Thursday, April 30, 2009

Do Catholics have to give 10% to charity?

Right now in Canada, we are at the deadline for submitting our income tax forms, which is April 30th. In the US it is April 15th. You mostly need to worry about that if you owe money to the government. But the question often arises about how much Catholics should give to charity. A person close to me said we needn't give much because we pay so much taxes, which in turn pays for social services, such as hospitals, schools, welfare and other services. I understand this point. But I think we still ought to give money to charity. The question remains, how much?

In the Bible, we remember when someone asked Jesus if they should pay taxes. He said give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's. I think this is the philosophy we need to take in our modern day. Taxes do pay for many services, but we as a community take advantage of these. I do not necessarily pay for things directly related to myself. I might pay for my children, spouse, parents, friends, etc. I would not say, well I buy food for my children, so I shouldn't give to charity. Taxes pay for the common good. But we must remember that we are commanded to help build the Church.

Giving taxes is the right thing to do, but that does not support the mission of the Church, which is of vital importance, perhaps now more than ever. And we can be sure that money we give to the Catholic Church will go to a good cause, whereas money given to the government could easily go to sinister activities which contravene our faith. For example, taxes go to support abortion, embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage, sex-change operations, adoption of children to gay couples, contraception, Planned Parenthood, etc. We cannot control this, and we are not morally culpable for supporting these activities by paying taxes. However, if all we give is taxes, how do we expect the Church to combat these evils?

The primary role of the Church is a spiritual one. It is there for the salvation of souls. By its very nature, it is intrinsically involved with the day-to-day affairs of the world. The Catholic Churches is a strong voice for good in the world, and our charitable contributions to the Church help it in this. By giving money to the Church, we support its mission which is to evangelize people and bring them into union with Christ. When this happens, the ills of the world decrease, because light overcomes darkness. By giving money, you support mission work, crisis pregnancy centers, church building funds, pilgrimages, Catholic education and health care, Catholic literature, books, pamphlets, and tracts, etc. You also support the Church's mission throughout the world, in poor countries. The Catholic Church, believe it or not, is the largest charitable organization in the world.

Many say giving 10% is impossible because they do not earn enough money. You are not obliged to give 10%. There is no absolute rule that you must give that much. You cannot neglect your most important duties to your vocation, such as caring for your family. But let's look at a hypothetical situation. Just say a man is making $50,000 per year. He says he can only give about $1000 per year, or 2% of his income. He says $5,000 per year would be simply impossible. But it is quite conceivable that he could receive a raise and start earning $55,000 per year. If he continued his previous lifestyle, he would be able to give the surplus $5,000 to the Church no problem. However, this seldom happens. It is more likely that when people start earning more, they start spending more. This really contradicts the whole idea of charity. Charity is not giving so little that we hardly notice it. Charity is about giving as much as we possibly can. We must realize how fortunate we are, and try to support others.

Many people receive many spiritual benefits from giving money, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it lessens their dependence and desire for material wealth and brings them to a closer union with God. They realize only he can fulfill their lives and that money never will. Also, helping others is part of being the hands and feet of Christ on Earth. Jesus commands us to pray, fast, and give alms. As we continue in the Easter Season, let us be as generous as we can.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The "law of attraction" is incompatible with Catholic thinking

The law of attraction has become pretty famous these past several years and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. In fact, it seems to be picking up strength. But be warned: the "law" of attraction is completely incompatible with Christian belief.

When you think about it, it's nothing new. People taking ideas from Christianity, twisting them around and then promoting their heterodox belief. It's called a heresy. If you want to know just how bad the problem is, walk into a bookstore and go to the spirituality or self-help sections. People know Christianity is the truth, and that's why they try to twist it around. They think people already know and love Christianity, so why not take advantage of this popularity to promote their views. Often these views are completely incompatible with Christian or Catholic belief, and sometimes they are the opposite and are actually satanic.

One author who has tried to piggyback on the legitimate success of the Christian faith is Deepak Chopra. He's an Indian author whose philosophy is very eastern and close to Hinduism. But his book is named the Third Christ. Obviously there is only one Christ, but Deepak wants you to believe otherwise. Did he write a book called The Third Mohammed or the Third Gandhi or the Third Buddha? Of course not. These books would be flops. Instead, he takes the good name of Christ and tries to use it for his own end. People recognize the power of Christ's name. Satan and demons tremble at the name of Christ, our salvation comes from Christ, and we partake in his body and blood in the Eucharist. So Chopra's appeal is tantamount to that of Satan in the Garden of Eden. Satan did not tempt Eve by saying, eat this fruit and you will do something opposed to God, and you will be disobeying him. No, he said eat this fruit and you will become LIKE God. That's exactly what Deepak is promoting. The whole idea behind his book is that we can take advantage of this "Christ energy". Deepak's first order of business is to make people believe Christ doesn't really exist as a person (which of course is historically false). The reason for this is that Deepak is actually just using the name of Christ as a mask for his new age ideas. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing, as Jesus warned us about. Chopra does not want us to believe in Christ's sacrifice on the cross, he wants us to believe in a universal "force". He wants us to believe we can become gods. It's amazing how blatant and obvious these authors are. They are almost using Satan as their role model. Our proper disposition toward Christ is to worship him, and recognize that we are sinners in need of his sacrifice. No great saint who has ever lived believed he was God. He recognized his limited abilities and his total dependence on Christ for life.

The "law of attraction" spreads the same lie. It says we are in control of the universe. It subtly tries to remove God from the picture. It does this one step at a time. First, they tell you believing in God is a good thing. Then they say God is the name we give to the Universe of the essential life force or something else like that, then they say we can control this life force or universe or energy, and eventually they are telling us that we are just like god, and in fact they say we are just as powerful. Do not be deceived by these lies. They are satanic. The Devil himself says the same things, as he did with Adam and Eve. It is the height of pride. Jesus said repent and believe in the good news. He asked his followers to drink from the cup from which he drank, meaning his crucifixion. God in Genesis says you will have no strange gods before him, and that includes making yourself a god. Pride is the biggest of the seven deadly sins. It makes us feel so important, and that we are above everyone else. Make no mistake, the "law of attraction" is pure poison and comes from the Evil One.

A lady I was listening to the other day was saying how evil the "law of attraction" is. She used to be a practitioner of it, and was finally saved from it, thanks to God. She found she was becoming very callous and shallow. Everything revolved around accumulating wealth and other material possessions. Followers of this become less and less concerned about their fellow man. They become emotionless. People who subscribe to the "law of attraction" believe that murder victims caused their slaying, that people get diseases because they "attracted" them, that even children who are raped somehow "attracted" it. They believe that since these people somehow desired these things, they do not need to have any concern or compassion for them.

If you are involved with these things, you must get out now. Seek the True God, and reconcile yourself with Christ. You must fall to your knees and beg forgiveness from your Saviour, then go to confession, followed by Mass. Give yourself to Christ and renew your love for God. He will be waiting for you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Catholic thoughts on Nadya Suleman (aka Octomom)

Nadya Suleman is the lady who received fertility treatment and gave birth to 8 children. She was not married at the time, didn't have much money and already had 6 children. She now has 14 children. She has been called Octomom (perhaps it is sometimes spelled Octamom). This name makes her sound like some alien species, mutant, or X-Men character. She has become the object of ridicule of many people who say she did the wrong thing. But how would her actions square with Catholic teaching? We know that the world and especially the media are rarely aligned with the Church in their thinking. So what would the church say concerning the Nadya Suleman case? I believe her story has good and bad elements.

First of all the bad. The Catholic Church is firmly against in vitro fertilization, or the creation of embryos outside the womb of the mother. That's because it contradicts the natural design established by God for how babies ought to be conceived and born. Babies are designed by God to come into existence within the marital embrace in the marital act. He did not design babies to be products of a science laboratory with a scientist fusing together sperm and egg. Therefore the use of embryos in this fashion is gravely wrong. Also, this procedure often destroys embryos. More are created than are needed and because of this, the embryos are often left frozen indefinitely or they are disposed of (usually without a funeral or without the destroyer being charged with murder). So we know that Nadya used fertility treatment that may have destroyed embryos. Society at large has no problem using in vitro fertilization. They view it as a means to an end and in a Machiavelian world like our own, any means is acceptable as long as the end seems desirable. Now, what about the rest of her situation?

Once the embryos were implanted in her uterine, eight clung to the uterine lining and survived. Nadya decided to keep them all. In other words, she did not selectively reduce or murder any of the eight. Strangely, this is where a lot of the world seemed upset. They called Nadya irresponsible, not for having fertility treatment or even for having eight or more embryos conceived, but rather they were upset that she wanted to keep them all. Society said it was irresponsible not to murder some of her children. The Church would disagree strongly, of course. She, the Church, would urge Nadya to keep caring and loving the eight babies in her womb, regardless of how they were conceived. The Church views every child equally and as a gift from God, even those born by in vitro fertilization.

