Thursday 22nd February 2018

The Solidarity Fund Supports CCHD’s Rejects

October 30, 2013 Frontpage Comments Off on The Solidarity Fund Supports CCHD’s Rejects

By REY FLORES

Finally, the secular progressives have done what they should have been doing all along in Chicago.
Instead of mooching off the Catholic Church as they have been doing for the last 43 years, they have finally banded together to raise money for organizations who were recently cut from Catholic Campaign for Human Development grant monies.
On the Solidarity Fund’s web site, it states that the fund was “. . . established by a group of Chicago and national foundations to provide support to local groups whose work is grounded in advancing social justice, … Continue Reading

The Catholic Worker And Bono

October 29, 2013 Frontpage Comments Off on The Catholic Worker And Bono

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

I have a soft spot for the Catholic Worker movement, even though most members of the group would be poles apart from me politically. I have felt this way for decades now. While on our frequent walking tours of Manhattan, my late wife and I would stop to drop a few dollars into the collection bottle sitting in the window at the Worker’s St. Joseph House in the Bowery section of the city. The volunteers would always give me a big smile and a thank you as they handed me a copy of their newspaper. I often wondered how they would react if they knew I voted for both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. … Continue Reading

’Tis The Season . . . Rick Santorum Rings Out Word Of Christmas Movie

October 29, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on ’Tis The Season . . . Rick Santorum Rings Out Word Of Christmas Movie

By DEXTER DUGGAN

After Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum shook a security guard’s hand before last year’s internationally televised GOP debate in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Ariz., the apparently impressed guard said twice, “I just shook the hand of the next president.”
It was Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at the Mesa Arts Center auditorium, one in a series of Republican candidate face-offs.
Although Santorum eventually came in second to Mitt Romney, who won the GOP nomination, that security guard might still be proven correct.
The man who went on to retain the presidency in last November’s election, Barack Obama, wasn’t the next president, he was the re-elected incumbent.
Whoever the next president will be awaits the results of November 2016.
Recently asked by The Wanderer if he was thinking of making another presidential run, the former Pennsylvania U.S. senator certainly didn’t rule out the possibility.
“I do” think of it, Santorum replied. “I’m certainly still open to look into that,” but for now he believes he has to provide for his family and also “follow my calling to try to make a difference.”
Santorum spoke with The Wanderer in an October 16 telephone interview about how he has chosen to make that difference — by accepting an offer in June to become CEO of EchoLight Studios, a traditional-values entertainment company based in Dallas.
“I’d like to see Dallas and Fort Worth be to faith and family entertainment what Nashville is to music,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted Santorum in August. “It’s an alternative to the coasts,” whose productions often are hostile to traditional values.
Giving media interviews in October to promote an upcoming holiday offering from EchoLight, The Christmas Candle, was the priority of the day for Santorum. The movie is scheduled to open in theaters nationwide November 22.
In a news release last February at the “PRWeb” publicity site, entertainment jargon came through in the description of Santorum’s studio:
“EchoLight Studios is the first vertically integrated Christian movie studio to offer production financing, marketing, and distribution across all releasing platforms. Based in Dallas, EchoLight produces and distributes high-quality faith and family friendly entertainment through a full film distribution platform, servicing theatrical, home video, digital/VOD and broadcast in both U.S. domestic and international markets.”
Santorum’s language is more direct about The Christmas Candle, set in the late 19th century. It’s a story, he said, about a man without hope and a woman without faith who find love.
A news release offers this tease:
“With the themes of Advent woven into its narrative, the story takes place deep in the heart of the English countryside, in the enchanting village of Gladbury. Legend has it, every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle. Whoever lights the Christmas Candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve. But in 1890, at the dawn of the electric age, this centuries-old legend may be forced to come to an end.”
A pastor in the movie has lost hope that “God is a God who’s present and active in the world,” Santorum said, explaining that in modern times the argument for the existence of God can seem less powerful when people are more self-sufficient.
Santorum told The Wanderer: “I want to provide some truth and some light to a popular culture that’s fairly dark, and particularly in the area of faith. . . .
“By and large, popular culture doesn’t do faith. Doesn’t do faith well if it does do faith,” he added.
Asked about a remark by producer Tom Newman that the movie’s cast members “appreciated the wonderful nostalgia factor of The Christmas Candle, commenting it had the flavor of It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street,” Santorum replied that it’s “a very tall order” to match those classics.
The Christmas Candle “is a beautifully shot film. . . . The cast is a marvelous cast of proven actors. . . . It’s delightful,” Santorum said.
A news release quoted Santorum: “It’s remarkable that we’ve gotten to the point where putting a traditional Christmas movie in theaters at Christmastime is a major event, but here we are! It’s a great blessing to be able to change the narrative after so many years of attacks on Christmas in our culture. Rather than cursing the darkness, we chose to light a candle.”
More information is at www.thechristmascandlemovie.com.
Noting that he has been “criticized quite a bit” for championing traditional morality, Santorum told The Wanderer that 50 or 60 years ago, “Republicans and Democrats alike would say the things I’m saying, and then some.”
Hollywood used to make films about people like the French visionary St. Bernadette Soubirous, he said. However, in recent decades, there has been a barrage of other values thrown at people through the media, “something that has a huge impact.”
This relates to Santorum’s belief that politics doesn’t transform culture, but cultural values flow into and create the political climate.
The Song of Bernadette, Franz Werfel’s 1941 novelization about the young visionary, was on The New York Times best-seller list for more than a year, according to Wikipedia, followed by release of the film of the same name.
In 1944, the actress who portrayed Bernadette, Jennifer Jones, won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role.
One can’t be surprised that a 21st-century entertainment culture that hails prostitutes and abortionists would produce a president like Barack Obama or the churning death factory that Obama champions, Planned Parenthood — both of them considered culturally beyond reproach for their seamy, squalid outlook.
“We have seen the edginess of films become sort of the gold standard as to whether it’s a good film,” rather than measuring by what’s good and true, Santorum said in the October 16 interview.
“We’ve cursed the darkness against what’s been produced by the popular culture, instead of engaging . . . to make our mark” in the lessons being taught, he said.
The Christmas Candle is based on the book of the same name by best-selling Christian author Max Lucado. The movie, directed by John Stephenson, includes Hans Matheson, Samantha Barks, Lesley Manville, and Sylvester McCoy, as well as British singing sensation Susan Boyle.

