In Pennsylvania's

Friday, October 31, 2014

"intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith"

As per the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference,
    "House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300 would add 'gender identity or expression' and 'sexual orientation' to Pennsylvania’s non-discrimination law....
    "Legislative proposals like this one are attempts to eliminate and marginalize institutional and individual religious or moral objection to the sexual conduct of others....

    "Simply put, this legislation is intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith."

Among the co-sponsors of HB 300 are Representatives Katharine Watson, Steve Santarsiero, Marguerite Quinn, Scott Petri, John Galloway, and Tina Davis.  Among the co-sponsors of SB 300 are Senators Chuck McIlhinney and Tommy Tomlinson.

According to the Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation, Watson (144) and Galloway (140) are "Pro Life" and running unopposed; Tomlinson (06) is also "Pro Life" and running for re-election.  Quinn (143) and Petri (178) reportedly "Lean Pro Life" and are running unopposed. 

So, what did Katharine Watson, John Galloway, Tommy Tomlinson, Marguerite Quinn, and Scott Petri gain by co-sponsoring legislation, which is "intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith"?
  • While Chuck McIlhinney tops the list of incumbent senators endorsed by Equality Pennsylvania, Tommy Tomlinson gets their cold shoulder.
  • While Tina Davis and Steve Santarsiero are endorsed by Equality Pennsylvania, Katharine Watson, John Galloway, Marguerite Quinn, and Scott Petri get their cold shoulder.
Katharine Watson, John Galloway, Tommy Tomlinson, Marguerite Quinn, and Scott Petri gained NOTHING by throwing "people of faith" under the proverbial bus!
  


Highlights of voter guides from the Pa Catholic Conf / Archdiocese, Pa Family Council, and Pa Pro Life Federation.


Below are links to voter guides and highlights with religious affiliation added.  There appears to be a low correlation between a candidate's profession to be Catholic and her/his advocating for the identified pro life /pro family positions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference....

Pennsylvania Catholic Conference/Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Selected Highlights (with religious affiliation added) from "Know the candidates in Pa. before Nov. 4 election"

 




















































Meet the 2014 Candidates for Pennsylvania Governor 
http://www.pacatholic.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Bulletin-Insert-GENERAL.PDF

 

Pennsylvania Family Council

To see all Pennsylvania races,
  1. Go to https://ivoterguide.com/Default.aspx?partner=PFC ,
  2. Enter "PA" for state and click "Show My Races",
  3. Click "Show All Races in Your State".



 

Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation

The updated version of the 2014 Pro Life Voter's Guide has been corrected/updated http://www.paprolife.org/s/2014ProLifeVoterGuide.pdf

The rating for Rep Frank Farry has been updated to "mixed";  His opponent is still rated as "pro abortion."



THE PAPER COPIES OF THE GUIDE APPARENTLY HAVE THE INCORRECT RATING FOR FARRY.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Guidance from the PCC/Archdiocese, Pa Family Council, and Pa Pro Life


Below are links to voter guides from the Pa Catholic Conference / Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Pa Family Council, and the Pa Pro Life Federation.

Pennsylvania Catholic Conference/Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Know the candidates in Pa. before Nov. 4 election 
Meet the 2014 Candidates for Pennsylvania Governor 
<http://www.pacatholic.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Bulletin-Insert-GENERAL.pdf>

 

Pennsylvania Family Council

To see all Pennsylvania races,
  1. Go to https://ivoterguide.com/Default.aspx?partner=PFC ,
  2. Enter "PA" for state and click "Show My Races",
  3. Click "Show All Races in Your State".

 

Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation

The updated version of the 2014 Pro Life Voter's Guide has been corrected/updated <http://www.paprolife.org/s/2014ProLifeVoterGuide.pdf>.  
The rating for Rep Frank Farry has been updated to "mixed";  His opponent is still rated as "pro abortion." 
THE PAPER COPIES OF THE GUIDE APPARENTLY HAVE THE INCORRECT RATING FOR FARRY!




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rep Frank Farry

Please note: While the Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation listed Rep Farry as pro abortion, I have heard from one source that the rating should have been "mixed."  Thank you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Gospel of Indissolubility

    "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths"(2 Timothy 4: 1-4).

