Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our Heroes: Catholic Nuns File Lawsuit Challanging HHS Mandate.


Little Sisters of the Poor, the order of Roman Catholic nuns that provides homes for the elderly, including one in San Pedro, is at the center of a lawsuit filed Tuesday challenging the Obamacare requirement that they provide cost-free contraceptives to employees as part of their insurance benefits package.

The challenge is the first class-action lawsuit filed in the ongoing religious liberties battle waged against the HHS Mandate — a Health and Human Services Department provision included in the administration’s Affordable Care Act.

“The Little Sisters are driven by their religious faith to do what they do in terms of taking care of the elderly poor,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The government should not be telling them they have to violate that faith to keep serving the poor.

“We’re asking for relief not only for the Little Sisters but also for other Catholic organizations that get their health benefits through the Christian Brothers Trust.”

Houses of worship are exempt from the rule requiring employers to provide contraceptives, including an abortifacient known as the “morning-after” pill, for employees, and the administration says it has been trying to balance the objections of religious employers while making sure women can get no-cost contraception.

The Little Sisters could face steep fines if they are not in compliance with the law by January 2014, Rienzi said.

“By God’s grace, we’re hoping for a successful conclusion,” said Victor Salsido, director of human resources at the Little Sisters of the Poor home in San Pedro.

The Little Sisters case is one of 72 now pending under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 law designed to protect those bound by religious conscience against burdensome laws deemed to violate the free exercise of religion. Included in the Little Sisters lawsuit are the Christian Brothers Services and Christian Brothers Employee Benefits representing hundreds of similar nonprofit Catholic ministries.

The Roman Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as the taking of human life and also is opposed to the use of artificial contraception. Protestant Christians vary in their views, but conservatives and evangelicals also tend to hold strong anti-abortion stands that would include objections to the “morning-after” pill and contraceptives such as the intrauterine device thought by some to cause early abortions.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Denver on behalf of Little Sisters of Denver and Baltimore and Christian Brothers of New Mexico names Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Thomas E. Perez, secretary of the Department of Labor; Jacob J. Lew, secretary of the Department of the Treasury; and their respective departments as defendants.

The employers, the complaint states, “are forbidden by their religion from participating in the federal government’s regulatory scheme to promote, encourage, and subsidize the use of sterilization, contraceptives, and drugs that cause abortions. The government defendants, however, have imposed regulatory requirements that require the class plaintiffs to provide health benefits for their employees that include coverage for, or access to, contraception, sterilization, abortifacients and related education and counseling ...

“The result is that the class members have been offered a stark choice: They must either abandon their Catholic beliefs and participate in the ... mandate or they will be punished by the government with an array of fines and penalties unless and until they comply.”
The most prominent lawsuit filed against the HHS Mandate is the one brought by the craft store chain Hobby Lobby Inc. that recently won a preliminary challenge in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
The chain is owned by a Christian family that argued its religious liberty was violated in requiring it to provide full health care, including free contraception, to employees.

The Little Sisters case involves a nonprofit religious organization, but the organization — which employs non-Catholics — also was considered not to be exempt even under accommodations made in the provision as it was finalized last summer, Rienzi said.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., is handling about 10 of the 72 pending lawsuits challenging the mandate in its final form, including the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters cases.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, criticized the final mandate rule for including a definition of exempt religious employers that was too narrow and excluding religious ministries from the government’s “accommodation” definition.

The San Pedro home provides three levels of care for about 90 residents at 2100 S. Western Ave. Housed since 1979 where the former Fermin Lasuen Catholic High School once stood, the facility was founded in 1901 and operated in its first decades in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Sister Loraine Marie, superior for one of the three U.S. provinces where Little Sisters homes operate, said in a news release that the requirement to provide drugs that could cause early abortions violated the ministry’s religious freedom.

“Like all of the Little Sisters, I have vowed to God and the Roman Catholic Church that I will treat all life as valuable, and I have dedicated my life to that work,” she said. “We cannot violate our vows by participating in the government’s program to provide access to abortion-inducing drugs.”

P.S. From a concerned Oregonian.

