In Pennsylvania's

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Am I ashamed of the Gospel?"

"Powerful forces and currents in our society press us to be ashamed of the Gospel—ashamed of the good, ashamed of our faith’s teachings on the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, ashamed of our faith’s teachings on marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. These forces insist that the Church’s teachings are out of date, retrograde, insensitive, uncompassionate, illiberal, bigoted—even hateful. These currents bring pressure on all of us—and on young Catholics in particular—to yield to this insistence. They threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good evil, and what is evil good. They command us to conform our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all....

"The question of faith and fidelity that is put to us today is not in the form it was put to Peter—'surely you are you this man’s disciple'—it is, rather, do you stand for the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as the union of husband and wife? These teachings are not the whole Gospel—Christianity requires much more than their affirmation. But they are integral to the Gospel—they are not optional or dispensable....it is these integral dimensions of the Gospel that powerful cultural forces and currents today demand that we deny or suppress....

"Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. Never be ashamed of the Gospel" (Remarks of Princeton University Professor Robert P. George at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, 5/13/14).

Please let your parishioners know that Professor Robert George will be speaking at Saint Paul's in Princeton on 1/20/15 (7 PM)....




“The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!....

http://www.usccb.org/bible/numbers/6:22

http://www.usccb.org/bible/psalms/67:2

http://www.usccb.org/bible/galatians/4:4

http://www.usccb.org/bible/hebrews/1:1

http://www.usccb.org/bible/luke/2:16


Saturday, December 27, 2014

St. Thomas Becket

As per the USCCB, Monday (12/29/14) "is the feast day of St. Thomas Becket, who was martyred for defending the principles of religious liberty. Pray to him for the protection of our religious liberty from contemporary threats."  As per a USCCB review of the 1964 film, "Becket" is:
  • "The 12th-century saga tells of the deep friendship and later conflict between England's King Henry II (O'Toole) and his friend, Sir Thomas a Becket (played by Richard Burton at his 'Camelot'/ 'Hamlet' - era peak), and how their days of drinking and womanizing came to an end when the monarch decided to appoint Becket archbishop of Canterbury.  Much to Henry's surprise, Becket was transformed into a deeply spiritual man of God, who took his new responsibilities very seriously....The film charts how Becket went head-to-head with the king over the vigilante murder of an erring priest by one of Henry's knights. Henry's famous despairing cry, 'Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?' -- leads to Becket's martyrdom in his cathedral.  Henry's tortured conflict -- feeling raging anger but still loving his old friend -- is brilliantly etched by O'Toole, while Burton is utterly convincing as a man not entirely comfortable in the rabble-rousing period, and one who assumes the clerical mantle with the greatest sincerity....When first released, the film was hailed by the Catholic Film Office as a "mature drama about integrity of conscience."
The Catholic Encyclopedia leaves the impression that Saint Thomas Becket's conversion was less dramatic and his pre-archbishop years chaste (or more so than the movie indicates).  St. Thomas was absolutely NOT in favor of whitewashing alleged crimes by priests, but he was also not about to let the King push the Church around!

On the Feast of the Holy Family, will ANY mention be made of pro marriage / family legislation backed by the USCCB?

Information about these USCCB-supported pieces of federal legislation should be available in every parish and proclaimed from every pulpit....

  • Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (HR 3133 / S 1808): "would bar the federal government from discriminating against individuals and organizations based upon their religiously-motivated belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage....The Act is needed because of growing intolerance toward religiously-minded individuals and organizations who want to live by their conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage" (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/marriage-and-religious-freedom-act-backgrounder.cfm) 

  • State Marriage Defense Act  (HR 3829 / S 2024): "various agencies of the Executive Branch have decided to use a 'place of celebration' rule rather than a 'place of domicile' rule when determining the validity of a marriage for purposes of federal rights, benefits, and privileges....The effect, if not the intent, of this choice is to circumvent state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman....[The State Marriage Defense Act would require] the federal government...to defer to the marriage law of the state in which people actually reside when determining whether they are married for purposes of federal law" (Archbishop Cordileone, 1/10/14).
    http://www.repmetcalfe.com/MarriageProtection.aspx

  • Marriage Protection Amendment (HJ Res 51): "The amendment would secure in law throughout the country the basic truth known to reason that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Preserving this elemental truth is necessary for the good of society at large and for the good of children who deserve the love of both a mother and a father, neither of whom is expendable. Indeed, marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any child conceived of their union. Federal court opinions that essentially redefine marriage to be merely a state recognized arrangement of intimate adult relationships ignore the truth about marriage, which deserves the highest protection in law" (Archbishop Cordileone, 2/19/14).

  • Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014  (HR 5285 / S 2706): "in recent years, some religious child welfare providers in our country...have been and continue to be excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because these providers believe that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father. The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers’ religious beliefs and moral convictions" (Archbishop Cordileone, Archbishop Lori, and Archbishop Wenski, 7/31/14)


    The response, thus far, from the Pennsylvania delegation in Washington, D.C.

"The future of humanity passes by way of the family" (St. Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another "Never Mind" from Nicole Winfield?

The AP's Nicole Winfield would have us believe that the Holy Father would like to wage a war of sorts with his curia!
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/9413caee45c5403ba920261f81ec092b/pope-issues-blistering-critique-vatican-

Fortunately, we can read the speech ourselves and find that the Holy Father offers a profound reflection for an examination of conscience for the Curia, as well as ourselves and HIMSELF!
http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-roman-curia


If you are old enough to recall the original SNL, Winfield may seem to be playing the part of Emily Litella! Everything that this so-called "religion reporter" writes needs to be taken with a serious grain of salt!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Come 2015, our voices in defense of human life and marriage/family need to be MUCH better heard!

According to Maggie Gallagher, "A large proportion of traditional, Mass-going Catholics don’t believe basic Church doctrine" (The Catholic Weakness, National Review Online, 12/19/14).  No where would that appear more true than among Catholics in public office. 
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=173284162

As per the above chart (click to enlarge), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for defending marriage/family and co-sponsorship of HR 3133/S1808, HR3829/S2024HJRes51, and HR5285/S2706.  The USCCB tells us that
"No religious exemption- no matter how broadly worded- can justify a supportive or neutral position on the redefinition of marriage (see CDF, 1992, no. 16). Such 'redefinition' is always fundamentally unjust, and indeed, religious exemptions may even facilitate the passage of such unjust laws. Protecting marriage protects religious liberty; the two are inseparable." 
Did Bucks County's congressman and Pa's two U.S. senators - all of whom are Catholic and products of Catholic education (See 1, 2, 3) - NOT receive that memo?  Where is our outrage? 


While it should go without saying that abortion should not be allowed in a civilized society, and that public monies should not finance it, it was just a very modest request for conscience protection that came from the USCCB's Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley in an 11/17/14 letter to Congress:
  • "We strongly urge you to incorporate ANDA [i.e., the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act] into must-pass funding legislation at your earliest possible opportunity."
"CROmnibus" ignored ANDA while offering toothless, alleged conscience protection and $35 million to the UN Family Planning Association! CROmnibus keeps our monies tied up in abortion! (cf, Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation, 12/11/12)  Bucks County's congressman and Pa's two U.S. senators - all of whom are Catholic and products of Catholic education (See 1, 2, 3) - all voted FOR CROmnibus (See 1, 2, 3 ).  Where is our outrage?


Undisputed Congressional pro life champion - and co-sponsor of HR 3133, HJRes51, and HR5285 - Chris Smith "and over 75 Members of Congress have filed a comment letter with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opposing the abortion aspects of the proposed rule on 'HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2016' for the Obamacare marketplace.  Specifically the lawmakers object to the rule’s section on 'Segregation of Funds for Abortion Services,' which they say ensures that the abortion surcharge (required for all Exchange plans that cover abortion) will remain hidden from consumers” (Proposed Rule Would Allow Secret Abortion Surcharge in Obamacare, LifeNews.com, 12/18/14).  Where is our outrage that Bucks County's congressman did NOT sign Chris Smith's letter?



The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference calls HB300/SB300 "intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith."  Yet, half of Bucks County's state senators and the majority of Bucks County's state representatives are co-sponsors!  Adding insult to injury, all but one of them is Catholic and/or a product of Catholic education!  Where is our outrage? 
Come 2015, our voices in defense of human life and marriage/family need to be MUCH better heard!



Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name Him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His Father,
and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of His kingdom there will be no end
" (Luke 1: 31-33)
.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time to ask for FAR more....

In addition to its flim flam, alleged conscience protection, CROmnibus provides $35 million to the UN Family Planning Association, supports China's coercive one-child policy, and keeps OUR monies tied up in abortion (cf, Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation, 12/11/12). 

Fitzpatrick, Casey, and Toomey all voted FOR CROmnibus!  By contrast, undisputed Congressional Pro Life Champion Chris Smith voted "NO" on CROmnibus and has championed USCCB-backed marriage initiatives. http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/religious-liberty-faq/

Isn't it high time that we were asking more from Fitzpatrick, Casey, and Toomey on the protection of human life and marriage/family?

How to justify neutral positions on redefining marriage....

Other Reading:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NJ's Physician Assisted Suicide Bill

Please share this quote from NJ Right to Life about OPPOSING this bill with "like minded" family and friends in the Garden State:

Because A2270/S382 was  released from committee, it can be scheduled for a vote before the full Senate at any time.  According to an updated article on www.nj.com, the bill will not be scheduled for a vote on December 18; however, Senator Sweeney, the sponsor, has said he will embark on an "educational campaign" to discuss the matter with his colleagues.   Therefore, this is no time to be complacent. 


At this time, we recommend the following action:  Email and call all 40 Senators and urge them to vote NO on A2270/S382. You can send an email and obtain talking points here (Once you go to the link, scroll down on the page to view talking points.) P:lease feel free to modify these talking points and use your own personal experiences to convince Senators to Vote No. 


Senators' email addresses are below:  Governor Christie should also be contacted and urged to veto the bill.  Call the Governor at 609 292 -6000. Email the Governor here.

NJ Senators
SenAddiego@njleg.org
SenAllen@njleg.org
SenBarnes@njleg.org
SenBateman@njleg.org
SenBeach@njleg.org
SenBeck@njleg.org
SenBucco@njleg.org
SenCardinale@njleg.org
SenCodey@njleg.org
SenConnors@njleg.org
SenCruzPerez@njleg.org
SenCunningham@njleg.org
SenDoherty@njleg.org
SenGill@njleg.org
SenGordon@njleg.org
SenGreenstein@njleg.org
SenHolzapfel@njleg.org
SenKean@njleg.org
SenKyrillos@njleg.org
SenLesniak@njleg.org
SenMadden@njleg.org
SenOroho@njleg.org
SenOToole@njleg.org
SenPennacchio@njleg.org
SenPou@njleg.org
SenRice@njleg.org
SenRuiz@njleg.org
SenSacco@njleg.org
SenSarlo@njleg.org
SenScutari@njleg.org
SenSinger@njleg.org
SenSmith@njleg.org
SenStack@njleg.org
SenSweeney@njleg.org
SenThompson@njleg.org
SenTurner@njleg.org
SenVanDrew@njleg.org
SenVitale@njleg.org
SenWeinberg@njleg.org
SenWhelan@njleg.org

We wish to thank everyone who has joined our efforts to stop this terribly misguided bill. Please continue to share these alerts with like minded friends and family.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

.

From Persona Humana to New Ways Ministry: How did THAT happen?


Persona Humana

Humanae Vitae was not the only prophetic document from Pope Paul VI's pontifcate to be - if not treated with open and outright scorn - damned with faint praise.  In 1975, with Pope Paul VI's approval, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics (aka, Persona Humana):
"in the course of a few years, teachings, moral criteria and modes of living hitherto faithfully preserved have been very much unsettled, even among Christians. There are many people today who, being confronted with widespread opinions opposed to the teaching which they received from the Church, have come to wonder what must still hold as true....the principles and norms of moral living reaffirmed in this Declaration must be faithfully held and taught....they are in complete harmony with the Divine order of creation and with the spirit of Christ, and therefore also with human dignity".

 

Sexuality - God's Gift

In 1976, one American bishop responded with Sexuality - God's Gift.  While not rejecting Persona Humana, Sexuality - God's Gift does not strike this blogger as embodying the clear, forthright affirmation of truth in Persona Humana.  In closing, Sexuality - God's Gift states:
"To our brothers and sisters of all ages who are experiencing difficulties--to those who cannot yet see that the personal and public commitment of marriage should be the context for the gift of oneself in sexual relations; to those whose homosexual orientation is causing them pain and confusion; to the widowed and to the adolescent encountering sexual needs; to those separated from their spouses by circumstances or by divorce--to all of you we pledge our willingness to help you bear your burdens, to try to find new ways to communicate the truth of Christ because we believe it will make you free."

The law of unintended consequences: New Ways Ministry

"In 1976, Bishop Francis J. Mugavero of Brooklyn wrote one of the first Roman Catholic statements to contain a compassionate and encouraging message to gay and lesbian people . Entitled 'Sexuality: God’s Gift,' it offered that gay and lesbian people deserved to be treated equally in society generally and in the Christian community . Mugavero, tall [Not that it matters, but this blogger recalls the bishop as about 5'5".], bald [That part is accurate.], and staunchly liberal, spoke directly to the homosexual community in his letter: 'We pledge our willingness . . . to try to find new ways to communicate the truth of Christ because we believe it will make you free.'  That passage, and that phrase 'new ways,' caught Sister Jeannine [Grammick]’s attention. There had to be a new way, she thought. Soon there would be....so in 1977, borrowing the phrase from Mugavero’s letter, they [Sister Jeannine and Father Bob Nugent] started New Ways Ministry" (Villa Joe alumnus Jo Piazza, If Nuns Ruled the World, 2014).

 

A 3/11/11 letter from Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Cordileone,

"In view of the recent booklet Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach, by Francis DeBernardo (published by New Ways Ministry), we, as the respective chairmen of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, wish to reaffirm Francis Cardinal George's statement of February 12, 2010 and assure Catholics that in no manner is the position proposed by New Ways Ministry in conformity with Catholic teaching and in no manner is this organization authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church or to identify itself as a Catholic organization."


Sunday, December 14, 2014

CROmibus has the pro-abortion crowd breathing a sigh of relief to have met with weakness from those who should have championed the sanctity of human life and conscience protection.

It goes without saying that abortion should not be allowed in a civilized society, and that public monies should not finance it....

 and yet it was only a very modest request for conscience protection that came from the USCCB's Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley in an 11/17/14 letter to Congress:
  • "We strongly urge you to incorporate ANDA [i.e., the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act] into must-pass funding legislation at your earliest possible opportunity."
Didn't we make gains in the last election, already giving pro lifers a position of comparative strength?  Yet, CROmnibus passed through the House and Senate, despite its disregard of the modest request for ANDA! 
  • "Representative John Fleming (R., Ariz.) tried to have the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act added to the cromnibus....'Even our own leadership stripped it out,' Fleming told reporters Wednesday" (National Review Online, 12/10/14)."  
Though one pro lifer gave it premature kudos, CROmnibus offers toothless, alleged conscience protection.  And by providing $35 million to the UN Family Planning Association, it supports China's coercive one-child policy!  It keeps our monies tied up in abortion! (cf, Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation, 12/11/12

The pro-abortion crowd is breathing a sigh of relief to have met with weakness from those who should have been championing the sanctity of human life:
  • "the bill is most remarkable for adhering to the status quo....Lawmakers had little appetite this year to even consider lifting several long-standing prohibitions on federal funding for abortions" (RH Reality Check, 12/12/14).
By the way, Fitzpatrick, Casey, and Toomey all voted FOR CROmnibus!  By contrast, undisputed Congressional Pro Life Champion Chris Smith voted "NO" on CROmnibus.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ask Casey and Toomey to vote "no," as this deal does not even include ANDA

The congressional faces of the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage / family, Chris Smith and Tim Huelskamp, both voted "no" on Cromnibus.  It would be difficult to believe that those were protest votes against Obama's executive action on immigration. CROmnibus did not include the USCCB's simple request for ANDA
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll563.xml
PLEASE ask Casey and Toomey to vote "no," as this deal does not even include ANDA.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ANDA: YOU need to contact Fitz, Casey, and Toomey

Tomorrow, our elected officials need to come up with a new Continuing Resolution. As per the USCCB, "must pass" legislation should include conscience protection (i.e., ANDA); the US Commission on International Religious Freedom should also be reauthorized. I believe that Planned Parenthood MUST also be defunded. Googling as fast as I can, though, I am only finding ANY mention of ANDA. At this point, its prospects seem to lie in our hands

As per yesterday's update from Dustin Siggins of LifeSiteNews.com, "Right now, it is expected that the GOP-led House is going to fail to include ANDA.... This despite the GOP's mandate just 35 days ago to move the nation in a more conservative direction; the GOP's platform establishing it as the pro-life party; and the important work of the pro-life movement that helped put the GOP over the edge in five key Senate races" .

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops works closely with the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA). As per yesterday's update from the NCHLA, "we urged you to send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators to incorporate the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) into must-pass funding legislation at the earliest possible opportunity....Congress is now preparing funding legislation for passage by a December 11 deadline....Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/link/target/nchla/4NFFrN28z.aspx
"

Sunday, December 7, 2014


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged support for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act  (HR 7 / S 946), and the Health Care Conscience Rights Act  (HR 940 / S 1204).  In a July 14th letter, Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley voiced OPPOSITION to the misleadingly-named Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act (HR 5051/S2578).  


  • Thank you Representative Mike Fitzpatrick for voting "yes" on HR 7 and co-sponsoring HR 940.
  • Thank you Senator Pat Toomey for co-sponsoring S 1204.  

