Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer and Our Possible Future

The following is the complete text of’s interview with Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International:

LSN: We see the crisis of abortion sometimes in isolation. We look at individual problems like the health care bill in the US, or the threat to national sovereignty presented by the Lisbon Treaty, or we look at a particular political party or candidate and we focus our attention on those things, but we need also to look at the larger picture. What does the abortion crisis, and the moral crisis, presage in the larger realm?

TE: A moral degradation precedes social and political degradation. And we see a take-over of the financial system. We see a dismantling of the free market as we know it, which is a hallmark of western democracy. We see a socialization of huge industries, such as the health care industry, even the insurance industry is part of this process of socialization. I say it is not remarkable that it is happening now.

You mention that it has already happened in Europe and we’re now catching up. Of course, because Europe legalized abortion, Europe had their moral degradation prior to us. And now they’re seeing a rapid systematic dismantling of their economies.

LSN: Can a line between legalized abortion and the financial crisis be drawn clearly?

TE: The line to me is the spiritual and moral dimension of it. The spiritual and moral affect everything that we do. But usually because there is a greater accountability in the financial and economic realm of things, it takes longer for that to degrade. When people start losing money, they begin to wake up. And God allows that because when people do not recognize the demands of morality and the demands of God, the only thing they’re willing to listen to oftentimes is their pocket book. There’s a great possibility in all these structural changes that are happening now that people could turn around and become moral again, because of the financial crisis. Also, any type of disaster turns people back to God, as we saw after 9-11. We didn’t sustain that because we got back on our feet economically.

LSN: Do you anticipate a social crisis similar to that of Britain in the US?

TE: The social crisis happens when we elect people to rule over us who are immoral. That is not an isolated incident anymore. We have immoral activists at every branch of government and everywhere we turn around the pagans are in charge of our institutions. So people who don’t have a moral bearing to elect other moral people, elect immoral politicians and people to serve over them, eventually end up reaping the fruit of those immoral decisions. So immoral lifestyles produce immoral leaders.

LSN: This should come as a surprise to no one, though.

TE: It’s not. It’s happened in every society that has reached its pinnacle of civilization and then collapsed. Look at Carthage, the Phoenician empire was much more powerful than Rome for a period of time. But Carthage had a religion that offered human sacrifice of babies. Eventually it degraded from within and collapsed on itself.

LSN: What do you anticipate then, with our global culture?

TE: We’ve got a serious crisis on the horizon. I’m not a prophet of doom but I don’t see this going any other way but a serious political crisis that’s going to affect the globe.

LSN: You don’t think there is going to be a backlash? A natural return to moral sanity? In Britain, even if most people don’t understand why the situation is so bad, they are clearly fed up with Blairism and are going to kick the Labour Party out. Do you think that people will say “enough” before a global social disaster?

TE: The only way we can avert a global collapse is by a moral conversion. Once again, we have to reverse the process. Just to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, is not a way to stop the collapse, the sinking of the Titanic. We have to turn back to God. And if people get fed up and just elect another political party that is just as bad as the previous political party, it does nothing to stem the global crisis that’s going to come upon us. What we need is a conversion of heart.

LSN: How is this going to come about, barring a massive disaster?

TE: It’s going to be the natural result of suffering. People turn back to God when they suffer. People can turn back to God because they listen to reason. Or because they hear good preaching or because they have good moral leadership. It could also happen that way, where if the Church were living up to its vocation – and I mean mainly Church leadership – then the people have a fighting chance of turning this back.

A good example of where it’s not happening was this summer. Many of us were happy that people were attending the townhall meetings and tea parties and yelling and screaming, but it was all about the economics. Where were these people when they were killing babies? Where are these people since they are continuing to kill babies. Where is this kind of anger generated by that?

Biblically, we see Nineveh, as a sign that this kind of thing can happen. They responded to God’s grace.

LSN: So where’s our Jonah?

TE: (Pope) Benedict, and John Paul before him, they are true prophets. We have witnesses such as Terri Schiavo who was a victim. They are victim witnesses. We have the witnesses of holiness in the lives of sanctity that we see proposed to us by the Church throughout the ages, but in the modern age we are not lacking at all.

LSN: But we’ve had martyrs, modern martyrs, so where’s the miracle? Where’s the big conversion?

