Friday, January 31, 2014

Standing Amid the Chaos of the World: Feast of St. John Bosco



“Do not ever forget these three things: devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, devotion to Mary Help of Christians, and devotion to the Holy Father!”


- St. John Bosco on his Deathbed





Don Bosco's Dream   ->
The Pillar of the Left: Devotion to the Euchrist
The ship in the middle: the Pope and Church
The Pillar on the Right: Devotion to Mary

Yes, these thing will weather the storms of life.....



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“I have been an instrument in the hands of Mary. She has done everything. Had I been a worthier instrument, I would have accomplished a great deal more.”

 -St. John Bosco
“First tell the devil to rest, and then I'll rest too,”

-St. John Bosco
"Sanctity is easy!” 

-St. John Bosco
“Give me souls – the souls of youngsters.”

 -St. John Bosco in prayer
“But, Mother, those boys (from his village) aren't really bad. They haven't got a good mother like I have, and they don't know their catechism, and their parents don't take them to church. When I'm with them, they behave better. Please, Mother, may I go with them?” 

-St. John Bosco as a boy of nine, speaking to his saintly mother



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By Bishop James Conley, Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska 

"We’re all called to share in that work. We’re all called to win souls for Christ. There is no vocation more joyful, more noble, or more holy than that."

When John Bosco was a young boy, he had a dream. He dreamed that he was surrounded by a mob of crude boys: they blasphemed and bullied and pushed him. John Bosco was only 9, but he was pious and holy. He loved God. When he saw these crude boys blaspheming, in his dream he “jumped into their midst, swinging wildly and shouting at them to stop.”

But his shouts didn’t stop the boys. At that moment, in the dream, a nobleman appeared. He was strong, and stern, but his face glowed angelically. Bosco writes that “he called me by name and told me to place myself as leader over those boys, adding the words: ‘You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows, but with gentleness and kindness. So begin right now to show them that sin is ugly and virtue beautiful.’”

John Bosco’s dream— leading others to virtue, and to Christ, with gentleness and kindness—became his vocation. He became a priest, founded a religious order, and he led thousands of souls to communion with Jesus Christ. In 1934, he was canonized a saint. We celebrate his feast day each year on Jan. 31.

In some ways, Bosco’s dream described the vocation of all priests: to stand amidst the souls of this world, leading all towards virtue, and towards Christ. A priest is called to bring others to Jesus Christ: through charity, preaching and teaching, and through the sacraments. A priest is called to be a witness to the beauty, and goodness, and the truth of the Christian life.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis said that every vocation “means sometimes going against the tide and also encountering obstacles, outside ourselves and within ourselves.” A vocation, he said, is difficult, a cross, but “the more we unite ourselves to Jesus through prayer, Sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the Sacraments celebrated and lived in the Church and in fraternity, the more there will grow in us the joy of cooperating with God in the service of the Kingdom of mercy and truth, of justice and peace.”

Over the past two months, the nation of Ukraine has been wracked by turmoil and division over the country’s democratic future. The country may be on the verge of civil war. In the beautiful city of Kiev, battle lines have been drawn between protestors and armed riot police. I have been struck by the presence, in the midst of that violence, of priests. Kiev’s priests have flocked to the battle lines, praying before crucifixes in the zone between protesters and police. One priest told a reporter, “I’m here to placate the violence. My congregation is here.”

Priests stand amidst the chaos of the world. Like St. John Bosco, they win souls with gentleness and kindness. Religious brothers and sisters do the same. Their consecration to Christ is a sign, for all of us, of eternity. Their heroic generosity leads them to the battle lines of this world; bringing Christ to the places he’s needed most.

Priests and religious are called to bring Christ to the world, and the world to Jesus Christ. We’re all called to share in that work. We’re all called to win souls for Christ. There is no vocation more joyful, more noble, or more holy than that.





Pope: Mediocrity leads to a ‘Loss of Sense of Sin'


Pope's Santa Marta Homily: Christian mediocrity leads to a ‘loss of sense of sin'


When the presence God is not felt among men, "you lose the sense of sin," and so others end up paying the price for our "Christian mediocrity ." That was the message behind Pope Francis’ homily at this morning’s Mass at the Santa Marta guesthouse here in the Vatican.
Listen to Tracey McClure’s report:
All too often today, the Pope observes, grave sin such as adultery is declassified as simply a "problem to be solved ." That’s what happens in today’s reading in which King David falls in love with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his generals. Taking up this story, Pope Francis says David took her for his own and sent her husband to the front lines of battle where the man was killed. In actual fact, the Pope stressed, David also committed murder. And yet, having committed both grave sins, the King is not moved. Despite committing a grave sin, the Pope observes, David does not feel pity and fails to ask forgiveness. He only considers how he can resolve a problem.

This can happen to any of us, the Pope says, and observes “When the Kingdom of God diminishes, one of the signs is that you lose the sense of sin."

Conversely, you also lose the "sense of the Kingdom of God" and in its place, reflects the Pope, there emerges an “all-powerful anthropological vision," that leads us to believe we “can do anything.”

The Pope confesses that even he himself can fall into the trap of losing a sense of sin. But a commitment to daily prayer, he stresses, can counter the injustices perpetrated out of human pride and stop so many from falling victim to “Christian mediocrity” and our “unrecognized sins.”

Doctrine Must Serve the People of God


Pope Francis: Doctrine is not abstract but must serve the people of God
2014-01-31 


Vatican Radio--  Pope Francis on Friday addressed participants at the Plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, saying their task is to ensure that people receive the faith in its purity and its entirety.
Listen to this report by Susy Hodges on his address: 

Quoting from his Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis said right from the earliest times of the Church there has been a temptation to consider the doctrine in an ideological sense or to reduce it to a series of abstract and crystallized theories. But in reality, he said, the doctrine’s sole role is to serve the life of God’s people and is meant to ensure a solid foundation to our faith. There is a great temptation, he continued, to take control of the gifts of salvation that come from God to domesticate them, maybe even with good intentions, according to the views and spirit of the world.

