In Pennsylvania's

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, 'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people'"

"In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.  Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, 'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people'" (from today's first reading).

To aid us in applying the commandments to our modern world, the Pa Catholic Conference offers "alerts" and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers "ALERTS CENTRAL."  The USCCB also notes that "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the "National Committee for the Human Life Amendment" (NCHLA), and that "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, "Justice for Immigrants."  

"One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord" (from today's Responsorial Psalm). 

  •  As per the Family Research Council, "Voters must demand that at a minimum the House Republican leadership attach a funding moratorium to must-pass legislation in order to build momentum for the Senate to halt the federal complicity in this organization’s inhumane practices.  Please urge Congress to take whatever steps necessary in September to defund this abortion giant. We should not be spending our tax dollars to fund this organization engaged in late-term abortion, organ harvesting and possibly illegal partial birth and born alive abortion."  Email Representative Fitzpatrick, Senator Casey, and Senator Toomey, asking if they will commit to such a moratorium.  
  • As per the Pennsylvania Family Institute, "the Administration, following what can only be described as a cursory review of Planned Parenthood abortion sites in Pennsylvania, stated that the organization’s hands are clean in the burgeoning nationwide scandal involving the gruesome procurement and trafficking in the remains of unborn children aborted in Planned Parenthood clinics....the taxpayers of Pennsylvania can have no confidence that Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration can or did conduct a fair and thorough probe, given his close ties with Planned Parenthood before, during and after his campaign for Pennsylvania Governor."  Email Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg, asking for a moratorium on all state funding of Planned Parenthood.

"Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (from today's second reading).

http://faithfulinthe8th.blogspot.com/2015/08/champion-of-marriagefamily.html

Marriage/Family still holds the absolute greatest protection for "orphans and widows"!  As per the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "The First Amendment Defense Act (H.R. 2802, S. 1598) would bar the federal government from discriminating against individuals and organizations based upon their religious beliefs or moral convictions that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage. The Act provides broad protections against adverse federal actions directed toward individuals and organizations that act on such beliefs."  As of this past Thursday, Representative Fitzpatrick was NOT among the 145 co-sponsors of HR2802; NEITHER Senator Casey NOR Senator Toomey were among the 36 co-sponsors of S1598.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has an alert for contacts to Fitzpatrick, Casey, and Toomey, re: the First Amendment Defense Act (HR2802 / S1598): http://cqrcengage.com/catholicbishops/app/make-a-call?0&engagementId=113753

From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.  All these evils come from within and they defile” (from today's Gospel).

 

"If We're Serious About Defunding PP, Here's How We Can Do It Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/if-were-serious-about-defunding-planned-parenthood-we-can-do-it" (Rebecca Hamilton, National Catholic Register)

Very thought provoking analysis! 
"Rebecca Hamilton is a former pro-abortion activist and leader. As the Oklahoma Director of NARAL, she helped establish the first abortion clinic in Oklahoma, and she continued her activism after being elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. After experiencing a profound conversion to Christ, voters returned her to office as a pro-life Democrat and she spent twelve years defending life and families in the Oklahoma Legislature. Rebecca left her political career in 2014, and along with the National Catholic Register, she writes at Patheos on her blog Public Catholic."  (http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/if-were-serious-about-defunding-planned-parenthood-we-can-do-it.-heres-how/#ixzz3kJyrU5rM)

"A Simple Way to Know If There's A Grave Evil in Your Midst" - Aleteia

http://m.aleteia.org/en/lifestyle/aggregated-content/a-simple-way-to-know-if-theres-a-grave-evil-in-your-midst-5217322448977920?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=topnews_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en-30/08/2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Marriage Champions," HR2802/S1598, and Defunding Planned Parenthood

"Marriage Champions," HR2802/S1598

"The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today identified four Republican presidential candidates they have dubbed 'Marriage Champions' for having pledged to the American people that they will take several specific actions as president to restore marriage to the law and protect people of faith from discrimination because of their support for traditional marriage....NOM's presidential pledge that has been signed by candidates Cruz, Santorum, Jindal and Carson makes several specific commitments to preserve marriage and restore a thriving marriage culture, including:
  1. Support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
  2. Work to overturn the US Supreme Court's Obergefell decision that illegitimately imposed same-sex 'marriage' on every state in the nation, including nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.
  3. Conduct a review of actions taken by the Obama Administration that have undermined marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.
  4. Support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.
  5. Direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed....
"several candidates have issued strong statements in support of marriage but have decided not to sign any pledges as a candidate. Governor Mike Huckabee covered marriage in his own pledge to the American people and Gov. Scott Walker has promised to support a constitutional amendment restoring true marriage" (8/25/15)

