In Pennsylvania's

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States with Introductory Note" (November 17, 2015)

With "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States with Introductory Note," our bishops have updated their guidance, "to take account of recent developments in the United States in both domestic and foreign policy" (p. 6).  "This statement highlights the role of the Church in the formation of conscience and the corresponding moral responsibility of each Catholic to hear, receive, and act upon the Church's teaching in the lifelong task of forming his or her own conscience. Foremost amongst those teachings are the four basic principles of Catholic social doctrine: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity" (p. 10).

The Church proclaims the dignity of the human person, from the very first moment of conception till natural death.  Should it happen that some defy God's order of creation and that human life gets generated without conception (e.g., cloning), you can be assured that the Church will nonetheless insist on that new human's absolute inviolability!  No matter what the human being's origin, ethnicity, race, abilities/disabilities, sex, perception of gender, accomplishments, or sins, each is a precious and irreplaceable gift from Almighty God.  The primacy of this principle is made crystal clear in the bishops' quote from Saint Pope John Paul II:
"Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture-is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination" (p. 17)
Of the four principles, my guess is that common good could be most easily misunderstood, as it is used in other settings, without the Church's precise understanding:
1906 By common good is to be understood 'the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.' The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence from each, and even more from those who exercise the office of authority. It consists of three essential elements:
1907 First, the common good presupposes respect for the person as such. In the name of the common good, public authorities are bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. Society should permit each of its members to fulfill his vocation. In particular, the common good resides in the conditions for the exercise of the natural freedoms indispensable for the development of the human vocation, such as 'the right to act according to a sound norm of conscience and to safeguard . . . privacy, and rightful freedom also in matters of religion.'
1908 Second, the common good requires the social well-being and development of the group itself. Development is the epitome of all social duties. Certainly, it is the proper function of authority to arbitrate, in the name of the common good, between various particular interests; but it should make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a family, and so on.
1909 Finally, the common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should ensure by morally acceptable means the security of society and its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defence"(Catechism of the Catholic Church).
"The principle of subsidiarity reminds us that larger institutions in society should not overwhelm or interfere with smaller or local institutions, yet larger institutions have essential responsibilities when the more local institutions cannot adequately protect human dignity, meet human needs, and advance the common good" (p. 22).  "The family-based on marriage between a man and a woman-is the first and fundamental unit of society and is a sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children" (p. 22).

Solidarity reminds us that "We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions and requires us to eradicate racism and address the extreme poverty and disease plaguing so much of the world. Solidarity also includes the scriptural call to welcome the stranger among us-including immigrants seeking work-by ensuring that they have opportunities for a safe home, education for their children, and a decent life for their families and by ending the practice of separating families through deportation....solidarity with our neighbors-at home and abroad-also demands that we promote peace and pursue justice in a world marred by terrible violence and conflict. Decisions on the use of force should be guided by traditional moral criteria and undertaken only as a last resort....a special emphasis must be given to the Church's preferential option for the poor....[which] includes all who are marginalized in our nation and beyond-unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill, victims of injustice and oppression, and immigrants" (pp. 24, 25)

