I’m taking today off. Family stuff.
I’ll be back tomorrow.
I’m taking today off. Family stuff.
I’ll be back tomorrow.
The Roman Catholic Church in America is under attack from many directions.
First, it is the target of everyone who opposes traditional Christian teaching and morality.
Second, it is the target of those who want to destroy Christianity’s influence in Western culture because they hate religion.
Third, it is the target of both extreme left Christians and extreme right Christians who have joined forces with those who want to destroy Christianity’s influence in Western culture. I am speaking specifically of those liberal Christians who have aligned themselves with atheists against other Christians and those conservative Christians who have gone the way of deifying militarism and corporatism.
Fourth, it is under both direct attack and attempts to co-opt it by corporatist influences who want to silence any voice that might criticize their actions on moral grounds.
If you will notice, all of these attackers combine on one point: They want to destroy the prophetic and moral voice of the Catholic Church in American society, and indeed in all of Western society. They do this because the Catholic Church’s teachings call them and all of society to something better than the exploited and degraded version of humanity that they want.
Sadly, there is a fifth and a sixth line of attack against the moral and prophetic voice of the Church. That line of attack comes from within the Church itself.
Fifth, the Church is under attack from within by Catholics who have aligned themselves with political and social forces outside the Church. They attack the Church in the areas where its teachings disagree with the teachings of those social and political forces. These people are aligned on both the secular political left and the secular political right.
Sixth, the Church is under attack from those of her own clergy who, for their own reasons, are ripping off their priesthood.
As always in any competitive circumstance, these attackers from within are far more damaging that all the attacks from without combined. However, the single most damaging attack against the Church’s prophetic and moral voice has come, not from without, not from the pews, not even from the priests behind the altar.
It has come from the Church’s own bishops. This damage has accrued because of the wide scale, deliberate, long-term and totally indefensible practice of allowing priests to molest children in the parishes entrusted to them and doing nothing to stop them.
The Vatican has not been as remiss in dealing with this as the press would have us believe. Pope Benedict XVI removed over 400 priests during one 2-year time span for sexually abusing children. He also removed a Cardinal for personal sexual misconduct. I think the reason this is largely ignored by his critics is that they didn’t like him for other reasons and were not fair enough to tell the truth.
Pope Francis has moved this up a notch. He has removed a Bishop in Paraguay, another bishop in Argentina, the Papal Envoy to the Dominican Republic, bishops in Ireland for either committing child sex abuse of sheltering abusing priests. He has also removed Bishop Peter Tebartz-van Elst for high living.
Now he has accepted Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation resignation Bishop Finn was convicted of failing to report a priest who had taken pornographic photos of little girls in his parish.
These are important steps for the Vatican. These bishops have done great damage to the moral and prophetic voice of the Catholic Church at a perilous time for Christianity. The laity is justified in demanding a change in this dynamic. In fact, the laity’s refusal to accept this behavior is a critical incentive for change.
At the same time, it is just as important for the laity to stand behind the bishops when they are trying to lead in the right way. We need the Vatican to pull those who go astray. We also need to support those who stay the course and follow Christ in the face of public criticism.
We live in times when the Church is under attack. Whenever one of our religious leaders takes a firm stand on Church teaching, he is immediately smeared and slandered. It is up to us, the people in the pews, to stand with him and support him.
It’s easy to get caught up in anger because of the betrayals of some bishops and forget how hard the others work and what good men they truly are. If you have a bishop who follows the faith and teaches the truth, take a moment to let him know that you appreciate him.
We are in a time when Christians who follow the Gospels are attacked constantly. Don’t peck your bishop apart over trivialities. Support him as best you can and follow his leadership.
Sunday was the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
I wasn’t going to mention it on this blog, but I’ve decided that I should. I remember that day as if it just happened. Some things, you don’t forget.
Muslims, fleeing other Muslims by going to a Christian country for refuge, threw fellow migrants who were Christians overboard.
From Christianity Today:
Fifteen Muslim migrants face charges of murder fueled by religious hatred after allegedly throwing a dozen Christian migrants overboard this week during a sea crossing from northern Africa to Italy.
Refugees who survived the crossing “burst into tears” as they described the violence to Italian police, AsiaNews reports. Italy and other countries have welcomed more than 10,000 refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea in recent days. Such migrations hit a record high last year, reports the BBC, which has mapped the problem given the journey is also producing record deaths.
