Friday 31st October 2014

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August 29, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. My nine-year-old grandson asked why, on August 15, the Gospel of Luke about the Visitation was read when it was the Feast of the Assumption. What should I tell him? — E.C., via e-mail.
A. You can tell your grandson that there is no Gospel reading about the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven because that event is not recorded in the Gospels. Catholic belief in Mary’s Assumption, body and soul, into Heaven at the end of her life can be traced back at least to the sixth century, although it was not formally proclaimed by the Church until 1950.
This dogma is related to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which says that Mary was free from original sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. Since the corruption of the body in the grave is a consequence of original sin, and the Blessed Virgin did not have original sin, she did not suffer the decay of the grave. It is not unreasonable to think that Jesus would want His Mother to share in His bodily glorification since it was her body that sheltered Him for nine months.
In the sixth century, St. Gregory of Tours wrote that the Lord Jesus came to earth at the end of His Mother’s life and commanded that her body “be taken in a cloud into Paradise, where now, rejoined to the soul, it rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones, and is in the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end.” In the 16th century, St. Robert Bellarmine explained the rationale for the Assumption in these words:
“And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that the virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought Him into the world, had nourished and carried Him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”

Q. Believe it or not, my wife and I had friends over yesterday who told us that Halal food — so common now in America — in fact is prayed over and “sacrificed to Allah,” and therefore must not be consumed by Christians. They tell us that they have had to return a certain cheese to the grocery store, telling the store manager that they discovered a tiny “Halal” label when they got home, and that they are Christians and cannot eat this cheese. The manager refunded their money. They also say that they generally will eat only pork when at a restaurant because so many restaurants have “meat sacrificed to idols” — see 1 Cor. 10:28 and Acts 15:29. At home, they have been consuming mostly meat from cows raised by friends. Can you comment on this? — J.G.B., Alabama.
A. All we know is that “Halal” is an Arabic word that refers to food that is permissible to eat under Islamic law. For meat to be certified “halal,” it cannot be a forbidden cut, such as meat from hindquarters, or meat such as pork. The slaughter of a halal animal, says the website www.thekitchn.com, must follow certain guidelines:
Allah’s name must be pronounced during slaughter.
The instrument must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter. The animal must be slit at the throat.
The animal must not be unconscious.
The animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry. Eating blood is not halal.
These steps must be accomplished by a Muslim or the People of the Book (Christian or Jew). Many observant Muslims find kosher meat acceptable.
The animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal byproducts.

Q. My daughter is in the process of getting a divorce. Their grounds, if they needed any, are incompatibility. They have tried counseling, without success. Before my conversion, we were members of the Episcopal Church and my daughter was baptized and married in that church. Her soon-to-be ex-husband is Presbyterian.
My daughter has been friends with a young woman and her brother for some years. Lately, the relationship with the brother has developed into a romantic attraction (not an adulterous affair, however). I feel that there is a strong possibility that they may marry when my daughter is free to do so. This young man is devout Orthodox and has spoken to his priest regarding his feelings toward my daughter.
My daughter feels confident that her divorce would be acceptable to the Orthodox Church and that she may remarry in that church. My question is, if this divorce and remarriage is acceptable in our sister church, but perhaps not in the Catholic Church, should I attend the wedding? — Name and State Withheld.
A. The question you need to ask is whether divorce is acceptable to Jesus, and the answer of course is no. Speaking to a crowd one day, Jesus told them: “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18). On another occasion, when Jesus was asked if it were “lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatsoever,” He replied:
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matt. 19:4-6).
Twenty centuries later, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, following the command of Jesus, says that “divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery” (n. 2384).
The Catechism goes on to say that “divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society” (n. 2385).
So if you were to attend your divorced daughter’s attempted remarriage, you would be turning your back on Jesus and the Church He established to guide us in our moral decisions. You would also be approving the entry of your daughter into a permanent state of adultery, a grave sin that will separate her from God. If you decline to attend, on the other hand, you will no doubt hurt your daughter’s feelings, but what is more important — her feelings or the truth handed down to us by the Son of God? This is a very difficult situation for you, and we will pray that you have the courage to make the right decision.

Q. There is a parish in Texas where the priest’s dogs accompany him to the altar and stay throughout the Mass. This just seems like a great distraction away from the whole focus of the Mass, which is Our Eucharistic Lord. It would seem that people’s attention would be drawn to what the dogs are doing. Though the dogs may be gentle and endearing, there is a time and place for them and not at Mass because of the distraction they would naturally cause.
Does this seem like an egregious situation and a lack of respect toward the Holy Eucharist? — J.H., Arizona.
A. Unless the priest has seeing or hearing problems and needs the dogs to help him (shouldn’t one dog be enough if this is the case?), we can think of no good reason for having the animals in the sanctuary during Mass. We don’t remember reading about the presence of any dogs at the Last Supper.

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Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

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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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

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(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Called To Be Children Of Light

(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas. Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to…Continue Reading

Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK S.M. writes to offer some observations about the proposal to introduce a “pass-fail” grading system for freshmen at Princeton University. The possibility of doing that was discussed in the October 9 edition of First Teachers. He sees the idea as a “form of grade inflation that is solely intended to accomplish…Continue Reading

Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

By DONALD DeMARCO It is remarkable how much a single sentence can reveal about the temper of a culture, even when its author is trying to be withholding. Jacalyn Duffin, a historian and practicing hematologist, is the author of History of Medicine (University of Toronto Press, 2000). It is a 243-page tome that was produced…Continue Reading

Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

Chilling Free Speech

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science — encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities — announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 A classical objection: What Catholics call the “Apostolic Tradition” is just a human tradition, which Jesus clearly condemned in the Gospel, when He said to the Pharisees, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…So, for the sake of your tradition you have made void the…Continue Reading

Public Revelation Vs. Private Revelation

By DON FIER Our previous installment ended by citing a pair of remarkable verses from the Letter to the Hebrews, verses that concisely summarize God’s divine pedagogy, His master plan of divine Revelation: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these…Continue Reading

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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading