Sanctification in Daily Work
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Our Lady of Laus Approved

The Church has approved a series of apparitions from Our Lady to Benedicta Rencurel occurring between 1664 and 1718:

h/t Jimmy Akin

Adult Catechesis Online!

A few months ago our associate pastor and the principal of our parish grade school (who is a part time apologist) started a Sunday night adult faith formation. They have been recording each talk and now 1-7 are available online!

It is so wonderful to see our priest and principal take such an interest in the spiritual formation of those in our parish. As the new principal of our Catholic grade school, Mr. Allen wants to encourage parents to deepen their own knowledge of the faith (which they seriously lack) in order for them to extend their children’s Catholic education outside of school and into the home so that they are better prepared to live out their faith in their daily lives. They’re also reaching out to non-Catholics who might want a better understanding of some Catholic Church teaching. The last three talks of this session will be advertised in our local newspaper. Along with the classes and the audio online, they are making the talks available on CD.

Pope’s Prayer Intentions

Pope BenedictPope Benedict’s prayer intentions for the month of April:

Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention is: “That Christians, even in the difficult and complex situations of present-day society, may not tire of proclaiming with their lives that Christ’s resurrection is the source of peace and of hope”.

His mission intention is: “That the future priests of the young Churches may be constantly more formed culturally and spiritually to evangelize their nations and the whole world”.

H/T American Papist. Also from the Papist: The Popemobile has arrived! Be sure to check out Benedict in America for all the details of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in just 12 days!

Speaking of popes, today is the anniversary of the death of John Paul II. See my post at Reflections: JP II and the Culture of Life. Here are pics of your humble blog hosts greeting the late pontiff in 2001:

Pope Declares Father McGivney Venerable

Fr. Michael McGivneyPope Benedict XVI Saturday approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. The pope’s declaration significantly advances the priest’s process toward sainthood and gives the parish priest the distinction of “Venerable Servant of God.” If canonized, Father McGivney would be the first American born priest to be so honored.

“All of us who are members of the Knights of Columbus are profoundly grateful for this recognition of the holiness of our founder,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “The strength of the Knights of Columbus today is a testament to his timeless vision, his holiness and his ideals.”

Justice is Served in Missouri!

sacred-heart.jpgThanks be to God! Just got word today that Judge Joyce upheld the challenge by Missouri Cures Without Cloning to Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s inaccurate and blatantly biased ballot summary for a constitutional amendment to truly ban human cloning in Missouri. I am incredibly pleased and quite frankly surprised at the ruling. The revised language is much closer to the purpose of the actual Amendment than Carnahan’s disgraceful language.

Because of the lawsuit, progress has been delayed for quite some time. So we still have very hard work ahead of us if we are to have any chance of getting this on the ballot in November, especially if the opposition decides to appeal in an effort to halt the signature gathering process. Please keep us in your prayers so that we can finally, truly ban human cloning in Missouri!

Try this one:
Rosary Crusade Safeguarding Embryonic Human Life

PETA Strikes Again

This time they set their sights on the Trappist monks at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina. These peaceful monks used to sell chicken eggs to help with the financial support of their community. I say used to because, after an undercover “investigation” into their chicken business, PETA determined that the animals were being treated cruelly and living under conditions that the organization described as “hell on earth”. They even used the words of the monks’ own Pope against them. Now the monks have decided to permanently suspend the egg operation which has been active for over 50 years and accounted for 60 percent of their earned income.

Now, PETA is not known for its decency, but this is particularly outrageous. As Dad said on AgWired:

Way to go PETA bullies. Pick on a group of peaceful monks who I’m sure are praying for your souls and have already forgiven you for your persecution.

Needless to say, the monks are looking for a new industry to help them meet their daily expenses. If you can thank of any, or want to help them out financially yourself, visit the Mepkin Abbey website to find out how you can contact them.

The Train Wreck That is Britney Spears

nullShe has been making quite a name for herself lately, in not so flattering ways. Now she’s jumping on the Catholic mockery bandwagon with religious themed photos in a booklet for her new album. The photos involve a scantily clad Brit, wearing a rosary, in suggestive positions with a “priest” in a confessional.

