Welcome to Couples for Christ - Foundation for Family and Life East Contra Costa
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sacramento, Sep 27, 2008 (CNA).- Jamie Soto, the coadjutor bishop of Sacramento, addressed the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries conference in Long Beach, California on September 18. While noting that marriage is not the "sole domain of love," he also reiterated the Church’s teaching that homosexual acts are sinful. During his talk, several audience members walked out while Bishop Soto received hostile responses from many in the audience afterward.
The bishop’s address began by challenging the belief that Jesus "always gave people what they wanted" and was an "agreeable person." He noted the exchange between Jesus and Simon Peter in Matthew 16, where Jesus says "You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
"Jesus does not give in to the expectations of Peter or the expectations of others," Bishop Soto explained. "He has firmly planted in his heart the expectations and desires of his Father in heaven. He says ‘no’ to Peter and challenges Peter to take up a greater ‘yes,’ to take up his cross and follow him."
The bishop also referenced St. Paul’s phrase "do not conform yourselves to this age," noting the human capacity to think that Jesus is "too unrealistic, too unreasonable," and to convince ourselves that "we know better than the Lord."
Such habits, the bishop said, are evident today in the area of sexuality, about which many of us have a "distorted sense."
"Sexuality has been reduced to a matter of personal preference and personal pleasure without responsibility and with little respect for others. We can lose sight of the profound dignity of the human person who shares in God’s love and creative work through the chaste expression of one’s sexuality proper to one’s calling in life. "
Bishop Soto criticized the "contraceptive culture" that reduces the procreative act to "simple recreation absolved of any responsibility." He also explained the Church’s support for the California ballot’s Proposition 8, which would overturn the California Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year instituting same-sex marriage.
"The nature of love has been distorted," the bishop continued. "Many popular notions have deviated from its true destiny. Love for many has come to mean having sex. If you cannot have sex than you cannot love. This is the message. Even more destructive is the prevailing notion that sex is not an expression of love. Sex is love."
He said this view "deprives sexuality of its true meaning" and hampers the possibility of "ever knowing real love."
Sexual intercourse, he explained, is "a beautiful expression of God’s love" when it is understood "as a unique expression intended to share in the creative, faithful love of God." Referencing Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est, he said that when sexual intercourse ceases to be an icon of God’s "creative, unifying love" it becomes "impoverished" and "demeans the human person."
Bishop Soto then lauded the virtue of chastity, calling it "the path that brings us to that harmony with God’s wisdom and love" and a thing that "moves us beyond one’s desire to what God wills for each one of us."
This is true, he said, also for men and women who are homosexual.
"Let me be clear here," the bishop stated. "Sexual intercourse, outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, can be alluring and intoxicating but it will not lead to that liberating journey of true self-discovery and an authentic discovery of God. For that reason, it is sinful."
While same-sex relations can be "alluring" for homosexuals, it "deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all."
Acknowledging the "beautiful, heroic expression" of married love, he added, "Marriage is also not the sole domain of love as some of the politics would seem to imply." Love includes "the deep and chaste love of committed friends" as well as the love of religious and clergy, the bonds between Christians, and the love between family members.
"Should we dismiss or demean the human and spiritual significance of these lives given in love?" He asked rhetorically.
"We hope and pray that all people, including our brothers and sisters who are homosexuals, will see the reasonableness of our position and the sincerity of our love for them," the bishop continued, closing with an exhortation to the audience "to be drawn into the ways and the manners of Jesus."
Two conference attendees told the California Catholic Daily that they witnessed Bishop Soto "courageously but gently" give a clear presentation of Catholic teaching on sexuality. They report at least five members of the audience walked out during the bishop’s address, while only a very small number applauded the bishop at the conclusion of his speech.
When the conference chairman announced the bishop would answer questions at a reception held in another room, members of the audience reportedly made widespread shows of disapproval and said they wanted to respond immediately.
Bishop Soto then interacted with respondents.
About eight audience members expressed their unhappiness with what the bishop had said. One woman reportedly commented that the audience knew what the Church teaches but wanted to hear about the value of the "lived experience" of lesbian women and gay men.
Two other speakers, one man and one woman, thanked the bishop for his address and voiced agreement with his remarks.
While the audience members responded to the bishop’s remarks, the California Catholic Daily says, one board member of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries approached one of the tables in the room and said "On behalf of the board, I apologize. We had no idea Bishop Soto was going to say what he said."
The California Catholic Daily claims that the Berkeley-based National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries has the reputation of taking "at best, an ambiguous stance" on issues concerning same-sex attraction and homosexual acts.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Editorial by Fr. Alphonse DeValk, editor, The Catholic Insight
September 24, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Just before the election of January 23, 2006, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), an association of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued an Open Letter to Canadian Catholics. First, it summarized Canada's general situation as follows:
"At this time in the history of Canada, a realistic look at society reveals a fundamental problem-the loss of respect for human life and dignity. This is evident in so many ways:
- the legal void that permits abortion right up to birth;
- medical research that authorizes the destruction of embryos;
- a mentality that increasingly favours euthanasia and assisted suicide;
- the gratuitous violence in our schoolyards;
- abuse of women and children;
- the violent deaths of young men;
- the silence that surrounds so many situations of poverty;
- the widespread incidence of prostitution, pornography and drugs."
