Bishop E. W. Jackson to Black Christians

A strong rebuttal of the Democrat party as the party of the black community.

I would love to see our Catholic leaders speak as plainly as does Bishop Jackson. This man presents moral clarity and we need to add our voices to his. Can we be as unambiguous as he?

The “Seamless Garment” – Are You Kidding?

President Barack Obama and Senator Ted Kennedy

After pondering great posts concerning the abortion problem in this country on Biltrix and 8 Kids and a Business, I am drawn again to wonder, from my foundational view, where the Church is in this cultural war. Not that the official voice of the Church isn’t plain on the subject because it certainly is. Abortion is a grave mortal sin and we need to eradicate this barbaric practice.

However, it always seems somewhat contradictory when we see high profile people (think Pelosi, Biden or the late Senator Ted Kennedy) who push to keep abortion legal, treated as Catholics in good standing. The man in the street sees this as an enigma not to mention a scandal of the highest order. When discussing this with people in the Church they often argue that it is the hope that keeping them in the Church will allow them to hear the message that may eventually bring about a change of heart. Though I accept the idea of the Church being the best place for these people to learn the teachings of the Church, do we never use the “big stick” anymore; that of excommunication?

I don’t have access to the degree of grace given to our priests and bishops so I cannot tell them or you if they are acting under this grace. I can only tell you what an ordinary lay Catholic sees in this hypocrisy.

For instance, we claim that we are against abortion, same sex marriages and the loss of religious liberty. However, the number of priests that actually preach against these things or lead their parishioners to action is a noticeable minority. When it comes to voting for a candidate that is for these things, the common reply is that there are more than these few social issues to consider. Many love to use the horrid “seamless garment” argument of the late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago. It is a scandal that this argument has been used to equate socialist government programs not only as a substitute for our individual charity but to elevate these programs to equal importance with abortion. Do they not understand that 60 million babies have died in the supposed safety of their mother’s womb? Besides the loss of their lives, do they not know that these 60 million babies were denied 2 things that we feel all individuals are entitled to in life: baptism and a funeral?

It is my contention that the reason we don’t see this as a holocaust of unprecedented proportion is because we never see their caskets or go to a funeral for any of these little ones. If we could see the number of these deaths it would change more than a few minds and hearts. But alas, these evil deeds are hidden from our eyes, our minds and our hearts by throwing their tiny bodies and body parts into a hazardous waste disposal unit. Evil loves to hide in the shadows and hates to have their deeds recognized for what they are.

So for this layman, I have difficulty in understanding why, after 20 years of being a Catholic, I can count on 2 hands the number of actual homilies given on this Sin of sins. It is also amazing how little interest our priests have shown in organizing the parishioners to act or to vote out candidates who support such barbarism. Where are the excommunications? Where is the Catholic Will to eliminate this scandalous affront to human life? I hear the official words but I see little support in the ranks of the bishops or priests that is truly and effectively trying to bring this sad chapter of moral depravity to a close. The Holy Spirit must be telling them something He is not telling the rest of us; because I cannot understand the lack of fortitude we have shown. I and many other Catholics are ashamed at the polls of supposed Catholic “faithful” that record their intention to vote for pro-abortion candidates in the coming election. How can that be?

Is our rhetoric about these objective evils merely that: rhetoric? I pray it is more than that and that someday God will forgive the complacency we have shown. In my mind, no peace will be found in this country until we end the war on the unborn. Why would God hear our prayers when we can’t hear the cries of the poorest of the poor: the helpless and hopeless plight of our own children?

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Obedience

The Real Basis of Obedience

Obedience does not mean the execution of orders that are given by a drill sergeant. It springs rather from the love of an order, and love of him who gave it. The merit of obedience is less in the act than in the love; the submission, the devotion, and the service which obedience implies are not born of servitude, but are, rather, effects that spring from and are unified by love. Obedience is servility only to those who have not understood the spontaneity of love.

Our universe is governed by laws: things are this way and that way. By submission to laws, we make them our own. If, for instance we obey the laws of the body, we keep it in health; If we obey the laws of mind, we keep it learned. Spiritual being has its prizes too, as Our Lord said: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

In other words, true obedience springs from love not from force. The worst man in the world knows a great deal more of his duty than the best man does. It is not for want of knowledge that men go to pieces, but rather for want of obedience to the knowledge of the good they already possess.

The legal world says: “If you fear me, keep my commandments.” In the Divine order it is different: “If you love Me, You will keep My commandments.

Today Liberty is taking the place of obedience. It is said that obedience has had its day. Civilization is in danger when the rights of liberty plead against the duties of obedience as if the two were opposed to one another. A man who has never obeyed is not the man who will know how to command. He will be a poor general who has never come up through the ranks.

Our Lord went down to Nazareth and was subject to His mother and foster father; then He became obedient unto death, even unto the death on the Cross.

