Thursday 23rd September 2021

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What do they really say?… New Session Of Courses Begins Study Of Vatican II Documents

September 22, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on What do they really say?… New Session Of Courses Begins Study Of Vatican II Documents

By DEXTER DUGGAN 
 
PHOENIX — Beginning a fall semester of courses on documents of Vatican II, the assistant director of the Institute of Catholic Theology (ICT) here said that “in many ways they were hijacked” by liberal forces. 
Because of this, said Bill Marcotte, it’s important to see what the documents actually say. 
The ICT is an evangelization program based at St. Thomas the Apostle parish here. 
Later during the September 11 session, which was conducted both in-person at the church campus and by Zoom, one of the morning’s speakers, Will Wright, referred to Marcotte saying that many forces tried to hijack Vatican II. 
However, Wright said, Pope John XXIII — who in 1959 announced his intention to convene the Second Vatican Council — said he did not aim to propose new Church teachings there. 
After preparatory work was done, the council lasted from 1962 through 1965. 
This ICT session dealt with three Vatican II documents. Two were decrees — Inter Mirifica, the decree on the media of social communications, and Ad Gentes, on the mission activity of the Church. The third, Nostra Aetate, was a declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions. 
Wright, the director of sacred liturgy at Prince of Peace Church in Sun City West, Ariz., explained that a decree is of a lower level than a declaration or a constitution. 
“It’s really important to read these documents for what they say, and not what we think they say,” Wright said. 
He said people often think of missionary activity as done when going to a far-off place, or going door-to-door, but it’s simply the work of God in which Catholics take part. 
The clergy and hierarchy are called to sanctify the laity, and the laity are called to sanctify the world, Wright said. 
Wright said he thinks it’s a mistake to ignore the life of the Church before 1960 — in other words, around when Vatican II began — and to focus only on what occurred since. 
Before Wright’s presentation, Rae-Mi Leroy spoke to the session on the Church and social communications. She previously worked in the Hollywood entertainment industry and is project manager at St. Jean Vianney Church in Arizona’s red-rocks territory of Sedona. Leroy converted to the Catholic Church three and a half years ago, she said. 
The decree on the media of social communications said the Church has a duty to announce the Gospel through all media, calling especially on priests, religious and laity who have the special skills in this area, Leroy said. 
However, she added, much in the nature of the media has changed greatly since Vatican II, and today everyone can be producers of media content. 
Referencing this Vatican II document, she said, “Communication is central to the life of the Church.” 
Given media saturation with negative content, “I know it is so tempting to walk away from media completely,” but don’t do that, Leroy said. 
By way of comparison, she said, what if the Apostles had said they wouldn’t use the roads built by the Romans to carry Jesus’ message to the world because the Romans had crucified Him? 
Still, Leroy said, since she converted to Catholicism, “I watch TV less and less.” 
Part of the introduction to Inter Mirifica said: “The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men’s entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God.” 
It added: “The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss. Indeed, the Church experiences maternal grief at the harm all too often done to society by their evil use.” 
Wright said that Nostra Aetate, the declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, is “a very, very short declaration,” only 19 paragraphs long, and is filled with prudential judgments. 
He pointed to its opening paragraph: “In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.” 
It’s very hard to have a conversation with someone you don’t have much in common with, Wright said, without starting with commonalities. 
This declaration makes factual statements about other religions’ approaches, he said, not statements of whether they do them rightly or wrongly. For instance, regarding Hinduism, it says: “… men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry.” 
It adds: “They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust.” 
As for the Catholic Church, it’s built on a Temple Jewish foundation, Wright said, adding that an early heresy rejected the Old Testament, but the Church said no to this. 
God will give Catholics the grace to propose Gospel truths to all people, not impose them, he said. 

A Beacon Of Light… Our Belief In One God In Three Persons

September 21, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light… Our Belief In One God In Three Persons

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + Last week we began this series by asking the question: I believe. We answered the question by saying we believe not in something, but in someone. This someone, God, is the first part of what we profess in the Nicene Creed each Sunday. For us as Catholics, this one God is three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We profess our belief in the Blessed Trinity as demonstrated in the Credo.
    We begin by saying: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible and invisible.”
    By professing these words, we stand at the starting line of the truths of the faith. As a runner stands at the starting line eager to run the race, so too, it is here we begin the race to know who God is.
    In the beginning moments of this “race of faith,” we find ourselves gazing into the Old Testament. It is here that we first encounter the “one God.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us of this (n. 201) as it makes reference: “To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.’ Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: ‘Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. . . . To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear’.”
    Our belief in the “one God” is continually strengthened because God reveals Himself to us in this way: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).
    Our beliefs are linked to the God who searches us out in the midst of our daily lives. But what is even more exciting is that God tells us His name. At Mount Sinai, after the Ten Commandments and the instructions for the people Israel were received, God reveals His name: “Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO AM.’ And He said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you…this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations’” (Exodus 3:15 ESV).
    By revealing His name, God shows He is faithful to those He has created. Not a faithfulness that ends in the Old Testament, but a faithfulness that encompasses all time and space; past, present, and into the future. In doing so, our belief in God includes an understanding that He will always be with you.
    Having revealed Himself to us by through a name, “I AM WHO AM,” humanity now begins to establish a relationship with Him. We know who the new GOD is, but how are we to understand Him? This question can be answered simply through what God revealed to the people Israel and to the prophets of old and all of creation. Following the sin of Israel, and after they worshiped the golden calf, God showed the abundance of His mercy and love:
    “After Israel’s sin, when the people had turned away from God to worship the golden calf, God hears Moses’ prayer of intercession and agrees to walk in the midst of an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his love. When Moses asks to see his glory, God responds, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name “the LORD” [YHWH].’ Then the LORD passes before Moses and proclaims, ‘YHWH, YHWH, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’; Moses then confesses that the LORD is a forgiving God” (Exodus 32-34).
    Through the mercy and compassion of God toward the people of Israel, we are able to see that we believe in a God of truth and love. Believing in a God of truth, means that every word spoken by God is an authentic expression of His care for us. Unlike the tempter in the Garden of Eden who tricked Adam and Eve through a lie, God never lies to us. His words are spirit and truth. The coming of the Incarnation is a visible sign of this Truth. St. John the Baptist reminds us of this when he says: “When he sends his Son into the world it will be ‘to bear witness to the truth’” (John 18:37).
    God’s truth, however, is magnified in His love for us. Throughout the history of salvation, God’s primordial purpose was to share His love with us. It’s a love that is so great, it is gratuitously given. Meaning man continually has the opportunity to experience God’s love through grace that is freely given out of love. The Incarnation is the most visible form of God’s love for us!
    On that Christmas night in Bethlehem, the visible sign of God’s love was made manifest for all the world to see, and it involved a little baby. The baby is a reminder of pure innocence and love, and so, God’s love would shine through the person of Jesus, the baby of Bethlehem. The heavenly glow of that night, along with the choirs of heavenly angels singing, is a sign that God’s redeeming love had arrived. No longer does man live in fear of darkness and sin, because God “has visited His people.”

God’s Greatness And Majesty

And so, what are the implications of professing: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible”?
Well first of all, by professing these words we open ourselves up to God, the only ONE, and allow Him access into our lives. By doing so we gain the ability to see God working in our lives.
Second, we come to know God’s greatness and majesty. The Book of Job reminds us of this: “Behold, God is great, and we know him not” (Job 36:26).
Third, it enables us to live our lives in thanksgiving for all that He has given us. “What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me?” (Psalm 116:12).
Fourth, it means recognizing the unity and true dignity of all men as is spoken in the Book of Genesis: “Everyone is made in the image and likeness of God” (Gen. 1:26).
Fifth, we are also called to make good use of created things because they were created for our sanctification. St. Nicholas of Flue expressed this in the following prayer: “My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you. My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you. My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.”
And finally it means trusting God completely, even though the adversities of life may seem difficult. St. Teresa of Avila understood and excelled in this way of thinking. In fact, St. Teresa of Avila believed that the more we are connected to God, the more we can endure the earthly life. She composed a prayer to that effect saying:
“Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you, everything passes. God never changes, patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing” (St. Teresa of Avila, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, volume III, Washington, D.C.: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1985).
And so where do we go from here? We return to the starting line of the “race of faith,” and we need to focus ourselves on the prize ahead; the prize of knowing our faith better. Now that we have affirmed believing in one God and getting to know the Father, we will continue taking small steps that will lead to more of an understanding of our faith. Our faith is but a mystery in the journey of salvation and there is so much more to be known.
Come, join me as we take these little steps of faith together!
Next week we will examine what it means to believe in One Lord Jesus Christ!

Oh, It’s Only Abortion!

September 20, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Oh, It’s Only Abortion!

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

Yeah, you heard it right. Abortion, the wanton killing of a preborn child, is back big time in the news. But as controversial as the topic is, I’ve noticed that more and more folks, including leading Catholic laymen and prelates, trying to brush the issue aside as if it is as normal as taking your dog for a walk.
After all, it is health care.
Even our devout Catholic president — or whoever is pulling his strings — has become a champion of its expansion: abortion everywhere, anytime, and for any reason. And of course if you are trying to limit it, well, you might as well be considered a neo-Nazi, or a skinhead, or — even worse — a white Christian Taliban who needs to be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for crimes against women.
And, of course, the DOJ has announced that it will do just that in Texas, in case any other uppity states might wish to save babies. Remember, it is healthcare. Healthcare for pregnant “persons.”
After all it’s only abortion, a right that should be respected for all. It is, they say, reproductive health care and women (except female fetuses) need it so they can live a life unencumbered by the cares of child-raising. You see, this is truly health care.
But not so fast. What kind of health care is it that starts with two patients, kills one and, regrettably, sometimes maims or even kills the other?
Consider a recent report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute which found that in 2019 that some 11 percent of the abortions in Wisconsin resulted in complications, including 621 cases where body parts of the aborted children remained in the woman’s body after the procedure, up over 750 percent from the year before.
Other complications included 54 cervical lacerations, five instances of hemorrhaging, four uterine perforations, and three infections, the report found.
Wow, that’s some healthcare Badger women, er, pregnant persons, received! Is that why we need more of it?
“These figures out of Wisconsin are devastating and an indictment of the lack of care for women, especially by the abortion industry and its advocates, who refuse to tell the truth about the risks of abortion,” according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
“Chemical abortion is rapidly becoming more common than surgical abortion around the world, despite being four times more likely to result in complications than surgical abortion.”
But abortion advocates are fighting back. Joe the Devout’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, is now going to bat for the baby-killers by suing the state of Texas over its most recent legislation restricting abortion after six weeks into the pregnancy by giving private citizens the right to sue on behalf of the unwanted baby.
And, coming to their aid, the Satanic Temple is now arguing that curbing abortion violates the religious freedom of Satanists. According to the Satanic abortion promoters, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires access to abortion-inducing drugs and the Texas law “imposes an undue burden on the ability of [their] members to undergo the Satanic Abortion Ritual” within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
“I am sure Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — who famously spends a good deal of his time composing press releases about religious liberty issues in other states — will be proud to see that Texas’ robust religious liberty laws, which he so vociferously champions, will prevent future Abortion Rituals from being interrupted by superfluous government restrictions meant only to shame and harass those seeking an abortion,” Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves said in a statement.
What a great group of compadres this makes. I am so proud of the company Mr. Biden keeps.
Oh, and by the way, the city of Portland — you remember Portland, a fine city before Mayor Ted Wheeler and the city council turned it into a dumpster fire. Well it has announced that it is supporting the right of pregnant persons in Texas by stopping the purchase of all goods and services from Texas and banning all city employee business travel to the state. That will show ’em!
Plus it will give the city time to clean up the approximately $22+ million in damages and lost business revenue from the 30 riots and 62 fires from last year’s attempt to provide a home for Antifa.
And if support from the Satanic Temple, Merrick Garland, Joe Biden’s merry abortionists, and the brilliant and enlightened city fathers of Portland isn’t enough to encourage more baby killing, the web hosting service, GoDaddy, has announced it is canceling a Texas pro-life website.
Maybe this is truly health care. All you potential pregnant persons rejoice, Joe’s got your back.
And as if things aren’t topsy-turvy enough, Alaska Airlines has reportedly fired two flight attendants for asking questions on the company’s internal communication website. It appears that Alaska Airlines announced its support for the Equality Act on its internal employee forum and solicited comments and questions.
In case you have forgotten, the Equality Act would force employers and workers to — among other things — conform to new sexual norms; force hospitals, insurers, and medical providers to provide therapies against their moral objections; normalizing hormonal and surgical interventions for gender dysphoria in children; open sex specific facilities to members of the opposite sex, and create havoc for faith-based institutions over its support for the transgender and homosexual relationships.
The employees posted questions about the morality of some of the Act’s provisions. One of the attendants asked: “Does Alaska support: endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women rights and parental rights?”
They were both fired, the Airlines telling them, “Defining gender identity or sexual orientation as a moral issue…is…a discriminatory statement.”
On behalf of the employees, First Liberty Institute has filed separate charges of discrimination against the Airlines with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission.

  • + + (You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. CT on Faith On Trial on IowaCatholicRadio.com.)

No Rest From Bogeyman . . . From Calif. Recall To Milley Phone Call, Dems Still Cast Trump As Evil Genius

September 19, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on No Rest From Bogeyman . . . From Calif. Recall To Milley Phone Call, Dems Still Cast Trump As Evil Genius

By DEXTER DUGGAN

Gone from White House power since January, Donald Trump still seemed to be the most consequen-
tial political figure in the day’s headlines, national radio talk hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton noted on September 15.
California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom had just survived a recall election by running against private citizen Trump, the radio hosts
observed, while, they said, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff allegedly used
Trump as an excuse to engage in what would amount to a treason-
ous contact with the head of the Communist Chinese military.
The allegation that Gen. Mark Milley reportedly colluded is in the new book Peril (Simon & Schu-
ster), by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, about the conclusion of the Trump presi-
dency and the start of the Joe Biden one.
Milley reportedly was so concerned that Trump could start a war with China that he wanted to reassure the Communists to the contrary, or at least prevent a surprise attack.
The notion that Milley might be a disinterested patriot is clouded by the fact that after talking with the Communist military, he reportedly contacted hard-left Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The New York Sun posted on September 15 that after the call, “Gen. Milley reached out to Mr. Trump’s bitterest and most hysterical political foe, Speaker Pelosi, who, the (New York) Times account says, told him: ‘This is bad, but who knows what he might do? He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time’.”
The Sun added: “The Times, which notes that Gen. Milley is not in the chain of command, ‘tried to reassure Ms. Pelosi that he could stop Mr. Trump’.”
New York Post columnist Miranda Devine posted on September 15: “If you believe the latest Bob Woodward book, the United States has lost civilian control of its military — unless you count Nancy Pelosi, who seems to have been in control of everything since she became speaker in 2019 with the single-minded goal of bringing down Donald Trump.
“Everything has gone downhill since,” Devine added, “and most dangerously at the Pentagon, where a cohort of woke generals fell under Pelosi’s malign spell.”
To the shame of Catholics around the world, the very bad Catholic Pelosi is one of the most powerful so-called Catholics in the world. At least, until she goes before the Judgment Seat.
Radio host Sexton said Democrats’ unending emphasis on Trump “is a continuation of a Democrat strategy that they have been using in the Trump era, which is really just a version of they want to burn the village down in order to save it. When it came to ‘undermining our institutions of government —’ Remember, that was the big talking point. . . .
“But,” Sexton continued, “this is actually Orwellian. This is what we’re seeing play out with Democrat narrative of, ‘Anything we gotta do to keep our side on offense against Trump,’ even though Trump — We just saw this with Gavin Newsom. Trump’s not even in office anymore! Doesn’t matter. He’s the great bogeyman.”
Politically dysfunctional Newsom had created so much chaos and resentment in California that the petition to recall him easily gained enough signatures to make the ballot, even though registered Democrats far outnumber registered Republicans in the formerly Golden State.
However, as this was written on the day after the September 14 recall-voting period ended, nearly two-thirds of the tallied votes opposed removing him.
You can’t forget that Democrats are masters of vote fraud, and that Dems from coast to coast were aware of their dire necessity to keep Newsom in office. Still, it would be quite a criminal achievement to fake literally millions of votes in one state. Hmm, maybe hundreds of thousands. But millions?
News reports said some Republicans who went to the polls were told they already had voted when they had not, so they were allowed to cast provisional ballots. But what about uninterested people who didn’t vote in the recall? Fraudulent votes could have been cast in their names that they wouldn’t find out about.
Mail ballots had been sent to everyone registered in the state. And California law even allowed people to print out ballots at home. Talk about an opportunity to cheat.
Moreover, the left-wing political class has a marvelous talent at coordination. On the very next day, September 15, with Newsom’s election in the bag, populous Los Angeles County announced its intention to impose a new vaccine “passport” — the sort of restriction that previously generated so much resentment against him.
On September 15, Phoenix radio talk host Seth Leibsohn (KKNT, 960 AM) cited the parallel with the 2020 presidential election, which had just ended when the successful development of the then-eagerly awaited COVID-19 vaccine surprisingly was announced. How Trump would have welcomed such news while votes still were being cast.
The Wanderer asked conservative GOP political consultant Constantin Querard about the recall result. Querard looked back to the successful 2003 California recall against inept liberal Democrat
Gov. Gray Davis.
“The old expression, ‘You can’t beat somebody with nobody,’ applies to this recall,” he said. “Gray Davis was recalled in large part because California voters wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger to be governor. This time, while there were a lot more qualified candidates than there were when Davis was recalled, the field was too divided and none of the top three or five candidates had enough support to make recalling Newsom attractive to the average voter.
“They didn’t like Newsom, but were not comfortable with his replacement options, so they chose the devil they knew,” Querard
said.
Still, fund-raisers and national Democrat politicians went all-in for Newsom, as if they believed he was in serious peril. Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris went to California to speak for him, while the money spigots from the elite were wide open for Newsom’s campaign.
This also brought us the demonic spectacle of bad Catholic pro-abortion fanatics Newsom and Biden warning of the serious threat posed by Newsom potentially losing. Just when they had their pagan furnaces all heated up to cremate more babes, how dare anyone try to douse the flames.
A San Diego woman told The Wanderer on September 13, “Republicans pretty much think that chicanery is already going on to sink the recall.”
Certainly dominant left-wing media played their usual role in skewing coverage, portraying the leading challenger to Newsom, black conservative Republican Larry Elder, as a racist, while racist attacks against Elder were shrugged off.
On September 8, as the campaigning Elder walked through the Venice neighborhood in Los Angeles, a white woman wearing a racially charged gorilla mask came up and threw an egg at the back of his head. After it sailed past, the woman threw a punch at another man. However, the incident received little media attention.
Some conservative critics quickly noted that if, for example, a white person wearing a MAGA cap and gorilla mask had thrown an egg at prominent black Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams out campaigning, the incident would have leapt to front pages and reverberated around the world for days while Newsom would be blasted repeatedly for inciting the incident.
This is the sort of coverage, or lack of it, that can make a major difference in campaign momentum. And journalistic bigots are perfectly aware of that.
Elder subsequently complained that if he were a Democrat, the attack would have been described as a hate crime and a manhunt would be on for the attacker.
Indeed, reporters would have been digging through whatever information they could lay their hands on to discover background on the attacker and spin it as they wanted. But, as it happened, the mystery woman didn’t seem to interest dominant media at all.
Said Elder on a video: “They’d be talking about this in Bangladesh. But because I have an ‘R’ at the end of my name, a lot of the mainstream media didn’t give a rip.”
Longtime political numbers cruncher Michael Barone posted at the Washington Examiner on September 15 that the voting results were in line with recent performances. His article was headlined, “California voters get what they deserve.”
“California Gov. Gavin Newsom was elected governor in 2018 by 62 percent to 38 percent, a result that was, unsurprisingly in an era of straight-ticket voting and strong partisan allegiance, almost identical to Joe Biden’s 64 percent to 34 percent over Donald Trump in 2020,” Barone wrote.
“As of this writing — and it has taken California weeks to count its votes in recent general elections — incomplete returns show 64 percent of Californians against recalling Newsom and only 36 percent in favor of removing him from office,” he wrote.
Exit polls showed white college graduates supporting Newsom by 68 percent, Barone said. However, “White voters without college degrees, or those left behind after hundreds of thousands of others have abandoned California’s high housing and energy costs, were the one ethnically defined group that favored recall, 57 percent to 43 percent.”
A recent Quinnipiac University Poll showed approval of Biden nationally at just 42 percent, but even lower at 38 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent among whites who didn’t attend college, Barone said.
As for Milley, Sean Hannity told his national talk-radio audience on September 15 that the general either is a traitor or the journalists’ accusation against him is so wrong that monetary damages could put Milley in the position of owning The Washington Post and a good part of Amazon.
The book authors work for the Post, which is owned, as is Amazon, by multibillionaire Jeff Bezos.
Hannity told his listeners he didn’t know if Milley committed this wrong, but the charge is so serious that Biden should immediately put the general on administrative leave, and Pelosi should be investigated, too, for her alleged involvement.
Of course Biden did just the opposite and voiced his “great confidence” in Milley on September
15.
Also, Hannity said, how could the two journalists have sat on this story for months, until they could put it in their book? Wasn’t this serious news that deserved attention earlier?
It wasn’t the first time that longtime Post journalist Woodward had been accused of keeping important information under wraps until he could hit the bookshelves with it.
On many days people raise interesting questions at Facebook. One user got to the point by asking that if Milley did this against Trump, what’s being done about the clearly senile Biden?
However, if a person is a cog in the globalist machine, he can get away with all sorts of mischief that outsiders aren’t allowed. Trump’s White House was a geyser of misleading leaks, but damaging insider information hardly ever emerges about the loopy Biden, no matter how much of a danger he poses.
The failure to hold up Biden for the harsh examination he deserves may one day cost the whole world dearly.

Biden Finds Virus Mandate Allies In The Population Controllers

September 18, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Biden Finds Virus Mandate Allies In The Population Controllers

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Dr. Leanna Wen is a major player on the Left. She’s a college prof, a Washington Post columnist, and a medical analyst for CNN.
We last saw her when she was fired from her post as president of Planned Parenthood in July.
Why?
She had committed the deadly sin of lamenting the death of the unborn child she had lost in a miscarriage.
As president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Wen had been one of the earliest and most strident advocates of vaccination against the China Virus, and her campaign continues. Last week she turned up the volume by leading the cheers for Joe Biden’s onerous vaccine “mandate.”
Until White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced the mandate on September 9, both she and Biden had repeatedly assured the public not only that Biden would not take that step, but also that it wasn’t even legal for him to do so.
How did the mandate suddenly become legal overnight?
On September 9, the Biden administration was collapsing. Its disastrous Afghanistan exit simply would not go away, and Biden’s poll numbers were plummeting. The twentieth anniversary of 9/11 was two days away, and Biden desperately needed a distraction from the devastating headlines.
The growing anger of the American people was intense, so none of Joe’s usual palaver would suffice. To get their attention, he had to make us mad about something else — so he turned to the tyrant’s tactic (it’s Biden’s “Boldest Move Yet,” crooned MSNBC) of fear:
“Get vaccinated or else!”
Dr. Wen immediately chimed in. By lamenting the death of her unborn child, and then going public about it, she had risked her reputation, as well as her prestigious appointments and her substantial income, by defying the murderous Prime Mandate of the Left. After her loss, she had to recover not only her personal composure, but her public authority after confessing her sin.
So Dr. Wen went ballistic.
“We need to start looking at the choice to remain unvaccinated the same as we look at driving while intoxicated,” she told CNN hours after Psaki’s announcement.
The major media quickly took up the chant. In order to shove our failed foreign war down the Memory Hole, they started a domestic war — between Joe Biden, representing “the science,” and the unvaccinated, who were the designated enemies not only of Truth but of their fellow man.
“You have the option to not get vaccinated if you want,” Wen told CNN. “But then you can’t go out in public.”
And while the unvaccinated cower in their homes? The Controllers will pump and endless string of new “safety measures” into the pipeline.
That’s the plan.

Lessons From Mao’s Little Red Book

Machiavelli is the master tutor of all tyrants, and he taught them well. Is it “better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?” he asks. “It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved.” (The Prince, Chapter 17).
Haven’t the lockdowns taught us our lesson? Don’t we realize who is in charge? If we don’t love our masters for “keeping us safe,” then we’d darned well better fear them, or the Dr. Wens of the World Controller’s Office will lock us down again.
And that’s not all: the Chinese Communist Party offers an even more progressive step in our “safety conditioning.” For the Uyghurs in Xinxiang Province, the Chinese generously provide reeducation camps, accompanied by forced labor, to train the dangerous Moslem masses not only to obey their atheist Marxist rulers, but to love them for emancipating them from their backward ways.
Those who simply refuse to comply are quietly “disappeared,” their organs offered for sale through domestic and international medical channels.
During the Cultural Revolution, Mao’s Red Guards held “struggle sessions” designed to torture “class criminals” both physically and mentally. The goal and the methods were similar to those of Orwell’s Room 101, where Winston learned to love Big Brother, and they are the goals today’s tyrants attempting their own cultural revolution.
After all, anyone can be feared — a thug with a gun is all it takes. But to be feared and loved?

OK, Mao, What Do I Do Now?

But our rulers face certain impediments. Take China: as the virus continues to wrack the country, Joe Biden is desperate to distract us from the obvious: the virus is a biological weapon created and unleashed by the Chinese Communist Party from its Wuhan Lab.
Should Biden tell the truth and act on it?
Maybe not: if he turns on his ChiCom benefactors, they will ruin China Joe in a heartbeat.
And Joe is not alone. Dr. Wen has a powerful reason to avoid the China connection as well. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) enjoys a virtual partnership with the China Family Planning Association, an official organ of the Chinese Communist Party.
According to IPPF’s website, “The China Family Planning Association (CFPA) plays an important role in providing information and education and promoting voluntary family planning in China. Thanks to its millions of volunteers throughout the country, CFPA provides Chinese people with family planning, maternal and child health, healthier childbearing and adolescent sexual and reproductive health, both information and services.”
“Voluntary”? Perhaps voluntary at the point of a gun, while those “millions of volunteers throughout the country” served as informants to the murderous butchers who rounded up millions of “illegally-pregnant” women and submitted them to forced abortions for thirty-five years of the “One-Child” policy.
Neither Dr. Wen nor Joe Biden want you to think “China” when it comes to the virus. Karl Marx would call it a “forbidden question.”

Detritus

Joe Biden can’t make the China connection go away. And he can’t make his Afghan collapse go away either. He has just created a well-armed and well-financed Jihadi army, thanks to the America taxpayer. These disasters will haunt us for years, long after Joe has gone back to his basement.
George W. Bush has a similar problem. He wanted to “rid the world of evil,” but it just didn’t work. He doesn’t want us to ask why, but we must. And we will.
The twentieth anniversary of 9/11 featured somber and moving memorials to those who died that day, and the countless heroes who tried to save them.
George Bush spoke at a ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Flight 93 Memorial. After praising those heroes, as well as the troops that he sent abroad to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, he didn’t humbly reflect on his own role, warts and all. The hubris still abides.
Instead, flanked by Dick Cheney, he lashed out with a thinly-veiled attack on his critics and the voters who had turned against his Big Government Conservatism at home and his wars to export democracy abroad.
His rancor runs deep, not only to 2016 but to 2006 and 2008. The people just didn’t get it. He wasn’t wrong, not at all. His belief in an imperial America and the prospect of a secular, democratic Afghanistan endures.
“The Taliban cannot crush a dream.” He still believes it.
And who constitutes the greatest danger to our country today? The “violent extremists at home.”
Perhaps he believes that parroting Pelosi and appeasing the imploding Establishment will persuade future historians to let that be the last word on his legacy. It won’t.
Maybe it just makes him feel better. But if he won’t confront reality, we must.
Back to the long, hard slog.

The Seed

September 17, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on The Seed

By JOE SIXPACK

A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over his business. He didn’t trust his children or any of the members of his board to take over, so he decided to try something different.
The elder gentleman called together all his junior executives to meet with him. He said, “It’s time for me to choose a new CEO for my company, as I wish to retire and enjoy some of the fruits of my labor. I’ve decided to choose one of you to take my place.”
The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued, “I’m going to give each one of you a seed today…a very special seed. I want you to plant it, water it, nurture it. Then one year from today you will all come back to me with what you’ve grown from that seed. Then I’ll judge the plants you bring to me, and the winner will be the new CEO.”
A humble man named Jim was among the young executives. Like the others, he received a seed, and, like the others, he was excited about the possibility that he could be the next company CEO. He went home and told his wife, who helped him plant the seed in a pot with soil and compost. Every day, Jim would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were starting to sprout.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by. Still nothing grew.
Six months went by, and still nothing grew in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else talked about their tree saplings and tall plants, but Jim had nothing. He didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, but rather just continued to water and fertilize his seed. He so very much wanted his seed to grow into something . . . anything.
Jim was discouraged. He told his wife he wasn’t going to take an empty pot back to the boss’s office, but she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim was sick about it, as it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.
When the year ended, everyone was called to the old businessman’s office with their plants, and Jim showed up with his barren pot. He was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — plants of every description, in all shapes and sizes. When Jim put his dead pot on the floor, many of his colleagues laughed at him, and a few even felt sorry for him.
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back of the room. The CEO spotted Jim with his empty pot, and merely smiled at him. The old man said, “My, what tremendous plants you have all grown! Today one of you will be appointed the new CEO.”
As the excited executives began to settle down, the old executive ordered Jim to come forward with his pot. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure. He’s probably going to fire me.”
When Jim reached the front of the room, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed. Jim told him the story, and about how he had obviously failed.
The elder CEO told everyone except Jim to sit down. He looked hard into Jim’s eyes for a moment, then surveyed the room full of other executives. Then he said, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer. His name is…Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it! He couldn’t even grow his seed, yet here he was being named the new CEO.
The other executives began to grumble, asking how Jim could be the new CEO when he couldn’t grow anything from his seed. The old man replied, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed and told you to take the seed home, plant it, water it, grow it, then bring it back to me today. But I gave all of you boiled seeds. The seeds were dead — it wasn’t possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found the seed wouldn’t grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. But among you, Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is your new Chief Executive Officer!”
Jim demonstrates to us what it is to be a true man and Christian, while the others have shown us how the world generally thinks these days. The other executives justified their deceit to be able to get the CEO position — the modern thinking that the end justifies the means. Only Jim had the courage to do the right thing. While the others thought they would get the new job on the basis of their deceit, only Jim was willing to sacrifice the possibility of promotion to remain faithful to his conscience.
It’s easy for us to do the right thing when there’s nothing to lose, but it’s an altogether different matter when there’s something at stake. We convince ourselves that God will understand if we compromise His laws to avoid shame, embarrassment, or loss. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Compromise is the language of cowardice, and it’s a sign of being lukewarm for our holy and ancient faith. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you from my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16).
Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, is under attack throughout the world today — under attack like never before in history. There were more martyrs during the second decade of the twenty-first century than throughout the first three centuries of the ten great Roman persecutions combined. Sooner or later, all of us will face a time when we’ll have to choose between God’s way or the way of the world, like the Christian clerk in Kentucky who chose jail rather than violate her conscience and displease God, or like the martyrs from the first century to today who gave their lives rather than offend God.
None of us expects death to come for us anytime soon, but death is no respecter of persons. Whether you believe martyrdom is possible is merely a matter of opinion. What isn’t a matter of opinion is that death will visit us all, and we’ll very likely never know the time or place when it comes. Death could come from a lingering illness, or as suddenly as an auto accident. It could even come through nothing at all, as it did for my 38-year-old son who was seemingly in excellent health but simply failed to wake up one morning.
We must be ready at every moment of every day to stand before Almighty God in judgment for the things we’ve done or failed to do in this life. The only way to do this is to know our faith, live our faith, and have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Penance. Don’t believe the world and its lies. Society and culture may change, but God and His laws never change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Questions? Reach out to me at Joe@CantakerousCatholic.com. And don’t forget to listen to my podcast, The Cantankerous Catholic.

Speaker Says . . . Even St. Francis Of Assisi Didn’t Understand His Direction Until God Prompted Him

September 16, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Speaker Says . . . Even St. Francis Of Assisi Didn’t Understand His Direction Until God Prompted Him

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — Even one of the best-known saints of all hadn’t understood the paths God wanted him to follow without repeated prompting, a speaker told the Institute of Catholic Theology (ICT) as its new series of sessions began with the waning of summer.
The young Francis of Assisi, like his family and townsfolk, thought he was destined for greatness, but the general belief was this would be achieved through the nobility or knighthood, Rick Perry, a theology teacher at St. Mary’s High School here, told the September 4 session. The ICT is an evangelization program based here at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish.
However, Perry cited the passage from Mark where Jesus said that he who would be first must be the last and the servant of all.
In the world of Francis, the king ruled, the lords owned the land, the knights protected it, and the peasants produced on it, Perry said.
Before coming to St. Mary’s, Perry obtained two master’s degrees in theology, from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and KU Leuven, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Belgium.
St. Francis, who eventually would see his path was to be poverty and humility, died at about age 44, in 1226, was canonized in 1228, and has a feast day of October 4, Perry said.
Choosing the way of a knight, Francis was defeated in a battle in 1202 and taken prisoner, but his father couldn’t pay the ransom to free him for a year, Perry said, adding that the young man became seriously ill and questioned what his greatness was to be.
Francis had a dream of having a magnificent palace and many knights as his followers, Perry said.
This was to come true in the sense of great spiritual attainment, but not literally as a worldly ruler.
The future saint heard of a papal army he could join and fight against excommunicated German emperor Otto for control of southern Italy, but then heard a voice saying to go back to his home and he would be shown what to do, Perry said.
He added that Francis recalled Jesus telling Peter to put away his sword, and the aspiring knight “starts to discern that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.” But if not as a knight, where would his greatness be? “St. Francis is very conflicted. . . .
“What captivated him about the crucifix is the suffering of Christ,” and Francis saw his uncertainty joined with this suffering, Perry said.
Francis began going to frequent Confession, and to think in terms that “just like water, God goes downward,” condescending to come down to meet humanity, he said. “Francis now knows he had been looking in the wrong direction” and starts to think that the way to follow Jesus is through humility.
About 1203 Francis encountered a leper and saw he was to serve Jesus in the lowly, Perry said. “Lepers were one thing he could not stand,” but now he recognized God “calls him to be with the lowest and most rejected of society.”
The leper thought God had abandoned him, but when Francis kissed the man’s hands and feet, he realized he wasn’t abandoned, and Francis had joy at recognizing his role, Perry said.
When God told Francis to “go and rebuild my house, which, as you can see, is totally in ruins,” the future saint misunderstood this to mean that he literally had to repair a church building, Perry said, so he sold some expensive cloth from his father’s shop to get the necessary money.
When Francis’ plan didn’t work out, his father took him before the local bishop for correction, but Francis renounced his worldly ties and set out embracing poverty and prayer, Perry said, which led to his attracting followers and then the formulation of the Franciscan rule of radical poverty and humility.
In 1213 a noble donated land for Francis to build a hermitage on, then in 1224 Francis received the stigmata, Perry said.
Among books that Perry recommended are The First Life of St. Francis of Assisi, by St. Thomas of Celano, The Life of St. Francis of Assisi, by St. Bonaventure, St. Francis of Assisi, A Biography, by Omer Englebert, and St. Francis of Assisi: Passion, Poverty, and The Man Who Transformed the Catholic Church, by Bret Thoman, OFS.

Doctor Dying Of Cancer… Passing Time With A Catholic Physician As He Awaits Stepping Into Eternity

September 15, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Doctor Dying Of Cancer… Passing Time With A Catholic Physician As He Awaits Stepping Into Eternity

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — Words we think of in the context of a traditional marriage ceremony — “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…from this day forward until death do us part” — are words that actually apply to other acquaintances we make in life as well, although in differing degrees than having them as spouses.
In October 2016 a longtime pro-life physician here who did some writing and who admired my writing in The Wanderer got in touch with me for the first time through a mutual acquaintance. He was James Asher, D.O., a military veteran and officer of the Catholic Medical Association’s guild in Phoenix.
We started getting together to eat and to attend meetings of the guild. Energetic and sturdily built in his 70s, he wished that such Catholic guilds would prosper around the nation. A year later, in November 2017, Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Shortly before he went into surgery, I saw what it really meant to have the yellow skin of jaundice. I visited him in the hospital as he began a prolonged and successful recovery.
He and his wife, Rosie, married more than a half-century, had seven adult children and more than a dozen grandchildren. It was a full house indeed in north Phoenix for Thanksgiving the following year, in 2018, as Jim was returning to a more normal life.
Jim had asked me to read a book manuscript he was working on, Searching for A Few Good Men, and he began writing some articles for The Wanderer. As it turned out, unfortunately, some of them were to be about the reoccurrence of the cancer in late 2020 and his physical decline and expected death.
These three articles appeared under the standing headline “Thoughts on My Summons — A Retired Catholic Physician Contemplates Death.” They were published in the hardcopy Wanderer on December 10, 2020 (p. 4B), February 11, 2021 (p. 8A), and April 22, 2021 (p. 8B).
They’re worth rereading for his thoughts on mortality and religion. He isn’t a natural pessimist, but Jim hasn’t been asking God to let him live to 100 years of age, nor is imploring for a miraculous recovery. His email is Grampa6101@gmail.com.
Jim said the time would arrive when I would have to write the next article for him, when he could not. That time is here.
When I visited his home for lunch in July — wife Rosie always has some tasty sandwiches on hand — he sat in a chair in the kitchen. When I stopped by around noonish in August and September, he was weaker, lying in a recliner bed in his sunny bedroom, with a colorful Lady of Guadalupe blanket draped on him.
Twice this year Jim also had to go to the hospital to relieve the serious pain of liver abscesses, plus Rosie had to recover from a broken femur. The liver problem was so bad, “I was willing to lay there and let death come because I wanted the pain over so badly,” but hospital treatment provided great relief.
On August 21 Jim told me that an oncologist at the hospital recently hugged him goodbye, “but I don’t think I’m ready to check out yet.” Looking at himself with the experienced eye of a physician, Jim said that eventually his consuming hydration will have to stop because it won’t be doing any good, and he’ll get “more and more lethargy. . . .
“As long as I’m having some quality of life . . . then I imagine I’ll stick around,” he said.
When he does stop drinking, Jim said, he imagines people will be doing “a lot of yelling, ‘Drink and drink and drink’,” but he’d reply he can’t. (That was the same thing I saw when my elderly mother died, after I kept holding a straw to her lips in an assisted-living home.)
“I’m kind of anxious to get it over with,” Jim said.
“I like to be able to go to Holy Communion every day,” but a parish Eucharistic minister came by once a week, Jim said in August. However, when I returned on September 4, he was receiving hospice care, which meant a priest associated with hospice stopped by once a week, giving Jim a total of two weekly Eucharists.
Although he hadn’t had any unusual spiritual experiences like visits from deceased relatives, Jim said he had “vivid dreams” which he either couldn’t recall upon awakening or forgot after he awoke because he didn’t write them down. “But they weren’t anxiety-provoking or anything like that. . . . I haven’t met George Washington.”
As for his family, “I think they’re trying to have a stiff upper lip, and they’re very helpful to me, constantly inspiring” about his health.
Even after death, Jim thinks he’ll have his family in mind. He has reflected on what will change. “I feel like I’ll still be integral to their lives. ‘Sure, you can call on Dad’” with requests.
Does he believe he’ll miss his family? “I don’t think so. I think I’ll be immersed with things.”
Reading he has done suggests there’s more communication with the living on Earth while a soul still is in Purgatory, Jim says, and needs help like being prayed for.
He recalls a story in a book published around 1899 where a father in Purgatory appears to his son and asks for prayers. When the son replies, “I pray for you every day,” the father says, “It’s not efficacious. You’re in a state of mortal sin.”
People “tell me all the time” they offer prayers for him, Jim said, describing himself as “an 80-year-old guy who’s dying, a happy, peaceful death. I’m not praying for any miracles.”
Jim plans to have “a monastery coffin” and be buried at a veterans’ cemetery here. He asked a son “to shop around a bit” for funeral preparations. “I can’t see spending thousands on a funeral.”
He doesn’t want people to keep coming back to his grave. “Just the first time. They’ll know I’m dead and they pray for my soul.”
Standing by the recliner, Rosie said, “Maybe September, maybe October, maybe November. In God’s time. But I’m glad I’m already recovered” from her broken femur.
When I returned two weeks later, on September 4, Jim was looking better, watching television at the foot of the recliner bed as I arrived. Rosie says he was up that morning, typing and checking his emails.
Rosie has been to the deli to get us sandwiches. Jim had thought he’ll have only a bite or two of his pastrami and French fries, but he eats half of each of these. “I did myself proud,” he says, adding, “I really haven’t eaten much for the last few days.” What does he eat? “A bite of this and a bite of that.”
He eats all the whipped cream off a slice of pie but less than half of the slice itself. “I didn’t like the flavor.” It’s supposed to be rhubarb but he thinks it’s strawberry. A container of coconut water is on his tray, which, he said, is good because it’s high in potassium, which he needs.
“I have a paralytic condition in my stomach” in which the food doesn’t move along as it’s supposed to, leading to a bloated feeling, Jim says.
Jim watches some of the daily Masses from Toronto on YouTube, which leads him into prayer. “Prayer is getting difficult” because he can’t focus so much. “I have a lot of physical disability right now. I’m weak, hard to hold my head up….Frankly, I want to get through this thing. I want to get it over with.”
He adds later on September 4, “I find waiting is the biggest drag. . . . It’s not like I’m active in the world doing all kinds of things. . . .
“I would like my suffering to do some good, but I’m not pushing to suffer. Suffering hurts. My lifelong impatience has just been wanting to get things over with. . . . You can’t just lie here in bed and think this is a great life. . . .
“What was in that pie?” Jim keeps wondering because it didn’t taste like rhubarb.
Do a pat on the back in this article for Americare Hospice, Jim says, a Catholic service approved by Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted. It provides Jim assistance here at home.
Considering the circumstances, I truthfully tell Jim he’s looking good. “Looks aren’t everything,” he replies.
In his article about expected death in the December 10, 2020, Wanderer, physician Jim spoke with the experience of what happens to patients like himself:
“In the movies they always show the dying person talking to everyone around the bed, then gradually dying — like in the space of five minutes. Not been my experience with patients like me. More like dying by millimeters. Little by little by c’mon let’s get this over with. Gradual entry into coma with possible brief periods of lucidity, more coma, more death watch, on and on. Eventually and finally it happens, and everyone is relieved.”
But Jim also recalled an account by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, who “talks about a dying relative who was in a semi-coma, but obviously engaged in an animated conversation. When he opened his eyes and was asked whom he was talking to, he responded, ‘Why, the angels.’ Sometime later he opened his eyes again and asked, ‘Is it OK if I go now?’ Everyone assured him that it was fine if that was what he wanted. He smiled, closed his eyes, and died shortly after.”
Before he knew about his cancer returning, Jim wrote in the March 26, 2020, Wanderer about modern death while the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic had people worried:
“Modern-day people, immersed in a Godless culture, tend to react with shock, disbelief, and unbridled grieving. How could it be that they have a terminal illness or that a loved one has died? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance — has it always been like this?
“One could wonder if there was such shock, disbelief, and grief in the fourteenth century. Or rather, was there more of a quiet and relatively peaceful resignation like Job’s, that the Lord had given, the Lord had taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord — His will be done.
“We all, then and now, are in God’s hands. None of what swirls around us — plague, or otherwise — happens without His keen awareness. If we do not survive whatever it is, He is there with welcoming arms. May we attain the spiritual maturity of our ancestors, contented with the life we’ve had and with a happy accommodation of our sooner or later mortality.”