The boat in question left Libya with 105 passengers on Tuesday. An Italian navy ship took the remaining passengers on board and transferred them to a Panamanian ship that docked in Italy on Wednesday, according to CNN.
The Christian victims were Ghanaian and Nigerian, and the accused Muslims are from the Ivory Coast, Mali, and Senegal, according to The New York Times (NYT).
The United States Senate is finally going to vote on a bill they claim will help sex trafficking victims.
No monies will go to shelters for sex trafficking victims. All the $$ will go to law enforcement and health care facilities.
What that means, is that sex trafficking victims can get their almighty abortions, but they will not have a place to sleep afterwards. Or, if they do have place to sleep, it will be provided by sources other than those in this bill.
The bill in question is the much-debated and long-delayed bill that would create a fund for sex trafficking victims from fines and other monies accrued by enforcement of existing sex trafficking laws. What victims may get out of the bill is more money for law enforcement to actually enforce existing laws.
That’s good news, since one of the things I’ve dealt with here in Oklahoma is a reluctance on the part of our state law enforcement agency (as opposed to local law enforcement, which has been much better) to follow the sex trafficking laws we’ve passed. They say that enforcing these laws would cost them too much money.
The monies in the bill slotted for health care will go through what amounts to a shell game of transferring the money into one fund and then paying it out of another fund. That way, the money used to fund this bill will be “government” money rather than “private” money.
This is to avoid the appearance of using “private” monies, i.e. fines. This money will go to health care where it will be dispersed according to existing laws concerning abortion.
At this point, the debate gets a bit muddy, with both sides claiming victory. The Rs say that the shell game monies will be disbursed according to existing Hyde amendment restrictions, and the Ds say that they stopped an expansion of the Hyde Amendment into private monies. Both sides are doing a victory dance and engaging in mutual catcalling.
The truth is that existing health care monies, when they are disbursed at the state level, are used for abortions for just about any reason. The definitions are wide enough to allow medical practitioners to do any abortion at any time during pregnancy that they wish. If this bill puts these monies under existing law, the same thing will happen with them.
I had to pass a bill directly ending the practice of doing what were essentially elective abortions in state-funded hospitals in order to stop this in Oklahoma. These abortions included what were essentially coerced abortions and abortions that were so late term that the babies survived and were then left to die.
What was needed to stop this was to use definitions that have kept pace with realities. Shifting monies from one fund to another was just a doo-dah the senators did with one another so that everybody could claim victory.
The bottom line: The Ds won and everybody, including both sides’ political backers, gets a fund-raising letter and a campaign speech out it. The bill will pay for abortions.
What it will not do is help sex trafficking victims get back on their feet and rejoin society. Law enforcement is not a social service agency. Their job is to enforce the law, not care for victims. If shelters are available, they are very relieved to place victims there. But if there are no shelters, the only option they have is to put the victims in prison.
The games that get played through the criminal justice process actually serve to create additional trauma for victims, who are often from outside this country and not only do not speak the language, they do not understand the society. The court process is often deeply damaging to rape victims who are American citizens. This damage is far worse for foreign nationals who have been brought here as slaves and subjected to long-term abuse, terror and repeated violations of their humanity by being sold over and over for sex use.
If some of this money ends up being used to provide protection for sex trafficking victims, that would be good. Traffickers have a lot of motivation to kill potential witnesses who can put them in prison. The only real protection these women have now is that they are hidden.
Medical care, while it’s necessary, is the smallest part of the equation to getting these women back on their feet. They need housing, clothing, food, counseling, spiritual help (It’s astonishing how many of them ask for a priest or preacher when they enter a shelter where they feel safe to do so.) and most of all, love. They need stability over a period of time. They also often need vocational training and help with employment.
The shelter I’m affiliated with makes a two-year commitment to each woman they take. This is really a minimum to get them on their feet again. It is absolutely necessary for their healing.
This bill isn’t going to do much to actually help trafficking victims. If it’s not properly monitored, the monies will never benefit a single victim, but will be poured out, like water on sand, into the larger budgets of the agencies to which it is going. The one thing we can know is that the Ds and the Rs have made sure that at least some of this money will go to the abortion industry.
I am disgusted to the core with people who put abortion ahead of women, and who Do. Not. Care. About. Women. except for to make sure they get abortions.
The feminist movement once proclaimed that women were more than their reproductive organs. When did they forget that?
