Archive for Religion

Maryland Catholics, Voting, and Abortion

life-beautiful

I recently wrote this piece for a newsletter for the Knights of Columbus Council I am a member of (and Culture of Life Committee co-chairman.)

November 4 is Election Day and here in Maryland we will go to the polls to vote for state and local officials as well as members of Congress. As Saint John Paul II noted, the right to life is “the first right, on which all the others are based, and which cannot be recuperated once it is lost.”

In the document A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters, Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD wrote that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is a mortal sin. Fr. Torraco also wrote that voting for a candidate who cites personal opposition to abortion while still voting for it would make the voter “an accomplice in advancing the moral evil of abortion.”

When none of the candidates for a particular office are completely pro-life, it’s necessary to choose the candidate that will do the most to promote a culture of life. There are many incremental steps that can be taken in Maryland to advance the pro-life cause.  Otherwise, Maryland will continue to be a state where minors have to get parental consent to go to a tanning bed, but not to kill their unborn child.

Another positive step that could be taken in the executive branch of state government would be for a new governor to order the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to keep track of the number of abortions performed in Maryland every year. Those statistics have not been calculated since the current governor took office.

When pro-life Catholics vote based on the principles of their faith, they help elect government officials who will respect their wishes and start the ball rolling on incremental change that will ultimately lead to big changes.

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in Living the Gospel of Life, “[t]he Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places and all times.  The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government, but the voting booth as well.”

Besides voting, we need to continue to pray for our elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels. We need to be especially sure to pray for the ones who are pro-abortion – that their hearts may be changed on the issue.

For more information on candidates and their views, visit the Maryland Right to Life website and the website of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Columbus sought gold to fund crusade to retake Jerusalem from Muslims?

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A Columbia magazine interview with Carol Delaney detailed her background:

[A] cultural anthropologist and long-time professor at Stanford University, had little knowledge or interest in Columbus — that is, until she was teaching a course called “Millennial Fever” at Stanford in 1999 and came across a reference to the explorer’s apocalyptic beliefs. Delaney was intrigued and set out to research Columbus at Brown University in the summer of 2003. Two years later, she retired from Stanford to devote herself to research, which launched a remarkable journey in the footsteps of the explorer.

The same interview discusses Delaney’s book, Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America.

From the interview:

Everybody knows that Columbus was trying to find gold, but they don’t know what the gold was for: to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims before the end of the world. A lot of people at the time thought that the apocalypse was coming because of all the signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes and so forth. And it was believed that before the end, Jerusalem had to be back in Christian hands so that Christ could return in judgment. Columbus actually calculated how many years were left before the end of the world. He seemed to think of his whole voyage as a mission, which was part of this apocalyptic scenario.

Delaney also discusses Columbus wanting to evangelize and convert the natives after they were instructed in the faith properly. She points out that Columbus thought he could convert the Grand Khan of China to Christianity and that his forces could march on Jerusalem from the east. She also wrote about Columbus ordering his men to treat the natives with respect.

Delaney’s assessment of Columbus and his successes:

He was angry with King Ferdinand for not pursuing the crusade, and he recognized that terrible crimes had been committed. From this point of view, he felt the quest was a failure. In reality, it was a major accomplishment. Columbus went across the ocean four times in small wooden ships, without the use of modern instruments. In the process, he discovered the New World, even though he thought that he had found only the periphery of Asia.

 

From a review of Delaney’s book:

Delaney argues that Columbus was inspired to find a western route to the Orient not only to obtain vast sums of gold for the Spanish Crown but primarily to fund a new crusade to take Jerusalem from the Muslims before the end of the world—a goal that sustained him until the day he died. Drawing from oft-ignored sources, some from Columbus’s own hand, Delaney depicts her subject as a thoughtful interpreter of the native cultures that he and his men encountered, and tells the tragic story of how his initial attempts to establish good relations with the natives turned badly sour. Showing Columbus in the context of his times rather than through the prism of present-day perspectives on colonial conquests reveals a man who was neither a greedy imperialist nor a quixotic adventurer, but a man driven by an abiding religious passion. Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem is not an apologist’s take, but a clear-eyed, thought-provoking, and timely reappraisal of the man and his legacy.

Collins: Why I Will No Longer Sign Charleston County Marriage Licenses

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This originally appeared at Drew’s Views and is cross-posted here.

With the news today that Charleston County Probate Judge Irving Condon will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, I have decided that I will no longer sign marriage licenses issued by his office. Although I actually live in Berkeley County, where the authorities are not unilaterally defying the Constitution of South Carolina , the parish that I serve is located in Charleston County.