Her particular form of Catholic mockery is in the same style of fellow recording artist, with whom she shared a very famous lip lock at the VMAs, Madonna. Madonna is famous for using Catholic imagery in very irreverent ways, such as her 1989 video for “Like a Prayer” in which she danced amid burning crosses, developed a stigmata and made love to St. Martin de Porres. More recently, Madonna came under fire for a mock crucifixion during one of her concerts.

The Catholic League’s director of communications, Kiera McCaffrey told MTV News that they consider the photos a

“cheap publicity stunt that is a way to get people to talk about Britney Spears’ album without talking about her music, which is what they should be focusing on. All we see is how troubled this girl is now, especially with her family, losing her kids, with her career on a downward slide. And now she’s put out this album and this is her tactic to promote it? She should be focusing on singing and dancing and trying to be an entertainer without mocking a Catholic sacrament.”

What she should be focusing on is getting serious about her own faith (instead of mocking other people’s), straightening up her life and taking care of her kids, whom she is in danger of losing custody of all together. Early reviews give this album Britney’s highest ratings yet and some predict it will knock Springsteen of the top of the charts. But what is that worth if she loses her children, and her soul, in the meantime. It has been said that one of her idols is the late Marilyn Monroe, and, from the looks of it, she is running hard and fast toward the same tragic end. Mocking the sacredness of the confessional will not help matters. This woman, and her young children, needs prayers, and lots of them.

H/T: Pro Ecclesia

Dumbledore and Homosexuality

nullSee my post on Reflections of a Paralytic about the JK Rowling’s “outing” of Professor Albus Dumbledore: To Rowling’s Credit:

Keeping in mind the fact that this is a fictional character and, the way the story is written, one does not have to believe that Dumbledore is gay, despite the author’s intention (in literature there are multiple viewpoints or interpretations, two of which are the author’s and the reader’s and they don’t have to match) – think about this. If he was actually homosexual, as Rowling has now told us, it is not impossible for us to interpret in the novels that, after never fully recovering from a decades (centuries?) old heartbreak, he had been living a chaste and even virtuous life – protecting students from, and helping Harry to defeat the forces of darkness.

Read more on how this can relate to how Catholic’s encourage those with serious homosexual attractions to live out their Christian vocation.

Welcome to the New Persecution

nullThis is why it is important for voters, Republicans especially, to hold fast to their conservative, Christian values in the next election. If we don’t, nothing will stop “Republicans” like Gov. Schwarzenegger from becoming the mainstream of the party that traditionally protected the sanctity of life and marriage (H/T Regular Guy Paul):

“Mom and Dad” as well as “husband and wife” have been banned from California schools under a bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who with his signature also ordered public schools to allow boys to use girls restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa, if they choose…

The bills signed by Schwarzenegger include SB777, which bans anything in public schools that could be interpreted as negative toward homosexuality, bisexuality and other alternative lifestyle choices.

There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however…

Also signed was AB394, which targets parents and teachers for such indoctrination through “anti-harassment” training, CCF said…

Thomasson said SB777 prohibits any “instruction” or school-sponsored “activity” that “promotes a discriminatory bias” against “gender” – the bill’s definition includes cross-dressing and sex changes – as well as “sexual orientation.”…

Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits.

CCF noted that now on a banned list will be any text, reference or teaching aid that portrays marriage as only between a man and woman, materials that say people are born male or female (and not in between), sources that fail to include a variety of transsexual, bisexual and homosexual historical figures, and sex education materials that fail to offer the option of sex changes.

Further, homecoming kings now can be either male or female – as can homecoming queens, and students, whether male or female, must be allowed to use the restroom and locker room corresponding to the sex with which they choose to identify.

AB394 promotes the same issues through state-funded publications, postings, curricula and handouts to students, parents and teachers.

It also creates the circumstances where a parent who says marriage is only for a man and a woman in the presence of a lesbian teacher could be convicted of “harassment,” and a student who believes people are born either male or female could be reported as a “harasser” by a male teacher who wears women’s clothes, CCF said.

Thomasson said Schwarzenegger also signed AB14, which prohibits state funding for any program that does not support a range of alternative sexual practices, including state-funded social services run by churches.