Therefore, the Church and society have disagreed on two points. One point the Church may agree with society is whether she should have had more children in the first place. Since she already had 6 children, it was probably not a great idea for a jobless, husbandless woman of little means to seek out more children than the 6 she already had to support. The Church first of all says people ought to be married before they involve themselves in the act of procreation. But even when they're married, they should practice planning when it comes to children. People should not have more children than they can properly afford. This does not mean every child must have a car when they're 16, and go to the top university and have the best life imaginable. It just means that every child must receive basic care and attention. If someone is unable to supply this, they should probably wait a little while to attempt having another child.
It's a really great thing that Nadya decided to keep all eight of her children. Imagine having to tell, for example, the 6 she decided to keep that they were the lucky ones to have survived and that two of their brothers and sisters didn't make it because they were selectively reduced. That would be very sad and would leave the others asking where their other siblings are and why they themselves are alive but their brothers or sisters are not.

Let us pray that the world heads the words of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, "Of Human Life", where he says in the opening statement:

"The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can you name an environmental group? How about the Vatican?

When you think environmental activism, the first group you think of is probably not the Vatican and the Catholic Church. However, the Pope and tbhe Vatican have been promoting environmental causes for quite some time. Most recently, the Vatican announced plans to build the world's largest solar plant. A solar plant is a large collection of solar panels to capture energy. This plant will produce enough energy for 40,000 homes. This is simply incredible. For years, the Vatican has been promoting our proper response to the environment. Our Catholic faith teaches us that we are stewards of the environment and that we must protect it.

Some people believe the Vatican is behind the times, but this once again proves the opposite. In promoting renewable energy, the Vatican is sending a message to the world. But why do so many people insist that the Vatican and the Catholic Church are outdated? The reason does not come from the evidence, but rather from peoples' desires to be free from any moral code. But this is shortsighted, because ultimately the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago, is looking out for people's best interest.

Right from the start, the Church has told people to be good stewards of the Earth and to protect it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

Respect for the integrity of creation 2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.196

2416 Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.197 Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

The Pope has spoken out against pollution, destruction of the environment, and more. Catholic groups such as Development and Peace have been at the forefront of ensuring that water companies do not exploit everyone's God-given rights to clean water.

As you see, protecting the environment is what we are called to do as Catholics.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why legalizing gay marriage hurts gay people

Gay marriage is a big topic nowadays and many people are confused. The debate has entered nearly every Western country. Some have embraced gay marriage with open arms, while others at first did not allow it but reluctantly made steps towards its full legalization. Then there are others which have not legalized homosexual marriage, and the question is still open for debate. One such country is the United States. Right now, homosexual marriage is legal in various states, but not the majority. People are confused as to how they should vote in the case of gay marriage. The prevailing thought is that since gay marriage does not affect them personally, why would they oppose it. This is promoted by its defenders who make anyone who opposes gay marriage look like a bigot and intolerant person who only wants to prevent people from having freedom. Unfortunately this tactic has worked.

But there is an angle which you are very unlikely to hear anytime soon from the mainstream media. That is that homosexual marriage in fact hurts people with same-sex attraction (SSA). I use the term SSA because I see it as a disorder. There is a false dichotomy being presented that says a person is either heterosexual or homosexual. To me, this is like saying society is divided into people who eat healthy and people who do not eat healthy. While this may be true, we would not have terms which present both as viable possibilities. We would not say this person is a "healthy-eater", while this other person is an "unhealthy-eater" and present it as though that's an ingrained part of the person. When I say I believe homosexuality is disordered, I am not saying the people who have it are disordered. Just like the rest of the population, many are decent citizens.

In order to explain why I believe legalizing gay marriage will only hurt people with SSA, I must first take it back a few steps. As I mentioned in the last paragraph, there is a false dichotomy, which we only find in this particular area. If someone is anorexic, we see it as a disorder. Many girls are affected by eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Fortunately, we see this as problematic because it has a negative impact on their lives. We do not have protests demanding equal rights for people to have an eating disorder and that we should not interfere in their lifestyle choices. Another example is suicide. Someone may be suicidal. We would not say we should leave this person alone and not interfere with their life and if they want to commit suicide, we should let them. We recognize a disorder that must be addressed. We do not believe the suicidal person is disordered, but we believe the suicidal tendency is.

By allowing gay marriage, it will hurt homosexual people, because instead of getting help they need, society will tell them they have to accept this burden and live their lives the way they are. How could anyone ever get help in dealing with homosexual issues if all of society views it as normal. What about people who really do struggle with this? They will be left to live a life of hopelessness. Homosexuality is not a good thing and I feel sad for people who must carry that burden. We know from research that people who are identified as gay often enter into a very large number of shallow relationships. They are searching for something they will not find. It has been shown that many homosexual people were abused sexually as children. I also see this as a form of escape. Many boys may not be able to cope with being a man and all the things that it brings with it. Perhaps society presents all men as being beer-drinking, football-watching ogres, and certain sensitive men cannot identify with this. Then, the media presents homosexuality as a perfectly viable option and these boys and men may identify with this and can sink further into this deceit.

The same is true for other things as well which affect heterosexual men. I am not gay-bashing or anything or that sort. I am coming from an angle of compassion. There are sexually disordered things which affect heterosexual men, which the media, society in general, and various other sources not only accept, but encourage. For example, masturbation. Society, schools, and the media all portray this as completely normal, in fact, usually as necessary. By accepting it, you may think you are being more compassionate, but in fact it's the opposite. You are preventing people who want help from ever getting it. Often, an evil sister of masturbation is pornography. But again, society is telling people that pornography is perfectly acceptable and can't hurt anyone. So once again, these people cannot find help from mainstream organizations. But let's look at an example of what happens when these two things become legal and accepted.

Just say there's a man, 30 years old, married just recently. At first, he and his wife were quite intimate, but recently he has become more heavily involved with his old habit of pornography. His wife will wait for him in their marital bed for many hours and finally fall asleep. They are not intimate much anymore. He will spend much of the night downstairs looking at pornography. He has to get up in the morning for work, but he is very tired. He goes to work and does not do a good job. One day, his wife looks on the computer and sees all the pornography there. She is very saddened and confronts him about it. He says he will stop. While he's at work, she goes online to find information about stopping pornography. She can't find anything. It's not only legal, but encouraged. All these psychologists online are saying it's a fun pastime and maybe they should try it together. She is at first shocked that no one understands her, and eventually gives up. She starts to believe she is the strange one for not accepting it. The husband's addiction continues in secret. The wife, out of desperation, suggests they watch some porn together like all the websites say. They try it, but she realizes that he does not become more attached to her, but less so. Eventually she has had enough and decides that even if she is perceived as weird, she will demand that he not watch that filth. He complies. But eventually without proper help, he starts looking at porn at the office. He knows he risks a lot, but he does not know how to deal with his problem because no one will tell him. He eventually gets caught, and is promptly fired. He tells his wife the news. She is very upset, but now he becomes very angry with her saying he would not have gotten into this mess if she had let him continue using pornography. The arguments get worse and they become more distant. She is totally heartbroken, and they are as good as separated. Soon enough, they are forced to leave their home because he cannot support her. She finally has had enough and decides to leave. A short while later, she asks for a divorce.

This is a very sad scenario, but it is not impossible. Not identifying a problem as a problem leads to many further problems, and that is what I am saying will happen to homosexual people if gay marriage is legalized. They will not be helped, they will in fact, find no help. They will not be happy. Before 1981 in Canada, homosexuality was considered a disorder. There was hope for people with the affliction. Many realized it was not an inborn thing, but rather the result of decisions and choices in life. It may sound absurd, given the current prevailing thought, but people who have had SSA have been successful in rediscovering their true sexual identity, and finding complementarity in a person of the opposite sex. The media would never report such a thing, unless they were somehow trying to bash Christians or show mental abuse of homosexual people or something.

Remember, Jesus died for all of us, including people with struggles. Let's truly help people who are afflicted with various issues, who carry heaven burdens. As the hands and feet of Christ, let us remember his words when he said his yoke is easy, his burden light. Let's help those who struggle, with compassion and love.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stupid movies that attack Christianity and specifically Catholicism

Recently there have been movies like Religulous by Bill Maher, and another one I think called the God who wasn't there. Plus there's all kinds of books put out by atheists and stuff. But there are a lot of things they do which are rather stupid. First of all, they pick on people who have no business defending certain beliefs in the first place. People with no qualifications for example, and no experience in defending the truth. In Religulous, he interviewed one priest, who was the astronomer at the Vatican. The priest gave him a really good explanation. Not surprisingly, that's the last you heard from the priest on that movie.

Bill Maher should interview Jimmy Akin or Tim Staples or Mitch Pacwa, not Billy Bob down by the corner store. Give me a break. That's like making a movie about why bodybuilding is stupid, then interviewing a 7 year old boy and asking him to lift a 50 pound weight and when he can't say, "Well, I guess eating healthy and exercising does nothing!" Then the interviewer proceeding to lift the weight himself with some struggle and as they capture this for some time, a voiceover of the narrator comes on and says, "Hmm, that's odd, people have claimed for centuries that working out helps build muscle..." To someone not educated in apologetics (the defense of the truth), they may not see the absurdity of this claim.

