Our Pop Pope: What Does It Mean?

What does it mean when the Holy Father is Man of the Year for both Time Magazine and the nation’s number one gay publication?

What, pray tell, is the significance of a pope on the cover of Rolling Stone?

Two Things:

1. The Catholic Church is not irrelevant.

2. The Pope is showing us how to evangelize through love.

This adulation from the press won’t go on forever, of course. Sooner or later the media will figure out just how tough and immovable Jorge Bergoglio is when it comes to the Church and her teachings.

I think we should just roll with it and enjoy our Pop Pope’s popularity while it lasts.

And, in what is probably the most sincere of the bunch, the Holy Father has achieved super hero status in graffiti land.

At Least 99 Dead in Attacks on Nigerian Churches

Violent persecution of Christians continues in Nigeria. 

At least 99 people were murdered in attacks on worshippers at a Christian church. The attackers also razed homes in the same town.

From ABC News:

Suspected Islamic extremists used explosives and heavy guns to attack a village and worshippers during a Christian church service in Nigeria’s northeast, killing at least 99 people and razing hundreds of homes, officials and witnesses said Monday.

The attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by militants who are defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria designed to halt an Islamic uprising there.

Attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village in Borno state after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, the security official said.

He said 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes. He also said two improvised explosive devices thet were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri. The official blamed suspected Boko Haram militants for the attack.

A police official who evacuated wounded victims confirmed at least 52 people were killed and 16 wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak to reporters.

Ari Kolomi, who fled from his village, which is 70 kilometers (45 miles) outside Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, said, “No house was left standing” by the more than 50 extremists who attacked, armed with explosives and guns. Kolomi was searching for relatives in the village to make sure they had survived the attack.

State Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko confirmed the attack but said he was awaiting details on the casualties.

Also on Sunday, suspected militants in Adamawa state, south of Borno, stormed a Roman Catholic church during a Sunday morning service in Wada Chakawa village. They fired guns into the church, set off explosives and took people hostage during a five-hour siege, residents said. The Rev. Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, said dozens of people were killed.

West Coast Walk for Life: Archbishop Cordileone Asks Young People to Defend Life and Marriage

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Archbishop Cordileone called on young people at the West Coast March for Life to defend both the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage.

His message is especially powerful, coming as it does from an area of the country in which much of the population appears to be hostile to traditional values.

I see Archbishop Cordileone’s statement as the first of what will grow into a movement in the future. Promoters of gay marriage often tell us that in a few years, people will look back on those of us who support traditional marriage and say that we were on the wrong side of history.

Not so, my friends.

In future years, the struggle for traditional marriage will still be on-going. Like the pro-life movement, it will grow stronger as the debacle we have brought on ourselves becomes more apparent.

The first step is for Christian people to reclaim the sanctity of marriage in their own lives. This means that Christian spouses should keep their vows to love and cherish one another, forsaking all others.

From The National Catholic Register:

SAN FRANCISCO — A massive crowd stretching out for a mile in sunny downtown San Francisco showed the growing momentum of the Walk for Life, which celebrated its 10th anniversary for participants from across California and neighboring states.

On Jan. 25, more than 50,000 people gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall, and the diverse crowd included a mix of ages and ethnic and religious groups, with songs and prayer in English and Spanish.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, during hishomily at the Mass proceeding the rally, congratulated the young people present for embracing the pro-life movement and for joining the hundreds of lay activists, priests, women and men religious and seminarians at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“The steadily expanding presence of young people at the Walk for Life, he said, underscored a new generation’s awareness that abortion harms rather than helps women.

“Forty years and 58 million abortions later, the very painful truth has come to light: Yes, abortion does hurt women,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

The San Francisco Church leader credited an older generation of pro-life activists with helping to change the nation’s view of abortion and demonstrating “heroic virtue” during past decades when those who challenged the legalization of abortion were stigmatized. Now, he warned the students at the cathedral, they must help enlighten their own peers about the central role of marriage as the sanctuary of life.

“The pro-life movement is about more than saving the life of the baby,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

“It’s especially about connecting that baby to where he or she came from: the mother and the father. …There is no other institution that does that.”

