ProLife & Family Issues

I couldn’t agree more. We didn’t have these gadgets when we raised our kids. We got rid of television and opted to read books. My father was a radical when he raised me – he refused to get us kids a TV but read stories and books to us every night after we all ate dinner together at 5 PM sharp.

Watching my own kids raise my grandkids is a beautiful thing. My grandkids have no TVs in their homes. They have no iPhones, iPods or other gadgets attached to their heads. They carry books around and love to have conversations with people of all ages.

Actual pictures of the family at dinner "together" in Lourdes

A while ago I sat in a restaurant (at Lourdes France, no less) and watched a family with three young children walk in and sit across from my wife and I. Except for the father, each one had a iPhone, iPad or some other gadget.

They all had earbuds in their ears and were each in a world of their own – the mother included. The family did not talk to each other AT ALL during the meal and much of the food was left uneaten because the kids were so engrossed in their games, videos and music.

The poor father sat there looking bewildered and sad. He was not man enough to take charge of his family. Had it been me, I would have immediately confiscated the gadgets, taken the family home for a meeting. At the meeting I would have laid out some new rules for the family – and gadgets, TV, computers would be controlled if not eliminated, especially during family meals.

Fathers — man up! Get the family under control. Reclaim sanity in the home. Spend time with the wife and kids. Control the gadgets. Start reading books together. Take walks in the woods. Turn off the TV (or better yet, get rid of it). Restrict or eliminate the iPhones, iPads and other gadgets from young kids. Pray together. 

The Pope is right! Here is a bit about his talk as reported by

Spending time interacting within the family is important, and therefore, togetherness shouldn’t be replaced by having phones out and televisions blasting.

Pope Francis stressed this during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square today, as he continued his catechesis on the family. Last week, he looked at the importance of the family as the place where we learn the value of forgiveness, and this week, he considered the importance of togetherness. 

Togetherness, he pointed out, involves sharing together the good things of life with your loved ones and being happy to do so, and also sharing the difficult times, such as loss of a loved one.

The Holy Father began his catechesis pointing out that sitting at the table for the family dinner, and sharing our meal and the experiences of our day, is a fundamental image of togetherness and solidarity.  He also said togetherness is a reliable “thermometer” to measure the “health” of the relationship.

He noted how if a relative has a struggle, speaking about it together at the table helps to find a solution.

“A family that almost never eats together, or is not at the table, but watching the TV or on their smartphones, is hardly a family,” he said, lamenting when “the children at the table are attached to the computer, to the phone and do not listen to each other.”

For a great movie to show the devastation of TV on the family, I highly recommend this masterpiece movie Avalon.

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This morning  Janet and I are in Rome for a few days awaiting our pilgrimage group as we embark across Italy and then by ship voyaging around Greece and Turkey to follow the footprints of St. Paul and the Early Church.

This morning, from the rooftop of our rented apartment as we eat breakfast, we’re looking out over the Vatican (see St. Peter’s dome over my head) and we can imagine the rushing wind and the flutter of wings as the Holy Spirit is busy at work – as the Synod on the Family takes place below. 

I can imagine the dust cloud as ideas and controversy and theology swirl about. Many of the Prelates from Africa and other conservative areas of the world are wondering why the West is so fixated on irregular marriages and homosexuality. And those in countries where these issues abound the question is, “What do we do?”

More than one Archbishop has asked if Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, not to mention St. John the Baptist, were wrong in their assessment of a irregular marriages. Others ask if the German Bishops think they know better than Jesus Christ.

As we sit sipping our espressos we pray for our Church, realizing it’s not really ours but Jesus Christ’s and He is the one building and protecting it. He’s done a good job for 2,000 years and we decided to trust him for the next 2,000 years :-)

So we pray for God’s wisdom and the superintendence of the Holy Spirit as we sit here looking out over the place where the Holy Spirit is certainly busy doing what he does best. We feel an anxious calm.

We pray for our leaders, the bishops and the Pope, that they will make decisions in compliance with the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and toward the salvation of souls and the integrity of our one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. 

UPDATE AT LUNCHTIME:  Here is what we saw as we walked out later in the day for lunch. The Synod must have let the bishops all out for lunch. Bishops and Cardinals everywhere. I saw five in a matter of two minutes! God bless them and their decisions.


Conscience and Communion and Marital Issues

by Steve Ray on October 21, 2015

STEVE RAY HERE: After the excerpts from an interview with Archbishop Cupich there has been a lot of discussion raging around the issue of conscience and divorce and remarriage and gay marriage.

There’s a fear that everyone knows the laws of the Church cannot be changed but they can possibly change the way the laws are applied by making conscience override the word of God.

This article by Jimmy Akin addresses a lot of these issues and it was so excellent I thought I would post it here.

There is a good bit of conversation about how conscience may play a role in the question of whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion.

For example, Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich discussed the subject at a press briefing in Rome during the synod of bishops.

What the archbishop said or was trying to say is not entirely clear to me from the quotations I’ve seen in the press, and I do not wish to speculate based on incomplete press accounts.

I have, however, received a number of queries about the role of conscience in this area, and a brief look at the question may be in order.

1) Acknowledging past abuses

Some people immediately become suspicious whenever the word “conscience” is brought up in connection with controversial moral subjects.

That’s understandable. The concept has been much abused.
After Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae there was a huge push to justify dissent from the Church’s teaching on contraception using conscience as a guise.

Dissidents were turning Jiminy Cricket’s slogan “Always let your conscience be your guide” into “Always let conscience be your guise.”

This is one of the reasons why the word “conscience” appears more than a hundred times in John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor and why the Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lengthy section specially devoted to conscience.

The concept has been profoundly abused.

And it’s no surprise that many become suspicious whenever conscience comes up in a moral controversy.

On the other hand, not every invocation of conscience is contrary to Church teaching. So what does the Church teach?

2) The primacy of conscience

It is often stressed that one must obey one’s conscience. This can be a tactical dodge to justify rejection of Church teaching, but it is not necessarily so.

The Church agrees that one must obey one’s conscience. The Catechism states:

A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself [CCC 1790].

In other words, it is a sin to defy a certain judgment of your conscience. If you are certain that you must not do something and you do it anyway, you are sinning by violating your conscience. You are similarly sinning if you are certain that you must do something and you refuse to do it.

Notice that this applies when you are certain. If you are uncertain, the situation can be different.

Even when you are certain, that doesn’t mean that the judgment of your conscience is right. The Catechism continues:

Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

What happens when a person’s conscience is wrong? Does that mean he’s off scot-free?


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If Divorce and Remarriage are OK …

October 20, 2015

  If divorce and remarriage becomes acceptable (or gay marriage) then did St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher die for nothing? Was John the Baptist beheaded for nothing? King Henry VIII was right after all? Reas excellent article by Archbishop Samuel Aquila

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Sister Lucia: “Final Confrontation between the Lord and Satan will be over Family and Marriage.”

October 20, 2015

By Steve Skojec,   Rorate Caeli has released a translation of a remarkable interview, originally published in 2008, with Cardinal Carlo Caffara of Bologna. In it, he references correspondence he had with Sister Lucia, the principle visionary of Our Lady at Fatima: Q. There is a prophecy by Sister Lucia dos Santos, of Fatima, which concerns [...]

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100 Converts (including Steve Ray) Call on Synod Fathers to Affirm Catholic Teaching

October 7, 2015

Catholic World News - October 06, 2015  (for the full letter we sent, please click here) Over 100 adult converts to the Catholic faith, most of them Americans, have signed an open letter calling upon the Synod of Bishops to affirm Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. The signatories include an Australian bishop (Bishop Peter [...]

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Synod on the Family: Pope Francis’ Address to First General Congregation

October 5, 2015

Synod 15 – Pope Francis’ Address to First General Congregation “Let us remember, however, that the Synod will be able to be a space of action of the Holy Spirit only if we, the participants, are clothed with apostolic courage, evangelical humility and confident prayer.” By Staff Reporter Vatican City, October 05, 2015 ( Here [...]

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Fox News Special Shot at Franciscan University of Steubenville: “Losing Faith in America?”

September 25, 2015

STEUBENVILLE—On July 25, a FOX News crew led by FOX anchor Bill Hemmer came to Franciscan University of Steubenville during the Defending the Faith Conference and interviewed Franciscan University faculty, conference speakers, and students, including theology professor Dr. Scott Hahn and sociology professor Dr. Anne Hendershott.   The results of those interviews will be seen in a FOX News Special, “Losing Faith in America?” The [...]

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Debating Doctor-assisted Suicide

September 18, 2015

Here is a great article and list of resources provided by Jimmy Akin on his blog:     After having failed to get a doctor-assisted suicide bill passed earlier this year though the normal legislative process, the California legislators who are in the pocket of the assisted-suicide lobby recently rammed one through in a surprise [...]

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Do Your Part to Defund Planned Parent Slaughterhouses

September 16, 2015

Legislation is expected to come before the U.S. House of Representatives this week that would eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood of America and its affiliates. Planned Parenthood receives over half a billion taxpayer dollars a year (YOUR TAXES) and performs over a third of all abortions around the United States. Recently, a number of [...]

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Office Depot Defiantly Rejects Printing Order for a Pro-Life prayer; I Just Took Action!

September 11, 2015

n a clear case of religious discrimination, Office Depot has refused to print 500 copies of a flyer that contains a prayer to end abortion at the hands of Planned Parenthood. Chicago resident Maria Goldstein wanted to make a few hundred copies for her parish and went to her local Office Depot store, where her [...]

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Canon Lawyer Ed Peters’ Concerns about New Revions regarding Annulments

September 9, 2015

Read his article here. Jimmy Akin also weighs in with his “Nine Things you should Know and Share“    

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Planned Parenthood & Pontius Pilate

August 27, 2015

  Planned Parenthood and Pontius Pilate by Dr. Edward Peters The first Station of the Cross, “Jesus is condemned to death”, recalls one of Western history’s most iconic acts of antinomianism, Pontius Pilate washing his hands of Jesus’ blood (Matthew 27: 24). Pilate’s cowardly and contemptuous abandonment of an innocent man to death stands—and will stand [...]

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Interesting Insight: Abortion, the Annunciation and the Visitation

August 24, 2015

After a talk I gave at the Cathedral in Gaylord Michigan on Saturday, an insightful man named Richard Grammens and his wife Mary Jean approached me. He told me to think about the “size  and condition” of Jesus in the womb when John the Baptist recognized the Person and Personhood of Jesus in hte womb. [...]

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Pope Francis on the Divorced and Remarried: 10 things to know and share

August 6, 2015

By Jimmy Akin Pope Francis recently gave a general audience in which he discussed the situation of those who have divorced and remarried without an annulment. His remarks are particularly significant in light of the upcoming Synod on the Family and the proposals to give Holy Communion to those in this situation. They also attracted [...]

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Lobby to Defund Planned Parenthood: If Everyone Speaks out it Might Just Happen.

August 3, 2015

Click on the image to right for an easy and quick way to make yourself heard. Pass it along to everyone you know.

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