Catechesis In The Twenty-First Century

October 29, 2013 Don Fier, Our Catholic Faith Comments Off on Catechesis In The Twenty-First Century

By DON FIER

“In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” With these words in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei announcing the upcoming Year of Faith (October 11, 2012-November 24, 2013), Pope Benedict XVI stressed the incalculable importance that the Catechism needs to play for the faithful to truly understand what our precious Catholic faith professes.
With the Holy Father’s words to serve as a fitting backdrop, this column is the introductory installment of a long-running series of articles by which The Wanderer intends to take to heart his exhortation. In an age when it might be said that there exists a “crisis in catechesis,” the plan is to go through the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) — from beginning to end — and examine and give explanation to its contents in a systematic and practical way. In other words, the goal is to provide a resource for readers to become more knowledgeable about their faith, to provide helpful insights on ways to put it into practice in their day-to-day lives, and to encourage them to spread it far and wide.
To put some perspective on the importance of this initiative, consider the following sad and telling statistics from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA): Only 20% of those who identify themselves as Catholics attend Sunday Mass every week (and only 12% on holy days of obligation); 45% never avail themselves of the Sacrament of Confession (and another 30% do so less than once per year); only 57% believe that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. A Pew Research Center study showed that only 56% pray on a daily basis. And it’s often been reported that fallen-away Catholics, if such a religious grouping was considered to be a denomination, would be the second-largest in America.
Certainly one reason for this distressing state of affairs is the culture in which we live — one of secularism, moral relativism, and materialism where self-indulgence and immediate gratification are priorities for many if not most. Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, a zealous and faith-filled Jesuit whose cause for sainthood was opened in late 2005, succinctly described the situation as follows: “The whole moral order of once-civilized nations has been subverted. Each person’s mind is now the norm of morality, and each person’s will is at liberty to choose what he or she wants, without dependence on the mind and will of the Creator.”
Another major component of the problem, however, is the aforementioned “crisis in catechesis.” Whole generations have not been properly catechized and simply do not understand the faith of the Catholic Church. Consider the following example: An acquaintance, a young man who was raised in an ostensibly Catholic family, took a one-semester psychology course at a prestigious Midwestern university. Upon completing the class, he informed his parents that he no longer believed in the existence of God. This young man attended Catholic grade schools, CCD classes throughout high school, and served Mass at his parish on Sundays while growing up. Yet, he was able to be convinced that God does not exist by attending just one secular psychology course.
And I suspect this story is not uncommon — so many have fallen away from the practice of the faith, not grasping and understanding the “pearl of great value” (Matt. 13:45) that they so haphazardly are abandoning.
To put the Catechism of the Catholic Church in historical perspective, it came about as the result of a proposal made at the 1985 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, which was convened on the 20th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s conclusion. Pope John Paul II subsequently appointed an ad hoc commission in 1986 whose express task it was to produce the CCC. In 1992, after six years of intensive work, the Catechism appeared first in French; an English translation was published in 1994. A second edition of the CCC was published in the United States in 1997 to bring the texts of the English edition into conformity with the official Latin text.
The end result can truly be described as a “gift of love” from Almighty God to the Church. As Pope John Paul II points out in the opening line of the apostolic constitution Fidei Depositum: “Guarding the Deposit of Faith is the mission which the Lord entrusted to His Church, and which she fulfills in every age.” And, as José Cardinal Sánchez, former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, noted, the CCC “expresses the essential and fundamental content of Catholic doctrine in faith and morals in a complete and systematic method.”
What are the primary sources for the Catechism of the Catholic Church? As pointed out in Fidei Depositum, “a catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in the Church, and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the fathers, doctors, and saints of the Church.” The CCC is certainly steeped in Sacred Scripture — in the “Index of Citations” there are more than 30 pages of biblical citations, more than 3,000 references, and quotations from Scripture. There are five pages of references from Vatican Council II documents, approximately two and one-half pages from prior ecumenical councils, and 12 pages of references to fathers, doctors, and saints of the Church. Suffice it to say, the drafting fathers of the CCC were true to their mission: The Catechism is indisputably based on Scripture, Tradition, and authentic magisterial teaching of the Church.
The CCC presentation has a fourfold structure, consistent with the way the Church has presented catechisms since her earliest days. The first part is based on the Creed and sets forth the mystery of faith — what Catholics believe. The second part primarily deals with the sacraments and the liturgy — the means by which the salvation and grace of Jesus are mediated to mankind. The basis of the third part of the CCC is the Ten Commandments — it deals with the moral law and what we must do in order to be saved. The fourth and final part deals with Christian prayer and includes a beautiful exposition of the Our Father. The text of the CCC is divided between these four parts as follows: 39% on the Creed, 23% on the Sacraments, 27% on the Commandments, and 11% on Prayer.
In undertaking this project, it is important to bear in mind Pope Benedict’s insightful teaching about reading the “signs of the times” for effective religious training: “Catechesis makes the universal message contemporary by presenting it to particular men living at a particular time.” The intent, then, is to present the CCC in a manner that speaks to the times in which we live, but without compromising the unchanging Truth that has been handed down through the ages.
An overriding principle that was emphasized in Vatican Council II, especially so in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen gentium), is the universal call to holiness. But to be holy, it is imperative that one understands what our Catholic faith demands.
That is the overriding purpose of this series of articles in The Wanderer, for it is the CCC that provides a sure guide toward that understanding. The fundamental goal here, then, is to systematically examine and explain its contents — to impart “doctrinal awareness” to readers. However, a word of caution — to truly understand what the CCC teaches requires more than speed-reading; it requires reflective, meditative reading of the actual text.
Although understanding the content of the CCC is a necessary first step, more is demanded for it to be effective: One must embrace and live what one believes. In a word, one must engage in ongoing conversion. And finally, to be true to what is being asked of us as part of the universal call to holiness is to engage in apostolic outreach — one must become part of the New Evangelization, reaching out and sharing what one has learned and embraced.
One further note to conclude this opening article. Certainly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church can stand on its own and an exposition of its actual text will be the primary content of upcoming articles. However, this track will be periodically augmented by practical segues into the lives of important saints whose words permeate the Catechism. Also, reference will be made to magisterial documents of the Church that have been released by the Holy See since the CCC was published that provide more clarity on new and emerging issues and topics.
Finally, much will be drawn from the teachings and writings of the servant of God, Fr. Hardon, who worked tirelessly as a master catechist, founding and supporting numerous apostolates to teach and spread the faith.

