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Friday, August 31, 2012

Marriage Is A Mess. Heterosexuals Messed It Up, Not Homosexuals.


Academicians, below is a solid, forthright examination of the quality of Marriage in our country today, written by a faithful Catholic who is an elected Pro-Life Representative for 16 years in the Oklahoma House Of Representatives: Rebecca Hamilton.  
Rebecca talks about life as a Public Catholic on the Patheos Public Catholic Blog. You can read her impressive biography here.  I have reproduced her blog post here, for your reading convenience.




Marriage is a Mess and Homosexuals Didn’t Do It

I support traditional marriage. I have a public track record and the scars to prove it.
I voted to put an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution on the ballot that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I also authored and passed a resolution memorializing Congress to begin hearings on an amendment to the United StatesConstitution doing the same thing. That is as much as I can do to support traditional marriage from my elected position.
It’s not a complicated issue to me, and it has almost nothing to do with what marriage is not. It’s about what marriage is. What marriage is begins with the law. Marriage under the law is and should continue to be a union freely entered into by one man and one woman. But legal definitions are just the scaffolding we use to support the social structures of how we order our lives. The actual edifice, the reality of marriage as it is lived, is something much more complex and important than that legal definition can impart.
We focus our national attention on the definition of marriage under the law. We wear out our keyboards writing about it and revile one another over our positions on it. But despite the accusations and counter-accusations that season our debate, we ignore the home truths of marriage in this country today. The truth is, marriage has been a mess for quite some time. And homosexuals weren’t the ones who messed it up.
Homosexuals didn’t set off the epidemic of divorce in this country. Homosexuals didn’t create the millions of feral children who spend most of their time alone, raising themselves on video games, drugs and interactions with their peers. Homosexuals don’t cheat on our spouses. Homosexuals don’t break into our homes and yell and curse at our families. They aren’t the cause of the rising number of unwed births and the global pandemic of abortion. We did these things. Marriage is a mess and it was heterosexuals who messed it up.
We insist that the legal definition of marriage should be a union between one man and one woman. But we behave as if it says that marriage is a union between one man and one woman at a time.
I know that is tender for many people. I know that divorce cuts people in half and leaves them with broken hearts and shattered lives. I know that some marriages are so bitter, destructive and even violent that they have to end. I know that even if you want to hold the marriage together, sometimes your spouse won’t. I know all this, and it gives me pause writing about these things. I don’t want to pick at half-healed wounds and start them bleeding again.
But the truth is that serial monogamy is NOT monogamy. Serial marriage is not marriage between one man and one woman. And heterosexuals, especially Christian heterosexuals, have a responsibility before God to care for and raise their children, cherish their spouses and build enduring stable homes which can nurture a true family. Heterosexuals who have failed to do this are the root cause of most of the social problems we face today. They, not homosexuals, are the ones who have brought marriage to the sorry state it is in now.
I have a public track record of supporting traditional marriage. I’ve got the scars to prove it. But I think that supporting traditional marriage, especially traditional marriage in the Christian sense, means more than being against same-sex marriage. I think that as Christians we are required to look past what we’re against and find what we are for. It isn’t enough for Christians to be against same-sex marriage. It certainly isn’t enough to do as some have done and whip people up into a rage and then cash in on that rage to advance your political career. That is just cheap demagoguery.
Leadership, especially true Christian leadership, mandates that we don’t just get people worked up against something. We have to lead them forward to something. In the case of marriage, we should be for true Christian marriage and we should live that kind of marriage in our own lives. Christians must be FOR marriage as a loving, giving, living institution that cocoons young children in a world of stability, positive discipline and love so that they can grow up and create loving homes of their own.
The bond between husband and wife, as the Bible says, makes them “one flesh.” This doesn’t refer just, or even primarily, to the physical union of marriage. Sex, apart from this bond of love, is a physical act. But true marriage is a spiritual bond. The deep, life bond of trust and mutual dependence that is marriage nurtures everyone within its reach. Marriage creates not just family, but home. I  do not mean a building where you sleep. Christian marriage creates home that is a refuge from the coldness of modern life.
This isn’t a hypothetical for me. My home and my husband are the living sanctuaries of my life. I could not endure the pressures of being a Public Catholic and all the controversy and criticism that engenders if I wasn’t able to go to my house, shut the door, and be Home.
Marriage is the progenitor of life, family, emotional safety and abiding peace in this life. It is a sacrament, given by Our Lord, to enable us to walk through life together and not alone.
If we are going to “save marriage” in this country, we certainly do need to resist efforts to alter its legal definition. But we also need to begin living the sacramental love and fidelity of marriage with our spouses and within our homes. We need to do this because it is what God intended for us. Marriage is His blessing on our lives and through it we can become blessings to our whole society.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Priest

