Today Catholic Advocate is leading the charge to contact members of Congress about HR 940, legislation that would fix the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that requires all employers to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of religious or moral objection by enacting conscience protections.
We can’t emphasize enough how critical it is for Congress to pass this legislation. The Obama administration continues to push its secular agenda and has no qualms about destroying our religious freedom in the process. Last month, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic, telegraphed to an audience at Harvard the Administration’s decision about supposed “accommodations” to the mandate hours before the comment period ended. This was a slap in the face to not only people of faith, but anyone who exercises their voice in the public square. This is our chance to level the playing field and deliver a huge victory for religious liberty.
We’ve done all the legwork for you; all you have to do is follow this link, enter your zip code to locate your members, and hit send! Of course we welcome you to edit the letter we’ve prepared for you, if you’d like.
As Americans of faith, we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to preserve religious liberty, not only for us, but for generations to come. This is our chance, and there’s no room for compromise. We must enact conscience protections before the Obama administration completely tramples our religious liberty.
Today is Ascension Thursday. On this day, the risen Christ, in the sight of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven. (Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11).
Most dioceses in the United States will celebrate this feast day on Sunday, which this year happens to also be Mother’s Day. This is incredibly appropriate; as every loving mother yearns to witness her child reach his or her true potential. Though I imagine Jesus’ ascension was bittersweet for Mary, we’re sure she found joy in knowing her Son was fulfilling the mission He was called to do.
So today and Sunday, when we reflect upon Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven and honor or mothers, we offer you this prayer:
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who believe Thine only-begotten Son our Redeemer, to have ascended this day into heaven, may ourselves dwell in spirit amid heavenly things.
Last week, we grieved for the victims of a vicious terror attack and horrific accident, rallying behind Boston and West, Texas, during their times of tragedy. We celebrated the heroism of the first responders working — and risking their own lives — to protect the lives of thousands of innocent bystanders.
>>> Why did a Pennsylvania judge yesterday throw out three of seven first degree murder charges against Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor accused of killing seven infants after they were born alive?
>>> How does President Obama justify headlining the Planned Parenthood annual gala tomorrow night?
For a country that talks about treasuring life during times of tragedy, we certainly turn a blind eye to the tragedies happening every day in Planned Parenthood clinics and other doctors’ offices throughout the country.
>>> Is it a tragedy only when an innocent life is lost from a bomb or explosion, but not when an innocent life is taken from the womb by a monster like Gosnell?
The double standard is horrifying. As Americans, we should praise those who defend and protect life instead of bankrolling those who take life away with our tax dollars. This is why we urgently need to support the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which will ban federal funding from any organization that performs abortions.
Will you call your member of Congress today and ask him/her to support the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act?
U.S. House of Representatives (202) 224-3121 TTY: (202)-225-1904
Our goal is to reach all 435 Congressional offices by May 1 — one week from today. Can we count on your help?
Thank you in advance for standing up for the sanctity of life.
The “charity” deduction was created in 1917 to preserve America’s centuries-old tradition of philanthropy. It is the only section of the U.S. Tax Code that “rewards” a taxpayer for giving their resources away. Tax benefits for charitable contributions and tax-exempt organizations are approximately $100 billion annually.
Unfortunately, some political leaders see the charitable deduction as $40 billion in “lost federal revenue.” President Obama, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the Bowles-Simpson Commission have proposed modifications that would decrease private giving.
Modifying or doing away with the charity deduction will disproportionately harm nonprofits that rely heavily on private giving. Even a 28% cap on charitable deductions, as some including President Obama have proposed, will lower total giving by $9.4 billion annually. Most donors won’t stop giving, but they will likely give smaller amounts and/or less frequently.
The 60-day comment period for the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate came to a close on Monday.
But the Obama administration announced that the free contraception mandate will go into effect in August before the deadline! HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday, “As of Aug. 1, 2013, every employee who doesn’t work directly for a church or a diocese will be included in the benefit package.”
According to Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, “in our Catholic tradition, the right to religious freedom proceeds from the inherent dignity of each human person.” This is why Catholic Advocate has done so much over the past three years to alert people of faith to the Obama administration’s assault on religious liberty and lobby Congress to pass conscience protection legislation. So today I want to take a moment to highlight some of the formal comments issued by Catholic organizations. I believe you’ll not only find these comments interesting, but a source of hope that we haven’t lost this battle yet. (more…)
Did you hear or read Pope Francis” Homily at his Installation Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph?
He spoke of Joseph the “protector” and then transitioned to what that means to each of us in today”s world.
We wanted to share with you an excerpt:
“The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God”s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God”s gifts! (more…)
The Mass of Installation Tuesday for our new Pontiff is a world event. All the diplomats from various countries assigned to the Holy See will be in attendance in the traditional formal tuxedos with tails. Countries are sending delegations to pay their respects or, in the case of the United States, their disrespects for the teachings of the Church.
With regular quadrennial attention to the Catholic vote in the United States and the recent attacks on our religious liberties, there is no misunderstanding among the Executive Branch or Legislative Branch in Washington D.C. about where the Catholic Church stands on the settled issues of life and marriage.
The White House is delivering a clear, dismissive message of disrespect for the teachings of the Catholic Church by sending the two poster children for dissenting Catholic politicians. The “official” U.S. delegation is led by our Vice President Joe Biden who on May 6, 2012 during an appearance on ‘Meet the Press’ endorsed same-sex marriage. He is joined by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the United States House of Representatives. Any faithful Catholic who pays attention to politics is familiar with Leader Pelosi’s votes against life and marriage and her knack for attempting to twist Church writings to justify her positions. It is easy to understand why Georgetown University President Dr. John J. DeGioia, the oldest Jesuit institution in the United States is on the delegation. However, Pope Francis is not a “Georgetown Jesuit” and it is safe to assume he would not have allowed a pro-abortion Cabinet Secretary like Kathleen Sebelius to be honored during commencement activities. And, in a nod to bi-partisanship and American Latinos, the pro-life Latino Governor of New Mexico is being included as almost an afterthought. Seventy-five percent of the U.S. delegation personifies the persistent frustration with Catholics in public life and our institutions of Catholic higher education, something our new pope addressed as Cardinal and our last two pontiffs repeatedly criticized during their papacies. (more…)
After just two days of the conclave, Habemus Papam (we have a pope)!
Shortly after 6:30 PM in Rome, white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel indicating the cardinals had selected a successor to Peter. An hour later, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica pronouncing, “Habemus Papam” — we have a pope! — and introduced Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.
Cardinal Bergoglio, who has chosen the name Francis I, entered the balcony to deliver his first papal blessing, and did something amazing — he asked the entire world watching to pray together. An act of a humble man faithful to the Magesterium of our Church.
We are a man described by many to be a “compassionate conservative” is our new Pope. We at Catholic Advocate encourage all to pray for our new pontiff and our Church.
Below are the first words to the faithful from Pope Francis I:
Brothers and sisters good evening.
You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.
First of all I would say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI.. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him.
Glory to the Father…
And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood . My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favour. Before the bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.
[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]
[Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]
I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon.
We will see one another soon.
Tomorrow I want to go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!
“I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
“For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
“Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
The reintroduction of this legislation in the 113th Congress made technical corrections to Congressman Mike Pence’s H.R. 217 which was introduced in the 112th Congress. Rep. Blackburn is Vice-Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees Title X of the 1970 Public Health Service Act. She hopes to build on the support her former colleague and good friend, Congressman Mike Pence, garnered in previous Congresses including successful efforts to attach the language as an amendment to pending legislation. In 2010, a GAO report showed that America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, received over $340 million from the Title X family planning program.
Senator David Vitter (R, LA) has introduced the companion legislation S. 135 in the U.S. Senate.