Hopes To Help

In this last of his articles, Jim wrote on April 22, 2021:
“I’ve wondered if some afternoon or early morning I’ll just ‘fly away’ or if the trip is going to be involved, complicated, or painful and more than simply laying down my head and closing my eyes for the last time. I keep going back to the Spartan soldiers who needn’t concern themselves about the water temperature if they are required to march through the river anyway.
“Someday anyway and one way or another, I’ll be on the other side of this thing, I hope looking down benignly on the rest of humanity. I hope I can be of help.”

A Beacon Of Light . . . Faith Seeking Understanding

September 14, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light . . . Faith Seeking Understanding

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + Last week I mentioned we would begin a series of articles devoted to helping us understand our faith better. To know our faith better means to know Christ better! The great St. Anselm helps us in this endeavor when he coined the phrase: fides quaerens intellectum, or faith seeking understanding. In this, St. Anselm was challenging the philosophers of his time, who believed that faith was nothing more than believing what you had to believe.
    For St. Anselm this kind of religious philosophy would lead eventually to a dead faith. St. Anselm championed the belief that faith had a higher meaning, because true faith leads man to fall in love with God, allowing for a deeper understanding of who God is.
    Is this not where we find ourselves today? Are not all people, Christians, and non-Christians, all of humanity, created in a way that leads to God? Do we not see the struggle that exists, within man in today’s society? When we see, for example, institutions of higher learning like Harvard University applaud the promotion and acceptance of an atheist as the head chaplain for its school, the destruction of belief in God and faith is happening before our very eyes.
    By taking a brief survey of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we will begin the process of a “new evangelization,” of the times in which we live. To know our faith, is to love God and loving God involves an understanding of what we believe as Catholics.
    The Catechism of the Catholic Church begins by presenting us with a choice. This choice is found in the first pillar outlined in the Catechism, when we are asked: Do you believe? Every Sunday and holy day of obligation affords us the opportunity to answer this question through the profession of the Nicene Creed. But my question for us to reflect on today is: Do we know what we are professing and why?
    In order to even begin to answer this question, we need to go back to the day of our Baptism. On that special day, our parents, and godparents brought us to Church in order to present us before the Lord to share in the faith of the Church. It was on the day of our Baptism that we professed for the first time our faith in Jesus Christ. In the Rite of Baptism, there is a beautiful moment where our parents and godparents profess the faith for us.
    At the conclusion of this recitation of faith, there is an affirmation that is recited by the minister of Baptism in which he says: “This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus the Lord” (New Rite of Baptism, p. 48).

The Image Of God

As baptized Catholics and proud to profess the faith of the Church in Christ Jesus, the Lord, let us begin by breaking down the Creed.
The Creed begins by reciting the following: “I believe in One God.” By its very nature, the Creed begins by making a distinction between some abstract reality or innate thing, versus a person who is God Himself. This distinction prepares the way for man to come to an internal understanding of the relationship begun in Baptism. We are reminded of this in the opening lines of the Catechism where we learn about man’s capacity for God:
“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator” (CCC, n. 27).
Because man is created in the image and likeness of God, it is true to our nature to come to know God. It is important that the Creed begins by directing us toward our final end; knowing, loving, and serving God in this life and in the eternal life to come.
This can happen, however, in different ways. Because the seed of the knowledge of God is instilled in the soul of every human being, the path we take can be interesting. For most of us, who are cradle Catholics, we came to know the Lord through the faith of our parents that was shared with us in Baptism. But what about those who didn’t have the great fortune of being in this group? What about those who came by “another way”?
Here I’m reminded of the moment of the infancy narrative of the birth of Christ, where we meet the men from the East. The Magi exemplify for us the “other way.” Here we have Kings from the East who had no knowledge of “faith” because they were astrologers whose knowledge was of other things. Through the power of God, and the seed planted within them at the moment of creation, the Magi experienced a sprouting, if you will, of the seed within and it led them to trust in the sign of the star that led them to Bethlehem.
The Catechism reminds us of this when it states:
“The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom, and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the ‘seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material,’ can have its origin only in God” (CCC, n. 33).
The Catechism continues this thought by saying:
“Man’s faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith (so) the proofs of God’s existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason” (CCC, n. 35).
You see, our faith is not something that comes out of oblivion, it is part of who we are! So, when we begin to recite the Profession of Faith, the Creed, on Sundays and holy days of obligation, in essence, we are saying, not only do we believe in God, but, we are also saying we believe in ourselves, and the ability to come to know Him more fully. We are saying we believe in our capacity to know God!
The Church, however, teaches us that there is another way in which we also come to know the Lord, and this is through divine Revelation.
“This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also ‘about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error’” (CCC, n. 38).