The document concludes with some very specific policy recommendations: "As Catholics, we are led to raise questions for political life other than those that concentrate on individual, material well-being. Our focus is not on party affiliation, ideology, economics, or even competence and capacity to perform duties, as important as such issues are. Rather, we focus on what protects or threatens the dignity of every human life....we bishops offer the following policy goals that we hope will guide Catholics as they form their consciences and reflect on the moral dimensions of their public choices. Not all issues are equal; these ten goals address matters of different moral weight and urgency. Some involve intrinsically evil acts, which can never be approved. Others involve affirmative obligations to seek the common good. These and similar goals can help voters and candidates act on ethical principles rather than particular interests and partisan allegiances. We hope Catholics will ask candidates how they intend to help our nation pursue these important goals:
  • Address the preeminent requirement to protect the weakest in our midst—innocent unborn children—by restricting and bringing to an end the destruction of unborn children through abortion and providing women in crisis pregnancies the supports they need to make a decision for life.
  • Keep our nation from turning to violence to address fundamental problems—a million abortions each year to deal with unwanted pregnancies, euthanasia and assisted suicide to deal with the burdens of illness and disability, the destruction of human embryos in the name of research, the use of the death penalty to combat crime, and imprudent resort to war to address international disputes.
  • Protect the fundamental understanding of marriage as the life-long and faithful union of one man and one woman and as the central institution of society; promote the complementarity of the sexes and reject false 'gender' ideologies; and provide better support for family life morally, socially, and economically, so that our nation helps parents raise their children with respect for life, sound moral values, and an ethic of stewardship and responsibility.
  • Achieve comprehensive immigration reform that offers a path to citizenship, treats immigrant workers fairly, prevents the separation of families, maintains the integrity of our borders, respects the rule of law, and addresses the factors that compel people to leave their own countries.
  • Help families and children overcome poverty: ensuring access to and choice in education, as well as decent work at fair, living wages and adequate assistance for the vulnerable in our nation, while also helping to overcome widespread hunger and poverty around the world, especially in the areas of development assistance, debt relief, and international trade.
  • Provide health care while respecting human life, human dignity, and religious freedom in our health care system.
  • Continue to oppose policies that reflect prejudice, hostility toward immigrants, religious bigotry, and other forms of unjust discrimination.
  • Encourage families, community groups, economic structures, and government to work together to overcome poverty, pursue the common good, and care for creation, with full respect for individuals and groups and their right to address social needs in accord with their basic moral and religious convictions.
  • Establish and comply with moral limits on the use of military force—examining for what purposes it may be used, under what authority, and at what human cost—with a special view to seeking a responsible and effective response for ending the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
  • Join with others around the world to pursue peace, protect human rights and religious liberty, and advance economic justice and care for creation" (pp. 36, 37)
Come 2016, our voices in defense of human life and marriage/family need to be MUCH better heard!



Friday, November 27, 2015

"The LORD Our Justice"

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference's "alerts" include the following:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Alerts Central" includes the following:


As per the USCCB: "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, Justice for Immigrants."

 

As per the USCCB, "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the National Committee for the Human Life Amendment."  The NCHLA's "Current Action Alerts" include the following:

(We need our elected officials to absolutely oppose ANY monies going to Planned ParenthoodEmail Representative Fitzpatrick, Senator Casey, and Senator Toomey, asking for all federal funding of Planned Parenthood to stop.    Email all of Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg, asking for all state funding of Planned Parenthood to stop.)

As per a Letter to Senator McConnell, Senator Reid, Speaker Boehner, and House Minority Leader Pelosi, in support of Representative Chis Smith's HR 1150 (Ken Starr, Archbishop Chaput, Alan Dershowitz, Matthew Franck, Maryann Glendon, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Bishop William Murphy, Pastor Rick Warren, Cardinal Wuerl and others, 7/14/15):

  • "....We are witnessing a tragic, global crisis in religious persecution, violence, and terrorism, with dire consequences for religious minorities and for the national security of the United States....H.R. 1150 would...give Ambassador Saperstein the status that other ambassadors at large at the Department of State enjoy, the authority to develop an interagency strategy to protect global religious freedom, and the resources he needs to implement that strategy. It would also mandate training for all foreign service officers, deputy chiefs of mission, and country ambassadors...." 


"Alerts" from the following also deserve your consideration:


News Items

  • "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States with Introductory Note" (11/17/15)
  • "Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography" (11/17/15)
  • "Proposed HHS regulation could require insurers to cover abortion, transgender surgery" (11/12/15)
  • "Why are we not protecting married couples from the violence of contraception — the divorce of unitive and procreative aspects of the beautiful gift of sexuality? Why are we afraid of helping our brothers and sisters to live in truth, according to their dignity?" (Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, 11/6/15)
  • "the marriage act purged of impurities is the nearest thing to the beatific vision we can know....To offer the suffering of celibacy, temporary or permanent, to the Lord is to make use, in the best possible way, of man's greatest joy " (10/21/15)
  • "Statement Calling for Constitutional Resistance to Obergefell v. Hodges"  (American Principles Project, 10/8/15)
  • "the Sexual Revolution ushered in the scourge of abortion, pornography, and sexual abuse so rampant in recent decades. Instead of real and authentic love, this false 'liberty' offers cheap pleasures that mask a deeper loneliness and pain. Instead of the security of traditional family bonds, it leaves children longing for the stability of a mother’s and a father’s love.... Today’s attack on fatherhood, and by extension, motherhood, is multi-pronged and breathtakingly damaging. 41% of children are born into unmarried homes in our day, an increase of 700% from 1950" (Bishop Thomas Olmstead, 9/29/15).
  •  re: "The Revision and Updating of the Charter for Healthcare Workers (5/6/15)"
  • ''Bigotry Killed 'Conscience Law'" (BC Courier Times, 3/3/14)
  • "Who is going to save our Church? "Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious" (Archbishop Sheen, June 1972).
Come 2016, our voices in defense of human life and marriage/family need to be MUCH better heard!



