At the Gate Called Beautiful: A Picture of the Church and Our Spiritual Journey

At the Vigil Mass of today’s Feast of Saints Peter and Paul was read the story of a paralyzed man whom Peter and John encounter just outside the Temple at the Gate called “Beautiful.” This paralyzed man’s story is our story and as we read it we learn something of our own spiritual journey to the Lord and to heaven, symbolized here by the Temple. Let’s look at this moving story which is not merely an event of 2000 years ago but is our story. (N.B. The Beautiful Gate is the gold plated doors in the foreground of the picture).

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Christianity has endowed Western Civilization with a priceless heritage. To lose this to a mass amnesia in the culture, would be an inestimable loss…

It does not take the training of a professional sociologist to realize that a major cultural shift regarding faith, morals and the place of Christianity is under way in Western Civilization. And this has nothing, really, to do with some haphazard lightning strike in Ohio.

Consider the following, which is a mere sampling of recent efforts to undermine the place of faith in the public life of Western democracies:

– The European Union’s insistence that neither God nor the Christian Church be mentioned in its Constitution, despite the clear historical role belief in the form and the institution of the latter played in the formation of Europe.

– The litany (if you will excuse the pun) of coarse jokes, cheap shots and outright viciousness directed specifically at the person of Christ or the Christian faith on TV and which are passed over by the same people who would readily file hate crime charges against their promoters if addressed to any other religion.

– The subtle but clear shift in language away from “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship” on the part of the current administration, retaining only one dimension of religion (worship) while setting the stage to curtail its public witness. It is freedom of religion, not merely worship that has been venerated since the American founding.

This is not mere paranoia. Numerous other examples exist, but these should be sufficient evidence of a trend that is attempting to foster an entire cultural shift which would reject Christian revelation’s role in the forming of American and Western civilization.

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Priest: I am Catholic because I believe it is true (the best reason for believing anything!), and, to quote GK Chesterton, to get my sins forgiven.

I was walking in Leeds with my friend Martin, when we were surrounded by a gang of Asian youths, who looked neither friendly nor sober. This was about 15 years ago, when I was a student at the university there. I assumed they were going to make trouble because Martin was (and remains still) white. “Stick with me, homie,” I joked. “I’ll protect you.”

As it turned out, the lads were more interested in me, the Asian out of the two of us. Then it came. His words, and he left me in no doubt how seriously he meant them, were, “Is you Muslim or Hindu, yeah?”

I had the flabber taken out of my gast. I thought, Gosh! How do I answer this one? I couldn’t tell if they were Muslims or Hindus themselves, so who could tell what they thought the right answer might be.

But I remembered the words of the Lord, Whoever denies me before men, him will I deny him before the Father. So, honesty being the best policy, I stammered: “I-I-I’m a Catholic.”

His friends had to pull him off me as he raged (I remember there was a lot of spittle going on): “Why? Why the f— are you a Catholic??!”

Should I tell him, Because the apostle St Thomas came to India 2,000 years ago and converted my ancestors, or, Because this is the church Jesus Christ, true God and true man, established on the foundation of the apostles.

In the end, a quick getaway seemed more expedient, for I had reason to believe he was not truly interested in inter-religious dialogue.

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Some Highlights of Elena Kagan’s Record as Dean at Harvard Law School, 2003-2009

  • Kagan accelerated and legitimized the GLBT “rights” concept and law studies at Harvard Law School and in the larger university community.
  • Kagan encouraged Harvard students to get involved in homosexual activist legal work. At a time when she as Dean pushed students to engage in “public interest law” and to get “clinical” legal experience, the Harvard Law School established the LGBT Law Clinic. How could a “Justice Kagan” on the Supreme Court be impartial involving cases brought by “gay” legal activists — when she so openly advocated for homosexual legal goals and integrating homosexuality into legal studies and practice at Harvard?
  • Kagan recruited former ACLU lawyer (and former ACT-UP member) William Rubenstein to teach “queer” legal theory. Few Americans can comprehend the radical nature of “queer” academics. Rubenstein described one of his courses as the taking up of “newer identities (bisexuality, trans, gender[f**k]).” as well as involving “polygamy, S&M [sadomasochism], the sexuality of minors.”
  • Kagan promoted and facilitated the “transgender” legal agenda during her tenure at Harvard. In 2007, HLS offered a Transgender Law course by “out lesbian” Professor Janet Halley and Dean Spade, a transsexual activist attorney, both of whom she recruited. (Halley’s extremism and contempt for natural gender boundaries is illustrated by her calling herself a “gay man.”) Kagan also brought in Cass Sunstein (currently Obama’s regulatory czar) who has written in support of polygamy and other free-for-all marriage relationships.
  • Kagan engaged in ongoing, radical advocacy opposing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and demanding an end to the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. Her highly partisan actions are unbecoming of a future judge – especially one who would be called upon to adjudicate such weighty and divisive matters.
  • Even after Kagan and Harvard lost their legal campaign to ban military recruiters and Harvard Law School was forced to let them back on campus, she encouraged ongoing student protests against them — deputizing the radical Lambda group to come up with ideas of how to harass the recruiters legally. Kagan’s actions blatantly disrespected our military and exposed her as the out-of-touch, socially leftist academic that she is.
  • Kagan attended functions of radical homosexual (GLBT) groups at Harvard University, absorbing and apparently agreeing with their goals.
  • Kagan followed the wishes of campus homosexual organizations — within a month of meeting with a Harvard GLBT student group, she was agreeing with their demand to ban military recruiters on campus.
  • Radical “trans” activism at Harvard: Kagan’s active promotion of the GLBT agenda at Harvard likely accelerated the campus environment that was becoming so “tolerant” of homosexuality and gender confusion that there was even a campaign during her tenure to make the campus “trans inclusive” — using Harvard’s “gender identity” nondiscrimination policy (in place since 2006). This included discussions between GLBT student activists and the law school administration (i.e., Kagan) “to make our restrooms safe and accessible for people regardless of their gender identity or expression.” (Read: allow men who identify as “women” to use female restrooms and locker rooms, etc.)
  • As a likely result of Kagan’s activism, Harvard has become so committed to radical transsexual activism that its health insurance policy now partially covers “sex-change” breast “treatment” for transsexuals – either men taking hormones to develop breasts, or women having their healthy breasts removed to become the “men” they believe they are.  Where does Kagan stand on transgenderism and transsexuality and the law today?

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Pro-Lifers Push Back Against Chicago “Bubble Zone”

Planned Parenthood may have gotten the Chicago City Council to enact a Bubble Zone around the abortion clinics, but time and time again they’ve found that they didn’t get the law they wanted.

This week was another excellent case in point.

Pro-Lifers Take Time To Counsel Mid-Week

Pro-lifers David and Darlene went to the Planned Parenthood location on Division and LaSalle to pray and counsel last Thursday. This location performs abortions six days a week, but usually pro-lifers are only there on Saturdays. This means the “clinic escorts” (”deathscorts”) are also only there on Saturdays. Coming mid-week, then, means pro-lifers can have uninterrupted conversations with clients.

David sent us his account of the day and of the police department’s efforts to “enforce” the Bubble Zone:

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“Since the Roe v. Wade decision, the number one cause of death in the African American community is abortion.”

… Bishop Perry quotes African American Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley of Washington, D.C., who noted, “Since the Roe v. Wade decision, the number one cause of death in the African American community is abortion. We have lost 13 million lives. To put that in perspective, that is one third of our present black population. 1,452 black children are lost each day to abortion!”

Abortion, said Bishop Perry in the statement, “is a topic essentially kept hush-hush in the black community,” while “The right to abortion is quietly spelling the decimation of the black community in our society.”

Bishop Perry encouraged parish pro-life activities. “In parishes and in dioceses all over the country Catholics consider the subject of abortion one of the chief witnesses of our modern times for which we are pledged to continue to raise awareness about alternatives to abortion, particularly, to let women in trouble be aware that they have other options,” said Bishop Perry in “Abortion and its Impact on the Black Community.”

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Why marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman

WASHINGTON — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage has launched a new initiative for the protection of marriage, entitled Marriage: Unique for a Reason. The initiative is to help catechize and educate Catholics on the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The launch comes with the release of the first of five videos. The first video is called Made for Each Other and includes a Viewer’s Guide and Resource Booklet. It explores sexual difference and the complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife in marriage. Later videos will treat the good of children, the good of society and what constitutes discrimination, religious liberty, and issues particular to a Latino/a audience.

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