Vote. Pray. Trust.

We took advantage of early voting last week.  On Friday we each cast our vote for life and liberty.  Here we are leaving the polling place.

During our travels to and from Reno we had the opportunity to talk to many people from different walks of life, not all Catholic, who all said they have deep sense of peace about the elections and a strong hope.  We came home from that trip very encouraged.  God is in control.  No matter what happens, we must keep that foremost in our minds and hearts.  As one friend of ours often says, God is very good at turning straw into gold.

Today we are manning (nunning?) adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of the Atonement.  We have cast our votes, now the most important thing that we can do is pray.  And having the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a public chapel, rather than our home chapel, was very important to us, and to Fr. Phillips as well, so that others could have an opportunity to make a visit to Our Lord.

Wherever you are today, even if you can only spare five minutes, try to make a visit to Our Lord and ask Him to pour out His grace and mercy on our nation.  Adoration may not be available where you live, but Jesus is just as glad to see you, whether He is hidden in the tabernacle or exposed in the monstrance for adoration.

May God bless America!

Bishop Rice on Democracy Without Values

Hello, all!  We have had a lot going on the last week and a half, including a conference in Reno, hence the lack of posts.  But we want you to know we are still here, still praying for our nation and for all of you, and still trying to eke out a blog post in the midst of all this.

We will fill you in on our adventures in Reno in the coming days, but since the election is just days away, we want to keep the focus on praying for religious liberty.

In Reno we were given a CD of a fantastic talk given by Bishop Edward Rice, the Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, to a Catholic women’s conference this past March.  He speaks about the HHS Mandate, the possible loss of religious liberty, and the fact that at the heart of this debate about so-called “women’s health issues” is a philosophical question about what being a woman really means.  Below are a few audio clips we wanted to share with you.  If you would like to order the full CD you can click here to contact Holy Family Resources.

God Doesn’t Make Junk

Democracy Without Values

The First Amendment

One last thing, we also want to say THANK YOU to all the Bishops who have recently spoken out about voting with a Catholic conscience.  Please pray for our Bishops!

The Catholic Vote & the New Evangelization – Part III

This is the conclusion of a three part article by guest blogger Dr. David Delaney.

What happens with the Catholic vote this election remains to be seen.  However, from the perspective of this year of faith and the new evangelization, the results do not much matter.  The problems identified above: the need for re-evangelizing, re-catechizing, and converting Catholics to the zealous practice of the faith remains as a challenge.  I would argue that we should start by by following the Holy Father’s admonition to work on our own interior conversion.  This purification can start with purification of our own understanding of the faith and with the way we explain it. We can also help to correct mistaken Catholics by removing unnecessary barriers, using only the language of the Church and purging ourselves of the use of confusing terminology and even more, mistaken interpretations of Church teaching.

We should all vote and pray that God’s will be done in this presidential election, but it will only be when Catholics vote in accord with the truth, that is in accord with the authentic common good, that the Catholic vote will really be of any meaningful consequence.

David Delaney is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. He previously wrote for the now defunct Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex blog.

The Catholic Vote & the New Evangelization – Part II

This is the second part of an article by a guest blogger and friend, Dr. David Delaney.

The common source is a problem that affects a good number of Catholics, even those who intend to be faithful Catholics.  However, most problematically it seems to legitimize dissent from Church teaching.  The problem I am talking about is the use of the terms “liberal Catholic” or “conservative Catholic.” Now I understand the desire to know where someone is coming from and the convenience of placing him into an intellectual box.  However, I would like to suggest that the importation of the liberal-conservative classification scheme to identify Catholics is problematic.  These terms were coined in late 18th century France and at the time meant something specific.  One either wanted to conserve the monarchy or to free France from what the liberals saw as its tyrannical rule.  Today, the meaning is not so clear in either politics, economics, or sociology, and the meaning is certainly not clear in terms of being a faithful Catholic.

The problem in the use of these terms are similar for both conservatives and liberals, even if the problematic results are usually more grave for the liberal ideology.  And this is the root of the problem.  Liberalism and conservatism are ideologies that may capture certain truths but neither of them embrace the fullness of the truth.  Rather than the Catholic working to purify the ideology, he tends to try to interpret Church teaching, and many times to critique Church teaching, through the lens of his particular ideology.

For example, many Catholics who espouse social liberalism seem to conflate Catholic social doctrine with liberal social policies when there is very often only a superficial correspondence and more often a deeper contradiction between the two.  On the other hand some Catholics who consider themselves to be conservative can often appear to dismiss out of hand consistent and repeated magisterial statements which appear to conflict with their conservative ideology.  This is especially the case when these statements are a prudential application of Church teaching such as is the case with the death penalty (of course this is of a different character than dissent from the teachings themselves but that does not justify a casual dismissal of magisterial statements).

I believe that this terminology is destructive for another reason.  There is an increasing group of Catholics who consider themselves liberal and who are trying to grapple with fidelity to Church teaching.  They are not being helped by faithful Catholics who mistakenly tell them that they need to be conservative Catholics in order to be faithful Catholics.  What the conservative means or what the liberal understands by the term conservative is anyone’s guess. Regardless, I would like to remind us that Jesus commanded His disciples to abide by His commandments, not to be liberal or conservative.  Neither do we find either term in the Catechism.

