Will Obama listen to his buddy, Father Jenkins of Notre Dame?

The Rev. John Jenkins wrote a letter Wednesday to Kathleen Sebelius asking the Obama administration to broaden the definition of religious employer currently under consideration to ensure the school can continue its provide health care without going against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. He said the change in definition of religious employer is far narrower than current law and would require Notre Dame and other Catholic universities to offer prescription contraceptives and sterilization services to students and employees through health care plans.

“This would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church’s moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans in violation of the church’s social teaching. It is an impossible position,” he wrote.

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What happens when a Jewish mom sends her daughter to a Catholic school?

“So what did you have for lunch today?” I asked my daughter the other day. She has started a new school this year, one that provides lunches and snacks.

“I made myself a ham sandwich,” she answered proudly. “I love ham.”

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This Week’s Ask Alice: A litany of interrelated Catholic questions

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Jennifer writes: I grew up in a Catholic school but was raised Baptist. My husband and I decided to raise our son in Catholic school as well. After 3 years, we are seriously considering converting. We love the values and many things about the faith and feel as if we belong and are called. I was wondering about a few things:

1) Why does the Catholic Bible have additional books? How or by whom were they added or omitted?
2) Regarding Mary being without sin, I see how it could be assumed, but is there biblical scripture which supports the theory?
3) Is Mary regarded as an equal to Christ? And why is prayer and focus given to her instead of Christ? Is there biblical scripture which supports this as well?
4) What is the significance of statues within the church?

Thank you so much, in advance. I hope my questions don’t seem ignorant. I believe there was a period where women were highly disregarded, and maybe the lost books could reveal some things.

Alice answers: Your questions are worthwhile ones. Catholicism is considered the “fullest measure” of faith, and sometimes, things can seem a bit complicated.

My friend, Pat, spent years driving from one Protestant church to another in search of a religion to follow. But after attending a Catholic Mass one Sunday, Pat felt that all the other churches she visited seemed empty, as if something was missing. And it wasn’t just those seven books!

1) The Catholic Bible contains all 73 books (46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament) that have been accepted by Christians since the time of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Old Testament follows the Alexandrian canon of the “Septuagint”, which was translated to Greek around 250 B.C.

Jesus personally read from the Septuagint, and he also commissioned the Apostles to use it.

Beginning around 1521, Martin Luther and other reformers acted to separate themselves from the Catholic tradition, and decided to revert back to the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament, which contained 7 fewer books than the accepted Greek/Catholic canon. The books missing from the Protestant collection: 1&2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach/Ecclesiastes and Baruch. (Review ALL the books here.)

For the first time in over a thousand years, certain Christians had arbitrarily decided to reject the clear advice of St. John, that we read in Revelation 22:19.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book.”

2) Catholics believe that Mary is sinless, based on scripture and tradition, i.e., divine revelation, first-hand knowledge, beliefs, customs and teachings, both written and oral, about all things Christian.

In Luke 1:28 Mary is uniquely greeted by the angel Gabriel with the words, “Hail favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Or more to the point, “Hail Mary, full of grace.”)

This is the only place in Scripture where we find an angel greeting anyone (other than God) with such high honor and praise. It is also the only place in scripture where we find God waiting for the permission of any human being … a woman, no less … so that he might send his son into the world, to save us.   

A sacred “vessel” that is “full” of God’s grace simply has no room in it, for sin. Much more than a mere vessel, the Mother of God is a unique person, supernaturally preserved from sin by God, from the moment of her conception, for the very highest of purposes.

Mary’s sinlessness was indeed a practical necessity if she was to give birth to the Son of the Most High God, who in his divine holiness, required as much … and who also demanded absolutely pure, undefiled, holy flesh in order to fashion the human body that he would one day offer up to his Heavenly Father, as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

It is through “divine election” that Mary was conceived “full of grace” … and she permanently remained that way … according to the practical necessities of God’s eternal plan for the ultimate destruction of the forces of evil, and the salvation of mankind.

Mary never sinned. Satan never touched her.

In her permanent virginity, she remained always holy, perfectly obedient, and dedicated solely to to God … before and after she gave birth to our Holy Redeemer.

The Catholic Church knows all this because “the Church” was there with Mary, and knew her better than anyone.

All four evangelists (the writers of the Gospels) knew her and relied on her for many of the details we find recorded therein.

St. John lived with her and cared for her for many, many years … as she had no children, other than Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, non-Catholic Christians, separated from the living tradition of the Catholic Church by hundreds and hundreds of years, know Mary only from the few lines they read about her, in the Bible!

3) Mary is not regarded as an equal to Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Almighty and Eternal God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords … by his own power and in his own right.

Mary is a mere created human being, wholly dependent upon God for all things.

But by virtue of her singular, maternal relationship with Jesus Christ, the grace of God, and the merits of her holy life, the Catholic Church rightly understands that the Blessed Virgin Mary is already the recipient of all the Heavenly promises of her divine son.

Needless to say, that state of existence encompasses the unimaginable fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven, with the Blessed Virgin Mary as its Queen … courtesy of Jesus, the Eternal King … since according to God’s system of things, the mother of the king is the queen. (Summarized and explained here)   (And here.)

Catholics properly worship God alone, and merely venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary, which means that we honor and respect Mary as a great saint and as the Mother of God. But we do not worship her.

Modern Protestants often tend to have problems understanding this because their chosen faith tradition mistakenly tends to push the Blessed Virgin Mary off to the side … and over-emphasizes the role of the Holy Bible. 

It is not right to worship the Holy Bible OR the Holy Mother of God … even though both are great works of God … and both are very intimately related to the Holy Spirit.

From a human perspective, who rightly deserves the greater praise and honor: George Washington … or the Blessed Virgin Mary?

Mary is Jesus’ first, best, and most constant disciple. Along with her divine son, she is at the very center of God’s plan for salvation. Mary willingly and totally cooperated with God. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

By voluntarily cooperating with God’s grace and his plan, selflessly dedicating her whole life to God, and providing her own flesh and blood to make Jesus’ human body, Mary is also rightly regarded as co-redemptrix … intimately cooperating with God, in his eternal plan for our redemption in Jesus Christ.

4) Statues are displayed in Catholic churches for the same reason that you and I hang family photographs in our homes. Pictures of Grandma Ann and Uncle Bob remind us of people we love and admire. As members of the Body of Christ, we and the saints belong to God’s family. Jesus, Mary and the saints are leaders in our faith. They inspire us to follow their virtuous examples. Statues are similar to the posters of our sports heroes today. We should try to imitate the saints’ behavior in our daily lives. (More details here.)

Statues also serve to remind us of the words of Jesus Christ:  “And as concerning the dead that they rise again have you not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spoke to him, saying: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?  He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You therefore do greatly err.”
(Mark 12:26-27)

I pray that you and your husband will heed God’s call to become Catholic.

Ours is a faith that has deep respect for women and regards every human life as sacred, from conception until natural death.

Catholics have the charism of praying for our deceased loved ones, to help them get to Heaven. We believe that as members of the Body of Christ, as we pray for the souls in Purgatory, they in turn pray for us, as we continue our earthly journey.

The best part of becoming Catholic is that you experience a miracle … the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist … every time you attend Mass.

Please write again and let us know how you are doing.

In Christ’s Love,



Doug Lawrence adds: Use the “search” box on our site to locate and view helpful articles about many of the terms mentioned above. The “search” box may typically be found at the top right side of the screen, just below the broad, red, horizontal band.

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Father Z: On the matter of lay ministers giving blessings

In The Catholic Herald of the Diocese of Madison, where the great Bishop Robert Morlino exercises oversight, there is a great article on an issue we have addressed here many times: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion giving blessings to non-communicants as if they were priests.

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Mexico’s Supreme Court rejects move to legalize abortion

Mexico City, Mexico, Sep 28, 2011 / 03:33 pm (CNA).- The members of Mexico’s Supreme Court on Sept. 28 rejected a decision that would have legalized abortion in the country.

By a 7 to 4 margin, the judges struck down a proposal by Supreme Justice Fernando Franco, which declared that the states’ legal shields against abortion were unconstitutional, and that abortion should be legal nationwide—up to the ninth month of pregnancy.

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It’s time to make Father Pavone a special Vatican envoy for Pro-Life

by Doug Lawrence

Let’s put all the petty conflicts behind us and look at the big picture.

Nobody has done a better job of working for the pro-life cause than Father Frank Pavone.

He’s developed an effective, national organization.

