Poll Reveals Catholic Base is Strong in US

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Prayitno/Thankyoufor https://www.flickr.com/photos/prayitnophotography/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Prayitno/Thankyoufor https://www.flickr.com/photos/prayitnophotography/

It appears that reports of the Catholic Church’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

In fact, it appears that they are 180 degrees off the mark. American Catholics chalked up astronomical percentages of approval for both their Church and the Holy Father in a recent poll conducted by the Public Religion Institute.

There were sighting of the usual Catholic confusion about their Church’s teachings. I think that’s to be expected. After all, the Catholic Church is both the largest church in the world and and the largest religious body in the United States. There are a lot of Catholics, which means there are also a lot of opportunities for addlepated thinking.

That’s what makes these survey results so compelling. If you can get 90% of a group of people this big to agree on anything, you’ve pulled off quite a coup. Considering the the Church has been under continuous attack and bashing and that it has managed to add a lot of fuel to those fires with its own clerical failures, the numbers are even more astounding.

I wrote about this for CatholicVote. Here is a bit of what I said:

How does the much-vaunted power of Pope Francis’ open-hearted approach to the papacy play with American Catholics? It turns out that it plays very well. The numbers reflect an almost universal love affair with this black-shoed, old-car-driving, selfie-taking man who is Peter.

American Catholics are happy their pope. Fully 90% have a favorable view of the Holy Father, and 89% also have a positive view of the Catholic Church. Those are power numbers that any world leader would envy. They don’t just reflect popularity. They speak of the sheer political power of the Church, of our ability to reconvert Western Culture, if we will just do it.

Any politician will tell you that their single most important demographic is their base. Most of the time, if your base turns on you, you are dead in the water. That is why it’s so hard to get an elected official to change their position on barn-burning issues such as abortion. A move like that is a little bit like jumping from one horse to the next in the middle of the Kentucky Derby. Chances are, both the jockey and horse are going down.

The Catholic Church may very well end up as the last lone soldier in the fight to re-convert Western civilization to traditional Christianity. This survey provides good news concerning that task. Our base is solid, if confused. Go here to read the rest.

NOTE: The opening sentence of this post is a paraphrase of a quote by Mark Twain.

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The Pope Says Priests Can Forgive Abortion. What’s the Big Deal?

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency. Their website states: "Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes." (English translation: All content on this website is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License unless specified otherwise and content replicated from other sources.)

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency. Their website states: “Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes.”

So, Pope Francis announced that priests can grant absolution for abortion.

Most American Catholics find this confusing. Where else would they go for confession and absolution?

Here’s the deal.

Abortion is one of those few sins that are “reserved.” “Reserved” means that forgiveness of such sins is reserved to the local bishop. This is a reflection of how seriously the Church takes the sin of abortion; how grave it is to kill a helpless unborn child.

That does not mean that the only sin is that of the woman who has the abortion. The sin of abortion is also committed by the abortionist who performs the abortion, the girlfriend who goes to the abortion with the woman, the boyfriend who tells her “get rid of it,” and the boss who threatens to fire her because she’s pregnant. Everyone involved in an abortion is considered excommunicate.

In truth and in fact, it takes a lot of people to kill an unborn baby. The guilt is like a drop of wine, spreading on a tablecloth. If we want to get really serious about this, politicians who vote against job security for pregnant women, schools who expel them, neighbors who shun them, and publications who make money from baiting and attacking women who are “caught” with an embarrassing proof of their sexual activity in the form of a baby are all, at least to some extent, culpable for the sin of abortion. They may not be excommunicated, but when they stand before God, their actions will go into the account of their lives.

Churches who kick pregnant girls out of their fellowship — and I’ve seen this, up close and personal — are also doing their bit to add to the shame women feel that drives them to try to cover it with abortion.

Abortion is, in many ways, one of the most social of sins.

Perhaps that’s why most American bishops do not “reserve” the sin of abortion, but grant all priests under obedience to them the ability to grant absolution for abortion. If they kept this sin reserved to themselves, they would do little else besides hear confessions concerning abortion.

I’m drawing this explanation out to make a several points. First, there is no sin that Christ can not wash away with His mercy. Second, the Church is the reliable fount of that mercy. Third, none of us has the right to get all high and mighty about the sinfulness of other people.

We need to look into our own hearts and ask God to forgive our own sins. And then we need to tell other people that love and mercy are waiting for them. All they need to do is turn to Him.

I believe this is the message that Pope Francis is trying to convey with this grant of a universal ability to forgive the sin of abortion to every priest, everywhere. The message is that no matter what you have done, Jesus loves you. He can and will forgive you and make you new again. The most direct and sure means to seek His forgiveness is through the gateway of confession.

If you have an abortion on your heart, now is the time to let Jesus wash you clean of your guilt and shame. You do not need to carry this burden through your life. You do not need to hide behind your facade of anger any longer.

Turn to Jesus. Go to the cross.

And be forgiven.

From Vatican Radio:

In the letter Pope Francis specifically turns his attention to women who have resorted to abortion and “bear the scar of this agonizing and painful decision” saying the forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented. “For this reason – he writes – I have decided to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it”.

Pointing out that a Jubilee Year has often constituted an opportunity for a great amnesty, the Pope includes prisoners in his list of believers seeking pardon, whom he says, may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the jails.

And holding out the possibility of obtaining an Indulgence to the sick, the elderly, the homebound and even the deceased, the Pope never neglects to point out that the experience of mercy must be visible in works of faith, hope and charity.

 

Thanks to Public Catholic reader Manny, who brought this story to my attention.

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Mama Bear is Leaving Her Cubs. What’s a Catholic Patheosi to Do?

Copyright, Elizabeth Scalia

Copyright, Elizabeth Scalia

Mama Bear, aka, the Anchoress, has left the building.

Elizabeth Scalia, managing editor of the Catholic Portal here at Patheos has taken what sounds like a great opportunity to build a whole new u-verse at Aleteia. She is the new Editor-in-Chief of Aleteia’s English edition.

Elizabeth has been much more than a managing editor for those of us who were lucky enough to write under her tutelage. She is a friend, mentor, tutor, advocate and, from time to time, confessor. Her willingness to let each and every Catholic writer at Patheos have their say without a hint of censorship allowed the Patheos Catholic portal to become a creative, growing place of faithful Catholic belief for those of us who were privileged to work with her.

At the same time, her willingness to go to bats for us when she felt it necessary provided a tremendous sense of peace. From the first day I came to Patheos, I always knew that Elizabeth Scalia had my back. Do you have any idea how rare that is in this world?

I am going to miss Elizabeth Scalia, the managing editor. I do not intend to miss Elizabeth Scalia, the friend. I plan to stay in touch with her while I watch her grow as a force in Catholic publishing.

Be well and do well Elizabeth. This is Aleteia’s lucky day.

 

For another take on Elizabeth’s new job, check out Deacon Greg. 

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I Need a Day Off.

Sorry folks. I wasn’t able to write today. There is nothing terribly wrong. I’m just tired and out of it from too much caregiving.

If the Good Lord is willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back tomorrow.

In Christ,

Rebecca

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Four Presidential Candidates Sign Pledge Promising to Defend Marriage

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Dr Wendy Longo https://www.flickr.com/photos/wtlphotos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Dr Wendy Longo https://www.flickr.com/photos/wtlphotos/

Four presidential candidates have signed the Presidential Pledge for Marriage that is being promoted by the National Organization for Marriage. The four signatories are Senator Ted Cruz, former Senator Rick Santorum, Dr Ben Carson and Governor Bobby Jindal.

Governor Mike Huckabee, Govern Scott Walker and Senator Lindsey Graham have announced that they will not be signing any pledges.

Most candidates have not responded to requests to sign the pledge. Those not responding are: Governors Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Former Governor Jim Gilmore, Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, private citizens Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump.

The National Organization for Marriage makes no mention of the Democratic candidates for president. Even though all of the big name contenders that I know about have not only made public statements in support to gay marriage, but appear to be vying with one as to who can support it the most vehemently, I think this is a mistake. I’ve always operated by giving everyone an equal chance to refuse.

This is the text of the pledge:

The Presidential Marriage Pledge

I, _____________ _____________, pledge to the American people that if elected President, I will:

One, support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Two, oppose and work to overturn any Supreme Court decision that illegitimately finds a constitutional “right” to the redefinition of marriage. This includes nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

Three, conduct a review of regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the current Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

Four, support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.

Five, direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

There is also a People’s Marriage Pledge. You can go here to sign it. This is the text of the People’s Marriage Pledge.

The People’s Marriage Pledge

I pledge that I will only support a candidate for President of the United States who has pledged to take specific actions to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This includes:

•Supporting a federal marriage amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

•Opposing and working to overturn any Supreme Court ruling that illegitimately finds a constitutional “right” to redefine marriage.

•Nominating to the US Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

•Conducting a review of regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the Obama Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

•Supporting federal legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their beliefs about marriage without fear of retaliation from the federal government.

•Directing the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

I also pledge to support only those candidates for federal office who have taken positions consistent with the above policies.

I’m going to withhold my thinking on the whole question of pledges and opinion polls for a while. I’ll probably talk more about it later.

For now, it’s important to see that of the entire field of candidates in both parties, only four were willing to sign the pledge. While the Ds have taken a strong stand in favor of gay marriage, several of the Rs have waffled on the topic. These four do not appear to be waffling at all.

Read the pledge, think this whole process through, and tell me what you think. We’re going to be dealing with this issue for a long time. We need to consider our overall goals and strategies going forward.

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Two Reporters Were Murdered on TV Today. How Many Murders Have you Witnessed?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Americans saw another cold-blooded murder this morning, this time it was a disgruntled former employee, taking out his rage on his former co-workers.

Now, a young man and woman are dead and another young man is bound to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

What does it do to us, watching this horror show, day after day? How does following Jesus defend us against falling into the depravity we witness?

I took on those questions in this post that I wrote for the National Catholic Register.

Here’s a bit of what I said:

The first person I ever saw murdered was Lee Harvey Oswald.

I was a kid at the time. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated on Friday. My family sat in front of our small-screen black and white television all that weekend. We watched obsessively.

As I said, I was a kid, a newcomer to the horrors of life. In a way, all Americans were kids, newcomers, at least to this kind of horror. My parents had grown up in the Great Depression and lived through World War II and Korea, so they were hardly rubes when it came to the horrors that evil can wreak.

But unknown to all of us at that time, America had passed through a membrane a little bit after noon on Friday, November 22, 1963. The America we had known, where children could go trick-or-treating without parental supervision and no one feared for their safety, where politicians were free to mix with the people without worry about being gunned down, where most kids slept under the roof of their own home with their married parents asleep down the hall in their own bedroom, had been mortally wounded.

The long bleed from that wound would go on for decades, right up until today. But America, the America in which I was born, ended when a dum-dum bullet tore through the back of President Kennedy’s skull and shattered, ripping out the right side of his brain.

I remember the shock when I saw Jackie step off the plane, blood all over her. I remember the shock the next morning when I saw her emerge from the White House, the tragedy written in every line of her swollen-eyed, bruised face.

She made it real to me. That blood on her skirt was America’s blood.

We watched the unfolding of that weekend-long national wake on our grainy-screened little television, and by the end of it, the tragedy was indelibly etched in our minds. That’s how it came to be that I witnessed the first murder I ever saw.


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/we-are-eyewitnesses-to-atrocity-we-must-also-be-eyewitnesses-to-christs-maj/#ixzz3jxBZSD5U

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Research Lab Assistants “Freak Out” at Sight of Baby Body Parts

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Britt-knee https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsuchick142/

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Britt-knee https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsuchick142/

This is the most recent video from the Center for Medical Progress detailing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted babies to commercial medicine for research.

StemExpress is a mid-level handler who buys the organs of abortion babies from abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, and then re-sells them to researchers. This video shows the director of StemExpress at lunch, discussing the acquisition of the livers, brains, arms and legs of murdered babies for her company.

The thing that I found most interesting in the video is her discussion of how careful she has to be in dealing with the researchers to whom she sells the baby’s body parts. She says that these researchers want the body parts stripped as much as possible of anything that would remind the researcher that he or she is using organs that were harvested from a living child.

She doesn’t put it quite that way, but that is her meaning.

She also comments that lab assistants “freak out” when they see an intact arm or leg with the hand or foot of the child attached. That is, of course, the real value of these videos. They make it clear what is going on here.

I think that if you asked the American public a hypothetical question about whether or  not to allow the use of “tissue” from “the products of an abortion” for “life-saving research” that would “benefit millions and might find the cure for dread diseases,”  and “would be thrown away anyway,” they would say yes. But when you show people sorting through the organs of a dead baby, lifting the tiny arms and tossing aside the empty skull with the vacant eyes, the whole thing takes on another dimension.

That dimension is reality. Reality is what the researchers want to avoid experiencing when they ask that hands be removed from the arms of murdered babies that they want to use in their research. Realty is what the lab assistants react to when they “freak out” at the sight of what is clearly the corpse of a murdered human being.

The reality is that abortion kills a living child. That is why it is wrong.

It is also why we must find other solutions for the miseries of misogyny than abortion.

This video is a lesson in dealing with those who face this grisly reality and do not find it difficult, whose conscience does not appear to be troubled by participating in what is in fact mass murder. History is replete with the stories of such people. They are often among the most urbane and “civilized” among us.

They are also a testament to the fact that you cannot judge the soul of another person by their outward demeanor.

People have been fooled for too long about the reality of abortion. These videos change that.

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You’ve Got to See This! How DO They Do It?

This will lift your spirits.

These photos of 14 Christian scenes sculpted out of sand are incredible works of art.

Go to Church Pop and have a look.

 

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Scientists Turn Cancer Cells Back into Normal Cells

Breast Cancer Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by crazy_dame https://www.flickr.com/photos/craftydame/

Breast Cancer Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by crazy_dame https://www.flickr.com/photos/craftydame/

This could be huge news.

United States’ scientists have succeeded in turning cancer cells back into normal cells. So far, they have only done this with cells in a laboratory. But if they can turn cancer cells back into normal cells in the human body, the life-saving potential is enormous.

From The Telegraph:

Cancer cells have been programmed back to normal by scientists in a breakthrough which could lead to new treatments and even reverse tumour growth.

For the first time aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, US, said it was like applying the brakes to a speeding car.

So far it has only been tested on human cells in the lab, but the researchers are hopeful that the technique could one day be used to target tumours so that cancer could be ‘switched off’ without the need for harsh chemotherapy or surgery.

“We should be able to re-establish the brakes and restore normal cell function,” said Profesor Panos Anastasiadis, of the Department for Cancer Biology.

“Initial experiments in some aggressive types of cancer are indeed very promising.

“It represents an unexpected new biology that provides the code, the software for turning off cancer.”

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“Journalists” Receive Planned Parenthood’s Maggie Award Despite Horrifying Videos

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Women's E-News https://www.flickr.com/photos/wenews/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Women’s E-News https://www.flickr.com/photos/wenews/

Planned Parenthood recently recognized 16 publishers for their efforts to promote “reproductive rights.”

These recipients of the Maggie Awards for Media Excellence evidently feel no embarrassment about receiving an honor from an organization that sells the body parts of babies that it has killed.

You can read the whole story at Live Action News, but here’s an unofficial list of those who got the award. Do you see any of your favorite publications?

From Live Action News:

Buzzfeed – via Casey Gueren

Colorlines.com – via Akiba Solomon and Aura Bogado

Cosmopolitan – via Jill Filipovic 

Ebony – via Jamilah Lemieux

Elle – via Laurie Abraham and Leah Chernikoff

Esquire – via John H. Richardson

Mic – via Elizabeth Plank

MSNBC – via Irin Carmon

Pearl of Africa documentary – via Cleo Kambugu and Jonny von Wallström

Salon – via Valerie Tarico

Teen Vogue – via Phillip Picardi

The Nation – via Katha Pollitt

UpWorthy – via Ariel Azoff, Wagatwe Wanjuki and Lori White

Vice – via Fazeelat Aslam

Yahoo! Health – via Jen Gerson Uffalussy

Tai Beauchamp of InStyle hosted the event.

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