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May 12, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: Regarding a recent question about the time of day when a Latin High Mass can be celebrated, J.R.D. of New Jersey, the master of ceremonies at his parish, wrote to say that “there is no rule in my parish. We have had the High Mass at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, and now have it at 8:00 a.m. The time is usually determined by the pastor. It was the same in the ‘old days’.”

Q. During World War II, a woman doctor performed some 3,000 abortions on Jewish inmates of a concentration camp in order to save the lives of the inmates as the Nazi policy was to gas any women found to be pregnant, in which case both the women and their babies would be lost. Through her actions, the women were saved. As to the morality of the doctor’s actions, a number of factors arise: 1) the end justifying the means, 2) choosing the lesser of two evils, 3) moral absolutes, and 4) situation ethics. Were the doctor’s actions moral? Please identify the source for your reply. — T.J.M., New Jersey.
A. The doctor’s actions were immoral since no one has the right to take an innocent life, even to spare another life. Numbers 1, 2, and 4 all contradict the moral absolute of the sacredness of all human life. The morality of a human act depends on three things: 1) the act itself, 2) the purpose of the act, and 3) the circumstances surrounding the act.
“The primary and decisive element for moral judgment,” said Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, is the act itself because it “establishes whether it is capable of being ordered to the good and to the ultimate end, which is God” (n.78).
The purpose of the act, or the circumstances surrounding it, can change the morality of the act in some cases, but abortion is intrinsically wrong (evil by its very nature) and can never be justified, even to save the lives of the pregnant women in the Nazi death camps. In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, St. John Paul said:
“I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being” (n. 62).
For more on this subject, see the book Catholicism & Ethics: A Medical/Moral Handbook by Hayes, Hayes, Kelly, and Drummey. It is available for $15 (shipping included) from the address at the bottom of this column.

Q. Getting old comes with a lot of aches and pains, but I recently picked up a book on Tai Chi. The stretching exercises seem okay, but the book recommends a system of breathing and meditation, etc. Will this conflict in any way with my Catholic beliefs? — D.H., Iowa.
A. Sometimes described as “meditation in motion,” Tai Chi was originally developed in ancient China for self-defense, but is now used as a form of exercise for reducing stress and improving health. It is a system of gentle physical movements, performed in a slow and graceful manner, that keeps the body in constant motion. The movements are coordinated with breathing to help a person achieve an inner calm.
Dr. Roger Jahnke, a practitioner of Oriental medicine and author of a book on Tai Chi entitled The Healer Within, says that Eastern wisdom speaks of the body’s ability to heal itself. He contends that normal exercise produces chemicals that allow muscles damaged by the exercise to heal. But he says that the movements of Tai Chi are so gentle that the muscle isn’t damaged, and the chemicals produced can be used to help other parts of the body. He claims that Tai Chi healed a man who had an incurable brain cancer.
Jahnke is also author of The Healing Promise of Qi, which promotes the healing of back and joint pain. “Tai Chi and Qigong literally means life force and mastery,” says a description of his books. “Long kept as a carefully guarded secret from the Chinese public, Dr. Jahnke brings it to the west as a health enhancing self-improvement program. Ancient tools for self-improvement and a safe, gentle, and proven approach to treating pain and disease.”
The problem with these “life force” or “life energy” techniques is that they promote healing through human efforts and not through divine power. In a 2009 document about a related technique known as Reiki (Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy), the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine said that some of Reiki’s teachers “argue that it is not the Reiki practitioner personally who effects the healing, but the Reiki energy directed by the divine consciousness. Nevertheless, the fact remains that for Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord.”
The bishops said that “some practitioners attempt to Christianize Reiki by adding a prayer to Christ, but this does not affect the essential nature of Reiki. For these reasons, Reiki and other similar therapeutic techniques cannot be identified with what Christians call healing by divine grace.” They cautioned that “a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki [or Tai Chi] would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man’s-land that is neither faith nor science. Superstition corrupts one’s worship of God by turning one’s religious feeling and practice in a false direction. While sometimes people fall into superstition through ignorance, it is the responsibility of all who teach in the name of the Church to eliminate such ignorance as much as possible.”
It seems to us that one could use stretching exercises to help alleviate aches and pains without getting into superstition or into the shadowy world of the New Age Movement.

Q. I was surprised that you felt that Jesus would not have undergone His horrific Passion and Death for only 10 percent of the billions who have inhabited this planet. To feel that the many billions of souls who would represent the 10 percent would not be significant is stunning. I refer you to Abraham pleading with the Lord not to destroy Sodom if at least 10 good men could be found. The Lord agreed. — B.W., via e-mail.
A. The point we were making was not that Jesus would not have died to save only a small percentage of sinners (He would have), but rather that His sacrificial death would surely have effected the salvation of many more souls than the 10 percent envisioned by St. Bernard. We believe this to be so in light of what Jesus told St. Faustina about the vast scope of His divine mercy. Here are some of His statements to Faustina:
“The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness. You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, my daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.”
“I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so. My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the day of justice, I am sending the day of mercy.”
“I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy. . . . Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.”
“The soul that will go to Confession [within seven days] and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no one fear to draw near to Me, even though its sin be like scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”
“Even if the sin of souls will be as dark as night, when the sinner turns to my mercy he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of my Passion. When a soul praises my goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of Hell.”
“Souls perish in spite of my bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation, that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore my mercy, they will perish for all eternity. Tell souls about this great gift of mine because the awful day, the day of my justice, is near.”
“Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all will be drowned in the immeasurable depths of my mercy.”
“When you say this prayer with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer: ‘O blood and water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You’.”

