Friday, October 31, 2008

A Note about Anonymous Comments

I'm a strong believer in allowing anonymous comments. Many engaged and intelligent commenters on blogs who have unique and valuable things to say must necessarily post anonymously given the nature of their employment or other factors.

It does get very difficult to follow message threads, however, when everybody is anonymous. And 'anonymous' is the most regular poster on this blog. Perhaps anonymous posters could at least identify themselves by a couple of initials, even if they're not real, in the interest of keeping our conversations cogent.

I'm not going to block anonymous postings, because I want this blog to engage all opinions, even those from persons who would feel threatened posting their name here. But I do ask that 'anonymous' be used with a little more discretion than it is right now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

KC Charity Engages Local Kids

The Christian Foundation for Children and Aging is one of the most efficient and effective anti-poverty agencies in the world. They work by encouraging individuals in America and elsewhere to literally sponsor and care for their brothers and sisters, by name, person by person, in less fortunate circumstances. And they're headquartered here.

The approach is a natural fit for children, and beyond the benefit provided to those sponsored, CFCA programs instill in youth an appreciation of our common humanity.

Marty Denzer wrote about a recent encounter between a youth in El Salvador and students at St John LaLande in Blue Springs, MO in this week's paper edition of The Catholic Key.

Here's a little video about the girl they spoke with, Mirna:

Learn more about CFCA or sponsor a child yourself.

NARAL vs' Doug Kmiec - Who's Lying?

Can you reconcile this campaign communication . . .

NARAL Pro-Choice america

Dear Pro-Choice Activist,

This is it. If pro-choice Americans go to the polls on Tuesday, we will win.

That's why we got a few friends—from Hollywood to Washington and everywhere in between—to go on the record in support of pro-choice Barack Obama.

Click here to watch the message from Jack Black, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Harold Ramis, Suzanne Whang, and people just like you and me—and then share it with your friends.

VIDEO - Jack Black and friends are voting pro-choice

If there were any doubts about John McCain's anti-choice extremism, they were put to rest in the last presidential debate. You remember—that was when Sen. McCain used mocking air quotes in discussing the "health" of the woman as a factor in the difficult decision to end a pregnancy.

I think that kind of sarcasm and disrespect was the last straw for many pro-choice women, especially Independent and Republican women who may have been undecided. We all want a president like Barack Obama who trusts women to make these most private decisions with their families and doctors.

Vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday, friend. And share this video with your friends, so they remember to vote, too.

I'm hoping to celebrate a historic victory with you next week. But there's still so much work to do—we're counting on you to help make sure every pro-choice American votes on Tuesday.


Nancy Keenan

Nancy Keenan
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America


With this one?

Douglas KmiecCan you be pro-life and support Senator Obama? The answer - upon even a moment's reflection - is unequivocally yes.

Welcome to Pro-Life, Pro-Obama, an online resource, created by Pro-life supporters of Senator Barack Obama.

Barack Obama's life has been one dedicated in service to the needs of others.

We are all called to build a culture of life - but there's more to it than just hoping that the next Supreme Court justice somehow deals with Roe v. Wade. A bad economy is threatening to human life. Women facing the moral tragedy of abortion - are facing it, now, today - and they need a supportive community and tangible help, not condemnation.

As Ronald Reagan's legal counsel and as a dean and professor at Catholic University and Notre Dame, I have worked to put the law on the side of life where it belongs.

But after 35 years, a new approach is needed. Too many unborn lives are being lost as we wait for judges to get it right. Barack Obama's strengthening of support for prenatal care, health care, maternity leave, and adoption will make the difference. Studies confirm it.

We are but a few weeks away from a new beginning in America.

I am inspired by what Senator Obama calls "the promise of America -- the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation in the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper. That's the promise we need to keep."

It is because of the hope of this promise, that I have written Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question About Barack Obama. While especially aimed at Catholic citizens, the book and the material here are devoted to opening every heart and mind to the prospect of transcending the partisanship on these difficult issues.

That is the change we need right now. And it is within our grasp.

Thank you for visiting this site and we look forward to being in touch,

Douglas W. Kmiec

It's a sad day for Prof. Kmiec when Nancy Keenan is more honest about abortion than he is.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bishop Finn's Latest Column

From the upcoming issue of The Catholic Key:

Warriors with Our Eyes Fixed on Heaven

Last Saturday I had the privilege of consecrating the restored church of Old St. Patrick. This is the oldest existing Catholic church in Kansas City. It will serve as the Oratory for the Latin Mass community which first began here under Bishop John Sullivan, and for many years has shared the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows.

One of the beauties of the Traditional Latin High Mass that I celebrated is that it highlights a most profound aspect of the Mass, namely our participation with the Communion of Saints. The high altar, multiple candles, incense and Gregorian chant, collectively give us a striking image of the Heavenly Jerusalem which is our ultimate home. Every Mass celebrates this reality, but I must admit that the traditional Mass captured this magnificent expression of the ultimate hope and goal of Christians in a powerful way. We should reflect on this often, because the ultimate goal of everything we do is to get ourselves to heaven and bring with us as many as we can.

The month of November begins with the two great celebrations: All Saints day (November 1) and the Commemoration of All Souls (November 2). These feasts celebrate our communion with the "Church triumphant" in heaven, and the "Church suffering" in purgatory. Today I would like to share a few brief comments about what we have sometimes called the "Church militant," the Church here on earth.

We, the Church on earth, have a very special challenge as participants in the grace and life of Jesus Christ to "fight" against the enemies of Christ's justice and truth and light and life. We must be attentive to the demands of this daily "battle" in a peaceable but serious manner.

I am sometimes amazed at the casual manner with which Christians, Catholics included, take up our life within what Pope John Paul II rightly called the "culture of death." The Church, by comparison, reminds us that we are engaged - by reason of our Baptism and Confirmation - in a battle, "not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities and powers, with the rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in heaven." (Eph 6:12) Jesus Christ has won the ultimate battle, but we, in the course of our human life must make our choice, determining on whose side we will live and die. Whose side will you choose?!

What is at stake in this battle is our immortal soul, our salvation. My responsibility as bishop is with the eternal destiny of those entrusted to my care. My total energies must be directed to the well being of those who otherwise may come under the spell of a radically flawed and fundamentally distorted moral sense, at odds with what our Mother the Church teaches. There are objective and transcendent truths. There is such a thing as right and wrong. There is a legitimate hierarchy of moral evils, and the direct willful destruction of human life can never be justified; it can never be supported. Do you believe this firm teaching of the Church?

Did you know that in Canada priests and Christian ministers have already been brought before tribunals for preaching and teaching in support of marriage? They are charged with "hate speech" against homosexuality. In light of the tyranny of choice growing each day in our own beloved country, we ought to be ready for similar attacks on religious freedom. We must not fail to preach the Gospel. We can not withhold the truth of our faith. That is why I will never be silent about human life. It is why I am proud of so many others - bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity - who are not afraid to speak out about the values that matter most. What about you?!

Our Lord told His apostles that they would be hated by the world, just as He was. Nearly all of them died a martyr's death. As warriors in the Church militant, we must never resort to violence. But we must stand up fearlessly against the agents of death, the enemies of human life. Human beings are not Satan, but we know too well that they can come under his spell. They can become willing agents of death, numbed and poisoned in this culture of death. What about you?!

As we begin this month of November, the month of the Church, let us call upon the Saints to inspire us, befriend us, and pray for us. Let us offer many prayers and sacrifices for the poor souls who have gone before us. They need our meritorious suffrages to help them reach heaven.

And let us resolve to be warriors of the Church militant; warriors with our eyes fixed on heaven. Let us ask God's mercy and strength to persevere in our call - individual and collective - to holiness. Mary, Mother of the Church, Pray for us! o


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scranton Diocese Warns Against False Prophets

The Diocese of Scranton today joined a growing number of Catholics raising alarms about two phony Catholic organizations working hard to elect stridently pro-abortion candidates in this election.

The Catholic Key Blog has previously reported on these groups here and here. Please watch this important video from the Diocese of Scranton. It addresses many of the concerns The Catholic Key has received from Catholics in swing-states, Ohio and Pennsylvania mostly, who are being bombarded with false Catholic teaching from these pro-abort funded partisan front groups.

Below is a partial transcript:

"In this election cycle we have heard much about Catholic teaching . . .

Some individuals and groups are arriving at their own interpretations regarding the demands of Catholic Social Teaching. Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good are two such groups.

You may have received a postcard from them recently. They call themselves non-partisan and claim to be concerned about Catholic teaching and the common good.

But that is not the case.

Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good are telling you that a Catholic may vote for a candidate who supports abortion . . . They claim that support for their possition is found in . . . Faithful Citizenship.

By trading on the name 'Catholic,' these groups give the impression that their reading of the bishops' statement is authentic Church teaching. It is not.

Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good are neither united nor allied with authentic Catholic teaching. Catholics and non-Catholics alike should not be misled by them. . ."

Anti-Catholic Al Franken and His Supporters

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights put out a release yesterday commenting on two articles about Al Franken, U.S. Senate hopeful from Minnesota, but better known to you as Stuart Smalley.

And doggone it - I do like him! But apparently he doesn't like you or me or Catholicism at all for that matter. A sampling of Franken's anti-Catholicism from the release:

"· He has mocked the Eucharist

· He has ridiculed the crucifixion of Jesus
· He has slandered all priests as molesters

· He has belittled practicing Catholics (e.g., Knights of Columbus)

· He has disparaged the Church’s teaching on embryonic stem cell research

· He made crude jokes about a dying woman, Terri Schiavo, and then misrepresented her condition by passing her off as already dead."

Franken also addressed a New York audience on the topic of that city's late, great archbishop asking, "Isn't Cardinal O'Connor an a**hole?"

All to which I'd add another curious fact. Like so many other staunchly pro-abortion candidates for various offices this season, Franken's campaign has the financial assistance of the chairperson of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good - the George Soros funded group offering targetted "Catholic social teaching" for swing-state voters.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Two Notes

1. Welcome Saint Lawrence Center visitors! The Archbishop Naumann video is here.

2. Apologies to Old St. Pat's pic viewers on square screens. I posted the pics on my widescreen at home which looked fine. Come to work on my low-res square screen, I see they're cut off on the right. If you have this problem on your monitor, just click the pic and you can see the whole thing at flickr.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Old St. Pat's Consecration Pics Pt. 2

Don't forget to see part one and Bishop Robert Finn's homily from the consecration of Old Saint Patrick Oratory in Kansas City. As opposed to the pic dump you see here, Kansas Catholic will be posting pics methodically and actually explaining them. So check back there often. Saint Louis Catholic has a list of other sites with pics. He also announces that St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, whose choir came to sing at the St. Pat's consecration, will be hosting all-day Adoration on Election Day.

On to the pics:
Consecration of Old St. Pat's 172
Procession of Relics to be buried in the Altar

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 184
Censing the Relics

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 194
Part of the choir in the balcony. Another choir pic is below, and I'll sort out who's from where in the printed edition.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 222
Kansas City has the world's tallest bishop. Here, actually, Bishop Finn climbs a ladder to anoint the twelve crosses on the wall in the church. The imagery is from Revelation, where John describes the Wall of the Great City, Jerusalem, having 12 foundations - the 12 Apostles.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 240
If you look closely, you can see incense is burnt directly on the altar as part of its consecration. The incense is atop 5 crosses representing the 5 Glorious wounds. Not shown, the same procedure is taking place simultaneously on the two side altars.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 247
The Altar is now being "clothed". It's starting to get smoky.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 251
Combined choir

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 255
Altar clothing continues.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 267
Procession for the Mass itself.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 288
Father and Sisters and Knights. The empty spot was my seat. OSP was kind enough to set me where I could get close shots.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 294
Bishop Finn is censed - not sure if that's the right term.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 307
Elevation of the chalice.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 330
A view of the remarkable restoration.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 340

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 356
A great job done by all.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 358
To the reception.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Old Saint Patrick Consecration Photos

Some photos from today's consecration, with spare identification. More photos with better description in the upcoming edition of The Catholic Key newspaper.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 082
Knights of Columbus

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 090
Acolytes, Crucifer and Torchbearers

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 094
Bishop Finn performs sacramental cleansing of the church exterior.