He’s an eloquent, inspiring speaker.

He’s politically well connected (both inside and outside the church) and he knows his way around Washington, DC.

He works well with Christians of all persuasions, as well as Jews and Muslims. (Certain Catholic bishops excepted.)

He’s a Catholic priest in good standing, and also a good man.

Let’s create a Special Pro-Life Military Diocese, just like the one we have for the U.S. Armed Forces.

Let’s make Father Frank the bishop in-charge, let him go about recruiting and training good, pro-life men to be priests, and good pro-life lay people to help get the work done … and then, let’s all get busy saving the babies!

NFL Quarterback’s Secret: He never misses Mass!

I was fortunate to grow up in the faith; my mom taught me the faith. In North Alabama there were only like 15 of us in my county in my confirmation class. We were quite the minority in Alabama. But one thing I remember is when I went to college at North Carolina State, the biggest thing that stuck in my head from my mom was never miss Mass. That was the thing that she definitely got across. When you go to college that’s when the faith becomes your own. Your mom and dad aren’t waking you up and reminding you “Hey this is a good day to go to confession.” It’s up to you.

So that really stayed with me and I made sure I never missed Mass and continued to grow in the faith. My wife had a lot to do with it, she’s a convert and she actually became Catholic the day before we got married. There’s so many gifts from the faith to appreciate and it strikes people differently, but the one-ness of the church wherever you are, Raleigh, San Diego, Alabama. Every place we were was home because the Catholic Church is the same everywhere. When we went to Mass that first Sunday after moving to a new place, that was where we felt at home and were able to say “well, home is anywhere, it doesn’t matter where we live because we have the faith.”

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Jehovah’s Witnesses moving out of Brooklyn Heights, New York for “greener pastures”

While the notoriously cloistered JWs will not, like so many other things they are mum about, say when they are leaving, it is a fact that eventually, the estimated 3,000 followers currently residing in church properties throughout the neighborhood will soon be moving to new facilities, which cost the organization an estimated $11.5 million, in the Upstate town of Warwick, just next door to Walkill where, in addition to the internal agricultural and manufacturing industries, much of the printing operation is already re-based.


Reports now available from the “Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization” symposium

Visit the site for PDF formatted reports

Related article

Editor’s note:

These guys are bright, but they like to do things the hard way.

The reason the world needs re-evangelization is not because of a defective message. It’s because the guys who ran the post-conciliar Catholic Church lost their focus, became corrupt, and failed to faithfully live, proclaim and defend the eternal truths of the sacred deposit of faith that were entrusted to them by Jesus and the apostles.

Once the church again begins to “fly right” … toning down the corruption, re-catechizing the world, universally reaffirming the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ, and promoting the church’s traditional work, worship, sacraments and devotions (instead of a bunch of watered down, liberal, modernist, BS) things can’t help but improve.

You may find these points mentioned in the above reports, but it will be couched in language that is so complicated and convoluted, that most people won’t be able to understand it … let alone do it.

What ever happened to the simple, direct approach?

1) Decide for yourself whether you believe in God.

2) Assuming the answer is yes, consult the only “source” who ever really knew him, in the flesh, while he still walked the earth … the only assembly or group that was ever divinely authorized to teach, sanctify, and govern in the name of Jesus Christ … the Catholic Church.

3) Begin directed prayer and study, in order to become intimately familiar with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as only the Catholic Church knows him, by taking full advantage of over 1900 years of the world’s finest theological scholarship and related philosophy (which includes, but is certainly not limited to the Bible.)

4) Become an official member of the Catholic Church (a living temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, a citizen of Heaven, and co-heir with Jesus Christ) through the Sacrament of Baptism.

5) Embark on a lifetime of ever increasing holiness. faith, and love in Jesus Christ, through continuing prayer and study, along with full, faithful and regular participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church … “keeping it up” until the very moment God calls you home.     

The Church’s job is to facilitate points 1 through 5, for the salvation of souls and the common good of all mankind. But because of all the confusion and corruption in the post-conciliar Catholic Church, that has not been happening.

We don’t need new theology. We just need to effectively put to good use what we already have!

Congress to Investigate Planned Parenthood Abortion Business

A Congressional committee has taken the first steps in investigating the Planned Parenthood abortion business over abuses ranging from financial disparities to its compliance with federal regulations on taxpayer funding to concerns that it is covering up cases of sex trafficking.

