in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District's_1st_congressional_district
and the Central Garden State

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.

    "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 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 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 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).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"How the Pill Kills" (Dr. Angela Lanfranchi of Central Jersey's Breast Cancer Prevention Institute)

"How the Pill Kills" (Dr. Angela Lanfranchi of Central Jersey's Breast Cancer Prevention Institute)

"Catholic Capitulation on Marriage"

"Catholic Capitulation on Marriage"

    "Fr. Timothy Lannon, President of Creighton University...has announced that starting in 2015 the school will provide benefits to legally married same-sex spouses. Most Jesuit universities already do so, as will Notre Dame, which recently announced its new policy that also will take effect in 2015.  These are unforced capitulations"

Info from NJ Right to Life, to be shared with pro life friends/family in the Garden State

Info from NJ Right to Life, to be shared with pro life friends/family in the Garden State

    "the NJ Assembly passed Bill A2270, the NJ Physician Assisted Suicide bill by only one vote....without an express prohibition in the bill to prohibit taxpayer funding of assisted suicide, it leaves the door open to the use of public funds....Now that the bill passed the Assembly, it will be referred to the State Senate.

    Please do the following:

      1. View the vote tally to see how your two Assembly members voted. View the tally HERE, then call and email both Assembly members. Thank those who voted No on A2270. If your Assembly Member(s) voted yes on the bill, please call them to let them know that you have taken note of their vote and that you are strongly displeased with their vote to legalize this heinous practice in our state.  
      2. Contact your State Senator and urge him or her to Vote No on A2270. If you don’t know who your State Senator is, you can call the Office of Legislative Services at 1-800-792-8630 during regular hours and provide your town and county and they will provide you with the name of your State Senator. You can also go the NJ Legislature’s webpage and look up your State Senator by municipality. Here is the link to this page
      Use 'health' for the topic. For the sub-topic, use 'family health/nutrition'”

Address of Pope Francis to the Bishops of Zambia on Their Ad Limina Visit (11/17/14)

Address of Pope Francis to the Bishops of Zambia on Their Ad Limina Visit (11/17/14)

    I welcome you to the City of the Apostles, where you have come as shepherd pilgrims ad Limina Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, and I thank Archbishop Mpundu for his gracious words on behalf of all the bishops, priests and people of your country. As Christ our light and our life draws us together as brothers in the Church, may he deepen the ties between the Successor of Peter and the Bishops of Zambia. This time in Rome offers you a fresh opportunity to reflect on the many ways in which the Lord’s flock entrusted to you has been growing in Africa. Pray in these days to discern the way ahead in solidarity and fraternity, towards the plentiful harvest (Jn 10:2) to which the Holy Spirit is leading you.
    Looking back to the beginnings of the Church in Zambia, it is well known that the rich deposit of faith brought by missionary religious from lands overflowing with growth prompted your forebears to respond with their own works of charity, whose effects are felt throughout your country today. Preparing for generations unborn, these spiritual leaders actively planted the word which the Holy Spirit had proposed to them (cf. 1 Cor 3:6). Despite the sometimes painful meeting of ancient ways with the new hope that Christ the Lord brings to all cultures, the word of faith took deep root, multiplying a hundredfold, and a new Zambian society transformed by Christian values emerged. It is at once evident how plentiful the spiritual harvest in your vast land already is – blessed with Catholic-run clinics, hospitals and schools, many parishes alive and growing across Zambia, a wide diversity of lay ministries, and substantial numbers of vocations to the priesthood. With the whole Church, we can give thanks to God for what he has already accomplished in the people entrusted to your care. 
    In our own days, Zambians continue to seek a happy and fulfilling future in the Church and in society, despite great challenges which militate against stability in social and ecclesial life, in particular for families. When family life is endangered, then the life of faith is also put at risk. As you yourselves have recounted, many – especially the poor in their struggle for survival – are led astray by empty promises in false teachings that seem to offer quick relief in times of desperation. 
    In regard to these difficulties, I am convinced that “the weakening of [family] bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children” (Evangelii Gaudium, 66). Be solicitous whether in or out of season, by supporting this “sanctuary of life” (Africae Munus, 42) which is the family, for it is here that the Church’s well-being in Zambia must grow and be fostered. 
    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. Affirm Catholic couples in their desire for fidelity in conjugal life and in their yearning to provide a stable spiritual home for their children, helping them to nurture the life of virtue in the family. By so doing, your authentic teaching of the doctrines of the faith will touch the daily life of Zambian households. 
    I urge you to 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. Encourage young Catholics by living lives of virtue to experience the liberating gift of chastity as adults. I pray that you will foster ever greater cooperation with Zambia’s networks of active Catholic youth, who can in turn lead many others into the Church’s family. 
    In a special way invite those who have grown lukewarm and feel lost to return to the full practice of the faith. As pastors of the flock, do not forget to seek out the weakest members of Zambian society, among whom are the materially poor and those afflicted with AIDS; for “the great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them his friendship, his blessing, his word, the celebration of the sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith” (Evangelii Gaudium, 200). 
    Despite all that the Church in Zambia faces, it is a time not to be discouraged but rather to offer the true freedom which only the Lord can give, sustained by the sacraments. I encourage you to remain sensitive as shepherds to the spiritual and human needs of your closest coworkers: never tire of being kind and firm fathers to your priests, helping them resist materialism and the standards of the world, while recognizing their just needs. Continue also to promote the treasure of religious life in your Dioceses, so that outstanding examples may be brought forth of Zambian men and women seeking to love the Lord with undivided hearts. 
    In this challenging time after the death of President Sata, I invite you to continue working with your political leaders for the common good, deepening your prophetic witness in defence of the poor in order to uplift the lives of the weak (cf. Pastoral Statement of the Zambia Episcopal Conference, “Act Justly and Walk Humbly with Your God”, 27 January 2013). 
    In all things, cooperate with the graces of the Holy Spirit, in unity of belief and purpose. In union with priests, deacons, religious, catechists and lay leaders, irrigate with your corporal and spiritual works of mercy the vineyard of the Lord which stretches across Zambia like the great Zambezi River. 
    The Church’s mission to evangelize never ends: “it is imperative to evangelize cultures in order to inculturate the Gospel... Each culture and social group needs purification and growth” (Evangelii Gaudium, 69). Then the People of God in Zambia will receive the gift of the Gospel from you with fresh vigour, as you offer them Christ’s joy and mercy anew. May their lives conform ever more deeply to the pattern of the Gospel; then the Lord’s Kingdom of peace will spread and grow in your beloved nation. 
    The Lord of the harvest is preparing to send the rains he promises in due season (Lev 26:4); for you are cultivating his fields until he returns at harvest time (Mt 13:30). Until then, knowing well how much your work demands personal sacrifice, patience and love, draw on the faith and sacrifice of the Apostles to whose threshold you have come, in order to return strengthened to the Church in Zambia. 
    Dear Brothers, trusting in the saving grace of Almighty God, and commending you – along with all priests, religious and lay faithful in your Dioceses – to the intercession of Mary “Mother of the Church which evangelizes” (Evangelii Gaudium, 284), I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Risen Lord.

Address of Pope Francis to the International Colloquium on the complementarity between man and woman sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (11/17/14)

Address of Pope Francis to the International Colloquium on the complementarity between man and woman sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (11/17/14)

    Dear sisters and brothers,  
      I warmly greet you. I thank Cardinal Müller for his words with which he introduced our meeting. 

      I would like to begin by sharing with you a reflection on the title of your colloquium. “Complementarity”: it is a precious word, with multiple meanings. It can refer to situations where one of two things adds to, completes, or fulfills a lack in the other. But complementarity is much more than that. Christians find its deepest meaning in the first Letter to the Corinthians where Saint Paul tells us that the Spirit has endowed each of us with different gifts so that—just as the human body's members work together for the good of the whole—everyone's gifts can work together for the benefit of each (cf. 1 Cor. 12). To reflect upon "complementarity" is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all Creation. This is the key word, harmony. All complementarities were made by our Creator, because the Holy Spirit, who is the Author of harmony, achieves this harmony. 

      It is fitting that you have gathered here in this international colloquium to explore the complementarity of man and woman. This complementarity is at the root of marriage and family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others' gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of living together. For most of us, the family provides the principal place where we can begin to “breathe” values and ideals, as well to realize our full capacity for virtue and charity. At the same time, as we know, families are places of tensions: between egoism and altruism, reason and passion, immediate desires and long-range goals. But families also provide frameworks for resolving such tensions. This is important. When we speak of complementarity between man and woman in this context, let us not confuse that term with the simplistic idea that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern. Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children—his or her personal richness, personal charisma. Complementarity becomes a great wealth. It is not just a good thing but it is also beautiful. 

      In our day, marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis. 

      The crisis in the family has produced crisis of human ecology, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well, slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic Church. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology and advance it. 

      It is necessary first to promote the fundamental pillars that govern a nation: its non-material goods. The family is the foundation of co-existence and a guarantee against social fragmentation. Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity. That is why I stressed in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium that the contribution of marriage to society is "indispensable"; that it "transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple" (n. 66). And that is why I am grateful to you for your Colloquium's emphasis on the benefits that marriage can provide to children, the spouses themselves, and to society.   

      In these days, as you embark on a reflection on the beauty of complementarity between man and woman in marriage, I urge you to lift up yet another truth about marriage: that permanent commitment to solidarity, fidelity, and fruitful love responds to the deepest longings of the human heart. Let us bear in mind especially the young people, who represent our future. It is important that they do not give themselves over to the poisonous mentality of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern: this must be done. With regard to this I want to say one thing: Let us not fall into the trap of being qualified by ideological concepts. Family is an anthropological fact—a socially and culturally related fact. We cannot qualify it with concepts of an ideological nature, that are relevant only in a single moment of history, and then pass by. We can't speak today of a conservative notion of family or a progressive notion of family: Family is family! It can't be qualified by ideological notions. Family has a strength of its own [per se]. 

      May this colloquium be an inspiration to all who seek to support and strengthen the union of man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental, and beautiful good for persons, families, communities, and whole societies. 

      I wish to confirm that, God willing, in September of 2015, I will go to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families. 

      I thank you for the prayers with which you accompany my service to the Church. And I pray for you, and I bless you from the heart. Thank you very much!

As per the American Life League,

    "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 and sign the petition to end taxpayer funding to the largest abortion chain in the nation. THEN, get all your friends and family to do the same."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Theology of Suffering

We are a culture of anesthetized people, who cannot bear even the slightest discomfort.  Check out just one minute of this fabulous clip on Redemptive Suffering (9:40 - 10:40)

11/16/14 update

Click here for a larger, clearer, interactive version of the below, updated chart, noting how public officials are doing in D.C. and Harrisburg....

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls" (Prv 31: 10)

Tomorrow's readings provide a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the inestimable blessing of authentic marriage, as well as upon our failure to safeguard this treasure for our posterity.

 Disregard and 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, have acted as though we are free to separate the procreative from the unitive in the marital act, and have largely stopped viewing marriage as indissoluble. It is reported that in 2011,"40 U.S. tribunals granted annulments to 100% of those who asked for them"
( If this is accurate, how does it NOT foster an impression that an annulment is simply a rubber stamp of approval on divorce?

"Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table" (Psalm 128: 3).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

nj a2270

pls share with garden staters:

states' issue?

"Same-sex unions are an issue for states to decide, [Mike] Fitzpatrick said" (Morning Call).

"the kind of federalism we increasingly have is not one of state legislatures but of state judiciaries....we need a federal marriage amendment" (Princeton Professor Robert George and David Tubbs).

"The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over...
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...Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. Never be ashamed of the Gospel"(Robert George at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast).

Monday, November 10, 2014

NJ's A2270

Please share this with family/friends in the Garden State:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

We need to champion the positions of the USCCB & Pa Catholic Conference

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! For example: At the first sign of protest , most walked away from advocating for ultrasound legislation!

Corbett mistreated his base. He 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.

 After helping get them re-elected, some pro life and pro marriage/family federal officials would like nothing better than if we said nothing more. If questioned, they are going to respond with such nonsense as marriage is only a "states' issue." We must remind them that
We need to be championing the positions of the USCCB and the Pa Catholic Conference.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why Corbett lost?

Published a week before the elections was one analysis of why Corbett was to lose....
    I have written in this column about how in these times when our traditional liberties and even such natural rights as religious freedom are under siege, we need to look to executive power—exercised in the right way—to help us. In recent months we have seen striking examples of how noted state governors in varying ways have failed to rise to the occasion....

    Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania commendably came into the breach to defend true marriage in the state when its leftist attorney general refused to carry out her responsibility to do so. He defended the state’s law which forbade the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When a federal district judge invalidated the law, however, Corbett—apparently thinking he could attract some Democratic crossover votes in a difficult reelection race—declined to appeal. It hasn’t helped him politically, as he has trailed his Democratic opponent throughout the race; if anything, it will probably hurt him by depressing voter turnout among his core supporters. It was a case study of: 1) how anti-leftist politicians “throw in the towel” on their adversaries’ favorite issues and allow the other side to shape political developments; 2) how they surrender even basic principles for anticipated short-term gain, but often fail to achieve even that; and 3) how seemingly right-minded executives so often abdicate their authority at the very time when those trying to defend American and Western civilization desperately need their help....

This article did not even mention Corbett's announced willingness to sign HB300/SB300(And yes, I voted for Corbett, because the alternative was worse.).

Like all those "Catholic" politicians who were personally opposed to abortion yet not willing to defend innocent human life in office, we have a new generation of those who are supposedly pro marriage/family but unwilling to defend it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day

Comparing pertinent info from the Pa Catholic Conf/Archdiocese (1, 2), the Pa Family Council, and the Pa Pro Life Federation, and realizing that I did NOT have ANY strong and consistently pro life / pro family candidates for whom to vote, I held my nose and voted as follows:
  • Mike Fitzpatrick (US House, PA 08),
  • David Gibbon (Pa House 31 - Gibbon did not even respond to questions from the Pa Catholic or the Pa Family Council and did not get a rating from the Pa Pro Life Federation.  While he is certainly an "unkown," Santarsiero is well known to be anti life and anti marriage/family.).
  • write-in (Pa Senate 10),
  • Corbett/Cawley (Gov/Lt.Gov)
Tomorrow, Pro Life / Pro Family people need to get back to work on advocating for issues raised by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference!  How we vote today will not suffice.

Pa's 8th Congressional District

In my mind, there is little doubt that Mike Fitzpatrick will be victorious over the Tom Hanks look-alike:
Mike Fitzpatrick has been quoted as saying that this will be his last term in the U.S. House; he will not run in 2016.  Fitzpatrick is to be commended for his favorable vote on No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act  (HR 7) and his co-sponsorship of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HR 940).  Yet the failure of this proudly Catholic congressman to co-sponsor other USCCB-backed legislation should trouble all of us:
As per an 11/4/14 check of the Library of Congress web site (, Fitzpatrick is the primary sponsor of 35 pieces of legislation.  He has gathered 134 co-sponsors for one piece of legislation, his Captive Primate Safety Act, which is more than double what he gathered for his next most co-sponsored piece of legislation:
Come on Mike, do you really want this to be your legacy?  We need you to step up to the plate and co-sponsor/support the Marriage Protection Amendment  (HJ Res 51), the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (HR 3133), the State Marriage Defense Act  (HR 3829), the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 (HR 5285), and the Second Chance Act (HR 3465).

Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor / Lt. Governor

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

The Gospel of Indissolubility: Yet again, we desperately need to be called back to a proper understanding of marriage

"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).

We have recently been bombarded with the notion that the Church is close to foregoing its teaching on marriage / family / sexuality - particularly the indissolubility of marriage.  Nonsense!  We need to understand what the Catechism says about both indissolubility and infallibility:
  •  889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a "supernatural sense of faith" the People of God, under the guidance of the Church's living Magisterium, "unfailingly adheres to this faith."417
  • 890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:
  • 891 "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed,"419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith."420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421
  • 1610 Moral conscience concerning the unity and indissolubility of marriage developed under the pedagogy of the old law. In the Old Testament the polygamy of patriarchs and kings is not yet explicitly rejected. Nevertheless, the law given to Moses aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband, even though according to the Lord's words it still carries traces of man's "hardness of heart" which was the reason Moses permitted men to divorce their wives.101
  • 1611 Seeing God's covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen People's conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage.102 The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a reflection of God's love - a love "strong as death" that "many waters cannot quench."103
  • 1615 This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses.108 By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.109 This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life. 
  • 1643 "Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter - appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. In a word it is a question of the normal characteristics of all natural conjugal love, but with a new significance which not only purifies and strengthens them, but raises them to the extent of making them the expression of specifically Christian values."152
  • 1644 The love of the spouses requires, of its very nature, the unity and indissolubility of the spouses' community of persons, which embraces their entire life: "so they are no longer two, but one flesh."153 They "are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving."154 This human communion is confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus Christ, given through the sacrament of Matrimony. It is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the Eucharist received together.
  • 1645 "The unity of marriage, distinctly recognized by our Lord, is made clear in the equal personal dignity which must be accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection."155 Polygamy is contrary to conjugal love which is undivided and exclusive.156
  • 1647 The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.
  • 2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.77
  • 2051 The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed. 
  •  2364 The married couple forms "the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent."147 Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.148 "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."149

Pope Leo XIII's Arcanum (2/10/1880)

  • "29. Truly, it is hardly possible to describe how great are the evils that flow from divorce. Matrimonial contracts are by it made variable; mutual kindness is weakened; deplorable inducements to unfaithfulness are supplied; harm is done to the education and training of children; occasion is afforded for the breaking up of homes; the seeds of dissension are sown among families; the dignity of womanhood is lessened and brought low, and women run the risk of being deserted after having ministered to the pleasures of men. Since, then, nothing has such power to lay waste families and destroy the mainstay of kingdoms as the corruption of morals, it is easily seen that divorces are in the highest degree hostile to the prosperity of families and States....
  • "34....the supreme pontiffs have resisted the most powerful...rulers, in their threatening demands that confirmed by the Church...[they] have been contending for the safety, not only of religion, but also of the human race. For this reason all generations of men will admire the proofs of unbending courage which are to be found in the decrees of ....[e.g.,] Clement VII and Paul III against Henry VIII....all rulers and administrators of the State who are desirous of following the dictates of reason and wisdom, and anxious for the good of their people, ought to make up their minds to keep the holy laws of marriage intact....
  • " power can dissolve the bond of Christian marriage whenever this has been ratified and consummated; and that, of a consequence, those husbands and wives are guilty of a manifest crime who plan, for whatever reason, to be united in a second marriage before the first one has been ended by death. When, indeed, matters have come to such a pitch that it seems impossible for them to live together any longer, then the Church allows them to live apart, and strives at the same time to soften the evils of this separation by such remedies and helps as are suited to their condition; yet she never ceases to endeavor to bring about a reconciliation....  
  • "44....We commend, venerable brothers, to your fidelity and piety those unhappy persons who, carried away by the heat of passion, and being utterly indifferent to their salvation, live wickedly together without the bond of lawful marriage. Let your utmost care be exercised in bringing such persons back to their duty; and, both by your own efforts and by those of good men who will consent to help you, strive by every means that they may see how wrongly they have acted; that they may do penance; and that they may be induced to enter into a lawful marriage according to the Catholic rite.   
  • "45. You will at once see, venerable brothers, that the doctrine and precepts in relation to Christian marriage, which We have thought good to communicate to you in this letter, tend no less to the preservation of civil society than to the everlasting salvation of souls" (Pope Leo XIII, Arcanum, 2/10/1880).

Pope Pius XI's Casti Connubii (12/31/1930)

  • "45. For now, alas, not secretly nor under cover, but openly, with all sense of shame put aside, now by...all the inventions of modern science, the sanctity of marriage is trampled upon and derided; divorce, adultery, all the basest vices either are extolled or at least are depicted in such colors as to appear to be free of all reproach and infamy. Books are not lacking which dare to pronounce themselves as scientific but which in truth are merely coated with a veneer of science in order that they may the more easily insinuate their ideas.... 
  • "49. To begin at the very source of these evils, their basic principle lies in this, that matrimony is repeatedly declared to be not instituted by the Author of nature nor raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a true sacrament, but invented by man.... 
  • "51. Armed with these principles, some men go so far as to concoct new species of unions, suited, as they say, to the present temper of men and the times....
  • "56....the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin. 
  • "57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: 'They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit [']....
  •  "67. Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cried from earth to Heaven.... 
  • "85. The advocates of the neo-paganism of today have learned nothing from the sad state of affairs, but instead, day by day, more and more vehemently, they continue by legislation to attack the indissolubility of the marriage bond, proclaiming that the lawfulness of divorce must be recognized, and that the antiquated laws should give place to a new and more humane legislation.... 
  • "86. Others, taking a step further, simply state that marriage, being a private contract, is, like other private contracts, to be left to the consent and good pleasure of both parties, and so can be dissolved for any reason whatsoever. 
  • "87. Opposed to all these reckless opinions, Venerable Brethren, stands the unalterable law of God, fully confirmed by Christ, a law that can never be deprived of its force by the decrees of men, the ideas of a people or the will of any legislator: 'What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder'.... 
  • "88. Let that solemn pronouncement of the Council of Trent be recalled to mind in which, under the stigma of anathema, it condemned these errors: 'If anyone should say that on account of heresy or the hardships of cohabitation or a deliberate abuse of one party by the other the marriage tie may be loosened, let him be anathema;'[66] and again: 'If anyone should say that the Church errs in having taught or in teaching that, according to the teaching of the Gospel and the Apostles, the bond of marriage cannot be loosed because of the sin of adultery of either party; or that neither party, even though he be innocent, having given no cause for the sin of adultery, can contract another marriage during the lifetime of the other; and that he commits adultery who marries another after putting away his adulterous wife, and likewise that she commits adultery who puts away her husband and marries another: let him be anathemae.'[67]
  • "89. If therefore the Church has not erred and does not err in teaching this, and consequently it is certain that the bond of marriage cannot be loosed even on account of the sin of adultery, it is evident that all the other weaker excuses that can be, and are usually brought forward, are of no value whatsoever. And the objections brought against the firmness of the marriage bond are easily answered....Now all those arguments that are brought forward to prove the indissolubility of the marriage tie, arguments which have already been touched upon, can equally be applied to excluding not only the necessity of divorce, but even the power to grant it; while for all the advantages that can be put forward for the former, there can be adduced as many disadvantages and evils which are a formidable menace to the whole of human society. 
  • "90. To revert again to the expression of Our predecessor, it is hardly necessary to point out what an amount of good is involved in the absolute indissolubility of wedlock and what a train of evils follows upon divorce.... 
  • "103.... in order that no falsification or corruption of the divine law but a true genuine knowledge of it may enlighten the minds of men and guide their conduct, it is necessary that a filial and humble obedience towards the Church should be combined with devotedness to God and the desire of submitting to Him....
  • "104. Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord. 
  • "105. Consequently, since everything must be referred to the law and mind of God, in order to bring about the universal and permanent restoration of marriage, it is indeed of the utmost importance that the faithful should be well instructed concerning matrimony.... 
  • " every fitting means, oppose error by truth, vice by the excellent dignity of chastity, the slavery of covetousness by the liberty of the sons of God,[81] that disastrous ease in obtaining divorce by an enduring love in the bond of marriage and by the inviolate pledge of fidelity given even to death.... 
  • "112. All these things, however, Venerable Brethren, depend in large measure on the due preparation remote and proximate, of the parties for marriage. For it cannot be denied that the basis of a happy wedlock, and the ruin of an unhappy one, is prepared and set in the souls of boys and girls during the period of childhood and adolescence. There is danger that those who before marriage sought in all things what is theirs, who indulged even their impure desires, will be in the married state what they were before, that they will reap that which they have sown;[86] indeed, within the home there will be sadness, lamentation, mutual contempt, strifes, estrangements, weariness of common life, and, worst of all, such parties will find themselves left alone with their own unconquered passions.... 
  • "116. Now since it is no rare thing to find that the perfect observance of God's commands and conjugal integrity encounter difficulties by reason of the fact that the man and wife are in straitened circumstances, their necessities must be relieved as far as possible.    
  • " the State such economic and social methods should be adopted as will enable every head of a family to earn as much as, according to his station in life, is necessary for himself, his wife, and for the rearing of his children, for 'the laborer is worthy of his hire.'[91] To deny this, or to make light of what is equitable, is a grave injustice and is placed among the greatest sins by Holy Writ;[92] nor is it lawful to fix such a scanty wage as will be insufficient for the upkeep of the family in the circumstances in which it is placed" (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii, 12/31/1930).

Blessed Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae (7/25/1968)

  • "4....No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, (l) that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, (2) constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men's eternal salvation. (3)....
  • " far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives.  The marriage of those who have been baptized is, in addition, invested with the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, for it represents the union of Christ and His Church....
  • "9....The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness....
  • "14....We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)  Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)  Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18) is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong....
  • "16....If...there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained. (20)....
  • "17....Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.  Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife....there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions, in the light of the principles We stated earlier, and in accordance with a correct understanding of the "principle of totality" enunciated by Our predecessor Pope Pius XII. (21)...
  • "18. It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a "sign of contradiction." (22) She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.  Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.  In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization. She urges man not to betray his personal responsibilities by putting all his faith in technical expedients. In this way she defends the dignity of husband and wife. This course of action shows that the Church, loyal to the example and teaching of the divine Savior, is sincere and unselfish in her regard for men whom she strives to help even now during this earthly pilgrimage "to share God's life as sons of the living God, the Father of all men." (23)....
  • "20. The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself. And yet there is no doubt that to many it will appear not merely difficult but even impossible to observe. Now it is true that like all good things which are outstanding for their nobility and for the benefits which they confer on men, so this law demands from individual men and women, from families and from human society, a resolute purpose and great endurance. Indeed it cannot be observed unless God comes to their help with the grace by which the goodwill of men is sustained and strengthened. But to those who consider this matter diligently it will indeed be evident that this endurance enhances man's dignity and confers benefits on human society.
  • "21....there can be no doubt at all of the need for self-denial. Only then will the expression of love, essential to married life, conform to right order. This is especially clear in the practice of periodic continence. Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms it by giving it a more truly human character. And if this self-discipline does demand that they persevere in their purpose and efforts, it has at the same time the salutary effect of enabling husband and wife to develop to their personalities and to be enriched with spiritual blessings. For it brings to family life abundant fruits of tranquility and peace. It helps in solving difficulties of other kinds. It fosters in husband and wife thoughtfulness and loving consideration for one another. It helps them to repel inordinate self-love, which is the opposite of charity. It arouses in them a consciousness of their responsibilities. And finally, it confers upon parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children. As their children grow up, they develop a right sense of values and achieve a serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers.
  • " the modern means of social communication which arouses men's baser passions and encourages low moral standards, as well as every obscenity in the written word and every form of indecency on the stage and screen, should be condemned publicly and unanimously by all those who have at heart the advance of civilization and the safeguarding of the outstanding values of the human spirit. It is quite absurd to defend this kind of depravity in the name of art or culture (25) or by pleading the liberty which may be allowed in this field by the public authorities....
  • "23. And now We wish to speak to rulers of nations. To you most of all is committed the responsibility of safeguarding the common good. You can contribute so much to the preservation of morals. We beg of you, never allow the morals of your peoples to be undermined. The family is the primary unit in the state; do not tolerate any legislation which would introduce into the family those practices which are opposed to the natural law of God. For there are other ways by which a government can and should solve the population problem—that is to say by enacting laws which will assist families and by educating the people wisely so that the moral law and the freedom of the citizens are both safeguarded....
  • "25....let Christian husbands and wives be mindful of their vocation to the Christian life....the Lord has entrusted to them the task of making visible to men and women the holiness and joy of the law which united inseparably their love for one another and the cooperation they give to God's love, God who is the Author of human life....If...sin still exercises its hold over them, they are not to lose heart. Rather must they, humble and persevering, have recourse to the mercy of God, abundantly bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance. In this way, for sure, they will be able to reach that perfection of married life which the Apostle sets out in these words: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. . . Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church. . . This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (37)....
  • "28. And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families—We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to spell out clearly and completely the Church's teaching on marriage. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church....if men's peace of soul and the unity of the Christian people are to be preserved, then it is of the utmost importance that in moral as well as in dogmatic theology all should obey the magisterium of the Church and should speak as with one voice....
  • "29.... So speak with full confidence, beloved sons, convinced that while the Holy Spirit of God is present to the magisterium proclaiming sound doctrine, He also illumines from within the hearts of the faithful and invites their assent. Teach married couples the necessary way of prayer and prepare them to approach more often with great faith the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance. Let them never lose heart because of their weakness. 
  • "To Bishops 30....We invite all of you, We implore you, to give a lead to your priests who assist you in the sacred ministry, and to the faithful of your dioceses, and to devote yourselves with all zeal and without delay to safeguarding the holiness of marriage, in order to guide married life to its full human and Christian perfection. Consider this mission as one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time. As you well know, it calls for concerted pastoral action in every field of human diligence, economic, cultural and social. If simultaneous progress is made in these various fields, then the intimate life of parents and children in the family will be rendered not only more tolerable, but easier and more joyful. And life together in human society will be enriched with fraternal charity and made more stable with true peace when God's design which He conceived for the world is faithfully followed" (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 7/25/1968).