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 109
Entrance into the church

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 146
Preparation of sand

Consecration of Old St. Pat's 154
Bishop Finn writes the Greek and Roman Alphabets in sand with his crozier.

More tomorrow. UPDATE - Part 2 is posted.

Dedication of Old St. Patrick in KC

Following is Bishop Robert Finn's homily from today's Solemn Consecration of Old Saint Patrick Oratory in Kansas City. The restoration of the oldest Catholic Church in Kansas City was accomplished by the diocese' Latin Mass Community in care of the Institute of Christ the King clergy. Many pictures from the re-dedication will follow, but for now, Bishop Finn:

Sermon for the Consecration of Old St. Patrick Church

October 25, 2008

Most Reverend Robert W. Finn

Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Then came a loud voice from the heavenly throne, “Behold the dwelling place of God with men. … Behold, I make all things new.”

Dear friends, I greet you with great joy on this day of Solemn Consecration. This is the dwelling place of God with men. This is the place where heaven meets earth, where the mystery of salvation touches the human heart. Here, even sadness and death are given flight – so full of hope, so full of grace and light are the truths and supernatural actions that unfold in this place, where God dwells with man.

In the Gospel account of the meeting between the Lord Jesus Christ and the tax collector, Zachaeus, we see the power of conversion in the encounter with God. When the human heart receives the Lord, a saving change can transform us. Here in this magnificent church such miracles have been occurring for more than 130 years. Now, again we have set it apart as the House of God. What a happy and historic day this is in our Diocese.

It was on August 14, 2005, that I had the privilege of being able to announce to our little Latin Mass community the impending arrival of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the establishment of the Oratory of Old St. Patrick, and the beginning of a plan to provide a fitting home for the faithful in this historic church – the oldest Catholic church building in Kansas City. At that meeting in the hall at Our Lady of Sorrows, I told those gathered about this place. I called it “a diamond in the rough,” and acknowledged that the work of restoration “would be demanding and costly.” With enthusiasm and hope they accepted the challenge.

Out of a motive of true love for God and dedication to the Church you have done something great in the history of the Diocese. You have renewed this holy temple in a way that is equal to the sacrifice and commitment of those who first built it, and which may indeed surpass its original beauty. Deo Gratias!

Three years ago this month we welcomed Father Denis Buchholz who served you as proto-Rector of the Oratory. I am very thankful to him, as I know you are, for his steadfast spiritual leadership. In the last months the new Rector, Fr. William Avis has seamlessly continued the work that has helped to hold together this small but burgeoning community.

Many have been involved with this significant effort which reaches a certain fruition today when we offer here again for the first time in several years the Holy and Saving Sacrifice of the Mass. Under the direction of the Institute of Christ the King and their Vicar General and U.S. Provincial, Msgr. Michael Schmitz, the parish committee has guided the project and so many have actively taken part in every aspect of the work. Outstanding architects and true churchmen, Mr. William Heyer and Mr. Craig Deister, have provided an inspired map for the work. So many apt workmen and dedicated volunteers – Villoti, Bartosik, Dale, Estapare, Marnett, Mishler, Silvey, Troyer, Quastler, and really so many more - have labored in various ways, and even down to the last hours, to make things ready for this morning’s sacred rites. None more perhaps than Mr. Donald Deister, who with his formidable crew have offered their blood, sweat and tears to secure a worthy place for God among us. I am thankful to Msgr. Bradley Offutt, Chancellor of the Diocese, and a true friend of Old St. Patrick, for his commitment “beyond the call.” For you all, this is a labor of love, and I know God receives it as an act of praise.

Such a project as we mark today also requires generous help from many, many benefactors. Mr. Joseph Faris helped to lead this part of the effort, and I thank you all who have made sacrificial gifts, and all on whose assistance the Oratory will continue to rely. May the Lord inspire the necessary means to complete and prosper this new beginning.

We are also thankful today to both the diocesan and Redemptorist priests, and the parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows who have shared their home with the Latin Mass community for more than a dozen years. There is much to be thankful for; much to be proud of; many challenges along the way; all for God’s glory; all in accord with His Providence and mercy.

Even while I know many challenges remain, I am full of confidence as I renew today my entrustment of the Oratory to the Institute of Christ the King, for whom “doing the truth in love,” is much more than an ecclesial motto – but indeed, a dynamic interior motive of outgoing apostolic love. Through Monsignor Schmitz, I express my profound thanks to Reverend Monsignor Gilles Wach, Founder and Prior General of the Institute, for his solicitude to the Diocese, in providing this spiritual foundation for our Oratory.

Now, dear friends, what will God accomplish in this place? His love and grace, alive in the Church, will be a source of supernatural aid to many individuals and, we pray, He will kindle something blessed in this neighborhood and throughout the Diocese.

I pray that this church will be a center of reverent and obedient worship in spirit and truth for all who come here. Here you will bring your babies to be baptized. Here your sins will be forgiven. Here holy matrimony will be solemnly ratified. All the sacraments will give God glory, perhaps none more than the re-presentation of Calvary at this altar.