To a very large and tragic extent, we long ago - in practice - succumbed to
  • treating marriage as though it were NOT indissoluble,
  • separating the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital act, and
  • looking the other way from couples living in sin.
Sad to say, such de facto acceptance has sometimes been abetted by Church leaders who should know much, much better!  Did not such de facto acceptance of contraception, divorce/"remarriage," and cohabitation even set the table for Pennsylvania's surrender on the civil definition of "marriage"? 

In the first chapter of Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, editor Robert Dodaro, OSA, explains:
    "The essays in this volume represent the responses of five Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church and four other scholars to the book The Gospel of the Family, published earlier this year by Walter Cardinal Kasper....This book challenges the premiss that traditional Catholic doctrine and contemporary pastoral practice are in contradiction....The authors of this volume jointly contend that the New Testament presents Christ as unambiguously prohibiting divorce and remarriage on the basis of God's original plan for marriage set out at Genesis 1:27 and 2:24....God's mercy does not dispense us from following His commandments."  
Bravo!  Bravo Bravissimo ! 


The Gospel of Indissolubility

In the fourth chapter of Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, Archbishop Cyril Vasil rhetorically asks: "Is it thinkable to resolve the difficulties Christian marriages must confront in the contemporary world by lowering the demands of indissolubility? Will we have helped to cultivate the dignity of matrimony, or do we offer it only a placebo, as in the Old Testament, for the hardness of hearts?" 

Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church meticulously engages arguments favoring a de-emphasis on indissolubility, many of which are tantamount to citing historical anomalies as supposed proofs.  As Cardinal Brandmuller wryly notes in the fifth chapter: "Tradition in the technical theological sense of the term is not an antiques fair where one can look for and acquire particular desired objects." He also reminds us of those who suffered martyrdom defending the unity and indissolubility of marriage, including St. John the Baptist, St. John Fisher, and St. Thomas More.

As per Cardinal Muller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the sixth chapter:

    "The comparison drawn by the prophets between God’s covenant with Israel and the marriage bond includes not only the ideal of monogamy, but also that of indissolubility.  The prophet Malachi expresses this clearly:  'Do not be faithless to the wife of your youth ... with whom you have made a covenant' (Mal 2:14-15)....

    "[Jesus] distanced Himself explicitly from the Old Testament practice of divorce, which Moses had permitted because men were 'so hard of heart', and he pointed to God’s original will: 'from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and ... the two shall become one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together let not man put asunder' (Mk 10:5-9; cf. Mt 19:4-9; Lk 16:18).  The Catholic Church has always based its doctrine and practice upon these sayings of Jesus concerning the indissolubility of marriage.  The inner bond that joins the spouses to one another was forged by God himself.  It designates a reality that comes from God and is therefore no longer at man’s disposal....

    "Christian marriage is an effective sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church.  Because it designates and communicates the grace of this covenant, marriage between the baptized is a sacrament....

    "In the Orthodox Churches today, there are a great many grounds for divorce, which are mostly justified in terms of oikonomia, or pastoral leniency in difficult individual cases, and they open the path to a second or third marriage marked by a penitential character.  This practice cannot be reconciled with God’s will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus’ sayings about the indissolubility of marriage.  But it represents an ecumenical problem that is not to be underestimated [Emphasis added].

