“Test of Fire”: Must-see video for this election year

This says it beautifully. Just watch. And then share it with someone you know.

YouTube Preview Image


  1. Nice video. Too bad it only addresses the “right wing” orthodoxy (i.e. no mention of justice, peace, or the poor), so it will only reach those inclined to vote Republican.

  2. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    You missed the point. The video is designed to remind Catholic voters of the issues that the Church teaches as “non-negotiable.”

    Dcn. G.

  3. Aaron Streeting says:

    Yes, Michael… While there are different ways to address issues like poverty (welfare, tax cuts, education benefits, etc.) and health care (single payer, subsidized, health savings accounts, tax credits) that can be addressed different ways from the right or the left with the same goal in mind, the correct policy positions for Life, Freedom, and Marriage are absolutely non-negotiable. There is no room for compromise on any of these issues.

  4. I saw this video last week in a Huffington Post article and was embarrassed by it then. It is incendiary (no pun intended) and, in the long run, not an effective way to present our Catholic values and teachings in today’s society, since it will appeal to those who like that kind of focus. In other words, it will not convert people.
    I am very glad that it is produced by some fringe group and not our bishops. We don’t need any more contributions to the politically charged atmosphere of our church today.

  5. Art ND'76 says:

    If being clear is considered incendiary by some, then those who consider it incendiary may well be beyond convincing. When Jesus made His relationship to the Father clear to the Sanhedrin, their response was not to be convinced but to execute Him – even though He spoke the truth.

    I do care about justice, peace and the poor – but not as “the world” does. God does not command us to follow some commands of His by violating others. I want to care in the same manner as my God does, and I look first to the Pope, then to the Bishops in union with him for guidance. Why? Because Jesus, God Himself, promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church founded on Peter acting as regent of “the Rock” who is Jesus. I believe Jesus identified Peter and his successors as that regent by giving Peter his name, which associates him with Jesus Himself, “the Rock the builders rejected, who has become the cornerstone”.

  6. Elizabeth Scalia says:

    I suspect Catholic commitment to “justice, peace and the poor” are understood to be ingrained focuses of the church (in as much as this administration will allow the church to minister to the poor and afflicted, promote and fight for justice — even justice for herself) and of the USCCB. I gotta say, I don’t love the video — I think it’s overlong and a bit much — BUT it addresses the central notion that we HAVE non-negotiable beliefs, and that in this election year we are facing actual threats as to whether we continue in freedom to assert them in the public square, in our internal policies, and yes, even in our outreach, as we have been for 200+ years. We are no longer able to assist the government in helping victims of human trafficking, because we will not recommend abortion. We are no longer able to define our own mission. These are serious issues. The video addresses that truth. It’s about a hell of a lot more than “right and left”.

  7. Joanne K McPortland says:

    We rarely disagree, Deacon Greg, but I find this video troubling rather than inspiring. It was sent to me by a friend via the email viral campaign a couple of weeks ago, and described as “a video from the Catholic Church.” I had to send quite a few corrections, explaining that this is not an official pronouncement of the Church. The video is being distributed by Catholics Called to Witness, a Florida non-profit. It is based on a US Marine recruiting video. It is very slick, and while there is nothing objectionable about its content (other than what I, like some others commenting here, feel is an incomplete presentation of the non-negotiables), for me it has disturbing echoes of Leni Riefenstahl’s triumphalist propaganda for the Third Reich, with its visual references to Nordic mythology. Its message comes across as VOTE THE WAY THOR WANTS YOU TO VOTE OR HE’LL WHACK YOU WITH HIS HAMMER. I can see the appeal for the increasingly militaristic wing of the Church militant (Bishop Jenky should, and maybe does, use this as his warm-up act) but there’s nothing of Christ in this for me. And because it is not an official statement of the Catholic Church, it does not compromise my faith to say so.

  8. Joanne K McPortland:

    I agree with every one of your points. My concern now is that things will be getting very ugly in our church over the next six months. I think I will retire to the desert.

  9. Joanne K McPortland:
    But wait! There’s more:

    I am saddened by the loss of the focus of the Church that I have allowed myself to be formed in since Vatican II:

    “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”

  10. Sue from Buffalo says:

    I liked it. Thanks for posting it. I shared it on my fb page.

  11. Where does the Church teach that, Deacon? I often see the phrase in material by lay organizations but not in documents of the magisterium. On the other hand, there are documents of the magisterium that assign a very high level of importance to issues that I have never seen mentioned in the documents by those lay organizations.

  12. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    In March of 2006, Pope Benedict spoke to members of the European parliament and said:

    As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

    - protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

    - recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

    - the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

    These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself.

    If you Google, you’ll find other examples. The pope in 2008 also said, ““There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion, even among Catholics, about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Dcn. G.

  13. ron chandonia says:

    That makes 3 of us. This video is frightening, but the mindset it represents is even more so. Only a short time ago, our bishops decided to re-issue Faithful Citizenship. If this is really where they want us to go, they should have stopped at the end of their new Introductory Note since everything else in that document–like the care of the poor and other things Jesus specifically told his followers to do–apparently can now be considered discretionary.

  14. ron chandonia says:

    I see that Grant Gallicho has posted this on the dot.Commonweal blog. He notes with malicious glee that the link to “other teachings” (love?) on the sponsoring group’s website goes to a blank page. The comments from the Commonweal Catholics are interesting reminders that not all of us think alike:


    (BTW, I generally prefer the posts here to the fare put forth by the Obama partisans over there, but in this case, they’re right. This video could have come from the Onion.)

  15. Mark Greta says:

    Deacon you are correct. There are multiple examples. Glad to see you using this language and making the point.

    Now if we can only get those on the left to come up with the proportionate reasons for voting for the most pro abortion president in history, the Partner in the white house to the abortion mills, that comes close to the 54 million babies slaughtered in the womb. I have yet to get a single response from anyone that comes close. Of course several bishops have made that point as well. In fact, the entire point of putting it into the Catholic voters guide was if you have two candidates both of whom favor abortion, to have a proportionate other reason to support one of them. That then might be one favors marriage between one man and one woman and their other supports gay marriage as well as abortion. That is why I have always said it is hard if not impossible to be a Catholic and a Democrat as they have very few pro life candidates and the few that are, do not have anything like 90% rated voting records as detailed by the right to life groups. It is also why many Catholics label some in the Republican party CINO who espouse to be Catholic and pro abortion or republican and yet do not support the party pro life platform as RINO’s.

    But on abortion, the Pope and Bishops are very clear. There really is no reason to support an abortion candidate running against a pro life candidate. although some may question the full bore pro life position of Romney, but up against obama he looks like Mother Theresa on the pro life issue.

  16. Mark Greta says:

    HMS, non negotiable seems pretty clear. You may not like your Church teaching if you are Catholic, but in denying them, you are in essence denying what you should be saying in mass each week in the creed. It is one of the greatest gifts to those trying to follow Christ. In matters of faith and morals, when the Pope speaks in this non negoatiable manner, you as a Catholic have to accept it as your faith. In every other area, you can and should listen to the Pope and Bishops, but you do not put your soul at risk by knowing the grave evil and still supporting it. And to do so for the party which has been wrong on every moral evil since their founding seems a very crazy thing to do when talking about eternal life. I realize surrendering your will to the clear teaching of the Church on these non negoatiable issues is hard for some, but if one cares about their soul, I think you sould do some serious praying about this point.

  17. Mark Greta says:

    It is of course actual teaching of the Catholic Church as Deacon Greg laid out the facts. Do you believe in infallibility of the Pope in union with the Magesterium on matters of faith or morals when speaking for his authority as Christ representative on earth? Deacon is simply pointing out that fact. He has spoken in that capacity on these matters several times over the years as Pope John Paul II did before him. In fact, no Pope has ever supported the killing of infants in the womb or marriage as anything but between one man and one woman.

    It puzzles me why Catholics would put their soul at grave risk in this way for a party. I would not support the Republicans on an issue that was non negotiable teaching of the Catholic Church for anything. It is kind of like denying Christ when you deny the Pope to this degree and with what is obvious this anger.

  18. Mark Greta says:

    There are two roads to eternity and one goes to heaven. The other is wide and paved and easy to follow. The fact that there are three of you should no give you comfort. When you deny a non negoatiable magesterial teaching on faith and morals, it seems you place very little importance to your faith over politics. If the Democrats took on these solid magesterial teachings of the Catholic Church which I am called to accept according to the Cathecism of the Church and long held teaching, I would vote Democrat tomorrow. My soul and eternal life are too important to me.

    One day, we will all have to answer to Christ. He said he would be with the Church until the end of time and we have a wonderful promise that lives within this infalliable teaching of the Pope. Deacon makes a very obvious Catholic teaching point and out come the guns. You do not argue he is wrong based on Catholic teaching. You do not list proportionate reasons to support an abortion candidate that is part of the chain that has given the US 54 million babies slaughtered in the womb as outlined as essential to the support of an abortion candidate.

    I hope the Deacon continues to teach what the Church teaches in this manner for it may help save souls which I would think is critical to his vocation. Everyone cares for the poor, but there are many ways to help the poor and most need to be close to the poor, not some federal government ineffective program that has proven to be a failure. It seems like many here are more interested in repeating the talking points of the party than listening to Christ representative on earth.

  19. Mark Greta says:

    Forget this site, and concentrate on Deacon Greg’s post. It is typical tactic to attack the messenger. You do not list which points made in the video are wrong. You do not show what Deacon Greg posted is wrong. Adn commonweal magazine is not a very accurate reflection on Catholic teaching. Try the Cathecism and come up with how the pope speaking from the chair of peter on faith and morals can be ignored to satisfy your political party leanings. I will wait for a reply.

    Can’t believe you went to Commonweal for Catholic teaching on the Pope.

  20. ron chandonia says:


    You say you are waiting for a reply, but your comment leaves me baffled, so the most charitable response I can come up with is “HUH?”

  21. Francis Kane says:

    This scares me and it scares me even more that as we watch this nation slip further and further into social and economic despair we allow ourselves to become distracted from the hard work that all of us need to be engaged in. Work for a decent wage that will raise millions out of poverty and the ranks of the working poor, education that will prepare us to compete with the emerging economies of the world, health care that will allow all of us to live and die with dignity. Why are the homilies at Mass not speaking out about these issues? Where are the well produced clips that pull at the heart strings, that show us how far we have fallen into the league of “have not nations” and how deeply divided and distracted we have become. It is this sort of sentimental nonsense that gently pushes another family or young person, or senior out of the pew and into the ever expanding population of former Roman Catholics. Does anyone even care that they have left?

  22. There are a number of other teachings of the magisterium that are as strongly stated as those and in more authoritative locations, such as the “intrinsic priority of labor over capital” and the “subordination of the right to private property to the principle of the universal destination of goods” yet we rarely hear those who would have us vote Republican mention those and, in fact, we frequently find them advocating on the other side.

  23. There’s nothing about voting for Romney or many other Republicans that’s consistent with the Creed, nothing at all. Sorry.

  24. Mark Greta says:

    SJ, the “intrinsic priority of labor over captial” is a concept that can be carried out in policy in many ways. Having been involved in a business over many years, if there is no capital, there is no labor which in many ways is what we are now seeing with long term democratic policies sent wild by Obama in never ending reglations without concern for keeping a company going. We have gone wild with government jobs in the last 50 years and each time someone is added, it usually brings more problems for companies. The mandates now on almost every major sector have caused companies to rethink hiring until some are clarified by the courts and the elections. You do not seem to understand the point of magesterial teaching concerns grave evil that in most cases is black and white such as the baby living or being killed, marriage between one man and one woman. On the “subordination of the right to private property to the princilple of the universal destination of goods” there is no black and white and in fact the Catholic Church teaches that the people around the world in many different environoments and governments would approach these issues in many different ways. We are called to be aware of and think about them, but the Pope does not teach and never will a specific point in this area and may lack the expertise to tell Catholics what they should believe on these issues all around the world. Abortion is killing and wrong anywhere.

    I think you are in fact making Deacons commented point for him. Show me an area that the Republicans are in violation of a magesterial teaching with their platform.

  25. Mark Greta says:

    Francis, I hear the message all the time to help the poor in sermons and see many programs put in place by the Church to actually help those in need all over the world.

    It is not Catholic teaching in any way that the democrats big government solutions to every problem including poverty or healthcare have actually had a positive impact on the poor or needy. That is why the Church believes that with some guidelines, Catholics can form their own view on what the government should do, but more important we should do as a Catholic person or family. On every one of those issues, the Republicans and Democrats have radically different views on how to help others. It is not helpful to any of the poor or elderly to have then dependent forever on government assistance when those expenditures are driving the country broke which would end the checks. So more than one solution is something for each to decide. On matters of supporting abortion in any way or supporting those attacking the family by trying to make two moms or two dads in any way acceptable or equal to one man and one woman in sacred marriage. For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone cannot see this as clear Catholic teaching and also that with the vast majority of religions in the world.

  26. Ronald King says:

    I cannot in good conscience vote for either party. This video is an extremely superficial yet powerful example of manipulation through fear and shame.

  27. Ronald King:

    Yesterday when I voted in the PA primary, I noticed a button on the bottom of the ballot in the voting machine. It said:

    I choose not to vote.

  28. Ronald King says:

    HMS, I’ll have to check on that. By the way, if you move to the desert you might find yourself in the suburbs.

  29. Since when is concern for the issues of life, especially the innocent unborn, “right wing orthodoxy”??? Opposing the enormous evil of abortion is part of the Church’s championing of “justice, peace and the poor.” In fact, who could be poorer than the unborn who have no voice, no rights, and are threatened with legalized murder? Where is the justice for them? If this is considered “right wing orthodoxy,” sign me up right now. As a Catholic, I cannot in good conscience, vote for Obama.

  30. Planet09 says:

    So….we should vote for a man whose religion believes that marriage should be the union between one man and one woman and one woman and one woman…..

Leave a Comment