Animals and Humans

When I first attended the University of Rhode Island back in 1992, I joined three groups that were on campus: an animal rights group called SETA (Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), a pro-life group, and a group against racism.  What I found very interesting was the fact that the majority of the students in SETA were for abortion.  Even as a freshmen at URI that believed in God but was far from practicing the Catholic Faith that I was baptized into, I couldn’t for the life of me, understand how a person could be so pro-animal while at the same time being so anti-human.  How could one stand up for animals and at the same time, be very vocal against the life of human beings in the wombs of their mothers.  I actually left the animal rights group because of that hypocrisy.  This hypocrisy continues in our current culture of death as over 3000 babies a day are killed in the wombs of their mothers through abortion, while any mistreatment of an animal in our society is treated with swift justice.

Image          

I say all of this as someone who truly loves animals.  I have a dog, two gerbils, a gecko, and 10 fish.  I take care of each of them as my “own” family.  Yet, at the same time, I know that human beings were created in the Image and Likeness of God.  Each of us have human dignity, and our lives are invaluable.  We have eternal souls that Jesus died on the Cross for.  As we come very quickly to Holy Week and prepare ourselves to enter into the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, let us pray that our current culture of death that seems to value animal life on a higher level than human life, changes into a civilization of life and love where every human life is welcomed, loved, and treated with respect and reverence, regardless of size, race, or age.  God bless!

 

Homosexuality

“There is often a hesitancy to delve into the complexities of homosexuality because the topic is controversial in our society.  No one, especially a priest, wants to be misunderstood as hating a group of people—and in our society when one speaks against an active homosexual lifestyle that person is often accused of speaking against a specific group of people, rather than against their actions.  There is a special opportunity today for priests to represent the love of Christ and the Church to a group of people who feel as though they are out on the margin, unsure of where they stand—perhaps they are waiting for someone to extend a hand, and especially to reassure them of God’s love and mercy.  No matter what someone brings to the questions surrounding homosexuality, one thing I’m sure of is that we all share a desire to alleviate suffering and to bring peace to the heart.  Persons with same-sex attractions often suffer greatly in a great variety of ways.  They carry a difficult and persistent cross.  I know the Church has a great heart for them, understands their suffering, and wants to do something to ease it. I’ve come to love my work with Courage members, who are a remarkable and noble group of souls.  I’ve learned that those who struggle with homosexuality are individuals with a wide variety of stories and experiences.  But they hold in common the desire to love and be loved.  Courage understands this human need and can offer the help, hope and charity of Jesus Christ.”  The beautiful words above come from Fr. Check, the Director of the group called Courage, in an interview he gave to Zenit, on what advice he would give to his brother priests when it comes to dealing with the issue of homosexuality.  Courage helps those with same sex attractions live chaste lives.  From their website:  “By developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual label to a more complete identity in Christ”. (www.couragec.net)

My brothers and sisters, we live in a time where the homosexual AGENDA is being pushed down our throats.  Whether it is the Grammy Awards, the Chevrolet commercials during the Olympics, or the “President” of the US pushing the gay agenda onto other countries, you can’t avoid being affected by it.  Let us reach out to those who suffer with same sex attractions, rather than celebrate their suffering (which the gay agenda does), or condemn persons with these very real attractions (which goes against what Jesus teaches).  Like Jesus, let us always love the sinner but hate the sin. 

 

Devotion to the Saints

          Merry Christmas and Happy New year!  I’m finally writing another post after writing my last one back in November of 2013.  We have less than a week left of the Christmas season and have begun the New Year of 2014.  In the past three days, we have celebrated three amazing Saints that had an amazing impact on the Catholic Church in the United States.  On Saturday, January 4th, it was the feast day of the first American born canonized Saint – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821).  She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity.  She opened the first American parish school, as well as establishing the first American Catholic orphanage.  She did all of this by her death at 46 years of age, and really all within 15 years because she didn’t become a Catholic until she was 31 years old.  She was raised Episcopalian, married her husband William when she was 19, and had 5 children with him.  When he was dying from tuberculosis 10 years into their Marriage, Elizabeth became acquainted with Catholicism while visiting Italy.  After her husband died, she became a Catholic and credited her conversion to the true Faith to three basic points: belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, devotion to the Blessed Mother, and the conviction that the Catholic Church can be traced back to Jesus and the Apostles.  

         On Sunday, January 5th, although the Church celebrated the Epiphany, it was also the Feast of St. John Neumann (1811-1860).  He was born in Bohemia, studied in Prague, and then came to the United States (NY) at 25 years old to study for the priesthood.  After being ordained a priest, he then joined the Redemptorist religious community at 29 years old.  St. John did missionary work among the German populations in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio, before being consecrated as the Bishop of Philadelphia at 41 years old.  As the Bishop, he did amazing work for the parochial system in Philly, as well as being a very gifted preacher, spiritual writer, and man of great holiness, dying at the young age of 49 years old.  He became the first American bishop to be beatified (October 13,1963), then canonized 14 years later in 1977.  

