Thursday 22nd February 2018

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March 17, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: At a time when some Catholics are afraid to stand up for their faith in the face of secular disdain and ridicule, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City put things into perspective in a bulletin column the Sunday before Ash Wednesday:
“Exactly two years ago this month, twenty young Coptic Christian Egyptians were kidnapped by Islamic State militants while on a work crew in Libya. They refused to renounce Christ and chanted in chorus, ‘Ya Rabbi Yassou!’ — ‘Oh my Lord Jesus!’ A black youth from Chad, Mathew Ayairga, not a Christian, was watching and, when asked by the captors, ‘Do you reject Christ?’ he replied, ‘Their God is my God.’ He was baptized by blood when all twenty-one were beheaded.
While these martyrs had never heard of the theological disputes over grace and justification, they were confident that Christ can raise life eternal from dust and ash. The purpose of Lenten disciplines, not salvific in themselves, is to train voices to join their chorus of faith.”

Q. At Sunday Mass recently, I noticed several pews reserved for something called “Little Church.” Before the readings, those in the reserved pews — mostly preschoolers with parents — were then gathered before the altar and met by the celebrant. Then the “Little Church” group was sent out of the church to another site. Your comment? — M.S. Michigan.
A. We are familiar with this practice of dismissing the children (although not the parents) before the Scripture readings and homily, and then having them return for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The point of the exercise, which is usually conducted by a layperson, is to have the children hear readings and an explanation suited to their age.
We have never thought that this was a good idea. We would prefer to have families together at Mass. If those in attendance are primarily children, then the readings and the homily can be adapted to them. If the congregation is mostly adults, there could be a class afterwards that would help the children to understand what they had just witnessed, or parents could exercise their role as the primary educators of their children and talk with them at home.

Q. Why is the Church so silent on birth control? As a Catholic mother of seven wee ones, and physically worn out from childbearing, I want to avoid another pregnancy. If I use birth control in my marriage, does the Church teach that I am likely to go to Hell? Am I really to sit out Communion and not go to Confession right now? With my Catholic hospital the one to initiate my birth control, and because of poor catechesis, I knew nothing of mortal sin, only that the Church frowned on birth control. When I decided to learn more about my faith and started reading more, did I suddenly burden myself with sin, whereas before I was innocent and Heaven-bound? This is upsetting to me, and I would love some advice. Can I still be a Catholic if I intend to use birth control? — Name and State Withheld.
A. First of all, if every Catholic guilty of committing sin ceased to be a Catholic, there would be no Catholic Church. The Church is made up of sinners and all are called to, in the words of Jesus, “repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). No grave sin automatically sends a person to Hell; only persistent and stubborn adherence to that sin until the end of one’s life results in final damnation.
Second, the three conditions for a mortal sin are grave matter, sufficient knowledge that the matter is gravely sinful, and deliberate consent of the will. If you at first were truly ignorant of the sinful nature of birth control (more properly called contraception since one can control births by moral means), then you were not in a state of mortal sin. That may no longer be true since you now possess sufficient knowledge of the immorality of contraception. However, one’s degree of guilt or moral responsibility can be mitigated by such things as fear (of future pregnancies) or concupiscence (the rebellion of one’s passions against reason). You should discuss your situation with a priest who is loyal to the Church’s teaching on the immorality of contraception.
Third, the Church herself has never been silent on the evil of contraception. She has condemned this sin since the first century, and every Pope in the past century, as well as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, has reaffirmed that condemnation. The definitive statement on the matter was issued in 1968 with the promulgation of Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI, who declared as immoral “every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (n. 14).
Fourth, while the Church’s Magisterium has always been vocal about the evil of contraception, many of her bishops and priests have been virtually silent, which is why so many Catholics, even today, think that there’s nothing wrong with practicing contraception. They have never been told by their clergy that contraception is not only a great moral evil, but it is also a betrayal of marriage as the mutual and fruitful self-giving of two persons to each other. Just as the Father and the Son pour out the gift of themselves to each other, and the Holy Spirit is the fruit of their self-giving love, so husbands and wives are to model themselves on the Trinity and make a free, total, sincere, and fruitful gift to each other.
Man and woman were made for each other. For one or both of them to say, “I give you all of myself, except my fertility,” is a lie and a betrayal of the self-giving love that the Creator intended in the beginning when He invented marriage.
Fifth, bishops and priests who failed to teach that contraception is evil will have much to answer for. In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI specifically told the Catholic bishops of the world that their mission of safeguarding the holiness of marriage was “one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time” (n. 29). The Holy Father had even stronger words for priests, telling them that “your first task…is to expound the Church’s teaching on marriage without ambiguity.”
He told them to “be the first to give, in the exercise of your ministry, the example of loyal internal and external obedience to the teaching authority of the Church….You know, too, that it is of utmost importance, for peace of consciences and for the unity of the Christian people, that in the field of morals, as well as in that of dogma, all should attend to the Magisterium of the Church, and all should speak the same language” (n. 28).
Sixth, perhaps these clergy who failed in their duty to guide their flocks were afraid of driving people away, and so they avoided homilies on contraception. How did that work out? Attendance at Mass still dropped from about 70 percent on Sundays before Humanae Vitae to around 20 percent today\ These members of the clergy should have heeded the advice of Pope Paul, that “to diminish in no way the saving teaching of Christ constitutes an eminent form of charity for souls. But this must ever be accompanied by patience and goodness, such as the Lord Himself gave example of in dealing with men. Having come not to condemn but to save [cf. John 3:17], He was intransigent with evil, but merciful to individuals” (n 29).
Seventh, here is the consolation that you are looking for — the knowledge that the Lord did not come to condemn, but to save us, to be intransigent with such evils as contraception but to be merciful to those individuals caught up in this web. We can identify personally with your situation, having once had seven “wee ones” ourselves under the age of nine. But with God’s help, we survived, even with the birth of two more children. Looking back, my wife and I wonder how we did it, but we did, and now we have 22 grandchildren as well.
Eighth, the answer to your plight is Natural Family Planning, which the Church approves as a method of spacing out the births of children, or of avoiding another birth for the time being, after taking into account what St. John Paul II called the “physical, economic, psychological, and social conditions” facing a family.
The beauty of NFP is that it involves the loving cooperation of both parties, rather than putting the burden on one spouse, usually the woman, who endangers her health by taking powerful drugs (the Pill) or using dangerous devices.
For information on NFP, check with the Family Life Office in your diocese or contact John Kippley of Natural Family Planning International at P.O. Box 112035, Cincinnati, OH 45211. His website is www.nfpandmore.org.

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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

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  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

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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