Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B Luke 1, 26-38)

Modern rationalists deny even the possibility of miracles. But while it is reasonable to ask for evidence before believing in miracles, it’s both closed-minded and irrational to deny the possibility of miracles beforehand. Miracles are possible because God, who is the author of natural and scientific laws, has the power to suspend these laws. It takes faith to believe in miracles, but this faith is not unreasonable. Faith gives access to knowledge that is beyond, but not contrary to reason.

In the Bible, we see that miraculous events and other signs of God’s providence accompanied the conception and birth of such figures as Isaac (Genesis 18,10-14), Samson (Judges 13, 5), Samuel (1 Samuel 1, 20) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:24), among others. But the conception and birth of Christ are absolutely unique to show that Jesus Christ is truly God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and that he was not conceived through a human father. St. Joseph cared for Jesus as his adopted father.

In the Gospel, the angel Gabriel says to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High overshadow you”. (Luke 1, 35)

The word overshadow was familiar to Mary, who knew the Scriptures well. Often in the history of Israel God’s presence was revealed in a bright cloud whose shadow covered the people: the pillar of cloud that led Israel to freedom through the desert; the cloud in which Moses spoke with God; and especially the bright cloud which symbolized God’s presence in his temple.

So when we hear these words, we are meant to think of the Lord’s presence in his temple. We are meant to see that in this moment in the little town of Nazareth, God is making for himself a new temple, so that in his Son, born on earth of the Virgin Mary, he can be present with his people forever

2 Samuel tells the story of King David’s plan to build a temple for the Lord, but through the prophet Nathan God tells David that instead he will build a ‘house’ for him

“Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. When he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men; And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.” (2 Samuel 1, 11-16)

The ‘house’ God speaks of is a royal house, a dynasty from which the king of the world would one day come. In today’s Gospel we see this very prophecy being fulfilled.

The fulfillment of this prophecy came when the Archangel Gabriel says to Mary “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1, 31-33)

Mary consents. Mary’s “Yes” reverses the “No” of Eve. Through Eve sin and death entered the world. Through Mary’s “Yes” grace, love, life and truth enter the world in Jesus Christ. Jesus is conceived, son of Mary, son of David. The Divine Word becomes flesh. (cf. John 1,14) He is king forever; and in him God is present among his people more wonderfully than in any temple.

All this is made possible because a young Jewish girl says yes: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1, 38) Mary opens her life and her whole being in welcome to the Lord, and so becomes the mother of our Savior. She is the perfect image of what Advent and Christmas should mean for us, for we too are called to make of ourselves a house where the Lord can dwell among his people.

Saint Augustine in his comments on this Gospel he said a striking thing: Mary is blessed beyond all women because she received the Son of God in her body; but she is even more blessed because she first received the Word of God in her heart.

He also says of Mary “Him who the heavens cannot contain, the womb of one woman bore. She ruled our ruler; she carried Him in whom we are; she gave milk to our bread.”

Mary’s role is Mother of the Savior and Mother of God is absolutely unique, but like Mary, we are called to in give a home in our hearts to Lord. St. Paul reminds us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. Therefore we are called to live holy lives, lives of integrity and goodness. He writes “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

So in this final week before Christmas, let Mary be our example of faith. Like Mary we are called to welcome the Lord into our hearts. May we live lives of holiness and more fully reflect the image and likeness of God. May remember our high calling to be temples of the Holy Spirit and not offend God by committing serious sin.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Homily for Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent Year B)

Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J. wrote powerful reflections on Advent before he was hung by the Nazis on February 2, 1945.

Advent is a season of hopeful expectation. The season is divided into two parts. In the first part we focus on our preparation for the time when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Science points to the fact that the universe began with a “Big Bang” and continues to expand. As the universe had a beginning, so we believe that it will also have an end, when Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead.

When will Christ return? Jesus deliberately left the answer to this question vague so that in every age people would wait for him with eager expectation and not fall into a life of sin.

Today we begin the second half of Advent which focuses more on preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Bethlehem. Nine months before we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25, we celebrate the Annunciation on March 25. The fact that these great events of our salvation almost certainly occurred on other dates is far less important then the importance of remembering and commemorating these great events which led to our salvation.

On the Feast of the Annunciation, we celebrate that at the moment Mary said yes to the message of God delivered by the Archangel Gabriel, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took on our human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Each time we say the Hail Mary we acknowledge that Jesus is true God and true man. Jesus went through all of the stages of development that we went through. He was a tiny zygote, an embryo, a fetus, an infant, an adolescent and an adult.
By taking on our human nature, Jesus gave new value to each and every human being who is made in the image and likeness of God from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death including life in the womb.

During Advent we wait with Mary and prepare to joyfully celebrate his birth in the stable at Bethlehem. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” is a Latin word which means “Rejoice”. We are to rejoice that the Lord is near. The Solemnity of Christmas is drawing closer and our own redemption is drawing nearer. A Christian should neither fear death, nor cause death. God alone is the Master of Life. Only he has the power to give a human life. Only he has the right to take an innocent life to himself.

St. Paul commands us to rejoice always in 1 Thessalonians. How is it possible to rejoice, if we just don’t feel like rejoicing? If the focus of our life is merely on our passing emotions and external circumstances it is impossible to rejoice always. But the rejoicing that St. Paul command is born of deep faith and hope of eternal life. This type of rejoicing is not dependent on the state of our health, the economy or the experience of any sort of loss.

I met a priest last week, in Indiana, who has terminal cancer, but you would never know it by his attitude. He wants to live, but he is also prepared to die and go home to meet the Lord when he calls, not at a time of his own choosing.

In 1944, Fr. Alfred Delp was a 38 year old priest who was preparing to take vows as a Jesuit. He was an outspoken opponent of the Nazis and helped Jews to escape from Germany. He was arrested on July 28, eight days after Claus von Stauffenberg’s attempt to assasinate Adolph Hitler. He was falsely accused of being a part of this plot, but his involvement in the Kreisau Circle was enough to have him convicted and sentenced to death. The Kreisau Circle hoped to reorganize Germany according to a Christian world view.

Fr. Delp was imprisoned during Advent and was able to secretly write down his reflections and say Mass with the help of some sympathetic guards.

He said that Advent was a time for rousing. Because his world had been shaken, it helped him to see things more clearly. He entered Advent more intensely and alert than ever.

He was reminded of a gift he had been given once of an Advent Angel. The Angel carried a banner which said “Be of good cheer. The Lord is near.” Both the gift and the giver were destroyed by a bomb. St. Augustine wrote in the fourth century “Whether any of us here present will see the end of the world, I don’t know. Even so, the time is near for us, for we are mortal.”

Through his suffering in a prison cell, awaiting execution, Fr. Delp came to fully appreciate the true meaning of Advent. He wrote “May the time never come when men forget about the good tidings and promises, when so immured within the four walls of their prison, they see nothing but gray days through barred windows placed too high to see out of.”

Fr. Delp reminds us to be attentive to the message of the cheering words of the angel, and to rejoice always, not just when things are going well for us. The virtue of hope is more just optimism or positive thinking. Hope and Joy are rooted in the promises of Christ who doesn’t promise us ultimate happiness in this life but in the next.

