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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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Hillary Clinton: “I Will Always Stand With Planned Parenthood,” It Does “Extraordinary Things”

Earlier this month, pro-abortion presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told activists at a Planned Parenthood abortion business rally that she would “always have your back.” She means it. In an op-ed written to bolster support for America’s biggest abortion business, Hillary…Continue Reading

United Way Sent $3 Million to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz in 2015

LifeNews has repeatedly chronicled the relationship between dozens of local United Way agencies and the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Last year, on the heels of shocking videos showing the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling the body parts of aborted babies,…Continue Reading

Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher: Men for our season

The Church of the Little Flower is blessed today to receive relics of two great English saints: one, St. Thomas More, was a statesman, an intellectual, a Catholic layman who took his baptism seriously; the other was a bishop who…Continue Reading

Catholic Bishops Blast Obama Admin for Forcing Churches to Pay for Abortions

The leading pro-life spokesmen for the Catholic bishops are blasting an Obama administration decision revoking federal protection for chruches in California forced to pay for abortions. As LifeNews reported, churches in California are officially subject to an onerous state regulation…Continue Reading

Church Leaders React to Supreme Tie on DAPA/DACA

Catholic leaders from around the country were expressing disappointment today in response to a Supreme Court tie vote that effectively terminates Obama administration initiatives on immigration that shielded millions from deportation. Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, described…Continue Reading

Catholic universities must insure abortion, Obama administration rules

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Obama administration has ruled against two Catholic universities, upholding a rule issued by the state of California requiring all employers to cover elective abortions in their insurance plans – even if the…Continue Reading

Progressive Catholic groups publish “Pope Francis” voter guide

While the IRS revoked the non-profit status of the George Soros-subsidized Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) in October 2013 for failing to file a form 990 for three consecutive years, the organization recently re-emerged with a progressive…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Most Catholic marriages are null, some ‘cohabitations’ are ‘real marriage’

June 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis spoke yesterday at a pastoral congress on the family for the Diocese of Rome, and his remarks are causing consternation among faithful Catholics. In off-the-cuff remarks, the pope made the dual claim that…Continue Reading

From Fox News . . .Enough is enough, Pope Francis should resign

By Adam Shaw ·Published June 17, 2016 · FoxNews.com Pope Francis’s three-year-old papacy, marred by controversy from the beginning, has hit a new low. After Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to succeed Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, he quickly justified his…Continue Reading

Florida Bishop Blames Orlando Massacre on Catholic ‘Contempt’ for Homosexuality

The Catholic Bishop of St. Petersburg, Fla, has blamed Catholic disapproval of homosexual acts for the brutal slaughter of 49 people in the Pulse nightclub on Sunday. In a blogpost Monday, Bishop Robert Lynch said that Catholicism “targets” and “often…Continue Reading

WATCH: Congresswoman Blasts Sales of Aborted Baby Parts in Explosive Speech Filled With Evidence

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler gave a recent speech on the flood of the House of Representatives blasting the sales of aborted baby parts. The member of the special panel investigating Planned Parenthood and the sales of aborted baby parts provided shocking…Continue Reading

Transgender bathroom debate: Lawmakers in Massachusetts pass bill allowing use of restrooms based on gender identity

The Massachusetts’ House of Representatives has passed a bathroom bill on Wednesday that will allow transgenders to use restrooms according to their gender identity. Voting 116-36, lawmakers passed the bill despite protests from people who went to the House to…Continue Reading

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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

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This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Today . . .

Two days later, Donald Trump still has no response to SCOTUS abortion decision

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – More than two days after the Supreme Court struck down a landmark Texas pro-life law, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has yet to say anything. Some pro-life leaders consider that a major problem; others appear more forgiving. Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post today questioning the candidate’s pro-life bona fides. Texas lawmakers passed H.B. 2, she wrote, to “protect women from…Continue Reading

On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

•June 29, 2016•ZENIT Staff•Angelus/Regina Caeli “Out of love for Christ, they left their homeland and, heedless of the difficulties of the long trip and of the risks and diffidence that they would meet, they came to Rome. Here they made themselves heralds and witnesses of the Gospel among the people, and they sealed their mission of faith and charity with martyrdom.’ BEFORE THE ANGELUS Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! Today we celebrate the feast…Continue Reading

Full text and video of Pope Francis’ call for Christian apology to homosexuals

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June 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – We here present Pope Francis’ full remarks echoing Cardinal Marx’s call for Christians to apologize to homosexuals in the wake of the Orlando massacre. You can find a full English transcript of the pope’s plane interview at Catholic News Agency here.   Cindy Wooden, CNS: Holiness, within the past few days Cardinal Marx, the German, speaking at a large conference in Dublin which is very important on the Church in the modern…Continue Reading

Supreme Court overturns landmark Texas pro-life law 5-3

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Papal press conference touches a host of issues

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Culture Of Life 101… “The Second Time Around: Euthanasia In The Netherlands”

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Parenthood In An Age Of Surrogacy . . . Legal Battles And The “Ownership” Of Babies

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. All rights reserved.) + + + The ever-widening use of IVF and surrogate mothers is continuing…Continue Reading

The Canizares Case In Spain Is A Litmus Test For Pope Francis

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The First Canonized Saint . . . A Milestone In The Saintly Process

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The Fine Art Of Gibberish

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Two Greatest Commandments

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Deut. 30:10-14 Col. 1:15-20 Luke 10:25-37 In the Gospel reading today, a scholar in the Law comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Our Lord answers by asking how the man understands what is written in the Law. He responds by reciting…Continue Reading

The Distribution Of Communion Through The Ages

By FR. EDWARD McNAMARA, LC (Editor’s Note: In this September 21 question and answer column provided by ZENIT News Agency, Fr. Edward McNamara explains here that reception of Communion was long considered a logical part of the Mass. (Fr. McNamara, a Legionary of Christ priest, is a professor of liturgy and the dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum University.)…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Christ Preaches Ideals And So Must His Church

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK (Editor’s Note: Because of its timeliness, Fr. Cusick’s column appears on the front page this week, instead of its usual place on p. 2B. In that spot we are reprinting an article by Fr. John Flynn, LC, on “Parenthood in an Age of Surrogacy.”) + + + “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church… The Heroes Of Jesus Christ — The Martyrs!

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 6 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). No other people have proved their love for Jesus Christ more than the Catholic martyrs. From the Colosseum during the first three centuries of pagan persecution to today’s Islamic persecution in many countries, from…Continue Reading

Liturgical Seasons And Cycles

By DON FIER As we continued our consideration of “how the liturgy is celebrated” last week, we saw that sacred art (along with sacred music) plays a prominent role in our worship of God. In his 1999 Letter to Artists, Pope St. John Paul II highlighted its importance by saying: “In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Junipero Serra

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Catholic Heroes . . . Mother Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala

By CAROLE BRESLIN Which basilica in the country of Mexico has been visited by both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Francis? The Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan. Like Our Lady of Guadalupe, the story of Our Lady of Zapopan begins in the year 1531. Beginning in 1531, the same year that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

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By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading