Category Archives: Church

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom, meaningless without truth, By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Dec 16, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama praised the Maccabees on Wednesday at a White House Hanukkah reception. The Maccabees were a family of brothers who, following their father’s lead, defended Israel against conquest by pagans in the second century before Christ. Praising Jews who “dare to observe their faith”, Obama said: “Everybody in America can understand the spirit of this tradition. Proudly practicing our religion, whatever it might be—and defending the rights of others to do the same—that’s our common creed.”

All of this is disingenuous, of course. President Obama, like countless other political leaders in the contemporary West, has no respect for religion when it comes to attempting to apply its values to the social order, making them relevant outside the walls of a church. As Pope Francis stated in a recent interview, a “culture or a political system that does not respect openness to the transcendence of the human person ‘prunes’ or cuts down the human person.” Yet our politicians and our cultural elites insist that values come from the decisions of the State, and that human law is not subject to Divine authority.

Unfortunately, the Western conception of religious liberty has been reduced to a celebration of private religious feelings. Religious freedom is considered just fine as long as religious persons do not really believe in truth or commit themselves to the good—as long, that is, as religion itself is defined as a means of seeking personal consolation rather than a means of discerning the difference between right and wrong.

Now before anyone raises the objection that, surely, the State must prevent one religion from imposing its values on everyone, it is important to recognize that Catholicism offers a way of honoring religious liberty while still insisting that social, political and economic life should be orchestrated according to moral principles. I am referring, of course, to the natural law. A recognition of natural law not only discloses our common human morality but sets limits to every liberty, including freedom of religion. The Church insists that people need to be generally free to seek God in order to do their best in following His will, but she also insists that this freedom cannot be used to set aside the natural law. The natural law is the revelation of God in the things He has made. It may be required of all because it is accessible to all, even without the gift of Faith.

Hence it is the natural law that must serve as the Divine framework for legitimate government: Any human law that contradicts the natural law is null and void. The natural law, therefore, provides not only a guide and a restraint for governance but also a proper framework for religious liberty. It prevents the common good from being subverted by a pseudo-spiritual liberty that dissolves into license.

Meaningless Religion
With this point understood, I can now assert without any inconsistency that religious liberty as conceived in a culture of relativism is meaningless. This is the key issue here. The whole point of religious liberty is that it enables the human person to fulfill the end for which he was created by seeking, without ridiculous impediments, to know, love and serve God. As Newman so wisely put it, all of us have a sense of good and evil and of living under a judgment. We have to work very hard at not feeling uneasy when we know we have done something wrong. And if this universal intuition of living under a judgment—that is, this faculty of conscience—means anything, it must mean that there is a Lawgiver who cares about our behavior. We should expect, then, that He cares enough to reveal Himself in some way, and so it is the most important task of our lives to try to figure out Who this Lawgiver is and what He expects of us.

In other words, religious liberty derives its value and potency from the authentic duty of each human person to conform his mind to the ultimate reality that underlies everything. This conformity of the mind to reality is actually the very definition of truth. The refusal to accept that truth exists is, in fact, a denial of reality. It forces us to ride a rollercoaster of ever-changing values articulated and imposed arbitrarily by cultural pressure and political force.

People like Barack Obama can seize the moral high ground by praising freedom of religion only because they have already rendered freedom of religion pointless: They have already defined religion as merely a peculiar state of consciousness which produces feelings of consolation.

They will never give religion its due because they deny any truth higher than the State—or at least higher than the conceptions of our cultural elites. Politics and political correctness become the arbiter of values. Transcendance is denied, as the Pope said, and culture is closed in upon itself. Everyone is rewarded or punished accordingly.

Religious liberty is meaningless without a commitment to truth for the simple reason that religion itself is meaningless unless it is true. If religion cannot open our minds to a fuller grasp of reality than can be provided by the State, then it has no purpose. It is reduced to just one of many purely subjective personal attachments. It should be obvious that we cannot look to emotional attachments for guiding principles; and, clearly, only a fool would seek to help others or improve the social order merely by sharing his emotions.

In singling out the Maccabees for praise, President Obama had no idea of the implications. The Maccabees did not fight and die so that all religions could be freely practiced. The Maccabees did not fight and die for an emotional attachment, nor did they regard pagan religions as mere emotional attachments which were just as good as any others. They fought for their own right to conform their minds to the deepest reality of all, that they might know, love and serve God.

In our time, the rhetoric of religious liberty is designed to make us feel free when we are really in chains. We can only hope that there is still at least some danger for politicians in praising ancient heroes—in praising men and women who, were they present today, would slay them where they stand.

‘Voting as a Catholic in 2016’

Denver archbishop:
[To which candidate is His Excellency less aversive?]
Catholic World News – October 12, 2016

Noting his “aversion for both candidates,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver called upon Catholics to “reflect on the platforms of both parties, with an emphasis on the human life issues,” as they prepare to vote in the presidential election.

“Catholics in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion,” he continued. “This is the most important guidance I can give: allow your ongoing personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church to guide your political decisions.”
Archbishop Aquila added: We are where we are today because too many Catholics and other people of faith have embraced the ways of the world and not the ways of Christ. They have not served as leaven that transforms society, but rather have condoned evil and the throw-away culture that Pope Francis frequently reminds us to reject.

When we fail to do this, the government will step in to fill the void. Indeed, the government will become “god” and impose its beliefs on the citizens. One only needs to look to the Health and Human Service contraceptive mandate, or the attempt by President Obama to force a transgender agenda onto public schools.

Catholic Eye-opener

A Charity Hospital run by the Sisters of Charity in New Orleans, along with the Upjohn company developed the plasma system in the 1930’s that saved so many lives in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and in the middle east now.
 
During the Civil War most of the  nurses were nuns.
 
Even if you are not Catholic, this is eye opening:
 
When the Catholic Church was founded, there were no hospitals.  Today, one out of five people in this country receive their medical care at a Catholic hospital.
 
When the Catholic Church was founded, there were no schools.  Today, the Catholic Church teaches 3 million students a day, in its more than 250 Catholic Colleges and Universities, in its more than 1200 Catholic High Schools and its more than 5000 Catholic grade schools.
 
Every day, the Catholic Church feeds, clothes, shelters and educates more people than any other organization in the world.
 
The new Obama  Health Mandate could end all this and the tax payers would have to make up the loss.
 
Also, all Catholic adoption services will come to an end… a human disaster.
 
There are more than 77 million Catholics in this country.  It takes an estimated 50 million Catholic votes to elect a president.
 
I am asking all of you to go to the polls in 2016 and be united in replacing all Senators and Reps with someone who will respect the Catholic Church, all Christians, and all Religions.
 
Mr. President, you said, “The USA  is not a Christian Nation”.  You are wrong – we are a Christian Nation founded on Judeo-Christian values allowing all religions in America to worship and practice freely… something that Islam will never do.
 
Oh, by the way, on MUSLIM HERITAGE IN America… Have you ever been to a Muslim hospital, heard a Muslim orchestra, seen a Muslim band march in a parade, know of a Muslim charity, ever seen Muslims shaking hands with a Muslim Girl Scout, or ever seen a Muslim Candy Striper volunteering in a hospital?
 
Have you ever seen a Muslim do much of anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?
 
One more note… in every church or synagogue I have ever been in in the United States, I have always seen an American flag.  No mosques in the United States carries an American flag.

How beer saved the world

[One Way, for there were many.] by Deacon Dennis
Good Morning, good people!

May the Lord give you His Peace!

Today I send along a site that reinforces the contention that beer saved the World, or at least Western Civilization during the Middle Ages, and that the Monks were the ones who saved Western Civilization by producing and selling their beer.

As populations began to migrate to ever larger cities and towns during this time, sewage disposal became simply a matter of throwing food waste and night soil wastes into the streets which washed into the rivers and streams.  This was fine if you lived upstream, but if you lived downstream in the next town, water was not the healthiest thing you could drink.  As the article points out, “Beer production served other purposes too. The Rule outlines the monastery’s obligation to show hospitality to travelers and pilgrims. Beer was safer to drink in medieval times than water contaminated by sewage, and therefore was served to visitors.”

The YouTube video attached to the article entitled “Beer Brewing Monks Celebrate 1 Year of Production” documents the Benedictine monks in Norcia, Italy, celebrating their first year of beer production,

You can  find a Discovery Channel Documentary, “How Beer Saved the World” (2011) on Netflix that traces the origins of beer and devotes considerable time to the contention that it was indeed the monks who save Western Civilization through their production of and selling of beer.  The writers are a bit “off” on some of their notions (example – that the monks used beer to lure people to Sunday Mass by the promise of a beer-blast following the Mass) but the idea of boiling the beer mash (the grains and water) and other sanitary practices necessary to good beer production instituted by the monks did indeed prevent many water-borne diseases such as Campylobacteriosis, Cholera, E Coli Infections, Dysentery, and Typhoid Fever, just to name a few that could wipe out the major portion of the populations of those cities and towns of the time since there were no antibiotics that could combat these.  Death from untreated Cholera, for example, is within 10-18 hours from the onset of symptoms (profuse diarrhea and vomiting) especially among the youngest and weakest.

Some Trappist Beers at a store devoted to craft beers here in Warner Robins and Chimay in our local Kroger.

Avoid decadent West

African prelate urges youth: stay in Africa, avoid lures of decadent West
Catholic World News – August 25, 2015

The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have urged their country’s young people to remain in Africa, rather than being seduced by the “false trappings of wealth” in the Western world.

“Use your talents and other resources to renew and transform our continent,” Bishop Nicholas Djomo Lola of Tshumbe urged participants in the Pan-African Catholic Youth congress, being held this week in Kinshasa. “You are a treasure for Africa. The Church relies on you; your continent needs you.”

Speaking in his role as president of the DRC bishops’ conference, Bishop Djomo Lola went on to warn the young people against the dangers of life in Europe and America, speaking of “the new forms of destruction of the culture of life, moral, and spiritual values.”