Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Defending Our Conscience

Defending Our Conscience

          Most Catholics find themselves in a very difficult position due to Mr. Obama’s HHS mandate requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs.  One Catholic company, Hercules Industries, has won a court injunction, but the administration is now appealing it.
          We are being persecuted by our President in an unprecedented way, and many of us refuse to sit back and take it.  Working at a Catholic school, the options I will face next year are either not being offered insurance, or the actual shut-down of the school, resulting in losing my job.  Either way, I will be at the mercy of the President’s individual mandate, which will require me to violate my conscience or face crippling fines.  Our greatest hope, of course, is Obama’s defeat this November.  However, Catholics are fighting back in another way as well, by providing an ethical alternative to those of us unwilling to cow to the President’s bullying.
          The past two years my health insurance premiums have gone through the roof.  Last year, tired of rising health costs causing me to go backwards every year financially, I decided to consider opting out of my employer’s health plan and searching for alternatives.  Obamacare’s individual mandate makes that particularly difficult, but I did find an option that I hoped would be a solution: a medical sharing plan.
          Medical sharing plans are not insurance, but they are a pool of people who pay into a shared pot, which is then disbursed to members with medical expenses, to pay for their costs.  Ultimately, such plans feel like insurance in that you pay a monthly premium and then submit a claim when you have an expense.
          There are many benefits to such plans.  Often, they are cheaper than actual insurance.  They are generally Christian companies and operate with Christian principles.  Many doctors are familiar with medical sharing plans and will accept patients who have them.  In fact, because it works like private pay, with lower overhead and hassle, sometimes care will be offered at a discount.  There is also usually an opportunity for families to provide extra funds specifically set aside for the needs of the poor.
          These plans do have their limitations as well.  It is imperative that a person planning on participating find out what is and is not covered.  There is more leg work involved because the member generally must submit his own claim.  And there are doctors who may be a little gun shy, especially with the new regulations associated with Obamacare.
          There were two reasons my family opted not to participate in a medical sharing plan last year.  The first was the needs of one of our sons which would not be covered, and out of pocket would cost us more than our regular insurance.  Second, most of these plans require members to sign a “statement of faith,” and all but one were specifically Protestant.
          However, the stakes have been raised by the HHS mandate, and a solution may be on the horizon. 
          Solidarity Health Share is a medical sharing plan based on Catholic principles.  There will be no Protestant statement of faith and it will not bow to the President’s demands.  The company is still being formed and hopes to begin operations early in 2013.  At the web site, you can sign up for updates on the progress and even donate to the financial needs of creating the company.
          The plan promises to cover pre-existing conditions, as well as maternity, and aims to be less expensive than traditional insurance.  Also, it is currently working out the legalities of ensuring that it does not fall under the requirements of the HHS mandate, but does fulfill Obamacare’s individual mandate.  Developments are certainly worth keeping a close eye on.
          In this time of persecution, this type of defiance and creativity is what we need.  We need to pour our talents and energy into developing opportunities for Catholics to live authentic lives of faith in an anti-Catholic culture.  Please carefully research and support Solidarity Health Share.  And let’s pray for a return to sanity in our government and in our culture.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Who do You Say that I Am?

Who Do You Say That I Am?

This question is the fundamental question of life.  Who is Jesus Christ?  We have reached a point at which much of our culture gets it wrong.  I wrote in a previous article about the “enlightened view” that Jesus was a “good spiritual teacher,” and why that position is the only one we are not left with the option of holding.

Once we have gotten our relativist friend or family members to acknowledge the reality of God’s existence, they have to confront the question of Jesus Christ.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen walks his students through a step-by-step approach to Jesus, starting from the perspective of a nonbeliever.

First, he says, we line up side by side everyone who has come, claiming to be from God.  The founders of the major world religions will be there.  We will have Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus and others, and we will not hold one above another.  They will all be submitted, without prejudice, to certain tests.

The first, says Archbishop Sheen, is that if someone were to be sent by God, we should expect that person to be pre-announced.  So we ask all the claimants, “Have you been pre-announced?  Was your birth expected before it happened?  Did we know that you were coming, what you would be teaching, how you would die, or why?”

Which has been pre-announced?  Only one can step forward.  No one knew that Buddha was coming.  There were no prophecies about the birth of Mohammed or the teachings of Confucius.  But Jesus is a different story.  In the Old Testament there are over 300 prophecies about the life, teachings and death of Our Lord.

At this point we do not treat the Old Testament as inspired writings.  They are merely historical documents thus far.  But it is undeniable that these documents were written hundreds of years before Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth.  They contain these 300 prophecies about a man to be sent from God.  And these prophecies have been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.  We can historically verify this fact for many of them, looking at the information we have as merely a student of history and not yet with the eyes of faith.

Archbishop Sheen presents this argument, from the perspective of the nonbeliever, so that we can follow it, using only our intellect, and analyzing only historical fact, to show that it leads to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was pre-announced, was expected by the People of God, and must have been sent by God.

The other claimants lined up with Christ must step aside, and we now hold Jesus apart.  Archbishop Sheen goes through two other supports for Our Lord’s divine origin, the next being the many miracles He performed as signs that validated His claims.  Finally, as we look at His teachings, we can see that although some of them may be above human reason, none of them are opposed to it.

These are the types of questions and evidences our relativistic society has to confront when it comes to Jesus Christ.  To go on with conveniently conceived, politically correct, academic approaches to the Person of Jesus without answering the vast proofs about Who He really is, is dishonest.  Many of our agnostic friends have never really given the issue much thought, and we can do them a great service by just encouraging them to approach the question, “Who do you say that I am?” with humility and honesty.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Priests For Life Election Prayer

Priests For Life Election Prayer

O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord,
Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.
We thank you for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to You.
We thank you for your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.
We thank you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.
Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation,
Their response to you requires that they be politically active.
Awaken your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.
Awaken them to realize that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer
Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth,
That the same eyes that read your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.
Awaken your people to a commitment to justice
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin,
And not one moment later.
Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of your kingdom.
May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.



I have been getting more and more frustrated with the scandalous bias with which most “mainstream” media outlets have been reporting on the Presidential election.  However, credit must be given where credit is due.  CNN has taken a lot of heat for releasing the journal of deceased ambassador Chris Stevens (may he rest in peace).  The journal reveals that Ambassador Stevens feared he was on an Al-Qaeda hit list and was concerned with the lack of security at the consulate.  CNN reported the story even though it raises grave questions about the level of security provided to American officials overseas, especially on September 11.  The state department is furious with CNN, but the network is not backing down.  Surprisingly impressive.