    "In the West, the Gregorian reform countered these liberalizing tendencies and gave fresh impetus to the original understanding of Scripture and the Fathers.  The Catholic Church defended the absolute indissolubility of marriage even at the cost of great sacrifice and suffering.  The schism of a 'Church of England' detached from the Successor of Peter came about not because of doctrinal differences, but because the Pope, out of obedience to the sayings of Jesus, could not accommodate the demands of King Henry VIII for the dissolution of his marriage....
    "the ideal – built into the order of creation – of faithfulness between one man and one woman has lost none of its fascination....Moreover, one must not forget the anthropological value of indissoluble marriage:  it withdraws the partners from caprice and from the tyranny of feelings and moods.  It helps them to survive personal difficulties and to overcome painful experiences.  Above all it protects the children, who have most to suffer from marital breakdown [Emphasis added.]....
    "The Church cannot respond to the growing incomprehension of the sanctity of marriage by pragmatically accommodating the supposedly inevitable, but only by trusting in 'the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God' (1 Cor 2:12).  Sacramental marriage is a testimony to the power of grace, which changes man and prepares the whole Church for the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Church, which is prepared 'as a bride adorned for her husband' (Rev 21:2).  The Gospel of the sanctity of marriage is to be proclaimed with prophetic candour [Emphasis added].  By adapting to the spirit of the age, a weary prophet seeks his own salvation but not the salvation of the world in Jesus Christ.....
    "It is frequently suggested that remarried divorcees should be allowed to decide for themselves, according to their conscience, whether or not to present themselves for holy communion.  This argument, based on a problematical concept of 'conscience', was rejected by a document of the CDF in 1994.  Naturally, the faithful must consider every time they attend Mass whether it is possible to receive communion, and a grave unconfessed sin would always be an impediment [Emphasis added.].  At the same time they have the duty to form their conscience and to align it with the truth.  In so doing they listen also to the Church’s Magisterium, which helps them 'not to swerve from the truth about the good of man, but rather, especially in more difficult questions, to attain the truth with certainty and to abide in it' (Veritatis Splendor, 64).  If remarried divorcees are subjectively convinced in their conscience that a previous marriage was invalid, this must be proven objectively by the competent marriage tribunals [Emphasis added]....'If the prior marriage of two divorced and remarried members of the faithful was valid, under no circumstances can their new union be considered lawful, and therefore reception of the sacraments is intrinsically impossible.  The conscience of the individual is bound to this norm without exception' (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 'The Pastoral approach to marriage must be founded on truth' L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, 7 December 2011, p. 4)....
    "Jesus encountered the adulteress with great compassion, but he said to her 'Go and do not sin again' (Jn 8:11).  God’s mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the Church.  Rather it supplies us with the grace and strength needed to fulfil them, to pick ourselves up after a fall, and to live life in its fullness according to the image of our heavenly Father....
    "Insofar as the parties make an effort to understand the Church’s practice and to abstain from communion, they provide their own testimony to the indissolubility of marriage."
As Cardinal Caffara notes in the seventh chapter: "The Church has the mission of leading mankind, of educating people to overcome 'the divergence between that which one finds on the surface and that which the mystery of love actually is.' She has the mission of announcing the gospel of marriage. She has the mission of announcing even the gospel—let me repeat: the gospel—of indissolubility, a true treasure that the Church guards in vessels of clay. This is the most urgent and inescapable priority."

In the eighth chapter, Cardinal De Paolis does not pull punches: 
    "two people living together under the same roof without being married are openly violating the law of God as presented by the Church. Church law clarifies the conditions to be admitted to the sacraments, the verification of which is the responsibility of the faithful themselves. At the same time, sacred ministers are instructed as to when they are obliged to exclude the faithful from the Eucharist on account of scandal....
    "the sorrow for sins that is always necessary for forgiveness implies that, in addition to sorrow for having offended God (contrition), one undertakes and commits to go to confession with the firm resolution of not sinning again and avoiding the occasions of sin. These requirements are not met by the divorced and civilly remarried who practice cohabitation. These individuals cannot approach the Eucharist because they are in a permanent and objective state of grave sin, and they cannot obtain forgiveness because by definition they want to stay in a sinful situation and therefore do not demonstrate the true and necessary contrition to be admitted to the Eucharist. And if in spite of this they approach the Eucharist, the priest must refuse it to them whenever the conditions set out in canon 915 apply....
    "If the status of serious opposition to the law of God and of the Church is known to the community, and an individual nevertheless dares to approach the Eucharist, he should not be admitted to Communion....
    "Faced with different life situations, such as those of the divorced and civilly remarried, we can and must say that we should not condemn, but help; however, we cannot limit ourselves simply to refraining from condemnation. We are called to assess the situation in the light of faith and of God’s plan for the good of the family, for the people involved. Otherwise, we run the risk of no longer being able to appreciate the law of God and of considering it almost as a bad thing. From a certain viewpoint, some may even argue that if the law of the indissolubility of marriage did not exist, we would be better off. These are aberrations which highlight the distortions in the way we think and reason."
Despite this book's magnificence, I had a nagging feeling - until Raymond Cardinal Burke's ninth and final chapter that there was an elephant in the room going overlooked.  Cardinal Burke not only sees the proverbial elephant, but he takes it by the tusks!
    "Apart from the situation of a party who was simply not free to marry or who patently was incapable of consenting to marriage, most petitions of declaration of nullity of marriage involve complex acts of the intellect and will, which must be studied with requisite objectivity, lest a true marriage be falsely declared null....  
    "The faithful can...be badly served by the ecclesiastical tribunal itself, if it is not correct and clear in its explanation of the Church’s teaching and the role of the tribunal, or if it does not actually live up to what it correctly explains its purpose to be, or if it, too, falls into a kind of pseudopastoral pragmatism. Saint John Paul II in his 1994 annual address to the Roman Rota warned precisely against the temptation to exploit the canonical process “in order to achieve what is perhaps a ‘practical’ goal, which might perhaps be considered ‘pastoral,’ but is to the detriment of truth and justice.”