  • As per a November 17th letter to Congress on the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA), Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley of the USCCB, asked Congress "to incorporate ANDA into must-pass funding legislation at your earliest possible opportunity."  As the current continuing resolution expires on December 11th,


  • please OPPOSE any new continuing resolution, unless they incorporate ANDA, and
  • defund Planned Parenthood - the nation's largest abortion provider.


  • At this time of year, it would be difficult to NOT recall a certain young family of 2000 years ago, wandering far from home with difficulty finding a place to stay.  In its emphasis on family preservation, President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action is a step in the right direction. However, the  IAEA is a tiny, temporary band aid.  As per the U.S. Catholic Bishops, we still need comprehensive reform that 


  • provides a path to citizenship, 
  • preserves family unity, 
  • provides for those with less marketable skills, 
  • promotes due process in enforcement, and 
  • addresses root cause of why people are leaving their homelands.

  • The lack of religious freedom is one reason people choose to leave their homelands.  As per the U.S. Catholic Bishops,


  • authorization for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom must NOT be allowed to expire on December 11th.


  • With regard to marriage/family concerns, the U.S. Catholic Bishops have asked support for


  • the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (HR 3133 / S 1808), 
  • the State Marriage Defense Act (HR 3829 / S 2024), 
  • the Marriage Protection Amendment (HJ Res 51), and 
  • the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 (HR 5285 / S 2706).  
  • With regard to Pennsylvania's delegation in Washington, Representatives Mike Kelly, Joe Pitts, Keith Rothfus, and Bill Shuster are each for co-sponsoring HR 3133, HR 3829, HJ Res 51, and HR 5285 (Kelly is the lead sponsor of HR 5285.  Representative Tom Marino is co-sponsoring HR 3133.).  Pa representatives co-sponsoring the anti-life HR 5051 (i.e., Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah, and Allyson Schwartz) are NOT behind any of the pro marriage/family efforts.


    Our elected officials should NOT take their leads from Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah, and Allyson Schwartz.  Our elected officials need to stand tall with Representatives Mike Kelly, Joe Pitts, Keith Rothfus, and Bill Shuster.

    ANDA, Defund Planned Parenthood, and USCIRF


    Abortion Non Discrimination Act (ANDA)

    "Government should not force hospitals, doctors, nurses and other providers to stop offering or covering much-needed legitimate health care because they cannot in conscience participate in destroying a developing human life. We strongly urge you to incorporate ANDA into must-pass funding legislation at your earliest possible opportunity" (Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley, 11/17/14)

    As per the understanding of CNSnews.com, "the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging Congress to include language in 'must-pass funding legislation' that would prevent people from being forced to act against their religious beliefs in buying or providing health insurance plans that cover abortion....The lame-duck session of Congress must pass legislation by Dec. 11 to keep the government funded because the current CR expires on that date" (11/20/14).  The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has an "Action Alert," by which you can contact Fitzpatrick, Toomey, and Casey on this matter.

    And lest we forget....

    Defund Planned Parenthood - NOT ONE MORE DIME!

    • "Planned Parenthood is an organization based on falsehoods about the human person, the family and community life....I would urge any community today, as I did in 1991, to defend itself against Planned Parenthood by every legal and ethical means at its disposal" (Archbishop Chaput, 3/16/00).

    • "We urge the Catholic community and all people of good will to defend themselves and their beliefs against Planned Parenthood by every legal and ethical means at their disposal. We ask all Catholics to pray, within their families and parish communities, that the dignity and sanctity of every human life will be upheld at all stages of development" (Archbishop Chaput, Bishop Tafoya, and Bishop Sheridan, 11/8/07).

    On the "pro life" watch of Governor Corbett, Lt. Governor Cawley, Pa. Sen. Mensch, Pa. Sen. Tomlinson, Pa. Rep. Clymer, Pa. Rep. DiGirolamo, Pa. Rep. Galloway, Pa. Rep. Watson, U.S. Sen. Casey, U.S. Sen. Toomey and U.S. Rep. Fitzpatrick, Planned Parenthood has continued to receive our monies!  The ball is in our court.  Tell Mike Fitzpatrick to oppose continuing resolutions this week, unless they defund Planned Parenthood!


    U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

    "At a time when international religious freedom appears to be more imperiled, it is vital that USCIRF be reauthorized in order to continue its excellent work of raising the profile of those who are discriminated against, harassed and even killed for their faith.  USCCB has long advocated for the reauthorization of USCIRF because of its vital role in preserving human dignity and human rights around the world by monitoring and promoting religious freedom" (Bishop Richard E. Pate, 7/22/14).