The COLF Letter observed that the family is under constant attack, today not least because of the Liberal government's redefinition of marriage in June 2005. It went on to point to Canada's anti-religious secularism:
"We are witnessing an obvious effort by some in society who wish to relegate religion to the private lives of citizens. This aggressive secular ideology refuses religion the right to exist in the public square. In the name of pluralism and secularity, then, there is a desire to exclude from public dialogue those who promote religious values, even when these can be defended by human reason and experience."
Just recently, in Ontario, the Human Rights Commission made the most brazen attack on freedom of religion and conscience seen so far in Canada. It boldly ordered the College of Physicians and Surgeons to extinguish the rights of medical doctors to follow their own conscience in judging the needs of their patients. The Human Rights Commissions are now a blight on the Canadian landscape.
Meanwhile, the legalized killing of infants in the womb remains the overall most important moral crisis for Canada. Its deadly social consequences are now upon us. It is shameful that Prime Minister Harper once more distanced himself from this issue before calling the election. We encourage the voters in the riding of Calgary South-West to express their unhappiness on election day.
The first principle in voting is that to be pro-abortion disqualifies a candidate from office. He/she is simply unsuited to hold office. Their thinking is awry. Because of this opinion, they get everything important wrong as well.
But Catholics have obligations above and beyond other voters. Why? Because they have received the Truth. The following principles apply to them.
Catholics who cast a vote for a politician who supports abortion and same-sex 'marriage' "commit moral evil," if a moral candidate is available. Advancing pro-abortion candidates and their aims is incompatible with the Catholic faith.
"Voting is a moral act." In some matters of morality, such as immigration, universal health care, and affordable housing, "the use of reason allows for a legitimate diversity in our prudential judgments." Other acts, regardless of the motive or circumstances, always "involve doing evil" and must be opposed: "These choices include elective abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, the destruction of embryonic human beings in stem-cell research, human cloning, and same-sex 'marriage.'"
"Such acts are judged to be intrinsically evil, that is, evil in and of themselves regardless of our motives or the circumstances. They constitute an attack against human life, as well as marriage and family."
Catholic voters have to bring a "correct conscience" on matters regarding innocent human life and the family even when faced with the choice of two unacceptable candidates.
"When there is no choice of a candidate that avoids supporting intrinsically evil actions, especially elective abortion, Catholics should vote in such a way as to allow the least harm to innocent human life and dignity."
"We would not be acting immorally therefore if we were to vote for a candidate who is not totally acceptable in order to defeat one who poses an even greater threat to human life and dignity."
Who said all this? It is contained in a voters' guide issued by the four bishops of the State of Kansas. It presents authentic Catholic moral teaching. It applies in Canada, the United States, Great Britain and anywhere else in the world.
For information on candidates in the various ridings, see LifeSiteNews.com for the Campaign Life Coalition election 2008 Voters Guide which will be posted late today.
Friday, September 26, 2008
September 26, 2008
Read: Colossians 3:1-13
Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. --Colossians 3:1
Stepping outside and gazing heavenward on a star-studded evening always helps to soothe my soul after a trouble-filled day. When I peer into the night sky, I forget, at least for a moment, the cares of life on earth.
Ancient Israel’s prolific songwriter wrote a poem thousands of years ago that still rings true: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Ps. 8:3-4).
When we try to imagine the immensity of God’s heavens, our problems indeed seem trivial. Yet God doesn’t think so! With all the galaxies He has to attend to, God is mindful of us. And not only are we on His mind, He cares for us.
No wonder the apostle Paul advised new believers to set their minds on things above (Col. 3:2). In doing so, we raise our thoughts above the level of earthly disputes and focus instead on our loving, heavenly Father, who wants us to know Him, to know how to live peacefully with one another, and to know that we can live eternally with Him in a place even more beautiful than the heavens.
“The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1). Let’s join creation in praise to Him. --Julie Ackerman Link
Bless the Lord and sing His praises,
Bless the Lord now, O my soul;
Join the song all heaven raises,
Let the anthem loudly roll! --Peterson
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This idolatry has manifested itself in the network of corrupt officials who were greedy for more and therefore did not properly carry out their roles, Cardinal Cipriani said.
“They adore money and therefore, they engage in deceit. They issued a series of mortgages that had no value, and that, multiplied by millions has led to this flood of fraudulent corruption,” the cardinal said on his weekly radio program.
The cardinal warned that idolizing power and money has reached “very troubling levels in the world.” When money and power are “the only objects of our lives, they end in problems,” he said.
“When there is so much desire for money, it is for power, and when there is a desire for power it is for money. All of this just to impose our subjectivism, arrogance and pride,” the cardinal stated.
In this sense, he pointed out that the financial crisis in the Unites States is not because of “bad loans” but because of corruption by “those who were supposed to oversee mortgages, those who were supposed to handle lending, those who were supposed to be in charge of financial oversight” and who were part of a great “network of corruption.”
FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia, SEPT. 23 and 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The question pro-life activist David Bereit is asking these days is not if abortion will end, but when it will end.
Bereit is the national campaign director of 40 Days for Life, a campaign he says has inspired hope that a culture of life is possible.
The campaign began Wednesday, and will unite pro-life advocates all over the United States, and two cities in Canada, to pray, fast and work together through Nov. 2, the Sunday that precedes the U.S. election day.
Q: Could you give us a brief overview of the 40 Days for Life program, and explain how it works?
Bereit: 40 Days for Life is a very focused, 40-day intensive pro-life campaign that has as its mission an effort to end abortion peacefully and prayerfully in the community, ultimately throughout our nation and throughout our world.
Three things are done for a period of 40 days. The first component is that in the local community we call upon believers to join together in prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. Our prayer is based on the belief that with God all things are possible.
