The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most bizarre in recent memory. End-to-end, the roller coaster ride of 2020 has taken Catholics in the United States from the highest of highs with an incredible domestic economy to the lowest of lows that have been experienced by many via the COVID crisis and the U.S. Presidential Election. While good and evil have continued to operate (as they always do) throughout 2020, it would be disingenuous to not recognize that there were lights shining throughout all of the challenges that presented themselves to Catholics. But there has been one aspect that has been especially troubling in 2020 and it has continued right into 2021. It’s the shocking lack of Catholic leadership through this storm.
Please understand this, there have been plenty of Catholic men and women who have held the line on the Catholic Faith. But there have been far too many Catholic leaders who have either remained silent or who have given the Catholic Faithful mixed messages that are not Scripturally accurate (or based on Catholic Doctrine). This silence and mixed messaging have led to a lot of confusion. Much like an explosion that has knocked folks down and left them a bit foggy, the overall lack of Catholic consistency has left far too many around the world stunned. This explosion has caught far too many of us by surprise, but the good news is that it has awakened the sleeping giant that the Catholic Church has become. Let’s start by identifying the lack of leadership.
Catholic Leadership on Abortion?
Catholics have traditionally found great solace in Sanctuaries around the world. These Sanctuaries include Scripture, Churches, Catholic Doctrine, Communities, and leadership. But those Sanctuaries have been mostly snuffed-out for now; and, possibly, for some, forever. The world’s reaction to COVID has been stunning and, quite frankly, exceptionally inappropriate. At what point did we all cower in fear to a virus that kills less than 1% of the people that contract it? It is estimated that folks who are less than 70 years of age recover 99.95% of the time. Those estimates fluctuate depending upon what numbers we consider; whether at the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), or the hundreds of other databases, number crunchers, and related. Those estimates also don’t include the millions of people around the world that were asymptomatic to the virus; numbers we will never truly be able to account for.
U.S. President Trump was able to coordinate with major pharmaceutical companies and world leaders to be able to bring about a fully-vetted vaccine within 10 months. That’s a medical world record for vaccines which typically take at least 4 years to get approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. – often taking much longer than that. Before Christmas of 2020, the U.S. and other countries were administering multiple vaccines to thousands of folks internationally. But that came at a cost – economically, socially, medically, and Spiritually. All of the vaccines that are being administered as of January of 2021 were developed using aborted babies – from cells to tissue and beyond. I remember watching EWTN in December and hearing that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were considered ethical options for Catholics as they didn’t contain any abortion-related ingredients while the AstraZeneca vaccine did. Pope Francis, the preeminent Catholic leader, told Catholics that morally “everyone” must take a vaccine adding that it’s a moral choice because it affects both our lives and the lives of others. In fact, Pope Francis was quoted in the National Catholic Reporter (in a January 11th, 2021 article by Joshua J. McElwee) as saying, “I do not understand why some say that this could be a dangerous vaccine. If the doctors are presenting this to you as a thing that will go well and doesn’t have any special dangers, why not take it?” And then, Pope Francis dropped the proverbial Catholic bomb on all Catholics by saying, “There is a suicidal denialism that I would not know how to explain but today people must take the vaccine.” He then proceeded to lead by example by taking the vaccine.
With that one statement from Pope Francis, my Catholic guilt was kicking in. Was my prior denial of taking one of the COVID vaccines suicidal? That’s a mortal sin and now the Pope was calling all Catholics out; and he was using fear to drive his agenda. For most Catholics and certainly for cradle Catholics, guilt and fear are a very real part of how Catholics operate in this world – especially when it comes to Eternal salvation or damnation. Fortunately for our Family, we had all contracted COVID just before Christmas of 2020, so we were able to shelter in place and recover over the end of the year. Thus, we were not required by Pope Francis to get the vaccine any longer; or, at least that’s what we thought.
Now, outside of the suicidal stuff, this all sounded like mostly-reasonable Papal leadership to me. But then we learned that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines used HEK 293 kidney cells from abortions to develop their vaccines. And then we started hearing from some pro-life leaders around the world; including interviews with medical experts, scientists, and doctors on how the aborted babies were used as laboratory rats including some that were born alive and felt real pain without anesthesia while the harvesting of their bits and pieces was taking place. Given that millions of us didn’t know that any aborted babies were used in this, it was an obvious thing to give the Pope the benefit of the doubt. When the Catholic world turned to Pope Francis, we then heard from the Vatican (via the Vatican News) that “It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” If that wasn’t enough, the same announcement by the Vatican also referenced three previous pronouncements on the same topic: one from the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) in 2005; the CDF Instruction Dignitas Personae in 2008; and, another note from the PAV in 2017. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) followed-up the Pope’s announcement with its own affirming that “the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.” They also shared (via their Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccine publication; December 11th, 2020) that they would prefer a vaccine that was not linked to aborted babies, but that there are apparently different levels of responsibility in the abortion world; including AstraZeneca as being much more “morally compromised”. The USCCB document was signed by the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades (the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas) and the Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann (the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend). To pour salt in Catholic wounds, Archbishop Naumann is on the Committees on Doctrine and is the Chairman on Pro-Life Activities.
Look, I’m not God, theologically-trained, ordained, etc., but isn’t a dead baby a dead baby? This all felt like “degree” considerations in a court murder trial and, as a pro-lifer, I felt betrayed, ignorant, confused, and angry. For a virus that is less than 1% fatal, not only had we closed our Churches and seriously limited our Church services, ministries, communities, etc., but now we were being told by the Pope that not getting a COVID vaccine was suicidal (which is, per Catholic Doctrine in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), typically associated with going to hell) and that all available COVID vaccines (as of January 2021) were morally-acceptable regardless of whether or not aborted babies were used in their development. There was an uncanny irony to what Pope Francis was saying; especially as it pertains to all-human dignity. If you didn’t take the vaccine as a Catholic, you were possibly suicidal and careless of others (possibly even leading to their deaths), but it was okay to ingest vaccines that were created through the slaughter of innocent babies.
Please bear with me through this article as it’s going to get worse before it gets better. In a recent article by Father Raymond J. de Souza (December 11th, 2020) in The National Catholic Register titled “Joe Biden and Communion: 6 Points for the US Bishops to Consider”, Father de Souza offers U.S. Bishops some insights into how they might handle newly-elected U.S. President, Joe Biden, and his administration; both of which are “aggressively pursuing policies contrary to the settled teaching of the Catholic Church.” Canon 915 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law makes it clear that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Father de Souza specifically called-out whether or not Catholic leaders should give Joe Biden Holy Communion after his career support for abortion; both legislatively and privately. Joe Biden actually wept for joy when Roe vs. Wade was upheld in 1992. Through the years of our pro-life experience, I’ve had the opportunity to witness the horrors of abortion; including watching movies like “October Baby” (2011) and “Unplanned” (2019). I simply don’t understand how anyone can support abortion; especially when they’re supporting masking-up, social-distancing, and sheltering-in-place for COVID. Again, like the Pope’s stance on the abortion-laced COVID vaccines, how can you take one life through murder in order to save another? This isn’t war, right?
Wrong is wrong. This world will always be a Spiritual battleground for our Souls; Jesus said so Himself. It’s not only Father de Souza encouraging Catholic leaders not to give Holy Communion to Joe Biden. Archbishop Charles Chaput, emeritus of Philadelphia, explicitly-challenged Cardinal Wilton Gregory’s recent statements in First Things as “undermining the work of the task force to deal precisely with this and related issues” and giving “scandal to the many Catholics who struggle to stay Faithful to Church teaching.” Again, the Catholic confusion has been allowed to fester, as Cardinal Wilton Gregory shared that he will give President Biden Holy Communion while he presides over the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. Let’s not forget that when Cardinal Gregory welcomed the new President with an outstretched hand, Biden met the Cardinal with a “figurative” clenched fist to the face. Back in 2019, another outspoken Catholic Priest, Father James Martin, criticized the public denials of Holy Communion to several U.S. Lawmakers (including then former Vice President Joe Biden) based on their support for abortion rights sharing on Twitter that, “Denying Communion to politicians is a ‘bad idea’, because, in this case, one must also deny it to those who support the death penalty”. Father Martin also refused to deny Holy Communion to a lesbian who had been legally-married to her partner in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, MI. Cardinal Gregory and Father Patrick Martin have ironically become closer colleagues over the years; including Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta graciously-inviting Father Martin to speak in 2018 at Saint Thomas More Parish and at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. But more on that later…
In 2004, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles” (to the then Archbishop of Washington D.C., Theodore McCarrick), regarding Canon 915 with respect to then U.S. Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts); another ardent pro-abortion Catholic. It was clear in this memorandum that any Catholic Politician who promoted abortion, euthanasia, and the like should not be given Holy Communion (after they’ve been privately-told by a Catholic leader that they shouldn’t receive). Let’s not forget that it was the same Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who, on April 19th of 2005, was elected the 265th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church (selecting the name “Benedict XVI”). The Catholic confusion was further exacerbated when this same Joseph Ratzinger (a.k.a. now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) received his COVID vaccine at the Vatican at the same time that it was administered to Pope Francis. Yes – the same anti-abortion Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from Washington D.C. who was telling ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick not to give Holy Communion to abortion-supporting former U.S. Senator John Kerry was now ingesting an abortion-tainted vaccine.
You might recall ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s name. He is the same ex-Cardinal made infamous now via the McCarrick Report (formerly known as the “Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017)”) published by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State at the end of 2020. Per an article in the National Catholic Reporter (published on December 8th, 2020 by Father Peter Daly), the Vatican’s 449-page report showed that ex-Cardinal McCarrick “appears to have molested 17 ‘postpubescent boys or young men’ over the course of his career” with some victims “as young as 12 years old” and some that “he molested repeatedly”. The article showcased how many of the victims of McCarrick’s abuse were children in families that he knew well and visited frequently as a “trusted member of the family.”
Cardinal Wilton Gregory left a scandal in the Archdiocese of Atlanta (where I reside) to join another scandal in Washington, D.C. In 2014, then Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta apologized publicly after Catholics, who were confused, dismayed, and angry, challenged the Archbishop on why he was moving into a $2.2 million, 6,400-square-foot residential mansion when many in the Archdiocese of Atlanta were financially-struggling. Understandably, most in the Archdiocese were morally-concerned about spending the Archdiocese’s money irresponsibly. The Archbishop swept the $2.2 million mistake under the rug as merely an “oversight”. In a move that has become all too familiar to many Catholics, rather than reprimand a Catholic leader for misuse of their Catholic authority and resources, Archbishop Gregory was shuffled to pick-up the pieces of a mess left behind by ex-Cardinal McCarrick. Both had their immoral behaviors rewarded by the Catholic Church and, more specifically, the Vatican – both being promoted to Cardinals (with Cardinal Gregory becoming the first African-American Cardinal in Catholic Church history). Remember, this is the same Cardinal Gregory who, as Archbishop of Washington D.C. made his objections to President Donald Trump’s visit to the John Paul II Shrine in D.C. known to all by issuing the following statement: “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree. Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.” Let’s not forget that the former First Lady, Melania Trump, is Catholic, as well. In a continued spirit of hypocrisy and confusion, Archbishop Gregory then went on to demand that none of the Catholic Bishops, Priests, and leadership in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. say anything in support of President Trump.
Unfortunately, the Catholic hypocrisy and mixed messaging has continued into other politically-charged forums, as well, with the recent Catholic confusion rising to near epidemic-levels. The recent LGBTQ (which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) movement, started in the 1990’s and focused on human sexual orientation and gender identification, has been on an aggressive offensive on many fronts; including on Churches, Faith, and related. And, millions of Catholic Faithful were completely caught off-guard when they heard what Pope Francis had to say on the subject.
In October of 2020, “Francesco”, a documentary on Pope Francis, contained statements reportedly made by the Pope around his stance on homosexuality and same-sex civil unions. There has been a lot of debate and discussion since the documentary was released; including some that argue the documentary included edits from previous interviews and statements from Pope Francis while he was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that Pope Francis told him directly that he’d like to see the civil union laws between same-sex couples pass. My Wife and I just couldn’t believe that the Pope would say something so contrary to both Scripture and Catholic Doctrine as the Holy See. We watched EWTN religiously each night for weeks waiting for an update and for some clarity (assuming that it would be denounced by the Vatican). Unfortunately, per the CNA, “the Pope’s comments on civil unions have not been disputed by the Vatican despite multiple requests for clarity.” The only disputes have been amongst some Catholic leaders who argued that, as the former Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, he was an openly-vocal critic of former Argentinian President’s, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, legalizing of same-sex marriage in 2010.
Catholic Priest Father James Martin, a former General Electric employee who decided to leave the corporate life for a Catholic vocational life (becoming a Jesuit like Pope Francis), has become a very secularly-popular advocate for the LGBTQ movement. He has been seen and/or heard on CNN, NPR, Fox News Channel, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, The New York Times., and many others television, internet, and radio programs. On 2013, he was on “The Colbert Report” (a program he’s been on many times) where he talked about Pope Francis and then introduced the heavy-metal music band Metallica. He is the author of many books including, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity”. Father Martin has spoken at hundreds of Parishes, Churches, schools, colleges, and universities for his work and thoughts on the LGBTQ movement. In 2020, he spoke at the annual 3-day conference of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) to school presidents and 200 top staff at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington D.C. Father Martin is highly-criticized for his pro-LGBTQ views, opinions, and initiatives and he has been another source of major confusion for far too many of the Catholic Faithful, as well as the rest of world (secular and religious) as to what Catholicism’s teaching is on LGBTQ.