However, safeguarding the integrity of the faith, the Pope went on to say, is a very delicate mission entrusted to them, always in collaboration with local Pastors and with the Doctrinal Commissions of the Episcopal Conferences. It serves to safeguard the right of all the people of God to receive the depository of the faith in its purity and entirety. In their work, he said, there is always a need to maintain a constructive, respectful and patient dialogue with the other parties and show charity and fraternal help.

The Pope concluded his address by thanking the participants for their work in handling serious crimes, especially cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by clergy. He urged them to think of the wellbeing of children and young people, saying they should always be protected and sustained in their human and spiritual growth. The Pope said in this regard they are studying a possible link between the work done by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the special Commission for safeguarding children which he has set up and which is intended to be an example for all those wishing to promote the wellbeing of the young.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Archbishop Cordileone's Homily at West Coast Walk for Life



"Marriage is primarily about the children, not the adults, such that you cannot be consistently pro-life without being pro-marriage: the two go together. That's the big picture"


SAN FRANCISCO, January 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Here is the homily of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, given Saturday at the West Coast Walk for Life.
* * *

Defending Human Life and Dignity, from Generation to Generation

Introduction
As has happened every year now for a very long time at these events, the gathering of all of you here today bears witness to the youthfulness of the pro-life movement. Yes, the pro-life movement is young, vibrant and growing in strength. Thank you, young people, for your witness and your presence here today!

The First Generation

I would invite you, though, to look around and notice those who are your elders here in this church. Yes, those who are older than you – shall I say, those who are more well-seasoned in life? They are the first generation of pro-lifers. It is no understatement to say to you, our beloved young people, that you are here today because of them.


Not all of them share the same story as to how they have arrived at this point in their lives; their lives have taken different paths, but converge here on the truth of the sanctity of human life. Some have gotten here by way of conversion. We celebrate today the story of a famous conversion, indeed, the most famous conversion in the history of the Church: that of St. Paul. St. Paul, of course, is the ideal example of the literal meaning of the word “conversion.” He turned around, did a 180, and so used his extraordinary gifts of learning, rhetoric, and physical and spiritual stamina to proclaim the Gospel and build up the Church rather than tear it down. Like him, those of you who have come to the pro-life movement by way of conversion provide an indispensable service to Christ that no one else can. You champion the cause of human life simply by sharing your stories of how you have been harmed by the culture of death, even participating in it yourself while you still had the scales over your eyes duping you into believing that you were doing good.


Others of you in the more seasoned generation of pro-lifers have remained steadfast in staying the course from the beginning. My young people, I want you to reflect on what it was like for these elders of yours in those early years of the pro-life movement, those years around the time of the infamous Roe decision.


Those of you who were around and involved then will remember what it was like. You were told that abortion was inevitable, that while, yes, there are some people who still don’t like it, in a few years it will be calmly accepted by all Americans as just a part of life. You were told that you were interfering with a woman’s right to privacy, that Church and state should stay out of the way. But you knew that that was just a deception technique, to deflect attention away from the rights of that baby growing in her womb. And you were smart enough not to be fooled. Most of all, you were told that you were anti-woman, that you were standing in the way of women’s progress and full equality in society.


Forty years and fifty-eight million abortions later, the very painful truth has come to light: yes, abortion does hurt women. And yet, there are those who wish to silence any talk about the harm that abortion does to women; there are a few who would even go so far as to call it hate speech. The words “astonished” and “perplexed” do not begin to describe my reaction, and I’m sure that of many of you, to those who still believe, and purport, that abortion helps women. What they keep overlooking is actually talking to the women who have been harmed by it, letting women who have gone through that experience tell their story without making any judgments in advance on them or on how they think these women should feel about it. All too often these women are shamed into silence, intimidated – even if implicitly – not to share their true feelings for fear of rejection, of being shut down and marginalized, or just not trusting that there is anyone who would really understand and listen compassionately. Instead, they get the message that they are not supposed to have these feelings, because this is something that was supposed to be good for them.

Pro-Woman

Those of you well-seasoned in the pro-life movement have understood this, too. You especially did not buy that lie about abortion being good for women. The pro-life movement is about more than saving the life of the baby, although that already is a very great thing and enough to justify all that we do on behalf of life. But the movement is also about the mother, and providing her the emotional, spiritual and material support she needs to make a happy and truly human choice – indeed, so that she can truly have a choice at all. When a woman in a crisis pregnancy feels she has no choice but really wants to choose life, where does she turn? When a woman has gone through the experience and cannot rid herself of those feelings of guilt and anguish, and desires the relief of healing, where does she turn? She does not turn to those who claim to be “pro-woman” and advocate for this so-called “choice,” which so often is no choice at all. No, she turns to those who stand for life, for they are the ones who will welcome her with open arms, love her for who she is, and go to all lengths to give her the support she needs.


My dear young people, I want you to realize that back in those early years of the pro-life movement, these things that I have just said could not be spoken in polite company. To be known as pro-life, or even to defend the pro-life position when the topic would come up in conversation, would often mean banishment from the ranks of those deemed socially acceptable.


Now, thankfully, that has changed. Yes, it is still harder in our society today to be pro-life than an abortion rights advocate. Still, though, it’s not like it was before. It’s okay now to be known as pro-life; most people who disagree with you will still respect you and treat you with dignity. This is thanks to the elders in the pro-life movement, who have been steady stalwarts standing for life all of these decades.

The Next Generation

Dear young people, I want you to reflect on this and take it to heart. The pro-life movement is about more than saving the life of the baby. It’s about giving that baby all the care, love and nurturing he or she needs to grow up happy and healthy and to achieve his or her total potential in life. It’s about the mother and a whole network of relationships around that baby that the baby needs in such a vulnerable stage of life. It’s especially about connecting that baby to where he or she came from: the mother and the father. And that, my friends, is the whole point of marriage: to connect husbands and wives to each other and to any children they bring into the world. There is no other institution that does that, that connects children to their mother and father. Marriage is primarily about the children, not the adults, such that you cannot be consistently pro-life without being pro-marriage: the two go together. That’s the big picture.


My young people: your elders in the pro-life movement have stayed the course during some very hostile and dark times, and now the pro-life movement is stronger than it ever has been. Now it is your turn. It is this wider picture of the pro-life movement that is now the critical issue of the moment and, yes, I won’t hesitate to say it: it is under attack. Yes, marriage is under attack, but not just recently; this has been going on in our society for a very long time now, actually, for at least as long as the abortion-rights movement has been in existence. And it stands to reason, as both are manifestations of what Pope Francis so often refers to as the “throw away” culture. A baby in the womb is thrown away because at least one of the two people who brought that baby into the world has thrown the other away, has rejected the other as someone worthy of commitment, self-surrender, and unconditional love. This is what marriage is and is for: not a privileged social status, not a government recognition of people’s love life, not a special relationship one stays in as long as one is deriving some immediate benefit from it, but a self-surrender of husband and wife to each other for the sake of the children they bring into the world – just like Christ and the Church, as St. Paul teaches us.


Now the same contempt, accusations and name-calling are being hurled at those who stand for the truth of marriage as were hurled against those who stood for life a generation and two ago. But we cannot allow ourselves to be shamed into silence. The truth needs a voice, and you, my dear young people, are that voice for the next generation. And your voice must be heard so that – just as you now understand the harm that abortion does to women despite the lies perpetrated by the abortion industry – so future generations will understand that the natural truth of marriage benefits everyone and discriminates against no one; no one is harmed and everyone benefits when government enshrines in the law the right of everyone to have a mother and a father. But prepare yourselves: it will require heroic virtue, for there is a lot of reverse bullying going on these days. Yes, there is still a lot of the standard kind, too, and we must deplore that and work to eradicate it as well. But there is also plenty of reverse bullying, punishing those who would dare to dissent from the secular orthodoxy on this issue. But, at the same time, take heart: heroic virtue is the recipe for holiness. When the Church investigates the cause of canonization of a servant of God, the first priority is to determine if the person lived a life of heroic virtue. Heroic virtue is the way to holiness, and holiness is nothing other than the true, deep, abiding happiness that God wants us to have with Him.


Rooted in Jesus Christ

I know this may seem like a lot, too daunting a task, maybe even impossible. But think back, not to your elders in the pro-life movement, but to our elders in the Christian faith, that first generation of believers: the apostles. Think about what they were up against going out into a hostile world to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fulfill his commission to them to make disciples of all nations. We are all here today thanks to them. And look at the promises he makes to them at the end of St. Mark’s Gospel which we just heard proclaimed at this Mass. They may seem fanciful, all this talk about handling serpents and drinking deadly things without being harmed. But what he is telling them is that, with him, all things are possible. With Jesus, there is no need to fear anyone or anything. And so it was: not in their lifetime, not after a few generations, but after many centuries they and their successors succeeded in evangelizing the whole known world of the time, even in the midst of persecution and oppression from the powerful forces of their time.


So, my dear young people, stay firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. Stay close to him, and close to his Church. Cling to him, for he loves you, he wants what is best for you. He died for you so that you might live with him forever; he will not let any harm come to you, no matter what you have to suffer for him.

Conclusion

We don’t know what the next critical issue threatening human life and dignity will be for the generation that will come after you. One thing, though, we do know: they will look to you as the ones who bore the brunt of the battle in your generation, as you look to your elders now in the pro-life movement.


Don’t let them down. Actually, you are already not letting them down, for more of them will be born than would have otherwise thanks to you. But eventually they will be your age, and will look to you for inspiration in defending human life and dignity. So know and love Jesus Christ: he will give you the strength, wisdom and virtue you need; be faithful to him, and you will grow in his grace and, yes, grow into holiness yourself, and show others the way there as well. Then you will attain all that he wants for you: life, peace and happiness with him now, and forever in heaven. Amen.



"Gutting Gutting": Fr. Fessio responds to pro-abort column by Catholic professor


"From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a 'criminal' practice, gravely contrary to the moral law." 

-Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 2322


by Carl E. Olson | CWR blog

This week marks the 41st anniversary of "Roe v Wade," and so one of the contibutors to the New York Times wrote a piece titled, "Should Pope Francis Rethink Abortion?" Would you be aghast and amazed if you learned that the author believes that, yes, the pope should change his mind—and the teaching of the Church—about abortion? No?

Would it surprise you at all to know that the author of the piece in question is a Catholic and a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame? Hmmm.

The author, Dr. Gary Gutting, is indeed a professor at Notre Dame, and he explained in a piece last March in the Times that the two sources that define his life are the Enlightenment and the Catholic Church:

These are the sources nurturing the values that define an individual’s life. For me, there are two such sources. One is the Enlightenment, where I’m particularly inspired by Voltaire, Hume and the founders of the American republic. The other is the Catholic Church, in which I was baptized as an infant, raised by Catholic parents, and educated for 8 years of elementary school by Ursuline nuns and for 12 more years by Jesuits. For me to deny either of these sources would be to deny something central to my moral being.

Since Gutting won't deny the Catholic Church as a source nurturing the values that define his life, he apparently deems it necessary to change her. And there's the rub, as he ruefully admits in his new column calling for the Church to abandon her beliefs about conception, life, and the murder of the unborn:

Pope Francis has raised expectations of a turn away from the dogmatic intransigence that has long cast a pall over the religious life of many Roman Catholics. His question “Who am I to judge?” suggested a new attitude toward homosexuality, and he is apparently willing to consider allowing the use of contraceptives to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. But his position on what has come to be the hierarchy’s signature issue — abortion — seems unyielding. “Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life,” he declared in his recent apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” adding: “Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the church cannot be expected to change her position on this question.”

