Frank discussions, advice, and opinions from a Catholic Director of Religious Education.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seven Quick Takes Friday


There has been a lot of talk about the HHS Contraception Mandate lately. Most people know what's going on, but if you're still in the dark you can read about it here. Still, I've heard some...interesting? arguments lately about Catholics and the mandate, so I thought I would devote my Quick Takes to seven arguments against and/or misconceptions about Catholics and politics.

1. The Eucharist is a political weapon. I hate this argument myself, because it follows the same logic of the women's ordination movements. They see sacraments and vocations in terms of power. In those terms, some have power and some don't. That's inequality and inequality is bad, right?

The truth is that they're half right. There is power there, but they miss the whole point of it. The Holy sacraments of God are not tools to force change or compliance in this world. They are the products of an invitation that one can accept or reject. What one cannot do is say they have accepted the invitation while publicly rejecting everything it means. Remember that the Eucharist is a sacrament. That makes it Holy. That makes it dangerous. St. Paul says:

"...whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord...For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself."
 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 

Catholics believe their bishops are performing an act of mercy when they alert one of the faithful that they have strayed and should not present themselves for communion. We believe it "is better to listen to the rebuke of the wise than to listen to the song of fools." If you don't believe the bishops have that authority then guess what? Don't be Catholic. Nobody is forced to stay in the Church.   
 
2. Christians in America have it good, so they should shut up. Recently I saw the argument that because Christians are killed for their faith in other countries, we should basically stop saying we are persecuted here. I wonder how those severe persecutions started in those countries? Anyway, this argument is just silly. I get the image of a grumpy old man who tells everyone how much worse it was in his day and how everyone should stop complaining. Yes, things are more difficult elsewhere. That doesn't mean we don't face real persecution here. Dry martyrdom is real and the existence of a more severe trial for some doesn't make the lesser trials any easier.

3. Most Catholics use contraceptives. I'd like to know who qualifies as "Catholic" in this poll. The truth is that no Catholic in good standing actually uses contraceptives for contraceptive purposes. It's a grave sin. Period. This argument is used by the White House in an attempt to paint the bishops as out of touch and tyrannical. Guess what? I'm a married man and my wife and I don't contracept. The sky is still blue, the birds still chirp and one day we will have the majority of voters because we don't neuter ourselves. Have fun with your cats.  

4. The Mandate doesn't force anyone to use contraceptives. This one is rich. Again, on the White House site, we are told that the government isn't forcing anyone to use contraceptives. (Not YET, at least. See China.) This is a total distraction. Nobody is making this claim. The problem is that your forcing us to buy the pills and procedures. How about this: Nobody is forcing you to go to a prostitute, we just want you to pay to put her on retainer so any of your employees can use her when they want." NO. We won't be party to sin. Period.

5. The Church accepts government money, so the government can tell it what to do. I don't even know where to begin. First, even if we stopped taking all government funds, we would still have to comply with this mandate. The mandate applies to all employers (excepting an extremely narrow exemption). Secondly, this argument makes it out like society gets nothing for the money it spends. On the contrary, religious charities have been shown again and again to make better use of money than government run agencies. We already have the hospitals, universities and soup kitchens. Why not spend far less to do far more? (Especially considering that you didn't seem to care for a pretty long time which is why we had to build them in the first place.) We perform essential services for the poorest and weakest of society. If you don't like how we do it, build your own hospital.

The next two Quick Takes don't have to do with Catholics specifically. I just thought they were important.
6.  Contraceptives are "Health Care": Bologna. Health care heals. It makes sure that the body works properly. Contraception neuters you. It does much more than that if you take the Pill, which is  also a class one carcinogen. For you boys and girls who don't know what that means, a class one carcinogen is a substance known for a fact to cause cancer. For a second source, check out the World Health Organization. (Note: I understand that some contraceptives can be used for non-contraceptive purposes. The Church is ok with that and, as I understand it, would pay for that in health insurance. That is not what is being pushed, though.)

7. The Church is Anti-Woman. The Catholic Church is one of the most pro-woman organizations in the world. I would counter that it is Planned Parenthood and the contraception pushers that are anti-woman. Why don't we see what Pope Paul VI had to say.

"Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Traditores

Diocletion
The year is 303 AD and the Emperor Diocletian has issued an edict against all Christians. They may live, but their churches will be demolished. Their sacred texts will be burned.  Their civil rights and honors will be stripped from them.

Think about that.

Anything about that sound familiar to you? You can be Catholic, but not in public. You can be Christian, but you must look and act like everyone else.

It is well known at this point, at least among Catholic bloggers, that the government is going to begin forcing Catholic universities, hospitals and charities to sin by requiring them to purchase products that their faith says are immoral. The alternative? Shut down and leave public life. In other words, we can be Catholic, just not if it actually plays a role in our lives.

In Diocletian's day, men and women died refusing to obey unjust laws. These Christians put their lives on the line and won a martyr's crown. Sadly, many were betrayed by fellow Christians. These betrayers were called the Traditores. They are the ones who "had handed over" the sacred texts and betrayed their brothers and sisters.

There are traditores now.

Despite almost every single U.S. Bishop releasing a statement against this mandate, many prominent Catholics have turned their back on the faith, choosing to cooperate with an unjust edict enforced by an administration which is hostile to Catholics. It is not a coincidence that so many catholics were appointed by Obama or found high positions in the Democrat hierarchy. They were chosen to provide cover for Catholics who chose to vote against the faith.

Examples? Love to.

Kathleen Sebelius is a Catholic. She is the Secretary of Health and Human Services. That department put forward this mandate. She is a traditor.

Nancy Pelosi is a Catholic. She is the former Speaker of the House. She stands with her fellow traditores  "in supporting the administration."


Kathleen Sebelius: Traditor
Nancy Pelosi: Traditor
 Two things.

One: Don't think my anger is confined to Democrats. Republicans aren't exactly squeaky clean either. It just so happens that they are, at the moment, not actively persecuting God's Holy Catholic Church like the Democrats seem to be.

Two: If these two women, or any of their peers, were to recant their position supporting this mandate and other grave evils I would be happy to be the first to praise that move and retract my accusation of treachery. We must forgive. We must show mercy. God knows I need forgiveness myself, but while things persist in this manner we must not shirk our duty to the truth. The government is persecuting us for our beliefs. They are trying to remove us from public life and seal us in a ghetto because we are Catholic. We cannot pretend that everything is peachy or that the icy knife of treachery hasn't pierced our back. It is a sin against charity not to recognize what our brother and sister Catholics have done.

Pray for them. Pray for our country. Pray for yourselves.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Catholic Word of the Week: Sacrament

Sacrament: An outward sign, instituted by Christ, which confers grace. There are seven sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church, corresponding to the rhythms and seasons of our lives: Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick, and Reconciliation.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 15)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 158)


 
1. PCs are dead to me. Dead. Some of you may have noticed that I have been a little light in my posting lately. Well, before it was even a year old, my HP computer started blue screening. After taking my computer to Best Buy (also dead to me), I was informed that they didn't know what was wrong with it, but that it definitely, definitely, wasn't something that would be under warranty. How do they know this, I asked, when the problem wasn't identified? After a brief pause, I was assured that they know and it was all highly technical. BUT, for $200 they could find out what the problem was and fix it...maybe. (This is a $400 computer by the way.) SO... I am working with a local computer repair business and looking into getting a Mac Mini. Does anyone have any experience with these? Other suggestions? This is the third PC that has gone feral on me in a very short time period.


True.

2. On a happier note, Eddie is now ONE year old. How the time flies... He is so close to walking he can taste it and that makes me a little nervous. He already gets into so much. I can only imagine how our lives will change with the quick feet of a toddler.  

3. I wonder if the My Dear Demons columns scare the kids a little. Not that I've put them permanently under the bed with a flashlight and a boxcar full of baggage to be dissected by their future therapist, but maybe they're scared just a little. I'll explain. When I talk to our Youth Group, they seem to have read the articles and even gotten something out of them, but nobody wants to ask Satan a question. When I set up Satan's email, I really thought I would be inundated in no time, but not one student has sent in a query. Perhaps there is still the vestige of an inkling that some things shouldn't be played with? One can only hope.

At least the Romans were honest persecutors.
4. The Persecution is Coming. Expect a longer post on this and the traitor Catholics who allowed it, but by now many of you are aware of the HHS requirement that contraceptives (including abortifacient drugs and sterilizations) be covered by all health plans even if it violates the conscience of religious employers. The State, which is ALWAYS right, has decided that religious freedom really isn't that important compared to the right to neuter ourselves. This is just the beginning. As people start to accept that freedom of religion is really freedom of belief (in your own head, so long as you do what the rest of us do in the "real" world), Christians and all other people of faith will slowly face exile from public life. Like THIS.

5. Our next youth group meeting is about Christianity Online. We are going to talk about some of the really neat opportunities the internet provides us with, along with the harm and danger that are constantly present. I thought it would be interesting to begin by showing the kids what life was like pre-internet. Then I found this. Enjoy.


After seeing that, take a look at where some people see us going....


6. We are still having a hard time getting Confirmation candidates to attend Mass. Not all of them (in fact, most are doing very well). We just have a few stubborn individuals who won't accept the third commandment.  I talked with my Pastor and we think we are going to take Jen's advice at Meditatio and implement Homily Notes. The kids will have to submit weekly reports on Sunday's homily to receive the sacrament.  

7. We are going to start having catechist dinners at the end of February. I am very pleased with this idea. We can build community and provide some formation for those teaching our next generation. Each dinner will provide childcare, a separate dinner for children, a short presentation and silent prayer in the Church. Their spouse is invited and it should be a good time for all. Our first topic is "Modern Day Miracles". Any ideas for future topics? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Dear Demons: Envy

Today's question comes from Junior Tempter Slublug. He asks: “With Valentine’s Day coming up, what is the best way to attack my teen?”

That is a very good question, Slublug! I think, for you, I will suggest Envy, but be cautious. Envy can quickly become a type of Holy Jealousy if the Enemy defeats you. Let me explain.

When your teen sees her classmates being asked out or given Valentines, you will be there whispering: “Why not you?” If she is asked out or given a Valentine, you will suggest that the other girls have “better” Valentines or “better” boys competing for their attention.

This is where the difficulty begins. Your task, Slublug, is to tempt your teen to hate the other girls because they have something she does not. You will tempt your teen to fantasize about these girls tripping or being humiliated publicly. If you are successful, she will learn to hate for the simple fact that another person is happy.

This is very different from what the Enemy would do. The Holy Jealousy I spoke of still acknowledges that other people have good things, but instead of teaching your teen to hate others for being happy, it will encourage her to seek that good for herself in what the Enemy says is the “right” way.

Take the case of a painter I once knew. I started to encourage him to hate his brother, who was a far better artist, but ultimately the Enemy won out and convinced him to practice painting even more. Inevitably, the artist found joy in looking at his brother’s work and became a much better artist than he would have been otherwise. We lost that soul to the Enemy. See that you don't lose your teen.

Non Serviam,     

                   Satan

My Dear Demons appears in monthly editions of Ed's Youth Group Newsletter. To ask Satan a question, please write to: princeofdarkness216@gmail.com

Monday, January 30, 2012

Catholic Word of the Week (January 30, 2012)

Diocese: The territory or churches subject to a bishop. If a bishop has been assigned to a diocese (some have not) then he is responsible for his diocese in a special way. Still, Christus Dominus is quick to point out that:

Coat of Arms: Bishop Quinn
"As legitimate successors of the Apostles and members of the episcopal college, bishops should realize that they are bound together and should manifest a concern for all the churches. For by divine institution and the rule of the apostolic office each one together with all the other bishops is responsible for the Church."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Dear Demons: Wrath

Dear Tempters,

Remember our motto: Non Serviam! I will not serve! We said no to God first, and our goal is always to give your teens the same...freedom… that we enjoy. The sin of wrath can be very helpful to you in achiev-ing this goal.

What is wrath, my dear demons? It is not anger. No, even the Enemy showed anger as a man when he drove out the money-changers (John 2:15). Again, the enemy has said, "Be angry, but do not sin." (Ephesians 4:26) No, wrath is much different from anger. It is unrestrained anger. It is vengeful anger. Wrath is when you have convinced your teen that they should punish someone else in order to "get even". If you have convinced your teen to embrace wrath, you have done two very important things for our cause.

First, you have convinced your teen to think of themself as god. The Enemy has said: "Vengeance is mine. I will repay." (Hebrews 10:30) He has claimed vengeance as his own, but in wrath your teen will try to take on the role of a god and steal what belongs to the Enemy! Secondly, you will have distracted your teen from their own sins. They will be so focused on their desire for vengeance that they will abandon mercy.

This is key, for "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23) and if they "do not forgive others" they will not find forgiveness themselves. (Matthew 6:15)
           

              Non Serviam,

                                     Satan

My Dear Demons appears in monthly editions of Ed's youth group newsletter.