We are not going to win the struggle against abortion on purely human terms. It is not going to be decided purely by the Supreme Court, who is in the White House or who is in Congress.
Ultimately, it is with God that an end to abortion is possible.
The other part of this, the fasting, is very important. I was raised in a Christian tradition that did not emphasize fasting, but when I read Scripture I realized that it talked about how there are some demons that can only be driven out through prayer and fasting. I thought that maybe this is something that we need to do specifically: fasting with the intention of ending abortion.
We have had people do everything from a very significant bread-and-water fast for 40 days, but for most people it means giving up a meal each day or giving up a certain type of food or drink.
One family gave up television for 40 days and said, "We are going to put all of that time that we usually spend in front of the tube into pro-life work." I thought to myself how that would really change our nation if everyone who was pro-life would do that as well.
The second component is the constant, peaceful prayer vigil that is held outside of an abortion facility or Planned Parenthood office. Essentially it draws community awareness to the injustice that is happening at that abortion center.
It also sends a message to those who work at the center, in a very peaceful and loving way, that what they are doing is detrimental to women, detrimental to the community, and that it is not supported by the Church in their community.
The participants are also there to reach out in a compassionate way to those pregnant mothers who are in crisis and do not know where else to turn, to offer them better alternatives that do not imply a lifetime of regrets. So, there is this aspect of 40 days of, in many cases, 24-hour, daily, round-the-clock prayer vigils outside of these facilities.
The third component, then, is grassroots educational outreach. This implies taking a pro-life message to community groups, churches and schools. In many communities, including the site of the very first 40 Days for Life campaign, this went along with a door-to-door outreach that reached 25,000-30,000 homes in the 40-day period.
We engage the media, both the religious outlets as well as the secular media outlets, so as to make sure that those who do not drive by the facility to see the prayer vigil, or those who do not go to a church on Sunday, still get the message.
We spread the message that life is sacred, that it is worth protecting, and that there is hope that we can rebuild, as Pope John Paul II said, a "culture of life" in our nation again. Thus we have prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil, and grassroots outreach all done through a focused 40-day period of time.
Q: How do you encourage the participants to reach out to people who have had abortions?
Bereit: Actually, last week in our training with the 174 campaign leaders we focused on reaching out to post-abortive mothers and fathers, especially in the time immediately after they have had an abortion, when it finally begins to hit them and they say to themselves, "What have I just done?"
We encouraged reaching out to those who have been carrying the pain of abortion for years and have been unable to find healing and forgiveness. We have partnered with wonderful ministries like Rachel's Vineyard, Project Rachel, Silent No More Awareness, and Abortion Recovery International Network.
Amazingly, more than half of the campaigns that we have had to date have been led by post-abortive women who have been the leaders for these campaigns because they have gone through these types of healing programs and have benefited from them.
They want this 40 Days for Life to reach out to other people who are at risk of making that same decision that for them turned into so many emotional, psychological and spiritual regrets down the road. Everything is done in a peaceful, loving, compassionate way during this campaign.
We have seen enormous surges of people who have come out of the woodwork in the communities where 40 Days for Life has been done, and they say, "A year ago, five years ago, 30 years ago, I had an abortion and it has still been bothering me."
Many times some of those people that go through the post-abortive healing become some of the most incredible advocates for life, and are able to share their testimonies to help people realize that, yes, abortion destroys the life of an innocent child made in God's image and likeness, but also it is devastating to women.
They can say: "I've been there. I've done that. I've felt the pain." And that is a very compelling message. We embrace their message. We welcome those who have had abortions to participate in this campaign.
Q: As you do your outreach, what have you found to be the reaction of the public, from both pro-abortion and pro-life groups?
Bereit: We are continually amazed. This campaign has now been done in 139 cities and 43 states, and is being organized in 179 cities for the campaign beginning this month. In that time, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The pro-life community has been incredibly rejuvenated in those cities where a campaign has been done. We see people from pregnancy resource centers, right-to-life groups, parish respect life committees, diocesan respect life offices, and post-abortive ministries all come together in a common focus for a 40-day period of time.
When I travel around to the different states that have done this campaign, and I look into the eyes of the people that have participated, many of them first-time volunteers for pro-life work, I have seen such incredible hope.
People have told me, "After 35 years of legalized abortion in America, I had begun to despair. I had begun to think that we could never have any part in ending this. But now I have cause for hope."
I realized that it is not a matter of if abortion ends. It is a matter of when abortion ends.
Regarding the abortion industry as a whole, I am amazed that during the first campaign that was held nationally last fall, even Planned Parenthood gave us attention. They set up an entire Web site, and an entire fundraising campaign around the 40 Days for Life. They talked about how they were under siege. They are very concerned.
I am amazed still to date that as an organization we have grown so much. I work out of a little corner of my bedroom. We have a tiny little budget.
This was just an idea a year and a few months ago. Yet here today God has spread this to over 200 cities now collectively, and inspired hope all over the nation.
Q: What explanation do you give for why 40 Days for Life is growing and spreading so quickly to so many new cities?
Bereit: Number one it is because of prayer. It is because of the Holy Spirit. That is my strongest of convictions.
In second place it is because of the amazing people that God has called to be a part of this effort. I have heard some of the most incredible stories of people who have never been involved in pro-life work before they heard about this campaign. They got involved, launched local campaigns, mobilized hundreds of people, saved dozens of lives, and really turned the tide in their communities.
