“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”
Yet, these precious foundations of society are being compromised and the structures that give rise to such values are themselves under grave scrutiny and dismissal. Who would ever think that a sitting president and administration would challenge the explicit intention of the First Amendment in defense of religious liberty? To undermine the freedom to express those values essential to society’s wellbeing is to invite decay.
Consider a few statistics of life in the U.S.: forty-nine percent of marriages end in divorce; fifty-five million children have been aborted; nearly half of all children are born out of wedlock; there is a steady increase in drug abuse and suicides; acts of violence have increased in our homes and schools; child abuse cases are on the rise; sexual crimes and murder rates are escalating in many areas; and many of the aged are abandoned. These are but a few representations of a society in decay, not on the rise.
Nearly thirty-one years ago, Pope John Paul II, who had personally experienced the demoralizing effects of governments and policies that undermine the core values of society and its people, offered this prophetic call to action:
“At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, ensuring their full vitality and
human and Christian development, and thus contributing to the renewal of society and of the People of God.” (Familiaris Consortio, #3)
That is our task, brothers and sisters. Take courage! By God’s grace we can build families and communities of faith and virtue, and with our lives give witness to what a holy society looks like.
Pray for us, Blessed John Paul II.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet,
President, Human Life International
This is Part II of a two-part article “George Washington and the Popes: Faith and Morality are Indispensable for Prosperity” by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, President of Human Life International.
A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 13, 2012
Love Unlimited – 6th Sunday of Easter
Some people seem to think that the Catholic Church is just another multi-national corporation, Catholicism, Inc., with the Pope as CEO. Obviously, this view is a bit skewed, but is not totally off-base. The Church is in fact an international organization. That’s actually one of the meanings of the word “Catholic”– this church is no small sect limited to a particular ethnic enclave. Rather, it is “universal,” intended to reach and include people from all nations.
That’s an important message of this Sunday’s first reading. Jesus mission was first and foremost to the children of Israel. But notice that he never restricted his ministry to Jews alone. In fact the person he pointed out as having more faith than just about anyone else he’d met was not a Jew, but a Roman, the centurion whose servant he healed.
Sixth Sunday of Easter: The Elixir of Love
Back in the Middle Ages there was an alchemist who had achieved notable fame for his intellectual prowess.For want of a better name, we’ll call him Justin of Bieberland.Now, usually when we think of alchemy, we focus on the attempts of alchemists to create gold, but actually the alchemists attempted much more than that.They were really the first inorganic chemists.And Justin was one of the best.He understood the properties of mercury, how to best transform various elements into energy and so forth.The problem was that Justin was so intelligent that people were afraid of him.He was too smart for them.So people avoided him.Especially, female people.Now Justin really wanted to have a wife and family, but how could he convince a fair lass to marry him?
Sunday Homily – 6th Easter
This gospel passage is filled with beautiful statements about the ever popular subject of love. Jesus tells us that the Father loves him, and that he in turn loves us, and that we should love one another. Perhaps we have heard these sentiments expressed so often that we no longer realize how profound and dramatic they really are.
When Jesus says that the Father has loved him, he is correcting a very common concept of God. Many people at that time (and perhaps ever since) pictured God as someone very transcendent and therefore very distant from them. He was surely all-powerful but, like most powerful ones, he seemed to be cruel as well. Is God not in some way responsible for famine and natural disasters? Does he not at least permit the death of young parents and innocent children?
Why I am Catholic, and Think You Should be too
1. I am Catholic because I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the promised one of God. He said that He would build a church (Matthew 16:18). The ONLY church that can trace itself historically to the time of Jesus is the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, it must be His.
2.I am Catholic because the Bible is a Catholic book. Let me ask you some questions.
a. Do you believe that the Bible is 100% inspired by The Holy Spirit?
(2Timothy 2:16). We do.
b. Do you believe that you need to have the Holy Spirit to interpret the
Bible? (2Peter 1:20, 21) We do.
c. Do you believe that you need the Holy Spirit to recognize which
books in the Bible actually belong in the Bible? We do.
Effects of the Annunciation
Mary’s “yes” at the Annunciation achieves the central truths of the Incarnation, as it is here God becomes flesh and thus redeems the fallen children of Adam. Sections §457-60 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church[CCC] provides four main consequences of Our Lady’s fiat.
The first is the reasoning from the forfeited goodness brought about by our disobedience: “The Word became flesh for us ‘in order to save us by reconciling us with God’”(1 Jn 4:10), who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:14); “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world,” and he was revealed to take away sins. Then, quoting Gregory of Nyssa: “Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us” (§457).
The Always Witty Little Flower
I have written in these pages before how years ago I wrestled with my deep desire to become a Trappist; how it nagged at my heart for years; and how I eventually applied to Gethsemani Abbey and went on long retreats where I did little more than bounce off the walls and think about girls.
I never felt at home there, never felt at peace. Still, when I was away from there, back home at my job, that place was all I thought about. But every time I went there, awful.
Why are there not more miracles in our day as in Biblical times?
As a pastor I get asked every now and then, “Why are there not more miracles in our day, like there were in the Bible?” I suppose there are two answers we could explore.
One of the answers must surely be that we do not really expect miracles.
Another answer is that when they do happen we often dismiss them by rationalizing them, or chalking them up to coincidence or to some unknown reason that scientists will surely be able to explain some day.
Mary Queen of Heaven- the Bible Tells Me So
The Queen of Heaven was a goddess in pagan times, but when we call Mary the Queen of Heaven it has nothing to do with pagan worship. We don’t worship Mary. Check out this postto correct that mis understanding.