In the meantime Fr. Delp said that we had work to do. He wrote “There is so much despair that cries out for comfort; faint courage that needs to be reinforced; perplexity that yearns for meaning…. God’s messengers who have themselves reaped the fruits of Divine seeds, even in the darkest hours, know how to wait for the fullness of the harvest.”

Fr. Alfred Delp fought against the culture of death in Hitler’s Germany. He was executed by hanging on February 2, 1945. Before he died, Fr. Delp secretly professed his vows as a Jesuit. He died on the Feast of the Presentation. Candles are blessed on this feast to recall the prophecy Simeon made that Christ is the Light of the World. St. John the Baptist in our Gospel today reveals to us that he was called to give testimony to the Light. We who have been baptized into Christ are also called to be a light which shines in the darkness and to rejoice no matter what are external circumstances are.

In fact, the darker the world becomes, the more the world is in need of the Light. Don’t be afraid to give witness to the truth about the sanctity of human life. The right to life is the most basic human and civil right that we have. Don't be afraid to be a voice for unborn children. They have no voice but yours. Don't be afraid to denounce pro-abortion politicians, even when everyone else is singing their praises. Don't be afraid to stan up to the perversion of physician-assisted suicide. Doctors should use their skills in the service of life. Treat pain, but not by killing the patient. Don’t be afraid to proclaim the truth that the family is the foundation of society and that marriage consists of a man and a woman who are committed to one another for life and open to the transmission of life. The more it’s denied, the more we need to affirm this truth. Don’t be afraid to challenge young people to be chaste. Some may not listen, but others will. You’ll be helping them to find true happiness and avoid spiritual, physical and emotional pain.

Like John the Baptist and Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J. we need to be a voice in the desert, preparing a straight path for the Lord, As we wait with Mary to celebrate the birth of her son Jesus Christ, let us pray and work toward the day that when the violence of abortion will be unthinkable and every child will be able to celebrate their birthday and human life will respected and protected in every stage of life.

Rejoice always, even when the power of the culture of death or personal problems seem overwhelming, because it will not always be so. Our hope is rooted in Christ who by his life, death and resurrection has defeated the power of death and given us hope of eternal life and hope too that justice will ultimately prevail.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why Guantanamo Bay Should Not Be Closed

Most liberals have no sympathy for babies who are deliberately delivered prematurely and left to die or babies killed through the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion. But many of these same liberals, including leftist ‘human rights’ groups, which believe killing an innocent unborn child is a human right, are deeply concerned over the plight of terrorist suspects caught on battlefields fighting for the Taliban or al-Qaeda who are now detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Despite charges of poor treatment, the Pentagon actually spends $2.5 million each year to make sure the detainees are provided with Korans, prayer rugs, special meals for Muslims, exercise and better medical care than many American citizens receive.

The detainees are officially classified as ‘unlawful enemy combatants, not prisoners of war (POWs), since they violated the Geneva Conventions laws of war. They wore no uniforms or insignia. They refused to carry their weapons openly. They operated under no military hierarchy and represented no government. Granting them the privileges of the Geneva Conventions and the United States Court system would encourage further illegal behavior and endanger both civilians and soldiers in future conflicts.

President-elect Obama plans to release some of these detainees immediately. Some will go back to the countries where they were caught for rehabilitation and release. Hundreds of others will be shipped to the United States to face trials in our criminal courts, where no doubt hundreds of ACLU lawyers will be more than happy to defend them and help them to get released so they can get back to killing U.S. soldiers, committing acts of terrorism and generally making war on the United States and our allies. Already, every detainee at Guantanamo has an average of at least two lawyers. The United States has extended unprecedented legal rights to our enemies.

Laurence Tribe, an Obama legal adviser, said closing the prison is a top priority. Many questions still need to be answered about how the detainees will be handled. Will they be tried in regular criminal courts, in military tribunals or a hybrid of the two? Many Democrats insist that these terrorist suspects be accorded full rights under the United States Constitution as a U.S. citizen would.

Other questions yet to be answered are:

1.) Will the rules of evidence be the same as in a regular criminal court. This may lead to some of the detainees being acquitted due to a technicality, like the murderers Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were. (Ayers and Dohrn founders of the domestic terrorist group called the Weathermen. Ayers and Dohrn hosted a meet the candidate night in their home as Mr. Obama was beginning his political career.)

2.) Will the defendants have the right to confront witnesses? This would mean that undercover CIA officers and informers may have to take the witness stand. This would jeopardize their cover and reveal classified intelligence tactics.

[With the leftists in charge, I think the most dangerous job in the world right now is that of a CIA undercover operative. It will probably be easier than ever for our enemies to infiltrate the United States government. Leftists hate the CIA and would rejoice in the killing of our agents.]

President-elect Obama has promised Guantanamo Bay will close. I believe it will, although there is no reason it should. Even if the detainees were granted POW status, which they don’t deserve, the Geneva Conventions require only that they be released ‘at the end of hostilities’. These prisoners should not be released until the conflict in Afghanistan has ended.

Liberals support a woman’s right to choose to kill her unborn children. One of the reasons they give is that we can’t guarantee that the innocent baby we seek to protect won’t become a criminal. Yet these same liberals wring their hands over the treatment of people who have already proven they are bent on killing us! Why kill the innocent and protect the guilty?
It would be tragic, but not surprising, if President Obama helps to release the future participants in a 9-11 style attack on the United States or one of our allies. I doubt most Americans who supported President-elect Obama understood the significance of this issue before they elected him.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why I Fear an Obama Presidency

Normally, the time after an election should be a time to come together as a nation and work on common goals. But I cannot celebrate the election of a radical leftist to the Presidency of the United States. I understand the importance of the symbolism of the first African-American to be elected President. I'd be celebrating this achievement too, if I believed that Barack Obama truly respected the principles upon which this nation was founded.

Despite his soaring rhetoric, I believe that Barack Obama does not respect the Constitution of the United States; he will weaken our national security; he will not stand by our allies; his economic policies will prove to be disastrous; he does not respect the right to life or the right to free speech.

I fear that one of his first moves will be to try to silence his enemies by pressing for the passage of the so called "Fairness Doctrine" despite the fact that he claimed to oppose it during his campaign.

Below is a list of things I'm concerned about. Please come back, because I'll be updating the list with more evidence of Obama's anti-Democratic tendencies:

Democrat Senator and Obama Ally Chuck Schumer compares regulating conservative opinion on talk radio to regulating pornography.

It is the duty of journalists to report critical information that the public needs to know about their government, but the vast majority of media outlets are strongly biased in favor of Obama.

Newsweek Editor, Evan Thomas, now admits that there is a 'slightly creepy cult of personality' surrounding Obama. Why didn't he talk about this before the election?

Rahm Emanuel will be Obama's Chief of Staff. During the Clinton Administration, his colleagues reported that Emanuel became so enraged over opposition to the Clinton Administration that he grabbed a steak knife, stood up and began reciting a list of names, plunging the knife into the table and shouting "Dead! Dead! Dead!' after each one.

Listen to Obama call for a civilian national security force that is just as powerful as the military:

An Obama donor ordered a "Big Brother" probe of "Joe the Plumber" after he asked Barack Obama a tough question.

In his first press conference, he would not answer a question from Fox News.