         Today, January 4th, 2014, was the feast day of St. Alfred Bessette (1845-1937), commonly known as “Br. Andre”.  He was the 8th of 12 children, born to a French Canadian couple near Montreal.  After both parents died, Alfred was adopted at 12 years old.  He was very sickly as a child, uneducated, and grew up learning many trades at which he didn’t fair too well (shoemaker, baker, blacksmith).  He visited the United States and worked in mills in Rhode Island and Connecticut.  He visited his aunt’s house on Front St. in Woonsocket, RI, as well as visiting the Church of the Precious Blood in the same town.  This fact interests me very much because I’m a Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Woonsocket.  It is so amazing to think that a living Saint visited this very area where I now live.  After first being rejected from joining the religious community of the Congregation of the Holy Cross  at the age of 25 years old because of his poor health, Alfred was then accepted and took the name of Br. Andre.  Doing the simple tasks of doorkeeper, sacristan, laundry worker and messenger at Notre Dame College in Montreal, Br. Andre lived a very humble, holy, and faithful life dedicated to the Lord.  People would come to him for spiritual advice as well for physical healing.  They received both at his hands, which Br. Andre attributed to the intercession of St. Joseph.  Unlike St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann who died at 46 and 49 years of age respectively, Br. Andre lived to 92 years old.  

        Three Saints who lived or spent time in the United States – may they intercede for our country that we may get back to our spiritual roots of “one nation under God”, and may they intercede for each one of us, that we also become Saints like themImage!  

THANKSGIVING!

Wow, it has been over a month since my last post, which was about “The Truth About Obamacare!”.  I think it has taken a month just to deal with how bad this “law” is for us Americans.  Well, thankfully, despite human disasters like Obamacare, we have a beautiful day that we will celebrate this coming Thursday – Thanksgiving!  There is so much to be thankful to God for!  This is what Thanksgiving Day is all about.  Yes, there is the great food.  There is the coming together of families, relatives and friends.  And then of course, there is football – now 3 NFL games to watch!  But above all these things that we enjoy on Thanksgiving Day, there is the Giver of them all – God Himself.  He has given us so much – the gift of life, the gift of our health, the gift of family members, relatives, and friends, the gift of creation (especially our animal companions – personally I’ll be having my first Thanksgiving with my dog that I adopted in July), the gift of our Catholic Faith – what better way to start our Thanksgiving Day than to go to Mass on Thursday and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus (“Eucharist” the Greek word for “Thanksgiving”), the gift of our religious liberty (which we still have - for now), et cetera.  Let us spend every day of our lives giving thanks to God, but especially on Thanksgiving Day.  God Bless!

Fr. Sistare

Image

The Truth About Obamacare!

 
A retired Constitutional lawyer has read the entire proposed health care bill. Read his conclusions and pass this on as you wish. This is stunning!
 
Please take the time to read this and  forward it out as you see fit.
 
Thanks
 
The Truth About the Health Care Bills
– Michael Connelly, Ret. Constitutional Attorney
 
Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200:
The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009.
I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.
 
To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by  members of the medical profession.
 
The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business, and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.
 
However, as scary as all of that is, it just scratches the surface. In fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed.
 
The first thing  to go will be the masterfully crafted balance of power between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S. Government. The Congress will be transferring to the Obama Administration authority in a number of different areas over the lives of the American people, and the businesses they own.
 
The irony is that the Congress doesn’t have any authority to legislate in most of those areas to begin with! I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress to regulate health care.
 
This legislation also provides for access, by the appointees of the Obama administration, in direct violation of the specific provisions of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, of all of your personal healthcare information, your personal financial information, and the information of your employer, physician, and hospital. All of this is a protecting against unreasonable searches and  seizures. You can also forget about the right to privacy. That will have been legislated into oblivion regardless of what the 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.
 
If you decide not to have healthcare insurance, or if you have private insurance that is not deemed acceptable to the Health Choices Administrator appointed by Obama, there will be a tax imposed on you. It is called a tax instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. However , that doesn’t work because since there is nothing in the law that allows you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely depriving someone of property without the due process of law.
 
So, there are three of those pesky amendments that the far left hate so much, out the original ten in the Bill of Rights, that are effectively nullified by this law. It doesn’t stop there though.
 
The 9th Amendment that provides: The  enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;
 
The 10th Amendment states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Under the provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither the people nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all in many areas that once were theirs to control.
 
I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you get the idea. This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and limiting rights. Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both houses of Congress to “be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution.” If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for this legislation or anything like it, without feeling I was violating  that sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway, I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.
 