    As per the USCCB's alert to facilitate contact with Senators Casey and Toomey, "The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) mandate officially expired September 30, 2014 but was extended as part of the continuing resolution that expires December 11, 2014. The House has passed a bill reauthorizing the program but so far the Senate as failed to act and unless extended or reauthorized before December 11th USCIRF may be forced stop its important work.  We must not let that happen!"



    Check here for an update on where our leaders stand with regard to issues advocated by the USCCB and /or the Pa Catholic Conference.

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    USCIRF & ANDA: ACTION NEEDED on BOTH, by THURSDAY!

    U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

    "At a time when international religious freedom appears to be more imperiled, it is vital that USCIRF be reauthorized in order to continue its excellent work of raising the profile of those who are discriminated against, harassed and even killed for their faith.  USCCB has long advocated for the reauthorization of USCIRF because of its vital role in preserving human dignity and human rights around the world by monitoring and promoting religious freedom" (Bishop Richard E. Pate, 7/22/14).

    As per the USCCB's alert to facilitate contact with Senators Casey and Toomey, "The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) mandate officially expired September 30, 2014 but was extended as part of the continuing resolution that expires December 11, 2014. The House has passed a bill reauthorizing the program but so far the Senate as failed to act and unless extended or reauthorized before December 11th USCIRF may be forced stop its important work.  We must not let that happen!"

    Abortion Non Discrimination Act (ANDA)

    "Government should not force hospitals, doctors, nurses and other providers to stop offering or covering much-needed legitimate health care because they cannot in conscience participate in destroying a developing human life. We strongly urge you to incorporate ANDA into must-pass funding legislation at your earliest possible opportunity" (Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley, 11/17/14)

    As per the understanding of CNSnews.com, "the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging Congress to include language in 'must-pass funding legislation' that would prevent people from being forced to act against their religious beliefs in buying or providing health insurance plans that cover abortion....The lame-duck session of Congress must pass legislation by Dec. 11 to keep the government funded because the current CR expires on that date" (11/20/14).  The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has an "Action Alert," by which you can contact Fitzpatrick, Toomey, and Casey on this matter.


    Check here for an update on where our leaders stand with regard to issues advocated by the USCCB and /or the Pa Catholic Conference.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    "We strongly urge you to incorporate ANDA into must-pass funding legislation at your earliest possible opportunity" (Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley, 11/17/14)

    Let's not miss the significance of this letter from the USCCB....

    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Abortion-Non-Discrimination-Act-O-Malley-Lori-Letter-to-Congress-11-17-2014.pdf
     http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Abortion-Non-Discrimination-Act-O-Malley-Lori-Letter-to-Congress-11-17-2014.pdf
    The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has an "Action Alert," by which you can contact Fitzpatrick, Toomey, and Casey on this matter....

     

    What is the letter's (highlighting added) significance?

    • "the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging Congress to include language in 'must-pass funding legislation' that would prevent people from being forced to act against their religious beliefs in buying or providing health insurance plans that cover abortion.

       "IF such language is including [sic] in a 'must-pass funding legislation'--i.e. the upcoming CR that must be passed by Dec. 11 to keep the government funded--President Obama would need to choose between signing the bill, and protecting people from being forced to buy insurance plans covering abortion, or veto the bill and shut down the government....

      "The lame-duck session of Congress must pass legislation by Dec. 11 to keep the government funded because the current CR expires on that date.

      "Since all spending bills originate in the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could, if he chose to do so, incorporate the language the bishops suggest into any funding bill the House passes.

      "If the next CR is a short-term one, funding the government only into early next year when the Republicans will take control of the Senate, new-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be in a position to work with Speaker Boehner in following through on the on the bishops' request.

      "But whether the GOP leadership actually does so remains to be seen....

      "In September 2013, Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O’Malley asked the House to add language from the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HR 940) to 'the upcoming legislative proposals to fund the federal government' that would nullify the Obamacare sterilization contraception abortifacient mandate and protect the conscience rights of health-care workers.

      "However, the Republican-controlled House under Boehner passed the CR without the language the bishops requested, thereby fully funding Obamacare without the religious exemptions they requested.

      "CNSNews.com asked the USCCB by e-mail if Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Malley still 'stand by the request they had in their September 26, 2013 letter to Congress in which they urged Congress to incorporate the policy of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act into must-pass legislation.'

      "Richard M. Doerflinger, the secretariat of pro-life activities for the USCCB, responded that “legislation that has been introduced separately (many times, beginning in 2002) as the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act is also a large part of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HR 940).

