Category Archives: NEWS

Finding Balance

George Dunlap, March 19, 2020, This morning when I got up I expected the same #Death, #Doom and #COVID-19 news updates. Yesterday I was asked to cancel our Saturday morning gatherings. Even our Easter Lenten services have been shut-down. I am having a hard time with that…….. But I found this article from a gentlemen I follow daily and I am inspired once more, that, others also say, “Balance” is needed. We must look to God not our Government for strength, and we must take personal responsibility of our Cleanliness. Please read on and May God Be with you.

Wed, Mar 18, 2020, BY JOHN SCHROEDER

I need to point everybody to what I consider one of the most important tweet threads I have read through this whole coronavirus thing – From Brian Wesbury.  Highlights of the 7 tweet string:

…even a 30-day lockdown won’t make the virus go away. In fact, going to the grocery store potentially exposes you. So any solution other than complete martial law shows a willingness of leaders to risk some lives.

The US should: A)Test as many as we can. B)Build up hospital capacity. C)Protect the vulnerable. D)Announce that we will extend the shutdowns for only 10 more days. E)Let businesses start opening, with common sense safety practices F)Quarantine or hospitalize the sick.

Yes, this virus kills, but they all do. And, according to much research, recessions and unemployment kill too. The government will permanently expand and risks to growth and health will increase.

I have been thinking along these lines all along.  Yesterday I tried to point out that shutting down the world represents an enormous shift in our view of the value of human life.  Let me be more blunt.

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Coronavirus and the Catholic Church

George Dunlap, March 1, 2020. Not wanting to be contributing to the “Panic and The End of the World” crowd, this article does bring a number of issues to light. We as Catholic’s need to pray for calm and understand what we may need to face.

The Catholic Church will be impacted by the looming pandemic.

Coronavirus continues to spread rapidly around the globe. Still hoping to contain the disease, the World Health Organization refuses to declare a pandemic, but warns time is short. As the disease appears likely to break out of containment, it may spread around the world and could also impact the Church. A major outbreak is spreading in Italy. 

The Church will be impacted by the spread of the virus. Here's what you need to know.

The Church will be impacted by the spread of the virus. Here’s what you need to know.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/24/2020 (5 days ago)

Published in Living Faith


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) The arthritic is as grim as it is simple. The COVID-19 Coronavirus can spread from person to person easily, and before symptoms can be detected. This makes efforts to contain the disease almost futile. It is now just a matter of time before the disease becomes a global pandemic. Still, officials are reticent to declare the disease a pandemic and are hoping to contain the virus. But each day, the numbers of cases grow and new outbreaks are reported. 

It is time to prepare, and to consider how this disease will impact our lives. As Catholics, the spreading disease will impact our Church and our parish communities. 

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The USCCB Meeting, Jordan Peterson, and the “Nones”

It appears that the mere mention of the name Jordan Peterson is enough to send some on the far-left end of the spectrum into irrational conniptions.

BY: George Dunlap. I have read Jordan Peterson’s book, 12 Rules For Life, and found it to be very enlightening. As Bishop Barron mentions below, ” in no way signaled a one-sided or uncritical endorsement of his teaching. Nevertheless, his emergence and his success are, I argued, indicators that we could get a serious message across to a wide audience. “ But I do agree what Peterson has to say is very worth while for our “Nones” in faith. We are raising a generation with out a spiritual compass. With a compass we all are lost in our faith and love to Jesus Christ our Lord and God.

Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron responds to a reporter’s question during a news conference at the spring general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore June 12, 2019. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

June 18, 2019 Bishop Robert Barron The Dispatch25

Last week, I gave a presentation at the USCCB Spring Meeting in Baltimore. My topic was what I identified as the second greatest crisis facing the Church today—namely, the massive attrition of our own people, especially the young. I trust that the first—around which most of our discussions that week revolved—is obvious to everyone. Judging from the extremely positive reaction of my brother bishops and the lively conversation that followed my presentation, the talk was well received. I was also delighted it apparently prompted a spirited conversation on social media.

