Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Mass: a sacrifice or a celebration?

There seems to be some confusion as to the nature of the Mass. Some people claim that it is a sacrifice, re-presenting the death of Christ on the Cross.  Therefore, we should be very serious at Mass and show no signs of joy.  Other say that it is a celebration of Christ's resurrection and that the Mass should have a more festive mood.  So what's the answer?  What does the Church teach?

In a nutshell:  all of the above.

The holy Mass is a sacrifice and a celebration. We commemorate the Passion and resurrection of Christ. 

The holy Mass is certainly a great mystery. Many volumes could be written about it and would never exhaust its richness. The Church and the Saints have written extensively about it over the centuries. I will not attempt to survey the entire literature of what has been said about the Mass. I will limit myself to a very short quote from paragraph 1330 of the Catechism, which provides the basic answer to the question posed in the title of this post. 

Paragraph 1330 is situated in a section of the Catechism that enumerates the various names given to this wonderful sacrament. In paragraph 1330, we read the following (italics are in the original text, additional emphasis added by me):

"[This Sacrament is called] the memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection.

The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering. The terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, "sacrifice of praise," spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name."

As you can see, the Church has answered our question quite succinctly in paragraph 1330.  

I encourage you to read the entire section on the mass as explained in paragraphs 1322 to 1419 of the Catechism.


Novena for the conversion of Fr. Rosica: Day 1

Today is the first day of our novena for the conversion of Fr. Rosica.  Please join us.

Strong witness from COLF

The Canadian Organization for Life and Family (COLF), a group co-founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, has come out with a strong pro-life and pro-family document.  Read here. 

Bravo!  COLF has been a strong defender of Catholic values over the years. 

Thank you Archbishop Prendergast

We are truly blessed in Ottawa to have an Archbishop who is in unity with the Church's teachings and who is not afraid to publicly witness to his faith.  Praise God!

Yesterday, Archbishop Prendergast participated in the 40 Days for Life campaign by spending some time praying in front of the Morgentaler abortion facility in Ottawa. He also took some time to affirm and encourage the other people who were keeping vigil there. Read more here.

Finally, a bishop who is not content with simply preaching from the pulpit, but who will also go into the trenches and stand shoulder to shoulder with the faithful on the front lines.

Thank you Archbishop Prendergast! May God bless you abundantly! And may you carry this zeal to the plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in October, in order to encourage your brothers to reform Development and Peace and fix the other numerous problems within the Canadian Church.

Follow up on Fr. Rosica's claims

Something bothered me about Fr. Rosica's most recent lambasting of pro-lifers on Catholic Channel of Sirius Radio.  Let me quote from the transcript:

"I had many people wishing my death, my demise, destruction and everything else. And I said to myself “And you are talking about life.” It has been a real lesson for all of us. We were floored at the hundreds of messages that breathed hate and wished death and also people delighting that Senator Kennedy would be in hell. I think that says something about we have more education to do."

First of all, if there really were people out there threatening Fr. Rosica or his staff, you should smarten up and repent!.  That type of behaviour is despicable and totally unacceptable.  No matter how profound our disagreement with Fr. Rosica, violence is not a solution.

That being said, I question the authenticity of Fr. Rosica's claim.  You see, he didn't provide any evidence.  He said there were "hundreds of messages".  Surely he could publish a few to illustrate his point?  I would be the first to condemn any threats against him.  In fact, the police could use IP addresses to track down these people and prosecute them for death threats, which is a serious crime.  But Fr. Rosica presents no evidence.  (John Pacheco and LifeSite always present concrete evidence before they make any claims).

Also, during the same interview on the Catholic Channel, he said this about LifeSite:

"I will say very publicly to those listening - it is not credible, it does not speak for the Church, it is not ethical, it is not honest... For the 1/10 of kernel of truth that they purport to uncover (and there is truth in what they do) 9/10 is exaggeration.

That's a very personal attack.  Yet once again, he presents no evidence.  If 90% of the LifeSite coverage is exaggeration and is not honest, surely he could find plenty of examples, right?  So where's the evidence, Father?

Lack of evidence... Hmmm... Those words sound familiar...  Ah yes, we witnessed the same chronic illness this summer with the CCCB's denials of the Development and Peace (D&P) scandal.  The bishops' report just stated that they were innocent, without addressing a single item of the mountain of evidence presented against D&P's partners. That doesn't make for a very convincing argument. Without evidence, it's just a lot of hot air.

In fact, making such bold accusations against LifeSite, without any facts to back it up, could very well constitute defamation and libel. Father Rosica is lucky that LifeSite will not engage in a lawsuit against another member of the Church, out of obedience to the wise advice of St. Paul to avoid taking Church disputes before secular authorites (see1 Cor 6: 1-11).

Lastly, Fr. Rosica accuses LifeSite of doing the work of Satan.  LifeSite has good company, because that's what the scribes and Pharisees used to say of Jesus:  

"But some of them said, 'He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons.'" (Luke 11:15)

Jesus had a good comeback for the scribes:  

"If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore will they be your judges."  (Luke 11:19)

To paraphrase:  If LifeSite is doing the work of Satan, then what is Salt and Light doing?

That settles it.  Let me pull out my cheque book and make a donation to LifeSite right away.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Novena for the conversion of Fr. Rosica

"As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live." (Ez 33:11)

As I explained in an earlier post, Fr. Rosica has deviated from sound Catholic teaching.  I would like to start a novena for him on Saturday, September 26, the feast of the Canadian martyrs.  The novena will run until Sunday, October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  The Lord said to St. Francis:  "Rebuild my Church, which you see is falling into ruin."  That's exactly what we're hoping to do with this novena.

Please join me in saying one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be for the next nine days for the conversion of Fr. Rosica.  He is a very gifted man.  We need him to be fully on the side of Truth if we are to bring about a Culture of Life in Canada. I want to see him in Heaven some day, assuming that I get in.

The Father Rosica controversy

Rather Thomas Rosica, who heads the TV network Salt and Light, has recently caused quite a stir in the pro-life community.  Here is a brief summary of what happened.

Following the funeral of Ted Kennedy, in which the former senator was portrayed as a hero and a faithful Catholic despite his pro-abortion and anti-family views, many pro-lifers felt outraged that such an ardent promoter of the culture of death would receive such a glorious public Catholic funeral.  Some people (unwisely) contacted Salt and Light asking them to provide negative coverage of the event.
Instead, they got a series of aggressive and vitriolic attacks from Fr. Rosica against the pro-life movement in general and in particular. Father Rosica took exception to the idea that pro-life Catholics could use strong language to criticize other Catholics. Father Rosica presented these criticisms as being uncharitable, divisive, unmerciful and non-Christian.

To illustrate, I've compiled the insults that have been hurled at pro-lifers by Father Rosica in person or through his website.  Note: these criticisms are not solely addressed to LifeSite; the vast majority are directed towards the pro-life movement in general.

  • [LifeSite] is doing "the work of Satan" 
  • "something is terribly wrong in the pro-life movement." 
  • "Civility, charity, mercy and politeness seem to have dropped out of the pro-life lexicon."
  • "Their words and actions vitiate their efforts in favor of life." 
  • "not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence." 
  • "I question whether or not they belong to the Catholic Church. Are such people Catholic?"
  • "make the Church and our efforts for life look ridiculous and terribly anti-Christian."
  • "deep-seated anger and hostility"
  • "Through vicious attacks launched on blogs, a new form of self-righteousness, condemnation and gnosticism reveals authors who behave as little children bullying one another around in schoolyards- casting stones, calling names, and wreaking havoc in the Church today!"
  • "Sowing seeds of hatred and division are not the work of those who wish to build a culture of life."
  • "contribute to the misery and division within the world and the Church"
  • "destroy and kill others along the way."
  • "very strong, antagonist approach"
  • "hostility towards women who would choose abortion"
  • "pushing their ideals onto the rest of society"
  • "judgmental instead of helpful and supportive"
  • "radical" 
  • "cruel and hateful individuals"
  • "so shrill, so angry and judgmental"
  • "ugly and threatening" 
  • "this is how the devil triumphs"
  • "character assassination"
  • "[LifeSite] is not credible, it does not speak for the Church, it is not ethical, it is not honest"
  • "wreaking division and havoc"
  • [LifeSite] is not an authentic instrument at the service of unity and at the service of the Church. It is causing division. For the 1/10 of kernel of truth that they purport to uncover (and there is truth in what they do) 9/10 is exaggeration."
  • "[LifeSite] is bombastic, it is derisive and it is divisive."
  • "pit people against each other"
  • "wanting to set up a parallel Church"
  • "cast aspersions or to dismiss or discredit what the bishops are trying to do" 
I feel so despised, disdained and derided.

