Recent News

Recent news and musings by the Catholic Center


Abortion Providers target Black women.

Posted by on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Catherine Davis of Georgia Right to Life does a laudable job on CNN. She stays on message and stays calm as her opponent rambles on and falsely accuses her and puts words in her mouth. Take a gander:

h/t American Papist



Not my homily…

Posted by on Oct 30, 2009 at 12:35 am

I’ve been sick this week and haven’t gotten around to posting my homily from Sunday but I found a couple of great articles by other Catholic bloggers that you should read if you haven’t.

The first one concerns our Holy Father, Pope Benedict. In our country we are often very limited in how we describe people and it usually comes out as one of these terms: “liberal” or “conservative.” Some people in our mainstream media have struggled to describe Pope Benedict and if you’re only reading about him there, you need to find other sources. Carl Olson, a blogger from Oregon, has a great article regarding Pope Benedict.

What’s important to note about Benedict XVI’s “radicalism” is that it does not rest upon success in the political sphere; his vision for the Church fundamentally eschews much of what actually is shared in common between contemporary “liberals” and “conservatives.” In the American context, “liberals” and “conservatives” alike are too much and too often in the throes of the modern orthodoxies, particularly a near-fanatic embrace of science and technology, devotion to “progress,” “choice,” and “growth,” and a fealty to “the Market.” Both are essentially earth-oriented, power-hungry and materialist.

We make a grave mistake if we interpret and understand the actions and activities of Pope Benedict XVI through the narrowly political lens that we all tend to wear in these times.

I really hope you read the whole article.

The second blogger is no ordinary blogger, its the Archbishop of New York, New York, Timothy Dolan! That’s right, this is a real live Archbishop, the Archbishop of “The City that Never Sleeps” and he is blogging. I’ve read Archbishop’s writings and I’ve heard him preach on retreats- these are his words. He isn’t writing fluff pieces either, here he takes on the New York Times for having an anti-Catholic bias in some articles.

It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”

The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.

I hope you read His Excellency’s article in full and frequent his blog. He’s at a blistering pace since he started with over 15 articles in a month. Say a prayer for Archbishop Dolan as he leads the Church in New York.



Archbishop Chaput to Journalists

Posted by on Mar 31, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I’ve seen one report of Archbishop Chaput’s conversation with various Journalists in Washington, DC, but I hadn’t seen his own initial remarks, which are succinct, concise, and very hard to misrepresent. These deserve attention in how they challenge while inviting a response. Though, “where there’s a will…”

Full Text

The heart of the issue is as follows:

Sometimes in reading the news, I get the impression that access to Holy Communion in the Church is like having bar privileges at the Elks’ Club. I’m reminded of the story of the Catholic novelist Flannery O’Connor. She was at a cocktail party talking with fellow writer Mary McCarthy, who had left the Church. McCarthy, though no longer Catholic, said she still thought the Eucharist was a pretty good symbol of God’s presence. O’Connor replied: “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.”

For believing Catholics, the Eucharist is not a symbol; or rather, it’s enormously more than a symbol. It’s the literal, tangible, body and blood of Jesus Christ. And since the earliest days of the Christian community, honest believers have never wanted to, and never been allowed to, approach the Eucharist in a state of grave sin or scandal. St. Paul said that if we do that, we profane the body and blood of Christ, and we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves (1 Cor. 11:27–32).

In other words, we commit a kind of blasphemy against God, and violence against our own integrity and the faith of other believers. There’s nothing casual about this kind of sin, and the American notion of “civil rights” is useless and flatly wrong in trying to understand it. No one ever has a “right” to the Eucharist — and the vanity or hurt feelings of an individual Catholic governor or senator or even a vice president do not take priority over the faith of the believing community.

Blasphemy and violence are unpleasant words in polite conversation – but for believers, they have substance. They also have implications beyond this lifetime. That’s why no Catholic – from the simplest parishioner to the most important public leader – should approach Communion with grave sin on his soul. The media have no obligation to believe what the Church teaches. But they certainly do have the obligation to understand, respect and accurately recount how she understands herself – and especially how she teaches and why she teaches.

Is this effective and sufficient engagement of the spirit of the day? Why or why not? It isn’t total or final but does it challenge? I think so.

God bless Archbishop Chaput.

Say a prayer, send a card, write him an email.



Shirking Responsibilities

Posted by on Jan 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm

If you are procrastinating, check out:

B-Movie Catechism



Are we being used or are we salt?

Posted by on Nov 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Fr. Neuhaus, of First Things, has a great article on their blog:

Christianity entered history as a revolutionary philosophy, a radically different understanding of cosmic reality, of the dignity of the human person, and a new proposal of nothing less than the story of the world centered in the life, death, resurrection, and promised coming again of the one who is both true God and true man, Jesus Christ. It is a very considerable demotion for Christianity to be treated as a useful appendage to the political competitions of the earthly city that is the Babylon of our exile. St. Augustine’s City of God promised ever so much more than that.

