Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Fr. Frank Pavone, a good friend of mine, past pilgrimage priest with us to Rome and head of Priest’s for Life has just announced this Press Release.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholic Voters: Look at the President’s Accomplishments

download (1)Titusville, FL – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and a frequent guest priest at “Catholics for Trump” events nationwide, issued the following statement today:

As we mobilize priests and deacons around the country, and as we broadcast daily to Catholics across the country, we are seeing more and more awareness and enthusiasm for the long and record-breaking list of accomplishments of the Trump Administration (see ProLifeVote.com), and how those accomplishments deserve the gratitude of all Catholics.

Just to take a few examples,

Catholics, because we love our Church, are grateful that President Trump protected dioceses, Catholic schools, and countless ministries in numerous ways from having to choose between breaking the law or violating their faith. As one example, President expanded the exemptions from the Obama-Biden HHS mandate.

Catholics, because we believe in prayer and free speech, are grateful that President Trump has taken action to increase the freedom of our children to pray in school, our college students to speak about their faith and values on campus, and our clergy to speak their mind in the pulpit, without fear of retribution.

downloadCatholics, because we embrace immigrants, are grateful that the President is implementing the balanced view of immigration articulated in the Catechism (n.2241) that not only welcomes immigrants generously, but enables our country to welcome them legally, with safeguards that protect them as well as those already here.

Catholics, because we protect our children, are grateful that the safety of children in our schools is being strengthened by the President’s Title IX enforcement to combat sexual assault in K-12 public schools.

Catholics, because we appreciate Catholic education, are grateful for President Trump’s support of the choice of parents to send their children to Catholic schools if they so choose, and the help he believes they deserve in order to do that.

Catholics, because we love the poor, are grateful that under President Trump, the poverty level in America fell to a 17-year low, that millions were taken off food stamps, and that millions previously unemployed were able to obtain jobs at an unprecedented level.

Catholics, because we support human dignity, are grateful for what the President has done to combat drug abuse and human trafficking, dismantling some 3,000 drug trafficking organizations and more than doubling the number of convictions for human trafficking.

Catholics, because we know and appreciate our spiritual heritage with our Jewish brothers and sisters, are grateful to President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving our embassy there, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and securing the first Middle East peace accord in 25 years.

download (2)Catholics, because we believe God’s law is higher than man’s law, are grateful to President Trump for appointing over 230 federal judges who, in court cases affecting our children’s children decades from now, will be issuing decisions that recognize that it is not up to them to change the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

Catholics, because of our clear social teaching, are grateful to the President for bringing our nation to the strongest and most inclusive economy it (and the world) has ever seen, its lowest unemployment rates, its highest increase in median wage, its biggest tax and regulatory cuts, its record number and the positive effect this has on families.

Catholics, because we oppose terrorism, are grateful for the President’s annihilation of the ISIS caliphate and for keeping us safe by neutralizing the world’s top terrorists.

Catholics, because we are committed to advancing health, are grateful for President Trump’s initiative to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic within ten years.

Catholics, because we speak for the unborn, are grateful for the President’s effort to protect “unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, November, 2013).

Catholics, because we love our country, are proud that America is now energy independent, no longer needing to rely on other countries for our oil, and is a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957.

Catholics, because we believe in law and order, are grateful for President Trump’s action to restore peace to our cities and to support law enforcement.

Catholics, because we oppose corruption, are grateful for President Trump’s actions to expose and eliminate fraud and promote integrity and transparency in government bureaucracies, in health insurance companies, in the Veterans Administration, and in international relations.

Catholics, because our Church rejects socialism, are grateful for President Trump’s determination that America will never be a socialist country.

Catholics, because we believe in fairness, are grateful that the President has replaced unfair trade deals that put our country at a disadvantage and stole our jobs, with new and fair ones that bless our economy.

U.S President Donald Trump flanked by religious leaders speaks during a National Day of Prayer Event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2017. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ Abaca(Sipa via AP Images)Catholics, because we believe in conscience, are grateful for the President’s establishment of a Division for Conscience and Religious Freedom that is processing hundreds of complaints and defending Catholics and other believers who feel their consciences are being violated in the workplace.

And Catholics, because we believe we should be informed voters, urge other Catholics and all our fellow citizens to read the study thoroughly the many other accomplishments of the Trump Administration that there is no room to include here, and let this election be one that focuses on policies, not personalities, and on accomplishments, not accusations.

As a proud member of “Catholics for Trump,” I invite my fellow clergy and all my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church to join as well, by texting “CATHOLIC” to 88022 or signing up at Catholics.DonaldJTrump.com.

Signed, Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life

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Paul wrote a polite comment to the homily of Fr. Altman that I posted on my blog (see two days earlier on this blog). Because of his mostly irenic tone, I have moderated his comment to appear, but not without a few comments of my own.

There are a few other folks less polite that I have not allowed posting and more than a few seem to be stalkers or have an obsession with me and my website.

Even though Paul’s name and e-mail address was included in the public comment he made, due to curtesy I have removed it from this post.

Comment:   SR will be for me Steve Ray and PC will be for Paul Clementi:

PC: I have been a practicing Catholic my entire life originally from Milwaukee Wis. going to a Catholic grade school (St. Agnes Milwaukee), a Catholic H.S. (Messmer Milwaukee) and a Catholic college (Marquette Milwaukee).

SR: I have found that going to Catholic institutions is no safeguard that a person is an authentic Catholic. I will not make that judgment regarding Paul, but just to make the point, sometimes “Catholic” institutions teach the opposite of the historical Catholic Church, thus these kind of “pedigrees” don’t carry a lot of water. It is the actions and choices one makes that is the real test.

PC:  I am upset and saddened that someone, a priest no less would tell me I can’t be a Catholic if I vote Democrat.  Fr James Altman is not fulfilling his true duties as a pastor after having read his statement. A pastor is supposed to teach the word of Christ, not condemn those who don’t hold the sames views he does.

SR:  Let’s look at this a little more closely. Why would a priest tell someone they can’t be Catholic and vote Demoncrat? Is it that he doesn’t have a right to his opinion? Is it because priests have no business talking about politics? Or is it because you disagree with the priest’s rightful and a proper opinion?

If there were three parties: Democrat, Republican and “Abortion, Infanticide and Euthanasia Party” — would he be then correct in asserting his opinion that a true Catholic couldn’t in good conscience vote for the latter? The Democratic Party has moved so far to the Pro-Death position that the priest is simply saying that to vote for such abuse and sin is unconscionable and that any Catholic who believes the teaching of the Church could not vote for such a party as the “Abortion, Infanticide and Euthanasia Party” which is what the Democratic Party has proudly become.

Fr. Altman is teaching the Word of God when so many others are too cowardly to do so. The word is God is a word of truth, justice and honesty which defends life and liberty not snuffs it out.

PC: I tried to find Christ in his words above but instead I found a right wing extremist statement telling people to vote for Donald Trump. It sounded much more Evangelical than Catholic, perhaps Fr. Altman should consider changing religions.

SR: To me your words sound more secular and relativist than Catholic or Evangelical. Evangelicals have been voting for Life more consistently lately than those who claim to be Catholic, people like Biden and Pelosi.

Putting a “right-wing extremist” label on this good priest does you no favors. Rather it pegs you pretty well and that you are ready to sling pejoratives with the best of them. Even Democrats of a few decades ago would have been more aligned with the Republican way of thinking than the Democrats of today. This is what happens when people forget their history, never really learned it, or learned a revisionist view of history.

PC:  Also getting support from ONE Bishop in Texas does not sound like an endorsement from the Catholic Church on his rhetoric.

SR: Not just one bishop since I know other bishops who would agree 100%.

PC: Yes I know everyone will say he was the only one with guts to come out against the Catholic hierarchy. But what if everyone else feels the same way and doesn’t believe the pulpit should be used to condemn people or shame them into voting for a certain candidate, and still believe from past experiences it IS good to separate church and state.

SR: Unfortunately, too many of the bishops in the US have proved themselves weak on basic truths and tend to be more politicians than pastors. The USCCB has been weak-kneed for a long time. But even they pronounced prior to this election that the issue of Life, especially resistance to abortion was incumbent upon the faithful. So, if you want to be in line with your accumulated bishops, they have already basically told you the same thing Fr. Altman did, that Catholics should not vote for abortion — which is exactly what a vote for Biden will do.

One of the reasons our country has gone secular, anti-Christian and relativistic is precisely and in part because Americans, and especially the priests have had a skewed and unconstitutional view of the so-called “separation of Church and State”. Priests have every right to preach about morality and politics from the pulpit, they are just restricted from endorsing a specific candidate. Fr. Altman did not cross the line and was proper and within his legal and ecclesial rights.

PC: I know when Christ would give a sermon it wasn’t about hate and condemnation.

SR: Here we see an abysmal ignorance of Scripture. Did Jesus go around patting the Pharisees on the back and giving them hi-fives? Yikes, your words could not be further from the actual case which can easily be read in Scripture — even to the point of Jesus making a whip and using violence to chase the vendors out of the temple courtyard. Jesus did not preach hate (nor did Fr. Altman) but he did preach hard truths and the powers that be were angry with him, like you are angry at Fr. Altman.

PC: Yes I know Christ got upset several times during his life on earth, but he never lost his cool during an e-mail like Fr. Altman did.

SR: Fr Altman never lost his cool. In fact, I thought he was very cool and collect, clear and concise.

PC: I for one will vote whomever I want to vote for and my vote will not be influenced by anyone including a priest.

SR: You have made that abundantly clear. You are the final word. You are loyal to Biden and the Democrats no matter what. Even with their push for socialism and the death of babies — “Hey, I am a Democratic no matter what. Don’t try to change me.” Even the USCCB will be ignored. The 2,000 teaching of the Church on the sanctity of the unborn, that it is murder will not affect you. You are more a Protest-ant than the Protestants! YOU are the final word. Even most Protest-ants are willing to listen to Scripture, reason and the morals taught from the beginning.

From the USCCB’s recent document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” which was written to prepare for these elections. And these are just two paragraphs from many I could have copied:

  • “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” (26)
  • “Two temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life and dignity: The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.”

PC: I also will continue to be a practicing Catholic with no fear that Christ and God will judge me when this life here on earth concludes by whether of not I voted Republican or Democrat but rather on how I lived my life.

SR: And that is exactly what we are concerned with — how you live your life. Did you support the dying? Protect the unborn? Obey the word of God? Etc. How you vote is a very big part of “how you live your life.” That is why he and I are concerned.

PC: Peace

SR: And peace be with you too. I am not attacking, but could not let the above go without a response. I do wish you peace.

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adam_and_eveThis is a question that has puzzled people from the beginning. If God is good and all powerful why didn’t he stop Adam and Eve from sinning? Fair question. Of course we all know that he took the risk of giving us free will so that we could choose to love him.

I don’t want my kids to be born with a red button on their forehead that I push every time I want to hear them say, “I love you Daddy!” I want them to choose to say it from their own free will. No one wants a robot son or daughter – God included. 

But even knowing God created us with a free will, wasn’t there something he could have done to keep Man from sinning? Why did he allow this evil deed that brought alienation and death into the world? My friend Jimmy Akin did some pondering after reading a paragraph in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He wrote,

Today something leapt out that deals with the problem of evil, even though it wasn’t in the section on the problem of evil. It deals with the question of why God allowed original sin to take place.

Here’s what it says:

CCC 412  But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, “Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away.” and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!’”

communion-of-saints_sThe answers provided by Leo the Great, Aquinas, Paul, and the Exsultet [at Easter] all converge on the idea that God allowed man to fall into sin because he knew he could bring about a greater good by doing so.

This does not necessarily mean a greater good for every individual (e.g., people who commit mortal sin and decide to stay there may not end up with a greater benefit in the long run, although this is itself arguable), but it does mean that there will be greater net good in general.

Thinking of Jimmy’s words reminded me of another paragraph in the Catechism which has caused quite a stir at times. It deals with the divinization of us humans. Had we not sinned, God would presumably not had to become Man. But when God became Man, though his humanity he drew us up into himself and made it possible for us to be sharers in his nature, to share in the very life of the Trinity!

CCC 460  The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

This is not some strange kind of Mormon theology or New Age nonsense. It is the essence of our salvation. We are not just saved from our sins, but we are drawn right up into the very nature of God by the incarnation and redemption acquired through Jesus Christ.

St. Peter reminds us in 2 Peter 1:4, “He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.”

If you are not dancing yet, re-read the above and then start dancing and sharing this joyous news with everyone!!

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