So, what to do? Gutting's approach is to appeal to reason:

I want to explore the possibility, however, that the pope might be open to significant revision of the absolute ban on abortion by asking what happens if we take seriously his claim that “reason alone is sufficient” to adjudicate this issue. What actually follows regarding abortion once we accept the “inviolable value of each single human life”? This appeal to rational reflection has been a central feature of the tradition of Catholic moral teaching. I put forward the following reflections in the spirit of this tradition.

What follows is, in a word, tortured. Read it for yourself.

Since Gutting is a Catholic professor who was trained for many years by Jesuits, I thought it would be interesting to see what Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, might think of Gutting's arguments. Not one to mince words, Fr. Fessio sent the following remarks about Gutting's column:

He is a very confused philosopher, which makes Notre Dame an especially appropriate place for him.

Major error # 1: his claim and premise that the fetus is only “potentially human”.
a. This raises the question he doesn’t (because he can’t) answer consistently: When does the potentially human being become an actual human being?

b. His arguments against aborting “potentially human” would apply to human sperm and ova which are clearly (only) potentially human.

c. A valid conclusion cannot be drawn from a false premise.

Ergo: His conclusion has not been demonstrated.

Major red herring # 1: comparing a woman who has been raped to the—risibly hypothetical—case of someone who has been kidnapped, whose kidneys have been connected to another person who will die if the connection isn’t maintained for 9 months.
a. We are not obliged to prevent all fatal diseases at the cost of our own life

b. Pregnancy is not a disease

c. The kidnapped person is not the only possible solution to the other person’s kidney problem; perhaps the author has never heard of dialysis.

d. The kidnapped person’s relation to the other person is entirely extrinsic and accidental (in the philosophical sense)

Ergo: non sequitur.

Major red herring # 2: Catholics show they don’t regard the embryo to be as morally relevant as a small child because they don’t support major research into spontaneous abortion of embryos.
a. Who says Catholics would not support such research?

b. We are obliged absolutely not to kill an innocent human being; we are not obliged absolutely to prevent all deaths of innocent human beings.

Ergo: non sequitur.

One final point: Gutting concludes his piece by stating, "There are morally difficult issues about abortion that should be decided by conscience, not legislation. The result would be a church acting according to the pope’s own stated standard: preaching not 'certain doctrinal or moral points based on specific ideological options' but rather the gospel of love." Setting aside Gutting's crude misuse of Francis' words in Evangelii Gaudium (see par. 39), we should note that conscience, as any good Catholic should know, is informed by truth, which is appropriate through both reason and divine revelation:

Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law. (CCC, 1786-87)

And: "From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a 'criminal' practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law." (CCC, 2322).


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pope Francis Supports March for Life


Pope Francis Tweets Support for March for Life
Says He Joins the Roe vs. Wade Protest With Prayer


VATICAN CITY, January 22, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The thousands of marchers braving the cold in Washington, D.C, today got a special affirmation of support from Rome. Pope Francis tweeted: 

"I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable."

The Pope's Twitter account has some 3.6 million followers and he tweets in nine languages.

The annual March for Life in Washington marks the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. This year is the 41st anniversary of that decision.

According to Gallup pollling, the US population is progressively declaring itself more and more pro-life.




Concrete Steps to Prevent Abortions and to Repair for Abortions










1.     MERCY. (P.A.S.)  If you meet somebody who has had an abortion, never condemn but be merciful and tell them of the mercy of God. Remind them of the Parables of mercy in Lk. 15: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost and found son, the Parable of the Prodigal Son.   Remember also that many women go back for a second or third abortion, mostly because they have not experienced the mercy of God. The Psalmist reminds us of the tenderness of the Heart of God: “God is slow to anger but rich in kindness and mercy…”  ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The devil tempts us to believe that after sin--- especially a serious sin (like that of abortion) that God is angry and unwilling to forgive. This could not be further from the truth.  St. Paul teaches that where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more. Furthermore, one of the key themes of the Diary of mercy in my soul of Saint Faustina is that the greatest sinners have the greatest right to God’s mercy and that the greatest sinners can become the greatest saints if they simply TRUST in His mercy.  JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!


     2.      TEACH OUR YOUNG. It is incumbent upon parents to teach their children, and teens the virtue of CHASTITY—the proper use of their body and that their body is truly the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be respected and honored at all times; also that that they should respect the bodies of others. Still more parents should teach their children that there is a time for everything.  There is a time to plant and a time to gather; a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to work and a time to sleep; there is a time to have a courtship and a time to avoid. There is a time for everything underneath the sun. Often abortions occur among the youth because they are involved in premature courtships, with raging hormones, uncontrollable passions and a society that abets and encourages sexual license and expression without limits!  We must teach the young the meaning of the Beatitude: “”Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God. “(Mt. 5:8).


     3.      PRO-LIFE REMINDERS.  We should surround ourselves and the world that we live with Pro-life reminders and there are many and thanks especially to the Pro-life Movement and its tireless efforts! Buy Pro-life checks!  Where exteriorly on your lapel or pocket the “Precious feet” 
      of the unborn baby.  Display on Face-book the beauty of the unborn as well as the baby already born. Of course we should never forget nor neglect catchy and attractive Pro-life Bumper stickers, for example: “It is a child and not a choice!”  These reminders force people to think. Believe it or not there are still many people who are still sitting on the fence and as of yet do not have clear ideas on the topic of abortion and Pro-Life. Let us try to win them over to the “Pro-life” side!


Abortion is NOT Health Care!
     4.     EUPHEMISMS/ MANIPULATION OF LANGUAGE.  Be aware of how those who promote abortion utilize euphemisms—manipulating language for their own benefit—to trick and deceive. For example, “Pro-choice!” “Terminate-pregnancy”, “My-Body” “Woman’s health center”. These and many other euphemisms can be utilized to deceive the gullible and naïve into diluting the reality that abortion is truly infanticide—killing an innocent child!