Saint Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body (1979 - 1984)

Across a span of five years, Saint Pope John Paul II used weekly general audiences to address what had festered into  monumental resistance to Blessed Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae.  As per JP II, these Theology of the Body catechetical audiences  
  • "can be grasped under the title, ‘Human Love in the Divine Plan,” or with greater precision, ‘the Redemption of the body and the Sacramentality of Marriage’….The first part is devoted to the analysis of the words of Christ….The second part of the catechesis is devoted to the analysis of the sacrament based on Ephesians (Eph 5:22 - 23), which goes back to the biblical beginning of marriage expressed in the words of Genesis, ‘a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will be one flesh’ (Gen 2:24)” (11/28/1984).
Read more....

Saint Pope John Paul II and the Roman Rota (1979 - 2005)

Saint Pope John Paul II's solicitous concern for marriage/ family/ human sexuality was also evident in Familiaris Consortio and just about any of his talks and writings.  In his quarter century of addresses to the Roman Rota (the Church's "Supreme Court", if you will) - particularly near the end of his earthly journey - Saint Pope John Paul II 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" (2/1/2001);
  • the need for "convalidating, where possible, marriages that are otherwise null" (1/28/2002);
  • how "professionals in the field of civil law should avoid being personally involved in anything that might imply a cooperation with divorce" (1/28/2002); and
  • the "presumption of its [marriage's] validity in case of doubt" (1/29/2004).

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by the Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful (9/19/1994)

  • "4. Even if analogous pastoral solutions have been proposed by a few Fathers of the Church and in some measure were practiced, nevertheless these never attained the consensus of the Fathers and in no way came to constitute the common doctrine of the Church nor to determine her discipline. It falls to the universal Magisterium, in fidelity to Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to teach and to interpret authentically the depositum fidei....In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ(5), the Church affirms that a new union cannot be recognised as valid if the preceding marriage was valid. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists(6).  This norm is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion: 'They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and his Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage' (7).  The faithful who persist in such a situation may receive Holy Communion only after obtaining sacramental absolution, which may be given only 'to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when for serious reasons, for example, for the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples"'(8). In such a case they may receive Holy Communion as long as they respect the obligation to avoid giving scandal....
  • "6. Members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion. Should they judge it possible to do so, pastors and confessors, given the gravity of the matter and the spiritual good of these persons(10) as well as the common good of the Church, have the serious duty to admonish them that such a judgment of conscience openly contradicts the Church's teaching(11). Pastors in their teaching must also remind the faithful entrusted to their care of this doctrine....
  • "7. The mistaken conviction of a divorced and remarried person that he may receive Holy Communion normally presupposes that personal conscience is considered in the final analysis to be able, on the basis of one's own convictions(15), to come to a decision about the existence or absence of a previous marriage and the value of the new union. However, such a position is inadmissable(16). Marriage, in fact, because it is both the image of the spousal relationship between Christ and his Church as well as the fundamental core and an important factor in the life of civil society, is essentially a public reality....
  • "10. In keeping with what has been said above, the desire expressed by the Synod of Bishops, adopted by the Holy Father John Paul II as his own and put into practice with dedication and with praiseworthy initiatives by bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful is yet to be fully realized, namely, with solicitous charity to do everything that can be done to strengthen in the love of Christ and the Church those faithful in irregular marriage situations. Only thus will it be possible for them fully to receive the message of Christian marriage and endure in faith the distress of their situation. In pastoral action one must do everything possible to ensure that this is understood not to be a matter of discrimination but only of absolute fidelity to the will of Christ who has restored and entrusted to us anew the indissolubility of marriage as a gift of the Creator. It will be necessary for pastors and the community of the faithful to suffer and to love in solidarity with the persons concerned so that they may recognise in their burden the sweet yoke and the light burden of Jesus(19). Their burden is not sweet and light in the sense of being small or insignificant, but becomes light because the Lord - and with him the whole Church - shares it. It is the task of pastoral action, which has to be carried out with total dedication, to offer this help, founded in truth and in love together" (CDF, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by the Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, 9/19/1994).