As per the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
  • "The First Amendment Defense Act (H.R. 2802, S. 1598) would bar the federal government from discriminating against individuals and organizations based upon their religious beliefs or moral convictions that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage. The Act provides broad protections against adverse federal actions directed toward individuals and organizations that act on such beliefs." 
As of this past Thursday, Representative Fitzpatrick was NOT among the 145 co-sponsors of HR2802; NEITHER Senator Casey NOR Senator Toomey were among the 36 co-sponsors of S1598.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has an alert* for contacts to Fitzpatrick, Casey, and Toomey, re: the First Amendment Defense Act (HR2802 / S1598): http://cqrcengage.com/catholicbishops/app/make-a-call?0&engagementId=113753
 *You can find "alerts" about federal concerns at the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference's "alerts" and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' "ALERTS CENTRAL."  The USCCB also notes that "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the "National Committee for the Human Life Amendment" (NCHLA), and that "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, "Justice for Immigrants." 

Defunding Planned Parenthood

  •  As per the Family Research Council, "Voters must demand that at a minimum the House Republican leadership attach a funding moratorium to must-pass legislation in order to build momentum for the Senate to halt the federal complicity in this organization’s inhumane practices.  Please urge Congress to take whatever steps necessary in September to defund this abortion giant. We should not be spending our tax dollars to fund this organization engaged in late-term abortion, organ harvesting and possibly illegal partial birth and born alive abortion."  Email Representative Fitzpatrick, Senator Casey, and Senator Toomey, asking if they will commit to such a moratorium.  
  • As per the Pennsylvania Family Institute, "the Administration, following what can only be described as a cursory review of Planned Parenthood abortion sites in Pennsylvania, stated that the organization’s hands are clean in the burgeoning nationwide scandal involving the gruesome procurement and trafficking in the remains of unborn children aborted in Planned Parenthood clinics....the taxpayers of Pennsylvania can have no confidence that Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration can or did conduct a fair and thorough probe, given his close ties with Planned Parenthood before, during and after his campaign for Pennsylvania Governor."  Email Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg, asking for a moratorium on all state funding of Planned Parenthood.

 

"for all those young people who, thirsty for happiness, seek it in mistaken ways and get lost in dead ends"

"Today, Aug. 27, we remember St. Monica, and tomorrow we will remember her son, St. Augustine: Their testimonies can be of great consolation and help for many families also of our time....

"As Augustine himself would say later, his mother gave him birth twice; the second time required a long spiritual labor, made up of prayer and tears, but crowned in the end by the joy of seeing him not only embrace the faith and receive baptism, but also dedicate himself entirely to the service of Christ.

"How many difficulties there are also today in family relationships and how many mothers are anguished because their children choose mistaken ways!

"Monica, a wise and solid woman in the faith, invites them not to be discouraged, but to persevere in their mission of wives and mothers, maintaining firm their confidence in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer....

"May St. Augustine obtain for us also the gift of a sincere and profound encounter with Christ, an encounter above all also for all those young people who, thirsty for happiness, seek it in mistaken ways and get lost in dead ends.

"St. Monica and St. Augustine invite us to turn with confidence to Mary, seat of wisdom. To her we entrust Christian parents so that, like Monica, they will support their children on their way with their example and prayer" (Pope Benedict XVI, 8/27/2006).

Saint Monica is buried in Ostia, Italy....
 
 
 



Thursday, August 27, 2015

"an equation that not even the great mathematicians know how to resolve"

"One who has a family soon learns to resolve an equation that not even the great mathematicians know how to resolve: within the 24 hours there is twice that number! There are mothers and fathers who could win the Nobel Prize for this. Of 24 hours they make 48: I do not know how they do it but they move and do it! There is so much work in a family!  The spirit of prayer gives back time to God, it steps away from the obsession of a life that is always lacking time, it rediscovers the peace of necessary things, and discovers the joy of unexpected gifts....In the prayer of the family, in its intense and in its difficult seasons, we remember one another, so that each one of us in the family is protected by the love of God" (Pope Francis, 8/26/15 General Audience).


In his weekly general audiences, our Holy Father is showing himself to be a magnificent Champion of Marriage/Family.  Sadly, our U.S. Representative and our two U.S. Senators are failing to step up to defend marriage/family.  As per the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
  • "The First Amendment Defense Act (H.R. 2802, S. 1598) would bar the federal government from discriminating against individuals and organizations based upon their religious beliefs or moral convictions that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage. The Act provides broad protections against adverse federal actions directed toward individuals and organizations that act on such beliefs." 
At this time, Representative Fitzpatrick is NOT among the 145 co-sponsors of HR2802; NEITHER Senator Casey NOR Senator Toomey is among the 36 co-sponsors of S1598We have been asking far too little of these officials!


