"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nov 6 2012: Two Priests Respond

Difficult Days Ahead For The Church?

by Msgr Charles Pope

My remarks will be brief, since this is not a political blog, and I am not a political prognosticator. The American people and process have spoken. But a few remarks based on the election results, things I think of as undeniable facts for the Church, though you are free to offer any rebuttals.

1. The strained relationship between the Catholic Church in the Democratic party will continue and the strain will likely grow. The reasons for this are that the Democratic Party is increasingly aligning itself with positions that are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching. More of this in the following points.

2. Largely unrestricted abortion will continue unabated, as will funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the chief provider of abortion in this country. Possible Supreme Court nominations will also feature pro-choice jurists. Likewise many Circuit and other Federal District Court judges will continue to be appointed who favor largely unrestricted abortion.

3. The homosexual agenda will continue to grow and receive increasing legal recognition and protection. This includes not only gay “marriage” but also, other issues in the Gay agenda such as adoption, and the general insistence that the Gay lifestyle be promoted in schools and other public settings. This will require Church opposition and generally embroil us in many public disputes. This may have continued even with a Romney win, but there will be fewer political hurdles for such agendas and the pace will be quicker.

4. The HHS mandate moves forward, untouched. Our religious liberty is in greater jeopardy. We’ll have to meet the administration in court. And while the legal basis for our grievance seems strong, recent experience in the courts has demonstrated that nothing is certain. Civil disobedience may be in our future.

5. Extreme debt seems likely to pile up. Well this may not be a specific issue the Catholic Church has spoken to, it remains a fact that we spend money we do not have, and this has moral implications. Little change in a very divided Congress, means there will be likely little progress in arresting a runaway debt. This will become an increasing moral problem that the Church will likely have to address at some level. This too draws us into the morass of debates about spending priorities etc. and may divide us as a Church between fiscal conservatives and those who emphasize the Social Doctrine.

Thus, the next years ahead, will likely draw the Church into increasing conflict with the political scene in general, and the Democratic Party specifically.

And while it is not the instinct to the Church to be drawn into one side of the political debate, moral issues are increasingly demanding from us an unambiguous stance, which draws us into increasing conflict with the Democratic Party on issues which we consider non-negotiable. At the same time, issues that we may share with the Democratic Party, are less doctrinal or certain for us. We face difficult days ahead, and difficult decisions about strategy and how to engage a party in power that is increasingly at odds with our most central tenants.

The Central question for us is, How will the Church be able to articulate her positions, increasingly at odds with the platform of the Democratic party and be able to resist the (unfair) charge that we are merely the Republican Party at prayer. There are difficult days ahead for the Church.

Let us pray for great courage and prudence.


Requiem for a Nation

Posted by Padre Giovanni Trigilio

A Requiem Mass is in order. It was not just Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who lost tonight. Nor is it just a loss for the Republican party. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY and JUSTICE lost. Forget about Roe v. Wade getting overturned. The Supreme Court will most likely get revamped with a majority of Pro-Abortion justices when immanent retirements occur. HHS mandate will continue to strangle the FREEDOM OF RELIGION in its attempt to impose immorality while handcuffing spiritual leaders from their God given task to denounce evil. The UNBORN will be more at risk than ever before. The terminally ill and elderly will be threatened with 'compassionate termination' under the oxymoron of 'mercy killing'. Euthanasia and abortion will sky-rocket. Traditional marriage will be trivialized to the realm where chastity and virginity were exiled a few generations before.

I fear for America. Our national debt has already become a credible threat to national security. Worse yet, our country is on the verge of losing its soul. Greece and Rome fell and they fell hard when they lost their MORAL COMPASS. How many Catholics chose to ignore the public and flagrant attacks on LIFE (via abortion and assisted suicide) and RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (via HHS mandate) only to vote for what appeared most comfortable and convenient?

Even economists admit that they and their disciple are far from infallible. There is plenty of latitude for discussion and disagreement on prudential judgments regarding economic policies and programs. Big government or small government; liberal or conservative; blue state or red state; these are opinions


What is not open for debate are NON-NEGOTIABLES like the RIGHT TO LIFE, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY and the SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE & THE FAMILY. Great cultures and civilizations flourish when they promote and defend these. They crumble, fall and dissolve when they abandon them.

We must oppose every immoral and unjust law, policy, and program without resorting to the sin of hating our enemies. At the same time, we must follow in the footsteps of the early martyrs of Rome and those who followed their brave example in Elizabethan England, behind the old Iron Curtain, or those under Red China's tyranny. The Soviet Union, the Evil Empire, is no more, but besides Al Qaeda there are other threats to us. OURSELVES. If we continue to kill innocent unborn babies and if we allow traditional moral values to decay, then our society will implode. No need for an external enemy to conquer us.

Some are guilty of the sin of omission if they neglected to vote (weather and health permitting, of course). Those who remained SILENT might be culpable of being an ACCESSORY or more accurately a COOPERATOR IN EVIL like those who voted for politicians and candidates who support unrestricted abortions and who seek to unravel the cloth of the family by redefining and reinventing the institution of marriage, yet these voters fooled themselves into the trap that as long as they personally disagreed, it was OK to support those who advocate what is IMMORAL for 'other' reasons and positions.