Continuing our trend of promoting vocations and highlighting all of the great work being done by our priest-- yay, priests! -- here is a link to a video created by Father John Muir of the Diocese of Phoenix:  "A Day in the Life of a Catholic Priest."

Photo:  The Catholic Sun

Take a look and see a snapshot of one young priest's very busy day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Vocations Video: On The Rear Window Of A Priest's Car

Greetings Academicians!

While walking through a parking lot two weeks ago, I finally noticed that there is a new fad which I had ignored thus far.  Yes, I realized that there is a new, trendy preoccupation which many in our society are now advertising on their motor vehicles.  

That's when I realized that there's an alternate and better preoccupation that I should remind everyone about! 

You see, Catholic Priests have had and still have an amazing blessing from Our Lord Jesus Christ.  And one of His blessings always trounces any trend or fad.  And priests have been blessed in this way since 33 A.D.!

Well, anyway, I went into action -- and the security cameras in the parking lot caught the whole incident on videotape. With several slips of the legal tender, I convinced the Security Manager to give me the taped incident.

I have braced myself for whatever embarrassment might result from the video.
So, please move beyond that as you view the video, and you'll see what I mean about Christ's special blessing to priests. 



The Catholic Jedi Academy's "Faculty Of The Video Arts" hope that Catholic young men considering a life vocation as a Catholic Priest will receive food for thought and for prayer (and a few laughs) from this video!

Regards In Christ The High Priest,

"The Assistant Headmaster"






Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Open Letter to the LCWR From a Catholic Laywoman

After reading the statements coming out of the annual meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) this week, essentially taking the Church hierarchy to task for many perceived ills, while at the same time glorifying all things sisterly, I found myself getting more and more aggravated.  The language used by the Conference in its public statements threw me back to the years of my religious education in the 60's and 70's with its confusing syntax and formlessness, and, believe me, the flashback was not a happy one.  I tried to restrain my irritation, but the final straw was when the LCWR expressed the notion that they will be speaking to the bishops and the Vatican not only for themselves, but on behalf of all Catholic women (as well as the poor).  "Oh no you won't", was my immediate thought followed by "Please don't presume to speak for me.  Just stick to your own issues and let the Catholic laity speak for themselves. "

So, in order to maintain my sanity (somewhat) and to allow you, dear Academicians, to share the thoughts that have been building up in my head since the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued its "Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious" I am hereby publicly venting my spleen with my open letter to the LCWR.

Dear Sisters of the LCWR:
Having read your public statements over the past few weeks and watched video footage of your annual conference, I must ask some questions about your role in the life of the Catholic Church and whether you truly believe what the Magisterium of the Church teaches.  If I were able to have a conversation with members of your leadership, as one Catholic woman to another, I would have to ask the following: 
First.  Why do you constantly attack the hierarchy as being a "power" structure, and then use power as your measuring stick for your place in the Church?  If power is not the goal, then why do you want it? 
Second, Why can't you be clear?  I really meant it when I said that the years of being taught my religion by the sisters in the 60's and 70's resulted in one giant mass of confusion.  Your public statements continue the dissemination of sloppy thinking and vague concepts.  I just read the speech of your awardee, Sister Sandra Schneiders, who offers suggestions for something she calls "Gospel leadership."  What does this mean?  Sister Schneiders says it is "anticipatory leadership" which is "an active fostering of discernment about what is coming towards us from the future... ."  Really, can you not see that this type of language is confusing and almost meaningless?  People do not speak this way in real life or in the world of academia, for that matter.  I have multiple graduate degrees, which is not to say anything special, but it does indicate a certain ability to understand complicated concepts.  However, when faced with "nunspeak", I am rendered clueless. 
Third.  Do you really think the public buys your statements to the media that the Vatican is coming after you for spending too much time on the poor?  Your statements to that effect are scandalous.  While Catholics hold varying opinions on many things, I think you would be surprised to know how much the Holy Father and our bishops are loved and respected by the faithful.  I had the privilege of seeing the Pope at Castel Gandolfo last month and the outpouring of affection and gratitude by those present was palpable.  To assert that Pope Benedict would be wasting his time and the time of his staff in going after American sisters because they were serving the poor is ridiculous.

