11th Circuit Court Rules to Allow Prayers ‘in Jesus Name.’

October 31, 2008

Richmond, VA (MetroCatholic) - Former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, the event organizer for the November 1st State-Wide Prayer Rally outside the Virginia Governor’s mansion, is celebrating a new court ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows legislative Chaplains to pray publicly “in Jesus name,” even in government forums.

The 11th circuit court authorized “sectarian” prayers at government hosted events, ruling in Pelphrey v. Cobb County, “We refuse to embark on a sensitive evaluation or to parse the content of a particular prayer…Whether invocations…are ’sectarian’ is best left to theologians, not courts of law.” This new ruling directly contradicts the 4th circuit court ruling in Turner v. Fredericksburg, which had banned the word “Jesus” as illegal speech.

“This ruling proves Virginia Governor Tim Kaine wrongly prohibits his state police chaplains from praying publicly ‘in Jesus name,’” said Chaplain Klingenschmitt, “and his administration was wrong to force six chaplains to resign for the crime of praying ’sectarian’ prayers in public. The Governor violated the chaplains’ constitutional rights.”

Since Governor Kaine rejected a request by 86 Virginia Pastors to reinstate the six heroic trooper chaplains who took a stand for Christ, many churches and pastors will join together at a prayer-rally this Saturday outside the Governor’s mansion.

Gianna Jessen to Sen. Obama’s Attacks: “I’ve Dealt with Worse – I’ve Survived an Abortion.”

October 31, 2008

Chicago, IL (LifeSitenews.com) - BornAliveTruth.org released its second ad earlier this week featuring abortion survivor Gianna Jessen responding to Senator Barack Obama’s direct attack on her (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1fLxy4qQeU).

BornAliveTruth says that Obama’s response spot to the original Gianna ad was filled with false and misleading distortions about Gianna Jessen and Obama’s own voting record against born alive infant protections.

“Senator Obama had the audacity to go after Gianna Jessen, born alive after a failed abortion, and call her and the ad she appeared in ‘a despicable lie,’” said Jill Stanek, executive director of BornAliveTruth.org. “We want to make sure voters are aware of Barack Obama’s extreme stance on abortion and that he voted four times, while an Illinois State Senator, to deny medical care to infants born alive after abortions.”

Gianna Jessen is the first abortion survivor to appear in a political issue advocacy ad.

In her second ad, a 30-second spot, Gianna addresses Obama’s attacks and says “I’ve dealt with worse; I survived an abortion.”

She continues, “State Senator Barack Obama voted 4 times against laws to protect babies who survive abortions. Meanwhile, U.S. Senators voted 98-0 for Born Alive Infant Protections. Senator Obama says deciding when babies get human rights is above his pay grade. Tell him abortion survivors deserve legal protections too.”

Senator Obama has attempted to cover up his voting record on the issue, saying that there were already protections in Illinois state law for babies born alive after abortions. However, existing laws were inadequate to protect and guarantee immediate medical care to all infants born alive after failed abortions.

“Senator Obama had several chances to close that loophole in Illinois law and give babies, like Gianna, the necessary medical care they need to survive after a failed abortion,” said Stanek. “But he didn’t do it - in fact, he voted against bills to close the loophole. Four times he voted against giving infants who survive abortions their basic human rights.”

Focus on the Family Action, a Colorado-based family organization, is kicking off a $500,000 radio ad buy featuring the original Gianna ad revealing Senator Obama’s voting record on born alive infant protections (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anieuWFWe8s).

Gianna’s first ad will air on radio stations across Colorado and the new Gianna response ad will air on TV in Cleveland, and will be featured on TheDrudgeReport.com and at BornAliveTruth.org.

The total ad buy for both radio and TV will be close to $600,000.