Dear friends, may this place also be a home of reconciliation for Catholics who, within the praxis of these venerable rites, still long for a more perfect communion with the Vicar of Christ and me his unworthy servant. I welcome you. Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest Himself seeks you out. He who came to seek and save the lost looks, searches, to see us. “Make haste and come down, Zachaeus.” And we must humbly invite him to the house of our soul as did the tax collector in whom already the transformation was beginning to take place.

Today, Dear friends, Let salvation come to this house! Let salvation be found here in the ineffable mysteries of which the Church is the one faithful and prudent steward.

There is one more precious intercession I wish to lift today. In collaboration with the Catholic bishops of Missouri, and in anticipation of a significant election, I ask all to pray; to pray and sacrifice, so that our country will be renewed in the love of human life, and that we may be spared the continuing spiral and decline of our moral sense. Let us take advantage of the singular grace of this Solemn Consecration to beg the Merciful God; to implore Mary the Lady of the Rosary, St. Patrick and St. Bridget, St. Joseph and all our heavenly patrons, to keep our country from evil and sustain on a new path of life.

In this month of Angels I ask you to join me in calling upon the Guardian Angels of 47 million babies lost to the crime of abortion in our country, to carry the cry of these Holy Innocents before the throne of Mercy: not to condemn us, but to fortify and inspire us to be the Guardians of life.

On this happy day Lord, let us not forget the responsibility that is forever ours to give back to you the obedience of our faith, to seek holiness with a pure heart, and to spend ourselves in apostolic charity. Let the faith and good will of the many find a new start here. “For this is the dwelling place of God with men.” Let the voice from heaven resound in our joyful and thankful hearts, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Grab Bag of Bishop's Statements

Lazy blogging today, but the bishops continue to offer much for your consideration over the weekend.

1. New York Cardinal Edward Egan just wants you to look at this picture:

Well not just. Read his column too.

2. Saint Louis Bishop Robert Hermann "thought you should know . . .Judgement Day is on its way," excerpt:

"If I value the good of the economy and my current lifestyle more than I do the right to life itself, then I am in trouble. . .

"The right of our children to be protected from destruction is greater than my right to a thriving economy. . .

"My parents got married about one year before the stock market crash of 1929, and yet they raised 15 children in the midst of the Great Depression. They had no money. My mother made her own wedding gown and her own bouquet of flowers. I have my parents’ wedding picture on the wall of my office, and I am reminded every day of the sacrifices they made for life."

The whole column is available at the Saint Louis Review.

3. Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva says abortion is (my emphasis in bold):

"the most widespread – and the only legal – form of domestic violence. It is a cancer that erodes our respect for one another in many different ways. It is a hidden source of anger, depression and denial for those who cannot admit what they know in their heart of hearts, that it is the deliberate taking of the life of a real human girl or boy."

Read the whole column at Catholic Hawaii.

4. Wichita Bishop Michael Jackels says:

"Christians believe too that we are responsible to provide for and protect not only our own life, health and dignity, but others as well, in particular those unable to provide for or protect themselves. In fact, our responsibility for others is greatest when their ability is least.

The responsibility we have to provide for and protect others begins and is greatest at the moment of conception until birth. Our duty towards others lessens (but never entirely) as they grow into adulthood, and then increases again as they age or become sick. Of course, our responsibility remains great towards adults who are mentally or physically disabled, or unable to secure for themselves the basics of a dignified life.

As a consequence of our belief, whether or not a candidate gets our vote should depend on their positions on issues related to the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. A candidate can make attractive promises on the economy or the environment, but those should take second place to a candidate’s positions related to the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. A candidate who is indifferent to or worse yet antagonistic to these preeminent positions is not worthy of consideration."

Bishop Jackels' full pastoral is available at the Catholic Advance.

5. Please remember Bishop Finn asks us all to pray.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Archbishop Naumann on Voting at KU

Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann spoke at the University of Kansas this week on the role of Catholics in the public square. The presentation was hosted at KU's Robert J Dole Institute of Politics and organized by the Saint Lawrence Catholic Campus Center. Many thanks to Jennifer Meitl and the staff at the Saint Lawrence Center for passing this along. Please visit them. The center is one of the best things happening in the world of Catholic higher ed. and it happens to be at a state college.

This video seems to end at about 30 minutes, and it could be my conversion software cut it off there. If I can recover the rest, we'll post a part 2. UPDATE - Thanks to Jennifer and Grace at the center we've got two more clips. I'll upload them tonight.

If you don't have time to watch, the Lawrence Journal has a report on the talk (hat tip to Whispers in the Loggia) excerpt:

“Our democratic institutions are founded upon the premise that there are certain inalienable rights,” including the right to life. Without that, other campaign issues like the economy and the war in Iraq mean nothing, he said.

In a speech organized by KU’s St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, Naumann sought to discuss how Catholics should live their lives in public and how numerous social issues are in play during the campaign. He spent much of the evening discussing the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and mapping out the church’s moral platform.

“The church in the United States always cherished its rights and its responsibility to form the moral (conscience) of the country,” he said.

He stopped short of endorsing a candidate, saying, “We (the church) don’t really believe that is the role of the church in a democratic society.”

Naumann told the crowd of more than 100 that sometimes there is no perfect candidate and sometimes it’s a choice between the lesser of two evils. Catholics should weigh their beliefs before voting, he said.

He blamed cultural relativism for forming beliefs that “(impair) a culture from what is imperatively true.”

Naumann said this election was part of a battle for the soul of our society, and warned that bowing to pressure from pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage groups could lead down the road to totalitarianism, because democracy could “(devolve) into the will of the majority trampling on the rights of the” minority.

“If liberty becomes distracted from truth, it leaves society vulnerable to totalitarianism,” he said. “Remember, Hitler was elected.”

Marriage Matters To Kids - Yes on Prop. 8

This video was sent to me by a friend in California who's concerned about the institution of marriage. Proposition 8 in California would overturn a California Supreme Court decision mandating same-sex marriage in the state. Passage of Prop. 8 is critical for the entire country, because it would send a message to courts that the people will not tolerate activist judges redefining marriage.

Here's some more information about the video and the MarriageMattersToKids website sent by my friend:

"The video was made by a group of San Francisco Catholics who thought that the adult-centered individual rights focus of the current marriage debate in California did not tell the whole story--in fact was a very superficial view of marriage of what marriage means and is. We decided to make a video on what marriage means to the family, society, but especially what it means to kids. We interviewed families, experts, parish priests and Bishops and asked
the following questions:
What is the meaning of Marriage?
Do Children have a fundamental right to a Mother and a Father?
Do Mothers matter? Do Fathers matter?
Does natural marriage benefit society? If so, what are the dangers of redefining marriage?
What about equality, and the dignity of the homosexual person?

On there are also extended interviews with Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Diego, Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco, and Bishop Allen Vigneron of Oakland as well as a Constitutional Analysis by Laurie Messerly Stewart."

(Ed. Note - Unfortunately, due to Jack Smith's lack of tech talent, the preview picture is not the same as on the original video, but the video is the same.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bishop Finn Asks Parishes to Pray for Life

Bishop Finn has asked that the following letter be read at all Masses this weekend in the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph. A hard copy will also appear in this week's Catholic Key.

Week of Prayer for Our Country

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we approach this monumental election, our choices are as clear as the Scriptures themselves: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.” (Deut 30:19)

Pope Benedict XVI similarly guides us in the proper ordering of our values as he teaches, “The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right – it is the very opposite. It is ‘a deep wound in society.’”

Our Catholic moral principles teach that a candidate’s promise of economic prosperity is insufficient to justify their constant support of abortion laws, including partial-birth abortion, and infanticide for born-alive infants. Promotion of the Freedom of Choice Act is a pledge to eliminate every single limit on abortions achieved over the last thirty-five years. The real freedom that is ours in Jesus Christ compels us, not to take life, but to defend it.

Together with the other Bishops of Missouri I am calling on all the faithful to make this last week before the election a week of prayer for our nation - a week of prayer for the protection of Human Life.

Join me in calling upon Mary in this month of the rosary. In 1571, in the midst of the Battle of Lepanto, when the future of Christian Europe was in the balance and the odds against them were overwhelming, prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary brought the decisive victory. We ask her now to watch over our country and bring us the victory of life.

This is also the month of the Angels. I ask you to join me in invoking the Guardian Angels of 47 million babies lost through abortion in our country in the last thirty-five years. This horrendous loss of life remains one of the greatest threats to human civilization we have ever faced.

This week, please pray and make some sacrifices for our country. I ask every parish to provide some additional opportunity for prayer in the church: an evening Mass, or rosary, or time of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Say the rosary as individuals or as a family, or even simply a decade each night with your children. Say the election prayer. Give up meat, or do without some convenience this week. Make a good Act of Contrition and get to Confession. Offer a worthy Communion.

On Monday, November 3, at 7:00 p.m., I will celebrate an Eve of the Election Mass at St. Therese Parish, North. Join me as we pray for God’s assistance and Mary’s maternal aid.

Dear friends, we have great hope in Jesus Christ and His victory over sin and death. Let us keep this last week before the election as a time of prayer for our country, that we may experience His mercy and safeguard human life.

In Christ and Mary,

Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Monday, October 20, 2008

George Soros Funds Catholics in Alliance

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has a release out today claiming that billionaire pro-abort George Soros provides major funding to Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, much as he does for Catholics for a Free Choice, excerpt:

“Why is this relevant? Because this same bigot is connected to two apologists for abortion rights, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. In 2006, Soros’ Open Society Institute gave Catholics in Alliance $100,000 (double the amount he gave in 2005), and in the same year Catholics in Alliance listed Catholics United on its 990 (IRS form for non-profits) as an organization with which it has a formal relationship. John Podesta, who runs the Soros-funded organization, Center for American Progress, admits that he works closely with Catholics in Alliance and Catholics United. The Center for American Progress is also the sponsor of Faith and Public Life.

“Why would any Catholic organization take money from a man like George Soros? Because legitimate sources of revenue aren’t available? And why would Soros have any interest in funding Catholic groups? He doesn’t give the Catholic League any money, and if he offered, I would refuse it.

“The reason Soros funds the Catholic Left is the same reason he lavishly funds Catholics for Choice, the pro-abortion group that has twice been condemned as a fraud by Catholic bishops: they all service his agenda, namely, to make support for abortion rights a respectable Catholic position. On October 17, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput accused Catholics in Alliance and Catholics United as doing a ‘disservice’ to the Catholic Church. He’s right. And now we know what really makes them tick.”

The Catholic Key Blog has reported on Catholics in Alliance and Catholics United before, demonstrating their close ties to the DNC, excerpt:

"The Chair of the Board of Directors for Catholics in Alliance is Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley. She served in a number of capacities in the Clinton State Department and is the wife of former Democratic National Committee finance chair, Smith Bagley. Ambassador Bagley has herself given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the DNC, as well as to numerous stridently pro-choice Democratic candidates including, Barack Obama, Al Franken, Barbara Boxer, Claire McCaskill, Charles Schumer and The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund."

Fellow Catholics in Alliance board member Agnes Williams has given similar sums to the DNC and stridently pro-abortion politicians.

A report on each can be found by plugging in their names at the FEC.

Catholics in Alliance Executive Director Alexia Kelley previously worked for the DNC in an effort to sideline abortion as a Catholic issue on behalf of John Kerry's 2004 campaign.

According to Catholics United website, their director of organizing, James Salt, previously "oversaw the Kansas Democratic Party's faith outreach efforts, including messaging work for Governor Sebelius and development of faith-based messaging resources." That's pretty tough 'messaging,' since Sebelius is the most pro-abort governor in the country. She is so in the tank for abortion, she hosted a party in the governor's mansion for notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller and his staff. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas has publicly asked her not to present herself for Communion.

A supreme irony, or perhaps just a demonstration of the group's true colors, can be found in the candidacy of Tom Perriello for Virginia's 5th district congressional seat.

In the course of a favorable article outlining the efforts of Catholics in Alliance and others to reframe (or sideline) the abortion debate in the 2006 election cycle, Patricia Zapor at Catholic News Service wrote, "Perriello is optimistic about that success meaning the end of the sense that Democratic candidates must support abortion 'rights' to get anywhere within the party."

After co-founding Catholics in Alliance, Perriello went on to co-found in alliance with Soros-funded He's now running as a pro-choice Democrat in an effort to unseat Virginia's Rep. Virgil Goode. In Perriello's own words to the DownWithTyranny blog:

"Confusion ...[about] my position on abortion may stem either from my public association with Catholicism as co-founder of the progressive Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good or from being badly misquoted in a New York Times article following the 2004 election. I firmly believe that abortion should not be criminalized, nor can we allow any action that seeks to coerce women by reducing access to care or making the process less safe."

Bishop Wenski on Immigration Policy

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando has a guest column in the Washington Post today on the dearth of federal debate and action on the immigration issue, excerpt:

"As the presidential election heads into its final days, the issue of immigration remains largely unaddressed. It was not examined during the debates and is not high on either candidate's list of talking points. Congress has left the issue on the table. Sadly, this congressional reluctance has created a policy vacuum that has widened America's political divisions and left us with an inconsistent, ineffective and, in many cases, inhumane national policy.

The failure of comprehensive immigration reform last year, when Congress bowed to a vocal minority, unleashed a torrent of initiatives designed to demonstrate that the U.S. government can enforce our laws and secure our borders. In truth, intermittent work site raids, increased local law enforcement involvement and the creation of a wall along parts of our southern border, among other efforts, have done little to address the challenges presented by illegal immigration. . .

. . .To many elected officials, immigration has become the new "third rail" of American politics. Refraining from addressing this pressing domestic issue, however, will elevate tensions in states and localities, further alienate immigrants and their communities, and tacitly affirm the acceptance of a hidden and permanent underclass in our country."

Turn on the radio here in Missouri and candidates for state-level races boast how tough they are on an issue that is fundamentally outside their jurisdiction. Missouri definitely can be counted as among the states where an absence of comprehensive federal immigration reform has led to elevated tensions.

A dramatic demonstration of this can be seen in this year's Missouri Catholic Conference candidate survey for state-level offices. The conference asks whether the candidate supports or opposes a simple statement of common sense and established consitutional law - "Immigration laws and policies should be determined by the federal government and not the state of Missouri." That statement loses 67-61 among candidates who responded.

It's worth reading all of Bishop Wenski's article. Also check back on Archbishop Gomez' excellent keynote from this year's MCC Annual Assembly.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance and ACORN

Archbishop Chaput called out the first two in a speech this weekend, excerpt:

" . . {Speaking of Doug Kmiec} I think his activism for Senator Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress prolifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.

. . .The truth is that for some Catholics, the abortion issue has never been a comfortable cause. It's embarrassing. It's not the kind of social justice they like to talk about. It interferes with their natural political alliances. And because the homicides involved in abortion are ''little murders'' - the kind of private, legally protected murders that kill conveniently unseen lives - it's easy to look the other way. . ."

Whole article.

Also, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development announced through Catholic News Service on Friday that it has cut off its traditional and greatly expanding funding for ACORN. Their support of ACORN is made possible by your donations to the annual CCHD collection. CCHD claims their funding of ACORN stopped when they discovered a $1 million embezzlement scheme by the brother of ACORN's founder in June. Why CCHD is announcing the cancellation of more than $1 million in announced grants several months after the fact is a big open question in this controversy.

The Catholic Key Blog will have much more in the coming week. Please check back.

For now, read the CNS article on CCHD and ACORN, excerpt:

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development suspended funding a nationwide community organizing group after it was disclosed June 2 that nearly $1 million had been embezzled. . .

. . .McCloud said the suspension came soon after his office learned that ACORN disclosed that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1 million from the organization and its affiliates in 1999 and 2000. Dale Rathke stepped down from his position with the organization in June when the matter became public; no charges were filed against him. Wade Rathke stepped down as the group's lead organizer at the same time but remains chief organizer for ACORN International LLC.

Whole article.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bishop Finn's Catholic Voter Statements

Many are visiting this site looking for Bishop Finn's statements on Catholic moral responsibility in voting. For ease of use, below are links to each of his recent statements:

Can a Catholic Vote in Support of Abortion?

Homily from Feast of the Holy Rosary Mass Broadcast on EWTN

Bishop Finn Urges 'No' on Missouri English Only Law

Bishop Finn on FOCA and its Supporters

Bishop Finn's Red Mass Homily

Join Pastoral with Archbishop Naumann on 'Our Moral Responsibility as Catholic Citizens'

Let Your Hospitality and Good Works Abound

Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio was the keynote speaker at the Missouri Catholic Conference Annual Assembly held Oct. 4 in the State Capitol. Kevin Kelley wrote about it in The Catholic Key.

The full text of his speech tracing the history of the Christian imperative to welcome the stranger and its implication today was too long to print in The Key or post on the blog, but it is now available on google sites.


Julian came to be known for all time as “Julian the Apostate.” He got that notorious label because, although he had been baptized and raised a Christian, he abandoned his faith immediately upon becoming emperor. Julian then used his “bully pulpit” as emperor to scorn the Church and Christianity and to promote devotion to the pagan gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome—Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite, and the rest.

Julian called the Christians “Galileans.” It was a kind of ethnic and class slur. And he wrote a big book against the Church. He said his aim was to strip that “new-fangled Galilean god” of “the divinity falsely ascribed to him” (Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 177).

But there was something that Julian couldn’t shake about the Christians. Something he couldn’t get out of his mind. And that was the Christians’ virtue. Their charity. And especially their hospitality to those they didn’t even know. In fact, Julian once issued an order to try to get pagan believers to start imitating the Christians in what he called their “benevolence toward strangers.”

Here’s a quote from a letter he wrote, and you can tell he’s not very happy. He complains that Christians’ care for strangers and their holiness is contributing to the spread of “atheism.” (He called Christians “atheists” because they didn’t believe in the pagan gods.)

Here’s what Julian wrote: “Why do we not observe that it is their benevolence to strangers … and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done the most to increase atheism. … It is disgraceful that when … the impious Galileans support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men should see how our people lack aid from us.” (Macmullen and Lane, Paganism and Christianity, 100–425 C.E.: A Sourcebook, 271–272).

You see he’s embarrassed. Ashamed. The Christians are so generous that they’re helping the poor Romans and that exposes how the Romans themselves don’t take care of their poor.

My friends, my point in this little history lesson is this: From the beginning there was something very different about Christians. Something even their enemies, like Julian, couldn’t help but notice—and admire, no matter how reluctantly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Candidate Forum at St. Peter's

All are invited to a District 5 Congressional Candidate Forum at St. Peter's Church on October 22 at 7:00 in the church basement.

St. Peter's is located at 815 E. Meyer Blvd. in Kansas City.

Deacon Larry Weber, Executive Director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, will moderate the forum.

Both District 5 incumbent Emanuel Cleaver II and challenger Jacob Turk have been invited. Please call Congressman Cleaver's office at (816) 842-4545 and ask him to attend. Turk has already confirmed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Can a Catholic Vote in Support of Abortion?

Following is Bishop Finn's column in the upcoming issue of The Catholic Key:

Can a Catholic vote, in good conscience, for a candidate who supports abortion? This is the question I am asked over and over again.

The recent Pastoral Letter, Our Moral Responsibility as Catholic Citizens, which I co-wrote with Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, attempts to give guidance on this issue. I urge you to read it.

There the Archbishop and I acknowledge that we are often faced with “imperfect candidates.” Specifically we offered the example of two candidates who were permissive on abortion. We taught that, in such an instance, we should choose the candidate whose position will likely do the least grave evil, or whose position will do the most to limit the specific grave evil of abortion. But, again and again, I am asked, “Can a Catholic vote for the candidate who is perhaps the most extreme in favor of abortion, even if they promote other policies which we judge to be good?”

I must say that there is another question I would pose. What is the effect on Catholics of a candidate who has been consistently supportive of abortion?

When a candidate supports ready access to abortion on demand, they are inviting Catholics to put aside their conscience on this life and death issue. Such a candidate is inviting conscientious Catholics to look elsewhere for moral leadership.

When a candidate promotes total unhindered “choice,” he or she discourages the Catholic vote, and at the same time tempts the voter to betray one of the most obvious intuitions of our humanity and to support the continuation of the willful destruction of human life.

If the candidate has supported partial birth abortion, he or she asks the voter to affirm the continuation of an act that 75% of the population has rejected as repulsive.

When a candidate regards the unborn child as unworthy of the defense of law, then he or she asks us to join them in ignoring the lessons of history by which African Americans in this country were once regarded as non-persons; or the Jews of Europe were once marked for genocide or racial purification. Had we known, would we have supported the “choice” to enslave or destroy these brothers and sisters of ours? Can a candidate expect us as Catholics to ignore the classification of the unborn as non-persons? Will he or she expect us to look aside while these babies are quietly exterminated at a rate of 4000 per day? This is precisely what they are asking us to do.

Some groups calling themselves “Catholic” have suggested that generous programs for the poor will reduce abortions more than the repeal of Roe v. Wade. But a candidate who pledges that he or she will seek to immediately ratify the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), signals to voters that the reduction of abortions is not a goal. They are asking voters to suspend the effort to constitutionally protect human life, and – at the same time - to discard all the good progress we have made to actually reduce the number of abortions in the last thirty-five years. Such a candidate is asking Catholics to “give up” on abortion. They want us to deny our conscience and ignore their callous disregard for the most vulnerable human life.

If the candidate has addressed their legislative assembly, urging opposition to the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, then it must be concluded that this candidate wishes Catholic voters to be complicit in infanticide. Rejection of this Act, which would require that a baby who survived an unsuccessful abortion attempt be cared for and not laid aside to die with no medical assistance, is a convincing example of the numbing of our moral sensibility. The candidate who supports this fatal neglect of life and asks our vote, asks too much of any fellow human being.

Our country is at the edge of the precipice concerning the protection of the life and dignity of the human person. A significant new attack on innocent human life will likely send us into a moral freefall that would rival any financial decline. The price for such a “walk over the cliff” is millions more human lives for many more years to come.

A candidate who asks us to add our weight to such a destructive momentum in our society, asks us to be participants in their own gravely immoral act. This is something which, in good conscience, we can never justify. Despite hardship, beyond partisanship, for the sake of our eternal salvation: This we should never do.

Click here for links to all of Bishop Finn's recent Catholic voter statements.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What Reduces Abortion?

Richard Doerflinger with the U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life office blows apart a common argument employed by certain partisan 527s and "educational" groups working to promote pro-choice politicians in the name of reducing abortion:

Sometimes election years produce more policy myths than good ideas. This year one myth is about abortion. It goes like this: The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision is here to stay, and that’s fine because laws against abortion don’t reduce abortions much anyway. Rather, “support for women and families” will greatly reduce abortions, without changing the law or continuing a “divisive” abortion debate.

Various false claims are used to bolster this myth. It is said that over three-quarters of women having abortions cite expense as the most important factor in their decision. Actually the figure is less than one-fourth, 23%. It is said that abortion rates declined dramatically (30%) during the Clinton years, but the decline stopped under the ostensibly pro-life Bush administration. Actually the abortion rate has dropped 30% from 1981 to 2005; the decline started 12 years before Clinton took office, and has continued fairly steadily to the present day.

The steepest decline is among minors. Is it plausible that economic factors reduced abortions for teens but not their older sisters, or their mothers who support them?

The reality is this: In 1980 the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde amendment, and federally funded abortions went from 300,000 a year to nearly zero. With its decisions in Webster (1989) and Casey (1992), the Court began to uphold other abortion laws previously invalidated under Roe. States passed hundreds of modest but effective laws: bans on use of public funds and facilities; informed consent laws; parental involvement when minors seek abortion; etc. Dr. Michael New’s rigorous research has shown that these laws significantly reduce abortions. In the 1990s, debate on partial-birth abortion – kept in the public eye, ironically, by President Clinton’s repeated vetoes of a ban on this grisly late-term procedure – alerted many Americans to the violence of abortion and shifted public attitudes in a pro-life direction, just as growing concern over AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases was giving new force to the abstinence message for teens. Now the Court has upheld a partial-birth abortion ban, and signaled that other laws to save unborn children and their mothers from the horrors of abortion may be valid. If Roe is reversed outright, that will allow more laws that can further reduce abortions.

By contrast, a pending federal “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) would knock down current laws reducing abortions, and require public programs for pregnant women to fund abortion. No one supporting that bill can claim to favor reducing abortions.

Many women are pressured toward abortion, and they need our help. The pressures are partly, but only partly, economic in nature. Women are influenced by husbands, boyfriends, parents and friends, and by a culture and legal system that tells them the child they carry has no rights and is of no consequence. Law cannot solve all problems, but it can tell us which solutions are unacceptable – and today Roe still teaches that killing the unborn child is an acceptable solution, even a “right.” Without ever forgetting the need to support pregnant women and their families, that tragic and unjust error must be corrected if we are to build a society that respects all human life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dissent has Consequences for Moral Life

Following is a guest post from Leon Suprenant, director of program development for School of Faith, a public association of the faithful based in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. You can reach him at (leon AT

Where Did We Go Wrong?

As Catholics we appreciate the gift of divine mercy and peace that is ours through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which “offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1446). In other words, we realize we’re spiritually sick, and so we desire the appropriate remedy.

As we pray the Act of Contrition after receiving the sacrament, we “firmly resolve with the help of God’s grace to sin no more.” We’re banking on God’s help, but in this prayer we’re telling Our Lord that we are absolutely serious about avoiding sin in the future. In other words, we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help reverse the cycle of sin in our life, to wipe it out at the source.

Given our resolve to “sin no more,” it would be extremely helpful to have some understanding of the underlying causes of our sins. I’m sure we all ask ourselves on occasion, “Where did I go wrong?” Surely we’re all prone to sin because of our fallen nature, and it’s also true that sin isn’t all that innovative or trendy. My sins and your sins are not all that original. Ask any confessor! It’s actually quite possible to trace most of our sins to some very basic moral errors.

That’s why paragraph no. 1792 is one of the most enlightening entries in the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church. It lists some of the main reasons why we go astray. Here’s what it says:

“Ignorance of Christ and His Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct” (emphasis added).

Several of these items jump off the page to me. Doctrinal dissent has consequences in the moral life. My bad example (known as “scandal”) can lead others to sin. Ignorance is not “bliss” when it comes to the Gospel.

And this Catechism quote makes abundantly clear that an erroneous approach to conscience leads to errors in moral judgment.

Conscience is vitally important. It’s God’s way of revealing His truth to us in concrete circumstances, so that we can choose the good He desires for us. So having a well-formed conscience is about doing what God wants, not what “I want.” There are many voices--internal (e.g., our own preferences, memories, motivations, and disordered desires) and external (e.g., family, friends, and the media)--competing for our attention. We need a certain interiority to be able to hear the Shepherd’s voice, to discern God’s law that is already on our hearts.

Too often we do whatever is expedient, agreeable, or enjoyable, and then we claim that we’re just following our conscience. All we’re doing then is adopting a relativistic--and ultimately atheistic--mindset and giving it the veneer of religiosity. The rejection of the objective moral law is not an exercise of authentic freedom, but rather is the submission to slavery. As the Catechism teaches, this is nothing other than the licentious assertion of one’s autonomy from God and from the moral order.

And especially in light of the upcoming election, as we strive to take to heart Bishop Finn and Archbishop Naumann’s pastoral letter on “Our Moral Responsibility as Catholic Citizens,” Catechism, no. 1792 gives all of us a firm basis for examining our consciences. It leads us to ask these and similar questions of ourselves as we strive to be “faithful citizens” in the voting booth next month:

· Am I ignorant of Christ and His Gospel? Do I seek the Lord’s guidance through regular, humble prayer? Do I assiduously study and internalize the Bible as well as other reliable sources of Catholic teaching and spiritual wisdom?

· Is my primary loyalty to a political party or agenda, or to being a faithful disciple of Christ? Does Catholic teaching, as reflected in Bishop Finn’s pastoral letter, inform my political decision-making?

· Am I a slave to my passions? Am I mired in habitual sin that colors my attitude toward some sensitive moral issues?

· Do I try to justify conduct that Our Lord considers sinful? Is there a part of my life that I haven’t turned over to God? Are there Church teachings I refuse to accept? Do I strive to form my conscience based on the firm foundation of Catholic truth, or do I look for teachers who will “tickle my ears” (2 Tim. 4:3)?

· Do I strive to see Christ in those around me, especially the poor and the annoying? Do I really take to heart the fact that all men and women, including those in the womb, have God-given dignity and value? Do I treat others with basic kindness, patience, and respect? Do I serve only myself?

The Divine Physician doesn’t expect us to overcome these perennial difficulties on our own. In fact, we can’t. However, if we can diagnose the sources of our particular sins, we can better seek out and apply the right spiritual medicine.