As per the Family Research Council, "We need you to urge Congress to act as soon as they return to Washington in September to at least pass a moratorium on funding Planned Parenthood while Congress and states investigate these atrocities. The abortion, organ harvesting and possible partial or full delivery of live babies for their organs has shocked the American conscience, as it rightfully should. Now Americans must act based upon what we now know.  Voters must demand that at a minimum the House Republican leadership attach a funding moratorium to must-pass legislation in order to build momentum for the Senate to halt the federal complicity in this organization’s inhumane practices.  Please urge Congress to take whatever steps necessary in September to defund this abortion giant. We should not be spending our tax dollars to fund this organization engaged in late-term abortion, organ harvesting and possibly illegal partial birth and born alive abortion."
  •  Email Representative Fitzpatrick, Senator Casey, and Senator Toomey, asking if they will commit to such a moratorium.  
  • Email Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg, asking for a moratorium on all state funding of Planned Parenthood.
 

Champion of Marriage/Family


  • "Families should be seen as a resource rather than as a problem for society. Families at their best actively communicate by their witness the beauty and the richness of the relationship between man and woman, and between parents and children. We are not fighting to defend the past. Rather, with patience and trust, we are working to build a better future for the world in which we live" (Pope Francis, 1/23/15 Message for World Communications Day). 
  • "Today’s catechesis is dedicated to a central aspect of the subject of the family: that of the great gift that God made to humanity with the creation of man and woman and with the Sacrament of Marriage. This catechesis and the next are concerned with the difference and complementarity between man and woman, who are at the summit of the divine creation....I wonder...if the so-called gender theory is not also an expression of a frustration and of a resignation, which aims to cancel the sexual difference....The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution...The matrimonial and family bond is something serious, and it is for everyone, not only for believers" (Pope Francis, 4/15/15 General Audience)
  • "The social devaluation of the stable and generative alliance of man and woman is certainly a loss for all.... the Bible says a beautiful thing: man finds woman, they find one another, and man must leave something to find her fully. And for this, man will leave his father and his mother to go with her. It is beautiful! This means to begin a journey. Man is all for woman and woman is all for man.  The care of this alliance of man and woman -- also if they are sinners and are wounded, confused or humiliated, mistrustful and uncertain -- is therefore for us believers a demanding and exciting vocation, in the present condition" (Pope Francis, 4/22/15 General Audience)
  • "The most persuasive testimony of the blessing of Christian marriage is the good life of Christian spouses and of the family. There is no better way to describe the beauty of the Sacrament! Marriage consecrated by God  to safeguard that bond between man and woman that God has blessed since the creation of the world; and it is source of peace and of goodness for the whole of conjugal and family life" (Pope Francis, 4/29/15 General Audience)
  • "Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul affirms that the love between spouses is an image of the love between Christ and the Church – an unthinkable dignity!....we must ask ourselves seriously: do we ourselves, as believers and as pastors, fully accept this indissoluble bond of the history of Christ and of the Church with the history of marriage and of the human family?" (Pope Francis, 5/6/15 General Audience)
  • "today, in many countries, Mother's Day is celebrated....An applause for the mommies in the square. And this applause embraces all the mothers, all our dear mothers, those that live with us physically, but also those that live with us spiritually ... May the Lord bless them all, and may the Mother of God, to whom this month is dedicated, watch over them all" (Pope Francis, Regina Coeli, 5/10/15)
  • "Today’s catechesis is like an entrance door to a series of reflections on the life of the family, its real life, with its times and its circumstances. Written above this entrance door are three words, which I have already used several times....these words open the way to live well in the family. They are simple words, but not so simple to put into practice....And now I invite all to repeat these three words together: 'permission, thank you, pardon'....Now repeat all together the advice I have given: never end the day without making peace" (Pope Francis, 5/13/15 General Audience)
  • "'Critical' intellectuals of all kinds have silenced parents in a thousand ways, to defend the young generations from harm -- real or imagined -- of family education.....It is time that fathers and mothers return from their exile – because they have exiled themselves from the education of their children --, and reassume fully their educational role" (Pope Francis, 5/20/15 General Audience).
  • "The time of engagement can truly become a time of initiation, to what? To surprise! -- to the surprise of spiritual gifts with which the Lord, through the Church, enriches the horizon of the new family that prepares to live in His blessing" (Pope Francis, 5/27/15 General Audience
  • "Marriage and the family are going through a serious cultural crisis....Marriage 'seen as a mere form of affective gratification,' ceases to be an 'indispensable contribution' to society (cf. Evangelii gaudium, 66)....'ample catechesis on the Christian ideal of conjugal communion and of family life is urgent, which includes a spirituality of paternity and of maternity. It is necessary to give greater pastoral attention to the role of men as husbands and fathers, as well as to the responsibility they share with their wives in relation to marriage, the family and the education of the children' (Ecclesia in America, 42)" (Pope Francis to the Bishops of the Dominican, 5/28/15)