Guidelines for Use of Psychology with Future Priests

October 31, 2008

Vatican City (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the document “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood” from the Congregation for Catholic Education was presented. The text consists of fifteen pages and was published in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.
Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, O.P., and Fr. Carlo Bresciani, respectively the prefect, secretary, and consultant and psychologist of the Congregation for Catholic Education took part in the press conference.
Cardinal Grocholewski affirmed that the document highlights “the socio-cultural context that, more or less, influences the mentality of the candidates that apply to the seminary, creating, in some cases, wounds that are still unhealed or particular difficulties that could ‘condition their ability to progress along the formative path toward the priesthood’”.
“These problems,” he said “are seen not only at the moment of entry into the seminary but, at times, also clearly manifest themselves at the moment prior to priestly ordination”.
The cardinal stated that “the influence of the socio-cultural context as well as the need for a demanding human formation of the future priest, raise the question of the eventual use of the psychological sciences in the seminaries”. 
“This document,” he continued, “emphasizes the fundamental role of the formators and, therefore, the need of an adequate preparation in the area of vocational pedagogy”. On the other hand, he said, “in the human formation - which cannot be separated from the spiritual formation - the spiritual director has a special role”. In this sense he quoted the document where it says that “spiritual direction can in no way be substituted by forms of analysis or psychological assistance, and that the spiritual life, of itself, favors growth in the human virtues if no blocks of a psychological nature exist”.
He then stressed another aspect that the document focuses on: “the importance of divine grace in the formation of candidates to the priesthood”. The cardinal indicated that “recourse to experts in the psychological sciences should be used only ‘in some cases’ to show the assessment of a diagnosis, or eventual therapy, or psychological support in the development of the human qualities demanded by the exercise of the ministry. These should be consulted,” he insisted, “‘si casus ferat’, meaning in exceptional cases that present particular difficulties”.
“The aid of psychology,” he continued, “should be integrated into the candidate’s global formation in such a way that it does not hinder but rather ensures, in a particular way, the safeguarding of the inalienable value of spiritual accompaniment”. This is why, he said, “psychologists cannot be part of the formation team”.
Cardinal Grocholewski concluded by recalling that the document “on three occasions cites canon 1052 of the C.I.C., according to which, for the bishop to proceed to ordination, he must have moral certainty that the candidate’s suitability, ‘has been positively established’ and that, in the case of a substantiated doubt, cannot proceed to ordination”.
Archbishop Brugues asserted that “no one, not even religious or diocesans superiors, can enter into the details of candidates’ psychological profiles without having received their prior, explicit, informed, and total consent … The psychologist cannot disclose aspects of their patients’ private lives to third parties, regardless of their authority, be it religious or political, without the free consent of the interested parties”.
Finally, Fr. Carlo Bresciani emphasized that “with these guidelines, the Church, far from wanting to entrust to psychologists the psychological formation of candidates to the priesthood, which is and continues to be essentially of a spiritual nature, seeks to value what the human and the psychological sciences in particular can contribute to the preparation of priests with equilibrated personalities. The Church appreciates the psychological disciplines but, at the same time, wants to discipline its use in a way that it might be truly beneficial”.

Dialogue Between Cultures and Religions the Duty of All

October 31, 2008

Vatican City (VIS) - Today in the Vatican Benedict XVI received a delegation of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultation with which the Holy See “for over thirty years has had regular and fruitful contacts, which have contributed to greater understanding and acceptance between Catholics and Jews”.
“I gladly take this occasion,” said the Pope, “to reaffirm the Church’s commitment to implementing the principles set forth in the historic declaration “Nostra Aetate” of the Second Vatican Council. That declaration, which firmly condemned all forms of anti-Semitism, represented both a significant milestone in the long history of Catholic-Jewish relations and a summons to a renewed theological understanding of the relations between the Church and the Jewish People”.
“Christians today,” the Holy Father continued, “are increasingly conscious of the spiritual patrimony they share with the people of the Torah, the people chosen by God in his inexpressible mercy, a patrimony that calls for greater mutual appreciation, respect, and love.  Jews too are challenged to discover what they have in common with all who believe in the Lord, the God of Israel, who first revealed himself through his powerful and life-giving word”.
“In our troubled world, so frequently marked by poverty, violence, and exploitation, dialogue between cultures and religions must more and more be seen as a sacred duty incumbent upon all those who are committed to building a world worthy of man.  The ability to accept and respect one another, and to speak the truth in love, is essential for overcoming differences, preventing misunderstandings, and avoiding needless confrontations. … A sincere dialogue needs both openness and a firm sense of identity on both sides, in order for each to be enriched by the gifts of the other”.

Court Upholds Harassed Sixth Grader’s Right to Wear Pro-Life T-shirts

October 31, 2008

Ann Arbor, MI (LifeSiteNews.com) — A Federal Judge in Minnesota has signed a Stipulated Permanent Injunction this month, allowing a sixth grade student of the Hutchinson Middle School, located in Hutchinson, Minnesota, to wear his pro-life t-shirts to school.

The sixth grader, referred to in the lawsuit as “K. B.” because of his age, is a Christian who wore several different pro-life t-shirts to school to proclaim his belief that abortion is the wrongful taking of an innocent life and a grave offense to the Law of God.

However, the principal and several teachers, on over a dozen occasions during April 2008, told “K. B.” not to wear the t-shirts, publicly singled him out for ridicule in front of his classmates, removed him from class, sent him to the principal’s office, forced him to turn his pro-life t-shirt inside out, and threatened him with suspension if he did not stop wearing the offending pro-life t-shirts.

As a result of the School District’s actions, the Thomas More Law Center, a national public-interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit against the school in June of this year alleging that the sixth grader’s constitutional rights had been violated. 

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented, “This young Christian was not afraid to stand up for his pro-life beliefs despite ridicule and threats from school officials.   We are pleased we were able to vindicate his Constitutional rights. ”

During the period in question, “K. B.” wore three different t-shirts, produced by the American Life League, a national pro-life advocacy group.  The t-shirts contained such pro-life messages as, “Abortion … growing, growing, gone” (pictured above), “What part of abortion don’t you understand?” and “Never Known – Not Forgotten.”

The Thomas More Law Center was assisted by Minnesota attorney Paul Taylor, an affiliated attorney with the Law Center.

In addition to the permanent injunction prohibiting the school from banning the pro-life t-shirts, the School District agreed to pay the sixth grader nominal damages, as well as $12,500 to the Law Center in attorney fees.

Brandon Bolling, the Law Center attorney assigned as lead counsel stated, “This is a great victory for freedom of speech and the pro-life movement.”

See related coverage:

School Harasses Michigan Sixth Grader Wearing Pro-Life T-shirts - Legal Action Underway

October 31, 2008 - Daily Mass Readings

October 31, 2008

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
Phil 1:1-11

Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ:
to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,
with the bishops and deacons.
Grace be unto you and peace, f
rom God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God in every remembrance of you:
Always in all my prayers making supplication for you all with joy:
For your communication in the gospel of Christ,
from the first day unto now.
Being confident of this very thing:
that he who hath begun a good work in you
will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.
As it is meet for me to think this for you all,
for that I have you in my heart;
and that, in my bands and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel,
you all are partakers of my joy.
For God is my witness how I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
And this I pray:
That your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding:
That you may approve the better things:
that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ:
Filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ,
unto the glory and praise of God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. Great are the works of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart;
in the council of the just, and in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord:
sought out according to all his wills.
R. Great are the works of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

His work is praise and magnificence:
and his justice continueth for ever and ever.
He hath made a remembrance of his wonderful works,
being a merciful and gracious Lord:
R. Great are the works of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

He hath given food to them that fear him.
He will be mindful for ever of his covenant:
He will shew forth to his people the power of his works.
R. Great are the works of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Lk 14:1-6

And it came to pass, when Jesus went into the house of one of the Pharisees,
on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
And behold, there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy.
And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying:
Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
But they held their peace.
But he taking him, healed him and sent him away.
And answering them, he said:
Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit
and will not immediately draw him out, on the sabbath day?
And they could not answer him to these things.


The readings on this site are not official for the Mass of Roman Rite of the Catholic Church in the USA, but are from The Challoner Douay Rheims version of the Sacred Bible, a source free from copyright and entirely in the public domain.

The Challoner Douay Rheims version was prepared by Bishop Richard Challoner, about A.D. 1749-1752, by revising the original Douay Rheims version and by comparing it to the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible.

Official Readings of the Liturgy at – http://www.usccb.org/nab/today.shtml

Be Sure To Read…

October 30, 2008

This wonderful article by a dear friend of the heart who also happens to be an outstanding writer, Elizabeth Foss.

Here is but a snippet:

I lie here on my side now, day after day, counting every precious kick, taking care not to turn the wrong way or sneeze without protecting my belly. Just one life—just one precious child—has a whole army of people working hard to protect her very existence, while out there in the world thousands of people throng at campaign events for a man who has said he wouldn’t want his daughters punished with a baby.

Read the rest here.

And if you’re praying for the election (as we all should be!) don’t forget to include prayers for her (and all other expectant mothers) too.  December 8th is a long way away when you’re an active Mama on bedrest. And specific prayers for a safe and holy delivery would be most appreciated, I know.