… Archbishop Cordileone urged the young Catholics at the cathedral to stay “close to Christ” as they seek to present the truth about marriage.

“Future generations will understand that the natural truth of marriage benefits everyone and discriminates against no one,” he predicted.

“But prepare yourselves: It will require heroic virtue, for there is a lot of reverse bullying going on these days.”

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/archbishop-cordileone-asks-young-pro-lifers-to-defend-life-and-marriage/#ixzz2riMUp6do

 

They’re Going to Die Anyway

One doctor’s answer to the argument that the baby is going to die anyway. This doctor also explains how Obamacare violates the consciences of medical practitioners with its enforcement of abortion at any cost.

As a side note, I know a number of people who have healthy children that they were told to abort because the baby supposedly had a terminal illness or grave disability and, when they refused the abortion (often they were under serious duress from their doctors to abort) the baby turned out to be fine.

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Message to New Yorkers: If the Governor Kicks You Out, You’re Welcome in Oklahoma

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a now-famous rant, put out the Not Welcome mat in front of Empire State pro lifers. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is at odds with the governor over much else, followed up by announcing that he stands with Cuomo “100%” when it comes to this.

It’s not often that Bishops of the Catholic Church feel called to chastise a politician’s statements publicly. In my experience, they tend to bend over backwards to assume the best. They give the politician in question every opportunity to either correct themselves verbally, or show by their actions that they didn’t really mean it.

In addition, Bishops are not prone to take note of politician’s speeches. It has to be something major, extremely grave and dangerous to the welfare of the larger Catholic community before they inject themselves into pubic commentary about the various political gaffes floating around the internet.

I think it’s telling that Governor’s Cuomo’s outlandish remarks were so over the top, that the Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo responded publicly.

Insofar as his job of Governor is concerned, the question of Governor Cuomo’s standing with the Church is a secondary issue. What matters specifically to his position of governor is his standing with the people of New York.

Is he the governor of those who agree with him and none others? Does he seriously think he’s been elected king of New York and it’s within his purview to go around announcing what kind of viewpoints and beliefs New Yorkers are allowed to hold?

His comments go far beyond normal political misbehavior and step over into is-he-nuts territory. What’s going on with the Governor of New York?

Here, for your delectation, is a bit of what Governor Cuomo said:

“Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/19/gov-cuomo-pro-life-conservatives-have-no-place-new/#ixzz2rQpwygF9
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

I’ve held off writing about this because it is so over the top in terms of acceptable behavior from an elected official that I decided to give it a bit of time to jell. I wanted to allow Governor Cuomo a chance to issue a press release saying, I was suffering from gastroenteritis/drunk/grief-stricken-because-my-dog-had-died at the time and said things that in no way represent what I truly think. Nothing that carries the flat-out I-did-not-mean-it apology which I think is required for such outrageous comments from an elected official has ensued. 

It appears that not just the Governor, but the mayor of New York (or, as we call it where I’m from, New York City) are standing pat. They may not agree on much else, but they agree “100%” that people who think differently from them on a whole range of issues are not welcome in New York. 

This isn’t about pro life vs pro abortion. It’s not about gun control vs the Second Amendment. It’s also not about gay vs traditional marriage. It’s about two elected officials who, from all evidence, have totally lost their sense of what elective office means. Both the Governor and the attaboy mayor following in his footsteps have taken on attitudes and ideas that are antithetical to what public service in the form of elective office entails. 

When you’re elected to office, you represent everyone in the area that elected you. That means, Mr Governor and Mr Mayor, even those who oppose gun control, gay marriage and abortion. You are their governor and their mayor just the same as you are the mayor or governor for your pals and cronies who blow smoke up your skirts and tell you what a “statesman” you are for kicking everyone else to the curb. 

It doesn’t matter if you agree with your constituents. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you. It certainly doesn’t matter if they like you or not. They can call you names and drive you nuts with weird accusations and oddball demands all they want. The office you occupy belongs to them. Not you. 

Governor Cuomo occupies the office of Governor of New York. But the office belongs to the people of New York.  

By the people of New York, I mean all of them, including those that the Governor and his mayoral echo say “don’t belong” in their fair state and city.

I want to wind this up by with two thoughts.  