When I read of his decision I seriously considered engaging in civil disobedience — of officiating at weddings regardless of whether or not the couple had a license or not. While some clergy will include phrases like “By the authority vested in me by the State of South Carolina…” when pronouncing a new couple man and wife, I’ve never done so in the marriages at which I have officiated in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas, for several reasons, among them: 1. I am a Minister of the Gospel and get my authority from the Church, not from the State; and 2. Those words are not contained in the Book of Common Prayer . A cursory check of the Book of Common Prayer and the various Constitutions and Canons to which I am accountable revealed the following:.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Reformed Episcopal Church contains the following, identical to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
The laws respecting Matrimony, whether by publishing the Banns in
churches, or by License, being different in the several States, every
Minister is left to the direction of those laws, in every thing that
regards the civil contract between the parties.
And when the Banns are published, it shall be in the following form:
I publish the Banns of Marriage between N. of ___, and N. of ___. If any
of you know cause, or just impediment, why these two persons should not
be joined together in holy Matrimony, ye are to declare it. This is the first
(second or third) time of asking. — Rubrics at the end of the form for the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony
Ministers of this Church shall be careful to observe the law of the State or Province governing the civil
contract of marriage in the place where the service shall be performed, and they shall conform to the laws of this
Church governing the solemnization of HolyMatrimony.– Canon 34, Section 1
The Clergy shall ascertain that the man and woman, parties to the marriage, have a valid marriage license. — Title III, Canon 7, Section 3, Article 4
I am a priest under authority and while the extent to which I care whether or not the government of Charleston County has licensed a marriage that I officiate has been dramatically diminished by this foolhardiness, I have to respect the law of the Church. It’s worth noting that even if I were inclined to conduct a same-sex union — and I’m not — I am forbidden to do so by the Canons of both the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America and, in fact, my Diocese unanimous passed a resolution clarifying that just last month.

I won’t sign licenses issued by Charleston County because of what happens when a clergyman does so — something of which few people are aware. When I officiate a wedding I do so as an officer of the Church, but when the service is over and I gather with the newly married couple and witnesses and sign the license I have actually taken off my clerical hat (my Canterbury cap?) and donned that of an ex officio marriage registrar, performing duties authorized as a courtesy by the State. My fear — and I don’t think it unreasonable in light of some court decisions in recent litigation — is that I could potentially be opening myself up to action if I refused to perform that duty for same-sex couples. Because of that, I’ll require couples in Charleston County and any other jurisdictions that have granted same-sex marriage licences to provide me a copy of a license signed by a judge, notary public, or some other civil official before I’ll officiate at the religious service.

Alan Wilson, the Attorney General of South Carolina has announced his intentions to seek a stay from the South Carolina Supreme Court  to prevent Judge Condon from issuing these licences; I hope that he is successful — the coming days will certainly be interesting to watch as this plays out.

Report: Video shows beheading of British hostage Alan Henning

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Associated Press/WPIX:

An Internet video purports to show an Islamic State group fighter beheading British hostage Alan Henning.

The video was released Friday night. It mirrored other beheading videos shot by the Islamic State group, which now holds territory along the border of Syria and Iraq.

The video ended with an Islamic State fighter threatening a man they identified as an American.

The Associated Press could not immediately verify the video’s authenticity, though it was released in the same manner as other Islamic State group videos.

The barbarism continues from the “Religion of Peace.”

Top Stories from The Quinton Report in September 2014

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Here are the top 10 stories for September based on readership:

  1. Trade in your Ray Rice jersey for a free pizza
  2. Parody video targets Ray Rice in “Video Killed the Ravens Big Star”
  3. Video shows apparent beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff
  4. Natty Boh, PBR now owned by Russian company
  5. Top golf courses rejected Obama over Labor Day Weekend
  6. Did a MD GOP candidate lie about having a college degree?
  7. Bedbugs give some MD state employees the day off
  8. Police: Former WWE Wrestler Sean O’Haire committed suicide
  9. Canonization process for Archbishop Fulton Sheen halted
  10. Did FSU’s Jameis Winston punch an opponent?

“Middle Eastern” man sought in bias incident against Jews in Baltimore County

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WJZ:

Police say three men walking in the 6800 block of Old Pimlico Road were first approached by a vehicle.

The driver yelled “Jews, Jews, Jews” at the victims. Investigators say the suspect then fired some type of BB or air gun in their direction and fled the area.

The victims were not struck and did not suffer any apparent injuries.

The suspect is described as a white male with brown hair and a dark complexion–possibly of Middle Eastern descent.

The report indicates the suspect was driving a black and white Toyota with tinted windows.

While WJZ reports on the suspect possibly being “Middle Eastern”, WBAL.com provides no information on the identity of the suspect or the vehicle. The Baltimore Sun also neglected to report any information on the identity of the suspect.

The Baltimore County Police Department news release included the physical description of the man.

UPDATE: The 11 p.m. news on WBAL TV didn’t mention the description of the suspect and his car.

Notre Dame’s student health plan to cover abortifacients, contraceptives

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National Catholic Register:

The University of Notre Dame has approved a student health-insurance plan that features contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and other preventive services covered under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate.