We have seen two abortion facilities go out of business following 40 Days for Life campaigns. We know of five abortion-clinic workers who have left the abortion industry, telling the 40 Days for Life volunteers that it was because of them and their prayers.
Q: Why did you decide to make this next program, beginning today and ending Nov. 2, coincide with the national elections? How important do you think the abortion issue is in these elections?
Bereit: Well, the campaign dates were the same that we used last year, because they worked very well, but we also felt that there was certainly no coincidence that the 40 days lead up to the Sunday immediately preceding the national election in America.
We believe this is a crucial time here in our nation. This is the year, 2008, when the death toll from abortion has crossed the 50 million mark. This is the year when the abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, crossed the billion dollar mark in revenues, over $336 million of that coming from American taxpayers.
After 35 years, if abortion was a good thing, it would be settled in the minds of people. But we have recognized that abortion has not been a good thing. It has not done any good for women, and it has certainly been destructive to the lives of the 50 million children that have been lost.
There is no more important time in our nation's history than right now for people to pray, to fast, and to put their faith into action. We will be able to do big, big things, because we have a big, big God who can do all things.
We took a tour of the capital recently. We got the opportunity to get down on the floor of the House of Representatives chamber. There, up on the wall, above where the Speaker of the House sits, it says in big letters "In God We Trust."
And I thought, one of the problems we have had these last 35 years of legalized abortion in America, is that we have put our trust in everything else but that.
We have put our trust in who resides in the White House. We have put our trust in who is walking the halls of Congress. We have put our trust in who are the black-robed judges sitting on the United States Supreme Court. We have put our trust in the state legislatures. We put our trust in politics.
This year we must recognize the importance of that statement "In God We Trust," and we must return our faith there. He is the only one who will never let us down.
I really believe from the bottom of my heart that this year is going to mark the beginning of the end of abortion, and I think we are already starting to see that play out all across the nation.
I see it in the eyes of the people. I see them putting their work into action. I see them in position now all across the country. I am amazed. I have never seen it like this before.
Last year we had some really good things happening. Reports around the country showed that people were going to planning meetings, and they had 15 or 20 people getting involved. By comparison, this year I went to three different planning meetings in Nebraska, and at these three meetings there were 500 people.
These people were on fire and they were ready to do things. I am seeing planning, intensity, and work like I have never seen. It gives me enormous hope.
Q: Are you expecting any specific results from this campaign?
Bereit: The most important result we hope for is that each of us who are involved grow in holiness during the campaign. That is more important than any immediate result.
Yes, we hope and pray that we will see many children's lives saved. Nationally, thus far in the previous two campaigns we have reports of 514 children saved, and we want to see many more children saved.
Yes, we want to see many people spared from making a decision for abortion. Yes, we want to see a lot of post-abortion healing happen.
But most importantly we want our nation to turn back to God, and that is going to start through each one of us. It will begin through our faithfulness, through our personal growth in holiness. Personally, I have never had the degree of spiritual growth like I experienced during my first 40 Days for Life.
Q: What are some ways that people can join in the 40 Days for Life effort?
Bereit: The first thing I would tell anybody would be to get down on their knees and begin to pray. Pray about what role God has for you in this effort.
Certainly for many people it will be to join in the prayer and fasting from today to Nov. 2. For many people it will be to participate in the vigil campaign in 179 cities throughout the country.
On our Web site we have a list of all the locations where the vigils will be held, and people can go there, they can find the location nearest to them, they can get the information, and they can come out to the vigil.
Maybe it will be one hour a day for the 40 days, the equivalent of a workweek, and they can have the opportunity to save lives. Maybe it will be once a week. Maybe it will be just once during the 40 days.
They can go and be there in prayer in the place where there is so little hope, at an abortion facility or Planned Parenthood office, to be a beacon of light in the darkness there.
Another thing is that people can discern if God is calling them to be a part of spreading the pro-life message through personal outreach. Maybe it will start with talking with their friends, or family members, people at their parish, people throughout their diocese, people they work with, people they go to school with or that their children go to school with, and inviting people to join together in this effort during these 40 days.
On our Web site we have a section where people can sign up for the daily e-mail updates and devotionals during the 40 days.
We have national leaders such as Father Frank Pavone and other clergy, other national pro-life leaders, who will be sending out a daily devotional with a Scripture reflection and a call to action for people during the 40 days. We have heard so many great reports from people that tell us it is such an inspiration to know that their intentions are being united with others around the country.
For those people who are in a city that does not have an organized campaign this fall, they may discern that God is leading them to lead a campaign down the road. We are very likely to do another campaign again next Lenten season, and one again next fall.
Q: What message would you like to give to people who are interested in participating in this campaign?
Bereit: The main thought that keeps coming back to me as I work with people during this campaign, is that years from now in the history books, there is going to be a chapter about abortion, and about how this great injustice ultimately ended. As with every great injustice, such as segregation or slavery, or any other injustice in America and throughout the world, all of them eventually fell or will fall.
Abortion will eventually fall. When it does, and when the history books are written, our children and our grandchildren are going to be reading about how abortion ended.
I believe that they are going to be reading about the year 2008 and how this year was the beginning of the end of abortion. And we will have to answer to them what we did or did not do during this crucial time in American history.
I believe that the faithful, God's people, who are willing to pray and fast, who are willing to hold peaceful vigil, who are willing to spread the pro-life message, and do anything they can to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, I believe that we will be able to tell our children and grandchildren, "I did everything that I could possibly do. I was willing to do the things that needed to be done in order to end abortion."
It is the legacy that we are going to be known for. People will look back at us and will measure us by how we met this great evil, this great injustice. Abortion will be in the history books. The question is what role will we have played in bringing it down? That's the message I really want to get across to people.
Ultimately of course, we live with the desire that when we each arrive in our heavenly home, we want to eventually hear those words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Hi Brother and sisters, I received the narrative form of this email and some brothers and sisters confirm that this is true. I received this email from my Indian catholic colleague. This is not for faint hearted. Please pray for them and definitely our Father won't leave HIS children nor forsaken His Children.
Dear Children of the Living God,
Does any religion allow this – Is this not Terrorism.
Keeping quiet about it will not help – Christians, do not retaliate, we are willing to die as Martyrs, however, are these people willing to face God and justify their actions?
Please send this to your friends, and raise your voices, against the atrocities committed, in the name of religion.
I am an Indian, and am proud of being a Chrisitian.
Attached are few pictures of violence against Christians in Orissa.
Reports received that thousands of Christian homes were burned down, many were brutally murdered and many are living away in remote unknown hide outs, without food and clothes to change. Many are living in the shelters.
Please pray for our country and those who are suffering.
A REQUEST TO ALL CHRISTIANS – PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES SO THAT TOGETHER WE COULD RAISE OUR VOICE TO HEAVEN…
The VHP has plans to kill all Christians in Puri District of Orissa. Let us fast and pray to Jesus for His intervention and protection of his people…
Questions & Answers
About Proposition 8
What is Proposition 8?
Proposition 8 is a simple and straightforward voter initiative. It contains the same 14 words that were previously approved in 2000 by over 61% of California voters: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
Because four activist judges in San Francisco wrongly overturned the people's vote, we need to pass this measure as a constitutional amendment to restore the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
What does a YES vote on Proposition 8 mean?
Voting YES on Proposition 8 does 3 simple things:
It restores the definition of marriage to what the vast majority of California voters already approved and human history has understood marriage to be.
It overturns the outrageous decision of four activist Supreme Court judges who ignored the will of the people.
It protects our children from being taught in public schools that "same-sex marriage" is the same as traditional marriage.
What does a NO vote on Proposition 8 mean?
If Proposition 8 is defeated, the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed and its powerful influence on the betterment of society will be lost. The defeat of Prop. 8 would result in the very meaning of marriage being transformed into nothing more than a contractual relationship between adults. No longer will the interests of children and families even be a consideration. We will no longer celebrate marriage as a union of husband and wife, but rather a relationship between 'Party A' and 'Party B.' The marriage of a man and a woman has been at the heart of society since the beginning of time. It promotes the ideal opportunity for children to be raised by a mother and father in a family held together by the
legal, communal and spiritual bonds of marriage. And while divorce and death too frequently disrupt the ideal, as a society we should put the best interests of children first, and that is traditional marriage. Voting No on Proposition 8 would destroy marriage as we know it and cause profound harm to society.
Will Proposition 8 take away any rights for gay and lesbian domestic partners?
No. Proposition 8 is about preserving marriage; it's not an attack on the gay lifestyle. Proposition 8 doesn't take away any rights or benefits from gays or lesbians in domestic partnerships. Under California law, "domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits" as married spouses. (Family Code §297.5.) There are no exceptions. Proposition 8 will not change this.
If Proposition 8 passes, what will happen to the same-sex marriages that have already taken place?
Under Proposition 8, the validity and recognition of all marriage in California would be limited to a man and a woman, including past and future marriages, as well as marriages from other states or countries. The rights and obligations of same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses before Proposition 8 passes will be up to the Courts to decide.
If Proposition 8 does not pass, will my children be forced to learn about gay marriage at school?
Yes. In health education classes, state law requires teachers to instruct children as young as kindergarteners about marriage. (Education Code §51890.) If the same-sex marriage ruling is not overturned, teachers will be required to teach young children that there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.
Why is Proposition 8 needed? Didn't we already vote on this issue?
In 2000, over 61% of Californians voted to reaffirm the traditional definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman (Proposition 22). However, because this language wasn't put into the California Constitution, four activist judges from San Francisco wrongly overturned the people's vote in a closely divided 4-3 decision. Proposition 8 reverses the court's decision by restoring the definition of marriage as a man and a woman in the state Constitution.
Could the California Supreme Court overturn the people's vote again and declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional?
No. By amending the state Constitution directly, the court cannot declare Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, as it did with Proposition 22. Proposition 22 added a regular statute to the California Family Code. Regular statutes are a "lower" law than the state Constitution. By adding the language of Proposition 8 to the state Constitution, which is the highest source of law in the state, the California courts would be required to uphold traditional marriage.
Who supports this initiative?
A wide range of national, state and local pro-family organizations, churches and individuals have formed a broad-based coalition to support Proposition 8. To date, the coalition represents over one million people in California. To view a list of supporters, visitwww.ProtectMarriage .com.
What will happen to the domestic partnership laws if Proposition 8 is enacted?
Nothing. All laws on the books regarding domestic partnerships will remain intact. Gays and lesbians in domestic partnerships will continue to enjoy all the legal rights and benefits that married couples enjoy. Proposition 8 does not affect those rights and benefits.
Where can I find more information about Proposition 8 or get involved in the campaign?
You can visit the Proposition 8 Web site atwww.ProtectMarriage .com or call
(916) 446-2956. There are a number of ways to get involved with the campaign, including volunteering, donating and helping to spread the word about the importance of voting YES on Proposition 8.
Vote Yes on Proposition 8!
