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Why I Am Catholic

I can think of only one reason to be Catholic, and to remain Catholic. Because I have realized it is true. All of it.

And if it is not true, then nothing is true, and there truly is no hope anywhere.

But the older I get, the more it sinks into my bones, and I know the Church is my only home, and keeper of the only Truth, because the Church is His, and He remains with the Church in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

I may limp along in my faith sometimes; for long stretches of time, even. But I know I would starve to death without Jesus in the Eucharist. And as Flannery O’Connor famously said, “If it’s only symbolic, then to hell with it.” Exactly. If it is not Real Food, then to hell with it because it’s worthless. Who needs another symbol? We need genuine food. And we have it in the Church.

We have the Word of God for our minds, our ears, our hearts, our spirits, and our bodies. I cannot leave. There is nowhere else to go. I am Home.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Very Unfunny Truth Bill Cosby has Taught Us

Bill-Cosby

Published at The Stream

It seems very likely that Bill Cosby is not the kind of man we thought he was. While he hasn’t been convicted of a crime, and perhaps never will be, there is a growing mountain of accusations, and now sworn court testimony, that reveal a pattern of grave and disgusting abuses on his part against women.

More than anything, this makes me very sad. I have been a Cosby fan for decades. I’ll say it — I love Bill Cosby. At least the public, creative Bill Cosby I’ve known all my life.

As a kid, I remember marveling to myself that Cosby made me laugh and care so much about some cartoon kid named Fat Albert.

I still remember the commercials he made for Jell-O Pudding Pops. The pudding pops were yummy, but Cosby’s charming antics made them just plain awesome. It was the treat to have back then.

I can’t count how many times I listened to his Noah’s Ark routine. We had the LP version (yep, a record player!), and my entire family would stop whatever else they were doing when they heard it playing, and come sit down and laugh. We’d laugh, and laugh, and cry, and hold our aching stomachs, and howl with delight. It was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. In fact, it still is.

Even without the benefit of seeing his hilarious facial expressions, we enjoyed cheek-hurting laughter time and time again. “Noah!” “How long can you tread water? Hahahaha!”

And his parenting routines? Classic. I still remember the one about him feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, patting himself on the back for his ingenious insight: Eggs! And milk! In the chocolate cake!

Not until I became a mother did I fully appreciate the wisdom and accuracy of his repertoire of parenting jokes. Remember when he and his wife brought home their first child, a daughter, and they marveled at the adorable little poopy diapers she made? “Then one day, God put odor in the poo-poo…” It’s true!

And who can forget Little Tiny Hairs? Simply hilarious.

Cosby’s humor was unique and rare even 40 years ago. It’s practically unheard of today. It was classy, intelligent, clever, truly creative, and clean. He didn’t rely on profanity or R-rated (or worse), crass, derogatory, or sexually explicit material.

He was incredibly funny without ever assaulting my ears or my innocence.

And yes, I know how very ironic that statement is now. That’s why it makes me so very sad. A brilliant and happy legacy is now forever tarnished and left in ruins. A man with rare talent, beloved by so many for so many years, now will be remembered as a lecher and possibly a rapist.

I wish it weren’t so because I would have loved to share Cosby’s humor with my own children. Mostly, I wish it weren’t so because my heart aches for the women he has hurt, especially his wife. It seems clear that if nothing else, he’s guilty of serial adultery.

We are in dire need of learning the lesson his wreckage has to teach us about ourselves and our self-indulgent, debauched culture.

He was a master on the comedy stage; a slave to his own passions in real life, and those passions weren’t impressed by his accomplishments or his fame. They just took him down.

It may be unfashionable these days to speak of virtue, and positively appalling to speak of chastity, but such are precisely the remedies that would have saved Cosby’s life and legacy. They’ll save us, too, if we’re smart.

It’s a simple as this: work continually toward self-mastery and be happy, or live as a slave to destructive passions and be miserable and hurt other people. That truth runs completely counter to the directive of our culture, but with such a stunning exhibit of the culture’s handiwork, let’s have a good look at it, shall we?

What’s the key to self-mastery? Virtue.

“Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good. The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1804)

Which virtue in particular will help us learn self-mastery? Chastity.

“Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.” (CCC 2339)

“The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.” (CCC 2341)
“Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life.” (CCC 2342)

It’s a terrible shame that Bill Cosby’s remarkable genius was sullied by destructive passions. But the point is, the potential for such disaster is not outside our doors, not just out there in the fallen world, but within our own selves. No one is immune to temptation or struggle in this life.

Still, each one of us is charged with the task of mastering those passions which will otherwise destroy us and those around us. The good news is that we’ve been given the means to do it. Pray for supernatural strength and practice virtue, particularly chastity, every day. Flee from the devil, resist temptation, and if you fail, don’t give up the long and exacting work of self-mastery. Start again. Exercise freedom properly, and choose what is good and honorable. We each have everything to gain if we do, and everything to lose if we don’t.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Independence Day

John Adams on Independence Day or “the Day of Deliverance”:

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
-John Adams, letter of July 3, 1776 to his wife Abigail

john adams

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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An Old Letter We All Must Read Again

Time to make sure we live up to this description once again.

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.” 

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Whom Will You Serve?

serveIf somehow Catholics didn’t realize it before Friday, I hope the realization has dawned. We have a choice to make.

If you’re a Catholic who feels like celebrating this wretched Supreme Court decision to impose same-sex “marriage” on the nation, may I strongly suggest that you reconsider your cheers.

I saw a lot of that on Facebook all day on Friday. Catholics, using the transparent rainbow on their profile pictures; Catholics repeating the secular line about “not imposing their beliefs” on anyone; Catholics talking about their unwillingness to “judge” anyone who supports same-sex “marriage”, and so forth.

It was discouraging to say the least.

It means that too many Catholics have been catechized only by the secular culture and not by the Church. They believe the lie that by speaking the truth, they are “imposing” their beliefs on others. They fear the accusations of hatred and bigotry from friends or family more than they fear the Lord.

That may sound harsh, but let’s cut through the crap and get right to the point. Each of us must choose whom we will serve. We can no longer live as though agreeing with the world isn’t disagreeing with God.

We’ve gotten away with such duplicity, it seemed to us anyway, until now because the culture tolerated it.

Those days are over.

The Supreme Court has declared a “new orthodoxy”, as Justice Samuel Alito called it. How fitting that he used religious terminology to describe Friday’s ruling and this new mandated form of “marriage” that we must all accept, by their decree.

“Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences. It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

Dissent from this new orthodoxy will certainly not be tolerated, even to the smallest degree. This brings us swiftly to the decision point: Who will it be? God or Caesar? There is no middle ground — that earth has been scorched.

If there remains confusion about what our Church teaches on the subject, let’s clear it up. From Canon lawyer Ed Peters:

“Catholic doctrine and discipline can never, ever, recognize as married two persons of the same sex, and any Catholic who regards “same-sex marriage” as marriage is, beyond question, “opposed to the doctrine for the Church” (Canon 750 § 2). I am sorry so many Catholics apparently think otherwise and I recognize that many who think that Church teaching on marriage can and should change, do so in good faith. But they are still wrong and their error leads them, among other things, to underestimate how non-negotiable is the Church’s opposition to the recognition of same-sex unions as marriage.”

And from the United States Catholic Bishops:

“Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.”

It doesn’t matter how popular same-sex “marriage” becomes. It changes nothing, because the truth of the human person and marriage will never change. Catholics need to understand that marriage has an ontology that cannot be changed. There are no such things as round triangles; or green made from two similar shades of yellow; and there is simply no such thing as marriage between two men or two women. It is an impossibility.

In the beginning God created them male and female… Do we now think that God made a mistake? Are we really so arrogant as to insist that what God designed and ordained can be altered because the present age demands it?

On the one hand, I believe there are those, as Ed Peters said, of good will who think Church teaching should change. They are wrong, but I don’t doubt their good will.

I think there’s something else at play here as well though, and that’s self-image, fear, and personal cost. We want to be nice. No one wants to be called hateful. No one wants to be branded a bigot. Nobody wants to lose friends or family over the “issue” of marriage. No one wants to risk being publicly ridiculed and persecuted for not riding the rainbow parade float.

It’s hard to stand against the crowd. When the crowd looks like they want blood, nobody wants to offer theirs.

It’s very hard to withstand the accusations of being narrow-minded, discriminatory, homophobic, backwards, bigoted, and hateful. It means being very unpopular in a world that prizes popularity.

Christians who’ve not suffered for their faith often romanticize persecution. They imagine themselves willing to lose their jobs, their liberty, or even their lives for standing up for the Gospel. Yet when the moment comes, at least here in the United States, they often find that they simply can’t abide being called “hateful.” It creates a desperate, panicked response. “No, you don’t understand. I’m not like those people — the religious right.” Thus, at the end of the day, a church that descends from apostles who withstood beatings finds itself unable to withstand tweetings. Social scorn is worse than the lash.”

Indeed. It’s terrifying to risk great personal sacrifice; even real persecution in the loss of a business or job or position; or agonizing grief at losing a loved one or a friend. It takes some real inner steel, some unshakable conviction to stand firm in the face of all that.

