Added a Page of Resources for the Year of Faith

I wrote a post about the Year of Faith a few days ago. Tonight I added a page of resources, too, and I’ll be adding to the list there as I discover useful things. Got to tell you, so far I am really enjoying this. I’m taking my mass-market paperback copy to adoration, along with my Liturgy of the Hours for prayer and prayerful study. Not only am I learning more about my faith than I already knew, but I’m learning at a deeper level. And all of this is giving me more insight into the novel I’m writing. (Nope, don’t ask. Can’t tell you anything else about that. Yet.) ;) Year of Faith Resource Page.

Vote, Resources to Help You Form and Vote Your Catholic Conscience

The election grows nearer but I still hear some Catholics say that they have not yet decided who to vote for. So I put together a short page of resources to help you vote your Catholic conscience. Sadly, many have not yet formed their consciences, and many Catholics do not even know what that means. The Vote page will help you begin. First, start learning your faith (this is the Year of Faith, after all)! Then live it. Everywhere. Yes, in the voting booth, too. If we don’t do everything as Catholic Christians, then our faith is so much wind, as in, hot air.

Resources to Help You Form and Vote Your Catholic Conscience so you can LIVE your faith.

Catholic Every Moment and While I’m Voting Too

[Brief list of voting guides at the end of this post and on the new Vote page.] People have told me here at the blog, in emails, on forums, in conversations, that being Catholic has nothing to do with politics, has nothing to do with choosing a candidate, has nothing to do with any part of life except one hour on Sunday. Most of these people are not Catholic or they would realize many of us don’t go to Mass just that one hour on Sunday; many of us go during the week, too, and some go every day of their lives and always have. Even so, being Catholic is not just about what we do at Mass, no matter how many times a week we attend.

And voting as a Catholic is not merely a matter of prayer and reflection, but prayer and reflection on the teachings of the Church, listening to the priests and bishops giving guidance concerning the teachings of the Church, and doing our best to live as faithful Catholics abiding by the teachings of the Church. Yes, we have to follow our consciences. But first —FIRST–we have to FORM our consciences! And how do we form our consciences? By listening to our priests and bishops, the Chief Bishop, and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the marvelous teaching documents written by the Popes (including but not limited to the last two Popes, the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict XVI).

There is absolutely no excuse for any Catholic old enough to vote not to know his or her faith. You can read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (here or here or here) and/or study the Catechism and the documents written by the Popes and the documents of Vatican II, and much more, all on the web and all for free. The bishops of the USCCB have been trying to teach people for some time now and the “faithful” blithely ignore them and say they can follow their own consciences. Without forming them!

Yes, some bishops are less than stellar examples. So don’t follow their examples! But do as they say, the same way Jesus told the disciples to do what the Pharisees said do. But He told them not to do as the Pharisees did! And besides, a good many bishops are wonderful shepherds and I pray for them every day. They do not have an easy job. Shepherding Catholics is like herding cats. Everybody wants to be his own Pope! Well, there’s only one Pope and he’s in Rome!

So form your Catholic conscience and THEN follow it! Read Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) and Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). Study them (study guides to  Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae). I’ve been told that the Church has yet to rule on abortion being a sin. Newsflash: The Church has taught that abortion is a grave sin since the time of the early Church, in the Didache (in chapter two, really the second paragraph)! And we know that taking it upon ourselves to take an innocent life is prohibited by the Ten Commandments.

So right there, before we go any further, we can see that if a candidate wants to do everything in his power to promote and support abortion and cram it down the throats of the people and refuses to do anything that would limit abortion, which is an intrinsic evil, which means it is always and everywhere a serious and grave sin, then, guess what? A Catholic may not vote for that candidate and say that he is following his Catholic conscience. Because he would be demonstrating that he does not, in fact, have a Catholic conscience!

We can vote for someone who does not share our idea of the intrinsic evil of abortion IF–IF IF IF–we have reason to believe that that person would act in such a way as to limit abortion more than another candidate would. And we do have just this case in our political landscape as I write these words. We must vote in such a way as to limit evil. If you vote for the candidate who has put into positions of authority numerous people formerly connected with the largest abortion provider in this country, then you are not voting to limit evil, you are voting in support of evil. You are voting against a Catholic conscience, which you would demonstrate by your action, by your vote.

This is a grave scandal and for the life of me I cannot understand anyone not understanding this issue or thinking that any issue at all could ever take precedence over LIFE! If you don’t have life, I ask you, then what, pray tell, do you have? Nothing! The economy doesn’t matter if we are happy to ignore the slaughter of millions to get that economy. And the economy certainly doesn’t matter to those who we slaughter! So stop saying that pro-life people are “one issue voters” and then proceeding to say that you are voting on the issue of the economy. Hello! Isn’t that being a “one issue voter”? Isn’t that what you just said we shouldn’t do, reduce our vote to a vote on just one issue? Well, at least, if I “reduce” my vote to “just one issue”, I “reduced” it to the ONE FOUNDATIONAL issue–LIFE ITSELF!

Yes, other matters matter. But Life is the one matter that matters most. Without it, the rest of the issues are empty talk and chatter.

Voting as a Catholic: Live Your Faith, Vote Your Faith!

These links are also on the new Vote page added tonight. I’ll add more as I find them.

To Help You Form Your Catholic Conscience:

ReligiousLiberties.org, a new website presented by EWTN

EWTN has opened a website devoted to keeping the faithful and people of goodwill informed on the current issues concerning religious liberty, which liberty is under serious attack here in the U.S.A. I just found out about it and have only spent a few minutes looking over the contents of the site. A number of similar sites have opened up lately and I need to do a page of links devoted to this issue pretty soon.

 

One decision down, get ready, the real battle is only just beginning

Where's the freedom? Protesting the HHS Mandate outside the Supreme Court

Yes, I heard the news. No, I’m not surprised. Neither am I throwing up my hands in despair. The battle over religious freedom (and freedom in general) is on and it has only just begun. I’d like to quote a newsletter I received today from Eric Scheidler. I think it will help to clear up some of the misinformation which is already flooding the airwaves now that this decision has been handed down. We have a long way to go, folks. Get educated. Do it now.

THE SUPREME COURT DID NOT UPHOLD THE HHS MANDATE TODAY.

Our opponents will try to claim we’ve lost our fight against the HHS Mandate because of today’s ruling. That is simply FALSE.

The Supreme court did not address the HHS Mandate issue in their ruling today. Nor did they declare the whole 2700-page Obamacare law to be constitutional.

Today’s ruling only addresses the constitutionality of a few pages of that law, on completely different issues from the HHS Mandate.

Provisions of Obamacare like the HHS Mandate could still be struck down in the future. In fact, I’m sure it will be when the scores of lawsuits against the HHS Mandate reach the high court.

But I’m not willing to wait that long — not when religious freedom is on the line. …

As I said, I’ll be nailing down specific plans for future action against the HHS Mandate soon. Meanwhile, visit the Stand Up website to see what you can do RIGHT NOW to fight the HHS Mandate:

http://StandUpRally.com/action/

So don’t lose heart.

Yes, today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disappointment. But in the end it will only INCREASE the urgency of our protests and inspire MORE people to join us out onto the streets!

The fight to stop the HHS Mandate will go forward with zeal — in the courts, in Congress, on the streets and on election day!

Yours for Life,

— Eric

This is truly spiritual warfare. Join the battle! Stand Up For Religious Freedom today! Read another interesting take on the decision and its implications.

Fortnight for Freedom and a novel in progress

Fortnight 4 Freedom

I plan to write more about this at some point but right now I’m linking to the USCCB‘s Fortnight 4 Freedom site. My current novel-in-progress focuses on this very issue of freedom and faith, and the writing has taken over my blog time and pretty much the rest of my life. (After much struggle and a long dry period, having the writing take over my life, at least part of it, is a good thing and I am loving it.)

“The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayerstudycatechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”

For information, bulletin inserts, web graphics, pdf’s and more: http://www.fortnight4freedom.org

Counterfeit Catholics, A Little Comeuppance for the Rebellious and Ignorant

Michael Voris. A man not afraid to speak up and speak out and a bishop who is standing up to the counterfeit Catholics and in defense of the priests in his diocese. Thanks be to God! Good on ya both, Michael and Bishop Morlino. The Church needs many more like ya. Links provided below the video.

Published on May 10, 2012 by : The Church of Feel Good is finally starting to get put in its place .. starting to.

http://badgercatholic.blogspot.com/2010/11/bp-morlinos-letter-to-platteville….http://www.madisondiocese.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=H67WXKB7CA8%3d&ta
http://www.socon.ca/michael-voris-coming-to-town/
http://www.catholicchapterhouse.com/new-evangelization-michael-voris-toronto

Divine Mercy Sunday at the Shrine was, well, Divine

Divine MercyI spent all morning trying to decide whether to make the trip up to Hanceville for Divine Mercy Sunday Devotions and Mass at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, or stay closer to home and save on gasoline (and energy!). I’m officially glad I spent the time and fuel to go up there. That is one beautiful place–its 13th century architecture alone would make it worth the trip. If it weren’t for the incense which plays havoc with my lungs, I would want to attend Mass there more often. I wonder if they use the incense at the Daily Mass? Maybe just at Benediction? I’ll have to find out.

Tonight I’m only posting a couple of photos from the trip; will post more when I get them edited. The sky was overcast while I was taking these and the only half-decent light lasted a very short while, so I have to edit each one to make it somewhat presentable. And I’m still not happy with the way these look. This all takes more time than I wish it did, but then patience is a virtue. Or so I’ve heard…

Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament

That horse is gonna walk right up and put his nose right on the lens!

Look, it's a horse, er, an alpaca, no, a llama, wait, it's a horse...I think!

Stand Up For Religious Freedom, Birmingham, Photos and Thoughts, Part 1

[Note: This page has several photos on it, so I’m not posting the whole thing on the front page of the blog. See the post page for all the photos. Thanks!] I’ve been sitting in a cafe downloading and editing photos from the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally in Birmingham, AL, that took place from noon until around 1 p.m. today.

CEC For Life Director, Fr. Terry Gensemer
CEC For Life Director, Fr. Terry Gensemer

Didn’t realize that today is Fr. Coyle’s birthday. Who’s Fr. Coyle? He was a Catholic priest at St. Paul’s in downtown Birmingham, back before St. Paul’s was made the cathedral. He worked very hard to bring people together, used to pray the Divine Office on the steps outside the St. Paul’s so he could be close to those passing by. He was threatened many times for the audacity of true hope, for taking Christ’s prayer that we all be one seriously and doing something about it.

Hey, check it out! News cameras! Local news coverage! Maybe...
Hey, check it out! News cameras! Local news coverage! Maybe...

Continue reading “Stand Up For Religious Freedom, Birmingham, Photos and Thoughts, Part 1”

40 Days for Life, God Works Wonders When We Stand Together To Pray

What if Mary had not said Yes? What if Joseph had turned away from Jesus and Mary?On Monday and Tuesday of this week two parishes had adopted the days so the sidewalk outside the abortuary was covered with a blanket of prayer. A veritable shield of prayer. I think there were two saves that day and I witnessed one of them. Since we had so many there, volunteers were able to talk with the couple while others prayed, and a few minutes later were able to lead the couple all the way to a place where they could get real help without leaving the vigil site unattended. And did we pray! We were filled with joy as we watched the cars pull away heading to a place that welcomes and cares for life, leaving that place of darkness behind them. Praise God! We all knew that He was working mighty works before our eyes. God is so good!

Tuesday was quieter while I was there. There was a moment when a police car came up. Two girls had gone in together (one was very young and the other was older, but I’m so old now that they both looked young to me), and the older one kept coming back outside then going back in. Finally the girls came out and the police did, too. We don’t know what was going on there but we need to definitely keep both of those girls in our prayers and any other life that may be in the picture.

Later a sour-looking woman drove up, probably in her fifties, maybe older. A. approached her with a brochure and the woman told her that she was there to make a contribution to Planned Parenthood and was going to contribute every day that we were out there. A. told her very pleasantly that she was going to continue contributing to God. (Good on ya, A.) We prayed for her and I’ve added her to my ever-lengthening list of folks who show us kindness and who show us hostility during the vigil.

Wednesday was quiet the whole time I was there. One couple drove down the street slowly and parked around the corner and went in while I was walking up the street with my back to them and without me speaking to them. When I realized they were out of their car, they were nearly to the door. I felt so bad about not speaking up that I prayed that they would come back out really soon, for any reason at all, just come back out real quick and I said I promised that I would speak to them and offer them the brochure with the ultrasound coupon in it. As I prayed for them, I grabbed some brochures from the cooler.

Then, almost as soon as I finished this prayer, the door opened and they came out and walked down the steps. “Here goes,” I said. I had promised, after all, and God did send them back outside. So I offered the brochure to them but the man said, “We’re good.” So I continued praying for them. They got in their car and sat there talking for a long time. I kept walking up and down the sidewalk, praying the rosary, and sometimes I would nod in their direction, sometimes not, as I reached the corner and turned to walk the other way. They sat there a really long time and I prayed for them the whole time, pleading for them to choose life and not to have anything to do with Planned Parenthood.

At last the engine started up and the car backed out and they drove away. I don’t know what choice they were facing. But I know they left that dark place. And I know that several people are praying for them tonight because I texted some prayer warriors about them, but please keep this young couple in your own prayers, too. May they choose to welcome life into their hearts and their home, now or whenever God so pleases to grant them this gift. And may they be drawn closer and closer to our precious Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, in Whom we all move and live and have our being. Amen.

Peace be with you. You and I may not see each other out on the sidewalk but we can keep each other in our thoughts and prayers. And please pray for the couples I mentioned (and all others like them) that they may resist any pressure from those around them and the temptation to reject the beautiful gift of life! May Christ Who is the Light of the world enlighten their minds and fill their hearts with His love and joy. Forever. Amen.

What if Mary had not said Yes? What if Joseph had turned away from Jesus and Mary?