Culture of Death A Rant

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As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of Patrick Madrid, a Catholic Apologist and speaker and his radio show, “Right Here, Right Now” , well except for the fact that after listening my head hurts from thinking too much about what is discussed. But this isn’t a promotion for the show, rather I want to talk about last Thursday’s topic which was the divorce rate in the US. (You can listen to the show here)

Patrick made the point that most of us think the divorce rate is higher that it actually is. We have been led to believe 50% of all marriages end in divorce, when the actual number is much lower. So, this got me to thinking, which is always dangerous. If we have in fact have been led to believe in the higher numbers, why? What would be the reason anyone would want us to think our marriages are going to fail? What is particularly interesting to note is how (at least in my opinion) the same people who actively try to convince us our marriages will end in divorce are the same ones who are promoting same-sex marriage.

And that is the answer. What I truly believe is behind these movements, as well as the abortion industry, the attacks on religious liberty and others, is the destruction of the family. Who is most interested in the destruction of the family? The Evil One. He doesn’t want a new generation of believers, he doesn’t want to take a chance that a new generation will take us back to a culture of life instead of one of death, one where sin no longer prevails, one where God is first  our lives, not materialism, individualism, narcissism and hedonism.

We kill our children, deciding whether we want them or not, killing those who might be an inconvenience. We have even begun to murder our elderly and infirm deciding they are no longer productive and are a drain on our society. Throw away lives, that is what we have decided they are, part of the Culture of Death.

“Death battles against life: A ‘culture of death’ seeks to impose itself on our desire to live and live to the full. There are those who reject the light of life, preferring ‘the fruitless works of darkness’ (Eph. 5:11). Their harvest is injustice, discrimination, exploitation, deceit, violence. In every age, a measure of their apparent success is the death of the innocents. In our own century, as at no other time in history, the ‘culture of death’ has assumed a social and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes against humanity: genocide, ‘final solutions,’ ‘ethnic cleansings’ and the massive ‘taking of lives of human beings even before they are born or before they reach the natural point of death’ (cf. Dominum et Vivificatem 57).”

If we don’t change this, where will be? If we don’t replace ourselves, who will? Forgive my rant, but I don’t like what I see happening, and but for a few of us, it seems no one cares. Yes, there are some good signs, there are some of us who are fighting back, but it takes all of us together. Yes God will win in the end, but are we ready for the end now?

Here is some further reading:

 

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If I Knew Then – Reflection of a Wayward Catholic

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One of the first things I did when I decided to find my way back to God was to read the Bible. This is something I had never done. I remember once as a teenager, perhaps when I was in college, picking it up and starting to read it but I didn’t get very far. This time I had more motivation and actually read the whole thing … twice.

One of the first things I noticed was that the Bible is full of good advice. I am not just talking about spiritual advice, although there is plenty of that, but just plain old common sense advice on life. Whether it be relationships, work or business there is something for everyone. I look at the Bible as a collection of writings with good advice for everyone. Even if you are one who doesn’t believe the Bible is real, that is is a elaborate myth written by people with some kind of agenda to promote religion, it is hard to argue that there is a wealth of knowledge inside it.

Yesterday’s gospel reading is a good example:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1 -2 (NIV)

What does this passage tell us, especially the last eleven words? Time’s up. It tells us that we will get back what we put into something. This is true whether we are dealing with people, work, faith or even writing blog posts. If we do everything half-assed then this is what we will get back. If we treat others like dirt, we can expect to get treated like dirt in return.

In these times, especially here in the US, individualism, Hedonism and minimalism are the norm. Here is a quote from Matthew Kelly’s Book “Rediscovering Catholicism”:

Individualism: When most people today are faced with a decision, the question that seems to dominate their inner dialogue is “What’s in it for me?”

Hedonism: Hedonism is the philosophy that emphasizes pleasure as the ultimate goal in life. The motto, the creed, the catch cry of the hedonist is, “If it feels good, do it!”

Minimalism: A minimalist is always seeking to exert the minimum effort and receive the maximum reward. (You can get a free copy of this book here. I recommend both Catholics and non-Catholics get it. )

These three terms certainly described me for most of my adult life. I am definitely the product of the late sixties through the early eighties when these traits took over our country. Although in my defense, once I had children my individualism turned more to a “family-ism” where I tried to do everything for them. I truly believe that had I not ran away from the church and the teachings of Jesus, had I studies (or even just read the Bible) I would not have fallen for these three traits and become the sinner I did.

Back to Matthew 7, when we only care about “What’s in it for me?” we don’t care what we do or who we hurt to get what we want. It is also the same with “If it feels good, do it!” I could write a book about my experiences with that one but I don’t write porn, not that I didn’t in another life. And it should be evident that minimalism isn’t really the best course of action. When you do as little as possible, when you only care about what is in it for you or doing only what makes you feel good, you will get back what you put into any situation.

If the measure you use is to lie in order to have as many sexual partners as you can, then guess what? Others will lie to you. If you cheat, you will be cheated on, if don’t give 100% at your job, then your job won’t give 100% back to you. When we strive to be materialistic, hedonistic, a minimalist of an individualist, we spend more time worrying about those things than we do about the truly important things like our health, family, friends and our faith.

I’ll leave you with one more passage from Matthew.