First, I extend my sincere condolences to the people of New York. I especially want to express solidarity with the traditional Christians, traditional marriage and sanctity of human life defenders who live there. You are, to quote Moses, strangers in a strange land. 

Second, I would like to invite disaffected, disenfranchised New Yorkers of whatever belief to come on down to Oklahoma. We’ve got both pro life and pro choice people in Oklahoma. We’ve got gun control advocates and NRA members, sitting side by side in restaurants, eating their catfish and chicken fried steak. We’ve got gay people, demanding gay marriage, and supporters of traditional marriage arguing back at them. 

Come to Oklahoma New Yorkers. Around here we are free, as Wesley suggested, to think and let think. 

Now Wait Just a Minute. If Chastity Applies to Nuns, It Also Applies to Priests.

I haven’t written about this particular story because it seemed like just one of those things.

You know. People fail.

Christianity, as I live it, is largely a matter of falling down and getting back up to try again. That’s why we have confession. It’s why we need to be kind to one another about our various weaknesses. Because we are all sinners who are bound to fail. None of us gets out of that.

So, when I read the story about the nun in Italy who had a baby, I basically just thought that she needed mercy and probably some help with her baby. I did not see it as the worst — or even close to the worst — thing that I had heard that day, much less ever in my life.

Then, today I was reading through some headlines and I saw that a local Italian bishop has called for the nun to “leave her convent in the North of Italy after breaking her vow of chastity.” (Emphasis mine.)

My reaction to that was an immediate and heartfelt Wait a minute buddy.

I agree that now that the sister is also a mother, her first responsibility is to her child. I think she should rejoin secular life (not be cast out, but helped to do this) so that she can devote herself to full-time motherhood. I also think it would be nice if dear old dad stepped up and took responsibility for his child, too.

Just for the record, and even though nobody has asked me, I want to say that priests and men religious who father children should also rejoin the secular world and take up their responsibility to their child. That includes marrying the mothers of their children and forming a Christian family in a stable, Christian home.

So I was ok with the idea that Sister/Mama needs to leave religious life and take care of her new baby.

But … kick her out because she has broken her vow of chastity????

The day Bishops start sending priests and men religious back to private life for breaking their vows of chastity, we can talk about that.

Not before.

I’m not going to go off on a rant about priests and men religious here. That’s really not the point.

What I am saying is drop the self-righteous, hypocritical double standard.

Chastity isn’t just for women. Men are called to chastity and are just as culpable when they violate it as the other half of humanity.  So long as priests are forgiven for violating their chastity and allowed to return to ministry, that same standard should apply to the sisters.

That’s just the way it is.

 

Obama to Meet Pope. Will the Holy Water Boil Dry?

I used to joke that the reason I never took holy water to my office at the Oklahoma House of Representatives is because I was afraid it would boil dry in the elevator on the way up.

I have much the same whimsical opinion about the news that our president is going to be visiting Pope Francis in March. When our Catholic-Church-attacking President steps foot on Vatican soil, will the Holy Water in the founts boil dry?

I don’t know of an American president who has been as aggressively anti-Catholic as President Obama. From his HHS Mandate, to the government’s many moves  to close down Catholic adoption agencies, ministries to trafficked women and on to closing the American Embassy at the Vatican, this president has been an all-in anti-Catholic politician.

The fact that he’s got a Catholic Vice President and a Catholic Secretary of State, cheering him on, only makes the plot sicken.

Catholics who appear to take their moral guidance from the Democratic Underground, Daily Kos and the Christian-baiting atheist blogosphere seem to occupy all the Catholic-faith-based podiums in this country. From the Governor of New York and his prejudicial anti-life rants, to mush-minded Vice President Joe Biden and his revolving moral understandings, the big public voice of big public Catholics is a veritable Greek Chorus for the Church-is-wrong-long-live-relativism viewpoint.

The question is, do they speak for more than themselves and their upper crust cronies? Do they speak for the priests in Catholic parishes, the presidents of Catholic universities, and, maybe even more to the point, do they speak for pew-sitting Catholic people?

