Archive for March, 2009

Notre Dame Shame

March 27, 2009

Notre Dame Student Groups
Lead Graduation Protest

Campus Divided Over Catholic Character Question

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, MARCH 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A coalition of student organizations at the University of Notre Dame are joining forces to protest President Barack Obama’s invitation to speak at their graduation ceremony.

A statement released today by the coalition reported the “deepest opposition” of the students to the announcement made Friday by Notre Dame’s president that the U.S. president will give this year’s commencement speech and will receive an honorary law degree at the university’s graduation.

Senior Emily Toates of Notre Dame Right to Life affirmed: “This is not a partisan issue; rather, it’s an issue of respect for human life, and our Catholic character.

“We want to emphasize that we are not attacking the office of the president, but taking issue with his moral stances. I think the statement makes it clear that the student body of Notre Dame is not unequivocally in favor of this decision.”

. . .

Citing the U.S. bishops’ conference, they noted that Catholic institutions should not give “awards, honors or platforms” to those “who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”

. . .

“To award a Notre Dame law degree to a lawyer and politician who has used the law to deny equality to the unborn diminishes the value of the degree itself.”

Moral dilemna

The students asserted that the university’s president, Father John Jenkins, “has placed some of his students in a moral dilemma as to whether they should attend their own graduation.”

To read more of that article, see:
http://www.zenit.org/article-25478?l=english.

Read what you can do about this (in addition to prayer, of course!):
http://www.notredamescandal.com/.

See also: http://www.ndresponse.com/events033109-red.html.

And please pray for conversion! It’s not too late for there to be a change in the plans.

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When was your last confession?

March 26, 2009

Found an article today that led to another one; both are about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Here are some excerpts from those two. Maybe they will help you prepare to receive the sacrament soon!

iConfess: New Tools for
Embracing the Sacrament of Reconciliation

by Lisa Hendey

As we anticipate the joy of Easter, many of our parishes around the country are holding special Lenten Penance services to provide the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As Catholics, we are called to receive Penance at least once per year:

According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1457

If you’re not already done so, I want to invite you to read Pat Gohn’s wonderful column from last week entitled “Embracing the Catechism: Getting Back to Confession”. In doing our very best to prepare our hearts to receive the full benefits of making a good confession, you may be surprised to learn that they are some wonderful “tech tools” to help you in this process.

Indeed, the sacrament truly is a “process”, with work to be done both before and after we enter the reconciliation room or confessional. Part of our duty is to make a thorough examination of conscience, exploring our hearts and souls for any sinful activities or attitudes. Over the past few years, many helpful resources have been developed to assist you with making a thorough examination of conscience. Most of these tools take a detailed look at each of the Ten Commandments and ask prompting questions to invite personal reflection.

. . .

My favorite aspect of the “iConfess” tool is the very thorough Examination of Conscience section. The application lists each of the Ten Commandments and asks prompting questions to assist you in your examination. You can then “tag” particular items to prompt your memory during confession. Beyond the Ten Commandments, the iConfess Examination of Conscience also looks at the Seven Deadly Sins, Sins against the Holy Spirit, Sins with Respect to the Sacrament of Confession, and other areas that may need reflection or consideration.

. . .

… the following websites offer wonderful tools for Examination of Conscience:

http://www.bereconciledtogod.com/pdfs/examinationofconscience.pdf

http://catholicparents.org/oxcart/examinationchild.html – for children

http://www.scborromeo.org/confess.htm

http://frpat.com/examen.htm

You can read more from that article at
http://woman.catholicexchange.com/2009/03/26/804/

Embracing the Catechism:
Getting Back to Confession

by Pat Gohn

Don’t you love simple directions? The shampoo bottle instructs me to “lather, rinse, and repeat.” It simple, direct, and gets the job done.

Spiritual 9-1-1
When my children were old enough to understand what an emergency was, I taught them how to call for the police, fire department, or ambulance, by memorizing “9-1-1.” It’s simple. It’s direct. It brings help.

This is Lent. So, I’ll make this simple and direct. Memorize this:

There is no offense, however serious,
that the Church cannot forgive.

Got that? There. Is. NO. Offense. That. The. Church. Cannot. Forgive. That’s from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 982. Ultimately this means there are no excuses for us to avoid receiving the graces God has in store for us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The only problem is, we actually have to ‘fess up, and that’s the tricky part for many of us.

(Now, if you’ve already been to confession recently, or you are planning to go soon-wonderful! What follows is for the reader who may feel hesitant about going.)

For many of us, for many reasons, entering the confessional is a hard spiritual practice. Instead we practice active avoidance. The Church “knows” this about us. That’s why the Precepts of the Church urge Catholics to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation “at least once a year.” (The 5 Precepts of the Church are simple directions that help us grow in our love of God and neighbor. See CCC 2042-2043.)

So, the minimum requirement for Catholics is an annual confession.

But we make good excuses for not going. We rationalize. We talk ourselves out of the need to confess. Often the lies we tell ourselves to deny our conscience, compounds the problem. Especially when it comes to those, you know, big sins. The mortal ones that break one the Ten Commandments.

The painful truth is that if we’ve broken a commandment or two, we’ve broken our relationship with Christ and the Church. But, there is hope in restoring it.

It requires faith that forgiveness is bigger than our sin. That means trusting that we can be forgiven, even if our sin is as bad as fill-in-the-blank.

We need to “call 9-1-1″, spiritually speaking: The Sacrament of Reconciliation.

See the remainder of the article at
http://woman.catholicexchange.com/2009/03/20/729/.

Leaving the industry

March 6, 2009

In conjunction with the March 10 event, here are links to testimonies by former abortion providers:

http://www.priestsforlife.org/testimonies/default.aspx

http://www.prolifeaction.org/providers/index.htm

There are probably other sites, but those will give you plenty to read for now.

A day to be “silent no more”

March 6, 2009

If you live in a location that is currently hosting a “40 Days for Life” prayer campaign, you might want to make a special effort to stop by on Tuesday, March 10. And if you don’t live in one of those locations, or your schedule won’t permit you to go there that day, please pray wherever you are. (Check for locations at
http://www.40daysforlife.com/location.cfm.)

Why that particular day? Because abortion advocates are calling it “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day” and life advocates can counter that with the power of our prayers. The organizers of the 40Days effort have coordinated with the leaders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to have a special presence at abortion facilities on that day.

The 40 Days blog http://www.40daysforlife.com/blog/ entry for Day 9 says this:

We just sent out a news release early this morning about an important activity that will be taking place at 40 Days for Life vigils all across North America next Tuesday:
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/227769643.html.

. . .

A wonderful group called Silent No More Awareness Campaign has been heavily involved with 40 Days for Life and is now calling upon those who have found healing after an abortion to stand in unified prayer at as many of the 40 Days for Life vigil sites as possible next Tuesday, March 10 – the day the abortion industry promotes its callous “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day.”

At your vigil, you may be joined by women holding signs that read, “I regret my abortion,” and men holding signs that read, “I regret lost fatherhood.”

While the abortion industry is throwing parties and patting abortionists on the back for their deadly work, thank these faithful prayer warriors for their courage to bear witness to the terrible harm caused by abortion. They know from personal experience.

Learn much more at: http://tinyurl.com/d9mcjn.

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign site
http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/news/09-02-27-silent-no-more-40-days.htm says this:

Why March 10th? As some of you might be aware, March 10th is designated by the abortion industry as a “Thank Your Abortion Provider Day”. They encourage women to actually send thank you notes to their abortion provider. But we know by your testimonies, you do NOT share these sentiments about the doctor that performed your abortion.

So what we want to do is on March 10 encourage men and women like you, who have registered with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to come out to the abortion clinics, with our Silent No More “I Regret My Abortion” and “I Regret Lost Fatherhood” signs and pray with the 40 Days for Life people to say, no we do not thank our abortion providers and challenge them to listen to our voices that share the negative consequences that abortion had on us. (We’ll be praying also that the abortion provider will have a conversion of heart to stop performing abortion.)

. . .

We decided to do this because Andrea Hines and Katherine Hearn as Silent No More Regional Coordinators and 40 Days for Life Leaders put the two efforts together in their community. They said, “During the last 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in Charlotte, NC, one of the days was designated as “Silent No More Day.” It was a day that we asked those from our community that were post-abortive to bring their sign and join us for prayer at the local abortion clinic. The message of “I Regret My Abortion” during the vigil helps remind us of those that have been devastated by abortion in the past, those that are being devastated by abortion right in front of us at the abortion clinic, and the generations that will hopefully, be spared this devastation in the future. It is the post-abortive, many which have not received healing, among us in our churches, our vigils, and our families, that is one of the most important mission fields today. We believe that by SNM uniting together with the 40 Days for Life vigils on March 10, our specific prayer for a great outbreak of healing and recovery in the lives of the post-abortive will provide a great vision for what the Lord can and will do!”

The news release at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/227769643.html says this:

“We are highly encouraged that the Silent No More Awareness Campaign is urging women and men who have found healing in the wake of abortion to stand witness in front of abortion facilities on March 10 in connection with 40 Days for Life,” said Shawn Carney, spring campaign director for 40 Days for Life. “The message of post-abortion healing plays an important role in the dismantling of the abortion culture and the construction of a new culture of life.”

. . .

The date March 10 was chosen because this is the date that the abortion industry has marked as Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. “That concept flies in the face of the destruction we know abortion causes,” said Carney, “not just for the baby whose life is taken, but for the mother, the father — and many others including extended family and friends. It is our fervent hope that women with abortion appointments on March 10 will see the silent, prayerful witness of others who have walked in their shoes, and avoid making a tragic decision that could haunt them physically, psychologically and spiritually for years and years to come.

. . .

“We have already seen evidence that the 40 Days for Life concept of prayerful vigil leads people with abortion experiences to seek healing,” said Carney. “This partnership will strengthen that message and hopefully bring others to reconciliation.”

More information is available at each of the Web sites quoted above.

Please pray all through these 40 days, combining your Lenten sacrifices with the intentions of all the pro-life movement.

True faith shapes the culture

March 5, 2009

Here is an article with powerful words from two Cardinals in Rome, regarding the role of faith in public life. It certainly contains important views for Americans in today’s culture.

Two Prominent Catholic Cardinals
Defend Religious Action in Public Life

By Hilary White

ROME, March 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two prominent Catholic cardinals have struck out at the secularist trend of excluding all religious belief from public life. The patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, and Cardinal Camillo Ruini, a former president of the Italian Bishops Conference and the vicar for the diocese of Rome from 1991 to 2007, have warned Christians not to withdraw from active involvement in public life.

Writing in an editorial published February 20, in Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Scola wrote, “It seems to me that we often lose sight of the heart of the matter: every faith must always be subjected to a public cultural interpretation.” He quoted the late Pope John Paul II, who wrote, “A faith that does not become culture is not fully accepted, not fully thought out, not faithfully lived.

The two cardinals’ comments come in response to criticisms that the Church should have remained silent in the case of Eluana Englaro. Eluana, the young disabled woman sometimes described as “Italy’s Terri Schiavo,” died in early February after her food and hydration were removed with the permission of Italy’s courts. During the public debate over Eluana’s killing, leftists in Italy’s Parliament accused the Church of trying to create a “theocracy” and impose its will in the political arena.

“Faith,” Cardinal Scola wrote, “inevitably has to do with the reality of life and death, love and sorrow, labour and recreation and civic action.”

He criticised as “reductive” the two prevailing schools of thought on the action of Christianity on Italian civic life. He rejected both “Christianity as a civil religion” – a kind of “ethical cement” holding democracy together – and the idea that it is a purely internal matter for individuals concerned for their own salvation. The latter, he said, would leave no room for Christians to address key bioethical or political issues.

Cardinal Scola wrote the piece in response to criticisms by Enzo Bianchi, an influential lay preacher and founder of an “ecumenical” monastic-style community in Bose, who said that the fact that churchmen actively intervened in defence of Eluana’s life was “unworthy of the Christian approach.”

“Such an attitude,” Cardinal Scola said, “produces a dispersion (diaspora) of Christians in society and ends up hiding the human relevance of faith as such.” In this case “a silence is demanded that risks making adherence to Christ and to the Church meaningless in the eyes of others.”

The “implications of the mysteries” of Christian religious belief, he said, are “intertwined with the human affairs of all time, showing the beauty and fruitfulness of faith to everyday life.” Cardinal Scola used the example of the Church’s teaching on the sacredness of life and marriage: “If you believe that man is created in the image and likeness of God, you will have a certain conception of birth and death, the relationship between man and woman, marriage and the family.”

The implications lead all believers, including the Pope and bishops, “to talk humbly but strongly with everyone” on public issues. The Church, he said, is not interested in acquiring and imposing political power. “Its real purpose, in imitation of its founder, is to give everyone the consoling hope of eternal life.”

In Genoa on February 18, Camillo Cardinal Ruini warned of a new type of materialist secularism, the “conceptual nucleus” of which is “the conviction that man is entirely reducible to the physical universe,” and which has as its fundamental task “individual freedom,” interpreted strictly in material terms. Against this fundamental task, he said, “any form of discrimination is to be avoided.”

“This freedom, according to which in the final analysis everything is relative to the individual, is set up as the supreme ethical and legal criterion: every other position is admissible only as long as it does not challenge, but remains subordinate to this relativistic criterion. In this way, the moral norms of Christianity are systematically censored, at least in their public influence.”

But religious belief, and Christianity in particular, propose a transcendent meaning and purpose for human life that require certain restrictions on human activity for its fulfilment, said the cardinal. This has created what he called a “new schism” between Catholicism and materialist “secularists” in which the expression of Christian teaching is being suppressed.

“In this way, there has developed in the West that which Benedict XVI has repeatedly called ‘the dictatorship of relativism,’ meaning a form of culture that deliberately severs its own historical roots and constitutes a radical contradiction not only of Christianity, but more broadly of the religious and moral traditions of humanity.”

You can find the above article at:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030403.html.