      "'There is special urgency to addressing that part of HR 940 as soon as possible, as California has already begun demanding that many religious organizations including churches cover unlimited elective abortions for all their employees.

      “'The other issue in HR 940, addressing the HHS contraceptive mandate, is likely to come up in the new Congress as part of a broader discussion of the Affordable Care Act, and is also working its way through the federal courts,' he added.

      “'We will continue to work on both these issues, which have sometimes been introduced as parts of one bill and sometimes as separate proposals depending on circumstances.'" (CNSnews.com, 11/20/14).


    Saturday, November 29, 2014

    "Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!" (Isaiah 64: 4)

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and/or the Pa Catholic Conference urge us to contact our leaders in Washington, re....

    On a state level, the Pa Catholic Conference urges us to advocate to: 






    Click here (or the below image) for an enlarged, easier-to-read, interactive chart of how public officials are responding to these concerns in D.C. and Harrisburg.
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=173192558
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=173192558

      "Watch, therefore;
      you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
      whether in the evening, or at midnight,
      or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
      May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
      What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13: 35-37)

     

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    "what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me."


    "Are babies still being murdered?" 

    "For pro-lifers across the country, real action is only measured in one way: Are babies still being murdered?  The best way to make the answer to that question a resounding 'NO!' is to focus on the largest abortion chain in the United States....To end the murder of innocent babies, we need to shut down Planned Parenthood.  An absolutely necessary part of that effort is to shut off all taxpayer money to the organization. To do that, we will need an act of Congress....members of Congress need to know you care.  We ask you to go, right now, to www.StopPlannedParenthoodTaxFunding.com and sign the petition to end taxpayer funding to the largest abortion chain in the nation" (American Life League, 11/14/14).  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urges us to advocate for our leaders in Washington to...
    • Incorporate the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act into must-pass funding legislation*
      (*"As per an 11/17/14 USCCB letter to Congress:"we want to underscore the increasingly urgent need for Congress to protect rights of conscience with regard to the taking of innocent human life.......We strongly urge you to incorporate ANDA into must-pass funding legislation at your earliest possible opportunity.")
    "we come to the undeniable connection between contraception and abortion—a subject many of us shy away from for fear of being rejected as zealots....not only does contraception lead to abortion, but sadly many of the contraceptive devices and chemicals CAUSE abortion....cultural hedonism is not corrected by an election but rather by a conversion to the teachings of Almighty God" (Judie Brown, 11/7/14).
     

    Apologies Owed?  Only if you are ashamed of the Gospel.

