Tuesday 25th October 2016

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March 20, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. In a parish bulletin column, our pastor said that “the Catechism of the Catholic Church roundly condemns capital punishment, which makes this issue one more thing that we need to pray about as we strive to build a civilization and culture of life.” Is that true? — T.L.H., Massachusetts.
A. No, it is not true that the Catechism “roundly condemns” capital punishment. What the Catechism (n. 2267) does say is that “assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.”
The Catechism goes on to say that “today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent’ [John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae n. 56].”

Q. If we have all descended from Adam and Eve, how do we account for the different races, with different colorings and facial differences? Did Adam look like a cave man or the Neanderthal Man? I doubt that they looked like the beautiful paintings we see depicting the couple in the Garden of Eden. — W.B., Kentucky.
A. We don’t know what Adam and Eve looked like, but we doubt if they looked like cave people. We know that they were created by God in an original state of holiness and justice, which they forfeited when they disobeyed God at the urging of Satan. They were highly intelligent beings fully aware of what they were doing, which is why their sin brought about such drastic consequences for them and for all who came after them. So there is no reason to assume that they were some kind of a mixture of man and beast.
As for where racial differences and colors came from, Fr. Albert J. Nevins said that while no one knows for sure what color Adam and Eve were, “the best scientific theory believes that our earliest ancestors were brown people — between white and black.” He explained further in his book The World Book of Peoples:
“As men multiplied, they began to spread out, seeking new areas for food. Gradually over the long centuries, those groups took on special characteristics, due in part to intermarriage within each group. Climate, environment, and diet were also factors.
“The people who were in northern Europe became lighter in color because of the loss of pigmentation. The people who were in the tropical zones became darker. Among some groups, inbreeding produced a majority of people with curly hair; among others, the majority had straight hair. Inbreeding made some groups grow tall, and others grow smaller. Because children inherited the characteristics of parents, certain qualities, passed on through generations, tended to become very strong.
“In this manner were the various races of the world developed. Actually all mankind was (and is) still one, springing from the one common pair of ancestors. The differences that have come among men were accidental differences. In all basic essentials, they were (and are) still the same” (p. 17).

Q. I read in our last diocesan newsletter that our diocese is seeking a part-time temporary social concerns intern. It goes on to say that the internship position will promote awareness of and participation in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
I know you have cautioned us about contributing to this because some of its grants have gone to groups assisting in the culture of death, but has there been a change in CCHD becoming all pro-life? While reading the American Life League newsletter (ALL), I became more concerned about the CCHD. — E.C., via e-mail.
A. While CCHD grants to some objectionable groups may have been halted, due to criticism from knowledgeable Catholics, we don’t think the overall problem has been solved. If Judie Brown at the American Life League is still concerned about some of the recipients of CCHD funds, then we should be worried too. Contact her at www.all.org for more information. Perhaps you could also ask whoever gets the job of social concerns intern in your diocese to make sure that the money donated by generous Catholics be directed only to groups that are in harmony with Church teaching.

Q. I have been meaning to ask you what your thoughts were concerning the Pope’s exhortation (Evangelii Gaudium) issued late last year. The Washington Post published my letter with my thoughts (the letter is copied below). I was responding to a Eugene Robinson (a very liberal columnist) piece in which, in my opinion, he was congratulating Pope Francis in the belief that he was endorsing liberalism and condemning Christian conservatism. — D.M., Virginia.
A. In his letter to the Post, D.M. asked: “Did Mr. Robinson read Pope Francis’ exhortation? I saw a call to Christian evangelization. The Pope quotes Jesus’ command to ‘go and make disciples.’ He calls for all in his church to be ‘permanently in a state of mission.’ He says that ‘the most beautiful and natural expressions of joy which I have seen in my life were in poor people who had little to hold on to,’ referring to those who have faith and live by it. He was not exhorting people to be liberal.
“Rather, he was warning us that materialism and the accumulation of wealth can blind us to our true mission of spreading the Gospel of Christ. He observed that those who have heard and practice the Gospel experience a profound liberation and become more sensitive to the needs of others.”
D.M. did well in a few words to show that Pope Francis had not joined the camp inhabited by Eugene Robinson and like-minded leftists, but one has to read the entire 224-page encyclical to understand what the Holy Father really said and not what those on the left would like the world to think he said.
Even the few excerpts that follow can only scratch the surface, and one ought to read the entire apostolic exhortation. Among other things, the Pontiff said that we have an obligation to “preach the Gospel” to all people (n. 23); that we must say no to “an economy of exclusion and inequality” where food is thrown away while people starve, where “the powerful feed upon the powerless” (n. 53), and where man is “reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption” (n. 55).
He said that religion cannot be “relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life” (n. 183); that the two great issues of our day are “first, the inclusion of the poor in society, and second, peace and social dialogue” (n. 185); that “the private ownership of goods is justified by the need to protect and increase them, so that they can better serve the common good” (n. 189); that “the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others” (n. 190); and that our special “option for the poor” is, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “‘implicit in our Christian faith in a God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with His poverty’” (n. 198).
Pope Francis said that business is “a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life; this will enable them truly to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market” (nn. 203-204).
He said that “it is the responsibility of the state to safeguard and promote the common good of society. Based on the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, and fully committed to political dialogue and consensus-building, it plays a fundamental role, one which cannot be delegated, in working for the integral development of all. This role, at present, calls for profound social humility” (n. 240).