Vladmir Putin, the Prime Minister of Russia, and his puppet President Dmitry Medvedev, is pursuing an aggressive foreign policy and perceives Obama as weak.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What a Country! Barack Obama and His Terrorist Ally Bill Ayers

Barack Obama has said that in no other country is his story even possible. Isn’t that the truth! In what other country could a man who began his political career in the home of a terrorist rise to be on the edge of being elected the President. Alice Palmer, Obama’s former political mentor, introduced Obama to Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn at their home as Obama began his political career.

Ayers and Dohrn were the Founders and leaders of the Weather Underground terrorist group. Ayers and Dohrn are responsible for the murder a police officer in San Francisco. They also bombed the Pentagon and the Capitol among many other acts of terrorism. See their full terrorist resume below as reported by the Canadian Free Press. (Don't hold your breath waiting for the Associated Press to report on this!)

In January 2004 interview, Ayers was asked "How do you feel about what you did? Would you do it again under similar circumstances?" Ayers replied "I've thought about this a lot. Being almost 60, it's impossible to not have lots and lots of regrets about lots and lots of things, but the question of did we do something that was horrendous, awful? ... I don't think so. I think what we did was to respond to a situation that was unconscionable."

Ayers defended the bombing of the Pentagon by saying that the bomb was small and only caused 'tens of thousands of dollars' of damage. The operation cost under $500, and no one was killed or even hurt.

Prosecutors used illegal wiretaps to collect evidence against them so Ayers and Dohrn are free today even though they admit killing people. That’s a good thing to remember when Barack Obama says that he wants to treat terrorism not as a war, but as a criminal problem. With the help of a good ACLU lawyer, terrorists currently held in Guantanomo Bay could be as free as Bill Ayers; free to plot more terrorist attacks against America!

In a 2001 article in Chicago Magazine Ayers joked that he was "Guilty as sin, free as a bird, it's a great country".

But Bill Ayers condemns terrorism, but he doesn’t regret planting bombs and killing people. He says "I acted appropriately in the context of those times" Ayers says that when he planted bombs he wasn’t a terrorist because he defines terrorism as "the use or threat of random violence to intimidate, frighten, or coerce a population toward some political end," and he cites, as examples, "an Israeli assault on a neighborhood in Gaza," the Sept. 11 attacks, and "Sherman's March to the Sea" during the Civil War.

In most places in the United States radical domestic terrorists aren’t very popular, but Ayers has found a home, in academia! Ayers is now a respected professor at the University of Chicago where he’s training another generation of young people to hate the country in which they’ve been blessed with freedom and opportunity. What a country!

In 1997, Obama wrote a favorable article on Ayers' book on the juvenile justice system. They also share the same philosophy of education - that schools shouldn’t focus on student achievement such as math or reading skills, but instead on indoctrinating students into radical politics.

Obama condemns the terrorist acts, but defends his ally Bill Ayers as a model citizen and an English professor. He says that the bombings took place while he was in grade school. It doesn’t matter that he began his political career in his home or that Ayers contributed to his campaign; or that they’ve served on several boards together; or that Ayers hired him to distribute Annenberg Foundation money which was supposed to be used to promote education. Instead, Obama fund groups like ACORN to promote radical politics, sub-prime loans and voter fraud.

Obama has many faithful and loyal supporters in the media, especially at Associated Press (AP), to help him cover up and dismiss these facts. (AP and many other reporters are practically Obama campaign spokespersons.)

And now the man that Bill Ayers helped to introduce into political life is just a few weeks away from perhaps being elected as the next President of the United States. Only in America is such a story possible. What a country!

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn’s Full Terrorist Resume:

7 October 1969 – Bombing of Haymarket Police Statue in Chicago, apparently as a “kickoff” for the “Days of Rage” riots in the city October 8-11, 1969. The Weathermen later claimed credit for the bombing in their book, “Prairie Fire.”

8-11 October 1969 – The “Days of Rage” riots occur in Chicago in which 287 Weatherman members from throughout the country were arrested and a large amount of property damage was done.

6 December 1969 – Bombing of several Chicago Police cars parked in a precinct parking lot at 3600 North Halsted Street, Chicago. The WUO stated in their book “Prairie Fire” that they had did the explosion.

27-31 December 1969 – Weathermen hold a “War Council” meeting in Flint, MI, where they finalize their plans to submerge into an underground status from which they plan to commit strategic acts of sabotage against the government. Thereafter they are called the “Weather Underground Organization” (WUO).

13 February 1970 - Bombing of several police vehicles of the Berkeley, California, Police Department .

16 February 1970 – Bombing of Golden Gate Park branch of the San Francisco Police Department, killing one officer and injuring a number of other policemen.

6 March 1970 – Bombing in the 13th Police District of the Detroit, Michigan. 34 sticks of dynamite are discovered. During February and early March, 1970, members of the WUO, led by Bill Ayers, are reported to be in Detroit, during that period, for the purpose of bombing a police facility.

6 March 1970 – “bomb factory” located in New York’s Greenwich Village accidentally explodes. WUO members die . The bomb was intended to be planted at a non-commissioned officer’s dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The bomb was packed with nails TO INFILICT MAXIMUM CASUALTIES UPON DETONATION.

30 March 1970 – Chicago Police discover a WUO “bomb factory” on Chicago’s north side. A subsequent discovery of a WUO “weapons cache” in a south side Chicago apartment several days later ends WUO activity in the city.

10 May 1970 – Bombing of The National Guard Association building in Washington, D.C..

21 May 1970 – The WUO under Bernardine Dohrn’s (Ayers’ current wife) name releases its “Declaration of a State of War” communique.

6 June 1970 – The WUO sends a letter claiming credit for bombing of the San Francisco Hall of Justice; however, no explosion actually took place. Months later, workmen in this building located an unexploded device which had apparently been dormant for some time.

9 June 1970 - Bombing of The New York City Police Headquarters.

27 July 1970 - Bombing of The Presidio army base in San Francisco. [NYT, 7/27/70]

12 September 1970 – The WUO helps Dr. Timothy Leary, break out and escape from the California Men’s Colony prison.

8 October 1970 - Bombing of Marin County courthouse. [NYT, 8/10/70]

10 October 1970 - Bombing of Queens traffic-court building . [NYT, 10/10/70, p. 12]

14 October 1970 - Bombing of The Harvard Center for International Affairs [NYT, 10/14/70, p. 30]

1 March 1971 - Bombing of The United States Capitol . “ [NYT, 3/2/71]

April, 1971 – abandoned WUO “bomb factory” discovered in San Francisco, California.

29 August, 1971 - Bombing of the Office of California Prisons . [LAT, 8/29/71]

17 September 1971 - Bombing of The New York Department of Corrections in Albany, NY [NYT, 9/18/71]

15 October 1971 - Bombing of William Bundy’s office in the MIT research center. [NYT, 10/16/71]

19 May 1972 - Bombing of The Pentagon . [NYT, 5/19/72]

18 May 1973 - Bombing of the 103rd Police Precinct in New York

28 September 1973 - Bombing of ITT headquarters in New York and Rome, Italy . [NYT, 9/28/73]

6 March 1974 - Bombing of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare offices in San Francisco

31 May 1974 - Bombing of The Office of the California Attorney General.

17 June 1974 - Bombing of Gulf Oil’s Pittsburgh headquarters .

11 September 1974 – Bombing of Anaconda Corporation (part of the Rockefeller Corporation).

29 January 1975 - Bombing of the State Department in (AP. “State Department Rattled by Blast,” The Daily Times-News, January 29 1975, p.1)

16 June 1975 - Bombing of Banco de Ponce (a Puerto Rican bank) in New York .
September, 1975 – Bombing of the Kennecott Corporation .