I've never seen these atheists ever interviewing someone their own size, as the priest from says. They always pick on the wrong people. Another example of the stupidity of this approach is to ask a random person on the street to calculate the gravitational pull of a planet given its size and composition, and any other necessary information. Then when he is unable to calculate this to declare "Well, I guess gravity doesn't really exist!" By the way, the victim of his silly scheme would not have access to any reference material and would have no time to prepare.

One movie where I did see someone picking on others his own size was "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" by Ben Stein. He didn't go to random people at the corner store or primary school teachers and ask them about the origins of the universe and stuff like that, he went to Richard Dawkins, who wrote some of the most read books among atheists. Richard Dawkins ended up looking pretty dumb. He couldn't answer anything he was asked. This was a fair battle, and it was won decisively by Ben Stein.

Truth always wins. Lies must slither around and use cunning tactics. It's like these videos I've seen on youtube with someone defending the Catholic position and someone else attacking it. Usually the Catholic position is heavily edited. For example, Mitch Pacwa was having a debate with an anti-Catholic man. First, the anti-Catholic would say something, and Fr. Pacwa would have a chance to respond. But on the third time the anti-Catholic spoke, Fr. Pacwa's response was not even shown and the credits came up.

My question is this: why use deceptive tactics to promote lies? Why not learn and teach the truth?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Walk before you run: learn the basics of Catholicism before you go deeper

Over the centuries, our faith has been developed more and more. Of course, right from the start, we've had everything we need for salvation. When I say start, I mean since Christ. From the beginning, we've had the Eucharist, Confession, the community of believers, leadership in the form of bishops and priests, our practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The list, of course, goes on and on. Over the centuries, theology and spirituality have developed, with a lot of new information. For example, we've dug deeper into our sinful nature and how to align ourselves better with Christ. We've elaborated on various doctrine, such as the divinity of Christ, the trinity, transubstantiation, doctrines about Mary, etc. But I think along this path of development, recently we've tended to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I will give examples to show what I mean.
One example is fasting. Fasting is eating less, often much less or nothing in order to reduce our reliance on material things and to bring us closer to God. But how many people actually fast? Over the years, the numbers have gone down to the point where people who fast are seen as weird. While the entirety of Lent was once a period of extreme harshness and austerity, it has become something of a conversation topic to people nowadays. People once strictly fasted for 40 days, now people fast a little for 1 day, maybe 2, mostly Good Friday and sometimes Ash Wednesday. However, even those 2 days out of 365 are often reduced to make it easier. For example, a common trend now, which I find rather antithetical is to have a large meal of fish and chips from a local store on Good Friday. This misses the point completely of fasting. We are to abstain from flesh meat, but this doesn't mean we have to eat as much non-flesh meat as we can. But this is not the worst part about it.
The worst thing is that people have the attitude that fasting is passé and that now we are so much more advanced. Even when priests are giving homilies, they will say, yes of course there is fasting from food, but there is also fasting from gossip and fasting from mean words, and fasting from complaints. While this is a very good point, people tend to see these things as substitutions, rather than additions. They believe that fasting from food was an archaic practice that no one does anymore and as long as you make some vague effort to "be a better person" everything will be fine and dandy.
But let's look to Christ as our example. He didn't make his Passion nice and easy. He didn't say, the point is I'm forgiving sins, so it doesn't matter what I do. Christ didn't go for a walk in the park on a nice day, Christ suffered more than anyone has ever suffered, then he died on the cross. Fasting is an ancient, tried and true practice which is very much still a part of Catholic life. Fasting enables people to deny themselves temporal goods so that they may achieve spiritual goods and grow closer to God. I recently did some fasting and received enormous graces. They are truly beneficial. I think people can often be very attached to their worldly pleasures and unless they truly fast from food, they will not experience this detachment from the world.
Another example is confession. People are often told that counting sins and talking about bad things you did was an old way of confession. Now confession is a therapy session. You talk about how you feel, you tell the priest your problems, and he gives you ideas how to resolve them. You don't go into details about your sinfulness, but rather you say how you are trying to deal with things but sometimes it's hard. This is perhaps a good confession for a saint. But for a lot of people, it is important to be clear about our sinfulness. Confession is not for our "convenience", confession is God's way of reconciling ourselves to him. Yes, there is pain because of the choices we've made, but from the pain comes redemption. If we pretend we have no sins, they how can we say we are forgiven?
Yet another area I believe this occurs in is beliefs about prayer and spiritual life. People are often told God is not only in the Church and we can find God elsewhere. This is very true, God truly is everywhere. We can find him in nature, in helping the poor, in cleaning up the environment. But this assumes people already have an appropriate prayer life within the church. People have tended to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You cannot find God in nature to the exclusion of going to Mass. Many saints have called us to see God in everything and everyone, but these same saints usually attended daily mass, received the sacraments frequently, and had a very strong prayer life.

The point I'm trying to make with this article, is that when it comes to being a Catholic, you have to walk before you run. I remember watching a video about a bodybuilder, and he was making sure he was getting enough fat in his diet. This was because most of his diet was very lean or was fruits and vegetables. At his level of physical fitness, he had to specially ensure that he had enough fat. However, an overweight person who has not worked out in years could not start eating fat all day in order to get in shape. We have to make sure we do not confuse the gravy with the main meal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The signs are clear: Obama is attacking Christianity

While Obama continues to try to deceive us, his intentions could not be more clear. If you take a step back, you will be terrified to know that Obama has started a major attack on the religion which founded his nation. At first, it seemed Obama had some differences of opinion, but now it is obvious that Obama will stop at nothing promote his anti-Christian views. It`s very sad to see this, but worse than seeing this is pretending it does not exist. We cannot stand by and assume that our politicians have our best interests in mind. Obama is not less revolutionary than Mussolini or Stalin when they first started off. At first, they were men with ideas, radical ideas. Soon these ideas became action, but before anyone really realized, these actions lead to disaster. I believe unless we wake up now, Obama will lead us to a similar disaster. If he does not curtail his activities and find another path, the least we can do is make sure after this initial 4 years that he will be ousted.

The United States was founded 232 years ago on Christian principles. Soon after churches sprung up all over the landscape. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were the major tenets of this young country. Soon, it flourished because it regarded all people as equal in a way only a Christian nation can. I believe the Christianity of the United States is what allowed it to be so successful. Much of what fueled the American economy were Catholic immigrants, who came mostly from Ireland and Italy. Great cathedrals were built and dioceses were set up all over the country. The 10 commandments were displayed prominently near courthouses, laws were based on the principles found in the Bible. But this is not something new. This is ongoing. Almost 80% (78.4%) of Americans identify themselves as Christian. This is not a title someone else gave them, but rather one they gave themselves, showing their conviction. It is one of the most Christian countries in the world. 23.9% percent are Catholic.

Many of the greatest educational institutions were founded by Catholic orders, such as Notre Dame in Indiana which was founded by the Order of the Holy Cross, and Georgetown University which was founded by Jesuits. There are thousands more.

This is the setting of Obama's attacks, which makes it all the more shocking. Obama speaks from both sides of his mouth and this is one of the reasons he was elected. When you put the pieces together, you realize that Obama was elected based on deception, and this is following a disturbing plan which will ultimately be a battle waged between Christianity, represented by 80% of the population and secularism and anti-religion which will be represented by Barack Hussein Obama.

Many will say that Obama has said many good things about Christianity and that he himself is a Christian. However, when you think about it, you realize this is the only way he could have ever gotten in. Imagine if he said he didn't like Christianity. He would lose 80% of his audience and the election along with them. He wouldn't be more than a blip on the radar - if that. No one would even know he exists, besides perhaps Michele, his wife. Obama, who was a law professor, knows better than this. Obama has a plan up his sleeve. But that plan is starting to unravel.

Obama's election meant much of his plan was already accomplished. The rest was the easy part. Obama got elected on a false premise - that of being a good Christian who wants to help the country. However, every policy that he has promoted to date has shown his disdain for Christian teaching. I've elaborated on this in previous posts. Click on the Obama tag after this post for more information. From his comments on Terry Shiavo, saying his worst decision was to let her live, to his funding of pro-abortion groups and groups that force abortions and sterilizations on people, his planned reversal on all laws protecting the unborn, his legalization of embryonic destruction, his planned removal of conscience objections for doctors who do not want to perform immoral acts, and the list goes on and on. But he is becoming even bolder.

As all the power rushes to his head, Obama sees more opportunities daily to attack Christianity. While in Turkey, Obama said the United States of America is not a Christian country. That's news to me. 80% of the country is Christian, the country was founed on Christian principles, God is proclaimed in official athems, songs, poems, etc. The US is one of the most Christian countries on the planet, and its president claims it is not. That is an insult to say the least. Imagine the president of Israel saying "Israel is not a Jewish country". What is the point of such a statement? What benefit will derive from it? Is it something bad to be considered a Christian country in Obama's eyes? If not, why mention it at all? If he thinks it's a good thing, why would he deny it? Would you say, "Contrary to popular belief, the United States is a very dirty country, our water is polluted and our forests are filthy." Of course not! So why would Obama go out of his way to say the US is not a Christian nation? The reason is obvious if you are open to the ideas. The reason is that Obama wants to move the US away from its best feature. He wants the country to accept the filth and immorality he is ushering in. He's like a drunkard who's only happy if he sees someone else who's worse off than he is.

But you might say, wait a second, I don't think Obama was trying to hide his Christianity, I don't think he would cover it up. Well, think again, because that's precisely what he did! In a story so shocking, I had to double check to make sure it was even real, it is reported that when Obama went to do a speech at Georgetown University, one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States and probably the world, Obama literally covered up Christ. Perhaps I am speaking symbolically, perhaps Obama said a few words that could be interpreted in an anti-Christian way? I wish. The truth is over the main podium where many famous people have spoken, there are several pillars, holding a triangular roof. In the middle is the inscription IHS, a Christogram for the first 3 letters of Christ's name in Greek. Obama literally COVERED OVER this inscription. I couldn't believe it. I saw pictures and assumed they were doctored, but they weren't. I read it from several top news sources. It was not only unbelievable, but truly saddening. This event indicated to me that the things Obama said and did were not random acts that were misinterpreted. These were deliberate attacks on the Christian community.

If you are not convinced, I suggest you look at all the evidence. The things Obama are doing go far above and beyond what is necessary to remain neutral. He is not longer attempting neutrality and has decided to shed all veneers of being Christian. His full-on attacks must stir in us our passion to defend our beliefs. The forces of evil can never triumph over good. Remember the blood of the martyrs is the life of the Church. You do not need to be killed in order to defend your beliefs, to defend the One who is Truth, Jesus Christ. But you must go to whatever lengths necessary to evangelize people, to tell them the good news. Christianity has fought many spiritual battles, and has always won. Please respond to this call and tell everyone you meet that Jesus Christ and His Church are the way, the truth, and the life.

Another apology

Hi everyone,

I want to just apologize once again. I'm very sorry that I haven't posted since Sunday. I will post tonight, and then hopefully post every day again starting tonight. Thank you for your patience. If you would like to suggest an article topic, please let me know. Thanks so much.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Satan is a car salesman

This title is not meant to say anything negative about car salesman whatsoever. They are good decent citizens, just like any other group of people. The title I chose for this post is to explain some of the things I've learned about Satan and the way he operates in the world.

Satan started as an angel of God named Lucifer, but was too proud. He wanted to be like God, and continues to want this. We can see examples, such as in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempts Adam and Eve by saying they can be like God and know what God knows if they follow him. Satan wants nothing more than to be equal with God, even though he never will be. But Satan is very intelligent and that's what's so dangerous about him. Many may object and claim Satan doesn't exist. It's been said this is his greatest deception. All he needs is for people to believe this. But how can we say he doesn't exist? Do parents not abuse their children, do men not take advantage of prostitutes, are families not destroyed by alcohol abuse? Does Satan not laugh and be glad when these things occur?

Satan is like a car salesman, except instead of selling cars, he sells sin. Because of concupiscence, humans have a tendency toward sin. Francis of Assisi called his body and its desires "brother ass". What he meant was that, like Jesus said: "my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak". We all can fall under this category. We want to behave in a certain way and be holy, but the desires of the flesh sometimes overwhelm us. Satan knows this. So like a car salesman, he first finds out what type of sin we are most attracted to. Our concupiscence is on the market for our sinful desires. He shows us the main ones, as in the seven deadly sins: pride, anger, lust, gluttony, envy, jealousy, and laziness.  He asks us questions in our daily life to find out what we are looking for. Perhaps there is an opportunity to either work or to waste time. This is a question. The question is do we choose laziness or do we choose zeal. Satan then uses these to craft an opportunity to bring us into sin.

Satan may see a holy and righteous man who is doing good works. So he, the tempter, will offer this man an opportunity to be prideful. Satan asks, "You do all these good works for people of your community. You deserve recognition. Go, and tell others of your great deeds." Satan does not see a man being charitable and try to tempt him with laziness, because that is not something he is interested in. Just like a car salesman would not tempt a single man to purchase a minivan, the devil tailors his temptations to our strongest concupiscence.

Importantly there is much hope! Satan fears nothing more than the prayers of the righteous man. Prayer is the most effective weapon against Satan. We create a shield of protection around ourselves when we ask God to be a part of our lives. God is the light and Satan is the darkness, but darkness cannot ever survive in the light. Therefore if we continually ask God to help us, then Satan will not be there.

I read a book a little while back from the chief exorcist of Rome. He said Satan fears prayers, and fears the intercession of Mary and the saints, and fears the power of God. If we pray and align our will with the will of the Heavenly Father, then Satan has nowhere to hide. He will be driven completely away.

The best way to avoid sin is to avoid the occasion of sin. Surround yourself with holy people and holy deeds. If you see evil, get as far from it as possible as soon as possible. Sin is always easiest to fight the earlier you start. I forget which saint said this, I believe it was Francis of Assisi, but he said do not confront sin and then try to combat it. Instead, the moment you sense something could be sinful, run as far and as fast the other way as possible.

Let us pray that all people during this season of Easter turn away from the evil one and say Yes to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Christ's Crown of Thorns

I believe Christ's Crown of Thorns represents several things, and the things I mention is not an exhaustive list. I saw a painting which showed the thorns and branches of Christ's as being very long. Then I realized it meant Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. His crown branches off and we partake of him in his glory. We are the body of Christ.

I also realized that the thorny crown is a paradox just like the life of Christ. Christ's suffering and death on the cross purchased for us the greatest reward. When Jesus brought our sins to the cross, he suffered more than anyone else ever could. Yet it was through this suffering that we could partake in the beatific vision. The cross represents all of this very well. The crown of thorns is painful, causing Jesus to bleed and to suffer, yet through his suffering he is rewarded and we the human race are rewarded. We receive a gift greater than can be had by any king, we receive eternal salvation. Pain and redemption are inextricably linked, and the crown represents the victory and our eternal salvation.

I would like to share a very powerful hymn. The words were written by St. Bernard of Clairveaux, a saint and doctor of the Church.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Will the US have an ambassador to the Vatican?

It seems the United States is having some trouble picking an ambassador to the Vatican. This has not usually been a big issue, but with Obama in the White House, it's proving to be a conundrum. Obama is the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to lead the US, and his policies on life issues put him at distinct odds with the Catholic Church. To that end, he is having extraordinary difficulty selecting a new ambassador to the Vatican. One reason is that he wants to pick a pro-abortion person to do the job. Right away, this sets this person up for dismissal by the Holy See. As a country, the Holy See has the right to reject any candidate put forward as a potential ambassador.

Since 1984, the US has had diplomatic relations with the Vatican in the form of an ambassador. In all events, the person selected has been pro-life regardless of party affiliation. The Vatican does not exclude candidates based on their viewpoints, so theoretically the Vatican could allow an ambassador from any religion, however there are certain issues which the Vatican is so adamant about that selecting someone who differs on those points would prove completely useless for diplomatic relations.

It's not hard to imagine why it is so difficult for Obama to pick someone for this post. He surrounds himself with people who promote the culture of death. Any issue that is classified as advancing this culture, you can be sure Obama is for it.

Let us pray that the US wakes up and smells the roses and selects a worthy representative to be an ambassador to the Vatican. In the history of salvation, the United States is a blip on the radar. The one, holy, catholic and apostolic church established by Christ has been here for almost 2,000 years and will be with us forever. All in all, the Vatican would like to have diplomatic relations with the US, but it certainly is not desperate for them.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Electing a black person

This title sounds a little strange. Perhaps you are wondering if it will turn out to be racist. I hope it grabs attention. But I am not deceiving you, this really is the theme of this latest post. I want to explore what it means for many people to vote for and ultimately elect Barack Hussein Obama and how it relates to Catholic thinking, specifically as far as racism and other issues go.

It was certainly a big change to elect Barack Obama to the White House. Never had a black man been president, but this is especially amazing given the history of racism in the US. Is the US more racist than other countries? I do not think so. Are there conflicts that tend to work along racial lines? Yes. But there are many countries in the world which are much more racist than America.

Barack Obama got into the White House. This alone proves racism can't be as bad as people say it is. White people make up the majority of the United States. Therefore, a large percentage of white people voted for him. Many suggest that the reason for this is that Obama is half black and half white, but this would not explain the white vote, since one of the most racist groups in the United States, the KKK, hate nothing more than the marriage of blacks to whites. They view this as the most serious of crimes. Just as a side note, the KKK also hated Catholics and people of Irish descent, which I'm actually not unhappy about.

The fact that a black man (or so he's called) was elected as president has, in and of itself, a lot of good effects, which I explored in a previous article. But in absolute terms, electing a black man is not necessarily better than electing a white man. This may seem obvious, but when you hear what many commentators and regular people have to say, you realize this is a prevalent attitude.

