Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keep Calm and Catholic On!

The feed on Facebook has lit up with Skittles colors and Papal flags. Sides have been drawn and we are left with the rubble. In answering someone on my Designs By Birgit fan page, I formulated my thoughts in a few simple sentences. That is what I want to share with you today:

Marriage isn't some sort of club that we want to keep people out of - it's a covenant, designed by God and spoken of in Genesis and in the New Testament. 
Marriage is a facet of natural law. It speaks to the physical nature of men and women - different, yet complimentary - and the family that they build through the physical action of their love (children). 
This true description of the sacrament of marriage can't be changed. Others may have relationships, but if they deviate from one man and one woman (for life) it's simply impossible for that relationship to be true marriage.

As we battle mightily to bring God's Truth to the hearts and souls of our loved ones and our country, let's always be mindful of love. Love, the Great Commandment. We, Catholic Christians, aren't called to be hateful, vengeful, or even caustic. We are called to speak the Truth as given to us by the Word, Our Lord Jesus Christ - and to speak it in love. 

We're also not here to convince - the grace to make the righteous, moral decisions comes from God. What we are called to do is to share Truth - even if it finds us carrying one small fragment of His Cross. He was hated yet He lived only love - blameless and compassionate, He died for the sins of the many. Surely we can do our small part to walk in His footsteps. We can never fill them, but in following them, He will lead us Home!

Stay strong and Catholic on!

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Flags, Rainbows, and Natural Marriage

That whole Southern Cross flag thing just became really insignificant...

I posted that on my wall just this morning, after hearing about the most atrocious Supreme Court ruling since Roe vs. Wade. All week, people have been up in arms about the left's revisionist history concerning the Southern Cross battle flag and its supposed racial sentiments. As a proud transplant to the Southern portion of the United States (from Germany), I shake my head at how the powers that be feel inclined to trample our rights, our history, and our very lives.

Yet now there are more important things about which to worry. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has just immorally ruled that natural marriage is not protected. Every Tom, Dick or Harry can now fashion their own parameters.

What they haven't and can't do is to supplant Natural Law. Even if one denies the Word of God, marriage is (and will always remain to be) the union between one man and one woman - with the natural effect of bringing more souls into the world. 

Instead of relying on my own words, however, I'll share some wisdom from those who speak it better than I ever could. 

I'll also share some memes that I've created. Please consider following the links and sharing them as well. I'd also like to invite all of my married friends to use a wedding photo as their profile pic on Facebook and/or other social media. 

The 2% (or less) of the population practicing sodomy (let's call it what it is) needs to see that the majority is sticking with God and His Natural Law concerning the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony!

Wisdom from the past via the Venerable Fulton Sheen 1953
Moral Principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.

Canon lawyer, Edward Peters: Two thoughts re the Supreme Court decision on ‘same-sex marriage'

3. Catholics who promote “same-sex marriage” act contrary to Canon 209 § 1 and should not approach for holy Communion per Canon 916. Depending on the facts of the case, they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them under Canon 915, being rebuked under Canon 1339 § 2, and/or being sanctioned under Canon 1369 for gravely injuring good morals.

USCCB Statement on Marriage Ruling

Comparing it to the Roe vs. Wade decision:

“Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”  ~Archbishop Kurtz

I'm sharing with you my statement regarding today's Supreme Court Ruling on Same Sex Marriage:

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on marriage is not a surprise. The surprise will come as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today's action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions. The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God's Word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today's decision.+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia

Today's decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact — and the furthest extension one can even imagine — of the Court's claimed power to create "liberties" that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.  
"A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy."

"[T]o allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation."

"The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court's reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis."

"With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them — with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the 'reasoned judgment' of a bare majority of this Court — we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence."

"Today’s decision casts that truth aside. In its haste to reach a desired result, the majority misapplies a clause focused on 'due process' to afford substantive rights, disregards the most plausible understanding of the 'liberty' protected by that clause, and distorts the principles on which this Nation was founded. Its decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society,"  Justice Clarence Thomas 


Majority opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy, let's pray this is honored!

“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate.”

“Sad moment in the history of our nation. But we move on. No same sex marriages will be celebrated within the Catholic Church. Our faith teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between a man and a woman. That is our faith and our truth!!! We shall not attack the principle of same sex marriage but uphold our faith and our truths! It does not matter to the Church as marriage is a sacrament that can’t be defined by any court!” ~Bishop Richard F. Stika


The Catholic Gentleman
The United States just legalized gay "marriage." Fear is in the air. I will simply share these thoughts:

The final war between Satan and the Lord God is over the family. Why? Because the family is icon of the Most Holy Trinity. The communion of love between the three Divine Persons is the original family. This Divine communion is fruitful, that is, it brings forth life. It cannot help but do so. Life bursts forth from the love of the Holy Trinity.
The family is the earthly image and icon of Trinitarian love. The communion of love between husband and wife is designed to be fruitful, to bring forth life. In a very real sense, married love creates. This is why marriage carries the dignity of a sacrament---because it is a holy image of the Trinity.

Only God can truly create. Satan cannot. And Satan hates this fact. He is sterile in every sense of the word. He hates the Trinity because he envies its life giving and creative power, and he hates the family because it mirrors the Trinity.
And what better way to mock and warp the life-giving love of the Holy Trinity than to attempt to redefine marriage as something that cannot bring forth life? To redefine it as something inverted and sterile, like Satan himself? This is what homosexual "marriage" really is: Satan's mockery of the family, and thus of the Trinity.

The good news is, Our Lord, through the Immaculate Virgin, will crush Satan's head. Just when his victory seems sure, he will meet with a sudden defeat. Count on it.
Finally, stay strong. Be at peace. Be courageous. Never, ever lose heart.


Now let's get this out there and take action. 

Please ask your US Congressmen to support this bill:

H. R. 2802

To prevent discriminatory treatment of any person on the basis of views held with respect to marriage.


I promised to share pro- natural marriage memes, so here they are. Please follow the links to get them.

Link to the above here.

Link to the above here.

Link to the above here.

Link to the above here.

Please check back for additional links and memes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dads Matter

In this upside down world we've created an environment where men are no longer held up as admirable for their unique masculine characteristics. In fact, some would have us believe men in general are an optional facet of life. There's surrogacy, IVF, and single moms on Facebook bragging about how they should be honored on Father's Day.

In their displacement, men are changing with these New Age perceptions. Once they were considered the stronghold of society - especially through their unconditional, to the death, devotion of care for their families. Now, they're too often seen as a nuisance. After all, who needs them? They're the adult version of boys with cooties. Sure their seed may be necessary for a while longer - if a woman or homosexual couple wants a child. But even there science has come up with a cure. We're seeing the evolvement of creating babies in ways that could only have been science fiction a few years ago.

God didn't create man and woman for this horrific brave new worldview. He made them - male and female, He made them. In His own Image they were created - with characteristics that are different yet beautifully complimentary.

This weekend we celebrate Father's Day. Let's make this a time for remembering our God-given roles as humans. Women are strong, yes, but in the nurturing self-giving way designed by God. They aren't second class citizens - in fact they have quite the foothold on respect these days. They can't, however, replace the stronger sex. After all, should we really be looking at life as a competition? Weren't we put together as marriage partners in order to help one another to Heaven?

Men are physically and mentally strong in their own unique way. Their bodies are fit for combat - both in physique and in mental prowess. They protect, instruct, and guide. But most of all they LOVE. As the spiritual heads of their households their strong hand portrays a powerful witness - gentle, yet rugged. They are, after all patterned after God Our Father! Like Saint Michael the Archangel, they protect us from the evils - both physical and spiritual - in this world. Never diminish their masculine qualities in an ill-conceived attempt at 'equality'.

Together, male and female, they provide the perfect combination - each bringing their own strengths and their own weaknesses. Yet together, they form a formidable stronghold for the wellbeing of the children to which God has entrusted them! Children are their earthly treasure and deserve to see a godly witness in their parents. This day let's give thanks for the masculine half of that whole.

Happy Father's Day!

PS Let's not forget our priests - the spiritual fathers who bring us the Eucharist!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Keep Calm About the Laudate Si Encyclical

Even before the release (or the leaked release) of Pope Francis' eco-encyclical, people from all corners were speculating, voicing fears, and even condemning the pontiff's motivations. I surely won't lie and say I didn't share some of those misgivings - especially for those of us who look at the global cooling, global warming, climate change issue as an unadulterated hoax - perpetuated by ecological hypocrites.