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Vatican: Cremated bodies may not be scattered

Vatican City, Oct 25, 2016 / 09:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released an instruction Tuesday regarding burial and cremation, reiterating the Church’s teaching that cremation, while strongly discouraged, can be permissible under certain…Continue Reading

Pope’s climate message failed to sway Catholic conservatives: study

Pope Francis’s landmark statement on climate change and his call for more work on the issue failed to sway conservative American Catholics, according to a new study. The report, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, concluded that…Continue Reading

Live From New York Should a Catholic Vote for Hillary or Trump?

Almighty God has been very good  in giving us as the day’s Gospel passage that of Our Lord’s famous admonition to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but to God what is God’s.” I say that in view of the…Continue Reading

Catholic university blasts ‘Unborn Lives Matter’ posters as ‘bigotry,’ bans them on campus

CHICAGO, Illinois, October 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – College Republicans at DePaul University were prohibited by the university president from displaying posters on campus advertising their group with the pro-life message, “Unborn Lives Matter.” Vincentian Father Dennis Holtschneider indicated to the…Continue Reading

For Archbishop Chaput, ‘Catholic Spring’ group did untold damage

Philadelphia, Pa., Oct 14, 2016 / 05:53 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput did not enjoy his first and only encounter with two leaders of Catholics United. “It was an interesting experience,” Archbishop Chaput recounted in his Oct. 13 column…Continue Reading

The anti-Catholic Catholics (and the bishops who support them)

Yesterday Ross Douthat of the New York Times embarked on a lengthy Tweetstorm —21 tweets in all—questioning whether it’s accurate to refer to the leaked emails from the Clinton campaign as evidence of “anti-Catholic” bigotry. Douthat—who is no friend of…Continue Reading

The next ‘deplorables’? Clinton campaign rips ‘backwards’ Catholic beliefs in leaked e-mails

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – “Conservative Catholics” are the latest Americans to be smeared by members of Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, leaked emails revealed on Tuesday show. Catholic beliefs are bashed as “backwards” and conservative Catholics…Continue Reading

German Bishop’s New Proposal: “There Exists More Than Man and Woman”

The Catholic Church in Germany seems to be becoming more and more unbounded in its proposals. In the recent past, for examples, the official website of the German Bishops’ Conference, katholisch.de, has reported about the idea to have women cardinals; about…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah presents counter-vision to Francis as he launches new book

After being reprimanded by Pope Francis over the summer for calling on priests to face east while saying Mass, Cardinal Robert Sarah is refusing to back down and is becoming a rallying point of opposition to this papacy.  The Vatican’s…Continue Reading

Massachusetts’ highest court grants full parental rights to unmarried gay woman

BOSTON – The Mass. court that paved the way for same-sex marriage in the United States ruled Tuesday that an unmarried gay woman whose former girlfriend gave birth to two children through artificial insemination has the same parental rights as…Continue Reading

Shunned for supporting natural marriage, former Mozilla CEO is back with new browser

SAN FRANCISCO, September 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The former CEO of Mozilla has released a new Internet browser called Brave. Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, continues to lead the technological revolution with Brave, an innovative concept in Internet browsers.…Continue Reading

Lay Catholic Group: Tim Kaine’s Radical Views Stem From Embrace of Liberation Theology

An organization of committed lay Catholics is challenging Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, who’s invoking his Catholic faith and the words of Pope Francis as a basis for his radical positions on abortion and marriage, as well as his…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 . . .

Cardinal Kasper: Can the ‘remarried’ now receive communion? ‘Yes. Period.’

