Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Fathers Speak: Eusebius

The Fathers Speak:

          The fourth century bishop Eusebius was a biblical scholar, but is today best known for his History of the Church.  Eusebius’s History gives us great insight into the early Church and is particularly important because it helps us establish the continuity of our Tradition through the period before the first Council of Nicea.
          The following excerpts give insights into the lives of the Apostles after Pentecost, as well as the composition of Mark’s Gospel and the First Letter of Peter.
          But such a great light of religion shone on the minds of those who heard Peter, that they were not satisfied to hear only once, nor with the unwritten teaching of the divine proclamation; but with every possible plea they besought Mark, whose Gospel is extant, since he was Peter’s follower, to leave behind also a written statement of the teaching which had been given to them orally…and in this way they became the cause of the Scripture called the Gospel According to Mark...
          It is said that Peter’s first Epistle, in which he makes mention of Mark, was composed in Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon…They say that this Mark was the first to be sent to preach in Egypt the Gospel which, indeed, he had written, and that he was the first to establish churches in Alexandria itself…
          The holy Apostles and disciples of the Savior, however, were scattered throughout the whole world.  Thomas, as tradition holds, received Parthia by lot; Andrew, Scythia;…Peter, however, seems to have preached to the Jews in the diaspora in the Pontus and in Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and in Asia; and at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head downwards, the manner in which he himself had thought it fitting to suffer…
          After the martyrdom of Paul ad Peter, Linus was the first appointed to the episcopacy of the church at Rome.  Paul, writing to Timothy, mentions him in the salutation at the end of the Epistle.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Urgent Action Needed! Contact your Senators!

Urgent Action Needed!

Contact your Senators!


Senator Harry Reid has decided to bring a treaty, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, up for vote this week.  It is important for all of us to contact our senators and urge them not to ratify this treaty.  Despite its attractive title, the treaty effectively supplants parents with government in deciding the best way to care for their children with disabilities.  This is never a good thing and is actually gravely destructive.  Many people also see the treaty as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

Please take a little time to learn about the treaty and encourage your senators not to ratify it.  Rick Santorum’s Patriot Voices has been working very hard to protect us from it, and is a good source of information.  Mr. Santorum, of course, is an advocate for children with disabilities and the father of a child with Trisomy 18.  You can also watch the video below for some perspective on the treaty.

Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

You can also find your senators’ contact information at:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Free Catholic Online Course

Free Catholic Online Course

Yesterday I wrote about the problem of Catholic schools with identity crises.  One school that suffers no such crisis is John Paul the Great University in San Diego.  In honor of the Year of Faith proclaimed by the Holy Father, John Paul the Great is offering a free online course on Catholicism for anyone who is interested.
It could not be easier to participate in.  Simply go the Web site and sign in.  Then you can begin.  There are 13 different sessions, each containing a half-hour video lecture, some reading material and a short quiz.  You can spend as much or as little time as you’d like each time you log in, and go completely at your own pace.  When you finish, you receive a certificate of completion.  And it is absolutely free.
It is great for anyone wishing to brush up on basic knowledge of the Faith, or for certification hours if you teach religion.  (I will be receiving 13 content hours without having to leave my home.)  It is also wonderful for people who are not Catholic or not even religious.  The series begins with basic philosophy, then touches on the issues of God, Jesus, revelation, the Church, the sacraments, moral theology, and prayer.  It is created very systematically and fosters an understanding of the content in the Catechism.  I can not recommend this gift offered by a great Catholic university highly enough.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What to Do with Dissenting Catholic Schools?

What to Do with
Dissenting Catholic Schools?

It’s no secret that there are a number of Catholic institutions – schools, hospitals, charities – that have some problem with being Catholic.  They’re often happy to have the name, prestige and money that come from Church support, but they want nothing to do with actually operating by Catholic principles.
This is why Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix is one of my heroes.  When St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix’s ethics committee approved an abortion and persisted in defending that decision, which clearly violated the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, Bishop Olmsted severed the hospital’s ties with the Church and declared that it can no longer be considered a Catholic facility.
The problem is far worse in Catholic education.  Professors in Catholic higher education, particularly theology professors, are supposed to receive a mandatum, an assurance that they are teaching in accord with Catholic religious and moral teaching.  However, especially since the “Land O’ Lakes Statement” in 1967, at which many Catholic institutions of higher education declared academic freedom as an excuse to ignore Church teaching, the mandatum requirement is often ignored.
In many cases, Catholic universities refuse to disclose which theology professors have received the mandatum from their bishop, leaving parents and students completely in the dark regarding the authenticity of the “Catholic education” for which they are spending tens of thousands of dollars, or more.  (Note: The Cardinal Newman Society produces great information about which universities (and even high schools) are authentically Catholic.  More on that later in the week.)
My natural inclination would be to do what Bishop Olmsted did at St. Joseph’s.  If it is impossible to completely clean house, then cut the ties between the university and the Church.  No more masquerading as Catholic, and violating the Second Commandment in doing so; no more deceiving Catholic families that place their trust in these schools.
But I heard an interesting opinion on the other side, most notably argued by Catholic writer Phil Lawler.  He suggests that we should not sever the relationship between Church and dissident school because as long as the Church still has the school, there is hope for reform and renewal.  If we can return these schools to their Catholic heritage, they can be a force for cultural change.  If we cut ties, they become secular wastelands.
It is an interesting point that caused me to rethink my position and give the issue more consideration.  However, while I still see the merits in the argument, I have personally returned to my original opinion.
A look at the news this past year gives indication as to why.  Barack Obama has launched an attack on religious freedom, specifically aimed at the Church.  As the bishops have fought for our liberties, and millions of Catholics have stood up to be heard, we have been fed statistics meant to make the issue seem like a non-issue, and make the bishops look like a bunch of stodgy men totally out of touch with everyday Catholics.
We are told how many Catholics use contraception or disagree with Church teaching on the issue.  We hear that abortion and sterilization are not major issues for most Catholics.  And we are treated to statements from dissenting “theologians” that seem to support those “facts.”
As Catholics, we are not taken seriously in the United States – not by the government, not by our fellow Christians, not by unbelievers, not even by ourselves.  We have blended in.  We vote like everyone else, we live like everyone else, and we sin like everyone else.  “Catholic” is a box we check on demographic surveys, but it is not considered a characteristic that can predict who we really are.
This has to change.  We are members of the Body of Christ; we are His bride; we have been blessed with His Faith.  And we have become a joke. 
I heard (faithful) Catholic professor Michael Barber encourage a group of people not to feel hopeless about our culture because 2,000 years ago the Roman Empire was mired in the Culture of Death more than the United States is now, and it was transformed by the Catholic Church.  He made a good point, but in the first few Christian centuries, the Church spoke with one voice.  It still does, as far as her teachings go, but we now have a cacophony of dissenting voices drowning out the Lord, whereas the earliest Catholics literally died to be faithful.
That is why I think the pretenders need to go.  There are certainly wonderful professors, priests and administrators at all these schools, but it is the theology professor who expends his energy undermining Humanae Vitae that makes the HHS mandate possible.  It is the school president who schedules pro-homosexual marriage plays that is leading the charge to redefine marriage.  It is the Catholic authors who knowingly attack the Church’s position on human life that have the blood of millions on their hands.
If we want to be relevant, we don’t have to be bigger; we have to be consistent.  If Catholic schools don’t want to be Catholic, let them go.  When we stand together for something, for Christ, then we will be able to make a difference.  Until then, there is no “Catholic voice” in the United States.  It’s just noise.  At least that’s my opinion.
Thank God for our courageous bishops who have not backed down in the face of this most urgent threat.  And as always, my position about cutting loose non-Catholic Catholic schools is a matter of responding to the sin, not judging the sinner.  Regardless of what one thinks we should do about dissenting universities, the one thing we can all agree on is that we must pray for them.  

God of truth, convert the hearts of dissenting theologians, give clarity to the minds of Catholics who refuse to listen to the teaching You have given Your Church, turn all Catholic institutions into lights that can lead our culture back to You, and convert my own stubborn heart so that I might never contradict the Truth I believe with my life.  Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Note: I will be visiting family this week and will not be posting again until Monday, November 26.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Final Word on Fraud

Follow Up:
A Final Word on Fraud

          Although I think it’s time to change the subject on this blog, I hope that the efforts to get to the truth about the election do not end, and that the struggle for electoral integrity in general will remain a priority.
This link is very useful because it offers a bullet-point presentation of the many suspected instances of fraud in last week’s election.  We have a very short window of time to take action on this, and most of our elected officials seem unwilling to take the risk.  It is up to us to keep the pressure on.  Contact as many as you can, and encourage others to do the same.
          I finally got through to someone in Pennsylvania, which had been the toughest state for me.  I was told there were no specific allegations of fraud, and when I asked about the suspiciously abnormal numbers for Barack Obama in many urban districts, I was told they weren’t so suspicious.  That includes the 59 districts in which Obama beat Romney roughly 20,000 to zero.  In 2008 there were 57 such districts.  Of course, in 2004 there were only 5 for John Kerry.  I still find those numbers totally unrealistic, especially considering that in the "most anti-Obama county in the country," King County, Texas, Mr. Obama managed to get five votes out of only 145 cast.  But I’ll admit to not being an expert.
          I continue to make no specific accusations, as I have no proof of unlawful activity.  I simply want the questions to be asked and answered.
          One thing we do know is that there was massive registration fraud in many states, which makes any election vulnerable.  Presumably, many (if not all) the people involved acted of their own accord or in small groups in perpetrating the fraud, but it brings to the fore the absolute necessity of voter ID laws.  Every Republican, and really every honest American interested in the integrity of our system, should fight for these laws in all 50 states, certainly before 2016.  Even when this election’s dust has settled, that issue must not be pushed aside.
          And most importantly of all, we Catholics must be prepared to keep fighting, even more intensely, for the causes most immediately at risk: life, marriage, and religious freedom.  And we must be ever-vigilant regarding future threats.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Link - The Real Problem

Link – The Real Problem

I’ve long said that I don’t want anyone who doesn’t believe in hell to serve in any level of government.  At the link below, Fr. John Ehrich makes a compelling argument that the lack of belief in the supernatural is the real problem at the root of our societal evils.