I believe expressing the opinion that a black man, any black man, being electing to the White House is a good thing represents a high level of racism. A good gauge of racism is to replace "black" with "white". Imagine if someone said, "I'm really glad we elected a white person and not a black person." This person would be labeled a bigot and racist. But if someone says they are happy a black man was elected because he's black, this is not seen in a negative way.

I am very unhappy that Barack Obama was elected. He is the most radically pro-abortion politician in American history and he is ushering in the culture of death with open arms. Everything he does seems to contradict good values. And what makes it all the more maddening is that he doesn't mind being self-contradictory. He doesn't mind saying one minute that he wants to protect all life and then turning around and unleashing the most violent attack on life in history.

People who vote based on the colour of someone's skin are racist, regardless of whether their skin is the same colour as someone else's or not. We should vote for someone who will be pleasing to the people, to the country, but especially to God. If Hitler was a black man, would the holocaust have been a good thing? If we truly claim to be tolerant and accepting of people of all colours, then we would never vote for someone simply because of the colour of their skin.

The side effect of all of this is that Obama gets away with a lot that other politicians wouldn't. If someone objects to him being in the White House, they are labeled a racist. Everything he does is seen as something done by someone who has always been oppressed, therefore it has to be good. It is all too common to think that white people oppress and black people are oppressed. Therefore, if Obama passes a law that violates the sanctity of life, we automatically think he has the right to do that because he has been put down for so long.

We cannot be easy on Obama. We must put him to the test and challenge him. It's hard to believe all the good things President Bush did while in the White House until you see all the things Obama has to reverse. Every day we hear that Bush protected life with various laws, but now Obama is bent on destroying all these laws. It's the equivalent of being in ancient Roman times and Obama reinstating the practice of bringing unwanted children to a hill to die of exposure.

Let us be truly rid of racism. That includes reverse racism and hatred of one's own race. Let's create a society where everyone is treated equally as a child of God.

My apologies

For all those who were expecting an article yesterday since I've started posting daily, I apologize for its absence. I will be posting shortly!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Should we emphasize Christ's suffering or his resurrection?

A friend of mine a few days ago asked if I believe it's accurate to say that Catholics focus on Christ's suffering and death while Protestants focus on the Resurrection. At first I somewhat agreed with him, but I later had more time to think about it and put it into perspective and I developed a few thoughts on the issue.

I think it would be more accurate to say that Catholics do focus on the suffering and death of Christ, whereas this element of Christ's life is overshadowed in Protestant thinking by his resurrection, which they focus on almost exclusively. Of course this will vary from group to group within Protestantism.

Catholic spirituality places a lot of emphasis on Christ's suffering. This can be seen by our devotions. The Stations of the Cross give a 14-step analysis of Christ's trial, suffering, and death of the cross. This was introduced by St. Francis of Assisi. Around this time, around 800 years ago, more graphic representations of Christ's crucifixion became common. Francis of Assisi was the first person to receive the stigmata, which are the wounds of Christ. The Mass, the main worship of Catholics, is called a sacrifice. We present Christ's body and blood to be eaten by the Christian community, just as Christ did at the Last Supper. We pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, which recount five major events of Christ's suffering, and are: 1) His agony in the garden of Gethsemene, 2) Scourging at the pillar, 3) Crowning with Thorns, 4) Carrying the Cross, 5) Crucifixion and death on the cross. We devote an entire season called Lent to align ourselves to the suffering of Christ and be freed from our material desires. Fridays of the year are designated as sacrificial days. In the past, this meant not eating meat on Fridays, but now this can be substituted by another act of penance. There are many more examples of the centrality of Christ's suffering in our theology.

But this emphasis on Christ's Passion is not unnatural, and no devotion will ever go further in the portrayal of Christ's suffering than the amount he actually suffered. Christ suffered more than any person in history, not merely because of the brutal scourging and crucifixion, but because he bore our sins and became the paschal sacrifice of humanity. We should be on our knees praising God for this each and every day.

We believe in Christ ON the cross. The cross without Christ is empty, barren, it does not accomplish our salvation. But our salvation was accomplished by Christ ON the cross. This is where Earth was united with Heaven. Many people say they have an empty cross because Christ conquered death and that he rose from the dead and that he is not on the cross anymore. But if you are showing an empty cross to indicate that Jesus is not on the cross, it would be more accurate to show an empty tomb because that's where Jesus rose from the dead. The point of the crucifix and cross as a symbol of our faith has always been that Christ died for our sins and the cross is where this was accomplished.

It is also important to remember how lovingly and fully we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. Lent is 40 days (46 if you count Sundays), but the Easter Season is 50 days until Pentecost. We celebrate Advent, the preparation of Christmas, but of course, we also celebrate Christmas itself with much joy. We have the Sorrowful Mysteries as I mentioned above, but we also have the Joyful and Glorious mysteries. We call the Mass a sacrifice, but we also call it a celebration.

The reason for this is we believe suffering and joy are two sides of the same coin. When we suffer, we do not just do it to hurt ourselves, we do it to unite ourselves more fully with Christ. By doing so, we give up our attachments to worldly possessions and material satisfaction and become more aware of our relationship with God.

This reminds me of one of my favorite parts of the Passion of the Christ movie. Jesus has been scourged almost to death, his body is wounded beyond recognition from the sadistic treatment he has received, he is bloody, and now he is made to carry his cross. His can barely stand up and falls several times. His mother sees him and is overwhelmed with grief. She rushes to his side where is face down, on his knees, with his cross above him. He is coughing up blood. He says to his mother, "See, I make all things new". This was very powerful for me. Christ did not say "I am suffering a lot" or "I am defeated", but rather he is making all things new. We are washed with the blood of Christ. He is renewing the world. What we see as weakness, Christ sees as strength. What we see as suffering, Christ sees as redemption. Saints have often spoke of the paradox of the cross. As we often say at Mass, "In dying you destroyed our death, in rising you restored our life."

I could go on for many more pages, because this is the essence of our spirituality. But to summarize, I would say this: We cannot separate Christ's resurrection from his suffering and death on the cross, no more than we can separate his human and divine natures. Therefore to ask which we emphasis more is a false dicotomy. Celebrating one or the other exclusively would contradict the message of Christ. As Fr. John Corapi says, we cannot have the crown without the cross.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Proper response to improper comments about the Catholic Church and Christianity

As I've listened to more and more Catholic Answers Live and learn more about my faith, I also learn more about interacting with others. As Christians, we must always give an account for our beliefs and to defend them, but must do it with love and kindness, as Peter tells us in his epistle, in the Bible.

How do we react to slander and blasphemy? I may not be an expert in this subject, but I have learned some things throughout my life. Let me know if you have learned anything by posting a comment on my blog.

1) Do not encourage uncharitable or unkind words. This is very important. Sometimes we see a false dicotomy between speaking out very boldly and noticeably to defend our beliefs and not defending them at all. There is a middle ground however. You must not formally cooperate in evil or encourage it. A good idea I think is if someone says something that's anti-Christian, you don't need to stand out and chastise them, but just do not respond. If it was a joke, do not laugh, if it misinformation, just leave. Make it noticeable that you are not entertained by their comments, but you don't need to give them a public scolding.

2) Whenever possible, tell people something positive about your faith. You can do this subtlely, without starting off with "Christianity is the way to God because...". For example, if someone asks you what you did on the weekend, you can mention that you went to Mass, and list other things as well if you want. Or if someone is sick, mention that you will pray for them.

The point I am trying to make is that in order to evangelize, you do not have to wear an enormous crucifix around your next and only talk about God and your faith. You can evangelize subtlely. Never sacrifice what you hold most dear, and never participate in unkind words toward your beliefs. Always bear witness to the hope that is in you. Having said this, if you feel you are called or feel brave, you can always go out of your way to talk about the love of Christ. If you want to tell people about your faith and to defend it clearly and loudly, by all means, go ahead. Remember, many Christians were killed for their beliefs, so being mocked is not so bad.

Do not take an all or nothing approach. Do whatever you can to spread the good news.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Vigil with Pope Benedict

This is a great little video about Pope Benedict at the Vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Saturday. Five catecumens were baptized. Praise the Lord for all those who receive the waters of new life from Christ our Lord!

Happy Easter - Christ is Risen

Hi everyone,

Happy Easter to you and your family! Christ is Risen today, Alleluia! Enjoy this day and say a prayer to thank Jesus for his sacrifice on the cross.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ask and it is Given

Please allow me to apologize for not posting here in a couple of days. Here is my next post. Please tell someone about me! :)

There is so much truth to everything spoken by Christ in the Gospels. Sometimes we do not even realize how true it is, and like an onion, what appears on one level can be looked at more deeply to reveal even deeper truths. One of these is being revealed to me over the past several weeks and months. The lesson is "ask and it is given". This is truer than you may first believe.

I have some friends, and a few are very close to me. My girlfriend is my best friend. The other day for the Chrism Mass on Tuesday, I invited my friend to come with me. He is not Catholic and had never been to a Catholic Mass. He didn't attend church services with his family either. But I decided to invite him anyway. To my surprise, he came! Also, I invited my Muslim friend, and again to my surprise, she came as well. They both came along with my girlfriend. This was truly a great blessing. I asked, and they came. It was given.