TE: I think because the seriousness of the shedding of innocent blood through the 20th century into the 21st century, the spiritual deficit is too great. The scales are tipped too low, and I really believe that we’re going to need a great martyrdom in order to return the balance. Abraham Lincoln, believe it or not, said that the cost of slavery was all the blood shed in the Civil War. And I believe ... how will we pay back the cost of abortion? Our trillion-dollar debt in the United States isn’t anything in comparison to the actual debt that we owe to reality and to God and to the human race even for the killing of innocents.

50 million is what is killed every year around the world. It’s a global genocide and it’s totally unrepented.

And with contraception and abortion, we’re basically committing mass suicide on a global scale.

LSN: Lots of people have been sounding the trumpet of warning for a long time...

TE: It’s human nature. Human nature doesn’t listen. My mother always says those who do not listen must feel. You get the message when you feel it hurting you and striking you back. I believe that is very much the way human nature operates. It’s the law of nature that we are slothful until we’re woken up. The Gospels have so many messages saying not only ‘stay awake’ but ‘wake up!’ and see what is happening around you and if you don’t then death happens.

LSN: Death happens?

TE: The principle is that what happens under the surface eventually comes out into the open. So the killing of babies eventually leads to the euthanizing of elderly and sick people. That’s the law. It happens infallibly. It’s part of the moral law of nature, the moral dimension of nature, that if you don’t see something that is so necessary to see on a personal scale, eventually it becomes social, so that you can’t miss it.

The sad part is that we might as individuals and even as a majority of society we might see it, we might get the message. But we’ve elected these clowns who don’t get the message.

LSN: Why do we who see the problem and keep electing the same ‘clowns’ then?

TE: They see it but they don’t really see it. Because seeing it has implications for action. And if they’re not willing to act according to what they see, then they’re not part of the solution.

But it’s probably more a question of people not having good leadership. People become paralyzed very easily when they feel isolated. You’re only one vote, you’re just one person, what can you do? But if you had leadership that is saying ‘follow me, we’ll all do this together’ then we would have much more impact on society.

LSN: Where is the leadership? Here we are, there’s the dome of St. Peter’s right out that window...

TE: We have individual leaders that are stellar. Such as here, in Archbishop (Raymond) Burke. I think the man is just a modern saint. And his leadership does not go unnoticed. However as just one individual bishop there’s only so much he can do. We don’t have conferences of bishops that are giving us leadership as a body of bishops. When will that come? It will probably only come when [the secular governments] start forcing the bishops to pay for abortions. Those who do not listen must feel.

LSN: People are saying that there has been a surprisingly strong reaction from the US bishops to abortion funding in the American health care bill. Where’s that coming from?

TE: I think there are more bishops who are seeing it for what it is. There are more bishops who have less of the liberal agenda and are just more Catholic. When their number increases then we have more leadership in the body of bishops.

LSN: Has there been a backlash by the Catholic bishops against the attempts to force Catholic health care services to provide contraception and abortion in places like Massachusetts?

TE: In some ways the bishops’ hands are tied because they don’t have control over the Catholic health care any more. In most cases the bishops are not the owners of these institutions. They can only exercise moral leadership and not legal control over an entity. That being said, they can exercise a great deal of influence over these institutions as well and when they’re willing to do it, they have incredible influence.

Pro-abortion forces in the US government are becoming more aggressive against [the bishops]. That’s where I think the bishops as a body will stand up and make stronger statements as time goes on because more is going to be threatened. Not just the tax-exempt status but Catholic institutions, Catholic identity and they will have to defend that or they will not be Catholic.

That’s why I think that something like abortion, because it’s proposed and spread as a personal choice, is much more difficult to deal with than communism because communism is imposed from the outside. This health care situation, the socializing of medicine and the attack on our fundamental values, could be the wake-up call that we need. Because it is an external imposition on us that runs contrary to our values, militates against our values. And in order to defend those basic identity issues the bishops have to do something.

LSN: I’ll give you the case of the government of Britain forcing the closure or secularization of Catholic adoption agencies. When the British Labour government, in the person of Tony Blair, refused to give a religious exemption to the Sexual Orientation Regulations, the bishops shrugged and secularized their adoption agencies. So they’ve lost the Catholic service of adoption in Britain.