 “For this reason I say to you, [n]do not be worried about your[o]life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the [p]air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his [r]life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But [s]seek first [t]His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be [u]added to you.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will [v]care for itself. [w]Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25 – 34 (NASB)

Isn’t this good advice, even if you leave the source out of it?

Comments? Questions? Criticisms? Feel free to comment below.

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Either You Are Catholic or You Are Not

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You are either Catholic or you aren’t. No, this isn’t an attempt to convert everyone out there to Catholicism, but rather it is directed to those who claim to be Catholic, yet don’t follow the teachings of the church. They pick and choose which tenets of the faith to follow and decide the others aren’t right.

This is especially a problem when it is very public figures who claim they are devout Catholics yet believe in things such as abortion or same-sex marriage. Of course at the top of this list for me is Nancy Pelosi the House Minority Leader from the San Francisco area. Why Nancy even believes she is more catholic than San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. She recently sent him a letter asking him not attend the March for Marriage event.

“We share our love of the Catholic faith and our city of San Francisco,” Pelosi wrote to Cordileone, who, as head of the 560,000-member Archdiocese of San Francisco, has become the Catholic bishops’ point man against gay marriage. She urged him to abandon an event in which some of the participants show “disdain and hate towards LGBT persons.” – SFGate.com

I’ll make one point on this then move on from my minor rant about Pelosi and go onto my main idea. The debate about same-sex marriage as far as the Catholic Church goes has nothing to do with “disdain and hate towards LGBT persons” but the fact that the Catholic Church believes it is against the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. They have always taught this and they aren’t going to change it now. Catholics, and any one else for that matter especially Christians, don’t “hate” anyone, rather they hate the sin and love the sinner. But enough of my political rant against another democratic politician who thinks she has all the answers and is smarter than the rest of us.

The problem is this: If you claim to be Catholic, then you should be following all the teachings of the Church, not just the ones you agree with. And for the record, I used to be one of those who claimed to be Catholic, who picked and chose the teachings I would follow.

The Catholic Church has taught the same things since its inception after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Whether the Catholic Church is the “true” church of Jesus can, and has been debated, but the fact remains Catholics haven’t changed their beliefs since that time. They have never succumbed to changes in public opinion, they have never changed due to pressure from the media and certainly not because of any politician. One only needs to look at the history and beginnings of Protestantism for evidence of this. Sir Thomas More, now a saint, was beheaded because he refused to bow to the political pressure put on him by King Henry VIII and agree that the King’s divorce was okay in the Catholic Church.

If you don’t want to follow Catholic teaching, then you can leave the Catholic Church. The church should not and will not change to fit you, you can either change to fit the church or join the over 20,000 other Christian denominations out there. In fact you can even start your own if you would like.

Again, I am not claiming that Catholicism is the one true faith and all the others are wrong. What I am saying is if you don’t like what it teaches, then you should leave, not call yourself a Catholic and get on with your own life. For too long we have let groups with their own political agendas change the way we think and act, they continue to take away our religious freedoms and our right to believe what we wish to believe. This is true whether you are Catholic, Protestant, Mormon or Muslim.

So forgive my rant but at least give it some thought.

Here are some resources you might be interested in:

The Life of Thomas More

Catechism of the Catholic Church

History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium

The History Of Protestantism…

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Does God Really Answer Our Prayers

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Does God really answer our prayers or do we only think he does?

One of the things I have come to notice during my journey back to the Catholic faith is how God continues to answer my prayers. I have to admit I was always pretty sceptical about the whole idea of God actually doing that, but as you have seen in past posts, He has and continues to do so. I am sure this isn’t just a Catholic thing, but rather one which transcends all believers.

After the first few times, I had to wonder if the things that happened, the incidents I think have been as a result of answered prayers, if these were all some kind of coincidences, or even if I had been “wishing” my prayers be answered, and therefore making them answered. But too many of these things have happened now for this to be true. I struggled with this for a long time, and here is what I have come up with.

If I were indeed “wishing” for my prayers to be answered, taking things that have happened and conforming them into answers, would that not mean that I would only have good answers, that no bad would happen, that only answers which conformed to my preconceived ideas would be gotten? Pretty deep huh?

For example, I wrote a post a while back, “Father Knows Best” talking about an answered prayer dealing with my grandson, daughter and ex-son-in-law. I had prayed, asking God to do what was best and even though he didn’t do what I would have liked. Since it wasn’t the answer I wanted, wouldn’t it make sense for me to not consider my prayer answered? So what is my point?

God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want him to. I would assume this is one of the reasons many people turn away from God. They pray, but “nothing” happens, at least not what they want. They figure God isn’t listening, he isn’t giving them what they want, therefore he mustn’t exist and they leave whatever faith they may be in as well as their belief in God.

God doesn’t always do what we think is best, He does what He knows is best. We should never forget that. There will be times when we don’t like what God is telling us, where He is guiding us, but we still need to follow. The bigger problem is knowing when God is talking to us and what it is He is trying to say. We have to take the time to look, listen and feel to be able to discern the answers.

God always has a reason for what He does, we may not always like the reason or even know the reason, but it is there and it is best. And yes, God has answered yet another one of my prayers, giving me an answer to a question I have had. But you’ll have to wait for another post to hear about that. Let’s just say it has to do with why God brought someone special into my life.