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On March 25th, 1995 Pope John Paul II gave us the beautifully rich and prolife encyclical, Evangelium Vitae. This year we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary on the Feast of the Annunciation. What a fitting feast day to celebrate life, as we call the mind Mary’s ‘yes’ to becoming the Mother of God!
A special Novena has begun – with nine individual petitions, the Prayer to our Lady written by Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul II), and a relevant excerpt from Evangelium Vitae.
Won’t you join this worldwide effort and pray these simple Novena prayers with us? Participants range from the United States all the way to our friends ‘down under’ in Australia! For more information you can read a bit of history at Evangelium Vitae: 20th Anniversary Novena – Catholic Stand.
A daily post explaining the petition and including all of the relevant prayers can be found on Designs by Birgit. There is also a Facebook group for the Evangelium Vitae Anniversary Novena. I hope you’ll join us and invite your friends and family to pray for an increase in the respect for all life – from fertilization until natural death.
17 Son of man, I have appointed you a sentinel for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, you shall warn them for me.
18 If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die—and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade the wicked from their evil conduct in order to save their lives—then they shall die for their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. 19 If, however, you warn the wicked and they still do not turn from their wickedness and evil conduct, they shall die for their sin, but you shall save your life.
20 But if the just turn away from their right conduct and do evil when I place a stumbling block before them, then they shall die. Even if you warned them about their sin, they shall still die, and the just deeds that they performed will not be remembered on their behalf. I will, however, hold you responsible for their blood. 21 If, on the other hand, you warn the just to avoid sin, and they do not sin, they will surely live because of the warning, and you in turn shall save your own life. (Ezekiel 3:17-21)
The Catholic Church tends to be viewed by certain influential factions the West today as a group which is hostile to everything which is perceived as desirable. If you look on Facebook, or in the comboxes of news sites and blogs, the odds are that you’ll see somebody lambasting the Church as being motivated by hatred when she takes a stand on issues of morality.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some. — 1 Corinthians 9:22
Is there a more challenging place in America for sharing the word of God than the pro-life arena? There’s always that “gotcha” impulse, on both sides, with people waiting to jump on each others’ misstatements or awkward phrasings or just plain outrageous assertions. I know one activist who has dedicated his life to pro-life work because he thinks aborted babies go to hell. He may have saved some babies, but I’m skeptical that the dear man – and he is a dear man – has touched the hearts of any adults with his cockeyed theology.
I have a vocabulary with which I’m comfortable when I’m talking about the life issues. Pro-life, not anti-abortion. Pro-restorative justice, not anti-death penalty. Preborn, not unborn or “fetal,” however clinically accurate “fetus” may be.
And yet if I am to be all things to all people, my vocabulary has got to expand. How far can I take that and still deal in truth?
But there are St. Paul’s words: all things to all. He didn’t say be a word snob.
Today, I was challenged by someone who objected to my use of the term “preborn.” Not trolling, but a sincere objection. Why not “unborn”? Why not “fetus”?
While I’m edging out of my comfort zone, I’d like to hear from people who’ve learned more about the art of dialogue.
Many Catholics believe church culture is the same as basic tenets of the faith. Challenging custom is then synonymous with challenging the faith.
Every thinking, praying, honest person who seeks the Spirit of in their own heart, experiences conflict with those who are afraid of the inner spiritual life. They fall back on fulfilling the letter of the law, even if that law is simply tradition.
Jesus called this sort of believer a Pharisee. This religious spirit chains many believers; they focus on outer conformity to tradition. If we understand the difference between cultural tradition and a relationship with God, our focus changes. All we want to do is allow God to love us and pass it on to those around us.
Don’t jump to conclusions. I Do believe that the Catholic Church is the fullest expression of revealed truth that is why I converted 38 years. continue reading
Today I ran across a claim on the internet that the Church could change Church teachings on moral issues, because she had made changes in the past. When pressed on the question, one individual pointed to the Church changing the rules on eating meat on Friday and the “extermination” of those who refused to convert to Catholicism as proof of changed teachings. The person went so far as to claim Papal bulls sanctioned this extermination—though when pressed was unwilling or unable to name any.
That wasn’t unexpected of course. When one does not understand how the teaching of the Church works or does not know of the doctrines and history of the Church, it’s easy to believe all sorts of claims about the Church without actually looking for evidence for the claim. Thus, there’s a lot of cases going around where there is common knowledge—where the response is “everybody knows THAT,” but when one tries to find evidence for what “everybody knows,” it turns out that nobody actually knows of any…
I find that people tend to make one or more of four errors when it comes to the Catholic Church and what she teaches. These are…
Have you ever heard a Protestant friend refer to the idea of ‘once saved, always saved’? Living in the Bible belt, I sure have! When I heard the recent Mass reading from Ezekiel last week, I found myself questioning how anyone can hold that view. I’ve invited charitable discussion in various social media outlets but have yet to understand…
Birgit Jones is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the Church and the prolife movement. She has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 40 years. They have four children and eight living grandchildren (all age eleven and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest!
Birgit is Graphics Editor and Columnist at Catholic Stand. She can also be found on her personal blog Designs By Birgit and Facebook fan page Designs By Birgit, where she utilizes her Fine Arts training to promote Life through her prolife memes.
The word persecution tends to be misused today. Either people try to limit its use to the great atrocities of world history (such as the Holocaust or the Ethnic Cleansing), or use it as an epithet when a person happens to oppose their position (such as the rhetoric used by proponents of “same sex marriage”). Both would be misuses because:
1) Persecution is not limited to genocide 2) Persecution is not mere opposition.
Why These Two Cases Misapply the Word Persecution
The first case is a misuse because this confuses what a persecution is (definition) with the level of injustice directed at a person because of his or her religion, ethnicity or political outlook. When this confusion is made, it basically says, “You’re not being persecuted because what you’re going through is not severe enough to count.” Yes, genocide of people of a religion or race is a persecution, but there can be less drastic forms intending to cause harm to a person which are persecution, but fall short of mass murder.
The second case is a misuse because this confuses mere opposition to a person’s views or behavior with maltreating them on account of those who hold them. For example, when I meet an atheist who is virulently anti-Catholic, I may think he’s a bigot or an idiot if he’s obnoxious enough about it. But I don’t assume he is persecuting me simply on the grounds that he thinks my views or actions are wrong. It’s only if he goes from opposition to seeking to mistreat me on account of my beliefs that opposition can become persecution. When being opposed by someone who thinks your ideas are wrong and seeks to pass laws which support what they think is right, that’s not persecution. But when someone seeks to use the law to target someone who holds certain beliefs with the aim of punishing them for holding those beliefs and living in accordance with them, that is persecution.
So, the state not recognizing “same sex marriage” is not a persecution of people with same sex attraction. Nor is outlawing abortion a persecution of women. Such laws do not seek to punish people for having same sex attraction or being a woman They face no legal maltreatment for being a person with same sex attraction or being a woman. However, a judge who rules that it is illegal for a person who refuses to provide services on the grounds that he or she believes that to do so is to cooperate with moral evil is persecuting the person. He or she can either abandon their moral convictions or face repercussions….