Kim Davis is Out of Jail

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/

There really ARE two kinds of people in the world: those who will go to jail rather than do what’s wrong and those who will send them there. Robert George, McCormick Professor, Princeton, Charman, US Commission on International Religious Freedom

Kim Davis has been released from jail. Judge David Bunning, who ordered Davis jailed in the first place, says that he is satisfied that her deputies have fulfilled their obligations to issue marriage licenses to gay marriages.

His order releasing Mrs Davis requires that she cannot interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to “all legally eligible couples.” The implication is that if Mrs Davis does not perform her duties as a dully elected official to the judge’s liking, he will imprison her once again.

I am going to repeat something I said earlier: The judge is over-stepping his authority. Mrs Davis is an elected official and his purview does not extend to telling elected officials whether or not they are performing their duties in a satisfactory manner.

If an elected official does not perform their duties in a manner that the courts deem necessary, the courts have a certain latitude for redress, but this does not include summarily imprisoning the elected official. Perhaps the most clear-cut case of this in American history was when the Supreme Court ruled that the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from their hereditary lands to Indian Territory (what is now the State of Oklahoma) was unconstitutional, and President Andrew Jackson ignored the Court.

Impeachment and the election process are how this nation has dealt with elected officials who do not perform their duties properly. When courts begin to imprison elected officials based on how they perform their duties, they are overstepping the separation powers which is one of the primary guarantors of our freedoms.

I realize that those who favor gay marriage will not allow themselves to see this. I also realize that the concept of separation of powers has become increasingly weak due to judicial overstepping of its clear boundaries by using its power to issue rulings to create and pass legislative initiatives of revolutionary proportions without any reference to representation of the people. But the courts must be stopped from overstepping their boundaries by imprisoning elected officials for not performing their duties in the manner the court decides they should.

There is a lot more at stake here than the recent judicial fiat on gay marriage.

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Pope Changes Annulment Process. What Does it Mean?

Sometimes, it's obvious that there was no sacramental marriage. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Keith https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/

Sometimes, it’s obvious that there was no sacramental marriage. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Keith https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/

My ignorance of canon law is showing.

Pope Francis issued two Apostolic letters, which are edicts affecting the entire Church this morning. These letters reform the process by which members of the laity — and those wishing to enter the Church who have  marital baggage from the pasts — can obtain an annulment.

I have questions out to canonists so that I can give you a more exact and accurate understanding of exactly what the Holy Father did, but there are a few things I can say, just from reading the documents. One critical reform that he has instituted is that the process of obtaining an annulment should be offered to the faithful without charge.

The diocese in which I live does not charge for annulments. That is the way it should be, everywhere. The reason I feel so strongly about this is that a complex marital arrangement can block people from entering the Church, and it can also keep them from taking Communion. That makes the annulment process a roadblock to Jesus. There should never have been a charge for someone seeking to partake of the Body and Blood of Our Savior.

If I understand what I read correctly, the Pope has put the annulment process in the hands of the local bishop, who has been given the option of appointing one person to act on his behalf in this matter. Pope Francis calls this person “a single judge under the responsibly of the Bishop.” One of the things I need to learn more about is how this would affect the existing tribunals.

The important point is a bit further down when the document states clearly “the bishop is judge.” I interpret that to mean that the local bishop is the first voice of appeal if there is disagreement about his designee’s decisions. It also means that the bishop is always directly responsible for the annulment process in his diocese.

The letters says that “a briefer form of trying nullity cases has been designed — in addition to the documentary process already approved and in use.” This simplified process “is to be applied in cases in which the accusation of martial nullity is supported by particularly evident arguments.” I interpret this to mean that this shorter process is for cases cases in which the facts say on their face that the marriage was not a sacramental marriage. That would probably include things such as common law marriage, forced marriage, child marriage, or marriages performed by atheists/pagans/justices of the peace/ship’s captains, etc.

As I said, I’ve asked people who are Canonists to help me understand what these changes will mean to the people in the pews. My guess is that these new rules will be abused by some, but will also help many people who are shut away from the sacraments by a past they cannot change. I think they will also remove what has been unmovable barriers to people who have messy marital pasts and who have converted and changed and are now following the call of Christ to enter the Catholic Church. I personally know people whose conversion to the Catholic church was blocked by their inability to fill out the paperwork required by the current process.

Marriage is a vastly important commitment. When you marry, you chose this one person as your life’s partner. You will create other people with them, people that are part of each of you, but are uniquely themselves. Your spouse is the one who stands beside you in life’s trials, the one who shares your future.