Read it all.



U.S. Bishops to President-Elect

Posted by on Nov 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm

For those of you with a real life, the U.S. Catholic Bishops have been at their semiannual meeting in Baltimore this week. Rocco reports a full text of the Bishops’ statement to President Elect-Obama. I’m quite pleased, even if no one consulted me…[I’m in blue for our Lady.]

STATEMENT of the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil.” (Psalm 127, vs. 1) [Psalm 127 is one of my favorites, we are all under God’s providence, no matter how great our earthly might.]
The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States welcome this moment of historic transition and look forward to working with President-elect Obama and the members of the new Congress for the common good of all. Because of the Church’s history and the scope of her ministries in this country [we are not some crack-pot offshoot, we have been here and we are a valid part of society], we want to continue our work for economic justice and opportunity for all; our efforts to reform laws around immigration and the situation of the undocumented; our provision of better education and adequate health care for all, especially for women and children; our desire to safeguard religious freedom and foster peace at home and abroad. The Church is intent on doing good and will continue to cooperate gladly with the government and all others working for these goods [earlier, Cardinal George said, “common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good.”]
The fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God and our parents. A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself. [This is not a religious issue, but one of law, one of truth. Also this is not an issue for the art of politics and compromise.]
In the last Congress, a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was introduced that would, if brought forward in the same form today, outlaw any “interference” in providing abortion at will. It would deprive the American people in all fifty states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.
Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated. The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life.
FOCA would have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil.
On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will. They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby. Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted. [I am hoping that we are seeing a consolidation of the Bishops in their public address on abortion. This could be great fruit of this year.]
The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world. If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve. [That is precisely where President-elect Obama and his transition team are aiming: establishing ideological victories on what was a practical referendum.] Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. [This cannot be emphasized enough, though this letter isn’t the place. Rights, order, and the common good are only assured when life is an absolute. The moment life becomes contingent on surroundings, functionality, or some other factor, then no right is assured. That is why we must persuade and win hearts.] Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.
This statement is written at the request and direction of all the Bishops, who also want to thank all those in politics who work with good will to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Those in public life do so, sometimes, at the cost of great sacrifice to themselves and their families; and we are grateful. We express again our great desire to work with all those who cherish the common good of our nation. The common good is not the sum total of individual desires and interests; it is achieved in the working out of a common life based upon good reason and good will for all.
Our prayers accompany President-elect Obama and his family and those who are cooperating with him to assure a smooth transition in government. [We must take seriously our divine mandate of prayer for all leaders- remember, the Empire that Paul prays for will be the one who kills him. And if FOCA passes, Matthew 5:44: “Pray for those who persecute you.”] Many issues demand immediate attention on the part of our elected “watchman.” (Psalm 127) May God bless him and our country.



By their fruit you shall know them…

Posted by on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Rally turns violent

-from CBS 2 in Palm Springs, we hear that opposition to the civil decision regarding marriage in California is getting hostile. It seems to me that the fruit is indicative of the seed that was sown:

A gay rights rally at the Palm Springs City Hall turned violent Friday night when a woman showed up carrying a styrofoam cross. A scuffle took place and an angry crowd even turned on our KPSP Local 2 crew.

“They began grabbing me. It was like a dog pack,” Phyllis Burgess, a Prop 8 supporter, said.

All caught on tape, the video shows one protester grabbing the styrofoam cross from Burgess’ hands. Another protesters is shown stomping on it. Burgess says she was struck on the head and spit on.

“The crowd was very angry that someone was here that they felt didn’t belong here,” Burgess said. “But I’ve lived in this city for 30 years.”

“I don’t want to keep it peaceful anymore,” one protester yelled. “We should fight! We should fight!” he shouted.

During a live interview with KPSP Local 2, protesters encircled Burgess. Yelling expletives and hateful slurs, the crowd turned their anger on our news crew. Many were angry that the woman was given a chance to express her opinions.

Out of hundreds at the rally, only dozens were a part of the chaos. “The majority of the crowd didn’t (get involved),” said Stan Janas, a gay rights supporter. “We stayed with our own agenda.”

Thanks to Saint Louis Catholic.



Abortion Culture

Posted by on Oct 24, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Art Marmorstein is a professor at NSU in Aberdeen and a fine man. Here is his latest article from our local paper, the Aberdeen American News.

Healthy families depend on healthy society

Published on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two years ago, South Dakotans rejected a legislative measure that would have banned virtually all abortions in South Dakota. Polls showed that, had a couple of exceptions been added to the measure, it would have passed overwhelmingly.

One might have expected our state legislators to immediately propose a new abortion bill, this time including the exceptions that would have ensured voter approval. But that’s not what happened. “Give the issue a rest,” argued many. “It’s too soon to take it up again.”

And they had a point. Keeping the abortion issue on the front burner makes it very, very hard for us to be civil to one another. For pro-lifers, killing unborn babies is a lot like – well, it’s a lot like killing babies. And if you’ve ever watched ultrasounds or listened to the heartbeat of a developing baby or held your own newborn, well it turns your stomach to think of what people do to so many of these little ones. Unless you shove the whole issue into the background and pretend it isn’t happening, it is very hard to be civil.

It helps, however, to place the abortion controversy in historical perspective and to look at the reasons that many societies have accepted, not just abortion, but outright infanticide.

Infanticide, while an occasional practice in some cultures, becomes commonplace mostly in societies where men assume little or no responsibility for raising families or supporting the children they father.

In contemporary America, insistence on an abortion option for women likewise corresponds directly to male abandonment of family responsibilities.

We used to have no use for men who didn’t marry the women they seduced and who refused to support the children they fathered. We called them cads. But “cad” is such a quaint and old-fashioned word it has lost its sting. We need something stronger. My students suggest that, in the name of gender-equity, we ought to call promiscuous males sluts. I think we need a combination of the slut/cad image: we should start calling irresponsible men “cluts” or (perhaps better) “scads.”

Now suppose a woman was counting on the support of her partner if she became pregnant. He turns out, however, to be a scad. One has to be sympathetic: If he can walk away, why shouldn’t she be able to too?

The trouble is that, when a society accepts birth-control abortion, it’s giving its tacit approval to the scads. Early feminists hated abortion, viewing it, not as a boon to women, but as a convenience for unscrupulous men. And they were right.

If abortion is legal, what exactly is a man’s responsibility toward his pregnant partner? His half of the couple of hundred bucks it takes for an abortion – and that’s all. If the woman wants the baby, well, that’s her decision (choice), but leave me out of it.

Unfortunately, that’s really the way many men have begun to think: We’re getting scads of scads.

And here’s the problem with the rhetoric of “choice.” Accepting abortion on demand changes society in fundamental ways. It alters profoundly the relationship between men and women, changing the whole pattern of courtship and marriage – and not just in those situations where there is an unplanned pregnancy. Marriage gradually moves toward obsolescence, baby or no. What good is “choice” if the option one would like most is not an option any more?

If one really wants healthy families, Measure 11 is a good start. It leaves plenty of room for choice and promotes a return to the kind of society where the choices available are more likely to be good ones.



No homily from last Sunday

Posted by on Sep 11, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Our Deacon preached last weekend- and quite brilliantly- so I didn’t prepare a homily.


Here is something equally stimulating

You can see more from John Cleese here, though remember it is John Cleese so it might not always be appropriate!



Render unto Caesar…

Posted by on Aug 13, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has just released a new book- Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life. L’Osservatore Romano, the official paper of the Vatican published a review, which you can find in English through Chiesa. Do read the review. Here are some snippets:

One can read the book on several levels, each illuminating the other. The first level is indicated by the book’s subtitle: “serving the nation by living our Catholic beliefs in political life.”
…Archbishop Chaput’s own conviction finds expression with these words: “The Church claims no right to dominate the secular realm. But she has every right – in fact an obligation – to engage secular authority and to challenge those wielding it to live the demands of justice. In this sense, the Catholic Church cannot stay, has never stayed, and never will stay ‘out of politics.’ Politics involves the exercise of power. The use of power has moral content and human consequences. And the well-being and destiny of the human person is very much the concern, and the special competence, of the Christian community (pp. 217-218).

Thus the second level at which the book may be read is as an appeal to American Catholics to recover a robust and comprehensive understanding of their own faith tradition.
…In effect, Archbishop Chaput is setting before his compatriots the same challenge that St. Paul posed to his fellow citizens of the Roman Empire. “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable, and perfect” (Rom 12:2).

Lastly, the third level at which the book may be read is as a reading of the Second Vatican Council.
…The Archbishop declares: “The Catholic Church is a web of relationships based on the most important relationship of all: Jesus Christ’s gift of himself in the Eucharist for our salvation. None of us earns the gift of Christ’s love. None of us ‘deserves’ the Eucharist” (p. 223). In a final chapter the author engages some pressing pastoral issues regarding access to the Eucharist on the part of public figures who advocate positions the church holds to be intrinsically evil, like abortion. The Archbishop’s approach is both pastorally sensitive and theologically cogent. It will help bring clarity to the ongoing conversation and discernment in this delicate matter – one which must be addressed for the sake of the integrity of the faith.

I’m buying my own copy. Do yourself and your country a favor and buy it.


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