Monday, September 22, 2008
The newly consolidated Reproductive Health Bill of 2005, renamed "An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, and for Other Purposes," was put on the floor of Congress last week to begin plenary debates, reported the Washington-based Filipino Family Fund.
At the close of the week, the debates were temporarily suspended, but are due to resume soon. Pro-life groups are holding vigils outside of the House of Representatives in order to closely monitor the proceedings of the bill.
After the original reproductive health bill's failure to pass in 2005, the new Congress reconvened, introduced three new bills, consolidated them into the current proposal, and put the new bill through the Committee on Population without due process in May of 2008.
The Philippine Legislator Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) has worked with International Planned Parenthood and the U.N. Population Fund in the creation of this legislation that aims to depopulate the country through all possible means and decrease HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. The U.N. fund has appropriated $26 million to the Philippines for this purpose.
This bill would mandate an "ideal family size," setting the stage for a proposed Two-Child Policy. It foresees stiff penalties that include up to six months imprisonment and heavy fines for those who do not comply with the proposed reproductive health care agenda.
According to the bill, these penalties could even apply to any person "who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this act."
Provisions of the bill call for a network of doctors, population officers in every province, and a national curriculum that will teach secular sex education to fifth graders.
Eileen Macapanas Cosby, president of the Filipino Family Fund, told ZENIT that "freedom of speech is at stake. Parents will not be able to object. Health care workers will be forced to refer against their conscience. Employers will have to provide family planning services."
"International Planned Parenthood has sold false presuppositions that access to contraception will alleviate poverty, and decrease the number of abortions. Many who do not have an understanding of Catholic social teachings have bought this," explained Cosby. "Precisely because the country is Catholic, [Planned Parenthood] has targeted the Philippines."
Cosby noted the affirmation of Archbishop Pacino Aniceto, chairman of the episcopal commission on family and life, who stated "If you are Catholic, you should behave like a Catholic. Otherwise you are not what you profess."
Filipino bishops are sponsoring an advocacy movement against the passage of the bill. They note that a contraception bill with necessarily include abortion.
Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan affirmed on his blog, "It is not hard to see that the title of the bill alone says many words yet its open-ended phrase ‘for other purposes' suggests its hardly realized humungous price tag and grave moral costs."
Rest of Asia
Filipino Catholics plan to gather 1 million signatures against the reproductive health bill to present to Congress. Father Melvin Castro, secretariat of the Pro-life Office of the bishops' conference reported that he had collected 100,000 signatures of constituents by last week.
The Filipino Family Fund is urging people to sign the petition on their Web site.
"We have to defend the Church now or the rest of Asia will be at stake," said Cosby.
In return for the foreign funding promised by Planned Parenthood and the United Nations, the Philippines will be losing moral ground, Cosby told ZENIT. Our stance is to remain vigilant now, as the debates are set to resume soon, she added.
"The truth of the matter is, that the bill will lead to the implementation of an immoral policy -- a proposed synthetic artificial contraceptives eventually designed to ruin health as it slants the idea of responsible parenthood to issues of depopulation, which proponents claim will result to progress among underdeveloped countries like ours," Archbishop Cruz wrote on his blog. "After all, no human act, no legislative bill, no executive function, no judicial work is over and above morality.
"Morality is neither irrelevant in politics, not indifferent in a secular society. Irrespective of the race, color and creed of those concerned, the moment individuals fool around with private morals, the moment the government disregards public morals, then the families and country are in big trouble respectively. This is the standing lesson of history."
By Genevieve Pollock
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
«Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.» John 6,68
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other and they would spend each day keeping track of each other's business. If one of them got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival.
One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Do you want to be rich? You can, but he will be twice as much. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?"
The man thought for a moment, and then said, "Please… blind me in one eye."
I think we are often unaware of the deceptive way the enemy operates in this area of our lives. Is it easier for us to show sympathy when a person is hurting then to truly rejoice when they receive a blessing? That's one surefire way to tell.
CFC, God wants us to be free of the bondages that hold us back from doing great things for Him, and many times we don't even know they exist! Let's examine our hearts today. Perhaps we need to do some repenting. There's so much work to be done!
Your family in the Lord with much agape love,
George, Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
September 16, 2008
Responding To Criticism
Read: 1 Peter 2:4-12
When they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God. --1 Peter 2:12
Abraham Lincoln knew what it meant to face criticism. He is quoted as saying, “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how--the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
Lincoln, against huge opposition, went on to reunite the fractured United States, win the Civil War, and abolish slavery in the US. Had he allowed his critics to defeat him, Lincoln would not have accomplished what he did.
The apostle Peter understood the dangers of unfounded criticism. He wrote, “Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
Criticism can consume our lives to the point of emotional paralysis, or we can set our hearts to serve God faithfully undeterred by that criticism and put our God on display. When we do that, we won’t need to answer our critics with words--our lives will say all that is needed. --Bill Crowder
If we keep doing what is right--
And serving Christ each day,
We need not fear what others think
Nor what the critics say. --D. De Haan
The most powerful testimony is a godly life.
Monday, September 15, 2008
PARIS, SEPT. 13, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI participated in a type of mini-World Youth Day in Paris, addressing some 270,000 young people gathered near Notre Dame Cathedral, and entrusting them with two "treasures."
The Pope met Friday evening with youth of France, on the first day of his four-day trip marking the 150th anniversary of the Virgin's apparitions at Lourdes.
After having celebrated vespers in the cathedral, the Holy Father met the youth, gathered in the plaza and along the banks of the Seine, who watched the Pope on video screens.
Seeing the river of youth, the Pontiff said the encounter reminded him of World Youth Day in Sydney last July. Referring to the theme in Australia, he spoke to them of how the event helped many youth to rediscover the importance of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
"The Spirit, who is Love, can open your hearts to accept the gift of genuine love," the Bishop of Rome said. "All of you are seeking the truth; and all of you want to live in truth, to truly live in it! This truth is Christ. He is the only Way, the one Truth and the true Life. [...]
"Surrender yourselves to the Holy Spirit in order to find Christ. The Spirit is our indispensable guide in prayer, he animates our hope and he is the source of true joy."
Benedict XVI encouraged the young people to have an apostolic spirit.
"Bring the Good News to the young people of your age, and to others as well," he said. "They know what it means to experience difficulty in relationships, worry and uncertainty in the face of work and study. They have experienced suffering, but they have also known unique moments of joy. Be witnesses of God, for, as young people, you are fully a part of the Catholic community through your baptism and our common profession of faith. The Church has confidence in you, and I want to tell you so."
He then "entrusted" the youth with a second "treasure": the mystery of the cross.
"For Christians, the cross signifies God's wisdom and his infinite love revealed in the saving gift of Christ, crucified and risen for the life of the world, and in particular for the life of each and every one of you," he said. "May this amazing realization that God was made man for love lead you to respect and venerate the cross. [...]
"I know that venerating the cross can sometimes bring mockery and even persecution. The cross in some way seems to threaten our human security, yet above all else, it also proclaims God's grace and confirms our salvation. This evening, I entrust you with the cross of Christ. The Holy Spirit will enable you to understand its mysteries of love."
The youth had arrived several hours early in hopes of securing the best seats. During the wait, they watched projected images of the Pope's live discourse at the College of the Bernardines and the vespers service.
A group of 20 students from the Joan of Arc school in Bretigny talked to ZENIT about their excitement. Fourteen-year-old Loic said he discovered in the words of the Pope that "God has not completed creation," while his classmate Remy confessed that he was impressed by what the Holy Father said about the word of God and the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. He said he realized that everything is "united" -- man and the Church, people and nature.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Benoît, a seminarian from the Diocese of Pontoise, said he was excited by the two "treasures" Benedict XVI entrusted especially to the youth: the Holy Spirit and the Cross. Aude, standing beside his friend, agreed: "Yes, [the invitation] to carry the cross."
Father Jérôme Bascoul, from one of the parishes of Paris, said he was struck by the "Holy Father's radiant face when he spoke to the youth in the midst of this marvelous light" of the setting sun.
Father Denis Dupont-Fauville shared his reflection on the "extraordinary" discourse the Pontiff gave to the world of culture just hours before his meeting with the young people.
"He has faced the heart of that we want to do," Father Dupont-Fauville said. "It seemed that he presented us with a program: 'ora et labora' -- prayer and work, according to the Rule of St. Benedict."
Sister Stella, an Italian religious from the Order of the Assumption, affirmed: "[The Pope] is a man completely given to God and to his people, the Church. [...] He is someone capable of adapting himself to any age group, who knows to whom he is speaking. ... I love him very much."
Friday, September 12, 2008
Cardinal Renato Martino affirmed this today at the congress titled "Social Action Today: Memory and Project," under way in Fatima. The event is being sponsored by the Portuguese episcopate.
The cardinal emphasized the need for the Church to maintain a clear and firm stance when "human dignity and fundamental moral truths" are at stake.
He said these cases are "abortion, euthanasia, violence -- especially against children -- torture, man's merciless abuse of man," and situations where "the integrity of the family, religious liberty and educational liberty" are compromised.
"In cases where these principles are at stake, Christian communities can and must pronounce a sentence of condemnation, with prudence when it comes to judging causes and situations that at times are complex and avoiding easy simplifications," said Cardinal Martino.
The president of the justice and peace dicastery highlighted in particular the defense of life, "which should be at the origin of all social projects, inspired by the Christian faith, and of all interventions of the Church in society."
He also stressed the importance of religious liberty, which he described as "fundamental" to "root all other rights on an absolute and transcendent base," both against "intransigent secularism" as well as "all types of religious fundamentalism."
Moreover, Cardinal Martino mentioned new topics in social pastoral action to be discussed in the near future, such as "the progress and regression of democracies" and the "transnational power of finance."
He also mentioned other topics such as "novelties in the world of work, the new forms of injustice and poverty, the new fundamentalisms and the tragedy of international terrorism."
"The fundamental criterion to address them," he explained, "is the ever closer relation between natural and human ecology, as respect of the latter will also bear fruits of material development and correct management of material resources and the environment."
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
1 Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
For a season I worked in Washington D.C. for one of the largest Christian political organizations in America. Sometimes I saw how politics could get ugly and, more often than not, how it changed people -- not for the better...but often for the worse! As the elections are heating up in the United States, there have recently been some outrageous attacks. And sadly, I feel pretty sure these attacks will only intensify in the days ahead. Nevertheless, I'm encouraged! Why? Because, often, the enemy's destructive intentions and attacks become God's means for testimony and victorious proclamation!
Let me give you an example: during the period of history known as "the enlightenment", the "enlightened" philosopher, Voltaire, proclaimed that within twenty-five years the Bible would be forgotten and Christianity would be a thing of the past. Forty years after his death in 1778, Voltaire's house was purchased, and used to print Bibles and other Christian literature. Such is the irony of one man's prophetic folly. His own house became God's platform for proclaiming the message that Voltaire despised. Watching the current election process in America, without mentioning names, I suggest we may once again witness such an irony.