  • "The lack or loss of work, or its strong precariousness, has serious implications on family life, severely testing relationships. The living conditions in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, with housing and transportation problems, as well as the reduction of social, health and educational services, causes further difficulty" (Pope Francis, 6/3/15 General Audience
  • "The complementarity of man and woman, summit of divine creation, is being questioned by the so-called gender ideology, in the name of a more free and just society. The differences between man and woman are not for opposition or subordination, but for communion and generation, always in the 'image and likeness' of God....The Sacrament of Marriage is a sign of the love of God for humanity and of Christ’s giving Himself for His Bride, the Church. Look after this treasure, one of the 'most important of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples' (Aparecida, 433)" (Pope Francis to the Bishops of Puerto Rico, 6/8/15)
  • "The Christian community knows well that, in the trial of sickness, the family is not left alone. And we must say thank you to the Lord for those beautiful experiences of ecclesial fraternity that help families to go through the difficult moments of pain and suffering. This Christian closeness, of family to family, is a real treasure for the parish -- a treasure of wisdom that helps families in difficult moments and makes the Kingdom of God understood better than many discourses! They are caresses of God"(Pope Francis, 6/10/15 General Audience)
  • "Globalization itself...also bears in itself aspects of possible confusion and disorientation, as when it becomes a vehicle to introduce uses, concessions, even norms that are foreign to a social fabric with the consequent deterioration of the cultural roots of reality that instead are respected; and this by the effect of tendencies belonging to other cultures, economically developed but ethically weakened (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 62). I have spoken so many times of ideological colonizations when I refer to this problem....it is important that public authorities, and among these also the jurisdictional, use the space given to them to give stability and render more solid the bases of human coexistence through the recovery of fundamental values.  Christianity has offered these values the true and most adequate foundation: love of God, which is inseparable from love of neighbor (cf. Matthew 22:34-40)" (Pope Francis, 6/13/15 Address to the Italian Superior Council of the Judiciary)
  • "we have been reflecting on and asking ourselves how to transmit the faith to the new generations....this commitment is all the more important when we speak of the education of kids and young people, who begin to hear these strange ideas, these ideological colonizations that poison the soul and the family: one must act against this. Two weeks ago a person, a very Catholic, good, young man said to me that his kids were in first and second grade and that in the evening he and his wife so often had to 're-catechize' the children....With your conjugal relationship, exercising paternity and maternity, you give your life and are proof that it is possible to live the Gospel: it is possible to live the Gospel and it renders one happy....Conjugal love is a good, which not even the greatest difficulties of life are able to darken....Children look. They look so much and when they see that father and mother love each other, the children grow in that atmosphere of love, of happiness and also of security, because they are not afraid....It is very painful when a family lives a tension that can’t be resolved, a break that they don’t succeed in healing. It is painful. When there are the first signs of this, a father and a mother have the duty to themselves and to their children to ask for help, to be supported. Ask help first of all from God... The Lord will give you the strength to understand that evil can be surmounted, that unity is greater than conflict, that the wounds we have inflicted in one another can be healed, in the name of a greater love, of that Love that He has called you to live with the Sacrament of Marriage....when separation -- we must also speak of this -- seems inevitable, know that the Church carries you in her heart....Never, never speak badly of the other to the children! Never!....there is also the way of forgiveness. Forgive one another and take up mutually your limitations, which will also help you to understand and accept the fragilities and weaknesses of your children....grandparents...have saved the faith in so many countries where it was prohibited to practice religion and took children secretly to have them baptized, and grandparents who taught prayers....They give us wisdom, prudence, they help us so much. And when they get sick they ask us for so many sacrifices, it’s true. Sometimes there isn’t another solution than to take them to a rest home. But may it be the last, the last thing that is done. Grandparents at home are a richness" (Pope Francis’ 6/14/15 Address to Rome Conference on Parents as Witnesses of the Beauty of Life)
  • "155. Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an 'ecology of man', based on the fact that 'man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will'. [120] It is enough to recognize that our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek 'to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it'.[121]"                                                                                                                                                                                      "157. Underlying the principle of the common good is respect for the human person....It has also to do with the overall welfare of society and the development of a variety of intermediate groups, applying the principle of subsidiarity. Outstanding among those groups is the family, as the basic cell of society...."                                   "213....In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life'.[149] In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity. In the family we learn to ask without demanding, to say 'thank you' as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings" (Pope Francis' 6/18/15 Laudato Si