Please check back tomorrow for the conclusion!

David Delaney is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. He previously wrote for the now defunct Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex blog.

The Catholic Vote & the New Evangelization – Part I

Today we are privileged to introduce a friend of ours, Dr. David Delaney, who has generously offered to contribute posts to Quidnunc.

Dr. Delaney is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas.  He previously wrote for the now defunct Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex blog.

With the presidential election just two weeks away, the talk about the “Catholic vote” again is becoming a point of interest for many pundits. Unfortunately, U.S. Catholics tend to vote in a manner indistinguishable from their American contemporaries. Rather than allowing their votes to be informed by the truth proclaimed by the Church they are voting for primarily worldly concerns. Rather than Catholics being the leaven for a fallen world, too many Catholics, perhaps a majority, are now allowing themselves to be formed by the mistaken views of society.

Now let me say that this observation is not motivated by political partisanship. I am more concerned to consider what Catholic voting patterns have to say about the challenges for the year of faith.  Election results for a variety of candidates and issues in recent years show a large percentage of Catholics voting in direct contradiction to objective moral norms indicate the challenges are great.

There are a number of reasons for this wayward Catholic vote.  One reason can be gleaned from national polling done over the last thirty years which has consistently indicated that Catholics are increasingly ignorant of their faith.  Another more worrisome concern is that many Catholics who understand what the Church teaches do not believe they should be “constrained” by Church teaching.  Many follow the lead of confused Catholic politicians who employ the “Cuomo doctrine,” saying that they believe what the Catholic Church teaches but cannot compel non-Catholics to abide by Catholic teaching.  Others who claim to be faithful Catholics appeal to their mistaken understanding of Catholic teaching on the primacy of conscience. A number of these problems have a common source and that is what I would like to consider here.

Check back tomorrow for Part II.

Real Men Wear Red

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.03.09 PMToday marks the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Our Lord appeared in the 17th century.  Although devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had already been revealed to St. Gertrude centuries before, it is almost always thought of in conjunction with today’s saint.

This devotion to the Sacred Heart is not something that belongs to the past.  Like Our Lord Himself, it is outside of time, and it is still quite relevant today.   Most interesting is the devotion in connection with religious persecution.

What are we talking about?

On June 17, 1689 Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary saying that He wanted the King of France (Louis XIV) to consecrate himself and the nation to “my adorable Heart.  It wants to triumph over his and, through him, over the hearts of the great ones of the earth. It wants to reign in his palace, be painted on his standards, and engraved on his arms, so that they may be victorious over all his enemies. It wants to bring low these proud and stubborn heads and make him triumphant over all the enemies of holy Church.”

Regrettably for France, and the rest of the world, Louis XIV did not consecrate his kingdom to Our Lord’s Sacred Heart. Nor did his son. Nor did his grandson – until it was too late.  Exactly 100 years to the day that our Lord gave this message to St. Margaret Mary, the National Assembly stripped Louis XVI of his power.  Less than four years later he met his fate at the guillotine.  The night before his execution he consecrated France to the Sacred Heart, but the enemies of the Church were already well on their way to triumph.

How different might things have been if Our Lord’s request had been heeded.  Despite the lack of confidence those three kings apparently had in Our Lord, there have been many faithful who have painted the Sacred Heart on their standards and engraved It on their arms.  The Vendean army  in France, the Cristeros in Mexico, and the Catholic Carlists during the Spanish Civil War, all wore badges of the Sacred Heart of Jesus into battle.

As many in America grow more and more intolerant of Christianity let us entrust ourselves and our beloved nation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  During our time in this vale of tears we must hold fast to the promise He made to St. Margaret Mary: “Fear nothing, I will reign in spite of my enemies.”

What Does the Politician Really Say

In the spirit of What Does the Prayer Really Say, we would like to offer a translation of a statement made during the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday night when it was, quite inaccurately (to put it nicely), said:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

Now, courtesy of the Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, let’s see what should have been said, what would have been an accurate statement about this administration’s unconstitutional HHS mandate and its effect on the Catholic Church:

 “Under this administration’s HHS mandate, virtually every Catholic institution in our nation must refer contraception, must pay for contraception, and must serve as a vehicle to provide contraception in any insurance policy they provide. If they refuse to do so, they will face millions of dollars in fines that will cripple their ability to live out the principles of their faith.  That is a fact.”

The USCCB also responded to this blatant “inaccuracy”.  Here is part of their statement:

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

We are not trying to get political or tell you who to vote for, but we try to live our lives  in the service of Truth, and when it’s misrepresented we have a duty to point it out.  One VP candidate does not support Catholic teaching on the non-negotiable issues such as abortion (going so far as to oppose the unborn victims of violence act and parental notification when minors seek abortion), human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the definition of marriage.  The other VP candidate supports Catholic teaching on all of these issues.

During this 33 Days of Prayer, let’s pray especially for the hearts of our elected officials, that they be open to Truth, that they lead our country in light of this Truth, and that all Americans will be firmly committed to living their lives in the service of Truth.