TE: And they may lose more. As the attacks against our values and institutions get more militant, they’re going to have to make those very hard decisions. Our point is that they’ve had the question of the salvation of souls as a perennial question for them and in a lot of those cases they haven’t done anything. Souls are being lost. Now they’re talking about the loss of health care institutions, which is nothing in value to compare with the loss of a soul. So maybe this is the way that the Catholic leadership will wake up and realize that there is so much that potentially can be lost here and get them back on their mission putting the salvation of souls as their primary concern.

I’ve always said, and I’ll continue to say it, for a bishop to be a real bishop, he has to be willing to go to war. That is a war not only with the secular culture but often times the most difficult part of that is the war with his own people. To make them truly Catholic and to witness to them.

LSN: Have there been concrete gains from the faithfulness of the people in the movement to restore sanity?

TE: We need to watch the things that don’t get a lot of press, and that is the movements, such as the pro-life movement. It’s important to keep an eye on the people who are doing good things and the way they are doing them. I think the unsung heroes of the pro-life movement are the crisis pregnancy centres. This very humble, down-to-earth grassroots movement that gets no press at all but they’re saving babies and saving souls every single day out there. 40 Days for Life, positive things like that, the March for Life, we have plenty of things to keep us enthusiastic in this war.

Every war is discouraging because you lose some battles. And sometimes you lose a lot of battles before you actually win one and then turn the tide. So I think we need encouraging things, to find and promote them to show people that all is not lost.

LSN: Are there signs that the tide is turning?

TE: No. I don’t think the tide is turning. I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet. I think the crisis we were talking about earlier will be the way in which the tide turns. Again, I’m not predicting anything, I just have this intuition that the way things are going, they’re getting worse, they’re declining, they’re dismantling, and that can only mean some form of major destruction down the road. The ones who are now presently on the side of the angels are the ones who are going to get through that. And to bring others along with them back to God.

We can talk about the wonderful people who are already doing that, the saints who are out there on the streets, living their faith and making great sacrifices and those stories need to be told.

And we have to keep in mind that Obama doesn’t define life. I’m an exorcist, and I tell all the people who I work with that the demons do not define your life. They are painful and terrible, however long it may take to remove them and get you back to health, you have to keep this message in mind. That you are not defined by evil. You are defined by God, by Jesus Christ. And the return that some of these people have to make after living terrible lives, and paying the price for that, is part of the reason why God allows evil in the world. It serves a purpose in the overall work of the Kingdom. He allows evil in order to bring something good out of it. In fact something even better than it would have been had evil not been present.

LSN: So this unimaginably huge evil, 50 million people being killed a year...

TE: ...will produce an unimaginably marvelous good, if we are men and women of faith and we look for it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Call to Something Greater

Well, here's a story you don't see every day.

Grant Desme, a 23-year-old minor league outfielder in Oakland's system, is retiring from baseball to follow a calling into the Catholic priesthood.

The story was first reported by Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi — perhaps appropriately with that first name of his — and this isn't a case of a struggling player going through an early-life crisis. Desme was ranked the A's eighth-best prospect by Baseball America after hitting .288 with 31 home runs and 89 RBIs in A ball in 2009 and he was just named MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

Desme might have even been a late-season callup to the big league club in 2010. Our Y! Sports 2010 fantasy guide has him ranked the 40th-best minor-league prospect for near-term fantasy purpose. However, ESPN's Rob Neyer disagrees, saying that he didn't see Desme as a future star by the Bay.

Susan Slusser has more on Desme's decision to leave playing against the Padres and Cardinals so he can start praying with other padres and cardinals at a Catholic seminary in Orange County. He said the news came as bit of a shock to Billy Beane, but that the Oakland GM and entire A's system have been supportive of his decision.

Said Desme on a Friday afternoon conference call:

"I'm doing well in baseball. But I had to get down to the bottom of things, to what was good in my life, what I wanted to do with my life. Baseball is a good thing, but that felt selfish of me when I felt that God was calling me more. It took awhile to trust that and open up to it and aim full steam toward him ... I love the game, but I'm going to aspire to higher things."

Desme spoke with Baseball America last year about baseball being only "a game" and we wish him success on his spiritual path. In a selfish age when churches struggle to recruit young male Americans, his sacrifice of possible riches is a very admirable thing.

