In Pennsylvania's

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Johnny Can't Understand the Meaning of Marriage; Basic Catholic Truth Needs to be Shouted from the Rooftops


Why Johnny Can't Read was a famed 1955 critique of a then popular method of reading instruction.  Sixty years later, it appears to more and more be the case that Johnny (and Mary) cannot understand the meaning of marriage.  What are the simple truths which we find so difficult to convey?
Entrusted by our Lord with teaching the Truth, the Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims that marriage is a lifelong, exclusive, indissoluble bond. Christ called us back to marriage as "in the beginning" and raised Marriage to a sacrament. In fact, Marriage and Holy Orders are the only Sacraments of Vocation. Just as the priesthood has been attacked/devalued in recent years, we have seen the same mistreatment toward marriage.

Sexual acts are exclusively for marriage, for uniting the couple and for procreating new life.  As each sexual act must include those unitive and procreative dimensions, contraceptives are absolutely excluded. Despite all the confusion that reigned after Humanae Vitae, this teaching is just not open to debate; people have a right to know this truth!

Married couples who have serious reasons for postponing pregnancy may abstain from sexual relations during fertile times. And utilizing fertility awareness to abstain during fertile times is infinitely physically safer than using chemicals or placing foreign objects in or on the body!

While the Church proclaims the wrongness of all contraceptive use, some products which are called “contraceptives” can work in an abortifacient manner.  This is especially true of Plan B and other so-called “emergency contraception”, but it is also true of the Pill and the IUD. 

Since 1973, it is often noted that there have been more than 57 million abortion in the U.S.  Yet as hideous and horrible as that number is, it is an underestimate.  When you count abortions from "contraceptive" chemicals and objects, Pharmacists for Life International puts the number at 308 million. 
How can we be preparing to host a World Meeting of Families and simultaneously keeping so mum about authentic teaching?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Contacting the 114th Congress

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life asks that you "Click here to find your Representative and Senator and send them the following message or one similar to this: 
"Please be aware that your Catholic constituents, as well as Catholics and other pro-life voters throughout the country, are watching how you carry out your responsibility to protect the rights of the youngest children.

"By hiding behind the excuse that you are personally against abortion but publicly support a woman’s right to choose to take the life of her own child, you make a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the tens of millions of Americans who consider themselves faithful Catholics and who find the killing of children -- whether inside or outside the womb -- reprehensible.

"Representing all your constituents begins with protecting them."



On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 11:52 AM, Faithful in the 8th <faithfulinthe8th@gmail.com> wrote:

Tomorrow marks one year, since Seán Cardinal O’Malley, USCCB Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote to Congress about HR 7 (The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act):
"H.R. 7 is modest legislation....The federal government should not use its funding power to support and promote elective abortion, and should not force taxpayers to subsidize this violence....the Hyde amendment, and many other provisions in authorizing and appropriations bills....governs only a particular funding stream; even collectively they have not prevented the Affordable Care Act of 2010 from subsidizing health plans that cover elective abortions"
HR 7 passed the U.S. House on 1/28/14 and again on 1/22/15!  As per Seán Cardinal O'Malley on 1/23/15,
“By passing this legislation, the House has taken a decisive step toward respect for unborn human life, reflecting the will of the American people”
Though HR 7 is expected to pass the Senate this year, a presidential veto is anticipated.  To eventually override a presidential veto, 294 votes would be needed in the House (52 more that it received on 1/22/15) and 67 in the Senate.  Doesn't it boggle the mind that at least 64 Catholic members of the House voted against HR 7 - especially on this year's anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision
(Click for a clearer image.)
http://img.docstoccdn.com/thumb/orig/173403946.png
(Click for a clearer image.)


Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB's Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has spoken clearly on the topic of worthiness to receive Holy Communion:
http://www.mrctv.org/sites/default/files/embedcache/126277.html
"At her Jan. 22 briefing [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi said she had 'great standing' to speak on the issue of abortion, noting that she was a 'Catholic and a mom of five' and asserting that it was 'true' she knew 'more about having babies than the pope.'  CNSNews.com asked Archbishop Cordileone about Pelosi’s comments on human life, particularly in light her self-description 'as a Catholic and a mom of five.'
"'It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception,' the archbishop said in a written statement to CNSNews.com. 'This has been established in medical science for over 100 years. Catholic moral teaching acknowledges this scientific fact, and has always affirmed the grave moral evil of taking an innocent human life.  This has been the consistent teaching of the Church from the very beginning, a teaching already discernible in the natural moral law, and so a teaching from which no Catholic can dissent in good conscience....It is the obligation of pastors of souls to reach out to their people who have difficulty understanding and accepting such important teachings of the Church in order to extend to them true pastoral care and, where appropriate, to establish a regular dialogue....This is something I have always striven to do in the various ministries I have exercised as a priest and bishop, including now as the Archbishop of San Francisco. I ask for people’s prayers for success as I continue to strive to do this.'
"Pelosi lives in Cordileone's archdiocese and represents San Francisco in Congress....During the press conference, Pelosi made clear that she is opposed to both the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act" (CNSNews, 1/26/15)