  • "to you young people in this world, in this hedonistic world, in this world where only pleasure gets publicity, having a good time, having a beautiful life, I tell you: be chaste, be chaste.  All of us in life have gone through moments in which this virtue was very difficult, but it is in fact the way of genuine love, of a love that is able to give life, which does not seek to use the other for one’s own pleasure. It is a love that considers the life of the other person sacred....at the end of the 19th century there were bad conditions for the growth of youth: there was full Masonry, even the Church couldn’t do anything, there were priest haters, there were also Satanists ... It was one of the worst moments and one of the worst places of the history of Italy. However, if you would like to do a good task at home, go to see how many men and women Saints were born at that time. Why? Because they realized that they had to go against the current in relation to the culture, to that way of living. Reality, live the reality. And if this reality is glass and not diamonds, I look for the reality against the current and I make my reality, but something that is of service to others. Think of your Saints of this land, what they did!" (Pope Francis' 6/21/15 "off the cuff" talk to youth in Turin)
  • "Turin’s men and women Saints teach us that all renewal, also that of the Church, passes through our personal conversion, through that openness of heart that receives and recognizes God’s surprises, driven by the greatest love (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14), which renders us friends also of persons who are alone, suffering and marginalized" (Pope Francis' 6/21/15 prepared talk to youth in Turin)
  • "We are well aware that no moments are lacking in any family history in which the intimacy of dearest affections is offended by the behavior of its members....Do we feel the weight of the mountain that crushes the soul of a child, in families in which there is bad treatment and harm is done, to the point of breaking the bond of conjugal fidelity?....If we think of the harshness with which Jesus admonishes adults not to scandalize the little ones -- we heard the passage of the Gospel -- (cf. Matthew 18:6), we can also understand better his word on the grave responsibility to protect the conjugal bond that begins the human family (cf. Matthew 19:6-9). When man and woman have become one flesh, all the wounds and all the abandonments of the father and the mother affect the living flesh of the children....Let us ask the Lord for great faith, to look at reality with God’s gaze; and a great charity, to approach persons with his merciful heart" (Pope Francis, 6/24/15 General Audience)
  •  "The Bible tells us that God hears the cry of his people, and I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for land, lodging and labor for all our brothers and sisters. I said it and I repeat it: these are sacred rights....No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice....the monopolizing of the communications media, which would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity, is another one of the forms taken by the new colonialism. It is ideological colonialism....Let us say NO to forms of colonialism old and new. Let us say YES to the encounter between peoples and cultures. Blessed are the peacemakers....The Church, her sons and daughters, are part of the identity of the peoples of Latin America. An identity which here, as in other countries, some powers are committed to erasing, at times because our faith is revolutionary, because our faith challenges the tyranny of mammon. Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. This too needs to be denounced: in this third world war, waged peacemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end" (Pope Francis, 7/9/15 Address in Bolivia to "Popular Movements")
  • "You may be asking yourselves: 'Who is this man standing before us?'....The man standing before you is a man who has experienced forgiveness. A man who was, and is, saved from his many sins....I want to share with you what I do have and what I love: it is Jesus. It is Jesus Christ, the mercy of the Father" (Pope Francis, 7/10/15 Address at the Reform Center of Santa Cruz-Palmasola (Bolivia)).
  • "in the desire to serve and promote the common good, the poor and needy have to be given priority of place....May all social groups work to ensure that there will never again be children without access to schooling, families without homes, workers without dignified employment, small farmers without land to cultivate, or campesinos forced to leave their lands for an uncertain future. May there be an end to violence, corruption and drug trafficking. An economic development which fails to take into account the weakest and underprivileged is not an authentic development. Economic progress must be measured by the integral dignity of the human person, especially the most vulnerable and helpless" (Pope Francis, 7/10/15 Address to Officials of Paraguay).
  • "Elevated by the Savior to the dignity of a sacrament, marriage is, in the Creator’s plan, a natural institution, a life-long covenant of love and fidelity between a man and a woman, directed to their perfection and sanctification, and to the future of our human family.  Today, when the institution of marriage is under attack from powerful cultural forces, the faithful are called to bear witness to this basic truth of biblical faith and natural law, which is essential to the wise and just ordering of society....His Holiness trusts that the theme of this year’s Supreme Convention – Endowed by their Creator with Life and Liberty – will draw attention to the duty of American Catholics, precisely as responsible citizens, to contribute to the reasoned defense of those freedoms on which their nation was founded....The protection of religious freedom must also engage the consciences of believers on the global level, in response to the attacks unleashed on minority communities, most often Christian, in various parts of our world" (Pietro Cardinal  Parolin, 8/5/15 Message to the Knights of Columbus).
  • "Saint John Paul II expressed himself thus in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (n. 84)
["Daily experience unfortunately shows that people who have obtained a divorce usually intend to enter into a new union, obviously not with a Catholic religious ceremony. Since this is an evil that, like the others, is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay. The Synod Fathers studied it expressly. The Church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The Church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation.

Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children's upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.

Together with the Synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life. They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God's grace. Let the Church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope.

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. 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 the 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.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted 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, such as for example 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."[180]

Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.

By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to His truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.

With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord's command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity.]....

"In these decades, in truth, the Church has not been either insensitive or slow. Thanks to the reflection carried out by Pastors, guided and confirmed by my Predecessors, the awareness has greatly grown that a fraternal and attentive acceptance is necessary, in love and in truth, of the baptized that have established a new coexistence after the failure of their sacramental marriage; in fact, these people are not at all excommunicated, they are not excommunicated! And they are absolutely not treated as such: they are always part of the Church.  Pope Benedict XVI intervened on this question, soliciting careful discernment and wise pastoral support, knowing that 'simple recipes' do not exist (Address to the 7th World Meeting of Families, Milan, June 2, 2012, answer n. 5)....
[5 THE ARAUJO FAMILY (a Brazilian family from Porto Alegre)

MARIA MARTA: Holy Father, in our country, just as in the rest of the world, marriage breakdowns are continually increasing.

My name is Maria Marta and this is Manoel Angelo. We have been married for 34 years and we are now grandparents. As a doctor and a family psychotherapist, we meet a great many families and we notice that couples in difficulties are finding it harder and harder to forgive and to accept forgiveness. We often encounter the desire and the will to establish a new partnership, something lasting, for the benefit of the children born from this second union.

MANOEL ANGELO: Some of these remarried couples would like to be reconciled with the Church, but when they see that they are refused the sacraments they are greatly discouraged. They feel excluded, marked by a judgement against which no appeal is possible.

These sufferings cause deep hurt to those involved. Their wounds also afflict the world and they become our wounds, the wounds of the whole human race.

Holy Father we know that the Church cares deeply about these situations and these people. What can we say to them and what signs of hope can we offer them?

THE HOLY FATHER: Dear friends, thank you for your very important work as family psychotherapists. Thank you for all that you do to help these suffering people. Indeed the problem of divorced and remarried persons is one of the great sufferings of today’s Church. And we do not have simple solutions. Their suffering is great and yet we can only help parishes and individuals to assist these people to bear the pain of divorce. I would say, obviously, that prevention is very important, so that those who fall in love are helped from the very beginning to make a deep and mature commitment. Then accompaniment during married life is needed, so that families are never left on their own but are truly accompanied on their journey. As regards these people - as you have said - the Church loves them, but it is important they should see and feel this love. I see here a great task for a parish, a Catholic community, to do whatever is possible to help them to feel loved and accepted, to feel that they are not “excluded” even though they cannot receive absolution or the Eucharist; they should see that, in this state too, they are fully a part of the Church. Perhaps, even if it is not possible to receive absolution in Confession, they can nevertheless have ongoing contact with a priest, with a spiritual guide. This is very important, so that they see that they are accompanied and guided. Then it is also very important that they truly realize they are participating in the Eucharist if they enter into a real communion with the Body of Christ. Even without “corporal” reception of the sacrament, they can be spiritually united to Christ in his Body. Bringing them to understand this is important: so that they find a way to live the life of faith based upon the Word of God and the communion of the Church, and that they come to see their suffering as a gift to the Church, because it helps others by defending the stability of love and marriage. They need to realize that this suffering is not just a physical or psychological pain, but something that is experienced within the Church community for the sake of the great values of our faith. I am convinced that their suffering, if truly accepted from within, is a gift to the Church. They need to know this, to realize that this is their way of serving the Church, that they are in the heart of the Church. Thank you for your commitment.]" 