The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
'The LORD our justice'"
(Jer 33: 14-16).

Sunday, November 22, 2015

the elephant in the room

"Why are we not protecting married couples from the violence of contraception — the divorce of unitive and procreative aspects of the beautiful gift of sexuality? Why are we afraid of helping our brothers and sisters to live in truth, according to their dignity?" (Father Shenan Boquet, 11/6/2015)

  • "....[Saint Pope] John Paul II said that God in His deepest mystery is not a solitude but a family, because He has within Himself Fatherhood, Sonship, and the essence of the family, which is love.  Now we don't totally understand the Trinity, obviously.  We're finite and God is infinite.  But we do know some things, we know how they relate to one another.  The Father gives of Himself completely to the Son.  The Son gives of Himself completely back to His Father, and from this mutual Self-donation, this love communion between Them comes a Third Person, the Holy Spirit.  So, the Church says our human families are supposed to image the Divine Family, because that's the family we were made to be a part of.  That's the Sacrificial Family we were made for.  So, we're supposed to live the same way they do.  Husband should give of himself totally to his wife.  His wife should give of herself completely back to her husband.  And this mutual self-donation, from this love communion between them, comes a what - a third person, a baby!  So, that's what it's all about.  We're supposed to image the Divine Family, and anything that cuts off our ability to do that, i.e., contraception, is wrong!  We're no longer living like God, if we're contracepting.  And that what it's all about." (Matthew Leonard, 5/16/2012)
  • "Each of...three major developments in the field of reproductive medicine - the release of the birth control pill, the legalization of abortion, and the introduction of in vitro fertilization - has had a major [deleterious] impact on the practice of obstetrics and gynecology and the health care of women....[Fertility awareness can instead be taught to wives and husbands:] "These observations are easy to do and require very little time" (Dr. Thomas Hilgers, 2010)
  • "337. What is the plan of God regarding man and woman?  God Who is love and Who created man and woman for love has called them to love. By creating man and woman He called them to an intimate communion of life and of love in marriage: ‘So that they are no longer two, but one flesh’ (Matthew 19:6). God said to them in blessing ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28).” 

    "338. For what ends has God instituted Matrimony? 
    The marital union of man and woman, which is founded and endowed with its own proper laws by the Creator, is by its very nature ordered to the communion and good of the couple and to the generation and education of children. According to the original divine plan this conjugal union is indissoluble, as Jesus Christ affirmed: ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ (Mark 10:9).”

    "347. What sins are gravely opposed to the sacrament of Matrimony?  Adultery and polygamy are opposed to the sacrament of matrimony because they contradict the equal dignity of man and woman and the unity and exclusivity of married love.  Other sins include the deliberate refusal of one’s procreative potential which deprives conjugal love of the gift of children and divorce which goes against the indissolubility of marriage.”

    "456. What is the nature of the family in the plan of God?  A man and a woman united in marriage form a family together with their children.  God instituted the family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution.  Marriage and the family are ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children. Members of the same family establish among themselves personal relationships and primary responsibilities. In Christ the family becomes the domestic church because it is a community of faith, of hope, and of charity."

    "496. What is the meaning of the conjugal act?  The conjugal act has a twofold meaning: unitive (the mutual self-giving of the spouses) and procreative (an openness to the transmission of life). No one may  break the inseparable connection which God has established between these two meanings of the conjugal act by excluding one or the other of them." 

    "497. When is it moral to regulate births?  The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods."  