We have degraded and damaged marriage to the point that family itself has lost its meaning to many people. In many ways, these changes in the annulment process are a recognition of the fact that Western society has fallen into such deep and widespread marital sin that the necessity of reconversion means that we must accommodate these things in order to bring the converted to Christ.

Western society has fallen into depravity that has become the norm. But the message of the Gospels is unchanged. That message is simple and straight foward: Jesus Christ the Way to eternal life.  Not only that, but there is no sin we can commit that is greater than His forgiveness.

That’s what I think these changes are about. They are a way to telling people that no matter what kind of mess they’ve made of things, nothing they’ve done is greater than Christ’s mercy.

Here, from Vatican Radio, is the summary of the Apostolic Letters Pope Francis issued today:

  1. That there be only one sentence in favor of executive nullity – It appeared opportune, in the first place, that there no longer be required a twofold decision in favor of marital nullity, in order that the parties be admitted to new canonically valid marriages: the moral certainty reached by the first judge according to law should be sufficient.

  2. A single judge under the responsibility of the Bishop – The constitution of a single judge in the first instance, who shall always be a cleric, is placed under the responsibility of the Bishop, who, in the pastoral exercise of his own proper judicial power shall guarantee that no laxity be indulged in this matter.

  3. The Bishop is judge – In order that the teaching of the II Vatican Council be finally translated into practice in an area of great importance, the decision was made to make evident the fact that the Bishop is, in his Church – of which he is constituted pastor and head – is by that same constitution judge among the faithful entrusted to him. It is desired that, in Dioceses both great and small, the Bishop himself should offer a sign of the conversion of ecclesiastical structures, and not leave the judicial function completely delegated to the offices of the diocesan curia, as far as matters pertaining to marriage are concerned.

  4. Increased brevity in the legal process – In fact, beyond making the marriage annulment process more agile, a briefer form of trying nullity cases has been designed – in addition to the documentary process already approved and in use – which is to be applied in cases in which the accusation of marital nullity is supported by particularly evident arguments. In any case, the extent to which an abbreviated process of judgment might put the principle of the indissolubility of marriage at risk, did not escape me [writes Pope Francis – ed.]: thus, I have desired that, in such cases the Bishop himself shall be constituted judge, who, by force of his pastoral office is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and in discipline.

  5. Appeal to the Metropolitcan See – It is fitting that the appeal to the Metropolitan See be re-introduced, since that office of headship of an Ecclesiastical province, stably in place through the centuries, is a distinctive sign of the synodality of the Church.

  6. The proper role of the Bishops’ Conferences – The Bishops’ Conferences, which must be driven above all by the anxious apostolic desire to reach the far-off faithful, should formally recognize the duty to share the aforesaid conversion, and respect absolutely the right of the Bishops to organize judicial power each within his own particular Church.

 

 

Deacon Greg offers an excellent news summary of the letters here.

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Pope Francis Goes to Local Shop to Buy New Glasses

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ann Worner https://www.flickr.com/photos/wefi_official/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ann Worner https://www.flickr.com/photos/wefi_official/

He went himself to buy new glasses. He saved money by using the old frames. I imagine it was a great treat to him, being able to go out for this ordinary errand.

Love our Holy Father.

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Pope Francis’ Virtual Papal Audience with Americans Full Version

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

If you missed Pope Francis’ virtual papal audience with America, here it is, without editing.

This is an incredible event. I cried like a baby when the single mother with the two little girls spoke to the pope about her life and her feelings. I think the reason why so many of these people cried when they were talking is the healing power of telling their story to the Vicar of Christ.

This is the power that all priests have, if they will just use it. They can heal or wound as no one else can. It depends on their willingness to suffer with other people’s suffering.

We have a wonderful pope.

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For a more in-depth reaction, check out Deacon Greg. 

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The Woman Behind Pope Francis’ Visit to the United States

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Republic of Korea https://www.flickr.com/photos/koreanet/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Republic of Korea https://www.flickr.com/photos/koreanet/

This video is a couple of months old, but the information it contains is timely.

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Dying to Keep a Job … Freedom of Conscience and Abortion, Euthanasia

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/

Do you support forcing doctors and nurses to violate their consciences by killing their patients with abortion and euthanasia?

How does this overall concept apply to the questions raised by the jailing of Kim Davis?

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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
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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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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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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