Monday, August 24, 2015

Tens of thousands protest at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country

Hundreds of demonstrations were held outside of Planned Parenthood clinics across the U.S. this weekend with protesters calling on the federal government to stop funding the abortion giant.  

After videos were released last month showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing their fetal tissue donation program in graphic detail, the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League called on a national day of protest.

Eric Scheidler, the group’s executive director, said that “with 240 out of 342 cities reporting” over 58,000 people turned out to protest Aug. 22.

“Great day! Except for Planned Parenthood!” he tweeted that evening.

READ MORE AT CNA !

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Archbishop Charles Chaput speaks out on Abortion


Out of CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY ....

Of the many struggles plaguing modern society, none can be equated with the blatant taking of innocent human lives, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said regarding the latest investigative videos of Planned Parenthood.

“Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning. On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst. There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very confused conscience would equate thieving and homicide,” he said in his
August 10 column for Catholic Philly.

“Both are serious matters. But there is no equivalence. The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act. No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure that.”

In a series of five videos released thus far by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood officials casually discuss prices for various aborted baby body parts and how abortion procedures may be altered to ensure intact organs and even “intact cadavers.” One video shows a medical assistant looking through body parts from an aborted baby before proclaiming, “Another boy!”

The videos have raised questions of whether the organization is harvesting and selling organs from aborted babies.

Planned Parenthood has maintained that its actions are legal. However, the videos have prompted widespread outrage, nationwide rallies, congressional investigations and calls to defund the organization, which receives more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer money annually.

While today’s world is filled with many social ills – which are connected and must all be acknowledged and addressed – there is a natural hierarchy to these problems, because some are foundational to human life itself, Archbishop Chaput said.

One common argument against the pro-life movement – of which Catholics make up a large contingent – is that they are merely pro-birth; they do not care about the needs of the child or the mother once the child has been born. That understanding is mistaken, the archbishop commented.

“It makes no sense to champion the cause of unborn children if we ignore their basic needs once they’re born,” he said. “Thus it’s no surprise that – year in and year out – nearly all Catholic dioceses in the United States, including Philadelphia, devote far more time, personnel and material resources to providing social services to the poor and education to young people than to opposing abortion.”

The Catholic Church is one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. Although it is difficult to quantify exactly what percentage of social services are rendered by the Church in the United States every year, a 2013 report by Forbes ranked Catholic Charities alone as number five in the nation. And this doesn't account for other Catholic charitable organizations such as Christ in the City, St. Vincent de Paul societies, and soup kitchens or other charities run by religious orders or local parishes. 

However, it is correct to prioritize the right to life as the foundation for all other rights, Archbishop Chaput noted.

“But of course, children need to survive the womb before they can have needs like food, shelter, immigration counseling and good health care.  Humanity’s priority right – the one that undergirds all other rights – is the right to life,” he said.

And while being opposed to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse anyone from caring about other social injustices, such a poverty and violence, there is a right ordering of moral priorities, Archbishop Chaput said, which is the reason the United States’ bishops released their 1998 pastoral letter, “Living the Gospel of Life.”

“Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care . . . But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. 

Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community” (Living the Gospel of Life pp. 22).

Another common argument against the mainstream pro-life movement is that politics can never provide a solution to the problem of abortion, and therefore political involvement is a waste of time.

“In practice, politics is the application of moral conviction to public discourse and the process of lawmaking. Law not only constrains and defends; it also teaches and forms. Law not only reflects culture; it shapes and reshapes it. That’s why Christians can’t avoid political engagement,” Archbishop Chaput said.

While political action is never the main focus or goal of faith, Christians have a duty to defend life that “inescapably involves politics.”

“Thus the recent Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood was not only right and timely, but necessary. And the failure of that measure involves a public failure of character by every Catholic senator who voted against it,” he said.

At the end of his statement, Archbishop Chaput urged everyone to read “veteran ‘pro-choice’ voice” Ruben Navarette, Jr.’s
August 10th column in the Daily Beast, in which he honestly questions his pro-abortion stance after his revulsion at what is shown in the videos.

The column’s strongest lines, Archbishop Chaput said, are when Navarette quotes his pro-life wife.

“Those are babies that are being killed. Millions of them. And you need to use your voice to protect them. That’s what a man does. He protects children – his own children, and other children. That’s what it means to be a man.”

Archbishop Chaput’s response: “Amen.”



Sunday, August 2, 2015

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2015


Out of "VATICAN RADIO"

Pope Francis has urged the faithful to look beyond material needs and turn to Jesus who is.....

                                            “the Bread of Life”

The Pope’s words came as he addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus.Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of the crowd that went looking for Jesus, not because they saw the signs but because they had eaten the loaves of bread and were filled, Pope Francis pointed out that those people gave more value to the bread than to He who gave them the bread.

He explained that before this spiritual blindness, Jesus highlights the need to look beyond the gift and discover the giver. God himself – the Pope said – is the gift and is also the giver.

Jesus invites us – the Pope continued – to be open to a perspective which is not only that of daily preoccupation and material needs; Jesus speaks to us of a different kind of food, food which is not corruptible and that we must search for and welcome into our lives.

He exhorts us not to work for food that perishes but “for the food that endures for eternal life which the Son of Man will give us” he said.

With these words – Pope Francis continued  – He wants us to understand that beyond a physical hunger, man has a different kind of hunger – “we all have this hunger” – a more important kind of hunger that cannot be satisfied with ordinary food.

“It is the hunger for life – the hunger for eternity – that only He can satisfy because He is the bread of life” he said.

And pointing out that the true meaning of our earthly existence is to be found at the end, in eternity, Pope Francis said that to be open to meeting Jesus every day of our lives will illuminate our lives and give meaning to small gifts, sufferings and preoccupations.

And quoting from the Gospel of John, the Pope said “Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst”.

“This – he said – refers to the Eucharist, the greatest gift that fulfills body and soul”.

To meet and to welcome Jesus, “the bread of life” – Pope Francis concluded – gives meaning and hope to our lives that are sometimes tortuous; but this “bread of life” – he said – also gives us the duty to satisfy the spiritual and material needs of our brothers.

To do this – he said- we must announce the Gospel everywhere, and with the witness of a fraternal attitude of solidarity towards our neighbor, we can make Christ and his love present amongst men.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Psalm 18 (19) The Glory of God

The skies tell the story of the glory of God,
  the firmament proclaims the work of his hands;
day pours out the news to day,
  night passes to night the knowledge.
  

Not a speech, not a word,
  not a voice goes unheard.
Their sound is spread throughout the earth,
  their message to all the corners of the world.
 
 
At the ends of the earth he has set up
  a dwelling place for the sun.
Like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
  it rejoices like an athlete at the race to be run.
It appears at the edge of the sky,
  runs its course to the sky’s furthest edge.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
 
 
 
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
 
 

Friday, July 17, 2015

St. Joseph's Abbey Stained Glass Window

 
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
God favored me, His lowly servant,
and from this day
all generations will call me
blessed.
 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"My Ideas About Nuns Were So Wrong." by Danielle Medearis - from The Litttle Sisters of the Poor Blog


Here is a wonderful witness to the Little Sisters of the Poor, written by Danielle Medearis.

**** I pulled the article out of the:

LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR BLOG

I’m not sure exactly where the vague preconceived image of religious life I possessed before coming to work as an intern this summer at the Jeanne Jugan Residence (Bronx, NY) originated, but after a month here, the one thing I’m positive of is it was quite wrong. Perhaps from a combination of old movies, Sister Act, and the Sound of Music, my idea of a nun before traveling to the Bronx to work with the Little Sisters of the Poor was a woman with a solemn face, grave eyes, constantly carrying around a ruler and reminding others not to sing in the abbey.

This idea was quite wrong.

From the moment the Little Sisters picked me up, discussing traffic problems in New York accents and shaking their heads at the construction they had had to get through on the Whitestone Bridge, I understood that I really had no idea what the true nature of religious life was like. My summer here with the Sisters has taught me it is one of profound joy. Rather than a life of restriction and sacrifice of freedom, the Sisters here live as freely as anyone I’ve ever met. They possess true freedom, which is the ability to not simply do what you want, but to be able to do what you ought.

To me they seem to have this radiating joy, which touches everyone around them and gives them, too, a taste of this freedom par excellence. People become better around the Sisters — happier, kinder, and more prone to charity. It’s like you can see God’s love flowing out of them into the lives of those they come in contact with, and from there you just watch as that Love transforms. I had the privilege of going to the Hunt’s Point produce market with the sisters this past week, and it was lovely observing the faces of the men who gave freely and regularly to the Sisters when they approached, and equally lovely to see the Sisters speak to the men with such affection and personal attention. Some men asked for prayers, some joked that they hoped this extra box of food would help propel them to heaven, and some welcomed the Sisters with a laugh saying, “Look it’s my best customers!” (The Sisters, as part of the order, beg for food for their residents, so all of the men whom they did business with were providing the food for free). The sisters may not have given anything of monetary value to these men, but it would be a completely untrue statement to say they did not receive anything from the Little Sisters, because the Love of God was flowing through them at every stop; you could tell immediately when it reached the men, because their faces just lit up.

For some reason I had it in my head that the sisters would not laugh much, and be quite serious most of the time, but instead they laugh at everything, and are constantly joking around and kidding with one another. Sharing meals with them has become a weekly highlight for me, because they remind me so much of my family at home during dinner, discussing the day and telling jokes, recalling past funny stories. Strange and simple as it is, what struck me strongly during my first few days with the sisters was how, well, normal they were. They did regular people things like play card games and drink coffee and eat chocolate cake, and they didn’t seem like they were deprived of any happiness; quite the opposite, the sisters have happiness in everything.

I think that’s again part of the freer, not less free, discovery I made.

Being around so many living conduits of God’s love and compassion, it’s no surprise that I’ve enjoyed my time here thus far at Jeanne Jugan Residence. Each day brings new opportunities to practice this art of letting God shines through in every action you do, in having joy in every small task you undertake (and I undertake many, many small tasks). And due to the fact that I find most of my days are devoted to the task of finding more ways to put joy and love into them, I think it’s no surprise that I am happily looking forward to the rest of my time here.

*** As you may be aware, the Little Sisters of the Poor are under attack by our own government, who wishes them to deny their faith. This attack is on all Christians - and all good fair minded citizens of these United States.  Let us pray for these beautiful sisters, these holy instruments of God.