For the sake of preborn children and the eternal salvation of Catholics who support continued taxpayer funding of abortion, as well as to prevent scandal...
Don't our own shepherds, our pastors, and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference need to publicly remind everyone - particularly Representatives Brendan Boyle, Bob Brady, Matt Cartwright, and Mike Doyle - that continued taxpayer funding of abortion is NOT a legitimate Catholic position?

Catholics in the U.S. House who Voted Against HR 7 on 1/22/15

Tomorrow marks one year, since Seán Cardinal O’Malley, USCCB Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote to Congress about HR 7 (The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act):
"H.R. 7 is modest legislation....The federal government should not use its funding power to support and promote elective abortion, and should not force taxpayers to subsidize this violence....the Hyde amendment, and many other provisions in authorizing and appropriations bills....governs only a particular funding stream; even collectively they have not prevented the Affordable Care Act of 2010 from subsidizing health plans that cover elective abortions"
HR 7 passed the U.S. House on 1/28/14 and again on 1/22/15!  As per Seán Cardinal O'Malley on 1/23/15,
“By passing this legislation, the House has taken a decisive step toward respect for unborn human life, reflecting the will of the American people”
Though HR 7 is expected to pass the Senate this year, a presidential veto is anticipated.  To eventually override a presidential veto, 294 votes would be needed in the House (52 more that it received on 1/22/15) and 67 in the Senate.  Doesn't it boggle the mind that at least 64 Catholic members of the House voted against HR 7 - especially on this year's anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision
(Click for a clearer image.)
http://img.docstoccdn.com/thumb/orig/173403946.png
(Click for a clearer image.)


Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB's Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has spoken clearly on the topic of worthiness to receive Holy Communion:
http://www.mrctv.org/sites/default/files/embedcache/126277.html
"At her Jan. 22 briefing [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi said she had 'great standing' to speak on the issue of abortion, noting that she was a 'Catholic and a mom of five' and asserting that it was 'true' she knew 'more about having babies than the pope.'  CNSNews.com asked Archbishop Cordileone about Pelosi’s comments on human life, particularly in light her self-description 'as a Catholic and a mom of five.'
"'It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception,' the archbishop said in a written statement to CNSNews.com. 'This has been established in medical science for over 100 years. Catholic moral teaching acknowledges this scientific fact, and has always affirmed the grave moral evil of taking an innocent human life.  This has been the consistent teaching of the Church from the very beginning, a teaching already discernible in the natural moral law, and so a teaching from which no Catholic can dissent in good conscience....It is the obligation of pastors of souls to reach out to their people who have difficulty understanding and accepting such important teachings of the Church in order to extend to them true pastoral care and, where appropriate, to establish a regular dialogue....This is something I have always striven to do in the various ministries I have exercised as a priest and bishop, including now as the Archbishop of San Francisco. I ask for people’s prayers for success as I continue to strive to do this.'
"Pelosi lives in Cordileone's archdiocese and represents San Francisco in Congress....During the press conference, Pelosi made clear that she is opposed to both the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act" (CNSNews, 1/26/15)

For the sake of preborn children and the eternal salvation of Catholics who support continued taxpayer funding of abortion, as well as to prevent scandal...
Don't our own shepherds, our pastors, and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference need to publicly remind everyone - particularly Representatives Brendan Boyle, Bob Brady, Matt Cartwright, and Mike Doyle - that continued taxpayer funding of abortion is NOT a legitimate Catholic position?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Step right up and get your annulments! Get them while they're hot!" NOT !!!

Nicole Winfield would have us believe that the Holy Father just announced: "Step right up and get your annulments!  Get them while they're hot!(cf, Associated Press, 1/23/15). She never touches upon what the Catechism says about indissolubility - or infallibility!  No pope may toss aside the truth about marriage / family /sexuality, as taught by Our Savior.  That truth has been reiterated in:
  • Pope Leo XIII's Arcanum (2/10/1880) 



  • 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) 

  • III Extraordinary General Assembly, Instrumentum Laboris (2014): This  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 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.