I also have to admit guilt in allowing myself to be riled up by the misreporting concerning this pope. I guess I wasn't as cyber-connected when there were tales being wagged around about the other two popes during my adulthood - Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II. There were a couple of times I got my dander up when they were misquoted, but I 'got' them. Pope Francis and his way of thinking are, admittedly, a bit foreign to me. 

The youth-loving attitude of Saint JPII was at the heart of the time in my life when our children attended World Youth Day in Colorado. As a German myself, Papa Benny spoke to my heart and to my soul. His logical, professorial way of leading/teaching his flock appealed to me on a personal level. He was my spiritual Opa.

Pope Francis is different. He's far from reserved - a German trait to which I ordinarily relate - and displays a tendency to dismiss ceremony, which speaks to my intellect as well as my pedantic side. So I'm often challenged to understand just what he is saying/doing.

I do want to reiterate that, while we owe allegiance and respect to the words Pope Francis has shared with his flock, we are under no obligation to take it as infallible. As in many other circumstances, we are to make a sincere effort to digest the words but are free to pattern our behavior in relation to them with our own, informed conscience.

In the mean time, as the world digests the words of our Holy Father, let's keep calm and rely on grace, guidance from the Holy Spirit, and an (continuing) informed conscience.

Sources about the Laudate Si Encyclical

Laudate Si (Blessed Are You), the much anticipated encyclical by Pope Francis was released this morning. It's said that the name takes inspiration from the Canticle of the Sun by Saint Francis. 

Rather than ramble on about my own take (I honestly have only read parts of it), I share with you 11 Things You Probably Won’t Hear about Pope Francis’ Encyclical, from The Stream.

1. Creation has a Creator, and is more than just “nature-plus-evolution”:

(75) A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable [...]

(77) “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Ps 33:6). [...]

2. Human ecology means recognizing and valuing the difference between masculinity and femininity:

(155) Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment. [...]

3.  Jesus sanctifies human work:

(98) Jesus worked with his hands, in daily contact with the matter created by God, to which he gave form by his craftsmanship. [...]

4. Look up from your phones and encounter each other:

(47) When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. [...]

5. Save the baby humans:

(120) Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. [...]

(136) [I]t is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life. [...]

(91) A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings. [...]

6. Helping the poor requires more than just handouts:

(128) We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. [...]

7. Overpopulation is not the problem:

(50) Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. [...]

8. True ecology requires true anthropology and respect for human dignity:

(118) There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. [...]

(65) The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). [...]

9. Real change requires a change in culture, not just politics:

(123) We should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient to prevent actions which affect the environment because, when the culture itself is corrupt and objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided.

(211) The existence of laws and regulations is insufficient in the long run to curb bad conduct, even when effective means of enforcement are present. [...]

10. The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions, and we need an honest and open debate:

(60) Finally, we need to acknowledge that different approaches and lines of thought have emerged regarding this situation and its possible solutions. [...]

(188) There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. [...]

11. Stop with the cynicism, secularism and immorality:

(229) We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. [...]

A link to the official text of the Laudate Si Encyclical can be found HERE

To watch a video about the intitial impression of Laudate Si, go to Papal Encyclical: A First Look

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Keep Calm and Rely on Sound Doctrine

The times, they are a-changin'.

It can arguably be said that we are in a moral crisis mode unequalled in history. Certainly, there have been depraved and godless societies before us - even to the extent of the sexual perversion and idolatry of riches (and power) rampant today. But what we haven't seen in times past is the "higher proportion of collaborators with the new reigning ideology" to be found "among the ranks of the clergy". This according to Bishop Anthanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan.

He and two collaborators have authored a new book, Preferential Option for the Family — 100 Questions and Answers Relating to the Synod. In it, the understandable confusion surrounding the upcoming Synod on the Family is addressed.

In our frenzied, cyber-fed world we are inundated with a constant barrage of debauchery. Men seeking to become women, unfettered abortion, unnatural attempts of 'marriage' by same sex attracted people, and more. Our children are being force-fed sexual propaganda as early as kindergarten - through school and scouting – even as parental rights teeter on the brink of extinction. Fueling this dire situation is a false sense of tolerance and an abhorrence of righteous judgment.

Popular memes tell us that we should act according to the simple path of giving in to feelings. Our hearts can become softened with a false sense of love when we fail to adhere to the hard and fast truths taught by Holy Mother Church, consistently and unchanged, for over two thousand years.

As Catholic Christians we are taught to be tolerant (and loving) of everyone – regardless of our differences. What is being foisted on us, however, is a demanded acceptance and even celebration of evil acts. That crosses the line of right judgment – the ability to judge an action as morally disordered according to Natural Law. Although only God can judge the condition of another’s soul, scripture tells us that we are to shine the light of Truth onto the darkness of sinful acts. Admonishing the sinner is, after all, a Corporal Work of Mercy.

Society as a whole, and an unfortunate majority of Catholics, are acquiescing to many of these disordered, theologically unsound worldviews. Even as Jesus begs us to pick up our cross (unpopular as it is) and follow Him, many walk away. It’s simply easier to take the well-worn path of societal acceptance under the premise of ‘live and let live’. The danger in this way of thinking, however, is that right and wrong can’t (and shouldn't) be based on feelings. Truth is Truth – as difficult as it may be to employ.

All of this would seem unbearably alarming, were we not to avail ourselves of our beautiful faith! Instead of panicking we can stay calm and rely on sound doctrine -  as we stand for Truth. In this way we will be armed with the Armor of God. There are bountiful opportunities to strengthen us on our journey toward Eternal Life and to help others along the way.

As Archbishop Salvatore J Cordileone of the Archdioces of San Francisco recently noted, the proper way to respond to attempts at same-sex 'marriage' (and other moral ills) must be done with “truth and compassion”.

To shore up our resolve and act with moral certainty we need the help of the Magisterium. We have Holy Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, writings of the Church Fathers, and Sacred Tradition to guide us in this unwavering path.

Of course we also have the strengthening power of the sacraments to see us through. Frequent confession and the nurturing Eucharist are the mainstay to remaining firm when facing adversity. 

I can do all these things in Him Who strengtheneth me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Abundant and fervent prayer, on the part of the faithful, is also essential. Both the laity and their shepherds are in desperate need for guidance, strength, and grace. All this, and more, is at our disposal if only we open ourselves up to the divine guidance through the Church founded by Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.

"Catholics should say many and flaming prayers so that bishops may be protected against the temptation to adapt to the world and so that they may be strengthened in their apostolic courage to confess their Faith." Bishop Schneider


Copies of the ‘Preferential Option for the Family’ booklet can be obtained by emailing supplicafiliale@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bloom Where You Grow

There are a couple of flower boxes on our back porch railing. Anyone who has cats knows what that means - anything growing there has to be pretty persistent or it will be crushed under the furry bellies of our lounging feline friends. In fact, for the past couple of summers we haven't even bothered to plant anything in them.

That's where a delicate salmon-colored poppy comes into the story. Even though the parent plants are far below - on the ground - somehow a tiny seed made it to the soil in one of the flower boxes. Not only did it make it, it germinated, set down roots, and has been beautifully blooming for a few days now.

What can we learn from this persistent, lovely little plant?

We aren't always where we thought we'd be in our lives. Maybe we don't even want to be where we are at all. It's easy to focus on an idealistic image of  if only. In this imaginary, perfect world we would be saints, may be successful (in a worldly way), or admired by all. Every effort would reap the anticipated reward and failure would only come if we didn't try hard enough - or didn't have enough faith.

Yet scripture tells us that we will be tested. That our trials - and how we handle them - will shine a light for others to see. We can become the salt for them and the leaven for their spiritual bread.

Matthew 5:13-16
13"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. 14"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

It isn't always ours to choose where life leads us but it is our choice when it comes to how we react. When life hands us an unexpected detour from our search for perfection, we should choose to react with grace. As a sweet little lady used to tell me,

"We need to bloom where we grow". 

Wherever God has planted us, that is our place to shine, To shine with His love and compassion and faithful service. Then we will be headed down the road of success - and toward sainthood!