Archives for March 2012

Baltimore Catechism: on confirmation

Baltimore Catechism

Lesson 15

166 Q. What is Confirmation?
A. Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

In Baptism we are made Christians, but we are not very strong in our faith till the Holy Ghost comes in Confirmation. You remember how timid the Apostles were before the coming of the Holy Ghost, and how firm and determined in their faith they were afterwards; and how fearlessly they preached even to those who crucified Our Lord. “Soldiers,” because we must fight for our salvation against our three enemies, the devil, the world, and the flesh. Our Lord is our great leader in this warfare, and we must follow Him and fight as He directs. A soldier that fights as he pleases and not as his general commands, will surely be beaten.

167 Q. Who can administer Confirmation?
A. The bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation.

“Ordinary,” because in some very distant countries where on account of the small number of Christians they have as yet no bishops, the Pope allows some priest to give Confirmation; but then he must use the holy oil consecrated by a bishop, and cannot consecrate oil himself.

168 Q. How does the bishop give Confirmation?
A. The bishop extends his hands over those who are to be confirmed, prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and anoints the forehead of each with holy chrism in the form of a cross.

*169 Q. What is holy chrism?
A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm, consecrated by the bishop.

The oil signifies the strength we receive, and the balm that we should be free from the corruption of sin, and give forth the sweetness of virtue.

170 Q. What does the bishop say in anointing the person he confirms?
A. In anointing the person he confirms the bishop says: I sign thee with the Sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

*171 Q. What is meant by anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross?
A. By anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross is meant, that the Christian who is confirmed must openly profess and practice his faith, never be ashamed of it, and rather die than deny it.

“Openly profess” – that is, acknowledge that he is a Catholic when it is necessary to do so. He need not proclaim it in the streets. “Practice” it without regard for what other people think, say, or do. “Ashamed” of a religion so glorious as the Catholic religion? Would we not be proud to belong to a society of which kings and princes were members? Well, a few centuries ago nearly all the kings, princes, and great men of the earth were Catholics. All the saints were Catholics. All the Popes were Catholics. At present over three hundred million people in the world are Catholics. This Church was founded when Christ Our Lord was on earth, and is nearly two thousand years old. All the other churches are only a few hundred years old. We ought, therefore, to be proud of our religion, for which and in which so many noble persons died. We should feel proud that we are Catholics; while Protestants should feel ashamed in our presence, for they have deserted the true standard of Christ, and followed some other leader who set up a religion of his own in opposition to the true Church of Our Lord. They will not have the cross or crucifix, the standard of Christ, in their churches or houses or about their persons, and yet they claim to be Christians redeemed by the Cross. We are called upon to defend or profess our religion when we have to do what the Church and God require us to do: for example, hear Mass on Sundays and holy days; abstain from the use of fleshmeat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, fast on fast-days, and the like, when we are among persons not Catholics.

*172 Q. Why does the bishop give the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek?
A. The bishop gives the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek to put him in mind that he must be ready to suffer anything, even death, for the sake of Christ.

173 Q. To receive Confirmation worthily is it necessary to be in the state of grace?
A. To receive Confirmation worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace.

*174 Q. What special preparation should be made to receive Confirmation?
A. Persons of an age to learn should know the chief mysteries of faith and the duties of a Christian, and be instructed in the nature and effects of this Sacrament.

How can one be a good soldier who does not know the rules and regulations of the army nor understand the commands of his general? How can one be a good Christian who does not understand the laws of the Church and the teachings of Christ? The “nature” – that is, understand the Sacrament itself. “Effects” – that is, what it does in our souls.

175 Q. Is it a sin to neglect Confirmation?
A. It is a sin to neglect Confirmation, especially in these evil days when faith and morals are exposed to so many and such violent temptations.

“Temptations” – from the sayings and writings of the enemies of religion. To neglect it when we have an opportunity of receiving it without any very great difficulty would be a sin. When persons have been unfortunate enough to grow up without Confirmation, they should come at any time in their lives to receive it, and not be ashamed to do so on account of their age or condition in life.