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(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolisbased monthly publication. He is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. Fier, with the full blessing of Raymond Cardinal Burke, is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ. He and his wife are the parents of seven children.)

Raiders Of The Lost Art

October 29, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off on Raiders Of The Lost Art

By Raymond De Souza, KM

Who does not remember the action-packed first Indiana Jones movie — Raiders of the Lost Ark — that delighted adventure and archeology-lovers in the early 1980s?
The idea of finding the Ark of the Covenant — the most sacred object in the ancient world — did certainly attract the attention of millions who were — and still are — puzzled about its loss in the Old Testament. The first Indiana Jones movie certainly did a great deal to reawaken the curiosity and desire among many to know what happened to the mysterious Ark.
The challenging tune chosen for the movie (especially the trumpets, in my opinion) added a touch of enthusiasm second to none in the search and finding of the missing Ark.
I saw the movie for the third time in the mid-1990s, in New Zealand. Of course, I knew that it was entirely fiction, and yet it gave me the idea of revitalizing the search for a lost Art — the lost Art of Catholic Apologetics “down under.” That is, thinking with clarity about the objective Truth, putting logic at the service of the Catholic faith in a culture soaked with relativism.
I had the privilege to do so in the Diocese of Christchurch, in New Zealand, counting on the blessing of the ordinary of the time, the Most Rev. Basil Meeking. Later on, in Australia, again with the support of the ordinary, the Most Rev. Barry Hickey, archbishop of Perth and metropolitan of Western Australia, I continued the promotion of Catholic apologetics in the archdiocese and beyond. The motto was “re-evangelize the baptized,” as John Paul II said in Crossing the Threshold of Hope.
Here in the United States, in my capacity as director of the Office of Evangelization and Apologetics of the Diocese of Winona (the Most Rev. John Quinn is the local ordinary), I am once again privileged with the opportunity to help the local Church in the promotion of the New Evangelization of Faith and Reason — Catholic Apologetics.
(By the way, I was told that the Winona Diocese is considered by many locals to be the solid pedestal of orthodoxy upon which Minnesota is built — but of course people in other dioceses in the 10,000 Lakes state may have a different opinion.)
From St. Justin Martyr in the second century to Scott Hahn in the 20th, both cradle Catholics and converts to the Church have found joy and delight in defending the faith handed down to us by the apostles.
Perhaps the most pressing factor that revitalized apologetics is the “dictatorship of relativism” that is confronting the once Christian West, a dictatorship that was denounced by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger at the homily of the Mass of the conclave that elected him Pope. On the same occasion, he also taught that “Catholics cannot remain immature in the faith, as they run the risk of being tossed away here and there by any doctrinal wind.”
Accordingly, those who believe that teaching the truth does not require refuting error fall prey to the trap of religious liberalism, because no Christian formation, especially in our days, is adequate without apologetics.
Since the cultural and moral ravages of the 1960s, when the Sorbonne Revolution coined the slogan Il est interdit d’interdire (“It is forbidden to forbid”) — followed by the crisis of faith in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council — an unbridled, euphoric, and misguided ecumenism has penetrated virtually every sphere of Catholic endeavor. As a result, the defense of the faith has been largely ignored, if not altogether abandoned.
In the words of William Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “The development and use of apologetics — a system of explaining and defending the truths of faith — largely went out of fashion with the Second Vatican Council, but is still needed today because Catholics in every age are called to explain the reasons for their faith and their hope” (April 29, 2010, address at a conference on “A New Apologetics” at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome).
A great many Catholics today suffer from an unprecedented identity crisis. Mainstream media, peer pressure, and lack of formation are some of the factors causing a near-exodus of Catholics to other religions, such as the many branches of Protestantism, New Age, Islam, or just plain agnosticism. It is tragic that some of the basic tenets of the faith, such as the Divinity of Christ, the Real Presence, the Magisterium, and the role of Mary are seen by many as the opinions of a dying generation.