Instead Mary as the Queen of Heaven is tied in with the Old Testament concept of the royal household. Because the King had many wives it was impossible for one to be Queen. Therefore the King’s mother served in the role. The Queen Mother sat on a throne at the King’s right hand and helped rule the kingdom. Access to the King would often be through the Queen Mother and she would ask favors from the King for those who asked her. You can see an example of this in I Kings 2: 17-25 where Solomon is on the throne next to his mother Bathsheba.
New Wine, New Eve – Knowing Mary Through the Bible
To run out of refreshments at a party or to not have enough hamburgers for a summer cookout might be an embarrassing moment for a modern-day host. However, to run short of wine at an ancient Jewish wedding feast would represent a social catastrophe that would severely damage a family’s reputation for years.
According to customs of the time, a first-century Jewish wedding would not have been a private family celebration, but a public event recognizing the union of the bride and groom as well as the joining of the two families. The celebration typically took place in the groom’s own home, which was made open to guests for several days and thus open to public
The Hypostatic Union
Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the founder and object of the Catholic Church. He is both true God and true man. Because he is God, we worship him as our Creator and Redeemer; because he is also man, he is our brother and like us in all things, sin alone excepted. In Catholic theology, the union of the divine nature and the human nature is explained as taking place in the Person of Jesus, who is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God. This is known as the “Hypostatic Union.” The word, hypostatis, is a Greek word which means “person.”
The Hypostatic Union had a profound effect on Jesus’ human nature. Jesus Christ is a true man, but, because he is also God, he is no ordinary man. It is important to remember that Jesus is not a human person like us; he is a divine Person.
Six Practical Ideas for Integrating our Catholic Faith with Work
If you think about it, most of us will likely spend the majority of our adult (awake) lives in the workplace. A typical eight hour work day accounts for 1/3rd of the total day, with the other 2/3rds devoted to sleeping, family, friends, faith, etc. In the practice of our faith, do we consider the workplace as an opportunity to be open about our Catholic beliefs or do we ignore this vital time and only think about being Catholic the other 16 hours a day?
I suspect many of us will agree that the workplace today is perceived as a challenging environment to be open about our Christian beliefs. The specter of the Church’s battle with this Administration over the HHS Mandate looms over every Catholic employer. Political correctness and rigid company policies have led many of us to
The poet who saved a saint’s priceless letters
It was March 1936. A series of anti-clerical riots swept through Toledo. Churches were burned and priests and monks were attacked in the streets. During these disturbances several Carmelite monks, disguised in lay clothes, sought shelter in the home of the South African poet, Roy Campbell, who had moved to the city with his wife, Mary, and their two young daughters in the previous year. Four months later, on July 21, republican forces advanced on the city. Under cover of darkness, the Carmelite monks once again called on the Campbells. This time, however, they were not seeking refuge for themselves but for their priceless archives, which included the personal papers of St John of the Cross. Campbell agreed to take possession of these precious archives and that night a heavy trunk of ancient documents was delivered secretly from the Carmelite library to the hallway of the Campbells’ house.
Worshiping with Our Whole Bodies
One of the most beautiful things about Catholic worship, particularly when it’s done well, is that it’s a full-body experience. We smell the incense, we sing Psalms and hymns (and hear these being sung), we listen to the Scriptures and the homily, we see the Sacrifice of the Mass (and the priest’s liturgical gestures are loaded with meaning), we kneel, sit, stand, we taste the Blessed Sacrament, we embrace at the sign of peace. The Liturgy reflects the Catholic view of the body, and of matter, and our deep-seated belief that Creation should give glory to God. It’s also consistent with the worship of the Old Testament, of the early Christians, and of the apparent Heavenly Liturgy described in the Book of Revelation.
Our Allotted Time is the Passing of a Shadow: The Modernist Fallacy
Diverse commentators, pundits, and cultural critics seem to relish pointing out that Western societies and cultures, including the American, are rapidly sloughing off the remaining trammels and traces of their Christian heritage. These people proclaim that we are living in a “post-Christian” age, a term that fits the post-modern, post-colonial, post-structuralist mould. While Friedrich Nietzsche, they say, killed God, Michel Foucault killed man, so humanity is left facing the void. Life has no meaning and never did. We are carbon-based bipeds whose dioxide emissions are making the planet uninhabitable for all life forms with the possible exception of bacteria. People are the real blight. There is no objective, perennial truth, apart from nihilism. Such a conclusion, according to best-selling British atheist writers, is the logical result of wealth, intelligence, education, technology, liberal democracy, and common sense, the culmination of modernity.
Holy Cow, My Mother Was Right
About the following, for starters:
Reading is what people do, like breathing or blinking.Read to yourself, read out loud to your kids (any age), read with your spouse at night.Every time you turn off the TV, you’ve won back a little bit of your life.
Not everything that’s good is explicitly Catholic, and not everything that calls itselfCatholic is good.True for art, music, ideas, lives.
But sooner or later, you have to decide which side you’re on.I think she said this to me when she saw the trashy cover of a CD I was listening to as a teenager.
Children’s Picture Books Perfect for a Catholic Family Bookshelf
Listers, One of the many essential tools to teaching our children about the glory and depth of our faith is the picture book. Children often have short attention spans, and their comprehension skills are still not as developed and refined as adults; however, that should not prevent us from sharing with them the truth, the glory, and the goodness of our Catholic tradition. The picture book is often an excellent tool to use to help remedy this difficult hurdle. When you really consider what makes good children’s literature you will notice a common thread among all the greats. Good children’s literature must be an intricate blend between the following: 1) a thoughtfully laid-out plot using plenty of descriptive language; 2) captivating relevant illustrations created with the intention of capturing children’s attention. When religious content is thrown into this intricate mix, it transforms story-time into an occasion of spiritual formation. But, how do you determine whether one Christian picture book is better than the other? The answer is very subjective, but there are some things I would suggest for you all to consider when selecting one: