"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
|St. Francis of Assisi, Feast Day, October 4|
Make Me An Instrument Of Your Peace
(Saint Francis Prayer)
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a Labor Day Message on "The Value of Work: The Dignity of the Human Person." Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Center, N.Y., signed the statement. Bishop Murphy is chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the USCCB. In their message, the bishops stress the need for hope and for prayers for those who have lost their jobs. The message follows:
"Over the years, we Americans have redefined the summer by making Labor Day the 'extra day of vacation' that recognizes the work we do throughout the year. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, looking at the history of the struggle for wages and benefits, I think that an extra 'day off' for all Americans fits in with the spirit of the whole American experience of the meaning of work. It is a moment to recognize the value and dignity of work and the contribution and rights of the American worker. It is time well spent.
"Labor Day this year comes at a time when we face a number of challenging problems, many of which cause us to reflect and ponder on what the future will bring. As complex and challenging as the current economic situation is and the new elements that challenge us all, Americans are still fundamentally an optimistic people. We have an abiding faith in the values that have shaped our nation and an ongoing commitment to work together to address the problems and build on the strengths of who we are. This attitude mirrors the deep and powerful virtue of hope that our Church and, in a special way, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, have emphasized as a mark of all the faithful disciples of Jesus. We are called always 'to give an accounting of the hope that is in us' (cf. 1Pt 3:15). This is especially true in difficult times that can try our spirits and test our wills.
"Earlier this summer, Pope Benedict XVI published his long-awaited encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. This teaching of Benedict brings together a whole range of theological and social issues in a perspective that is in some ways very new and challenging. The Holy Father covers a wide gamut of subjects that reflect many of the Church's traditional concerns in the social field while placing them in broader anthropological and cultural context. In this way the encyclical reflects questions that have long been central to the theological reflections of this Pontiff who constantly plumbs the implications of understanding of the human person before God. The Pope reminds us, 'the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is . . . the human person in his or her integrity: Man is the source, the form, and the aim of all economic and social life' (#25) .
"The Pope revisits the traditional teachings of his predecessors on the value of the human person, the dignity of every human being, and the integral development of human society to promote human flourishing. His reflections reaffirm the teachings of Leo XIII on labor and Pius XI on subsidiarity. With John XXIII and John Paul II, he insists on the value of solidarity and focuses with a special emphasis on Paul VI's passionate commitment to the Third World and the development of peoples.
"In the new encyclical, the Holy Father affirms and extends traditional Catholic teaching on the centrality of work to the whole human experience. Decent work, according to the encyclical, 'means work that expresses the essential dignity of every man and woman in the context of their particular society: work that is freely chosen, effectively associating workers, both men and women, with the development of their community; work that enables the worker to be respected and free from any form of discrimination; work that makes it possible for families to meet their needs and provide schooling for children, without the children themselves being forced into labor; work that permits the workers to organize themselves freely, and to make their voices heard; work that leaves enough room for re-discovering one's roots at a personal, familial, and spiritual level; work that guarantees those who have retired a decent standard of living' (#63).
"Pope Benedict renews and reminds us of the Church's classic support for the right of workers to choose freely to form or join a union or other types of workers' associations. Pope Benedict endorses this and adds to it the responsibility of workers and unions 'to be open to the new perspectives that are emerging in the world of work' (#64).
"This Labor Day statement is not the place to give a complete overview of the new encyclical. It remains, however, a major point of reference for us all as we give thanks to God for the meaning with which God has endowed work as a reflection of the dignity of every worker, a 'co-creator' with God in this world of human endeavor. That vision of cooperation with God in building up this world through our work underscores the need for us all to cooperate and collaborate with one another in making work and the workplace a project of human solidarity and mutual respect.
"In this Labor Day reflection, permit me to call your attention to a positive step forward in respect for workers in one crucial area of our life: health care. This year, after years of discussions, leaders in Catholic health ministry, the labor movement, and the Catholic bishops sought to apply our traditional teaching on work and workers and to offer some practical alternatives on how leaders of hospitals, unions, and others might apply our principles as an aid to reaching agreements in their own situations.
"The principal participants — the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the AFL/CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) — reached agreement that offers guidance and options on how workers can make a free decision about whether or not they want to be represented by a union. They agreed on basic principles including mutual respect and open and honest communication as 'guides' to appropriate conduct for both employers and union representatives. This paves the way for workers to make informed decisions without undue influence or pressure from either side. The basic elements of such an approach include mutual respect, truth, and a commitment to let the workers decide whether or not they want to be represented by a union. This was not easy or simple. There were many different points of view and perspectives that at times seemed irreconcilable. The dialogue was long, candid, and constructive. It led to a significant consensus statement entitled, Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions.
"This project achieved a significant accomplishment: a consensus among all the parties on a set of principles, processes, and guidelines for a respectful and harmonious approach to let workers in Catholic health care facilities make free choices about unionization. This is offered for voluntary use to help facilitate worker's choices in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation for the good of the workers themselves.
"Special thanks are due to the leadership of the CHA, AFL/CIO, and SEIU. All involved join me in special appreciation for the patient and wise leadership of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Thanks in no small measure go as well to the guidance of the Feerick Center at Fordham Law School under the direction of Dean John Feerick. The dialogue tried to look at real situations and genuine differences in light of some basic themes in Catholic social teaching. The document offers some practical guidance and alternatives on how leaders of hospitals, unions, and others might apply these principles by adapting them to their own situations.
The interior life is like a sea of love in which the soul is plunged and is, as it were, drowned in love. Just as a mother holds her child’s face in her hands to cover it with kisses, so does God’s hold the devout man.
— St. John Vianney
"Because Catholic health care is a ministry, leadership must reflect in its own operations the words and example of Jesus. For the Church, health care is a continuation of the healing mission of Jesus. This is a gift to both the Church and to society at large. In our nation, one person out of six receives care at one of more than 600 Catholic hospitals or 1,200 other Catholic health care ministries. In the past, tension and misunderstandings too often marred relations between Catholic health care and labor. In an effort to look at that and move beyond it, the participants in the dialogue sought to find alternatives that would structure and guide a positive process with the good of the worker as the centerpiece.
"This group of leaders, representing all the principal entities involved, affirmed two key values: (1) the central role of workers themselves in making choices about representation, and (2) the principle of mutual agreement between employers and unions on the means and methods to assure that workers could make their choices freely and fairly. The document calls for civil dialogue between unions and employers focusing on how the workers' right to decide will be respected. The heart of this consensus is that it is up to workers — not bishops, hospital managers, or union leaders — to decide 'through a fair process' whether or not to be represented by a union and if so, which union. It is our hope that this voluntary guidance and process agreement will prove to be a significant help for greater respect for workers on behalf of all interested parties now and in the future.
"This Labor Day comes as our nation is engaged in a wider debate on reform of the health care system. As Congress discusses various proposals, the USCCB is committed to bring to this challenging issue the principles of Catholic social teaching as important truths that have the capacity to analyze and measure each serious proposal brought forward. The Catholic bishops continue to work for health care that is accessible, affordable, and respects the life and dignity of every human being from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. To cite Pope Benedict, 'A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the human person, justice, and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized' (#15).
"Health care is an essential good for every human person. In a society like ours, no one should lack access to decent health care. Perhaps no other topic has engaged such a large number of citizens or produced such a wide range of opinions and points of view. This can help us avoid the pitfalls that occur when legislation passes without enough dialogue and reflection. I urge you to join the bishops in advocating for health care reform that is truly universal and protects human life at every stage of development. We must remain resolute in urging the federal government to continue its essential and longstanding prohibitions on abortion funding and abortion mandates. Our government and laws must also retain explicit protection for the freedom of conscience of health care workers and health care institutions. For more on USCCB advocacy on health care reform see our Web site, www.usccb.org/healthcare.
"Somewhat different but still a matter of basic human dignity is the challenge of immigration reform. This too has a part in the current health care debates. As a nation we have to be concerned about the integrity and safety of our borders. But that cannot overwhelm issues of respect for the dignity of immigrants who come to our country for so many varying political and economic reasons. We are a nation of laws. We as a people respect the laws of our country and state and local municipality. New peoples also are expected to do the same as good citizens or as good people desirous of becoming citizens. Most immigrants work hard, pay taxes, contribute to social security, and are valuable members of our society. Yet too often these same immigrants, including legal immigrants, are denied access to health care services. This should not happen in a society that respects the rights and dignity of every person. For all these reasons our immigration law and related laws must guarantee fair treatment to the millions of immigrants in our country who contribute to our economy and the common good. This is not an issue of 'us' and 'them.' They, the new peoples among us, are an integral part of the 'us' that constitutes the great diversity that is our nation. In that context, we bishops are convinced that it is imperative that legal immigrants be included in any fair and just health care legislation that seeks to offer adequate care that is universal and advances the common good of all in our country. An adequate safety net should remain in place for those who still remain without health care coverage. (For more information on the bishops' efforts on immigration, see www.justiceforimmigrants.org.)
"As we seek to rebuild our economy, produce a better health care system, and improve the immigration system, we are presented with unique opportunities to advance the common good. Pope Benedict's new encyclical insists that the ethical dimensions of economic life begin with protecting the life and dignity of all, respect for work and the rights of workers, and a genuine commitment to the common good. As the Holy Father points out: 'it is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only really and effectively pursue their good within it. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity' (emphasis in the original, #7).
"On this Labor Day, let us remember those without work and without hope. Too often in our public discourse anger trumps wisdom, myth outweighs fact, and slogans replace solutions. We can work together and rebuild our economy on the moral principles and ethical values outlined by Pope Benedict in his new encyclical. This Labor Day, we should take a moment to pray for all workers and all those without work. We should also ask God's help in living out the Church's call to defend human life and dignity, to protect workers and their rights, and to stand with the poor and vulnerable in difficult economic times. In his new encyclical, Pope Benedict challenges and reassures us: 'As we contemplate the vast amount of work to be done, we are sustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in His name to work for justice' (#78).
"May God bless you this Labor Day and may God watch over and bless those who are committed to the care and protection of all the members of our nation who share the American dream of 'liberty and justice for all.' "
The 83rd World Mission Sunday will be celebrated on October 18. The Church and all Christians are called to spread the Good News of Jesus to all nations. Pope Benedict XVI's message for this day, dated June 29, follows:
"On this Sunday, dedicated to the missions, I turn first of all to you, my brothers in the episcopal and the priestly ministry, and then to you, my brothers and sisters, the whole People of God, to encourage in each one of you a deeper awareness of Christ's missionary mandate to 'make disciples of all peoples' (Mt 28:19), in the footsteps of Saint Paul, the Apostle of the nations.
" 'The nations will walk in its light' (Rev 21:24). The goal of the Church's mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God, so that in Him they may reach their full potential and fulfillment. We should have a longing and a passion to illumine all peoples with the light of Christ that shines on the face of the Church, so that all may be gathered into the one human family, under God's loving fatherhood.
“No undertaking, perhaps, is so pleasing to God as supporting the Missionary work of the Church. All who are reckoned Christians or boast of that name must contribute their support either by their prayers or by an offering according to their means.”
"It is in this perspective that the disciples of Christ spread throughout the world work, struggle, and groan under the burden of suffering, offering their very lives. I strongly reiterate what was so frequently affirmed by my venerable Predecessors: the Church works not to extend her power or assert her dominion, but to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world. We seek only to place ourselves at the service of all humanity, especially the suffering and the excluded, because we believe that 'the effort to proclaim the Gospel to the people of today . . . is a service rendered to the Christian community and also to the whole of humanity' (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1), which 'has experienced marvellous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself' (Redemptoris Missio, 2).
"In truth, the whole of humanity has the radical vocation to return to its source, to return to God, since in Him alone can it find fulfillment through the restoration of all things in Christ. Dispersion, multiplicity, conflict, and enmity will be healed and reconciled through the blood of the Cross and led back to unity.
"This new beginning can already be seen in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ, Who draws all things to Himself, renewing them and enabling them to share in the eternal joy of God. The future of the new creation is already shining in our world and, despite contradictions and suffering, it enkindles hope for new life. The Church's mission is to spread hope 'contagiously' among all peoples. This is why Christ calls, justifies, sanctifies, and sends his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, so that all nations may become the People of God. It is only in this mission that the true journey of humanity is understood and attested. The universal mission should become a fundamental constant in the life of the Church. Proclamation of the Gospel must be for us, as it was for the Apostle Paul, a primary and unavoidable duty.
"The universal Church, which knows neither borders nor frontiers, is aware of her responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to entire peoples (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 53). It is the duty of the Church, called to be a seed of hope, to continue Christ's service in the world. The measure of her mission and service is not material or even spiritual needs limited to the sphere of temporal existence, but instead, it is transcendent salvation, fulfilled in the Kingdom of God (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 27). This Kingdom, although ultimately eschatological and not of this world (cfr Jn 18:36), is also in this world and within its history a force for justice and peace, for true freedom and respect for the dignity of every human person. The Church wishes to transform the world through the proclamation of the Gospel of love, 'that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working … and in this way … cause the light of God to enter into the world' (Deus Caritas Est, 39). With this message I renew my invitation to all the members and institutions of the Church to participate in this mission and this service.
"The mission of the Church, therefore, is to call all peoples to the salvation accomplished by God through His incarnate Son. It is therefore necessary to renew our commitment to proclaiming the Gospel which is a leaven of freedom and progress, brotherhood, unity, and peace (cf. Ad Gentes, 8). I would 'confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church' (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14), a duty and a mission which the widespread and profound changes in present-day society render ever more urgent. At stake is the eternal salvation of persons, the goal and the fulfillment of human history and the universe. Animated and inspired by the Apostle of the nations, we must realize that God has many people in all the cities visited by the apostles of today (cfr Acts 18:10). In fact 'the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to Him' (Acts 2:39).
"The whole Church must be committed to the missio ad gentes, until the salvific sovereignty of Christ is fully accomplished: 'At present, it is true, we are not able to see that all things are in subjection to Him' (Heb 2:8).
"On this day dedicated to the missions, I recall in prayer those who have consecrated their lives exclusively to the work of evangelization. I mention especially the local Churches and the men and women missionaries who bear witness to and spread the Kingdom of God in situations of persecution, subjected to forms of oppression ranging from social discrimination to prison, torture, and death. Even today, not a few are put to death for the sake of His 'Name.' The words of my venerable Predecessor, Pope John Paul II, continue to speak powerfully to us: 'The Jubilee remembrance has presented us with a surprising vista, showing us that our own time is particularly prolific in witnesses, who in different ways were able to live the Gospel in the midst of hostility and persecution, often to the point of the supreme test of shedding their blood' (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 41).
"Participation in the mission of Christ is also granted to those who preach the Gospel, for whom is reserved the same destiny as their Master. 'Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you too' (Jn 15:20). The Church walks the same path and suffers the same destiny as Christ, since she acts not on the basis of any human logic or relying on her own strength, but instead she follows the way of the Cross, becoming, in filial obedience to the Father, a witness and a travelling companion for all humanity.
"I remind Churches of ancient foundation and those that are more recent that the Lord has sent them to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and He has called them to spread Christ, the Light of the nations, to the far corners of the earth. They must make the Missio ad gentes a pastoral priority.
"I am grateful to the Pontifical Mission Societies and I encourage them in their indispensable service of promoting missionary animation and formation, as well as channeling material help to young Churches. Through these Pontifical Institutions, communion among the Churches is admirably achieved via the exchange of gifts, reciprocal concern, and shared missionary endeavors.
"Missionary zeal has always been a sign of the vitality of our Churches (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 2). Nevertheless it must be reaffirmed that evangelization is primarily the work of the Spirit; before being action, it is witness and irradiation of the light of Christ (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 26) on the part of the local Church, which sends men and women beyond her frontiers as missionaries. I therefore ask all Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit for an increase in the Church's passion for her mission to spread the Kingdom of God and to support missionaries and Christian communities involved in mission, in the front line, often in situations of hostility and persecution.
"At the same time I ask everyone, as a credible sign of communion among the Churches, to offer financial assistance, especially in these times of crisis affecting all humanity, to enable the young local Churches to illuminate the nations with the Gospel of charity.
"May we be guided in our missionary activity by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of New Evangelization, who brought Christ into the world to be the light of the nations and to carry salvation 'to the ends of the earth' (Acts 13:47) . . ."
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
President Barack Obama, then a U.S. Senator, made very clear his intentions at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event, stating:
"In my mind reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care, and so it is at the center, and at the heart of the plan that I propose…We also will subsidize those who prefer to stay in the private insurance market, except the insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care…It is important for organizations like Planned Parenthood to be a part of that system."
There appears to be no doubt that President Obama intends on delivering as promised.
Although President Obama insists that there will be no mandated coverage of abortion, those who hold the Judeo-Christian principle of the sanctity of all human life have sounded the warning that that is what is coming.
As reported in The Wanderer, the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), which represents more than a thousand Catholic doctors, is concerned that the so-called health care reform will disregard the conscience rights of health care providers and also mandate the financing and providing of abortion. "The House Tri-Committee bill does not even mention the topic of conscience rights of health care providers," states CMA's executive director, John A. Brehany, Ph.D., who also warns that "Democrats on the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee voted against an amendment that would have prohibited forcing health care providers to perform or participate in abortion."
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who chairs the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, criticized the bill in the House of Representatives for delegating to the Secretary of Health and Human Services "the power to make unlimited abortion a mandated benefit in the 'public health insurance plan' the government will manage nationwide." The Cardinal asked: "By what right, then, and by what precedent, would Congress make abortion coverage into a nationwide norm, or force Americans to subsidize it as a condition for participating in a public health program?" The Cardinal concluded that the current legislation being proposed was "not acceptable."
Other Christian groups have also sounded the warning, including Focus on the Family, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, the Southern Baptist Convention, and Family Research Council.
When Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) if she would be willing to add to the Senate version of the health care bill language that would not include abortion services, she stated that she was unwilling to do so at this time.
Also, as reported in The Wanderer, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins noted that "…Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion provider, stands to gain substantially if the legislation includes them as an 'essential community provider.' Insurance providers, in order to be certified, would be required to contract with Planned Parenthood under that designation."
When former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin warned that the proposed health reform legislation would bring about "death panels," the pro-abortion news media reacted in its normal manner: Ignore the issue and attack the messenger. Unable to refute her claim, the news media simply denied that it was true and simply criticized her with its litany of mean-spirited names.
Although denying pending legislation provides for "death panels," it was quickly announced after Palin's statement that the U.S. Senate dropped the controversial "end-of-life provision" from its bill "because of the way it could be interpreted and implemented incorrectly," stated Idaho Senator Charles Grassley (R).
An example of the pro-abortion news media's inability to deal with the issue is the editorial published in the New York Times, which stated: "The stubborn yet false rumor that President Barack Obama's health care proposals would create government-sponsored 'death panels' to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks."
"From nowhere" is rebutted by the syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell, who notes that "Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is 'Special Adviser for Health Policy' for the Obama administration, and brother to former Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff for President Obama. That's nowhere? He is also the co-author of an article on Americans' 'over-utilization' of medical care" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Emanuel's published articles in medical journals justify the fears of many that there will be "death panels." Dr. Emanuel has advocated a health care system in which services "should not be guaranteed anyone whose circumstances or conditions [prevent them] from being or becoming participating citizens."
Columnist Thomas Sowell concludes: "As for a 'death panel,' no politician would ever use that phrase when trying to get a piece of legislation passed. 'End of life' care under the 'guidance' of 'some independent group' sounds so much nicer – and these are the terms President Barack Obama used in an interview with the New York Times back on April 14.
"But when you select people like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to give 'independent' guidance, you have already chosen a policy through your choice of advisers, who simply provide political cover. The net result can be exactly the same as if those providing that guidance were openly called 'death panels.'"
The "death panel" is the proposed solution to the created crisis of "limited medical resources." Sixteen years ago, the Clinton administration was justifying a larger intrusion of government into private health care based on the fear of "limited medical resources." However, in the last sixteen years, what has been the "limited medical resources" of which we have been running out?
If Americans choose to spend more money on health care, and less money on other things, shouldn't they have the right to do so? In the past it has never been the business of government to decide what limits should be placed on medical care a doctor thought best for his patient, or what treatment or prescription a patient could accept. Now it is being proposed that in order to save on the "costs of medical care," the government needs to limit the care provided, especially to those who are elderly, at a time in their life when medical care consumes more of their financial resources.
As syndicated columnist Cal Thomas concluded: "The details matter because they are about government deciding who gets treatment when they are sick and who does not, who lives and who dies."
Is the rationing of health care coming? The Wall Street Journal concluded: "Although administration officials are eager to deny it, rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama's health plan. The Obama strategy is to reduce health costs by rationing the services that we and future generations of patients will receive."
This newspaper continues to warn: "The existence of such a program in the United States would not only deny lifesaving care but would also cast a pall over medical researchers who would fear that government experts might reject their discoveries as 'too expensive.'"
When did America change? Until recently, America was always proud that it had the best health system in the world, one in which it strived to provide reasonable health care to all. Now we hear talk about the "quality of life" of a patient, and based on someone's perception of that patient's "quality of life," a decision is to be made as to what treatment he may be entitled. The cost of health care must be a major concern, one requiring even the reduction of the health care provided, at least according to the President and the Democrat-controlled Congress.
America was a beacon to the world that all human life was sacred, that each person, regardless of their physical or mental well being, was entitled to our love, our time, and our medical care. Now we have legalized abortion up to the time of birth for any reason, and we debate whether we should fund embryonic stem-cell research, ignoring the fact that it involves the destruction of an innocent human person. Many of our courts have now sanctioned the withdrawal of food and hydration from non-dying patients, who have been classified as "in a persistent vegetative state" or "in an irreversible coma," and such horrible deaths are being carried out in our hospitals, including Catholic institutions.
When did America start to lessen its respect for the
lives of all persons? Dr. Leo Alexander, a psychiatric consultant to the
Nazi war trials of physicians at
Nuremberg, observed: "Whatever proportions
these [German war] crimes
finally assumed, it becomes
evident to all who investigated
them that they had started
from small beginnings. These
beginnings at first were merely
a subtle shift in emphasis in
the basic attitude of the
physicians. It started with the
acceptance of the attitude,
basic in the euthanasia
movement, that there is such a
thing as a life not worthy to be
lived...it is important to realize
that the infinitely small
wedged-in lever from which
this entire trend of mind
received its impetus was the
attitude toward the non-
Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, certainly has lived up to his professed pro-life convictions when challenged by a friend who was not pro-life to adopt a disabled child. He and his wife, Kerri, have now adopted two orphans with brain tumors from China.
The Caviezels' son, Bo, had been abandoned on a train, grew up in an orphanage until five, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When they went to adopt a second child, they were first offered a healthy baby girl, but chose instead a five-year-old girl also with a brain tumor.
After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth. I will raise up a mighty host of little saints. My mission is to make God loved.
— St. Thérése of Lisieux
"We took the harder road," Caviezel says. "That is what faith is to me; it's action. It's the Samaritan. It's not the one who says he is; it's the one who does — and does without bringing attention to himself. I'm saying this because I want to encourage other people." "You do feel scared," he tells couples thinking about adopting, "but you have no idea the blessings that you have coming to you if you just take a chance on faith."
Being one of the few faithful Catholics in Hollywood is "part of the cross you take up when you choose to believe in Him . . . we all have this desire to want to be liked . . . but what we should be asking God is the desire for humility."
On the other hand, Kourtney Kardashian, star of the reality show, "Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami," says she is still pro-choice, but has chosen not to abort her and her boyfriend Scott Disick's baby. Ironically, after a highly-divided discussion of this moral issue older than she is, she still can say, "I don't think it's talked through enough."
Faced with her own challenge, Kourtney did talk about it. She did not want to give her baby up for adoption and so had to choose between aborting or keeping the baby.
"I can't even tell you how many people just say, 'Oh, get an abortion,' like it's not a big deal," she said.
But when she called her doctor, he told her, "There is nothing you will ever regret about having the baby, but you may regret not having the baby."
Sitting on her bed hysterically crying, she read stories on-line of women who felt so guilty from having an abortion," she says. Finally she told herself, "I can't do that."
"For me, all the reasons why I wouldn't keep the baby were so selfish," she says. "I felt in my body, 'This is meant to be. God does things for a reason.' I just felt like it was the right thing that was happening in my life."
She's not telling exactly which websites that she visited. If Kourtney may have read testimonies from the older, unmarried women at the Priests for Life's site, or others very similar to "My body knew it had been robbed."
"I was 20 years old," this mother writes, "separated from a marriage that hadn't lasted three months. I bled heavily for a whole month. No one ever told me what to do or expect after.
"I was a mess. I hated men, was really trying to hurt them and me, and I was on an emotional roller coaster. My body knew it has been robbed and my head couldn't face up to it.
"One year later I became a Christian. A lady helped me go through steps of healing and
God's forgiveness. Even so, I took about five years to really look at the whole situation and come to terms with it.
"I realize now that this was all Satan's lies and that doctors are only human. The one and only thing that has really given me comfort over the years is to know that that baby will never suffer and that it is in the arms of Jesus. Life is so precious — we can't take it for granted."
She acted upon those feelings and happily the baby's father supports her decision, even though many other friends and relatives don't. "I really wanted to think it through for myself, and not hear what my sisters were saying, or what Scott was saying. Even though I took it all in, I wanted it to be my decision," she says.
The good God does not need years to accomplish His work of love in a soul; one ray from His Heart can, in an instant, make His flower bloom for eternity.
— St. Thérése
When she finally did make the decision, the choice for life, she says, "I got so excited, and when I told Scott he was so excited."
Jim also gets excited. The strength of Christian faith, he says, is "in just giving it up and saying I'm going to be a servant of Jesus Christ, and my Father in Heaven. We were not awarded any Oscars for The Passion, but do you think that's the important thing for God? Certainly if we received ten Oscars, it would not bring any more peace into the world.
"When the world looks at us, in complete and utter dismay, and asks why would you choose to suffer like this? But in that, that's where the great strength is when God starts to work."
May the name of Almighty God be praised and glorified above all things forever.
I thank you, Father, for all Your goodness, graces, blessings, and gifts.
Here I am, Lord, use me; here I am, Lord; use me. I now humbly ask You, Lord Jesus Christ, to bless me and let me be Your worthy servant. Worthy to proclaim Your word. Through my lips, set the hearts of Your people on fire.
Please bless me, Lord of all, with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, necessary for building Your Church. Lord, not my will, but Your will be done.
In union with and in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Come, Holy Spirit, come.
On August 26, at his weekly General Audience, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue of protecting the environment in his teaching. The Holy Father said:
"We have almost reached the end of August, which for many means the end of the summer holidays. As we pick up our usual routine, how could we not thank God for the precious gift of creation which we so enjoy, and not only during our holidays! The various phenomena of environmental degradation and natural disasters which, unfortunately, are often reported in the news remind us of the urgent need to respect nature as we should, recovering and appreciating a correct relationship with the environment in every day life. A new sensitivity to these topics that justly give rise to concern on the part of the Authorities and of public opinion is developing and is expressed in the increasing number of meetings, also at the international level.
"The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator Who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us bearings that guide us as stewards of His creation. Precisely from within this framework, the Church considers matters concerning the environment and its protection intimately linked to the theme of integral human development. In my recent Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, I referred more than once to such questions, recalling the 'pressing moral need for renewed solidarity' (n. 49) not only between countries but also between individuals, since the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, and in particular towards the poor and towards future generations (cf. n. 48). Bearing in mind our common responsibility for creation (cf. n. 51), the Church is not only committed to promoting the protection of land, water, and air as gifts of the Creator destined to everyone but above all she invites others and works herself to protect mankind from self-destruction. In fact, 'when "human ecology" is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits' (ibid.). Is it not true that an irresponsible use of creation begins precisely where God is marginalized or even denied? If the relationship between human creatures and the Creator is forgotten, matter is reduced to a selfish possession, man becomes the 'last word,' and the purpose of human existence is reduced to a scramble for the maximum number of possessions possible.
“Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts waged inside the souls of modern men, for nothing happens in the external world that has not first happened within a soul.”
Bishop Fulton Sheen
"The created world, structured in an intelligent way by God, is entrusted to our responsibility and though we are able to analyze it and transform it we cannot consider ourselves creation's absolute master. We are called, rather, to exercise responsible stewardship of creation, in order to protect it, to enjoy its fruits, and to cultivate it, finding the resources necessary for every one to live with dignity. Through the help of nature itself and through hard work and creativity, humanity is indeed capable of carrying out its grave duty to hand on the earth to future generations so that they too, in turn, will be able to inhabit it worthily and continue to cultivate it (cf. n. 50). For this to happen, it is essential to develop 'that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God' (Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, n. 7), recognizing that we all come from God and that we are all journeying towards Him. How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens to succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment! The economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources must be recognized with transparency and born by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations. The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all international leaders to act jointly respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world (cf. Caritas in Veritate, n. 50). Together we can build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery.
"Dear brothers and sisters, let us now give thanks to the Lord and make our own the words of St. Francis found in 'The Canticle of All Creatures':
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, . . .
"So says St. Francis. We, too, wish to pray and live in the spirit of these words."
Caritas International, the international Catholic agency, issued the following press report on August 24:
Three months ahead of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Scotland has laid down the challenge to governments to take action by approving the most ambitious piece of climate legislation in the world.
The ground-breaking law sets vital international precedents and an example for other wealthy nations to follow ahead December's conference in Copenhagen.
"We hope this legislation marks the beginning of a massive shift in priorities for governments across the world," says Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. "Industrialized countries have a moral obligation to change their habits and give poorer nations a chance to develop. If we don't act now, the droughts and floods which seem so distant to us now, will one day be on everyone's doorsteps."
The new legislation enshrines in law Scotland's obligation to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Other rich countries need to adopt similar cuts to their emissions if catastrophic climate change is to be averted.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill was unanimously voted through the Scottish Parliament on June 24th this year. Leading elements of the Scottish Act include:
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Scotland's most senior Catholic clergyman and climate change campaigner, said, "Scotland is setting a crucial example to the rich countries of the world in efforts to prevent the unnecessary suffering of millions of innocent people through ever-worsening climate change.
The scientific consensus is clear; unless rich nations make early and deep cuts to their emissions, as Scotland has agreed to do, the situation will get much worse.
"Scotland has had the courage to set a vital international precedent with its Climate Change (Scotland) Act. Others must follow this lead now if we are to have a long, safe, and prosperous future for humanity on earth," he said.
The Copenhagen climate change conference hopes to give governments the opportunity to shape an effective international response to climate change.
AND HE SAID TO THEM ALL “IF ANY MAN
WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY
HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS DAILY AND FOLLOW ME.”
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com