Sunday, June 30, 2013

“Prepare to Be Shocked”: Milwaukee Archdiocese to Release Personnel Files

By Kathy Schiffer
Ave Maria Radio


On Monday, July 1, as part of its ongoing bankruptcy case, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will release thousands of pages of confidential documents regarding the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests.

Included in the documents will be personnel files of 42 priests.  Also slated for release are depositions of Milwaukee’s former Archbishop Timothy Dolan, now leader of the New York Archdiocese; retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland; and retired Bishop Richard Sklb, as well as the deposition of Daniel Budzynski, a now-defrocked priest.

Most Rev. Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Archbishop Jerome Listecki warned of the graphic nature of the documents in his weekly letter to local Catholics.  “Needless to say, there are some terrible things described in many of the documents,” he said.  “Prepare to be shocked.”

The MilwaukeeJournal-Sentinel offered a hint of what the documents will contain:
According to interviews and court records, the documents are expected to include: details about how church officials shuttled abusive priests from one parish or school to the next without divulging their histories; correspondence between the archdiocese and the Vatican, which has the final word on defrocking priests; evidence that the archdiocese under Dolan paid some priests to accept that decision without protest; and graphic accounts of sexual assault of young people.
The wisdom of releasing such shocking personal information has been questioned by some.  Archbishop Listecki worried that dredging up abuse cases from the past and making the information available to the general public would be painful for the victims themselves. 

But Jeffrey Anderson, attorney who has handled most of the 575 sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese, had demanded the release of the documents and called their release a victory for victims and survivors.  “From the outset,” Anderson said, “what survivors have wanted most is to protect other kids.  And the only way you can do that is to have full disclosure of what has been done in the past.”

The Milwaukee Archdiocese is the eighth Catholic diocese to file for Chapter 11 protection since the inception of the clergy sex abuse scandal.  Under Chapter 11, the archdiocese hopes to minimize its liability in mounting sex abuse lawsuits, and retain sufficient assets to allow it to continue in its mission of serving the spiritual needs of Milwaukee’s 700,000 Catholics. 
Archbishop Listecki first announced last April that the documents would be made public.  On July 1, he will keep that promise by linking the documents on the Archdiocese’s website.  The 6,000 pages show some of the following themes:
·        Terrible things happened to innocent children.
·        People were ill-equipped to respond -- to victims and families, and to perpetrators.
·        Church leaders and other professionals tried their best to deal with the issue given the knowledge available at the time.
·        Reports of abuse were often not brought to the archdiocese or civil authorities until decades after they occurred.
·        The archdiocese consistently showed care and concern for abuse survivors, and paid for therapy for individuals who were harmed.
·        The incidents of abuse date back 25, 50, even 80 years.
·        The majority of perpetrators were not known to the archdiocese until years after they committed the abuse.
·        In the 1970s and 80s, priests were often removed from their parish for “medical reasons,” sent for counseling and, based upon a recommendation from their therapist or medical professional, reassigned to another parish.
·        Twenty-two priests were reassigned to parish work after concerns about their behavior were known to the archdiocese.
·        Eight of those 22 priests reoffended after being reassigned.
·        Civil authorities did not always pursue investigations and neither did the archdiocese.
·        Even when priests were prosecuted and found guilty or pled no contest, they often received probation as a sentence and did not go to jail.
·        People often reported concerns about a priest that were not instances of sexual abuse, but rather concerns about unusual or questionable behaviors, such as uninvited attention/affection -- what we know today as possible signs of “grooming.”
·       
In the early 1990s, a more formalized approach of outreach to abuse survivors and in dealing with offenders began to emerge.
Archbishop Listecki, addressing his flock via his weekly blog, says:
These are not easy moments for the Church, but I am strengthened by the consistent promise of prayers and support from the people in the archdiocese.  Our hope is that the publication of these documents can help bring this chapter of our history to a close and allow us to continue to focus on our desire to work with abuse survivors, and to focus on education and prevention.  We pray for those who are abuse survivors and pledge our continued support for those who have been harmed, following the Lord’s command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
More information about the release of documents can be found in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


You can read Archbishop Listecki’s letter to Milwaukee Catholics on the archdiocesan website.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Texas Protects Women’s Health; Feminists Cry Foul

By Kathy Schiffer
Ave Maria Radio


Pro-abortion protesters in Texas  
In the state of Texas, the law has consistently protected men from unqualified medical practitioners, and from inadequate and unsanitary medical facilities. 

Women, not so much.

A man seeking treatment at an ambulatory care center in Texas can be assured that the facility meets minimum standards—with medical clinics, for example, having ambulatory surgical facilities on site, and attending physicians having privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic, in case of emergency. 

But a woman in the state who seeks an abortion or other reproductive services at a local Planned Parenthood or another women’s clinic has had no such protections. 

Senate Bill 5, which has the support of the Republican-led Texas legislature, did not render abortion illegal; rather, SB5 would have ensured that women received the highest quality care.  Phil Lawler, quoting an Associated Press story, explained:

The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers.  Also, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles—a tall order in rural communities.

Lawler raises his eyebrows and considers just what this controversial measure would do:

So let’s see:  The law would require abortion clinics to pass muster as ambulatory surgical centers, since what they do is ambulatory surgery.  And since sometimes things go wrong in surgery, the doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a reasonable distance.  Applied to any other medical procedure, these rules would seem perfectly logical, reasonable, prudent exercises of regulatory oversight.  But when abortion is in question, prudent oversight is abandoned.

Senator Wendy Davis
Seems reasonable, right?  Feminists, though—determined to prevent implementation of any and all restrictions on abortion—would have none of it. 

Enter Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a perky blonde from Fort Worth noted among Democratic legislators because she had herself been a teen mother, who therefore could “understand” the need for abortion.  Senator Davis, outfitted with comfy pink tennis shoes (and a urinary catheter to ensure that she could withstand an extended time without using the bathroom), launched an eleven-hour filibuster which made her a feminist hero and media celebrity. 

Despite media acclaim for the feminist senator, however, it wasn’t really Wendy Davis who defeated the bill.  When Davis broke the rules and veered off topic late in the filibuster, after ten hours of speeches, Republicans stepped in and demanded that the bill be brought to a vote.  Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst ruled that SB5 should come to a vote; and with only fifteen minutes to spare until the end of the special session, the vote began at 11:45 p.m. 

What happened next was a chaotic “citizens’ filibuster”, with pro-abortion demonstrators creating such a clatter in the gallery that the senators could not hear to vote.  Screaming, stomping feminists circumvented the legal process until the midnight hour had passed, and the vote—which was ultimately 17-12 in favor of the abortion limits—was declared invalid. 

The sistertoldjah blog tells the story of the bedlam which occurred in the final moments of the special session:
Updated at 12:48 a.m.[...]The vote began at 11:45 p.m. For the next 15 minutes — far longer, actually — spectators in the gallery overlooking the Senate floor unleashed a tremendous and sustained scream that drowned out every effort to establish order. With so many loud protesters outside the chambers, apparently there weren’t enough DPS troopers available, and spectators were escorted out very slowly.
With the initial vote stymied, senators were called up front to vote again shortly before midnight. While that vote was still underway, Sens. Royce West and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, both Democrats, began holding up their cell phones to show that they read “12:00.”
Existing abortion clinics in Texas.
Clinics marked in gold may be forced to close under SB5;
clinics with silver markings will remain open.
So the pro-abortion forces have been celebrating—but their victory is expected to be short-lived.  Texas Governor Rick Perry has called for yet another special legislative session on July 1.  Governor Perry, in insisting on the special session to address this bill, seemed to refer to the recent case of Hermit Gosnell, saying, “The horrors of the national late-term abortion industry are continuing to come to light, one atrocity at a time.  Sadly, some of these same atrocities happen in our own state.”


Next time, the Republican-led Senate is determined to pass this bill.  If SB5 becomes law in the state of Texas, Texas will join Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma and eight other states which have approved fetal-pain initiatives making abortion after the 20th week illegal.   

What’s more, if the bill passes, Democrats warn that 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics, which cannot afford the upgrades necessary to comply with the standards required of other ambulatory surgery centers, will be forced to close their doors.    

One can hope.

FINAL HHS RULE, RESPONSES AND ANALYSIS

Administration issues final rules on contraception coverage and religious organizations 

June 28, 2013
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
News Division
 
Today, the Obama administration issued final rules that balance the goal of providing women with coverage for recommended preventive care – including contraceptive services prescribed by a health care provider – with no cost-sharing, with the goal of respecting the concerns of non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage.  The final rules reflect public feedback received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in February 2013. 

“The health care law guarantees millions of women access to recommended preventive services at no cost,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to respect the concerns of houses of worship and other non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage, while helping to ensure that women get the care they need, regardless of where they work.”

Today’s final rules finalize the proposed simpler definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement in response to concerns raised by some religious organizations.  These employers, primarily houses of worship, may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans for their employees and their dependents. 

The final rules also lay out the accommodation for other non-profit religious organizations - such as non-profit religious hospitals and institutions of higher education - that object to contraceptive coverage.   Under the accommodation these organizations will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds, but such coverage is separately provided to women enrolled in their health plans at no cost.  The approach taken in the final rules is similar to, but simpler than, that taken in the proposed rules, and responds to comments made by many stakeholders.
With respect to an insured health plan, including a student health plan, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its insurer that it objects to contraception coverage.  The insurer then notifies enrollees in the health plan that it is providing them separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan. 
Similarly, with respect to self-insured health plans, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its third party administrator that objects to contraception coverage.  The third party administrator then notifies enrollees in the health plans that it is providing or arranging separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for them for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan. 
The final rules provide more details on the accommodation for both insurers and third party administrators.
The final rules strike the appropriate between respecting the religious considerations raised by non-profit religious organizations and increasing access to important preventive services for women.
The final rules are available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection
For more information about today’s final rules visit: http://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Fact-Sheets-and-FAQs/womens-preven-02012013.html



EWTN’s Statement On The
Final Rule for the HHS Mandate


Irondale, AL – Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule for the contraception mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  EWTN and its attorneys are still assessing this final rule, but our initial analysis has been disappointing. 

“The final rule issued today is inadequate because it appears to have changed nothing,” said EWTN President & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw.

Specifically, it imposes the same narrow definition of a church, does not expand the exemption beyond churches, and still provides a meaningless “accommodation.” In short, it appears to have ignored the unprecedented number of public comments made against this HHS Mandate.

>
The proposed rule released in February of 2013 separated organizations into churches, eligible organizations, and everyone else. Under that proposed rule, religious organizations were fully exempt, eligible organizations received an accommodation, and everyone else was mandated to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives, and voluntary sterilization procedures. EWTN filed public comments strongly arguing that these services and drugs are not health care, are validly objectionable on grounds other than religious beliefs, and that the rule was faulty for allowing only churches to be fully exempt while leaving organizations like EWTN on shaky ground, unable to reliably determine if it even qualifies as an eligible organization. The proposed rule also failed to show that the “accommodation” provided for eligible organizations did anything to actually accommodate reasonable objection to the mandated services.

Despite this news, we are encouraged by the recent court victories for Tyndale Publishers and Hobby Lobby because these cases demonstrate that the rule unfairly limits religious liberty and first amendment rights. EWTN and its attorneys at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will continue to assess the options at this time.

Said Warsaw: “EWTN remains committed to fighting this senseless mandate.” 

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32nd year, is available in over 225
million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.

 
 
AND FROM NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE:
 
Friday morning, the Department of Health and Human Services released the final version of the regulations requiring employers to provide insurance that includes coverage for contraceptive and abortive drugs and sterilization procedures. The rules, which are part of the implementation of Obamacare’s employer mandate, have of course been a focus of controversy for quite a while, as they put many religious employers in an impossible situation, and would seem to violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and to fly in the face of America’s tradition of religious toleration.

This final version does not involve any meaningful changes to the circumstances in which the rule would put religious employers. The details will, I’m sure, be thoroughly scoured in the coming days, but in my reading of the rule at this point, the only two changes that I can see actually make things marginally worse. They are not, I think, the result of the administration intentionally trying to make things even worse for religious employers (and for the administration’s own attorneys in federal court), but of the fact that two of the ways in which the last version of the rule tried to mask its effects on religious employers have turned out not to be tenable.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/352374/final-hhs-mandate-yuval-levin

The Supreme Court’s Decisions Raise More Questions Than Answers

COMMENTARY

Gerard Bradley is a professor of constitutional law
at the University of Notre Dame.

06/27/2013
National Catholic Register              



The results of the two marriage cases decided June 26 are already shrouded in the mists of history.

What I mean is: The struggle over marriage in our society neither began nor will end with these decisions, and those carrying on the fight are arguing already about what these decisions mean for the future. This concern about portents is natural and fair enough. But in the rush to interpret and to prophecy, we risk losing track of what the court actually said.

Let’s start there.

One case is Perry v. Hollingsworth. It is almost universally referred to as the “Prop. 8” case, so named for the California ballot initiative that limited marriage to the union of a man and a woman and which passed after a court there forced marriage to be open to same-sex couples. Prop. 8 thus returned California law to the status quo ante. It was challenged in the courts by same-sex couples who wished to legally marry (as some had during the brief window of opportunity closed by Prop. 8).
After what was truly (no spin here) a bizarre trial, Judge Vaughn Walker held that Proposition 8 was inconsistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for “gay” people, a holding which the local appeals court affirmed and which was then taken to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court resolved Perry on procedural grounds. Because the state of California declined to defend Prop. 8 in court (much as the Obama administration declined to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act in the other marriage case decided on June 26), the lower court allowed the backers of Prop. 8 to appear as defendants. These folks were not public officials. The Supreme Court ruled — plausibly, if not rightly — that they lacked the necessary “standing,” which is a legal term basically about the party’s connection to the lawsuit. The high court effectively nullified the whole prior proceeding.

No one knows for sure what exactly the law in California about marriage is now. Some lawyers say that Prop. 8 is now in place; others say that it is not. Gov. Jerry Brown has jumped in to say that, no matter what, he is going to authorize marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Time will sort it all out. But it is surely true that we are talking only about California. There is no possible effect of the Perry ruling upon any other state.

DOMA Ruling’s Effects

The second case decided June 26, United States v. Windsor, is much more important than the Prop. 8 case. Its immediate practical effects are greater, and its meaning for the future is potentially enormous. It is the focal point of the arguments about portents.

Edith Windsor was party to a same-sex "marriage" recognized by the law of New York. When her partner died, Windsor was obliged to pay an estate tax to the federal government. It was a tax she would have been spared had the Internal Revenue Service recognized the New York marriage. It did not do so, because a 1996 statute stipulated that “marriage” in all corners of national law (such as the one about estate taxes) meant the union of a man and a woman only, even in any state which recognizes same-sex relationships as legal marriages. A couple of men in, say, Rhode Island could file a tax return “jointly” for their state liability. But the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, meant that even they would have to file singly on their federal 1040s.

Windsor challenged DOMA as a violation of her constitutional equality. She won. The basic holding of the Supreme Court was that, in any state where same-sex "marriage" is legally recognized, all the federal benefits which follow marriage flow to these couples as well. Our Rhode Island couple now may file a tax return jointly under state law — and under federal law, too.

The immediate practical effect of Windsor is that, in 12 states and the District of Columbia, all legally married same-sex couples are henceforth eligible for federal treatment on the same terms as all other married couples. At least for the moment, the 38 states which limit marriage to opposite-sex couples retain the constitutional authority to do so.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the DOMA case and made this point explicitly: “This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages” — that is, to those states which have freely chosen to recognize same-sex "marriage" or which may do so in the future. He affirmed repeatedly the “sovereign” authority of all the states to choose between competing understandings of marriage. Let’s call this the “disclaimer.”

Commentators are already deeply split on whether the disclaimer will hold. They split over the implications of Windsor — the disclaimer notwithstanding — for those 38 states. There is a real question here, due first of all to the ambiguity involved in saying that states are “sovereign” over marriage. Is it limited to licensing in-state marriages or does it include recognizing marriages licensed in other states?

The basic problem arises from the fact that, while marriages occur in one place at one time — such as mine, in Cleveland, on Aug. 1, 1981 — married couples are mobile. Justice Antonin Scalia supplied in his dissenting opinion several examples of what can happen: Suppose a same-sex couple married in New York moves to Mississippi. Are they “married” down south on April 15, when they file a 1040? One could say that Mississippi is “sovereign” over marriage within its borders and still maintain that this couple is “married” for federal tax purposes.

Does Windsor naturally lead to the conclusion that legally married same-sex couples carry their federal identity (as married) from one state to another, so that there would be many “married” (federally) same-sex couples, even in, say, Mississippi?

It might.

This problem can arise in a simpler form. Let’s leave out the federal government entirely. When a New York same-sex "married" couple moves to, say, Indiana and finds work and sets up a household, are they no longer (legally) married? Again, we are not talking about Indiana having to issue these two folks a marriage license. But do they need one any more than I did when I moved to Indiana? I was married in Ohio and have been treated ever since by other states as, simply, married.

The question is whether Windsor naturally leads to the conclusion that Indiana, for example, has to recognize on equal terms all the marriages of couples from, say, New York. Or may Indiana officials single out Gotham same-sex couples and treat them differently — and, yes, worse — than their opposite-sex counterparts?

It is hard to say.

The Ticking Time Bomb

Windsor is vexing due to more than the ambiguity of key terms. There is a deeper source of its potentially enormous and baleful impact. Windsor might be a time bomb ticking away under marriage in 38 states because its reasoning might defeat its advertised limitation — the disclaimer that federal marriage benefits must be extended only to same-sex couples married in states that legally sanction it.
This is the question commentators are debating today: Does the rationale of Windsor naturally lead to the conclusion that no state may deny the status of marriage to a couple solely on the grounds that they are of the same sex?

Two answers to it were offered yesterday in the Windsor dissents....


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-supreme-courts-decisions-raise-more-questions-than-answers?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-06-28%2001:16:01#ixzz2XcHaph54

Friday, June 28, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - June 28, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 28

4:00 – The Church’s Response to DOMA and Prop 8 Decisions
The US Supreme Court has struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act and the voter-approved Proposition 8 in CA. We talk to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, former chairman of the Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, about the Church’s response and how this may impact the Church’s public witness of the sanctity of marriage.

4:20 – Feasts of St Irenaeus and the Roman Martyrs of the First Century
Over the next few days we will celebrate two important feast days – St. Irenaeus today and the Roman Martyrs of the First Century on Sunday. Steve Ray is here to take is into the life of Irenaeus and the persecution of the first Century.

4:40 – Judge: Teacher Who Punished Student for Expressing Catholic Belief Against Homosexuality Violated Student’s First Amendment Rights
The Thomas More Law Center has announced a victory in their lawsuit against teacher Johnson McDowell of Howell High School in Howell, Michigan.  Federal District Judge Patrick J. Duggan declared the teacher’s actions in punishing Daniel Glowacki for expressing his beliefs against homosexuality violated Daniel’s First Amendment rights.  In its findings of fact—the Court described how the teacher initiated a discussion about homosexuality.  The teacher wore a purple t-shirt and was promoting the homosexual agenda.  In response, the Plaintiff, 16 year-old Daniel Glowacki stated that homosexuality was against his Catholic beliefs.  The teacher, admittedly, became angry and threw Daniel out of class because he disagreed with Daniel’s beliefs. Chief Counsel on this case, Erin Mersino, joins us.

5:00 – Disinformation: The Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism
In his new book Disinformation, Ron Rychlak shows how destroying the reputation of good leaders has been developed into a high art and science. He looks at how Pope Pius XII --a generation ago the world's most high-profile Christian leader, who personally saved countless Jews from Hitler's Holocaust--was transformed, through the magic of disinformation, into a Nazi sympathizer. He looks at how Christianity and Judaism have been targeted for constant denigration and defamation through an ongoing campaign of disinformation. And he examines how the Soviet bloc planted 4,000 agents of influence in the Islamic world, armed with hundreds of thousands of copies of the most infamous anti-Semitic book in history, to fan the flames of ancient Arab resentments against the U.S. and Israel and sow the seeds of anti-Semitism that would later bloom in the form of violence and terror toward Jews and Christians. Ron joins us.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - June 27, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 27

4:00 – 6:00 – Direct to My Desk: DOMA, Prop 8, Immigration, Jimmy Carter and Immoral Stunts! (plus more)
Today we want to talk to you. You pick the topics and questions that matter most to you. We will pick up on the Supreme Court’s decisions yesterday on DOMA and Prop 8, we try to think with the mind of Christ and His Church on the immigration legislation, we talk about Jimmy Carter’s advice for the Church to ordain women, and we ask if performing stunts that risk your life or health – such as Nick Wallenda’s recent high-wire act over a part of the Grand Canyon – are immoral? Be ready to call 877-573-7825.

We Need a Humanae Vitae for Marriage

COMMENTARY


06/27/2013
Wikipedia
Pope Paul VI
– Wikipedia



Thirty-five years ago, on July 25, 1968, the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically Pope Paul VI, shocked the world with a beautifully bold document: HumanaeVitae.

As the world — and especially the West — went full throttle ahead in a hysterical push for birth control, abortion and various other “progressive” nostrums, the document stood athwart history, yelling, “Stop!”

Here, said the magisterium, was one Church, one institution that would not swim along with the cultural tide. The rest of the world might madly and heartily embrace this or that new “freedom,” new “right,” new so-called “good,” but the Church founded 2,000 years ago by Jesus Christ was not going to do so.

The Church cited its reasons. Among them, it foresaw “the pill” as not liberating women, but demeaning them, turning them into sexual objects in ways that the wisdom of the world could not imagine. Among the “grave consequences … of artificial birth control,” Humanae Vitae feared “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” (17).

The Church foresaw disaster ahead not just for women, but for the human family: father, mother and children. The document was profound and prescient, accurately predicting the crises and disasters and disorders to come.

Moreover, not only did Humanae Vitae affirm the need for men to respect women, but, from the outset, it upheld the sanctity of marriage. Literally, the first line in the encyclical addressed “the most serious duty of transmitting human life, for which married persons are the free and responsible collaborators of God the Creator.” Throughout, the document spoke of “married persons” and their “faithfulness to God’s design,” of the “sacrament of matrimony” between “husband and wife.”
And where do husband and wife stand today?

Today, we need another Humanae Vitae, this one defending marriage and dealing with the enormous onslaught of so-called “gay marriage,” which the culture suddenly insists is a new freedom, a new right, a new so-called good. There is an absolute urgency.

Same-sex “marriage” is sweeping not just America, but the wider West. France, once a bastion of Catholicism, has legalized it, and that country just performed its first official “gay marriage.” Countries throughout Europe are demanding compliance and (in some cases) even participation from churches and believers whose faith clearly teaches that two people of the same gender should not marry — that a man and a woman shall leave their parents and become one flesh.

In America, this issue is an absolute juggernaut, threatening to crush faithful Christians who stand in its way. Make no mistake: This will become a fierce threat to our religious liberty as faithful Catholics and Christians.

In short, the world needs someone or something to stand up right now and yell, “Stop!” We’re hungering for leadership by someone or something that can spell out the debacle ahead, especially for children and the human family — and can do so with the great eloquence of truth and charity, of Scripture and Tradition, of biblical law and natural law.

That someone and something is Pope Francis and the magisterium of the Catholic Church. When he was a cardinal from Argentina, Pope Francis called same-sex “marriage” an attempt by the “Father of Lies” (i.e., Satan) to “destroy God’s plan … and deceive the children of God.” He said that same-sex “marriage” discriminated against children “in advance,” depriving them of “their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God.”

At stake, said then-Cardinal Bergoglio, was “the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts” and the very survival of the human family: “father, mother and children.”

The world is begging for that moral clarity right now.....


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/we-need-a-humanae-vitae-for-marriage/#ixzz2XQizQ4pK

Paul Kengor, Ph.D., is a professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include God and Hillary Clinton and, most recently, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.

Marriage, the Supreme Court and Building Our House on Rock

THURSDAY HOMILY:

By Deacon Keith Fournier
June 27th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.
WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - The words of Jesus taken from the Gospel of Thursday's Holy Mass certainly seem very apropos in light of the situation which occurred at the US Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 26, 2013:

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." (Matt. 7)

Yesterday, the decision of five unelected Justices of the United States Supreme Court was read from the bench. They determined, on their own authority, that individual States can decide for themselves what constitutes a marriage and no other authority can interfere with such a decision.

They thus opined that the civil or positive law is malleable. It does not have to recognize the Natural Moral Law. Further, that Legislators and State Court Judges can somehow change objective truth by calling something a marriage which can never be a marriage.

This opinion of the US Supreme Court is just that, their opinion. It did not change the structure of reality. It also reveals the sand upon which our current culture is built.

Civil institutions did not create marriage, nor can they create a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. Marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation. Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family.

Family is the first vital cell of society; the first church, first school, first hospital, first economy, first government and first mediating institution of our social order. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society.

Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by the Christian Church. It precedes Christianity. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by Christian teaching, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason.

So, in light of the implications of this decision, we should ask a question, "On what foundation are we building our own house?" In the circles of the new cultural revolutionaries, Christians (at least orthodox, faithful ones) are unenlightened, forcing "our view" on others. When, in fact, our positions on marriage, family, authentic freedom, the dignity of every human person, and the very existence of objective truth are what frees people - and cultures - from the bondage of disordered appetites and anarchy.

The task we face is, at root, a spiritual struggle that will first be won in prayer, and then stepped into a new Christian missionary movement by the compelling witness of a vibrant, orthodox, faithful Christianity that is culturally engaging, relevant and compelling to the new pagans of our age.
On Monday, May 21, 2012, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI held a luncheon with members of the College of Cardinals. He told them "The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil."
"We see evil wants to rule the world and it is necessary to go into battle against evil. We see it does in so many ways, bloody, with various forms of violence, but also disguised with good and thus destroying the moral foundations of society."

The use of the phrase Church Militant for the Church on earth used to be common. However, it fell out of use since the Second Vatican Council. It needs to be revived. In 1953, the Pope Pius XII, who had led the Church through two decades of darkness in a world besieged by war, stated "We belong to the Church militant; and she is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass her destruction."

As we face growing hostility it is important to hear the words the Apostle Paul spoke to the Ephesians: "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood; but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:11,12)

In 1969, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote "Faith and the Future". In it he spoke of what might be ahead for the Church. Little did he realize then that he would occupy the Chair of Peter. Now, he prays for all of us daily in a monastic enclosure in the Vatican. What a prophetic symbol. Here are a few excerpts for reflection today:

"The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, she will lose many of her social privileges. As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members."

"It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution - when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church."

"Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret."

"And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death."

"But in all of the changes at which one might guess the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world."

Read more at http://www.catholic.org/printer_friendly.php?section=Cathcom&id=51508

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Our Imperial President Promises Christians: “I Won’t Make You Marry Gays”…

by Steve Ray on June 26, 2013


…he won’t MAKE us marry gays? Oh, how kind of his majesty. So considerate of his subjects, especially us misguided and intolerant Christians. Obama the merciful!

But before you bow in thanks to his Royal Highness beware that his anti-Christian, anti-conservative minions in the IRS might just remove tax-exempt status for any group refusing to marry gay couples all in the name of “eradicating discrimination” in religious education and practice. They’ve already proved their ability to attack anyone who disagrees with their king.

Oh, maybe not today, but His Highness still has 3 1/2 years to do whatever he wants in his kingdom because he can. The American people are self-absorbed, have short memories and the press defends and “explains” his every pronouncement and wish and ignores his every foible.

And all the while church bells are clanging all over the King’s city of Washington hailing the Supreme Court’s decisions in favor of “gay marriage.” Even the National Cathedral (not Catholic) rang their bells for almost an hour, reveling in the Court’s endorsement of the perversions and abberations of homosexuality.

Catholic churches failed to join in the revelry because they are (tongue in cheek) old fashioned bigots dominated by old men from a past of puritan legalism that refuse to give women equal rights and to allow every sexual abberation to be celebrated as normal.

Soon anything said against the perversion of homosexuality will be considered “hate speech” and it is not unthinkable that priests could be arrested for quoting certain passage from the Bible during Mass. We all may be denied our rights for speaking the truth.

So, I am exaggerating? Hysterical? Reactionary?

Give me a break! My mother is 92 years old and she doesn’t even recognize her own country any more. In her day the big scandal was Lucy Ricardo sleeping in separate beds in the same room with her husband Ricky. No one would have discussed abortion or homosexuality in polite public. How swiftly things have descended into the base, vulgar and immoral world of 2013 America. And it happened VERY fast!

I am not optimistic for our country. I am convinced we’ve crossed a line of no return. Return, yes, but not to sanity. It is a the return to the paganism, intolerance, and ignorance of the generation preached to by St. Paul over 2,000 years ago. Then it was polytheism (believe in any gods you want); today it is pluralism (believe in any religion or philosophy you want). Everything is relative and equal. No one can dare say THEY know the truth or even that there IS a truth.

Today the Supreme Court — though they would deny it — has put one of the last screws into the coffin of Western Civilization. One of the first screws of course was the legalization of abortion. Legalizing the destruction of human life and then the abolition of the family are the double barrels of a shotgun that has blasted the death nell of civilized society.

America is in critical condition and her coffin is being constructed. I fear for my grandkids.
What is my view of the future? It is dismal. On one side we have 1 billion Muslims fighting to bring the world under Alah and sharia law; on the other side we have 1 billion Chinese atheist communists who own most of the United States (by buying up our debt, land and enterprises).

And right when we, the “West, the Christian, Democratic, freedom-loving land of opportunity” should be strong enough to resist the two hordes, we are collapsing financially and morally and bowing to the gods of relativism, secularism, materialism and greed. Where are we heading? Look at Western Europe — they are leading the decline and we are dutifully following them.

 
 
Is there a remedy? Maybe. Maybe moral, freedom-loving Americans will rise up with a 2nd American Revolution. Maybe the Lord will intervene. Maybe we can re-convert the new pagan world like the Christians converted the old pagan world at the beginning of Christianity. Though I am not hopeful, I am prayerful. I tell my kids to raise my grandchildren to be martyrs.

The Christians of the first three centuries turned the world upside down for Jesus. But they did it as martyrs. Tertullian and St. Augustine said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Lord have mercy!

Asked how the rulings will affect the Catholic Church in the United States, Fr. Fessio remarked that they “will call forth saints and scholars who will shine like the stars in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation’. They will also be humiliated and very likely, in time, persecuted. Welcome to the Brave New World.”

Below: Interesting “rap” video creatively saying the same thing



The Archdiocese and the Alderman: Clash of Cultures in St. Louis

St. Louis' Civil Courts Building
By Kathy Schiffer
Ave Maria Radio

Just in time for the Supreme Court’s controversial rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8, the St. Louis Civil Courts building is decked out in gay pride colors this week for the first time. 

Meanwhile, ten miles away, the Archdiocese of St. Louis released a strong statement reaffirming marriage as being between one man and one woman.
*     *     *     *
The Civil Courts Building, home to the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, is one of several downtown St. Louis buildings to flaunt rainbow colors, as the city prepares to celebrate this weekend’s St. Louis Pride Fest. The Park Pacific, a nearby apartment building, has also lighted its fa├žade in rainbow colors.  On Wednesday, the city began flying rainbow flags at City Hall and other buildings.  And this weekend, Soldiers Memorial will switch over to the colors as the Pride Fest—being held for the first time in the city’s downtown—kicks off.   
Visible from the river and out west, the tribute to homosexual activism further solidifies St. Louis’ reputation as one of “the gayest cities in America.” 
The week-long LGBT light show at the Civil Courts Building is not cheap:  Ward 25 (Dutchtown) Alderman Shane Cohn spent $15,000 in capital improvement funds to pay for the lights, and that amount was reportedly matched by a private company.  Capital improvement funds, made up of collected sales taxes, are allocated to St. Louis aldermen each year; and individual aldermen, with approval from two city boards, decide how they will spend their portion.  In choosing to designate $15,000 for the rainbow light show, Alderman Cohn has spent his share of the capital improvement funds outside of his district.
*     *     *     *
Across town, the Archdiocese of St. Louis responded to the Supreme Court’s June 26 rulings on the Defense Of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 by releasing a statement  reiterating Catholic teaching with regard to marriage.  Angie Shelton, community relations specialist for the Archdiocese, voiced the statement in a video available on the Archdiocese’s website.
The statement reads:
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to dismiss the California Proposition 8 appeal does not change the reality of marriage, nor does it change the Archdiocese of St. Louis's responsibility to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. It is important to note that marriage predates both the U.S. government and Western civilization. 
From a Catholic perspective, it is not enough to offer the Church’s position on same-sex union without also saying how it fits into a broader understanding of the sacrament of marriage, human sexuality, and theGospel of Life as taught by Blessed John Paul II. The vocation to serve God and society through married life is a sacred union in which man and woman become one flesh. The Catholic Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. She teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality. The sexual union of a man and woman, when not obstructed by contraceptives, is the kind that is open to life even if new life is not the result.
We understand that married persons imitate the way Christ offers His body completely and permanently to the Church so that we might have life, and have it abundantly. This truth is written into our bodies as well as on the pages of the Old and New Testaments. While the law can allow other things to be called marriage, it cannot make them into the kind of union that is marriage.  

Screenshot from the website
of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

After abortion setback, Texas GOP set to try again

 

 
AP Photo
AP Photo/Eric Gay
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- After a one-woman filibuster and a raucous crowd helped derail a GOP-led effort to restrict Texas abortions, Gov. Rick Perry announced Wednesday that he's calling lawmakers back next week to try again.
 
Perry ordered the Legislature to meet July 1 to begin 30 more days of work. Like the first special session, which ended in chaos overnight, the second one will include on its agenda a Republican-backed plan that critics say would close nearly every abortion clinic across the state and impose other widespread limits on the procedure.
 
"I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas," Perry said in a statement. "Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn."
 
The first session's debate over abortion restrictions led to the most chaotic day in the Texas Legislature in modern history, starting with a marathon filibuster and ending with a down-to-the wire, frenetic vote marked by questions about whether Republicans tried to break chamber rules and jam the measure through.
 
A second filibuster is harder to pull off though, since supporters of the bill will ensure it clear preliminary hurdles and reaches floor votes in the House and Senate well before the second session expires.
 
The governor can convene as many extra sessions as he likes and sets the agenda of what lawmakers can work on. Also listed on the session's agenda are separate bills to boost highway funding and deal with a juvenile justice issue.
 
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who oversees the flow of legislation in the Senate, hinted that another special session was coming when he told lawmakers "see you soon" after the first session adjourned.
Many of the same abortion rights groups that staged Tuesday's night's protests took to Twitter on Wednesday, promising they had more in store.
 
The entire process starts over, with bills that must be filed by individual lawmakers, undergo a public hearing and be passed out of committee before they can be considered by both chambers.
Still, supporters are likely to draft a measure similar to the one that nearly passed during the first special session. It sought a statewide ban on undergoing the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the point at which anti-abortion activists claim a fetus can feel pain - despite a lack of scientific evidence to support that.
 
That bill also would have forced many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities to be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
 
Democrats put their hopes of thwarting the bill Tuesday in the hands of Wendy Davis, a state senator clad in pink running shoes, for a daylong attempt to talk the bill to death. Over the duration of the speech, Davis became a social media star, even becoming the subject of a tweet from President Obama for her efforts.
 
But just before midnight, Republicans claimed she strayed off topic and got help with a back brace - two things that are against filibuster rules - and cut her off.
 
That cleared the way for a vote.
 
But when Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst shouted into the microphone, trying to call the final votes, nobody seemed to hear him. Some 400 supporters jammed into the gallery had taken their feet with a deafening roar, drowning out his voice. It was, as some claimed, a "people's filibuster" - an attempt by protesters to finish what Davis had started more than 11 hours earlier.
 
"Get them out!" Republican Sen. Donna Campbell shouted to a security guard. "... I want them out of here!"
 
As the crowd clapped and shouted "shame, shame, shame," Dewhurst gathered Republican lawmakers around Secretary of the Senate Patsy Spaw to register their votes. Democrats ran forward, holding up their cellphones, which showed it was past midnight.
 
But Dewhurst and other Republicans insisted the first vote was cast before midnight by the Legislature's clock and that the bill had passed.
 
By the time decorum was restored and the 19-10 vote in favor of the measure was recorded, the clock read 12:03 a.m. Confusion took over: The Republicans had passed the bill, but did it count? Were the votes tallied in time?
 
Read more at http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ABORTION_RESTRICTIONS_TEXAS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-06-26-06-42-21
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