Folks - time and opportunity are running out to get rid of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act).  Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stood on the Senate floor for over 21 hours talking about all the problems with this act and the loss of freedom we all face.  We must rise up and make our voices heard.  I called both of my senator's offices this morning and I would ask you to do so as well.  It is getting late for today but first thing in the morning would be great.
For Oregonians:
Merkely's # is 202-224-3753
Wyden's # is 202-224-5244
Message is: Defund Obamacare (and get rid of it), Vote NO on cloture (vote should happen Fri./Sat.)  All you need is a sentence or two - keep it short!
Also go to and sign the petition - over 1.7 million of us have done so.
PLEASE do this, time is short our freedom diminished.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Feast Day "St. Padre Pio"

“Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will.”
“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain”  
“The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat.”  
“Do you not see the Madonna always beside the tabernacle?”  
“Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Blessed Herman the Cripple, 40 Days for Life and Rest in Peace Jessica Grady Carden

Blessed Herman the Cripple, monk 1013 - 1054  is living proof why we value each life instead of the seeing it as a burden on our "environment".  Roman Catholics are benefiting from this man, almost one thousand years later. 

Each time we say the Hail Mary we need to know that Blessed Herman was the author of the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)!

This year we start 40 Days for Life one day after his feast day, September 26th and ends on November 4th, two days from the elections.  We believe each life has immeasurable value and we pray for leaders who see that value.  Click on your area of Oregon for a 40 Days for Life near you.  Portand  Salem  Beaverton  Eugene  McMinnville  Klamath Falls  St.Vincent dePaul - Portland.

If VOCAL left anyone out, please advise and it will be corrected.
Blessed Herman was born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida to a farm family. His parents cared for him until the age of seven, but in 1020 they gave him over to the abbey of Reichenau Island in Lake Constance in southern Germany; he spent the rest of his life there. He became a Benedictine monk at age twenty. A genius, he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He built musical instruments, and astronomical equipment. In later life he became blind, and had to give up his academic writing. The most famous religious poet of his day, he is the author of Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater. (thanks, Blessed Herman information to inspire Pro-lifers)
Herman The Cripple
William Hart Hurlbut, M.D.
I am least among the low,
I am weak and I am slow;
I can neither walk nor stand,
Nor hold a spoon in my own hand.
Like a body bound in chain,
I am on a rack of pain,
But He is God who made me so,
that His mercy I should know.
Brothers do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
All my sorrows he will bless;
Pain is not unhappiness.
From my window I look down
To the streets of yonder town,
Where the people come and go,
Reap the harvest that they sow.
Like a field of wheat and tares,
Some are lost in worldly cares;
There are hearts as black as coal,
There are cripples of the soul.
Brothers do not weep for me!
In his mercy I am free.
I can neither sow nor spin,
Yet, I am fed and clothed in Him.
I have been the donkey’s tail,
Slower than a slug or snail;
You my brothers have been kind,
Never let me lag behind.
I have been most rich in friends,
You have been my feet and hands;
All the good that I could do,
I have done because of you.
Oh my brothers, can’t you see?
You have been as Christ for me.
And in my need I know I, too,
Have become as Christ for you!
I have lived for forty years
In this wilderness of tears;
But these trials can’t compare
With the glory we will share.
I have had a voice to sing,
To rejoice in everything;
Now Love’s sweet eternal song
Breaks the darkness with the dawn.
Brother’s do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
Oh my friends, remember this:
Pain is not unhappiness.

by Blessed Herman the Cripple

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us O holy Mother of God,
R. that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Thank you Lord for Blessed Herman and showing how Christ blesses each life.
Lord, please bless the soul of Jessica (Grady) Carden
She was the mother of seven little boys and a dear husband and passed away just a few days ago.
 God Bless Her Dear Family.

Bishop Vasa Explains The Pope's Article: Catholics diverge on pope's message

  Catholics diverge on pope's message 
September 20, 2013, 8:09 PM

Santa Rosa Catholic Bishop Robert Vasa said Friday that Pope Francis has challenged him and other church leaders to become more “pastoral” in their work, but is not asking them to abandon the Church’s moral teachings about the sins of homosexuality, abortion and birth control.

