Elijah on Mount Carmel Year
On All Saints Day, the bishops of Pennsylania released a statement on the upcoming elections. Here is the text:
Each year on this day the Catholic Church celebrates “All Saints Day.” This solemnity remembers those who have fulfilled their earthly vocation and now enjoy eternal happiness in the presence of God. These saints may be unnamed, but they certainly are not unknown. Their lives are characterized by steadfast faith and charitable works. They exemplify what it means to love God and love one’s neighbor.
Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin released a letter to his diocese on October 24 outlining considerations that should be taken into account by Catholics when voting:
I would like to review some of the principles to keep in mind as you approach the voting booth to complete your ballot. The first is the set of non-negotiables. These are areas that are “intrinsically evil” and cannot be supported by anyone who is a believer in God or the common good or the dignity of the human person. They are:
3. embryonic stem cell research
4. human cloning
5. homosexual “marriage”
… Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally “complicit” with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy. The other position to keep in mind is the protection of religious liberty. The recent aggressive moves by the government to impose the HHS mandate, especially the move to redefine religion so that religion is confined more and more to the four walls of the Church, is a dangerous precedent. This will certainly hurt the many health care services to the poor given by our Catholic hospitals. Our Catholic hospitals in the Diocese give millions of dollars per year in donated services to the poor. In the new plan, only Catholic people can be treated by Catholic institutions. Continue reading
My Bishop, Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese, is a big, jovial bear-like guy. It is hard not to like him, but I have never been prouder of him than I have been this year. He has been one of the bishops standing up and constantly sounding the alarm posed to our religious liberty by the Obama administration. Go here to read a speech he gave on the subject earlier this year. Continue reading
Bravo to Bill O’Reilly for taking note of Caroline Kennedy’s phrase “as a Catholic woman” before she attacked pro-life laws passed around the country in legislatures controlled by Republicans. O’Reilly recognized this as a direct attack on the Catholic Church. Of course this is all part of the Democrat party’s attempt to promote a de facto schism in the Church in America for political advantage. As I have noted many times this isn’t merely an election year for American Catholics. This is an Elijah on Mount Carmel year. A time of choosing is upon us. Continue reading
Well the above video from the Romney campaign removes all doubt that the HHS Mandate is going to be front and center in the fall campaign. Obama was campaigning with Sandra Fluke yesterday, as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air details here. Obama’s war on the Catholic Church, and his attempt to promote schism within the Church, may play a decisive role in the swing states like Ohio that will decide this election.
Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report. That the pro-abort Democrats in Congress salute the radical nuns of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious should come as no surprise to any sentient Catholic. First, many members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious have served as an unpaid resource for the Democrat Party for years, embracing every Leftist fad imaginable while studiously ignoring, or acting against, the fight against abortion waged by the Church. Second, as I have written here, the Obama administration, as a campaign tactic, is promoting a schism within the Catholic Church. Continue reading
Their blood flowed as freely (in proportion to their numbers) to cement the fabric of independence as that of any of their fellow-citizens: They concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men, in recommending and promoting that government, from whose influence America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good order and civil and religious liberty.
John Carroll, first American bishop, on American Catholics in the Revolution
Something for the weekend. Chester, America’s unofficial national anthem during the American Revolution. This fits in well with the Fortnight of Freedom proclaimed by our Bishops in resistance to encroachments by government on our religious liberty.
Written by William Billings in 1770, he added new lyrics to the song in 1778 and transformed it into a battle hymn for the Patriots in their war for independence. The song reveals the strong religious element that was ever-present on the American side of the conflict, with most Patriots viewing the war as a crusade. Continue reading
Bravo to The Catholic Association for the fine video above to help us kick off Fortnight For Freedom. People don’t truly appreciate their freedom until it is threatened. I think that is also true for many Catholics in regard to the Church. Time to stand up. A time for choosing is here.
Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:
On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.
Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom.
The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.
We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day. This is the first of these blog posts.
The video at the top of this post is a scene from the classic movie, The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), based upon the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, in which Daniel Webster bests Satan in a jury trial to save the soul of New Hampshireman Jabez Stone. In this scene Daniel Webster addresses a jury of the damned, all villains of American history. I have always thought this speech one of the most eloquent statements of what it means to be an American.
In regard to Freedom it reminds us that it is just not a word: Freedom is not just a big word — it is the bread and the morning and the risen sun. It was for freedom we came in boats and ships to these shores. It has been a long journey, a hard one, a bitter one. There is sadness in being a man, but it is a proud thing, too. Out of the suffering and the starvation, the wrong and the right, a new thing has come, a free man. When the whips of the oppressors are broken, and their names forgotten and destroyed, free men will be walking and talking under a free star. Yes, we have planted freedom here in this earth like wheat. This is the priceless treasure that Goverment encroachments like the HHS Mandate begin to take away from us.
The fight over the HHS Mandate is about to come to a boil. In June the Bishops are going to have this document inserted in Mass bulletins throughout the nation which mentions the necessity of disobeying immoral laws in certain situations.
Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified. Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.
I am almost thankful to President Obama. Due to his blind hubris, his willingness to ride roughshod over American liberties for cheap perceived political advantage, he has awakened the Church in this country from her slumber, and reminded Catholics that they are part of the Church Militant here on Earth.
Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom: Continue reading
The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1. Go here to read my post on the film. The National Catholic Register’s Tim Drake has an interview with the producer of the film, Pablo Jose Barroso. Note what the producer says about the timing of the film in regard to the struggle for religious liberty the Church is waging today in our country:
Tell me about the film.
It’s a great experience because it takes you to that period and beautiful country, with its art and settings. It’s a story of hope, of freedom and of heroism. The film tells the story of the pacifist movement, a group of people who were trying to change things in Congress peacefully, as well as the story of a former general who is recruited to organize the Cristeros into an army. You also see several of the martyrs, including Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio. In the end, it’s about people standing up against oppression and dying for Christ. My hope is that it will give viewers great hope.
What do you hope viewers take away from the film?
I think that, culturally, we’re not being congruent with our religious beliefs. We are not standing up for our faith. We’ve been tolerating things that are wrong. It seems as if it’s easier for people to be against God than to claim him as their Creator. In this Year of Faith [to begin in October], the Holy Spirit can help people to be more faithful. If only one person who doesn’t believe in God sees this film and reflects on him, that is my best hope.
Given the current fight for religious freedom going on in the U.S., do you see the release of the film as God’s timing?
Yes, it was frustrating and difficult not to have the film released when I wanted it, but the Lord’s time is not our time. The movie is about conscience. No one ever wins when religion is oppressed. As believers we need to band together. This is the perfect time for this film. Hopefully, it will help wake people up to the things that are taking us from God. In the end, this will harm us. We have to be faithful. Continue reading
William Peter Blatty, well-known novelist, author of the Exorcist, a Georgetown graduate, class of 1950, is spearheading an effort to force Georgetown to reform, or to cease to call itself Catholic. Here is his letter:
I invite you today to join me in The Father King Society to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic, and Better by signing on to a very special effort here. I ask you also to curtail your donations to Georgetown University for one year.
The late Jesuit Father Thomas M. King was a good friend. I had the privilege of lecturing his theology class, which started the rumor that he had inspired my priestly character in The Exorcist. Father King inspired many other things; and our effort now.
On May 5, 2012, in a speech to American bishops, Pope Benedict XVI called on America’s Catholic universities to reaffirm their Catholic identity. The Pope noted the failure of many Catholic universities to comply with Blessed John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae. The Pope said that preservation of a university’s Catholic identity “entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus.”
For 21 years now. Georgetown University has refused to comply with Ex corde Ecclesiaie (“From The Heart of the Church”), and, therefore, with canon law. And, it seems as if every month GU gives another scandal to the faithful! The most recent is Georgetown’s obtuse invitation to Secretary Sebelius to be a commencement speaker.
Each of these scandals is proof of Georgetown’s non-compliance with Ex corde Ecclesiae and canon law. They are each inconsistent with a Catholic identity, and we all know it. A university in solidarity with the Church would not do these prideful things that do so much harm to our communion. (You can pen a heartfelt letter to the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington and the Holy Father offering your own experience here.)
In the months to come, The Father King Society will ask Georgetown and the Church for explanations and decisions. In 1991, in an effort led by courageous Georgetown students, my dearly missed classmate, GU Law Center Prof. Richard Alan Gordon, took the awesome step of submitting a canon law petition asking the Church to remove Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic. Then Dean of Students John J. DeGioia had authorized the funding of a pro-abortion student advocacy group. A contemporaneous secret memorandum from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities to the presidents of all Jesuit institutions showed us that Dr. DeGioia’s decision was part of a larger scheme: GU was to be the dissident leader for others to follow. Dean Gordon’s effort was provocative and drastic, but within months of the filing, Rome required Georgetown to reverse itself, and Georgetown did.
Father Tom King was actively involved and submitted an essay to be used in support of the canon law action. (We post it here.) Soon after the 1991 “GU Choice” funding, a meeting took place on campus that collected the students, teachers, alumni and parents who had reacted to the University’s scandal in diverse ways. Fr. King listened intently, and then the mild-speaking priest told us of a call the night before from his brother, also a priest. His brother had said, “Tom, you have to choose sometimes — either you fish or cut bait.” Father King told us that he had decided to fish. And now, at long last, so have I. I ask you to join us!
For almost two decades, The Cardinal Newman Society has pursued with true inspiration and devotion its unique ministry to strengthen Catholic higher education in America. CNS has agreed to help us. Likewise, the St. Joseph’s Foundation, a Texas charity that focuses on canon law, has been a source of valuable information. We appreciate the help of both apostolates.
We may choose to file a canon action again, one much larger in scale and seeking alternative forms of relief that will include, among others, that Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit be revoked or suspended for a time. We will ask for lesser relief as well. Of course, what we truly seek is for Georgetown to have the vision and courage to be Catholic but clearly the slow pastoral approach has not worked. I invite you to sign the “Mandate of Procurator” on this website so that I, and other alumni, parents, teachers and students, may represent you in this special and historic Church petition. Continue reading
In a prior post, which may be read here, I detailed a speech by Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese, my Bishop, in which he blasted the attack of the Obama administration on religious liberty. Bishop Jenky is a graduate of Notre Dame and was ordained as a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Catholic religious order which runs Notre Dame. Bishop Jenky is quite fond of Notre Dame and often speaks of his days there. He serves on the Board of Fellows of Notre Dame. Professor Charles E. Rice, Law School Professor Emeritus at Notre Dame, details what happened at Notre Dame after Bishop Jenky’s speech:
On April 14, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., of Peoria, Illinois, delivered a courageous homily at Mass during “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith.” Bishop Jenky said, “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries—only excepting our church buildings—could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.”
Forty-nine members of the Notre Dame faculty denounced Bishop Jenky in a Letter to the University President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Richard C. Notebaert. The Letter called on them to “definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky’s incendiary statement.” The signers, said the Letter, “feel” that Bishop Jenky should resign from the University’s Board of Fellows.
The faculty Letter claims that Bishop Jenky “described President Obama as ‘seem[ing] intent on following a similar path’ to Hitler and Stalin.” They accuse Bishop Jenky of “ ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment.” The astonishingly simplistic and defamatory character of those accusations can be appreciated only by looking at what Bishop Jenky actually said: Continue reading
Hattip to Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report. A fiery speech delivered by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of the Saint Louis Archdiocese at the Missouri State Capitol on March 27, 2012, calling for defiance of the HHS Mandate, and a superb ringing defense of religious liberty:
So Jesus said to them: “Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (Mt 22:21/Mk 12:17/Lk 20:25)
My brothers and sisters, we stand here today because of an alarming and serious matter that strikes at our fundamental right to religious freedom. The federal government – which was formed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” – has decided to tell some of those people that we are free to hold our faith, but we will be required to deny it in practice. We are here to let the government know that we will render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but we will NOT render unto Caesar what belongs to God!
In late January, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that almost all employers — including Catholic employers – would be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes contraception, sterilization and potentially abortion-inducing drugs. This is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic faith.
Recognizing this as a grave threat to religious liberty, many people spoke out against the Mandate.
In response to this reaction, President Obama’s Administration announced a so-called “compromise” in early February. Now, instead of the Catholic Church being required to pay for contraception, sterilization and potentially abortion-inducing drugs, the insurance companies will be required to provide those services free of charge.
We need to say loud and clear: Mr. President, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs aren’t free. Someone has to pay for them. If the insurance company has to provide them, the cost will be passed on to the consumer one way or another –that’s how the economy works! Continue reading
May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.
Bishop Daniel Jenky
My bishop, Daniel Jenky, of the Peoria Diocese, speaks truth about Caesar on April 14 of this year:
There is only one basic reason why Christianity exists and that is the fact that Jesus Christ truly rose from the grave.
The disciples never expected the resurrection. The unanimous testimony of all four Gospels is that the terrible death of Jesus on the cross entirely dashed all their hopes about Jesus and about his message. He was dead, and that was the end of it. They looked for nothing more, and they expected nothing more.
So as much as they had loved him, in their eyes Jesus was a failed messiah. His dying seemed to entirely rob both his teaching and even his miracles of any lasting significance.
And they were clearly terrified that his awful fate, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans, could easily become their awful fate. So they hid, trembling with terror, behind shuttered windows and locked doors.
When the Risen Christ suddenly appeared in their midst, their reaction was shocked incredulity. They simply could not believe their own eyes.
Reality only very slowly began to penetrate their consciousness when Jesus offers proof of his resurrection. He shows them the wounds on his hands, his feet, and his side. Jesus even allowed them to touch him. He breaks bread with them and eats with them. And only then could they admit to themselves what had seemed absolutely impossible – the one who had truly died had truly risen! The Crucified now stood before them as their Risen, glorious, triumphant Lord.
His rising from the grave was every bit as real as his dying on the cross. The resurrection was the manifest proof of the invincible power of Almighty God. The inescapable fact of the resurrection confirmed every word Jesus had ever spoken and every work Jesus had ever done.
The Gospel was the truth. Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus was the Savior of the world. Jesus was the very Son of God.
There is no other explanation for Christianity. It should have died out and entirely disappeared when Christ died and was buried, except for the fact that Christ was truly risen, and that during the 40 days before his Ascension, he interacted with his Apostles and disciples, and on one occasion even with hundreds of his followers.
Today’s appointed Gospel reading for this Saturday in the Octave of Easter is taken from the 16th Chapter of Mark. It concludes with a command from the lips of Jesus, given to his disciples, given to the whole Church, given to you and me assembled here today: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
We heard in today’s Second Reading from the Acts of the Apostles that the same Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus was amazed at the boldness of Peter and John. Perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they recognized them as companions of Jesus. They warned them never again to teach, or speak to anyone, in the name of Jesus.
But the elders and the scribes might as well have tried to turn back the tide, or hold back an avalanche. Peter and John had seen the Risen Christ with their own eyes. Peter and John were filled with the Holy Spirit. They asked whether it is right “in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
And Peter and John and all the Apostles, starting first in Jerusalem in Judea and Galilee and then to the very ends of the earth, announced the Resurrection and the Good News to everyone they encountered.
According to the clear testimony of the Scriptures, these Apostles had once been rather ordinary men – like you and me. Their faith hadn’t always been strong. They made mistakes. They committed sins. They were often afraid and confused.
But meeting the Risen Lord had changed everything about these first disciples, and knowing the Risen Lord should also change everything about us.
You know, it has never been easy to be a Christian and it’s not supposed to be easy! The world, the flesh, and the devil will always love their own, and will always hate us. As Jesus once predicted, they hated me, they will certainly hate you.
But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God’s one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best. But think about it. The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.
The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism.
And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.
The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate. Continue reading
Judging from this statement on religious liberty issued yesterday, the Bishops understand that the stakes are very high indeed this year:
A Statement on Religious Liberty
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty
We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together. Freedom is not only for Americans, but we think of it as something of our special inheritance, fought for at a great price, and a heritage to be guarded now. We are stewards of this gift, not only for ourselves but for all nations and peoples who yearn to be free. Catholics in America have discharged this duty of guarding freedom admirably for many generations. In 1887, when the archbishop of Baltimore, James Gibbons, was made the second American cardinal, he defended the American heritage of religious liberty during his visit to Rome to receive the red hat. Speaking of the great progress the Catholic Church had made in the United States, he attributed it to the “civil liberty we enjoy in our enlightened republic.” Indeed, he made a bolder claim, namely that “in the genial atmosphere of liberty [the Church] blossoms like a rose.”1 From well before Cardinal Gibbons, Catholics in America have been advocates for religious liberty, and the landmark teaching of the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty was influenced by the American experience. It is among the proudest boasts of the Church on these shores. We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today. We need, therefore, to speak frankly with each other when our freedoms are threatened. Now is such a time. As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we address an urgent summons to our fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad. This has been noticed both near and far. Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called it the “most cherished of American freedoms”—and indeed it is. All the more reason to heed the warning of the Holy Father, a friend of America and an ally in the defense of freedom, in his recent address to American bishops:
Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience. Continue reading