22 December 2008


My soul glorifies the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness; *
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me. *
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, *
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength *
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones *
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things, *
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant, *
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

18 November 2008

I was searching TOB videos and came across a friend achieving You Tube fame. This is Father Mike Schmitz of Duluth Minnesota, an absolute rock star priest.

02 October 2008


For those loyal Rise readers who still check up on us to see if we we've crawled from underneath a rock yet, there is an exciting event happening this weekend...

Long Island Teen Freedom presents The New Revolution, a medical symposium.

It takes place THIS SATURDAY, October 4th from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Huntington Hilton. It is a FREE event and includes, aside from a continental breakfast, keynote speakers Dr. Philip Mango of the St. Michael Institute who will be speaking on "The Psychology of Masculinity and Femininity" and Ms. Rashida Jolley, chastity educator, and former Miss District of Columbia and Miss America Pageant Contestant. There will also be a panel of other educators and speakers to discuss the very important medical issues at the heart of our over-sexualized society.

It makes me very proud to be a part of Long Island Teen Freedom. The fact that something like this is taking place on Long Island is very big! Be there if you can!

09 September 2008

History of the Church's Teaching on Abortion


This is a wonderful article on the history of the Church's teaching on the issue of abortion, so I wanted to share!

08 August 2008

They asked for it!

After reading this great article on the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae by George Weigel on Catholic Exchange, I would just like to share a little tidbit with you...

Recognizing scholars such as Janet Smith, Richard Doerflinger, Christopher West, Colleen Carroll Campbell, and Mary Eberstadt, among others, Weigel points out that the bulk of leadership in regards to the Church's teaching on moral chastity has come from lay people in recent years. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of ordained leaders putting forth an effort to properly educate the faithful in the area of Catholic sexuality, however it is no secret, as Weigel states, that many have "done a poor job of explaining it".

I just had to chuckle at this (and kick myself for never connecting the dots). The Second Vatican Council discussed a universal call to holiness, meaning all, not just priests and religious, were called to live holy, devout lives aiming to please God and serve Him. It also meant that they could and should contribute even more to the life of the Church. So many saw this as an opportunity to get out from under the control of the old-fashioned, archaic teachings of the ordained men in the Church heirarchy. With the laity being granted "more power" some of the more "out of touch" statutes of the Church could be overturned.

When the Humanae Vitae bombshell was dropped, I can only imagine the gut check felt by these "forward thinkers". Right in the face of the Spirit of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI maintains with a vengeance the Church's stance that the regulation of human birth by technological means is wrong! Oh the pain!

Fast-forward forty years. Who within the Church is defending this "out of touch" encyclical called Humanae Vitae? The same lay people that the Holy Spirit called through the Second Vatican Council to step up and serve Him. As if we didn't already know... GOD KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING! It was time for the lay faithful to do their part in upholding the truth. Not some new modern version of the truth, but the timeless TRUTH as set forth by Christ Himself.

Ah yes, Pope Paul VI was a prophet, for the world he described is the one we live in. Yet, it has never been clearer to me that the Holy Spirit guided the Church every step of the way during Vatican 2 in preparation of this new age of the fall that has become us. Sometimes it is just so hard to see the Spirit at work... and then other times it just hits you like a ton of bricks.

25 July 2008

Humane Vitae - 40 Years Later

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Humane Vitae and I couldn't be more proud to be Catholic. In the rebellious world of the late 1960's, amidst the pressure to "progress" and move beyond the "outdated" restrictions of the past, Pope Paul VI, to the surprise and disapproval of many, issued his encyclical On the Transmission of Human Life (HV), affirming the Church's stance against birth control. So much more than that, it is a chilling and prophetic vision of a future where life is insignificant, where the human person is just some bones and flesh, another means to an end. Enter the modern day - divorce rates through the roof, abortion a mere procedure, almost 10 times the number of STD's, pornography addiction, and women still missing out on the respect God made them for. What does all this have to do with regulating birth? As soon as you take the procreative part of sex out of the act you get disaster. Paul VI knew that somehow. Despite the pressure to conform as most other Christian churches did. Birth control is not a way to avoid pregnancy. There already is a way to do that - abstinence. Birth control is a way to have sex without worries, without attachment. It is a license to have the promiscuous, casual sex that our grandparents missed out on. And that is what sex has become - a recreational act. Pope Paul VI wasn't trying to take away our rights. He was trying to save the sexual act, God's greatest gift to man, from the chains of a culture of death.