You will not have safety even in your dreams until you accept Islam. Masked ISIS murderer just before killing Christian prisoners.
ISIS released another video today. It showed masked murderers marching bound and unarmed prisoners onto a beach and beheading them. It also showed the murder of another group of prisoners by gunfire. According to reports, all of the murdered were Christians martyrs.
What is different about this video is that it directly threatens Christians in a specific manner and states that the reason for the murders is that the Christians did not convert to Islam.
ISIS Executes More Christians in Libya. (CNN)ISIS operatives have executed two groups of prisoners, believed to be Ethiopian Christians, in Libya, according to a video released Sunday by the terror network’s media arm.
The al-Furqan Media video — which is highly produced and titled “Until There Came to Them Clear Evidence” — shows two groups of men, one in orange jumpsuits and the other in black, being killed at different locations in Libya, according to the video’s narrator.
One group is beheaded on a beach along the Mediterranean Sea, while the other group is shot in Southern Libya, hundreds of miles away.
“All praise be to Allah, the Lord and cherisher of the world and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Mohammed. To the nation of the cross, we are back again on the sands, where the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, have stepped on before, telling you: Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap,” the narrator says in Arabic on the 39-minute video.
The narrator continues, “In fact, their blood is the purest blood because there is a nation behind them (which) inherits revenge. And we swear to Allah: the one who disgraced you by our hands, you will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam.”
Quoting Mohammed, the narrator says that those who “perform prayer and pay alms” will have “their blood and property” protected by the Prophet unless Islam dictates otherwise.
“You pay (tax) with willing submission, feeling yourselves subdued. Our battle is a battle between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood, until there is no more polytheism — and obedience becomes Allah’s on its entirety,” the narrator says.
Earlier in the video, a different speaker says Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul were given the choice to embrace Islam or maintain their Christian faith and pay a tax.
“The Islamic state has offered the Christian community this many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated,” the speaker says.
From New York Post:
ISIS Video Shows Execution of Ethiopian Christians ISIS terrorists released their latest blood-drenched video on Sunday, showing the shootings and beheadings of two groups of Ethiopian Christians in Libya.
“You will not have safety even in your dreams until you accept Islam,” says a masked fighter with a pistol, who insists Christians must convert to Islam or pay a tax prescribed by the Quran.
“Our battle is a battle between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood.”
Earlier in the video, a different speaker says Christians in Mosul, Iraq, were given the choice of embracing Islam or paying a tax.
“The Islamic State has offered the Christian community this many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated,” the speaker says.
So victims were then rounded up to pay the ultimate price, being executed by gunfire in a desert and by beheadings on a beach, the video shows.
The sickening propaganda video was released almost exactly two months after 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded by extremists.
In the latest recorded executions, about 12 victims appear to have been lined up and shot to death in the desert. Another 16 appear to have been massacred on the beach.
Ethiopia Announces Three Days of National Mourning for Its Citizens Killed by IS Ethiopian government spokesperson Redwan Hussien said the country will observe three days of national mourning for 28 Ethiopian Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya and three of its nationals killed in South Africa following wave of xenophobic attack against African migrant workers.
From Miami Herald: Video: Islamic State Kils Ethiopian Christians in Libya. CAIRO
Islamic State militants in Libya shot and beheaded groups of captive Ethiopian Christians, a video purportedly from the extremists showed Sunday. The attack widens the circle of nations affected by the group’s atrocities while showing its growth beyond a self-declared “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.
The release of the 29-minute video comes a day after Afghanistan’s president blamed the extremists for a suicide attack in his country that killed at least 35 people – and underscores the chaos gripping Libya after its 2011 civil war and the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
It also mirrored a film released in February showing militants beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach, which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group’s suspected positions in Libya. Whether Ethiopia would – or could – respond with similar military force remains unclear.
The video starts with what it called a history of Christian-Muslim relations, followed by scenes of militants destroying churches, graves and icons. A masked fighter brandishing a pistol delivers a long statement, saying Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Quran.
It shows one group of captives, identified as Ethiopian Christians, purportedly held by an Islamic State affiliate in eastern Libya known as Barqa Province. It also shows another purportedly held by an affiliate in the southern Libyan calling itself the Fazzan Province. The video then switches between footage of the captives in the south being shot dead and the captives in the east being beheaded on a beach. It was not immediately possible to estimate how many captives were killed or confirm their identities.
