Religious Freedom and the Need to Wake Up

Chaput-77by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

“IRS officials have, of course, confessed that they inappropriately targeted conservative groups — especially those with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names — for extra scrutiny when they sought non-profit status. Allegations of abuse or harassment have since broadened to include groups conducting grassroots projects to ‘make America a better place to live,’ to promote classes about the U.S. Constitution or to raise support for Israel.

“However, it now appears the IRS also challenged some individuals and religious groups that, while defending key elements of their faith traditions, have criticized projects dear to the current White House, such as health-care reform, abortion rights and same-sex marriage.”

Terry Mattingly, director, Washington Journalism Center; weekly column, May 22

Let’s begin this week with a simple statement of fact. America’s Catholic bishops started pressing for adequate health-care coverage for all of our nation’s people decades before the current administration took office. In the Christian tradition, basic medical care is a matter of social justice and human dignity. Even now, even with the financial and structural flaws that critics believe undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the bishops continue to share the goal of real health-care reform and affordable medical care for all Americans.


Abortion, Contraception Consequences on Display in Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors’

Bishop_James_D__Conley_1_20_12 By Bishop James Conley

Our news outlets are not known for their squeamish attitude toward violence. On the contrary, reporters are often criticized for fixating on violence, exploiting it as fodder for the 24-hour news cycle.

We rarely see journalists shying away from a gruesome case. Yet, the media has been reluctant to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell – a Philadelphia abortionist accused of committing unspeakable crimes at his “Women’s Medical Center.” (more…)

Vatican Cardinal: ‘Individual bishops’, not just conferences must fight culture of death


ROME, April 23, 2013 ( – The bishops of the world must, as individuals, take the lead in combating the Culture of Death, and not wait for the national conferences, Cardinal Raymond Burke told in an interview yesterday.

“It should be emphasized that the individual bishop has a responsibility in this matter. Sometimes what happens is the individual bishops are unwilling to do anything because they wait for the national bishops’ conference to take the lead.”

Warning against some of the bureaucratic trends of “truth by committee” in the Church’s organisation, Cardinal Burke said, “Simply by the way these conferences work, it can be years before some kind of effective direction is given, and then oftentimes because this direction is discussed and debated, it can get very watered down.” 


Philippines archdiocese to distribute pro-life, pro-family candidates list

MANILA, April 23, 2013 ( – With less than three weeks until the May 13 elections in the Philippines, one of the country’s largest Catholic archdioceses has prepared a list of candidates that have publicly taken a stand on the side of church teaching on pro-life and pro-family issues.

Speaking on the Mornings@ANC TV show, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the decision to distribute sample ballots containing names of candidates who are “one with the church on controversial issues,” came in response to requests from Catholics to the archdioceses for guidance.

“The people are asking to be told,” said the archbishop. “The others have made the choice but many want to know who are the right persons, so we make it available. We're starting to do that now.”

He said that the list of acceptable candidates was created after consultations with lay leaders, who ranked candidates according to their stand on abortion, divorce, the new reproductive-health law, and protection of the environment.


Only vote for politicians who oppose abortion, divorce, gay ‘marriage’: Filipino archbishop


DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines, April 17, 2013 ( – A leading Filipino prelate has issued a pastoral letter encouraging Catholics to support only those candidates in the forthcoming election who “declare a categorical and clear NO to divorce, abortion, euthanasia, total birth control and homosexual marriages”

Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, the archbishop of the archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, said that while the Church does not interfere in elections by endorsing candidates, it does offer guidance to voters to examine the candidates “from the viewpoint of faith and with the mind of the Church enlightened by the values of the Gospel.”

The archbishop offered ten concrete moral guidelines to the faithful in the light of which to consider the candidates, with the admonition that “If Jesus would vote, for whom would he vote? Vote like Jesus. If you cannot find Jesus from among the candidates just make sure you do not make Judas or Barabbas win.”


NFP and married life

By Fr William Gardner

Source: Fr. W. M. Gardner, “NFP and married life,” HPR, Jan., 2010, pp 61-65

While discussing the economic challenges in raising children one secular radio show host commented wryly: “There are ways to avoid having children: You can not do sex… or you can not do real sex… or there is abortion.” Abortion is never a legitimate choice, recent American jurisprudence and Machiavellian politics notwithstanding. However, the implication that contraceptive sex does not qualify as “real” sex merits favorable attention.
We might ask though: If a Catholic had called into the program and attempted to explain that there is a fourth way to avoid having children; namely, the use of the Natural Family Planning (NFP), would the host and the listeners recognize the difference between NFP and not doing “real” sex? I suspect that the difference would elude many listeners. Furthermore, it would be a tough sell, and perhaps rightly so (1).
In this article I wish to affirm that the practice of periodic continence, which is the lynch-pin of NFP, does not represent the ideal way of married life. There is something deficient in the practice of having sexual intercourse exclusively during the infertile times of the women’s cycle. To illustrate this deficiency I wish to examine two analogies that attempt to explain the moral justification of periodic continence. Then I will conclude with a caution about promoting NFP as an ideal, or normal, way of married life. (more…)

A Theology of Life-Giving

By Fr William Gardner

Source: Fr. W. M. Gardner, “A Theology of Life-Giving,” HPR, Aug/Sep, 2007, pp. 68-73.

“Of Angels and Men,” is the title of an article written by Fr. Thomas Weinandy, OFM Cap., that appeared in the journal Nova et Vetera (1). Fr. Weinandy interestingly suggests that St. Thomas erred when he attributed a higher place to angels than men in the order of creation. The author, instead, holds that humans are actually more in the image and likeness of the Triune God than the angels because of their ability to give life. It is the power to give life, which the angels do not possess that allows man and woman to model the relations of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. The Father eternally begets the Son. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father by conforming the Father to be the loving Father of the Son. And the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son by conforming the Son to be the loving Son of the Father. Human procreation imitates this procession of Persons within the Holy Trinity. (more…)