Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

A message from Father John Corapi:

On the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae
The Catholic Church is in the process of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the prophetic and landmark encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, on human life. At the time the Holy Father promulgated the encyclical there was a general spirit of dissent in the air. This inspired document put the dissenters into yet a new orbit, even further from the center of Church teaching. Their lack of humility resulted in disobedience, ultimately resulting in moral death for them and countless others.

What has resulted from the rejection of the principles contained in this great document is a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. “Life begins at conception. Abortion begins at artificial contraception.” Pope Paul VI prophetically predicted that if artificial contraception were to become generally acceptable in society, then abortion would inevitably become just another means of artificial contraception. Today, not only have what is approaching one billion children been murdered in the name of “choice” worldwide, but a host of incredible evils have followed in the wake of the rejection of the Holy Father’s teaching on life.

Pope John Paul II called abortion murder in the clear and inspired language of his encyclical Evangelium vitae. If a single abortion is homicide—and it is—then the cumulative result of abortion on demand is genocide. Numbers of innocent and helpless children totaling more than the population of large countries have been annihilated. Can a society that elevates such an outrage to the noble status of law be pleasing to God? Or, will God’s patience soon run out and visit an avalanche of natural disasters, wars, chaos, and economic collapse on the perpetrators of such violence and evil?

I have no doubt whatever that the Western world is headed for collapse and annihilation, and it will be by suicide, not at the hand of terrorists or enemy states—although that may well facilitate the demise. As Abraham Lincoln asserted, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

The Western world’s wholesale rejection of the teaching of “Humanae Vitae” ushered in a death wish that is even now well on its way to completion. Pseudo-Christian Europe has had an extremely low birthrate for decades, while the burgeoning Muslim population is growing exponentially. With the average European family having less than 2 children and the average Muslim family having 8-10 children it won’t be long until Europe as we know it will be no more. Muslims vote and they will vote to radically alter laws that facilitate gross immorality. God may use them to chastise a decadent West. I assure you they will not need bombs and bullets; mathematics will more than suffice.

The unspiritual person cannot see reality as it is, hence they cannot discern the advancing disaster of our rejection of both common sense and proper morality. The spiritual person must pray fervently for the Spirit of God to discern reality as it is. (i.e., 1 Corinthians 2:12-16). Things such as artificial contraception, abortion, homosexual sex, and euthanasia all have something in common—They have no life in them. They are part of a death wish that when brought to its inevitable conclusion will result in the annihilation of the West as we know it, if something isn’t done to change course immediately.

Every one of us, as disciples of Christ, must pray and sacrifice for the cause of life, and do so with earnest. The hour is late and time is now short. The battle between truth and lies, good and evil, life and death rages on toward its consummation. We know the ultimate outcome—truth, the good, and life is victorious in Christ the Conqueror. We, however, must fight the good fight. How we shall live forever is determined by how we live now. We are being called upon by the Spirit of God to be the saints of these times. How we respond to the call will dictate the rise and fall of nations, and the eternal salvation of many.

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

God bless you,
Fr. John Corapi

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Christendom on iTunes U

Today I received a delightful email from our friends at Christendom College. In the message from their Public Relations & Marketing office, they notified me that the Summer Institute talks I so highly spoke of are going to be available on their website next month... for FREE! No doubt these talks are worth parting with some cash, but knowing that they're going to be available for download soon gives me something to look forward to.

On top of that good news, I was informed that the last two Summer Institutes are also available right now along with many other talks and their choir's CDs. What a treat! Thankfully since they're also available through their website and through iTunes, I won't have to camp out in front of my computer like those who camp out for popular movies and the iPhone. As soon as content is released, it will automatically download for my listening pleasure.

Allow me to share in my joy by sharing with you the link to Christendom on iTunes U. For anybody without iTunes (it's a free download if you'd like it), Christendom has an older web-based podcast site which is still accessible. From there, you can download the audio straight to your computer or listen to it streaming over the internet. All good stuff!

I close by tipping my hat to the many fine men and women of Christendom college that have produced this content and made it available to all of us. Your efforts are greatly appreciated in this household! And thank you Niall for noticing my enthusiasm for Christendom College and taking the time from your day to share with me this information.

NFCM New Media Network

Good afternoon men! You may have already received this message, but just in case you haven't, well, here it is! I've been listening to their Sunday podcasts for many months, usually while I'm driving in the car or doing some chores around the house. They're helpful in that the focus is on men's spirituality. Often, there are some insightful questions for reflection at the end of each podcast.

I've also noted a great number of Catholic Men's groups around the nation, many of which I wasn't aware even existed. If there's not one in your area, you may find the NFCM helpful in getting the word out about a men's group you form at your parish.

Check out and support the National Fellowship of Catholic Men by downloading their helpful content...
Dear Brothers,

Greetings from the National Fellowship of Catholic Men. Below are several new resources from the NFCM this week that we will help you grow in your faith as a Catholic man, including our NFCM NEW MEDIA NETWORK. Please forward this email to other Catholic men that you believe could also benefit from them. If you are receiving this as a forwarded copy, you can receive this automatically each week by registering on the NFCM website. Just take a few minutes to do so by clicking here: REGISTRATION

As you are no doubt aware, God is continuing to move powerfully among Catholic men, and we are seeing sustained growth in the Catholic men’s movement. The NFCM, in collaboration with other men's ministries and with the support and endorsement of our Bishops, has played a major part in this growth. This includes our support to Catholic men’s conferences, fellowships, and men’s groups; and in training and formation of Catholic men's leaders. Here are some excerpts from an endorsement letter from Bishop Aymond of the Austin diocese (June 2006):

"Our Church desperately needs the Catholic men to take their rightful roles in their families, Church, and communities as men of God. An organization such as the NFCM clearly provides the vehicle to accomplish this goal. There is no stronger force in the world than a group of Catholic men evangelizing their faith and their commitment to Jesus Christ, their families, the Catholic Church and their communities."

  • CLICK HERE and go to Channel Two on the NFCM New Media Network for a new compilation of inspired talks to Catholic Men at conferences, retreats, and missions, including talks by Peter Herbeck and others.
  • CLICK HERE and go to Channel One on the NFCM New Media Network for a 10 minute weekly podcast reflection for men, by dynamic priests and deacons, on the upcoming Sunday Mass Readings.
  • CLICK HERE to go to a new Catholic Man Channel Article, "Evangelizations, The Essential Mission of the Church"!
  • CLICK HERE for a meditation on this Sunday's Mass Readings, "Trusting In God's Promises" -- plus discussion questions for men.
  • CLICK HERE for information on the Catholic Men's Conference in Colorado Springs, CO., on September 13, 2008 (and on other men's conferences).


We are totally supported by the generosity of those who believe in our ministry, and those whom we serve. We ask you to prayerfully consider financially supporting the NFCM's vital ministry to Catholic men, especially during the summer months when contributions fall off. CLICK HERE to make a contribution.

May God richly bless you.
Maurice Blumberg, Director
National Fellowship of Catholic Men Center

If you know someone else who would like to receive periodic emails from the National Fellowship of Catholic Men, please encourage them to sign up via

Our postal address is
PO Box 86381
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[Cross-posted to the Catholic-Dads blog]

Laity Called to Change the World at Christendom College’s Summer Institute

Here is some news from Christendom College which is relevant to the purpose of this blog. Since I was unable to be there in person, I'm happy to see that I can obtain copies of the talks given by the invited speakers. I would encourage many of you to do the same if the descriptions below are of interest to you.

Laity Called to Change the World at Christendom College’s Summer Institute
“Now is the time for a dramatic infusion of strategically placed competent pro-life people of faith in government,” said Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) at Christendom College’s 19th annual Summer Institute held July 12 at the college’s Front Royal, Va., campus.

Focusing on the role of the laity in the Catholic Church the institute welcomed attendees from across the country to hear not only from Smith, but film producer Steve McEveety, medical doctor John Bruchalski, Rev. Thomas Dubay, journalist Colleen Carroll Campbell, and Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell.

In his talk entitled Bearing Witness to the Truth in the Political Sphere, Smith spoke of the human rights that governments and international organizations attempt to enumerate and declare.

“Such fundamental rights do not come from the U.N. or from sovereign governments,” he said. “If they did then governments and international organizations would not only have the power but the legitimate authority to rescind what had previously been conferred. If our fundamental rights are truly rights and not mere privileges, then they must be derived from a source that precedes and transcends any earthly political power, indeed they must come from God.”

The congressman declared that what the U.S. government needs is “an army of Thomas Mores.” Now is the time for a dramatic infusion of strategically placed competent pro-life people of faith in government, he said.

He believes that congress has a duty to protect everyone at risk not just the planned, the privileged, and the perfect. Unborn children have inherent worth, value, and dignity, given to them by God, not by politicians. The unborn are not disposable commodities or junk, they are children, he said.

“I believe that anyone who is willing to learn with due diligence can master the art of policy making. It’s not rocket science. The ministry of politics begs and it beckons. And if enough people answer the call, the world will be made much safer for the family, including its smallest and most vulnerable members unborn children,” he said.

“This [Christendom College] is truly a remarkable place that is having such an impact on so many lives—men and women who will then go out into the world and bring the great news of Christ and His justice to the world,” he concluded.

Steve McEveety, executive producer of films such as We Were Soldiers and Braveheart, spoke candidly about his work on The Passion of the Christ in an address entitled Faith in Film.

“The devil masqueraded himself quite well for me in my life, always with beauty and good things—like he usually tempts you—but that wasn’t working on this,” McEveety said. “So strange things would happen, which I won’t get into, but I’ll tell you a few great things that counteracted those strange things that happened.”

He shared one remarkable story of a crewmember that was struck by lightening twice and survived unscathed. This crewmember, which McEveety referred to as “lightening boy,” was the first child baptized by John Paul II. It was also this crewmember that eventually led to their ability to screen the film for John Paul II, who famously said that the film “is ­­­as it was.”

McEveety closed his address by announcing that he has begun pre-production work on a film based on the book Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness by Christendom College’s Founding President Dr. Warren Carroll.

Presidential speechwriter and journalist Colleen Carroll Campbell filled the attendees with hope with her talk Catholic Journalism and the New Faithful. Carroll presented many statistics and personal testimonies, revealing that the new faithful of this generation have the potential to reshape American Christianity in the next century.

“The new faithful,” Carroll said, “belong to the new generation raised in the wake of the sexual revolution and ­­no-fault divorce. While this generation was never urged to seek Jesus or avoid sin or carry the cross, they were simply told to be nice to each other, believe what suited them, and never commit the cardinal sin of intolerance.”

This lack of formation, according to Carroll, left many young adults adrift confused and estranged from the Church, but this childhood without God has often lead these young adults to an intense spiritual search that culminated in conversion.

“This generation is turning back to traditional sacramental forms of worship. Eucharistic devotion, praying of the rosary, the liturgy of the hours, and the Latin Mass have become more popular. There is a counter-sexual revolution going on as well in the world of fashion and courtship mores,” she said.

“As one seminarian put it,” she said, “‘we’re rebelling against the rebellion. We want tradition.’”

Carroll noted that despite the fact that the new faithful are a minority in their generation, their zeal for cultural engagement and their commitment to proclaiming the faith suggests that their impact may far exceed their numbers.

“These young believers may be the early adopters of a larger trend with the potential to renew the Church and transform the culture in the years to come,” she concluded.

“I thank you so much for this invitation,” Dr. John Bruchalski said at the beginning of his talk, The Healing Presence of Christ in the Practice of Medicine. “I congratulate [Christendom College] on 30 years here. Dr. Carroll—I can’t thank him enough for what he has done to start this place.”

In his talk Bruchalski read a letter he had been given from a father to a son that demanded that he abort his third child for financial reasons. The letter was harsh and cruel and revealed the would-be-grandfather’s blindness to the life of the unborn child. He also related a recent story of the illegally signing of a waiver for a 16-year-old Guatemalan girl to have an abortion by the Richmond Diocese Catholic Charities.

“This is my life as an OB/GYN in America today,” Bruchalski said. “I don’t really have a funny story to tell because it is indeed not very funny.”

He described the confusion that he experienced as a layman before he had a re-conversion. He would distribute Communion at Mass and then distribute the contraceptives at work. His education had told him that this was the right thing to do. He thought he could change the Church.

He said that the current moral confusion has resulted in a crisis in medicine today. “Medicine has done tremendously good things,” he said, “but science can only bring progress – it cannot bring redemption. And yet, in our life we are faced with this paradox, great health care, but God forbid we take the holistic approach—addressing the body, soul, and spirit of the patient.”

In closing, Brulchalski admonished the audience to do three things: to trust in Jesus, to acknowledge the fact that we are the Body of Christ, and to be ready to suffer.

Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell spoke of the lay charism and Catholic education.

“There can be no intelligent understanding of the role of the laity in the Church’s apostolate without a precise understanding of the Church herself,” he began. “All members are called to contribute to Her growth. The laity is called to exercise their apostolate as a leaven in the world.”

O’Donnell reminded listeners that they are involved in a war. The Church on earth is the Church Militant or the Church Fighting against what he called “the grand alliance”: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

He expressed the need for laity to not be fearless in the witnessing of the Faith, even though it seems like the battle against the culture of death is being lost on all fronts.

“The world has always awaited and proclaimed the death of the Church, but death could not hold Christ our Divine Head and it certainty will not be able to hold the divinized members working in the world as lay members of the Church Militant. For certainly, if we apply the words of that great soldier, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and pray as if everything depended on God and act as if everything depended on ourselves, the Divine Mercy will certainly not be found wanting,” he concluded.

Mass was concelebrated by renowned theologian Rev. Thomas Dubay who delivered a homily on man’s universal call to holiness. Dubay told a story of a group of prisoners who began a prayer group that sought to live as contemplatives amongst prison life.

“Each one of us is called to a profound intimacy with the Trinity,” he said. “If these men, in their circumstances, which are very painful, even in a modern prison, can get to heroic virtue and a profound intimacy with the Trinity, you and I have no excuse whatsoever of failing to reach heroic virtue and deep intimacy with the Trinity.”

All of the above talks can be ordered by contacting National Media Services at 540-635-4181. Next summer’s institute is planned for June 26-27, 2009, and will focus on St. Paul: His Spiritual and Scriptural Contributions to the Church. Invited speakers include Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Tim Gray, and Archbishop Charles Chaput. Look to [the Christendom College] website for more information in the future.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Free Congress Foundation Praises Christendom College as Excellent American College

OK, so our two children (two at the present time) are still young and probably not thinking about college. That doesn't mean that my wife and I aren't thinking about it. One can't help to think about college options when considering Catholic Homeschooling because some may not be as receptive of a home schooled child.

We've spent some time looking at the good Catholic colleges around the nation. Naturally, we haven't seen these places in person (yet), but we can look around online and gain an initial impression based what on what we see. "The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College: What to Look For and Where to Find It" has been helpful in locating the cream of the crop and thus focusing our efforts. The guide has recommended the "top 21 Catholic colleges and universities which most faithfully live their Catholic identity and provide a quality undergraduate education."

Of all the recommended picks, Christendom College has stuck out to us. It's not all that large and it's fairly new (founded in 1977). Their proximity to Seton Home School (a large Catholic homeschool organization) has drawn many homeschooled students to enroll, and Christendom is more than happy to accept them.

What's most impressive about the college is how firm they are in providing an authentic Catholic environment that isn't "watered down" in any way to make it seem more appealing. It appears that the students are drawn, in addition to the academics, to the college's fidelity to the Magisterium in much the same way that vocations to the religious life seem to be more plentiful in the religious orders that adhere more strictly to wearing religious habits and a deep spiritual life.

Christendom has really impressed us for many others reasons. For example, we recently read the news that Pope Benedict XVI warmly welcomed Christendom College during a Wednesday Papal Audience at the Vatican on March 5, 2008 and blessed a marble cornerstone for the planned addition to Christendom's Christ the King Chapel. Secondly, Francis Cardinal Arinze is also noted as being a good friend of the college.

Positive associations aside, their website points out that daily Mass is encouraged by all the students and faculty... no classes are scheduled during that time of day to assist everybody from having any time conflicts. Furthermore, the dorm rooms do not have internet access. That may seem like a negative to many, but it's not when you consider the amount of time people spend on the internet (rather than on their studies), not to mention the possible access to harmful content (i.e., pornography, illegal MP3 downloads, etc.).

In addition to their academic programs, they are also active during the summer months. For example, they have wonderful speakers come to give power-packed presentations at the "Summer Institute". I personally would have loved to have attended this year's Summer Institute titled "The Role of the Laity in the Catholic Church" (links to news release of the event). They had a wonderful lineup of speakers to address this important topic. More on this at a later time.

In addressing this post's subject line, allow me to close with some recent news regarding an evaluation of Christendom College.

Front Royal, VA (JULY 7, 2008) - Christendom College is “a conservative thorn in the side of our nation’s capital and nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley” according to the Free Congress Foundation’s (FCF) report What Makes an Excellent American College: “Liberal” Ideas Every Conservative Should Love, released July 3.

The report is a response to frequent requests for “a recommendation for good institutions of higher learning,” the FCF stated. Schools included in the report had to meet a demanding 11-point criterion developed by the FCF.

“Too many universities have either forgotten that human beings have souls or intentionally have set about wrecking them,” the report laments. Yet, “islands of sanity do exist.”

Christendom College “has its fair share of high-powered speakers, and the school ensures that their presentations are compatible with the mission of the school” and “one would be hard pressed to find a more faith-filled and politically active student body in the United States,” the report states.

“With 84 core credits required for graduation this school has perhaps the most demanding core curriculum of any college in the United States,” the report continues. “Christendom is committed to maintaining a wholesome, entertaining, genuinely Catholic environment for her students in unison with rigorous academic standards.”

“We are pleased that the Free Congress Foundation has included us in their short list of excellent American colleges,” says Director of Admissions Tom McFadden. “We strive to be the premier Roman Catholic college in the United States and based on the fact that we are having our best recruiting year ever, many high school aged students must be viewing us that way too.”

Other schools listed in the report include Hillsdale College, Thomas Aquinas College, Grove City College, and the Catholic University of America.

To read the full report visit


Contact: Christendom College VA, US
Niall O'Donnell - Asst. Director of PR, 540-636-2900
Keywords: Christendom College Free Congress Foundtion Excellent American College

Friday, July 25, 2008

40 Years of "Humanae Vitae"

On this, the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the papal encyclical "Humanae Vitae (On Human Life)" on July 25th, 1968, allow for me to share some very important resources and thoughts surrounding this very important, if not prophetic, writing by Pope Paul VI (262nd Pontiff: 1963-1978). Humanae Vitae contains the basic teaching on birth control fundamental to Christian (not just Catholic) marriage and includes other uplifting topics such as the dignity of women.

First, I wouldn't be surprised if the secular media tries to spin this anniversary in a way that shows polls and interviews of countless "Catholics" who don't believe in the teachings of the Church with regards to contraception. Already one organization, the militant pro-abortion group "Catholics for Choice" (an organization that incorrectly defines itself as being "Catholic"), plans to write an open letter to the Pope criticizing Humanae Vitae. Thankfully there have been some responses to this group, such as the response by the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, but I still have my doubts that the secular media will give a balanced perspective.

The unfortunate truth is that there are a great multitude of people who have chosen to go against the teachings. They have their reasons for doing so, some of which are expressed as being because they believe the Catholic church to be "archaic" or "behind the times". But those people fail to understand that there isn't a choice when it comes to this or any other teaching of the faith. The teachings are always relevant throughout all of time.

Now I know that's a bold statement and hard for many to accept. But the fact remains that church teachings -- all of them, not just those on contraception -- have been passed down for over 2,000 years and are also based in natural law. Truth doesn't change because of new medicine or technology. Nobody has the authority to change revealed truth. It is what it is and we would be wise to abide in the truth.

When Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae, he wasn't coming up with something new. He wrote the encyclical to apply the existing natural law and church teachings to a new question -- whether or not contraception (of any kind) was moral and acceptable. In the encyclical, the Pope stated that contraception is intrinsically evil and warned us all of the consequences to marriage, families and society if contraception were accepted.

The Pope anticipated that many would not easily accept the teaching of his encyclical, but he did so because of the duty of the Church to proclaim the moral law. And sure enough, Americans and people around the world rejected the encyclical almost instantly after its release. Many held on to their sexual hedonism that still exists in today's society. And with the rejection of this teaching and acceptance of contraception, we have also come to witness the fulfillment of those predicted consequences.

For example, we now live in a society where sex on a first date is deemed acceptable, even glorified. The sacredness of sexuality has been reduced to a minor decision synonymous with where the couple plans to go for dinner or which movie they wish to view. In just a few decades, our society has largely abandoned any consideration to the moral implications of their sexual actions, choosing to also ignore both the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, and how those two aspects are best to be shared within the loving institution of marriage.

We also see examples in the world where humanitarian aid is withheld unless the nation to receive the help agrees to force "population control" measures on their people. And in perhaps the worst example possible, China self-imposes a sinister birth policy that often resorts to kidnapping pregnant women and forcing them to have abortions.

The wrongful acceptance of contraception has promoted the rise of other evils -- fornication, m*sturbation, p*rnography, homosexuality -- just to name a few. We have also slumped to the level that abortion, the deliberate murder of children in their mother's womb, is accepted as commonplace throughout our nation and many nations of the world. The rise of abortions and the use of contraception have a clear correlation. It is a lie and morally wrong to assume that the use of contraception is effective at reducing abortions.

The lies run rampant because people, perhaps through no fault of their own, have not been made aware of the truth. Many people have grown up in a contraceptive society and have been bombarded throughout their life by the constant noise of secular society that says that what is wrong is right. At the same time, many Catholic priests have neglected speaking of the sin of contraception, thus leaving the lies to run undisputed. The ignorance of the people at large stems in the fact that they simply have not been exposed to the truths surrounding contraception.

There are some efforts underway to educate the people and to dispel the lies. The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy are challenging their colleagues to reacquaint themselves and their people with Humanae Vitae. Furthermore, Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International, is also calling for a "Generation of Assent" to Humanae Vitae. Combined with a demand from us Lay people to be taught the hard, honest truth, it is my hope that these efforts will provide loving encouragement to our priests and bishops to tackle these issues head-on.

As the Lay Faithful, it is very important for us to take this opportunity to rediscover -- or perhaps discover for the first time -- the great moral teachings on this subject so that we may continue to influence our secular society and our elected officials to become more aware of the pitfalls that are tied to contraception. Namely, if we continue down this slope of moral decline, we risk the health of our entire nation. We need only to look back at history to see that the moral demise of a nation almost always precedes the ultimate demise of a nation. No nation, including our own, is invulnerable to this threat.

In the pursuit of truth, allow me to share with you the following multitude of resources.

Catholic Church Teaching:

The Protestant Perspective:

Related Websites:

Related Articles:

Morally-Acceptable Natural Family Planning:

Theology of the Body:

Fr. Euteneuer's Mini-Series on Contraception:

Dr. Ray Guarendi:
Excerpt from "Why Be Catholic" on the unchanging moral standards of the Catholic Church (in reference to contraception).

American Life League:
"The Pill Kills Babies"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sins of Omission: Catholics, Marriage, and Politics

by Mary Jo Anderson posted on

The California Supreme Court supremely violated the will of the people of that state when it overturned California’s eight-year-old Defense of Marriage Act. The court declared that homosexuals have a right to marry the person of their choice.

The Catholic governor of California supported this ruling, as did several other prominent, publicly Catholic Californians. The court went on to grind salt into the wound by denying all motions to stay the ruling until October when the voters would have a chance to -- once again -- vote on the issue.

Leave aside for the moment the blow this event portends for the democratic process. Instead, examine the trickle-down effect: Children in California schools, from kindergarten through graduation, will be captive victims of homosexuality portrayed as a healthy, viable, and legal lifestyle choice. Parents and students who object to reading King and King (wherein the prince, not caring for princesses, marries another prince) will be penalized. Because it is now enshrined in law, if you object, you are the party out of step, beyond the bounds of new community standards.

Many sincere Catholics might hope to move their children out of public schools, if they can afford private school tuition. It is unclear just what the new legal requirements may be for religious schools (though test cases are sure to come). But we already know that California homeschooling families could face criminal charges after a District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles decreed that only certified teachers can teach homeschooled students.

What we see clearly is that people whose faith informs their morals are now squeezed between the walls of a social-political vise. The attack on marriage puts our civilization in crisis for believers and non-believers alike.

But the response from some Catholics so far has been tepid. Take the following statement released by the California Catholic Conference:

Although we strongly disagree with the ruling, we ask our Catholic people, as well as all the people of California, to continue to uphold the dignity of every person, to acknowledge individual rights and responsibilities, and to maintain support for the unique and irreplaceable role of traditional marriage as an institution which is fundamental to society.

“Maintain support” for traditional marriage? Catholic support requires more episcopal muscle than the release of a mild statement. Because the Church is "the universal sacrament of salvation" (Lumen Gentium), our shepherds should be mobilizing Catholics to fight back. Every Catholic priest, religious, businessman, teacher, doctor, banker, grocer, landlord, professor, and college student should be sent out with a mandate to fight for marriage.

Others did send public and sober warnings. Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando wrote,

In redefining the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex unions, the proponents of "gay marriage" are in effect imposing their views and lifestyle on the larger populace, and once legal the state's coercive power will punish those who refuse to embrace gay marriages. For example, public officials, regardless of their views on the rightness or wrongness of homosexual acts, will be obliged to officiate at same-sex "weddings." Public schools will be required to teach their acceptability to children whether parents concur or not. Even First Amendment freedoms will not be protected from assault.

We have become a flaccid people. Catholics hesitate to speak out forcefully for the basics of societal morality. We do not wish to be labeled bigots or dismissed as intolerant. We fear social and professional opprobrium. Our goal is to preserve our comfortable lives rather than take on the challenge of gospel fidelity. We have forgotten that piety is not a feeling, but the determination to serve God despite the hardships that service might encounter.

In short, we are guilty of sins of omission.

Few shepherds teach us that we have been called to this nation at this moment in history for a reason. "A new state of affairs today both in the Church and in social, economic, political and cultural life, calls with a particular urgency for the action of the lay faithful. If lack of commitment is always unacceptable, the present time renders it even more so. It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle" (Christifideles Laici).

Thousands of Catholics will rally when visible leaders send them forth. When I speak at Catholic conferences, well-meaning people assure me that because the culture is debauched, "God will surely understand why so many have gone astray." Perhaps. These Catholics are devoted enough to come to conferences, but have stopped short of venturing out of their comfort zones and into the culture as agents of God's grace.

Some protest that “we aren't responsible for what these politicians and judges do." But Deuteronomy 16 paints a different picture: In an outline of how the Children of God are to possess the land, they are told to appoint good judges and civil leaders and not to “pervert justice.” Because we live in liberty, where we can freely choose our leadership, we have an identical responsibility to select moral leadership. We are a representative democracy -- that is, our leaders are ours by choice. Thus, for Catholic Americans to choose leaders who bow to perversion is a grievous sin. Those who fail to work against evil leadership are also guilty by omission.

Thoughtful Catholics wrestle key moral issues each time an election cycle is upon us. But there are clear lines of demarcation; there are first principles. A faithful Christian cannot ignore the fact that natural marriage and the right to life are the twin pillars upon which all other societal goods are built. A presidential candidate who celebrates gay unions and refuses to defend natural marriage, but who champions the right to abort, is not our candidate.

Mary Jo Anderson is the co-author of Male and Female He Made Them: Some Questions and Answers on Marriage and Same-sex Unions, and is a frequent contributor to

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Commentary on PBS program "The Bible's Buried Secrets"

Yesterday I posted the email I received from the American Family Association (AFA) regarding how Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is scheduled to air a program that claims the Old Testament is full of made-up stories. Today I'd like to add my short thoughts, for what they're worth.

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman of the American Family Association, makes the claim that PBS is perhaps the most liberal network in America. I don't have facts in front of me to refute or confirm that claim, but I will say that I have seen some things that would suggest a liberal slant, despite the fact that we almost hardly watch television.

The example that comes to the forefront of my mind is one where a number of Hollywood celebrities, pop-culture musicians, and even Larry King serving as stars on Sesame Street: All Star Alphabet! Now, they weren't spewing out liberal talking points, but I saw the show's choice of stars to be a way to familiarize the children with these people in a way that they wouldn't question them as they got older. In other words, when the children grow up, they will recall these people from their youth and be more inclined to listen to them speak about topics outside of Sesame Street's alphabet lesson. I'm not comfortable with exposing my children to this form of a covert attack.

I tried to think of what kind of balance I would like to see Sesame Street adopt to make it a little more acceptable. My idea for a great dual lesson on how to count and to follow rules would be to have Father Corapi give the children a short talk on the 10 Commandments. Now that's something I'd love to see!

In response to "The Bible's Buried Secrets", I really have to ask why our tax dollars are paying for such poor programming. A little research would give anybody enough information to show that the premise of this show doesn't stand on firm ground. I'm sure the "experts" of the program are no-name people coming up with some shocking statements in the hopes of getting some airtime.

Secondly, somebody holds the checkbook to pay for these shows. We know that whoever that person is, they have an agenda behind their willing to fund it. I say this because only a person with an anti-Christian view would find any value and credibility in a program that makes a claim that the Bible is wrong. They want to infuse a sense of doubt that something (anything) in the Bible is incorrect because, if they can convince you of that, they've opened the door for you to doubt everything else in the Bible.

We know that if this were an honest program, it would be balanced with all the evidence contrary to their claims. Naturally, we won't be seeing anything like that. They would quickly rise the argument that tax dollars can't pay for anything that promotes any religion (especially Christianity). Sadly, our tax dollars can obviously be used to attack Christianity.

I find the producer's comments derogatory when she claims that the show is for "intelligent people". Are we Bible-believers seen as being Geico Cavemen in her mind? Honestly, I don't care what she thinks of us. We know the truth that Sacred Scripture is the inspired word of God. No television special has the power to sway our faith away from God if our relationship with God is strong.

I'm confident that this program will fall flat upon it's face like so many other frontal attacks recently brought forward by James Cameron, The DaVinci Code, The Golden Compass, and others. It's the same-old song and dance with them. Christianity has faced much larger and stronger heretical attacks than the likes of them and has prevailed through 2,000 years of human history.

As I close, I only ask for you to pray for those that are weak in their faith or just beginning to feel a draw towards Christ. Because their seeds of faith are not yet planted in the good soil, they are the ones most at risk from this attack. During trials like these, they would benefit well from our prayers. Please also take a moment to sign the Congressional petition urging the stop of our tax dollars funding PBS.

Case for Homeschooling - Exhibit 2

Last time, I shared one of the negative motivations for choosing to keep our children out of government schools and placing them at home for their education. Today, I share a positive aspect of homeschooling from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Dr. Brian Ray.

Homeschooling Grows Up
Homeschooling Grows Up is the largest research survey to date of adults who were home educated. Over the last decade, researchers, professionals, parents, the media, and many others have asked repeatedly: How do homeschooled students turn out? Can a homeschool graduate get into college or get a job? How do they fit into society? Are they good citizens? Are they happy?

In 2003, HSLDA commissioned Dr. Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, to conduct a study to answer these questions. The results of his research demonstrate that homeschoolers are succeeding.

Click here for online, PDF, and print copies of this research study.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New PBS program says Bible isn't true, stories made up

This just in from the American Family Association (AFA). Please also read my personal commentary on this subject.

Your tax dollars helped fund “The Bible’s Buried Secrets”
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS), probably the most liberal network in America, will present a program this fall that says the Old Testament is a bunch of made-up stories that never happened. "The Bible's Buried Secrets" says the Bible is not true. It is scheduled to air on November 18.

Producer Paula Apsell said: "...It's (The Bible's Buried Secrets) designed for intelligent people who are willing to change their mind. …it will give intelligent people who want to read the Bible in a modern way a chance. If we insist on reading the Bible literally, in 25 years, nobody will read it any longer."

Among highlights of "The Bible's Buried Secrets":

• The Old Testament was written in the sixth century BC and hundreds of authors contributed.
• Abraham, Sarah and their offspring didn't exist.
• There is no archaeological evidence of the Exodus.
• Monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.
• The Israelites were actually Canaanites.
• The Israelites believed that God had a wife.

I have often said that PBS should not receive tax dollars. "The Bible's Buried Secrets" is simply one more reason Congress should stop supporting PBS with our tax dollars. Congress gives PBS hundreds of millions of tax dollars to help support the network.

Signed: Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman of the American Family Association

Click here to visit the AFA's webpage on this subject and sign the petition urging Congress to stop using tax dollars to fund PBS. Please also read my personal commentary on this subject.

The Original Catholic Encyclopedia

From Catholic Answers (
An International Work Of Reference On The Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, And History Of The Catholic Church

The Catholic Encyclopedia (TCE) was published in 15 volumes between 1907 and 1912 by the Robert Appleton Company. In 1913 the publisher, renamed as encyclopedia Press, Inc., released a new edition. A year later (1914) a comprehensive Index was released as Volume 16.

The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (OCE) website holds the complete 16 volume set with the original text of all articles (~11,500) faithfully preserved.

This would make a great Catholic Homeschool resource!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Teach your child to love God

My wife was reading a religious book this Sunday when she came across a passage she felt was very powerful. I agreed. I now share it with you as a quotation of Mary Reed Newland, author of "How to Raise Good Catholic Children".

It's amusing to observe the contradictions apparent in the comparison of materialism versus spirituality, but it's not amusing for long -- because there's more involved than a game. Each man caught in the embrace of materialism is a soul in danger of hellfire, and each soul is infinitely precious to God. For those of us who are parents, the challenge is terrible indeed. We have placed in our care for a few short years precious immortal souls who belong to God, whose destiny is an eternity in and with God, and who depend entirely upon us for the formation of a way of life that will lead them surely to God. And woe to us if we fail in this charge.

Who would blame a child who runs headlong into the path of an onrushing truck if his parents have failed to warn him of the perils of trucks? And who would blame a child who fires a loaded gun, killing his friend, if his parents have failed to warn him of the perils of guns? Then who shall blame a child whose soul turns eagerly to the noise and distraction of worldliness, if his parents have failed to show him that love and peace and beauty are found only in God?

"It were better for him if a millstone were hung about his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin."[1]

[1] Mark 9:41-42

We can't just avoid sin; we must also share the light of Christ

I was having a conversation with Matthew Parris, a good Catholic friend of mine, about the initiation of this blog and the motives behind it. As I mentioned in our first post "Setting ablaze the light", I hope to do more to engage the world around our family. Likewise, we hope to encourage others to do more of the same.

Matt agreed and responded with an except he heard from a Legionary of Christ priest. I quote Matt's recollection of the priest's passage:
In the excerpt, the author warned of Christianity becoming a way of life where one simply avoids evil. Taken to an extreme, this can result in legalism where actions are a result of following a rule and avoiding what is bad. Whereas this is a necessary first step for the Christian, his conscience must consider sins of omission. We are all here on a mission, each of which may be manifested in various ways. We as Christians must be active-- evangelizing, engaging the culture, etc. We must all look for opportunities to spread the light of Christ and not resort to just looking out for ourselves. We're not here for ourselves, but for each other.
This is the struggle I believe all Christians face -- being citizens in the world, but not being of the world (it's very important to know the difference). Some Christians respond better than others. For myself, I must admit that my response thus far has not be sufficient.

Up to this point, my journey of faith has not been unlike the path taken by many others; some mistakes have taken us away from God but we eventually gain the conviction to get back on the narrow road towards the Kingdom of Heaven. My journey, in brief, consists of growing up with the faith ("Cradle Catholic"), falling away when I began to get too wrapped up in worldy concerns, but then later returning to my faith with renewed vigor. I attribute my return to the Church to be due to God's grace and the desire He impressed upon my heart to pursue the truth that had been exposed to me in my youth.

And so in continuing to follow Christ wherever he may lead me, I now find myself writing here. The first step of avoiding sin as best as I am able has become my way of life. The next step involves this apostolate as just one way of helping me move away from simply avoiding evil to include doing more to serve our neighbors in need and to bring the light of Christ to a world full of shadows and darkness.

Despite the daunting expanse of need in the world today, none of us should be intimidated because our efforts, joined with the love of God, can truly change the world. We may never see the fruits of our labor in this world, but we can be sure that any good deed performed out of a love for God has its reward, for God sees all we do.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Senator writes of restoring our right to bring religious views back in to public debate

I came across some information on a book co-written by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint (Republican) and J. David Woodard titled "Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It’s Wrong" (link is to There's an article about the book written by the authors on the First Things website.

I haven't read the book, so I can't specifically recommend it. But I must at least recommend reading the article because it cites some very real examples. The article closes with a prediction of what the future may be like if we don't gain the confidence to speak up for what is right and true based on a historical example of the rise of Hitler's power in Germany.

The title of the book reminds me of a quote:

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
~Edmund Burke~

Friday, July 18, 2008

Faith and Family Live! The daily blog of Catholic Living.

My wife and I are subscribers to Faith & Family magazine. We really love the content and how we don't have to worry about the kids opening it up to something objectionable (like so many other magazines and publications). Everything is family-focused and pro-marriage; and while many of the articles are written for my wife, there's also plenty of interesting reading for me. If anything, I believe the magazine helps me to better appreciate what my wife does for our family when I consider all of the thought and energy that goes in the daily routines of people like her.

Fortunately for all of us, Faith & Family Live! has just become available. It's a daily blog (like this one) to suppliment their magazine content. And like this blog, we all can submit comments and contribute as well. It's like a great big gathering of like-minded people coming together to share in the joys of marriage and family life.

The blog content comes from very talented ladies -- Danielle Bean, Rachel Balducci, Lisa Hendey, Arwen Mosher, and Rebecca Teti. Each of these links will take you to their profile and content on the Faith & Family Live! blog. I have also added the site to my list of blogs. I would HIGHLY encourage you to check them out. You'll be happy you did!

One last thing, if you contribute to their site before midnight on Sunday, July 20th, you will be eligible to win one of over 80 great prizes. Click here for more details of their Grand Opening Giveaway.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

IHM National Homeschool Conference

Speaking of Catholic homeschooling, we have to mention this fantastic homeschool conference -- The Immaculate Heart of Mary Homeschool and Parent Conference in Chantilly, Virginia. Although this year's conference has passed, the dates have been set for next year -- June 12th & 13th, 2009.

Although we had wanted to go this year because of the great lineup of speakers and topics and vendors, two things kept us from attending -- finances (or rather, the lack thereof) and the pending delivery of our second child. As disappointed as we are about not being able to attend, we can joyfully say that we're enjoying the time at home with our newborn. And as a consolation, we will soon be ordering the conference talks on CD! Last year's talks have been played repeatedly in our home and in the car because of the great wealth of information shared by the insightful & inspirational speakers.

If all goes well, we hope to attend the conference in 2009. At that point, our youngest, Gabriel, will be 11 months old and our oldest, Michael, 3 years old. We'll really need to take advantage of the conference in order to better prepare ourselves for the pre-school and kindergarten activities Michael will soon be undertaking. It's never too early to prepare, especially when it comes to something as important as our children's education.

If anybody attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary conferences in 2008 (or previous years), please let us know what you thought of the conference. Are you planning on attending the conference in 2009?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Case for Homeschooling - Exhibit 1

Our family and friends know that my wife and I have been seriously considering Catholic Homeschooling (and yes, there is a difference between Catholic Homeschooling and other forms of Homeschooling - a discussion for another time). Although we don't watch much TV in our home, yesterday my wife and I were watching a little bit of the news when we saw a terrifying story that reinforced our motives for homeschooling our children.

The news story very calmly explained how the local law enforcement officers were receiving special training in how to react to a school shooting situation like those seen across the country, the most notable likely being the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Using real children with masks on to protect themselves from the paintball shots, they ran through the halls in simulated scenarios. Interviewed children spoke of how scared some of them were even though they knew this to be a simulation. The officers spoke about the necessity of the training.

Now I don't doubt the need for the training. Columbine is just one example of many. I'm glad that law enforcement is taking the measures needed to prepare themselves for all sorts of hostile situations. But doesn't this news story miss a key point... that public schools (hereafter called government schools [1]) are now considered hostile territory with a very real threat potential that a fellow student could very easily kill our children for even the most minor of motives?

There are many underlying reasons why children are killing children -- far too many to go in to now. And while those reasons do need to be addressed with solutions, I would like to take this time to focus on the current situation and a response. To do this, let me put the current situation in other terms.

Although the likelihood of a school shooting is slim for most kids in government schools, I wonder how many parents would play those odds at Russian Roulette. Would any parent be willing to pull the trigger on a hypothetical gun pointed at their child with only one 1 bullet among hundreds of open chambers? Although the odds are extremely low that the single bullet would actually fire, would any loving parent be willing to accept those odds with the potential to injure or kill their child?

Until the needed solutions to the underlying problem of school shootings take effect, we still have the current situation which requires a more immediate response. One immediate response is to consider alternatives to placing our children in harm's way. And when it comes to the area of education there are alternatives! Homeschooling is the alternative.

When a family chooses to homeschool their child(ren), there is no need to expose the children to hostage training drills. Children don't have to wake up daily with a fear that one of their many fellow students is planning a way to kill them. Homeshooling parents don't have to worry that their children are going to be injured or killed. There is a peace of mind that comes with the homeschooling alternative. Unfortunately, many other parents with children in government schools have simply accepted fear as being part of their child's education experience. I'm sorry, but fear of death should not be part of the education experience for any child and I would consider it negligent of any parent to willingly expose their children to these hazards.

In time, we'll continue to discuss the case for homeschooling -- both the positive and negative reasons. This just happens to be one of the negative situations found in government schools which are driving over a million families in the U.S. to pull their kids out of the government school system and to educate them at home. If you're one of those families that have taken the leap into homeschooling, drop us a line or submit a comment to share with us your reasons for doing so.

[1] So-called "public" schools is an inaccurate description of what they really are. If they were public schools, they would reflect the views of the public, including their religious views. In actuality, these schools reflect the secular, anti-religious views of the government.

Becoming a Catholic Family

As we come across resources we feel to be worthwhile, we will be sure to share them with you. Here's one we received in an email today which speaks directly to the topics we speak of on this site.
Becoming a Catholic Family
from St. Joseph Communications
Scott and Kimberly Hahn share the triumphs and difficulties they encountered attempting to build a Catholic family. Like you, they had to discern how to balance faith with the realities of marriage, work, educating the kids, and more. In this informative and inspirational presentation you'll gain practical knowledge and a truly Catholic theological perspective on marriage as an indissoluble, life-giving union. An inspiration for Catholic couples based on the words of Scripture and the teaching of the Church.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Massachusetts Out-of-state Homosexual "Marriage" ban at risk

I received a "breaking news" email from One News Now regarding the removal of a Massachusetts ban to recognize out-of-state homosexual "marriages". Their state Senate just voted to repeal the 1913 law. The Massacusetts House is expected to vote on this issue as soon as later this week.

Though the homosexual politics of Massachusetts and California seem to be far removed from so many of us, it should be noted that decisions in those states can have a direct impact on the other states. For more details, read about the "recipe for chaos".

And if you don't think that things are getting a little out of hand, read here about how a homosexual man has sued because Sacred Scripture has caused him "emotional pain and mental instability." I wonder if the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah ever thought to take legal action.

An "ecclesia domestica" in brief

Since we will often make mention of our "ecclesia domestica", we thought it worthwhile to explain the term and how it applies to our family life. Although unknown to many Christians, the family has been described as the ecclesia domestica since the early times of the Church. Translated from latin, it means the "domestic church". It's a call to make our homes a church.

The roots of the ecclesia domestica in Sacred Scripture can be found in Ephesians 5:21-33. There, Saint Paul describes the spousal love between a husband and wife as being intrinsicly related to the spousal love of Christ and His Church. The same unifying and fruitful love that knits the mystical body of Christ together can be found in each and every family.

Several writings have been published which address the relationship mentioned above. In fact, this long-time Christian teaching has been reaffirmed quite significantly in recent times. Pope John Paul I during an ad limina visit with U.S. Bishops in 1978, wrote "Through family prayer, the ecclesia domestica becomes an effective reality and leads to the transformation of the world." In 1981, Pope John Paul II in "Familiaris Consortio" repeatedly mentions the domestic church and later in 1995, in "Evangelium vitae", identified the importance of the domestic church as the "sanctuary of life".

It's worth reading those references to begin an understanding of the depth of the domestic church and its role in the modern world.

Setting ablaze the light

And so it begins... the Ruggiero family has begun this apostolate to bring forward topics of relevance to our lives with a Catholic perspective. We'll focus primarily on the issues that pertain to our family and all families of the world. Our readers are you -- friends, family, and the wandering visitor -- but you're not just a reader, you are a contributor. You will have the opportunity to comment on what we say or respond to what others say. Whether you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you.

You might be asking, "why this?" Well, to be completely honest, I have never been one to have an interest to enter in to the "blogosphere". In fact, I always told myself that I couldn't see myself sharing mindless, miscellaneous details of our life with others, like what kind of pizza we just ordered, the traffic-jam we encountered in town, or idle chat about the fleeting trends of the day (BORING!).

The change of mind has come through prayer... an inner sense that we, as a family, must be willing to actively shine forth the light of Christ by placing our lamp on a lampstand for all to see; not in a way to boast or showcase ourselves, but rather to demonstrate a positive alternative to the lifestyles promoted by secular society. Radiated light is never unsuccessful in displacing the darkness. In a world which will always have darkness due to the fall of man through original sin, we all must be willing to combat the darkness through the expression of Christ's light that exists in all of us.

Naturally, we seek to share Christ's love with all the people that we meet. We may not always be successful in that pursuit, either through our own sin or through missed opportunities. While we continue to pursue those ideals on a daily basis, this apostolate seeks to pair words with our actions.

Therefore, using the technology of our day to engage those we do not have regular contact with (and perhaps have never met), we can do more to reach out to all of God's children (i.e., YOU!). In essence, we can evangelize. We can share our joys and sufferings (and the joys found in suffering). We can stimulate your mind to consider things you won't hear in your regular communication circles. And hopefully, as a result, you will feel compelled to also increase your charitable and loving demonstration of Christ's light to others. Together, we can make a difference in the world.

So come back often and share in the joy of Jesus Christ, our eternal Father in Heaven. Praise be His name forever!

~The Ruggiero Family~

Related Post:
We can't just avoid sin; we must also share the light of Christ

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