If you are in the NY-Long Island area there is a really exciting event tonight in tribute to Humane Vitae happening at St. Kilian Parish in Farmingdale. More info... here.

And if you didn't catch the other two links, you can read Humane Vitae... here.

Pope Paul VI, pray for us.

23 July 2008

Back from Sydney

Well I'm back on Long Island and back to reality after World Youth Day '08 in Sydney, Australia. Here are some highlights and moments that moved me:

- The closing Mass with Pope Benedict. I hear there were over 500,000 people there. It certainly felt that way
- Being close (enough so to take this picture) to Pope Benedict not once but twice.
- Attending the Matt Maher & Hillsong United concert in which they held Eucharistic Adoration for the 50,000 or so people that were there. Yes all those people and you could hear a pin drop.
- Meeting many cool Aussies and being present to hear Cardinal Pell of Sydney welcome the USA pilgrims as Australia's "most important friends" at the opening Mass.
- Witnessing the conversion that took place, especially in people going to confession for the first time in years.
- Playing the "pony game" with about 200 people from all over the world as we awaited the Pope's arrival.
- Learning how to play rugby.
- St. Mary's Cathedral and praying front of the body of Pier Georgio Frassati.
- Seeing the American flag and the Iraqi flag flying together on the same pole.
- Receiving a cape and Poland flag from some new Polish friends.
- Listening to over 20 Australians who were kind enough to say "the dingo ate my baby" on video.
- Making many new friends.
- Bishop William Murphy's (Diocese of Rockville Centre) catechesis.

There were certainly many more highlights. I am just so blessed to have been there to witness the Spirit. Now I hope that I can witness to the Spirit.

14 July 2008

CCC 2365

My name is Alissa and I am joining the Blog Team of "Rise of the TOB". I am thrilled to contribute some small amount to the great "New Evangelization" which our late Pope John Paul II called for, and worked for in a speacial way through the Theology of the Body.
I wanted to share one of my favorite Catechism references which I think has a beautiful take on the truth of the Sacrament of Marriage:

"Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one's given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ's fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world.
St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you."
- CCC 2365
I think St. John's words establish a very clear understanding of the beauty possible in human relationships when we take to heart the golden rule of loving God with our whole selves and our neighbor as ourselves. Our challenge in this day and age is to learn to live lives of such humble love that we would choose to speak as St. John suggests even when it is most difficult and when our wills pull us in other ways. When we make the choice to love, we continue to follow the path of Christ and often we begin to discover the joy of being in this world when our work and toil is to overcome evil with good, and bring peace where there is none.
God bless.

09 July 2008

Off to World Youth Day

Well, tomorrow morning I will be leaving for Australia by way of Hawaii. Not too shabby, huh?

This will be my first World Youth Day experience and to say I am excited is a massive understatement. What a joy it will be to see over 200,000 young Catholics take over Sydney for a week - all culminating in Mass with our Holy Father. Certainly I was blessed to see Pope Benedict when he came to NY. I am doubly blessed to travel across the globe to see him again just a few months later.

I guess this isn't exactly Theology of the Body related, but JPII instituted WYD and penned TOB, so there... it fits! But seriously, this is a generation mixed of young people either starving for the message of the Gospel of Life or carrying the torches and waving the TOB banner. I would imagine the TOB presence will only be greater in Sydney as the teaching continues to grow. It will be interesting to see.

At any rate, I haven't been posting often any way, but it will certainly be 2 weeks before I put anything on the blog. Laura will also be away. We have a new contributor who will be introducing herself shortly. I'm very excited about having Alissa on the Rise team and i believe you will enjoy her insights.

Well, that's all for now. The heart of the summer officially starts today for me. After Sydney, it's a tad over a month before my wedding day. What a year God has planned for me. Amen.

02 July 2008

A reading from the Book of Tobit

On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
"Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord
to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance."
Sarah got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
They began with these words:

"Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age."

They said together, "Amen, amen."
Tobit 8:4-8

Yup, I'm officially leaning towards this as the OT reading at my wedding.

06 June 2008

1 in 4 teen girls have an STD?

I must turn your attention to Matthew Archibold's (Creative Minority Report) coverage of a National Journal article that seeks to clear up some things about the recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control) finding reported in newspapers all over the country that 1 in 4 teenage girls have an STD.