The Catholic confusion that Father Martin is creating is only exacerbated by his very close relationship with the Vatican and Pope Francis. Per a quick search on Wikipedia, for example, you can find that it was Pope Francis who appointed Father Martin as a consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication in 2017 (McKinless, Ashley (April 12, 2017); “Father James Martin appointed by Pope Francis to Vatican department for communications“; America Magazine). Father Martin delivered an address in 2018 at the Vatican’s World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland where Father Martin’s talk focused on how Catholics can more effectively engage with the LGBTQ members of their communities (“Father James Martin: How parishes can welcome L.G.B.T. Catholics“; America Magazine). And, on September 30th of 2019, Father Martin was personally-received by Pope Francis in a private audience in the papal library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace (O’Connell, Gerard; “Pope Francis meets with Father James Martin in private audience“; America Magazine).
The confusion being spread by Father Martin is obvious and it’s gaining momentum. Per the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (American TFP), the following are just some of thousands of examples of Father Martin’s misinterpretations and misrepresentations of Catholic Doctrine on the LBGTQ movement. At Fordham University in 2017, he shared, “I have a hard time imagining how even the most traditionalist, homophobic, closed-minded Catholic cannot look at my friend [in a same-sex ‘marriage’] and say, ‘That is a loving act, and that is a form of love that I don’t understand but that I have to reverence.’” (Fordham News, “Building a Bridge Between the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community”). In 2017, Father Martin posted comments on Facebook supporting a young boy who presented himself as a girl to receive religious education at a Catholic Parish. When the Parish offered to teach the boy as long as he presented himself according to his biological sex on his Baptismal certificate, Father Martin called the Church’s decision “a scandal.” In 2017 at Villanova University, Father Martin told a practicing homosexual who attends Mass, “I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner [in Church] or, you know, soon to be your husband.” (LifeSiteNews.com, “Eight extreme things Fr. James Martin just said about Catholics and gay ‘marriage’”). During a podcast on June 16, 2017, Father Martin said that Sister Jeannine Gramick, a Nun censured by the Vatican for her pro-homosexual activism with New Ways Ministry, should be declared a Saint, “I’m going to canonize Sister Jeannine Gramick.” Sister Gramick has a Catholic record of defiant disobedience per the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Jesuitical podcast published on America “Father James Martin: L.G.B.T. Catholics have been treated like dirt. We can do better.”). In 2016, Father Martin accepted the “Bridge Building Award” from the pro-homosexual group New Ways Ministry. This was even after the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George, condemned the group. Father Martin has also “tweeted” a blasphemous depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe to 169,000 followers on her feast day back on December 12th of 2017 (LifeSiteNews.com, “Pro-gay Vatican adviser tweets immodest image of Mary on Guadalupe feast day”).
The American TFP, like many other Catholic groups and institutions, has a lot to say about Father Martin’s misguidance of thousands of Catholic Faithful and others around the world. Father Martin’s book, “Building a Bridge” continues to confuse readers, especially Catholics, into accepting the LGBTQ movement within the Church. The same Sister Jeannine Gramick that he’d like to canonize wrote her endorsement of the book as, “Father Martin shows how the Rosary and the rainbow flag can peacefully meet one another.” Father Martin has gone as far as to make a rainbow Rosary where each decade of the Rosary changes colors accordingly to match the different stripes of the rainbow flag; a flag which has become one of the emblems of the LGBTQ movement. It seems to me that Father Martin has way more in common with the General Electric Company, a perennial donor to Planned Parenthood, than he does with the Catholic Church.
And, Father Martin isn’t the only Catholic leader confusing Catholics on a myriad of topics around the LGBTQ movement. Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington D.C. has created a long-wake of confusion across his career on the LGBTQ front. LifeSite News reported on April 4th of 2019 about Cardinal Gregory’s support for the LGBTQ movement while he was the Archbishop of Atlanta. This included personally inviting pro-gay Vatican adviser Father James Martin to give a speech titled “Showing Welcome and Respect in Our Parishes to LGBT Catholics” at a Catholic Parish and a Shrine, permitting that same Shrine to act as a center for LGBTQ events (including potluck socials), all while personally-participating in a pride parade with LGBTQ leadership and members. Then Archbishop Gregory also appointed a pro-gay Priest (who heads a gay-affirming Parish) to be Diocesan Spiritual Director for victims of sexual abuse by Clergy. Beginning in 2014, he allowed the pro-homosexual and pro-transgenderism “Catholic” group, Fortunate and Faithful Families, to hold retreats in the Archdiocese Chancery while personally saying Mass for the group.
Adding to the Catholic confusion, President Joe Biden has been very clear about his support for the LGBTQ movement for years. As Vice President, he officiated his first wedding ever in 2016 for two White House staffers, Brian Mosteller and Joe Mahshie, at the Naval Observatory. Vice President Biden then posted a photo on Twitter writing, “Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn’t be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys.” President Biden has named the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (and former Democratic Presidential candidate) Pete Buttigieg as his Transportation Secretary. Buttigieg is the first openly LBGTQ Cabinet Member in U.S. history. In his mad-dash to sign more Executive Orders in his first 10 days than the previous 5 U.S. Presidents (Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush, Obama) combined, President Biden signed over 40 Executive Orders (more than any other President in U.S. history in their first 10 days). This would include signing an Executive Order on January 25th of 2021 reversing the 2018 Transgender Military Ban instituted by President Donald Trump. It’s no wonder that former Vice President Biden and the Democrat Party invited Father James Martin to the 2020 Democratic National Convention where Father Martin delivered the closing prayer. In another moment of paramount Catholic confusion, pro-LBGTQ Father Martin prayed, “Let us open our hearts to those most in need. The unemployed parent worried about feeding his or her children. The woman who is underpaid, harassed, or abused. The black man or woman who fears for their lives. The immigrant at the border longing for safety. The homeless person looking for a meal. The LGBTQ teen who is bullied. The unborn child in the womb. The inmate on death row. Help us to be a nation where every life is sacred, all people are loved, and all are welcome. Amen.” Remember, too, that Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez is on record saying that, “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.” A prayer for the unborn coming from the most outspoken LBGTQ-supporting Catholic Priest in U.S. history at the most pro-abortion political party in U.S. history sounds like the punchline to a very, very bad joke.
While Catholics are getting a lot of mixed-messaging on abortion and the entire LBGTQ movement from Catholic and political leadership, God’s Word has always been very clear and direct on both. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) has also been very clear on both topics.