The Solution:
A New Apologetics

On May 15, 2002, John Paul II taught the bishops of the Antilles in their ad limina visit that: “It is essential in your particular Churches to develop a new apologetics for the people, so that they may understand what the Church teaches and thus be able to give reason for their hope (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). For in a world where people are continuously subjected to the cultural and ideological pressure of the media and the aggressively anti-Catholic attitude of many sects, it is essential for Catholics to know what the Church teaches, to understand that teaching, and to experience its liberating power. A lack of understanding leads to a lack of the spiritual energy needed for Christian living and the work of evangelization.”
Grace abounds in the darkest times. Alongside the crisis, the Church has also seen the astounding growth of new movements of apologists: staunch men and women stand up to reaffirm the defense of Apostolic Tradition, the orthodox interpretation of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Magisterium.
The Lost Art of Catholic Apologetics has become increasingly popular today among lay Catholics, especially in the United States. Catholics in general are called to be proud to be a part of this new wave of missionaries — to reconquer America for Christ the King.
All Catholics must be empowered to believe, love, understand, proclaim, and defend the perennial doctrines preached by the apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the words of John Paul II, Catholics “cannot settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity.” He described them as “cafeteria Catholics.”
I am proud to be a part of this renewed effort with The Wanderer, and I invite all of our readers to make good use of the weekly articles in this new section of Catholic apologetics, to stand up for the faith and be counted among the new apologists of the third millennium. Let us put on the Armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17) and earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).

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(Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; an EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International (HLI); president of the Sacred Heart Institute, and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His web site is www.raymonddesouza.com.)

Christ’s Temptations In The Desert

October 22, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off on Christ’s Temptations In The Desert

