Immaculate Heart of Mary, Ora pro nobis.

This blog is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in reparation for all the sins committed against Her Most Pure Heart. May Her Immaculate Heart draw us closer to Her Divine Son, Our Most Precious Lord.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Lord Jesus Christ---King of All Nations

     Just over 2 years ago, our family made the final transition from modern Catholicism to traditional Catholicism.  Of course, there were a lot of changes in our lives that were immediately obvious, most of which had to do with the Mass itself.  But there were also some changes that occurred in our lives that were, in many ways, unintentional.  In fact, we couldn't have really anticipated them as they merely flowed out of our participation in traditional Catholicism.  In other words, these changes just became a natural part of our lives as traditional Catholics.  As such, traditional Catholicism has given me a perspective I  don't believe I would have ever had while remaining in the Novus Ordo Church.  One change in perspective actually occurred quite accidentally around the time of Halloween.  Weird, I know.  But, if you will permit, you will see what I mean and how it relates to our current discussion regarding politics.
     In May of 2010 we began assisting at Mass at a small chapel affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X.  We really new nothing about the Society at that time, we only knew that we needed to leave our local Novus Ordo parish for our own personal reasons.  For the most part, the traditional Tridentine Mass was completely unknown and foreign to us.  We were confused some as well as awe-struck.  But we found a sense of immediate peace and we kept returning each week for Mass.  We muddled through the summer without really knowing much of what was going on, but participating in every way we could.  At the same time, we were trying to reconcile our modern way of living and thinking with t traditional Catholicism.  It was not an easy task.
     Perhaps not coincidentally that year, Halloween fell on the last Sunday of October.  Normally the only significance that held in our families life was when and what time the Trick-or-Treating would begin.  As Our Lord would have it for me that year, our little town faced a dilemma that annoyed me a lot and would start me reconsidering the American festivities a bit.  In our town, when Halloween falls in the calendar on a weekend, the city officials move Trick-or-Treat night to the previous Thursday.  Why?  Because Friday night is football and the weekend is too dangerous for little children to be out in the streets.  Whatever.  That conversation with the mayor where I learned this little tidbit irritated me to no end.  My response was one of tradition--who has the authority to just change the date of Halloween?  In my mind, it didn't make any sense, so we decided not to participate in our communities Halloween events that year.  And ordinarily, had we not been attending our new chapel, we might not have given the whole thing a second thought the following year.  But on this particular year, Halloween fell on a Sunday, the last Sunday, and we went to Mass instead.
     That evening, the last Sunday of October, we celebrated the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Now, we had celebrated this Feast day before, but never on the last Sunday of October.  As a Novus Ordo Mass goer, that Feast day was celebrated on the Sunday before Advent and I, admittedly, never really thought about the significance of it. But that evening I began to wonder about the Feast of Christ the King, why it was moved in the liturgical calendar, and if it was important anyway.  I did a lot of digging into the Feast of Christ the King and found some really interesting things, most of which are relevant to these coming months and Catholics response to their civic duties.
     In 1864, Pope Pius IX recognized that the nations of the world and the people in them had begun to reject Catholicism and begun to embrace ideas that were a danger to their faith.  As such he issued for the entire world, the Encyclical Quanta Cura along with his Syllabus of Errors, in which he outlined and condemned all the errors of the modern world.  In this Encyclical, the Pope observed that nations had begun to declare and put into practice the idea that progress in society could only be made if civil institutions governed without regard to religion or religious beliefs.  This, Pope Pius IX, declared has always been condemned by the Church.  He noted that the natural outcome of this opinion would be the rise and control of a secular state, which would be absolutely detrimental to society and the people living therein.  By the early 20th century, Pope Pius IX's words seemed almost prophetic as nation after nation quietly and diligently abandoned Catholic principles in favor of a society absent of Our Lord and his laws.