Scripture is full of examples of denouncing the shedding of innocent blood and who could possibly be more innocent than a baby at any point in its development? In Psalm 106:37-38, we find, “Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.” There are seven things detestable to the Lord as per Proverbs 6:16-19, “haughty eyes”, “lying tongues”, hands that “shed innocent blood”, hearts that “devise wicked schemes”, feet that are “quick to rush into evil”, false witnesses who “pour out lies”, and people who “stir up conflict in the community”. Jesus was very clear on babies and children and how He sees them warning in Luke 17:2 that, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble”, in Matthew 18:14, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that their Angels in Heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven”, and in Matthew 18:14, “Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” While there are many other Scriptural references to protecting those in the womb of their Mothers, it is important to stress what we know about how God plans for us. In Psalm 139:13,15, we find, “For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth” while there are lots of other examples of folks being named by God in their Mothers’ wombs; including Ishmael (Genesis 16:11), Isaac (Genesis 17:19), Josiah (1 Kings 13:2), Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:9), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5), John the Baptist (Luke 1:13), and Jesus (Matthew 1:21).
Subsequently, Catholic Tradition (in the CCC) is very clear and direct on abortion and the respect for and dignity of human life. Per CCC 2258, “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church continues its clarity on abortion in several other precepts going back to the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” CCC 2322 shares, “From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a ‘criminal’ practice, gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.” In CCC 2323, we find, “Because it should be treated as a person from conception, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed like every other human being.” These points on abortion are driven home in CCC 2324, “Intentional euthanasia, whatever its forms or motives, is murder. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.” That all seems pretty clear to me – abortion is wrong and is considered a grave (mortal) sin by the Church.
Scripture is also clear on homosexuality. Per Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” and Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Saint Paul chastises the people of Corinth for their behavior when he advised, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Saint Paul then told the Jews in Rome in his letter to the Romans 1:26-27, “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
Again, Catholic Tradition (in the CCC) is also very clear and direct on Homosexuality. Per CCC No. 2357, homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”, “immoral”, and “contradictory to the natural law”; the acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life” and they “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementary”. So, where does this leave Catholics? The CCC goes on to say the homosexual inclinations (a.k.a. desires) are not immoral; just the acts themselves are. Per CCC No. 2358, “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” Finally, CCC No. 2359 rounds-out the Catholic Church’s Doctrine on homosexuality, by sharing that “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”
Is Anyone Else Confused?
At this point, we’ve talked about two Popes and the USCCB who have indirectly-endorsed abortion by endorsing vaccines for a virus to kills less than 1% of the time; and, both Popes took the vaccine personally while one, Pope Francis, has likened not taking the vaccines to being suicidal (a mortal sin) and potentially-murderous to innocent others (another mortal sin) in a spirit of fear-mongering that brings back images of fascism, Marxism, and communism. The former U.S. President, Donald Trump, who is considered the most pro-life President in U.S. history, went so fast with the vaccinations that, even at the bequest of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishop’s multiple requests, the major pharmaceutical companies still could only muster abortion-related vaccines in order to meet the tightest “dead”-lines. We’ve got a Pope in Pope Benedict XVI who seems was either “run out of town” or “pulled the chord” to eject himself from the crisis and confusion at the Vatican. We’ve got conflicting messages from Pope Francis, Father James Martin, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, and many other Catholic leaders on the entire LGBTQ movement that are in direct conflict with Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And, there is lots of disagreement over whether or not Catholic political leaders can receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion if they are in direct breach of their Catholic Faith per that same Catechism.
The current U.S. President, Joe Biden, is now signing Executive Orders at a world-record pace while promising a reversal of pro-life and anti-abortion legislature as his administration attempts to enact pro-abortion legislature and more federal funding for abortions (both domestically and internationally). These efforts would include attempting to codify Roe vs. Wade in order to create a U.S. federal law (almost 50 years after the original Supreme Court ruling on Roe) that would, in essence, supersede any U.S. state laws and, thus, enable all women in the U.S. the right to elect abortion for their babies. The new, proposed abortion law that would be created would eventually have to be approved by the Supreme Court. The previous administration under President Trump put three conservative judges on the Court (Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett) giving pro-life conservatives hope via a potential majority vote on any issue put before the Court. Rumors have been circulating since 2020 that President Joe Biden and the Democrat Party are considering “court-packing” the Supreme Court. The rumors have included adding 3 – 7 Justices on the Court which would potentially allow the current President to nominate folks that are pro-abortion. In January of 2020, President Biden announced that he is assembling a bipartisan commission of between 9 – 15 members to review the U.S. Supreme Court. Several Senate Republicans have told Fox News that they are concerned about “the Biden administration’s commission to ‘study’ the Supreme Court and propose potential ‘reform’, worrying that the result might eventually be a proposal to pack the tribunal with more justices”. Ironically, you would think that Catholics would have some comfort and pride in the fact that the all three branches of the U.S. Government (the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial) are led by Catholics in 2021; President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, respectively. But many Catholics are more concerned and confused than ever over this past 20 years.
President Biden, who’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki (per a Fox News article on January 21st, 2021 by Sam Dorman) described President Biden as a “devout Catholic” (after being asked about his stances on taxpayer funding for abortion), is already surrounding himself with a pro-abortion dream team while Catholic leaders are debating the President’s “true” Catholic standing; including Cardinal Raymond Burke who (in that same Fox News article) has said that Biden was not a “Catholic in good standing.” Biden has nominated Xavier Becerra (a Catholic and the former Attorney General (AG) of California who filled Vice President Kamala Harris’ pro-abortion shoes when she became a U.S. Senator) as his Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). For those who don’t know Becerra, he’s the AG that argued a losing battle at the Supreme Court to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions. He’s already leading HHS in re-opening its litigation efforts against the Little Sisters of the Poor (another losing effort from President Barack Obama’s administration). John Kerry, another pro-abortion Catholic that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (a.k.a. the future Pope Benedict XVI) was arguing against allowing ex-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick (while at the Archdiocese of Washington) to give Holy Communion to Kerry for Kerry’s pro-abortion efforts, is Biden’s Energy Czar. Ironically (and confusing) enough, the letter was not only to then-Cardinal McCarrick, but it was also to then-Bishop Wilton Gregory, the former President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The letter was very clear that denying Kerry (and other Catholic leaders) Holy Communion is “obligatory”; especially because of the “grave sin of abortion” and “euthanasia.” In a confusing-fury of “well, we’ll do whatever we want”, the USCCB, under the lack of leadership from former Cardinal McCarrick and former Bishop Gregory, broke from Catholic Doctrine and voted 183 – 6 to approve a compromise statement allowing Bishops to decide whether or not to give Holy Communion to pro-abortion leaders.
On January 28th, 2021 (the day before the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.), President Biden signed another Executive Order to rescind the Mexico City Policy. On that same day, per an article (“Biden To Rescind Mexico City Policy, Reverse Trump Ban On Overseas Abortion Funding”) on The Political Insider written by Becky Noble, the Biden White House released the following statement, “Across the country and around the world, people–particularly women, Black, indigenous and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and those with low incomes–have been denied access to reproductive health care.” While it’s common for the Mexico City Policy (which blocks overseas funding for abortion) to be traditionally reversed by new Democratic presidential administrations (including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), President Biden has openly-shared that he’ll reverse his position on the Hyde Amendment, as well (which prohibits most taxpayer funding for abortion). It has been reported that self-proclaimed Devout, practicing Catholic and current Democratic Congresswoman and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who attends Catholic Mass from time-to-time with President Biden) had been told in a private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI (per Fox News) that she should not be receiving Holy Communion for her open support of abortion. Speaker Pelosi is third in line to the U.S. Presidency.
