Monday, June 29, 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray For Us

The following is from a prayer card I carry over the visor in my truck. I pull it out and pray it as I travel across America. Please join me and share it with others. Our Mother loves us and will certainly come to our aid. Let us pray to save our country and our fellow citizens from the grasp of the evil one.

O Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God
, who as Our Lady of Guadalupe didst aid in the conversion of Mexico from paganism in a most miraculous way, we now beseech thee to bring about in our times the early conversion of our modern world from its present neo-paganism to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of thy divine Son, Jesus Christ, starting in the Americas and extending throughout the entire world, so that soon there may be truly “one fold and one shepherd,” with all governments recognizing the reign of thy Son, Jesus Christ, the King.

This we ask of the Eternal Father, through Jesus Christ His Son Our LORD and by thy powerful intercession – all for the salvation of souls, the triumph of the Church and the peace in the world.


This prayer card does have ecclesiastical approval.

Thank you and God bless.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

87 year old father-in-law's letter to the editor

This is a letter that my father-in-law recently wrote to the editor of the Fort Worth Star-telegram. I want to share it with everybody for several reasons.

First, I want to share it to honor him and his service to our country. He flew bombers in WWII and is a bonafide, decorated hero. He has earned the right to have his voice heard.

Second, he is 87 years old and still fighting the enemies of his country. This is a great lesson to all of us. The battle never ends and neither does our call to serve. He is a great example to his children, his grandchildren, and future generations to come.

The third reason is he has lived through several different phases of American history. He has seen many Presidents and administrations come and go. He has a valuable perspective on the current situation in America. It would do us all well and good to listen to the voices of those who have the experience and wisdom that come only with age.

Letter to the editor

Outrageous Disrespect

Having fought in three wars for the United States of America, beginning with World War II, I never thought I would ever hear a U.S. President disgrace my country the way Obama did on his recent trip to Europe.

The asinine statement he made in France claiming Americans are arrogant (notice: not “we Americans”), not only desecrated the honor and memory of Americans buried in Flanders Field in France, but it embarrassed the French people. They are well aware that Americans saved their country twice in the twentieth century.

My aircrew was sent to Europe during the Berlin Air Lift in 1948 and every time we were In France the French people were very grateful to Americans for saving them.

If there are any French people now that think Americans are arrogant it would have to be younger people about Obama's age that are as ignorant of French and American history as Obama.

It is the duty of the few of us veterans still living to speak for the Americans who sacrificed their lives in World War I and World War II because the American news media and the current government in Washington, D.C. Will never do so!

Col. Frank D. Jackson USAF (ret.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Open letter to all priest, bishops, and archbishops

Dear Fathers in Christ,

Many of the faithful in the Church,  as well as many non-Catholic Christians, are deeply troubled by a scandalous phenomenon raging in the Church in America. Raging, in the sense that it has constantly been in the news and a major subject of discussion in all the various social media outlets.

The scandalous behavior referred to is the seemingly brazen attitude of rebellion radiating from many Catholic universities in America.  Their open defiance of the bishops’ guidelines has caused much harm in the spiritual life of many people, including many non-Catholics.

The article, Key U.S. Bishops: No Ecclesiastical Sanctions against Notre Dame from EWTN news link, highlights an even more disturbing development. In the article Bishop Kicanas, in responding to the question of a university deliberately deifying  the bishops’ guidelines and the need for consequences for such an action, gave a political answer of which the Clinton spin machine would have been proud.

Few are so naive as to believe there is no politics in the USCCB.  But to try and spin Fr. Jenkins decision into an act of misunderstanding or blaming it on a lack of clarity in the guidelines issued by the bishops is, for lack of a better term, bovine scatology.

These bishop are more educated than most and yet most laymen can clearly understand the guidelines.  This pattern of defiance has been unfolding over the course of  40 years now, the affect of which has been the establishment of an anti-Magisterium.  This defacto dual system of authority has caused confusion and discord among the faithful.

No one is asking for a judgment unto condemnation for Fr. Jenkins, Notre Dame or any other university that has knowingly or inadvertently defied the Magisterium.  What is being asked is why the Magisterium allows these universities to continue to engage in  what appears to be acts of open defiance in the name of the Catholic faith and to do so unapologetically and with impunity? 

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Hunting for God and game

Rev. Classen, the author of the popular book, Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord, has done it again. This time, in Tracking Virtue, Conquering Vice, he really takes us on an excursion into the wilderness.  And not just the wilderness of Missouri either.  But instead, just as C.S. Lewis took the reader through the wardrobe into Narnia, Rev. Classen takes the reader through the wilderness and into the soul.

In a very insightful and humorous way, Rev. Classen takes very complicated and deep theological thoughts and parses them into the language of the outdoorsman.  He, in his exceptional narrative style, is able to connect abstract spiritual truths with everyday experiences and life.

A good example is his ability to relate the theological virtues of faith, hope and love to turkey hunting.  It takes a gifted individual to pull this off but Rev. Classen does so in a winning and entertaining fashion.

Through the use of his excellent storytelling abilities, Fr. Classen brings to life the joy, adventure and struggles of hunting.  Even if you are not a hunter, you will enjoy these delightful, page turning stories.  Fr. Classen brings the woods to life and recreates the sense of beauty and wonderment that can only be found in the depths of the wilderness.

The hunter will find the stories truthful and real.  They will be able to relate to the many trials and struggles that every hunter faces and the joy that comes as a reward for those that are successful in their endeavor.