     5.      LEARN KEY BIBLICAL PASSAGES TO 
     DEFEND THE BABY. Throughout the entire Bible,  which is the Word of God and the 
     Word of  life, the child us always seen as a great blessing. Try to learn some of the key passages in defense of the unborn human life.  Obviously one of the best is the Visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth, two pregnant women, who would be prime targets for abortion in the modern technologically advanced society. Why?  One would be considered way too young to have a baby—a mere teenager and that would be the Blessed Virgin Mary; the other, would be considered way to old and that would be St. Elizabeth. We know the beautiful story’s ending: they both trusted totally in God’s loving Providence and said “Yes” to life and brought forth the two greatest: St. John the Baptist and Jesus, the Son of God who would call Himself, THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THER LIFE! Check out this passage: (Lk. 1:39-45).

     6.      ADOPTION NOT ABORTION!  A truly valid option or alternative to abortion is that of adoption. Even now there are thousands and thousands of couples that for various reasons could not have their own biological children and are longing for a child of their own and desire to adopt. These couples are screened, studied underneath a fine-tooth-comb to see if they would be good parents. Therefore, the child to be born would be placed in an excellent household and receive an excellent human formation and very often a good Christian formation.



7.      ULTRASOUND!  If you meet a confused women who is seriously considering an abortion why not provide her with the opportunity to see the little baby through an ULTRASOUND. For the mother to see the real and live baby within her womb smiling, yawning, stretching her/is little limbs, sleeping, sneezing or even scratching the little nose could be the determining moment to help that mother to say “Yes” to life and to have and cherish that precious little infant in her womb. Remember the famous case of Dr. Bernard Nathanson who saw an ultrasound of a baby aborted and stopped aborting—after having been ahead of the key abortion clinic in NYC that had carried out 80,000 abortions! It all started by seeing, visualizing the image of the live baby. We live in a world of images. Why not use live images through the Ultrasound to save the lives of the most innocent?

8.     SPEAK OUT!   Many women have recourse to abortion because they are confused, filled with groundless fears, and unfortunately they have been surrounded by “friends” (really enemies) that convince them that the best decision is to abort the child. We must learn to speak up. We must learn to express the truth with love. The child in the womb cannot speak and therefore we must be the voice of the unborn child in the womb. We must stop “Bullying”. The worst form of bullying in the world is the bullying and the actual killing of the most innocent and defenseless--- the unborn child. Who knows how many women have had recourse to abortion because timid Christians have failed to speak out. Remember the words of the Political philosopher Edmund Burke: “So that evil progress it is sufficient that good men do nothing!” In catholic moral theology we call this “Sin of omission”.

9.   PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT!  Get involved in the “Pro-life” movement. There is so much that can be done; get involved in one way or another. What to do?

a)     WALK/MARCH AT WASHINGTON. Get together with a group of “Pro-lifer” and travel to Washington to do a silent March of Protest. We want to manifest publically but peacefully our love and defense for the unborn.

b)    ABORTION CLINICS: PRAYER RALLIES. Why not seek out the closest abortion clinic to your home and once a week to silently protest by praying many Rosaries and Chaplets of Divine Mercy.

c)     SIDWALK COUNSELLING. Why not go through training to give “Sidewalk-counseling” to those confused women who are walking into the Abortion clinic to abort their baby. Of course prayer is the key; however a timely word of wisdom, an image, a word of encouragement,   a smile of love--- all could help the confused woman to turn around and have the child!

d)    EMERGENY PHONE LINE. Volunteer to receive phone-calls of the confused woman who is pondering the abortion to give her the many other “Helps” that she has to support her in her pregnancy and say “Yes” to life! Below are a series of numbers to have at your fingertips: OPTION LIFE IF CARE/NET/HEARBEAT: 1-800-712-HELP (4357) NATIONAL LIFE CENTER: 1-800-848-LOVE (5683), OPTION LINE: 1- 800-712-HELP (4357). Post-abortion syndrome (P.A.S.) RACHEL’S VINEYARD 1-877-HOPE-4-ME (467- 3463). NATIONAL HELPLINE FOR ABORTION RECOVERY: 1-866-482 LIFE (5433) www. NationalHelpline.org. These numbers can be invaluable help in time of need and emergency!

e)    PARISH LEVEL. Approach your Pastor and ask him if you could set up a Pro-life group in the Parish. Many things can be done on a Parish level.  Here are a few: Holy Hours of Reparation, Pro-life Masses, DVD’s and movies like “October Baby? And “Bella” to enhance the awareness on a parochial level of the value of the baby in the womb. Having the “Baby”bottle” project wherein the parishioners give their coins or dollars to women who say “Yes” to life but are struggling economically>

f)      EMERGENCY NUMBERS! Have emergency numbers to give to confused women to call to help them in their plight.

10.  PRAYER AND PENANCE.   Jesus stated with utmost clarity that some devils can be expelled only through prayer and penance.  He Himself taught us in Person when He prayed and fasted for 40 days and nights in the desert.  Then Jesus defeated the devil who came at Him with three different temptations. Behind the abortion industry is the devil; Jesus calls the devil a liar and murderer from the beginning. Lies are uttered!  (Remember the euphemisms, # 4). Worse yet, the devil is a murdered because abortion is truly murder and murder of the most innocent and defenseless. Motivating the abortion industry is the devil and also lust form money. It is a multi-billion dollar industry every year in which close to 1.2 million babies are aborted (through surgical abortion) every year in the United States.  Therefore we must pray and add to prayer concrete acts of penance.    With respect to prayer, of course all prayers said with purity of heart and good intention are pleasing to the Lord. However, three could be of great value to repair the abominable crime and sin of abortion as well as to prevent future abortions. 

a)     CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY.  We invoke the Body,BLOOD, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus to repair for our sins as well as for the sins of the whole of world--- that of course includes abortion, the shedding of the Blood of the Innocent ones!