Cardinal Francis George, archbishop emeritus of Chicago died at 10:45 this morning of cancer. He was 78.
CHICAGO — Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop emeritus of Chicago and among the most influential Church leaders of his generation, died today at age 78, after a long battle with cancer.
“A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord. Our beloved Cardinal George passed away today at 10:45am at the [cardinal’s] residence,” announced Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, in a statement marking his predecessor’s death, at a press conference.
“He was a man of great courage who overcame many obstacles to become a priest,” said Archbishop Cupich, who noted his critical role as the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during the 2002 clergy sexual-abuse crisis and the counsel he provided to the Vatican during three pontificates.
Archbishop Cupich touched on Cardinal George’s devotion to the faithful in his native city.
“Here in Chicago, the cardinal visited every corner of the archdiocese, talking with the faithful” and pursuing “an overfull schedule — always choosing the Church over his own comfort and the people over his own needs.”
“Most recently, we saw his bravery firsthand as he faced the increasing challenges brought about by cancer,” said the archbishop.
“Let us heed his example and be a little more brave, a little more steadfast and a lot more loving.
“This is the surest way to honor his life and celebrate his return to the presence of God.”
The archdiocese has stated that there will be public visitations at Holy Name Cathedral on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of the funeral Mass on Thursday.
Poor Brittany Maynard.
Brittany Maynard was a young woman who had terminal brain cancer. She opted to kill herself. She used assisted suicide as her method. She did this in a highly-publicized way that made her the poster girl for assisted suicide advocates, everywhere.
Poor Brittany Maynard.
She not only had to face God with her own murder on her soul, but she may very well end up being indirectly responsible for the medical murders of countless other people.
Make no mistake about it. Assisted suicide is murder. In fact, it is murder done twice. The person murders themselves. And doctors who assist in this murder them, also.
I am aware that suicide is a difficult subject to discuss in these terms for the simple reason that much of the time, the person who commits suicide is basically out of their minds. Depression and despair can create a mental fog that makes clear thinking temporarily impossible. Does God give these people a pass? I don’t know.
I only know what I learned from a person close to me who almost committed suicide. This person was in the emotional depths of hopelessness and despair. What stopped them was that they heard a voice telling them to stop, that they could not face God having done this. Was it their guardian angel who spoke to them, or was it the Holy Spirit? I lean toward guardian angel, but, of course, I don’t know.
The important point for the purpose of this blog post is that it was made clear to my friend that suicide does not get a free pass on the other side. In fact, it was clear enough to stop them from killing themselves and take suicide as an option away from them forever.
Assisted suicide is much more deliberate than the action I’m describing. So far as the doctor who participates in it and the politicians who vote for it are concerned, it is planned and considered cold blooded murder.
How does God judge all this? I don’t know. But after my friend’s experience, I am sufficiently certain that suicide is a grave matter to say without reservation, “Poor Brittany Maynard.”
I would add poor idiot politicians who vote for this, and poor indifferent judges who find for it. When you are in political office, sophisticated arguments in favor of every evil humans can devise come at you from all directions. You are flattered, cajoled, threatened and “reasoned” with on a continual basis.
People who get elected without having thought these things through on a deep, deep level are easy prey for these manipulations. For instance, one formerly pro life legislator I know can not even sit down and have dinner with me without going off in a rant over abortion.
He got “reasoned with” and had things “explained” to him until he got completely turned around on what he knows down in his heart is the right thing to do. He betrayed himself because he allowed these master confusers to confuse him. And I, even though I am now out of office, stand as a contradiction to all this. I bother him, big time, so he tries to start fights with me about abortion every time we’re together.
That happened a lot when I was in office. I had people yelling at me because they had to vote on pro life bills that made them miserable every single time one of those bills came up. They would cast their vote, then come back to my desk and say something ugly to me. It did not matter if I was the author of the bill or not.
I serve much the same purpose for a few bloggers and commenters here at Patheos. They try to take it out on me that they are doing all the wrong things, and down in their hearts they know it, but they are slaves to their public personas and public affiliations. They do what they know is wrong, and then they look for someone else to direct their moral indigestion onto.
That’s what a conflicted conscience does to people.
There is no more conflicted conscience than someone who is so enthralled with the zeitgeist that they commit dastardly deeds on its behalf.