Affected will be day cares, preschool or after-school programs, food and housing programs, senior services, anti-gang efforts, jobs programs and others.

If this isn’t a case for homeschooling, I don’t know what is. If you can stomach more religious discrimination, here is an article about condo owners who have been told to remove all religious statues from gardens and other common areas in the community.

Get Out Your Rosaries

We just got some disappointing news concerning our efforts against human cloning in Missouri. The Secretary of State, yesterday, approved the ballot language for a constitutional amendment to ban human cloning submitted by the Missouri Coalition for Cures Without Cloning. The language completely misrepresents the intention of the amendment and is unacceptable, falsely claiming that the amendment will

repeal the current ban on human cloning or attempted cloning and to limit Missouri patients’ access to stem cell research, therapies and cures approved by voters in November 2006

Meanwhile the actual amendment says nothing about repealing anything, but only seeks to accurately define and prohibit the creation of human embryos from the one-cell stage onward. The language approved by the SOS is just a bunch of pro-cloning talking points designed, no doubt, to discourage us from moving forward with this cloning ban. I don’t know what we’re going to do about it, but there is no way we can go to voters with this awful language. After all, who would want to sign a petition for an amendment with this name:

Constitutional Amendment to Add Article III, Section 38(e), Relating to Limiting Stem Cell Research, 2008-014

Perhaps it’s time to renew the Rosary Crusade to Safeguard Embryonic Human Life which was started last year by the archdiocese of St. Louis to defeat Amendment 2. It looks like we will be facing an even tougher battle than we did last year.

Jane Wyman, a Faithful Catholic in Hollywood

nullOur Sunday Visitor has an article this week about the late actress Jane Wyman and her “role as faithful Catholic.” She is also well known for being the first wife of Pres. Ronald Reagan and the mother to his children Maureen (died in 2001 from melanoma), adopted Michael an author and talk show host, and Christina (died 1947 from premature birth). According to OSV, her movie, The Blue Veil, for which she won the Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination, was the source of her conversion:

Filmed in and around St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, “The Blue Veil” “hit her in the face” regarding all she had learned about the Catholic faith from her good friend and fellow A-list actress Loretta Young, Zamboni said. Wyman had been attending Mass at Good Shepherd Church in Beverly Hills with Loretta in the wake of her 1948 divorce, as well as the death, the year before, of her second baby, Christina, with then husband and future president Ronald Reagan…

A couple of years later — on Dec. 8, 1954 — she was received into the Catholic Church, along with her children, Maureen and Michael.

After her conversion, Wyman spent much of her life giving back what she had been blessed with. Her two main charities were the Catholic Church and the Arthritis Foundation, but she also supported Hollywood’s Covenant House and the Dominican run Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.

A Third Order Dominican, she was buried wearing the habit in a simple pine coffin. Upon her death, her son, Michael said:

“I have lost a loving mother, my children Cameron and Ashley have lost a loving grandmother, my wife Colleen has lost a loving friend she called Mom and Hollywood has lost the classiest lady to ever grace the silver screen.”

Also starring Jane Wyman:
The Yearling
Johnny Belinda
The Glass Menagerie
Falcon Crest
among many many others

Marriage and Parenting According to PEW Research

The PEW Research Center has new survey results out that show that most Americans have moved children to number 8 on the list (was #3 in 1990) of things people associate with a “successful marriage.” This is seriously sad and I’m sure a result of a society that has so devalued faith and life. So what are the top things on the list? “sharing household chores,” “good housing,” “adequate income,” “happy sexual relationship,” and “faithfulness.” The new Pew survey also finds that, by a margin of nearly three-to-one, Americans say that the main purpose of marriage is the “mutual happiness and fulfillment” of adults rather than the “bearing and raising of children.”

What’s interesting to note though is how important children still are in a marriage when a different question is asked.

Asked to weigh how important various aspects of their lives are to their personal happiness and fulfillment, parents in this survey place their relationships with their children on a pedestal rivaled only by their relationships with their spouses – and far above their relationships with their parents, friends, or their jobs or career. This is true both for married and unmarried parents. In fact, relatively speaking, children are most pre-eminent in the lives of unwed parents.

I think it’s also interesting to note that they only bring religion into the survey by asking the participants what church they belong to and calling that “religiosity.” No where do they get into matters of faith and belief and relate that to these questions.