October 20, 1981 - Brinks robbery in which several members of the Weather Underground stole over $1 million from a Brinks armored car near Nyack, New York. The robbers murdered 2 police officers and 1 Brinks guard. Several others were wounded.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Than 100 Reasons to Vote Against Barack Obama

Below is a good list of reasons not to vote for Barack Obama. They are not listed in order of importance. I list the life issues, which I think are primary, toward the end. Some of the reasons are obviously more important than others. There are probably some things that should be on the list that I haven’t thought of. Some of the items reflect my opinions, but I have tried to document the facts on the list with links to credible news organizations and independent fact check organizations. To make a comment contact me at

Barack Obama is NOT a New Kind of Politician

Barack Obama is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. He did nothing to reform it:

Barack Obama has the most liberal voting record of any other United States Senator:

Obama had his first political mentor Alice Palmer, thrown off the ballot in Illinois in order to take her place in the Illinois State Senate. It was Alice Palmer who introduced Obama to the domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn:

Michelle Obama was appointed vice president at the University Of Chicago hospitals in 2005. In 2006, Obama requested that the University of Chicago receive $1 Million to support its construction of the new hospital pavilion:

Citizens Against Government Waste say that Obama has an 18% rating, McCain is rated 88%. Senator Biden is rated the worst with 0%:
While Obama talks a lot about “crossing the aisle”. His actual record in this regard is very meager:

Barack Obama criticized Hillary Clinton for her financial ties to Wal-Mart, while conveniently failing to mention his own wife’s ties to Wal-Mart:

Obama voted “Present” 129 times as a State Senator to avoid taking a stand on controversial votes:,CST-NWS-obama04.article

Obama claimed credit for sponsoring legislation that was actually given to him by his mentor Illinois Senate President Emil Jones. Obama repaid Jones with $300 million of earmarks for Illinois, including tens of millions of dollars of earmarks for pet projects in Emil Jones district:

Obama claimed to “press the wrong button” six different times when confronted about controversial votes in the Illinois State Senate:,1,7079399.story

Obama implied he was poor and grew up on food stamps; Obama grew up mostly with his grandparents, who were upper middle-class bankers in Hawaii. Food stamps weren’t available in Hawaii until the seventies:

Obama threw his grandmother who raised him under the bus, comparing her attitudes to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s racism and later calling her a “typical white person”:

Obama removed his name from the ballot in the Michigan Democratic Primary when early polling showed he would lose by a wide margin:

In 2007, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama signed a pledge to not campaign in Florida. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was punishing Florida for moving the Primary to January 29. Obama broke his pledge and ran ads in Florida:

Obama who runs as a candidate of change helped keep Chicago politics dirty by supporting the corrupt John Stroger over Forrest Claypool, a progressive reformer, for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners:

Obama changed his nuclear regulation bill to favor nuclear companies under pressure from financial supporters at Exelon, a Chicago based company helping to develop a nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada:

Obama claims to not accept oil money, but in fact he has accepted more than $213,000 from individuals who work for companies in the oil and gas industry and their spouses. Two of Obama's bundlers are top executives at oil companies and are listed on his Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for him:

Obama claims to have no ties to lobbyists, but several registered lobbyists have raised over a million dollars for his campaign, sometimes having their wives write the check to conceal his ties to them:

Obama donor ordered Big Brother probe of Joe the Plumber - State agency director authorizes child-support check on senator's critic:

Obama Supports Union Ploy to Drop Secret Ballots:

Barack Obama Has Been Less Than Honest With the American Public

Senator Barack H. Obama Jr. repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on the issues through the 2008 Political Courage Test when asked to do so by national leaders of the political parties, prominent members of the media, Project Vote Smart President Richard Kimball, and Project Vote Smart staff:

Obama claimed, in front of a Jewish audience, that his uncle liberated Auschwitz. American troops did not liberate Auschwitz, the Soviets did:

Obama claimed he was born due to 1965 Selma marches; Obama was born in 1961:

Obama claimed the Kennedy family funded a program that brought his father over from Kenya. His father came to the United States in 1959 and the Kennedys did not fund his trip:

Obama has implied that his father was a poor goat-herder. In fact, Obama’s father was the privileged son of wealthy landowners:

After promising to fund his campaign with only public financing, Barack Obama went back on his pledge because he found he could raise huge amounts of money on his own and exceed the public campaign finance limits:

Obama has suggested that people who don’t support him are racists:

Barack Obama’s religious beliefs are not a good reason to vote against him, but failure to be honest about them is. Why can’t he tell us the truth? His mother was raised by non-practicing Christians; his father was raised a Muslim, but was an atheist by the time he had married Obama's mother. Obama's step-father was also Muslim, but of an eclectic kind who could make room for animist and Hindu beliefs. The Left apparently felt that Mitt Romney’s religious beliefs were a legitimate issue in the campaign. Why the double standard when it comes to Obama?

Obama as Messiah???

Obama’s followers often compare him to Jesus Christ. MSNBC reporter Chris Matthews said he gets a thrill running up his leg when he hears him speak.

Many Obama supporters say Jesus was a community organizer just like Obama was:

Here young children sing the praises of their Dear Leader Obama:

Here young men, dressed in military fatigues, praise Obama as if he is a demi-god:

Here Louis Farrakhan calls Barack Obama "the Messiah":

This hero worship is disturbing and chilling:

Here's a lot more about how Obama is being treated as a messiah:

Barack Obama Lacks Experience

Obama spent 143 days in the Senate before he started running for President:

Obama has never authored a piece of major legislation.

Obama has no executive experience. He has never run a business or done a pay roll etc..
He himself has admitted that he does not have the experience to be the President of the United States:

His running mate Senator Biden charged that Obama lacked the experience to be President:

Without a teleprompter Obama is hesitant and confused:

Here is Obama claiming he’s visited 57 States:

Barack Obama’s Alliances are Highly Questionable

His wife Michelle charged that America was a mean country and said that for the first time in her adult lifetime she is proud of her country because of her husband’s campaign:

His long time friend and mentor is Rev. Jeremiah Wright formerly the Pastor Trinity Church who said instead of God bless America, we should say God damn America:

Another mentor of Obama's is Khalid Al-Mansour. Khalid Al-Mansour is a racist and an anti-Semite.

