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Doctors Find Paralyzed Man Was Awake for 23 Years, Not in Vegetative State
Scene: A small town having all of the conventional characteristics of a small town: a central public square leading to a graceful church with stained-glass windows, a tower, bells, and a clock; across from the church, a water fountain; then, the homes, modest but comfortable; nearby, adjacent to one narrow street, an elementary school; then, more narrow streets, all of them blending into the peaceful green pastures at a distance; and not so far away, a dark forest, from which wild boars and packs of wolves come out with a certain frequency.
|He has a hard job indeed, consisting of long journeys and tiring vigils.|
|When the shepherdess leaves with her flock, she appears to be going out to meet her enchanted prince, so graceful and delicate is she.|
Dear Congressman Kennedy:
“The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” (Congressman Patrick Kennedy)
Since our recent correspondence has been rather public, I hope you don’t mind if I share a few reflections about your practice of the faith in this public forum. I usually wouldn’t do that – that is speak about someone’s faith in a public setting – but in our well-documented exchange of letters about health care and abortion, it has emerged as an issue. I also share these words publicly with the thought that they might be instructive to
other Catholics, including those in prominent positions of leadership.
For the moment I’d like to set aside the discussion of health care reform, as important and relevant as it is, and focus on one statement contained in your letter of October 29, 2009, in which you write, “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” That sentence certainly caught my attention and deserves a public response, lest it go unchallenged and lead others to believe it’s true. And it raises an important question: What does it mean to be a Catholic?
“The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn’t choose those particular words, when someone rejects the teachings of the Church, especially on a grave matter, a life-and-death issue like abortion, it certainly does diminish their ecclesial communion, their unity with the Church. This principle is based on the Sacred Scripture and Tradition of the Church and is made more explicit in recent documents.
For example, the “Code of Canon Law” says, “Lay persons are bound by an obligation and possess the right to acquire a knowledge of Christian doctrine adapted to their capacity and condition so that they can live in accord with that doctrine.” (Canon 229, #1)
The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” says this: “Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles, ‘He who hears you, hears me,’ the faithful receive with docility the teaching and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.” (#87)
Or consider this statement of the Church: “It would be a mistake
to confuse the proper autonomy exercised by Catholics in political life with the claim of a principle that prescinds from the moral and social teaching of the Church.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2002)
There’s lots of canonical and theological verbiage there, Congressman, but what it means is that if you don’t accept the teachings of the Church your communion with the Church is flawed, or in your own words, makes you “less of a Catholic.”
But let’s get down to a more practical question; let’s approach it thisway: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?
Well, in simple terms – and here I refer only to those more visible, structural elements of Church membership – being a Catholic means that you’re part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.
Congressman, I’m not sure whether or not you fulfill the basic requirements of being a Catholic, so let me ask: Do you accept the teachings of the Church on essential matters of faith and morals, including our stance on abortion? Do you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish? Do you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly? Do you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially?
In your letter you say that you “embrace your faith.” Terrific. But if you don’t fulfill the basic requirements of membership, what is it exactly that makes you a Catholic? Your baptism as an infant? Your family ties? Your cultural heritage?
Your letter also says that your faith “acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity.” Absolutely true. But in confronting your rejection of the Church’s teaching, we’re not dealing just with “an imperfect humanity” – as we do when we wrestle with sins such as anger, pride, greed, impurity or dishonesty. We all struggle with those things, and often fail.
Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.
Congressman Kennedy, I write these words not to embarrass you or to judge the state of your conscience or soul. That’s ultimately between you and God. But your description of your relationship with the Church is now a matter of public record, and it needs to be challenged. I invite you, as your bishop and brother in Christ, to enter into a sincere process of discernment, conversion and repentance. It’s not too late for you to repair your relationship with the Church, redeem your public image, and emerge as an authentic “profile in courage,” especially by defending the sanctity of human life for all people, including unborn children. And if I can ever be of assistance as you travel the road of faith, I would be honored and happy to do so.
Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Providence
Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Saint John Fisher was a martyr, cardinal and bishop of Rochester, England. Henry VIII ordered him beheaded out of hatred for both the Catholic faith and the primacy of the Roman Pontiff in the sixteenth century.
He was entirely isolated due to the general apostasy of the Catholic Church in England. We can draw parallels with the apostasies caused by modernism since history repeats itself. A great process of apathy, lukewarmness and indifference always prepares the Catholic masses for the greatest of apostasies.
The attitude of Saint John Fisher, who was a companion of Saint Thomas More in martyrdom, appears all the more laudable as he was entirely isolated in his time. Indeed, there was a general apostasy from the Catholic Church in England; and one of the most horrific aspects of the Protestant revolt there was precisely the indolence and ease with which the bulk of English Catholics went over to Protestantism.
In other words, out of mere political interest, career advancement or personal convenience, many Catholics infamously switched religions and did so with total normality and without traumas or problems of conscience. This proves that the religious structure of England was rotten at the time, a rottenness that had already been present in the time of Saint Thomas Becket.
The fact that Saint John Fisher was killed and that the movement he led was defeated, led to a crisis which placed the Anglican Church in the hands of the Henry VIII. Thus, it made a pact with the softness and advantages ogiven by the world. It accepted secularization. Having been prepared beforehand by a long process of decadence, the Church in England fell when it entered into schism with the Pope.
Not all the Church fell. There were some martyrs who were exceptions. Actually, they were a little more numerous than commonly reported. In addition to Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher, there were other martyrs, such as the Carthusian fathers beheaded by order of the king. Even so, the number of martyrs was very small.
We can draw some conclusions from all these facts. We need to see that these processes start considerably beforehand, and how successive treasons prepare great catastrophes. A few centuries separate Saint Thomas Becket and Henry VIII, and yet a putrefaction process had begun already at the time of Saint Thomas Becket which prepared the Church to fall as a whole. When the occasion of temptation finally arrived, all were dragged down completely.
This is something similar to the contemporary crisis in the Church. In other words, before moderism appeared, there was a “molding” process which formed Catholic opinions that came from the inertia in face of the erroneous doctrines of the French Revolution. There was an adhesion without reservation to democratic ideas that were impregnated with the spirit of Rousseau. There was an adhesion to the idea of separation of Church and State; a slothful and short-sightedness in light of the growing modern atmosphere that gradually invaded society.
This gradually gave rise to apathy, doctrinal indifference and sympathy for all kinds of errors. This state of affairs naturally prepared a highly combustible environment that would explode when the first flame of moderism would arise. We can see how history repeats itself and the great processes of apathy, lukewarmness and indifference prepare the Catholic masses for the greatest apostasies.
At the same time, we see a beautiful note of sanctity that remains in the Church despite this sadness and betrayal. Martyrs are still found in the Church. It is still in the Church that we find men with admirable character who are willing to suffer anything rather than give in to the adversary. There are souls who are willing to risk their own lives and property in order to remain faithful to true tradition and ecclesiastical continuity.
Thus, even when putrefaction invades Catholic circles, the sanctity of the Church produces fruits; exceptional and marvelous fruits that cannot be found elsewhere. At the same time the Church is betrayed and denied, She emits memorable flashes of light that prove Her Divine Origin. There can be seen a continuous affirmation of the Holy Ghost’s assistance to the Church, and this appears to be the most opportune lesson that we can draw from the martyrdom of Saint John Fisher.
The Holy Family Apostolate decided something had to be done.
We were several phone calls from people saying they were happy to attend, and some who said that, while they couldn’t attend personally, they would be organizing rosaries and/or a mass and benediction for around the time we would be at the theatre. Judging by the phone calls, we estimated that around 50 to 100 people would be attending.
We were delayed in getting to the venue due to traffic problems. After parking the car 2 streets away, we hurried to the venue with Neil and Alexander Mc Kay carrying a half-size statue of Our Lady of Fatima on their shoulders.
On turning the corner into the street, we were greeted with the bellow of 500 Catholics loudly praying the Rosary at the top of their voices. Some protestants were singing their songs nearby, but this only made the Catholics pray all the louder.
Few theatre goers dared traverse the gauntlet of militant Catholics who lined the path to the entrance. They chose another entrance through the back of the theatre cafe. Our Lady was like a guard at the theatre entrance. Our Lady, Queen of Heaven holding her true position against the abdominal play ‘Jesus Queen of Heaven.’ Everyone was focused on her, praying and singing with their candles lit.
Our banner read ‘United in Prayer, we beg pardon for the insults to your Holy Name, Lord.' Other people brought their own banners.
The STV (Scottish Television) cameras were there and journalists for the Daily Mail, Daily Express, and the Scottish Catholic Observer.
We contacted the police - who were truly amazing and very happy to help. Two officers said afterwards that they were pleased with the way things turned out, and that they were there more to protect us than to manage the crowd, as they had not expected any trouble from us.
We have just seen the newspaper article (‘Hundreds protest at sex swap Jesus play,’ Scottish Daily Mail, pg 13 November 4) The article says ‘Christians’ protests, but the non-Catholics contingent was very small.
AUGUSTA, Maine, November 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Maine voters handed true marriage supporters a major victory Tuesday night after rejecting a same-sex "marriage" law that the state government approved six months ago.
Though signed by Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, the law never went into effect, and remained in limbo after the success of the ballot initiative calling for a people's vote.
Same-sex "marriage" has now lost in all 31 states in which the question has been put to a popular vote. It is the second time citizens have rejected same-sex "marriage" even after its legalization: one year ago today, 52% of California voters also upheld traditional marriage, striking down an activist state Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual "marriage" in May.
The speaker also showed how tradition cannot be a dead tradition. In fact he stated that tradition is the sum of the past plus a present that is akin to it. Today should not be the denial of yesterday, but rather its harmonious continuation.
"Our Christian tradition is an incomparable value that must rule the present. It acts, for example, so that equality may not be understood as the sweeping away of the elites and as an apotheosis of vulgarity; so that liberty may not serve as a pretext for chaos and depravity; so that dynamism does not become frenzy; so that technology does not enslave man. In a word, it aims to prevent progress from becoming inhuman, unbearable, and hateful."