So, CFC, don't let the political season shape you for the worse, with bitterness, mockery, sarcasm, rancor, etc... -- but rather, transform the political landscape by who you are -- a king and a priest of the Most High! Be a confident, respectful, and quietly shining beacon of light in this dark (political) world, and continue to pray the Lord's guiding hand upon the leaders who face the tremendous responsibilities and challenges ahead!
Your family in the Lord with much agape love,
George, Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Friday, September 5, 2008
September 5, 2008
Roots Or Shoots?
Read: Matthew 13:1-9
Because they had no root they withered away. --Matthew 13:6
In the life of trees, one key to survival is having more roots than shoots. In his book Oak: The Frame of Civilization, author William Bryant Logan says, “If a tree puts on a lot of top growth and few roots, it is liable to be weak-wooded and short-lived. . . . If a tree puts down a great deal of roots and adds shoots more slowly, however, it is liable to be long-lived and more resistant to stress and strain.”
People and organizations can be like trees. The rise to prominence is exhilarating, but anything that puts up shoots faster than it puts down roots is fragile and in danger of breaking, falling, or dying.
Jesus used a similar analogy in His parable of the sower. People who hear the Word and receive it joyfully are like seed sown on stony places; they spring up quickly but endure only a short time because they have no roots (Matt. 13:6,20-21).
Roots aren’t at all glamorous, but they are the source of our strength. If our roots go deep in the knowledge of God (Jer. 9:24) and our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3), we’ll be strong, resistant to blight, and more likely to survive the storms of adversity.
How deep are your roots? --Julie Ackerman Link
Lord, keep me from being envious of the beautiful and the seemingly powerful. May I use Your resources to put down roots that will make me strong rather than growing branches to make me attractive. Amen.
The roots of stability come from being grounded in God’s Word and prayer
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Thursday, 04 September 2008
Thursday of the Twenty-second week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Rosalia
See commentary below or click here
Saint José Maria Escriva de Balaguer : "From now on you will be catching men."
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 5,1-11.
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
Commentary of the day :
Saint José Maria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975), priest, founder
Homily in Amigos de Dios
«Look! I will send many fishermen, says the Lord, to catch them» (Jer 16,16). Thus he makes clear our great mission: fishing. It is said or written sometimes that the world is like the sea. There is a certain truth in the comparison. In human lives, as in the sea, there are periods of calm and periods of storm, of peace and of raging winds. Very often men find themselves in salt waters among great waves; they make headway through great storms, sorry seafarers even when they seem joyful and even enthusiastic: their laughter seeks to disguise their discouragement, disappointment, their lives without either charity or understanding. They devour each other like fish.
Act in such a way that all men will enter the divine net of their own free will and will love one another. This is the task of God's children. As Christians we should turn ourselves into those fishermen described by the prophet Jeremiah with the help of a metaphor that Jesus Christ also often used: «Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,» he said to Peter and Andrew.
We are going to join Christ in that divine fishing. «While the crowd was pressing in and listening to the word of God,» Jesus «was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret» (Lk 5,1). Just as he does today! Can't you see?
Coadjutor Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and the other California prelates have joined their voices to an effort that is bringing together conservative Christians, Mormons, Catholics and other groups in an attempt to inform voters before they make their choice on the ballot.
Proposition 8 responds to a state Supreme Court decision in May that made California the second U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. But critics of the court decision managed to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. A similar measure was passed by 61% of California voters in 2000, though that measure was struck down by the May decision.
Bishop Soto dedicated his Aug. 16 column in the Catholic Herald to "Keeping Our Eyes Fixed on Marriage."
"Marriage as it is -- the union of a woman and a man for the purpose of having children -- will continue to exist but without a word," the bishop wrote. "It won't exist in language and it won't exist in law. People will point to the reflection but not the actual fact of a family created by the sexual union of a woman and man."
The bishop affirmed arrangements that reflect certain characteristics of marriage are being taken for marriage itself.
"Like a hall of mirrors, we have lots of reflections without having to take responsibility for seeing and naming the real thing," he said.
But Bishop Soto encouraged readers to stay focused on the truth of marriage. "It is not a matter of what or who we are against," he affirmed. "We are keeping our eyes fixed on marriage. It is a matter of seeing marriage for what it is, hoping that our courts and legislators will quit playing with mirrors."
On Aug. 1, Catholic bishops of the state released a statement in favor of Proposition 8.
"The issue before us with Proposition 8 is 'marriage' -- an ancient, yet modern, human institution which pre-exists both Church and government," they wrote. "Marriage, history shows us, is intrinsic to stable, flourishing and hospitable societies. Although cultural differences have occurred, what has never changed is that marriage is the ideal relationship between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and the continuation of the human race."
The prelates mentioned six points to help Catholics respond "to this radical change in California's public policy regarding marriage," brought about in May.
They affirmed that "same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex unions" and that "the ideal for the well being of children is to be born into a traditional marriage and to be raised by both a mother and a father."
The bishops added, "[W]e need to recall that marriage mirrors God's relationship with us. […] Any other pairing -- while possibly offering security and companionship to the individuals involved -- is not marriage."
"Protecting the traditional understanding of marriage should not in any way disparage our brothers and sisters -- even if they disagree with us," the bishops clarified. And they urged the faithful to "pray and work for a just resolution of this issue, which is so important to the well being of the human family." They added that as citizens, Catholics should avail of the vote as the chance to overturn the California Supreme Court ruling.