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Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi on Abortion from Priests for Life

pelosi

Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi

From Father Frank Pavone, Dir., Priests for Life

 

Dear Mrs. Pelosi,

Last Thursday, June 13, you were asked a question in a press briefing that you declined to answer. The question was, “What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?”

Given the fact that the Gosnell case has been national news for months now, and that Congress, where you serve as House Democratic Leader, was about to have a vote on banning abortion after 20 weeks fetal age, this was a legitimate question.

Instead of even attempting to answer the question, you resorted to judgmental ad hominemattacks on the reporter who asked it, saying, “You obviously have an agenda. You’re not interested in having an answer.”

Mrs. Pelosi, the problem is that you’re not interested in giving an answer.

Your refusal to answer this question is consistent with your failure to provide an answer to a similar question from me and the members of my Priests for Life staff. Several years ago, we visited your office with the diagrams of dismemberment abortion at 23 weeks, and asked the simple question, “When you say the word ‘abortion,’ is this what you mean?” In response, nothing but silence has emanated from your office.

In what way is this refusal to address an issue of such national importance consistent with the leadership role you are supposed to be exercising? Public servants are supposed to be able to tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. Apparently, you can’t. Otherwise, you would have been able to explain the difference between a legal medical procedure that kills a baby inside the womb and an act of murder — for which Dr. Gosnell is now serving life sentences — for killing the same baby outside the womb.

Moreover, you stated at the press briefing on June 13, “As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics.”

With this statement, you make a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the tens of millions of Americans who consider themselves “practicing and respectful Catholics” and who find the killing of children — whether inside or outside the womb — reprehensible.

You speak here of Catholic faith as if it is supposed to hide us from reality instead of lead us to face reality, as if it is supposed to confuse basic moral truths instead of clarify them, and as if it is supposed to help us escape the hard moral questions of life rather than help us confront them.

Whatever Catholic faith you claim to respect and practice, it is not the faith that the Catholic Church teaches. And I speak for countless Catholics when I say that it’s time for you to stop speaking as if it were.

Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground. To imagine God giving the slightest approval to an act that dismembers a child he created is offensive to both faith and reason.

And to say that a question about the difference between a legal medical procedure and murder should not “have anything to do with politics” reveals a profound failure to understand your own political responsibilities, which start with the duty to secure the God-given right to life of every citizen.

Mrs. Pelosi, for decades you have gotten away with betraying and misrepresenting the Catholic faith as well as the responsibilities of public office. We have had enough of it. Either exercise your duties as a public servant and a Catholic, or have the honesty to formally renounce them.

Sincerely,

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Redemptive Suffering: “Offering it Up”

St Sebastian Tended by St. Irene and her Maid, by Hendrick Terbrugghen, 1625

Redemptive Suffering: “Offering it Up”

Job 2:10 “… if we have received good things at the hand of God,
why should we not receive evil?”

From papercuts and mosquito bites to the ravages of cancer and the death of a loved one, suffering is a fact of life that all religions try to make sense of.

In Hinduism, suffering is seen as the result of karmic debt owed from a prior incarnation; we suffer through, building up “good karma” to balance out what is, ultimately, our own personal fault.

To Buddhists, life is suffering because we desire; this desire must be extinguished by walking the Eightfold Noble Path of right belief, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right thought, and right meditation.

In Islam, suffering is seen as the result of Allah’s positive will (“Verily We have created man into toil and struggle” — Qu’ran 90:4).

In Rabbinical Judaism, suffering is seen as everything from senseless to positively willed by God to (for some self-described “Torah-true” Jews) a result of Jewish disobedience.

For some brands of Protestantism, suffering is always the result of personal sin (“You’re sick? You shouldn’t have been playing cards…”), and God wants only “health and wealth” for His people as long as they “believe” (and “plant seeds” by sending a “love gift” to some televangelist).

