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.