The university’s decision to provide the group health plan for students comes as Notre Dame pursues its legal challenge to the HHS mandate. Critics thus expressed concern that the move could undermine the university’s legal case, especially when other options were available for circumventing compliance requirements for the mandate.

“The university need not provide student health insurance at all,” said Gerard Bradley, a constitutional scholar at Notre Dame’s law school, who outlined the options available to university administrators.

 

Bradley noted that only group health plans must comply with the mandate. Consequently, the university also had another option: It could have opted to self-insure the plan for students and avoid coverage of services that violate Catholic teaching.

Earlier this year, Notre Dame denied recognition to a group supporting traditional marriage. Throw in that and the flap over President Obama receiving an honorary degree and speaking there, along with some other moves, and Notre Dame’s Catholic character appears to be in the process of being degraded.

If nothing else, this move makes the HHS mandate suit the university is engaged in more complicated.

Canonization process for Archbishop Fulton Sheen halted

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From a statement from the Diocese of Peoria:

It is with immense sadness that the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and President of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation, announced today that the Cause for Sheen’s beatification and canonization has for the foreseeable future been suspended. The process to verify a possible miracle attributed to Sheen had been going extremely well, and only awaited a vote of the Cardinals and the approval of the Holy Father. There was every indication that a possible date for beatification in Peoria would have been scheduled for as early as the coming year. The Holy See expected that the remains of Venerable Sheen would be moved to Peoria where official inspection would be made and first class relics be taken. Subsequently, the Archdiocese of New York denied Bishop Jenky’s request to move the body to Peoria. After further discussion with Rome, it was decided that the Sheen Cause would now have to be relegated to the Congregation’s historic archive. Countless supporters especially from the local church in Central Illinois have given their time, treasure and talent for this good work with the clear understanding that the body of Venerable Sheen would return to the Diocese. Bishop Jenky was personally assured on several occasions by the Archdiocese of New York that the transfer of the body would take place at the appropriate time. New York’s change of mind took place as the work on behalf of the Cause had reached a significant stage.

This happened before in 2010 before the cause was eventually reopened. Sheen’s Wikipedia entry has details on the cause for canonization as well as the most recent ending of it. Cardinal Timothy Dolan is the Archbishop of New York and Sheen is buried in the territory of the Archdiocese of New York.

An actor named Ramon Estevez, a Catholic, adopted the name Martin Sheen to honor Archbishop Sheen.

UPDATE

More at The Deacon’s Bench.

Comments from Pat Archbold:

This release is shocking in its directness that Archdiocese of New York (Read Cardinal Dolan) repeatedly promised to transfer the remains of Archbishop Sheen and has now reneged, causing a fatal blow to the cause.

I cannot even imagine what legitimate reason could be given for making and breaking such a promise. Terrible.

ISIS beats, tortures, kills Iraqi Christian who won’t convert

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Christian Post

A Christian man in Iraq has reportedly been beaten, tortured, and killed by terror group ISIS for refusing to renounce his faith and convert to Islam.

Ankawa.com reported on Tuesday that the 43-year-old man, Salem Matty Georgis, remained in the Syriac Christian town of Bartella after it was captured by ISIS on August 7. A relative said that the man was suffering from heart disease and could not leave the town with his family because of his illness.

Georgis hid in his home for three weeks, but eventually had to venture outside in search of food. He was then confronted by an ISIS patrol in town.

“The patrol arrests him and tried to force him to convert to Islam, but he completely refused. Thus, the militants beat him and tortured him until he died in their hands,” the relative explained.

The militants dumped Georgis’ body, which was later discovered by a Bartella resident and buried.

The article goes on to quote eyewitness accounts about children’s camps and people being forced to watch lashings, beatings, beheadings, and crucifixions.

California illegally requiring employer insurance to cover elective abortions

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AP via Newsbusters:

Health insurance companies in California may not refuse to cover the cost of abortions, state insurance officials have ruled in a reversal of policy stemming from the decision by two Catholic universities to drop elective abortions from their employee health plans.

Although the federal Affordable Care Act does not compel employers to provide workers with health insurance that includes abortion coverage, the director of California’s Department of Managed Health Care said in a letter to seven insurance companies on Friday that the state Constitution and a 1975 state law prohibits them from selling group plans that exclude the procedure. The law in question requires such plans to encompass all “medically necessary” care.

“Abortion is a basic health care service,” department director Michelle Rouillard wrote in the letter. “All health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.”

Jesuit-run Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University notified employees last fall that they planned to stop paying for elective abortions, but said faculty and staff members could pay for supplemental coverage that would be provided through a third party. The two schools said their insurers, Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente, had cleared the move with the state.

University employees who objected to the decision and abortion-rights groups lobbied the women’ caucus of the California Legislature, which in turn asked Gov. Jerry Brown to clarify and reverse the health care department’s determination.

Life Legal Defense Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Cardinal Newman Society sent a letter to state officials reminding them that this mandate is illegal under federal law (the Weldon Amendment.)