Friday, August 28, 2009


On this his Feast Day, some of my favorite Confessions from Augustine:

What return shall I make to the Lord for my ability to recall these things with no fear in my soul? I will love you, Lord, and thank you, and praise your name, because you have forgiven me such great sins and such wicked deeds. I acknowledge that it was by your grace and mercy that you melted away my sins like ice. I ask, too, that by your grace I was preserved from whatever sins I did not commit, for there was no knowing what I might have done, since I loved evil even if it served no purpose. I avow that you have forgiven me all, both the sins which I committed of my own accord and those which by your guidance I was spared from committing.

A statement is not necessarily true because it is wrapped in fine language or false because it is awkwardly expressed...An assertion is not necessarily true because it is badly expressed or false because it is finely spoken. I had learnt that wisdom and folly are like different kinds of food. Some are wholesome and others are not, but both can be served equally well on the finest china dish or the meanest earthenware. In just the same way, wisdom and folly can be clothed alike in plain words or the finest flowers of speech.

Men love the truth when it bathes them in its light: they hate it when it proves them wrong. Because they hate to be deceived themselves, but are glad if they can deceive others, they love the truth when it is revealed to them but hate it when it reveals that they are wrong.

...evil is nothing but the removal of good until finally no good remains.

The man who serves you best is the one who is less intent on hearing from you what he wills to hear than on shaping his will according to what he hears from you.

Give me the grace to do as you command, and command me to do what you will!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Children and the Mass

Once you have children, you're able to relate to this entire piece:


How many times has the following happened to you?

Your baby or toddler is crying inconsolably at Mass. You look around and you think the entire congregation is giving you a stern stare. The message written on the people´s faces seems to say, "How dare you bring in a distraction to the serious work of the liturgy!" The celebrant gives no hint of hearing anything, but somehow you just know that his entire attention is on the screams. Convinced that the whole world is looking at your child, you plan a way to furtively sneak to the back of the church.

In searching for a way to deal with this problem, my wife, April, and I have discovered two extremely helpful tools. The first is Scripture, which has molded our attitudes toward bringing children to Mass. The second is the discovery of some "child psychology," which helps us to cope with "Mass hysteria."

The Rights of Baptism.

As we struggled with the challenges of bringing our children to Mass, we found two Scripture passages that helped us to see things from a new perspective. The first is the account of how Jesus loved the children:

[T]hey were bringing children to Him, that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it He was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands upon them (Mk. 10:13-16).

This scene from the life of Jesus demonstrates that He embraces little people as much as big people. From Jesus´ point of view, children are not a distraction to His "real" ministry to adults. He becomes upset when adults keep children away from Him because He wants to bless them too.

The Church frequently refers to this passage when it meditates upon the meaning of infant Baptism, which welcomes children into the family of God. Children are part of the Church today. By baptizing our children we are giving them the right to worship God with us. These children are full-fledged, card-carrying citizens of God´s Kingdom. Therefore, parents are obliged to nourish their children by bringing them to Christ at Mass.

Those Guilty Feelings.

Even though we came to understand that Jesus calls our toddlers to worship every Sunday with us, we still felt guilty about the occasional commotion at church. Before our children were born, we felt free to leave home early and spend some time before Mass in preparation and prayer. Now, just getting there is a major undertaking. Once we get to church our attention is divided between the Mass and our children. We go potty during the readings, intervene in squabbles during the Creed, and chase kids down the pew during the consecration.

We questioned whether we were spiritually benefitting from the Mass because our attention was elsewhere. But God revealed another portrait of Jesus that allayed our concerns: the story of the feeding of the five thousand:

Then [Jesus] ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children (Matthew 14:19-21).

We had read this passage many times, but it was not until we had children that we noticed the phrase "besides women and children." All of a sudden this scene took on a fresh meaning. There were families present! Have you ever been in a stadium filled with thousands of families? There is always commotion somewhere. The movement of people standing up and sitting down is punctuated with all sorts of noises. Yet "all ate and were satisfied," not just the 5,000 men. Jesus made sure there was more than enough for those who today would be sitting in the crying room or on "potty duty."

God blessed us with children and He will never ask us to leave our blessing(s) at the door when we enter the church. We are to come to Him as parents. He understands the responsibilities of being a parent and He will not penalize us for carrying out those obligations.

Practical Considerations.

With these Scripture passages in mind we started to rethink our attitudes about bringing our children to Mass. It became obvious that the children´s rightful place is at Mass with us. True, there are still times when they are disruptive and must be removed for the sake of others who want to pray. But in most cases it is easier to manage children if we acknowledge several facts of life and use them to our advantage.