A Postmodern Case Against Abortion

October 30, 2008

Can postmodernism contribute to our building a culture of life?  I believe so.  A postmodern ethics has something to offer in supplement to the pro-life movement’s well-known arguments against abortion.  I hope in this post to sketch a case against the violence of abortion based on a distinctly postmodern ethical philosophy.  

Often in pro-life arguments, the basis for how one responds ethically to another has generally been some form of ontological categorization: e.g., human beings are a type creature whose being and worth ethically prohibits their murder.  They have a special dignity above other living creatures, an inalienable right to life.  Theology has added here that human beings are persons made in the image and likeness of God.  Each of these reasons for prohibiting the murder of human beings is based on an ontological fact of what human beings are.   

Postmodernism proposes a theory that it is possible to formulate an ethics prior to any ontological classification.  The mere placement of the other before me elicits an ethical response, placing upon me an obligation or responsibility to the other.  What elicits this responsibility is the radial uniqueness of the other, revealed, for the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, in the face of the other.  By reducing the other to the same – in other words, by trying to contain the infinite unique meaning of the other within my finite ontological categories – I do violence to the other by demeaning him, by excluding whatever doesn’t fit within my ontological categories.    

An example may help to illustrate.  Some years ago I was standing in line with my brother, and in looking at his face, I was suddenly struck by the realization that I knew yet didn’t know who my bother was before me.  Sure, my ideas of who he was were accurate enough, but I experienced in that moment of looking at his face what I might call an outpouring of my brother’s being.  I realized that there was more to my brother than I could ever know, and that the full meaning of my bother would always remain elusive and beyond my ideas.  I sensed a responsibility to my brother in that moment, as if the infinite within him spoke to me, urging a response of love, among other things.  I think it was an experience such as this that Levinas had in mind.   

Jacques Derrida took this kind of ethical response further in his formulation of an ethical response to the other in terms of the metaphor of hospitality.  Derrida, who developed what is called deconstruction, also reflected upon the violence of ontological categories.  Deconstruction aims not to tear down tradition and truth, as its reputation sometimes indicates, but rather to open ontological systems and other constructs and frameworks to what they inevitably exclude.  Justice motivated Derrida, the justice due to the other, and he considered that giving of justice in terms of hospitality.  Of that, he wrote: “Pure and unconditional hospitality, hospitality itself, opens or is in advance open to someone who is neither expected nor invited, to whomever arrives as an absolutely foreign visitor, as a new arrival, nonidentifiable and unforeseeable, in short, wholly other. I would call this a hospitality of visitation rather than invitation.”   Derrida called us to welcome the other as more than what we know.  He took pains to show us how much we don’t know, and how the categories of our knowledge exclude, sometimes violently, what they supposedly contain. 

What does all of this have to do with abortion?  The physical violence of abortion is often preceded by an intellectual violence whereby the other, in this case the unborn other, is thought of in ontological terms that demean his fullness of being.  Advocates for the right to choose abortion sometimes speak of the unborn other in terms such as “fetus,” or more demeaning words such as “threat,” “unexpected pregnancy,” “unviable,” “inconvenience,” or other expressions that dehumanize and depersonalize.  Abortion is justified in these cases by classifying, often with a certainty that postmodernists would deny is possible, the unborn other as something less than what he is.  The advocate for abortion here claims to know that the unborn other is nothing but what he thinks it is, and what he thinks it is allows for it to be killed.  Postmodernism denies such encapsulating knowledge. 

From the standpoint of this postmodern ethics of responsibility, understood in a paradigm of hospitality, the unborn other should be welcomed as a wholly other to whom we are responsible, or in Derrida’s terms, a visitor to whom we owe a response of hospitality.  Thinking of the unborn other merely in so far as he fits into our categories commits an intellectual violence.  The limitations of our knowledge give us reason for caution against, if not avoidance of, the use of violence.  Abortion responds to the other with deathly violence.   

Derrida’s emphasis of the word “visitor” as opposed to the expression “invited guest” applies very much to the situation of pregnancy.  Some pregnancies are intended and expected, where the unborn other is an invited or at least a welcomed guest; other pregnancies are unexpected and unwanted, where the being within the mother is seen as an uninvited guest, or worse, an intruder.  The call to hospitality and to responsibility arises regardless of whether the other is invited or not.  Hospitality and responsibility always involves risk.  The unexpected guest may return hospitality with kindness, or he may prove a hostile intruder, but the responsibility to the other remains regardless.  It is founded on the visitation of the other.  