    Disrespect for marriage in Pa (and elsewhere) did not simply start with Tom Corbett's abandoning the legal defense of Pa's DOMA. We have long looked the other way from loved ones living in sin, acted as though we are free to separate the procreative from the unitive in the marital act, and largely stopped viewing marriage as indissoluble.  Some "Catholic" institutions are abandoning the defense of marriage/family with barely a wimper (cf., R.R. Reno, 11/3/14).  Yet, our infidelity to Truth does NOT change Truth!  We know that "if the Church’s teaching on marriage is going to change, the Church would find it necessary to apologize to Henry VIII, revoke the canonization of Saint Thomas More, rebuke John the Baptist ('The greatest man born of woman'?), canonize Herod and Herodias, and delete the story of Sodom and Gomorrah from the Old Testament" (Fr . Jerry Pokorsky, 11/20/14).  The Truth about the Sanctity of Human Life and Marriage/Family is NOT changing!  As lay people, Pope Francis reminded us this past week, that each of us is called to bring that Truth into our apostolates.
    • "It is a crucial moment both to tackle the issues that affect your profession today and to renew awareness of the fact that your profession serves the public interest....From your perspective of accounting professionals, you are fully aware of the dramatic reality many people are experiencing in these days, people who have precarious employments or have lost their job; families paying the consequences of this situation; young people seeking their first job and a decent employment.... Christian professionals draw, every day, from the prayer and from the Word of God the strength first of all to accomplish well their duty, with competence and wisdom; and then 'to go beyond'.... Giving a concrete answer to economic and practical questions is not enough; there is need to raise and cultivate an ethics of the economy, of finance and of employment; there is need to keep the value of solidarity alive – solidarity, a word that today risks being removed from the dictionary– solidarity as a moral attitude, an expression of the attention to other people and their legitimate needs.  If we wish to leave to future generations an improved environmental, economic, cultural and social heritage, we are called to take up the responsibility to work for globalizing solidarity....And the social doctrine of the Church teaches us that the principle of solidarity is effected in harmony with the principle of subsidiarity" (Pope Francis to the World Congress of Accountants, 11/14/14).
    • "There is no doubt that, in our time, due to scientific and technical advancements, the possibilities for physical healing have significantly increased; and yet, in some respects it seems the ability to 'take care' of the person has decreased, especially when he is sick, frail and helpless....you Catholic doctors are committed to live your profession as a human and spiritual mission, as a real lay apostolate....Your work wants to witness by word and by example that human life is always sacred, valuable and inviolable....if the Hippocratic Oath commits you to always be servants of life, the Gospel pushes you further: to love it no matter what, especially when it is in need of special care and attention....The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a 'false compassion', that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to 'produce' a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others. Instead, the compassion of the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that is, the compassion of the Good Samaritan....Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection....we all know that with so many old people, in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia" (Pope Francis to the Italian Catholic Physicians' Association, 11/15/14).
    • "I ask you, with your priests, to form strong Christian families, who – by your catechizing – will know, understand and love the truths of the faith more deeply, and thus be protected from those currents which may tempt them to fall away....be close to your young people as they seek to establish and articulate their identity in a disorienting age. Help them to find their purpose in the challenge and joy of co-creation with God that is the vocation to married life, fulfilled in the blessing of children; or indeed in the celibate vocations to the sacred priesthood or religious life, which the Church has been given for the salvation of souls" (Pope Francis to the Bishops of Zambia, 11/17/14). 
    • "The Church, as you know, seeks always to be attentive and watchful regarding the spiritual and material welfare of the people, especially those who are marginalised or excluded, to ensure their safety and dignity....the right to food can only be ensured if we care about the actual subject, that is, the person who suffers the effects of hunger and malnutrition....A source of inspiration is natural law, inscribed in the human heart, that speaks a language that everyone can understand: love, justice, peace, elements that are inseparable from each other....If we believe in the principle of the unity of the human family, based on the common paternity of God the Creator, and in the fraternity of human beings, no form of political or economic pressure that exploits the availability of foodstuffs can be considered acceptable" (Pope Francis to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the U.N., 11/20/14).
    • "Above all in areas of the world in difficulty, where the lack of work prevents individuals and their families from achieving a dignified life, there is a strong drive to seek a better future wherever that may be, even at the risk of disappointment and failure....I invoke upon you the protection of Mary, the Mother of God, and Saint Joseph, who themselves experienced the difficulty of exile in Egypt" (Pope Francis to the World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, 11/21/14).
    •  "These conditions constitute a fragility that affects numerous children and, consequently, their families. They represent an area that appeal to the direct responsibility of governments and institutions, without of course forgetting the responsibility of Christian communities.  Everyone should be committed to promoting acceptance, encounter and solidarity through concrete support and by encouraging renewed hope....I thank the families, parish groups and various associations present here today and from whom we heard these moving and meaningful testimonies, for the work they carry out every day" (Pope Francis to the International Conference on "The Person with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Animating Hope", 11/2114).

    The USCCB urges us to advocate, so that our leaders in Washington....


    Though we supposedly had "pro life" and "pro marriage/family" majorities in the Pa House and Senate - as well as a supposedly "pro life" and " pro marriage/family" governor - EXTREMELY little was accomplished! At the first sign of protest, for example, most walked away from advocating for ultrasound legislation!

    As per the National Organization for Marriage, "the most outspoken candidates in favor of marriage won tightly contested races, and you can bet that their advocacy for marriage helped make the difference!" (Brian Brown, 11/5/14).  By contrast, Tom Corbett lost his reelection bid, largely because of his weak defense of life, his abandoning the defense of marriage, and his embrace of HB300/SB300. In the remaining days of his administration, it is not too late for Corbett to salvage his legacy.



    "He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life" (Matthew 25: 45, 46).

    The 10 Commandments

    The Beatitudes (from "Jesus of Nazareth")

    Christifideles Laici

    Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

    Our representation in D.C....

    Click the below image, to check on the status of federal legislation:
    Click the below images, to ascertain what pro-life and pro-marriage/family legislation is being sponsored or co-sponsored (as well as what legislation is NOT being sponsored or co-sponsored):
    https://www.congress.gov/member/brian-fitzpatrick/F000466?q={%22search%22:[%22brian+fitzpatrick%22]}&r=1

    To check U.S. House votes:

    To check U.S. Senate votes:

    Contacts:

    Bucks County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

    Bucks County in the Pennsylvania Senate

    Contacting Our Governor

    717 787 2500 or governor@pa.gov.

    Contacting Our Bishops