The Catholic schools in America that have adopted state standards and seek state accreditation have left the path of wisdom

As Monsignor Ronald Knox said: “We are here to colonize heaven not make things better on earth.” Our beloved Catholic schools seem to have blurred the line between first and second things. Pope Benedict elucidates the first things that concern Catholic schools. First things are permanent things: charity, Christ, Church doctrine, principles of truth, and the virtues. Second things are temporary: material goods, contributing to society, and committing to action.

The reason that a Catholic education must not focus on improving conditions in society is best explained by C.S. Lewis, who said, “When you put first things first, second things are not suppressed, but increase.” Improving material conditions in society is a second thing that follows the first thing of a well-ordered character, especially a character conformed to Christ. C.S. Lewis further explained that “when you put second things first, you lose both first and second.” A proper philosophy of Catholic education is concerned solely with the first things as is demonstrated by Pope Benedict’s clear statement; the second things, like societal welfare, will take care of themselves.

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Editor’s note: This is almost diametrically opposed to the teachings of our current pope.

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Something to keep in mind…

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Advent poem – from the inside out


ADVENT

I live my Advent in the womb of Mary.

And on one night when a great star swings free

from its high mooring and walks down the sky

to be the dot above the Christus i,

I shall be born of her by blessed grace.

I wait in Mary-darkness, faith’s walled place,

with hope’s expectance of nativity.

I knew for long she carried me and fed me,

guarded and loved me, though I could not see.

But only now, with inward jubilee,

I come upon earth’s most amazing knowledge:

someone is hidden in this dark with me.

Submitted by Joan V.

Keeping the “W” in Christmas?

Read all the way to the bottom, even if you 

THINK you know what it’s going to say…

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm

and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive

card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even

overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate

the precious family moments, and of course, the true

meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was

an exciting season for a six year old.

For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s

“Winter Pageant.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the

night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment,

I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress

rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable

to attend that evening were welcome to come then.

Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes

early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around

the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to

their seats.

As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class,

accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor.

Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to

the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than

fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus,

snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was

slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy

mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one

by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold

up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until

each child holding up his portion had presented the complete

message, “Christmas Love.”

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her;

a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside

down – totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little

one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her,

so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter

continued until the last letter was raised,
and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we

celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos,

there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud

and clear:

“C  H  R  I  S  T  W  A  S  L  O  V  E”

And, I believe, He still is.

Amazed in His presence… .humbled by His love.

Again, HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS SEASON!

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Mysterious stranger

One day, a man went to visit a church. He got there early, parked his car and got out. Another car pulled up near the driver, got out and said,
‘I always park there! You took my place!

The visitor went inside for Sunday school, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated,
‘That’s my seat! You took my place!’

The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.

After Sunday school, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, ‘That’s where I always sit!
You took my place!

The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still he said nothing. Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out,
‘What happened to you?’

The visitor replied, as his hat became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from his eye,
‘I took your place.’

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Piercing the Darkness – Good Friday

Even a casual observer of American society can tell that there is a certain sinister chaos spreading throughout every aspect of public life these days. Naturally, as it filters through society it finds its way into our homes, families and personal lives as well. The reports of monumental breakups and takeovers, meltdowns, dysfunctions, cutbacks, disasters, protests, catastrophic events, scandals, and just plain moral chaos are, shall we say, legion, and it does not look like there will be any let up in the dismantling of our formerly decent society any time soon. Public officials and the movers-and-shakers of social communications long ago divorced American culture from authentic Christian values, and the result is that modern America has found itself first wandering then running down a very slippery slope to moral and social anarchy. The darkness has settled upon us.

This idea came home to me this week when I attended the 5th Anniversary Mass of Terri Schindler Schiavo at Ave Maria University in FL. How well I remember the horrible killing scene in Pinellas Park, FL in 2005 when the combined efforts of pro-lifers and some political allies were not able to stop the forward motion of such raw evil. From the Florida circuit courts all the way up to the US Supreme Court, the corrupt judiciaries refused to intervene and even ordered her killing, with impunity. The US Congress was almost laughably powerless to help. The utter uselessness of the bishop and clergy in the diocese where Terri was murdered was a microcosm of the Church Impotent rather than the Church Militant. The thousands of calls that the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation now gets in their attempt to stop other similar killings are an indication that this same darkness is now penetrating our society at an alarming level.

Every aspect of American society is touched by this chaos: the pervasive and unstoppable corruption in government, the major media, Hollywood, academia, healthcare, and even within our own churches! All of this corruption is multiplying the shadows over our society and penetrating into every aspect of personal and family life as we speak.

What I find most alarming, as an exorcist, is the spread of truly occult phenomena in our youth culture. It used to be that vampires had to go back into their coffins with the first streaks of dawn. Now handsome young vampires are sullying the covers of every gossip magazine and tantalizing prime time audiences with their evil – and teenage girls are just swooning for them…. Don’t be fooled: the vampire culture is the spawn of the Harry Potter culture that has washed over our youth for a decade and still seduces parents into thinking it is all just “harmless entertainment.” Kids dressing up as sorcerers, blogging about vampires, dabbling in Wicca – it’s just plain seductive and evil. Our Baptismal Promises demand that we “reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises,” and that includes demons, witches and vampires!

If I were anything other than a Christian, I would probably despair of the status of the culture all around us. Yes, there are movements fighting to take the culture and politics back, but most of these are just about political power and, if they have an effect at all, they will just install another version of corruption in place of the political devils they cast out.

The reason I don’t despair in the face of all this darkness, though, is because I remember that once-upon-a-time Evil had its Hour. I am not talking about sixty-minutes of willowy darkness. I am talking about the worst crime ever committed in history, the blackest deed ever known to man: the killing of the Son of God on Calvary. The corrupt politicians, clergy and laity of the day were all implicated in the crime. Worst of all, the devil was sitting back gloating at his masterpiece of evil.

But much to the devil’s surprise, evil did not win the Day…because at that very moment of deepest darkness, the Son of God did something utterly unforeseen and caught the whole wicked world unaware: He shattered the darkness and rose from the dead! Who would have imagined!

Ever after, those who persevere through Good Friday looking toward the joy of Easter Sunday find themselves immersed in the same eternal mystery of Light. Christ has pierced the darkness and given us Hope! We can sing the great “Te Deum” hymn with the greatest fervor now in every dark hour of our lives: “In you Lord is our hope – and we shall never hope in vain!”

Sincerely,

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

Human Life International

What is the Church’s stance on how one is born sinful?

Q: What is the Church’s stance on how one is born sinful?

A: Death entered the world as a result of Adam’s sin … “Original Sin”.

The fact that ALL (even newly conceived infants) are subject to death proves beyond a doubt that ALL are affected by Adam’s original sin.

The flip side of this “Law of Sin and Death” is that one without sin is NOT liable to die.

Jesus was totally without sin, and no one … not even the devil … had the right to take his life from him.

This is why Jesus’ death on the cross served to destroy Satan’s evil dominion over mankind.

Satan overstepped his authority by having his Jewish and Roman minions crucify the sinless and innocent Christ … once again incurring God’s wrath and his judgment … and (among other things) forfeiting all that he had earlier gained from Adam’s fall.

Jesus was raised from the dead, given all power over Heaven, Earth, death and Hell, and appointed as the new and sinless head of all mankind.

It is only because of this new and perfect human leadership that God is willing to offer peace and consolation to those who are willing to swear faithful allegiance to Jesus, our savior … typically via Baptism … and our subsequent faithful, active, and charitable participation … in all of the work, worship, sacraments, and devotions of his universal (Catholic) Church.