Other “confused” Catholics who are pro-abortion in President Biden’s administration include former Governors Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island; Commerce Department), Tom Vilsack (Iowa; Agriculture Department), and Jennifer Granholm (Michigan; Department of Energy). They were all behind pro-abortion efforts while Governors. I can still remember the uproar and controversy that was caused when then-candidate (and pro-abortion) Jennifer Granholm came to our Catholic Church (Our Lady of Good Counsel) in Plymouth, Michigan to talk to us about her political agenda if elected as Governor of Michigan. And, let’s not forget former Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, who will serve as Secretary of Labor who received a “Men for Choice” award from NARAL Pro-Choice in Massachusetts in 2016. He’s another self-proclaimed pro-choice “candidate, mayor, and legislator”; to which we can now add “cabinet member”.
So, “game-on” abortion via a Catholic President and an administration loaded with other abortion-wielding Catholics and staffers. That’s even while the USCCB’s Catholic Catechism for Catholic Adults teaches that abortion and infanticide “are abominable crimes” stating that, “the inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority.” It goes on to state that “when the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined.” This has led Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez to state, “I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.”
Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation (remember, he was the first Pope to resign in over 600 years) in February of 2013 was never really clear to most Catholics that I speak with and/or anyone that I listen to. Again, to add to confusion, in the midst of minimal clarity from the Vatican, most Catholics (and the world overall) are left to various conspiracies. Rather than explicitly setting the record straight on the resignation, Papal Press Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi offered, “The Church needed someone with more physical and spiritual energy who would be able to overcome the problems and challenges of governing the church in this ever-changing modern world.” Now, if that isn’t fodder for the proverbial conspiracy campfire, I don’t what is? The BBC News ran an article later that year (on November 28th, 2013; by Mark Dowd; “Why Did Pope Benedict XVI Resign?”) that quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s lawyer Cristiana Arru where she shared that the Pope had said that he had witnessed “many ugly things inside the Vatican” that he just “couldn’t take it anymore.” She went on to say in the interview that the Pope then actively-sought a way out of the Papacy, because of the “lies being told” while he was being kept “in the dark” regarding key events. And, we haven’t even mentioned the alleged scandal at the Vatican Bank!?
While many are still trying to recover from the mishandling of the sex scandal in the Catholic Church, things continue to confuse, distort, and divide Catholics. According to a 2019 study by the Pew Research Center (“Key takeaways about how Americans view the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church”; Claire Gecewicz, June 11th, 2019), 79% of Americans feel that Catholic Priests’ and Bishops’ misconduct reflects on-going problems (a.k.a. ‘there’s still a problem’; only 12% think it’s just in the past) leading to 27% of Catholics going to Mass less (due to the scandals) and 26% reducing their financial donations. This is contrasted by only 18% of folks saying that they are outwardly supporting and encouraging the Priests at their Churches. Remember, the Pew study is from 2019; that’s pre-COVID; I can’t even begin to imagine what those numbers might look like now after global lock-downs of the Catholic Faithful and our Houses of Worship.
When Catholics are confused, it’s contagious to all of the other Christian denominations as well as to the rest of the world (religious or not). It doesn’t take too much individual research to confirm the broader confusion that we’re seeing, feeling, and experiencing for ourselves. Christianity in the U.S. has declined to 65% (59% for Generation Z’ers) while atheism and/or agnosticism have risen to 26% (13% for Generation Z’ers). Pre-COVID, Church attendance overall had 54% of Americans going a few times a year and only 45% were attending monthly. Americans are starting to believe more and more in the religious indifference and that any religion can lead to Eternal life (58% for teens; 62% for adults). Abortion has now reached genocidal levels in the world with the U.S. reporting roughly 70 million aborted babies in the 48 years since Roe vs. Wade. The current reported annual abortion rate in the U.S. per year is usually between 1 to 1.5 million babies. To give that some scale, while there are various estimates on the holocaust of Jewish people during World War II by the Nazis, a recent estimate has been somewhere between 6 to 15 million Jews that were killed. The U.S. is 1 of 7 countries that allow abortions after 20 weeks (5 months) in a pregnancy; the other 6 countries are Canada (no restriction in law), China (no restriction in law), Netherlands (24 weeks), North Korea (no restriction in law), Singapore (24 weeks), United States (viability), and Vietnam (no restriction in law). That’s some pretty frightening company. While countries like Poland (which is 90% Catholic) are aggressively-pursuing the eradication of abortion, neighboring countries, like Sweden, are offering Polish women “vacation abortions”. As of late 2020, assisted suicide was legal in 8 States (it’s also legal in 6 countries overall on 3 different continents). Human trafficking statistics rate the U.S. as one of worst countries for trafficking at roughly 200,000 new cases opened per year. Before the November of 2020 election, cannabis had been legalized in 44 states (with 33 states allowing it only for medical use and 11 states allowing it for recreational use, as well). Over 63% of Americans believe that homosexuality should be socially-accepted and Americans that publicly-identify as LGBTQ stands at roughly 10 million adults. Almost 20 million kids (or, 1 in 4 kids) grow-up without a father in their home. And, the U.S. divorce rate continues to float between 40-50% for first marriages and is 70% for second marriages.
According to the 2020 movie, “In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality” (which was produced and supported by a whole host of Christian denominations and various religious leaders), roughly 41% of people that have physically become “transgender” (often through medical processes) attempt to commit suicide. That statistic alone is screaming to us all as to how confused our world is right now; and, confused on a whole host of things, not just on human sexuality and gender. Catholic leadership’s relative silence on these issues continues to be deafening with 68% of U.S. adults saying that they have never heard their Clergy and/or other Catholic religious leaders speak out about any of this. But that’s not everyone in Catholic leadership and laity.
A Call for Catholic Warriors
Catholics might not always agree with what Catholic and political leaders are doing, but Catholics are by God called to honor their authority and to pray for all of them. Jesus told us all in Luke 10:27 that the two greatest commandments were to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” We are to love our enemies and those that we disagree at times with and, when we are loving God like that, we are also trying to live our lives according to God’s Word (the Bible) and His plan for our lives. God doesn’t call us to be passive in this endeavor; no, He is calling for us to become Spiritual Warriors like Saint Michael the Archangel; demanding all of us in this effort. This is no time for sitting on the sidelines. In fact, we’re told in the Book of Hebrews 10:38 that God, “takes no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” Saint Paul also said in the Book of Hebrews (4:12), “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Scripture requires Catholics to speak-out when Catholic leaders and politicians are not conducting themselves appropriately. Again, Saint Paul reminded Saint Timothy (2 Timothy 3:16-17), “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Now, too much time has gone by since 2013 (when Pope Francis became a Pope) and giving Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt has not paid off too well for many Catholics over the past few years. I’m not an uber-Catholic, so perhaps I’m confused or misguided on the Pope. Perhaps I’m caught-up in a Catholic conspiracy theory and I should be snuffed-out by the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and main stream media outlets? That might sound like sensationalizing all of this as I’m just another Catholic believer just like many of you. Or, has there been an explosion in the Catholic Church (including at the top) and we’re all a bit stunned? The answer is yes.