    "498. What are immoral means of birth control?  Every action – for example, direct sterilization or contraception – is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.”(Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church).
  • "the history of the way in which the Church has proposed the teaching on contraception clearly shows that the criteria for infallibility have been met" (John Ford, SJ and German Grisez, 1978)

  • "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.  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.  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" (Pope Paul VI, 1968).
  • "Every active intervention on the part of the spouses, which eliminates the possibility of conception through the conjugal act, is incompatible with the holy mystery of the superabundant relation in the incredible gift offered by God....To make use of natural family planning is not to imply the slightest irreverence or rebellion against God's institution and the wonderful link between the love union and procreation" (Dietrich von Hildebrand, 1968).
  • "the marriage act purged of impurities is the nearest thing to the beatific vision we can know....To offer the suffering of celibacy, temporary or permanent, to the Lord is to make use, in the best possible way, of man's greatest joy...." (Servant of God Dorothy Day, 12/10/1966)
  • "there is no greater mystery in the natural order of things than the fact that this closest of all unions procreates a human being with an immortal soul (although the soul, in each case, is a direct creation of God), and that this act brings a new being into existence destined to love God and to adore Him, a new being made after His image....How terrible to think of man wanting to destroy this unity which God has established so mysteriously, deeming those united in the highest earthly union of love worthy to take part in His creative power" (Dietrich von Hildebrand, 1929)

"If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: `They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit[']" (Pope Pius XI, 1930).

Natural Family Planning (USCCB)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice" (Jesus, circa 33 A.D.).

(Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States with Introductory Note, 11/17/15)

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference's "alerts" include the following:


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Alerts Central" includes the following:


As per the USCCB: "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, Justice for Immigrants."

 

As per the USCCB, "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the National Committee for the Human Life Amendment."  The NCHLA's "Current Action Alerts" include the following:

(We need our elected officials to absolutely oppose ANY monies going to Planned ParenthoodEmail Representative Fitzpatrick, Senator Casey, and Senator Toomey, asking for all federal funding of Planned Parenthood to stop.    Email all of Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg, asking for all state funding of Planned Parenthood to stop.)

As per a Letter to Senator McConnell, Senator Reid, Speaker Boehner, and House Minority Leader Pelosi, in support of Representative Chis Smith's HR 1150 (Ken Starr, Archbishop Chaput, Alan Dershowitz, Matthew Franck, Maryann Glendon, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Bishop William Murphy, Pastor Rick Warren, Cardinal Wuerl and others, 7/14/15):

  • "....We are witnessing a tragic, global crisis in religious persecution, violence, and terrorism, with dire consequences for religious minorities and for the national security of the United States....H.R. 1150 would...give Ambassador Saperstein the status that other ambassadors at large at the Department of State enjoy, the authority to develop an interagency strategy to protect global religious freedom, and the resources he needs to implement that strategy. It would also mandate training for all foreign service officers, deputy chiefs of mission, and country ambassadors...." 



"Alerts" from the following also deserve your consideration:


News Items

  • "Authentic mercy is evangelical. It proceeds from the belief that God’s grace has the power to transform us. Ironically, a pastoral strategy that minimizes sin in the name of mercy cannot be merciful, because it is dishonest" (Archbishop Chaput, First Things, December 2015).
  • "Philadelphia Planned Parenthood Clinics Caught Storing Aborted Babies in Bags in Janitor’s Closet" (11/19/15)
  • "‘Truly alarming’: Sydney archbishop decries gvmt investigation of bishop for defending marriage" (11/17/15)
  • "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States with Introductory Note" (11/17/15)
  • "Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography" (11/17/15)
    • "Proposed HHS regulation could require insurers to cover abortion, transgender surgery" (11/12/15)
    • "Psychological Science and the Evaluation of Nullity" (11/9/15)
    • "Why are we not protecting married couples from the violence of contraception — the divorce of unitive and procreative aspects of the beautiful gift of sexuality? Why are we afraid of helping our brothers and sisters to live in truth, according to their dignity?" (Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, 11/6/15)
    • "the marriage act purged of impurities is the nearest thing to the beatific vision we can know....To offer the suffering of celibacy, temporary or permanent, to the Lord is to make use, in the best possible way, of man's greatest joy " (10/21/15)
    • "the Sexual Revolution ushered in the scourge of abortion, pornography, and sexual abuse so rampant in recent decades. Instead of real and authentic love, this false 'liberty' offers cheap pleasures that mask a deeper loneliness and pain. Instead of the security of traditional family bonds, it leaves children longing for the stability of a mother’s and a father’s love....Today’s attack on fatherhood, and by extension, motherhood, is multi-pronged and breathtakingly damaging. 41% of children are born into unmarried homes in our day, an increase of 700% from 1950" (Bishop Thomas Olmstead, 9/29/15).
    •  re: "The Revision and Updating of the Charter for Healthcare Workers (5/6/15)"
    • "Who is going to save our Church? "Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious" (Archbishop Sheen, June 1972).