Based, completely unscientifically, on the comments I see here on Public Catholic, I’m guessing that the answer to that question is mixed. For some, absolutely not. For others, sometimes yes; sometimes no. We have the occasional blip of a commenter who is all in for the secular culture, but they are, at least in the Public Catholic universe, pretty much standing alone.

Personally, I think President Obama’s visit to meet our Pope is a good time for us to pray for the man. Who knows? Maybe God will get through to him.

It is also a good time for us to take a look at ourselves, as Catholics.

The real question, and the only question that any of us can answer with authority, is: Who do you follow?

Do you follow the fallen Catholics in high places who appear to have a total and absolute contempt for the requirements of our faith? Or, do you follow the Church, which has, in spite of the many failings of its clergy and people, held true to the teachings of the Gospels for 2,000 years?

When you die, who will say to you, You belong to me?

Will it be Jesus?

Or,

Will it be someone else?

If you want it to be Jesus, you need to follow the Church.

It is really as simple as that.

 

Pope Francis: Do Not Exchange Fealty to Christ for the Path of Worldly Uniformity

Pope Francis tells us that following the world leads to rejecting Christ.

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Oklahoma Fails the Test and I Am Proud Of It!

This is one test I wanted to fail.

In fact, this is one test that I have expended considerable political, social and emotional capital in an effort to fail.

NARAL’s so-called Women’s Reproductive Report Card is out, and Oklahoma got an F. Unfortunately, we’re not the best state in the Union in which to be an unborn child. North Dakota won that one.

But still … Oklahoma did “fail” the pro-abortion test, and I am proud to tell you that one of the pro life bills that Oklahoma passed last year to earn this failing grade was passed by me.

In fact, I went through the list of Oklahoma’s pro life regulations that NARAL dislikes, and I authored the bills that made quite a number of them law.

Now that I’ve told you how “proud” I am of this, I need to back off and back down and admit that I also, back in the years before my conversion, killed most of the same legislation that I have since helped pass.

Back when I was pro choice, I never heard a kind word from pro life people. In fact, they were pretty ugly to me. Fortunately for me, that was not true of a good many pro life legislators. It was their Christian witness of being able to love me just as I was (oftentimes while being excoriated for doing it by a few members of the pro life community) that softened me up.

This softening up played a big part in my ability to turn to Jesus and ask for forgiveness. But even then, I didn’t ask forgiveness for what I had done about abortion. That came later, after the Holy Spirit convicted me of the wrong I had committed. Christ Himself accepted me, as the hymn goes, just as I was; warts, sins and all. He forgave me for things I didn’t realize at that point that I needed to be forgiven for.

I think we need to take a page from His book in dealing with lost people.

That does not mean that I am advising you to tell people that their sins are not, in fact, sins. That would be a grave injustice to them. I am saying that none of us is as bad as the worst thing we’ve done and that none of us — and that means you and me, my friend — is fit to stand before God based on his or her own righteousness.

Our salvation is found at the foot of the cross. It is an unearned and unearnable grace; a free gift of love from the God Who made us.

Do not go around banning people from the Kingdom because they fall short of your idea of personal righteousness. Your standing in the order of things is that of the created, not the Creator. You do not get to ban anybody from the Kingdom. That is not your place in the order of creation. You are not the Judge. You are the judged.

Every single one of us should be grateful that God loves us and accepts us. That is what I believe the Holy Father has been trying to tell us this past year. We need to remind people that there is a remedy for their anomie and misery, and that remedy is the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

We live in a devolving, falling-apart culture that has gotten so turned on its head that evil is preached as good and good is preached as evil from every venue. It is maddening, I know, to see and hear people demand that Christians validate sin by denying the sinfulness of what is in truth moral depravity. We can not and must not do that.

It is even more maddening to have people who do not believe in Jesus and who actively mock Him, mis-use Christ’s clear commandment that we should not judge to mean that we are called to ignore the equally clear teachings of morality and purity. I understand the anger this provokes. I’ve felt it. I feel it many times when I encounter this smug sophistry.

But, I know that Jesus calls you and me to more than righteous anger. I know that righteous anger, if it is nursed and allowed to go on, destroys our relationship with Jesus. When we become anger and rage — and at least a few of the people who comment on this blog seem to have fallen into this trap — then we are not and cannot be following God who is love.