     It was in the wake of this Godless society that Pope Pius XI decided to revisit the issue of God and civil society.  As such, he, too, issued an Encyclical, Quas Primas,  reaffirming what the Church has always taught about Our Lord by establishing a Feast Day to recognize the same.  In 1925, Pope Pius XI observed the same erroneous ideas as his Holy Predecessor recognized 60 years before--that "the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ an His holy law out of their lives, that these had no place in private affairs or in politics." He prophetically concluded that "as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rules of Our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations."  As such, to reminder the faithful and leaders of the world's nations of Christ's authority as Ruler of the whole world, the holy Pope instituted upon the whole Church the Feast Day of Christ the King.  When we read the document it is quite clear that Pope Pius XI understood and recognized that Christ is not only our spiritual King for us in Heaven but also our temporal King, our King on Earth.  For this reason, he placed the Feast Day on the Liturgical calendar in October, before the Feast of All Saints Day, as an implication that Our Lord is the Supreme Ruler here and now.  In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the Feast to the Sunday before Advent, the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, indicating, not so much Our Lord's temporal Kingship, but insinuating that Our Lord will merely become a Ruler in some future time, the end of the world.  (For an in depth look at the significance of this, please see Michael Davies', of fond memory, commentary on the Kingship of Christ since Vatican II.)  
     Initially, after I did my research on this, I didn't really think moving a Feast Day around in the Church's calendar really made that much difference.  But I have come to realize, even in such a short time, that this is not true at all.  As we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King at the end of October, immediately followed by All Saint's Day, I am reminded of how many men, women, and children suffered and were martyred in this world because they recognized Our Lord as the Sovereign King of all Nations.  Last year, because my son was reading of one particular great saint,  I thought of St. Thomas Becket who understood the State's duty was to support the Church in her mission, who understood that no earthly king or ruler had supremacy over Our Lord and His Church, who willingly gave his life to defend Our Sovereign King.  
  This truth, that Our Lord rules now and forever, was passed on from the Apostles through out the whole Church.  It was this truth that gave rise to Christendom, this truth that led all nations to convert to Christianity, and rulers to consider Our Lord's instruction first, that gave rise to great nations and great rulers, particularly in the Middle Ages.  And it was to this Truth that St. Pius IX addressed at the end of the 19th Century.  It was for this reason that St. Pius XI decided to institute a Feast Day in the Church's calendar, so that we could not forget that Our Lord Jesus Christ is, here and now, Our Sovereign King and to Him alone do we owe allegiance.  
     So it is with this in mind, the Kingship of Our Lord, that I begin this series on politics and civic life.  It would seem that many of our great Popes were prophetic in their observations that, once we lost this Truth of Our Lord's Kingship, that our nations would sink into secularism, materialism, and barbarism.  It would also seem that our Catholic politicians think that they can hold personal opinions regarding matters of faith without attempting to institute Catholic principles in our society.  It would also seem that the Catholic faithful consider it acceptable to support financially and emotionally people in positions of authority that do not hold the view that Our Lord's laws apply to everyone, everywhere, in all ages.  If this is indeed the case, may God have mercy on our souls!
  Stay tuned....

