Category Archives: Politics

…And We’re Back!

Howdy folks,

Wow, I can honestly say I never intended to stop posting for as long as I did…It’s been quite some time, so you could say I’m well-rested and ready to go.

It’s actually with quite an exciting purpose that I write today. You see, as I was glancing around at other blogs I follow, I came across this post from Father Z’s Blog (a very good source on Catholic current events, and a source of inspiration for me, I might add. Check it out sometime) about a document published by the United States Bishops yesterday, April 12. The statement is concerning Religious Freedom.

What struck me as I read Father Z’s comments about the statement, as well as the statement itself (right HERE) was how quickly and easily we can forget things like this fight for Religious Freedom. In our world of 24-hour news coverage and constant Tweets and Facebook notifications, things tend to come and go quite fast. For some things this is OK; I would rather forget the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last year; and the sooner the Cubs’ 2012 season is over the better. But for other things, the rate at which news comes and goes is very alarming indeed.

Even though CNN has stopped covering the HHS mandate, for instance, it is still coming this August, whether we remember or not. Something I loved about the Bishops’ statement was how it chronicled seven, yes, SEVEN, specific attacks by our government on religious freedom in the past 12 months or so.  Now, I can remember reading about each and every one of these attacks. But because of the nature of our national media, it seems like these happened over the course of years. In reality, it was in a matter of months (and by the same administration too, don’t forget).

Now, do I suspect this as a plan by the national media or the Obama administration? In part, yes. I think it is quite convenient to space all these attacks out, letting them get their coverage and endure the backlash for a few weeks, and then have the American public more or less forget they ever happened. That is a problem!

I am so thankful for the Bishops’ writing this statement for that very reason. It has reminded me about all that is at stake when our government launches attack after attack on our Church and religious freedom as a whole. I hope this post can serve as a reminder to you as well and to restore the zeal and courage necessary to fight such evil and injustice.

The last thing the Bishops’ say in the statement (in case you don’t make it that far) was to call for a “Fortnight for Freedom” dedicated to prayer, education, and awareness of religious freedom and the current attacks by our government. It is scheduled for June 21 (Vigil of the Feast of St. Thomas More, who himself once took a stand for religious freedom and conviction) through July 4 (did you catch that significance?), and the Bishops are encouraging all dioceses to participate though planning special events sometime during those two weeks.

I encourage all of you to keep a watch for those events and make plans to participate in as many as possible. We must not forget what is going on in our country! To help with that, try praying this prayer the Bishops have written in preparation for the “Fortnight for Freedom”:

Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,
and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hope you all continue having a Blessed Easter season. Check back here for more posts in the coming days!

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The Theology of “Boondock Saints”

A movie I watched quite a few times in high school and college was The Boondock Saints, a movie about two Irish Catholic brothers living in Boston. In the movie, they take it upon themselves to murder members of the Russian and Italian mobs, believing that they are on a mission from God to cleanse society.

I think it goes without saying that this movie is not an accurate depiction of what goes on in the Catholic Church.  Sure, it brings up a good point by looking a lot like the Conquest in the Book of Joshua, but we’ll save that can of worms for later.  In one scene of Boondock Saints, the FBI agent chasing these mysterious murderers goes into a Catholic confessional while drunk. He has figured out that the brothers are behind the murders, but he admits that he wished he could do what they were doing. He knows that these mobsters deserve to die, and yet his job dictates that he arrest the brothers.

At this point, the priest in the confessional delivers one of my favorite lines from the movie. He tells the FBI agent “the laws of God are higher than the laws of man.” NOTE: I am absolutely not encouraging vigilantism or taking God’s judgement into our own hands. Condemnation of sinners is something reserved for God alone.  However, I want to draw attention to that quote.

“The laws of God are higher than the laws of man.” That is exactly what is being tested by the current presidential administration. By forcing all employers to provide for contraceptive services (including sterilization and abortifacients), our government is asserting that the laws of man are higher than God’s law. In fact, not only are they saying this, but they are trying to force every single person in America to acknowledge that fact. And by refusing to stand up against this attack against religious liberty, we agree with President Obama. To make a stand against this attack, go here. To find out more about the HHS mandate, go the USCCB’s (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website, usccb.org.

So eventually, we all could be faced with the choice of following our consciences (i.e. God’s law) or the law of the United States. This decision will first come to the American Bishops, almost all of whom have denounced the current mandate (along with many non-Catholic religious groups, here’s a short list). They will be faced with the decision of following Obama’s mandate or facing extreme financial and legal consequences of following the Church’s teachings. Please join me in beginning to pray now that they have the courage to do so.

This civil disobedience will not cause change overnight. Only through dedication and perseverance (and God’s grace) can we hope to win this battle. And when we do, it will not be the last fight. I promise that this current attack on religious liberty is only the beginning. It will take courage to disobey our country, but then again, the laws of God or higher than the highs of man. For strength in times like these, I often look to the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. In the late 1800s, Pope Leo XIII had a vision of great evil approaching in the 20th century. After awakening from his vision, he composed the prayer below. I urge you all to pray it daily, and whenever you feel temptation of sin.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

St. Michael, oro pro nobis.

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