Clearing the Heart to See the Truth

Communion and Consequences...

Why are so many Catholics leading the civic charge towards American degeneracy? Our vice-president is Catholic, and champions abortion blithely, unblushingly, as a matter of course. Same goes for the House Minority Leader, the highest ranking female politician in our history so far. The last Secretary of Health and Human Services is Catholic, and warred with her own bishops in an effort to get Catholic money to go to drugs designed to kill kids and objectify women. Out of nine Supreme Court Justices, six self-identify as Catholics. Six! That’s a majority vote plus one! And that’s the governing body that just made a disorder of body, mind and soul legally equivalent to one of the fundamental metaphors for understanding how we’re loved by God. What’s going on here? It’s one thing for Catholics to be sinners, for God’s people to be tempted by the conditions of time and place to the point where they’re no longer distinguishable from their non-Catholic or non-Christian neighbors. That’s one thing. But it seems like another thing when you’ve got so many high-profile Catholics doing such disproportionate damage. Scandalous Catholics are nothing new, but why are there so many scandalous Catholics, and why are they so lamentably influential? My take? It’s because they receive communion. I bet these prominent, disastrous Catholic politicians go to Sunday mass with some regularity, and I’m sure every time they go they receive the Eucharist. And that’s really dangerous, because receiving the Eucharist always has an effect, and it’s not necessarily a good one. Drinking the Blood of Jesus can, of course, make you a saint, but you can also be drinking your own damnation. God in flesh is never something neutral – after contact you’re either a greater...

An American Experience and the Inconsistency of Civil Rights...

A few nights ago I watched an interesting documentary on PBS called American Experience. This particular episode was entitled, “1964.” The makers of the show examined that particular year as the year that ignited the social revolution in America. The issue that caused the combustion: Civil rights; in particular, the efforts of northern white college kids who headed to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 in order to assist southern black citizens to register to vote. As the show progressed, my sentiments certainly followed the trajectory of the show’s emotional appeal. The civil rights movement revealed both the ugly and the beautiful struggle of a certain segment of American citizenry to gain political access to a rule of government that is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. I greatly admired the efforts of these Northern white college kids and black civil rights activists in the face of possible violence and even death—as was the case when three volunteers met their doom one night when they encountered some Klansmen. Their bodies were later discovered in shallow graves near a dam in the process of being constructed. Yet, I was also aware of a particular undertone during the entirety of the program. This undertone became clear when, later in the episode, a historian made a statement that both shocked and rankled me. He said that these white kids returned home from their experiences in Mississippi with the stark realization that everything their parents had told them about America was a lie! America as a society, he opined, was utterly bankrupt. His statement was followed by footage of police brutality, footage of the Klan beating people and terrorizing citizens, footage of Republican senator Barry Goldwater...

Our Lady of Guadalupe and 50 Million Names...

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe—indeed, the whole of the Advent season—reveals and reminds us of the utter importance of innocent life and its innate dignity. When the young virgin appeared miraculously to Juan Diego on Mount Tepeyac, she made it known to him that he would have a significant role in converting to Christ 9 million Aztecs who worshiped their false gods with human sacrifice. The indelible image left upon his cloak was that of a young, dark-skinned woman standing on the moon, shrouded in glory with a mantel of stars covering her head. Around her waist, she wore the black sash that young mothers wore in Mexico at that time, indicating she was with child. This image conquered the world, as it not only secured a foothold for the holy faith of Christ in Mexico, but it also proved pivotal in one of the grandest battles in the history between Christianity and Islam not 40 years later, at Lepanto, Greece. Giovanni Andrea Doria, one of the Christian naval commanders, prayed before a replica of this very image in the early morning hours before the commencing of the great sea battle. By 4 in the afternoon, Doria, on behalf of all of Christendom, celebrated victory over the much larger Muslim fleet. All of the Christian naval commanders along with the Pope credited the victory to Our Lady’s intercession. Thus, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a beautiful reminder of the powers and victories of this Virgin Mother of God over the forces of death and darkness. Unfortunately, these forces are reasserting influence on contemporary society in manifold ways. In the United States of America, abortion slays millions of innocent lives annually, and the coercion exerted on young mothers to rid...

THE TRUTH, THE LIE, AND THE LAST BATTLE...