Annual Addresses of the Holy Fathers to the Roma Rota (the Church's Supreme Court, if you will)

In Saint Pope John Paul II's quarter century of addresses to the Roman Rota (1979 - 2005), he seemed to evidence growing and grave concern about possible misuse of marriage tribunals, even focusing on a misguided "pastoral" perspective that would destabilize marriage and family.  It would appear that his concerns led to Dignitas Connubii (1/25/2005).  

In Pope Benedict XVI's addresses to the Roman Rota (2006-2013), he even warned 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).  

In Pope Francis' first address to the Roman Roman Rota, he continued in the line of his predecessors, as well as his own Lumen Fidei, Evangelii Gaudium, General Audience of 4/2/14, and Discourse to the Delegation of the International Catholic Office of Children.  

Here's what Pope Francis actually said, yesterday (cf., http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-the-tribunal-of-the-roman-rota):
Dear Judges, Officials, Lawyers and Collaborators of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota,

I greet you cordially, beginning with the College of Prelate Auditors with the Dean, Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, whom I thank for the words with which he introduced our meeting. I wish you all well for the Judicial Year we open today.

On this occasion, I would like to reflect on the human and cultural context in which the matrimonial intention is formed. The crisis of values in society is certainly not a recent phenomenon. Forty years ago now Blessed Paul VI, addressing in fact the Roman Rota, stigmatized the sicknesses of modern man “at times wounded by a systematic relativism, that bends to the easiest choices of circumstance, of demagogy, of fashion, of passion, of hedonism, of selfishness, so that externally he attempts to dispute the mastery of the law, and internally, almost without realising, substitutes the empire of moral conscience with the whim of psychological consciousness” (Allocution of January 31, 1974: AAS 66 [1974], p. 87).

In fact, the abandonment of a perspective of faith results inexorably in a false knowledge of matrimony, which is not deprived of consequences in the maturation of the nuptial will. In his goodness, the Lord certainly grants the Church to rejoice for the many, many families that, supported and nourished by  sincere faith, realize in the effort and joy of the everyday the goods of marriage, assumed with sincerity at the moment of the wedding and pursued with fidelity and tenacity. However, the Church also knows the suffering of many family nuclei that disintegrate, leaving behind them the ruins of affective relations, plans, and common expectations.

The judge is called to carry out his judicial analysis where there is doubt regarding the validity of marriage, to ascertain whether there was an original shortcoming in consent, either directly in terms of a defect in the validity of intention or a grave deficit in the understanding of marriage itself to the extent of determining will (Cf. canon 1099). In fact, the crisis in marriage, indeed, not infrequently has at its root the crisis in knowledge enlightened by faith, or rather by adhesion to God and His plan of love realised in Jesus Christ.

Pastoral experience teaches us that today there is a great number of faithful in irregular situations, whose histories have been strongly influenced by the widespread worldly mentality. There exists, indeed, a sort of spiritual worldliness, “which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium), and which leads to the pursuit not of the glory of God, but rather of personal well-being. One of the consequences of this attitude is “a faith hemmed in by subjectivism, interested solely in a given experience or a series of arguments and areas of knowledge believed to console or enlighten, but in which the subject in reality remains imprisoned by the immanence of his or her own reason or emotions” (Ibid., 94]. It is evident that, for one who is inclined to this mentality, faith remains deprived of its directional and normative value, leaving the field open for compromises with one’s egoism and with the pressures of the current mentality, which has become dominant through the mass media.

Therefore, the judge, in evaluating the validity of the consent given, must take into account the context of values and faith – or of their scarcity or absence – in which the matrimonial intention was formed. In fact, ignorance of the contents of the faith could lead to what the Code calls error affecting the will (Cf. can. 1099). This eventuality is no longer held exceptional as in the past, given in fact the frequent prevalence of worldly thought on the teaching of the Church. Such error not only threatens the stability of a marriage, its exclusivity and fruitfulness, but also the ordering of marriage to the good of the other, conjugal love as “vital principle” of the consensus, the mutual donation to build the consortium of one’s whole life. “Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. ” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 66, pushing the betrothed to mental reservation about the very permanence of the union, or its exclusivity, which would fail when the person loved no longer realizes his/her expectations of affective well-being

Therefore, I would like to exhort you to an increased and passionate commitment to your ministry, placed to protect the unity of the jurisprudence of the Church. How much pastoral work for the good of many couples, and many children, who are often the victims of these situations! Here too there is a need for pastoral conversion on the part of ecclesiastical structures (Cf. Ibid., 27),to be able to offer the opus iustitiae [work of justice] to all those who turn to the Church to shed light on their matrimonial situation. Here is your difficult mission, as it is for all the judges in the dioceses: do not ensnare salvation in the constrictions of legalism. The function of law is guided towards the salus animarum [salvation of souls]on the condition that, avoiding sophisms distant from the living flesh of people in difficulty, it may help to establish the truth of the moment of consent: if it was faithful to Christ or to the mendacious worldly mentality.

