Sunday, November 16, 2008

Persecution of Christians is Alive and Well

AsiaNews reports that 50,000 demonstrators marched last weekend in India to protest a murder which, although the police have pointed to Maoist groups as the culprit, has been unfairly blamed on Christians. The marchers called for an end to Christian conversions in their country.
A Zenit report shows that there was an intimidation campaign against Catholic churches ahead of Venezuelan elections. Vandals spraypainted "Homeland, socialism, or death" on the walls of churches in the state of Barinas.
Add that to Christian persecution in the Middle East and China, and we see a pretty grim picture.
I think that we in the Western world, however, have long felt that this a distant concern. Sure, we may suffer ridicule for our beliefs, but at most it is a soft persecution; our society's belief in human rights and religious freedom should protect us from anything like this happening here. And in that sense of security, we ignore what is happening before our very eyes.
Look at how many reacted after Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, passed in California. There was a website created as a blacklist of those who supported the measure. An elderly woman holding a cross at a protest had it knocked out of her hands, before it was trampled on. A group of Christians praying were threatened and abused just for being in a "gay" district.
Look at the fight over abortion. Many bishops are concerned that if the Freedom of Choice Act (which Barack Obama has promised to sign) passes, Catholic hospitals will be forced to choose between performing abortions or losing their funding. If this were to happen, a large number of Catholic hospitals could shut down rather than comply with the new law.
Look at some of the more militant atheists, such as Richard Dawkins. Some atheists have taken on a new approach, promoting atheism with a "missionary" zeal. As they attack faith in God as unreasonable, they cling to a far more unreasonable faith in "chance".
There is a split in our culture between two irreconcilable ideologies. The truths of Christianity cannot be changed because they are out of favor with the public (although many try to do so). "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies just because they become fashions," as GK Chesterton said. But those fallacies ARE the fashions today. Abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, etc., will continue to be promoted as "rights", and anyone who attacks these so-called "rights" will be painted as intolerant, unreasonable, and fanatical. This is where we are today- we are marginalized for our belief in absolute truth. The relativistic society of today promotes the idea that there are no absolutes as an absolute truth. It says with Pilate, "what is truth?"(John 18:38)

I feel we are coming to a time of a more overt persecution of the Church in the West. The world is moving in a direction that is incompatible with the Gospel, and I feel that we will only shift course with great difficulty. Human rights are no longer to honor and protect the dignity of the individual, but the desires of the individual. Freedom of religion is giving way to freedom from religion. Everything is being redefined.
I have felt in recent months that something is coming that we need to be prepared for. That Christians can no longer be complacent. That we need courage for the future. I'm sure this sounds odd to a lot of people, but I know there are many out there who feel the same way.
Whatever happens, we can't face it with fear. Today we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. Christ is Lord over all, and we need to give all to Him. We need to allow Him to reign over all of our selves, to claim His dominion over our weaknesses and failings as well as our strengths. We cannot give in to fear, for Jesus is the Lord of love, and "perfect love casts out all fear." (1 John 4:18) But we have to be aware of what is going on around us, as well, and awake from our slumber.

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up. —Cardinal Karol Wotyla, reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal

Thursday, November 13, 2008

From Pro-Abortion to Pro-Life

LifeSite has an article about an abortionist and his profound conversion. Stojan Adasevic was the most well-known abortionist in Serbia for decades, performing 48,000 abortions. He had a dream where he saw a large group of children in a field, along with a man who identified himself as St. Thomas Aquinas. The saint told him that these children were the victims of the abortions he had performed. This led Adasevic to profoundly change his life and start advocating pro-life causes.

This is a great story and calls to mind Norma McCorvey, the Roe in the Roe vs. Wade decision, who became a committed pro-life activist in the 1990's. She entered the Catholic Church and now has her own pro-life ministry. This was an incredible conversion and a moment of rejoicing for the pro-life community.
I bring these up because a lot of us, myself included, have been demoralized about the future of the pro-life movement after the election of Barack Obama. His campaign promises and previous votes on the issue should be cause for concern for all who believe in the sanctity of human life. However, as the above stories demonstrate, we should NEVER UNDERESTIMATE GOD'S POWER TO WORK MIRACLES. God can work wonders in a person's heart, and we need to pray for this to happen with our President-Elect and all elected officials. We need to pray for those who provide abortions, that God may touch their hearts and awaken them to what they are doing. We need to pray for all those who advocate abortion, that they may instead seek to promote a Culture of Life. We need to pray for women who have had an abortion, that they may find the healing they need. Now do I think it's likely that all of the sudden Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi are going to start being pro-life activists? Of course not, because in human terms, it's impossible. But then again, nobody thought it was possible for Dr. Adasevic or Norma McCorvey, either.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day- 90 Years Ago

This Veterans Day marks a special anniversary- it was ninety years ago today when hostilities ceased and the armistice was signed in the First World War. People today seem to know very little about World War I; it is not portrayed nearly as much in movies as World War II or Vietnam. Yet this was the conflict that ushered in a new era. At the onset of the war, Europe was still ruled by Kings, Emperors, and Czars; by the end of the war the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia, America had asserted itself as an integral part of the world stage, the political landscape of Europe was changed, and at Versailles the seeds of the next war were sown. This was the most terrible war that mankind had known to that point, and the world saw unimaginable horrors such as the Armenian holocaust, chemical warfare, and a war of attrition that claimed a generation of young men. It saw aerial warfare, unrestricted submarine warfare, and massive government propaganda efforts. It saw Christian nations slaughtering each other, and a Pope whose pleas for peace went ignored. It was a global nightmare. Those who fought endured terrors few can imagine. Let us remember them today as well as thank those who currently serve us.

Do We "Go To" or "Attend" Holy Mass?

This is a blog entry taken from my Myspace blog dated April 21, 2008.

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I would like to bring about to the forefront of our minds a thought that provoked me about a week ago and hasn't left my mind since. This may seem like a semantical discussion of sorts but I think it is worth talking about. The question is do we as the Church the people of God go to Holy Mass, or attend Holy Mass? I believe there is a difference and I hope to arouse our thoughts to probe deeper into own individual lives as Christians.

First, it must be said that the Holy Mass is the greatest act the Church does. Therefore, our attitude must reflect the solemnity of the occasion. As a cradle Catholic I grew up sometimes dreading Sunday mornings when my mother would call me into the kitchen for Sunday breakfast. I knew that once I finished breakfast I would be asked to put on my "Sunday best." Eventually I grew out of this stage that we all experience from time to time as children and I realized the importance of Holy Mass. It is the holiest thing I do as a Catholic.

Now most people will use the terminology, "I'm going to Mass." There is nothing wrong with this but this does raise the question in my heart: "Am I just going to Holy Mass, or am I attending Holy Mass?" The difference between going to and attending Holy Mass is HUGE.

If I were to just go to Holy Mass I'm probably missing out on the point. The point of Holy Mass is to give thanks to God for having sent His only begotten Son into the world to die for our sins. We give thanks to God the Father for His infinite mercy in forgiving us of our sins and we offer our gifts upon the altar through the Priest. If I'm just going to Holy Mass I'm not letting God show me His love through the Holy Mass. The other problem this poses is that it provides a situation where I as a Christian may begin just "going through the motions" and not actively pursuing my faith.

On the contrary, if I am attending Holy Mass, then I am completely disposed to receiving grace upon grace poured out during Holy Mass. I am fully active in giving glory to God for His infinite mercy, love, and forgiveness. I am completely contrite and sorrowful for my sins and attentive to everything that is happening at Holy Mass. As I receive Holy Communion I am completely aware that I am truly receiving Jesus Christ in His Body and Blood, soul and divinity. When I consciously set my gift upon the altar through the Priest I am giving my cares, my anxieties, my intellect, and my whole being unreserved and unconditionally to Jesus who will return grace upon grace.

So let me come out of the clouds for a minute and speak on practical terms.
The difference between going to and attending Holy Mass is not a semantical diologue but rather an examination of our attitudes. We must be completely disposed to receiving Holy Communion by making proper examination of ourselves and preparing prayerfully to receive God - Jesus Christ made manifest before our very eyes at each and every Holy Mass. Every Sunday we ought to both go to and attend Holy Mass.

When we rise each and every Sunday morning our first thoughts should not be, "I have to go to Mass today," but rather, "I get to attend Mass today." Our whole day then should revolve around preparing for Holy Mass. It is one of the blessings of living in a nation that allows for religious freedom. We ought to eat it up. We get to attend Holy Mass. We get to approach the altar of God and receive the very Flesh and Blood of God and to adore Him. It is the holiest act we as Christians do. The very action of the Holy Mass confers upon us as laypersons the graces necessary to perform our daily tasks with love and devotion, whether it be as students, parents, teachers, or even scientists.

I ask you to consider within yourself whether or not you simply go to Holy Mass (which is awesome) or whether or not you attend Holy Mass (which is greater).

New Blogger....

Hello and greetings!

After much prayer I humbly accept the invitation to write for this blog. I suppose I should introduce myself as well. My name is Kevin (otherwise known as Kwilk) and for a time I discerned the possibility of the Holy Priesthood and the Religious Life. I have been Catholic for over 24 years and as of a year ago began studying Meteorology at Illinois Central College. I look forward to contributing my thoughts in this blog.

Happy Veterans Day

Thank you:

To all our veterans.

To all who have worn the uniform.

To all who have sacrificed.

To all who have defended freedom.

To all who have fought for our country.

To all who faced incredible danger far away to ensure security at home.

To all whose courage has made liberty possible.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Where Does the Pro-Life Movement Go From Here?

A lot of us are disappointed over the outcome of the election. This country elected the most pro-abortion president in its history at the worst possible time for that to happen. With one more pro-life Supreme Court justice, Roe vs. Wade could have been overturned. Now, since it is likely that at least two justices will retire over the next four years, the people that the new President will choose to replace them with will assuredly not be pro-life. This is a devastating blow to the pro-life community; now it could be another generation before Roe vs. Wade is overturned.
Any hopes of advancing pro-life principles through legislation will have to be put on hold, too. Nancy Pelosi, who has distorted Church teaching on abortion, is unlikely to change her tune. During the Bush administration progress was made, but if Obama keeps his campaign promise of signing into law the Freedom of Choice Act all restrictions on abortion would be overturned. What are we to do?
It is NOT the time to give up. The pro-life community needs to step up its efforts more than ever. As it says in the John Paul II movie, we must "meet this abyss of hate with an abyss of love." We need to step up efforts in any way we can. When women are faced with fear because of an unwanted pregnancy, let our love guide them to embrace life rather than our indifference guiding them to the abortion clinic. We are not defeated, because Christ has conquered death!
Here's Father Pavone's take on the election results:

What do you feel are some ways in which the pro-life community can respond to this election?

Thank You From Cindy and John McCain

Cindy and John McCain sent this letter out today to their supporters thanking us for our hard work and dedication to their Presidential campaign.

I thought it was well thought out and very well said:

Cindy and I would like to take a moment to thank you for your loyal and steadfast support during the course of this campaign. Governor Palin, her husband Todd, our families, friends and campaign staff extend our deep appreciation for your tireless dedication, support and friendship.

It is the end of a long journey and your support through the ups and downs has meant more to us than you may ever know.

Although we were disappointed with the results, we must move beyond this campaign and work together to get our country moving again.

It is our sincere hope that you will join us in putting our country first and continue to work to keep our nation safe, free and prosperous.

We urge you to join us in not just congratulating Senator Obama, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together as a nation. Whatever our differences may be, we are all fellow Americans.

We are truly blessed to live in this great country and call ourselves Americans, and we will forever be her loyal servants.

Today, let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

With warm gratitude,

Cindy and John McCain

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Iowahawk on the Election

Iowahawk offers his hilarious take on the election here. Gary Coleman/Emmanuel Lewis in 2012!

"Whatcha talkin' bout, Barack?"

The Blame Game

It's interesting seeing people's reactions to the election results. A lot of people want to find a scapegoat. Within 24 hours of voting for the man, many conservatives were bashing John McCain. Fox News reported that sources in the McCain campaign were blaming Sarah Palin for the loss and portraying her as an idiot. And of course, everybody points the finger at George W. Bush, which is nothing new.
While there certainly were failures that need to be noted, I think it's wrong to find someone to whom we pass the blame. Rather, we need to learn from our failures and the Democrats' success. We need to look at why Reagan was so successful in 1980 and 1984 and why the Republicans took the House in 1994. We can't criticize the Democrats for "throwing people under the bus" and then turn around and do it ourselves. Was McCain a perfect candidate? No. He wasn't my first choice for the nomination, and I'll admit I was a bit disappointed that he won it. However, though I may have disagreed with him on some policies, he was and is a man of honor, and was a far better option than Barack Obama. Pointing fingers gets us nowhere; we need to move ahead.
There are many Republicans out there who represent hope for the future leadership of the party and the country. In the future, we will be doing profiles on some of these Republicans to give you a better idea of where the party is going. That's where we need to look- the future. Scapegoating is not the answer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What I am going to take away from this election

Thank you to Kevin for allowing me to blog for him. I promised that I would help out as soon as the 2008 Election was complete.

Now that the election is over, I think its appropriate to transition to this blog as I discuss what I took from the this election:

In 2006, I became involved with politics at a state and nationwide scene. My commitment to the pro-life movement no longer was shuttered, but became wide open once I realized the political forum which its played in.I learned of Senator Sam Brownback Presidential Campaign from Billy Valentine and Terry Schilling, two great pro-life student champions.

Sam was raised in Kansas from very rural roots, and has defied all odds to become one of best senators of all time. Brownback's commitment to protecting life was not just merely opposing abortion, but became a pro-life, whole life philosophy, something that I really liked. I decided to extern for his campaign last spring. Little did I know that this would be one of the most grueling, yet most enjoyable times of my life. Our work was all grassroots, working to identify like-minded voters and converting them to support Senator Sam Brownback. We never ran on television or radio ad, funnelling our money in phone calls, door to door, and get out the vote efforts for the Iowa Straw Poll. We were able to deliver a hard fought 3rd place victory for Sam. Although this was well earned, I couldn't bring myself to help with the caucus team, since this would've take me away from my classwork, and I was only a year away from graduating.

It was difficult thereafter for Sam to take off due to the lack of fundraising and lost momentum after the straw poll.When Sam dropped out on October 21, 2007, I immediately supported Mike Huckabee, a evangelical Christian leader from Arkansas. While I respected Brownback's decision to support John McCain, I felt that my true loyalty lies in the pro-life movement, and that we need to elect the best pro-lifer into office. I never seriously worked on his campaign due to time constraints, but I made phone calls in a couple of key states, such as Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida.

Fortunately for pro-lifers, Mike's victory in Iowa helped to pave the way for Mitt Romney's downfall out of the race and prevented a flip flopper from receiving the nomination. While many conservatives criticized Mike for staying in the race longer than he needed to be, it helped to keep John in the news. I knew Mike wasn't going to win, but it prevented the Democrats from taking over the debate.

Therefore, it was easy to choose John McCain because of his pro-life values, conservative principles, and he was definitely the best candidate to go against the Democrats. However, the catch-22 for McCain was George Bush. Either Bush's endorsement was a no-win scenario in this election.My support for McCain early on was minimal at best. I was never really that excited about John McCain until Sarah Palin was chosen as his VP, an event I had the opportunity of witnessing. Once McCain wised up and felt we needed to energize the conservative base was when I really was brought on board. I signed up to volunteer 3 times a week at the local Victory Center, and decided to establish the College Republicans at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. I knew that we had hope for once, and it actually came in the polls in September when McCain was leading. However, the financial crisis became too much to bear. It was difficult for McCain to cut himself loose from the strains of the economy as well as the general dissatisfaction of the campaign. Obama and the Democrats prevailed.

What are the essential items that I will take away from this election:

1. Its not the most electable candidate, but the best candidate who will prevail. This was certainly true as all the front runners: Giuliani, Romney, Thompson; all were denied the nomination for the GOP. McCain was nearly bankrupt and totally out of it. Brownback had more money at one point. It goes to show that the American people can't be bought in any election.

2. The pro-life movement is down, but not out. Our nation is moving towards the center-left in this election, and that we are going to miss some more pro-life leaders. However, we still have much hope in state and local offices which will promote pro-life candidacies.

3. McCain's call to serve. John McCain called for a generation of Americans to put country above self, that we need to have a leader who won't merely satisfy the selfish desires of Americans, but bring about a commitment to serve our country. He was successful in instilling that in me, as I learned about McCain's service to America, and our duty to serve her country, to cherish and respect her for who she is.

4. While I don't support Barack Obama, I do believe that his election represents the breaking down of tremendous walls that at one point seemed impossible to scale. Many never thought that they would see a black man become President one day. His election represents the walls tore down, and that blacks have opportunities they thought they would never have had.

This election really brought me into the realm of the conservative movement. It also comes when the conservative movement has hit rock bottom. But I have hope that we can prevail, when we can broaden our base and reorganize.

Now That It's Over...

As political as I tend to be, the main purpose of this blog is to proclaim the Good News and help bring about a Culture of Life. So while the focus up to this point has mostly been political matters, that's because so many issues that affect us as people of faith are decided within the political realm. So while I'll still be discussing politics, now that the election's decided I want to focus more on the spiritual side of things and pro-life issues. Some of the people I'm trying to bring in to contribute will help out immensely in that department. So that's what's ahead.

New Contributor to CM

Hey, folks, I'm going to be allowing a few friends of mine to contribute to this blog. The first to join us is Mike M. He's been very active in getting out the Catholic vote for McCain. Mike is someone who can give a perspective from the frontlines of the political battle. So let me say to Mike, welcome!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mark Mallet on the Election

From Mark Mallet, a plea to America and a powerful pro-life testimony. I highly recommend his blog, which is brilliant in its insight into the spiritual danger the West is in.

The Hour of Decision from Mark Mallett on Vimeo.

Obama in His Own Words on The Born Alive Infant Protection Act

A very powerful and moving video. What he callously describes as a "burden" to the doctor is a living, breathing human being. This shows how the Culture of Death has taken hold here in America, and how we need a Culture of Life to replace it. This is why we can't give up in the pro-life movement. As I've said in a previous post, if this is where we are now, where will we be in ten years?