October 24, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In a recent publication of the German journal Stimmen der Zeit (Journal for Christian Culture), Cardinal Walter Kasper published an article calling Amoris Laetitia a “paradigm shift” in the Church’s teaching. “Amoris Laetitia: Break or Beginning” is the title of a recent scientific article by Kasper in which he analyzes the post-synodal exhortation and provides his opinion on the right hermeneutic in reading it. In the first part called “Discussion…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood rips proposal to require father’s consent for abortion

SOUTH CAROLINA, October 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) is walking back suggestions it made last month that fathers of pre-born children consent for their mothers to abort them. The proposed regulations would possibly update abortion accident reporting requirements, requirements for abortion licensure, “complaint reporting, patient rights, infection control,” “record maintenance,” and “fire and life safety requirements,” according to the SCDHEC, which is accepting public comment on…Continue Reading

Philadelphia Archbishop Chaput welcomes ‘smaller church’ of holier Catholics

(RNS) In a stark prognosis for contemporary Catholicism, a leader of the conservative wing of the U.S. hierarchy has said that “a smaller, lighter church” of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of traditional orthodoxy. In a speech delivered Wednesday (Oct. 19) at the University of Notre Dame, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput also suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought…Continue Reading

Kansas archbishop blasts Kaine: He’s an ‘orthodox’ Democrat but a ‘cafeteria Catholic’


KANSAS CITY, Kansas, October 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, has lambasted Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine for supporting abortion on demand while simultaneously touting his Catholic faith. Kaine is an “orthodox” Democrat but only a “cafeteria Catholic” who picks and chooses “the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann wrote in a devastating critique of the Virginia senator. “It was painful to listen…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholics Under Attack

WikiLeaks did it again with another e-mail release, 1,200 of them, and this time exposing the deliberate attempts by the Clinton campaign to disrupt, undermine and, yes, try to destroy the Catholic Church. Their intent was (is) to plant the “seeds of the revolution” within the institution. Among the e-mails are communications between Clinton operatives that are clearly filled with bigotry. If anyone had any doubt that Hillary Clinton and the people around her have…Continue Reading

Time To Pray Unceasingly . . . The Catholic Church Is Under Attack

By FR. MICHAEL P. ORSI The Gospel reading for Sunday, October 16 was Jesus’ parable about the persistent widow demanding of a corrupt judge that he render a fair verdict on her claim. The judge gives in “lest she finally come and strike me.” It’s a humorous anecdote which Jesus turns into an illustration of…Continue Reading

A Movie Review . . . Coming To God In An Unconventional Way

By REY FLORES “I see you dressed in white. Every wrong made right. I see a rose in bloom. At the sight of you (oh so priceless). Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable. I see it all in you (oh so priceless).” The above are the closing lyrics for the song Priceless by country duo For King &…Continue Reading

A Disillusioned Marxist Professor

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK I spent much of my adult life observing left-wing academics who professed a fondness for socialism in one form or another. Some were my professors, others colleagues. More than a few were New Left Marxists who spoke openly in admiration of Mao, Fidel Castro, and the Sandinistas. One woman I taught…Continue Reading

The March To Totalitarianism

By DONALD DeMARCO Hannah Arendt, best known for her denunciation of totalitarianism in her book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, has made the comment that “the aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.” Totalitarianism can appeal only to the unthinking masses. A true education, let it…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Advance Medical Directives: The Living Will”

By BRIAN CLOWES (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, “Euthanasia,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Evil committed for a good cause remains evil.” “Even when it succeeds?” “Above all when…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Pray Always And Never Grow Weary

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A moment of dawning experience when I was young gave birth to a nearly perfect prayer. This farewell to innocence of which I speak was a blessing. In the light of it I came to know the presence of God through His goodness which is the heart of prayer in the life of faith. I…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… Other Attributes Of God

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 8 “I love thee, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:1-2). The enthusiasm with which the psalmist praises God our Lord comes from his knowledge of God’s…Continue Reading

Confirmation In The Economy Of Salvation

By DON FIER Part 2 In the introductory paragraph of its section on the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Roman Catechism [RC], promulgated in 1566 by Pope St. Pius V soon after the Council of Trent, are the following words: “If there was ever a time when the Sacrament of Confirmation needed to be explained carefully, that time is now. All…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: J.H.T. of North Carolina, a deacon who has been a witness to the “liturgical wars” of the past half-century, has recommended an “extraordinary book” — Peter Kwasniewski’s Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church — that he says should be read by all Catholics, clergy and lay, who…Continue Reading

The Lover Of Souls

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Wisdom 11:22-12 2 Thess. 1:11-2:2 Luke 19:1-10 In the first reading today, we are given a good perspective on things: Before the Lord, the entire universe is less than a drop of morning dew on the Earth. When we consider one tiny drop of dew in comparison to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Colman Of Kilmacduagh

By CAROLE BRESLIN Ireland, the Emerald Isle, a green country of lush fauna, friendly people, and beautiful views — if you can find a clear day — has a rich and troubled heritage. It is a land full of the lore of elves, fairies, and, most important, Catholic saints. Numerous books have been written about the many Irish saints and…Continue Reading

Blessed Giuseppe Puglisi

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a society is riddled with evil and corruption, the worst thing we can do is to remain quiet. If we truly believe in God, then it is our obligation to do all we can to save the souls in danger of being lost in such a society. The threats and dangers of this world are not…Continue Reading