    "The saintly pontiff referred to his 1990 annual address to the Roman Rota, in which he had noted that those who approach the tribunal in order to clarify their situation in the Church have a right to the truth, declaring:

      [Ecclesiastical authority] thus takes note, on the one hand, of the great difficulties facing persons and families involved in unhappy conjugal living situations and recognizes their right to be objects of special pastoral concern. But it does not forget, on the other hand, that these people also have the right not to be deceived by a sentence of nullity which is in contrast to the existence of a true marriage. Such an unjust declaration of nullity would find no legitimate support in appealing to love or mercy, for love and mercy cannot put aside the demands of truth. A valid marriage, even one marked by serious difficulties, could not be considered invalid without doing violence to the truth and undermining thereby the only solid foundation which can support personal, marital and social life. A judge, therefore, must always be on guard against the risk of misplaced compassion, which would degenerate into sentimentality, itself only pastoral in appearance. The roads leading away from justice and truth end up in serving to distance people from God, thus yielding the opposite result from that which was sought in good faith.

    "It must be clear to all that the judicial process, in fact, serves aptly and fully the ultimate goal, which is pastoral charity.
    "It must also be observed that other members of Christ’s faithful, who clearly understand both the Church’s teaching and the function of the tribunal, can be disedified and even scandalized by superficial or erroneous explanations and by an incorrect modus operandi. Such is not infrequently the case among parties in a marriage nullity process who perceive the tribunal to be less than evenhanded, whether in its explanations or in its modus operandi. If a tribunal gives the impression that its main purpose is to enable those in failed marriages to remarry in the Church, then a party who has doubts about the alleged nullity of the marriage can feel that the tribunal itself considers the person an obstacle to be overcome....
    "Here it must be noted that the common use of the ambiguous term 'annulment' in referring to the process for the declaration of the nullity of marriage can be misleading ....In general parlance, the constitutive meaning prevails. In other words, the term conveys the cancellation of a reality, not a declaration that the apparent reality in fact did not exist. 'Declaration of nullity' is the proper term to use....
    " The Apostolic Signatura has received a number of observations from members of the faithful regarding the use of the term “former spouse” in reference to the other party in a marriage whose validity is contested. To them this expression indicates a prejudice against the validity of the marriage. Whatever the actual intentions of the person using such an expression, the observation is not frivolous. The matrimonial tribunal, for example, in its general explanations, should be careful not to use such ambiguous expressions. In reference to a particular case of nullity of marriage, it is correct and more respectful to use the name of the person in question, rather than referring prejudicially to 'the former spouse'.
    "A similar difficulty arises when a tribunal...tries to acknowledge the existential reality or putative nature of the marriage in question...but uses ambiguous expressions in doing so. A clear distinction must be made between the existential experience and the validity of the marriage before the Church, and likewise between the validity of the union in civil law and its validity in canon law. 
    "Such well-meaning efforts even lead to erroneous explanations, such as....making too great a distinction between marriage as a natural reality created by God and a sacramental marriage. Saint John Paul II warned against this, for example, in his allocution to the Roman Rota in 2001, when he declared: 

      When the Church teaches that marriage is a natural reality, she is proposing a truth evinced by reason for the good of the couple and of society, and confirmed by the revelation of Our Lord, who closely and explicitly relates the marital union to the 'beginning' (Mt 19:4-8) spoken of in the Book of Genesis: 'male and female He created them' (Gn 1:27), and 'the two shall become one flesh' (Gn 2:24). The fact, however, that the natural datum is authoritatively confirmed and raised by our Lord to a sacrament in no way justifies the tendency, unfortunately widespread today, to ideologize the idea of marriage—nature, essential properties and ends—by claiming a different valid conception for a believer or a non-believer, for a Catholic or a non-Catholic, as though the sacrament were a subsequent and extrinsic reality to the natural datum and not the natural datum itself evinced by reason, taken up and raised by Christ to a sign and means of salvation....