Obedience is not the quality of slaves, for slaves act against their will. He who had liberty to do all things became subject to His parents to prove that obedience is the pathway to freedom. As St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “You who are children must show obedience in the Lord to your parents; it is your duty.” The parent is strong when he says to the child: “I must have your obedience because I am responsible to God for your upbringing in goodness and truth.

On the other hand the child’s strongest encouragement is in the same thought: “In obeying my parents I am doing that which is pleasing to God, and I do it because I love the Lord.” In “Lamentations” it is written: “It is well that you should learn to bear the yoke, now in your youth.” A horse must be broken in while he is a colt; a dog must be trained when he is young. So it is with youth. He who has never learned to submit, will make himself a tyrant when he obtains power. A silver spoon has choked many youth.

St. Thomas Aquinas said: “The respect that one has for the rule flows naturally from the respect that one has for the person who gave it.” Authority must always have behind it some value which elicits respect and reverence.

In courtship there are no laws, but the lover always seeks to fulfill the will of the beloved: and in religion no compulsion is felt by anyone who loves God. The real basis of obedience in the family, therefore, is not the fear of punishment, just as in religion it is not the fear of hell. Rather, it is based on the fact that one never wants to hurt anyone whom one loves. It will bear repeating that Our Lord said: “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, April 1979

The Will in Augustine’s Confessions: The Law of the Mind and the Law of the Members – Homiletic & Pastoral Review

The Will in Augustine’s Confessions: The Law of the Mind and the Law of the Members – Homiletic & Pastoral Review.

“The origin of evil lies in the disordered human will that disobeys the voice of reason and conscience, not in the lack of knowledge or education.” The training of the will is the often forgotten prerequisite to a fulfilling transformation in Christ. St. Augustine has much to teach us about this basic foundation needed to live the life of a true Christian.

Cardinal Burke: anti-canonical priestly culture devastated Church after Vatican II : News Headlines – Catholic Culture

Cardinal Burke: anti-canonical priestly culture devastated Church after Vatican II : News Headlines – Catholic Culture.

Another piece that shows what happens when people refuse to submit to objective law and start making their own standards up. Again, the problems range from those who believe in subjective reality all the way to anarchy. It is the  new unstable foundation of our world, I suppose. The lack of adherence to an objective standard.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Essay on Muslims from 1952

Mary And The Moslems

by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

In 1952, the late Bishop Fulton Sheen devoted a chapter in his book The World’s First Love (Garden City Books, Garden City, N.Y.) — entitled “Mary and the Moslems” — to this significant query. Following are Bishop Sheen’s observations; more significant now perhaps than when written 49 years ago.

 

Our Lady of Fatima

Moslemism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite, within it, some elements of Christianity and of Judaism, along with particular customs of Arabia. Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His majesty and His creative power, and uses it, in part, as a basis for the reproduction of Christ, the Son of God. Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet announcing Him just as to Christians, Isaiah and John the Baptist are prophets announcing Christ.

The Christian European West barely escaped destruction at the hands of the Moslems. At one point they were stopped near Tours and at another point, later on in time, outside the gates of Vienna. The Church throughout northern Africa was practically destroyed by Moslem power, and at the present hour, the Moslems are beginning to rise again.

If Moslemism is a heresy, as Hiliaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined. Others have had a moment of vigor, then gone into doctrinal decay at the death of the leader, and finally evaporated in a vague social movement. Moslemism, on the contrary, has only had its first phase. There was never a time in which it declined, either in numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.

The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God’s real prophets.

At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem writers say, “When the locust swarms darken countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: ‘We are God’s host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world, with all that is in it.'”

The problem is, how shall we prevent the hatching of the hundredth egg? It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but the Moslemism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity — and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect. It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teachings of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God. This is the line of argument:

Mary

The Koran, which is the Bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception, and also, in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Mary’s family in a genealogy, which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Koran’s description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran; “O Lord, I vow and consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me.”

When Mary is born, the mother says: “And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord, against Satan!”

The Koran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Moslem tradition know his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father, Mary answered: “Do you not know that God, when He created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by His power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say, ‘So be it, and it was done.'”

The Koran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying: “Oh, Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth.” In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran there are 41 verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributed the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

Fatima

Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.” In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say, “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”

This brings us to our second point: namely, why the Blessed Mother, in the 20th century should have revealed herself in the significant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as “Our Lady of Fatima.” Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the Faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic reception, which the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as mentioned earlier. Moslems attended the church services in honor of Our Lady, they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

Missionaries

Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In an apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her divine Son. She is forever a “traitor,” in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.

Many of our great missionaries in Africa have already broken down the bitter hatred and prejudices of the Moslems against the Christians through their acts of charity, their schools and hospitals. It now remains to use another approach, namely, that of taking the 41st chapter of the Koran and showing them that it was taken out of the Gospel of Luke, that Mary could not be, even in their own eyes, the most blessed of all the women of Heaven if she had not also borne One who was the Savior of the world. If Judith and Esther of the Old Testament were pre-figures of Mary, then it may well be that Fatima herself was a post-figure of Mary! The Moslems should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the world and that without Christ she would be nothing.