In this connection, Blessed Paul VI said: “If the Church is a divine design – Ecclesia de Trinitate – her institutions, though perfectible, must be established in order to communicate divine grace and foster, according to the gifts and mission of each one, the good of the faithful, essential purpose of the Church. This social objective, the salvation of souls, the salus animarum, remains the supreme objective of the institutions of law, of laws” (Address to the Participants in the 2nd International Congress of Canon Law, September 17, 1973: Communicationes 5 [1973], p. 126).

It is useful to recall what the Instruction Dignitas Connubili prescribes in n. 113, consistent with can. 1490 of the Code of Canon Law, about the necessary presence in every ecclesiastical Tribunal of persons competent in giving solicitous advice on the possibility of introducing a cause of matrimonial nullity; while the presence is also required of stable patrons, remunerated by the same tribunal, who exercise the office of lawyers.

In the hope that in every Tribunal these figures may be present to encourage real access to the justice of the Church for all the faithful, I would like to underline that a significant number of cases dealt with before the Roman Rota are enabled by legal aid granted to those whose economic situation would not otherwise allow them to engage the services of lawyer.

Dear brothers, I renew to each of you my gratitude for the good you do to the people of God, serving justice. I invoke divine assistance upon your work and I impart to you my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing.


Pope Francis' Discourse to the Delegation of the International Catholic Office of Children (4/11/14)

excerpt: "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"

Pope Francis' General Audience of 4/2/14

Excerpts: "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"

Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium (11/24/13)

Excerpt: "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"

Pope Francis' Lumen Fidei (6/29/13)

Excerpts: "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)" .

Deus Caritas Est, 12/25/05

Excerpts
    “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)

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)

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

Excerpts
  • "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)....
  • "8....Marriage...is 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 these....it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)....it 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.
  • "22....Everything...in 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).

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)

Excerpts:

  • "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).

What the Catechism says about both indissolubility and infallibility....

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

January 24th: St. Francis de Sales and Deaf People

Among various honors, St. Francis de Sales is remembered as a patron saint for Deaf people.  Four centuries ago, he showed deep concern for conveying the Faith to one individual with a hearing loss (cf, Father Thomas Dailey, OSFS of DeSales University).  

How Many People Have Hearing Losses?

Estimating the numbers of people with hearing loss is challenging!  And how a hearing loss impacts a particular person depends upon the type/severity of the loss, what sort of amplification is possible, the age at onset, and educational/rehabilitation strategies, among other factors.  It is even more difficult to estimate the number of people who rely on American Sign Language (ASL).  
  • Among those with all types and severities of hearing loss, Jerome Schein and Marcus Delk (National Census of the Deaf Population, 1974) defined "Deaf" people as those whose hearing loss was so severe that they could not hear/understand speech. Schein and Delk found 0.2% of the general population to be "prevocationally deaf" (i.e., to have become deaf prior to 19 years of age).  They also found 90% to have hearing parents and 90% to have hearing children.  Up until the present time, many have assumed that prevocationally deaf people constitute the majority of ASL users. 

    "The Schein and Delk (1974) NCDP report remains the ultimate source for data-based estimates of how many people use ASL in the United States....According to Schein and Delk (1974), the total prevocationally deaf population – civilian, noninstitutionalized persons of all ages – was estimated to be 410,522 persons in 1971....Schein and Delk (1974) provided evidence that there may have been as many as 500,000 people, regardless of hearing status, who signed at home in 1972" (How Many People Use ASL in the United States?  Why Estimates Need Updating, 2/21/05).
We follow a Shepherd who would go in search of just one lost sheep!  Hence, four centuries ago, St. Francis de Sales showed deep concern for conveying the Faith to just one individual with a hearing loss.

How Do We Meet the Needs of People with Hearing Losses Who Rely on ASL?