    "This understanding of the marriage nullity process is not a new reality in the juridical life of the Church, but it has received renewed emphasis in the past seventy years, especially in the annual addresses [by the Holy Fathers] to the Roman Rota....This more recent emphasis in the papal Magisterium has been in part a response to the tendency of the modern age to relativize truth or even to deny its existence, a tendency that has had a negative influence even within the Church and her tribunals. Regarding law, in general, there has developed the notion that the law has no relation to objective truth but is constituted by whatever man, usually the judge, decides....
    "While one cannot exclude the possibility that there are those who consciously and explicitly reject the Church’s doctrine on marriage and yet accept and exercise an office in a tribunal in a manner that betrays their oath of office, the more common difficulties found in this regard arise from an acritical acceptance of certain principles and practices that in effect betray or weaken what should be the common underlying purpose of all who participate in canonical trials, which is the search for the truth. Quite often such practices are based upon a mistaken idea of what it means to be 'pastoral', which has its source in the pervasive relativism in our culture. Such ways of operating can have serious repercussions not only for the individual decisions that touch the very first cell of the life of the Church and of society, but also for the public perception of the work of the tribunal and indeed of the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding marriage. As experience teaches, the world at large is not especially eager to accept what the Church has to say, especially when it is not reflected in the way that the Church lives" [emphasis added].


Back to "In the Beginning"

In his magnificent Theology of the Body, St. Pope John Paul II attempted to call humanity back to a proper understanding of marriage - with the magnificence of indissolubility - as "in the beginning".  Yet again, we need such a call.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nicole Winfield - a latter day Emily Litella?

Anyone old enough to recall the early days of Saturday Night Live will remember how the character Emily Litella offered heated opinion pieces. Whatever the issue, it would turn out that she had misunderstood something crucial.  One episode featured Litella's passionate complaints about a news item on a deaf penalty, when the story had been about the death penalty. Whether it's deliberate or not, the Associated Press' Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield appears to be following in the footsteps of Emily Litella! 

With the current Synod coming to a close, many early reports are showing themselves to have been inaccurate.  A tremendous amount of what's reported in the secular media about the Church comes via the Associated Press.  In the same era as the early days of Saturday Night Live, we would be reminded that all news in the Soviet Union was channeled through the official news source - Tass.  How ironic that we have largely become subjected to a single source of print news! 

Like Emily Litella, Nicole Winfield has a platform to contribute clarity or to contribute confusion.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God besides Me" (October 19th, 1st reading)

"Give the Lord glory and honor" (October 19th Responsorial Psalm): Positions/ Legislation advocated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference:  

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

As per the USCCB, "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, Justice for Immigrants." 
The USCCB has shown clear 
As per the USCCB, "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the National Committee for the Human Life Amendment":
  • Oppose the so-called so-called Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act (HR 5051/S2578) .
  • Oppose the Contraceptive Mandate: "Deadlines are fast approaching for sending in comments on two new rules issued by the Administration [i.e., “'interim final rules' (IFR)" and “proposed rules” (PR)]....Comments on the PR are due October 21 and on the IFR October 27. Please act immediately!....The Administration’s contraceptive mandate presents serious threats to conscience rights and religious freedom."


 

With regard to advocacy on state level issues:

 The Pa Catholic Conference  
  • Supports Marriage (This forms a message of encouragement to Theresa Gaffney, Clerk of the Orphan's Court of Schuylkill County, who is trying to defend marriage in Pa.  It would seem that sponsors of HB 1349. also merit our encouragement.),  
  • Supports equal education funding.
The Pa Catholic Conference urges us to
  • Oppose the death penalty,
  • Oppose  HB300/SB300 (The Pa Catholic Conference describes this legislation as "intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith." Scandalously, both HB 300 and SB 300 count Catholics among their co-sponsors!).
 
See the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference's "Meet the 2014 Candidates for Governor."

"For our gospel did not come to you in word alone,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction" (October 19th, Second Reading)

Click for an enlarged, interactive chart on how public officials representing the Archdiocese are doing in D.C. and how public officials representing Bucks County are doing in Harrisburg.... 
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=172907493

"Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God" (October 19th, Gospel Reading)

Other Positions/ Legislation of Great Concern:


Oppose Pa's SB 872, ''Prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age"  The American College of Pediatricians and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality are opposed to legislation like Pa's SB 872.  Montgomery County's Rick Fitzgibbons, M.D. has noted that "well-organized attempts are under way to attempt to block youth from being given both the appropriate scientific knowledge, and informed consent about: same-sex attractions, gender identity disorder, transsexual issues, the psychological needs of a child for father and mother, and marriage" (2/16/11).  On 9/11/14, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld New Jersey's mirror legislation (cf., Associated Press, 9/12/14)!  On 10/9/14, President Obama campaigned for the champion of California's mirror legislation   (LifeSiteNews, 10/13/14)!
 