Obama claimed he never heard anti-American, anti-White speeches at his church; his own autobiography indicates he did and as he later admitted under pressure:

Obama is a friend of Father Michael Phleger a radical Catholic priest who has honored Louis Farrakhan at his Church:

Barack Obama is a friend of former members of the radical Weather Underground terrorist organization William Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn. They were responsible for several bombings between 1970 and 1974 the Pentagon, the Capitol and a police station in San Francisco. Ayers is quoted in the New York Times on September 11, 2001 as saying "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough." Ayers helped Obama launch his Illinois State Senate career, held a fund raiser for him and the two served on the board of the Woods Fund together :

Obama while serving on the board of the Woods Fund with Bill Ayers gave money to an Arab group that calls the establishment of Israel a "catastrophe". Rashid Khalidi is the co-founder of this group. He is a Columbia University professor and has condoned terrorist tactics by Palestinian organizations. Rashid Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama:
The Los Angeles Times is currently suppressing a video of Obama praising Rashid Khalidi:

Obama helped to organize the Million Man March in 1995 sponsored by the racist and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan:

Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam support Obama for President:

Obama has had a long and close association with the radical group ACORN which has been tied to voter fraud in several states and the sub-prime mortgage crisis:

Obama claims not to take money from Washington lobbyists, but he takes money from lobbyists' spouses and holds fundraisers at the offices of law firms that lobby Congress. He happily accepts huge amounts of money from executives of big oil and drug companies and many others. In fact, he's relying on two oil company executives to raise $50,000 apiece for his campaign:

Tony Rezko is a convicted criminal and long time friend and fund-raiser for Obama. Rezko was indicted last fall on federal charges that accuse him of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state business. Obama claimed Rezko donated only $50,000 to him. Later, under pressure, he revealed Rezko raised more than twice that amount and also sat on his fundraising committee. When asked about his friend, Obama said, “I’ve never done any favors for him.” But evidence proved Obama had written letters to city and state officials praising Rezko’s business practices. Obama helped steer 14 million tax dollars to him:,CST-NWS-obama13.article

Tony Rezko helped to buy Obama’s house:,CST-NWS-watchdog24.article

His running mate Joe Biden has the third most liberal voting record in the Senate. He dropped out of the race for the Presidency in 1988 after he admitted to plagiarism in law school and in some of his speeches:

Barack Obama campaigned for Raila Odinga, a radical Kenyan Marxist thug:

Obama has said in speeches “we are our brother’s keeper”. But his brother in Kenya lives in a hut on just $10 a year:

Barack Obama Advocates a Dangerous Foreign Policy

The world is still a dangerous place and Barack Obama has no Foreign Policy no foreign policy experience. Rogue nations perceive Obama as weak. Weakness invites attack. Perhaps China will invade Taiwan. Maybe Iran will attack Israel or Russia will invade the Ukraine. Maybe Venezuela will stir up trouble in the Caribbean.

Even his running mate Senator Joe Biden admits that the rookie President will be tested in the first six months in Office.

Biden Slammed Obama for Voting Against Funding theTroops:
Barack Obama falsely accused American soldiers of "air raiding villages and killing civilians.":

Obama said he would have been against the surge in Iraq anyway, even though he admits it has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams:

Obama is constantly changing his position about when troops will be withdrawn from Iraq. Sometimes he favors a precipitous withdrawal. At other times he says conditions on the ground will dictate the time:

Obama's inexperience would lead him to grant legitimacy and raise the stature of dictators like Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by granting them a face to face meeting without pre-conditions:

Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Obama has made conflicting statements on Iran which is close to producing atom weaponry. Our allies fear Obama will undercut progress in negotiations due to his offer to engage in face to face talks with Iran’s President:

Obama would fight terrorism not as a war, but as a criminal problem. This is a pre-9/11 mind set:

Obama would down-size the American military during a time of war. He has pledged to dismantle our national defense systems, including development of future defense technologies leaving us vulnerable to attack:

The terrorist group Hamas supports Barack Obama:

Jesse Jackson, an Obama supporter speaking in Evian France said that 'Zionists' control American foreign policy and they'll lose power in an Obama administration.

Obama is taking illegal foreign donations from Palestinians.

Obama is the Chairman of the Senate Europe and NATO subcommittee. He has failed to hold a single hearing:

Obama didn’t bother to visit wounded troops on his visit to Germany, instead he went to the gym:

Barack Obama’s Policies Would Hurt the Economy

Obama wants to raise taxes to "spread the wealth around".

Obama’s tax policy that would take the nation back to the effective marginal tax rates of the Carter days. He has called for increases in payroll, capital gains, dividends and death taxes. He claims to only want to raise taxes on the wealthy, but this could have a devastating effect on new investment and small businesses:

Obama would increase government spending by possibly one trillion dollars in four years:

Senator Obama voted against his own economic package. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) Acombed through Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) many campaign promises and compiled a list of 188 new spending proposals that he then packaged together and offered as an amendment to the Fiscal 2009 budget plan. Allard calculated that for the 111 proposals for which cost estimated were possible, Obama’s promises would cost the American taxpayer $300 billion per year and $1.4 trillion over five years. Allard released a floor statement highlighting the size of this spending package, including:

The $300 billion is more than the $294 billion the U.S. spent on imported oil last year.
Obama’s current tax raise proposal would cover only $225 billion over 5 years … far short of the $1.4 trillion in spending.

To finance just the first year of $300 billion in spending, Congress would have to raise taxes on the top 1% of tax payers by 57%.

Obama voted against his own platform and the measure was defeated 97-0.

Obama proposes nothing new in terms of an economic plan. It’s just the old-fashioned solutions proposed by liberals for years –tax, spend and regulate that lead to economic stagnation.:

Franklin Raines is one of Senator Obama’s advisors on economic issues. Raines was the head of Fannie Mae which has now collapsed. Under Raines Fannie Mae committed extensive financial fraud. Raines made 25 million dollars. Now taxpayers are stuck with the bill:

Jim Johnson, former Fannie Mae CEO was a top advisor, chosen to vet potential vice presidential nominees. In 1998, Fannie Mae’s earnings were manipulated, which resulted in "maximum payouts" to executives including Johnson who earned $1.9 Million when he otherwise would not have earned a bonus. Johnson received special loans from Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. Property records show Mr. Johnson has received more than $7 Million in loans from Countrywide since 1998, the first coming in the waning days of his Fannie Mae tenure. Johnson also received fees and compensation from Fannie Mae worth $3.3 Million between 2001 and 2006. He resigned, but he's now back on Obama’s campaign :

In his campaign speeches he has claimed to want to renegotiate NAFTA. At the same time he sent an advisor to Canada to reassure Canadians that this was just politics and wasn’t true:

Obama will increase the capital gains tax which will discourage investment:

Obama's Affinity to Marxists Dates Back to His College Days:

Obama is opposed to renewing President Bush’s tax cuts which actually succeeded in bring more revenue into the Federal Treasury. Effectively, this will be a tax increase on all American who pay taxes. On June 28, 2007 in a Democratic Primary debate Obama said “There’s no doubt that the tax system has been skewed. And the Bush tax cuts -- people didn’t need them, and they weren’t even asking for them, and that’s why they need to be less…”:

Obama proposes a Windfall Profits tax. Jimmy Carter tried it and it failed miserably. It raised the cost of gas and led to drop in domestic oil production:

During his campaign Obama has criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), blaming it for the loss of jobs in the United States. But he sent a senior member of his campaign team to Canada to tell officials there not to take his criticisms seriously:

Obama lied when he told Social Security recipients that their money would now be in the stock market under McCain's plan:

Barack Obama’s Policies on Energy Would Keep Us Dependent on Foreign Oil

Barack Obama opposes drilling on and offshore to reduce gas and oil prices.

While Barack Obama has opposed off-shore drilling and a gas-tax holiday (as supported by John McCain or Hillary Clinton), his solution to our energy crisis does include additional tax burdens on oil company profits, taxes we can only imagine will be passed on to the consumer, thus causing an even more expensive trip to the gas station.

Ethanol subsidies are a major plank in Barack Obama's view of energy independence and national security. He favors ethanol subsidies, some of which end up in the hands of the same oil companies he says should be subjected to a windfall profits tax:

Obama is opposed to drilling in ANWAR, in a desolate tundra area the size of Minnesota. The oil industry says it would need to use only 2,000 acres-an area no bigger than Dulles Airport, outside D.C.-to get that oil. This footprint would be 50 times smaller than the Montana ranch owned by Ted Turner:
While Obama attacks American automakers for not making enough environmental friendly automobiles, he drives a V-8 hemi-powered Chrysler 300:

Obama claims that the oil savings from inflating our tires properly would equal new production plans:

Barack Obama Would Not Support Badly Needed Education Reform
Obama would block true education reform because he too beholden to the teacher’s unions:

When speaking before Planned Parenthood Barack Obama defended his proposal of providing sex education to children in kindergarten. Hear him say it in his own words:

Obama sends his children to private schools, but he opposes school choice which would especially help poor parents send their children to better schools:

Barack Obama’s Poilicies on Health Care Would be a Bureaucratic Nightmare

Obama’s health care plan would not lower the premiums of current payers as he claims.
His health care proposal will not create universal health care. It will be bureaucratic debacle and lead to wasteful government spending:
Elizabeth Edwards Knocks Obama Health Care Plan:

Barack Obama Supports Open Borders. Legal Immigration is a Great Blessing to the United States, Illegal Immigration Poses a Threat.

Obama Voted for continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities". These cities will not enforce federal laws against illegal immigration.

Obama Voted for allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.

He supports health care for illegal immigrants. This is crushing the health care system in some states:

Obama scores 8% by USBC on immigration issues. interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:
0%-30%: open-border stance (approx. 197 members)
30%-70%: mixed record on open borders (approx. 70 members)
70%-100%: sealed-border stance (approx. 202 members)

Barack Obama is Weak on the Second Amendment

He is unclear about his support for the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Americans should not relinquish their legitimate right to self-defense:

At a fundraiser before rich, elite Democrats he mocked people who live in rural areas as bitter people who cling to guns and religion:

Barack Obama Effectively Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Obama would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which would force other states to recognize same-sex marriages recognized in other states like Massachusetts. So much for the idea of federalism!

Obama supports strong civil unions for homosexuals. In practice, this is not much different than supporting same-sex marriage:

Obama supports adoption for same-sex couples:

Obama voted against a Federal Marriage amendment to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman:

Obama is opposed to California’s Marriage amendment to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman:

Barack Obama Would Appoint Activist Judges and Oppose Legal Reform

Obama would appoint activist judges to the Supreme Court and appellate courts who would legislate from the bench:

Obama opposes necessary TORT reform legislation:

Obama believes in a “living Constitution”. So a judge can change it arbitrarily without having to bother with the amendment process:
Obama criticized the Constitution because it does require redistribution of wealth in a 2001 radio interview. He called the Constitution "a charter of negative liberties" and wanted to move beyond the restrictions that the Founding Fathers placed on government:

Obama voted against the highly qualified Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito:

Barack Obama is an Extremist on Abortion

Barack Obama So Extreme on Abortion He Would Let Babies Die Who Survive Them

Obama voted against requiring medical treatment to be given to babies born alive after surviving a botched abortion. Jill Stanek is a nurse who uncovered the fact that Christ Hospital in Illinois was performing induced labor abortions. Some of these babies are actually born alive. Jill Stanek saw one who was discarded in a utility closet and rocked the baby for about 50 minutes before he died. Barack Obama voted against giving medical treatment to these babies.

Obama called Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor, a despicable liar after being presented with the truth about his failure to protect babies born alive:

Obama voted against banning the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion:

Michelle Obama defended partial-birth abortions in a 2004 letter:

Barack Obama supports the extreme Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). If enacted, FOCA would obliterate hundreds of state laws that protect women, parents, children, and health care workers, while forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for millions of abortions. It would overturn commonsense laws like parental notification, conscience protections, abortion waiting periods, informed consent, and regulations for women's health:
Estimates are that if Obama becomes President and signs FOCA it will lead to 125,000 more abortions each year:

Obama is the most pro-abortion Presidential candidate ever:

Obama would recommend abortion for his daughters if they got pregnant because he wouldn’t want them to be punished with a baby:

When asked when a baby is entitled to human rights. Obama responded that the question was above his pay grade:

Obama supports the killing of human embryos to obtain their stem calls, even though, stem cells can be obtained from other sources that don’t involve killing:

Obama co-sponsored a bill which purports to ban human cloning, but allows for Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. The bill allows for human clones created and experimented on, but forbids allowing them to be place in a woman’s womb and be born:

Obama supports federal funding of abortion. He opposes the Hyde Amendment which prevents federal tax dollars from being used to pay for abortion:

Obama’s only Harvard Law Review article took a pro-abortion stance:

Obama wrongly claimed that abortions "have not gone down" under President Bush. In fact, the abortion rate has gone down 9 percent, and the annual total has declined by more than 100,000:

Obama is undecided on whether life begins at conception:

Obama is rated 100% by NARAL on pro-choice votes in 2005, 2006 & 2007:

Obama voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP. (Mar 2008)

Obama voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (Mar 2008)

Obama voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)

Obama voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)

Obama is rated 0% by the The National Right to Life Committee (Dec 2006)

Barack Obama Supports the Death Penalty

Tell all your liberal friends that Barack Obama supports the death penalty:


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Homily for the Twenty First Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A, Matthew 16, 13-20

Above is an image of a fresco in the Sistine Chapel Perugino entitled "Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter" (1480-81).

In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16, Peter professes his faith in Christ. Jesus gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. (Mt. 16, 19) The keys are a symbol of authority. Thus Peter is given full, supreme authority over the whole Church. Because the Church will last until the end of time, this authority will be passed on to Peter’s successors throughout history. Since Peter died while leading the Church in Rome, it is the Bishop of Rome who is Peter’s successor.

The scene of the Gospel is Caesarea Philippi. This is significant since it is there that from a massive rock a spring flows. This spring is the beginning of the Jordan River giving life to the valley below. It is symbolic of the teaching that comes from St. Peter giving instruction and life to the Church.

The First Vatican Council taught that it was divinely revealed teaching that the Pope “when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when acting in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, possesses through the divine assistance promised to him in the person of St. Peter, the infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith and morals; and that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are therefore irreformable because of their nature…”

The guarantee of truth is not because of the personal qualities of any particular Pope. Instead, it is the way Jesus fulfills his promise that the Holy Spirit would remain with the Church and guide it in the way of truth.

In recent years, the Church's Magisterium has spoken more frequently in defense of the sacredness of human life. This is because so many consciences have been darkened, claiming prerogatives, such as a “right to choose” which belong only to God. Many in our society have lost a sense of the magnitude of the sin of the direct taking of all innocent human life, especially at its beginning and at its end.

In his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II used his authority as the Successor of St. Peter to declare “by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”

The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action".

Pope Benedict XVI has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors St. Peter and Pope John Paul II as he did recently when he visited Yankee Stadium in New York and urged us to “respect the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world --- including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb.”