But there is no compromise. If we choose to obey the world’s mandates, we will forsake the God we claim to love and forfeit our eternal inheritance.

Some will read those remarks and recoil, saying how can a God of love condemn me for supporting “equal rights” for all people?

Catholics need to understand there is no “right” for two men or two women to marry, just as there is no “right” to kill the unborn child in abortion. Just because people may want to do something doesn’t mean they have the right to do it.

Feelings are not the barometer of moral rightness. Love is not a feeling!

Is all this hatred toward homosexual persons? No, it is not! At least not what is being called hatred. If by hatred, you mean saying that homosexual sex is not licit and morally right, then there’s the problem. If by hatred, you mean saying that marriage only exists between a man and a woman, then there’s the second problem. If by hatred, you mean upholding the Natural law and the truth of the human person created male and female, then that’s the trouble.

It isn’t hatred to say what is true. It isn’t hatred to obey the sovereignty of God’s law, and to recognize the Natural law. (For the record, it’s also true that adultery, fornication, and pornography are also immoral, illicit, unacceptable. It isn’t hatred to say so.)

Frankly, Catholics have got to stop being so emotional about all this. We’ve got to stop worshiping everyone’s feelings, including our own.

Don’t be deluded into thinking it ends with marriage. Oh, no. Far from it.

The end goal is the family. The militant activists in this movement to normalize homosexual sex will not stop until they have decimated the family unit of father, mother, and children. They call it “heteronormative” as though being male and female is by its very nature discriminatory against homosexuals.

The movement to wipe out gender entirely is well underway and gaining tremendous steam. A man can chemically castrate himself, get breast implants, hair extensions, wear a push-up bra and make-up and voila! He’s a woman, because “gender is a social construct” that must now be rendered meaningless.

“Sex Ed” beginning in Kindergarten now will indoctrinate children into this kind of thinking, and cause healthy, normal, impressionable young kids to question their own sexuality, their own gender, and reject the natural differences between boys and girls in favor of “gender fluidity”. They will be taught to see their God-given bodies as separate and even opposed to how they feel, then told all that matters is how they feel.

We’re on a luge going at breakneck speed toward this depraved societal revolution. Catholics who are celebrating this as a “victory” for equal rights are as sorely deceived as the rest of the crowd, but far more accountable because they are obligated to know better.

Now that marriage means anything (and thus, nothing), now that being male or female either means nothing or whatever we want it to mean, the assault on the family by the enemy of our souls will gain a power and intensity most of us are not prepared for.

We have to stop being afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and start focusing on eternal truths.

The goal isn’t to discriminate against anyone or deny anyone their human rights. The goal is to not be deceived into believing that sin is no longer sin just because that sin has become wildly popular and celebrated by the whole world.

“And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

It’s decision time for every Catholic in America: the false gods of our culture, or the Lord. There’s no fence to straddle. It’s time for courage and fidelity.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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June

SHJIHM

SHJIHM

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Christian Woman’s Promise: I Will Not Be Dissuaded

A Christian Woman’s Promise: I Will Not Be Dissuaded

I don’t think I ever expected my daily life to become such a fierce battle. I never imagined that I would come to feel as though I’d fallen through some bizarre looking glass; that society at large would resemble a Mad Hatter’s tea party.

I wanted something much different for my children. I didn’t want them to grow up in this insanity, where wrong is suddenly right and freedom is gladly traded in for empirical dictates, but so much for that. It’s time to face facts, and the fact is, hostility toward Christianity is increasing rapidly. We are no longer welcome in the culture. Christianity has always been the anti-culture in every age, but here in America, in this present age, it is now a targeted threat; a presence that will no longer be tolerated.

So be it. 

I am sad for my country, and for the world. I grieve for the immorality that has become so commonplace and celebrated. I grieve for the family — father, mother, and children — as I watch it crumble and be slowly erased from our collective understanding. I grieve for the innocence of our children that is snatched from them before they can even ride a bike.

I grieve for the death of romance and sacrificial love, which has been replaced by indiscriminate, sterile sex without commitment or obligation. I seethe with anger at the objectification of women and the so-called empowerment that is nothing more than vulgar, degrading, pornographic smut.

With every fiber of my being I reject a so-called feminism that says I can only have equality and freedom if I am willing and able to kill my children in the womb.

I grieve deeply for our profane and mercenary practice of manufacturing babies to suit our fancies. We treat children like accessories to be added to our lives whenever we choose, and to reject whenever we choose. We order them up the way we’d special-order an automobile. And we expect that if some defect shows itself, we are entitled to cancel the order and have the product-child destroyed.

Wombs are for rent, and babies must accept being denied a mother or father, depending on the adults’ sexual preferences. No one cares what the children need — only what the adults want. All that matters is affording the adults’ lifestyle the legitimacy and status they demand. The children are there to serve that end, period.

I grieve deeply for the slow death of marriage that has been coming for decades, and the lightning-fast speed at which the final blows are being delivered as we attempt to redefine marriage into meaninglessness and chaos. I shake my head at the blind stupidity and apathy which has taken over the consciousness of so many people.

And all of this must be celebrated and hailed as progress. It is utterly selfish and depraved, yet it must be codified as the new love. To oppose this desecration of life, sex, and marriage makes one now an enemy of the state.

So be it.

What you, the culture, fail to understand is that I am not motivated to please you or appease you. I will not be bullied into submission. I will not “adapt” my beliefs to suit you. It doesn’t matter that you have decided there is no sin in abortion, same-sex “marriage”, sex-on-demand, and the treatment of babies as commodities — I disagree because I know that God has said otherwise.

What you cannot accept is that I will not cease to worship the true God in favor of your gods. I will not abandon the Truth in favor of your empty, self-serving doctrines. It doesn’t matter how many names you call me, or how many insults you hurl in my direction, or how you may wish to ostracize and push me to the outer edges of society. It will not change anything.

Abortion will always be a grave evil and utterly unjust, no matter what the Supreme Court says. Marriage will always be the union of a man and woman, for life, for the benefit of their children, no matter what the Supreme Court or any government says.

Sex will always be designed to be life-giving and unitive, no matter how much you trivialize it or how much contraception you demand.

There will always be fundamental, inherent, and complementary differences between men and women. There will always be only two possible genders of the human person: male and female.

You see, you didn’t create the human person. You didn’t create marriage. You aren’t the author and giver of new life. You didn’t establish the human family.

You don’t have the power or authority to change what God has ordained from the foundation of the world.

You will try, nonetheless, and to a large degree it will seem you have succeeded. You will perhaps change civil laws, but you can never change the Moral law. You will be able to upend the natural order of things, but you will never undo the Natural law. You will sow havoc and confusion into the very heart of our society, and we will all reap the destructive whirlwind.

As that happens more and more, as the carnage increases and the damage leaves no one untouched, then perhaps people will finally awaken from their deceived stupor and see that they eagerly bought a barrel of poisoned apples. Perhaps then they will look around for someone who can help restore the order, sanity, and morality that had been violently cast aside.

They will find the Church. They will find Christians, the very ones they scorned and sued, bankrupted and put in prison. They’ll find the Catholic Church, and the late Cardinal George’s prediction will come to pass:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”

Do not misunderstand me. This is not arrogant boasting or a finger-wagging “I told you so!” I don’t say this to you, the culture, out of spite or snickering glee, but with a heavy heart that longs to see such a dismal future averted. Yet I know that even if the darkness closing in on us is not lifted, then the Church will suffer through it, be purified by it, and will be there, still standing, when souls come in need of healing and hope again. God is not mocked, and He is not dead.

You may hate me and hate my Christian values; you may despise the Church and all Her teachings; you may be certain that if only the old-fashioned notions of marriage and sex could be jettisoned, and if God could be adapted to your enlightened, modern sensibilities, then “equality” would win the day and everyone would be free and happy.

But I know you are wrong. I know it because nothing good can possibly come from eviscerating marriage of its meaning, or of distorting and twisting human sexuality into a pretzel of fabricated varieties and initials; or of wrenching innocence and modesty from our children in the name of sexual freedom and autonomy.

Nothing good will ever, ever come of the brutality of abortion.

Love will never be found in the sexless manufacture of children, or the selfish denial of their right to their mother and father.

Love is “willing the good of the other, as other” the great saint Thomas Aquinas said. If I love you, I will want and do only what is for your good, even if it costs me. If you love me, you will do the same.

The signs all along the road our culture is currently speeding down do not point to love at all. They point to hedonism, nihilism, and despair. When sacrificial love is no longer the guiding principle, we are hopelessly lost.

The plans and vision you wish to bring about in our country are loveless, empty, and hopeless. You may very well be gaining ground, and you may win a few battles, thanks to decades of a lackluster witness and worse, friendly cooperation from Christians who should have known better, and should have done better.

Even so, the Church will survive you. She has watched as every major world empire has ended up on the ash heap of history. She will survive you. But not arrogantly, and not due to any cleverness or merit of Her own, but only because Jesus Christ has promised that the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

As long as I have breath, I will battle to restore to America God’s vision of the human person, the human family, authentic freedom, and genuine equality of dignity. Nothing you can say or do will dissuade me or slow me down.

determinedI just thought you should know.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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