Pontifical Council for the Family's Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage (5/13/1996)

Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage recognizes that groundwork must begin with "remote preparation" in earliest childhood, followed later by "proximate" and "immediate" stages: 
  • "It is in the family, the domestic church, that Christian parents are the first witnesses and educators of the children both in the growth of 'faith, hope and charity', and in each child discovering his or her own vocation."  
During the "proximate" stage, Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage speaks of instruction in natural family planning (i.e., fertility awareness):  
  • "Today the scientific basis of the natural methods for the regulation of fertility are recognized. Knowledge about these methods is useful. When there is just cause, their use must not only be a mere behavioral technique but be inserted into the pedagogy and process of the growth of love (cf. EV 97). Then the virtue of chastity will lead the spouses to practice periodic continence (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 2366-2371)" (The Pontifical Council for the Family's Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage, 5/13/96)

Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts' Instruction to be Observed by Diocesan and Interdiocesan Tribunals in Handling Causes of the Nullity of Marriage, Dignitas Connubii (1/25/2005)

JP II's concerns apparently triggered 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."

Pope Benedict XVI's Deus Caritas Est (12/25/2005) 

    “From the standpoint of creation, eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfil its deepest purpose. Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa….

    “The imagery of marriage between God and Israel is now realized in a way previously inconceivable: it had meant standing in God's presence, but now it becomes union with God through sharing in Jesus' self-gift, sharing in his body and blood….
    “Catholic social teaching...gradually developed, and has now found a comprehensive presentation in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church published in 2004  [The Compendium consists of chapters on
    “The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society…is proper to the lay faithful....
    “The Church can never be exempted from practising charity as an organized activity of believers, and on the other hand, there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is unnecessary, because in addition to justice man needs, and will always need, love" (Deus Caritas Est, 12/25/05)

Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Rota (2006 - 2013)

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).

Pope Francis: Lumen Fidei, Evangelii Gaudium, General Audience of 4/2/14, and Discourse to the Delegation of the International Catholic Office of Children

  • "52. In Abraham’s journey towards the future city, the Letter to the Hebrews mentions the blessing which was passed on from fathers to sons (cf. Heb 11:20-21). The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love. Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person. So it was that Sarah, by faith, became a mother, for she trusted in God’s fidelity to his promise (cf. Heb 11:11)" (Lumen Fidei, 6/29/13).
  • "the family is the fundamental cell of society...; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children.  Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will" (Evangelii Gaudium:, 11/24/13).
  • "Matrimony....leads us to the heart of God’s design, which is a plan for a Covenant with his people, with us all, a plan for communion. At the beginning of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, at the culmination of the creation account it says: 'God created man in Hs own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.... Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 1:27; 2:24). The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together. This is the image of God: love, God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful! We are created in order to love, as a reflection of God and His love. And in the marital union man and woman fulfil this vocation through their mutual reciprocity and their full and definitive communion of life" (General Audience, 4/2/14).
  • "it is necessary to reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother capable of creating an ideal environment for their development and emotional maturity" (Discourse to the Delegation of the International Catholic Office of Children, 4/11/14).

Pope Francis and the Roman Rota

In Pope Francis' own address to the Roman Roman Rota, 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.

Instrumentum Laboris (2014)

Instrumentum Laboris was the preparatory document for the "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization."  In keeping with the tone of Pope Francis, it certainly 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 (Instrumentum Laboris, 2014).

The Gospel of Indissolubility

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 [Remaining in the Truth of Christ] 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."  
Remaining in the Truth of Christ meticulously engages arguments favoring a de-emphasis on indissolubility, many of which are tantamount to citing historical anomalies as supposed proofs.  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."

As per Raymond Cardinal Burke in the ninth and final chapter,  
    "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....  
    "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....
    "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....
    "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....
    "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."

Back to "In the Beginning"

In his magnificent Theology of the Body, St. Pope John Paul II tried 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.

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