    Friday, November 20, 2015

    "Philadelphia Planned Parenthood Clinics Caught Storing Aborted Babies in Bags in Janitor’s Closet" (LifeNews.com)

    http://www.lifenews.com/2015/11/19/philadelphia-planned-parenthood-clinics-caught-storing-aborted-babies-in-bags-in-janitors-closet/

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    "Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography" (EXCERPTS from the USCCB's magnificent document)

    It is abundantly clear that this beautiful, challenging, and refreshing document draws heavily from St Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.  Like a loving parent, it is incredibly pastoral, AS IT TELLS IT LIKE IT IS!

       ....
    ....

    For the full document: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/pornography/upload/Create-in-Me-a-Clean-Heart-Statement-on-Pornography.pdf

    "‘Truly alarming’: Sydney archbishop decries gvmt investigation of bishop for defending marriage" (LifeSiteNews)

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/truly-alarming-sydneys-archbishop-decries-gvmt-investigation-of-bishop-for?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=db58684dbd-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_06_19_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0caba610ac-db58684dbd-397665697

    "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" (USCCB)

    http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Proposed HHS regulation could require insurers to cover abortion, transgender surgery : News Headlines | Catholic Culture

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=26679

    A "P.S." to the USCCB's alerts

    http://capwiz.com/justiceforimmigrants/callalert/index.tt?alertid=68637626

    Mother Teresa

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-vatican-sets-date-to-canonize-mother-teresa-reports-say?utm_source=LifePetitions+petition+signers&utm_campaign=76b35d51d8-Update_to_Catholic_list11_18_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c5c75ce940-76b35d51d8-398671369

    "Rick Santorum Tags Ben Carson: My Bill to Save Terri Schiavo Was Not 'Much Ado About Nothing'" (LifeNews.com)

    http://www.lifenews.com/2015/11/17/rick-santorum-tags-ben-carson-my-bill-to-save-terri-schiavo-was-not-much-ado-about-nothing/

    "Tell Congress & Your Governor to Welcome Syrian Refugees!" (USCCB)

    http://capwiz.com/justiceforimmigrants/callalert/index.tt?alertid=68637626

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    Alerts and News Items

    The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference's "alerts" currently include the following:


    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Alerts Central" currently includes the following:


    As per the USCCB: "Action alerts for issues related to immigration reform can be found through the USCCB-led Catholic coalition, Justice for Immigrants."

     

    As per the USCCB, "Action alerts for pro-life issues can also be found through our partner organization, the National Committee for the Human Life Amendment."  The NCHLA's "Current Action Alerts" include the following:


    (We need our elected officials to absolutely oppose ANY monies going to Planned ParenthoodEmail Representative Fitzpatrick, Senator Casey, and Senator Toomey, asking for all federal funding of Planned Parenthood to stop.    Email all of Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg, asking for all state funding of Planned Parenthood to stop.)

    As per a Letter to Senator McConnell, Senator Reid, Speaker Boehner, and House Minority Leader Pelosi, in support of Representative Chis Smith's HR 1150 (Ken Starr, Archbishop Chaput, Alan Dershowitz, Matthew Franck, Maryann Glendon, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Bishop William Murphy, Pastor Rick Warren, Cardinal Wuerl and others, 7/14/15):

    • "....We are witnessing a tragic, global crisis in religious persecution, violence, and terrorism, with dire consequences for religious minorities and for the national security of the United States....H.R. 1150 would...give Ambassador Saperstein the status that other ambassadors at large at the Department of State enjoy, the authority to develop an interagency strategy to protect global religious freedom, and the resources he needs to implement that strategy. It would also mandate training for all foreign service officers, deputy chiefs of mission, and country ambassadors...." 