There are few priests across the country who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).  Few Sunday Masses can be celebrated in ASL; Sunday Masses are also conveyed by a sign language interpreter. 
Each Sunday, Mass is celebrated in ASL or conveyed by an interpreter in Northeast Philadelphia:

  • 1st Sunday: Our Lady of Ransom, Philadelphia, 12:15 pm (celebrated in ASL)
  • 2nd Sunday: Our Lady of Ransom, Philadelphia, 12:15 pm (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 3rd Sunday: Our Lady of Ransom, Philadelphia, 12:15 pm (celebrated in ASL) 
  • 4th Sunday: Our Lady of Ransom, Philadelphia, 12:15 pm (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 5th Sunday: Our Lady of Ransom, Philadelphia, 12:15 pm (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
And in Bucks County,
  • 1st Sunday: St. Joseph, Warrington, 10:00 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 2nd Sunday: Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, Doylestown 10:30 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 3rd Sunday: St. Joseph, Warrington, 10:00 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
And across the river in the nearby Trenton area,
  • 1st Sunday: Holy Angels, So.Broad St in Hamilton, 8:30 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 2nd Sunday: Holy Angels, So.Broad St in Hamilton, 8:30 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 3rd Sunday: Holy Angels, So.Broad St in Hamilton, 8:30 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 4th Sunday: St. Gregory the Great, Hamilton Square, 10:30 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 4th Sunday: Holy Angels, So.Broad St in Hamilton, 8:30 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
  • 5th Sunday: Holy Angels, So.Broad St in Hamilton, 8:30 am (conveyed by a sign language interpreter)
The gifts of our few ASL-fluent priests certainly need to be shared across dioceses for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, special missions, and retreats.

Resources for Teaching the Compendium of the Catechism:


Much of Part One focuses on what we believe, the Apostles Creed (Click for a video of Deacon Patrick Graybill, who is deaf himself.):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VCBmBxUdzwU#t=146
 

Much of Part Two focuses on how we celebrate, the Seven Sacraments (Click for a video of Father Chris Klusman, who is deaf himself.  In the second video, Father Mick Depcick, who is deaf himself discusses the Sacrament of Reconciliation):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcXZBK8ap_8&feature=player_detailpage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CmzxUxBTo8&feature=player_detailpage

Much of Part Three focuses on how we live, the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fVY8ptWPgT0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wlGJW_WQho&feature=player_embedded


Much of Part Four focuses on how we pray, the Our Father (the Lord's Prayer) ( Click for a video of Father Shawn Carey, who is deaf himself.):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SUH7CiyXaBA

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Please read Judie Brown's provocative article!

Judie Brown is a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Just a few excerpts....

"The awkwardly titled Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act deals with those babies who are capable of feeling pain during an abortion and therefore require special attention. But, according to the language of the proposal, only those pain-capable babies NOT created by acts of rape or incest or perceived to be a direct threat to the life of the mother would be protected.

"The same problem exists in the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. The act would not prohibit Title X money (your tax dollars) from going to organizations that commit or advocate for abortions IF the babies they are killing are conceived due to an act of rape or incest or because of a perceived threat to the life of the mother....

"the March for Life publishes a set of principles that, by including the phrase 'when the father’s sperm fertilizes the mother’s ovum,' does not address the protection of all preborn babies. By that definition, it would overlook babies who are created asexually. Only God knows how many babies would go unprotected if these principles prevailed....

"if we pro-lifers are truly committed to defending and protecting every single preborn baby’s life, then don’t we have to be certain that our language reflects the truth? And if that is so, then why in the world aren’t we talking like we know what it means to defend every innocent person’s life from his biological beginning until his death?....

"[the] American Life League—thanks to the patient teaching of experts like Dr. Dianne Irving -has been at the forefront of teaching the right science for many years....

"I sincerely hope we have not forgotten—and that we will never forget—that a human being dies every time an abortion is performed."
http://www.all.org/article/index/id/MTQ1NzA/

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Say thanks to Kelly, Pitts, Rothfus, and Shuster!

If you plan to attend the post March for Life reception in DC this Thursday (Look here), be sure to thank Representatives Mike Kelly, Joe Pitts, Keith Rothfus, and Bill Shuster for remembering that the Right to a Mom and Dad goes hand in hand with the Right to Life!

Among Pennsylvanians in the 113th Congress, Kelly, Pitts, Rothfus, and Shuster stood tall (and they stood alone) in consistently co-sponsoring USCCB backed legislation, for the defense of marriage/family:
"The future of humanity passes by way of the family" 

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