Many times we do not realize the power of this. We shy away from asking people questions for fear of the answer, but if you never ask, you will not be able to get a positive answer either. I decided to try this again with another friend. He recently went through a rough time and broke his marriage engagement because of something his fiancee had done. He was hurting and wanted to meet some friends. So last night I met with him, along with some other friends. Today, I called him and asked if he'd like to go to Good Friday service. He said he would not be ready in time, so I asked about the Stations of the Cross tonight at 7. He said if he did not have a meeting he would go.

In none of these cases was it obvious that they would go with me. I, in fact, would have assumed each time that they would reject the idea. I would have placed my money on that bet, but I would have lost every time.

Get out there and as John Paul II said, "Be not afraid"!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Next post soon...

Dear Blog Readers:

I apologize for the delay in posting a new blog entry. I usually try to have a new one daily before noon, usually in the morning. Today, however, has been rather busy. I will try to have one here by tonight. Thanks for your patience.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Obama's Ironic Words

I've been writing a lot about Obama recently, even though I'm Canadian. There are two reasons. First of all, our most important influence comes from the United States. Secondly, life issues affect the human race, not just Canadians or Americans. Over the coming weeks, I will hopefully analyze some of the policies of other countries, many of which are even more extreme and dangerous than America's with Obama in the White House.

The irony that I am speaking about is something Obama said. While at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said:

"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being".

This, I think, is an example of Obama's doublespeak. Who is more innocent than the unborn? Remember, these are not blobs of cells, these are full human beings, whose eye colour, height, complexion, hair colour, etc. is already determined. By the time nearly all abortions occur, the baby's organs are already developing and he has a heart beat and brain activity.

So when Obama says no God would condone the killing of innocent people, who exactly is he talking about? Perhaps he refers to the innocent handicapped people? Well, that can't be true either because Obama said his worst political decision was to allow Terry Shaivo to continue to receive food and water.

Part of what makes Obama famous is that he tries to say what he thinks people want to hear. You may say all politicians do this, but I have never met a politician who alters his message so dramatically from one place to another. For example, there are pro-life politicians. If you ask them if they support the right to life for everyone, they will of course agree. Now, if a pro-abortion person asks what they think should happen if a rape victim gets pregnant, they will not suddenly abandon their pro-life stance and say "I'm pro-choice now." They would perhaps talk around the issue and say they believe that is a very tough situation and we must do everything we can to help them out, etc. but they wouldn't just change what they said in the past to suit the situation, which as you can see Obama does frequently.

There are a couple of equally horrendous ways which we could take what Obama said that would not make him duplicitous. First, perhaps he does not believe that a baby 5 minutes before birth is human, or even that a baby who is partially out of the womb is human. Only when the smallest pinky toe escapes the birth canal is the person in question a member of humanity. Prior to this, according to Obama, this entity must be a non-human. That defies natural logic.

The other possible way of reconciling what Obama said with him being consistent is to consider that perhaps he believes God would never condone the killing of an innocent person, but that Obama really doesn't care what God thinks. This would probably be worse than the first possibility. If this is true, then this is pride. To know and understand what God wants and to purposely contrive against it is a serious crime. It is the definition of sin. And to be that clear about it makes it all the more scandalous.

I do not think it is possible that he does not believe in God. The reason is that if he didn't, why would he even bother mentioning God in the first place? It's not like Obama has a lack of vocabulary. He could have said "no civilization" would condone the taking of innocent human life, or "no society" or "no moral people", but he didn't. He specifically said God. Of course, with his record of doublespeak, perhaps Obama doesn't really believe in God, but says he does because he doesn't think Americans are ready for an atheist president. On a side note, I do not think anyone truly does not believe in God. They may refuse to acknowledge God, or ignore God, but I think deep down everyone knows God.

At least one priest has spoken up against these words of Obama. American priest, Father Hugh W. Cleary, Holy Cross superior general in Rome, has issued a letter to Obama urging him to reconsider his stance on life issues. Holy Cross is the order under which Notre Dame was founded in Indiana in 1842. Let us pray and work together with Fr. Cleary to bring Obama to an understanding of the sanctity of life.

Here is an article about the letter written by Fr. Cleary:

Monday, April 06, 2009

Obama's Accidental Good Effects

I've spoken several times on this blog about Obama's strong propensity toward the culture of death and how he and his administration have been implementing laws which attack the sanctity of life more and more each day. But, there are possibly some good things which may come out of this, none of which are specifically intended by Obama or his administration.

Recently Obama was invited to speak at Notre Dame University, one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, which also is Catholic. Many were outraged by this decision to allow such a proponent of the culture of death to speak there. People say the invitation should be revoked. However, let's look at the good it is causing. First of all, many Catholics are having their voices heard. So often, Obama is portrayed as being this "new vision" and hope for the country. He is cast in a certain media glow which aims to show him as someone who came to selflessly save the country. His speaking at Notre Dame and the ensuing backlash, though, cannot be ignored. People will see why many do not like the policies he has been espousing. They hear from the other side. This is a great chance for the voices of the pro-life side to be heard.

Many bishops and prominent people are protesting Obama's speaking at the university named after Our Lady. Any time Obama's speech is talked about in the media, they are required to talk also about the protests. This will at least make people pause for a few seconds and wonder if Obama is doing as much good as the media would lead us to believe.

Obama may also be contributing to the sense of worth of black people and other minorities. As we know, the black community is often afflicted very seriously by the scourge of abortion. Unfortunately that was the goal of many of the original birth control advocates, like Margaret Sanger. She wanted to reduce the number of black people in the country and she felt birth control and sterilization were good methods for that. Many black people feel they are put down and oppressed by others. They feel they cannot do well in their lives. Many live in despair and often get involved in risky relationships and become pregnant out of wedlock. They feel they have no choice but to have an abortion. There is a prevailing racism which is contributed to by all people in the country, including all races. With Obama's win, he shows people of his ethnicity that anyone can make it and be very successful. People often say "you can be President someday" as the highest of goals. Now that people know this is open to everyone, they will feel less oppressed. With less oppression they feel more responsible and would be less likely to have an abortion, which is often done because of a hopeless feeling.

Obama is doing other good things as well, including trying to help the environment, attempted to reduce war and conflict, etc. This article is meant to show that God allows things to happen, and that in the darkest times, the light shines all the brighter. God sometimes allows evil to happen so that even more good can come from it. We can never overlook the mass genocide of abortion, nor can we ignore euthanasia, suicide, embryonic stem cell research, homosexual "marriage" and other parts of the culture of death, but it is important to sometimes be thankful for good things in society and our lives.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

You have to see this video, it is truly breathtaking

Please view this video produced by Catholics Come Home called "Epic":

Patron saint of the Internet? Feast Day is April 4th

The internet was founded a few decades ago in efforts which began in the 50s and culminated in the creation of the world wide web. But did you know there is a Catholic saint who is the patron of the Internet.

He is Isidore of Seville. Although you may never have heard of him, he has actually been very important in the Catholic Church. Isidore died in the 7th century and was the bishop of Seville, in Spain. He was canonized in 1598, and was the twelfth person raised to status of Doctor of the Church, which for him was in 1722. He is not the official patron saint of the Internet, but many consider him as such, and perhaps in the future, he will receive this title officially. He is also the patron of computers.

Isidore is famous for writing Etymologiae. In this encyclopedia, he touches on dozens of topics. There are 21 books which range from law, war, agriculture, grammar, animals, and of course, religion. It was compiled near the end of Isidore's life (he died in 636). In his treatise, Isidore takes information from Christian and pagan writers. One interesting note is that in Etymologiae, Isidore asserts that the Earth is in fact round. Apparently it isn't true that people always thought the Earth was flat.

I know this article is a bit late because Isidore's feast is April 4th, and today is April 5th. Today, say a prayer for this saint and Doctor of the Church.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

St. Benedict of Nursia: patron saint of kidney diseases

Several months ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with kidney disease. Ultimately she had one of her kidneys removed. She is now recovering in hospital and doing better every day. While praying for her I decided to find out who the patron saint of kidney problems was. It is no other than St. Benedict of Nursia. He is the founder of Western monastacism, and thousands of monks today use his Rule of St. Benedict, a guide for every aspect of a monk's day. It was written in the 6th century. It is even good to read through if you are not a monk for it offer timeless wisdom.

There is an interesting story as to why St. Benedict is the patron saint of kidney problems. It is said that Benedict went to implement his rule at a monastery, but some of the monks there thought it was too hard to follow. They sought to poison his kidneys in order to make him ill. However, he blessed the drink and the poison did not affect him.

Monks have had such an important role in Western society. Let us always remember their contribution to the betterment of humanity.

Added October 5, 2015:
Please Help Support my blog by purchasing this great book from The Rule of St. Benedict. It costs just $6.77 US. It will help immensely, but it will also help your spiritual life!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The culture of death becomes obvious when you put the pieces together

In a previous article, I spoke of all the things Obama was doing or planned on doing which would go against life, including eradicating all abortion laws in the United States with the passing of the "Freedom of Choice Act", allowing federal funds for a dead-end (pun intended) pseudo-science which has yielded exactly zero cures called embryonic stem-cell research, saying that his worst decision was supporting Terry Schaivo's right to life, and the list goes on. But you don't need to stop looking once you reach Obama. Just look at his cabinet ministers. They too are promoting the culture of death like never in our history. When you start to put them all together, you start to see the deceit and lies these people are perpetuating, and you start to realize the true goal - the destruction of humanity.

A few days ago, a member of Obama's administration, "Dr." Nina Vsevolod Fedoroff said there are too many people on Earth. At first she said we need to keep reducing the population growth, etc. When a reporter asked if she thought there were too many people on Earth, she responded in the affirmative. I wish I was there. I would have asked her, "Nina, you say there are too many people on Earth. Would you like to eliminate yourself?" See, it's easy to say "there are too many people on Earth", but people are real flesh and blood, they are not numbers, they are not statistics. This whole mentality is fooled up. She believes there are not enough resources to sustain the population. Well, then we need to increase resources. If there is too much pollution, we need to cut back. If there is unclean water, we need treatment plants. It is a fallacy to say that because there are bad things happening in the world, and they happen to involve people, automatically there are too many people. That's like saying 20 million people in Europe died because of the bubonic plague, out of a population of 100 million. Now, how could we have reduced the death toll? Well, if there were only 50 million people, only 10 million would have died! So our solution is to reduce the population. Or you could say in a town of 100,000 people, there are 100 murders per year. How do you reduce the number of murders? Reduce the population to 50,000, then there should only be around 50 murders per year. This logic is fallacious.

As for not enough resources, that is another scare tactic. Thomas Malthus, in the 1800s predicted a global catastrophe, where there would be widespread famine and people would be dying all over the place because there would surely not be enough food. He felt he was on the brink of this. In his day, the population was just over 1 billion. Now it is over 6 times that much, and yet the United States alone has enough food to feed the entire planet.

We know that the earth is not overpopulated. Are there issues on the Earth? Absolutely! Too much pollution, too much starvation, too much suffering, perhaps, but reducing our numbers is not a solution! Some people think that only when there are no more people on Earth will things be how they should. Well, God has a different opinion. He created us unique out of all the animals. Some may say we are like chimpanzees, but chimpanzees will customarily go to a rival group, take a young one, and rip it to pieces and eat it. This is common. We are not monkey or apes or animals. We are human beings, created uniquely by God. Animals and plants are here for our well-being and to serve us. We of course must love the planet, but not hate ourselves.

Fr. Frank Pavone wrote a wonderful article on this subject for "This Rock" Magazine. I will post it here in its entirety, including a link to it:

Planet Un-Parenthood

The Myths of Overpopulation

By Fr. Frank Pavone

Well, it didn’t quite happen as they feared.

In 1798, Rev. Thomas Malthus, one theoretician of overpopulation, predicted that by 1890 the world would have standing room only. Nearly two centuries later, in the 1970s, media reports cautioned that by 1990 we would need to build huge artificial islands in the middle of the ocean to handle the earth’s population.

Apparently, we’re doing better than that.

Yet some don’t seem to learn from the facts, and we still hear today about the "problem" of "overpopulation." This supposed problem, which as we will see below is contrary to fact, is used as a justification for killing people by abortion and for state interference with the authentic, God-given reproductive freedom that belongs to families and couples.

The ongoing myth of overpopulation is actually a cluster of myths, some statistical, some philosophical, and some spiritual.

"Having Babies Is Selfish"

Toni Vernelli of Somerset, England, aborted her child and eventually had herself sterilized at age 27. Why? She wanted to reduce her "carbon footprint" and help save the planet.
Her boyfriend, to whom she is now married, saw things the same way, and presented her with a "Congratulations" card.

"Having children is selfish," Toni said. "It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet . . . Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of overpopulation."

Sarah Irving feels the same way: "I realized that a baby would pollute the planet—and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do."
Not everyone has drunk so deeply of the overpopulation myth as these two enthusiasts, but they remind us that the myth does have an impact on our culture and needs to be counteracted.

The Hype

There has been a war of ideas regarding overpopulation for centuries. But around 1970, a publication by Rev. Malthus was met with renewed interest. Malthus, a British economist, wrote Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798. Essentially, he became alarmed at the difference between arithmetic growth (2 – 4 – 6 – 8) and geometric growth (2 – 4 – 8 – 16). Here is his central thesis:

The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometric ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetic ratio. By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence.

Other population alarmists jumped on the bandwagon at various times. In 1972, Paul Erlich, author of The Population Bomb, warned that 65 million Americans would die of starvation by 1985. That same year, Planned Parenthood World Population circulated an article titled "The Human Race Has 35 Years Left: After that, People will Start Eating Plankton. Or People."
The prize for hysterical projections, however, goes to Princeton demographer Ansley Coale, who said we are experiencing ". . . a growth process which, within 65 centuries and in the absence of environmental limits, could generate a solid sphere of live bodies expanding with a radial velocity that, neglecting relativity, would equal the velocity of light" ("Increases in Expectation of Life and Population Growth," Proceedings of the International Population Conference, 36).

The Reality

The reality, however, is different.

The population of the world doubled from 3 billion in 1960 to 6 billion in 2000. However, this growth was not because we were reproducing so fast, but because we weren’t dying so fast. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, the death rate dramatically slowed during this time.

As for the worldwide fertility rate, it was actually falling throughout the period. In 1960 it was an average of 6 children per woman; by 2002 it was just 2.6. Around 2.1 is the replacement level, that is, the number of children that each couple needs to have to maintain the population. (The extra one-tenth accounts for those who do not have children).
Another way of describing this change in the fertility rate during the time that the world’s population doubled is that we were adding 2.1 percent to the world’s population each year, but by 2002, it dropped to increments of only 1.2 percent.

The United Nations publishes population analyses. When projecting what population growth is likely to be in the future, the United Nations illustrates different versions of what may happen, known as "variants."

According to its "medium variant," the UN projects that the world population grow to 8.9 billion by 2050, and will then level out at 10 billion.

However, the "low variant"—which is usually the correct one—shows a leveling out at 7.3 billion in 2040.

Once the population levels out in this way, it will begin to decline. It will never double again.

As population expert Steven Mosher points out, the United Nations’ low variant is not highlighted in the UN reports; rather, it is buried in the details. Moreover, the medium variant, which projects a higher population, is based on a totally unexplained (and unrealistic) assumption, namely, that all countries, over the next half-century, will reach a "fertility floor" of 1.85 children per woman. The assumption, in other words, is that fertility rates won’t fall lower than that. In reality, however, fertility rates in many countries have already fallen lower than this imaginary fertility floor. Since modern societies are typically between 1.1 and 1.6 in fertility rates, a floor of 1.35 seems more likely.

The world population growth rate, therefore, has slowed steadily since 1960. Medical technology, reducing infant mortality, has led to agrarian families no longer feeling that they needed numerous children. Increased wealth has caused the birth rate to decline and the marriage age to increase. The global trend toward longer life spans seems to be slowing.
Life expectancy has increased, and when that happens, the population swells. But eventually everyone dies. Population in a nation whose birthrate is below the replacement level may also swell because of immigration, and this has been the case with the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Where starvation in the world is present, it isn’t caused by a lack of food. Studies consistently show the world has and can produce enough food for the present and future population. As Randy Alcorn observes, starvation occurs due to a combination of many factors, including natural disasters, wars, a lack of technology, the misuse of resources, waste, greed, government inefficiency, and failure to distribute food properly. Indeed, the problem we find in many places is not overpopulation as such, but overconcentration.

Never before have fertility rates all over the world been in such widespread free-fall for such a long period of time. Most Western European countries are now experiencing economic problems that their governments attribute to population reduction.

UN population experts have declared that the very existence of some nations has now been endangered by a decline in the numbers of children that families are having.
According to Dr. Joseph Chamie, former Director of the Population Division of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs,

Very low fertility levels lead not only to population decline, but also to rapid population ageing. These changes in size and structure have significant social, economic, and political consequences for these countries and regions. And these consequences need to be addressed today, not tomorrow. (Statement to the Commission on Population and Development, 32nd session, March 1999)


Brian Clowes, director of research for Human Life International, points out that population controllers don’t want world population to just level off at zero population growth. They want it to continue to go down until it reaches one or two billion, and then have a global one-child policy.

At the heart of their thinking is not only mathematics, but an erroneous anthropology, a distorted view of the human species. According to this view, there is nothing special about the human species, nothing distinctive that sets us apart from animals. Therefore, decisions about our own welfare must involve considering the welfare of all the "other" animals. Some see us as even inferior to those animals and, in fact, as a cancer on the world. "We must cut out the cancer of population growth," said Paul Ehrlich in The Population Bomb.