Elsewhere: testimony for free contraception


Recently, House Democrats staged a “show hearing” in support of President Obama’s war on religion. At the event, a 23 30 year-old typical female student “reproductive justice” radical bemoaned the $3,000 cost to keep her well stocked with contraceptives during her law school studies. According to some calculations, that would buy enough condoms to enable this unmarried woman to (on average) engage in “protected sex” 7 times daily.

Due to inappropriate name calling on the part of a conservative commentator, the woman’s “testimony” has received much more attention than it otherwise would have. President Obama, took time away from addressing the country’s crushing deficit (an all-time record $220 BILLION for February ALONE – 75 million times this woman’s total contraception costs) to call her and check that she is okay. According to the aggrieved woman, “he said to tell my parents that [they] should be proud”. It was unclear what her parents should be proud of.

It is interesting to note that this person attends graduate school at the Jesuit run Georgetown Law School. Not surprisingly, their president offered glowing praise for the woman saying “this expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people.” Cardinal Wuerl felt that there were other lessons that he could have drawn from this.

Much ink has been spilled on this debacle. The mainstream media, as always, has done its job presenting this woman as a victim of religious extremists – taking their cues from the Obama administration (including Hillary Clinton). The best analysis comes from Robert Yates in his piece for Crisis Magazine:

I recently had a chance to take a careful look at the testimony of Sandra Fluke before the House Democrats. What I saw disturbed me greatly, and not simply because I am a Catholic who strenuously opposes Obama’s assault on religious liberty. There are a number of other assumptions at work in the thinking of Ms. Fluke and all who share her worldview that cannot go unaddressed. Some of them might be identified by pointing out that this is not, as was initially reported, a relatively innocent 23-year old female law student, but rather a 30 year-old hardened feminist activist who enrolled at Georgetown with a mission to challenge its contraception coverage policies. Others are more subtle.

The first assumption is that ObamaCare itself is irrevocably settled law. The only acceptable debate parameters are the specific provisions and applications of the law, while the question of its inherent validity, legality or practicality is now resolved. It causes one to wonder if the contraception mandate itself, which was audacious and perhaps irrational from the standpoint of electoral politics, was a calculated ploy to shift the debate. Once we begin debating the specific applications of ObamaCare, we have implicitly accepted ObamaCare. The resistance to the general idea is dulled and weakened, if not entirely forgotten.

If that weren’t bad enough, however, it also becomes clear through Ms. Fluke’s testimony that we live in different moral universes that appear to be entirely incompatible. To read the first part of her testimony, much of which focuses on the hardships allegedly endured due to a lack of contraception coverage, you would think someone abducted her and these women from their homes, put them in shackles, and shipped them to Georgetown in crates against their will. Or that a cruel society forced them, to use her words, “to pick between a quality education and our health.”

That her words might be seen as such was anticipated by Ms. Fluke, the prepared and professional activist. In response to the crazy notion that she and other women ought to have expected that a Catholic university did not cover contraception, she replies near the end of her testimony that “we expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success.” One may easily reply that women are treated equally: men don’t have access to contraception coverage at Georgetown either. Georgetown will not pay for a vasectomy or a year’s supply of condoms for a male student, and so it isn’t reasonable to expect it to pay for a female student’s birth control pills. Since when were women they only people who might want to use contraception”

It seems tiresome to point out that a privately-run institution has absolutely no obligation to provide specific goods and services to anyone, and that there are countless alternatives for those who want to attend a university that provides them with the specific coverage they would like. If, as Ms. Fluke contends, 94% of the students disagree with the Georgetown policy, then eventually the forces of supply and demand would determine the fate of the university; most people would simply choose a different school, and Georgetown would either change its policy or close its doors. Faced with a plethora of choices, options, freedoms, and liberties laid out like a buffet before them as no people in the history of human civilization have ever enjoyed, however, Mrs. Fluke portrays these women as the helpless victims of injustice. It is quite simply an outrageous lie.

Ms. Fluke actually presented a rather long list of what she and her cohorts did and did not expect, and they all amount to this: we expected to be given exactly what we demanded, immediately, without reservations and without any consideration whatsoever for the consciences or concerns of anyone else.

Yates goes on to say “we are all caught up in the legal aspects of this controversy, but if we consider the implications of these aggressive demands, something more disconcerting emerges.” He continues with more insightful points. Highly recommended – see Addressing Ms. Fluke.