More on Tony Blair

Blair and BenedictEarlier this month I told you that it has been long rumored that Tony Blair was on the way to becoming Catholic. In a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, he and the pontiff shared a “frank exchange” on “particularly delicate subjects” – which probably refers to the delicate subject of Blair’s support for abortion, gay adoption, same-sex marriage and stem-cell research. After that meeting, during the Angelus the Pope mentioned a need for “true conversion,” stating:

“Today, as the Church celebrates the birth of St John the Baptist, let us ask for the gift of true conversion and growth in holiness, so that our lives will prepare a way for the Lord and hasten the coming of His Kingdom.”

True conversion is not simply switching from one church to another, but changing one’s entire being – abandoning oneself to the will of the Heavenly Father and striving for holiness. Who knows what Tony Blair’s reasons for possibly converting actually are, regardless, we should pray that he will soon have a change of heart and soul which will lead him to love an appreciate the Church and all of her teachings, especially regarding human life.

High Profile Conversion?

Blar and BenedictIt has been rumored that Prime Minister Tony Blair may convert to Catholicism after he leaves office. His wife is reported to be a devout Catholic and his upcoming visit with Pope Benedict days before he leaves office on June 27 has fueled speculations of his conversion. Now there is speculation that he may also become a deacon after he is received into the Church.


Would I Be Better Off Dead?

The Toronto Sun has two columns debating the topic of Euthanasia. In opposition is twinsbroadcaster and columnist Michael Coren and in support is Dr. Gifford-Jones. The main focus of Do They Deserve to be Born is on a set of twins, now six months old, conjoined at the head (these are not the twins pictured on your right, I couldn’t find a picture of the twins from the story). The supporting author has some harsh words about the twins and the quality of their lives which gets a little personal for me, too:

What a tragic life awaits the twins. For as long as they live they will be unable to care for themselves or lead a normal active life…

They will never walk, joined at the head in such an abnormal position. Physically they are destined for ill health, lying on their backs forever. They will become obese and develop the myriad of diseases that accompany this problem. Their lives will be a living hell.

This should be a wakeup call for us to prevent unimaginable future cruelty of this kind…I would ask this question. Is there anyone among us who would want to be born this way or willing to trade places with these conjoined twins?

As a paraplegic I not longer have any feeling or voluntary movement below my chest. My daily routine includes managing bodily functions in a way that would make most people cringe. I am meconfronted with new limits and challenges every day whether its needing something out of my reach or being unable to reach my destination due to inaccessibility. And lets not forget the wheelchair. Much like Dr. Gifford-Jones claims of the twins, I too have been pointed out as someone whose quality of life has been diminished as a result of my injury and have actually been told by another individual that they would kill themselves if they were in my position. I don’t know a single person who would want to trade places with me. But but does that mean that I would be better off dead?

And who is this man to decide whose life is a living hell? These children, as Coren points out, will be infinitely blessed with the love of their family and will be able to love them back. Likewise, my life, though accompanied by many trials and sufferings, is one great blessing after another. Sure, sick and disabled people must endure sometimes tragic suffering, but that does not diminish our value as human beings. And whose to say that our sufferings are greater than those enduring some interior anguish hidden from the eyes of the world?

Even in the midst of the extreme suffering there are rays of hope and happiness. And if there are not there’s no need to worry for something greater awaits us – a place where every tear will be wiped away and mourning, crying and pain will be no more (Rev. 21: 3-4). This is the good news of human suffering – while on earth our suffering is inevitable and we should never violate human dignity and the sacredness of life to avoid it – it will not last!

In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:6-7)
If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.(Mt. 16:24-25)

But here’s where it gets most troubling:

Hogan-Simms should not have been allowed to make the ultimate decision. I have in the past always cast a jaundiced eye on committee decisions, but I like to believe in this instance an ethics committee would have seen the logic of terminating this pregnancy.

So now we should be able force women to have abortions (think China)?

It saddens me to no end that people can view any life unworthy to be lived. As beings made in the image and likeness of God our lives have meaning independent of our abilities and usefulness. Therefore all life is precious and worthy to be preserved.

No Pain, No Gain