Above all, everyone will benefit spiritually from this book.  Fr. Classen demonstrates that, with a little reflection, everyday events in our lives are opportunities to put our faith into practice.  He shows the reader that theology is not just the subject of stuffy class rooms but real theology affects our response to the challenges we face and enhances the lessons we learn from facing those challenges.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Tracking Virtue, Conquering Vice.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Immorality of Income Taxes

In  the three part blog I posted entitled,  "Social Justice and Human Dignity'" I discussed my understanding of the totality of human dignity.  I won't regurgitate the whole discussion here but let me just hit the highlights in preparation for the following discussion.

There are three elements to human dignity.  There is the dignity that every human is conceived and born with by virtue of being made in the image of God.  There is the dignity man earns by living a virtuous life. And there is the dignity that man earns by the sweat of his brow and the fruit of his labor.  This last dignity is usually represented by monies and properties.

We, as Catholics, have two great resources of wisdom. The first is the Holy Scriptures.  The second is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  In these pages are inexhaustible treasures of reason, logic and faith.  It is a sure norm for the rightful application of our faith into our everyday lives.

Paragraph 2240 states the following:

2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.[45]
[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners.... They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws.... So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.[46]
The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way."[47]

So the Catechism teaches that it is right and just to pay our taxes.  I joyfully submit to this teaching.

The Catechism also teaches in paragraph 2238:

2238 Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts:[43] "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution.... Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God."[44] Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.

This teaches me that I also have a duty to "voice [my] just criticism of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons." 

I believe that, based on the reasoning presented so far, income taxes and property taxes are immoral and unjust forms of taxation.  They have a direct negative impact on the dignity of all people by diminishing the dignity those people have earned via the fruits of their labor.

They also diminish the dignity of those who support such taxation by allowing them  to participate in the legalized theft of their neighbors property.  One should not vote for the government to do something that, as an individual, would be illegal, i.e. the taking of money or property from your neighbor by force.  This is called stealing.  If it is stealing for an individual to engage in this activity then it is reasonable and logical that it is stealing for the government to engage in the same activity.

This is not to say that all forms of taxation are immoral or unjust.  The use of excise taxes such as sales taxes, as well as import and export taxes, are just, fair and allowed by our Constitution.  They are just and moral because they are "voluntary" in that one can determine for themselves wither they will participate in the tax by their voluntary participation in the economic process.

One just has to look at the tremendous waste and bureaucracy created by the IRS to see the injustice and immorality of the current income and property tax structure of the US.  There are thousands of people in jail for income tax evasion, either by deliberate attempts to avoid paying the taxes or because of honest uninformed or misinformed intentions.  There are thousands of families and individuals that have had their properties, including some that have been in their family for generations, confiscated because of an inability to pay property taxes.  To those that support the current tax structure and seek to expand it, I ask "How does this benefit and uphold the dignity of people?"

As a Catholic and someone trying to be faithful to the God and the Magisterium, I have a obligation to work for social justice and the welfare of my fellow man. I do not have the obligation or the right, to take by force from my neighbor the means to meet those obligations.

 I cannot elevate the dignity of one person by reducing the dignity of another.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Go Up the House of the LORD

"I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the LORD!"  Psalm 122

I was thinking this morning about how much I love going to church. I realized that it was something I had often taken for granted in the past. Lately however, I had been more aware of the joy, peace and comfort I find just sitting in the pews, surrounded by....what?

Wow, I just realized what all I am surrounded by.  Friends and strangers, people passing through, and people who have been here their whole lives.  All sharing the Blessed Sacrament on equal footing.  Rich and poor, from all backgrounds, nationalities, and races, kneeling side by side before the King of Kings.

I am surrounded by the saints that have gone before.  I see St. Anthony, St Joseph, and stain glass images of the Apostles. I am wearing my medals of St. Pio, and the Miraculous Medal which reminds me St. Faustina.  My brown scapula brings to mind the great Carmelite saints.  I realize that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are all gathered together before the throne of God.

Of course I see the statues of the Holy Family.  My Blessed Mother is there, beckoning me to come to her Son and receive all that there is to receive. The love, grace, forgiveness, healing, and the redemption of my soul are all present and available to me.

The Most Holy Trinity is here.  The presence is real, alive and vibrant.  I am actually in the presence, body and blood, soul and divinity of my Precious Savior.

I realize that going to church is like receiving a great big hug from God himself. In fact, that is exactly what it is.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dr. Tiller’s Murder and the Pro-life Response.

This is a hard blog to write. The reason it is hard is because I want to make sure that I am not misunderstood. What I have to say is hard and it is written as much for myself as it is for anyone else.

A friend on Twitter asked the question, “Why doesn’t the Pro-life movement and organizations response with as much speed, unity and outrage when a young lady dies from complications due to an abortion procedure, as they did when Dr. Tiller was murdered?”

Before I answer try to answer this question, let me say that I love Fr. Frank Pavone, and Operation Rescue, and all the other Pro-life groups who are on the front lines fighting the Pro-death culture. I consider these people to be heroes. I in no way wish to disparage their efforts or their faith.

The answer it seems to me can be summed up in one word, fear. These Pro-life groups were so quick to respond because they were afraid of the backlash from a corrupt government. They were afraid of the hysteria and bashing from a death loving main stream media. They were afraid of the lies and propaganda from the cruel and vicious pro-abortion advocacy groups.

And they were right to be afraid for these thing. They have all happened to one degree or another.

But the main reason thing they were afraid of is that we would not support them. I believe they were afraid that they would be left standing alone against what appears to be an overwhelming giant. And judging from recent anti-abortion protest attendance, they may have good reason to fear.