By DON FIER

As we saw in last week’s column, Jesus freely chose to receive the “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) from John the Baptist to mark the transition between His hidden life of thirty years and His public ministry of three years. “To inaugurate His public life and to anticipate the ‘Baptism’ of His death,” explains the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “He Who was without sin accepted to be numbered among sinners” (n. 105). Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, then, signified His acceptance of the mission given to Him by the Father to be “the ‘Servant’ wholly consecrated to the redemptive work that He will accomplish by the ‘baptism’ of His Passion” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 565).
The closing verses of St. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism partly reveal a great mystery of our faith: the Most Holy Trinity. The evangelist tells us that immediately upon Christ’s emergence from the water, “the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on Him; and lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased’” (Matt. 3:16-17). It is the Father who speaks, the Son who is baptized, and the Holy Spirit who descends like a dove. However, as pointed out by Pope Benedict XVI in Jesus of Nazareth (JoN), though the mystery of the Trinitarian God is beginning to emerge, “its depths can be fully developed only when Jesus’ journey is complete” (p. 23).
So what course of action does Jesus take at the conclusion of the baptismal scene, which Pope Benedict explains is “to be understood as a kind of formal investiture with the messianic office?” (JoN, p. 25). The three Synoptic Gospels unanimously “speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after His baptism by John” (CCC, n. 538).
As recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward He was hungry” (Matt. 4:1–2). In other words, led by the Holy Spirit, Christ withdraws to the desert for a time of spiritual preparation and renewal for the work of His messianic mission. He rigorously fasts and prays for forty days and then, in a weakened state, allows Himself to be tempted by the evil one.
Before analyzing the temptations of Jesus, at least two questions come to mind. First, is it significant that the time of preparation was forty days; secondly, how is it possible that the Son of God, true God and true man, could be subject to temptation? The number forty is symbolic in Sacred Scripture as a period of probation and testing. The Chosen People wandered in the wilderness for forty years as a time of testing (see Deut. 8:2) after the crossing of the Red Sea (which itself is a figure or type of Baptism). Moses was on Mt. Sinai “with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water” when obtaining the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 34:28). The prophet Elijah, strengthened by food and drink provided by an angel of God, was able to journey forty days and forty nights to Mount Horeb (see 1 Kings 19:8).
Further Old Testament parallels can be identified: the duration of the Great Flood during the time of Noah was forty days and forty nights (see Gen. 7:4, 17); the length of time for the twelve spies sent by Moses to reconnoiter the land of Canaan was forty days (see Num. 14:34); the people of Israel were subject to the Philistines for forty years after doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord (see Judges 13:1); and the Ninevites were given forty days to repent following the preaching of the prophet Jonah (see Jonah 3:4).
Moreover, the Church’s liturgical cycle recognizes the forty days of Jesus’ fast in the wilderness each year: “By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert” (CCC, n. 540).
Before we examine how it was possible for Christ to be tempted by the evil spirit, let us first define “temptation.” In his Modern Catholic Dictionary (MCD), Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, defines it as the “solicitation to sin, whether by persuasion or offering some pleasure. It may arise from the world, the flesh, or the devil” (p. 534). In biblical language, to tempt means to put someone to the test to reveal what is truly in his or her heart: “The Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13:3). In both the Old and New Testaments, it is compared to the refining of metals:
“For Thou, O God, hast tested us; Thou hast tried us as silver is tried” (Psalm 66:10); “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tries hearts” (Prov. 17:3); “Now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
In the definition given above, three sources of temptation are listed: the flesh, the world, and the devil. For fallen mankind, the foundation for temptation is the flesh: our own weakness, disordered passions, and natural desires. As a direct consequence of the fall into original sin by our first parents, we enter this world subject to the threefold concupiscence as described by St. John: “The lust of the flesh [attraction of carnal satisfaction] and the lust of the eyes [attraction of wealth] and the pride of life [attraction of power and dominion]” (1 John 2:16).
In basic terms, then, as summarily defined by Fr. Hardon, “Temptations of the flesh are all the urges of concupiscence, whether carnal or spiritual, where man’s fallen nature has built-in tendencies to the seven capital sins [pride, greed or avarice, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth]” (MCD, p. 534). As succinctly stated by St. James, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:14).
Temptations posed by the world oftentimes make use of our personal weaknesses and inordinate desires by luring us to succumb to “the attractiveness of bad example and the psychological pressure to conform” (MCD, p. 534).
The plethora of external allurements and immoral images with which the modern media constantly flood our senses is intended to incite our passions. We are constantly bombarded with messages that entice us to “buy what we do not need with money that we do not have.” Likewise, human respect and the desire to be “politically correct” fall into this type of temptation. Scandal given by public figures and the bad example of those with whom one associates can also be powerful stimuli to lead the weak into sin.

Interior Senses

Lastly, the devil, content to be unknown (even to have his very existence denied), is always lurking. His method is “to encourage every form of avarice or selfishness, in order to lead one to pride, and through pride to all other sins” (MCD, p. 534). As St. Peter warns us, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Although the evil one does not have the power to enter the citadel of the spiritual part of our soul (intellect and will) and force us to sin, he does have the power to touch our interior senses. For example, the devil is able to induce desolation, arouse the emotions, suggest images to the imagination, and so forth.
So how could Christ be tempted? Unlike us, He did not have a fallen human nature and was not subject to concupiscence. His sense appetites and passions were wholly under His dominion and could not rebel against right reason. So He could not be tempted from within but only from outside Himself — either by the world or by the devil. Like us in all things except sin, Christ had natural desires and corresponding emotions and that is precisely what the evil one sought to exploit by approaching Him in a state of human weakness from the hunger of His forty-day fast.
Next week, we will look at why it was fitting that Christ be tempted and unpack the Church’s teachings on the lessons to be learned from each of the three strategies employed by Satan.

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(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

‘Devastating’: Kansas Supreme Court suspends law license of pro-life former attorney general

October 19, 2013 Frontpage, Uncategorized Comments Off on ‘Devastating’: Kansas Supreme Court suspends law license of pro-life former attorney general

By John Jalsevac

Topeka, KS, October 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, a pro-life Republican who used his post to prosecute the abortion industry, will appeal a decision from the Kansas Supreme Court today indefinitely suspending his law license, his attorney said today.

In a lengthy 154-page decision, the Court upheld six of 11 ethics violations brought against Kline, the only prosecutor in U.S. history to successfully file charges against the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Kline was Kansas attorney general from 2003 to 2007 and Johnson County district attorney in 2007 and 2008.

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline

“The violations we have found are significant and numerous, and Kline’s inability or refusal to acknowledge or address their significance is particularly troubling in light of his service as the chief prosecuting attorney for this State and its most populous county,” the Court stated.

The ethics investigation stemmed from Kline’s investigations of abortion clinics operated by George Tiller in … Continue Reading

Obama Can’t “Shutdown” Faith

October 15, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on Obama Can’t “Shutdown” Faith

By REY FLORES

“For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me” (Psalm 23:4).

