Traditional Catholic or Traitor to the Faith?

Traditional Catholic or Traitor to the Faith?

One of the first things reported about Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, was his claim to be a traditional Catholic. Why does he claim this? Why do so many politicians who support Abortion claim to be good or traditional Catholics? Do they think that this would encourage Catholics, a large group of voters to support them? Do they really think that Catholics are that stupid?
I wonder if Senator Kaine knows what it means to be a traditional Catholic. As a politician his role model should be St. Thomas More who gave up not his office but his life rather than go against his faith. Traditional Catholics stand by their faith not sell out for political gain. We have a 2000 year history of Catholics giving up their lives rather than giving up their faith. Elizabethan England, Revolutionary France, 20 Century Spain and Mexico are just a few places where Catholics gave their lives rather than submit to a government that disagreed with their belief.
Senator Kaine has supported a government that may be the most anti-Catholic in American History. The Obama Administration has targeted the Catholic Church with its contraception mandate, pursuing lawsuits against the Little Sisters of the Poor and Notre Dames as well as many other Catholic Institutions. It has changed the Democratic Party’s position on Abortion from being a party that is Pro-choice to forcing Catholics and other religious groups to pay for Abortions despite their faith, despite the immorality of Abortion and despite the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of religion and protection from being forced to violate your faith.
Senator Kaine is running with a candidate that stated”deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed”. She was speaking about Abortion, Guess which Church leads the opposition to Abortion. Guess whose religious beliefs she believes must change. Obviously his running mate believes that the government has the right to force Churches to change their religious beliefs. How is she different from Henry VIII? How can any Catholic support her never alone run with her.
How often have we heard the rationalization that by compromising on Abortion Catholic politicians would be able to shape the country on other moral issues. Exactly how has Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry and other Catholic Democrats made this country more moral? Would we be any worse off if their offices were filled by atheists? Does this country look anything like a nation that pleases God or deserves His protection?

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Jesus Loves Me

How often have you heard the song Jesus Loves Me? We‘ve all heard it over and over “Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” We’ve heard it but do we really believe it?
This is probably the hardest Christian concept for people to accept. That God loves them. We can believe in God and that He loves people but somehow we feel we’re the exception. Our sins are too great. God couldn’t love me. He may have forgiven me but love me that’s not possible. Often we failed to forgive ourselves. As a consequence even though we go to Church and the Sacraments we keep Jesus at a distance. It’s like we let Him in the front door and talk to Him in the front hallway, not letting Him in any further. We don’t want to let Him inside because if He really knew of all of the anger, resentment, unforgiveness we still had, He wouldn’t like us..
This is ridiculous! He knows every thought and sin we ever had or committed. Furthermore, if private revelation is true, He saw every sin that would ever be committed during the Agony in the Garden. Knowing all the sins that we would commit He still went to the Cross for us. As Paul tells us He gave His life for us while we were still sinners. He didn’t give His life for those who were perfect but for us out of love.
No where in Scripture does it say that Jesus died for every sinner but you. There were no exceptions. Every sinner and sin was included. No sin you committed could separate you from His love? Satan may tell you otherwise but he is the Prince of Lies.
“Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so.” Look at the Bible. Too often we shy away from Scripture because our guilt makes us uncomfortable so we procrastinate and keep putting it off. Someday, I’ll read it. Don’t play Satan’s game. Read the Bible especially the Gospels. The Bible is God’s love letter to man.
In modern romances we prove our love by sacrificing for our loved one. Often we claim that we would die for the other. Jesus has done that for you. Read the Passion and instead of feeling guilty think; He loved me enough to go through all of that for me. Read it carefully. There wasn’t an inch of His body that wasn’t injured or bruised. Even the bottoms of His feet were injured walking barefoot through Jerusalem. Every drop of blood He had been given out of love. He gave everything He had, every drop of blood and water in His body.
Read the parables. The Prodigal Son tells of a father who watches day after day and runs to His son when he returns. The parable of the Lost Sheep tells of a God who will search endlessly for the lost. God is pursuing us. He loves us that much.
Read the Gospels. You won’t find any examples of Jesus rejecting sinners. Instead He was criticized by the so-called righteous for socializing with sinners. He didn’t keep sinners at a distance. Today’s gospel was the story of the woman who was a notorious sinner, most likely a prostitute who entered the house of Simon the Pharisee and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. The Gospel didn’t say that Jesus said EWW, get away from me. Instead He rebuked Simon for His critical thoughts and talked about the great love of the woman.
Read the Psalms. Not only do they tell of God’s love for us but more than eighty times the Psalms describes God’s love as unfailing. “The Lord delights in those who…put their hope in His unfailing love” Psalm 147 tells us. Jeremiah tells us that God’s love is everlasting. That means forever. He won’t and did not stop loving you.
Isaiah tells us “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed. says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10) If you read Matthew 14:14 it tells us that Jesus had compassion or love on all who came to Him. Why would you not be included in the all?
Not only the Bible tells of God’s love but the Sacraments are all examples of God’s love for us especially the Eucharist. Jesus loved us so much as to make Him self available to us every day, not just Sunday. He waits in the Tabernacle to bless us each and every time we visit. He longs for us to open the doors of our hearts to Him as we receive Communion.
Reconciliation is another example of the love of Jesus. Not only does He make it possible for us to receive forgiveness of our sins but He makes it possible for us to know through the priest’s absolution that we are forgiven. He gives us the advice, encouragement and grace we need to do better, all out of love. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of great love for us.
Every new day, every sunrise and sunset is a sign of God’s love. The beauty of Creation, of the stars; all remind us of the love of God. All of this was created out of love for us. Perhaps that’s why most retreats are given near beaches or in the country so we can be reminded by the beauty of nature that God loves us.
Every good thing we eat, see or touch is a sign of a loving God who loves to give His children good things. But we have to be open to accept His love. We have to put away our silly fears and doubts and believe God loves us. He loved us enough to give us free will to accept or reject Him. He won’t force us to accept His love but He will give us the grace we need to accept it if we ask.

This was recently published along with the Greatest Mystery in the summer edition of Wellsprings.

Senator Kaine, Please Don’t Call Yourself A Good Catholic!

How can you claim to be a traditional Catholic yet contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church. You may argue that you only disagree with the Church on one issue so you are still a “good Catholic”. By that argument Henry VIII was a good Catholic. He only disagreed with the Church on the issue of his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
You can’t call yourself a good Muslim if you reject one of the pillars of Islam. If you disagree with the teaching of the Sunni branch of Islam you might join the Shiite branch or another branch but you wouldn’t claim to be a cafeteria Sunni. If you disagreed with the Southern Baptists you might join another branch of Baptists or another denomination but you wouldn’t call yourself a cafeteria Baptist. How can you claim to be a traditional Catholic when your beliefs are actually closer to one of the Protestant Churches?
In Matthew 18:6 Jesus said” But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better if a millstone was hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” This scripture makes this an extremely serious issue. How can parents and teachers teach children to obey their faith when the children see a senator running for vice-president claiming he doesn’t have to listen to the Church. Kids are sharp nowadays. They may not follow all of the news and understand all of the economics but they know the vice-president claims to be a good Catholic but doesn’t agree with the Pope and bishops.
They are sure to question. If Maria Shriver can pick which commandments and teachings she believes in why can’t I? If Joe Biden can pick and choose why can’t I? If Nancy Pelosi can refuse to listen to the bishops why do I have to listen to a priest? Why should I obey the Sixth Commandment? Why should I follow the Church’s teaching on sex and marriage? Why should any child feel he has to listen to the Church’s teachings when so many of our leaders say you don’t have to?
Democrats seem to believe that we can choose what we believe in, that we can make up our own mind regardless of the teaching of the Church and stay in the Church? My question is why would you stay in a Church you disagree with? Haven’t you heard of the Protestant Reformation? The leaders of the Reformation disagreed with the teachings of the Church but they didn’t stay in the Church and claim to be cafeteria Catholics they went out of the Church and started their own denominations. The process is still going on. People get new ideas and disagree with the church of their birth so they leave that church and either join or start another. That is why there are so many different denominations.
It seems that people have mixed up the Church with a political party. I can join either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party and disagree with many of its positions. If enough people join the party with a certain belief that party will change its position. That is obvious looking at the history of the two parties. The Democratic Party was at one time the party to which slaveholders belonged and it was the Republican Party responsible for freeing the slaves. Now the parties are very different.
It is good for a political party to change with the times and people’s opinions but the Church is radically different. It has only one person to please, God. It is called to be faithful to the teachings of Jesus and to lead people to God. Jesus didn’t tell the Apostles to take a poll to see what people thought. He told them to preach the Gospel and part of that Gospel says in Matthew 7:14 “narrow is the way that leads to life.” What the majority of people think isn’t going to get people to heaven which is the primary role of the Church.
It doesn’t matter what people think; the Ten Commandments are still the Ten Commandments; the Bible is still the word of God. God’s opinion on what is right or wrong hasn’t changed only what we want to hear. The Church has preached the same message for two thousand years and will continue to preach the same message. We haven’t always heard that message.
The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit not the polls or elections. The Church is created to serve God and lead people to God. The Church has to speak out for the helpless. The Church has to speak out against sin and falsehood. Throughout its history there have been those who felt and claimed they knew better than the Church. The result has been heresies, schisms and the formation of new denominations.
The Church cannot change the truth to fit the times. It is to proclaim the truth in every generation come what may. It may be rejected or persecuted but that is nothing new. Every century has had its martyrs. We are called to stand for the truth and risk all if necessary. There are far worse things than being out of office. Look at what happened to St. Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians.
Being Catholic has never meant changing the truth to fit in. It has never meant that we let the world change us. Rather we are called to change the world by our example and courage.

Our Greatest Challenge as Charismatics!

June 28, 2000 I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I joined a prayer group which held a healing mass the 3rd Wednesday of the month. After participating in the prayer group for about a year I was drafted onto the healing team. I figured Father knew something I didn’t so who was I to contradict the Holy Spirit.
My only experience with healing prayer was to be prayed over. I had read one article that had said most often people would gain a sense of peace. I felt totally inadequate to pray over people. At that point I had only just started to pray in tongues.
One of the first persons I prayed over had terminal cancer, less than 6 months to live. I felt real glad that he seemed to have found that peace I read about because I didn’t expect my prayers to do much good. I was shocked several years later when the Lord pointed Him out and reminded who he was. It was like see what I can do if you let me use you.
One of the things I did was to read every book I could find on healing prayer, whether Protestant or Catholic and attend every healing service I heard of.
Probably the most influential authors I read were Fathers Ralph Di Orio and Matthew Swizdor. I noticed that in both cases they prayed over people repeatedly. Father Swizdor gave healing missions lasting 3-5 days. People experienced physical healing on the 3rd, 4th and 5th days. First they experienced spiritual and emotional healing. With Father Di Orio people went back several times.
It doesn’t really matter what words we say or techniques we use. Healing is totally dependent on God’s infinite love for us, a love that can only be described as intense, personal and immense, so deep and passionate we cannot adequately describe it. God heals us not because we say the perfect prayer or because of who prayed over us but because He loves us and wants to bless us beyond our imagination.
The challenge we face as Charismatics is to help people understand His awesome love and help them open up to His love and grace. So often we hold back because we believe that God loves us generally, but don’t believe that He loves us personally. We think that He died only for our salvation and forget that both Isaiah and Peter wrote that by His stripes or wounds we are healed. This is the message we have to beat people over the head with. God’s love for them is intensely personal and He cares about every aspect of our lives, often more than we do.
I once read in a book by Max Lucado that God loves us just the way we are but loves us too much to leave us that way. We know that God knows everything about us. I believe that to God we look like Jesus in the move, The Passion of The Christ, when Pilate presented Him to the crowd after the Scourging, blood pouring from every part of His body.
God looks at us and sees all our wounds. There is anger buried and repressed from grammar school, wounds inflicted on us by our family or peers, injuries and resentments that we’ve held on to and buried just eating away at us, taking its toll on our bodies and spirits. We haven’t forgiven others and often ourselves. We beat ourselves us and put ourselves down. We feel hopeless, afraid to open ourselves up to God’s love or unwilling to let go of the anger and resentment, unwilling to forgive, unwilling to let go of our sins and vices, unwilling to let God really heal us so we say no and fail to experience God’s healing love. So often we feel unworthy of God’s love. Yet the reality is no one not even Peter was truly of God’s love.
We may not even realize we are doing this. It is part of our fallen nature to hold onto control, to resist surrendering our will to God, to refuse to allow Him to do what God wants to do, what is best for us. As a consequence we miss out on the blessings God wants to give us
God knows all of this, the resentments we buried, the anger and tension we keep suppressing, He knows all of the un-forgiveness we keep burying in our hearts. He knows all the emotional and psychological pain that we suffer. He knows exactly what is keeping us from experiencing the life He created us for and His heart is overwhelmed with compassion. He longs to heal all these wounds. He ardently wants to pour His love and grace upon us. He wants to free us of all the negativity, anger, fear, doubt and distrust that is holding us back.
God’s love is not limited to our salvation but is all en-compassing. He cares about every aspect of our life. What we need to do is to help ourselves and others open ourselves to His amazing love. So often we go to God and ask Him to heal us physically but don’t really want to allow im to work on what is really wrong with us. We need to remember that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. We have to trust Him and allow Him to do what is best for us at this time. He doesn’t go faster than we can handle or push us farther than we are willing to go.
I have been praying over people for 15 years and prayed over people in excess of 1500 times, maybe 2000 times. I have seen amazing things happen, operations being canceled or going way better than expected, biopsies turning out negative. I’ve known people whose cancer disappeared. But I also know people who were prayed over repeatedly but refused to let go of the anger and resentment and really experienced minimal healing if any.
All things are possible for God but as the songs says we have to say Yes We have to let God be God and trust Him so that He may pour His love upon us and knock our socks.
My favorite healing prayer is to pray with people before mass so that they are totally open to the power and graces of the Eucharist. One thing I learned was that there is a virtual Niagara Falls worth of graces available to us in each communion. What I do in prayer is remind them that Jesus is present in the Eucharist in all His power and divinity, that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever, that all things are possible and just as He healed the paralytic in the Gospel, He still heals people today. Next I pray that they be totally open to all the graces God wants to pour on them then pray in tongues and finish thanking Jesus for what He is going to do and pray that He be glorified.

We have to understand that God wants us to come to Him, to seek His help and guidance.  He wants to heal and bless us.  He also wants to use us to bless and heal others.
This is a talk given to a local charismatic prayer group.

Will We Be Able To Celebrate Our Religious Freedom Next Year?

This Independence Day weekend I heard a couple of sermons talking about celebrating our freedoms, especially our freedom of religion. As I listened I thought about the future and wondered whether we would have religious freedom next year or ten years from now.
This election is vital to the future of Christianity in this country. The biggest issue before us is whether or not we will have religious freedom. These past 8 years persecution of Christians has begun. Are we going to elect someone who will continue to move in that direction or move back to a government that protects the freedom of religion established by the First Amendment?
We need to take a good look at Hillary and her statements. Speaking about abortion, Hilary said “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Yes, she said religious beliefs have to be changed. She has decided that she will define what it means to be a Christian, what we can believe and what beliefs have to be changed.
Should we give Hillary the power to decide what it means to be a Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic, Pentecostal, Evangelical, or Orthodox? Are we going to allow her to create a Church of America, the same way Henry VIII created the Church of England?
Is that why the Pilgrims left England, the Quakers founded Pennsylvania and Catholics started Maryland? Is this the reason our founding fathers wrote the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion and separation of Church and State? Is this why so many Christians gave their lives fighting Hitler during World War II? Is this why we fought in Korea and Vietnam? Is this the freedom we stood for during the Cold War?
Should we allow Hillary to dictate what we should believe? Should we give her the power to impose her will on the American people? Should we give up so easily the rights so many Americans have given their lives to defend? Should we dishonor their sacrifices? Were their deaths and service in vain?

 

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