Fourth.  Why don't you acknowledge some of the malfeasance done by sisters and address this in your statements?  Of my family and friends, an inordinate number have been subject to or witnesses of physical abuse by Catholic sisters in an educational setting.  Of course, we can't paint all sisters with a broad brush, but why is this swept under the rug by your organization?  I understand that survivors of abuse were protesting outside your annual meeting because of your failure to be transparent on this issue.  Why would you not meet with them? 
Fifth.   You say that you want dialogue with the Vatican and with Archbishop Sartain, but then your public statement lays out what you are willing and not willing to discuss with them.  How is it dialogue when you set the terms of conversation?

Sixth.  You continue to speak of your mission.  What is your mission?   I looked on your website and learned that the stated purpose of your conference is to "promote a developing understanding and living of religious life."  But, what do you understand religious life to mean?  Is it something other than what I can do as a single Catholic laywoman?  I see the sisters in my neighborhood who live in apartments, wear street clothing and have no outward sign of religious life.  They work in jobs that are also held by the laity.  What does it mean to you to be a vowed religious?  I sincerely would like to know how you view your role and what makes it different from that of a devout Catholic laywoman. 
Well, I could go on and on with questions, but thinking about this topic truly makes me sad.  I am sorry that the Vatican had to issue this assessment, but when speakers at your conferences speak of "moving beyond Christ," something has got to go.

I sincerely wish that this fraternal correction from the Holy See had begun many years ago.  Perhaps we wouldn't have so many confused and ignorant Catholics.   But, hopefully, better late than never.   
Signed,
A Concerned Catholic Laywoman

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Imagine No "Imagine" Follow-Up: Slimey Limeys


Academicians, as a follow-up to my post, Imagine No "Imagine", please read the post below - reproduced for your reading ease.  It was written by Joseph Pearce, a blogger whose posts are featured by the Saint Austin Review's  "Ink Desk".  

Mr. Pearce hails from Great Britain.  His comments about the London Olympics' closing ceremonies are forthright and should be noted.  I can only imagine his disappointment and sadness about the moral smut and spiritual cancers that his homeland has succumbed to. Please, read on...



August 13th, 2012
BY JOSEPH PEARCE

Against my better judgment I watched the closing ceremony of the London Olympics last night. I was expecting the worst and it was even worse than I expected! The whole thing was a nasty and narcissistic celebration by the denizens of modern Britain of how wonderful it thinks it is. It was a debauched celebration of atheism and hedonism, including schoolchildren singing Lennon's atheistic anthem, Imagine, as hundreds of people came together to create a giant icon of Lennon's face. Lennon, the most ethno-masochistic and anti-Christian of the Beatles, had once claimed that the "Fab Four" were more popular than Jesus. Judging by last night's closing ceremony, he is right. Everything is more popular than Jesus in modern Britain. The Son of God is well and truly hated as is His Church. Anti-Catholicism reared its intolerant head during the ceremony as dozens of roller-skating women, dressed as nuns, cavorted across the stage, lifting their habits to reveal their underwear.

Another feature of the closing ceremony was the celebration of the homosexual lifestyle, demonstrated by the resurrection on the big screen of Freddie Mercury to lead the crowd in inane chants. There was also a performance by the leather-clad George Michael, sporting a skull on his belt buckle, symbolic of the culture of death of which he is a symbol. There was much more that was much worse but I don't have the stomach to continue with the litany of smut.

As an Englishman, I might have felt ashamed of such a spectacle. Instead I just felt as if my body had been covered with slime. I also felt a great sense of gratitude that I had shaken the smut and dirt from my sandals and had left the sordid culture of which I was once a part. Deo gratias!

As for the land of my birth, I am reminded of the words of C. S. Lewis who would have been as appalled by last night's spectacle as was I. In The Great Divorce, he wrote that in the end there are only two possibilities for each of us. We can either say to God, "The Will Be Done", or else God will ultimately say to us, "Thy will be done". Modern Britian has what it deserves; it has what it wants. The slow and tortuous decay of its barely living corpse will continue until it dies of self-abuse. Its passing will be a blessing.      

