Wednesday 22nd October 2014

The Solidarity Fund Supports CCHD’s Rejects

October 30, 2013 Frontpage Comments Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

+    +    +

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

In Defense Of Common Core

October 15, 2013 Frontpage Comments Off

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

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!”

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

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Cardinal Burke Confirms: Yes, Pope Has Demoted Me.

“Pope has done a lot of harm by not saying openly what his position is” Synod “designed to change Church’s teaching“ We post here for the record of current events all the quotes published by BuzzFeed from their interview with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke’s Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod

The world likes Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke very little or not at all.  And , if it is possible, the Church likes him even less than does the world.  On the other hand, this 66-year-old American from Richland Center, Wisconsin,…Continue Reading

Pope Paul VI to be beatified Oct. 19, 2014

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Pope Francis will officially declare Pope Paul VI Blessed on Sunday, Oct. 19, during the closing ‎Mass of the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.  Pope Paul VI was cleared for ‎beatification when Pope Francis on May 9…Continue Reading

Church Militant . . . Synod On The Family

Houston, we have a problem

Angry over voter lawsuit, city demands to pick through sermons, other communications from pastors who aren’t involved Monday, October 13, 2014 HOUSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s mid-term report “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium”

Yesterday’s presentation of the mid-term report (Relatio post disceptationem) of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family was met with a remarkable level of interest among both Catholic and non-Catholic media outlets. The Vatican Radio site, in its introduction to…Continue Reading

Having Patience for the Sausage-Making Synod

The midterm report on the deliberations of the Synod on the Family has appeared and there is a fair amount of hysteria all around. John Thavis, a veteran Vatican reporter who should know better, has declared this statement “an earthquake,…Continue Reading

Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod

The Holy Father has been very good in lecturing priests and telling us what to do. We are to go out into the world and “make a mess.” We are to “smell like the sheep.” We are to welcome all…Continue Reading

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  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

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'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope At Audience: The Church, The Body Of Christ

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(Vatican Radio) Divisions, jealousies, misunderstandings and marginalization do not help the Church to grow as the Body of Christ, they shatter it into many pieces, they dismember it. Instead we should remember that we – as the Body of Christ – are called to appreciate the gifts and the quality of others in our communities. The Church as the Body…Continue Reading

Pope To Consistory: We Are Witnessing A Phenomenon Of Terrorism

In Briefing, Fr. Lombardi Says Interventions Reaffirmed That You Cannot Kill in the Name of God Vatican City, October 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Dedicating this morning’s Consistory of Cardinals to the Middle East, and particularly the region’s Christians, Pope Francis has called on the international community to do their part as well as his fellow prelates to protect…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Middle East Without Christians Unthinkable

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. In remarks to the gathered Cardinals at the morning session of the…Continue Reading

At Closing Mass For The Synod Pope Francis Beatifies Paul VI

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. During the Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle.” Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’s homily for the…Continue Reading

Musings And Concerns On The Synod

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish in Washington, D.C. This October 9 commentary is reprinted with his permission. The Wanderer went to press this week on October 16, prior to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops’ final report and three days before the synod concluded…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Is The Church In The U.S. Unwittingly Helping To Promote The Secularist-Leftist Agenda?

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Our Judicial Dictatorship

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Do the states have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage? Not long ago the question would have been seen as absurd. For every state regarded homosexual acts as crimes. Moreover, the laws prohibiting same-sex marriage had all been enacted democratically, by statewide referenda, like Proposition 8 in California, or by Congress…Continue Reading

The Government And Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This past week, FBI Director James Comey gave an interview to 60 Minutes during which he revealed a flawed understanding of personal freedom. He rightly distinguished what FBI agents do in their investigations of federal crimes from what the NSA does in its intelligence gathering, when the two federal agencies are…Continue Reading

Religious Freedom In Belarus . . . Strict Controls, “An Invisible Ghetto,” Continue

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University.) + + + Current events in the Middle East have drawn attention to the plight of…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Pope’s Message To Bishop Of Avila . . . St. Teresa Tells Everyone: “Do Not Cease To Be Joyful!”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is a translation of the message that Pope Francis sent October 15 to the bishop of Avila, Spain, Jesus Garcia Burillo, on the occasion of the opening of the Teresian Jubilee Year for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus, doctor of the Church. The saint’s liturgical memorial is observed October…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Being Exposed To Synod’s Deliberations Is Not For The Fainthearted

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out — he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). “Peering into freedom’s ideal law,” as St. James’ letter exhorts and as the fathers of…Continue Reading

Debunking The Myth… Sola Scriptura Is Unscriptural

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Evidently, Jesus did not stay with the apostles and disciples for long after the Resurrection. He founded a Church, His Church. Now, did He found it as a visible Church, with authority to guide, teach, and sanctify the people? Or didn’t He? Either He did or He didn’t. It is one or the…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: R.H.T. of Florida writes to say that “this week’s question [The Wanderer dated October 16, 2014] about Doctors Without Borders caught my attention. If R.B. from Michigan is interested in supporting an organization like Doctors Without Borders, but one that is absolutely committed to strict adherence to the Catholic Church’s rules on things like abortion, contraception, etc., I…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

By CAROLE BRESLIN Who are the fathers of the Church? They were holy men of God; most were bishops, although some were priests and one man, St. Justin the Martyr, was a layman. They lived primarily in the first three centuries of Christianity, but one of the fathers died in 750, generally considered the end of the Church fathers’ era.…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading