Mentally Disabled People Visit the Pope

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.” (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.)

Our black-shoed pope: Love him.

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When Chickens Trump Babies … Time to Re-Prioritize?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wattpublishing https://www.flickr.com/photos/wattagnet/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wattpublishing https://www.flickr.com/photos/wattagnet/

I think this is something that only a Harry Truman Democrat could write.

I take on the moral inanity of poseur liberalism, something that will probably get the hide ripped off me all over again in certain circles. You can read it all at CatholicVote. 

Here’s part of what I said:

Mother Jones is a venerable liberal magazine. It’s named after a labor organizer who was — you guessed it — Mother Jones. Back in the day, liberals were all about things like a living wage, social security and good jobs. I was, and still am, that kind of liberal.

Then, somewhere alone the line, liberalism drifted. Nowadays, “liberalism” is largely the property of the decidedly illiberal world of politically-correct group-think. It is no longer concerned with working people, and in fact, often supports positions that run counter to the deeply-held beliefs and best interests of working class Americans. Today’s liberalism walks right past jobless people who suffer for lack of a hope and a future to focus its energy on comical trivialities.

Today’s “liberal” is not a liberal. They are poseurs who have absconded with an honorable name and appended it to what is in reality a socio-political movement of nihilism.

Enter the latest issue of Mother Jones.

Mother Jones, in direct contrast to the deep working class roots its name evokes, has fallen face-forward into the faux liberalism of espousing trivialities while supporting massive human rights abuses. The human rights abuse I’m referencing is the well-documented practice of Planned Parenthood of killing millions of unborn children, then selling their body parts for profit.

Unlike much of the “legitimate” press, Mother Jones has not ignored the videos in which Planned Parenthood personnel engage in this grisly commerce. In fact, it is not the least bit shy about writing about the videos and the Center for Medical Progress which produced them.

Go here to read the rest.

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Guess Who Didn’t Go to Jail?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Potter https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Potter https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

How about when the shoe is on the other foot?

From Daily Mail:

An openly-gay judge has said she is refusing to perform marriage ceremonies until same-sex couples can wed.

Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker says she won’t use her power to perform legal marriage ceremonies in her court because would be ‘an oxymoron’ for her.

Speaking to a meeting of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, she said: ‘I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away.’

Judge Parker said if asked to perform wed a couple, she would say: ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2105958/Openly-gay-Judge-refuses-marry-straight-couples-sex-couples-rights.html#ixzz3kmfU4wf6
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Court Clerk Kim Davis Jailed for Refusing to Issue Same Sex Marriage License

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan Country, Kentucky, was jailed for contempt of court.

This is a rather interesting situation, since Ms Davis is an elected official. Normally, elected officials who are considered to be failing to perform their duties are dealt with by the voters, or, if the Constitution of their state allows, impeachment proceedings.

The question that comes to mind in this situation is simply whether or not the court is over-stepping its standing in this matter. That is a rather large question which may surface in actual practice if these law-making court decisions keep on coming.

Our Supreme Court has taken on a legislative role in many of its rulings in the past few decades. Each time it has done that, it has gone further than simply taking legislative powers onto itself. It has also taken on the role of a dictatorship by tribunal, since members of the Supreme Court are not elected.

I am interested to see if anyone raises the question as to whether or not the court has the power to imprison elected officials for what it deems a failure to perform their duties. That kind of action broadens judicial powers exponentially.

Right now, the issue is being dealt with as a simple contempt of court. I question whether or not a court can issue an order requiring that elected officials perform their duties in specified ways. In some jurisdictions, where the county clerk is entirely an officer of the court, there would be no question as to the court’s authority to order them to comply with court orders.

But Ms Davis stood for election. So, is she entirely an officer of the court? She is, after all, directly answerable to the people.

For instance, back in the 1980s, the federal courts issued orders about certain requirements concerning population density and facilities for the Oklahoma prisons. There was a riot at one of our prisons and we had to rebuild the prison. During the planning for that, we took the court order into consideration.

But if we had not, the court would not have been able to put any member of the legislature in jail for non-compliance. The federal government could have punished the state of Oklahoma by a withdrawal of funds. The courts might have issued draconian orders putting the prisons under direct federal oversight. There might even have been an attempt to fine the state in some way.

However, none of us who voted on this legislation worried that soldiers were going to come on the House floor and cart us off to jail for non-compliance if we failed to adhere to that court order. Courts don’t — and shouldn’t — control how elected officials do their duties. It is a gross expansion of court powers for them to try.

I realize that the order concerning Ms Davis was directed at her alone. But there is a principle here that I don’t think anyone is looking at carefully enough.

From ABC News:

A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, was jailed today after a judge found her in contempt of court for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but five of her deputies said under oath they would comply with the court’s order to issue the licenses.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled against the Rowan County clerk before deputy marshals removed her from the courtroom this morning, and later said he expected the deputies to comply despite Davis’ refusal to authorize them to do so.

Bunning said Davis could be released from federal custody if she complies with the order to resume issuing licenses in the county. She has refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone, arguing that such a move was a way around discriminating against same-sex couples.

The ACLU had asked that she be fined but the judge said he didn’t believe that was enough to force her into action.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis, said in a statement, “Everyone is stunned at this development. Kim Davis is being treated as a criminal because she cannot violate her conscience. While she may be behind bars for now, Kim Davis is a free woman. Her conscience remains unshackled.”

 

 

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What Order Would You Give the Allied Commander of the Pro Life Forces?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by The US Army https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by The US Army https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/

What order would you give the allied commander of the Pro Life Forces?

I asked this question in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register. The replies have been more than interesting.

Here’s some of what I said:

The pro-life movement has been wandering in the political battlefields, winning tactical points and losing tactical points with each election. It has placed its entire operation in the hands of one political party, and has, by doing this, put the “issue” of abortion — and the lives that are lost by abortion — at the service of partisan electioneering.

Not once in all these years of culture warfare has the pro-life movement attempted to develop an overall objective. That might seem like picayune nit-picking to some pro-life people. But I assure you it is not.

The number one reason that the pro-life movement wanders and ends up getting used politically, is that it does not have a clear-cut objective. We have been laboring all these years toward a strategic goal which, in itself, would not mean the end of legal abortion. Worse, even this strategic goal has proven itself impossible to achieve. Indeed, all our efforts in that regard have resulted in unintended consequences which have actually hurt rather than helped the overall cause we believe in.

I am referring to the strategic goal of packing the Supreme Court with pro-life justices who will return the question of abortion to the states. All our striving toward that goal has resulted in a bitter cultural divide and a nutty Supreme Court. Instead of returning abortion to the states, we have gotten ourselves a Court that legalized gay marriage.

Even if we had succeeded in getting a pro-life Court — and I don’t think there is a consensus on what a “pro-life Court” is in the specific and real-life sense — all we would have accomplished is returning the question of legal abortion to the states. Do you understand what that would mean?

It would mean that we would be setting ourselves up for unending back-and-forth and electioneering on the state level that would go on for decades into the future. We would not save lives. We would instead guarantee more of the same tawdry and destructive politicking we’ve seen so far.

Our problem goes back to what we don’t have. We don’t have an objective. Because we don’t have an objective, we cannot formulate strategies to achieve it. Because we don’t have strategies, we cannot formulate tactics that get us any nearer to the end of the fight.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/pro-lifers-will-keep-losing-and-babies-will-keep-dying-until-we-do-this/#ixzz3khm06UM7

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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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