    "Alerts" from the following also deserve your consideration:

     

    News Items

    •  Playing God and Making $ Doing So! (11/16/15)
    • The U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities - 37th Anniversary (11/15/15)
    • "Informed of the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris and at the Stade de France, killing a great number of people and wounding many others, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of families affected by the drama and the pain of the French people. He invokes God, Father of mercy, asking that He welcome the victims into the peace of His light and bring comfort and hope to the injured and their families. He assures them, and all of the personnel participating in aid efforts, of his spiritual closeness. Once again, the Holy Father vigorously condemns violence, which cannot solve anything, and he asks God to inspire thoughts of peace and solidarity in all and to impart on families in this trial and on all of the French people, the abundance of His Blessings" (Vatican Radio, 11/14/15).
    • "Not all American states have placidly accepted the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v Hodges to declare same-sex marriage constitutional. Some are listening to advice from legal scholars ...[to] refuse to accept Obergefell as binding precedent'....Abraham Lincoln ignored the Court’s 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which declared that blacks could not be citizens and Congress could not ban slavery in federal territories" (Michael Cook, Signs of push-back against Obergefell, 11/13/15).
    • "Bishop Athanasius Schneider gave a strong defense of marriage on Friday, October 16....:

      Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal Word and the Eternal Truth in Person, restored the original dignity of human nature in a most wonderful manner, also regarding the sexuality of the human being, which was created in a wonderful manner in the beginning.

      Through the fall in sin, the dignity of human sexuality had also been wounded. Because of the hardheartedness of the fallen man, there was introduced by Moses even divorce, and this contrary to the absolute indissolubility which God commanded. 

      Also the Pharisees and scribes had known the divine truths about the beginning of marriage, they nevertheless endured to receive from Jesus, as from a well-known and recognized teacher, the legitimization of the practice of divorce, a practice which was already widely adopted in those times, perhaps for ‘pastoral reasons.’ 

      They asked Jesus about basic legitimacy of divorce. Jesus proclaimed to them, and through His Gospel He still proclaims to the man of all times the ever-valid and unchangeable divine truths about marriage: ‘In the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever shall put away his wife and shall marry another commits adultery.’

      Jesus restored in all its seriousness and beauty the divine truth about marriage and human sexuality. Regarding these divine truths which Christ authoritatively proclaimed, he did not admit any sophisms.

      "....In the 16th century several Catholic bishops accepted the divorce of King Henry VIII – indeed, all the English bishops did, except for Bishop John Fisher, who was executed for his resistance. His Excellency also noted the heroism of Saint Thomas More, who joined Bishop Fisher and was also martyred for his defense of the Faith and of marriage. Of course, a schism followed, leading the creation of the king-led Church of England" (Human Life International, 11/11/15)
    • "Why are we not protecting married couples from the violence of contraception — the divorce of unitive and procreative aspects of the beautiful gift of sexuality? Why are we afraid of helping our brothers and sisters to live in truth, according to their dignity?" (Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, 11/6/15)
    • "After Germany passed a law Friday which permits assisted suicide for 'altruistic' motives but not for 'business' ones, at least one German 'assisted suicide association' has signaled it will challenge the legislation....Up to now, there has been a legislative void in Germany around assisted suicide and euthanasia, a controversial issue in the country because of its historic connection to the Nazis.
      During the operation of their clandestine euthanasia program, begun as a eugenic measure in 1939, the Nazis systematically murdered an estimated 200,000 mentally and physically disabled children and adults in institutions in Germany and its territories" (LifeSiteNews, 11/6/15).
    • "Guy Fawkes Night was created as an explicit celebration of the death of Catholic England on the pyre of the Protestant Reformation....

      "Fawkes was born in York in 1570, and is the most famous of the Gunpowder Plotters, a group of English Catholics incensed at King James I’s refusal to offer them the freedom to practice their traditional religion....

      "the Reformation was not a gentle evolution....It was a violent rupture with our country's recent history, achieved at the point of a sword.  Only two generations before Guy's, England had been an integral part of Christendom....

      "By the time Parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act, the country was adrift from its cultural heritage, charting a course west to the New World....

      "In a strange twist, the Catholic faith that had sustained England for centuries was now labelled 'foreign'....

