Category Archives: Blog
Faithful Catholics across America are hearing our message and joining with us in an effort to hold our elected officials accountable. More importantly, citizens of all faiths are rising up in outrage over what is happening to people at companies like Hobby Lobby, whose devout owners are suing the federal government to avoid being forced to purchase health insurance policies that violate Church teachings.
Americans are waking up to the dangers of a federal government that assaults our religious liberty and imposes suffocating burdens on charities…a government that in many ways is seeking to replace the Church and all other forms of local civic society as the sole provider of services for the needy.
In 2014, Catholic Advocate will launch a three-stage program aimed at reversing this drift towards secular socialism.
PHASE ONE – Catholic Advocate plans to commission a study examining federal, state, and local regulations and laws that affect Catholic social institutions. For example, did you know that in some communities, food banks and soup kitchens have been forced to shut down or suspend services due to absurd regulations? In one area, a particular church was not allowed to donate food to a shelter serving our most vulnerable citizens.
The collective result of thousands of examples like this is the creation of an “uncivil society,” in which government bureaucrats seize a “monopoly” on helping people. Pope Francis has been speaking recently about serving the needy, and this initiative will be an answer to his call. If government agencies are using force to prevent the Church from helping the poor, you and I must stand up and do something about it.
PHASE TWO – After cataloguing the ways in which governments at all levels are stifling Catholic social services, we will develop recommendations to fix the problems, and an implementation plan at the Parish, Diocesan, city, state, and federal levels.
PHASE THREE – We intend to launch a “call to renewal” to help our fellow man at least once per year and provide resources for our community to learn how they can use God’s gifts to help others. This will be a powerful, visible demonstration of how people in their communities – not agents of a government in a distant capital – are the ones making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
But our ability to achieve these specific goals depends on your continued support.
Time Magazine has named Pope Francis its Person of the Year.
||“How do you practice humility from the most exalted throne on earth? Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly-young and old, faithful and cynical-as has Pope Francis. In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power.” Time.com 12/11/13
We encourage you to read the full profile on Pope Francis here.
This is just the third time in 86 years that Time has bestowed this honor on a Catholic Pope. To put this number in perspective, there have been 8 popes since Time started this tradition. Pope John XXIII was the 1962 Person of the Year (New Pentecost) and Pope John Paul II was the 1994 recipient (Empire of the Spirit).
This is a tremendous honor and I applaud the leftwing media for recognizing a remarkable man and leader.
We have some breaking news to share with you.
First, the Supreme Court just agreed to hear two cases filed over the Obama administration’s abortifacient mandate. As you know, Obamacare forces all health insurance plans to pay for sterilization, contraceptives, and yes, abortion drugs.
Bottom line: this major case impacts religious liberties and people of faith everywhere so Catholic Advocate will remain vigilant.
Second is another Obama move that can only be characterized as a slap in the face to the Catholic church and Catholics everywhere. Right now the Obama administration is actually taking formal steps to close down the official Embassy to the Holy See!
You read that correctly.
His plan? To throw Catholics a few crumbs with a some office space at the Embassy to Italy. It’s outrageous … and unacceptable. Rest assured Catholic Advocate is not sitting on the sidelines for this one either.
And finally, Pope Francis released his new apostolic exhortation out today entitled “Evangelii Gaudium.” It reads:
||“The Synod Fathers spoke of the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right. This includes “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public”. A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.”
There’s a lot going on. We will keep you informed as things develop.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Friday afternoon, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals – the second most influential court in America after the Supreme Court – ruled 2-1 in favor of two Catholic business owners challenging the Obamacare mandate requiring them to provide their 400 employees with health insurance that includes contraception.
According to a statement from Judge Janice Brown, “The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan.”
Judge Brown also expressed that “it is clear the government has failed to demonstrate how such a right – whether described as noninterference, privacy, or autonomy – can extend to the compelled subsidization of a woman’s procreative practices.”
Religious organizations have praised the rulling, but it is expected the Supreme Court will take up an appeal of this case and make a final ruling on the constitutionality of the mandate.
Can you imagine a priest or minister in the United States being arrested for performing religious services?
Well, it’s going to happen if Harry Reid continues his refusal to allow the Senate to vote on any legislation passed by the House during this government shutdown.