In a September 15 letter LifeNews.com obtained, Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, writes to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.

“Pursuant to Rules X and XI of the United States House of Representatives, the Committee on Energy and Commerce is examining the institutional practices and policies of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates, and its handing of federal funding,” Stearns writes. “That Committee has questions about the politics in place and actions undertaken by PPFA and its affiliates relating to its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on the funding of abortion.”

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Researcher claims moderns mistook old Roman fortress for Jerusalem Temple site.

Who to believe? Jesus and the Bible … or modern “scholars”?

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Report from “a fly on the wall” at a recent pro-abortion meeting

On Thursday, Sep. 15, Planned Parenthood of North Texas hosted a presentation by Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, to discuss their lawsuit against the state of Texas’s new sonogram law. The event, called “Trust Texas Women,” was held at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, and I attended, ostensibly as a concerned pro-choicer, although no one asked me my affiliation.

I had to RSVP beforehand, and I did so, using my real first and last name and email address. When I arrived, I was checked in by a smiling woman and ushered toward free refreshments. Another smiling woman, nibbling a cookie, complimented my cowboy boots. Someone else said she liked my tattoo – a large, black state of Texas on my arm. I thanked them both, wondering if they could smell the pro-life on me, but despite being younger and blonder than most of the people there, I seemed to attract no undue attention. Only seconds later, someone else came and ushered us into the sanctuary, where approximately 50 or so other people, mostly women, were already seated.

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So, for now, we wait to see if Bishop Fellay will indeed sign the doctrinal preamble presented to him by Cardinal Levada.

In 1988, long before his election as pope, Cardinal Ratzinger visited Santiago Chile to address the Chilean Bishop’s conference. In a speech that focused on the “Lefebvre case”, Cardinal Ratzinger said this about the Second Vatican Council:

“One of the basic discoveries of the theology of ecumenism is that schisms can take place only when certain truths and certain values of the Christian faith are no longer lived and loved within the Church. The truth which is marginalized becomes autonomous, remains detached from the whole of the ecclesiastical structure, and a new movement then forms itself around it.”

It cannot be denied that after Vatican II many truths and values of the faith stopped being lived and loved in the Church. Fasting before Communion, frequent Confession, religious attire for priests and nuns, the importance of avoiding mortal sin, abstaining from meat on Fridays and many other disciplines, teachings and traditions were suddenly tossed aside, de-emphasized or became the objects of mockery and jokes.  This atmosphere of disdain for all that Catholics once practiced certainly invited a response, and that is just what Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers gave us.

This response, as noted by Cardinal Ratzinger, fed a hunger that too many of our shepherds ignored:

“We must reflect on this fact: that a large number of Catholics, far beyond the narrow circle of the Fraternity of Lefebvre, see this man as a guide, in some sense, or at least as a useful ally. It will not do to attribute everything to political motives, to nostalgia, or to cultural factors of minor importance. These causes are not capable of explaining the attraction which is felt even by the young, and especially by the young, who come from many quite different nations, and who are surrounded by completely distinct political and cultural realities.  Indeed they show what is from any point of view a restricted and one-sided outlook; but there is no doubt whatever that a phenomenon of this sort would be inconceivable unless there were good elements at work here, which in general do not find sufficient opportunity to live within the Church of today.”

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Submitted by Nancy W.

The best sermon you’ve ever heard. The best class you’ve ever taken …

Father Robert Barron’s “Catholicism”

You don’t have to be Catholic, want to be Catholic, or even like Catholics to go on this journey. It’s not a homily. Barron doesn’t preach at you. The series is not just challenging to others, it also challenges itself: Barron’s producer occasionally questions him on camera.

And yet, it’s also the best sermon you’ve ever heard; the best class you’ve ever taken. Or the homily you’ve never heard and the classroom you never had available to you.

The 10-part series, partially to be aired on 80 PBS stations, the EWTN network and available in a 10-DVD set, is a trip to the Holy Land, Chartres, the Sistine Chapel, Calcutta, and Uganda.

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Singer wants to shoot Pope Benedict


Death penalty is being imposed disproportionately on poor people and blacks, but it is done via abortion, not capital punishment.