Imagine No "Imagine"

Academicians, below is an outstanding post by Father Alexander Lucie-Smith, appearing on the Catholic Herald.co.uk blog (reproduced below for your reading ease).  

Whenever I have the radio on, listening to pop music, and I hear the late John Lennon's  song, "Imagine" - now a secularist hymn -  I usually end up  grinding my teeth at it.  

I find Lennon's ideas, expressed in the song, at best naive and superficial, and at worst a blanket condemnation of religion: any and all religions. 

Here are the lyrics:

Imagine there's no heaven.  It's easy if you try.
No hell below us.  Above us only sky.
Imagine all the people
Living for today.

Imagine there's no countries.  It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for.  And no religion too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

You may say I'm a dreamer.
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.


Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger.  A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people
Sharing for the world.

You may say I'm a dreamer.
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

You may say I'm a dreamer.
But I'm not the only one.
Take my hand and join us.
And the world will live, will live as one.

© 1971 - LENONO MUSIC



The London Organizing Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games chose "Imagine" as part of the August 12, 2012 broadcast of the closing ceremonies.  The Brits decided that the Games would be concluded with their favorite secular humanist, anti-religion "hymn."  Makes me wonder what kind of people are in charge over there and how much worse things can get for British people who actually practice religion.  

By the way, Turkish State Television, TRT, censored the portion that calls for “no religion.”  I can understand their reaction.

"Imagine" is a topic I've discussed many times with friends, but never got around to writing a post about it.  Now I'm glad I didn't.  Father Lucie-Smith's post, below, is a masterful dissection of the lies Lennon's "Imagine" has promulgated.



COMMENT & BLOGS

John Lennon’s Imagine encapsulates so many modern objections to religion

When people stop believing in heaven they often create hell on earth
By FR ALEXANDER LUCIE-SMITH on Monday, 13 August 2012


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

Alexander Lucie-Smith is a Catholic priest and a doctor of moral theology.
On Twitter he is
@ALucieSmith  -- Contact the author
London Olympic Games, Day 16, Closing Ceremonies.
Last night, watching the Olympic closing ceremony, like millions of others , I heard a digitally remastered John Lennon singing Imagine. The song was familiar, but the words took me by surprise.  These words encapsulate so many of the modern objections to religion and faith, that it seems a good idea to present a few counter-arguments.
To “live for today” is precisely what we all do, all of us, believers and not. Christians do not neglect present exigencies just because they believe there is a afterlife. Rather, the call of eternal life makes this world more, not less important. To claim that Christians do not care about today, so wrapped up are they in what is to come, is to confuse Christianity with millenarian cultists, which is what we are not.
Heaven and hell, by the way, are not places – they are states. Heaven is the state of seeing the Beatific vision; hell is the state of being utterly cut off from God. The idea of these being places either above or below us is persistent, and has its roots in Classical literature, but is certainly not taught by the Church.
Again, the nation-state may well engage in war with other states, but it is important to realise that the nation exists to defend and protect its citizens. Anarchy, in the classical meaning of the word, is envisioned as some sort of utopia, but in practice, where the state withers away, anarchy of the most non-benign type succeeds. Look at Somalia today. Look at Lebanon in the time of its civil war. Look at England under King Stephen. The withering away of the state does not lead to peace – but the complete opposite.
As for religion withering away and leading to peace – have a look at some of the avowedly atheist states of the twentieth century: Albania, the People’s Republic of China, and the Soviet Union. No rational person would ever choose to live in such a society.
What about “no possessions”, then? Property is theft? “No need for greed and hunger”? Is this really saying that all poverty and hunger is caused by people selfishly hoarding the world’s resources? Funnily enough it is at this point that John Lennon says something that Catholics may recognise. The Church teaches:
In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labour, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.
So, Lennon is onto something here, though he is wrong to see property as creating hunger, when ownership of property should in fact guarantee a minimum of prosperity – and in fact the greatest famines of the twentieth century were caused by collectivisation in the Soviet Union and China.
As for the brotherhood of man, that is a Christian idea, but as my old RE teacher told me, it is only possible under the Fatherhood of God. Generally speaking, when people imagine there is no heaven and no hell, and no God, they start doing the most beastly things to each other, and creating not Utopia, but Hell on earth.


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