Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rick Santorum Is Hurting the Catholic Message

In a 2006 interview, Rick Santorum seems to be trying to have it both ways on birth control.  As a practicing Catholic, he knows and seems to believe that birth control is inherently evil. although he never makes this statement in this particular interview.  He is actually all over the place in this interview, seemingly trying to please all sides. 

He starts out by making a statement that goes against the plain truth of birth control: His first statement is: "I vote and have supported birth control because it is not the taking of a human life." What?????? This statement is in direct contradiction to the plain teaching of the Catholic Church and of the very nature of birth control. Most birth control is an abortifacient, which means that it does not prevent pregnancy, but simply aborts the fertilized egg, not allowing it to implant in the womb but instead dispelling it. Maybe Senator Santorum is in agreement with Speaker Gingrich who said he believed that life does not begin at conception but at implantation, although Gingrich backtracked on this one within a couple of days when the uproar began among Catholic voters. 

In the very next statement in this interview, Santorum does a Mario Cuomo (Cuomo is famous for originating the sickeningly hypocritical saying "I'm personally against abortion but I don't have a right to impose my views on others."). Senator Santorum says "I'm not a believer in birth control, at least artificial birth control." But if you combine this with his first statement, that birth control "is not the taking of human life", then what is his problem? He says birth control allows people to do what they want without taking personal responsibility. He clarifies that this is a personal point of view, and makes very clear that from a "government point of view" he has voted for contraception, although he doesn't think it works and that it is harmful to women and to our society because it promotes sex outside of marriage. Can we get any more confusing than that?

Here is the full interview:

I really have no patience for "dancing politicians"- those who try to have it both ways, especially Catholic politicians who want to appear to be supporting Church teaching and at the same time support a popular position which goes directly against Church teaching. And it usually ends up backfiring on them, as shown in this article in which Santorum is attacked by a pro-contraception author:

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 02/15/2012

Santorum: Birth control ‘harmful to women’

By Jennifer Rubin
Yesterday I speculated on some of the reasons Rick Santorum has problems with women voters. This interview from 2006 sure isn’t going to help.For starters, does he realize that married women (men too!) use birth control? [If Santorum had stated the clear truth about birth control, that it is for the most part an abortifacient, and not tried to straddle the fence by admitting he had actually voted for it, the author of this article would have never been able to make this statement]  The impression that Santorum finds the prevalent practice of birth control “harmful to women” is, frankly, mind-numbing. If he meant to focus on teen sexual promiscuity, he surely could have, and thereby might have sounded less out of touch. [See my prior comment]

Now, he qualifies his religious views by saying he doesn’t vote against contraception “because it’s not the taking of a human life” (in other contexts he has emphasized that as a legal matter he has no problem with contraception) [this from a "good" Catholic??]. But how does that square with his professed belief that a candidate’s values are essential to understanding and predicting his behavior? [My point exactly] Perhaps that’s an abortion-only rule. (And really, where are George Stephanopoulos’s questions on this topic when you need them?)
In any event, this sort of thing undermines Santorum’s electability argument.  [I agree but for totally different reasons] (Current polling match-ups between President Obama and each of the two front runners, before the GOP has a nominee and before Santorum’s record is out there, are virtually useless.) This is how, in part, he lost Pennsylvania — by appearing extreme and schoolmarmish, too far to the right of average voters in a purple state. If he is the nominee in 2012, he might get some blue-collar fellows, but what about those women in Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc.? And what about more secularized suburban communities? Fuggedaboutit.
Santorum has done nothing to promote the truth about how harmful contraception actually is and in fact, has given ammunition to those who support it.

For a much clearer explanation of the Catholic teaching on birth control:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rick Santorum - Big Government "Conservative"

From, here is a great post explaining the problems with Rick Santorum.  As Erick Erickson, the author explains:  "Rick Santorum is a pro-life statist. He is. You will have to deal with it. He is a big government conservative. Santorum is right on social issues, but has never let his love of social issues stand in the way of the creeping expansion of the welfare state. In fact, he has been complicit in the expansion of the welfare state."

Santorum is definitely a better choice than Romney or Gingrich, but nothing will change under a Santorum presidency.  We will continue right along as we have.  There will be more pro life talk, but as it has been under all Republican administrations since 1973, abortion will remain the law of the land.  Spending will continue unabated, we will continue to get involved in more and more wars.  The Federal Reserve will still be given a free reign to do whatever it wants to do.  And the Federal Government will grow and grow and grow. 

Take a look at the article:

What A Big Government Conservative Looks Like

I'm rather tired of all the people who don’t like Romney trying to claim Rick Santorum is not a big government conservative, or not a pro-life statist. I would support him before I would support Romney too, but I have no intention of giving up ideological and intellectual consistency in the name of beating Mitt Romney.