Children will attract attention, even when they are being good.

People will always notice them because, quite simply, all children are adorable and they do cute things. The expectation that they will attract attention should not be a reason for not bringing them to church.

Embarrassing moments often are funny in retrospect and make wonderful memories. Our daughter is a special girl for our deacon because she was the first baby he baptized. Once, she suddenly darted out into the aisle during Mass and flashed her belly button at him. He noticed it and tried very hard to keep from bursting out laughing. It was only by looking away from her he was able to contain himself.

Children do not see the world from an adult perspective.

It is easy to forget that children are short and often the only thing they see is the back of the person sitting in front of them. We sit in front so that the children can get a good view of the action at the altar. It is amazing how much easier it becomes for them to stay in one place for an hour when they can watch what happens in front of them.

Children also differ from adults in how they interpret what they see and hear. This was brought home one day when our three-year-old daughter pointed at the crucifix and exclaimed: "Daddy, Jesus is wearing a bathing suit!" Children, however, can appreciate the words and actions of the liturgy if it is explained to them at their level.

It helps to tie in everyday home life with what happens at Mass. Children may not understand the readings but they know about bedtime stories and about Bible stories. They may not understand the theology of the Eucharist as a sacrificial meal but they do know what food is. They can relate to setting the table, washing hands, bringing the food, saying a blessing, eating, and clearing the table. Other things they are familiar with are lighting candles, singing songs, and making the Sign of the Cross.

Children are naturally curious.

Children absorb all the wonderful sights and sounds that surround them. Walking through a church can offer innumerable teachable moments. Every object in a church has a reason for being there. Occasionally come to church early and make a game of finding and naming various sacred objects. Look for the baptismal font, the sanctuary light, the dove above the altar, and the crucifix. See what new items you can find. Tell stories about the people, places, or events depicted in the statues, stained glass windows, and paintings. Obtain permission to visit the sanctuary, vesting room, or choir loft.

Once going to church becomes an enjoyable learning experience, it becomes more interesting for the children. Their awareness of their surroundings is expanded and they have a greater variety of things to hold their attention during the liturgy.

Children learn from their parents.

Parents are the primary role models. If you are enthusiastic about going to Mass, the children will quickly absorb the enthusiasm. It is important to keep in mind that by going to church you are not simply going to a large building with pews. You are showing an intense and personal relationship with your Creator that your children will want to imitate. The reason you go to church should not be "for the children´s sake," but to meet Jesus. Therefore, it is the parents´ responsibility to first meet Christ in the Mass before they can model this relationship for their children. This relationship with God is simply the most important gift parents can offer their children.

It is imperative to make Sundays special. Dress up a little and make it a point to have the family spend time together. In our house, we create a sense of anticipation by reminding our children during the week that it will soon be Sunday. We also relate the Mass to things happening during the week. For example, during the mealtime blessing we remind them that we also talk to God at church.

When we were new parents, there were times we dreaded going to Mass as a family. Now we see these moments as times of grace for all of us. This is the time when we nurture the habits our children will bring into their adult lives. Someday, in the not-too-distant future, they will make their baptismal vows on their own. Not long after that, they may have their own families.

By coming together for Mass as a family today, we are discovering what it means to be followers of Christ in the family of God.

Emil Berendt lives in North Plainfield, New Jersey.

This article is reprinted with permission from the March 1998 issue of Lay Witness, the publication of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF).

Monday, June 01, 2009

Reasons Behind The Shift To Pro-Life

For The Bulletin

The major media seemed a bit mystified at the results of a recent Gallup Poll, showing a significant shift to the pro-life point of view.

The national telephone survey of 1,015 adults, age 18 or older, conducted from May 7-10, indicated that 51 percent of Americans now call themselves “pro-life” on abortion, as opposed to the 42 percent who self-identify as “pro-choice.” This marks the first time the pro-life side held the majority since Gallup started posing the question back in 1995.