After laying out the rather dismal statistics regarding the “nones” or the religiously unaffiliated—50% of millennial Catholics now claim no religious identity, for every one person who joins our Church, six are leaving, etc.—I commenced to offer some reasons why so many are exiting. I told my brother bishops that these were not the fruit of idle speculation but rather of the many statistical and sociological studies that have been conducted regarding the phenomenon.

The number one reason—reiterated in survey after survey—is that young people are quitting the Church because they don’t believe in the teachings of classical Christianity. Moreover, the studies consistently maintain that this lack of belief is often because religion is seen as conflicting with science. Other factors, I continued, include the general secularism and moral relativism of the culture, the difficulty many young people have with the Church’s sexual teachings, and the supposed correlation between religion and violence.

Having presented these findings, I then shared what I take to be signs of hope. The first is that, among the unaffiliated, there are relatively few fierce atheists or determined opponents of religion. Most are indifferent to faith and have drifted rather than stormed away from the Church. A second indicator of hope is the massive presence of young people on social media platforms that trade in religious topics. I mentioned my own participation in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), which yielded almost 12,000 comments and questions, making it the third most discussed exchange of its kind last year. Even though many, if not most, of those who joined in that conversation proposed challenging questions, or made skeptical observations, the undoubted interest in matters religious is something to build on.

Finally, I referenced what I called “the Jordan Peterson phenomenon.” I was drawing my brothers’ attention to the rather extraordinary fact that a mild-mannered, soft-spoken psychology professor, speaking of serious matters in a sober way, could attract tens of thousands to arenas and millions to his social media sites. I told my fellow bishops that most recently Peterson has been lecturing on the Bible, causing armies of people, especially young men, to take a fresh look at the Scriptures. I explicitly said that my reference to Peterson in no way signaled a one-sided or uncritical endorsement of his teaching. Nevertheless, his emergence and his success are, I argued, indicators that we could get a serious message across to a wide audience.

The reaction to my talk outside the walls of the bishops’ conference ballroom was, as I say, interesting. Most reacted very positively to my observations and suggestions, but some, on both the extreme left and the extreme right, took exception to what I said. On the starboard side of the spectrum, there were comments to the effect that I had underplayed the importance of the clerical sex abuse scandals. Well, no one has been more vehement in his denunciation of these outrages than I (see my recent Letter to a Suffering Church for the details), but judging from the available data, it’s simply not the case that the scandals are a major driver of disaffiliation. They indeed appear as a factor, but not a significant one, certainly in comparison with the causes I named above. I get the passion around this issue, but it shouldn’t prompt us to draw conclusions not supported by objective evidence.

But I was especially surprised, and more than a little amused, by the overheated response from some on the far-left end of the spectrum. It appears that the mere mention of the name Jordan Peterson is enough to send some into irrational conniptions. Though I had unambiguously stated that my reference to the Canadian was in no way meant as an endorsement of the entirety of his thought, some commentators and combox denizens characterized me as a Peterson disciple, an apologist for his program, a lackey.

One particularly hysterical observer had me “basing my apologetics” on Jordan Peterson! Oy vey. As I have made clear in my own articles and videos, Peterson reads the Bible through a Jungian, psychodynamic lens, and hence, by definition, does not read it adequately. It is not even evident that the Canadian believes in God in the accepted sense of the term. “Basing my apologetics” on him?! Give me a break.

What is particularly sad to me is that the commentariat, especially in regard to religion, has become so polarized and ideologically driven that the most elementary distinctions aren’t made and the most broad-brush analyses are commonplace. What makes it sadder still is that these distortions and projections stand in the way of addressing the vitally important issue under consideration. As left and right defend their respective ideological bailiwicks, the Church continues to hemorrhage young people. If we want to get serious about a problem that ought to concern everyone in the Church, it would be wise to attend to objectivities.