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Trump Is Pushed and Pulled on Climate Change, A Year After Pledging to Cancel Paris Deal

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St. Louis archbishop resists law requiring Catholics to hire abortion activists: ‘We will not comply’

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Planned Parenthood Closing Multiple Abortion Clinics in Iowa After State Defunds It

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood announced plans Thursday to close four Iowa clinics as a result of a new state law that defunds it. At the end of June, Planned Parenthood facilities in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City, Iowa will…Continue Reading

Graduates walk out on Pence at Notre Dame commencement

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Trump nominates Callista Gingrich for ambassador to the Vatican

President Trump has nominated Callista Gingrich, the wife of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), as ambassador to the Holy See, the White House announced Friday. The nomination comes just five days before Trump is set to meet with Pope Francis…Continue Reading

The murder case of Blessed Oscar Romero has been reopened

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Notre Dame Protest of Pence Twists Catholic Social Teaching

This Sunday, vice president Mike Pence will return to his home state of Indiana to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. For the third time in several years, the school’s graduation ceremony will be plagued by…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood is Ditching the Failed “Pro-Choice” Label. Here’s Why

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Bishop Conley: The Pro-Choice Political Dictatorship of Relativism

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These Republicans Voted Against the Bill to Defund the Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

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Cecile Richards Comes Unglued After House Defunds Planned Parenthood: Republicans Hate Women

Planned Parenthood abortion business president Cecile Richards it’s not happy that the House of Representatives voted yesterday to defund Planned Parenthood. The main response of the CEO of the nation’s biggest abortion conglomerate can be summed up in three words:…Continue Reading

Despite pro-life provisions, healthcare bill raises serious concerns

Vatican City, May 4, 2017 / 05:27 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The House passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement health care bill on Thursday, but one bishop warned that the new bill poses serious problems for…Continue Reading

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This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

‘Comfortable’ Catholics are ‘unwilling’ to see dangers facing Church: Scholar

ROME, May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Too many Catholics are caught up in a “comfortable” Catholicism that makes them unwilling, and even unable, to see the “grave problems” currently besetting the Church, said a renowned theologian and one of the world’s top Catholic experts on the Church Fathers. “Most Catholics seem to live their life on a sort of comfortable zone, just the way that a lot of bishops live in a sort of safety-first…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops denounce a Trump budget championed by Mulvaney – a lifelong Catholic

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Pope Francis Receives US President Donald J. Trump

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Trump budget completely defunds abortion providers, and Planned Parenthood is furious

May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-abortion feminists are bemoaning and pro-lifers are celebrating President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal that would withhold all federal funds from abortion-provider Planned Parenthood. Breitbart reported yesterday that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney told the media on Monday that the new budget would defund the abortion business, but only if the new Republican healthcare legislation passed recently by the House is also passed by the Senate and…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Sues St. Louis to Stop It From Becoming a “Sanctuary City” for Abortion

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A New Birth Control Commission?

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: At this point, reports about a possible new birth control commission are unconfirmed. This commentary first appeared on http://nfpandmore.org/wordpress/.) + + + The week of May 13th started wonderfully with widespread efforts to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. The work week was quickly dimmed,…Continue Reading

Wanda Poltawska… The Stubborn Insistence On Being Human

By DONALD DeMARCO The city was Toledo, Ohio. The year was 1990. The venue was the dining room in a private home. The audience consisted of several pro-life people, including myself. The speaker was Wanda Poltawska who was relating a series of events in her life that we were most privileged to hear. In 1962,…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… “Outcasts” And True Social Justice

By REY FLORES “A bold example of social justice in action” — Follow the cameras of Grassroots Films, the Award-Winning producers of The Human Experience and Child 31, on an unexpected journey across the globe. Travel to the prisons of Central America, walk the dark city streets of London, New York, and Ireland’s most treacherous…Continue Reading

Kentucky Printer Can Refuse LGBT Message

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No Help For Minor Children… Gender Confusion Prevails In The Courts

By DEACON MIKE MANNO (Editor’s Note: Deacon Mike Manno, an attorney, is director of deacons for the Diocese of Des Moines and host of Iowa Catholic Radio’s Faith On Trial program [www.iowacatholicradio.com]. He can be reached at deaconmike@iowacatholicradio.com.) + + + This month the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Ninth…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his parish bulletin recently, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City recalled the famous words of the great jazz singer Al Jolson: “You ain’t heard nothing yet” and compared them with the words of Jesus: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John…Continue Reading

Discover God’s Gifts And His Will

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A Leaven In The World… 25th Ordination Jubilee Solemn High Mass And Celebration

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK (Editor’s Note: The staff of The Wanderer congratulates Fr. Cusick on his upcoming 25th anniversary of Ordination.) + + + Thank you for reading my column so faithfully over the years and for all that you have done to support the apostolate of The Wanderer. As we mark the 25th anniversary of my June 6,…Continue Reading

Our Savior And Redeemer… More On The Gabirah, The Queen Mother

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Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Sanz And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1748, the Viceroy of Peking with great frustration asked, “What are we to do with these men? Their lives are certainly irreproachable. . . . Their jailers and their families become their disciples and embrace their religion. To prolong this state is only to give them the opportunity of increasing the number of Christians.” Thus Peter…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Celestine V

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the death of Pope St. John Paul II, faithful Catholics rejoiced at the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the next Vicar of Christ. The German prelate took the name of Benedict XVI for two reasons: in memory of Pope Benedict XV who led the Church during the turbulent times of World War I, seeking peace…Continue Reading