In orthodox Christianity, suffering has its ultimate origins in the human will, the abuse of which, through the sin of Adam, caused the rift between God and man that only Christ can reconcile. Suffering’s proximate causes are the effects of Natural Law stemming from our own actions or the actions of others (even going back through the generations), the work of demons, and God’s pulling back His mantle of protection, sometimes for obvious reasons, such as punishment, sometimes for inscrutable reasons. In any case, suffering is never positively willed by God, but is allowed for our benefit in the same way a father will allow a child to suffer the consequences of his own actions so that the child will grow and learn to listen to his father, or perhaps in the same way that father might allow his child to “suffer through” piano lessons so that, someday, he will be a great pianist. We may not understand God’s reasons for allowing our particular suffering, but we must always trust that we can endure with His grace, and that there is reason for it, whether it is for our correction, purification, penance, to help us realize how radically dependent we are on Him, or whether it is for His appeasement.

But how are we to react to our suffering? The answer is unique to Christianity.

We are members of the Royal Priesthood, together as one in the Mystical Body of Christ

Just as in the Old Testament, Israel of the New Covenant is made of priests:

I Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Who in times past were not a people: but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy: but now have obtained mercy.

Our being (non-ministerial) priests means that we make sacrifices, we offer something. The ordained Catholic priest offers, as a representative of Christ, Sacrifices at the Altar for those who say “yes” to Christ’s invitation to share the fruits of Calvary, just as the ministerial priests in the Old Testament offered sacrifices for the sins of the people. But what do we of the non-ministerial royal priesthood offer? We offer ourselves — our bodies, hearts, praise, gratitude, worship, joys, works, and our sufferings.

Why do we do this? Because we are exhorted to “put on Christ” and to imitate Him, our High Priest and Spotless Victim, so that we might partake of the divine nature. In order to redeem us, Our Lord took on flesh and gave all to the Father; in order to be Christ-like, we, too, must take up our cross, accept suffering, and strive to offer Him all: Continue reading

Same-Sex Unions: A Short Primer on the Catholic Response by Rev. Ted Martin

Gay-MarriageSame-Sex Unions: A Short Primer on the Catholic Response

by Rev. Ted Martin | May 22, 2013

On June 3, 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a document, with the approval of Blessed John Paul II, called “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.” In this document, the present battle for the reality of marriage as a monogamous and permanent relationship between a man and a woman was given an official response by the Catholic Church.

Of course, the question of the intrinsically evil nature of homosexual acts—not, of course, same-sex attracted people—is not open for discussion. The witness of Sacred Scripture and the entirety of Sacred Tradition is definitive, irreformable and conclusive. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has spoken numerous times on the theme of marriage and family as opposed to the lie of homosexual activity so as to help Catholics understand both the rational and revelatory reasons for the Church’s teaching. (See “References” below.)

The 2003 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is concerned with two specific questions: legal recognition to homosexual unions and the possibility given to people in these unions to adopt children. Since the document’s publication in 2003, the question of “gay marriage” has been felt more forcefully than ever and the question of civil unions is increasingly being proposed by members of the Christian community as a “lesser of evils” before the possibility of a total redefinition of marriage. So the question becomes: “Can we accept, as a political concession and expediency, the possibility of affording merely civil rights to people who are in homosexual relationships?” (e.g. visiting rights, heredity, etc.).

The question is important and very apropos on account of recent statements by members of the Church hierarchy. The influential Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna has expressed his openness to legalizing homosexual unions for the insurance of the above mentioned civil effects and rights, so long as marriage is not redefined. The former Papal Master of Ceremonies, Piero Marini,has expressed similar sentiments. And finally, the head of the Vatican’s Press Office, Father Lombardi, has made an ambiguous comment that many took to indicate the Church’s openness to civil unions as a form of political concession in the face of laws redefining marriage. To understand better the interventions by the above mentioned priest, bishop and cardinal—all of whom enjoy power and status in officialdom—a short evaluation of the CDF text is helpful. Continue reading

Fulton Sheen on Palm Sunday

Palm_Sunday

 

Fulton Sheen on Palm Sunday

Posted on April 15, 2011 |
 

“It was the month of Nisan. The Book of Exodus ordered that in this month the Paschal Lamb was to be selected, and four days later was to be taken to the place where it was to be sacrificed. On Palm Sunday, the Lamb was chosen by popular acclaim in Jerusalem; on Good Friday He was sacrificed” (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ., Ch. 33 p. 272).