b)    HOLY MASS: OFERTORY, CONSECRATION, AND HOLY COMMUNION.  Under the stars, moon, and heaven itself there is no greater prayer than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Included in this is the Pro-life dimension. Why? Abortion is the innocent blood-shed of the babies. Holy Mass is the offering of the Blood of the Innocent Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. We offer Jesus begging mercy and pardon; we adore Jesus who descends from heaven in the Consecration of the Host; we receive Jesus in the moment of Holy Communion.  These three key moments in Mass can be offered in reparation and prevention for the deluge of innocent blood that has been shed since the legalization of abortion 40 years ago in the decision Roe vs. Wade. Calculations estimate in between 52-53 surgical abortions!!!! However, we should never forget that one drop of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus that He shed on Calvary and is renewed perpetually in every Holy Mass is sufficient to repair for and save the whole world!

c)      HAIL MARY AND ROSARY. Finally, the prayer, so dear to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Hail Mary and the most Holy Rosary, is obviously a “Pro-life” prayer.  Pay attention to these words in the Hail Mary which were pronounced by Saint Elizabeth to Mary in the mystery of the Visitation:  “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…”   This powerful prayer that penetrates and consoles the most pure and Immaculate Heart of Mary lauds and praises the “Yes” of Mary that resulted in the Incarnation and the presence of the Unborn Baby  Jesus in the womb  of Mary. A beautiful practice for us to undertake would be to beg that through the praying of the Hail Mary in the context of the Rosary that 50 abortions would be repaired for as well as prevented every time we pray this powerful Pro-life prayer.   What God can do with His power Mary can do with her prayer. God can never resist the prayers of Mary His Heavenly Mother.

In conclusion, we are people of life. God calls us to believe in the value of life, love life, speak up and defend life. May Jesus who is the WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE, and Mary who is the Mother of God and Mother of He who gave us life and life in abundance help us to lift of the Banner of life so as to one day enjoy forever and eve r eternal life!

Mary, Mother of God, Our Mother, and Protector of all Mothers, Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.  Amen
 
Be sure to read the comapnion article to this one titled: "Pro Life - How Can We Defend the Defenseless"

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Prolife Quotes


Some things to consider as we pray and make sacrifices for an end to abortion.


"It is horrific that some children never see the light of day because of abortion" 
-Pope Francis


"Life is beautiful and life is from God! This is the most basic message we proclaim.......
.... to build a society that promotes the dignity of every human life no matter how weak... If the child in the womb has no right to live, then no one does. If the child in the womb has no human dignity, then no one does.
" -Archbishop Jose Gomez

"I have noticed that everyone that is for abortion is already alive." 
-President Ronald Reagan

"The whole of society must defend the right to life of the child conceived and the true good of the woman who will never, in any circumstance, be able to find fulfillment in the decision of abortion." - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


"If we want greatness for our nation, we will work together to end the unspeakable shame of abortion. We will speak from our hearts for those who cannot speak at all."
-Bishop James Conley


"A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope".
 
- Blessed Pope John Paul II
“....There are two victims in every abortion, a dead baby and a dead conscience.....We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred,” Mother Teresa said. “If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?”
-Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta


"...January 22 is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn Baby. Is anyone more vulnerable, more fragile, more in need of love, care, and protection than the unborn baby in her mother’s womb?" -Cardinal Timothy Dolan 

"In its heart, America knew that racial segregation was wrong. In its heart, America knows that human life begins before birth." -F. LaGard Smith

"What irony that a society confronted with plastic bags filled with remains of aborted babies would be more concerned about the problem of recycling the bags.
- Winifred Egan



Monday, January 13, 2014

Stand Up for the Unborn this Month!




 



















On January 22 our nation will mark the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the U.S.

Join thousands of Catholics across the country coming together in prayer for a "culture of life" from Saturday, January 18 - Sunday, January 26.  Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children's lives have been lost to abortion, and many suffer that loss -- often in silence. 



In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:  




 





A Closer Look at the Cardinals To Be



2014-01-13 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) The names of Pope Francis’ nineteen cardinals designate were announced after last Sunday’s Angelus for the world to hear. But who are the men behind the names? The new cardinals will come from all corners of the globe and from an incredibly diverse range of ministries – we took a look at this exciting list and summarized the highlights.


On February 22nd 2014, the Feast of the Chair of Peter, Pope Francis will create sixteen new cardinals:

PIETRO PAROLINPart of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps since 1986, he was Apostolic Nuncio in Venezuela between 2009 and 2013, when Pope Francis nominated him Vatican Secretary of State.

LORENZO BALDISSERIPreviously Apostolic Nuncio in Brazil, where he welcomed Pope Benedict XVI on his visit in 2007, he was Secretary of the Congregation of Bishops from January 2012 until nominatedSecretary General of the Synod of Bishops by Pope Francis in September 2013.

GERHARD LUDWIG MÜLLERHaving graduated in philosophy and theology, he was professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Catholic Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (Germany) between 1986 and 2002, travelling as visiting professor to universities worldwide. In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI nominated him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and President of the International Theological Commission.

BENIAMINO STELLAPart of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps since 1970, he was previously Apostolic Nuncio in Cuba and Colombia, and was nominated Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy by Pope Francis in September 2013.

VINCENT GERARD NICHOLS
Master of Arts in Theology and previously Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, he was Metropolitan Archbishop of Birmingham (UK) between 2000 and 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI nominated him Metropolitan Archbishop of Westminster (UK).

LEOPOLDO JOSÉ BRENES SOLÓRZANO

He obtained his Licentiate of Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome (Italy) and was nominated Metropolitan Archbishop of Managua (Nicaragua) by Pope John Paul II in March 2005.

GÉRALD CYPRIEN LACROIX, I.S.P.X.
Part of the “Institut Séculier Pie X” since 1975, he has been both Secretary General and Director General of the institute, as well as Director General of its centre for spiritual formation “Maison du Renouveau”. He was nominated Metropolitan Archbishop of Québec (Canada) by Pope Benedict XVI in February 2011.

JEAN-PIERRE KUTWA
Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Theology and previously Metropolitan Archbishop of Gagnoa (Ivory Coast), he was nominated Metropolitan Archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast) in May 2006.

