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  • Voting My Catholic Conscience

    Many freedom minded people have been arguing about the election for many months.

    So, I see no reason not to weigh in during the last stretch. A month from now we will know who will be the president, so why not?

    With the exception of once or twice in moments of despair, I have kept my mouth shut on my Facebook page. I believe every person has the right to vote the way they choose, and I would expect them to give me the same option.

    Nevertheless, I have made the decision, using my well formed Catholic conscience, to vote for Donald Trump in November, and against Hillary Clinton. Following is an article in the National Catholic Register that supports my position and that of many other pro life Catholics: Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic Moral Vision

    MSGR. Charles Pope says:
    .

    On the eve of an election and as a priest I frequently am baited to comment more directly on politics by naming names, and parties. I will not do so. The temporal order belongs to the laity, not the clergy. But as a priest I must convey the moral teachings and insist that Catholics connect the dots when it comes to voting. And my advice is simple: Vote as a Catholic, not as a Republican, Democrat, conservative, or liberal. Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic moral vision.

    It is a simple fact, beyond the control of the Church, or of any individual and faithful Catholic, that most politicians of a certain party support the right of others to kill pre-born children. (Emphasis mine).

    This is a heinous crime and cannot be papered over by jargonistic terminology or overlooked by moral equivocations such as “Well, he is right on the other issues.”  Would the excuse that “he is right on the other issues” hold if the word abortion were replaced by genocide or slavery? Abortion is not an abstraction. It is a horrifying reality whose death toll has reached over 50 million in this country alone.

    Proverbs 24 says,Rescue those who are being led off to death; hold back those who are being carried to slaughter. And if you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive you? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Prov 24:11-14) If we do not oppose this moral evil, we are part of the problem and God will judge us.

    The same holds for euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same-sex “marriage.” We cannot remain silent, let alone honor and promote those who hold these views. Do not neglect the other moral issues — but these non-negotiables, for the reasons stated and due to their deadly quality and/or the severe moral harm they cause, must be our first concern.

     

    So, here we all are. The above are non negotiable in the Catholic Church. I have loved my faith and the truths taught by the Church for so many years…I have to vote my conscience.

    Most of my concern is for Life. All human life. That of unborn children, the elderly, the mentally and physically disabled, and others who are under attack by the Democrats.

    I myself have given up worrying about same sex marriage. It’s the law of the land, and I couldn’t care less what people do in their private lives.

    However, I do have many concerns about the militant LGBT activists and their Liberal fellow travelers’ push to force churches to kowtow to THEIR moral vision.

    I’m not going to bother posting any links re the Gay lobby. The information is available online by typing in a few keywords. The same goes for the abortion push by Hilary Clinton, Planned Parenthood and others.

    So, my decision is made. Trump, even though he was not my first choice, is the only candidate that might beat Clinton. And Trump has surrounded himself with people who believe what I believe re the above moral issues and others. Therefore, I will vote for Trump, and pray that he wins. Despite his problems, he is the better candidate in my opinion.

    I’ve always believed that if our country continues toward MORE abortion, ill treatment of the elderly, and other death cult practices, that we will fade away.

    There is no way we will remain free if we allow the party who fosters a death cult to remain in power, when we can at least throw a wrench in their operation for a few years, if not longer.

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    So again… I have to vote against the Democrats. But, if the Democrats and Hillary win in November, I personally believe that America will never recover. It will be impossible for this country to ever regain any semblance of freedom in my lifetime.

    Clinton has vowed to continue and expand on the policies already in place, those that take away the rights of people like me. She will not fix economy, since she vows to keep high taxes.

    She will not increase jobs, since she plans to continue Obama’s policies without change, and has threatened to put coal miners out of business, among other energy/environmental policies.

    She has vowed to see that the Hyde Amendment is overturned, which in reality would make me a slave, because it will remove any protection whatsoever to keep my hard earned money from paying for abortions. I do not want to pay for this barbaric practice. To force me to do so via taxes is a violation of my rights as a free American.

    She is pushing for more gun control, and will appoint Supreme Court justices to see that Americans lose their 2nd amendment rights, and she has promised to allow open borders and import un-vetted refugees to America.

    There is no way to vet the refugees. They are from war torn Syria and other Muslim controlled countries, and it would take too much time to vet each one. Also, many of these people do not wish to assimilate and become Americans. They want Americans to become like them instead.

    I could go on, but the gist of it is that in four years, anyone who runs against her has no chance of winning. Democrats have recently been caught registering dead people to vote in Virginia. There are numerous other examples of voter fraud, yet they insist there is none, and will not allow voter ID laws in many states.

    So, with the above in mind, I do not believe anyone can beat Hillary in 2020. She is a criminal, and she is not above stealing votes. By the time 2020 comes around, there will be way too many immigrants who’ve come over the open Southern border on the voting rolls. They will be registered Democrats, and even if they don’t actually go into a voting booth, they WILL “vote.” And they’ll vote for Hillary.

    It will not matter who runs against her in 2020. She will win again, and by 2024, 16 years of far Left policy will have completely transformed America. We will not recognize our country, all of our traditions will have gone the way of the dinosaur, and we will be, in truth, dhimmis.

    I know some folks believe Congress will hold Hillary in check, and not approve her SCOTUS picks, but I don’t believe it. They haven’t held Obama back, and they won’t mess with Hillary either, so IMO, America will be over if she’s elected.

     

    Take a look at this video of Hillary Clinton standing for the right to dissent:

     

     

    Now please understand the truth. The above may have been true when the Democrats were protesting GWB’s presidency, but no such allowances will be made for anyone who speaks out against Hillary Clinton if she wins.

    Political Correctness has eroded the country. Federal bureaucracies have already been used against conservatives under Obama.

    If Hillary is elected, she will double down on us–those she deems irredeemable deplorables. Also, please note this fact: Just because someone does not vote for Trump doesn’t mean they won’t be counted among the deplorables.

    The Democrat flunkies who will be carrying out the Clinton agenda will not care if any given American was against Trump. If a far Leftist sees an American’s name on some list, they will not be given a free pass just because they voted Libertarian, or wrote in someone else.

    Anyone who does not vote for Hillary will also be considered a deplorable, irredeemable, un-American peon who can be targeted for anything these government workers dream up.

    Take a look at the following. I know it’s ten minutes long, and you don’t have to watch the whole thing, but it illustrates exactly the type of person who will be lording it over all of us if Hillary wins:

     

     

    The above is not an isolated incident. It is a common practice now. If Hillary wins, people like the woman above will grow braver and stronger, and will make the lives of more and more Americans a living hell.

    I can’t help but wish that such a person could be put on notice. Such behavior is abusive and bigoted, yet she’s proud of herself. But if Hillary wins, more of this type of behavior will become the norm.

    There will be more violence, more division, more denigration, and more abuse. There will be less inclusiveness, and more distrust. The country will divide yet further, and Conservatives and Libertarians will be considered non-persons, to the press, the government, and Leftists like the woman above.

    So, here’s my dilemma. I am rather ill with depression/anxiety, as diagnosed by a physician. I consider myself blessed that I found a great doctor who listens to me, and who will work tirelessly to help me manage my condition.

    Still, I must admit that battling the Leftists for the past 8 years has left me exhausted. And the constant worry about what has happened and will happen if Clinton is elected has exacerbated my condition to the point of physical illness at times.

    Sometimes I lose hours or even days when I’m overcome with depression. I’m not ashamed of my illness. It’s real, it’s chronic, it’s debilitating and it’s hellacious.

    But as I’ve said before, it’s what I was given, and it’s my responsibility to manage it, and to keep myself in the best health I can.

    So I have to plan what I will do if Clinton wins the election. And unfortunately, I’ve decided that I will not engage in politics in the future if she wins.

    I can’t deal with another election, knowing it’s Kabuki Theater. If we can’t win now, we certainly won’t win in 4 or 8 years, no matter who the Republicans run, for the reasons I listed above.

    So, I’ve already decided that I will stay off of social media in the days after the election, no matter who wins. I’m sure it will be a contentious place, and I can’t allow myself to lose a week of my life over something beyond my control.

    And if Clinton wins, I will not be involved in any way, shape or form in protesting or trying to change things. This includes voting.

    I am simply going to drop out and live my life as best I can. It hurts way too much to see news stories about Planned Parenthood clinics and the amount of death, destruction and waste of women and children’s lives as it is. I cannot bear to see these things anymore, knowing they are here to stay.

    The same goes for all the other issues.

    So… if Hillary wins, this November will be the last time I ever vote.

    I don’t say this lightly. I’ve voted in every election except one since I was 18 years old. Not to vote is a foreign idea to me.

    But at this point, it won’t do any good, and my health has suffered way too much already.

    I hope people won’t hold it against me in 2020, but I absolutely will not get involved in any attempt to “beat” Hillary. I refuse to go through this again, and I will not bother to drive to the polling place. I am staying home.

    In closing, I’m going to embed a tweet with a video re Donald Trump. I have watched it quite a few times, because it made me happy to see the little girl’s face when she realized someone cared enough to help her.

    Related Posts:

     

    Les Deplorables

    Saint Augustine and The Donald


  • Saint Augustine and The Donald

    Today, in the Catholic Church, is the feast day of Saint Augustine of Hippo.

     

    Son of a pagan father who converted on his death bed, and of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. Raised a Christian, he lost his faith in youth and led a wild life. Lived with a Carthaginian woman from the age of 15 through 30. Fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus, which means the gift of GodTaught rhetoric at Carthage and MilanItaly. After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years; it taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. A summation of his thinking at the time comes from his Confessions: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”

     

    As you can see, Augustine was sort of a sinner in his younger years. Here’s the operative quote: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”

    Yet Augustine turned his life around and became such a devoted follower of Christ that he was canonized a saint and a Doctor of the Church.

    So…what does Saint Augustine have to do with Trump?

    Sigh… my opinion won’t be popular. Still, it’s my opinion, and to comfort myself and others who are voting for Trump, I’m going to use the therapy of writing to say why.

    During my daily Scripture reading and reflections, I have always applied the Scripture and the gospels to my everyday life. I’m not sure if other people do this, but I do, and I have for many years.

    Today’s Mass readings and the homily, combined with it being the feast day of St. Augustine, brought on the following reflection.

    If Saint Augustine were here today, in 2016, would he have ever become a saint? With his life–running around with women, getting drunk, having an illegitimate child, defying his mom St. Monica and causing her to cry about him and what he was doing–would the court of public opinion and the call of the world by the “cool people” have, perhaps, drawn him away from the Lord?

    Probably not; lots of people turn their lives around, regret things they did while they were young, and count on the goodwill of others to forgive them and not hold it over their heads.

    But, there are always those who refuse to believe anyone who once led a life of ill repute can ever really turn around.

    So, during Mass, I listened to the following:

     

    My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
    and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
    Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
    and you will find favor with God.
    What is too sublime for you, seek not,
    into things beyond your strength search not.
    The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
    and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
    Water quenches a flaming fire,
    and alms atone for sins.
    SIRACH 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

     

    And then this passage from the Gospel of Luke:

     

    On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
    at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
    and the people there were observing him carefully.

    He told a parable to those who had been invited,
    noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
    “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
    do not recline at table in the place of honor.
    A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
    and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
    ‘Give your place to this man,’
    and then you would proceed with embarrassment
    to take the lowest place.
    Rather, when you are invited,
    go and take the lowest place
    so that when the host comes to you he may say,
    ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
    Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
    For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
    but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
    Then he said to the host who invited him,
    “When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
    do not invite your friends or your brothers
    or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
    in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
    Rather, when you hold a banquet,
    invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
    blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
    For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

     

    LUKE 14:1, 7-14

     

    The priest’s homily was all about “tooting your own horn”, and how people in business must advertise in order to let consumers know that they have a good product, so the above passage from Sirach is a hard one to live up to.

    And how about that parable in the Gospel? Jesus told us to not get too big for our britches, and to invite people who can’t do anything for us into our homes, etc.

    So, again, what’s all this got to do with Trump? He’s a terrible sinner and a bad dude, as many of the leading people in the Conservative movement tell us.

     

    Here’s an example from a recent article in National Review, by David French, who thought he might run for president as an independent earlier in the year.

     

    Look, this was bound to get ugly. It’s been ugly for a long time. Because Trump represents such a radical departure from decades of Republican leadership, the choice to support him involves a host of moral compromises that are atypical for a Republican primary, much less the general election. And since most of us in the conservative movement scorn notions of moral relativism, we’re simply not going to be content with reasoning that says, “My choice is right for me; your choice is right for you.”

     

    Here’s more

     

    The Kentucky church my wife and I frequented early in our marriage was one of the best churches I’ve ever attended. Never before or since have I seen such zeal for the Gospel or such a desire to reach the most desperate and vulnerable members of society. It wasn’t a wealthy church. I was the only lawyer in the congregation, and there was only one doctor. Many people struggled to make ends meet.

    Sadly, that rendered them vulnerable to scams, and when a diet-pill pyramid scheme started racing through the congregation, I was aghast. People were spending money they didn’t have to join networks and create “down lines,” firmly believing that economic salvation was at hand. The sales pitch was slick, but the pills scarcely disguised the pyramid. One presenter even said, “You can get rich without even selling any pills.”

    I’d worked on consumer fraud cases before, and I thought that I could help stop the madness. I went to the presentations, I researched the materials, and then I started talking to friends. Some listened, but most got mad and a few got furious. To this day, those are some of the most painful conversations I’ve ever had, and I realize now why: My friends were hearing two voices. One of them was speaking authoritatively about numbers and dollars and selling hope. The other was speaking with the same degree of assurance about numbers and dollars but was instead trying to extinguish hope. I never stood a chance.

    Yes, voters have a responsibility to exercise good judgment. But the greatest responsibility lies with the con artist and his knowing enablers. Trump — like Obama before him — is selling hope. But that hope is a false hope, and all those “establishment” figures who scorn the alleged “moral preening” of Never Trump know it. They’re aware of the pyramid scheme, and they choose to further it anyway, like the minions who circulate to cheap hotels across the land, pitching scams in meeting rooms. They’re co-conspirators. No one likes to be told they’re wrong. But it is, in fact, wrong to support Trump, and when I see a member of the GOP establishment selling the Trump brand, I’m transported back to Kentucky, watching a huckster exploit people I love.

     

    I’m not questioning French’s motives in telling people what he believes, but it is a bit insulting that he considers every person who is voting Trump to have been taken in by a snake oil salesman and a con.

    I mean… there are doctors, lawyers, and many other professionals who voted Trump in the primaries. Were they all that foolish? Did they all really buy themselves some snake oil?

    Or did they just have a different opinion than French and the others at NRO, the Weekly Standard, The Resurgent, and the other publications that hate Trump?

    You can make your own decision on that question.

    Sigh… the above Gospel, where Christ asks us to invite everyone, no matter their social status, or how much money they have, or their disabilities, sort of disagrees with French’s condescending attitude toward the working class poor.

    He mentioned the people in his congregation and said they were taken in by a scam. I wonder if any of them have read his words. I myself fell for a scam once or twice in my time. Nobody knows about it, thank the Lord; I wouldn’t want anyone to talk about my foolishness, let alone write about it in a National publication.

    And how many of us have sinned in the past? I have; I’m a only a poor sinner with my many faults.

    I’m voting Trump because I still have hope in God. I don’t want to despair. If that makes me a buyer of snake oil, then so be it.

    I don’t know God’s mind. I don’t know everything. I have to believe that Trump is where he is for a reason, even if he was my next to last choice of candidates. (Trump beat Jeb Bush in my line-up).

    I’ve read many articles on why we should never vote for Trump, and many of them are quite a turn off. Many of the poor that Christ asked us to invite are most likely voting Trump.

    I’m not sure Jesus would approve of David French right now, especially because of this article, where he agreed with a fellow journalist that the poor who are in need of jobs should just suck it up, put their worldly possessions in a U-Haul, and get out of their rickety towns because the jobs are gone, and they’re never coming back.

    Perhaps the poor or unemployed want jobs to come back to their towns. Maybe they don’t want to be the 21st century Joads. I certainly don’t blame them. Why should they not give Trump a try? He can’t possibly be worse than Hillary, and he might even be better. Only God knows the future.

    As for Trump himself, I know for a fact that he has recently helped people in need. Click here.  Also, there are many testimonials, videos, articles and interviews that show without a doubt that Trump is not the boogeyman the NRO folks believe him to be, even though he never was, nor is he now, a saint.  I’m not going to link to all of them. They are easily found in a quick google search.

    From the linked article:

     

    Tony Perkins announced Friday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s $100,000 donation for relief efforts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was received by the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, which is serving as a hub for distributing supplies and hot meals. 

    Perkins said: “All funds that are marked for disaster relief are being placed in an account separate from GSBC’s general fund and will be used only for expenses related to GSBC’s disaster related efforts and restoration. For example, these funds may be used to purchase relief-related supplies, material and services. The funds will not be used for normal church expenses, nor will the funds be used for cash grants to individuals. Any funds not used in this initial relief phase will be used for subsequent efforts to support and/or directly restore and rebuild homes and church facilities impacted by the flood.”

     

    Would Christ approve? Would Saint Augustine approve? You can decide for yourself. And, who are we to judge why Trump donated the money? Shouldn’t we just be happy that he did it?

    One more point. I have seen comments from Christians who are not voting Trump because they are afraid their own souls will be lost. One lady, commenting on a new friend’s Facebook post said that Trump voters are selling their souls to the devil.

    Another commenter, on twitter, said that she would not vote for either Hillary or Trump, as both are evil. Now I understand that some people can’t vote Trump because they simply don’t believe he is going to do what he says he will. And I do understand that; I was not exactly thrilled with his actions during the primaries.

    Also, it is none of my business what people do with their votes. Your vote is your vote and my vote is my vote.

    But to tell others they are selling their souls by voting for a human being to be president is rather… harsh.

    Also, the “vote for neither evil” sentiment seems to come from this one clergyman’s quote:

     

    Of two evils, choose neither.

    Charles Spurgeon

     

    Okay. So one clergyman who lived in the 1800’s is what you base your philosophy for voting in this important election upon?

    Remember who Trump is running against? I don’t need to list Hillary Clinton’s many crimes, her immorality or her evil intentions here, because everyone who isn’t a Democrat already knows what she is.

    This election is make or break for America and our freedoms. One quote?

    For perspective, here are some other quotes by Charles Spurgeon.

     

    ‘You are no saint,’ says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, I go to Him; other hope, I have none. -Charles Spurgeon

     

     

    We do not pray to God to instruct Him as to what He should do; neither for a moment must we presume to dictate the method of the divine working. -Charles Spurgeon

     

     

    He who has felt his own ruin will not imagine the case of any to be hopeless; nor will he think them too fallen to be worthy his regard. -Charles Spurgeon

     

     

    Few men would dare to read their own autobiography if all their deeds were recorded in it; few can look back upon their entire career without a blush. -Charles Spurgeon

     

    And here’s one that’ll make you go hmmm… What does Charles Spurgeon mean by the following? Did he believe only “certain” people were “predestined” to get into heaven?

    What about Saint Augustine? Hmmm….

    I believe that nothing happens apart from divine determination and decree. We shall never be able to escape from the doctrine of divine predestination – the doctrine that God has foreordained certain people unto eternal life. -Charles Spurgeon

     

    And, for fellow Catholics, there’s this gem:

    If I were a Roman Catholic, I should turn a heretic, in sheer desperation, because I would rather go to heaven than go to purgatory. -Charles Spurgeon

     

    (Reminds me of Davy Crockett. “You can go to hell. I’m going to Texas.”)

    So…. Charles Spurgeon was sort of a mish-mash. Some good stuff in his quotes, but also some questionable tenets to his faith. I don’t think I’m going to base my vote on what he said 150 years ago.

    In fact, since our Mass readings today included a passage from the book of Sirach, Spurgeon, no matter how close to God he was, couldn’t possibly have read it, since the Protestants removed Sirach from the Bible. (And he would never have read it anyway, since he didn’t approve of Catholics).

    So, I’m voting for Trump. If I find out that I bought myself some snake oil, I’m sure David French will tell the whole world, and say: “I told you so.”

    But, what if he’s wrong?

     

    Related posts:

    Never Hillary, Pre-Convention Musings & a Reluctant Fisk

    I Wish You Peace

    Evil Never Rests


  • Tell us, Tim Kaine… What is a “Pope Francis Catholic”?

    Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s VP choice, has recently declared that he is courting the votes of Americans whom he terms “Pope Francis Catholics”, according to this article by Breitbart. 

    Apparently, Kaine believes Jesuits, or perhaps Catholics who attended Jesuit schools, (especially in Philadelphia) may be “Pope Francis Catholics.”

    “Well, Jesuits aren’t that big an applause line in every city, but I’m glad to know in Philadelphia,” Kaine said. “I bet there were a lot of Pope Francis Catholics here before there was a Pope Francis.”

     

    Pope Francis

     

    Further on in the article we find a possible definition of a Pope Francis Catholic:

     

    To bolster his Catholic credentials, Kaine reminded the Democratic audience on a Saturday that he would be in his home parish at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Richmond the following morning.

    “Hey, St. E.’s folks, I hope you’re watching,” he said. “We will be there at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.”

    They were, and so was the media, who dutifully reported Kaine’s participation in the Mass and and “sang and clapped along to the choir.”

    “During communion, Kaine joined the choir and took the lead singing a solo. He sang the solo parts of a song called ‘Taste and See,’” ABC News reported.

    Parishioners stood and applauded Kaine after he entered the Church after accepting the nomination for Vice President on the Clinton ticket.

    By citing his more liberal Jesuit education, Kaine sends a signal that he will not stand for the lives of unborn children as victims of abortion.

    “I’m a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions,” he said when asked a question about abortion during a CNN interview in July. 

    His voting record to defend abortion rights has earned him the support of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

    “He has been a champion for Planned Parenthood,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards said after he was nominated.

     

    So. That must be it. According to Kaine, a “Pope Francis Catholic” is a Catholic Democrat who supports abortion.

    Really???

     

    Please. Spare us.

     

    This tendency to pretend that politicians who are pro-abortion can remain in good standing in the Catholic Church has gotten on my last nerve.

    We already went through this the last time. 

     

    Although Vice President Joe Biden says he is “a practicing Catholic” and believes that life begins at conception — but he would not “say that” to people who “have a different view” — his former bishop forbade Biden from speaking at Catholic schools,  and the bishop for Colorado Springs has said Biden should not present himself for Communion at Mass.

    Also, in a document cited by the Wilmington, Del., office of Biden’s former bishop – Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli, who died in 2009 – it states that “Catholic politicians who take pro-abortion legislative positions … should never be put forward as a model of a Catholic in public life,” and “their acting consistently to support abortion on demand risks making them cooperators in evil in a public manner.”

     

    Why, oh why, are Catholics who follow Church teaching required to put up with this nonsense again?

    It gets tiresome. It’s annoying and frustrating to read the kind of stupid contained in the Breitbart article.

    And not only is Kaine as prochoice as you can get, he’s running with Hillary Clinton, the MOST pro-abortion candidate ever to run for president.

     

     

    During an interview on The View recently Hillary Clinton said an unborn child just hours before delivery should have no Constitutional rights. Her comments came just days after Clinton said unborn children simply do not have any Constitutional rights, which would include the right to life.

    In February, Clinton defended partial-birth abortions: “My husband vetoed a very restrictive legislation on late-term abortions, and he vetoed it at an event in the White House where we invited a lot of women who had faced this very difficult decision, that ought to be made based on their own conscience, their family, their faith, in consultation with doctors. Those stories left a searing impression on me,” she continued.

    Clinton has said more taxpayer money needs to go to the Planned Parenthood abortion business and Clinton demonstrated her unyielding commitment to abortion and the Planned Parenthood abortion business, accepting their endorsement during a pro-abortion rally — saying she would be the abortion business’ president.

    “I will always defend Planned Parenthood and I will say consistently and proudly, Planned Parenthood should be funded, supported and protected, not undermined, misrepresented and demonized,” Clinton said. “As your president, I will always have your back.”

     

    So, why in the name of anything good and decent did Hillary Clinton pick a Catholic to run with her?

    She must think Catholics are complete idiots, since abortion is simply not allowed for Catholics. It is in the Catechism. In fact, abortion is non-negotiable. That’s it. It is considered an intrinsic evil, which means American Catholics should not vote for the Clinton-Kaine ticket if they want to remain in good standing in the the Church. Period. End of story.

    From The Voters Guide for Serious Catholics, by Priests for Life:

     

    1. Abortion

    The Church teaches that, regarding a law permitting abortions, it is “never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it” (EV 73). Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.

    The unborn child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child’s, who should not suffer death for others’ sins.

    Is the above clear??? What is so hard to understand?

     

    So, where did the “Pope Francis Catholic” line come from? It obviously didn’t come from Pope Francis, since he recently made it known to all the world, including Tim Kaine, that the position of the Church remains unchanged. 

    This is what the papal document had to say about abortion, according to the report:

    On the subject of abortion, the document states the church’s commitment to its anti-abortion stance, adding that no woman’s “right to choose” over what happens to their own body can “justify terminating a life”.

    It also states that healthcare workers in [facilities that perform abortions] should exercise their right to conscientiously object to abortion.

     

    Did Tim Kaine miss the above? He must have, since he is using Pope Francis to uphold his pro-abortion position. The nerve.

    I’m sure Francis will be really thrilled to hear that Catholics who support abortion are being referred to as Pope Francis Catholics. Likewise Jesuits who follow Church teaching.

    Biden’s oxymoronic pro-abortion Catholicism has already caused enough problems. We don’t need another VP exactly like him. Having a pro-abortion VP who claims to follow the Catholic faith has already stretched the patience of Catholics who DO follow the faith, not to mention causing confusion in their families.

    Damage control must be done regularly, when children learn in religion class that “the Vice President is a Catholic! Yay!”

    Now the end is in sight, and a pro-life VP is on the horizon. My friends and I are dreaming of the day when a pro-abortion Catholic will no longer be the Vice President of our country.

    And now we must contemplate another one???

    Please watch the video below.

     

    This is the way I feel right now. I cannot stand another eight years, or even another four years of this stupidity. Not again.

    This is the most annoying thing I have heard all week. I really hope American Catholics (I mean Catholics who practice the faith, not Liberal Catholics who will pull the lever for Hillary no matter what she has done, or what she intends to do in the future) are not dumb enough to fall for this again.

    Don’t be STUPID. Your eternal life depends upon your choices. 

     


  • Reflections on Lent

    It’s that time again… Lent begins tomorrow.

    It’s early this year; snow is falling here in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and I’m thankful to God that I don’t have to drive in it. It’s cold and damp outside, and I usually huddle near the heater so the cold doesn’t get into my hands and cause pain.

    But the snow is pretty, falling in large wet flakes. It’s the kind of snow children can make snowmen and snowballs with. Is it possible that this wintery weather will be done and over with in six short weeks?

    That’s doubtful. I remember snowstorms on Good Friday. Still, Spring, and with it our celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is on the horizon. Sometime before Easter, snowdrops and crocuses will bloom, and my hyacinths will begin poking through the mud. The days are getting longer, and my mood, overshadowed by depression, is brighter.
    IMG_2333

    When I was a child, our family didn’t stress extra prayer or reflection during Lent. We skipped meat on Fridays and “gave up” something. Usually it was a food that we loved, like chocolate, or cookies. Doing this did make me aware of Lent, however it wasn’t until my mid thirties that I really came to the deep faith I have today. Which, by the way, has gone through dryness at times. Actually, I’m in the midst of a semi-desert, midway between a joyous feeling in my heart when contemplating Jesus, and the complete spiritual dryness I experienced during the worst of my episodes of depression. The joy does come, but it’s not a given, the way it once seemed to be. Still, I was blessed to come to a deeper faith, and will accept whatever God hands me, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

    For the last ten years or so, in addition to my everyday habit of reading the daily Mass readings and a reflection, I made it a point to do some extra spiritual reading during Lent. Past selections included The Story Of A Soul, St. Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography, What Jesus saw From The Cross, by A.G. Sertillanges, Jesus of Nazareth, by Pope Benedict XVI, (which I never finished, because it was difficult reading), and various collections of reflections and writings from others who lived holy lives.

    This year I will be reading Rediscover Jesus, by Michael Kelly. This book was given to us as a Christmas gift from our parish, and I decided to save it for Lent. It has 40 short chapters, one for each day.

    I also downloaded two new apps: 25 Days of Reflections by Father Benedict Groeschel of EWTN, and the Way of the Cross for the Unborn. These materials will give me lots of spiritual food. I always feel closer to God when I take extra time to read about Him, and to pray other prayers in addition to the Rosary.

    I hope to experience a Holy Lent, full of God’s beauty and grace, and I wish the same for everyone reading this.

    IMG_7606 2

     

    You may also enjoy:

    Winter’s Almost Over

    April Musings


  • The Holy Innocents & Today’s Freedom

    Today the Catholic Church commemorates the Holy Innocents, babies who were martyred for Christ.

    800px-Guido_Reni_-_Massacre_of_the_Innocents

    MT 2:13-18

    When the magi had departed, behold,
    the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
    “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
    and stay there until I tell you.
    Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
    Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
    and departed for Egypt.
    He stayed there until the death of Herod,
    that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
    Out of Egypt I called my son.When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
    he became furious.
    He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
    two years old and under,
    in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
    Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:
    A voice was heard in Ramah,
    sobbing and loud lamentation;
    Rachel weeping for her children,
    and she would not be consoled,
    since they were no more
    .

    Jesus was the Son of God. Just as an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, assuring him that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because the child to be born was Holy, the angel also warned Joseph of Herod’s plan. Joseph didn’t question either dream. He simply did what was commanded, even though he had no way of knowing the outcome. Jesus, Mary and Joseph escaped the massacre.

    Adorazione_dei_Magi_by_Gentile_da_Fabriano_-_Predella

    Imagine such a thing as this. You are a young mom, living your life as best you can under the rule of the Roman Conquerers, with the additional worry of a crazed and power hungry King.

    Herod the Great, king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother and his sister’s two husbands, to name only a few.

    Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was “greatly troubled” when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of “the newborn king of the Jews,” whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also “do him homage.” They found Jesus, offered him their gifts and, warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.

    Herod became furious and “ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.” The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children…” (Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob/Israel. She is pictured as weeping at the place where the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into captivity.

     

    One day, out of the blue, the King’s soldiers ride into your town and begin hunting for male infants. Perhaps you try to hide your child  as you wait for the inevitable. You shield your own infant until he is dragged out of your arms by someone who’s been ordered to murder him.

    And then after the little boy’s soul has left his tiny body, you wail. You never get over this. There’s no consolation by worldly standards. There is only God’s promise, that He IS.

    Living in Freedom.

    What is freedom? It’s something to ponder. We in America are free. We are not like the Chinese, who until quite recently (like, a month ago) lived under a government enforced “one child policy.” I read recently that the policy is being relaxed to allow two children. Still, what if you were a mom living under the Communist Chinese, and you became pregnant with child no. 3? Imagine your fear, your emotions, your husband’s fear. Imagine hiding your children from your own government.

    What might this be like? How blessed we are, here in America. Women in America have complete rights over their own bodies. No government official can tell a woman what to do. Right?

    But what is Freedom? Who is entitled to Freedom?

    In America, the mothers are entitled to Freedom with regard to children. That’s it. The moms.

    The fathers are not entitled to Freedom. They may want a child, but they have no rights if, by chance, the mother of their unborn child decides that motherhood isn’t for her, for whatever reason. And the children themselves are not entitled to freedom in any way shape or form. They are helpless. They cannot speak for themselves, to make a claim to their rights and freedom. Even when pictures of the children taken via ultrasound are made available for all to see, still, the children have no freedom. If the mommy, for whatever reason, decides against the child, the child loses his/her freedom to draw breath.

    Some American women also are not entitled to freedom.

    These women are the ones who are, perhaps, subjects of other “kingly” types. Perhaps their families are not supportive. Perhaps a young girl becomes pregnant after making a poor choice. Maybe she wants to have her child, but her family do not want this to happen. And so, the scared girl goes along with what her family wishes. Is this really freedom? Yes… if the girl can find strength to stand alone. Sometimes she can’t. Then what? She’s free to allow her parents or, in other circumstances, her pimp, to take her to Planned Parenthood, a bastion of western freedom.

    Perhaps a mom & dad, excitedly awaiting the birth of a longed for child are given sad news: their child, according to tests, is not “perfect.” They are advised to abort the child, to save the baby a “life not worth living.” (By the world’s standards).  This is, after all, science. And so, despite the sick feeling deep down in their souls, the family, in their freedom, choose to terminate.

    Then they are free. Free to suffer the anguish of contemplating the missing soul who might have been a part of their family. (If, by chance, the previous words speak to you, please, please know that help and healing are available. You do not need to feel broken and suffer alone! Click the link for Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry where you will find peace and healing.)

    Other Americans are free as well. Free to read the “literature” pushed by public schools, in which choosing to spend years saying: “What if?” is simply part of the equation. The choice to be informed about the aftermath, for some strange reason, isn’t included in this free choice.

    The parents of the kids in these schools are free, too. If they don’t agree with the “literature” that has replaced such classics as Shakespeare and Mark Twain and George Orwell in English classes, they are free to send their kids elsewhere.  (As long as they can afford to pay for the public school, as well as the private school, that is.)

    We are targeted by the Evil One each and every day. So are we truly free?

    We may or may not be aware of it. Certainly some folks are unaware, those who do not question the accepted government/scientific “worldly” wisdom pushed on us.

    But what is freedom, if you never question anything? If your gut, or your heart, or even the sight of a grandmother standing quietly praying a rosary as you pass on your way to your place of choice is telling you to STOP, and WAIT, and GO HOME, and you ignore these warnings because you don’t want to even ask a question by taking 10 minutes to type in a google search, are you really free?

     

    If the above somehow speaks to you, please, please click the link for Birthright, or type the words “Crisis Pregnancy help” into your phone. It can’t hurt to ask a question. There are other alternatives. You may come to feel that clicking a link or typing a few words saved your life.

    And if you, yourself, (the way I did twenty years ago) simply fall back on the old “I wouldn’t do such a thing, and it wouldn’t be a good choice for MY daughter, or MY sister, or MY family, but who am I to tell another they should not choose such a thing?” Then, truly, are you free? If you see the harm that places like Planned Parenthood do to women and children and say to yourself, it’s not for me or mine but it’s okay for other people and their loved ones,  are you free? If so, how? Or are you a prisoner of political correctness or deception? Why would something that results in the death of a human child be okay for everyone else but you & yours? Is theft ok? As long as you or your child do not steal?

    What kind of freedom compartmentalizes human beings? Some are worthy to be free, and others are not.

    What kind of freedom is that? The freedom to go along with the herd, despite your own mind, heart and soul?

    The above are the freedoms of the world.

    Yet they are not true freedoms. True freedom does not hide under a veil of political correctness, fear, or even the master deception of “being cool.” Such things do not constitute true freedom of mind, body and soul. So if you feel something inside, do not push it away… this is Christ, knocking at your door. Let Him in. Ask Him what to do. Go where you haven’t gone before. Then, and only then, will you know true freedom.

    Freedom baby! It’s ours.

    Actually, this is true, despite all of the above. We are truly free… in Christ. It’s a paradox. We are living under the Herods  of our day, this is true, and yet we can choose to follow the king of Kings, he who came as an infant and was targeted for death by one of the most powerful men in Judea.

    Of course He escaped Herod, a piddling earthy politician who followed the evil one. It wasn’t His time. His time would come 30 years later, when he began His public ministry. No earthly King could touch Him… not until He decided it was time. And we all know what followed, don’t we?


  • Christmas Eve Reflections

    This weekly column by Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia and my Bishop, has given me much to reflect upon over the past week. The message pertains to Advent.

     

    Geertgen_tot_Sint_Jans,_The_Nativity_at_Night,_c_1490
    Nativity at Night by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1490 (public domain image). After a composition by Hugo van der Goes of c. 1470, influenced by the visions of Saint Bridget of Sweden. Sources of light are the infant Jesus, the shepherds’ fire on the hill behind, and the angel who appears to them.

     

    The last few days before Christmas are usually, (I admit it) filled with harassment. Last minute shopping & wrapping after waiting to be paid, cooking, scheduling times when our immediate family can all be together before and after larger family meals, finishing handmade gifts, etc., can sometimes push Christ onto the back burner.

    However, I went to Mass Saturday evening, and Archbishop Chaput’s message was in our parish bulletin. After reflecting on the contents,  I found myself  less concerned with perfection in gift wrapping and more concerned about Christ’s coming.

    As the Archbishop reminds us, Christ came here to redeem us. His coming changed this earth forever. And He also came here to die for us, so that we might be saved from “the world” and its ruler.

    Everyone loves the magical aspect of Christmas–the lights, the caroling and gathering of family, giving gifts and watching our children’s faces alight with joy as they find their presents on Christmas morning.

    Sometimes, all in a flutter over these wonderful aspects of the Season, we forget why Jesus came. Yes, he came as a tiny infant. But He also knew He would grow up, people would reject Him, and He would ultimately die for us.

    34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted…

    Luke 2:34

    Two brief passages from Archbishop Chaput’s weekly column give us something to reflect upon.

    The first is from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Incidentally, I read Eric Metaxas’ biography of Bonhoeffer some years ago. I highly recommend it, as we face some of the same issues today. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was eventually executed by Hitler for resistance to the III Reich.

    We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the [Advent] message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.

    Only when we have felt the terror of the matter can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love. God makes us happy as only children can be happy. God wants to always be with us – in our sin, in our suffering and death. We are no longer alone; God is with us.

    The second passage follows in these words written by the Jesuit priest Alfred Delp, from a prison cell. Delp was also imprisoned by the Nazis, and executed shortly after he penned these words.

     

    We may ask why God has sent us into this time, why he has sent this whirlwind over the earth, why he keeps us in this chaos where all appears hopeless and dark and why there seems to be no end to this in sight. The answer to this question is perhaps that we were living on earth in an utterly false and counterfeit security. And now God strikes the earth till it resounds, now he shakes and shatters; not to pound us with fear, but to teach us one thing – the spirit’s innermost moving and being moved…

    The world today needs people who have been shaken by ultimate calamities and emerged from them with the knowledge and awareness that those who look to the Lord will still be preserved by him, even if they are hounded from the earth. The Advent message comes out of an encounter of man with the absolute, the final, the gospel. It is thus the message that shakes – so that in the end, the world shall be shaken.

    So, are we sometimes complacent? I regretfully admit that I am. But what is the greater meaning of this wondrous season? Why the stress about cookies? Jesus doesn’t mind if the pizzelles don’t get made today. Pizzelles are lovely snowflakes that can be eaten on Christmas, but if making them by tomorrow takes away my joy and leaves me less time to reflect upon the real meaning of Christmas, what good are they? I can make them next week, next month or at Eastertime.

    Worrying about these trivial matters puts Christ in the background.  Making sure everything is perfect can steal your joy. Maybe that’s why, after so many years of Christmas that for some means little beyond shopping and partying,  we find ourselves “shaken by ultimate calamities.”

     

    800px-Guido_Reni_-_Massacre_of_the_Innocents
    Guido Reni, Massacre of the Innocents, 1610 ~Public Domain Image.



    Christ was born in Bethlehem, and angels proclaimed Peace on Earth and goodwill to men upon whom His favor rests. But shortly after His Birth, His parents were warned to flee to a foreign land. The men who would reject him began with King Herod, who, in his zeal to protect his own power, ordered the child killed. In order to make sure the Newborn King of the Jews (a threat to Herod’s worldly power) was destroyed, he went a little overboard, and decreed that all Jewish male children under age two in the vicinity of Bethlehem be killed with swords.

     

    When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[7] When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”[3]

    Matthew, chapter 2

    So, Christ came as a beautiful child, and we should celebrate His coming with joy.

    But we should also remember that He was hunted from birth by the powerful, in an effort to destroy Him. It’s the same today. Jesus came to change us. He wants us to be poor in spirit, despite our western lifestyles. He came for all mankind. We should remember Him everyday, & not reject Him in our complacency, lest we find ourselves shaken.

     

     

    The above hymn is one which makes me contemplate Christ in His whole message. It’s not a performance on a stage, with all the glitter and perfection, but a simple video in the studio. But is it any less beautiful because of its simplicity?

     

    Wishing everyone reading this a joyful and Merry Christmas.


  • Happy Thanksgiving

    Tomorrow we celebrate a beloved American holiday, Thanksgiving.

     

    All day today I’ve been remembering what I’m grateful for. There are so many things! A loving husband and family, adorable grandchildren, a roof over my head, enough to eat, and my friends near and far. I’m thankful for music, the ability to run and exercise to keep fit, and for good health. I’m thankful to live in a free country where I can write the books I choose to write and post the blogs I choose to post. I’m very grateful that I’m free to worship as a Roman Catholic, a faith I love.

    I can never thank God enough for all that He’s given me. I can only be humble, and a gracious receiver of His gifts. Encompassing all is His redemption of me by His death on the Cross, something I do not deserve, and of which I am not worthy.

    Yet He did it anyway.

    There’s really nothing more to say.

    Catholic Church Crucifix

    Thank you, dear Jesus, for everything.

    Wishing family, friends and readers everywhere a very Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

    images copy 21

     


  • The Feast Of Christ The King

    Today is The Feast Of Christ The King, officially called the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe.

    Stained Glass, Christ The King

    Prayer of the King-Priest-Messiah

    The Lord says to my lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
    till I make your enemies your footstool.”
    The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your foes!
    Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day you lead your host upon the holy mountains.
    From the womb of the morning
    like dew your youth will come to you.
    The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
    “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
    The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
    He will drink from the brook by the way;
    therefore he will lift up his head.
    Psalm 110: 1-5, 7 (RSV)

     

    Christ the King Sunday celebrates the all-embracing authority of Christ as King and Lord of the cosmos.

    The Feast Of Christ The King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, as a counter to the rise of secularism in the world.

     

    Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 for the universal church in his encyclical Quas Primas. He connected the increasingly denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. At the time of Quas Primas, many Christians (including Catholics) began to doubt Christ’s authority and existence, as well as the Church’s power to continue Christ’s authority. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of non-Christian dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders. These dictators often attempted to assert authority over the Church. Just as the Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted when devotion to the Eucharist was at a low point, the Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning, when the feast was needed most.

    Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:

    1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).
    2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).
    3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).

    Stained Glass, Christ The King

    Today, in 2015, this Feast is especially important. 

    Just look around at the state of the world. Inhabitants of third world countries live in terrible poverty, in some instances kept there by unscrupulous governments. Terrorism and extreme ideologies are on the rise worldwide, and many people living in the West seem to have lost all sense of God. This shunning of God, and the rise of humanism and moral relevance with regard to societal issues has created a terrible vacuum. I don’t need to list all of the effects here–as I said, just look around or read a few news stories.

    Sadly, many people do not look to Christ for guidance, nor do they live according to His Commandments. We can see the results of such folly.

    However, we who do give Christ dominion over us can rest assured that He will remember us. We are His.

    Stained Glass - Christ The King

    Collect for the Solemnity of Christ the King

    Almighty and merciful God,
    you break the power of evil and make all things new
    in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
    May all in heaven and earth
    acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
    We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.
    Catholic Collect

     

    On this solemn Feast of Christ The King, may we pray, always, for Peace in the world.


  • Catholics Shaming Catholics. (Yeah, It’s a Thing Now)

    As a Roman Catholic, I’m very happy that Pope Francis will be visiting the United States for The World Meeting Of Families.

    This much anticipated event will take place in Philadelphia, PA. I am especially excited, because my parish church is part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    For those who may not be aware of the latest news re Pope Francis’ visit, here’s an update. President Obama has invited several people to the Whitehouse for the express purpose of welcoming the Holy Father to America. These include a religious sister who seems to condone abortion, a transgender woman, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and Catholic gay activists, all of whom openly flout Catholic teaching. Please click here. For more analysis, see this article by Declan Finn, of The Catholic Geeks.

    Invitee #1? The retired Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, famous for leaving his wife for his boyfriend, and being the first openly gay episcopal bishop in 2003. Robinson would divorce said partner in 2014. The cross-dresser in this group is a “Mateo” Williamson, former co-chairman of the Transgender Caucus for Dignity USA, born a woman, now thinks of herself as a man, and yet is still attracted to men.

    No, this is not part of a joke. This is an actual quote:

    “Today I identify as a gay man and before that was difficult to understand because I thought that in order to be transgender, in order to be a transgender male that I had to be attracted to females but I never have throughout my entire life.”

    Pardon me while I bang my head against a wall. After a while, I may even come to enjoy it.

    For people who may not know, all of the behaviors these guests are proud of are against Catholic Church teaching.

    That’s not to say that Catholics do not ever fall; all of us do. No human being is perfect. All of us sin. If we sin, whether by missing Mass, committing murder, having sexual relations outside of marriage, cheating on our spouse, telling lies about others and bearing false witness, looking down on our neighbors, and numerous other sins, we are taught that Jesus always forgives. Jesus forgives a repentant soul, always. Always. No matter what. However, the sinner must repent of the sin, and try not to sin again. Some of the more serious sins, such as murder and theft, must be paid for by being brought to justice. In most civilized nations this includes a jail sentence. Being forgiven does not mean we don’t pay the consequences.

    Of course, we all know that we fail many, many times. We commit the same sins over and over again, go to confession, are absolved, and leave church with the intention to never do it again. Some of the sins are venial, such as using foul language. (This is one that I struggle with daily). You get the picture, right? We, as Catholics, are supposed to follow Christ’s Church every day, and if we fall, we should admit it, repent, and know that we are forgiven. It does not mean that we should openly flout our behavior and lead others to follow us, which is what the people Obama invited to meet Francis are doing. Nobody would admit openly to the taking of a human life and expect not to be punished, even if Christ forgives the person, right?

    Oh, wait. I forgot. Some people do take human lives and do not pay any consequences other than being hailed as doing “God’s work” by our President, Barack Obama. And at least one person whom Obama has invited to greet Pope Francis condones the taking of innocent human life by abortion, through her promotion of Obamacare, since taxpayer money is given to Planned Parenthood, enabling them to continue performing abortions. How many people were influenced by this person are not known, however, her behavior might possibly have led others off the narrow way Jesus asked all of us to stay on. It seems odd that this religious sister would be someone chosen to represent Catholics here in America, but I’m sure Obama had his reasons.

    Now, of course, this all comes after Pope Francis has declared that, while on the one hand, he doesn’t believe in judging people, on the other hand he’s also stated that Catholics reject transgenderism, and even said that gay marriage is the devil’s “attempt to destroy God’s plan.”

    The Vatican just recently made official that the transgendered cannot be baptismal godparents, especially when acting as the opposite sex they were born into — because acting as a transsexual is blatantly contrary to the Church’s moral imperatives. Or, in Vatican-speak, “transsexual behavior publicly reveals an attitude contrary to the moral imperative of resolving the problem of one’s sexual identity according to the truth of one’s sexuality.”

    (Why President Obama decided to invite these guests is anyone’s guess. Please click here to see what might possibly have been going through Obama’s head after issuing the invites).

    Remember those bad old days, before we evolved, when all Catholics used to worry about was the following?

    922786_10200624764135519_1810919059_n

    But such times are in the past now. There are other issues which must be addressed. On June 26th of this year an event occurred, one which changed everything. No matter that the Catholic Church was begun by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, and has held the same beliefs on marriage for the duration. On June 26th Gay Marriage was legalized in America, and according to many, especially some Catholics, the Church needs to get with the times. I mean, come on. It’s been almost 3 months. That’s more than enough time for the Church to get the hint: Gay Marriage should become part of Church doctrine. Get it over with already.

    Please see the following pew research analysis on countries of the world that have legalized Gay Marriage.

    Gay Marriage World

    As you can see, less than half of the world’s countries have legalized Gay Marriage. This is an important point. You see, the Catholic Church is also known as the Universal Church. This means that the Church’s doctrine applies to all Catholics, whether they reside in the Northeast Region of the United States, or China. Catholics in France follow the same rules as Catholics in  Syria.

    For folks who didn’t hear this bit of news, ISIS executed four gay men by throwing them off of rooftops in response to the SCOTUS decision on June 26th.

    Four gay men were executed by members of the Islamic State following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide Friday.

    As was reported by a Syrian Twitter user on a tweet posted on the #LoveWins hashtag and picked up by Gateway Pundit, the men were thrown off the roof of a highrise building in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor as a crowd gathered to watch below.

    Several Islamists also reportedly sent out anti-gay messages on the social networking site using the hashtag #LoveWins. That hashtag was used by many worldwide to celebrate the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

    While everyone in America was tweeting about Love winning (complete with a rainbow heart supplied by twitter) and disparaging people who might possibly disagree for more reasons than one, gay men were executed by the Islamic State.

    Please see the following Pew research map of Catholics around the world. Note that only countries with one million plus Catholics are represented. For more info on Catholics in the Middle East, please click here. For a taste of what happens to Christians and Catholics in certain regions of the Middle East, click here.

    As you can see, the two maps differ significantly.

    Map Catholics

    Please think about this for a moment while we look at Catholic Doctrine regarding marriage, straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Universal). See 2396.

    Catechism Marriage

    Also see The Catholic Church and Homosexuality from dummies.com.

    The Catholic Church respects and loves the homosexual person the same as it does the heterosexual. Catholicism teaches that homosexual people must be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every act or thought of hatred, violence, or persecution toward the homosexual is condemned.

    Possible unintended consequences of Pope Francis being photographed with the guests mentioned above.

     The consequences are self explanatory, however, we can go over them briefly. Again, the map showing countries where gay marriage is legal is much different than the map showing Catholics around the world, yet Francis is the head of all Catholics. As demonstrated above, Islamic Militants kill gays in their own countries. This is not news. Now, as I write this, there are Christians fleeing ISIS, seeking refugee status in Europe and other countries. Click here for a story detailing the uprooting and displacement of Christians in Iraq. Other atrocities committed by ISIS on Christians include crucifixion, and rape and sale of women and girls as sex slaves.

    As seen above, ISIS is not unfamiliar with social media. They used it to tweet their response to the SCOTUS decision. Imagine what might happen if Francis is photographed with the guests Obama has invited to greet him. Just imagine it. The photos will be in news stories and tweeted and shared on Facebook. Since not all Catholics live in the first world, might not such a thing cause distress? Is it possible that ISIS militants could seize these photos and use them as an excuse to grab any Catholic they see, and perhaps crucify or kill them?

    We all know such a thing is not impossible, and we shouldn’t pretend it might not happen. So, Pope Francis is being put in a terrible position by our President and American Progressives. America and the west are not the only members of the flock. Francis is Il Papa to all Catholics. He has a responsibility to look out for everyone, not just Americans or the West.

    For any progressives who might read this, can you understand that something greater than yourselves and your feelings might be in play? Does any of this matter?

    For a way to help persecuted Christians and Catholics in the Middle East, please click here.

    So, you may be asking yourself what the above information has to do with Catholics shaming other Catholics. This is where my own personal reflections come in. When folks see the words “Catholic shaming” they might be tempted to think of holier than thou Catholics scolding others for what they wear to church, or perhaps for failing to pray a certain way, or other such things. But that’s not what I’m talking about. 

    I have blogged repeatedly over the past year or so about my community at large, and some fellow parishioners who seem to not be on board with Catholicism. For background please see my posts, Saving Nineteen Minutes, parts one, two and three, and No one can Drive you Crazy unless you give them the Keys.

    In addition to what was described in the above posts, other things have happened. They have happened more to my friend than to me, since my kids are grown and hers are still in school. Being termed a Nazi in public by the people who are supposed to be your brothers and sisters in Catholicism does take its toll. So does snootiness in church and other nonsense. The point is, things are about the same as they were last year. It may be that a stalemate is in progress. We can only pray that tension will diminish in time.

    Now I’m going to write my personal account of the latest in Catholic shaming. It all started with a Facebook post, which I made the mistake of commenting on a week ago. Since I cannot seem to get this event out of my mind, I thought I should write about it, hoping some hearts and minds might see that there are larger issues in play.

    Please read this article, which was posted by a friend, and on which I commented. I commented because my granddaughter is in an ArchPhilly school, and I could see the point of asking people to sign this statement.

    Loyalty Oath

    I still fail to see an issue with this statement. Students other than Catholics attend Catholic schools, because of the superior education Catholic schools provide. To make sure everyone understands that Catholic teaching will be a part of the school day seems prudent, especially now that the Court ruled that gay marriage is legal. (Hold on for elaboration on this point.) Also, students of differing faiths attend Catholic schools. It’s a good idea to let parents know that the schools will be teaching their children about Catholicism. Gone are the days when such simple points could be taken for granted. These days some people fail to understand such issues. In order to head off a possible case of a parent taking issue with parts of the curriculum, this statement is a pretty good move. No one will be forced to sign it. In fact, people were quoted in the above article saying they ignored this paper.

    Such a statement, whether it’s signed or not, simply lets parents know that the school is in charge of the curriculum. This could head off parents who feel that certain books or texts which are not included should be, and vice versa. This protects the parents who are happy with the curriculum from having their child’s school year disrupted with a dispute among families. It also protects ALL the kids in the school, because sometimes such disputes become national news. Imagine a 2nd grader being a part of such a thing. News stories about their school, twitter flame wars, Facebook posts, and families taking sides against each other might be possible.

    Children don’t need this kind of BS. It’s upsetting, and they don’t understand why parents are fighting. Maybe their friends stop speaking to them, and they have no control. And older kids get sucked into these messes by their own parents and even teachers sometimes. See my posts on Nineteen Minutes for just such a scenario. Such things are unnecessary and hurtful to all involved.

    How does all of this apply to Gay Marriage and the other information above?

    Simply because, in a roundabout way,  the post in question had to do with Gay marriage. A lot of this stems from the firing of a popular teacher, Margie Winters, from a Catholic school in Merion PA. Ms.Winters had been employed for many years, and the firing took place a short time after the SCOTUS decision. My personal opinion is that Margie Winters should not have been fired because of the simple fact that the school knew she was in a same sex marriage when she was hired. I assume the admins of the school know Catholic doctrine, yet they hired Ms. Winters anyway. Why on earth should she have been fired simply because of an overreach by SCOTUS? I have to assume the court decision put the nail in Ms. Winters’ coffin. Why else would her firing have taken place just a few weeks after the decision? Couldn’t this teacher, who was beloved by students and parents alike, have been grandfathered in?

    But all that aside, it happened. Ms. Winters was, unfortunately, collateral damage in this transforming America in which we find ourselves. She’s no different than pharmacists who have been forced to choose between their profession and their conscience when asked to sell Plan B abortion pills over the counter to minors. It sucks, but this is the America we live in now.

    Each time such a moral conflict arises I’m reminded of the following scene from the Godfather II:

    “This is the business we’ve chosen.”

    It may seem a little strange to include a clip from a movie about mobsters in a post about Catholics, however, for me it speaks volumes. What has happened in America over the past ten years or so is what we have chosen. All of us made our choices. We shouldn’t be surprised when ugly consequences to those choices come to pass.

    It’s terrible that people with lives and families and dreams are used as pawns by the elites of our nation, however, we let it happen. Perhaps, if we’re blessed, we might get some semblance of normalcy back someday. The people who fought for gay marriage to become the law of the land got what they wanted. But such a rapid and complete turn around of what was previously considered marriage will not leave victims in its wake. I’m sorry for Ms. Winters, but at least she’s alive, unlike others who were unlucky enough to have their lives taken while Americans were covering their Facebook profiles with rainbow filters.

    And now we come down to the nitty-gritty of Catholics who shame other Catholics, and why I feel it was a mistake for me to have given an opinion on the Archphilly school statement. It certainly won’t be happening again. I made my own choice in venturing a comment, and was promptly put in my place by other Catholics, people I have never met, and who know zero about me.

    I will begin with a screenshot of my first comment. The poster had stated that she would never sign such a statement. Here’s what I said:

    IMG_4381As you can see, I received one “like.”

    This is the following comment by a poster who disagreed with the request for parents to sign the statement. (All names and profile photos have been erased).

    IMG_4373
    As you can see, this person stated that ALL Catholics should be forced to sign such a pledge. This would be to insure that each Catholic who opposes certain positions that other Catholics subscribe to could be “actively monitored, evaluated and judged on their adherence” (that they themselves are without sin of any kind).

    Here was my answer on the comments thread:

    IMG_4382
    Here’s what I think after a week of reflection. (Please excuse me for committing the sin of using foul language).

    To this commenter: FUCK YOU and your SJW high horse.

    This is America. Americans don’t force each other to sign papers, and then monitor, evaluate and judge them on their adherence. I don’t know many Catholics who would suggest such a thing, but as you can see, this comment got 3 “likes” so obviously they’re out there, living among us and sitting in the pews with us.

    Again, please take into account all that was described above concerning the effect gay marriage has had on people throughout the world.

    Is the above actual shaming? I think it is, since the commenter ended with the warning that Francis is taking the Church in a different “more inclusive” direction.

    But wait. It gets better.

    CATHOLIC SHAMING

    Remember right after the SCOTUS decision was handed down, and there was a simplistic article seemingly written for rudimentary readers going around? “A 30 second guide to how the Gay Marriage ruling will affect you.” According to this article (which disparages people who worried about the possible consequences of the ruling by hiding behind snark) NONE of what I’m writing about today should even be happening. Why, if this gay marriage ruling was nothing but a well needed blip on the radar of evolution, are people being shamed and subtly degraded for having different opinion?

    (I took great pleasure in fisking the article above. It was my first fisk, and I’m pretty proud of it. It certainly doesn’t rise to the level of master fiskers like Lori Bird of The Catholic Geeks, or other masters, but for a first try, it isn’t bad.)

    And now, finally, we have the shaming on full display, in this comment on the same thread as the other one.

    IMG_4376

    There it is. Witch trials. Love thy neighbor! Acceptance of all who marry for love!

    Shame, shame, shame on you! Maybe you should wear a scarlet letter!

    One more thing, before I share my response to this person, who again, knows absolutely NOTHING about me. I have never met this person. I have never seen this person on social media, or even heard their name, unless I’ve forgotten it. But note the way this person dressed down a fellow Catholic, using talking points and methods of shaming right out of Alinsky 101.

    RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

     SJWs have no problem making comments such as the one above. That’s what they do, fellow Catholic or not.

    Before I end this post, I want to give my opinion on the “acceptance of all marriage that is based on love” part. I don’t know what this person is getting at, but if they or anyone else thinks that marriages in the future will be limited to only two individuals, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I can sell them.

    Yes, I know there was some such language in the court decision, stating “two people” but that’s not going to be upheld if some threesome, foursome, fivesome, etc. decides they’re victims of discrimination. The idea that such people wouldn’t win a decision in court now that the longstanding definition of marriage has been changed is patently ridiculous, as I’m sure we’ll all know before long.

    My position is simply this: I don’t care. I don’t care who marries who, what sex they are or how many there are, as long as everyone in the “marriage” is over 18. I just don’t want it pushed on my family or myself. We are Roman Catholics who try our best to follow Church teaching and our conscience, despite our failings. I have zero interest in this marriage debate beyond how it is affecting my Faith. Until Church teaching says different, I’m following the catechism to the best of my ability. I am guaranteed the right to practice my religion without interference from government or highfaluting SJWs in the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If people want freedom of religion to go away, they should begin a movement to amend the first amendment. (Good luck with that).

    BTW, if the church ever does change the doctrine concerning marriage, I doubt it will be in my lifetime. Such a major change would require a third Vatican Council, or at the very least, a Synod. It won’t, nor should it happen overnight, for reasons already explained above. The only way it could happen without major paperwork and councils is if Francis makes a statement in Ex Cathedra, which he probably will not do anytime soon. Remember, Francis is the leader of the ENTIRE Universal Catholic Church, and he must take into account what such a statement would mean for Catholics in remote areas of the world, including Catholics trapped in ISIS controlled territory.

    Here’s my response to the comment insinuating I might be Cotton Mather inhabiting  a 21st century woman’s body:

    IMG_4384
    What loving and caring Catholics these commenters showed themselves to be when debating another Catholic. It’s really sort of a shame. But this is the business we’ve chosen.


  • Writing Christian Fiction in a Secular World

    How do we, as authors, manage to write good, appealing Christian fiction in the onslaught of secularism without creating characters that seem to be fake, or even caricatures? In today’s world such a thing is no easy task. In fact, it’s much more difficult than simply writing FOR a secular audience.

    This question has been asked recently in numerous forums. How do we manage to write realistic characters who act like everyday sinners if we must sanitize the manuscript? I grappled with this question for months while writing my first two novels.

    Rosary & Holy Bible, prayerI wanted the characters to seem like real Americans, just average, small town blue-collar people, living their lives while dealing with encroaching government interference. Writing a sanitized version of my books, try as I might, simply wasn’t possible. The characters seemed fake.  There is a lot of “me” in my characters. I am no saint, and need to ask for forgiveness daily and sometimes hourly. I spent a lot of time praying the rosary, reading scripture and just asking, asking,  asking: “Should I remove the foul language? Should the characters have sex? Should they break the speed limit, or smoke cigarettes, or buy guns off the street?”

    At one point I myself was so depressed about America that as a result my characters cussed every other word. They were crude and nasty in their language, because I was thinking (and sometimes even saying) the F-bomb every other minute of each day, despite my prayers. I eventually removed most of the gratuitous language because it didn’t add to the story, and in fact detracted from the quality. Still though…If I was in such a state and thinking such thoughts about what was in store for America, how could my characters not be thinking and speaking similarly when actually dealing with what I envisioned?

    I prayed daily for guidance in this matter, and I ended up writing my characters to be flawed sinners, just trying to do their best to live their faith. Unfortunately, for the male characters at least, this included writing dialogue containing references to fornication, foul language, and other such un-sanitized elements. My first book, Tears Of Paradox, takes readers through protagonist Jason’s courtship and marriage to the girl next door, (Michelle) who also happens to be his best friend Brad’s baby sister. In the opening chapters of the book, Brad is a wild college student and Jason has just returned from four years in the U.S. Military. How could such characters have been portrayed realistically if I had written their dialogue in a sanitized fashion? Or if I had pretended that such men were choir boys? The answer is, simply, that it couldn’t be done. Believe me, I tried.

    Following are two examples from chapter 3 of Tears. In the first, we see Jason (Wallace) speaking to Brad on the phone, and gearing up to break the news that he, Jason, and Brad’s sister Michelle are now an item. Michelle, age 17, has just left for her first year of college, and Jason is five years older. This is written in first person from Jason’s POV. (Please forgive my excessive use of adverbs. This was my first book, and I hadn’t yet heard of the no adverb rule when I decided to go ahead and publish it. I had been working on it for 5 years already).

    “Well, you’re making it sound like a sorority house is nothing but a whorehouse, and I just wondered what your thoughts might be, now that your sister left home.”

    “Wallace, what the hell are you talking about?”

    I changed the subject. “I ate at the house earlier. Your mom made lasagna.”

    “You bastard,” he answered darkly. “I wish I could have had some. The sum total of supplies in my house right now is a fridge full of beer and half a bag of pretzels. Nobody ever restocks. We were out of TP the other day, and I didn’t know it until it was too late. Nobody else was around, so I had to use my damn boxers and then toss them.”

    I howled with laughter at his statement. Even though I was nervous about him finding out, I couldn’t let such an admission pass without ragging him a little.

    “Damn, Brad,” I laughed. “Were they the Calvin Klein ones?”

    We’d been having a running disagreement about that very subject for the past five years. Brad tended to enjoy wearing clothing with labels, even when it came to boxer shorts. I, on the other hand, may have liked a label or two, and once in a while I’d pay extra for a shirt, or some shoes or maybe a pair of jeans, (unless they were work jeans). In my opinion it was a waste of good money to buy designer boxers, though. And lucky for me, I hadn’t needed too many clothes anyway, not for the previous four years at least. That’ll have to change though. And I hate shopping. Maybe Michelle will help me pick out some stuff.

    “No Wallace,” Brad retorted in an aggravated tone. “They weren’t the Calvin Klein ones. They were Tommy Hilfiger. They were an old pair, but I was still pissed off about it.”

    I continued to howl at the image of Brad, stuck on the can without toilet paper and being forced to wipe his ass with his high end boxers.

    “Shut the hell up,” Brad snapped, irritably. “I had to do it. There was nothing else in there except Doyle’s towel. It was on the floor, and he’d already used the damn thing, and I’d have wiped my ass with brand new boxers before I’d ever wipe with anything that touched Doyle. So shut up.” Doyle was one of the guys who lived in Brad’s dump of a house. I’d never met him, but I’d heard a lot about him, and judging from what I had heard I agreed with Brad.

    “All right, Brad. But answer me this. Have you bought any underwear since?”

    “No, Wallace,” he snapped. “I haven’t.”

    “Well, the next time you do are they gonna be Tommy Hilfiger, or are you gonna do what I do? Nobody sees the damn things anyway.”

    “Maybe nobody sees yours, Wallace, but they sure as hell see mine every once in a while,” he retorted. “And the next time some chick does see them, I’d prefer it if the label wasn’t decorated with pictures of fruit.”

    “Yeah Brad? Well I don’t give a damn who sees what. And I still think it’s a waste of good money. What good did it do you? They’re in the dumpster now, aren’t they?”

    Silence on his end, except for a little sputtering. I continued laughing. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him that it wasn’t the damn boxer shorts anyway, but the equipment underneath that mattered, and that I’d never had any complaints when it came to that. But I stopped myself.

    Can’t say that. Not anymore. Especially to him. And I had a feeling no one but me would have any idea about what kind of boxers I wore, for a very long time. But that’s a price I’m willing to pay. What do I care? Michelle means way more than that to me. And she did. It was a lesson I’d learned during my time away from her. A hard lesson. I changed the subject then.

    So, we learned from the excerpt above these things:

    • Jason is very nervous about telling Brad he is dating Michelle.
    • Brad is a player and a sharp dresser.
    • Brad and Jason are close enough to speak freely about sexual matters and bathroom issues, indicating to readers that they have a pretty deep relationship, one which Jason is worried might suffer with his news.
    • Jason, though formerly a player himself, has vowed to change his ways.

    Here is the next excerpt, from a little further on in the same conversation. Jason has tried to break the news to Brad by joking and references to Michelle’s upcoming 18th birthday, but Brad simply doesn’t get it:

    Brad was getting annoyed again. “Wallace, what the hell is this? Why would you care whether or not I got something for Michelle? And why would you be buying her a birthday gift?”

    I smoked and kept quiet.

    “Wallace, are you there?”

    “I’m here.”

    “Well, answer my question,” he said, impatiently.

    “I bought her a bracelet,” I stated. Brad finally snapped.

    “Damn it Wallace!” he exploded. “I don’t give a flying crap on a magic carpet what you bought her! I just want to know why.”

    I took a deep breath then. It was obvious he wasn’t going catch on, so I opened my mouth and just told him. “Okay Brad,” I replied evenly. “I thought you might have been able to figure it out with a couple of hints, the way Johnny did earlier, but apparently your one-track mind isn’t going to allow that, so I’ll just tell you straight up. Michelle and I are seeing each other.”

    Complete silence. Then I heard the click of his lighter, as he lit a cigarette. I lit another one with the remainder of my first, and thought I could hear what was running through his mind. Brad and I had been friends for so long that sometimes we knew what the other was thinking. Well I’ll be damned. My little sister. Wallace, you son of a bitch…what the hell are you trying to pull?

    I could hear him dragging on his cigarette. By that time I was on the edge of town, driving down Main Street, at the point where it turned back into Route 24, headed toward my mother’s place.

    “Did you hear me, Brad?”

    “You’re joking. Right?” He sounded incredulous.

    “No Brad. I’m not.”

    “Wallace, come on. You can’t be serious.”

    “Your parents don’t seem to have a problem with it.”

    “Wallace, come on,” he repeated. “Is this some set up? I don’t see any cameras around here, but whatever. Did Doyle put you up to this? That son of a bitch…April Fool’s day is six months away.”

    “Brad,” I said, slowly and patiently. “Listen to me. I am seeing your sister. We talk every night on the phone. I will be taking her out on the weekends when she comes home. This is a fact. Can you understand me?”

    “Wallace, you better watch it.” Brad’s voice was a little wary. Maybe even warning. “You know you don’t have girlfriends. When’s the last time you were ever serious about a girl?”

    “I understand your misgivings Brad,” I stated quietly. “I admit I don’t have the best track record with women, but Michelle is different.”

    “Well, if that isn’t the all-time understatement of the year,” he retorted sarcastically. “She’s different. Wallace, I don’t even know what the hell you’ve been doing for the past four years. You never say anything. How the hell do I know what you’ve been doing? You could have been hopping from whore to whore in every country you called me from, for all I know. I know how you are.”

    I was determined to keep my temper. I put myself in his shoes for a minute. “You don’t know as much as you think you know, if you think I’d be whore hopping.”

    “I didn’t mean you were paying for it, Wallace. I know you’d never pay for it. I’d never pay for it. But that’s not the point.”

    That’s what he knows.

    He was right, except for one time. It had happened on Michelle’s birthday, the October following my departure for basic training. It was a weak moment on my part; she’d been blonde haired and blue-eyed, and I was drunk that night. I was wasted as a matter of fact; regretting my decision to leave home. A guy I was stationed with, Lawson his name was, had driven a bunch of us into town for a night out. On our way back to the base, we saw her in the headlights. She was slim with long hair, wearing a short skirt and a tank top, walking along the highway about a mile from the base, almost in the middle of nowhere. Just her and the deserted two lane road; little lights twinkling off in the distance from the Interstate on our right, the base on our left.

    I could only remember a little. More lights, hanging in the sky; a cargo plane coming in for a landing. I remember clouds scudding across the face of the moon, sending shadows traveling. The clouds seemed to stretch far away in the sky down in Texas, not like home.

    No. Not like home.

    The moon was far away.

    She looked sweet to me; young and innocent.

    Like I said, I was drunk. When I woke up the next morning, in her room in the cheap motel next to the truck stop right off the Interstate, everything looked different. Her, especially. The whole episode was a mistake. I found out I’d gotten more than I paid for a few days later, when I woke up crawling. It was the worst money I ever spent, and from that time on I stayed away from hookers, no matter how young and sweet their eyes were.

    Brad’s voice brought me back to the present.

    “Wallace!” He snapped loudly. “Will you listen to me?”

    “I am listening,” I retorted. “But you shouldn’t be mentioning your sister in the same breath as you mention whores, Brad. And how do I know you haven’t? Paid for it, I mean. How the hell do I know what you’ve been doing with yourself, Brad?”

    “Well, whatever, Wallace,” he blew by me. “Makes no difference whether the two of us paid for it once or twice or not; that’s not the point. The point is that I know damn well you go after a piece every once in a while, whether you pay for it or not. And I know the type you go after, too.”

    “Well Brad,” I answered, “since you know all that, I guess you also know I like to keep a few things to myself from time to time.” Brad had a tendency to give me too much information about his sexual escapades sometimes, but that didn’t mean I had to reciprocate.

    “Well, if you’re gonna be seeing my sister, there better be more than one thing you’re keeping to yourself.”

    So, from the above excerpt we learned quite a bit more about both men.

    • Brad had no idea of Jason’s feelings for his sister, even though Jason had been in love with Michelle since they were kids.
    • Brad and Jason are so close that sometimes they know what the other is thinking.
    • Brad, though a player and a bit of a cad, is very protective of his own sister, and does not trust his friend to do right by her.
    • Jason had an encounter with a prostitute, which he keeps secret from Brad, along with other aspects of his private life.
    • Brad admits by inference that he himself has slept with prostitutes.

    Now, all of this was shown for a reason. These two men are products of their environment. (This scene takes place around 2007). I could not write realistic, entertaining characters who by the end of the book are completely different than they were during the above dialogue if I had written a sanitized book. What would I have written if I had left out the foul language? (Which, in fact isn’t actually that bad, IMO–it’s just the way men speak to each other, and could have been much, much worse). These are American men, speaking to each other in a private conversation. They are flawed human beings in need of God and they are not perfect.

    By the same token, what would have been lost if I had left out the encounter with the prostitute? For one thing, readers wouldn’t have seen that there are consequences. Jason only went to a prostitute one time, because of the consequence a few days later, and he admitted the episode was a mistake. In a few short paragraphs readers could see that getting drunk out of your head and losing control doesn’t always end well. Showing the consequences for such behavior is sorely lacking in many secular books, even books in school libraries. (See my posts on the book Nineteen Minutes).

    My books are written for adults, yet they are better suited for older teens than many books in schools and libraries because they show real consequences. (I won’t mention the unfortunate state of publishing at this time. I will simply say that my books would not and do not pass the ideological litmus test demanded by mainstream publishers today. For evidence of this litmus test in action one merely needs to investigate the contretemps surrounding the recent Hugo awards, where authors I respect and admire from afar were treated like trash by certain segments of the Sci-Fi community simply for being what the elites might consider “uppity.” Their work did not pass the litmus test, they persisted in their quest for inclusion and deserved recognition, and they were smacked down and humiliated at the recent awards ceremony. For more information on this debacle please see the series of blog posts entitled Sad Puppies, by Declann Finn, or simply google the name Larry Correia).

    But back to the question at hand. Should we or shouldn’t we write characters who actually do and say the things we ourselves do and say? My answer is: How could we not? After all, we are following Christ for a reason. We are all sinners. If we weren’t we wouldn’t need Christ. What good would it be to write characters who don’t sin and struggle? After all, if they were perfect they would have much less need of Christ’s light. I’m sure some folks would disagree with me, and of course that is their prerogative, but I must admit that I like a certain amount of true to life grittiness in the fictional books I read. This includes books with Catholic or Christian themes, precisely because such works show the world realistically.

    IMO writing realistic characters can actually be a boon. If Jason had been a choirboy while getting ready to begin serving overseas during the Global War On Terror, it would have seemed fake, fake, fake. He had just left the girl he loved behind and his future was uncertain. Such a man, though a believer and even a sporadic churchgoer, simply wouldn’t have not gotten drunk at least once, and probably many more times. The same goes for Brad, a student of pharmacology in Memphis TN. A product of the times, living in an old dump of a house with a bunch of roommates. Of course Brad sowed wild oats.

    However, during the course of the book, times begin to change. It is made clear in early chapters of Tears Of Paradox that both Brad and Jason were given a moral upbringing in the Catholic Church. Though they did drift away for a time, they found the “world” to be not of their liking. This makes their ultimate return to the Faith and Jason’s treatment of Michelle all the more satisfying. When Brad finally marries he too becomes a changed man, in part because of his faith, even though he doesn’t see it at the time.

     

    monstrance and Blessed Sacrament

    By the middle of the book both men are married to women they love and treasure, and Jason, due to his struggle to cope with circumstances beyond his control, is spending time in Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament.

    Such a transformation — from lady killer to a man relying solely on Christ — would have meant much less if Jason hadn’t been portrayed as a sinner. And in fact, he continues to fall and fail and ask for forgiveness throughout the series. I use the word transformation deliberately. Tears of Paradox and The Notice are part of The Storms of Transformation Series. As usual there is irony, or perhaps paradox, because not only is America being transformed, but the characters are as well.

     

    Jesus Christ and His MotherThere is a great deal of human suffering in my series. Some might find the books dark, depressing and scary. However, they are true to life. The suffering endured by Michelle, Jason and Brad is pretty much ripped from the headlines, or will be shortly if America continues on its present course.

    Such suffering is explained by the cross. That is the only way I–and by extension my characters–can deal with what is happening. The cross is the answer to  everything that means anything in this earthly life. How else can we cope with all of the change and transformation? Without the cross we wouldn’t have the strength, or perhaps even the inclination to stand and struggle upstream as the waters of the world attempt to drag us down. We might not speak up for the unborn who are targeted for death without the knowledge that we must help Christ carry His cross. We might lose hope, and begin to believe we are just animals, here for no reason, meaning nothing. And then we would be swept away. We would just float downstream along with the refuse and wreckage of a Godless society.

    No matter how hard it seems, we just wouldn’t be His if we didn’t allow ourselves to be transformed. This is what I’m attempting to portray in my books, even if I’m doing it in a fashion that some might term rather un-Christlike.

    This is the answer I received. We are all sinners, we need Christ, and we should use the gifts given us to show Him to others, even in unconventional ways.