For those who might doubt the nature of this threat, I suggest they consult the source, the US Constitution, and Bill of Rights. There you can see exactly what we are about to have taken from us.
 
Michael Connelly
Retired attorney,
Constitutional Law Instructor
Carrollton, Texas
 
AFTER HAVING READ THIS, PLEASE FORWARD….
 
If you don’t care about our constitution, or your rights under it, just do nothing.
 
WE MUST HOLD CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.       
 

Pope Francis and “Liberal Catholics”

I remember being glued to the TV for those two days of the Conclave, waiting to see the white smoke come from the chimney in St. Peter’s Square.  Then the moment of great excitement and anticipation had arrived, with the whole world waiting to see who was going to be the next Pope.  We were introduced to our first Latin American Pope in the man formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.  “Pope Francis” was introduced to the whole world.  After speaking in beautiful Italian, Pope Francis then humbly bowed his head, asking everyone gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him.  In his short six months as the Vicar of Christ on earth, Pope Francis continues to be a great spiritual leader and example for the whole world, and especially all Catholics.  He is the third Pope in my lifetime, following the beautiful footsteps of Blessed Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Benedict XVI.  What amazes me so much and makes me appreciate my Catholic Faith even more, is the different personalities and style of each of these three Popes, yet the continuity of our beautiful Catholic Teachings!  Pope Francis has been especially unique in his way of being attractive to “liberal Catholics”.  I use this title in quotations because I personally don’t like the title.  I prefer to say that there are those baptized Catholics who practice and love their Catholic Faith, and then there are many baptized Catholics who are always trying to live their brand of Catholicism, picking and choosing which teachings and Commandments of the Church that they want to follow (i.e. “liberal Catholics”).  With this in mind, it has been a very interesting week for Catholicism.  Pope Francis gave three interviews in Italy that were recently published in the very liberal “Catholic” magazine known as America.  In these interviews, Pope Francis spoke of the need for members of the Church to present the WHOLE faith to others.  He said, “the Catholic Church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.  We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.  Today, sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing.”  The secular media loved the Pope’s words and ran numerous articles of how the Pope has now changed the Teachings of the Catholic Church.  The “liberal Catholics” immediately jumped on board.  Unfortunately for both groups, they will be disappointed to find out that the Pope hasn’t changed anything about our beautiful Catholic Faith.  Whether it be abortion or same sex “marriage” or whatever other moral issue that the secular world and “liberal Catholics” have problems with, all they have to do is not only look at who Pope Francis is and what he has always taught as a priest, bishop, and then Cardinal, but also study the history of the Church.  In our 2000 year history, the Catholic Church has ALWAYS taught that ALL human life is sacred, that Marriage is ONLY between one man and one woman, that homosexual acts are sinful, et cetera.  In other words, the Church has always taught the Teachings of Jesus Christ Himself.  The Pope’s recent remarks serve as a great reminder that our Catholic Faith is more than just about stating what we believe.  He challenges us to also live our faith in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The more that we fall in love with Him, the more that we will want to follow the “rules”, and then be able to present our Catholic Faith in a more appealing way to those who struggle to embrace the Faith.  May the Pope’s words and actions continue to inspire everyone, especially those who have left the practice of their Catholic Faith (“liberal Catholics”), and even those in the secular media, that they may embrace “the saving love of God”.  God bless!

English: Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Archb...

English: Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, celebrating mass at the XX Exposición del Libro Católico (20th Catholic Book Fair), in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Español: Cardenal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Arzobispo de Buenos Aires, celebrando misa en la XX Exposición del Libro Católico, en Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

What Ever Happen to Professionalism in the Workplace?

I went to the Family Dollar Store the other evening and as I was looking for different items on my list, two workers were having a loud conversation with one another, even though they were in different aisles.  The male worker then made a very lewd, sexual joke toward the female worker.  He looked at me as though I was supposed to laugh at his remark.  Instead I decided to just stare at him and then go on my way to shop.  Unfortunately this incident is not an isolated one these days.  I remember being at a Dunkin Donuts where the workers were publicly conversing with one another, using the “F-bomb” in their conversation.  Even this morning as I was having breakfast at a diner, the cook yelled from the kitchen to the waitress while she was waiting on me and my guest (who is currently visiting me for a bit before he goes back to Nicaragua).  And the list goes on and on.  Of course, the more we drift away from God in society, banning prayer and any references to Him in public, this lack of professionalism is not surprising.  Morals are at an all time low, which also is not surprising, because there is no accountability before God.  Let us pray first and foremost for the renewal of family life, where religion and morals are first taught.  Let us pray for parents to be parents in raising their children, bringing them to Church and teaching them the difference between right and wrong.  May all of us put the love of God as our first priority in this life on earth, so that we may then truly love our neighbor.Image