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As a nation, we are undoubtedly walking in the midst of the shadow of death right now. Let us be thankful and grateful that we walk not alone, but with the Good Shepherd. He is with us, but we must also be with Him.
I sought that Scripture this morning as I sat down to write my weekly column, because while perusing the Internet for the latest news and propaganda, I ran into a few items that simply make me shake my head in disbelief.
How can some people think and operate the way they do?
Now, about this recent government shut down: Are they kidding?
Outside of the “business as usual” corporate lobbyists, union fat cats, overpaid politicians, and other exclusive insiders, for all intents and purposes, this government has been morally and intellectually shut down for quite a while now.
With all of the rhetoric and government propaganda being regurgitated by the sycophantic news media, the majority of the country appears to be in a numbed state of existence. I would go so far as to say that the masses are stupid.
Now, before you jump the gun and accuse me of name-calling and ad hominem attacks, let’s look at the origins of the word “stupid.” Its first known use was in the middle of the 16th century and comes from the Latin word stupidus, from stupere to be numb and to be astonished.
You have to agree here in saying that many, many Americans today are either numbed or astonished, to say the least.
Some numbness may be self-inflicted by alcohol and/or prescription and street drugs, while other numbness is a post-traumatic stress disorder caused by all of the insanity in the world.
“Astonishment” would be a more accurate term for those of us who still attempt to make sense of this crazy world, simply by rooting ourselves in our belief in Jesus Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
We are not numbed, but we certainly are astonished, at how incredibly evil some people choose to be and that their evil doings are not only permitted to exist, but encouraged to flourish by our United States government.
During the federal government shutdown, civilian Catholic chaplains were temporarily prohibited from celebrating Holy Mass on military bases.
In a recent op-ed in the Archdiocese for the Military Services web site, General Counsel John Schlageter disclosed that non-active duty Catholic priests had been ordered not to work — or even volunteer — on military installations for the duration of the shutdown, making it impossible for servicemen and women at some locations to attend Mass the first weekend of October.
Schlageter wrote in his op-ed:
“There is a chronic shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains. While roughly 25 percent of the military is Catholic, Catholic priests make up only about 8 percent of the chaplain corps. That means approximately 275,000 men and women in uniform, and their families, are served by only 234 active-duty priests. The temporary solution to this shortage is to provide GS and contract priests.
“These men are employed by the government to ensure that a priest is available when an active duty Catholic chaplain is not present. With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work — not even to volunteer. During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”
Fox News, CNN, and The Washington Post all gave coverage to Schlageter’s op-ed.
I am thoroughly disgusted, yet not surprised, at the gall this current U.S. president and his administration have. Never did any of us ever imagine that any administration would go so far as to threaten to imprison priests simply for celebrating Holy Mass on military property.
I recently wrote about a “soft persecution” against Catholics and other Christians in the U.S., but it has now been officially cranked up a notch. Yes, this is the ugly reality we live in today.
In a more recent development, Schlageter told Catholic News Service: “We’re now being told priests can return to work.”
I wonder how long it will be before Obama sends out some other sort of message to let Catholics and other Christians know that they are no longer free to practice their faith.

The Inexplicability
Of Obamacare

Before the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) was passed in 2010, the then-speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, insisted that this legislation be passed, and then people could find out what’s in it afterwards.
It got rammed through, all right. It was like selling somebody a really expensive, high-ticket item like a car or a house, sight unseen.
Fast-forward to a few days ago when Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius couldn’t answer liberal comedian Jon Stewart’s questions about Obamacare on his cable television show. Sebelius uttered pathetic comments that she made up as she went along, clearly demonstrating that either she doesn’t know what’s in this disastrous law or that she’s further obfuscating the truth.
Stewart simply ended the painful segment by saying: “This is a system that has been jerry-rigged to deal with the crazy people!”
Even administration propagandists like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell can’t defend Obamacare anymore. Wisconsin Cong. Sean Duffy totally shut her down by simply asking Mitchell to answer this question: “Can you defend why the president shouldn’t be in Obamacare like members of Congress and their staffs?”
Mitchell, looking rather tired, simply answered, “I can’t defend why,” and never said much of anything else before Duffy gave her some solid advice on how to do her job.
Yes, some of the things going on today are at times overwhelming and difficult to even comprehend; however, we are very blessed to be able to take comfort in our Lord as Psalm 23:4 reminds us. One thing the enemy could never shut down is the Church Triumphant.

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(Rey Flores can be reached at reyfloresusa@gmail.com.)

In Defense Of Common Core

October 15, 2013 Frontpage Comments Off on In Defense Of Common Core

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

In the September 12 issue of this column, a correspondent called our attention to an article by Paul Kengor in the August issue of Crisis magazine, in which Kengor cites information he was given by a friend whom he calls an “expert in the field of education.” Kengor’s friend believes that there is a potential problem in the Common Core curriculum being promoted by the Obama administration, beyond the threat of federal control over our public schools most mentioned by Common Core’s critics. Kengor’s friend believes that Common Core will permit “outside vendors and providers” … Continue Reading

Pope Francis Says Christians Must Guard Against Slyness Of The Devil

October 15, 2013 World News Comments Off on Pope Francis Says Christians Must Guard Against Slyness Of The Devil