Jesus said “”Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Luke 10, 16)

Let us heed the words of the successors of the apostles in our time and defend the lives of innocent human beings who are in danger of death.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Homily for Independence Day, Fourth of July, Fourteenth Sunday Cycle A

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves; for my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Matthew 11, 28-30)

A yoke is a symbol of submission. A yoke with a plow was attached to oxen. Farmers used the oxen to plow their fields

Jesus is not promising that faith in him will take away all our troubles, but despite the troubles we experience in this life, we can have peace of mind, heart and conscience. Living a Christian life entails taking on burdens and responsibilities, but the yoke of Jesus is far easier to bear than the yoke of sin and guilt. Christ also promises his faithful followers eternal happiness in heaven.

Submission to Christ leads to true freedom. Submission to unjust authority is oppression. America cast off the yoke of England to become free and independent States, later united under the Constitution.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence to declare to the world the reasons America was separating from her mother country.

In a recent poll, less than 50 percent of students could identify the phrase "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" as a line from the Declaration of Independence. Many even thought it was a line from the Communist Manifesto. President Ronald Reagan, in the tradition of other warnings in past Presidential Farewell Addresses, said in his Farewell Speech “I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.”

It is likely that very few young people today know that God is mentioned four times in the Declaration. The Founding Fathers of America believed in a Creator and in a natural law. John Adams, our second President and President of the Second Continental Congress once said “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the universe.”

It is likely that both Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, were familiar with the writings of the Jesuit saint Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. Bellarmine argued against a Divine Right of Kings. This was the idea that Kings received their authority directly from God, and thus to obey the King is to obey God. Instead, Bellarmine argued that all power, including political power came from God and was given to the people. The people then entrusted this power to their leaders.
That is why we should take our responsibility to vote very seriously, and not base our vote on such superficial reasons as charm, looks or mere party politics, but instead on character, integrity, experience and where the candidates stand on the most important issues, especially involving human rights.
Bellarmine's ideas were later adopted by our Founding Fathers and expressed explicitly in the Declaration of Independence and implicitly in the United States Constitution.
In the Declaration, Jefferson wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The first right he mentions is the right to life. In a letter to citizens in Washington County, Maryland in 1809, Jefferson wrote “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

Without first securing a person’s right to life, all other rights are meaningless. That is why Pope John Paul II said in Chistifidelis Laici, his letter to lay people in 1988,

“The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, fĂ­nds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

Sadly, we know that America for over 70 years in the first years of our nation, we failed to live up to those noble principles expressed in our founding documents by tolerating legalized slavery. Even after slavery was abolished, African-American were denied their God-given rights. More work needs to be done, but we have made great strides in modern times in overcoming racism and unjust discrimination.

In his struggle for civil rights, Rev. Martin Luther Ling, Jr. chose not to attack America for her failings, but to challenge her. He called America to live up to the noble ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence.

Today in our nation, the right to life is denied to pre-born children growing and developing in their mothers’ wombs. The Supreme Court declared in Roe v. Wade in 1973 that the word person as used in the Fourteenth Amendment does not include the unborn.

Just as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. did in the 1960s, the pro-life movement calls on America to live up to the noble ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence and acknowledge and defend the rights of all human beings to their God-given right to life.

Every time Pope John Paul II came to the United States he never neglected to speak up for the rights of the unborn as he did when he visited Washington in 1979 and on his last visit to St. Louis in 1999. Before he left the United States in his Farewell Address at Detroit Airport in 1987, he said something I think is prophetic about the right to life and America when he said:

"Every human person - no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society - is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival - yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn."

Each of us has a responsibility, as Christians and citizens, to work for the protection of human rights, especially the most basic human and civil right that we have which is the right to life. To do so is to be faithful both to God and the vision of the Founding Fathers of this nation. If we succeed, we will restore the foundation of our Republic as one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.

(Based on homilies given by Father Peter West at St. John the Evangelist Church in Honesdale, Pennsylvania July 6, 2008 and at Holy Cross Church in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee July 2-3, 2005.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Homily for the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul June 29, 2008

Homily for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul given by Father Peter West June 29, 2008 St. Stephen's Church Bridgewater, SD

The mission of Priests For Life is to proclaim the truth that each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Each and every human being is unique, precious and unrepeatable. God alone is the Master of Life. Only God has the power to give a human life, only God has a right to choose to take an innocent human life to himself.

Today is the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul. I would like to speak of the message of the sanctity of human life in relation to this Solemnity that we celebrate today.

The Church has always considered St. Peter and St. Paul as inseparable. Both were born as Jews. They had different gifts and different personalities, but both were called by Jesus Christ for the foundation and building up of his Church. Like Romulus and Remus who, according to legend, founded the City of Rome. St. Peter and St. Paul are considered to be the founders of the Church in Rome. Both of them made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in the service of the Gospel. St. Peter was crucified upside down and St. Paul, since he was born as a Roman citizen, was beheaded with a sword.

According to a tradition which dates back to the first century, Peter and Paul met for the last time shortly before their martyrdom, which took place not far from the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls in Rome. It is said that they embraced and blessed each other before St. Peter was led off to be crucified.

St. Peter was the first to profess his faith in Christ; St. Paul helped us to understand the depth of the riches of this faith. Peter sought out the lost sheep of the House of Israel (cf. Mat 10, 5-6); Paul became the Apostle to the Gentiles.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Peter professes his faith in Christ. Jesus gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. (Mt. 16, 19) The keys are a symbol of authority. Thus Peter is given full, supreme authority over the whole Church. Because the Church will last until the end of time, this authority will be passed on to Peter’s successors throughout history. Since Peter died while leading the Church in Rome, it is the Bishop of Rome who is Peter’s successor.

The scene of the Gospel is Caesarea Philippi. This is significant since it is there that from a massive rock a spring flows. This spring is the beginning of the Jordan River giving life to the valley below. It is symbolic of the teaching that comes from St. Peter giving instruction and life to the Church.

In the Gospel of John Jesus tells Peter three times to feed his sheep or lambs. (John 21, 15-19) He also appoints other shepherds to help in the task. Thus we can see that the hierarchy of the Church is not an invention of man, but part of God’s plan for his Church throughout time.

The First Vatican Council taught that it was divinely revealed teaching that the Pope “when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when acting in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, possesses through the divine assistance promised to him in the person of St. Peter, the infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith and morals; and that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are therefore irreformable because of their nature…”

In recent years, the Church's Magisterium has spoken more frequently in defense of the sacredness of human life. This is because many consciences have been darkened. Many in our society have lost a sense of the magnitude of the sin of the direct taking of all innocent human life, especially at its beginning and at its end.

In his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II used his authority as the Successor of St. Peter to declare “by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”

The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action".

Pope Benedict XVI has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors St. Peter and Pope John Paul II as he did recently when he addressed our country at Yankee Stadium in New York and urged us to “respect the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world --- including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb.”
Pope Benedict XVI has declared a special Jubilee Year to be dedicated to St. Paul beginning June 28, 2008 to last until June 29, 2009, to celebrate 2000 years since his birth which historians have placed between the years 7 and 10 A.D.

The Pope wants to encourage penitential pilgrimages to St. Paul’s tomb at the Basilica of St. Paul’s, study conventions and special publications on Pauline texts will also be promoted in order to make ever more widely known wealth of his teaching. Similar initiatives will be implemented in the dioceses, shrines and other places of worship, by Religious and by the educational institutions and social-assistance centers which are named after St Paul or inspired by his teaching.