Pope Francis is considered by secular and religious leaders (including Catholics) to be the most progressive Pope in modern times. While he has held-firm on a lot of Catholic Doctrinal issues and he as, at times, pushed back on both Catholic and world leaders on a number of things, he has also continued to send mixed messages. The following are just a few of far too many examples that are leaving the Catholic Faithful bewildered and angered; which is leading many to taking action.
In October of 2019 during the Amazonian Synod of Catholic Bishops at the Vatican, Pope Francis took some very strong-criticism for displaying a Pan-Amazonian “Pachamama” wooden idol of a pagan goddess on a Church Altar at the Vatican. There were reportedly 4 statues with at least 1 of them being a pregnant woman believed to be “Mother Earth” (an Incan fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, embodies the mountains, and causes earthquakes). If you recall, the Incans were well-known for sacrificing children to appease their gods (sounds a lot like abortion, murder, and euthanasia to me). Local Catholics were so enraged that they took the pagan statues and tossed them into the Tiber River. The Pope apologized for the Catholic Faithful and then had the statues recovered from the river. Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller (the former Bishop of Regensburg, Germany and the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope Benedict XVI) told Newsmax in 2019 the he “sees things differently than the Pope” and that, per Catholic Doctrine, the “difference between paganism and Faith is clear”. Cardinal Mueller recalled how Saint Paul told the Romans that “paganism is the adoration of created things rather than God” while reminding the Catholic Faithful that the first Pope, Saint Peter, was actually crucified upside down for not accepting Rome’s emperor as a god. But, again, why would Pope Francis allow any of this Incan stuff to take place at the Vatican in the first place?
In December of 2020, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would be starring in a new “docu-series” called, “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, on Netflix. That’s the same Netflix that has run all kinds of horrible programming; including “13 Reasons Why” (2017; a movie that promotes revengeful teen suicide) and “Cuties” (2020; a movie the highly-sexualizes children) – both of which have brought Netflix strong criticism; both from the secular and religious worlds. Per the Catholic News Agency (CNA), the director for the new Papal film project, Fernando Meirelles, also directed “The Two Popes” (2019) on Netflix; a movie that many Catholic Faithful have criticized as ideological and not accurately representing Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. Ironically, Meirelles says that he is a Catholic, but he “stopped attending Mass as a child”. The good news is that the Spiritual battle with Netflix (via boycotting the service) has already begun and it’s working as Netflix’s Q3 profits for 2020 have fallen over 5%. And, it’s not just religious leaders who are boycotting Netflix; U.S. Congressmen like Representative Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat; Hawaii), Representative Jim Banks (Republican; Indiana), Senator Tom Cotton (Republican; Arkansas), and Ted Cruz (Republican; Texas)) have called “Cuties” things like ‘child pornography’ have asked for a full investigation. This is all while the #CancelNetflix movement continues in-parallel. But, again, why would the Pope ever work with Netflix? Wouldn’t he have plenty of choices for making this “docu-series” beyond Netflix?
In a January 5th of 2021 blog by Michael Haynes of LifeSite News, Haynes shared the Pope Francis video for January prayer for the Vatican; the focus of the prayer being “fraternity”. The Vatican’s accompanying press release calls “for people of different religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to return to the essential: love of neighbor.” What starts-out in the video as a call to the second greatest commandment per Jesus quickly turns into something very different. As Haynes puts it in his blog, “In the latest video as part of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN), Pope Francis appeared to be focused less on prayer and more on making a propaganda piece in order to promote religiously indifferent human fraternity.” The video shows a Christian woman praying the Rosary, then a Muslim woman praying to Mecca, and then a Jewish man praying to God. The Pope shared on the video, “When we pray to God following Jesus, we come together as brothers and sisters with those who pray according to other cultures, other traditions and other beliefs. We are brothers and sisters who pray. Fraternity leads us to open ourselves to the Father of all and to see in the other a brother or sister, to share our lives or to support, to love, and to know each other.” The video itself builds upon the concept of “universal brotherhood” and religious indifferentism found in the Pope’s controversial encyclical Fratelli Tutti. A graphic with the video promotes that all “believers”, regardless of Faith, are to try to achieve human fraternity, but the graphic itself is mostly agnostic when it comes to any specific references to any particular religions. The video seems to be building-upon other Papal globalistic initiatives which has led many to believe that Pope Francis supports the World Economic Forum’s upcoming “The Great Reset”. The video has only exacerbated the globalist concerns from other recent events related to Pope Francis and the Vatican; including Pope Francis’ announcement in December of 2020 at the Vatican Youth Symposium to team-up his Global Pact for Education with the United Nations’ Mission 4.7 (to educate the world on sustainable lifestyles, gender equality, and global citizenship), the Pope (in February of 2019) stating that a “pluralism and diversity” of religions is “willed by God” while with the Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque and signing the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” during an inter-religious meeting in Abu Dhabi, and Pope Francis developing The Abrahamic Family House that was commissioned by the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity in 2019 in the United Arab Emirates. The House will include a mosque, a Church, and a synagogue with one common courtyard.
Now, we need not worry too much for two reasons. God’s got this and we’re not alone in our efforts. There are Spiritual Warriors all around us; this would include the unseen Spiritual War going on right now in the world between Angels and demons and it would also include strong Catholic leaders and laity at all levels (local, state, federal, and internationally) all around us.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has been very critical of both Pope Francis and the Vatican over the past several years. One recent example with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate from Pope Francis was, “It is disconcerting that, after unscrupulously demolishing no small number of Catholic truths in the name of dialogue with heretics and idolaters, the one dogma which Bergoglio is not ready to renounce is that of obligatory vaccination …If it is possible to set aside revealed truth in the name of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, it is likewise not licit to question the dogmas of COVID, the revelation made by the media about the pandemic, and the salvific sacrament of the vaccine.” Archbishop Viganò, a close advisor to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, hasn’t backed-down – even after Pope Benedict XVI was most-likely forced to resign for his ardent battles both at the Vatican and with Catholic politicians and leaders around the world (including with Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry).
Catholic Priest Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life, posted a copy on his website of one of many letters that he’s sent to Nancy Pelosi stating, “You make a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the tens of millions of Americans who consider themselves ‘practicing and respectful Catholics- and who find the killing of children – whether inside or outside the womb – reprehensible. You speak here of Catholic Faith as if it is supposed to hide us from reality instead of lead us to face reality, as if it is supposed to confuse basic moral truths instead of clarify them, and as if it is supposed to help us escape the hard moral questions of life rather than help us confront them. Whatever Catholic faith you claim to respect and practice, it is not the faith that the Catholic Church teaches. And I speak for countless Catholics when I say that it’s time for you to stop speaking as if it were.” Father Pavone has also called-out President Biden on abortion stating in an open letter to Joe Biden that Biden can’t say he follows the tenets of the Catholic Faith if he supports abortion.
