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As a Catholic American You Are Compelled to Vote Today

“I, as your pastor, am asking you therefore first of all to vote, which is your duty.  It is your duty as a Catholic and it is your duty as a citizen of the United States of America.  And don’t forget your picture I.D. when you go.  And then, secondly, but most importantly, when you step in that voting booth, you vote your Catholic faith.  You vote your Catholic faith by making life, that is love, genuine Christ-centered love, the first and foremost criterion of your life and the actions that flow there from, not least of which is casting a vote.”

– Monsignor James E. Hart 10/26/2014

My fellow Catholics, if your priest has shied away from exhorting you, as a Catholic, to vote, then please take the 14 minutes to listen to one of my pastor’s homilies from this voting season.  Catholics comprise 26% of our nation.  We are the group with the largest unified influence in our country, provided we all vote and vote as Catholics according to the teaching of our Catholic faith. Together we can defend the defenseless.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2240, under the heading “The Duty of Citizens” compels us: “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country”.

Dear Readers, help us encourage those who haven’t planned on voting today.  Share with us why you find it important to vote, or share with us if you voted early or will be voting today.


More from Msgr. Hart’s Homily:

“In fact, we in the West are being presented with another gospel, a gospel with a Christ without a cross.”

“Our neighbor is, in fact, anyone who bears the Imago Dei, the image of God in their souls, which is every man, every woman, every child without exception, from the very moment of his or her conception”

“As we approach November the 4th and prepare once again to go into the voting booth, we need to remind ourselves that this defense of the defenseless, this compassion for our neighbor finds its fulfillment as the Catholic Church teaches us in the defense of the most defenseless of all, the unborn child in the womb of his or her mother. The moral law, the law of love compels us as the people of God to stand for and defend innocent human life by all legal and morally sanctioned means against the culture of death and those who advocate for it. Whether it is the unborn child, the aging parent who some call a burden on our medical system, the allegedly excess embryos in the fertility clinic, the person with a disability, the cognitively impaired accident victim who needs assistance in receiving food and water to live. They must be defended. Each of these today must be so defended because they are at risk. They are at risk of being dismissed as lives unworthy of life. This is sick. And it is a sickness in our culture, a sickness unto death. We Catholics must not shrink from the obligation to assert in the voting booth, as in every aspect of our lives, the values and principles of our Catholic faith, which are essential to the common good, beginning with the right to live from the moment of conception when God implants that soul in that very life.



Anima Christi Ann Marie O. Ink Slingers Series

Line-by-Line Prayer Reflection: Anima Christi, Part 3

This is the third of a series of posts reflecting line-by-line on the Anima Christi.

CS Anima Christ part 3

“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Blood of Christ, inebriate me.

What does this mean? What are we asking?

First, let’s look at the definition of inebriate. When one thinks of inebriate one’s mind thinks “to be drunk, intoxicated”.

I looked it up and there is one other definition. Inebriate is a transitive verb meaning to exhilarate or stupefy as if by liquor. AS IF, not necessarily BY liquor. Exhilarate means extreme excitement. So when we are saying “Blood of Christ, inebriate me” we are asking Christ to fill us with his Life giving blood to the point of exhilaration! After all, without Blood, we cannot LIVE.

Jesus, I ask you to fill me with Your Love, Your Life so that I can show Your Light to the World.

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NFP – Long Term Promises

Growing up Catholic means NFP was a familiar word to me. As I entered my teen and college years, I was aware of its existence, but that was about the extent of my understanding. It wasn’t until I was nearing marriage that I actually took the time to read about what it was myself, get educated on the actual practice of the method, and decide along with my new husband that we would openly and willingly choose to follow this method when thinking about our future family.

Over the years, I have become used to questions and comments regarding our choice to use NFP. As a matter of fact I have even come to expect it when the “dreaded” topic of family planning comes up in discussions, especially with those who view NFP as a foreign concept. However something happened this last week at Mass that opened my eyes to a possible contributing reason for this.

I was sitting in church with my five children and husband. Our youngest daughter was born with a brain condition and is developmentally delayed. She also has a feeding tube that causes her to have belly aches and sometimes just has outbursts she nor we can control. As we were sitting through the readings, I read her cues that she just wasn’t going to last. She started to fuss a little and arch (which typically means headache from the pressure or bellyache from her feed) so I picked her up along with her feeding bag and began to make my way out the back door to the narthex. Once out in the back, she calmed a little, but still had the occasional fusses and screams as she struggled with whatever it was that was bothering her. I just held her and loved on her and watched the Mass through the glass. Besides the usual random cry or chirp or babble, I hadn’t heard any other children being inappropriate in the church (with the exception of one other father who had brought his little boy out back who was having a “toddler moment.”) Before the Holy Holy started, I noticed a very pregnant pause in the flow of the liturgy. The gap and silence caught my attention of course. Then, a woman’s voice came over the microphone and said “just to remind you there IS a nursery for children.”