Given the fact that America just elected a “pro-choice” president, the results might seem surprising, even shocking. However, upon further analysis, there are substantive reasons why the populace is moving to the pro-life end of the spectrum of public opinion:

The campaign against the Freedom of Choice Act — The nation’s Catholic bishops, along with a number of pro-life organizations, including the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, have been waging a very public campaign to stop the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a proposal which would mean virtually no limits on abortion. In fact, FOCA, which President Obama supports, would mean the end of parental consent, conscience clauses, 24-hour waiting periods for abortion, along with the return of the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion. The presumed sponsor of the legislation, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, has indicated that the bill will be introduced soon. However, the delay in its introduction may be indicative of the pressure brought to bear by anti-FOCA campaigns.

Overreaching by the Obama Administration — A Gallup poll conducted earlier this year found that 58 percent of Americans opposed President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap the Mexico City Policy, meaning that most Americans object to their tax money being used for organizations that promote and perform abortions overseas. In fact, when Gallup asked Americans to evaluate seven major policy initiatives undertaken by the White House, the discarding of the Mexico City Policy elicited the most opposition.

Ultrasound puts a face on the abortion debate — With the advent of real-time ultrasound, there can be little debate that at the heart of every pregnancy is an actual baby, not a blob of tissue as advocates of legal abortion have claimed in the past. It’s a little hard to argue “choice” when you see a human being staring back at you.

The testimonies of women and men who have been hurt by abortion — Each abortion leads to two victims — the baby who dies and the mother who’s wounded. Women who regret their abortions are speaking out, talking about the pain, both emotional and physical, that resulted from their abortions. They trace drug addiction, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and sleep disorders to the abortions of their past. Men, too, are grieving and opening up about the devastation abortion has caused in their lives. There is nothing quite so powerful as the complaint of a dissatisfied customer, and the abortion industry has a number of former clients expressing buyer’s remorse.

For years, pro-abortion activists have been talking about a so-called “pro-choice majority.” The Gallup Poll shows that that pool of abortion supporters is now shrinking. With other polls showing that young people tend to be more pro-life than the youth of previous generations, it’s clear that we’re entering a new era in American society, where Americans freely recognize not only the sanctity of life in the womb, but our sacred obligation to protect women from the harm of abortion.

Maria Vitale is the education director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, based in Harrisburg. She can be reached at

Sunday, April 12, 2009

From Death Into Life

As I attended the funeral of a very close cousin of mine who unexpectedly died from complications stemming from leukemia, I thought how Providential it was to occur during Holy Week.

How lovely it is that our God has given us the opposite road of Our Divine Saviour. Jesus was welcomed with palms into Jerusalem and THEN endured his Sorrowful Passion. We sometimes have to endure our own "passions" here on earth before WE are welcomed into the heavenly Jerusalem.

I think of my cousin in his final days, beaten and mocked with health problems, struggling to carry his cross to his own Golgotha - only to see it through on his own Palm Sunday welcoming into eternal life. I pray for his soul that by God's grace and mercy he can forgive him his transgressions and allow him to partake in the Eternal Mass.

Life is precious and so fragile. Endure your passions and know they only exist because God so wills it to purify you like gold.
Our Palm Sunday awaits, but not before our Passion.

"Jesus without the cross is a man without a mission and the cross without Jesus is a burden without a reliever."
- Archbishop Fulton Sheen



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

40 Days to a New You

Found a great site a year or so ago for a Daily Lenten Guide to grow in holiness. Join me these next 40 days and may God bless you...

Friday, January 23, 2009


And now the Vatican has its own YouTube channel, recently launched. See link on sidebar or click here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Imagine the Potential

Here's a great video I wish the MSM would run, but I think we know that would never happen...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bishops Address Opportunities, Challenges for New President, Congress

January 13, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
Presidential Transition Team
Washington, D.C. 20270

Dear Mr. President-elect,

As our nation begins a new year, a new Administration and a new Congress, I write to outline principles and priorities that guide the public policy efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). As President of the Bishops' Conference, I assure you of our prayers, hopes and commitment to make this period of national change a time to advance the common good and defend the life and dignity of all, especially the vulnerable and poor. We continue to seek ways to work constructively with the new Administration and Congress and others of good will to pursue policies which respect the dignity of all human life and bring greater justice to our nation and peace to our world.

As Bishops, we approach public policy as pastors and teachers. Our moral principles have always guided our everyday experience in caring for the hungry and homeless, offering health care and housing, educating children and reaching out to those in need. We lead the largest community of faith in the United States, one that serves every part of our nation and is present in almost every place on earth. From our experience and our tradition, we offer a distinctive, constructive and principled contribution to the national dialogue on how to act together on issues of economic turmoil and suffering, war and violence, moral decency and human dignity.