By ELISE HARRIS

ROME (CNA/EWTN News) — In his October 11 daily Mass homily, the Holy Father warned of the discreet presence of the Devil, exhorting those gathered to be astute in their spiritual lives.
“We must always be on guard,” exhorted the Pope to those who attended Mass in the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta, “on guard against deceit, against the seduction of evil.”
Referencing the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus has just healed a possessed man and is accused of casting out demons by the power of the Devil, the Pope noted that often in history there have been those who wish to “diminish the power of the Lord” by offering different explanations for His works, noting that this is a temptation which has “reached our present day.”
“There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others, say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness’.”
“It is true,” he affirmed, “that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the Devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter. No!”
“The presence of the Devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the Devil, with the victory of God over the Devil.”
Observing that the Lord has given many criteria in order to “discern” the presence of evil in our lives, the Pope stressed that “we should not be naive,” and that one of the criteria which have been given us is “not to follow the victory of Jesus” just “halfway.”
“Either you are with me, says the Lord, or you are against me” he said, noting that Jesus came to conquer the Devil and “to give us the freedom” from “the enslavement the Devil has over us,” which he cautioned, is not “exaggerating.”
“On this point, there are no nuances. There is a battle and a battle where salvation is at play, eternal salvation; eternal salvation.”
He exhorted those in attendance to question themselves, asking, “Do I guard myself, my heart, my feelings, my thoughts? Do I guard the treasure of grace? Do I guard the presence of the Holy Spirit in me? Or do I let go, feeling secure, believing that all is going well?”
“If you do not guard yourself, he who is stronger than you will come,” warned Pope Francis. “But if someone stronger comes and overcomes, he takes away the weapons in which one trusted, and he shall divide the spoil.”
“Vigilance….Do not confuse the truth!” stressed the Pontiff, giving three criteria of his own to use in the spiritual combat.
“Jesus fights the Devil: first criterion. Second criterion: he who is not with Jesus is against Jesus. There are no attitudes in the middle. Third criterion: vigilance over our hearts because the Devil is astute. He is never cast out forever. It will only be so on the last day.”
Pope Francis recounted the biblical analogy of the impure spirit who leaves a man, noting that once the spirit is gone, “it wanders in deserted places, and seeking rest and finding none, says: ‘I will return to my house, from which I left’.”
When the spirit returns and finds it “swept clean and adorned,” he explained, it then “takes another seven spirits worse than he, who come and make their homes,” and in that way “the last state of man becomes worse than the first.”
“Vigilance,” he stressed, “because his strategy is this: ‘You became Christian. Advance in your faith. I will leave you. I will leave you tranquil. But then when you are used to not being so watchful and you feel secure, I will come back’.”
“The Gospel today begins with the Devil being cast out and ends with the Devil coming back! These are not lies,” he urged, “it is the word of the Lord!”
“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to take these things seriously. He came to fight for our salvation. He won against the Devil! Please, let us not do business with the Devil! He seeks to return home, to take possession of us….Do not relativize; be vigilant! And always with Jesus!”

FRENCH CATHOLICS TO PRAY NATIONAL ROSARY

PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – Catholics in France are rallying for a nationwide Rosary on April 28. In the past five months, Church Militant has reported on about a half dozen national Rosary rallies organized in countries such as Poland and Ireland. Inspired by…Continue Reading

Told he has not long to live, Catholic Studies founder Don Briel reflects on dying well

Don Briel, founder and longtime director of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, was diagnosed in mid-January with two forms of acute leukemia. He was told the cancers were untreatable and he had a month…Continue Reading

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 08:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his annual Lenten meeting with the priests of Rome last week, Pope Francis confirmed that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be made a saint sometime this year. “Paul VI…Continue Reading

Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 05:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has reconfirmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also reconfirming seven members…Continue Reading

The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida school shooting (all times local): 11:36 a.m. President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Parkland, Florida, the site of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Trump said from…Continue Reading

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

A Connecticut high school student may have to decide whether to remove a Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop or leave her Catholic school after administrators told her to remove it, her parents said. Sophomore Kate Murray’s parents told the Greenwich Time that…Continue Reading

Fr. James Martin: ‘People take the Bible…out of context’ on homosexuality

February 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin toldGeorgetown University students recently. Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem…Continue Reading

Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill banning abortion on babies more than 15 weeks old passed the Mississippi state House today 79-31. House Bill 1510 would make Mississippi the state with the most pro-life laws if it…Continue Reading

All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

Just three Democrats in the U.S. Senate supported a bill on Monday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has strong public support from Republicans…Continue Reading

Athanasius Schneider invites world’s bishops to sign Profession of Immutable Truths

ROME, January 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In an exclusive interview two weeks after issuing a profession of immutable truths about sacramental marriage, Bishop Athanasius Schneider is inviting his brother bishops around the world to join in raising a common voice…Continue Reading

Cardinal Eijk Asks Pope to Clarify Questions About “Remarried” Divorcees

As Katholisch.de, the official website of the German bishops, reports today, Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Dutch cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht, requested that Pope Francis bring light into the confusion concerning the question as to how to deal with…Continue Reading

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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

State senator rebuffs Planned Parenthood activists: ‘Abortion is murder’

BOISE, Idaho, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Mainstream media is slinging mud at a pro-life Republican state senator in Idaho after he was filmed in a heated exchange with a dozen or so pro-abortion college students affiliated with Planned Parenthood, telling them that abortion is “murder.” When State Sen. Dan Foreman (R) canceled a meeting with University of Idaho students on Monday, the Planned Parenthood