Rick Santorum is a pro-life statist. He is. You will have to deal with it. He is a big government conservative. Santorum is right on social issues, but has never let his love of social issues stand in the way of the creeping expansion of the welfare state. In fact, he has been complicit in the expansion of the welfare state.

Suddenly we’re all forgetting what a big government conservatism is. The term was coined by Fred Barnes in defense of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservative” agenda. Bush intended to use domestic social welfare policy for conservative ends. In the process, he expanded the welfare state to do so through No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefit, etc. Rick Santorum was a willing participant in this.

Santorum is a conservative. He is. But his conservative is largely defined by his social positions and the ends to which government would be deployed. But he has chosen as the means to those conservative ends bigger government. We see big government conservatives most clearly when they deviate from the tireless efforts of people like Mike Pence and Jim DeMint and the others who were willing to oppose George W. Bush’s expansion of the welfare state. Rick Santorum was not among them.

I and some friends, none of us Romney fans, have set about exploring Santorum’s record since Wednesday morning. Here now is a non-exhaustive list of what we have found. It does not even include his support for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, debt ceiling increases, funding the bridge to nowhere, refusing to redirect earmark allocations to disaster relief along the Gulf Coast post Katrina, etc. 
This is not the record of a man committed to scaling back the welfare state or the nanny state. Had he been up for re-election in 2010 instead of 2006, this is the record of a man who the tea party movement would have primaried. The only real justification for supporting him now is he is not Mitt Romney, but I still believe we can do better.

See for yourself

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Reminder of Judgment Day

There are good things coming out of this conflict between the Catholic Church and the Obama Administration.  One very good thing is that the Gospel is being preached, and the Bishops are promoting the teachings of the Catholic church and calling out those who do not follow it.  Below is an article that should be sent to every Catholic politician in this country.  God bless Bishop Daniel Jenky for saying what has needed to be said for many years.  Those in positions of power will have much to answer for.  They need to be made very much aware that there is a day of reckoning for each one of us, and it will weigh much more heavily on those "to whom much has been given."  To call them out and even excommunicate them from the Church could very well be the most loving thing we can do.  It is the only chance to wake them up and possibly save their souls and the souls of those whom they are leading astray.

Catholic politicians who attack Church
should remember God's judgment

Rome, Italy, Feb 11, 2012 / 01:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Politicians who consider themselves Catholic but collaborate in “the assault against their faith” should remember they will one day have to give account for their acts before God, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois said Feb 10.

“There is a last judgment. There is a particular judgment. May they change their minds and may God have mercy on them,” he told CNA during his visit to Rome.

When asked specifically about recent actions of Democratic Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Kathleen Sebelius and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Bishop Jenky replied “I am utterly scandalized.” [Yes!!!]

“The Lord once said ‘if you deny me at the end, I will deny you,’ this from our most merciful, good Savior. And so if it is a choice between Jesus Christ and political power or getting favorable editorials in leftist papers, well, that’s simply not a choice.”

Both Sebelius and Rep. Pelosi have been at the forefront of attempts to force Catholic institutions to cover contraception, sterilizations and abortifacients as part of their staff’s health insurance plans.

Bishop Jenky said there are too many Catholic politicians in the U.S. who “like to wear green sweaters on St. Patrick’s Day and march” or “have their pictures taken with the hierarchy” or “have conspicuous crosses on their forehead with ashes” but who then “not only do not live their faith they collaborate in the assault against their faith.”

The 64-year-old Chicago native is currently making his “ad limina” visit to Rome to discuss the state of his diocese with the Pope and the Vatican. He is part of a larger episcopal delegation from the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Bishop Jenky said the issue of religious freedom in the United States has featured in all their meetings so far, including their audience with Pope Benedict XVI Feb. 9.

“Determined secularists see the Catholic Church as the largest institutional block to a completely secularized society and not for the first, and probably not for the last time, we’re under assault,” he said drawing parallels with the anti-Catholic “Kulturkampf” in late 19th century Germany or the anti-clerical laws in France in the early 20th century.

“I am a Holy Cross religious and my own community had six colleges in France and they turned our mother house chapel into a stable,” he said. As for the United States in 2012, “it is always difficult to predict the future but the intensity of hatred against Catholic Christianity in elements of our culture is just astounding.”

He believes the present White House administration is also motivated by a “determined secularism,” while Communist dictator Joseph Stalin would “admire the uniformity of the American press, with some exceptions.”

In 2010 the Illinois legislature voted to legalize same-sex civil unions, a move which led to the closure of Catholic foster care services. This, said the bishop, took the Church “entirely out of the work that we started when the State of Illinois could not have cared less about beggar kids running up and down the streets.”

Bishop Jenky is very conscious of this patrimony of Catholic schools, hospitals and other social services “built by the sacrifice of Catholic believers” in previous generations of Illinois Catholics. “There weren’t a lot of multi-millionaires who built the churches, opened those orphanages or built those schools,” he said.

The bishop fears that socially liberal elites ultimately want to secularize such institutions by stealth. “I assume that is the underlying goal,” he suggested, “so that is robbing Christ but it is also robbing the heritage of generations of believers. So we would try to resist this in every way possible. It would be an incredible injustice.”

In conversation, he quoted the stark 2010 prediction of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, “I will die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” So is Bishop Jenky prepared for prison or worse?

“I hope I would always prefer Christ to anything so, if it came to it, yes but I would be one of the trembling martyrs.”

He recalled how in ancient Rome some Christians would run towards their martyrdom. He, on the other hand, would “probably be walking down the Forum with eyes downcast a little.”

“I think most of the bishops of our Church, though, would be faithful to Christ above anything, including our own personal freedom.”  [We can certainly pray that this is true]

The Temptations of This World

Satan tempts Jesus by offering Him the world
Whitney Houston is dead. 

Another "superstar" falls from the sky and the world is in shock and mourning.  We are told now that her death was probably a combination of alcohol and drugs.  Whitney Houston is just another sad story of what the "riches" of this world have to offer - death and destruction.  We have seen it so many, many times in our contemporary culture:  Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, etc. etc. etc.  And then there are those who have achieved fame and fortune outside of entertainment, such as Gadafi and Hitler.  The god of this world offers them instant gratification, they grab the ring, and it all ends in a terrible, sad death.

We have seen those who are still alive as I write this, such as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, who are living miserable unhappy lives despite all of their fame and fortune, and unless something drastic happens in their lives, they are headed for very sad endings.  Princess Diana - another desperately unhappy person despite the fame and fortune - died just one week before Mother Teresa.  I will always remember Mother Angelica's comment:  One who had everything died with nothing, and another who had nothing, died with everything. 

Satan's temptation of Christ as outlined in Matthew 4:1-11 is exactly how he tries to get to each one of us and how, sadly, he destroyed each one of these tragic persons.  Satan first tried to tempt Jesus by taking his mind off of the spiritual and concentrating on the physical.  Satan says: 
"If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."
This is very cunning on Satan's part.  He first tries to attack Jesus' pride by saying if you are the Son of God, thinking that Jesus is like the rest of us who would get very defensive and self righteous at this remark:  "What do you mean if?  Of course I'm the Son of God and I can prove it!"  By doing so, we take all the glory away from God and put it on ourselves, which is exactly what self righteousness and pride is all about.  Satan then tries to put Jesus' focus on the physical by offering him food, which represents all the physical comforts of life. 

Jesus replies: 
"It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." 
Like everything else Jesus said, this has many different meanings. This statement points to the written Word of God - the Bible, of course.  But he is also alluding to the Eucharist, where we receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of the Living Word of God - Jesus Christ.  Jesus doesn't deny that we need physical food to sustain us, but he says that the real food is the Word of God, because that is where we find eternal life.  Physical comforts and sensations, fame and fortune, can give us instant gratification, but if that is our goal in life, we will reap death.  If we try to sustain ourselves only on the physical, we will die right along with it.  Where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.

Satan then tries to attack Jesus through pride, taunting Jesus that if He really is God, he can easily prove it by throwing himself off the mountain and showing that legions of angels will come to his side.   Satan is also saying that if Jesus is the Son of God, and there actually is a God, then God has to abide by His own scripture and not allow any harm to come to Jesus.  And Satan bolsters his argument by quoting scripture, attempting to show that this is actually the Will of God.
"If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone." 
Jesus immediately calls Satan on what he is really trying to do: 
"It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
How often have we shaken our fists at God and said if you're really God, you would or would not let this happen!  If you're God, prove yourself to me!   If there is a God, how could he let this happen?  When we do this, we are actually tempting God.  When we tempt God, we are saying we doubt him and he must prove himself to us.  We are not believing God's plain statements to us.  We are saying that what he tells us is not enough for us, we need more.

Satan had one more trick up his sleeve.  When we fall for this temptation, it will cause the greatest destruction of all.
Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,

And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me.
Jesus knew that in just a few years he would have to pour his blood out on the cross in order to redeem the world from Satan.  We know that Jesus actually prayed at one point to be spared the agony of this great sacrifice.  And here was Satan saying to him that he didn't have to go through it.  Jesus could have the whole world without the sacrifice of the cross.  There is one "little" catch:  he has to worship Satan. 

Jesus doesn't try to answer Satan, he doesn't argue with him.  He says without hesitation:

Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.
This is actually the same temptation that Satan tried to use through Peter, when Peter rebuked Jesus for saying he would "suffer many things."  Jesus called out Satan through Peter in the same way as he did on the mountain (Matthew 16:21-23):
From that time Jesus began to shew to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again.  And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee. Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.
We need to ask ourselves - are we savoring the things of men and not of God?  If so, whether we realize it or not, we are worshipping at the altar of Satan and glorifying him.  We have example after example of what happens when people accept the temptations of Satan and reject God.  As Christ said in Matthew 16:26:  "For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?"  Whitney Houston is just one more tragic example that we can point to.  There is nothing in this world, apart from God, that can give us life.  Everything in this world is going to die and fade away, and if that is where we put our heart and treasure, we will die and fade with it. 

All of the media is glorifying Whitney Houston, despite the great lessons we could be learning from her life and death.  It is true that she was gifted with a tremendous voice.  Yet, we need to look honestly at her life and reject it, realizing that she chose the wrong way.  She is not someone to be admired, but someone who desperately needed our prayers while she was alive, and we can only hope that it is not too late to pray for her now.  Whitney Houston chose the way of Satan.  She chose the physical over the spiritual, and she paid for it with her life.  

As we enter into the season of Lent, let us resolve that we will not follow the way of this world, which is the way of Satan but instead, we will live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sexagesima Sunday: Preparation for Lent

Today is Sexagesima Sunday, the second Sunday before Lent.  I was very remiss last week in not pointing out Septuagesima Sunday, which is the First Sunday before Lent.  We are now in the pre-Lenten period, which is the time we prepare for Lent.  Sexagesima denotes that there are now 60 days before Easter.  In the Traditional calendar, the Gloria and the alleluia have already been removed from Feria celebrations of the Mass.  The Introit for today is:
Arise, Lord, why sleepest thou? Arise, and cast us not off for ever. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our trouble? For our soul cleaveth unto the ground. Arise, Lord, help us, and redeem us.
This is showing a time of mourning and repentance for our sins, which have caused to be be separated from God. 

The Gospel is most interesting, being the parable of the Sower in Luke 8:4-15:
At that time, when much people were gathered together, and were come to Jesus out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
This always scares me because it shows that if we are not diligent, we can lose the salvation offered to us by our Lord.   The Traditional Breviary has an excellent reading on this parable by St. Gregory the Pope:

Dearly beloved brethren, the passage from the Holy Gospel which ye have just heard, needeth not so much that I should explain it, as that I should seek to enforce its lesson. For what the Truth himself hath explained, human weakness may not presume to comment upon. But there is, in that very explanation by the Lord, something which we ought to consider carefully. For if we had told you that the seed is meant to signify the Word, ye might have doubted our understanding. Or if we had said that the field is the world ; and the birds, devils ; and the thorns, riches ; ye would perchance have denied the truth of our explanation. Therefore the Lord himself vouchsafed to give this explanation ; and that, not for this parable only, but that ye may know in what manner to interpret others, whereof he hath not given the meaning.

Beginning his explanation, the Lord saith that he speaketh in parable, that is he sheweth his language to be figurátive. Hereby he giveth confidence to the preacher when, in spite of his incapacity, he must needs endeavour to lay open to you the hidden meaning of the Lord's words. If I spake of myself, who would believe me when I say that riches are thorns? Thorns prick, but riches lull to rest. And yet riches are indeed thorns, for the anxiety they bring is a ceaseless pricking to the minds of their owners. And, if they lead into sin, they are thorns which made us bleed with the wounds which they inflict. But we understand from the Evangelist Matthew that in this place the Lord speaketh, not of riches themselves, but of the deceitfulness of riches.
Here St. Gregory goes into a beautiful explanation of what deceitful riches are and why and how they can destroy us.  Our society puts all importance on what the Bible calls "deceitful riches" and we must be very diligent into not being drawn into this trap:
Those riches are deceitful riches, which can be ours only for a little while ; those riches are deceitful riches, which cannot relieve the poverty of our souls. They only are the true riches, which made us rich in virtues. If then, dearly beloved brethren, ye seek to be rich, earnestly desire the true riches. If ye would be truly honourable, strive after the kingdom of heaven. If ye love the bravery of titles, hasten to have your names written down at the Court of the heavenly King, where Angels are. Take to heart the Lord's words which your ear heareth. The food of the soul is the Word of God. When the stomach is sick it throweth up again the food which is put into it ; and so is the soul sick when a man heareth and digesteth not in his memory the Word of God. For if any man cannot keep his food, that man's life is in desperate case.
Lent is all about getting rid of the garbage and the spiritual poison that has come into our lives.  As St. Gregory says, if we are sick, we will not be able to digest the Word of God, and if we cannot keep our food, "that man's life is in desperate case." 

We can never let down.  We must always be aware of the spiritual dangers around us and constantly be drawing close to the True Physician who can cure us of all our spiritual ailments and give us not the death that this world offers, but True Life.  Only then will we be able to bear true fruit.
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