A Deep Abyss

Our ability of trying to understand our relationship with God, is expressed every time we profess our faith in saying: “I believe.” In doing so, we gain the confidence necessary to be “apostles of our times,” enabling us to have the confidence needed in discussing the faith with other religions, unbelievers, and even atheists. None of this is possible, however, unless we are serious in saying: “I believe in God.”
To just say the words with no conviction of heart leaves man looking into the darkness of a deep abyss. To be at this place in one’s life, risks the loss of man’s created purpose, that is, to rejoice in the presence of God forever.
Next week we will continue our survey on the Catechism by breaking down the Creed.

Accept Or Tolerate?

September 13, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Accept Or Tolerate?

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

Several years ago one of my students, opining on the rising LGBT movement, suggested a live and let live philosophy and argued that it was our responsibility to accept their lifestyles. My response was that acceptance implied approval, while what she was suggesting implied only toleration.
Tolerate differences, I suggested to her, but don’t let your tolerance be interpreted as approval of a lifestyle with which you disagree.
I don’t know how wise those words were, but they came to mind while trying to make sense out of the sharp polarization we find in America today. If you follow this column you know that I’ve been a student of history and politics since well before I could vote and, except for the Civil War, I know of no other similar polarization, especially during my lifetime, notwithstanding the upheavals during the fight for civil rights and over our involvement in Vietnam.
Oh there were political differences all right, there were serious conflicts over civil rights and Vietnam that sometimes appeared to pull the nation apart, but they did not last and our leaders, Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson, and even Richard Nixon were able to look into the future and move us forward without the severe polarization that we see now.
So what happened? I think I know. It happened when one side turned its attention to social issues and demanded conformity from those on the other side, denying to their political foes the right to dissent, and, most important, the right to follow their own conscience. In short, they demanded approval not just toleration.
Social activists and their lawyers have found success using the courts to impose policies on society that majorities reject. They have used social media to condemn those with whom they disagree, and ultimately are rewarded by seeing their opponents silenced by the cancel culture to which they hold allegiance. One only needs to look at Facebook and Twitter where Donald Trump is absent, but not the Taliban, ISIS, nor the mullahs from Iran.
You must conform, is the message, or be eliminated. And the reason is that they are right, they hold the moral high ground, and as a result can impose their will on others who must be, after all, deplorable.
And it goes well past that. Armed with their self-righteous moral superiority, the social justice warriors of the left have now not only taken over two of the three branches of government, much of the media, academia, and have found common ground with their fellow travelers in big business, especially the international variety.
So what are these leftists doing with their newfound authority as the moral arbiters of the nation?
First, they have decreed that no one has a right to a conscientious objection to their dictates; like it or not you must comply even if they run counter to your religious beliefs or the dictates of your conscience. Holy Mother Church is not in Rome, but in the halls of Congress, the offices of petty bureaucrats, municipal health officials, and others whose moral superiority surpasses yours.
Take, for example, conscience rights in medicine. We’ve noted just a few weeks ago the case of a pro-life nurse who was forced to assist with an abortion. After an investigation by the Trump administration, which found similar problems at the facility in question, a federal lawsuit was filed against the hospital.
Roger Severino, who was the director of the Office of Civil Rights for the Health and Human Services and who conducted the investigation, told my radio audience that it was an open-and-shut case which would have set a polestar for conscience rights. Instead, the new Biden administration simply dismissed the lawsuit out of hand. Of course the poor nurse, being a deplorable, has no standing to assert her conscience or religious rights.
Of course, that’s just small potatoes compared to the larger picture they envision. They have already passed the “Equality Act” in the House which elevates sexual orientation and gender identity to the same protected category as race, which will ultimately force employers, including religious employers and churches, to comply with forced same-sex wedding ceremonies, the hiring of teachers and others who do not support the church’s teachings or mission.
It will also force the opening of restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all, and allow men to force their way into shared housing intended for single gender accommodations. And if parents refuse to provide sex-change surgeries and hormone treatments for their minor children they can be charged with child abuse, and those children can be removed from their homes and public funding can be used to provide those services.
You see, there will be no conscience rights for people who think for themselves. You must accept or the state can discipline you if you hold to traditional Christian values.
And to take a particular example: HHS has promulgated a rule that reinterprets the Affordable Care Act’s definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity. Thus it requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, or child, even if it violates the doctor’s medical judgment or religious beliefs.
Why? They know better. They are, after all, superior moral agents and they are allowed to force their beliefs on anyone who might disagree. Oh, and did I mention, you are not allowed to disagree. Polarization on steroids.
Of course none of this is new. You might remember a few years ago when Catholic Charities was forced to close several locations when it refused to place children in same-sex households.
And don’t forget “the jab,” the constant pressure to vaccinate all with an abortion-tainted vaccine. As you’ve read here before, natural immunity that one has after surviving COVID is of no note, neither is any religious exception. Now not only are cities and businesses demanding proof of the jab before entry, schools and workplaces also require vax proof, many with no exceptions, even medical ones. Of course, we must realize that the petty bureaucrats who administer such things are our moral superiors and if we object our social media account can be deleted, just as you were told that if un-vaxed you should not travel anywhere over the recent Labor Day weekend.
Your immediate obedience is requested, otherwise. . . .
And what is as troubling as anything else is that there is no escape from the jab for those who think the law provides them with a religious right to refuse. I was called the other day from a woman who works for a large local firm who was told she had to take the vaccine. When she applied for a religious exemption she was denied because the company’s HR department made the theological determination that since the Pope recommends the vaccine a Catholic is not allowed to object.
Even a CNN host has suggested that those who refuse the vaccine should be refused care by hospitals! All the while other employers are assessing non-vaxed insurance premiums against their workers.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kans., and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a recent statement that, while reaffirming his belief in the vaccination, states that people “could reasonably choose” to reject the jab to give “prophetic witness” against abortion and condemned those who would require vaccination as a predicate for holding or keeping their jobs.
“A society that fails to respect the rights of conscience lacks a key element of the common good,” the archbishop wrote. “The most charitable and just posture is to seek to accommodate the consciences of all persons,” he continued.
Of course that makes no difference to our morally superior power predators who think otherwise. We know better than you, so shut up and obey…or else. There is only one side that can stand on conscience, and it’s not us.
Yup, that’s polarization all right. And it appears that it is oh so deliberate.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday at 10 a.m. Central Time, on Faith On Trial on IowaCatholicRadio.com.)

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