Catholics urged to affirm ‘liberating truth’ of Humanae Vitae

The document ‘defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone’ The “liberating truth” of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” is as relevant today 50 years after its promulgation, and maybe even more so, said Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila in his new pastoral letter, “The Splendor of Love.” “The 50th anniversary of ‘Humanae Vitae’ is an occasio

Correcting Fr. James Martin

Fr James Martin SJ has tweeted his rage against the firing of a gay teacher from a Catholic School. The story is here in the New York Times. It concerns a female Catholic school teacher who “married” her girlfriend and was then dismissed from her job. Fr Martin tweets: Again, where are the comparable firings of straight employees who do not follow Catholic church teaching? Men and women living together before being married? Divorced and remarried without…Continue Reading

Dozens of U.S. bishops sign up for Amoris Laetitia seminars at dissident Catholic colleges

CHICAGO, February 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, a key promoter of the progressive agenda advanced under Pope Francis, has invited American bishops to a series of conferences about Amoris Laetitia in February. Catholic News Agency reported this week that it had “obtained” a letter by the Archbishop of Chicago about the seminars. Called “New Momentum Conferences on Amoris Laetitia”,  the series is advertised as a “tailor-made program that goes from why Amoris Laetitia provides New Momentum for Moral…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Sues President Trump After He Defunded Its Programs Pushing Sex on Kids

There’s nothing, it seems, that the abortion chain Planned Parenthood won’t sue over. On Thursday, affiliates of the abortion chain in seven states sued the Trump administration for cutting funding for their questionable teen pregnancy prevention programs. The Daily Nonpareil reports the lawsuits argue that the Trump administration wrongly cut their funding prematurely and without cause. Nine groups, including Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington, Iowa, North Carolina, South C

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Youth’s Predicament… The Longing For Love And Meaning

By GEORGE A. KENDALL Living in a nursing home has had an unexpected effect on my life — putting me in more contact with young people than I have been used to since I was young myself (about a hundred years ago). I am talking about the nurse’s aides who provide the day to day…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Professor… Criticizes University’s Provision Of “Simple Contraceptives”

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNA/EWTN News) — After the University of Notre Dame announced it would fund “simple contraceptives” in its insurance plan, one Notre Dame professor has criticized the move, calling it “a giant leap into immorality.” “Now the University [of Notre Dame] is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway,” wrote…Continue Reading

Fulton Sheen’s Final Resting Place Not Yet Final

NEW YORK (CNA/EWTN News) — Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s niece has said her uncle’s remains belong in Peoria, Ill., but a lawsuit seeking his internment there has been returned to a lower court for further consideration. “I just hate that this is dragging on and on and on,” Joan Sheen Cunningham said, according to The New…Continue Reading

Blessed Paul VI Revisited

By DONALD DeMARCO Unlike the daily news, papal statements are news that stay news. On January 1, 1977, Pope Paul VI delivered a Day of Peace message entitled, If You Want Peace, Defend Life. The need to conjoin peace with life is more relevant today than it was better than forty years ago and warrants…Continue Reading

President Trump Bans U.S. Aid for International Abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within a week of taking office on January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, now called the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, which bans U.S. funding for abortions overseas. The expanded policy prohibits $9 billion in U.S. taxpayer money from funding foreign organizations that perform or…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Cardinal Zen . . . “A Schismatic Church With The Pope’s Blessing Will Be Horrible!”

By DIANE MONTAGNA ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Hong Kong’s Joseph Cardinal Zen issued another strongly worded criticism February 13 of the Vatican’s proposed deal with China’s Communist regime, suggesting it would amount to a papal endorsement of schism. “There is no reason to fear a schismatic church created by the [Communist] Party. It will fade with the collapse of the regime,”…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The “Inner Room” Of Lent

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Go to your inner room and pray to your Father in private.” Another Lent is upon us. With the Mass of Ash Wednesday we hear once again the Lord’s call to grow into a deeper awareness and love of the Father who is always lovingly aware of us. The tasks of Lent in prayer, fasting,…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Delving Into The Great Mystery Of The Eucharist

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 16 The Holy Eucharist is the greatest Mystery left to our faith by Our Divine Redeemer. Thus, to delve into it is something we do on our knees, as it were, spiritually speaking, since we are considering the Presence of a Divine Person under the appearances of bread and wine. We have His word…Continue Reading

The Effects Of The Sacrament Of Matrimony

By DON FIER For a variety of reasons (a defect of consent, a diriment impediment, or a defect of the required form), many supposed modern-day marriages entered into by Catholic persons are invalid from their origin in the eyes of God and the Church. However, as we saw last week, depending on the circumstances, the Church has procedures by which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Concerning what our Blessed Mother said in Fatima about the rosary, I am confused as to whether or not she meant us to meditate on the mysteries while we are praying the Hail Marys or whether she meant us to meditate on the mysteries right before we say the Hail Marys. The consensus seems to be that we are…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Bohemia

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the thirteenth century, many alliances were solidified by a marriage between members of royalty from other nations. There were also quite a few royal persons who were known for their holiness by following Christianity, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Ludmila and St. Wenceslaus of Czechoslovakia. Related to all of these saints, Princess Agnes also…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading