Sunday, January 25, 2009

After the March

So this year's March for Life has come and gone. Thankfully, I was able to attend this year- I knew this would be an important March and I didn't want to miss it. I have to express my great pride in my fellow pro-lifers. Despite all that was working against us, we actually ended up with one of the largest turnouts in the history of the March!
What was more impressive was the prayerful atmosphere of the marchers. Many prayed Rosaries, others sang songs; it was all done in the awareness that only God will be able to get us out of this, only God can stir the hearts of those in power to protect life rather than to destroy it. There was an atmosphere of joy that couldn't be shaken even by the most unspeakable evil. Kathryn Jean Lopez has a great article on the March that you should check out.
Despite the positive witness and the wonderful experience of the March, however, I was struck by a couple of sobering thoughts. The first was before Mass at the Basilica. I looked at the music handout and glanced at the front where it said "36th March for Life". That just really struck me, how it's been so long since Roe vs. Wade, and how most of this year's marchers, myself included, have never known a world without Roe. Then my mind went to Psalm 95:10-11: "Forty years I endured that generation. I said 'they are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways', so I swore in my anger 'they shall not enter into my rest.'" If the Lord endured that generation for forty years, how much longer can he endure this generation, which slaughters its young and disrepects human dignity so much?
Then after the March, I read the words of our new President to mark the occasion of the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. He almost seemed to think that his stance on abortion was protecting families! I couldn't understand how he could be so blind, so callous, so cold.
But in the midst of these thoughts, I was reminded again of how God is merciful. For all of those people to be out there at the March, God had to have done something powerful in their lives to lead them to witness as they did. And if God can work in our hearts, he can work in the heart of our new President. There is no need for despair, because God desires to save His people. An evil like abortion cannot stand forever. The victory may not come quickly, but it will come.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On the Eve of the March for Life

Two days after a massive crowd of people gathered for the inauguration of Barack Obama, another large group will take to the streets of Washington for a different reason. The March for Life takes place tomorrow, January 22nd, the 36th anniversary of the catastrophic Roe vs. Wade decision. The March generally draws large crowds of pro-lifers from all across the country, but tomorrow's will have a new significance. This year's marchers will not receive a message of support from their President, as they have for the past eight years. In fact, they will be marching largely to protest the proposed policies of the new President. This year's march takes place at the beginning of the term of a President who seemingly spells the defeat of the pro-life movement. Never has there been a President as extreme on abortion as Barack Obama, who even voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Obama came to office on the themes of hope and change, but what hope is there for the pro-life movement? With our government so firmly in the grasp of those who want abortion to remain legal, what possibility is there of change?
Now is not the time to despair. The pro-life movement has made tremendous strides over the last several decades. Legislatively, yes, we will suffer setbacks; much of the progress made over the last 8 years will soon be lost. However, we must remember that the pro-life movement is not as dependent on the changing of laws than on the changing of hearts. Millions of Americans have come over to the pro-life side, and we must continue to speak to those who are willing to hear. An evil such as abortion cannot stand forever, and eventually the consciences of Americans will be stirred to rise above the evil of abortion just as we rose above the evil of slavery. How pro-lifers conduct themselves, especially at the March tomorrow, will provide a glimpse to others of what we have to offer. If we are angry about our situation and disrespectful of those who disagree with us, we will never win them over. If we behave as we have in Marches past, with love and joy in our hearts despite the darkness of the situation, we will prevail.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama

Barack Obama was sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States. He comes into office with high expectations as well as great challenges. In the coming days, he will be making decisions that will affect this nation greatly, and some of the things he has promised to do should be of concern, particularly to pro-lifers. In the meantime, however, let us pray for our new President and our great nation. The fact that this nation has been able to progress morally from slavery to electing a black president should give us hope that other challenges, such as abortion, will eventually be overcome as well.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ad Orientem Or Not Ad Orientem

As a Catholic with a rather traditional leaning I cannot help but pose six reasons traditionalists say facing "ad orientem," or "to the east," is better than the more recent and modern "ad populus," or "to the people." I see the benefits of both but for arguement sake I post the six reasons why facing ad orientem is better in my opinion.

I. It binds the priest and people together. The priest is doing as the people do. Both priest and people face the same direction. Seeing ranks of priests confronting the people over an altar can create the image of a two class system.

II. It recalls Mosaic and Old Testmanent typology. The priest leads the poeple to the place of meeting at the altar where he offers the sacrifice. From there the priest returns to the people with the body and blood of Christ.

III. It also recalls typlogoy of the resurrection.The early Church Fathers likened the rising sun in the east with the Rising Son of the Father at the resurrection. The east was the source of new light, as Christ is the source of light to the workd Thus creation itself witnesses to the life of Christ.

IV. The priest is the mediator. By leading the people to God, the priest also brings God to the people. This emphasizes the ontological nature of the priesthood.

V. Christ completes the Eucharistic Community. When priest and people face the same way, there reamins something of an incomplete circle in the worship. However, after Christ becomes present on the altar, He completes that circle and, as such, the Eucharistic community, which is His mystical body. If the priest is already behind the altar, this valuable image is destroyed.

VI. The Mass does not rely on the priest's personality and whims. By turing to the altar, the priest has fewer opportunities of showing off. Too often, masses become the Father.... show. While this can be fun and seemingly more people friendly, it can also distract the faithful. The priest is not the leading part; Christ is!

So, your opinion?