Cardinal George of Chicago said he would die in his bed, his successor will die in prison and the one to succeed him will die a martyr's death. Hyperbole? NO. Governments and societies which do not honor and respect religious liberty of believers and/or of the Church where they worship are doomed to extinction. The gates of hell will not prevail but as in days of old, there will be MORE persecutions. Maybe not physical, but economic, political, social and psychological attacks will take place against those who dare challenge the omnipotent STATE. Atheism not only discounts religion, it despises and detests it. Inch by inch, day by day, we will see rights and freedoms restrained, curtailed and controlled so that private property will become state property. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press will be overwhelmed by what is POLITICALLY CORRECT.

Some will be defeatist and claim we have no choice but COMPROMISE. Those Frenchmen who collaborated with the Nazis during occupation were not seen as patriots or heroes after the war had been won and France regained her independence. COOPERATION IN EVIL can occur formally or materially. Like Saint Paul we must FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT and FINISH THE RACE. Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher and many other martyrs show us that it is not worth one's soul to acquiesce to civil power when it conflicts with moral and religious principles and values.

The time has come to capture the ZEAL and PIETY our ancestors showed. When we were an immigrant church and a vulnerable minority, we knew who we were, what we believed and how we were to live. As we became more and more assimilated into society, we 'fit in' and like the ancient Israelites, we wanted to be more like our neighbors. They turned their back on the Lord and demanded He give them an earthly king so they could have an 'acceptable' earthly kingdom. After two rulers, that kingdom got divided and eventually conquered by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.

Like the Kingdom of Nineveh, we need to do PENANCE lest we continue on the road to more persecution and enslavement. It would be appropriate if our national hierarchy followed the example of their brothers in Britain and RESTORED the tradition of Friday abstinence and brought back ALL Holy Days of Obligation on their actual calendar dates. We may not ever see Ember and Rogation days return, but more REVERENCE in the Sacred Liturgy and ZERO toleration of theological or liturgical dissent be it colleges or seminaries, pulpits or podiums, will do more good to RENEW the faith.

The New Evangelization may mean that missionaries from the Third World come HERE to America to reacquaint us with what we let slip through our fingers. FAITH and FAMILY are the pillars of any civilization and both are always attacked by tyrants and despots, be they Communist, Socialist or Fascist.

When I was a child in Catholic grade school, the nuns had us pray daily for the conversion of Russia. Now that the Cold War ended and the Iron Curtain fell; now that the Soviet Union is no more, complacency has lulled us into a false sense of security. Two forces are still at work. The atheistic powers of secular progressives who seek to deify Government and the radical elements of Islamo-fascism who distort their religion for the purpose of establishing the revival of Caliphate which would rival the Ottoman Empire itself.

Now, we must pray for all our enemies, at home and abroad. We must pray for our civil leaders that they may REPENT of their allegiances to the powers of darkness like abortion and euthanasia. Remember when the Disciples got discouraged when they could not exorcise some demons? Jesus told them that some are so nasty that only perseverance in PRAYER and FASTING will prevail. Likewise, we should NOT stop the novenas, litanies and acts of mortification. More than ever we need to increase our devotion to the ROSARY and to show greater honor for the Virgin Mary. As faithful sons and daughters of the Church, we need to PRACTICE our religion especially as it becomes more and more UNPOPULAR and POLITICALLY INCORRECT.

When Polish Catholics were being persecuted by the Communists, they went to Church more often and they more fervently celebrated public acts of piety and devotion. There are no KGB agents spying on us here in the USA but the government will intrude more and more into our lives to try to conform us to what they deem is acceptable behavior, not based on the Natural Law, but determined by liberal ideologies and secular humanism.

I suggest a modest program. Voluntary resumption of the ALL Friday abstinence (except on Solemnities) and voluntary fasting on all Wednesdays (or at least one day a week, except on Solemnities) in REPARATION for the sins of our age; DAILY rosary; MONTHLY confession; ANNUAL retreats; PERIODIC pilgrimages; and FREQUENT acts of piety and devotion. Simultaneously, we need to READ and LEARN more about our religion and be more assertive in SPREADING it, first by example and secondly by prudent and compassionate CATECHESIS.

The Roman Empire converted thanks to the blood of the martyrs but also because their faith became contagious. Lukewarm Catholics attract no one. Mediocrity is a cancer. PRAY for vocations AND pray for better politicians. Support those who defend LIFE and oppose those who promote death and perversity.

This YEAR OF FAITH is more crucial than ever now thanks to the Election of 2012. We need to WAKE UP and STAY SOBER and ALERT. Our adversary the Devil has duped many into thinking with their pocket books and evaluating according to comfort and convenience rather than right from wrong. We may have to return to being an underground church as like in the catacombs of old, but faith and piety can never be taken, only surrendered.

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