St. Gregory’s University Announces Closing

I haven’t posted on here in a long time but this news has stirred me to speak up. First of all, here is a link to donate:

St. Gregory’s University Web Site

In the fall of 1979, right after graduating from Claremore High School, I walked onto the campus of St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, OK. I had been Confirmed earlier in the year and was eager to study under some of the Titans in Liberal Arts. I was naive but eager to learn.

I came onto a campus where the professors cared about the students, where, if you missed a class because I was ill (or hungover), I could expect one of my professors knocking on my dorm room door! During my two years there, I learned, served in parishes with Fr. Augustine, smoked pipes and cigars with Tim Copelin (later Very Rev. Fr. Boniface Copelin, O.S.B.), learned history from Fr. Joe Murphy, O.S.B., learned about the “Ultimate reality” from Fr. Theodore, OSB, had walking Confessions with Fr. Ian, OSB and learned how to BE Catholic rather than just be.

Sometimes it seemed like Fr. Denis intimidated as much as taught but, in the years since, I have realized the value of his Logic and Philosophy lessons. He taught us to stand up for what we believed in. I don’t know about others, but I know that I left his classes with a conviction to stand up for what I believe and proud of my work. Fr. Joachim showed me the reality of God is the only existence that is truly Real.

I pray that this experience, as it was passed down for a hundred years before I arrived, will be shared for more generations to follow. Keep the Monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey in your prayers and do what you can to keep those doors open for the next generation.

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What are Saints? Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta?

I received a text from my little sister, Christina, this morning asking “What is Mother Teresa the Saint of?”. I answered pretty well, at least as well as might be possible in texts. But, since I have more space and am able to give something more definitive here, I thought I would take a stab at the answer here. Thank you, Christina, for the question! This is something that is near and Dear to Christians, past and present.

So, to start, the Catholic Church does not “Make” saints, God does. The Church takes the signs that God provides and discerns if a person is in Heaven by following those signs or miracles. Over the centuries, many have noticed that some Saints interceed on the behalf of many in professions or walks of life, or the Church holds up a certain person as a special patron of those walks of life. The Cure de Ars, for example, who spent many many hours in the Confessional and hundreds of thousands from all France and Europe came to him for his guidance and wisdom in the Confessional, is the Patron of the Parish Priest. Others, such as founders of Religious Orders, are the patrons of their Orders. I’m sure that St. Mother Teresa is the “Patroness” of the Sisters of Charity, which she founded.

What is a “Saint”? In this context, a Saint is someone who has died with the mark of faith and is in Heaven with with Christ. There are many more Saints than we know about, God has chosen to make known the relatively few that we know about by giving us signs, or miracles. We ask, pray, for the Saints to pray for us. In the Early Church, we have graffiti from graves of early martyrs that are asking for their prayers. These date all the way back to the Apostles’ graves. The graves of of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Polycarp, St. Cecilia, and the list goes on. The earliest Christians asked their Triumphant brothers and sisters to carry their petitions to the feet of Christ and the Father. Just as we do now, with our living friends and, even strangers (just look at any Facebook feed and you will see someone asking for prayers), the Christian faithful have asked their resurrected brothers and sisters to pray for them too.

From these prayers, God has seen fit to strengthen his people by showing them signs that the Resurrection is, indeed, real. By the miracles gained from the Saints’ intercessions, we see that Christ’s promise of “Today you will be with me in Paradise” is not just empty words, but a Promise!

Sainthood is not a “Reward” of the Church, there are many deserving men and women who are probably in Heaven, but their intercessions have not brought about the miracles necessary for recognition. That is God’s choice, not the Church’s. The Church merely follows the signs that God provides and raises them up for recognition. Gifts of saints that lived while we lived, show us in no uncertain terms, that Christ is alive and well and has Dominion over this world today, just as He always has! Saint Mother Teresa, and her contemporary, Pope Saint John Paul II, show us that the “modern world” has not overtaken God and made Him obsolete, but that men and women walk our streets today, struggle through life, and are on the path to Heaven as these two were.

We are not alone! We have two parts of the Church, the “Church Militant” (which is the Church here on Earth and struggling to get to Heaven) and the “Church Triumphant” (which is the Church that has triumphed and is with Christ). We are not separate, we are bound together by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We can, and should, ask for their prayers to help us to achieve the triumph they have achieved. We pray for Grace, we pray for signs, we pray for our friends and family that have gone before us (because we don’t know, but we still beg for mercy for their sins.).

So, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pray for us!

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Catholic schools, educating in the fullness of humanity

Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – An education in the fullness of humanity is should be the defining feature of Catholic schools, said Pope Francis this morning to the members of the Association of Catholic School Parents in Italy (AGESC), whom he received in audience in the Clementine Hall. “Speaking about a Catholic education is equivalent to speaking about the human, about humanism”, he emphasised. “An inclusive education finds a place for all and does not select in an elitist way the beneficiaries of its efforts”.

“Your association is at the service of the school and the family, contributing to the delicate task of building bridges between the school and the territory, between the school and the family, between the school and civil institutions. … As parents, you are the depositories of the primary and irrevocable duty and right to educate your children, in this way helping in a positive and constant way in the task of the school, while at home, parents care for the education and the happiness of the kids with toys as power wheels electric cars, and a good education. You have the right to demand a suitable education for your children, an integral education open to the most authentic human and Christian values. However, it is also your responsibility to ensure that the school is up to the educational task entrusted to it, especially when the education it proposes is described as ‘Catholic’. It pray to the Lord that the Catholic school never take for granted the meaning of this adjective”.

The Pope went on to list the prerequisites for a school to describe itself as truly Catholic. These included transmitting “an integral, not ideological culture” and “promoting harmony in diversity”. However, he said to the members of AGESC, “How can this be applied in practice? It is not an easy task”. To this end, he invited the parents of pupils in Catholic schools to build bridges between the school and society, and always to remember theneed to construct an educating community in which, along with the teachers, various workers and students, parents are able to be agents in the educational process”.

“Do not be extraneous to this world; live within it like leaven in the dough”, he said. “My invitation to you is simple but bold: know how to make the difference with a high quality formation. Find methods and ways of not passing unnoticed behind the scenes of society and culture, without arousing clamour, not with projects full of rhetoric. Know how to distinguish yourselves for your constant attention to the person, especially the least among us, those who are cast aside, denied and forgotten. Know how to be noticed not for your ‘facade’, but for educational coherence rooted in the Christian vision of humanity and society”. He also remarked that at a time when the economic crisis has led to the closure of many private schools, “the temptation of ‘numbers’ becomes increasingly insistent, and this leads to discouragement. But despite all this I repeat: it is the quality of your presence that makes the difference, not the quantity of resources you have at your disposal”.

“Never betray the human and Christian values you bear witness to in the family, in school and in society. Give generously your contribution so that the Catholic school never becomes a fall-back option or a meaningless alternative among the various educational institutions. Collaborate so that Catholic education has the face of new humanism. … Strive to make Catholic schools truly open to all”, concluded the Holy Father.

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The Pope canonises four new saints and appeals for peace in the Holy Land

Vatican City, 18 October 2015 (VIS) – This Sunday in St. Peter’s Square the Pope celebrated Holy Mass for the canonisation of Blesseds Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917), diocesan priest and founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Oratory; Maria Isabel Salvat Romero (Mary of the Immaculate Conception), (1926-1998), superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross; and the spouses Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Zelie Guerin (1831-1877).

In his homily, Pope Francis emphasised that “service is the way for authority to be exercised in the Christian community. Those who serve others and lack real prestige exercise genuine authority in the Church. Jesus calls us to see things differently, to pass from the thirst for power to the joy of quiet service, to suppress our instinctive desire to exercise power over others, and instead to exercise the virtue of humility. … By imitating the Master, the community gains a new outlook on life: ‘The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’”.

“In the biblical tradition, the Son of Man is the one Who receives from God ‘dominion, glory and kingship’”, the Holy Father affirmed. Jesus fills this image with new meaning. He shows us that He enjoys dominion because He is a servant, glory because He is capable of abasement, kingship because He is fully prepared to lay down His life. By His passion and death, He takes the lowest place, attains the heights of grandeur in service, and bestows this upon His Church. There can be no compatibility between a worldly understanding of power and the humble service which must characterise authority according to Jesus’ teaching and example. Ambition and careerism are incompatible with Christian discipleship; honour, success, fame and worldly triumphs are incompatible with the logic of Christ crucified”.

Instead, he continued, “compatibility exists between Jesus, ‘the man of sorrows’, and our suffering. … Jesus knows our difficulties at first hand, He knows from within our human condition; the fact that He is without sin does not prevent Him from understanding sinners. His glory is not that born of ambition or the thirst for power; it is the glory of one Who loves men and women, Who accepts them and shares in their weakness, Who offers them the grace which heals and restores, and accompanies them with infinite tenderness amid their tribulations”.

“The men and women canonised today unfailingly served their brothers and sisters with outstanding humility and charity, in imitation of the divine Master. … The radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God and the maternal protection of Mary. From heaven may they now watch over us and sustain us by their powerful intercession”.

Following Mass and before the Sunday Angelus prayer, the Pope spoke about the situation of tension and violence that continues to afflict the Holy Land. “At this time, there is a need for great courage and fortitude to reject hatred and revenge and to make gestures of peace”; he remarked. “We pray that God may reinforce in all, governors and citizens alike, the courage to oppose the violence and to take concrete steps towards pacification. In the current context of the Middle East, it is crucial, more than ever, that there be peace in the Holy Land: God and the good of humanity demand this of us”.

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Listening and hearing

Despite what many have interpreted the Holy Father as saying, he was not telling the lawmakers how to make laws or not to have immigration laws or enforcement. What he counseled was compassion, hear their stories and treat the person with respect. As Catholics, as citizens, that is what we should expect. Maybe we do need to build a wall but we need a compassionate treatment for those that wish to enter. If we build a wall, we need to build a door as well and have a way to open the door. We have the Statue of Liberty which greets the “huddled masses” who enter, we need a greeter at the door.

“Inscription on the Statue of Liberty”

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Author: Emma Lazarus

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Planned Parenthood De-funding

I was unfriended by a family member on Facebook over a disagreement about De-funding Planned Parenthood. I think it’s important to address this rather emotional issue.
To the claim that De-funding PP would hurt women’s access to health care, I point out that, in Tulsa, OK, there are 13 free clinics for women, only one of which is PP. Of these 12, all provide all the services PP claims to provide, including PAP, STD testing, and mammograms. The only service not included is abortions.
To the claim that there would be children being born into unwanted situations, I point out that, after 40 years and over 55 million abortions later, we still have children in foster care and abused. Abortion has not proven to solve these sad situations.

Then, in Margaret Sangar’s own words, the reason for the existence of Planned Parenthood.

“The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”
Speech quoted in “Birth Control: What It Is, How It Works, What It Will Do.” The Proceedings of the First American Birth Control Conference. Held at the Hotel Plaza, New York City.

Finally, the challenge must be addressed of: “you pro-lifers want to make a woman have an unwanted child then don’t want to help them support it”. The response is two-fold. First, we have to challenge our citizens to be responsible. We can’t treat people like animals, with no responsibility to control their urges or the consequences of their actions. This completely diminishes the dignity of a human being. Second, treating these people as dignified human beings, we must provide with a leg up, with programs aimed at making them self-sufficient, not more dependent. Provide support that encourages the parents to make their own way, not rely on the government to support them.

Instead of continuing to support programs that are proven to fail over and over, were must provide support which enables our citizens to be productive.

We have to provide support and compassion without claiming innocent lives in the process. Murder cannot be compassion.

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Mother or Child’s Life? Seriously?

I read an article yesterday regarding some of the questions asked at the Republican Debate. If you saw the debate, of course you are aware of the questions asked of Donald Trump but that is not why I am addressing it. The question asked of several candidates pertains to Abortion. Would you support abortion in a case that the mother’s life is in danger?

The subject of rape, incest and life of the mother as exceptions to bans on abortion came up at last night’s GOP presidential debate, and moderator Megyn Kelly proved to be dangerously wrong on this issue.

Kelly was aghast that anyone would have any hesitation about approving an abortion to save the life of the mother. She spoke of this choice as if were one that commonly and frequently must be made.

The reality, however, is that an abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother. This is, quite simply, a choice that a mother and her doctor never have to make, and Ms. Kelly has contributed to the already widespread ignorance on this subject. (AFA.net, By: Bryan Fischer Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015 11:20 AM)

This is one of those questions that is often asked and, if one replies that it is never alright to murder a children, then one is automatically labeled as someone that is somehow against women. What this article very clearly points out is the obvious that has been before us all this time. If a woman is clearly in a situation where the death of either her or her child is imminent, an Abortion Clinic is not where she would go. Abortion Clinics are not in a position to treat in an emergency situation. Recent legal challenges have proven this as well. Several states have passed or are debating laws such as one hotly contested legislation in Texas. In Texas, which has lost nine clinics, lawmakers have slashed family planning funding in the state budget, required abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers and required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

What strikes me as interesting is the fact that there is such an outcry over legislation such as this. By having admitting privileges, a doctor at an abortion clinic would be empowered to treat a woman that actually might be in danger of losing her life because of her pregnancy. Though this is a stated argument, it isn’t the aim of abortion supporters, abortion clinics, or Planned Parenthood. They are not in the business of actually caring for the lives of women, only in supporting their agenda.

If, indeed, a woman were in a situation where there might be a choice made to save one or the other, an abortion is not the prescription for her care. The doctor treating her and the child would do everything in his power as a physician to save both of his or her patients, mother and child. If the unfortunate situation took place under a doctor’s care, that one survives in spite of all the best efforts, that is a tragedy. If the child died during treatment, even if it was a choice made to save the mother and the child died, it would still not be abortion.

Abortion is a term and distinction like that between murder and accidental death. Abortion is always clearly with the intent of ending a human life, it is no accident and is not a treatment any more than euthanasia is a ‘treatment’ for illness. The loss of life while at a qualified treatment hospital in the attempt to save a life is not the same as going to an Abortion Clinic with the expressed purpose of ending a life. There is no chance of saving a life in an abortion clinic.

The question asked of a Pro-Life candidate to “take a stand for women’s rights but allowing an exception regarding the life of the mother” is a trick question. The situation does not exist, one cannot allow for it legislatively because it isn’t reality. Abortion supporters know this or they would not be fighting legislation in states that make their facilities legal health care facilities. If, as in the State of Texas, an Abortion Clinic follows the law, roid’s position would be to care for the health of the mother AND the health of the unborn child as well. In that case, they could be placed in a position where they would have to abandon their mission of taking a human life and be forced to save it instead.

In the meantime, our politicians need to answer the question factually and throw it back on the person asking the question. Can you give me one instance where a woman has ‘checked into’ an abortion clinic in an emergency situation where the life of the mother was at stake? Though you might say that woman are in those situations all the time, accidents, cancer, etc., they are not treated at an Abortion Clinic and, if the baby is lost during treatment, they were not lost because of a treatment plan that had an abortion as the treatment.

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1984? DoubleThink and 2015

In his essay “Politics and the English Language“, George Orwell observes that political language serves to distort and obfuscate reality. Orwell’s description of political speech is extremely similar to the contemporary definition of doublespeak;

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, …[9]

Today, we are faced with such opposites and asked to believe them on face value, the language of the day. “Tolerance” is used to brow beat those that disagree so that those that do not hold those same views are “intolerant” and “haters”.

“Choice” is used to justify completely taking away choice from children and those that believe that abortion is murder are advocating taking away a woman’s right to choose.  Now we learn that a group that has made a campaign on describing the unborn child as no more than tissue are making money by selling the children’s organs as human tissue.

“Love” has been twisted into meaning whatever our carnal desires dictate rather than a life long commitment to raise children teaching the commitment to God, our spouse, and our children in a loving home. To disagree or to point out that an interpretation is wrong is not the same as hating another person.

I can tell you that a friend or family member is doing something that I believe is wrong without hating him or her. I have a family member that is an alcoholic, I do not condone the behavior, I do not condone the lifestyle. I may even chose not to be around that person. I do love that person and still try to be there as much as reasonable. I will not be around when they are drinking, which may be most of the time. But, despite that behavior, that person is stilled loved and will remain in my heart though I will not tell them that they have my approval.

Though the behavior is displayed more than I would like to admit, alcoholism is not WHO that person is. I do not define the person by their sins, I define them by who they are. I believe that is what God is calling me to do. I will accept a sinner into my home, just as Jesus did. However, I do not believe that Jesus defined his Apostles and disciples by their sins. He told the Magdalene, “Is there no one left to condemn you?… Nor do I. Go and sin no more.”

I condemn no one, that is not my place. I condemn behavior which I know is wrong. I taught my children what was wrong. Sometimes they chose do what I had taught them was wrong. I do not, nor can I, accept words on face value that have meanings that go well beyond what they say. I cannot believe that “Compassion” is taking someone’s life through Euthanasia, or that a “choice” is taking another life who cannot defend himself. I do not believe that “Love” can be gained by using acts rooted in hate or that disagreement is the same as “hate”.

I will proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

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Same Sex Marriage–Apologetics 101

Apologetics 101

by John Martignoni  

(Marriage and the Eucharist, cont’d.) Finally, one other area where we can use these parallels between the sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist to help us form an appropriate response, is this idea of same-sex “marriage”, so-called.  A very hot topic these days.  There is not now, never has been, and never will be, such a thing as a same-sex “marriage.”  It doesn’t matter how many judges issue how many licenses and how many wedding ceremonies take place – there will never be such a thing as a marriage between two men or two women.  God is the author of marriage.  He made it.  He defined it.  He joins the two together.  God has defined a marriage as something to unite one man and one woman.  Period.  

One man cannot marry another man and one woman cannot marry another.  Why?  The two cannot become one.  For the two to become one, there has to be a life-giving bridegroom and there has to be a life-receiving bride.  Between two men, there is no one to receive the life of the bridegroom.  Between two women, there is no bridegroom to give his life to the bride.   Consummation is not possible in either situation.  

A union, as such, between two men, would be as if Jesus wanted to give us His life in the Eucharist, but we had no way of receiving it.  It would be as if Jesus died on the Cross, but never
instituted the Eucharist.  A union, as such, between two women, would be as if we all wanted to receive the life-giving force of Christ in the Eucharist, but there was no life-giving force to receive.  It would be as if Jesus instituted the Eucharist, but then never died on the cross for us.  

There can be no such thing as a same-sex marriage, because there is no such thing as “life-giving” love, love that produces life, in a same-sex union.  Two men cannot produce a life between them.  Two women cannot produce a life between them.  It is a physical impossibility.  Therefore, same-sex “marriage” is an impossibility in the eyes of God.

St. Paul tells us in Romans, chapter 1, that the desire of a man for another man, or of a woman for another woman, is unnatural.  But you don’t have to believe in the Bible, or even in God, in order to understand that St. Paul was correct.  All you have to do is look at the body of a man and the body of a woman and you can easily discern that nature has designed a certain complementarity between the bodies of men and women.     

So, just from a simple observation, we can discern that nature designed a complementarity between the bodies of men and women.  We can discern that sex was designed by nature, to 1) be the physical union between a man and a woman, and 2) to perpetuate the survival of the species.  Same sex unions go against nature in both regards.  A man’s body was designed to join to a woman’s.  A woman’s body was designed to receive a man’s.  So, same-sex unions are contra nature.  They are inherently unnatural.  

And, if nature does indeed have a creator, then if same-sex unions are contrary to nature, it is safe to say that they are contrary to nature’s creator.  This is not about being “mean” to two people who are “in love” and it has nothing to do with “homophobia” or anything of the sort.  It actually is an act of charity to oppose what society is trying to impose.  If the Catholic Church is correct and homosexual acts are indeed acts of “grave depravity” and they are indeed “intrinsically disordered” (Catechism, #2357), then the most important thing to consider is the salvation of the souls of those committing these acts that are contrary to nature and contrary to nature’s God.

It is not mean, or somehow homophobic, or anything else of that nature to desire the good for a person and, particularly, to desire the ultimate good for a person – the salvation of someone’s soul.  The best thing a person can do if you know of someone who is struggling with same-sex attraction is to talk to them about God’s love for them…and to give them whatever support you can to help them live a chaste lifestyle.

And, it just so happens that the Diocese of Birmingham has recently seen the establishment of a chapter of Courage, which is an apostolate of the Catholic Church that ministers to persons with same-sex attraction (www.couragerc.org).  If you would like to find out more about the Courage chapter here in the Diocese of Birmingham, you can call the Courage chaplain at: 256-221-8844.  All calls are completely confidential.

Marriage and the Eucharist…the two shall become one.  I hope this series of articles has helped you to see and understand how intimately and intricately these two sacraments are linked together, and that they have helped you to look at marriage from a Eucharistic point of view, and to look at the Eucharist from a marital point of view.    

(Send any questions/comments to: jmartignoni@bhmdiocese.org.  If you would like to sign up for John’s free apologetics email newsletter, simply go to: www.biblechristiansociety.com.  You can also order his free CD’s on various apologetics topics at the website, including his CD that covers this topic which is entitled: “Marriage and the Eucharist: The Two Shall Become One.”)

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Tolerance?

Prior to the advent of Christianity, there was no real opposition from the Roman government toward foreign religions. In fact, the Roman Empire embraced new gods. Rome even built the Pantheon as a Temple for All gods, even those they didn’t know about.

Christianity came along, however, and would not play by Rome’s society rules of “Tolerance”. Rome didn’t have a problem with a religion as long as it’s citizens acknowledged that all the gods were the same, even accepted other gods. Christianity started making waves, basically the Emperor’s New Clothes, and pointed out that there is no other God but the One True God. They refused to accept Roman gods or even acknowledge the divinity of Caesar.  Sound familiar? Christians, once again, are being told that we can have our ‘god’ as long as we accept the gods of others. We may follow the teachings of our Sacred Scripture as long as we acknowledge that the Bible is one book among many, just a history book that must ‘change with the times’. Like the early Christians, we must be firm in our faith and in the knowledge that all religions are not the same and there is One Savior who washed our sins away in his own blood.

Peace and Prayers

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