On the subject of God’s will and religious indifference, one anonymous Dominican Theologian told LifeSite News that, “God permits non-Catholic religions to exist; but permitting something is not a way of willing it, it is a way of not willing to prevent it. Thus, God permits many innocent people to be killed, but He does not will it. We would not talk about God’s permissive will for Jews to be gassed, for example.”
Jeanne Mancini, the President of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., recently shared this on her website and with Fox News, “Women won the right to vote, now we must win the right to life.” Mancini continues to coordinate tens of thousands of pro-lifers each January for the event. While the March for Life was virtual in 2021, the pro-lifers still fought to have their voices (and those of the unborn) heard. Former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Tim Tebow, whose missionary Mother was told by doctors to consider an abortion during her difficult pregnancy, shared with the 2021 March for Life crowds on-line, “I’m so grateful that my Mom gave me a chance at life. You know who else I believe stood and stands for life? Our Savior, Jesus.” The Susan B. Anthony List, led by President Marjorie Dannenfelser, mission is to “end abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders”. The SBA List (and it’s nationwide network of more than 900,000 Americans) recently highlighted on its website, “The November 2020 election saw a historic number of pro-life women elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. As of November 13th of 2020, 16 pro-life women won their races, including 8 who flipped their district, defeating a pro-abortion Democratic incumbent. This surge of victorious pro-life women candidates in the U.S. House was a resounding victory for pro-life women everywhere, and a stunning blow to Nancy Pelosi and her pro-abortion agenda. So far, we have more than doubled the number of pro-life women in the House.”
Father James Altman of the Saint James the Less Parish in La Crosse, Wisconsin has been speaking-out on the lack of Catholic Church leadership on a number of topics; including the abortion and the recent U.S. elections. In a June 8th of 2020 article (“Priest unloads on Archbishop Gregory for hypocrisy condemning Trump while keeping mum on Obama’s sins”) by Tom Tillison in BPR Business & Politics, Father Altman shared, “I didn’t see [then Archbishop Wilton Gregory] make any particular complaint about another president violating our religious principles, when [former U.S. President] Barack Hussein Obama went to Georgetown and had the symbol of Jesus covered up because — the excuse was, ‘Well he didn’t want any background distracting from his message’, but he had absolutely no problem speaking with a background plastered with Planned Parenthood signage. I didn’t hear Wilton Gregory make any particular complaint when Barack Hussein Obama said ‘God bless Planned Parenthood,’, [so,] don’t even try to tell me, Archbishop Gregory, that Barack Hussein Obama worships the same God that I do. Jesus the Lord never would bless an organization that kills a million babies a year in the U.S. alone.” In the article, Father Altman goes on to call former President Obama’s blessing a “blasphemy.” Father Altman also shared how many Catholics that he thought voted for President Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election; “0”. His argument is that you can’t be a Catholic and vote for a radically pro-abortion candidate. Some have added to that by saying that you can be a Catholic and vote however you like, but those that do vote for things that are in direct conflict with our Catholic Faith and Doctrine and they are putting themselves at risk (and in need the Sacrament of Reconciliation as soon as possible) given that murdering the innocent (babies) is a mortal sin. We simply cannot just claim ignorance to either our Catholic Faith or Doctrine – it is the responsibility of each and every Catholic to know the Truth for themselves; even when Church and/or political leaders are not sharing the Catholic Truth. The “Biden/Sanders Manifesto” was available for anyone to read prior to November 3rd of 2020 and there isn’t anything that the new administration is doing that wasn’t addressed specifically in that document.
Per the Catholic News Agency (CNA) article on September 20th of 2019, many Catholic leaders are calling-out Father James Martin and his support of the LGBTQ movement. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois shared, “Father Martin’s public messages create confusion among the faithful and disrupt the unity of the Church by promoting a false sense that immoral sexual behavior is acceptable under God’s law. People with same-sex attraction are indeed created and loved by God and are welcome in the Catholic Church. But the Church’s mission to these brothers and sisters is the same as to all her faithful: to guide, encourage, and support each of us in the Christian struggle for virtue, sanctification, and purity. On the one hand, Father Martin correctly expresses God’s love for all people, while on the other, he either encourages or fails to correct behavior that separates a person from that very love. This is deeply scandalous in the sense of leading people to believe that wrongful behavior is not sinful. This matter is not one of opinion, it is our Lord’s own teaching, as we hear in Luke’s Gospel: ‘Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him’.” Archbishop Charles Chaput, emeritus of Philadelphia and one of the Catholic leaders who cautioned other Catholic leaders on giving President Joe Biden Holy Communion given his pro-abortion ideology and agenda, urged caution about “a pattern of ambiguity” in the writing and teaching of Father Martin. Archbishop Chaput stated that, “Father Martin – no doubt unintentionally – inspires hope that the Church’s teachings on human sexuality can be changed. Due to the confusion caused by his statements and activities regarding same-sex related (LGBTQ) issues, I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims. Moreover, the point is not to ‘not challenge’ what the Church believes about human sexuality, but to preach and teach it with confidence, joy, and zeal. Biblical truth liberates; it is never a cause for embarrassment. Persons with same-sex attraction are children of God and well loved by Him. Thus, they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. The Church must earnestly seek to do that while remaining true to her convictions. But it is clearly not true that the ‘only thing’ Catholics with same-sex attraction hear from their Church is a message of rejection. Or if it is, perhaps the responsibility can lie as much with the listener as it does with the Church. We each have the freedom to choose. Listening, like teaching, is an act of the will.” On Twitter, Bishop Rick Stika of Knoxville, challenged Father Martin’s “moral and theological thoughts” stating clearly that “This is a great error. I would add the pain it causes by setting people for pain as morally it can never be accepted by the Church.”