This study which to me, a resident of Long Island, screamed out for abstinence education (which has not been federally funded on Long Island for 30 years) in our schools. Apparently, some on the other side of the fence took this to mean that abstinence education is not working. To which I reply - um, where is abstinence ed. being taught... because I certainly didn't receive it when I was in high school 8 years ago. Even so, I'll never understand the logic behind "have sex, so that you don't get a sexually transmitted disease". But then again, there are still teachers telling students that condoms are 99% effective when they've been proven to be 85% at most (for HIV) and 50% effective against others (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, HPV [perhaps]) . Credit to The Medical Institute for Sexual Health.

02 June 2008

Living with the End in Mind

One part (of the many parts) of Pope John Paul II's message in the Theology of the Body, is to remind us as Jesus does in his conversation with the Saducees about the resurrection (Mark 12:19-27), that we are destined for a world beyond this one. And so, our lives here must be lived with our "next life" in God's Kingdom in mind. This isn't to say that we should walk around with a checklist of dos and don'ts that will "qualify" us for Heaven. What I am trying to say is that we need to take seriously our call to love as God loves - with everything He has, including His life. In genuinely pursuing our ability to love as He loves we are making ourselves ready for Heaven in the process, in which that ability will be most fully realized.

That being said, loving as God does means putting others first - sacrificing ourselves and taking up our own crosses. We can only get close to God when we put ourselves on Calvary with him. That means exposed, beaten, mocked, and eventually killed, as well as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually tortured. Sounds downright frightening. And yet we know how it turns out. We know the result of it... the gates of heaven are opened.

So why is it so dang hard to accept our crosses?

13 May 2008

While I'm Not Blogging...

Consider checking out a great blog I should have mentioned a long time ago:

Reflections of a Paralytic

This is an exceptional blog by Chelsea Zimmerman who has a most inspiring story. I'm excited to add it to the blog roll. And since there is nothing new to read here... go check it out!

And then come back to Rise of the TOB... soon!

21 April 2008

Pope Benedict XVI on "freedom"

Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others (cf. Spe Salvi, 28).
Pope Benedict XVI - Papal Youth Rally, St Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY (April, 19, 2008)

I still can't believe I was there to see it. What a day. What a message. What a pope!

God is good. When we realize that and place our trust in him, we will truly never be more free.

17 April 2008

No Blog Can Describe

There are simply no words for what is happening as Pope Benedict is in the midst of his visit to the United States.

I would be doing a great disservice by saying anything other than "go see for yourself".

You may do so on the USCCB site.

The Holy Father couldn't have picked a better time to come. America needs the model of his dedication to the Truth and his awesome faith in God's love more than ever.

08 April 2008


"[F]rom John Paul's perspective, the problem with pornography is not that it reveals too much of a person but that it reveals too little."
- Christopher West, Good News About Sex & Marriage

30 March 2008

Nobody's 'sposed ta be here

Okay, maybe for a time, but ultimately we are meant for something much greater than this world can provide.

This might be the most important thing to remember from the Theology of the Body. Of course I could say that about 100 other points the late pope made. But at this moment anyway, the idea that our bodies are pointing us toward a greater reality than what we can see, hear, smell, feel, or taste is really resonating with me. It's like every time we find ourselves feeling down, lonely, alienated, and just not clicking with others, it's a siren going off. There's something wrong here, and I belong somewhere else.

We'll never find total happiness on Earth. If the love that totally satisfies was here, then we would never fight with our family and loved ones. They would be enough. But deep down, we all know it's not. That's why we leave home and going looking for something bigger and better. And some of us never stop looking.

There is a greater love out there, and that Love is a communion of 3 persons known as God.

We gotta keep trucking, keep loving like he told us too. We're going to fail, and others are going to fail us, even those we love most. But God (LOVE) promises the gift of himself to those who believe in Him. And it will be there in Paradise, that we'll realize how very much we do belong.

26 March 2008

What is Chastity?

According to Dictionary.com:
Chastity - the state of being chaste.
Brilliant. Now, according to The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth:
Chastity - the virtue by which people are able successfully and healthfully to integrate their sexuality into their total person; recognized as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
That's more like it. But, what does New Advent, your friendly neighborhood Catholic encyclopedia, have to say:
Chastity - the virtue which excludes or moderates the indulgence of the sexual appetite . It is a form of the virtue of temperance which controls according to right reason the desire for and use of those things which afford the greatest sensual pleasures.
We are seriously cooking now! The bottom line - CHASTITY IS ABOUT FREEDOM! Sadly, images of chains and shackles appear in our minds when we hear the word "chastity". Yet, there is nothing binding about chastity! In fact, chastity is a grace given to us by God to unbind us from the urges and desires of our body. Now, those urges and desires are NOT BAD. But sin is, and can twist the yearning in our hearts for love, into a yearning for pleasure.

If you cannot control this yearning, my friend, you are not free. Chastity is about being in control of your body and not allowing the body to control you. And it's a virtue, a gift, that we need throughout life, in any state of life - celibate or married. Chastity considers the value of self, as well as the value of others. Living chastely is not just abstaining from sex. It is mastering the power of your body, and seeking to use it in it's proper place, fulfilling it's greatest potential - growing closer to the Lord in the process.

21 March 2008

The Pinnacle

I just haven't been writing a whole lot. I shouldn't make any excuses but I'm going to anyway. Full-time youth ministry, part-time abstinence educating, part-time grad school, and planning a wedding leaves me with very little time to update the blog. I apologize to those who were following it closely and may have phased out. In fact, there are probably few reading this now :( But, truth be told, mostly good things have kept me away from "The Rise". I believe I can speak for Laura, as well as any other potential contributors when I say, we'll try to do better! Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Of course, today is Good Friday. The day Our Lord gave his life so that we might be free from the chains of sin that we found ourselves bound to since the fall of man. And, how those chains continue to hold us down! The hurt I see in people, especially people my age (mid-late 20's) is horrifying. God has already won this battle! He has already come to untie us, to destroy the shackles! But out of love, he lets us choose to be free or not. Is there a better day to choose to be freed? If you are bound to anything... alcohol, drugs, smoking, promiscuous sex, jealousy, greed, hate, pornography, gossip, the occult - ANYTHING... LAY IT AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS. The Lord will take it away. Of nothing else could I be so certain. His Mercy is greater than anything evil can muster.

Thanks for reading. God Bless.

08 March 2008

A Quiet Moment

I love this image of the Holy Family by Timothy P. Schmalz called "A Quiet Moment".

Obviously the Holy Family, imaging the communion of persons that is God - The Trinity, is the best model we have for what family is supposed to be. This sculpture shows that interconnectivity. Everyone has their place, their role, their purpose. Joseph, Mary, and of course the Lord, all bravely answer their very different calls.

I like this statue also because it provides a great image of what it means to be male and female.

Men are called to be fathers, biological or spiritual, in everything they do. It doesn't just mean siring children. It means that you're a dad in every facet of life. Joseph shows us what father means - protector, provider. Joseph gives his bride and child a lap to rest on, and at the same time makes himself vulnerable, hunching over to protect them from danger. Men, we need to embrace our women and their dignity in our arms and be willing to die in order to uphold it.

There is nothing weak about Mary in this picture. She is nurturing the Infant like no man could ever imagine. It's a mother's touch and she has it mastered. All women possess that power to care for God's children, not to mention the power to GIVE life! And when a man comes along who understands his responsibility to protect his bride, well then that makes for quite a potent team. Quite a holy family!

St. Joseph, pray for us

Holy Mary, seat of Wisdom, pray for us

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

27 February 2008

The Lost "Rise of the TOB" Contributor!

Hello again!

I just wanted to make sure any readers of the "Rise of the TOB" blog knew that I wasn't really lost. I originally posted back in December (you can search back for that one) when Nolan first invited me to be a part of the blog. But then the craziness of life over the holidays and life since then got the best of me and I failed to come back here to contribute. So here I am again and I will try to make a better effort at posting to the "Rise" in the future. Some TOB thoughts since my last post...

From Christmas to Valentine's Day, I was gone every weekend but one. This included two Notre Dame weddings and two Notre Dame retreats - if I had to be away so many weekends, what could have been better? For me, these were great weekends away - to reconnect with some old friends and to reflect on life in general. After the weddings though, I was really conscious of the fact that I have some pretty solid friends. Both Notre Dame couples did not live together before their wedding and both couples also saved themselves for each other and remained abstinent until their wedding night. For me, this is all "very TOB" as I like to say. I'd like to think that this is normal for twenty-five year olds but as I returned home to NY after many weekends away, I realized that these two couples were really living the counter-cultural message of the TOB - even if they didn't exactly realize it as such. I commend them for being committed to what they believed in their hearts to be true and to what they believed would be the best decision for their future marriage. I thank both couples for their witness to me and to others of God's profound grace when you follow His will. God bless them!

