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No Other Issue Has Made Us More Dishonest and Less Free

—from Sex, family and the liberty of the Church by Archbishop Charles Chaput at the University of Notre Dame on September 15, 2016 (Emphasis in BOLD was added by The Five Minute Catholic.)

We now live in a country where marriage, family and traditional religion all seem to be failing.  And — inevitably — support for democracy itself has dropped.  Fewer than 30 percent of U.S. millennials think that it’s vital to live in a nation ruled democratically.  Nearly a quarter of those born in the 1980s or later see democracy as a bad way to run a country.  And nearly half of Americans surveyed feel that experts, not government, should “make decisions according to what they think is best for the country.”  Undemocratic feelings have risen especially among the wealthy.[3]

This didn’t happen overnight.  And it didn’t happen by accident.  We behaved ourselves into this mess by living a collection of lies.  And the essence of those lies is summed up in the so-called “mystery clause” of the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey Supreme Court decision upholding the Roe vs. Wade abortion decision.

Writing for the majority in Casey, Justice Anthony Kennedy claimed that “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”  This is the perfect manifesto of a liberal democratic fantasy: the sovereign, self-creating self.  But it’s a lie.  It’s the very opposite of real Christian freedom.  And to the degree we excuse or cooperate with it, we make ourselves liars.

The Gospel of John reminds us that the truth, and only the truth, makes us free.  We’re fully human and free only when we live under the authority of the truth.  And in that light, no issue has made us more dishonest and less free as believers and as a nation than abortion. People uncomfortable with the abortion issue argue, quite properly, that Catholic teaching is bigger than just one issue.  Other urgent issues also need our attention.  Being pro-birth is not the same as being pro-life.  And being truly “pro-life” doesn’t end with defending the unborn child.

But it does and it must begin there.  To borrow some words from one of Notre Dame’s distinguished alumni: Abortion has been “the beachhead for an entire ethic that is hostile to life, hostile to marriage and, as we see from the [HHS] contraceptive mandate, increasingly hostile to religion, religious Americans and religious institutions.”[4]  Abortion poisons everything.  There can never be anything “progressive” in killing an unborn child, or standing aside tolerantly while others do it.

In every abortion, an innocent life always dies.  This is why no equivalence can ever exist between the intentional killing involved in abortion, infanticide and euthanasia on the one hand, and issues like homelessness, the death penalty and anti-poverty policy on the other.  Again, all of these issues are important.  But trying to reason or imply them into having the same moral weight is a debasement of Christian thought.

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A Quote From Mother Teresa About the Future

What are your plans for the future?

I just take one day. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today to love Jesus.

—Mother Teresa, from a 1988 interview with Time magazine which was reprinted by The National Catholic Register

 

 

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Mother Angelica and Our Work

In Mother Angelica’s book Mother Angelica’s Answers, Not Promises, she relates a time when she ended up on the wrong plane and landed in California rather than her intended destination in New York. “It was a perfectly good plane,” she recounted,  “but it wasn’t my plane.”  Using this example, Mother Angelica explained that there is a lot of perfectly good work to be done, but is it our work?  The only way to find out is by spending time with God so he can direct us accordingly — relationship before actions.

—from the blog post How Doing Things For God Can Drive Us From Him by Patti Armstrong at The National Catholic Register

 

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If you want to stop sinning…

If you want to stop sinning, commit yourself to never stop praying.
—St. Teresa of Avila

(Not sure where the above quote comes from, but I heard Bishop Andrew Cozzens mention it in a video on prayer for a Catholic Watchmen event, and then when unsuccessfully searching online for the source, I also saw it listed in Fr. Park’s Top 10 Quotes About Prayer.)

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But we cannot pray “at all times” if we do not pray at specific times…

—from The Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 2697

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The Only Answers Are at the Foot of the Cross

I believe without doubt that this nation, as well as the rest of the world, is under satanic assault. Time was, Old Scratch hid himself behind the lie that he didn’t exist, that the devil and all his works were dark fairy tells used to scare adult children. The devil hid and worked entirely through people to do his work.

But lately, he’s been stepping from behind the curtain and taking off his mask. Satan is appearing as himself and his followers are unashamed to say his name.

At the same time, more and more of Jesus’ “followers” avoid saying His name. They carefully edit their speech to avoid offending anyone who might not want to hear the name of Jesus spoken out loud.

I care about this. And I know the cure. We have to follow Christ.

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How far down do we have to go before Christians learn that the only answers are at the foot of the cross? What will it take to make them forsake the false idols of party politics?

I am trying, as hard as I can, to stand up again, to rejoin the fight. But I know that I will never again see things the way I did before. We must love one another. And we must forgive one another. And we must follow Jesus without any equivocation.

If you want to follow Him, go home. Go home to your family and your loved ones and take care of them. Cherish the people who cherish you. If He wants you to do more than that, He’ll tell you.

But rest assured, so long as your heart is full of hatred and you are placing your faith in partisan politics to convert the world, you are not following Jesus.

—from the blog post Cancer Has Taught Me the Cure: We Have to Follow Christ by Rebecca Hamilton

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The Right to Life Cannot Be Contextualized

For Catholics, no political or social issue stands in isolation.  But neither are all pressing issues equal in foundational importance or gravity.  The right to life undergirds all other rights and all genuine social progress.  It cannot be set aside or contextualized in the name of other “rights” or priorities without prostituting the whole idea of human dignity.

—Archbishop Charles Chaput, from Some personal thoughts on the months ahead

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There is no other book that allows this kind of communication with God.

In A Catholic Guide to the Bible, Father Oscar Lukefahr says, “Each time we open the Bible, we dial God’s number. When we pick up the Bible, God says, ‘Hello.’”

Let’s go deep:

“When we pick up the Bible, God, who is not limited by time or space, speaks to us through the same words as those addressed to Abraham, to Moses, or to the prophets. When we pick up the Bible, Jesus speaks to us here and now, just as truly as he spoke to the apostles two thousand years ago…

It invites us to to seek our further spiritual meanings that can allow God to speak to us personally…God’s words in the Bible invite a response. We respond in prayer. We read God’s words, then talk to God as we would to any friend…

We read until we come to a phrase that challenges us to a decision, then make a resolution based on what God has spoken to us. There is no other book that allows this kind of communication with God.”

—from the blog post What Mike Pence Missed: Jesus “Speaks” to Catholics, Too by Cynthia Dagnal-Myron

Also:

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, he said, “I began to meet young men and women who talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And while I cherish my Catholic upbringing and the foundation that it poured in my faith, that had not been a part of my experience.”

Really?

Who were all those saints talking to, then? The sacred stenographers, like St. Faustina, who took down every sacred word they heard and passed them all along to us? And St. Pio of Pietrelcina, our beloved “Padre Pio,” who was seeing and talking to Jesus before the age of five, according to his parents?

You want intimacy? St. Catherine of Siena experienced a “mystical marriage” to Jesus at 21, in which Jesus placed a bejeweled ring—invisible to all save his bride—on her finger. Her devotee, St. Rosa of Lima, would do nothing unless her holy “Husband” gave her permission.