Never equate the person with their sin. If Christ looked at you like that, where would you be? I know where I would be. I know what I deserve.

Is there one person reading this who would not go straight to hell, if God judged us as harshly as we judge one another?

Sin is wrong. But the person who sins is a child of God who can be loved from death to life. It is not our job to play God and condemn them to hell. Our job is to show them the Way. Part of that, certainly, is an insistence on the truth of God’s teachings about personal morality. But the hardest part of it is an honest and forthright attempt to live those truths in our lives.

We are all prey to the world. I certainly am. If I do not fall into the sins of active behavior — which is almost impossible not to do — then I will fall into the sins of thinking that my righteousness is sufficient and that I can judge and condemn those who I see failing in ways that I do not.

The thing that saves me is the grace of God that keeps reminding me that I am only saved from eternal hell by unmerited love.

Pray without ceasing for the poor, sad people who are trying to live without Christ. Never stop praying for them or give up on them. Make the best witness that you can by living out your Christian commitment without flinching back from it.

Do it because it is what Jesus asked you to do.

Look to the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments and the Catechism of the Church for your guides on how to live. Do not pay attention to various gurus who would add to or take away from those things.

If an honest attempt to follow the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments and the Catechism doesn’t teach you humility, then re-read them and compare yourself to the requirements found there with a bit more honesty.

Stop comparing your personal edited and flattering version of yourself to the sins you witness other people committing. That’s the wrong way to look at it. It can cost you your soul. Look instead to Jesus. If you compare your righteousness to Jesus, hanging on the cross, it will bring you down to your knees, and on your knees is where you — and me, and all of us — belong.

My sins were and are great. I owe a debt that I can never repay.

The fact that God let me be the person who passed a few pro life bills was and is a measure of forgiveness that I did not and do not deserve.

What do you owe?

What, honestly, do you owe your Creator?

If it’s not more than you can repay, then you are not truly human.

Do not engage in attacks against people. Focus instead on the issues at hand, filtered through the Truth of God. Remember that we are all of us dust, and that we will each stand before God much sooner than we imagine.

Do not throw away your soul on the sad satisfactions of judging and unforgiving. That is a preposterous waste of the free gift of eternal life.

USA Today Urges Obama to ‘Grant Religious Freedom the Wide Berth it Deserves’

USA Today published an editorial calling for the Obama administration to back down on its ridiculous attack on the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Last week’s Catholic bashing column from US News and World Report, followed by their declaration that such Catholic bashing  is now “fair comment” just about pushed me to the point of totally disregarding anything that comes from the msm.  The USA Today editorial is a totally unexpected moment of sanity. In language that focuses on the issues and doesn’t bash anybody, they simply outline their reasons for believing that the Obama Administration needs to end its drive to continue the HHS Mandate.

USA Today says that they also publish editorials with contrasting views, which is a good practice. Hopefully, the contrast they publish on this issue will be as well-reasoned and focused on the issues as the one today.

From USA Today:

From a health care standpoint, the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that all employers provide coverage, without co-pays, for contraceptives is sound. It is important preventive care. So says the prestigious Institute of Medicine, arbiter of such things.

Wisely, churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the requirement, but the administration wrote rules so narrowly that they failed to exempt Catholic and other religiously affiliated hospitals, colleges and charities. Its position was constitutionally suspect, politically foolish and ultimately unproductive. The number of women affected is likely so small that the administration could find some less divisive way to provide the coverage.

Instead, the administration is battling Catholic bishops and nuns, Southern Baptists, Christ-centered colleges and assorted religious non-profits that filed challenges across the country. The lawsuits stem from an “accommodation” President Obama offered after his too-narrow religious exemption caused an uproar in 2012.

The accommodation is more of a fig leaf than a fix: Although religiously affiliated non-profits do not have to supply birth control coverage themselves, they must sign a certification that allows their insurance companies to provide it instead. Some non-profits have acquiesced, but not the Little Sisters and others who argue that this makes them complicit in an act that violates a tenet of their faith. If the non-profits refuse to sign, they face ruinous fines — $4.5 million a year for just two of the Little Sisters’ 30 homes.

 

 


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