11 February 2008

A VERY Inconvenient Truth

This article(here) is nearly a year old. I'm sure many blogs have long since covered it. But this truth is not passe. Things have not gotten better.
More Than 1 in 4 U.S. Women Aged 14-59 Has HPV Infection.

HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection (STI) in America. It is rampant. There are over 100 different strands of it, over 30 of which are sexually-transmitted. What most people don't know is that it is transmitted by SKIN-TO-SKIN CONTACT (not the exchange of body fluids). And you can get it from all sexually activity... not just intercourse. A condom provides no known effectiveness in preventing HPV. Not all strands have recognizable symptoms. If you're sexually active, you could have it and not know it.

Oh, and there is no way to test for HPV on men.

So... what does the drug industry to do? It pushes a drug called Gardasil on young ladies (ages 9-26) . Because they have no self-control of course, heaven forbid we suggest to them that they abstain from sexual activity. What's the drug do? Prevents 4 of the 30 sexually transmitted types of HPV. 2 of which cause cervical cancer - there are other types that cause cervical cancer which Gardasil is not effective on.

You've seen the commercial... "ONE LESS"

One less what? One less person infected by HPV? Only if it happens to be one of the four Gardasil has an effect on.

One less victim of cervical cancer? Only if you aren't infected by the type of cancer-causing HPV that Gardisil doesn't have an effect on.

The "One Less" campaign is a sham. It's a false sense of security. What it really says is that our daughters and sisters are nothing more than animals who cannot control themselves, and so are the young men who are coming after them. Overrun by the instincts, they do not have the mental capacity to say "no". I say, OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.

Any doctor who doesn't suggest abstinence as a healthy choice to a young woman should have their license revoked. You want One Less? How about one less sexually active teen. Or one less person who can't wait until marriage. That is the kind of campaign we need.

After years of sex without consequences, it's finally coming back to haunt us. These are trying times. The truth has never been clearer... Chastity is the most healthy choice.

30 January 2008

Shameless Plugging... with a TOB Twist!

I am very blessed to be a part of a new website called Amazing Catechists. I will be writing a monthly column for them (my first one is up already... here) focusing on youth ministry and perhaps some TOB for teens. This is going to be a great resource for anyone doing any kind of catechetical ministry, be it religious education, adult faith formation, RCIA, etc. Our moderator, Lisa Mladinich is a very enthusiastic Catholic writer and teacher and she has assembled a really exciting roster of columnists to contribute. Pay us a visit if you have a chance.

Here is a great article on Theology of the Body by Ellen Gable Hrkach... Common "Mis-Conceptions"

23 January 2008

Guest Post

With permission - here is an excerpt from the weekly bulletin letter by Father Robert Blyman, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Hicksville, NY:
Remember that on January 22nd, we mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe versus Wade, which made abortion legal in our country. Many from our diocese and parish will be marching in Washington, D.C. to express our belief that abortion is morally wrong. Only God can give life and only God can take life.

The abortion debate has been prolonged in our country. Many, including many who call themselves Catholic, believe abortion should be legal. The Catholic vote on abortion is no different than the non-Catholic vote. This does not make abortion right. Often human emotions, rather than reason, takes over as we reflect on abortion. Can we honestly sacrifice one human life for the sake of another? Modern medicine, especially our newer ultra sounds, show us the life of the baby very early on in gestation. I believe it takes a little mental gymnastics to say a child in the womb is not a human being.

Let us pray that all men, women, and children may co[m]e to reverence life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Let us pray for those women and men who have chosen to abort a life. Often they do this overcome by emotions of fear and anxiety. God is a forgiving God and God can bring good out of evil. Many of the staunchest foes of abortion are women and men who have experienced an abortion and come to realize what they did. The woman who was the focus of Roe versus Wade is such a person. She now regrets what she b[r]ought about. We should be compassionate and merciful with all who suffer in relation to the abortion issue.