The thing that bugs me most about all of the unfolding scandals and problems sprouting and spreading in our culture is the manifest inability for people to distinguish truth from fiction.  Worse, I fear that people are growing disinterested from even pursuing the truth. It seems as though we have taken Pilate’s words to Jesus, “What is truth,” as our own. When a political figure utters all kinds of obvious falsehoods to the media-fed public that is too distracted, disinterested, skeptical, or cynical to notice, this is horribly frustrating and frightening, and has led to a series of inconsistent and sometimes contrary states of affairs. For instance, when President Obama made his speech to Planned Parenthood recently and thanked them for the hard work that they do to make parenthood possible, and then invoked God’s blessing on their brutal assault on life in the womb, his contradictory platitudes were mostly received with approval, with only a thin minority in the media expressing shock or outrage.   Similarly, when debating atheists, my colleagues and I are always vexed at the atheist’s ability to take whatever point we are trying to make and twist it to his advantage. “You say that your God shows mercy to the sinner, but why did He make such evil people in the first place?” Try criticizing Obama in a room full of college students or professors and regardless of the evidence provided, you will be judged personally, and your evidence will be ignored or explained away. It is becoming commonplace to disdain authority when it is authoritative (meaning when those in authority are held accountable to the truth), and rally around authority when it is authoritarian (complete lack of accountability to the truth).  Benghazi, the AP...

Fertile Sex For Infertile Couples? The Fallacy of Division and the Procreative Process...

By C0-Blogger John-Mark Miravalle, S.T.D. Defenders of Humanae vitae have sometimes felt forced into a bit of a tightrope walk when it comes to the connection between sex and fertility. On the one hand, the document’s principle is straightforward enough: don’t separate what belongs together. It’s the principle invoked by Christ against divorce, and it covers plenty of other cases. It illuminates why we should avoid decapitation (separation of head and body), hypocrisy (separation of declared conviction and behavior), and even the use of torture in interrogation (which tries to separate the prisoner’s speech from his considered judgment). So it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to apply the same principle to sex and fertility: don’t separate them. The devil, as always, is in the details. When you get down to particular cases, the “No Sex Disconnected from Fertility” rule looks pretty extreme. In fact, it might seem to ban any sexual behavior that doesn’t actually terminate in a child, or at least any sexual behavior that we’re certain won’t terminate in a child. Of course, not even the Vatican wants to go that far, but then how to make sense of the rule? The case of infertile couples is surely the favorite counter-example of those who question the consistency of traditional Catholic sexual ethics. How can homosexual, masturbatory, or contraceptive behavior be condemned for its infertility when allowances are made for heterosexual couples who know in advance that pregnancy is an impossibility? Traditionalists usually argue that, for instance, when a man engages in sexual acts with another man he is choosing to pursue sexual fulfillment in a way that removes the potential for procreation. To which critics respond that when a man knowingly engages in sexual behavior...

THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING REVEALS THE TRUTH IN IRONY...

We approach the end of time, at least liturgically, by celebrating the solemn festival of Christ the King.  This marks the end. Only in the end do we see Christ revealed in all of His glory as King. Only now does His reign begin, unmasked and unhidden, previously existing only in the hearts of His disciples. When confronted by Pilate upon His arrest, Jesus responds to Pilate’s interrogations regarding His own divine authority by stating, ‘Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’ To which Pilate retorts, ‘what is truth?’ (cf. Jn 18: 37-38.) The one precondition to receiving Christ as King is to desire and live in the truth. Pilate’s response reveals why people fail to accept Christ as their King: they don’t want the truth! Or maybe stated differently, they don’t want a truth when they can’t set the terms. Moderns will believe in the truth so long as it’s their truth, a truth either invented or agreed upon by them. Of course, this isn’t the truth at all but a confused counterfeit which is nothing other than what I want. This is precisely why Christ can only be revealed in full at the end, the termination of riches, status, power, and pleasure which tend to dominate human motivations. This is what fallen man calls the truth. When opening the pages of the Bible, it’s true that we read God’s word to man. We read about God and learn who He is and how He acts in human history. This isn’t all we read, however. In reading the Bible we also discover us, the story of ourselves, the story of fallen humanity. The Bible is a fantastic study on the human psyche, with all of our...
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