Seek Virtue This Lent!

Seek Virtue

Rather than giving up chocolate, only to devour the solid chocolate Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up drinking alcohol, only to pop the cork on the Champagne this Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up television, only to sit in front of the TV all day Easter Sunday watching your shows on demand, seek virtue this Lent.

So many times, year after year, we temporarily give up something we love as a sacrifice for Lent in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. I suggest taking a different and possibly moreRead more…

Proportionate Reasons and Voting: Understanding the Ratzinger Memorandum

During every election season, we have to watch certain Catholic voters try to justify their intent to vote for a pro-abortion candidate, saying that the Church actually permits their action. So inevitably, people will march out the the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger in his 2004 memorandum on the issue of politicians and whether or not they could receive the Eucharist. The final section of this document, in brackets, addresses the issue of the Catholic that votes for the politician who supports abortion and euthanasia. The words in question are:

[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]

The problem is, people are giving this paragraph an interpretation without even knowing what the terms in question actually mean. Instead, they treat it as if the then cardinal meant that it was OK to do what they feel like doing. But that is not what the terminology means.  There are three categories to consider:

  1. Material Cooperation (as opposed to formal cooperation)
  2. Remote Action (as opposed to direct action)
  3. Proportionate Reason

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Clothe the Naked. Shelter the Homeless.

Homeless Child

Clothing those in need and sheltering the homeless are considered “corporal” acts of mercy because they physically impact the human body. Everyone has a need to be physically clothed and sheltered from the weather. They have a human right to these things; to act otherwise, would be disrespecting the dignity of the human person. Expressing such indifference towards the naked and homeless indicates that we do not live up to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

In this Year of Mercy we are given ample opportunity to extend acts of mercy to those in need of clothes and shelter; ample opportunity to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”

What Can You Do to Help the Homeless?

Read to learn how you can help…

Prayer – How to get Started

Giordano_Communion_of_the_ApostlesMany years ago I used to run a retreat and conference centre in London. As I had to run the place on a shoe string I tried to do as many of the odd jobs myself to save money. But I always had to call in the plumber when the drains were blocked. One day when he was having his lunch I went to look inside his tool box to see if I could find the tool that he used to save me calling him again. It was then that I saw these words written in Latin inside the lid. ‘All for the greater  honour and glory of God’ (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam).

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Choosing Our Behaviors

Choosing Our Behaviors

I have a confession to make: I can be pretty impatient at times. I pride myself (therein lies the real problem!) as being very efficient, which can be a definite plus  until I take it too far. That’s why I call myself a recovering perfectionist. {wry smile} It’s very easy for me to get caught up in making everything “just so” that I sometimes forget the purpose behind what I am doing. … (Continue reading…)

Politics and Religion Intersect!

politics-religion

It’s that time again folks, where politics and religion collide! Today marks the beginning of the 2016 Presidential electoral process. The great state of Iowa, the first in the nation, conducts their Iowa caucuses today, to determine who will get Iowa’s electoral votes for the Democratic and Republican parties. Now the race is really on!

Have you been watching the political news? The Republican candidates are cutting each other’s throats with trash-talking and degrading language. One candidate is famous for spouting racial, cultural and gender bias against the citizenry. The Democratic candidates are no holy saints either. They try to set themselves apart from each other with negative “policy” commentary that somehow spills over into personal insult.

What’s the kicker? Read more…

Chickenhawk: Thoughts on Catholics and Ad Hominem Attacks Aimed at Silencing Opponents

Before I begin, let me just say that in writing this article, I don’t intend to defend or promote any specific candidate or their position. Indeed, I hope to write something that would remain true if it was read fifty years from now. My concern is that many people who are using this argument seem to be unaware of the fact that it can be used to attack other positions as well. Thus the Catholic who uses it to attack a political view they dislike may find himself “hoisted by their own petard” when someone uses the same argument against a moral teaching of the Church. Then this person would end up looking like they support a double standard.

To avoid such problems, we need to be consistent and ethical in how we speak out or blog against something we oppose on moral grounds. If we behave inconsistently, somebody will notice and even if they don’t call us out, they will notice and assume we behave hypocritically.

One of the common attacks that happen when Catholics debate the current slate of people campaigning for nomination is an ad hominem attack. An ad hominem [literally meaning “to the person”] happens where, instead of refuting an argument, the person attacks the individual who makes the argument. There are many different ways one can attack the person who argues, but they all are guilty of the same thing—attacking the individual does not actually refute what was said, even if it succeeds in makes the person look foolish.

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I Love The House Where You Live

Guatalupe

I love the house where you live, the place where your glory makes its home. (PS 26: 8)

Oh Lord, my heart soars with joy, my soul filled with this sublime truth:  I am the house where you live, the place where your glory makes its home.  Oh the wonderful implications of this truth, has me giddy with pure delight.

I have been living in darkness, knowing without understanding.

The veil finally lifted from my eyes, I see clearly your love for me.

Oh Lord, how can I not love the house where you live?  What right do I have to profane your house?  What right do I have to allow others to profane your house?

How long oh Lord, has my house been in disrepair, an unfit place for you to live?

In sublime wisdom you offer a guide, under the mantle of Our Lady. You show us, Oh Lord, in her, the house where you live, and the place where your glory makes its home.

In Mary’s womb, you made your house.  My soul sings out with joy, I love the house where you live, the place where glory makes its home.

How few understand these truths, fail to contemplate you becoming flesh in her womb, the house where you live?  What right do I have to disregard her, to make her insignificant?

Yet, she, your first house, teaches all of mankind to prepare for your arrival.  Cleaning out the dark, dusty, dank spaces of our souls constantly teaching, redirecting and readying us by her constant prayer and example.

Under the guise of bread and wine, you, Oh Lord, enter our bodies making US the house where you live, the place where your glory makes its home.

Oh Lord, never let this thought be far from me.  Understanding all of humanity is the house where you live, the place where your glory makes its home.

I love the house where you live, the place where your glory makes its home. (PS 26:8)

© Voted off the Island 2016

Outrage and Burnout

If running against men has wearied you,
how will you race against horses?
And if you are safe only on a level stretch,
what will you do in the jungle of the Jordan? [Jeremiah 12:5]

I sometimes think that an election year means that everybody’s IQ suddenly drops 10-20%. People start tolerating behavior in their favored candidates that they would scream in outrage if their opponents used the same tactic. Insults replace reasoned discourse and discerning the truth takes a back seat to making sure “your guy” wins. I find that I really start to feel burned out with all this going on. I feel disgusted when the candidates who stand in opposition to what I stand for attempt to attack all I hold important by grossly distorting it. I feel dismay when I see my co-religionists use the same tactics, making the faith look like a partisan affair. And I grow extremely discouraged when I see people who share my faith say that a candidate who explicitly calls good what the Church condemns being touted as the “most Catholic” candidate. Sometimes I just find myself thinking…

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Grandma and Timmy’s Hope

Grandma

Timmy was waiting by the front window for Grandma to arrive. “Will she remember me?” thought the little four-year old. Timmy remembered Grandma’s sweet perfume, and soft cheeks. He loved her laugh. He was bursting at the seams waiting for her arrival. Then, he saw the car pull up in the driveway. Daddy ran around from the driver’s side and opened the passenger door. There was Grandma! The wait was over!

Timmy ran out the front door and dashed into Grandma’s arms. He hugged her tight, never wanting to let her go. “Grandma, it’s so good to see you,” Timmy said excitedly. “I’ve missed you!” It was only after getting his hug, that Timmy noticed something different about his Grandma. Read more…