22 January 2008

35 Years Ago...

35 Years ago today, in the case of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme court decided "that abortions are permissible for any reason a woman chooses, up until the "point at which the fetus becomes ‘viable,’ that is, potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid." (from the Wikipedia article).

It's the annual reminder of how very far from truth and dignity modern society has drifted. How very broken the moral compass is. How very unspectacular human life has become.

Here are some quotes to ponder on this day:

"Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women."
- Alice Paul, suffragist leader.

"I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." - Ronald Reagan, former president

"It seems to me clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime." - Mohandas Gandhi, Indian spiritual leader

"If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want." - Mother Teresa

May our prayers be with the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, the MOST ATTENDED annual march in the nation's capitol.

19 January 2008

Countdown to a 40 Year Anniversary

"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.

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings."

July 25th, 2008 will mark the 40 Year Anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life).

Preparations to celebrate the Church's counter-cultural stance against abortion and artificial methods of birth control (contraception) as reaffirmed in Humanae Vitae need to start NOW!

We are truly only beginning to understand how important this prophetic teaching is and will be for the future of the church. Pope Paul VI predicted a downfall in morality and saw the challenges that would be posed to the dignity of women should contraception gain widespread acceptance in our society. Well here we are - divorce rates up, teen pregnancy rates up, a thriving porn industry, and women... still don't have the respect they deserve. And people don't care. It's a "me-first" culture. And we're all just a means to an end.

This teaching, written 40 years ago, is a light that can no longer be ignored. In the same vein, John Paul II developed the Theology of the Body, giving his flock the depth behind the principles of Humanae Vitae and the way in which we can carry it out.

Thank God for Pope Paul VI, and thank God for Humanae Vitae.

So, what are we doing to celebrate?

Pope Paul VI, pray for us.

11 January 2008

On Chastity

"Chastity is not merely abstinence; it is more than whether or not you have sex. "
"Chastity is not just about getting the body and soul, the flesh and spirit working in rhythm and out of that 'tug-o-war,' it's about directing both toward God (love)."
" ...sexual intercourse is reserved for the Sacrament of marriage. Marriage is designed to be the living, physical embodiment of sacrificial (not selfish) love. That's right, married people live chastity too."
Just a few examples of the many insights that can be found in the new book 100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know by Mark Hart & Todd Lemieux.

Chastity is not something easily summed up in a page and half so that it may be understandable to the average teenager. Yet, Mark and Todd manage to do just that for this and 99 other topics vital to knowing and living the Catholic faith. No matter if you are a teen or an adult, this book will serve as a great reference. Buy it... HERE.

06 January 2008

D'ya know about 'Juno'?

There really is an exciting trend in Hollywood of [perhaps unintentionally] pro-life themed films. I never saw 'Knocked Up' but supposedly there was a good element to that movie in them having their child. Bella of course was intentionally pro-life. 'Juno' an indie-esque comedy by the makers of 'Thank You For Smoking' apparently is the newest movie that shows the bravery of a young woman who finds herself pregnant in world that sees abortion in her situation as the norm. The plot outline at IMDB reads... "Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child" (italics mine). What's exciting is the really funny cast they've assembled around the star Ellen Page - Michael Cera and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Jennifer Garner (Daredevil), and JK Simmons (Spiderman).

I can't wait to see it.

EDIT: Ha ha. I'm so excited I posted the trailer 3 times!

03 January 2008

Coming to a school or youth ministry near you (I pray)

Jason & Crystalina Evert, and Brian Butler have given youth ministers and religious educators an awesome gift with their curriculum Theology of the Body For Teens. Buy it here and use it today with the teens you work with. Be not afraid!

01 January 2008

Happy New Year

A prayer to the Blessed Mother for Purity...

Mary, loving Daughter of God the Father, I give my soul to your care. Protect the life of God in my soul. Do not let me lose it by serious sin. Protect my mind and my will so that all my thoughts and desires will be pleasing to God.
Hail Mary...

Mary, loving Mother of God the Son, I give my heart to your care. Let me love you with all my heart. Let me always try to love my neighbor. And help me avoid friends who might lead me away from Jesus and into a life of sin.
Hail Mary...

Mary, loving Spouse of the Holy Spirit, I give my body to your care. Let me always remember that my body is a home for the Holy Spirit who dwells in me. Let me never sin against Him by any impure actions alone or with others, against the virtue of purity.
Hail Mary...

May 2008 bear much fruit in the TOB movement.