At the beginning of the Letter to the Romans, St Paul called himself "a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle" (1: 1). St. Paul did not decide on his own to become an apostle, rather he was called to be an apostle by Christ himself.

In Galatians 1, 15, St. Paul says that God, from my mother's womb, set me apart and called me through his grace, revealed his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles.
From his Letters, we know that Paul was far from being a good speaker; on the contrary, like Moses and Jeremiah, he lacked oratorical skill. His enemies sneered "His bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account" (II Cor. 10: 10).

Thus the success of his apostolic missions cannot be attributed to his skills as a speaker or his human intelligence. The success of his apostolate depended above all on his total dedication to Christ; a dedication that feared neither risk, difficulty nor persecution.

"Neither death, nor life", he wrote to the Romans, "nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (8: 38-39).
From this we can draw a particularly important lesson for every Christian. Our lives as Christians are credible only to the extent to which we are prepared to make sacrifices for Christ and the sake of his Gospel. In order to transform our society we need courage to be witnesses and make sacrifices like St. Peter and St. Paul.

In many ways, Christians face the same challenges as the early Christians confronted with immorality and a lack of respect for human life in the days of the Roman Empire in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Today we face a conflict between a culture of life and a culture of death. Pope John Paul II spoke of this conflict the last time he came to the United States, when he visited St. Louis in 1999. He spoke of a conflict “between a culture that affirms, cherishes, and celebrates the gift of life, and a culture that seeks to declare entire groups of human beings – the unborn, the terminally ill, the handicapped, and others considered "unuseful" – to be outside the boundaries of legal protection.”

Since the unjust Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade which deprived pre-born children of their rights 49 million abortions children have been aborted. In fact, one out of every five pregnancies ends in abortion in the United States today. A lack of respect for life in its beginning stages has led to a lack of respect for life in its end stages. Oregon became the first state in 1997 to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Here, just as in the case of abortion, doctors are using the skills God gave them to serve life to take life. But through faith, courage and sacrifice I believe we can defeat the culture of death and build a culture of life.

A great victory for life was won Friday June 27, 2008 in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals when the Court vacated a temporary injunction of a lower court in the case of Planned Parenthood et al. v Rounds et al, Intervenors. The court’s decision allows South Dakota to enforce its 2005 Informed Consent Law.

The Court found that statement “abortion will terminate the life of a whole separate, unique living human being” is truthful, non-misleading and relevant to the woman’s decision to obtain an abortion. The Court ruled that Planned Parenthood had “submitted no evidence” that this claim was false, misleading, or irrelevant.

Planned Parenthood opposes a woman’s right to know the truth about what abortion is. They believe in a doctor’s right to hide facts from women, supposedly for their own good.

It is a matter of public record that South Dakota women receive no protection of their most important rights under the law, existing before the new Informed Consent Statute, and the practices of the abortion facility in Sioux Falls. If a woman calls Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls inquiring about an abortion, an employee with no medical training schedules the surgical procedure. When the woman arrives, she is required to sign a consent to an abortion and pay for it before receiving any counseling. When she sees a "patient educator" she receives no information about the child, no information about fetal development, or what it is that is being removed. The "educators" all admit they know nothing (or little) about human embryology, human genetics or molecular biology. Some of them do not know when an embryo's heart first starts to beat or how many chromosomes the human embryo has. In many cases, women cry during the session with the "educator," but the doctors do the abortion anyway. There is no true patient-physician relationship and the out-of-state doctor who flies into Sioux Falls for six hours most often only sees the woman for the four to seven minutes it takes to perform the surgery scheduled by the lay person who takes the woman's call. (See, U.S. District Court Record, Intervenors' Statement of Material Facts; Pacer document 183.)

The Court Decision will now require Planned Parenthood to tell the truth to women. The victory in South Dakota and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was a significant one but much more needs to be done.

Please see the pamphlet You Can Save Someone’s Life Today from Priests For Life. It gives information about pregnancy resource centers where women who are pregnant and in need can get the help they need before and after they give birth for as long as they need it whether it be food, clothing, shelter, medical help, legal help, whatever they might need in order to bring their baby to term.

We also need to promote adoption, which is a loving alternative to the violence of abortion. Recently, I was speaking in my native New Jersey. A man came up to me to thank me for speaking about adoption. He then turned to his children and told them that it was because of people like this that you have a daddy. It was one of the greatest compliments I have ever received in my life. You see he himself was adopted and realized that he too could have been a victim of abortion.

We also need to promote the virtue of chastity. The Church teaches that sex is something beautiful and created by God, to be shared between a husband and a wife who are committed for life and open to transmission of new life.

We also promote post-abortion healing and reconciliation. Norma McCorvey, the former Jane Roe of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was received into the Catholic Church in 1998 by Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests For Life. The conversion of Norma McCorvey reminds us of St. Paul, who before his conversion persecuted Christians, until Our Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Then, without hesitation, he dedicated his life to the service of Jesus Christ and the spread of the Gospel. We promote Project Rachel - the post-abortion healing ministry of the Catholic Church and Rachel's Vineyard retreats in order to help both men and women who have had abortions to find healing and peace.

We also have a political responsibility. The Church teaches us that voting is not only our right, it is our duty and we have a duty to use our vote, not to advance our own interests but to advance the cause of human life, especially the cause of God's children who are unborn disabled or are otherwise vulnerable.

In November the people of South Dakota will have an opportunity to win another great victory for life. I urge you vote Yes on Initiated Measure 11. This is not a perfect bill. It has some exceptions we are not happy with, but the bill is the best we can achieve at this time. On February 20, 2008 Bishop Paul Swain of Sioux Falls, South Dakota released a Statement Regarding the Abortion Ban Petition Drive giving permission for volunteers to collect signatures for this measure.

He explained, quoting the Bishops’ document Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship “Sometimes morally flawed laws already exist. In this situation, the process of framing legislation to protect life is subject to prudential judgment and “the art of the possible.” At times this process may restore justice only partially or gradually.”

Thus he said a Catholic may “support this referendum under the principle of gradualism as long as he or she does not accept the exceptions as a good, and as Pope John Paul II taught “never to abandon the moral requirement to seek the full protection for all human life.” One’s intention would be to reduce the number of abortions and to eliminate the exceptions when it is possible.”

It would be an abandonment of our responsibility not to save the majority of the approximately 800 babies a year who are killed by abortion every year in South Dakota because we couldn’t save all of them. To use our vote to reduce evil is in fact to do good. Imagine a burning building with 100 people inside. This abortion bill effectively goes into that burning building and gets 95% of the people out right now. The next bill goes back in for the remaining five. This is a strategy to save 100% of unborn children from abortion!! It is immoral to do nothing, and even more immoral to oppose an attempt to save hundreds of human lives. I urge you to vote Yes on 11, to do so will be to move closer to the day that every child is welcomed in life and protected by law.

I would just like to close with a poem called Dear Sara written by a grandmother from Arizona I met on one of my travels with Priests For Life. She is writing about the loss of her own little baby granddaughter by abortion.

I truly believe that prayer is the most powerful and effective thing that any of us can do to build a culture of life. But if our prayer is sincere God will inspire us to act. Let’s ask the intercession of St. Peter and St. Paul that we will be faithful to the teaching and grace handed down by them and to find a way in which we can build a culture of life in which each and every human being will be welcomed, protected, nurtured and loved from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.