Thursday, October 18, 2012

Voting with a Catholic Conscience

Courtesy of a priest friend of mine. He wrote the following in a FB status:

This time of the year can become very intense for all of us as we prepare to participate in the upcoming 2012 elections. None of us want to be told how to vote. Voting is a very personal and thought provoking duty when it is taken seriously. For the most part, we want our vote to be private, and this is all good. However, sometimes we do not realize that voting h
as a great effect, not just on us personally, but on our city, country, and in some cases, the world. It is for this reason, voting should be taken most seriously. As Catholics, we have the obligation to form our consciences well and to study the issues at hand. Contrary to popular belief, conscience is not our opinion, nor our feelings or thoughts. Conscience is informing ourselves correctly about the issues at hand, and then making a right judgment based on what we know to be good and true. Conscience is our Catholic Faith working hand in hand with our reason, to make good moral judgments.

Many people request or even demand that the Catholic Church stay out of politics, calling it a third party, or saying the Church has no place in the political arena. Holy Mother Church teaches us that this thought or demand is totally contrary to who we are as Catholics. "Catholicism is not a political philosophy or program. The Catholic Church is not a “third party” that mixes some politically liberal positions with some politically conservative positions. Catholicism is, instead, a two-thousand year old religious bearing timeless truth. After twenty centuries, the Church has done much teach regarding the application of moral principles to political questions.” (Catholic Bishops of Kansas) So, why would we not embrace the Church’s teachings and apply them to the formation of our conscience and take our faith with us to the polls on November 6?

One of the most pressing things most Catholics are very confused about is why the Church asks you to focus on abortion, euthanasia, and physician assisted suicide. We ask you to look at where candidates stand on these issues and if they promote them, we ask you not to vote for those candidates. Here is why: “This is because, in voting for such a person, you would become an accomplice in the moral evil at issue. For this reason, moral evils such as abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, are examples of a ‘disqualifying issue.’ A disqualifying issue is one which is of such gravity and importance that it allows for no political maneuvering. It is an issue that strikes at the heart of the human person and is non-negotiable. A disqualifying issue is one of such enormity that by itself, it renders a candidate for office unacceptable regardless of his position on other matters.” (Rev. Stephen F. Torraco, PH.D.) So, in essence, we are morally held accountable for the actions of a candidate we vote for that does take office. To put it bluntly, if a candidate condones and makes abortions, euthanasia, or physician assisted suicide more readily available, we too are accountable for those actions.

It is for these reasons that we take forming our conscience most seriously as Catholics; this is not just a matter of politics, or republican/democrat, liberal/conservative. This is a matter of the salvation of our souls. There are many different resources available out there to help us form our consciences. I have found two websites to recommend: www.catholicvote.org or www.focus.org/vote. In addition, you are welcome to pick up a copy of “A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters” at the bulletin stands in church. All of these tools are great ways to help us to form our consciences with regard to our civic duty to vote.

I want to leave you with two thoughts to think about when voting in the upcoming election: 1) No president of the United States of America has ever won the presidency without the Catholic vote, and 2) "There are sixty-seven million Catholics in America-that's at least fifteen million more people than it takes to elect an American president." (Matthew Kelly) Make sure to join with me in registering to vote and voting with a good conscience. May the Holy Spirit be our strength in forming and following a good conscience so that we might reach our eternal reward in heaven. –Father Daniel Duling, Associate Pastor

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life Teen Training Conference

So I'm at the Life Teen Training Conference in Boston, MA. Yes, I am here now! So Mark and I got in around 11:00am or so...and boy, were we tired. We almost missed our connection out in Philadelphia. We had 20 minutes to get there and we booked it across one terminal to make our flight with 10 minutes before take off....Holy Buckets!

Anyways, it has been great so far. I should have known that this would have tones of a retreat to it. Which is great, because Lord knows I always need to get my own renewal with Jesus! Ever since I was a teen, he's been important to me. We had Life Teen at my parish and now, I'm learning things to make sure we have a good program at my new parish!

The Catholic world is so small. Believe It because it is true. There are people here who went to college with me. There are people here who know my brother from this past summer. There are people here who are friends of friends. I mean, talk about crazy! Who would have thought we would all randomly meet each other! Really, I think God made it all happen. No coincidences here. Nope. They are all God-incidences. Oh, and even other people from our Diocese are here too. Shout out to St Anne's in Richmond Hill! Yup, Fr Joseph Smith is here too. Say what?! It was weird to turn around and see him! I totally yelled out loud in surprise.

Lots of great people. Young and...not so young! :D Hey, all to bring Teens Closer To Christ!! A lot of great points were brought up. Man, I cannot wait to see what these next few days will bring. Keep an eye out on IG, Twitter, and FB! 
The adults were invited to praying with the teens for their
Life Night

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pierced by a Sword!!

Okay, so there is this one book that I would  TOTALLY  recommend. Pierced by a Sword is probably one of the most fascinating, Catholic fiction books that I have ever read. I first picked it up about a year or two after high school and I have read the book several times since then. Why is it good? Well...

The author actually writes from a totally solid Catholic perspective and he writes his characters that seem to be very real. Ever heard of the messages given by Mary in her apparitions throughout the world? Well, within them, she warns of a global occurrence that could happen if people don't repent from their ways...and well, in this book...it happens!! 

What kind of characters are in this book? There is a troubled young securities broker from Chicago; a beautiful young woman, away from the faith since childhood; a fast-talking young priest from New Jersey; a drug dealer from Cleveland; a no-nonsense Irish Pope who drives his own car and travels in disguise; a soft-spoken, shy, former NFL football star; and...the Mother of God...

The book has a way of drawing people into it and thinking about the spiritual life in a new and different way...So much so that I remember the first time I was well into this book, I had put the book down and began praying...for the characters in the book! Hahaha I was drawn into the world of prayer so much so that I had begun to pray more spontaneously for everyone...lol...including the people in the book. I remember that I was on a plane when I realized what I was doing and I just began to laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it. And yet it showed me that this book was great because I got so into it. 

DISCLAIMERS:
*A certain religion is depicted as having hierarchical power hunger (whether that is true or not, who knows? It's fiction. For all we know, the author could have chosen any other religion to write in that part of his story) 

*the first half of the book is written in a low-key, slow manner. Ever read Cannery Row or the Grapes of Wrath? John Steinbeck wrote those books in a way that you just "followed" the life of the characters. I liked those books and so the first half of the book didn't bother me at all because it was written like this. I have friends who hated that writing style and found the first half of the book so slow...but after you get passed that middle point, the book just TAKES OFF! These friends of mine were hooked!

Okay, so get the book...especially if you want something to read in terms of the Catholic faith...oh, and it's free when you get it through the website! They ask you to consider donating $1 for the shipping, but you really are not obligated to...so go ahead! Get the book!






"Macfarlane, the CatholiCity honcho, has written three novels so far, but his first one is, in my opinion, the best.(Others may disagree.)Pierced by a Sword is an apocolyptic thriller, and unlike so many 'End Times' books on the market, it's very, very Catholic. And, come to think of it, it isn't REALLY about the End Times at all -- it's far more optimistic than that." ~Healing Spirit of Faith

"Get ready for a journey of epic proportions--rather, cosmic proportions. This book is a little treasure, a marvel. This is an adventure, a comedy, a tragedy, a turbulent odyssey and a peaceful stroll. Most of all, this is a love story like no other I have ever read. A new kind of love story. I'll see you inside..." ~Michael O'Brien, author of Father Elijah

Friday, October 5, 2012

words filled with the WORD

I love being a Catholic priest. Sometimes, I guess, a priest can ask himself, is this worth it? What's the point of it all? And every now and then, there will be a random phone call where someone needs to just talk; there will be someone you run into at the store; there will be a student or a teacher that needs some direction in their current life; there will be a school Mass that needs to be celebrated...and out of nowhere, the Lord will touch someone the words that he gives us...even if we don't know it. The person will hear exactly what they needed to hear. Or it will be through our example that they will learn something about Christ.

And it is in those moments that we sometimes stop and say....wow....that was totally from God. I could not have done that on my own. The healing and peace that came from these spoken words are filled with the WORD of God...spoken before time...

Being a Catholic priest is pretty awesome. I laugh at all the attacks against the priesthood because most of them are based on misunderstandings of what the priesthood is. Sure, there are troubled people in it at times...but...these people are, at a deeper level, hurt or wounded in some way...and in reality, people with a broken, wounded, and hurt nature are found EVERYWHERE...not just in the priesthood. They can be your neighbor, your co-worker, your family member...your lawyer, dentist, cashier, or bank teller....

What makes the priesthood different is that, regardless of how hurt or holy the person is, Christ uses that man as an instrument for his healing and strength. He becomes another Christ for others. And if that individual cooperates with the grace and that reality, so much goodness can come forth into his life and the lives around him...but only if he is willing...

If he is willing...then his life and his words that are already filled with the WORD of God will have an incredible transforming effect on those around him.