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About Bishop Robert Barron 156 Articles Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. He is the creator of the award winning documentary series, “Catholicism” and “Catholicism:The New Evangelization.” Learn more at www.WordonFire.org. PreviousEritrean Catholic Church denounces government seizure of health clinicsNextUS Supreme Court will soon decide ‘Peace Cross’ First Amendment case

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New York State Downgrades from “Nineveh” to “Sodom” with New Abortion Law

 ….Evil grows when good men do nothing………..   We must pray for the souls of the unborn, the women aborting their children, and those killing the unborn. May God forgive us all. Then we must stand up and say NO MORE to our elected officials.

New York State Downgrades From ‘Nineveh’ to ‘Sodom’ With New Abortion Law

Lucas van Leyden, “Lot and his Daughters,” detail.

By John Zmirak Published on January 24, 2019

Congratulations, New York! You’ve now reverted back to the norms of pagan Rome. As The Daily Wire reports:

On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, delighted that the New York legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act which would allow mothers to kill (pardon me, abort) their babies up until birth, celebrated this legalized murder by ordering that the spire at One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany all be lit in pink on Tuesday night.

So the bridge named for a Catholic Revolutionary war hero, and the building named for the first Catholic presidential candidate lit up to celebrate infanticide. And the Freedom Tower, which stands on the graves of 3,000 New Yorkers, glowed pink to welcome the deaths of thousands more.

The bridge named for Gov. Mario Cuomo? There’s no irony there. The father of the current abortion fanatic governor of my home state, old Mario did indeed serve as a bridge. He provided the bad arguments and phony lofty rhetoric that gave Catholics permission to endorse the death of children. He had the sheer gall to make such a speech at the University of Notre Dame, and even quote St. Thomas More. (A statesman who died rather than put Caesar’s power over God’s.)

And Democrat Catholic intellectuals, how they praised Mario for his “nuance.”

Abortion Right Up Till Birth, in the State Constitution

There’s nothing nuanced about the bill his son shoved through the NY legislature. How bad is this law? LifeNews explains:

The so-called Reproductive Health Act goes beyond Roe v. Wade, allowing unborn babies to be aborted even when the U.S. Supreme Court has said states may restrict abortions. Late-term abortions, which currently are illegal in New York, would be allowed, and non-doctors would be allowed to perform them. …

The law appears to restrict late-term abortions, but it adds a broad “health” exception for abortions after 24 weeks. The exception would allow women to abort unborn babies up to nine months of pregnancy for basically any reason, including “age, economic, social and emotional factors,” according to New York Right to Life.

It also redefines a “person” as “a human being who has been born and is alive,” and describes abortion as a “fundamental right.”

The legislation poses serious dangers to women’s lives and rights as well. By removing protections from illegal abortions, the law will open the door for abuses. According to New York RTL, back alley abortionists, abusive partners or parents and others no longer will face charges for illegally killing an unborn baby – even if the mother wants her child.

“In early December, a resident of Saratoga County was arrested for punching the stomach of a woman who was 26 weeks pregnant in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. The man was charged with abortion in the second degree, but under the RHA, the attacker would not have been charged with a felony,” according to the Catholic News Service.

Here’s how the New York legislature greeted the passage of the bill:

Now all this legal and medical talk can be quite abstract. I think we need to see and hear exactly what we’re talking about. Please watch the Live Action video below, which illustrates what a late-term abortion entails. Its narrator? A penitent former abortionist.

Seriously. Stop reading and watch the video. But have a rag or a box of tissues ready. Because if you’re not a sociopath, you’re going to weep.

A Return to Pagan Cruelty

I’ll give you time to recover. Now think of the Freedom Tower, the office building, the bridges, all burning with pussyhat pink to celebrate that happening.

That is what the Democratic party stands for.