This postmodern ethics takes us only so far, and I certainly wouldn’t say it should supplant ethical theories based on accurate ontological classifications.  What I’ve sketched here doesn’t resolve the thorny moral dilemmas that arise in the abortion debate, such as situations in which the mother’s life is in danger.  It does, however, provide us with underlying reason to respond to the unborn not in violence, but in responsibility: the otherness of the unborn child, the mere event of his existence, places before us a being who is more than our ideas, more than our ontological descriptions make him out to be.   This “more than” reminds us that we do not really know what we are dealing with, what exactly is before us.  Sure, we can truthfully call this other a person, or a human being, or an entity that has a right to life, but the unborn other remains irreducible to these and other acts of ours of classification and categorization. The other is always more than what we know.  If Socrates (who knew that he did not know) was correct that it is better to suffer an injustice than to commit an injustice, then the just response to the other whom we do not know is to welcome the other in hospitality, to let him be in the fullness of his being, to take the risk.  The violence of abortion poses a much graver risk.

I can’t swim; I’m doing an Ironman for charity; please donate so I don’t die in vain!

October 30, 2008

As the publisher of DFW Catholic, I am calling on all readers for their help. For many reasons, I have decided to complete the Lonestar Quarter Ironman in Galveston, TX in April of 2009 to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Every five minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer and every 10 minutes someone loses their fight.

DFW Catholic will have over 10,000 unique visitors for the month of October. If each unique visitor would donate just $1, I will be able to meet my fundraising goal. DFW Catholic is operated by a for-profit corporation so we do not ask for donations and provide our site free-of-charge to all of our readers so I am asking this of you as a personal favor. You can learn more about my personal challenge, this wonderful event, and also make a donation by clicking the followng link:


God bless and remember, just $1 each and we can all help find a cure for blood cancers!

Chad Simpson
DFW Catholic

The Cross had a Central Place in the Life of St. Paul

October 30, 2008

Vatican City (VIS) - In today’s general audience, held in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of 20,000 faithful, the Pope spoke of St. Paul’s theology of the Cross.
The Holy Father recalled how the Apostle of the Gentiles, following his experience on the road to Damascus, changed his life completely. Paul remained deeply marked by “the central significance of the Cross: he understood that Jesus died and rose for everyone. The Cross, then, demonstrated the gratuitous and merciful love of God”, he said.
“For St. Paul the Cross had a fundamental primacy in the history of humanity. It is the focal point of his theology because ‘Cross’ means salvation as grace for all creatures. The theme of the Cross became an essential and principal element of the Apostle’s preaching”.
Benedict XVI then went on to highlight how “the ’stumbling block’ and ‘foolishness’ of the Cross”, of which St. Paul, speaks are to be found “in the fact that where there seemed to be only failure, suffering and defeat, there, in reality, is all the power of God’s limitless Love”.
“If for the Jews the reason for rejecting the Cross was in the Revelation, in other words in the God of the Fathers, for the Greeks - that is, the pagans - the criterion for opposing the Cross lay in reason. For them, in fact, the Cross was death, foolishness. … It was clearly inconceivable to imagine that a God could end up on a Cross! And we see how this Greek logic has also become the common logic of our own time”.
“Why”, the Pope asked, “did St. Paul make the word Cross such a fundamental part of his preaching? The answer”, he said, “is not difficult: the Cross reveals ‘the power of God’ which is different from human power; it reveals, in fact, His love”.
For the Apostle “the crucified Christ is wisdom because He truly shows Who God is: the power of love which goes even unto the Cross to save man. God uses means and instruments that to human beings seem to be mere weakness. The crucified Christ reveals, on the one hand, the weakness of man and, on the other, the true power of God, in other words the gratuitousness of love; and precisely this complete gratuitousness of love is true wisdom”.
The Holy Father explained how St. Paul, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, makes “two fundamental affirmations: the one, that Christ, Whom God made to be sin for our sake, died for everyone; and the other, that God reconciled us to Him not counting our trespasses against us. It is from this ‘ministry of reconciliation’ that all slaves are ransomed”.
“St. Paul renounced his own life and committed himself totally to the ministry of reconciliation, of the Cross which is salvation for us all. This is something we must also do. We can find our strength in the humility of love and our wisdom in the weakness to renounce, thus to enter into the strength of God. … We have to mould our lives on this true wisdom, not living for ourselves, but living in faith in the God of Whom we can all say: ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me’”.

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