I also recommend the Wall Street Journal‘s Sandra Fluke’s Amazing Testimony and Matt Barber’s Limbaugh and the, um, Lady.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #57)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: Fr. John Hollowell responds to PP’s call for videos. How the birth control pill works (including the less publicized parts). Most efficient: PETA or PP? Untangling the administration’s lies and misdirection. A priest gets setup by a gay activist. A quote of the week. Robot quadrotors.

— 1 —

Father John Hollowell responds to Planned Parenthood‘s president (Cecile Richards) call for videos.

Fr. Hollowell blogs at I Have A Say Because My Parents Didn’t Abort Me or Use Contraception. This was spotted by Fr. Z.

— 2 —

How exactly, does the birth control pill work? Women really should know before they begin putting these drugs into their body. If you are pro-life or even personally opposed to abortion, you may be surprised:

— 3 —

Matt Archbold over at CMR noticed that PETA is less efficient than Planned Parenthood. The “efficiency” he is referring to is in killing things. In PETA’s case, of the animals brought to them for care, 95% are simply killed. Yup, PETA’s “ethical treatment” = “euthanizing them”. Similarly, Planned Parenthood‘s “reproductive services” = “abortion” for pregnant women, 97.6% of the time. I suppose their vast array of other reproductive services comes into play the remaining 2.4% of the time.

— 4 —

With the Obama administration working overtime to confuse people with distortion and obfuscation, our work to explain the truth to family, friends and neighbors could not be greater. Here are two very good explanations.

First, a video that unmasks “The Con”, from the American Life League:

Second, an explanation that has been making the rounds in the blogosphere from Father Sammie Maletta’s recent homily:

— 5 —

Barbara Johnson was denied communion. At her mother’s funeral. By some politically oriented priest who suspected she was gay. He snubbed her further by refusing to go to the burial. She demands his removal. The Washington Post reported this story.

It was a setup and the media was all to happy to participate. Sadly, so did the chancery. Father Marcel Guarnizo by all reports is a holy and pious priest who did exactly the right thing, based on what he knew at the time and what has subsequently surfaced. The Washington Post and his Cardinal (Wuerl) owe him an apology.

Don’t miss this one.

— 6 —

Quote of the week:

Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Pope Benedict XVI

— 7 —

Sitting comfortably, reading this blog you may be wondering: what would it be like for an army of robot quadrotors to play the theme song from the James Bond series? Wonder no more:

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Meditation: our creation

Meditation Our Creation

Guest contributor:   Richard Myer

Close your eyes, sit straight, and relax. Empty your mind of the world and of all its noise. Enjoy the quiet and gentle spirit of the Lord, relax in his Peace.

Place yourself in the presence of God, and feel his peace as you look down upon the earth in all its beauty. Take a moment to enjoy the light of the Lord as it filters through you, knowing he will never leave you, his love for you is without limits or conditions.

Ask for inspiration as there is nothing that you do or don’t do that can separate you from his presence. Think about your struggles, and feelings of inadequacy. Little by little he will transform your weaknesses into strengths. Recognize that no matter how steep or treacherous the path before you, the safest place is by his side. Slow down and enjoy the journey in his presence. Affirm your trust in him. The knowledge of his loving presence will carry you through each day. Your thankfulness enables you to see the abundance he showers upon you. Your grateful heart will protect you from negative thinking. In everything give thanks, as this is his will for you. God will meet every one of your needs, with abundant sufficiency. He will never leave you or forsake you.

Where were you a short time ago, before your creation? Yes, the world really existed without you. The sun rose in all its beauty, and set in an orange and purple splendor. Waves would roll in off the ocean and splash upon the sandy seashore. The mountains stood tall and beautiful, the prairies stretched as far as the eye could see. The sun shown, the stars twinkled, the birds sang, the owls hooted. Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow; the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, in the service of each other. Being made in the image of God you possess the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. You are capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving of yourself and entering into communion with others. And you are called by grace to a covenant with your creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give.

God has given you existence from nothingness; he has created you, through his love and goodness. God infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created you to share in his own blessed life. Through him, he invites us to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in Heaven.