We have indeed returned to the ways of pagan Rome. In Rome, a child was not considered human unless he was wanted. By his father, who had to pick up the child and acknowledge it. Otherwise it got sold into slavery or left outside to die. The only difference now is that it’s the mother who must want the child. And the Romans were too squeamish to outright murder the child. They left that to the elements. Often, Christians or Jews would come and rescue the kids.

We can’t do that now. Such progress, in 2,000 years.

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New York’s Catholic bishops are rightly condemning this evil law. But they did little to stop it. For decades, they’ve let “Catholics” like the Cuomos pose as faithful members of our church. Even let them receive Holy Communion.

When I grew up, pro-life politicians had a fighting chance. The Right to Life Party (I was a member) even had a slot on the ballot. That was before a massive wave of low-skill immigration flooded the state with new pro-choice voters. The bishops welcomed that flood, trotting out phony moralistic complaints about any enforcement of borders. Their coffers fattened with federal contracts to serve those immigrants, who also filled their otherwise emptying pews. Did the bishops make any effort to convince these new Catholic Americans to vote in defense of life, instead of more government giveaways? Not that I ever heard from the pulpit.

This tragedy is theirs, too. They should own it. They should light their cathedrals in pink.

Much to Lose, Much to Gain

Much to Lose, Much to Gain

The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation of several Pennsylvania dioceses pertaining to the sexual abuse of minors, including the trafficking of minors across state lines for the purpose of abuse. A U.S. Attorney in New York has subpoenaed the Diocese of Buffalo as part of an investigation of similar offenses. The attorney general for the District of Columbia has opened a civil investigation to see whether the Archdiocese of Washington is liable, as a nonprofit institution, for its handling (or mishandling) of child sexual abuse.

And then there are the investigations that have been announced or are currently being conducted by attorneys general in New York, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Vermont, Virginia, and – it appears – California.

Notably, Louisiana’s attorney general is not conducting such an investigation on sensible grounds: “[T]here have been no criminal complaints made to the Louisiana Department of Justice. And smearing the Church and its clergy without specific complaints of criminal acts is irresponsible.” Still, Louisiana appears to be the exception that proves the rule.

Some Catholics will see these investigations as welcome news: a necessary, if painful, step towards accountability for bishops and priests who have betrayed their flocks. These investigations might finally bring justice to victims who have, in some cases, waited decades for it. They might also put to rest the nagging suspicion in the minds of so many Catholics who have learned the hard way not to take the bishops’ word that abusers have been properly dealt with.

There’s something to be said for such hopes, but there’s also reason for apprehension.

Even innocent priests and bishops will have reason to be anxious when ambitious prosecutors looking to make a name for themselves (and to prove their toughness to voters) start dredging through the past looking for something, anything, to pin on the Catholic Church. If the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report was any indication, few new cases will result in criminal charges since most abusers are either dead or the statute of limitations has expired, or there’s simply not sufficient evidence to prove the charges.

*

When there’s no one to put on trial, no one who can be made to pay, the stink of scandal has a way of clinging to anyone in proximity, guilty or not.

There will be renewed calls in state legislatures to drop or extend statutes of limitations, as we’ve seen already in Pennsylvania. The Church’s resistance to such changes is inexplicable to many, Catholics and not, who can’t understand why the Church would profess concern for victims while at the same time opposing legal changes that might bring justice to the same.

But the cost of litigating large, protracted civil cases creates a huge incentive for dioceses to settle. In recent years, more than a dozen dioceses and archdioceses have filed for bankruptcy over abuse cases. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles alone paid out $660 million in 2007. Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul went through bankruptcy and still paid out $210 million.

There’s certainly no injustice in victims being awarded monetary damages for abuse they have suffered, the tens of millions being raked in by their lawyers notwithstanding. But justice has two sides and the fact is that the financial burden for these settlements doesn’t fall on the predator priests or the bishops who covered for them: the brunt of it falls on parishes and diocesan ministries and those who depend on them today and into the future.