And assisted suicide is a dastardly deed. It is murder.
It is medical murder.
It is perversion of the medical license to heal into a license to kill.
Assisted suicide, as well as abortion, is a Mengele factory in our medical community. The fact is, that some doctors enjoy doing this. They are true killers. Assisted suicide laws tear down the legal protections concerning human life and set these killers free to ply their trade at will.
Four states have legalized medical murder.
Montana’s assisted suicide law was legislated by a runaway court. In Montana, it is legal for doctors to kill people at all ages, right down to the tiniest baby. There is no requirement that victims be terminally ill.
Oregon and Washington passed voter referendums allowing medical murder in their state. They set the lower age for victims at 18 years. Vermont is the only state so far to pass an assisted suicide law through its legislature. It, too, sets the lower age limit at 18 years. All three states require that victims be certified as having less than six months to live.
These things sound as if some states at least tried to set limits on medical murder. But once you legalize murder, controlling it is a bit difficult. In practice , these protections have turned out to be political salve. People are killed in violation of the protections in these states.
Thanks to Obamacare, my mother is constantly harassed about end of life directives every time she enters a hospital. Not only that, but I’ve caught nurses trying to get her to sign an advanced directive stating that she wanted food and water withheld. They do this when I’m out of the room.
My mother actually had the pen in her hand, and was going to sign until I waylaid the whole thing.
If this trend toward legalizing medical murder continues, I have no doubt that the day will come when you and I will be harassed and confronted about signing to have ourselves and our loved ones murdered in exactly the same way.
It won’t be long before we’re hearing that every doctor must be trained in administering assisted suicide and that Catholic hospitals are being sued because they won’t perform assisted suicides. We’ll read stories about non-profit organizations faced with losing funding if they won’t refer for assisted suicides.
Then, there will be the big debates about how we can’t pass legislation for domestic violence and human trafficking because they don’t pay for assisted suicide and if we gave a care about these poor women we’d give them access to assisted suicide. I’m pretty sure that at some point, we’ll start hearing Martin Luther King, Jr quotes used to justify assisted suicide.
This will happen. Just hide and watch.
As I said, an increasing number of states are considering the option of dealing with Medicaid costs by legalizing medical murder. They do this under the guise of “compassion” for the dying.
That’s nonsense. If they had “compassion” for the dying, there are all sorts of things they could do that would help both them and their caregivers.
But killing grandma is easier and cheaper than taking care of grandma.
And that, not compassion, is the bottom line with medical murder.
The United States Supreme Court issued an order yesterday that will block the federal government from enforcing the HHS Mandate against a whole range of religious organizations. This follows similar injunctions granted to the Little Sister of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College and Notre Dame.
It is important to remember that this is not a Supreme Court ruling. It is a court order. It requires the government to file a brief with the court defending its position that these organization should be forced to obey the Mandate.
The Obama administration has taken the idiotic position that Catholic Charities and the Little Sisters of the Poor are not “religious employers.” This is a clear attempt to restrict First Amendment Protections to clergy and behind church sanctuary doors. It is in line with the thinking of atheists and militant secularists who have stated that their purpose is to destroy religious influence and religious voices in the larger culture.
I believe that the HHS Mandate could very well become the legacy of the Obama Administration. Whatever else he does, he will always be remembered as the president who waged war on religious freedom.
The Supreme Court issued an order today preventing the Obama administration from forcing religious groups in Pennsylvania to obey the HHS mandate that requires them to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees. This is the fifth time the Supreme Court has rebuked the Obama administration and prevented it from making such a mandate.
In an order issued last night, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito prevented the federal government from enforcing its contraceptive mandate against a range of Pennsylvania-based religious organizations including Catholic Charities and other Catholic schools and social service organizations connected with the Diocese of Erie and the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The Supreme Court has previously protected the Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, and the University of Notre Dame.
According to the Becket Fund, Justice Alito’s order is similar to the preliminary order Justice Sotomayor provided to the Little Sisters of the Poor on New Year’s Eve in 2013. The group said order requires the government to brief the Supreme Court next week on why it should be allowed to fine these organizations for refusing to distribute abortion-inducing drugs and devices and other contraceptives.
Lori Windham, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told LifeNews: “How many times must the government lose in court before it gets the message? For years now the government has been claiming that places like Catholic Charities and the Little Sisters of the Poor are not “religious employers” worthy of an exemption.”