No serious baseball fan would ever question the value of Catholic relics.

by Doug Lawrence

Anyone who ever attended a major league baseball game would be loathed to throw back a foul ball … let alone a genuine souvenir bat, cap, or glove, especially one that that was actually used by their favorite ball player.

These things serve as lasting remembrances of extremely rare, real-life events that remain dear to the heart of many, many fans for a long, long time. They also inspire many a great story.

So it is with authentic Catholic relics … only more so … since such things serve to remind us of the true realities of our faith, the work of Jesus Christ, the apostles, martyrs and saints, and the love of God.

While the ranks of professional baseball players have always been quite small, and the length of their careers short … it remains quite possible, with the help of the church, for anyone to become a saint … and remain so eternally!

All the more reason authentic Catholic relics should inspire us to greatness, in Christ.

For those who are religiously opposed to such things, please take a look at the recent 9-11 remembrances, erected all around the country, which used many types of architectural details, flags, and other remnants from the twin towers, to effectively and permanently commemorate what happened there.

Idolatry? Heck no!

Souvenirs, memorials and relics serve to remind us of important truths and events, by bringing very real parts of the past, into the present day.

In that respect, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is without equal, since it is there that Jesus Christ becomes present on the altar for us, under the sacramental auspices of bread and wine, making present the one time, once for all, perfect and eternal sacrifice, who redeemed us from eternal slavery to Satan, sin, and death.

And while baseballs and home run kings constitute essential elements of America’s pastime, Jesus Christ is without a doubt, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and mankind’s greatest hero of all time … with all of the saints faithfully “lined up” right behind him.

That’s what we Catholics remember at every Mass, and that’s what we Catholics remember when we venerate relics of the saints.

Now … Play Ball!

A reasoned and loving response to a supporter of homosexuality and homosexual marriage.

By Doug Lawrence

(In response to this article)

I happen to have been born with an absolutely dependable sense of direction that happens to be exactly 180 degrees out of phase. (No kidding. This is true!)

When I think I should go left, I invariably ought to go right, instead.

So, in order to get where I need to go, I’ve learned to overrule my natural inclinations, to get a second opinion, or use a compass and map, or GPS.

Needless to say, relying on the opinion of another who suffers from the same seriously disordered sense of direction might appear to work, but only for a short while, until both of us, naturally rejecting all opinions to the contrary, finally come to the realization that we are truly lost.

Homosexual people are in a similar quandary.

Their innate feelings tell them they are right, but the truth is unfortunately, 180 degrees removed.

And without a reliable guide (the Catholic Church) they may well be lost … for a long, long time … perhaps never reaching their intended destination.

True Christians understand this type of problem and attempt to deal with it, through love. Unfortunately, a personally frustrated individual typically responds poorly to such an approach, since he/she typically cannot fathom the true reasons for it.

Hence, love is “naturally” perceived as hate, helpfulness is taken for condemnation, and the will of God is presumed to be something other than what it truly is.

You Kristina, also have a faulty sense of direction. You have chosen your own set of defective guides, and you too, have arrived at the wrong destination.

But there’s still time to find the right path .. and stick to it … with the help of the church.

From the Catechism:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

So go .. and sin no more. God loves you. God will provide. Trust in him.

Nationally Touring Catholic Drama In Darien, IL – October 5th – “TELL ALL SOULS ABOUT MY MERCY”

A Nationally Touring Catholic Drama Must-See!



Our Lady of Peace Church

701 W. Plainfield Road, Darien, IL 60517

Wednesday, October 5TH, 2011

 -7 pm –

Much more than a normal night out at the theater, or an evening of prayer, the husband and wife team, Dave and Joan Maroney, presents a compelling mix of music, lights and sound to convey the message of Jesus, The Divine Mercy, and the writings
of Saint Faustina Kowalska.

Are you searching for peace? Suffering in any way? Having a hard time being able to forgive? Do you know someone who is dying or have children that have fallen away from the faith? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, learn how to find peace, hope and healing from this compelling presentation.

Come and learn about Divine Mercy!

No charge for admission. Free will offering requested.

Religious Art Critic: “Notice that both the damned and the saved have expressions of surprise on their faces.”

The damned are surprised to be going to hell because they were proud and self righteous (and didn’t think they were headed for hell) or scornful and unbelieving (and didn’t believe such a place existed.)

The saved are surprised because they were humble and didn’t think they would make it into heaven.

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