Bishops who take seriously the Church’s obligation to seek justice for victims must also think seriously about what justice there is in making the next generation of Catholics pay the price for the sins and crimes of a past generation.

In coming months and years, more than one bishop is going to have to make some very hard choices balancing the demands of justice for victims with his duty to protect the patrimony of his flock. Losing that patrimony – hospitals, schools, charities, food banks, universities, to say nothing of church buildings and a thousand and one other ministries – or seeing it greatly diminished, would not be an occasion for joy. It would be a disaster, both for the Church and those she serves.

Of course, the greatest loss for the Church is not stuff (however conducive to the mission) but souls. Maybe the humiliation and suffering the Catholic Church in the United States is undergoing will bear fruit in the long run. Faith says that’s not too much to hope for. But it’s hard to see how good comes from this unless there is a renewed sense in the Church that what is at stake is the salvation of souls. I wish more bishops, more priests, and a whole lot more lay people were clear on that.

I have wondered many times in recent months how this latest round of scandals will affect the Church. Will Mass attendance decline? (Probably.) Will Millennial flight to the ranks of the “Nones” accelerate? (Maybe.) Will vocations decline? (I don’t know.)

Pope Francis has spoken of his desire for “a Church that is poor and for the poor.” Perhaps that’s where we’re headed in the United States, though not by the road anyone would have imagined. And perhaps, stripped of her worldly goods and cares, the Church in the United States will also look something more like what Pope Benedict XVI had in mind when he mused about the possibility a “smaller, purer” Church.

Perhaps that’s the Church of the New Evangelization we’ve been talking about for so long: not a Church that has prevailed, but one that has been brought low. Perhaps. I don’t know.

I do know that it has happened before.

 

*Image: The Miracles of Saint Francis Xavier by Peter Paul Rubens, 1617-18 [Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna]. Rubens, a devout Catholic, was a master of Baroque art and a champion of the Counter-Reformation.

Stephen P. White

Stephen P. White

Stephen P. White is a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

 

Study finds religious upbringing linked with healthier, happier young adulthood

Study finds religious upbringing linked with healthier, happier young adulthood

LITTLE, GIRL, PRAYING

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Take your kids to church early and often.

A new study released by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that praticipation in spiritual practices during childhood can lead to better health and well-being during early adulthood. Researchers found that those who attended religious services or prayed daily throughout their upbringing reported greater positivity and more satisfaction in their lives in their 20s.

Science Magazine has first author Ying Chen remarking on the study results:

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices. Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

The study, published the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed subjects were less likely to exhibit depressive symptoms, smoke, use illicit drugs, or have a sexually transmitted infection than people raised with less regular spiritual habits. Previous studies have also suggested a link between religious upbringings and a reduced risk of premature death.

The study drew data from the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII) and their children in the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS). These samples included more than 5,000 youths who had been followed for between 8 and 14 years.

The results found that children who were exposed to religous services regularly were 18 percent more likely to report higher happiness during their young adulthood (age 23-30). These people were also 29 percent more likely to volunteer in their communities and 33 percent less likely to use illicit drugs.

The study also found that those who practiced daily prayer or meditation were 16 percent more likely to have a happier outlook in their early adulthood. These people were 30 percent less likely to begin having sex at a young age and 40 percent less likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection.

The study did note that it had limitations, primarily that the sample size was mostly children of white females with relatively high family socioeconomic status, although previous research by senior author Tyler VanderWeele suggests that the effects of early life religious service attendance may be greater for black versus white populations. Another limitation was that the study did not take into account the influences of family and peers.

Overall the lasting effects of regular attendance to religious services and private daily prayer were practically the same. VanderWeele concluded:

“While decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, for adolescents who already hold religious beliefs, encouraging service attendance and private practices may be meaningful avenues to protect against some of the dangers of adolescence, including depression, substance abuse, and risk taking. In addition, these practices may positively contribute to happiness, volunteering, a greater sense of mission and purpose, and to forgiveness.”