Read here for the Vatican's view of how the Kennedy funeral should have been handled.  You'll see that it confirms everything that pro-lifers have been saying and contradicts what Fr. Rosica has been saying.

The oddest thing about this episode, is that Father Rosica did exactly what he was reproaching pro-lifers:  he openly criticized his fellow Catholics and he used such seething and inflammatory language as I have never seen used against pro-lifers, not even by the pro-abortion lobby.

This proves an important point:  his criticism of criticism is a hoax, a smoke-screen.  He himself realizes that constructive criticism is an integral part of Catholicism.  It's technically called "admonishing the sinner" and it is essential for the salvation of souls that have gone astray.

Unfortunately, Fr. Rosica has a distorted view of Catholicism.  But you will rarely hear him saying something overtly anti-Catholic.  He has a history of saying the right things (e.g. "I am pro-life"), but he tends to be unwilling to "take up his cross" by putting his reputation on the line in defending Church teachings.  For example, when he interviewed Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, an infamous pro-abortion "Catholic", he remained silent while McGuinty expressed his disagreement with Church teaching on same-sex marriage. All this was broadcast on Salt and Light TV.  Is that Fr. Rosica's idea of good Catholic programming?  Contrast this to the beautiful witness of John Pacheco and David MacDonald who, in the last two elections, ran against Dalton McGuinty and publicly rebuked him for his anti-family positions.  Now that's heroic virtue.

To read more about the Fr. Rosica controversy, please visit Socon or Bust here and here

I agree with Fr. Rosica on one important point:  the Church is indeed divided.  The fracture is between those who want to follow the Vatican and those who have invented a lovey-dovey Catholicism (such as Fr. Rosica) where the primary goal is to never contradict anybody, even if they're dead wrong and rotting in mortal sin. Passivity can lead to complacency, which is often abused by ill-willed politicians and others.

This isn't about pro-lifers being self-righteous.  Just open up the Bible or the Catechism, or listen to the Vatican's statements.  We're simply trying to obey the Truth as it was handed down over the centuries, not invent our own path.

Please pray for Fr. Rosica. 

Good witness by Québec Bishops

Bishops in Canada have recently been receiving a lot of flak for their lack of leadership. However, this time we would like to congratulate the Bishops of Québec for taking a firm stand against the Québec government's religious education program.

It is very encouraging to see bishops stand up for the truth despite the risk of public humiliation.  Keep in mind that Québec has become arguably the most anti-Catholic society in the Western world. The church has many enemies in Québec and very few allies. The faithful are lukewarm. The churches are empty. The province has become pluralistic and Montréal is a very cosmopolitan city.

Despite these challenges, the bishops of Québec have taken the bold step of publicly criticizing the government's very liberal education program.

Bravo! We need more bold witness like this from our's one thing to preach from the pulpit to the converted. It is quite another to have the guts to stand up in public and risk ridicule. The Québec bishops have chosen the more difficult path. May the Lord bless them abundantly for it.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Eucharist is the litmus test

The most precious thing in the Catholic Church is the Eucharist.  Why?  Because it is God Himself.  It doesn't get any bigger than that.

As John Pacheco points out, a clergyman's behaviour towards the Eucharist is a good litmus test as to whether he is following the true Faith and the true Church.  

Do not trust clergymen who won't deny communion to pro-abortion politicians.  Do not trust clergymen who don't show proper reverence for the Eucharist.  They will invoke clever excuses, such as not wanting to be judgmental or harsh.  Don't buy it.  That's a cop-out.

If they won't stand up for something so fundamental and primordial as the Eucharist, you can rest assured that there are other errors in their teachings.  Be on your guard.

Similarly, make sure to affirm and encourage those faithful clergymen who devoutly worship and venerate Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist.  They are beacons of hope in world gone mad.  Support them and love them.  You have found a precious jewel.

Archbishop Naumann understands

Thank you Archbishop Naumann for forbidding a pro-abortion "Catholic" politician from receiving communion.  It's the right thing to do.

The politician in question, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, says that being denied communion was very painful.  Well, Ms. Sebelius, the whole point of discipline is to instruct and to exhort for conversion.  If it wasn't painful, it wouldn't be effective discipline.  Now that the Archbishop has got your attention, it's time to rethink your life.

Read about it here.

Blood Money: A must-see film

Coming soon to a theater near you.

Click here to watch the trailer. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Struggling with the Faith? Let's talk!

Is there an aspect of the Catholic Faith that you struggle with? Please drop me a line in the comments section and we can have a friendly talk about it.

Asking questions is not a sign of ignorance. It's a sign of intelligence: you want to know and understand something. A faith that has never been questioned may not be fully mature. But if you have questioned certain aspects of the Faith and have looked for the answers, then your faith grows much stronger.

How to get things done

As Larry Appleton used to tell his cousin Balki (in a most condescending tone):  "watch and learn."

The official charity of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (their equivalent of Development and Peace) was recently found to be funding organizations promoting abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage and prostitution.  

The big difference is that the US bishops are not denying the problem and letting the blood money flow (as in Canada) but are taking decisive action to stop this quickly. 

A great lesson for the Canadian bishops. 

Read the story here from

"Inconceivable!" CCCB supporting UNICEF

Do you remember the movie "Princess Bride"?  There was a short character named Vizzini who had a penchant for using the word "inconceivable".  That's how I felt when I saw this story:  the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is encouraging the faithful to donate to UNICEF.  You can read the original press release on the CCCB's site here.

As most pro-life people know, UNICEF is a staunch supporter of abortion and contraception.  They're so aggressive in this respect, that the Vatican took the bold step of stopping all donations to UNICEF way back in 1997 specifically because UNICEF was pushing abortion and contraception in developing countries.  You can read the Vatican's official statement here.  Read the coverage by the New York Times here.  

This move by the CCCB comes on the heels of the Development and Peace (D&P) scandal, where the CCCB's official charity was caught red handed funding groups that push for abortion and contraception in developing countries.  This scandal was a huge source of embarrassment and controversy for the bishops this past summer.

Human beings are intelligent creatures.  We learn from our mistakes.  Given the scandal that was caused by D&P, it's hard to believe that the bishops could have been so careless in supporting UNICEF.  The bishops claim that they are earmarking support for a specific education program of UNICEF that does not contradict Church teaching.  However, given that money is fungible and that pro-abortion groups cannot be trusted (just look at what the Vatican did!) the CCCB is clearly advocating a very unwise course of action.  The Vatican specifically said, back in 1997, that UNICEF was not providing sufficient accountability for earmarked donations (such as what the CCCB is advocating).

As Catholics, we look to the Vatican for leadership and follow her example.  Why doesn't the CCCB do the same?  Why is the CCCB supporting a group that the Vatican specifically singled out -- in public -- to denounce it's anti-life agenda?

It's not because of ignorance.  This past summer, during the peak of the D&P scandal, countless pro-life groups reminded D&P and the CCCB that the Vatican had stopped funding UNICEF in 1997.  We made sure to inform them.  They can no longer claim ignorance.

Sadly, the only logical explanation seems to be that the CCCB is expressly choosing to "do it's own thing" and take a different path from the Vatican.  They don't think its wrong, but the Vatican and  many Catholics understand that it is.  This is the most public and visible sign of dissent of Canadian bishops from the Vatican since the infamous Winnipeg Statement.

The clergy in Canada is in a pitiful state.  Please pray for them.

Summary of the Development and Peace scandal

In case you missed it, Development and Peace (the official charity of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops) was caught financing organizations in developing countries that advocate for abortion and contraception.  Here is a summary of everything you need to know.

On March 12, 2009, (a non-profit news service focusing on life and family issues) revealed that Development and Peace was funding five groups in Mexico that were pressuring the Mexican government to legalize abortion. Less than a week later, the National Catholic Register discovered that Development and Peace was funding a pro-abortion group in Bolivia. Over the following months, further investigations into Development and Peace's partners were carried out by various pro-life groups, led by and Catholic blogger John Pacheco, the main author of Socon or Bust. By June 22, 2009, LifeSiteNews had identified 19 pro-abortion groups being funded by Development and Peace. On July 24, 2009, the tally from Socon or Bust reached 40 pro-abortion and anti-family groups.

During this period, several prominent pro-life groups expressed concerns about these revelations. The most authoritative statement came from the Bishops' Conference of Peru in a letter addressed to Archbishop James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). After listing three partners of Development and Peace that are promoting abortion in their country, the Peruvian bishops stated:

“In that sense, we respectfully would like to formally request that the funding for the pro-abortion groups in Peru by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace be halted. It is very disturbing to have groups which work against the Bishops of Peru by attempting to undermine legal protection for the right to life of unborn children, be funded by our brother bishops in Canada."

Other prominent groups to speak out against Development and Peace included Priests for Life Canada, Canadian Catholic author Michael O'Brien, the B.C. Catholic newspaper, American Life League, Catholic Insight magazine, the Population Research Institute, Human Life International (HLI), the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CFAM) and the Latin American Alliance for the Family (ALAFA).

Response by Development and Peace and the CCCB

On March 13, 2009, the day after the initial evidence was revealed, the Executive Director of Development and Peace, Michael Casey, issued a note denying that the organization supported any partners or projects that violated Church teaching. However, Casey did not address or disprove any of the evidence presented by LifeSiteNews. Similar statements were published by Development and Peace in the subsequent weeks, but none ever addressed or disproved the growing body of evidence.

Archbishop Thomas Collins (Toronto) was the first Canadian bishop to publicly respond to the controversy. On March 18, 2009, he announced that no donations from his Archdiocese would be forwarded to Development and Peace until an investigation was completed. In the following days, the bishops of Peterborough, Kingston and Vancouver made similar announcements.

On March 20, the president of the CCCB, Archbishop James Weisgerber (Winnipeg) issued a letter stating the matter was being "carefully looked into". On April 8, the CCCB announced that it would conduct an investigation, with the assistance of Development and Peace, into the initial allegations regarding the five Mexican groups only. The report of this investigation was released on June 28 and concluded that the allegations made by LifeSiteNews and other pro-life groups were "not founded on the facts". Despite this sweeping statement, the CCCB's report did not address or disprove any of the evidence presented against the five Mexican groups, nor did it address any of the evidence presented against dozens of other partners of Development and Peace. The report also called for the organization to exercise greater vigilance in selecting its partners (although no specific guidance was provided) and that it foster better relations with the CCCB and with the local bishops in the countries in which it operates. Finally, the report reaffirmed the bishops' belief in the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

Throughout the controversy, Archbishop Weisgerber argued that it was morally licit for Development and Peace to fund organizations that were in opposition to Church teaching, a point that caused much consternation among Catholics. To support his point, the Archbishop incorrectly claimed that the Vatican was providing funds to UNICEF despite disagreements over issues such as contraception and abortion. In reality, the Vatican had announced in 1996 that it would stop donating to UNICEF precisely because it was promoting abortion and contraception. This ban remains in effect today.

Distrust remains over Development and Peace

Given the lack of attention to the evidence, the CCCB's report does not appear to have reassured pro-life Catholics. On July 23, 2009, Archbishop Collins (Toronto), who had been withholding donations from his Archdiocese, announced that donations from Toronto would only be directed to partners of Development and Peace that were endorsed by the local bishop. He also called for a comprehensive review of Development and Peace during the coming year, guided by two key principles: 1) that Development and Peace only work with partners that are in harmony with the Catholic faith; 2) that Development and Peace obtain approval of the local bishops before funding any projects. Archbishop Collins also added that future donations from his Archdiocese would depend on the extent to which the issues of concern had been resolved. The same week, Archbishop Miller of Vancouver, who had also been withholding donations, announced that he strongly supports the steps taken by the Archdiocese of Toronto in order to prevent future controversies.

The editorial staff at LifeSiteNews also reacted to the CCCB's report by publishing a response in which they call the report a "whitewash". Similarly, Socon or Bust published a four-part rebuttal to the CCCB's report.

The CCCB is scheduled to discuss the matter further at their plenary assembly in October 2009.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fearing for our freedom of speech

As you know, Father Rosica has spent the better part of the last two weeks doing a tour of Catholic media outlets in order to criticize pro-lifers and discredit Internet news sources and blogs. I don't claim to know what he or the CCCB are thinking. Nor will I attempt to make a judgment of their intentions. However, I am entitled to express my feelings.

I feel scared. Very scared. And you should too. I feel that our freedom of expression is at risk.

We've just learned that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has hired two former MPs and two communications experts in order to revamp their communications strategy. At the same time, we've learned that the plenary assembly of the CCCB, which will take place in October, includes a session to discuss Internet news services and blogs. All this comes on the heels of the Development and Peace (D&P) scandal, which was a source of great embarrassment for the bishops and in which Internet news services and blogs played a pivotal role in revealing D&P’s support for about 40 pro-abortion groups throughout the developing world.

Are you seeing a connection?

While Father Rosica was vehemently criticizing us bloggers, I felt rejected. I felt as though our presence was not wanted. I felt most unwelcome to express any views that opposed the actions or statements of the bishops or of Father Rosica himself. I felt like I was something despised or base.

Charity, Civility, and Speaking the Truth

This is a great article by Deal W. Hudson showing how a senior Vatican Cardinal has debunked the "lovey-dovey" Catholicism advocated by too many Canadian bishops and priests, most notably Fr. Rosica.  I hope readers will come to understand that admonishing the sinner is not an act of aggression, but a great act of charity.  If you don't understand this profound truth, I encourage you to drop me a line in the comments section and we can engage in a constructive dialogue.

by Deal W. Hudson (

The funeral of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy provoked a highly charged debate among Catholics about civility. In the midst of this discussion, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, came to Washington, D.C., to be honored by at its 14th Annual Partnership Dinner at the historic Mayflower Hotel.

Addressing more than 200 guests, Archbishop Burke said, "We must speak the truth in charity," but also, "We should have the courage to look truth in the eye and call things by their common names." The tension between these two admonitions is evident in his own heroic defense of the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life and his personal humility.

Frank Hanna, a Catholic businessman and philanthropist from Atlanta, noted this in his introduction of the honoree. Before ever meeting Archbishop Burke, Hanna said he thought of him as a lion, whose roar "would send chills of admiration" down his spine. But, when he finally met the man one day in Birmingham, he noted:

"I was struck by his simple humility. He greeted me with kindness and warmth. And I thought to myself, that's how lions are -- no waving about, just quiet humble strength. There is a reason C. S. Lewis made Aslan, the lion, his hero."

Indeed, it is hard not to be struck by the gentle demeanor of the bishop who caused such a ruckus in the 2004 election by saying he would deny communion to presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry. Since then, he has remained one of the most outspoken American bishops on the subject of the defense of life and marriage.

Friday evening in Washington was no different. Throughout his 50-minute address, the archbishop returned again and again to the scandal of Catholic politicians who support abortion or same-sex marriage. He did not mince his words: "It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself in this manner."

"Neither Holy Communion nor funeral rites should be administered to such politicians," said Archbishop Burke. "To deny these is not a judgment of the soul, but a recognition of the scandal and its effects."

With obvious reference to the Kennedy funeral, he argued that when a politician is associated "with greatly sinful acts about fundamental questions like abortion and marriage, his repentance must also be public." He added, "Anyone who grasps the gravity of what he has done will understand the need to make it public."

It's not uncharitable to point out the scandal caused by these Catholic politicians. "The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth in love. This does not destroy unity but helps to repair a breach in the life of the Church."

Archbishop Burke rejects all the standard arguments made by Catholic politicians and their apologists who support abortion and same-sex marriage. For example, the defense of the unborn and traditional marriage is not strictly a matter of religious faith. "The observance of the natural law is not a confessional practice -- it's inscribed in every human heart."

Archbishop Burke describes the latest tactic of pro-abortion Catholic politicians, who talk about finding common ground, as a form of "proportionalist moral reasoning." "Common ground is found rather on 'the ground of moral goodness,' and not in a compromise of certain moral truths, like the rejection of abortion and euthanasia."

He warned against allowing this kind of false reasoning to enter the health-care debate. A Catholic cannot accept the attainment of universal health care if it includes abortion and other evils "just because it achieves some desirable outcomes."  In this form of reasoning, the archbishop hears an echo of the type of "seamless garment" argument that conceals a distinction between intrinsically evil acts and those that may be evil in some situations; these acts "are not all of the same cloth."

The standing ovation for Archbishop Burke lasted several minutes before Raymond Arroyo, the master of ceremonies and news director of EWTN, returned to the podium. Once again, as Hanna put it in his introduction, Archbishop Burke had "stood up for the Church and her teachings, in the face of violent world criticism and even some within the Church."

As editor Brian Saint-Paul handed Archbishop Burke the award for "Service to the Church and our Nation," I commented that, "This lion speaks with the voice and face of a lamb, and, thus, is an example of how to speak the truth in charity."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thank you Father Richard Siok!

I'd like to commend my parish priest, Father Richard Siok, rector of St. Patrick's Basilica in Ottawa, for being such a good pro-life witness.

  • At every Mass this past weekend, Fr. Siok announced the upcoming 40 days for life, which beings on September 23rd. He exhorted everybody to take part in the vigil and he gave a good testimony of his experience at past 40-days campaigns. 
  • He committed St. Patrick's for a full day on October 6th and encouraged people to come out and pray. 
  • Showing true leadership, he has already signed up for the first hour of that day, from midnight to 1 am. 
  • St. Patrick's hosted Vespers on Sunday, September 20th, as part of the kick-off activities. 
  • St. Patrick's will also leave the church open for elderly people who can't brave the cold and would prefer holding vigil inside his beautiful Basilica.
Praise God for faithful priests like Father Richard Siok!

40 days for life

Have you ever heard of 40 days for life?  It's the best thing to happen to the pro-life movement in a long time.  In more than 200 cities across North America (including 7 Canadian cities) pro-lifers will be holding a non-stop peaceful vigil in front of abortion facilities, from September 23 to November 1.  That's 24/7 for 40 consecutive days.  

The true roots of the Culture of Death are spiritual.  Therefore, the only lasting solution will require a spiritual remedy.  That's why this period of 40 days of praying, fasting and peaceful witness in front of abortion facilities is so important.  

It has been extremely effective in the past in helping pregnant women change their minds about having abortions.  Several staff at abortion facilities have also quit.  Here in Ottawa, we know of 10 babies that have been saved by this initiative. 

Read more at this link.  Participate in the 40 days for life campaign in your city.  If your city doesn't have 40 days for life, then discuss it with your fellow pro-lifers so that you can organize your own vigil in time for our next 40 days, which will run during the winter of 2010.

Justifiable outrage

In recent weeks, Father Thomas Rosica, Director of Salt&Light TV, has been pointing his guns in the wrong direction.  He has been aggressively attacking pro-lifers for using language that he deems to be too strong.  He advocates a soft, wishy-washy, lovey-dovey Christianity who's first commandment is "Thou shalt not ruffle any feathers".  (I'll have more info on Fr. Rosica in another post). 

Well, Fr. Rosica, I encourage you to watch the video posted hereOnce you've seen who we're up against, I hope you'll excuse us if sometimes we get a little upset.  In fact, we must get upset, as we read in St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica (quotes were ascribed to St. John Chrysostom):

"He who is not angry, whereas he has cause to be, sins. For unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices, it fosters negligence, and incites not only the wicked but the good to do wrong." 

"He that is angry without cause, shall be in danger; but he that is angry with cause, shall not be in danger: for without anger, teaching will be useless, judgments unstable, crimes unchecked."  Therefore to be angry is not always an evil.  (Source)