late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, philosopher Peter Singer, who supports infanticide and euthanasia, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Some of the breakout sessions were entitled “Outing and Addressing Abortion Stigma” and “Why I Perform Abortions.” Exhibitors included many abortion and population control advocates such as Amnesty International, Guttmacher Institute, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, United Nations Population Fund, and WAGGGS.

Image from BSA 1911 Handbook -- indicating current moral compass?

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has recently changed their membership standards to allow openly gay youth in their ranks. Here's an excerpt from their press release:
Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting's history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America's National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.
In truth, these two groups are moving closer to the same level of moral equivalence, consistently lowering their moral standards. The GSA is decades ahead of BSA in compromising their principles; whereas BSA is just beginning this posturing to try to appease threats to their existence.

The notion of appeasement, however, can often backfire, as was the case in California yesterday when the legislature voted to strip the BSA of their non-profit status.

Could this have been what caused the BSA to quickly change their membership standards: posturing to keep their non-profit status?

Not surprisingly, BSA was confronted with a stark reality -- appeasement is never enough. "Give an drop of blood -- be squeezed for every ounce" is the blow back they are receiving.

If this is where the BSA stands in the wake of their decision to soften their standards, they may as well just merge their organization with GSA and allow girls in their ranks (they already do in Venturing Scouting), teach sexual awareness (they've been doing this for years, back to the BSA handbook from 1910  -- link is to the 1911 edition) and end the wonder as to whether they will continue to erode their standards -- which apparently have been eroding for decades, just not as quickly or as overtly as GSA.

Just give them what they want BSA -- Your Organization! And, now that you've opened the floodgates to its destruction, you will begin to see the level of devastation rise and eventually wash away the BSA as it was intended to be.

What you were trying to teach all these years about the "natural" aspect of sexuality and becoming a robust man is gone.

Now, the question is: What will the Catholic Church do when the new membership standard rule takes effect -- right now, the Committee on Scouting is studying the situation, which to many seems to like inaction.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, May 24, 2013

American Heritage Girls dumps Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America issued a statement declaring their change in membership standards allowing openly homosexual youth of scouting age to join their ranks. That's right, I said "homosexual youth". Dear Lord -- young boys should be camping, hiking, fishing, playing baseball, jumping in mud puddles -- not declaring their sexual orientation. The BSA has nothing to do with the sexual orientation or discovery thereof.

 Recently, the American Heritage Girls entered into an agreement of mutual support with BSA. Yet, in a singular act of valor, they issued a statement of their own today:

Memorandum of Mutual Support - Dissolution Statement
It was with great disappointment that American Heritage Girls, Inc.Board of Trustees received the news of the change to the Boy Scouts of America’s membership standards. It was our sincerest hope the voice of the majority of those associated with the BSA would be heard and that the BSA would continue the amazing 103 year legacy of its founder to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices.
Unfortunately, the organization chose to step away from that commitment. As a result of leaving its time-honored traditions, the BSA has left American Heritage Girls with no choice but to dissolve our Memorandum of Mutual Support. We do so with a heavy heart. We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with BSA through the years. However, the American Heritage Girls Board of Trustees has decided that we cannot in good conscience continue in a formal relationship with the BSA. 
As an independent, faith-based leadership and character development organization, we want everyone associated with the American Heritage Girls to know that our board members unanimously affirm the AHG Statement of Faith and its Scriptural foundation,and we are committed to continue providing a safe environment for every girl involved.

I am proud to have served in the leadership of this group and that my girls have been members for the past two years! Perhaps there will soon be an American Heritage Boys that will represent Christian values, have the wisdom to let children be children and leave the issue of sexuality to be addressed by their parents -- the primary educators of their children. ( cf. CCC 2223)