  • “Today we begin a short course of reflection on three dimensions that beat the time, so to speak, of the rhythm of family life: celebration, work and prayer….God Himself teaches us the importance of dedicating a time to contemplate and enjoy what was well done in work….a true time of celebration halts professional work and is sacred, because it reminds man and woman that they are made in the image of God, who is not a slave of work, but Lord; therefore, we also must never be slaves of work, but ‘lords.’….Finally, the time of celebration is sacred because God dwells in it in a special way. The Sunday Eucharist brings to a celebration all the grace of Jesus Christ: His presence, His love, His sacrifice, His making us community, His being with us ... And in this way every reality receives its full meaning: work, family, the joys and efforts of every day, also suffering and death; everything is transfigured by the grace of Christ.  The family is endowed with an extraordinary capacity to understand, direct and sustain the genuine value of the time of celebration. But how lovely are the celebrations in the family, they are most beautiful! – and, in particular, those of Sunday. It is no accident that the celebrations in which there is place for the whole family are those that succeed better! Family life itself, looked at with the eyes of faith, seems better than the efforts it costs. It seems a masterpiece of simplicity, good precisely because it is not artificial, or false, but able to incorporate in itself all the aspects of a true life. It appears as something ‘very good,’ as God says at the end of the creation of man and of woman (cf. Genesis 1:31). Therefore, a celebration is a precious gift of God; a precious gift that God has made to the human family: let’s not ruin it!” (Pope Francis, 8/12/15 General Audience)
  •  "Both celebration and work are part of the creative design of God.  Work, it is commonly said, is necessary to maintain the family, for the children to grow, to ensure a dignified life to one's dear ones. The best thing that can be said about a serious and honest person is: 'He is a worker'....Prayer and work can and must be together in harmony, as Saint Benedict teaches. Lack of work also harms the spirit, as lack of prayer also harms practical activity.  To work – I repeat, in a thousand ways – is proper to the human person. It expresses his dignity of being created in the image of God. Therefore, it is said that work is sacred. And, consequently, the management of employment is a great human and social responsibility, which cannot be left in the hands of a few or discharged on a divinized 'market.' Causing the loss of jobs means creating serious social damage. I am saddened when I see that there are people without work, who don't find work, and don't have the dignity of bringing the bread home. And I rejoice so much when I see that some [political] leaders make many efforts to find jobs and see that all have work. Work is sacred. Work gives dignity to a family. We must pray that work is not lacking in a family. Therefore, like celebration, work is also part of the design of God the Creator.... The Encyclical Laudato Si', which proposes an integral ecology, also contains this message: the beauty of the earth and the dignity of work are made to be combined; both go together: the earth becomes good when it is worked by man. When work is detached from God's covenant with man and woman, when it is separated from its spiritual qualities, when it is hostage to the sole logic of profit and scorns the affections of life, the humiliation of the soul contaminates everything: even the air, the water, the grass, the food ... Civil life is corrupted and the habitat is damaged. And the consequences strike, above all, the poorest and the poorest families. The modern organization of work sometimes shows a dangerous tendency to consider the family a burden, a weight, a passive for the productivity of work. But we ask ourselves: what productivity? And for whom? The so-called 'smart city' is, without a doubt, rich in services and organization; however, it is often hostile, for instance, to children and the elderly.  Sometimes one who plans is interested in the management of the individual workforce, in assembling and using or discarding according to the economic convenience. The family is a great test bench. When the organization of work holds it hostage or, in fact, places obstacles in its way, then we are certain that the human society has begun to work against itself!  Christian families receive from this circumstance a great challenge and a great mission. They bring to the field the fundamentals of God's creation: the identity and bond of man and woman, the generation of children, the work that renders the earth domestic and the world habitable. The loss of these fundamentals is a very serious affair, and in the common home there are already too many cracks! The task isn't easy. At times, it might seem to family associations, that they are like David before Goliath ... but we know how that challenge ended! Faith and shrewdness are needed. In this difficult moment of our history, may God grant us to receive his call to work with joy and hope, to give dignity to oneself and to one's family" (Pope Francis, 8/19/15 General Audience).
  • "After reflecting on how the family lives times of celebration and work, we now consider the time of prayer....it is necessary to cultivate in the heart a 'warm' love for God, an affectionate love....Are we able to think of God as the caress that holds us in life, before which there was nothing? A caress from which nothing, not even death, can detach us?....One who has a family soon learns to resolve an equation that not even the great mathematicians know how to resolve: within the 24 hours there is twice that number! There are mothers and fathers who could win the Nobel Prize for this. Of 24 hours they make 48: I do not know how they do it but they move and do it! There is so much work in a family!  The spirit of prayer gives back time to God, it steps away from the obsession of a life that is always lacking time, it rediscovers the peace of necessary things, and discovers the joy of unexpected gifts....In the prayer of the family, in its intense and in its difficult seasons, we remember one another, so that each one of us in the family is protected by the love of God" (Pope Francis, 8/26/15 General Audience).


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pope Francis, 8/26/15 General Audience

"After reflecting on how the family lives times of celebration and work, we now consider the time of prayer....it is necessary to cultivate in the heart a 'warm' love for God, an affectionate love....

"It is good to believe in God with all one's heart; it is good to hope that He will help us in difficulties; it is good to feel the duty to thank Him. All this is right. But do we also love our Lord a bit? Does the thought of God move us, astound us, make us tender?....