And, the list goes on and on with other Catholic Warriors; including Doug Barry (Founder of “Battle Ready”), Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and countless others. But the call for more Catholic Warriors is loud and it’s coming directly from Jesus Christ. Jesus demands that His followers speak-up and speak-out on anything that is against Him, our Faith, our Churches, and the weak in our midst and beyond. Jesus said in Luke 12:49, “I have come to light a fire, how I wish it were already ablaze!” We’re meant to be rebels and renegades in a fallen world that is counter to what Jesus teaches. The Apostles and Disciples of Jesus were referred to by the Pharisees and Sadducees of the time (Acts 17:6) as, “men who have turned the world upside down.” We need to turn the world upside down and it’s a never-ending job so long as satan is running amok. We need to “call a spade a spade” even if it’s our own Catholic or political leadership. Even if it’s the Pope, himself. Saint Paul captured this well in Hebrews 10:39 when he wrote, “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
Fear is a Liar
So, what is really stopping more Catholic Warriors from stepping-up and joining the fight? Fear. There is a wonderful song called “Fear is a Liar” by Christian-music artist, Zach Williams. If you’ve never heard it, it’s worth a listen, but it’s one of thousands of songs of encouragement available to all of us who are looking for Spiritual nourishment through music. Williams’ story is just like so many of our own stories. Williams grew-up, per his website, in “a storybook childhood filled with wonderfully nurturing parents, a strong and supportive grounding in the Church, and a warm and loving local community.” But the website’s bio on Williams goes on to tell us how he “was seduced away by the illusion of rock stardom and the drug and alcohol excesses that can so often accompany that lifestyle.” Williams has been redeemed by Grace through a radical transformation only found in Jesus Christ and he’s been Blessed to become a husband and father. His song is spot-on of what “fear” in this world really is. The world is spinning its web of lies driving an agenda of fear even while Saint Paul is telling us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.”
When did we become so fearful? Afraid to speak-up; afraid to challenge our leaders; afraid to die? Is it because of what others might say? Is it because we are afraid that “Big Tech” will black-ball us and suspend, cancel, and/or obliterate our social media accounts? Is it because politicians use words like “insurrection”, “racist”, “bigot”, “hypocrite”, and the like? Scripture can be inherently-offensive to those who don’t know and/or follow It. That’s not our problem. The Truth is that we are called to plant the seeds of Jesus Christ wherever we are and to trust that God will take it from there (just like Jesus shared in Mark 4:26-34). Many seeds that are planted on a farm never become a fully-thriving plant, but God can choose to water whichever seeds He wishes and it’s not our job as Catholics to do what only God can do. We are simply to remember the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20) and to plant anyway; even when it’s really hard to do so.
Here’s the bottom line, like my Father-in-Law is always telling folks, “Nobody’s getting out of here alive.” It’s hard to argue with that! I think it’s relatively-safe for all of us to “assume” that we are not going to be “assumed” like Jesus and the Virgin Mary were into Heaven, so why are we so worried about our earthly deaths? When I was 7-years-old, I passed away and went to Heaven where I met Jesus and two other men with Him. Now, while I can’t tell you who the other two men were, I can tell you that Jesus told me, “It’s not your time; go back.” I have been Blessed to be face to face with Jesus in Heaven and my story is just one of millions of stories that God has used to give those of us on this side of Heaven first-hand hope. Two things really stick-out for me with respect to my meeting with Jesus. First of all, Heaven is real and you’re all going to love it. Second of all, it wasn’t “my time”. Our “times” to be promoted into Heaven come as God prescribed them before we were formed in our Mother’s wombs. We can’t change that date or situation; it’s predestined. So, why worry about it? If I’m supposed to die of COVID, I will; and, so will you if that’s what’s written in Heaven. Death to Catholics is not “death”; Catholic Faith teaches that passing from this world to the Next is “Life Eternal” where we get to leave this mess of affairs behind us all for all of Eternity. Not only should death not be feared; it should be welcomed – no matter when it comes. God will take care of everyone that we leave behind. Those who are left behind when we ascend to Heaven are all His children, so why worry?
While the world will always be a “dynamic” place with its own set of challenges, we are all very Blessed to live in the U.S. with the mostly-great people we love all around us. Sometimes, we tend to forget “why” some folks lose Sight of God and wander into darkness. While I’m not qualified to psycho-analyze all of that, I wanted to share some Scriptural explanations at the end of the Book of Acts (Chapter 28) and in the first chapter of the Book of Romans. These 2 chapters are back-to-back in the Bible for a reason as Saint Paul is definitely making a point here – just prior to him leaving Malta and then landing in Rome. In Acts 28:25-27, Saint Paul shares, “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
While only skipping a page (and not skipping a beat), Saint Paul continued into Romans 1:20-32 with, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause, God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise, also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
Far too many Catholics (including me) have lost “Sight” of Philippians 4:8 – “pun” intended – where we are told by Saint Paul that, per Jesus, we are to protect our eyes, ears, and mouths from this world. Binge-watching or reading things that Jesus wouldn’t want us to see hurts us. Listening to bad music, news, gossip, preachers, politicians, etc. that Jesus wouldn’t want us to hear hurts us. Eating, smoking, and drinking things that Jesus didn’t design as good for us hurt us. While we can’t Save people, Jesus can and Scripture is full of how He does this. Our job is to bring folks to the Cross of Christ – in what we say, how we live, how we love, what we do, how we act/serve, prayer, and how we challenge others. When you look at the challenges of this world, you have to ask yourself what would Jesus do (W.W.J.D.)? And, we all know the answer…He’d Act!
So, if we ever find ourselves on the sidelines, rippled with fear, off the right path, and/or not holding Catholic and political leaders accountable, then we must rise up, dust ourselves off, and get back into the fight. We are called by God to stand for who He is and what He teaches. The U.S. Forefathers did this and founded an incredible country based on the foundation of God. If anyone tells us differently, we’re to plant a seed and correct them; even if it falls on the wayside. The devil has a whole lot of people thinking that he and hell are not real, that we shouldn’t talk about politics and religion, and that there’s supposed to be a separation in the U.S. of Church and state. The Bible teaches the exact opposite and who are we going to believe – God or the biggest liar, deceiver, manipulator, and loser in human history? Misguided Catholic and political leaders are a natural part of the human condition and, just like Adam and Eve, they are susceptible to falling away from God’s teachings. I thank God almost every day that my Mom didn’t listen to a Catholic Priest in Long Island who told her that she, as an abandoned mother of two kids under the age of four (abandoned by her alcoholic ex-husband), was no longer welcome to come to the Catholic Church. He was dead wrong. But my Mom, a Cradle Catholic with a Devout Mother herself, would drop-off and pick-up my Sister and I at Church every weekend. She also enrolled us in Catechism at the same Church and would finally join us at Mass when God finally put a Scripturally-sound Priest in our lives and her previous marriage was annulled by the Catholic Church.
My Mom never gave up on her Faith and I write this article to you today in honor of her, my Nana, and the countless other believers who stood firm on the rock of Christ and installed that same fervor in me. When someone says “black lives matter”, we might reply with, “I agree”, “I think all lives matter”, and/or “unborn lives matter”. When someone says that they are “anti-fascist” (like Antifa), we might reply with, “Jesus was against fascism, too; just ask the Pharisees and Sadducees of His day”. When someone says that they voted for a candidate, we should feel free to reply with who we voted for and why we voted for them. Catholic Priests get things wrong. Pope Francis gets things wrong. Cardinal Wilton Gregory gets things wrong. Father James Martin gets things wrong. President Biden gets things wrong. We all get things wrong. May we never give up our Catholic and Christian responsibilities to speak-up and shine our lights of Christ into a very dark and fallen world.