God has created you in perfect union with himself, capable of everlasting life. He has given you the ability to love your neighbor, yourself, your country and the earth which he created. We must be good stewards of the abundant resources we have been given. We strive to be good citizens, contributing to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. Every society’s judgments’ and conduct reflects a vision of man and his destiny. Allow the light of the gospel to shine upon us. Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us; help us take reasonable care of them, taking into the account of the needs of others and the common good of all.

Now humble yourself before God: Say from your heart: O Lord I am truly nothing before you. How did you have remembrance of me to create me? I was nothing yet you formed me and gave me life to share in your abundance of good. I was in ageless nothingness and would still be there if you had not drawn me out. Through Christ we can offer a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity.

Lord you have taken me in my nothingness to make me in your mercy what I am. I must always praise your holy name and give thanks for your immeasurable goodness. Take away our laziness so that the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. May we continue to pray without ceasing. May we persevere during our trials. Help us to remember to trust in you always. May we focus on you and find peace in your presence. Thank you God for my being.

Inhale the fragrance of your devotion throughout this evening. Let the peace and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Pray that God strengthen us in our loving desires and push back the darkness, for he is the light of the world. Our Creator, Our Salvation, Our Light, Our Strength, and Our Joy.

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #56)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: A good video explains Obama’s HHS mandate. How individual mandates destroy centuries of contract law and abolish the notion of limited government. The Becket Fund counters 4 myths about the HHS mandate with the truth. The Knights of Columbus Presidents’ Day video. Greece will soon go down in flames; how are we doing? A logical extension of abortion, ethicists say post-birth abortion OK. The UK’s version of Planned Parenthood.

— 1 —

OK, you may be confused about the HHS mandate that has the Catholic Church so very mad. This short video can help:

(This video is no longer available.)

The bishops are united. Every one of them, including those who have always leaned Democratic. Thousands of NON-CATHOLICS, while not all agreeing with our theology, agree that this is an unprecedented attack on religious freedom. You will not like the America this creates if it is not stopped.

— 2 —

Obama’s individual mandates destroy centuries of contract law and abolish the notion of limited government. Constitutional law professor Elizabeth Price Foley explains the amicus brief filed by the Institute for Justice:

— 3 —

The Becket Fund has but together some videos on Obama’s HHS mandate called The Truth Should Not Be A Secret:

Myth #1: “28 states – more than half – in the country have laws with contraception coverage mandates.”

Myth #2: “If you receive federal funding you have to comply by federal rules. You can’t have your cake and eat it too!”

Myth #3: These drugs don’t cause an abortion! Catholics should learn a little bit about biology.

Myth #4: Employees who do not share the same faith of their religious employer should not be deprived of health care because of their employer’s religious beliefs.

— 4 —

In honor of Presidents’ Day 2012, we remembered our great presidents, their views of our freedoms and the source of those freedoms. The Knights of Columbus produced this excellent video to encapsulate that:

— 5 —

Hello, you over there with the rose-colored glasses. Thank God we live in America right now and not Greece (or Spain, Portugal, France, Italy or Ireland). They have borrowed to finance their socialist agendas far beyond their ability to repay. Did you know that their national debt is now a whopping $38,939 per person. Yup, we sure wouldn’t want to be in their shoes! We are not — we are worse off. From the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee comes (by way of The Weekly Standard) this handy graphic:

Per Capita Debt
Spotted by Matthew Archbold at CMR

— 6 —

We have reached the point where “ethicists” now find it morally acceptable to endorse after-birth abortion. It makes sense to me. Why should the law allow abortion prior to birth but not immediately after? Not much has changed for the blob of tissue being on one side or the other of the womb. Why should a woman’s right to choose have an inflexible deadline? The answer of course is that it is murder at any time.

Matthew Archbold writes for the National Catholic Register: Ethicists Argue for Post Birth Abortions.

— 7 —

Secular humanists fight for the laws to uphold their sacrament of abortion. As Planned Parenthood has shown again and again, when those laws fall short of their immoral hopes and dreams, they are ignored. This is not just a US phenomenon either. In the UK it is illegal to kill your unborn child purely based upon his or her gender. (Other reason’s are A-OK such as “the due date would place the child under the wrong astrological sign”.) Regardless of this, doctors are happy to ignore even this weak restriction:

The UK paper The Telegraph has the story. Spotted by Matthew Archbold at CMR.

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!