      "it has been traditional to present the Reformation as an organic intellectual wave — a fresh current quietly flowing over Europe, bringing change and relief from existing sufferings....it was anything but a quiet pulpit revolution. Change was effected by a brutal battle of attrition fought with hangings, burnings, and bloodshed, in England and on the continent....Here in England we had our own fanatics — men like Thomas Cromwell, who plundered the Church and universities to line his pockets and those of his henchmen, and who used the power of the State to ruthlessly murder those who got in his way, irrespective of gender or age.  As we have seen from the reactions to the book and television series of Wolf Hall, outright ahistorical inventions like a tender Cromwell and a ghoulish [Saint Thomas] More can still be provocative in a society for which there remain sensitivities to Reformation-related propaganda....

      "The ins and outs of Britain’s complex religious history are no longer a prominent part of the annual fifth of November celebrations. If anything, the event is blurring into — or being overshadowed by — Halloween, at which Guy Fawkes 'Anonymous' masks are becoming ever more popular....From the outset of Henry[VIII]’s self-serving reforms there had been widespread civic unrest and protest.... Elizabeth continued the crackdown on English Catholics....

      "Fawkes was guilty of treason, but in the modern day we struggle to understand the state oppression he faced in this country" (The Telegraph, 11/5/15)
    • "the marriage act purged of impurities is the nearest thing to the beatific vision we can know....To offer the suffering of celibacy, temporary or permanent, to the Lord is to make use, in the best possible way, of man's greatest joy " (10/21/15)
    • "the Sexual Revolution ushered in the scourge of abortion, pornography, and sexual abuse so rampant in recent decades. Instead of real and authentic love, this false 'liberty' offers cheap pleasures that mask a deeper loneliness and pain. Instead of the security of traditional family bonds, it leaves children longing for the stability of a mother’s and a father’s love....Today’s attack on fatherhood, and by extension, motherhood, is multi-pronged and breathtakingly damaging. 41% of children are born into unmarried homes in our day, an increase of 700% from 1950" (Bishop Thomas Olmstead, 9/29/15).

    •  re: "The Revision and Updating of the Charter for Healthcare Workers (5/6/15)"
        • "Who is going to save our Church? "Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious" (Archbishop Sheen, June 1972).

        Sunday, November 15, 2015

        The U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities - 37th anniversary

        November 18th marks the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities:

          "Concern for people with disabilities was one of the prominent notes of Jesus' earthly ministry. When asked by John's disciples, 'Are you He who is to come or do we look for another?' Jesus responded with words recalling the prophecies of Isaiah 'Go back and report to John what you hear and see; the blind recover their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.' (Mt. 11:3-5) Persons with disabilities become witnesses for Christ, His healing of their bodies a sign of the spiritual healing He brought to all people. 'Which is less trouble to say, ''Your sins are forgiven'' or ''Stand up and walk?'' To help you realize that the Son has authority on earth to forgive sins' -- He then said to the paralyzed man -- 'Stand up! Roll up your mat and go home' (Mt. 9:5f)....
          "All too often, abortion and postnatal neglect are promoted by arguing that the infant will survive only to suffer a life of pain and deprivation. We find this reasoning appalling....
          "It is not enough merely to affirm the rights of people with disabilities. We must actively work to make them real in the fabric of modern society....
          "Accessibility involves far more than physical alterations to parish buildings. Realistic provision must be made for persons with disabilities to participate fully in the Eucharist and other liturgical celebrations such as the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick. The experiences and needs of individuals with disabilities vary, as do those of any group of people....Celebrating liturgies simultaneously in sign language enables the deaf person to enter more deeply into their spirit and meaning. Participation aids such as Mass books and hymnals in large print or Braille serve the same purpose for blind or partially sighted members."
        Thirty-seven years later, we too find "appalling" the many hideous arguments for abortion and euthanasia, attempting to justify crimes against humanity with outrageous claims that people are being saved from lives of "pain and deprivation."  Against these voices of death, our embrace of people with disabilities should be clear, bold, and loud.  Yet at least for some groups of people with disabilities, it does not appear that their representation in our parishes matches their representation in the general population.  For example, 

        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, available amplification, 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). 

        As of 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 0.5% of individuals over the age of 15 to have a severe hearing loss, while 0.6% of those under 15 had difficulty hearing conversations.  Less formal estimates of how many people utilized ASL varied between a half million and two million.

        Across the United States, there are extremely few priests who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).  Few Sunday Masses can be celebrated in ASL; Sunday Masses are also conveyed by sign language interpreters. 
        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.

          "'A Study Guide to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church' (11/18/15 marks the 37th anniversary of the US Bishops Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities)"

          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