ORANI JOÃO TEMPESTA, O. CIST.A member of the Cistercian Order since 1969, he was Prior of the São Bernardo monastery in São José do Rio Pardo (Brazil) from 1984 until the monastery became an abbey in 1996, when he was elected its first Abbott. Previously President of Brazil’s National Commission for Culture, Education and Social Communications, he was nominated Metropolitan Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in February 2009, in which capacity he welcomed Pope Francis on his visit in July 2013.

GUALTIERO BASSETTIHe was previously a member of the Episcopal Commission of the Italian Episcopal Conference for the Clergy and Consecrated Life, and a member of the Managing Board of the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration with Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine tradition and Eastern Orthodox Churches. He is currently Vice-President of the Italian Episcopal Conference for Central Italy, and Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve (Italy).

MARIO AURELIO PIOLIHaving graduated as Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, he was appointed there as professor of Ecclesiastical History in 1980. He is currently President of the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education and of the Episcopal Commission for Ministries with the Argentinian Episcopal Conference, and was nominatedMetropolitan Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina) by Pope Francis in March 2013.

ANDREW YEOM SOO-JUNG
Archbishop of Seoul (South Korea) since May 2012, he previously occupied a series of senior administrative posts within parishes and seminaries across South Korea.

RICCARDO EZZATI ANDRELLO, S.D.B.
A member of the Salesians of Don Bosco since 1966, he worked with the Salesian Society in parishes and educational institutions all over Chile. Previously Metropolitan Archbishop of Concepción (Chile), he was nominated Metropolitan Archbishop of Santiago (Chile) in December 2010.

PHILIPPE NAKELLENTUBA OUEDRAOGO
Previously a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, he was nominatedMetropolitan Archbishop of Ouadraogo (Burkina Faso) by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2009.

ORLANDO QUEVEDO, O.M.I.
Already a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, he graduated in Pedagogy from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila (Philippines). He was appointed first Bishop of Kidapawan (Philippines) when the diocese was created in November 1982, and nominatedMetropolitan Archbishop of Cotabato (Philippines) by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

CHIBLY LANGLOIS
Nominated Bishop of Les Cayes (Haiti) by Pope Benedict XVI in August 2011, he was previously professor of Pastoral Theology at the Grand Séminaire Notre-Dame in Port-au-Prince (Haiti) and professor at the Diocesan Institute for Human Education and Promotion in Jacmel (Haiti).


At the same time, Pope Francis will join to the members of the College of Cardinals three Archbishops Emeriti, distinguished for their service to the Holy See and to the Church:

LORIS FRANCESCO CAPOVILLA
A qualified journalist and former editor of a diocesan weekly magazine in Venice (Italy), he was secretary to Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, first in Venice and then in the Vatican. He was Pontifical Delegate for the Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto (Italy) from 1971 until his retirement in 1988. At 98 years old, he is the third oldest archbishop in the world and will be the oldest member of the College of Cardinals.

SEBASTIÁN AGUILAR, C.M.F.
A member of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and previously Bishop of León (Spain), he is Archbishop Emeritus of Pamplona (Spain), where he served from 1993 until his retirement in 2007.

KELVIN EDWARD FELIX
Having graduated as Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology from the University of Bradford (UK) in 1970, he was professor of Sociology at the University of the West Indies at Saint Augustine (Trinidad and Tobago) for many years. Previously President of the Caribbean Conference of Churches, President of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, he is Archbishop Emeritus of Castries (Saint Lucia), where he led the diocese from his appointment in 1981 until his retirement in 2008.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pope on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and NEW Cardinals named

Dear brothers and sisters, hello!

Today is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This morning I baptized 32 newborns. I thank the Lord with you for these babies and for every new life. I like to baptize children. I really enjoy it! Every child who is born is a gift of joy and hope, and every child who is baptized is marvel of the faith and a festival for the family of God.

Today’s Gospel reading highlights the fact that, when Jesus received baptism from John in the Jordan River, “the heavens opened for him” (Matthew 3:16). This fulfills the prophecies. In fact, there is an invocation that the liturgy has us repeat during Advent: “O that you would rend the heavens and come down!” (Isaiah 63:19). If the heavens remain closed, our horizon in this earthly life is dark, without hope. But, celebrating Christmas, the faith has once again given us the certainty that the heavens have been opened by Jesus’coming. And on the day of Christ’s baptism we again contemplate the opened heavens. The manifestation of the Son of God on earth is the beginning of the great time of mercy, after sin had closed the heavens, making a barrier between human beings and their Creator. With Jesus’ birth the heavens are opened! God gives us in Christ the guarantee of an indestructible love. From the moment the Word was made flesh it is possible to see the heavens opened. It is possible for the shepherds of Bethlehem, for the magi from the East, for the Baptist, for the Apostles of Jesus, for St. Stephen, the first martyr, who exclaimed: “I see the heavens opened!” (Acts 7:56). And it is also possible for each one of us, if we let ourselves be invaded by God’s love! This is the great time of mercy! Do not forget it. This is the great time of mercy!

When Jesus received the of baptism repentance from John the Baptist, entering into solidarity with the repentant people – he who is without and without a need to convert – God the Father made his voice heard from heaven: “This is my beloved Son. In him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus received the heavenly Father’s approval, who sent him precisely to share our condition, our poverty. Sharing is the true way to love. Jesus does not disassociate himself from us. He considers us brothers and shares with us. And in this way he makes us sons, together with him, of God the Father. This is revelation and the source of true love. And this is the great time of mercy!

Does it not seem to you that in our time there is a need for more fraternal sharing and of love? Does it not seem to you that we all need more charity? I am not talking about that charity that contents itself with extemporaneous help and does not get involved, does not put itself into play, but that charity that shares, that takes on our brother’s hardships and suffering. What flavor life has when we let ourselves be flooded with God’s love!

