USCCB Advent Calendar and Other Resources

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Have we as pro-life Catholics been wrong to invest the lion’s share of our time, talent and energy in the political battle against abortion?

This question is forced upon us by the dramatic change in our social, cultural and political landscape over the past ten years or so, which has pushed problems every bit as important as abortion to the fore, for example the problems posed by the widespread breakdown of marriage and the family, the regularization of same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage, the triumph of a legal positivism utterly divorced from the natural law, our social dependence on a pagan bureaucratic State, the growing antipathy to Christianity, and the rapid erosion of religious liberty.

What we have learned in recent years is that we are not, as we have long thought, on the verge of winning the battle for human life. Rather, we must recognize that our culture as a whole has slipped into such darkness and error that addressing the problem of the sanctity of human life politically has become effectively impossible.

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Inverse reasoning: How corruption in the Catholic Church proves that its claims and teachings are not only valid, but true.

First, in this stage of the process, I think it is helpful to read the stories of other converts.  It helps you feel less alone.  I also think you’ll be struck, as I was struck, at how certain themes recur with uncanny regularity.  In this vein, I highly recommend picking up Blessed John Henry Newman’s Loss and Gain, which is a fictionalized account of Newman’s own conversion to Catholicism in mid-nineteenth century England.  I, at least, was blown away by how the issues confronting the potential Catholic convert in Newman’s day were virtually identical to those of our own.  Some of the conversations and situations recounted in the book could almost have been lifted from experiences Nikki and I had.  It’s also worth checking out books like The Catholic Church and Conversion by G.K. Chesterton, Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, and any of the others we’ve listed on our resource page.

These books, in addition to helping you feel less alone, will also help you feel less like you’re crazy.  This was something I really struggled with myself.  I kept asking myself, “Do I just have some kind of unhealthy need for certainty?  Bunches of people I know and love don’t seem to have any problem with not having great answers to what’s so special about going to worship services on Sunday, what the point of having a minister is, etc.  Maybe I’m just a nutjob.”  Reading all these conversion stories, however, and seeing people struggling (throughout time and space) with the very same issues that I struggled with helped to confirm what I knew deep within me anyway–that it wasn’t “unhealthy” or a weird “psychological tic” to want compelling, non-confusing answers to basic questions about my faith.

Second, I think it’s important to be attuned to what I’ll call the “intangible” signs pointing in the direction of Rome.  We’re not solely intellectual creatures, and I don’t believe that it’s possible to make it all the way to the Church on the basis of pure logic.  For me, as I got closer to the Church, I could look back over the course of my life and identify specific friendships, events, and other circumstances that I had great difficulty explaining as anything other than the workings of God’s grace, leading me Home.  I had a stark choice:  either all of those circumstances were the product of extreme coincidence or God was calling me to the Catholic Church.  And my belief in coincidence only goes so far.

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Saint Wiki: A free repository of Catholic Resources with 9,063 Pages (so far)

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Catholic faith resources from the Knights of Columbus

Transforming lives through education and formation in the theology of the body.

Using John Paul II’s theology of the body, Sacred Scripture, Christain mysticism, the arts and the liturgical heritage of the Eastern Catholic Churches the Tabor Life Institute helps people to transform their lives through the rediscovery of the original “ethos of seeing” the Sacramental-liturgical world veiw. This is a way of seeing life and the entire created order honestly, as it truly is and in turn learning how to relate honestly to the entire created order, most especially to the human person.

The Sacramental world veiw comes to its fullness in the human person where our human sexuality is seen as an icon of the very interior life of the Holy Trinity. It is precisely through our sexuality that we are able to enter into the “Spousal Mystery” to love as God loves. Through the theology of the body, Sacred Scripture, Christain mysticism and liturgy the Tabor Life Institute is dedicated to helping people to understand “why” they are human, male and female and consequently “how” to truly be human, man and woman and how to be for each other. We believe that the theology of the body and the Sacramental-liturgical worldview is indeed the answer to all of life’s questions.

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A Catholic perspective on the strange gods and alternative religion of the Eco-Pagans

Al Gore: High Priest and False Prophet of the Eco-Pagans

Do I have to buy Sunkist tuna, because it is dolphin friendly, even if Bumblebee tuna is cheaper?  Do I have to campaign for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, or for renewable sources of energy?  How does a Catholic use resources?  There is nothing wrong with using resources; that is what the good Lord put them on the earth for.  However, there are simple and affordable things I can do to use resources well, by practicing good economy in my lifestyle and my choice of recreation.  While it is primarily the responsibility of legislators, social and political leaders, and governments to promote policies that favor the conservation of resources, and stimulate their use in nations still in development, nevertheless there is much that I can do on a personal level.  The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has this to say:

Lifestyles should be oriented according to the principles of sobriety, temperance and self-discipline, both at the personal and social levels. People need to escape from the consumer mentality and promote methods of production that respect the created order, as well as satisfying the basic needs of all (November 12, 2005).

But what about the whales and the trees?  The fact is I do not have direct responsibility towards the humpback whales in the Artic, nor do I need to check before purchasing toothpaste whether the company supports the Amazon rainforest.  The environment and animals are important, but are not ends in themselves.  They are cared for in regard to something else.  However, my responsibility to foster and respect human life is binding, because each and every human being is an end it itself, and may never be used as a means to get something else.  It turns out that the human person, whether ”Greens” like it or not, is the centerpiece of creation.  He alone of all creation has a sense of purpose in his life, and he can recognize and live for this purpose.  He has a God-given dignity that bestows priority with respect to the goods of the earth.  Respect and care for the environment is very good and important, but only when it’s taken care of in the right order: humans first.

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