Let us explain: According to the general counsel of the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, current law dictates non active duty military chaplains could face arrest for celebrating mass or practicing their faith on military bases during the government shutdown. Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Military services has confirmed certain chaplains aren’t even allowed on base or more mind-boggling – to volunteer their services.
Friend, this is unconscionable!
Think about the ministries military chaplains provide to our troops and their families on military bases and VA facilities throughout the country – sacraments including last rights, celebrating mass, grief counseling, treating PTDS, and suicide prevention.
It seems like a no brainer. That’s why the House passed a resolution over the weekend reinforcing that:
||“the performance of religious services and the provisions of ministry are protected activities under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution…”
and urging the Secretary of Defense to:
||“permit the performance of religious services on property owned or maintained by the Department of Defense, during any lapse in appropriations, in the same manner and to the same extent as such religious services are otherwise available.”
Personally, we find this despicable and I’m sure you do as well. How could Harry Reid be so cruel as to deny our service members ministries that, in some cases, could mean life or death? Friend, as people of faith we need to fight back against this travesty.
This should not be happening in America. I appreciate your support in this matter and I know the brave men and women who serve this nation in uniform and their families do as well.
Look at any news medium today and you’ll find story upon story about the federal government shutdown, its impact on the economy and our wallets, and the start of Obamacare’s health care exchanges that use our tax dollars and funds from participants to pay for abortions.
And these are just the headlines for here at home! You’ll also find stories about the violence in Syria, Obama’s negotiations with Iran, and the utter disaster America’s foreign policy has become.
To say we could use some good news right now is an understatement! That’s why I wanted to make sure you heard what the Vatican announced on Monday.
Former Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized as saints on April 27, 2014 – just over six months from now.
The road to sainthood for Pope John Paul II, who passed away in 2005, has been one of the quickest in recent Church history. And though the Vatican has approved only one miracle attributed to Pope John XXIII, Pope Francis has used his authority to allow his canonization without a second miracle.
This is tremendous news for Catholics and all people of faith. So today, despite the uncertainty and turmoil we face, I encourage you to join me in these three prayers – one for our elected leaders tasked with putting aside their differences for the good of the country, one for conscience protections for health care practitioners, and one for those whose bottom line is affected by the government shutdown – and asking for the intercession of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.
||Prayer for Civic Leaders
God our Father,
You guide everything in wisdom and love.
Accept the prayers we offer for our nation.
In your goodness,
watch over those in authority
so that people everywhere
may enjoy freedom, security and peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Protection of Conscience Rights in Health Care
Father, in Jesus our Lord, we praise and thank you for your most precious gift of human life and for forming us in your divine image. Keep us, the dwelling place of your most Holy Spirit, ever healthy in body and soul.
Jesus, Divine Healer, pour your grace upon all those afflicted with illness or disease. Protect from all harm those who are vulnerable due to sickness, suffering, frailty, poverty or age, whether elderly or unborn.
Holy Spirit, touch the hearts of all who serve human life in medicine and science, so they will protect the dignity of each person, from conception to natural death, and remain faithful advocates of all entrusted to their care.
Grant those who are called to serve as health care providers renewed conviction in their ministry, and increased wisdom to treat the whole person, and not merely the illness.
Protect the right of health care providers to serve their patients without being forced to violate their moral and religious convictions. Guard them against discrimination, that they might be free to follow you faithfully while fulfilling their professional duties.
Grant our lawmakers the wisdom and courage to uphold conscience rights for those called to the ministry of healing, and help them resist the pressure to become collaborators in the culture of death.
Give us strength to be bold and joyful witnesses to the truth that every human life is sacred.
In your goodness, guard our freedom to live out our faith and to follow you in all that we do.
Father, we ask this in Jesus’ name, through the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayer During Difficult Economic Times
We know that your love is infinite and that you care about all areas of our life.
In this time of economic insecurity, help us to trust that all of our security is in you.
Keep us mindful that you always have and always will provide for our needs.
Apart from you we can do nothing.
We ask that you give our leaders the wisdom to guide our nation and the world
out of the current economic crisis.
Help us to protect the poor and all those who are struggling during this difficult time.
Provide for their needs and give them hope.
Open new opportunities for them and furnish the resources they need to live with dignity.
Encourage those who have enough to share essential resources
with those who lack the necessities of life,
and to do so with humble, grateful and loving hearts.
We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Pope John Paul II, pray for us.
Pope John XXIII, pray for us.
Anyone who attended Mass this past weekend surely heard about the Pope Francis interview published by the editors of America. But what you heard is likely different from what someone across the country heard — so I want to take a moment to set the record straight.
In the interview conducted by Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J., the editor-in-chief of the Italian Jesuit journal, Pope Francis speaks candidly about morality and the Catholic Church’s role in an evolving world. I’ve included the segment of the interview where same-sex marriage, divorce, and abortion are discussed for you to see firsthand. Under no circumstances has Pope Francis endorsed same-sex marriage or called for the Church to relax its rules or alter its beliefs.
That’s why the team here at Catholic Advocate will continue our mission to fight for policies – and leaders – who will promote and defend our beliefs. In addition, defending traditional marriage, the sanctity of life, and religious liberty will remain the key focus of our efforts.
I hope you’ll continue to stand with us. Whether you can donate $25, volunteer your time, or keep our work in your prayers, your support is greatly appreciated.
If you turn on the news this evening, chances are you’ll see footage that breaks your heart, from either the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, or Syria. Both situations are tragic and beg the question: why?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer or solutions. But the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services has a suggestion – treasuring life:
||“Somehow we must restore the notion of respect for life into the fabric of the Nation. When the uniqueness of the human person created in the image and likeness of God is universally recognized, the possibility of a mass shooting is more remote.”
Friend, we’d like to share this prayer with you today. I hope you’ll take a moment to reflect upon it and pray for those affected by the violence in Washington, DC, and Syria.
A Prayer for Victims of Violence
Almighty and Ever-Loving God, in you we place our trust and hope. You guide everything with wisdom and love. Hear the prayers we offer for those who have been hurt or lost their lives. May your love gently wipe the tears from our eyes and remove the fear from our heart. Look also with favor upon the families and friends who mourn the victims and comfort those who are in grief and despair. We ask this in your name. Amen.
Last month at World Youth Week in Brazil, Pope Francis declared:
||“We need saints without cassocks, without veils – we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends. We need saints that place God in first place ahead of succeeding in any career. We need saints that look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity and all good things. We need saints – saints for the 21st century with a spirituality appropriate to our new time. We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change. We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it. We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theater. We need saints that are open sociable normal happy companions. We need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane. We need saints.”
We’re going to take it a step further. We need saints who will fight for religious liberty, for all people, protect life, and defend traditional marriage.
As you know, the Obama administration has launched an unprecedented attack on the religious liberty, violating the beliefs of Americans of all faiths. Religious organizations, like Catholic Advocate, have lobbied tirelessly against the administration’s radical pro-abortion and same-sex marriage agenda, but to no avail. The Obama administration has made it clear they have no interest in working with religious organizations to preserve your freedom.
Restoring religious liberty in America is going to come down to one thing: sending saints to the United States Congress.
The truth of the matter is that we can’t wait to elect a new president in 2016 to begin repairing the damage already done to religious liberty. Every day, doctors and nurses are being forced to perform procedures and prescribe medications that violate their beliefs, and insurance companies are being forced to pay for it. This should not be happening in America!
Tomorrow, August 1, 2013, the Health and Human Services contraception mandate goes into effect.
In other words, tonight at midnight we’ll lose a key part of our religious liberty.
This is more than unacceptable; it’s un-American. But Congress failed to act when we lobbied them to institute conscience protections legislation and only President Obama can prevent this destructive mandate from going into effect…but we both know that will never happen.
Friends, Catholic Advocate is on the front lines of the battle to restore religious liberty in America and put safeguards in place to make sure this type of radical executive power play never against diminishes our rights. But we urgently need your help to fund our efforts in all 50 states.
Friends, I can’t emphasize enough how important your help is today. We owe it to ourselves and our fellow Americans of faith to do whatever we can do try to reverse this historic attack on religious liberty. And more importantly, we owe it to future generations to make sure an attack like this can never happen again by passing conscience protections legislation immediately.