"Are we able to think of God as the caress that holds us in life, before which there was nothing? A caress from which nothing, not even death, can detach us? Or do we only think of Him as the great Being, the Almighty who has made everything, the Judge who controls every action? All this is true, of course, but only when God is the affection of all our affections does the meaning of these words become full. Then we feel happy, and also somewhat confused, because He thinks of us and, above all, He loves us! Is this not impressive? Is it not impressive that God caresses us with the love of Father? It is so beautiful! He could have simply made Himself known as the Supreme Being, given His Commandments and waited for the results. Instead God has done and does infinitely more than this. He accompanies us on the way of life, He protects us, He loves us.....

"It is lovely when mothers teach their little children to send a kiss to Jesus or to Our Lady. How much tenderness there is in this! At that moment the heart of the children is transformed into a place of prayer. And it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Let us never forget to ask for this gift for each one of us! Because the Spirit of God has that special way of saying in our heart 'Abba' – 'Father,' in fact it teaches us to say 'Father' as Jesus said it, a way that we can never find on our own (cf. Galatians 4:6). It is in the family that one learns to ask for and appreciate this gift of the Spirit. If one learns to say it with the same spontaneity with which one learns to say 'father' and 'mother,' one has learnt it forever. When this happens, the time of the whole of family life is enveloped in the womb of the love of God, and seeks spontaneously the time of prayer....

"One who has a family soon learns to resolve an equation that not even the great mathematicians know how to resolve: within the 24 hours there is twice that number! There are mothers and fathers who could win the Nobel Prize for this. Of 24 hours they make 48: I do not know how they do it but they move and do it! There is so much work in a family!

"The spirit of prayer gives back time to God, it steps away from the obsession of a life that is always lacking time, it rediscovers the peace of necessary things, and discovers the joy of unexpected gifts. Good guides in this are the two sisters Martha and Mary, spoken of in the Gospel we just heard: they learned from God the harmony of family rhythms: the beauty of celebration, the serenity of work, the spirit of prayer (cf. Luke 10:38-42). The visit of Jesus, whom they really loved, was their celebration. However, one day Martha learned that the work of hospitality, though important, is not everything, but that to listen to the Lord, as Mary did, was really the essential thing, the 'better part' of time. Prayer flows from listening to Jesus, from the reading of the Gospel. Do not forget, every day to read a passage of the Gospel. Prayer flows from intimacy with the Word of God. Is there this intimacy in our family? Do we have the Gospel at home? Do we open it some times to read it together? Do we meditate on it while reciting the Rosary? The Gospel read and meditated in the family is like good bread that nourishes everyone's heart. And in the morning and in the evening, and when we sit at table, we learn to say together a prayer with great simplicity: it is Jesus who comes among us, as he was with the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. There is something that I have very much at heart and that I have seen in the city: there are children who have not learned to make the Sign of the Cross! But you, mother, father, teach your child to pray, to make the Sign of the Cross: this is a lovely task of mothers and fathers!

"In the prayer of the family, in its intense and in its difficult seasons, we remember one another, so that each one of us in the family is protected by the love of God."

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/general-audience-on-praying-as-a-family

General Audience of 26 August 2015 (synopsis only - family & prayer)

http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/audiences/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150826_udienza-generale.html
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/25/indicted-pennsylvania-ag-kathleen-kane-ignores-planned-parenthood-selling-aborted-babies/

General Audience of 26 August 2015 (synopsis only - the family and prayer)

http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/audiences/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150826_udienza-generale.html

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We should be in the midst of a "Week of Prayer and Fasting to End Abortion and the Evils of Planned Parenthood."

We should be in the midst of a "Week of Prayer and Fasting to End Abortion and the Evils of Planned Parenthood."
  • Email Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg, asking for a moratorium on all state funding of Planned Parenthood.

With regard to federal concerns, current alerts from Catholic leadership* support:  

*You can find "alerts" about federal concerns at the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference's "alerts" and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' "ALERTS CENTRAL."  The USCCB also notes that "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the "National Committee for the Human Life Amendment" (NCHLA), and that "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, "Justice for Immigrants." 


The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) posts additional alerts on state concerns at https://www.votervoice.net/PACC/Campaigns.


Our Holy Father is a Great Champion of Life and Marriage/Family in These Troubled Times


Largely because we have asked for too little, we have witnessed our representative in the U.S. House and our two U.S. Senators failing to step up to defend marriage/family.  At this time, none of them are even co-sponsoring the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA)!  (See the 145 co-sponsors of HR2802 and the 36 co-sponsors of S1598.  You will look in vane for the names Casey, Fitzpatrick, and Toomey!)

Other News Items

Ted Cruz Leads Campaign to Get 100,000 Pastors to Demand De-Funding Planned Parenthood  

Marco Rubio: Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies is “Barbaric,” De-Fund it Now

Scott Walker Pushes Bill to De-Fund Planned Parenthood After It Sells Aborted Baby Parts

Bobby Jindal: Planned Parenthood Planned a Protest at My House, We Turned the Tables on Them

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