Bishop Sheen points out that the request for teh donkey (Luke 19:31) embodies the paradox of the Incarnation: “the LORD has need of it.” God humbled himself to share in our humanity. He who has no need, who is “that greater than which nothing can be imagined” chose to have need. “It is sufficient for those who know Him to hear: ‘The Lord hath need of it’” (Life of Christ, Ch. 33, p. 273).

Until this point, Jesus has always discouraged people’s praise and proclamation, commanding them to silence. On Palm Sunday, for the first time, He encourages their celebration. Even the Pharisees acknowledge the world is turning to Jesus.

“His ‘Hour’ had come. It was time now for Him to make the last public affirmation of His claims. He knew it would lead to Calvary, and His Ascension adn the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. Once He acknowledged their praise, then there were only two courses open to the city: confess Him as did Peter, or crucifiy. Either He was their King, or else they would have no king but Caesar” (Life of Christ, Ch. 33, p. 274). 

Sheen goes on to discuss the prophecy of Zechariah that Jerusalem’s king would come riding on a donkey. Great conquerers always ride on horseback, “sometimes over the prostrate bodies of their foes” (Life of Christ 274). But Christ comes on an ass.

“How Pilate, if he was looking out of his fortress that Sunday, must have been amused by the ridiculous spectacle of a man being proclaimed as a King, and yet seated on the beast that wa sthe symbol of the outcast[. . . .] If He had entered into the city with regal pomp in the manner of conquerors, He would have given occasion to believe He was a political Messias. But the circumstances He chose validated His claim taht His Kingdom was not of this world. There is no suggestion that this pauper King was a rival of Caesar” (Life of Christ, p. 275). 

Conversely, the adoration of the people exceeds that which they might give to a mere King :they give him the adoration of a God.

Discussing the response of Christ to the Pharisees’ complaints (Luke 19:40), Sheen points out, “Stones ar ehard, but if they would cry out, then how much harder must be the hearts of men who woudl not recognize God’s mercy before them” (Life of Christ, p. 276).

Our Journey to Easter with the Popes by Fr. George W. Rutler

February 17, 2013

 
When a pope retires, I have to change the proposed topic of my column. Now I know how a pastor must have felt in 1415 when Pope Gregory XII resigned, and in 1294 when Celestine V did the same. While papal resignations cannot therefore be said to have become a habit, they do remind one that Holy Orders are indelible, but the papacy itself is not.

We also are reminded, as we need to be in an age of diminishing attention spans, that there have been 265 popes. I recently read of a Protestant lady who converted to Catholicism upon being shown that list. God gave the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter, knowing that the Galilean fisherman had a limited life span. Since there is no re-incarnation, there is a succession, and that will go on until the end of time. Even calling Rome the Eternal City is extravagant rhetoric, “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). No one knows this more clearly than Pope Benedict XVI, whose intellectual brilliance and eloquent teaching have enabled him to explain this to the world in remarkable ways, but never more so than by his own example.

Pope John Paul II died in the days of Easter, having taught a confused world, as Christ said when He rose from the dead, “Do not be afraid.” Pope Benedict XVI is relinquishing the Keys in Lent, and another will hold them in Easter. This gives a special import to the Forty Days on which we have now embarked. Pope Benedict enters a new phase of his life, when he will be devoted to praying for all of God’s holy Church. All of us can more closely identify now with the first apostles, who were called by Christ to change their lives. The fishermen became fishers of men, and that is why we are here now, worshiping the same Lord that they learned to worship after many signs and revelations. Continue reading

The Feast of St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr

The 2004 edition of the Roman Martyrology includes the following simple entry for February 14th:

At Rome, on the Via Flaminia, near the Milvian Bridge, Saint Valentine, martyr.

How is it that a simple entry on the death of a martyr could inspire the holiday we celebrate today in the United States with flowers, candy, and romance?  