Vasa’s comments came one day after the pope rocked the Catholic world with published statements that the church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” While the church’s opposition to these things is clear, a more pastoral approach to ministry is needed, the pope said.

Many observers interpreted the the comments as a softening of the church’s stand on the touchstone moral issues. The bishop took a different view.

Vasa, who adheres to a strict, or traditional, interpretation of church doctrine, said the pope was merely saying that “when we deal with those with whom we morally disagree that we do that in a spirit of conciliation and compassion and receptiveness.”

He acknowledged the pope’s emphasis presents him with a personal challenge. As a bishop, Vasa said he is “geared more toward a canonical mindset and I recognize the need for administrative leadership in church. I also recognize that pastoral leadership, while wonderful, requires someone stepping in and taking up the administrative role.”

Some North Coast Catholics heralded the pope’s statements, made during a lengthy interview with an Italian Jesuit journal, as a call for a new tone and direction for the church, a message they say is lacking in the local diocese.

“It’s not the same tone we have in our diocese, and likely probably other dioceses as well,” said Lori Edgar, a member of St. Eugene’s Cathedral in Santa Rosa and a Cardinal Newman High School parent.

Edgar, whose family was part of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Petaluma when she was young, said she hopes the pope’s words will help create more “openness” in the Santa Rosa Diocese. Edgar said she particularly took to heart the pope’s statements that the church should not be “so judgmental.”

Asked if he would welcome to St. Eugene’s Cathedral a Catholic woman who had an abortion or is contemplating having one, or a gay person or someone who is practicing birth control, Vasa said he would if they were open to changing their ways.

“Like the pope says, I don’t necessarily judge them, but they have to somehow judge themselves and recognize that they are living and acting in a way which is not consistent with what the church teaches,” he said.

“And they have an obligation at least to take up the current literature and really study the issue and not simply as a knee-jerk reaction give in to the pressure of the culture.”

Edgar said she believes the pope “is setting a new tone for the Church, something for all of us to think about ... It’s a home for all.”

“Our current Santa Rosa Diocese is going through some struggles with this,” she said, noting Vasa’s controversial move this year to require local Catholic school teachers to sign a morality clause as part of their employment contracts.

In an effort to quell rising unrest among teachers, parents and some students, the bishop decided not to require teachers to sign the morality “addendum” to their contracts. It would have required educators employed by the diocese to affirm that contraception, gay marriage and euthanasia are “modern errors” and “matters that gravely offend human dignity.”

The Santa Rosa Diocese, which extends north to the Oregon border, is home to 165,000 Catholics. Catholicism is the largest religious denomination in the nation.

A 2008 Pew Research survey indicated that a third of the people raised as Catholics said they had left the church. These “lapsed Catholics,” if they were considered members of a church, would be the third-largest denomination in the country, behind Catholic church-goers and Baptists.

Contraception is an especially sensitive issue with American Catholics. Despite the church doctrine, 82 percent of U.S. Catholics believe birth control is morally acceptable, according to a 2012 Gallup poll.

Mel Amato, a member of the parish pastoral council and finance council at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Healdsburg, said the Pope is trying to “maintain a balance” in the teachings of the church.

“He’s not talked about compromising or modifying the basic teachings of the church in response to populism or popular pressures,” he said.

Amato, a Catholic “traditionalist” who says the doctrine of the Catholic Church is not subject to a democratic vote, said many Catholic teachings receive little or no attention from the media. Usually, the media focuses only on the church’s position on issues such as abortion, contraceptives and gays, he said.

“He’s saying all the teachings are important, not just the ones that get all the press time,” he said.
During an interview at the Santa Rosa Diocese chancery, Vasa talked at length about the pope’s extensive interview.

Asked if he agreed with the pope’s view that some in the Catholic Church are “obsessed” with dogmatic and moral teachings, Vasa said he has not witnessed that obsession.
“I certainly do know that there are individuals, and I certainly would probably be among them, who firmly believe that these are core cultural issues about which we must be vocal,” he said. “But I’m not obsessed about them. A vast majority of the things that I write do not include abortion as a topic or contraception or divorce and remarriage.”

“Is there a need for teaching about those things? Absolutely. Are there some folks who overstep the boundary and say, ‘OK we’re preaching about this every single Sunday?’ Well, there may be. But there’s a vast majority of people who never talk about it.”

Vasa said that if “everyone talked about it a little, there would be fewer who feel the need to talk about it more,” adding that abortion is a social justice issue.

“What the Holy Father is calling us to do is to promote the Gospel message, not starting from, ‘Oh, you’re bad and going to hell,” Vasa said. “But rather from a positive presentation of God’s goodness, of God’s love, of God’s mercy and God’s call to everyone of us to live a life more in conformity with what God wants us to do.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Pope, Good Interview, Old Story

This wonderful piece is from Carl Olson, the editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight part of  Ignatius Press, trustworthy and solid
Today we need his Catholic report and insight because we are surrounded by the secular and ignorant that would like to mix-up the Pope Francis' words.  Get to know Carl and his work.

Editorial from Catholic World Report.

                                       New Pope, Good Interview, Old Story
September 19, 2013

             Secular journalists and progressive Catholics try to make hay to feed their obsessions

Carl E. Olson

Judging by some of the reactions to the September 19th America interview with Pope Francis, which was originally conducted over three days in August, you might be tempted to think a pontiff had never given an interview before. How quickly some forget, if they ever knew at all.

 The first papal text I ever read, as a young Evangelical Protestant with a growing curiosity about the Catholic Church, was John Paul II's 1994 book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (available online in PDF format), which was an interview conducted by Italian journalist Vittorio Messori. And, of course, Pope Benedict XVI was interviewed in 2010 by German journalist Peter Seewald, resulting in Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times (Ignatius Press, 2010). That book certainly garnered widespread attention, especially for comments that Benedict made about contraception.

In fact, if you read only accounts from many mainstream news sources, you may have concluded that the entire book was about condoms. The obsession with the “condom comments” became so ridiculous that the president of Ignatius Press, Mark Brumley, penned an interview with himself which satirized the nonsense:

Mainstream Media:  So the Pope has written a book about condoms!

Mark Brumley: Well, actually, it’s an interview book.  And journalist Peter Seewald interviewed Benedict about a wide-range of topics, not just about condoms.

MM: Yes, but condoms must be a major theme of the book.  Look at all the coverage that has focused on condoms!

Mark: Actually, the Pope’s comments about condoms cover only about two pages out of about 200 pages of Q & As.

MM: Well, what did the Pope say about condoms?

Mark: You can go here and read for yourself what he said.

What does this have to do with the interview with Pope Francis? Quite a bit. Consider some of the headlines that a Google search turns up for “Pope Francis” and “interview” (all from the first page ):

• Pope Bluntly Faults Church's Focus on Gays and Abortion (New York Times)

• Pope Francis: Church cannot be 'obsessed' with gays, other bans (Chicago Tribune)

• Pope Francis says church cannot focus only on abortion and gay (

• Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays (CNN)

• Pope Francis Tells Church to Stop 'Obsessing' Over Gay Marriage (Mediaite)

• Pope Francis takes issue with church focus on gays, abortion (Los Angeles Times)

• Pope Francis says church cannot focus only on abortion and gay marriage (

• Pope Francis: Gays, Abortion Too Much Of Catholic Church's Obsession (Huffington Post)

• Pope Francis: The Church needs to mellow out on abortion and gay issues (San Francisco Chronicle)

Yes, indeed—Catholics surely must not obsess over “gay marriage” and abortion, otherwise they might start looking and sounding like the reporters and editors of The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC News, CNN, and all the rest! Why, if I didn't know better, I'd think that the only reason many reporters skim through papal writings and interviews is to find mention of “sex”, “abortion”, “condoms”, and the like.

What did the Holy Father actually say? First, keep in mind that you really must read the entire interview. Twice. Or even three times. Carefully. That said, here is the section inspiring all of the knee-jerk, group-think reaction among many American journalists:

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow."

Everything said here is not just accurate, but very much in keeping with both commonsense and a perspective shaped by a desire to share the gospel, save souls, and transform lives, by God's grace.

First, you cannot win souls by simply telling people, “No, no, no!” As Al Kresta stated, when he interviewed me earlier today about this papal interview, “Before there is any 'no', there is a resounding 'Yes!'” This does not mean, of course, that saying “No!” is wrong, but that it must be introduced with a “Yes!” And that is the “Yes!” of God's love, mercy, grace, and gift of salvation. Francis does not say Catholics should not discuss abortion, marriage, and other “hot button” issues, but that our conversations, arguments, and discussions about them must be within a proper context—and that context is the gospel. After all, as he notes, “the teaching of the church” on these issues “is clear” (even if many Catholics remain conveniently confused about them).

The Cynical Misreading of Pope Francis

Hours after the interview was released, the dissenting group Catholics United (see the August 2012 CWR article, “The Catholic Con Continues”) released a press statement penned by the CU communications director, Chris Pumpelly. The statement opens by claiming that “Francis articulates his vision of moving the priorities of the Catholic faith away from divisive social issues, like what he calls an 'obsession' with gay marriage, abortion and contraception, while refocusing on core Gospel teachings relating to poverty.” That statement is misleading at best, as “the priorities of the Catholic faith” have always been focused on proclaiming the gospel, even if many individual Catholics—laity, clergy, and religious alike—fail to do so. Pumpelly, like so many “progressives”, seeks to create a faulty “either/or” approach that seeks in the silencing of those who uphold the clear and consistent teaching of the Church about sexuality, morality, and marriage.

The fact is, it is the secularists, the technocratic elitists, and the self-appointed gatekeepers of society who have for decades relentlessly pushed their anti-human and anti-family priorities upon the Church and on all those who believe that marriage is indeed the union of a man and a woman, that sexual union is for the marriage bed alone, and that life deserves protection from the moment of conception. It brings to mind the story of an archbishop who, upon learning that lawmakers were seeking to legislate “same sex marriage” into existence, began writing letters and helping organize responses against the impending legislation. In one of his letters, he wrote the following of the growing push for “same sex marriage”:

"It is not a simple political fight; but rather an attempt to destroy the plan of God. It is not about a mere legislative project—that is only the instrument—but, rather, it is a “move” by the father of lies, who intends to confuse and trick the children of God. ...

To the senators: cry out to the Lord for his Spirit to be sent to the senators who must vote. That they not be moved by error or by changing situations but, rather, according to what natural law and the law of God show us. This battle is not ours but God’s. That they may assist, defend, and accompany us in God’s will."

That archbishop, of course, was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, writing in 2010. Was he, then, falling prey to an “obsession”? Was he, in his words and actions, “abdicating” his “moral authority” by obsessing “over divisive, often politically-driven, social issues like gay marriage and access to birth control”—a charge leveled by Catholics United executive director, James Salt, against the American bishops? Conversely, is it really possible to openly dismiss moral truth and undermine the perennial teaching of the Church, and then claim to somehow be more perfectly attuned to the priorities of the Church? I hope the answer is obvious.

Focus on the Ultimate Goal

Sadly, those who are most “obsessive” about these issues are those who cannot (or will not) appreciate that the mosaic of the Church's teachings, which beautifully expresses the gospel and provide a map to right living, must be received and viewed in full, without removing those tiles which offend our passions or transgress the wisdom of the current age. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church plainly states, “There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith” (par 89). What Francis has emphasized in this interview is a need for prudence and discernment in recognizing the best way to convey the gospel:

"The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.

I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and ability to meet his people, because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ."

This builds upon what the Church calls the “hierarchy of truths” (CCC 90), the recognition that there is an organic relationship of priority within Church teaching. Truth is truth, but certain doctrines—the Trinity, the Incarnation, the saving work of Jesus Christ—are more foundational and central, and without them, other truths cannot be seen as easily and understood with proper clarity.

Finally, about the Pope's statement, “...I have never been a right-winger.” Anyone who presents this as an open shot at Catholics who opposed “same sex marriage” and “abortion” is being either cynical or foolish. The comment is made within the context of the young Bergoglio being a Jesuit superior; he laments the “authoritarian” methods of governance he used when first appointed to that position within the Order. What is most ridiculous and offensive about James Salt's misuse of the term is that Catholics United is supposedly against the alleged misuse of politics in the name of the Church, yet misuses the very words of the Pope in order to further a political agenda squarely at odds with the Church. As is so often the case, distinguishing between dissenting Catholics and fixated secular journalists can be difficult, although the latter probably have more excuses for their failures.

Near the conclusion of his interview, the Holy Father says, “The thinking of the church must recover genius and better understand how human beings understand themselves today, in order to develop and deepen the church’s teaching.” When I first read John Paul II's Crossing the Threshold of Hope almost twenty years ago, I recognized both genius and a profound understand of what is means to be human. The same is true for the writings and teaching of Benedict XVI, especially (but not limited to) his profound encyclicals on charity and hope.

Pope Francis has his own style, which reflects his unique personality and background, but it is also evident that he has the same central goal as his predecessors: to “proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2).

About the Author

Carl E. Olson

Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

40 Days for Life with Archbishop Sample and Vicar General, Father Peter Smith

Friday September 20: Beaverton 40 Days for Life Vigil.
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Planned Parenthood, SW 1st and Betts, Beaverton.
With Vicar General, Father Peter Smith
The 40 Days for Life campaign is the largest and longest coordinated pro-life mobilization. It is a focused respect-life effort that consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting, and 40 days of peaceful vigils.
Why You Want to Attend: From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person-among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life... Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270, 2271, 2272

Opening Prayer Vigil of 40 Days for Life:
 FRIDAY, SEPT. 27th, 6:30 pm with Archbishop Sample

We're excited to announce that Archbishop Alexander Sample will lead us in prayer, and Dr. Arthur Henry (40 DFL participant) and Students for Life Rebekah Barnes will also be speaking.
This prayer vigil / opening event will be at the Planned Parenthood at 3231 SE 50th (and SE Franklin St, 2 blocks N. of Powell)  
Join us on the sidewalk for uplifting prayer, inspiring speeches, sign-ups to stand vigil and pray during the 40 days, and more!
Please share this email with all of your friends THANK YOU...
Join the Most Visible Part of the Campaign

In just one week 40 Days for Life begins!  Our 40 day vigil at Planned Parenthood begins at 7:30 am on Wednesday, September 25.
Right now we have a few people signed up for that first Wednesday, and none on Thursday, Sept 26th.
If you want to be a part of this most visible aspect of our campaign, you can sign up right now.
Here's how:
2.  Click on "Vigil Schedule" in the second paragraph.
3.  Complete the "New User Sign Up" section.  If you are already registered, just sign in as "Already registered." If you forgot your password, just get a new one.
4.  Go to the vigil schedule and pick a time to come and pray.  If you do not want to come alone, bring a friend or sign up for a slot that is yellow or green - that means at least one other person is already signed up to be there. 

Contact Therese Ruesink at 503 997 1884 ruesinktherese@comcast.net503 
or Randy Stewart at 503 659 7869 for more information.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dissent at Catholic Youth Ministries - Archdiocese of Portland is a "Go" for their November Meeting.

Thanks CPO for this piece.  It is timely for us.  Our Catholic children are running out of heroes and young.   We are being forced to pay or JustFaith with Jack Jezreel and now this for our children
with Robert McCarty.  (Maybe we should invite Duck Dynasty to Oregon?) 

The question so many are asking is "Is anyone vetting these people?" If they are who are they?

Archbishop Sample is new and so doesn't know the circuitous route to hearing the REAL truth for adults and our children and grandchildren.  We don't want anti-Catholic views leading souls away from Holy Mother Church.

Information for all Oregon Catholic Parents/Grandparents.

From Catholic Parents Online from Catholic Media Coalition - Thanks for this article.
Our children/grandchildren are growing up fast in a world that is spinning out of control. They need the shelter and protection of a loving, secure, holy family and our Holy Mother Church. Families have no time nor use for the dissenting and irreverent programs of the Catholic Youth Ministries. Catholics need to speak out against this organization... let your pastors and bishops know that you don't approve. We can do much better... there are other programs that are respectful and orthodox. 
The National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministries (NFCYM) also promotes homosexuality on their website by endorsing the dissenting organization called Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministries. (Note: they do offer the Catholic group, COURAGE as a 2nd option.)
July 19, 2013

Dissent at Catholic Youth Ministries

by Austin Ruse
 Not long after I published my recent column about Robert McCarty and the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministries (NFCYM), I started receiving emails from concerned and in some cases very well informed parents. One of the emails included screen shots from Facebook postings of one of McCarty’s senior employees.

On Facebook this fellow celebrates the recent Supreme Court rulings in favor of homosexual marriage as “historic” and an “affirmation of the love and dignity of all human beings.” In another post he congratulates Rhode Island for legalizing homosexual marriage. To his credit, on his Facebook page he also celebrates the recent pro-life victory in Texas.

There is a certain ho-hum quality to this news. Are we really surprised to find that an employee of a quasi-official Catholic organization is squishy on a key teaching of the Church? Sadly, no.  Dissenters from Church teachings have occupied senior positions in chanceries, rectories, seminaries and certainly in quasi-Church organizations for at least 50 years.

Yet in these days of increasing orthodoxy isn’t it at least a little bit surprising that a senior official of a Catholic organization would flaunt his dissent so publicly?  Some compare Facebook to a cocktail party, others to an office water cooler. But it is even more public than that.  And in this public forum, in front of his boss McCarty who is on Facebook with him, this youth ministry leader felt quite comfortable announcing his dissent from this Catholic teaching that so deeply affects children. Maybe these views are de rigueur at the NFCYM water cooler. Did they all celebrate homosexual marriage after the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions?  Do they know the teachings of the Church on homosexual marriage? More importantly, how do they instruct Catholic youth on the subject?
It makes sense that one of the last redoubts of the failed Church revolution would be youth ministries. As the revolutionaries are driven from the chanceries, rectories and bishops conferences, it makes sense they would remain imbedded in an area with so many impressionable minds and so little adult supervision.

Most of us would not come within a mile of Catholic youth ministries, for a whole host of reasons. It is not for adults, though adults run it. And much of it is simply strange to us. The floridly tattooed Bryan Kemper, who runs a thoroughly solid youth outreach for Priests for Life, says a certain level of excitement is necessary to keep the kids’ attention and I believe him.

While many young people are attracted to the Traditional Latin Mass, many others need something quite different. But, do they need what McCarty’s annual conference offers them?

He regularly features a comedienne who makes fun of—or at least light of—Catholic practices. A campy Christmas skit from a recent NFCYM youth catechist conference featured adults dressed as Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men. While the choir sings Christmas hymns, the Mary character makes periodic comic grimaces, presumably from labor pains, to audience laughter.  Other adults sashay and shimmy on stage until the climax of the skit, when, as the choir crescendos to the words, “This, this is Christ the King,” a man in a bear costume stumbles onto the stage. Hilarity ensues.

The skit was proudly posted on YouTube by the head of an archdiocesan Catholic youth ministry who attended the conference, but after it appeared among the comments of my last column on this topic it has been taken off YouTube—not likely because it is blasphemous, but because shining a spotlight on it is a danger to McCarty’s project.

Most of us steer clear of youth ministry. Other than a sojourn in a Methodist youth singing group called New Faith, so did I. My time in New Faith was mostly about girls. The whole scene was just too touchy feely, and not in the way I sought in those days.

Maybe kids need pop music and silly skits to keep them interested in the Church, but you have to wonder if this is the only way to pass along the faith to kids. And you have to ask if it is working. Look around your Church on Sunday and count the number of teenagers. You will be shocked at the how small the number is. So, you have to wonder if McCarty’s way is really working. After all, he and his have been at this for decades. Yes, he turns out 20,000 for his annual conference, but where are these kids on Sunday? Not in Church.

Not all diocesan Youth Ministry offices are content with the hippy-dippy way. Informed sources tell me the Diocese of Arlington has pulled out of the NFCYM, or at least its annual conference.  There are probably many others.

Other groups offer a different and a better way. Curtis Martin and his Fellowship of Catholic University Students put on an annual conference for several thousand students that is respectful and thoroughly orthodox. His group is growing exponentially. The Steubenville youth conferences draw many thousands of young Catholics, too, where they hear about the love of Christ and the call to purity, chastity, and self-sacrifice.

Scott Hahn, once a charismatic himself, told me the charismatic movement was one lane coming into the church and six going out. What is the calculus for Catholic youth ministries? How many lanes in? How many lanes out?

The next national conference of McCarty’s group is in November in Indianapolis. Let us hope some fearless and faithful videographers attend.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pope Francis' Five Finger Prayer

 foThis helpful way to remember to 
 pray well if stumped was fashioned by Pope Francis before he was pope.

God Bless America and may the Holy Spirit teach us to pray for peace.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Syria Crisis: al-Qaeda Seizes Village That Still Speaks the Ancient Language of Christ


A branch of al-Qaeda fighting in the Syrian civil war has seized one of the few remaining villages where the original language of Christ is still spoken, residents say.

 By , Beirut and Magdy Samaan
Fighting raged through the picturesque mountain village of Maaloula, near Damascus, on Thursday, as the regime launched a counter-attack against the rebels.

"They entered the main square and smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary," said one resident of the area, speaking by phone and too frightened to give his name. "They shelled us from the nearby mountain. Two shells hit the St Thecla convent."

Maaloula, tucked into the honey-coloured cliffs of a mountain range north of Damascus and on a "tentative" list of applicants for Unesco world heritage status, is associated with the earliest days of Christianity.

St Thecla, who is supposedly buried in the convent, was a follower of St Paul who fled to the village in Syria to avoid marriage, having taken an oath of chastity. It is said that the cleft of rock in which the convent is placed opened up to allow her to escape her pursuers.

The inhabitants are mostly Melkite Greek Catholic and Orthodox Christians, but have historically lived peacefully alongside a Sunni Muslim minority. It is one of only three places in the world where Western Aramaic, a dialect of the language spoken by Christ, is still used.
Until recently, the town had managed to remain mostly unaffected by the civil war that has already claimed more than 100,000 lives. A visit by The Daily Telegraph last year found it ringed by government checkpoints but suffering from the lack of pilgrims and tourists who are normally vital to its economy.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, rebel groups, a mix of the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra and the more moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA), attacked with full force.

"First they took a brick factory owned by a Christian guy, who is now missing," said the
 resident. "Then at around 5.30am, a car bomb detonated at the checkpoint at the entrance to the village.

"Some of the rebels entered a home near the checkpoint belonging to Yousef Haddad, a Christian. They tried to force him to convert to Islam."

A nun living in a convent in the village told the Associated press that 27 orphans living in the convent were taken to nearby caves for shelter.

Video footage posted on YouTube showed rebel fighters on a pick up truck with an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the back firing erratically from inside the mountain town.

Christians, who make up approximately 10 per cent of Syria's population, have increasingly become targets in the conflict as sectarian-minded foreign jihadists gain influence in the opposition ranks.

Almost a third of the Syriac Christian population has fled the rebel-held northern town of Hassakeh after Christians became targets for kidnappings and assassinations.

Mousab Abu Qatada, a spokesman for the FSA in Damascus and the Damascus suburbs, denied that the attack on Maaloula had been sectarian.

"We are trying to protect the minorities and the holy sites of Syria. We promise to protect it against the criminal regime," he said.

Residents said the rebels had been pushed back to Safir hotel in the mountains, where they had been based since March this year.

The resident said: "They have been annoying the Christian people of the village since then. A Christian farmer cannot go up there to his land unless he is accompanied by a Muslim resident of the village."

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pope Francis Calls For Peace In Syria, Announces Worldwide Day Of Fasting On September 7, 2013

Pope Francis Calls For Peace In Syria, Announces Worldwide Day Of Fasting On                    Saturday. September 7, 2013 

"Brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.On 7 September, in Saint Peter's Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God's great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention." Pope Francis