Oppose HB2303/SB1456, Pa's anti-life, anti-woman and misleadingly named "Patient Trust Act."  As per Maria Gallagher of Pa Pro Life, "Women deserve to know the facts. We cannot turn back the clock to the days when women did not receive vital information before making life-altering medical decisions." 

And in the News: 

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar" (Gospel for 10/19)



Positions/Legislation advocated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference: The USCCB urges us to advocate, so that our legislators in Washington....
As per the USCCB, "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, Justice for Immigrants." 
The USCCB has shown clear 
As per the USCCB, "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the National Committee for the Human Life Amendment":

 

With regard to advocacy on state level issues:

 The Pa Catholic Conference  
  • Supports Marriage (This forms a message of encouragement to Theresa Gaffney, Clerk of the Orphan's Court of Schuylkill County, who is trying to defend marriage in Pa.  It would seem that sponsors of HB 1349. also merit our encouragement.),  
  • Supports equal education funding.
The Pa Catholic Conference urges us to
  • Oppose the death penalty,
  • Oppose  HB300/SB300 (The Pa Catholic Conference describes this legislation as "intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith." Governor Corbett (a Catholic) supports this legislation (cf., Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/19/13).  Scandalously, both HB 300 and SB 300 count Catholics among their co-sponsors!).


Other Positions/ Legislation of Great Concern:


Oppose Pa's SB 872, ''Prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age"  The American College of Pediatricians and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality are opposed to legislation like Pa's SB 872.  Montgomery County's Rick Fitzgibbons, M.D. has noted that "well-organized attempts are under way to attempt to block youth from being given both the appropriate scientific knowledge, and informed consent about: same-sex attractions, gender identity disorder, transsexual issues, the psychological needs of a child for father and mother, and marriage" (2/16/11).  On 9/11/14, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld New Jersey's mirror legislation (cf., Associated Press, 9/12/14).   
 
Oppose HB2303/SB1456, Pa's anti-life, anti-woman and misleadingly named "Patient Trust Act."  As per Maria Gallagher of Pa Pro Life, "Women deserve to know the facts. We cannot turn back the clock to the days when women did not receive vital information before making life-altering medical decisions." 


In the News:


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Changing teaching on marriage / family / human sexuality? Nonsense!

Yet again, we wake to the media telling us that the Catholic Church is close to foregoing its teaching on marriage / family / sexuality (e.g., New Yorker, A Bombshell Document at the Vatican Synod, 10/13/14).  Nonsense! 

Eleventh General Congregation: unofficial Summary of the Free Discussions in the Assembly

(From the Vatican web site:) 
The eleventh general Congregation began with the presentation, in the Assembly Hall, of the "Relatio post disceptationem", read by the General Rapporteur, Cardinal Péter Erdő.

Immediately after, there followed a period of free discussion among the Synod Fathers. In general, the "Relatio post disceptationem" was appreciated for its capacity to photograph well the interventions that have been offered during this last week, capturing the spirit of the Assembly and highlighting acceptance and welcome as the principle theme of the works. The document, it was said, reveals the Church’s love for the family faithful to Christ, but also her capacity to be close to humanity in every moment of life, to understand that, behind the pastoral challenges, there are many people who suffer. The Synod, it was emphasised, should have the watchful gaze of the shepherd who devotes his life to his sheep, without a priori judgement.
Furthermore, to allow this Report to bring together various points of view to provide a basis for the work of the Small Groups, certain additional reflections were suggested: for example, while the Church must welcome those in difficulty, it would be useful to speak more widely about those families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, thanking them and encouraging them for the witness they offer. From the Synod it emerged more clearly that indissoluble, happy marriage, faithful for ever, is beautiful, possible and present in society, therefore avoiding a near-exclusive focus on imperfect family situations.

Other reflections involved giving more emphasis to the theme of women, their protection and their importance for the transmission of life and faith; to include consideration of the figure of grandparents within the family unit; more specific reference to the family as a "domestic Church" and the parish as a "family of families", and to the Holy Family, an essential model for reference. In this respect, it was also suggested that the family and missionary role in proclaiming the Gospel in the world be further promoted.

It is necessary to clarify and explore more deeply the theme of "gradualness", that may give rise to confusion. With regard to access to the sacraments for divorced and remarried persons, for instance, it was said that it is difficult to accept exceptions unless in reality they become a common rule.

It was also noted that the word "sin" is almost absent from the Relatio. The prophetic tone of Jesus’ words was also mentioned, to avoid the risk of conformity to the mentality of today’s world.

In relation to homosexuals, moreover, the need for welcome was highlighted, but with the just produced, so that the impression of a positive evaluation of such a tendency on the part of the Church is not created. The same care was advised with regard to cohabitation.

Other insights regarded the need to emphasise the importance of the sacrament of Baptism, essential for fully understanding the sacramental nature of marriage and also its character as a "ministry" in the announcement of the Gospel.

With regard to procedures for the streamlining of cases of nullity, some questions were raised regarding the proposal to entrust greater competence to the diocesan bishop, which may prove to be too great a burden, while the need for deeper and more detailed reflection was indicated in relation to cases of polygamy – especially for those who convert and wish to partake in the sacraments – and the spread of pornography, especially on the internet, which poses a real risk to family unity. Finally, in relation to openness to life on the part of couples, it is necessary to face in more detail and more decisively not only abortion, but also that of surrogacy" (http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/14/0754/03039.html#Traduzione%20in%20lingua%20inglese).


Instrumentum Laboris

Instrumentum Laboris was the preparatory document for the current synod, "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization."  Keeping with the tone of Pope Francis, Instrumentum Laboris stressed the compassionate mercy of God.  At the same time, it made clear that it stood unwaveringly with the the Church's constant teaching, citing the Bible, the Catechism, Humanae Vitae, and the Theology of the Body, among its sources.  It paid great attention to the well being of the entire family - particularly the well being of children - rather than narrowly focusing on adults.  It concluded that "the following three main areas ARE under discussion in the Church: how the Gospel of the Family can be preached in the present-day; how the Church’s pastoral care programme for the family might better respond to the new challenges today; how to assist parents in developing a mentality of openness to life and in upbringing their children."
 

Pope Francis and the Roman Rota

In Pope Francis' address to the Roman Roman Rota (the Vatican's Supreme Court, if you will) he was consistent with his predecessors and his own Lumen Fidei, Evangelii Gaudium, General Audience of 4/2/14, and Discourse to the Delegation of the International Catholic Office of Children.

Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Rota

In Pope Benedict XVI's addresses to the Roman Rota, he noted that "pastoral sensitivity must be directed to avoiding matrimonial nullity when the couple seeks to marry and to striving to help the spouses solve their possible problems and find the path to reconciliation" (1/28/06) and warning that “the conviction that the pastoral good of the person in an irregular marital situation requires a sort of canonical regularization, independently of the validity or nullity of his/her marriage...has also spread in certain ecclesiastical milieus" (1/27/07).

Saint Pope John Paul II and the Roman Rota

Following in the footsteps of Pope Leo XIII's Arcanum, Pope Pius XI's Casti Connubii, and Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, Saint Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body proclaimed anew the truth about  marriage/ family/ human sexuality.  His solicitous concern for marriage/ family/ human sexuality was also evident in Familiaris Consortio and just about any talk or writing.  In his quarter century of addresses to the Roman Rota - particularly near the end of his earthly journey, he evidenced grave concern about possible misuse of marriage tribunals, focusing on a misguided "pastoral" perspective that would destabilize marriage and family.  He spoke, for example, of:
  • a dangerous exaggeration of psychological difficulties, wrongly leading to a conclusion that a spouse had been incapable of marital consent;
  • the danger of adding new requirements for marriage "that are foreign to tradition" (2/1/01);
  • the need for "convalidating, where possible, marriages that are otherwise null" (1/28/02);
  • how "professionals in the field of civil law should avoid being personally involved in anything that might imply a cooperation with divorce" (1/28/02); and
  • the "presumption of its [marriage's] validity in case of doubt" (1/29/04).

JP II's concerns apparently triggered the Vatican's 2005 Dignitas Connubii, which says that "The dignity of marriage, which between the baptised 'is the image of and the participation in the covenant of love between Christ and the Church', demands that the Church with the greatest pastoral solicitude promote marriage and the family founded in marriage, and protect and  defend them with all the means available." 

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