This is what we know from tradition about St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr: 

The emperor, Claudius II, after questioning him, “turned Valentine over to the prefect to be held in custody.  When Valentine came into this man’s house, he said: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, true Light, enlighten this house and let all here know you as true God!’  The prefect said: ‘I wonder at hearing you say that Christ is light.  Indeed, if he gives light to my daughter who has been blind for a long time, I will do whatever you tell me to do!’  Valentine prayed over the daughter, her sight was restored, and the whole household was converted to the faith.  Then the emperor ordered Valentine to be beheaded, about AD 280” (Voragine. The Golden Legend. Vol I. p. 160). 

His grave is in the basilica dedicated to his honor in Rome.  “The church in which he is buried existed already in the fourth century and was the first sanctuary Roman pilgrims visited upon entering the Eternal City” (Parsch. The Church’s Year of Grace. Vol 2. pg. 369). 

There are actually three St. Valentines listed in early martyrologies for the date of February 14th.  How these martyrs came to be associated with “a celebration in honor of lovers seems to have been more an accident than a design, though there are interesting complications that conspired to make this so” (Newland, The Year and Our Children. Image, 1956; p. 109). 

“Long ago the Romans celebrated the eve of their Lupercalia on February 14.  This being a time of great festivity it is thought by some that the martyrdom of the saints on this day was merely an added attraction to the pagan celebration.  Still another possibility connects the Roman celebration in honor of Juno with this feast.  The drawing of partners for the festival by maidens and youths oftentimes degenerated into extreme improprieties, and it is thought the desire to redeem the day suggested to the Christians that they fix it as the date of the martyrs’ feasts.  Pope Gelasius appointed it an official feast in the fifth century and named St. Valentine the patron saint of lovers” (109-110). Continue reading

How can I better prepare for Lent this year? by Fr. John Bartunek

How can I better prepare for Lent this year?

February 11, 2013 by    
 

Q: Father John, can you give me some perspective on how I can better prepare for Lent this year?

 

A: You have no idea what God has in store for you this Lent (but God does, and he is looking forward to it!). On the other hand, you do know that God has chosen to work in our souls through the Liturgy, and that includes the liturgical seasons. So preparing for Lent means getting ready to hear and heed what God wants to say to you during those days. The Church gives us three general directives in this regard.

First, intensify our prayer life

Start thinking now about how you can do this. It’s a good topic to talk about in spiritual direction. Do you need to increase your Eucharistic life, give more discipline to your personal prayer time, inculcate family prayer time, go on a retreat? God will put something on your heart. But be realistic. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach (in the spiritual sense).

Second, embrace the Cross

Lent is a penitential season, a time when we remember how self-centered we have been and tend to be, and renew our commitment and efforts at repenting and growing in Christian love. This is the origin of the tradition of “giving something up for Lent.” The idea is to make a sacrifice, denying our naturally self-indulgent tendencies in some way in order to unite ourselves more fully to Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on Calvary. This is not merely a self-help kind of resolution. It is a self-offering to God: “Lord, many times I have chosen to do my own will instead of yours. By offering this sacrifice I want to learn to take up my cross, to say “yes” to you and your will, following in Jesus’ footsteps.” Whatever we give up (e.g. watching sports, eating desert) or take on (e.g. daily Mass, weekly Way of the Cross) as our Lenten sacrifice (again, be realistic), the key is to give it that truly Christ-centered meaning.

Third, the practice Christian charity

Lent is a time to prepare for the fruitful celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection during Holy Week. That Paschal Mystery was God’s unfathomable and amazing testimony of love for us sinners. There is no better way to get in tune with that self-forgetful and self-sacrificial love than by imitating it. During Lent we should make a special point of serving our neighbors – but here again, be realistic. Here the traditional corporal works of mercy can spark ideas. The Catechism reminds us of them (#2447)

Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.243 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God

Something in the air of spring brings out new buds, new branches, new life. The word “Lent” has its etymological roots in an Old English word meaning “spring.” Something in the air of Lent will bring out new buds, new branches, new life in our relationship with Christ; we just have to open up some windows.

Read more: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2013/02/11/how-can-i-better-prepare-for-lent-this-year#ixzz2KjmPGldO

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