Our nation now faces economic challenges with potentially tragic human consequences and serious moral dimensions. We will work with the new Administration and Congress to support strong, prudent and effective measures to address the terrible impacts and injustices of the economic crisis. In particular, we will advocate a clear priority for poor families and vulnerable workers in the development and implementation of economic recovery measures, including new investments while strengthening the national safety net. We also support greater accountability and oversight to address irresponsible abuses of the system that contributed to the financial crisis.

The Catholic Bishops of the United States have worked for decades to assure health care for all, insisting that access to decent health care is a basic human right and a requirement of human dignity. We urge comprehensive action to ensure truly universal health care coverage which protects all human life including pre-natal life, and provides access for all, with a special concern for the poor. Any such legislation ought to respect freedom to choose by offering a variety of options and ensuring respect for the moral and religious convictions of patients and providers. Such an approach should seek to restrain costs while sharing them equitably.

On international affairs, we will work with our leaders to seek a responsible transition in an Iraq free of religious persecution. We especially urge early, focused and persistent leadership to bring an end to violent conflict and a just peace in the Holy Land. We will continue to support essential U.S. investments to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through increased and reformed foreign assistance. Continued U.S. leadership in the fight against HIV-AIDS and other diseases in ways that are both effectively and morally appropriate have our enthusiastic backing. Recognizing the complexity of climate change, we wish to be a voice for the poor and vulnerable in our country and around the world who will be the most adversely affected by any dramatic threats to the environment.

We will work with the new Administration and Congress to fix a broken immigration system which harms both our nation and immigrants. Comprehensive reform is needed to deal with the economic and human realities of millions of immigrants in our midst. It must be based on respect for and implementation of the law. Equally it must defend the rights and dignity of all peoples, recognizing that human dignity comes from God and does not depend on where people were born or how they came to our nation. Truly comprehensive immigration reform will include a path to earned citizenship with attention to the fact that international trade and development policies influence economic opportunities in the countries from which immigrants come.

We stand firm in our support for marriage which is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law. In a manner unlike any other relationship, marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good of society, especially through the procreation and education of children. No other kinds of personal relationships can be justly made equivalent to the commitment of a man and a woman in marriage.

With regard to the education of children, we will continue to support initiatives which provide resources for all parents, especially those of modest means, to choose education which best address the needs of their children.

We welcome continuing commitments to empower faith-based groups as effective partners in overcoming poverty and other threats to human dignity. We will work with the Administration and Congress to strengthen these partnerships in ways that do not encourage government to abandon its responsibilities, and do not require religious groups to abandon their identity and mission.

Most fundamentally, we will work to protect the lives of the most vulnerable and voiceless members of the human family, especially unborn children and those who are disabled or terminally ill. We will consistently defend the fundamental right to life from conception to natural death. Opposed to abortion as the direct killing of innocent human life, we will encourage one and all to seek common ground that will reduce the number of abortions in morally sound ways that affirm the dignity of pregnant women and their unborn children. We will oppose legislative and other measures to expand abortion. We will work to retain essential, widely supported policies which show respect for unborn life, protect the conscience rights of health care providers and other Americans, and prevent government funding and promotion of abortion. The Hyde amendment and other provisions which for many years have prevented federal funding of abortion have a proven record of reducing abortions. Efforts to force Americans to fund abortions with their tax dollars would pose a serious moral challenge and jeopardize the passage of essential health care reform.

This outline of USCCB policies and priorities is not complete. There are many other areas of concern and advocacy for the Church and the USCCB especially: religious freedom and other civil and human rights, news media and communications, and issues of war and peace. For a more detailed description of our concerns please see Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (USCCB 2008), pages 19-30.

Nonetheless, we offer this outline as an agenda for dialogue and action. We hope to offer a constructive and principled contribution to national discussion over the values and policies that will shape our nation's future. We seek to work together with our nation's leaders to advance the common good of our society, while disagreeing respectfully and civilly where necessary for preserving that same common good.

In closing, I renew our expression of hope and our offer of cooperation as you begin this new period of service to our nation in these challenging times. We promise our prayers for you, that the days ahead will be a time of renewal and progress for our nation and that we can work together to defend human life and dignity and build a nation of greater justice and a world at peace.

Sincerely yours,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago