Saturday, December 13, 2014

All Dogs Do Not Go to Heaven: What the Pope Really Said

Did Pope Francis say animals go to heaven? That's the title of another great explanation offered by Jimmy Akin for our oft-misinterpreted pope - the Holy Father Pope Francis. Evidently this isn't the first pope to have been misquoted on the subject. That there are absolutely no records - other than secular media about the claim - is quite the barometer of the truth. 

What did Pope Francis actually say about animals, Heaven, and Eternity at his public audience?

His words were devoted to the subject of creation and the new heaven and earth. This is what he said:

At the same time, Sacred Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this marvelous plan cannot but involve everything that surrounds us and came from the heart and mind of God. 
The Apostle Paul says it explicitly, when he says that “Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). 
Other texts utilize the image of a “new heaven” and a “new earth” (cf. 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1), in the sense that the whole universe will be renewed and will be freed once and for all from every trace of evil and from death itself. 
What lies ahead is the fulfillment of a transformation that in reality is already happening, beginning with the death and resurrection of Christ. 
Hence, it is the new creation; it is not, therefore, the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being, of truth and of beauty. 
This is the design that God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, willed from eternity to realize and is realizing.

It's appalling that there is so much misinformation out there these days. Reporters are actually using opinion blogs as 'sources' when they report on a story. So much for journalistic integrity! This lack of care for the truth is helping the devil undermine the Catholic Church in the eyes of the unwary - after all, if it's on the internet, it's got to be true right?

Hint: no it's not!

So let's just take a breath, pray fervently, and discern the facts before getting all shaky about Holy Mother Church. After all, Jesus and the Church have never let us down before - nor will they. Even humanity, in the form of wolves in sheep's clothing, can't change that!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Salvation Army: Acceptable Reasons for Abortion?

It's Advent and we are anticipating the greatest Birth in history. As were the Wise Men, we are caught up in seeking, giving, and loving. So when we see a scrawny, bell ringing Santa standing next to the door of almost any store, we are moved to drop in a few coins - after all, we are told by Our Lord to love our neighbor, support the poor and widowed, and to share what we have.

Sadly, in today's world, even giving has been compromised. I'm sure you're like me and sometimes wonder how the homeless man I've just given my last $20 is going use the gift. As I continue with my errands, I whisper a quick prayer that he'll use it wisely - maybe feed his children or use it for some other necessity. Then I move on, because I've done what I'm called to do - what he does is on his own conscience.

It's not like that when we donate to organizations or charities, though. They deal in large sums of money, have a structured hierarchy, and are obligated to report their spending. Now we're in a brand new ballgame! We shouldn't simply donate without making sure of what happens to these large bundles of cash, accumulated from a multitude of small offerings.

You might be taken aback, then, by the Salvation Army's stance on important moral issues. Did you know that they support some abortions and contraception, deny the sacraments, and cooperate with Planned Parenthood? That's certainly not a worthy cause for a Catholic's support!

In reading the carefully researched facts in Beware the Red Kettle: The Salvation Army and Abortion you will see that the Salvation Army isn't worthy of Catholic or Christian donation. There are so many more good groups out there - truly doing the Lord's work. One group that is dear to my heart is the Sisters for Life. Their generosity with time, service, and prayer make a true difference without unethical partnerships or positions contrary to Church teaching. Follow the link above to see more morally sound suggestions.

There are so many great organizations available today. No, they're not all standing with their hands out, conveniently at the doors of every retail outlet. But should we really just blindly give out of convenience and not give a care that donations could go toward immoral acts?
All in all, giving money isn't all there is to true and worthy charity. We must care enough to make sure we are cooperating with good, rather than with evil.

God bless and Happy Advent!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Demons Amongst Us And the Ouija Board

An unsavory 'parlor game' is making the rounds - at the top of children's wish lists and flying off of store shelves. Offered by Hasbro, for children 'age 8 and up', the Ouija Board has once again reared its demonic head. In years gone by, this 'toy', also called a spirit board or talking board, was looked upon as harmless fun, but are we so sure?

I can't think of many more abhorrent, mainstream gifts to be given at Christmas. Here's a comment attributed to a priest, shared by a friend, with others on her Facebook feed:

"If someone is seriously trying to contact a spirit for answers, who do they think is answering? It isn't the soul of dead person. They are judged instantly at death and are in heaven, purgatory, or hell. They aren't free to talk to Ouija boards. That leaves angels, and the good Angels aren't going to disobey God's command that humans not contact mediums nor consult ghosts. That only leaves demons."
With the increase of calls for exorcists do we really want to expose kids (or adults for that matter) to the unknown? Deuteronomy 18:10-12: tells us,

"Neither let there be found among you any one that shall expiate his son or daughter, making them to pass through the fire: or that consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens, neither let there be any wizard,
Nor charmer, nor any one that consulteth pythonic spirits, or fortune tellers, or that seeketh the truth from the dead.
For the Lord abhorreth all these things, and for these abominations he will destroy them at thy coming."
Further we see the Catechism of the Catholic Church speak out on the topic of superstition in the section concerning the Third Commandment.

2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.41
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible.Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.
As Catholic parents and adults, we are called to be in this world and not of this world. Might we add that we should also refrain from being in or of the netherworld, wherein "evil spirits prowl around the world, seeking the ruin of souls"?

Saint Michael the Archangel...

ouija board

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

3 Thoughts About Wearing a Veil - Is Veiling on Your Mind?

The Latin Mass Society of America is once again promoting the wearing of the veil or mantilla on WEAR A VEIL DAY 2014. They have designated this day because it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother Mary. The optional, yet beautifully feminine devotion of wearing a covering is making a resurgence in both Britain and America.

In celebration of this opportunity for other ladies to join those of us who also wear a veil, I thought I'd share three of my favorite blog posts on this topic. Whether you already wear a veil, are discerning veiling, or want to encourage others to cover, here you will find some interesting thoughts and facts about his resurging devotion.

1. The Insistent Whisper Draws Me to Veil

This was my foray into the serene world of veiling. I had been hearing a quiet whisper in my heart for quite some time. A chance encounter with a friend, who offered to allow me to borrow one of her veils, sealed my determination. You can follow the thought process of my daughter and me in Lifting the Veil...Onto My Head.

2. I'm Veiling and Now Others Have Questions

After we had become accustomed to wearing a veil each time we encountered the Eucharistic Christ, I sought to answer questions that had been presented to me. Although the format is simple, many adults have told me that it helped them understand the devotion more completely. In Veiling and You: 5 Things Catholic Boys and Girls Should Know you will find some answers and quite possibly think of a few more. Please feel free to comment in the combox. If I don't have the answer, I'll be honored to find a legitimately Catholic resource for you. I had quite a few questions myself and did copious amounts of research.

3. Covering Doesn't Mean You Automatically Have the Right Mindset

In discussing the devotion of veiling with others, I began to ponder what veiling represented in my interior life. Was practicing the devotion having the desired effect on my soul? Interior Disposition: Why Fix Your Hair, If You're Wearing a Veil? gives some insight into my personal journey and how it has encouraged me to internal piety. Wearing a veil isn't just a random symbol; it's a commitment of soul.

Whether or not you decide to participate in Wear the Veil Day 2014 or to practice the optional devotion from now on, I hope our journey has been helpful. Choosing to veil is a very personal decision - and one that we can walk away from, should it not be for us. The beauty of the veil comes only with the right mindset, devotion, understanding, and desire on the part of each individual lady. I hope never to make someone who doesn't participate feel badly. We are all sisters in Christ!