St. Thomas Becket, pray for us.

St. Pius IX, pray for us.

St. Pius XI, pray for us.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Christ Our Sovereign King, have mercy on us!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Catholics and Politics---Church and State

     I never intended this blog to be about politics.  It isn't that I don't have an opinion about it, it's just that I wanted the focus of this blog to be on matters of faith.  Also, out of fear mostly, I didn't want to become too personal about my own life.  You see, I didn't want to come across as preachy, judgmental, or a religious know-it-all.  And in an effort to be polite, I have avoided addressing topics that, I believe, are critical to Christian living.  And after this year, I've come to realize how silly that is.  Contrary to what many believe or insist, our religious beliefs dictate our very existence.  What we believe about God, or don't believe, affects every single area of our lives.  It determines how and why we do the things we do.  It dictates where we live, what jobs we have, how we raise our families, what we eat or drink, our health care decisions, our choices in spouses, where we vacation, what we read, what we do for fun, and how we vote.  People can no more separate their spiritual selves from their physical selves than could a person separate his head from his body and still live.  It is just not possible.  Rather, how we live our lives is a reflection of what we believe spiritually--what we believe about God.  So it is with that in mind that I write this series of blogs on religion and politics.
     In these next few months, every American is going to be inundated with political ads and robo calls.  This is an election year.  And as we hear every 4 years, this current election will matter more than ever to average Americans.  There is going to be talk about all sorts of issues: religious freedom, the economy, job creation, human rights, dignity, poverty, work ethic, and liberty. We are going to be told by who knows how many politicians and reporters that one issue is more important than another or than several issues are more important than just one.  People are going to be categorized into voting blocs and courted in exchange for a particular candidates vote.  And just like every other year I can remember, it's going to be ugly and lots of people are going to be disappointed.  It's inevitable.  
    More importantly however, and what concerns me most, is that Christians, particularly Catholics, are going to be called upon by both sides of the political aisle.  The parties are going to divide Catholics as many ways as they can.  The Democrats are going to attempt to appeal to the social issues they believe are most important:  poverty, immigration, equal rights, and the Republicans are going to attempt to appeal to the social issues they believe are important: work ethic, jobs, religious liberty.  We are going to be told that single-issue voters, i.e. those who vote primarily for pro-life candidates, need to put aside their personal beliefs and focus on the bigger picture.  We are going to be told, also, that we have a moral obligation to vote, a moral obligation to remove one political party from office, and a moral obligation to support this value or that value.  Many Catholics will accept this and persuade their family and friends that all of this is indeed true and holy.  But will they be right?
     Until 2007, I was not registered with any political party.  I had lived in States where a person did not have to be a registered anything to vote in political primaries.  One could just show up to the polls and pull the lever.  You see, I was always a discriminate voter.  I believed, whether rightly or wrongly, that most politicians were out to serve their own purposes and push forth their own ideas.  My earliest political memory is the Watergate hearings that aired on television in my own living room.  I was 6.  And whether or not I really understood what was happening or why it was significant, it left an impression on me that politicians, no matter how high a political office, were only out for power and could not be trusted.  And that impression remained with me through every single election cycle from Jimmy Carter to G.W.  In fact, the first election I ever voted in was marred by such scandal and controversy, that I was convinced the whole political system was a scam with big financial payoffs.  I was so leery of politicians and the political system that I wasn't moved or motivated by any issue to vote for one particular candidate over the other.  To me, they were all equally reprehensible.  
     Yet, in spite of my mistrust or perhaps because of it, I have continued to pay close attention to the political climate and the civic affairs of every community I have ever lived in.  Because I have not been politically associated with any party, I have been able to remain neutral--a political observer, if you will.  And in the years since I converted to Catholicism and have become a traditional Catholic, I have been able to assess the situation with any form of prejudice.  And what I see is frightening.  It's also motivated me to write a series of blog on politics, most specifically Church and State and the plight of politics and Catholics in this country.  I hope that what I have to offer is not judgmental in nature, but instead helpful and consistent with our Catholic faith.
     I hope to have several blogs on politics in the next coming weeks, so please bear with me.  Many of them, I hope, will be quite interesting and forthcoming.  Much of what I have learned over the years might be surprising to those people who are younger than I or who have never been interested in politics before.  I don't know how many blogs I will write or what many of the topics will be, but I do have some ideas.  However, before I can discuss any thing about politics, it would be prudent to begin with the Catholic Church.  As such the first article in this series with be in regards to what the Church teaches about the politics and civic duty. 
     Stay tuned...... 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shut Up, You Freak! You Are Not In Command Here!

     What an outright mess of a country we live in!  The monkeys media are running the zoo.  And in cases like this recent statement by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, the "experts" also get a big hat and a name tag.  What are they doing, really?  They are having a very good run of making Christians appear to be uneducated, backwards, unsympathetic, ignorant, rigid, and cold.  Why are they doing it?  There are two reasons, both closely related.  First and foremost, there is a call for an ever increasing secular society--a society that is not governed by religious principles or moral values.  In order to achieve that goal (and it is a real goal), the powers-that-be--the media, the elite, the political parties--must silence any meaningful discussion about moral issues as quickly as possible.  The second reason is something like that.  The political parties, fundamentally,  want to eject social issues from their platforms.  When this happens, they argue, our leaders can focus on the things that really matter, like jobs and the economy.  It's a twisted little game they are playing--and winning.  And Congressman Akin just happens to be a token to use on their playing board.
     I feel really very sorry for Congressman Akin.  Even though he was confused about the biology of how pregnancy works, I understood exactly what Congressman Akin was saying.  He was saying that it is very, very rare for a rape victim to fall pregnant.  And, in the case, that she did, it is morally unjust to murder the child for the crime of his father.  Mr. Akin is right, of course, and the media is using him to hammer into everyone's head the radical feminist agenda.  His own political party, the Republicans, are using him to pander to the secular, modernist voting bloc, because that is who they believe they need to win elections.  Personally, I think it's incredibly important to look at the issues, because many Catholics will be voting in this election.
   We have some real problems in this country and some of them stem primarily from the use or misuse of terms and language.  Mr. Akin used the term "legitimate rape."  Now any reasonable person knows perfectly well what that means.  In spite of what the media is telling you or what the law defines, there ARE different kinds of rape.  Rape is a crime, but so are theft, robbery, and murder.  There are several different types of theft all carrying penalties related to how this crime is committed and under what circumstances:  extortion, theft by deception, shoplifting, carjacking, theft of service, receiving stolen property, identity theft, etc.  Robbery, of course, is a form of theft but is more egregious because the theft happens in the owner's presence, willfully, and with violence.  There are different types of robbery, also, like armed robbery, home invasion, breaking and entering, aggravated robbery, etc.  These offenses, too, come with varying penalties and punishments regarding the circumstances.  Murder, yet again, has various classifications and punishments.  There's capital murder, manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, vehicular homicide, felony murder, etc.  And while all of these crimes are terrible and horrible trespasses on our citizens, they do have varying degrees of seriousness.
     Rape, as horrible as it is, is this way as well.  There is rape by force, rape by coercion, marital rape, acquaintance rape, drug induced rape, etc.  They are all crimes, yes, but they carry with them different penalties regarding the circumstances.  Yes, all rape is horrible, but some rapes are worse than others.  But what's worse about rape than the above mentioned crimes, is that it is often difficult to prove, and often places the victim's behavior under the spotlight.  For this reason, many, many women never report that they have been raped and many rapists never are arrested or convicted.  And precisely because rape is so hard to prove, it can be hard to disprove as well.  That's the reason many women have claimed rape or faked rape out of revenge, guilt, or to cover their own sexual misadventures.  The plot of Nell Harper's To Kill a Mockingbird centers around just such an injustice.  Think my statement is unfair to women?  Here's a bit of news that the media doesn't want to bring to anyone's attention.
   Women fake rape all the time.  In 2002, a young 17 year-old football player had a bright future.  A class-mate charged him with kidnapping and rape.  He plead non-contest at the advice of his lawyer, served 6 years in jail, and the school system paid the girl $1.5 million.  10 years later, she admitted she lied.  In the spring of this year, a woman in California claimed she had been attacked from behind and sexually assaulted.  She later came forth to tell the police that she had lied about the assault.  Two women in Fort Collins, Colorado accused three men of drugging and raping them in January of this year.  Those two women have since been arrested for lying and extortion.   There is also the story of the young teenager who was charged with raping a friend.  He plead guilty on the advice of his lawyer.  After the young man went to prison, his accuser recanted.  It took the Virginia Supreme Court to finally determine that he was falsely accused and improperly counseled, allowing his name to be removed from the sex offender registry. 
      These are just a few cases that I could find easily with a Google search.  Who knows how many cases of fake rape women report each year.  The point is, it is not unheard of.  And who knows how many women, past and present, who discover they are pregnant and claim they were raped or coerced.  In fact, sometimes women get drunk, go home with men, regret it the next day and charge that they were raped.  Often, these men, who freely admit the events that happened, are found guilty and spend long periods of time behind bars.  It's a mess!  So in Mr. Akin's defense, his term "legitimate rape" makes a whole lotta sense to me.
     But, for the sake of argument, let's consider that a woman is raped and she does fall pregnant.  What in the world to do about that?  First of all, no one is certain how many actual rape victims fall pregnant at the hands of their rapist.  It is estimated that the number is between 1-5%.  Of that number, no one is certain how many of those women have abortions, how many keep their children, and how many are put up for adoption.  What is clear, though, is that induced abortions as the result of rape makes up only a small percentage of the abortions performed in this country.  In fact, the Guttmacher Institute reports that only 1% of women seeking abortion have been forced to have sex against their will.    Because facilities are not required by law to report how many abortions they perform, abortion statistics in the U.S are only estimates gathered from the CDC and Planned Parenthood.  The estimate is that 1.2 million babies died from abortion last year.  If the statistics are correct, then that means over 100,000 of those babies were babies of rape victims.  In some people's view, that is 100,000 women did not have to suffer unnecessarily at the hands of her rapist by carrying the child, the reminder of such trama, to term.  Compassionate, right?
    The fundamental issue that really lies beneath abortion and abortion laws in this country is primarily one of language and technicality.  You see, in terms of the law, unborn babies in their mother's wombs, are not people and they are not citizens of the United States.  This is a very important distinction, legally, because under the Constitution then, they are not guaranteed any rights at all.  It's called Due Process.  It's a pretty ambiguous legal term but it is that clause that permits all woman to have an abortion in this country.  Under Due Process, everyone has a right to privacy, including when it involves a pregnancy.  In other words, a woman's pregnancy is purely a medical condition and a woman has the right to seek whatever treatment she chooses to treat that condition.  It is the liberal, feminist, ace-in-the-hole, if you will.  Under these terms, already defined by Roe v. Wade, pregnancy is a health condition, the "fetus" is a blob of tissue, and the woman can "choose" to do with it what she wants.  Induced abortion, the intentional expulsion of the products of conception through medicine or instrumentation, is THE cornerstone of feminism.  In real terms, it is perfectly legal to kill an unborn child by poison, stabbing with a sharp object, burning with acid, and dismemberment to remove it from its mother's womb as long as the mother chooses to do so.  And as long as we continue to consider pregnancy as a health condition and not a process by which new human beings come into existence, we will continue to face the wrath of Our Lord over the direct bloodshed of 1.2 million innocent children.
     Personally, I think Congressman Akin is a lot braver than most politicians.  He approached the abortion issue from the only completely logical avenue can be taken.  If it is true that unborn babies are people, then there can never be one single reason to allow for their execution.  Since they are not capable of acting in any capacity, they cannot be found guilty of any crimes committed.  They are 100% innocent.  Since that is true, they cannot be convicted and found worthy of death.  They have a right, as persons, to live.  Ending their innocent lives would be willful murder, a sin most grievous that it cries out to Heaven for vengeance.  As such, no God-fearing Christian could ever in good conscience claim that abortion can and should be permitted in certain cases, particularly in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.  This would in essence be saying that it is okay to willfully murder people under whatever circumstances we deem appropriate.
     I recently read in the combox of someone's blog regarding this issue.  This was a Catholic blog, I can't really remember which one now, and the author was discussing what the Catholic Church teaches regarding abortion.  Quite a few people chimed in, but one person's comment was particularly disturbing.  She was a Catholic around the age of 65 or so.  She is a cradle-Catholic, educated her entire life in Catholic institutions.  She was college-educated by the Jesuits in the 1960s and was clearly outraged to discover that the Church had changed Her teaching regarding abortion.  You see, she had been taught, as did all of her peers, that abortion was perfectly acceptable in three cases--rape, incest, and the life of the mother.  She absolutely could not believe that, suddenly, the Church changed her position.  I am not certain that the author ever corrected her there.  So I will clarify her.  The Catholic Church has never taught, nor ever will teach, that abortion, the willful murder of an innocent child, is morally acceptable in any case.  It can not teach this because our Lord did not teach this to be so.  Any Catholic who believes otherwise will suffer under pain of mortal sin.  It would be best to educate yourself and get to confession.
     I believe that the devil is at work over time in this country and particularly with Catholics.  The Catholic Church is the One True Church left to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Nothing that she teaches within the Magisterium is false.  Nothing.  It cannot be.  If it were, then Our Lord would be a liar.  And He cannot be.  But the devil can.  The devil is having his hey-day with the general population at large, including many priests, bishops, cardinals, nuns, and Popes.  Not one of us is immune.  Not one.  The only thing we can trust or depend on is the One True Church, Our Lord, and Our Blessed Mother.
     I applaud Mr. Akin.  He may have missed biology class when the professor was talking about how the female reproductive system works, but at least he has back-bone.  He is right.  Rape is not as clear cut as people would like you to believe.  Some rapes are not "legitimate."  Induced abortion is always morally reprehensible.  There is never an excuse to murder an innocent child, particularly in the case where its execution is for a crime committed by its father.
     On this Feast Day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let us ask her to end this scourge of humanity.  Because of Her place as Queen of Heaven and Earth, Our Blessed Mother can end this today, if we devote ourselves to Her Heart and ask her to take their unheard cries and buckets of shed blood and sorrowfully place them at the feet of Our Lord.  Otherwise, the United States is soon merit Our Lord's Justice.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Holy Innocents, pray for us!

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pearls of Wisdom

     But where is wisdom to be found, and where is the place of understanding?  Man knoweth not the price thereof, neither is it found in the land of them that live in delights....The finest gold shall not purchase it...Gold or crystal can not equal it....High and eminent things shall not be mentioned in comparison to it...Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?...Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and to depart from evil, that is understanding.  ~Job 28:12-28

Last night my brother called to speak to my mother.  Normally, there's a lot of small talk about how people are doing and what books they are reading.  But sometimes their conversation gets around to our family, especially our 7 children.  You see, we are something of a freak show with my Protestant extended family.  For some reason, they say what disrespectful thing they are thinking, right in front of our faces, and pretend that we don't hear it.  It's sorta like going to the circus and talking about the bearded lady while you are staring at her through the glass.  It's almost inhuman.  And last night was no exception.
     What's so freakish about us?  Well, we are real Catholics.  We are poor.  We have 7 children.  We obviously do not use birth control.  I do not work outside the home.  Our family is devoted to Our Blessed Mother.  We have icons all over our house.  We pray the Rosary and make the sign of the Cross often.  We go to confession and we believe that it's possible to control one's sinful behavior.  For my Southern Protestant family, we are not to be taken seriously.  We are out of touch with reality.  We are silly.  We are wicked and we need to be saved.  So every little chance my Southern Baptist brother gets, he offers some practical Protestant "wisdom" and "truth."
     The little pearl of wisdom he offered last night was in regard to our 17 year-old son.  Truth be told, we've had a difficult go with him.  He's grown up in the Northeast where religious belief of whatever sort is personal and marginal.  He came of age in the public school system where social activities are overly encouraged along with the idea of teenage personal sovereignty.  As such, our transition from a modern Catholic family to a traditional Catholic family has been especially difficult for him.  He openly questions God and, thus, morality.  And as frightening as that seems, somewhere underneath is a little seed; a seed of Truth that Our Lord will allow to blossom in His own time.  I have often been reminded, when I go to the confessional confessing my own doubts and fears about him, that St. Monica prayed for 30 years over St. Augustine.  So I know from the lives of the Saints that it only takes a seed.  Eventually, it will grow.
     Unfortunately, Protestants don't have the beautiful treasury of the Saints.  They don't have the inexhaustible collection of men, women, and children who overcame the snares of the devil and lived their lives with eyes solely on heaven.  They don't have the beautiful gift of the Sacraments, especially of Penance and the Eucharist.  They have no understanding really of God's grace in our lives.  They are, sadly, facing a broken world, a sinful world, with only their intellect and will to guide.  So it was no surprise to me when my brother threw in his unsolicited 2 cents in regard to our son.
    You see, our son has a girl-friend.  These two have been sweet on each other since they were 14.  Back in those days, we knew about their fondness for each other, and we chose not to over emphasize it.  Yet, every chance we got, we talked about chastity, respect for each other, and the necessity to protect each other's reputation.  We've insisted on that.  As they approached 16, a quite vulnerable age in this modern world, we upped our conversations about chastity and respect.  Not once, in any conversation that we have had with our son, have we mentioned or encouraged he and his young girl to sin.  In fact, we have reminded him that he can control himself-he must control himself-until they marry, if that is the Lord's will.  And yet, we realize, completely, that this modern world is fallen. And we've also recognized that, as their feelings grow, there might be occasion to sin.  And with a young son whose grown up in a modern Catholic, Protestant, and secular world this is a frightening situation.  Yet, we have peace, hope, and faith in Our Lord and our young son.
     But as the case with most Protestants, they don't see sin in this way.  For them, we are all totally depraved.  The spirit might be willing, as my brother thinks, but the flesh is weak.  So his advice, freely given to the trad Catholic freaks, is to "hope and pray they are using birth-control."  Now isn't that special?  Not that I am surprised at his suggestion.  He has offered his practical Protestant position on many occasions.  And in an effort not to seem "preachy", he disguises the "birth-control is beautiful" ideology within almost every conversation.  "It's hard enough to pay for one child to go to college.  It's impossible to pay for 4."  "Groceries are high."  "You've got to drive a big ole' gas guzzler 'cause you can't put 6 kids in Ford Focus."  "You've only got three bedrooms?" And the one that I love--"You're pregnant again?  Aren't you 43?"  He feels justified in his tid-bits of advice, though, because they are practical.  And even when counseling unmarried teens, the practicality of not having babies always trumps the sinfulness of one's actions.  So us pesky Catholics, always focused on our personal sins, are just stupid and silly because we just can't embrace the practicality of living.
     So how do I respond to my pompous, Protestant brother?  "Oh boy.  You'd encourage them to pile one sin on top of another?  How Christian of you."  And there in lies the rub, doesn't it?  And here is where our Protestant friends are let loose running in the corral.  They have lost the concept of actual sin, how we participate in it, and that we can doing anything about it.  And because we Catholics still believe in sin, still believe that Our Lord hates sin, still believe that Hell is a real place and that we can merit it by committing mortal sin, we are freaky, impractical, illogical individuals.  And, in their opinion, we aren't doing ourselves or our children any favors.
    Protestant theology and ideology has brought the United States to complete moral decay and economic collapse.  In practice, it is a Godless faith.  It is a faith where men and women make their own rules, decide who God is and what He wants, and determine for themselves how to merit heaven.  Protestant theology causes one to eventually embrace evil because they believe it to be practical or morally acceptable.  It also causes one to look upon certain people through judgmental eyes.  It is grave danger to the soul because, the ultimate outcome is a belief sin is not real, that morals are relative to circumstance, and that material possessions are a reflection of God's grace.
   I love my brother dearly.  I believe that he is sincere in his Southern Baptist beliefs.  I know, without doubt, that he loves Our Lord with his whole heart and soul.  I don't doubt his sincerity or his piety.  I don't doubt that most Protestants are this way.  I was one.  I know many.  They are good, hard working people, without question.  But Protestantism is diseased.  It is a lie from the devil and, if one is not careful to recognize the dangers, leads to hard-heartedness, selfishness, sinfulness, and loss of faith.
     I am absolutely never going to tell my sons or daughters that sin, in any form, is acceptable.  I am especially not going to tell them, when they are older, that sexual relations outside of marriage is okay or acceptable.  Sin is a horrible thing.  It damages our relationship to Our Lord.  It hurts him.  Sometimes, in the case of mortal sin, it separates us completely from Him.  And although we have a human nature, a desire for the things of this world, the things of the flesh, we also have a free will and God's grace.  Through the reception of the Sacraments we can  have a continuous flow of Our Lord's graces.  And with that, we can have the will to never offend God again, the desire to avoid sin, the ability to reject Satan and all his vices.  And that is the pearl of wisdom I am going to give my son.

More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.  ~Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

St. Monica, pray for us!

St. Augustine, pray for us!