Abortionist Warren Hern expresses this view in the following way:

The human species is a rapacious, predatory organism displaying all the characteristics of a malignant tumor . . . One of the main characteristics of a cancerous growth is that it resists regulation. Growth is not controlled . . . The ideas that provide the philosophical underpinnings of human destructiveness are found most vividly in the Judeo-Christian ethic, which purports to sanctify man’s mastery over nature. This tradition has suppressed and scorned the significant biological fact that man is an animal like many of his other fellow creatures, holding instead that he is God’s gift to creation—the flower of the universe. (February 1990, address to the University of Colorado at Boulder)

Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood, had a similar problem with the Christian ethic of charity and therefore opposed helping the poor.
At times, I have received pro-abortion correspondence that expresses a relief and even a joy in the staggering numbers of surgical and chemical abortions that occur around the world, because they reduce the population. One wonders whether such people dare to express the same relief and joy when they hear of tsunamis and earthquakes. After all, those too reduce population.
Indeed, population alarmists will rarely if ever be heard expressing a readiness to put their own lives aside for the good of the planet. Rather, it’s always someone else who has to go. G.K. Chesterton put it well when he wrote, "The answer to anyone who talks about the surplus population is to ask him, whether he is part of the surplus population; or if not, how he knows he is not" (Introduction to A Christmas Carol).

The Moral and Spiritual Myth

As we have seen, the population problem in our day is not overpopulation, but rather declining population, as well as unequal distribution of resources. But even if there were an alarming overpopulation problem, the population controllers put forth a key moral error, which is that we could kill people to solve the problem. Because the end never justifies the means, and because killing the innocent is an intrinsic evil, no circumstances could ever justify killing people—born or unborn—to obtain relief from overpopulation, even if that scenario were as bad as some of the outlandish quotes we have seen would have us believe.

Moreover, the mentality of the population controllers reflects a spiritual myth: that human happiness and fulfillment can be found by pushing the "other" out of the way. This, indeed, is the mentality that fuels abortion and euthanasia, as well as population control. The "other" is seen as a threat that must be eliminated, rather than as an opportunity to give oneself away in love, that the other may grow. Precisely in that self-giving ("This is my body, given for you…") does the Christian see fulfillment, rather than in the myth that I am liberated only when the other is killed ("This is my body; I can do what I want").

Ironically, often the very people whom elite population controllers despise or, alternatively, profess that they want to help, show us the way to fulfillment. In her speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 1994, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta shared the following story containing a key lesson from the poor and the hungry:
I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor with a Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and said: "Mother Teresa, there is a family who have not eaten for so long. Do something." So I took some rice and went there immediately. And I saw the children—their eyes shining with hunger. . . . And the mother of the family took the rice I gave her and went out. When she came back, I asked her: "Where did you go? What did you do?" And she gave me a very simple answer: "They are hungry also." What struck me was that she knew—and who are they? A Muslim family—and she knew. I didn’t bring any more rice that evening because I wanted them, Hindus and Muslims, to enjoy the joy of sharing.

The Freedom to Reproduce

Has the reduction of population through abortion, contraception, and sterilization made the world better? No, we’ve ended up, as Steven Mosher points out, materially poorer, less advanced economically, less diverse culturally, and plagued with incurable diseases and many that are curable but ignored. Security isn’t better, nor is the environment better protected.
Indeed, the abortion industry is the only sector of the economy that doesn’t create wealth but destroys it, leaving us all poorer. Abortion destroys human capital, the ultimate resource.
Yet population controllers push forward with an agenda that seeks to reduce the world’s population to dramatically low levels. The effort to do this leads to government policies like the "one-child policy" in China, which punishes couples who conceive a second child.

Parents have a fundamental right to control their reproductive system and determine the number and spacing of children. Pro-abortion groups would be surprised to know what the Church really teaches in this regard. They have hijacked the term "reproductive rights," but the Church really believes in such rights, which, of course, need to be exercised in such a way that couples never distort the meaning of human sexuality by impairing their fertility, nor ever kill their offspring, born or unborn.

Therefore the Church opposes any government plan to try to control fertility by placing limits on parents’ God-given right to procreate and educate their children. Population control policies exhibit, in Mosher’s words, a "technocratic paternalism," which subjugates family and individual fertility to the wishes of the state.

Can We Recover?

Many European countries have had policies in place for a long time that seek to raise the birth rate. When I worked at the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family in the late 1990s, documents often came across my desk from the United Nations regarding the crisis of under-population and the various proposals to reverse the falling fertility rates in so many nations. Such proposals include, for instance, monthly financial payments from the government to families with more than a certain number of children.

But Mosher points out that many of these policies ignore the dynamics of the natural family and instead favor gender and marriage-neutral policies (for instance, policies that would give fathers incentive to leave the work force by allowing lengthy time away from their job). Instead, he says, the state should empower couples to reach their desired level of children, and reforming taxes is a key part of the solution. High taxes stress the family, diverting resources away from where they are needed to encourage family growth.

Pope John Paul II summarized in The Gospel of Life both the problems with population programs and some of the more reasonable solutions.

Today an important part of policies which favor life is the issue of population growth. Certainly public authorities have a responsibility to intervene to orient the demography of the population. But such interventions must always take into account and respect the primary and inalienable responsibility of married couples and families, and cannot employ methods which fail to respect the person and fundamental human rights, beginning with the right to life of every innocent human being. It is therefore morally unacceptable to encourage, let alone impose, the use of methods such as contraception, sterilization, and abortion in order to regulate births. The ways of solving the population problem are quite different. Governments and the various international agencies must above all strive to create economic, social, public health, and cultural conditions which will enable married couples to make their choices about procreation in full freedom and with genuine responsibility. They must then make efforts to ensure greater opportunities and a fairer distribution of wealth so that everyone can share equitably in the goods of creation. Solutions must be sought on the global level by establishing a true economy of communion and sharing of goods, in both the national and international order. This is the only way to respect the dignity of persons and families, as well as the authentic cultural patrimony of peoples. (Evangelium Vitae, 91)

Toward an Ethic of Hope

I mentioned the reports about de-population that came across my desk when I worked at the Vatican. They often described proposals by nations to increase their fertility rates. One of those proposals stood out above all the others: Instill hope in the people.

That is at the core of the Culture of Life, because it is at the core of the gospel. And it is the key to undoing all the myths about "overpopulation." Hope is what gives us the strength to say "Yes" to life. Hope looks at the world and looks at the future and says, "Yes, we can welcome more children here," because, as Pope John Paul II wrote, "Life . . . is always a good" (EV 31).

At the turn of the millennium, the world’s population hit 6 billion. Population alarmists lamented that fact. But an international group of leaders issued a statement that reflected instead the joyful hope that should be shared by us all: "We are grateful that Baby Six Billion has come into the world. Baby Six Billion, boy or girl, red or yellow, black or white, is not a liability, but an asset. Not a curse, but a blessing. For all of us" (Population Research Institute statement, October 11, 1999).

Here is a link to the article:

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Vatican Wealth: The myth that's contrasted with voluntary poverty

Many people accuse the Vatican and the Catholic Church in general of hording up money and retaining vast wealth. In fact, many say the reason priests are celibate is so that they do not have a family to pass down their possessions to. Many look at the large basilicas and cathedrals and wonder why they aren't being sold off to help the poor. I will analyze these questions and show how they are based on falsehoods.

One of the main proofs that the Catholic Church and specifically priests and bishops are not members of the clergy to gain wealth is the way the wealth they have is used and to contrast that with how others use wealth. When you look at the lifestyles of the rich and famous, whether it's the show or just the activity, what do you notice? They have huge houses, several expensive cars, a swimming pool, huge tvs, etc. And a major thing you will notice is that they are usually not celibate! Contrast this now with clergy. They usually live in a small place, have a utilitarian car, are voluntarily celibate, etc. They have forgone the trappings of this world in order to come closer to the spiritual life.

When Pope John Paul II, the head of the Catholic Church, died in 2005, he had very few possessions of personal property. Just a few little things. It is said he did not remember the meals he ate but could remember almost all the conversations he had with people. He was most interested in being a shepherd to the people of God. There are countless examples of saints living in voluntary povery in the Catholic Church, from St. Francis of Assisi who could have taken over his father's textiles business, or Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists and Doctor of the Church, who could have had a lucrative career as a lawyer in Italy but renouced that to follow a spiritual path. Mother Teresa gave up her life to be a nun in the poorest part of India. Ten thousand books could be written about saints who renounced a life of luxury to live a Catholic spiritual life and you would still not have scratched the surface.

As for basilicas and cathedrals, these were works of love. They were built by donations given by people. The people wanted places of worship where they could celebrate the Mass. Many times, people of the community actually helped in building these monuments. Brother André Bessette, who founded St. Joseph's Oratory, one of the largest churches in Canada and the world, was known for his harsh austerities. He had a tiny room and did many forms of penance. His aunt was worried that he would die because he was already frail. He in fact lived into his nineties.

As far as hording up wealth goes, the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization on the planet. Bigger than the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or any other institution or organization in the world.

If you are seeking personal material wealth, you better look elsewhere than the clergy of the Catholic Church.