As I mentioned last week, it’s grand to see our bishops standing up to be counted on the side of Christ. More and more of them are giving an unflinchingly direct public witness to the truth on a range of issues, in particular the life issues that are at the center of this country’s culture war.
The incoming Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome Listecki, for example, has just come out publicly with a ringing affirmation of the truth of Catholic teaching about contraception — i.e., that it’s a serious sin and no Catholic in good conscience can willfully contracept— this in response to yet another goofball pro-abortion front group which styles itself “Young Catholics for Choice.”
Recommendation: Say a few prayers for strength and guidance for Archbishop-designate Listecki today. Better yet, offer your rosary intention for him (and also for those pro-abortion extremists he’s trying to talk sense to).
MILWAUKEE, December 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The incoming Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome Listecki, has responded to a campaign by “Young Catholics for Choice” to promote use of contraception and abortion among Catholic youth.
Using media advertising the group is, says the Archbishop-Designate, “attempting to convey the message that Catholics can disregard Church teaching regarding contraception, abortion and human sexuality in general and remain Catholics in good standing.” However, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“While people can call themselves whatever they want, it is my duty as a bishop to state clearly and unequivocally that by professing and disseminating views in grave contradiction to Catholic teaching, members of organizations like ‘Young Catholics for Choice’ in fact disown their Catholic heritage, tragically distancing themselves from that communion with the Church to which they are called,” added the archbishop.
Using language first employed by Catholic dissenters to Humanae Vitae, YCFC calls on Catholics to use an “informed conscience” to decide to use birth control and the morning-after-pill, also called “emergency contraception.”
Their ad campaign states: “Young Catholics are having sex. We are using contraception and condoms. We are having abortions. We are bisexual, gay, lesbian, straight and transgender. And none of this makes us any less Catholic than conservative Catholics who speak out against us.
“The truth is, they don’t represent what the majority of Catholics – especially those of us in our 20s and 30s – think about sex. It comes down to Catholic teaching on conscience. Basically, every individual has the right and responsibility to follow his or her own conscience – and respect others’ right to do the same. With conscience and respect, good Catholic sex is not only possible, it’s already happening. “
The group, claiming to be a youth wing of “Catholics for Choice,” admits that it’s mandate is to “take action to counter the bishops’ impact both in the United States and around the world. ” . . . (source)
I’m grateful to have been invited to speak at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s 7th annual apologetics conference, next month on January 9th, 2010. I hope many of you will be able to join us there. Please help me spread the word by sharing this blog post with your friends and family who might be able to make it to the conference. More details and a downloadable conference flyer are available here.
Last Thursday, while I was taking questions on the “Catholic Answers Live” radio program, a lady called in to ask my opinion on what’s commonly called “centering prayer” in some Catholic circles. I gave my opinion and, as you will hear in this clip, she did not like it, not one little bit.
I’m glad she called in, though, not just because I hope that maybe someday, upon further reflection, what I said about the dangers of centering prayer and how many of its practitioners are just factory-repping Hindu mysticism to gullible Catholics under the guise of “contemplative prayer” will sink in and lead to a change of heart for this woman. I am also glad she called because she’s not unlike many Catholics who dabble in this dangerous “spirituality,” opening the door to the serpent who wants so very, very much to find its way into and uncoil itself within as many unsuspecting souls as it can find.
The workshop on centering prayer which I (unwittingly) attended back in the mid-80s was loaded with rubbish about chakras and “awakening the dormant serpent within,” all under the carefully presented disguise of “Catholic contemplative prayer.” Check out the links below for more on that.
For those who wonder about what I say in this audio clip about “chakras,” the difference between centering prayer and authentic Catholic contemplative prayer, etc., you can see more about what I mean here, here, and especially here.
I had not been familiar with Msgr. Charles Pope (of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.) until recently, when some of his trenchant blog posts began popping up on the New Advent blog aggregator page. The one I saw there this morning is well worth bringing to your attention. It’s the Monsignor’s reflection on why priests must preach about the four last things — death, judgment, heaven, and hell — rather than merely deliver a comfortably bland message about how God loves us all.
Would that every Catholic priest was preaching funeral sermons that included, in addition to words of comfort and consolation for the grieving family, a clear and compelling call to conversion to each one who attends the funeral Mass.
“Because too many people are not [ready to meet God]. They’re just goofing off, laughing their way through life, like everything’s a big joke. They don’t pray, they don’t trust God, they’re not in Church on Sunday, they’re in serious mortal sin, and they think they’re going to be ready to meet God, and it does not work that way.”
I ran across this posttoday from an Evangelical Protestant commentator named Michael Spencer. He described how he spent the better part of a day recently listening to and thinking about Catholic radio and the greater and lesser degrees of effectiveness of the men and women who host shows on Catholic radio networks like EWTN.
Though I don’t agree with all his observations (in response to one particular remark, for example, I’d assert that Scott Hahn is every bitthe “intellectual heavy-weight Protestants make him out to be”), I found myself agreeing with some and, on a few points, agreeing wholeheartedly.
But even in the areas where I do not agree with Mr. Spencer, I can surely sympathize with his situation as a Protestant who admits to being “very open to what Catholicism has to say,” and I can see how he might come to some of the conclusions he reaches, even if I, a Catholic, might disagree with those conclusions.
One reason for my sympathy is that so much of the radio medium is really predicated on the Latin maxim: de gustibus non disputandum est, which could be somewhat loosely translated as “there is no use in arguing in matters of taste.” Another way to say it: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
His comments interested me in part because I myself host a Catholic radio call-in show called “Open Line” (Thursdays at 3:00 pm ET on EWTN Radio), so, I’m naturally curious to know what listeners think about such programming, especially my non-Catholic listeners. I was also fascinated by the fact that some of Mr. Spencer’s Catholic friends actually discouraged him from listening to Catholic radio, saying it presented a “distorted” picture of the Catholic Church. I find that tidbit very telling indeed. It’s not anything new, of course, but it says a lot about just how widely divergent some Catholics are when it comes to what they think constitutes an accurate portrayal of “The Catholic Church.”
Not knowing exactly what his Catholic friends may have meant by that warning, I can only conjecture. But I’ve heard that same claim before about EWTN-esque Catholic radio being “distorted,” and I personally don’t buy it. True, I play a very minor role in the larger Catholic radio enterprise, so I am biased, but I really believe that networks like EWTN are, far from distorting Catholicism, actually projecting the Catholic Church, at least in its American, Latin American, and European experience, as it really is, and has been, and should be, and could be. Of course, it goes without saying that there is far, far more to the Catholic Church culturally than its expression within an American or European context, but theologically, I would argue, what EWTN strives to purvey is historic, orthodox Catholicism. I know that for a fact.
The problem, as I see it, is that there has bee
n so much genuine distortion within the American Catholic experience over the past 50 years or so, with plenty of obscuring and redefining and outright denying of orthodox Catholic teaching and piety, that now, after looking through badly scratched lenses (or listening through ears badly clogged with the earwax of dissent and confusion), many today who are finally coming into contact with real Catholicism find, at least at first perhaps, that their eyes and ears hurt a bit from the experience.
But then, that’s just me. I’d be curious to know what you think, especially those of you who listen to Catholic radio.
I don’t know about all that, but I do know that this is a very odd light in the sky. As a born-&-raised native of Southern California, I have seen with my own eyes several of those spectacular missile launches from Vandenberg AFB and the amazing lightshows they can give off in the night sky. But this doesn’t look anything like those. I’m not sure what to make of this. What do you think?
A mysterious light display appearing over Norway last night has left thousands of residents in the north of the country baffled.
Witnesses from Trøndelag to Finnmark compared the amazing sight to anything from a Russian rocket to a meteor or a shock wave – although no one appears to have mentioned UFOs yet.
The phenomenon began when what appeared to be a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain. It stopped mid-air, then began to circulate. . . . (read more)