Let us ask the Holy Virgin with her intercession to sustain us our effort to follow Christ along the way of faith and charity, the way traced out by our Baptism.

[Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:]

Dear brothers and sisters,

I offer all of you my cordial greeting, especially the families and the faithful from different parishes in Italy and other countries along with the associations and various groups who are present.

Today I would like to address a special thought to the parents who have had their children baptized and those who are preparing for the Baptism of a child. I join in the joy of these families, I thank the Lord with them, and I pray that the Baptism of their children with help the parents themselves to rediscover the beauty of faith and to return in a new way to the Sacraments and to the community.

As has already been announced, on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, I will have the joy of holding a consistory, during which I will name 16 new cardinals, who – belonging to 12 nations from every corner of the world – represent the profound ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Church’s dispersed throughout the world.

On the following day I will preside at a solemn celebration with the new cardinals while on February 20-21I will hold a consistory with all of the cardinals to reflect on the theme of the family.

Here are the names of the new cardinals:

1 – Monsignor Pietro Parolin, Titular Archbishop of Acquapendente, Secretary of State.

2 – Monsignor Lorenzo Baldisseri, Titular Archbishop of Diocleziana, Secretary General of the Synod.

3 - Monsignor Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Regensburg, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

4 – Monsignor Beniamino Stella, Titular Archbishop of Midila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

5 – Monsignor Vincent Gerard Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster (Great Britain).

6 – Monsignor Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua (Nicaragua).

7 – Monsignor Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec (Canada).

8 – Monsignor Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast).

9 – Monsignor Orani João Tempesta, O.Cist., Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

10 – Monsignor Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve (Italy).

11 – Monsignor Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina).

12 – Monsignor Andrew Yeom Soo jung, Archbishop of Seoul (Korea).

13 – Monsignor Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B., Archbishop of Santiago de Chile (Chile).

14 – Monsignor Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

15 – Monsignor Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., Archbishop of Cotabato (Philippines).

16 – Monsignor Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes (Haiti).

Together with them, I add to the College of Cardinals 3 archbishops emeriti who are distinguished by their service to the Holy See and to the Church:

Monsignor Loris Francesco Capovilla, Titular Archbishop of Mesembria;

Monsignor Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, Archbishop Emeritus of Pamplona;

Monsignor Kelvin Edward Felix, Archbishop Emeritus of Castries, in the Antilles.

Let us pray for the new cardinals that, clothed in the virtues and sentiments of the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, they can more efficaciously assist the Bishop of Rome in his service to the universal Church.

I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch. Goodbye!




Friday, January 10, 2014

Poverty, Justice, and the Fight for Freedom


"Law is meant to form character, and integrity, and holiness. Law is meant to protect charity. We can measure a law by this standard. Good law leads us to choose what is good, and bad law tolerates, endorses, or celebrates evil."

Bishop James D. Conley,
Bishop of Lincoln, NE
 Friday, 10 January 2014

Jeanne Jugan knew poverty. Her father was a fisherman, who was lost at sea when she was only 4 years old. Her mother raised eight children as a single mom. The family struggled to eat, and for a place to live, and often enough they knew real hunger, real cold, real need.
As a child, Jugan worked in the fields caring for sheep, doing hard, rough work to help support her family. Eventually she became a maid. She worked for a kind noblewoman who made sure that she had enough to eat, and a place to live. The noblewoman also made sure that Jeanne Jugan did not forget about poverty: part of her duties were to visit the sick, the poor, and the elderly, and to bring them food and money on behalf of her employer.
Jeanne Jugan’s whole life became service to the poor. She worked hard, serving families and widows with very little. She served them because, as she would say, she was a sister to the poor. She served the poor, she said, in order to serve Jesus Christ.

Eventually, Jeanne Jugan began living with and caring for poor widows. Soon other women joined her. They worked as nurses and cooks, and they lived with the poor as Christian companions. Soon, they started a new religious community, and Jugan became the foundress of The Little Sisters of the Poor.

For almost 200 years, the Little Sisters of the Poor have carried on the work of St. Jeanne Jugan. But today, federal law threatens their work. The dictates of the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act require the Sisters to either support the use of contraception or pay insurmountable fines. Their goal is only to serve the poor. But today our government is undermining that goal.

Last week, the Little Sisters of the Poor won a small victory in the fight to protect religious liberty. The Sisters have filed suit against the federal government, alleging that any participation in the contraceptive mandate violates their conscience and thus their religious freedom. Of course, they’re right. And last week, a Justice of the United States Supreme Court granted the Sisters a reprieve from the mandate while their case is decided.
In the meantime, the Justice Department has opposed the Sisters’ petition on the grounds that colluding in the provision of contraception and abortion is not a violation of the Sisters’ religious convictions.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are not political activists. They’ve not filed suit to make a statement, or to establish legal precedent. They’re working to protect the integrity of their ministry. They’re working to ensure that federal law treats them justly and fairly.
“For law to be good,” said St. Thomas Aquinas, “it should make us good… The purpose of human law is to lead men to virtue.”

Law is meant to form character, and integrity, and holiness. Law is meant to protect charity. We can measure a law by this standard. Goo
d law leads us to choose what is good, and bad law tolerates, endorses, or celebrates evil. 

A law that requires Catholics to violate their religious conviction is not a good law. A law that requires support and endorsement for the use of contraception and abortion is an unjust law. And the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose only mission is to support elderly people living in poverty, are refusing to be led into evil by unjust laws.

This week the Church celebrates the feast of St. Raymond of Peñafort—one of the Church’s great legal minds. In a time of legal ambiguity and confusion, St. Raymond worked to ensure that the Church’s laws, and those of Europe’s nations, were just and fair. Today we face legal ambiguity and confusion. Today we need more men and women like St. Raymond of Peñafort, who work to ensure that law leads us all to virtue.

We need to join together in prayer and sacrifice for truth. We need to stand together for justice. Like St. Jeanne Jugan, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, and like St. Raymond, we need to stand together for what is good, and beautiful, and true.