I paused for a moment thinking to myself “Did I just hear that?” An usher walked by and I stopped her asking “Did the cantor just say what I think she said?” The usher said “Yes, I have never heard that before!” I agreed. In the 6 years of attending this parish, I had never heard such an announcement! The usher said she would speak with the priest after Mass to inquire about the event. I thanked her and she walked on. And this was the moment NFP came to mind.

NFP you say? Who thinks of family planning and the Catholic church at a moment like that? Well I did. I started to think of all the wonderful education we have now about NFP and the different methods to use, the classes, the instructors, and the excellent marriage prep that is available to educate young people that may have heard of it but not quite understood what it was about (like me before I was married). And then I started to think what a gap we must have once we teach about NFP. There is some sort of disconnect that occurs between practicing the method, and realizing that it extends too far beyond the family decisions of a Catholic couple.

The first thought that popped in my head were the many young families I know who are good people, and even love the church, but do not bring themselves or their children to Mass because of exactly what had happened at our Mass that day. I thought of the many young families who WERE in Mass, struggling to make it and have the baby or toddler or special needs child last just that little bit longer so they can at least make it through communion without having to go out back. I lastly thought of that young family who maybe tried for the very first time to bring their child/ren to Mass that day, only to be met with such an announcement.

While the announcement was distasteful to me, I was not deterred by it. No matter what, I will be at Mass and I will be there with my children. It’s not always easy, but that’s just me.. I can press on and move through it. However I know not everyone functions like that. And that is what made me sad that day. Where is the support after families follow through and use NFP? Where is the understanding of young families trying to bring their children to Mass? Where is the joy in hearing the occasional squeal or baby babble and realizing they are possibly experiencing the same holiness and joy we feel in celebrating the Eucharist? NFP extends far beyond the family unit. It extends into our Church family once the fruits of this method are among us, and we must have more patience to encourage parents and young ones that they are in fact doing the right thing.

To be fair, I am not trying to advocate screaming tantrums in Mass. I get it. It is a place of reverence and a place of prayer and the Eucharist. I have been there done that with my children when they have had their unruly days. I have dragged (figuratively speaking) many a child out the back of the church as she wailed or cried or had one of those oh so lovely toddler moments of drama. It happens. But when the “noise” consists of a chirp, or short cry, or short fuss, or even soft talking as the parents try to quiet the child, I feel we need a gentle reminder that this is what NFP is all about. To nourish life, to be open to life, and to accept the life God gives us. I think this also extends into spiritual life, especially that of our young ones.

NFP is a process of communication and discovery among Catholic couples. It is about learning and listening and working together while listening to God’s will for our lives. This is really the same for our children. Children are the epitome of discovery and curiosity. We yearn for them to learn – when they start reading we are proud. When they finally ‘get’ the tricky math problem we applaud them. When they show interest and curiosity into a new scientific concept, we get excited for them. These learning methods are very important for children – and must translate from our discovery of the NFP process all the way to the children born of that process sitting in Mass making their own discoveries about God and His will for their lives.

Kaitlin discovering new connections at the science museum. How wonderful if she can make connections with God and the Eucharist by listening at Mass every week.

As for the cantor, I hold no judgement or discontent. The comment was wrong, but I don’t know what kind of day she was having, what prompted her to make such a comment, or what influenced her to make the announcement in the negative tone that she did. But I would ask that she realize a lot of the “noise” she is hearing is our future generation of the Church. This is the way we acclimate our children to the Mass, the traditions, the sacred meaning of the Eucharist. Every parent does the best they can – for some it does mean using the nursery, for some it means standing in the back, for some it means struggling in the sanctuary with the little ones. But no parent should ever feel sorry or guilty their little ones are at Mass. No parent should feel the discomfort their children may by “disturbing others” and most of all, no parent should second guess bringing their children because of a misplaced mid-Mass announcement.

No matter what, we must always be welcoming of children at Mass. We are the example as a community of practicing Catholics. We have to guide them and be patient in this discovery. This can be our “long term NFP” as a Church family. The NFP promises we make in a marriage can continue to help us accept our openness to life and our nourishing of God’s children. The children that He so lovingly has given to families who are trying their best to follow His word and be open to His heavenly gifts.

Maura and her rosary
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Word-FILLED Wednesday: They Chanted HAIL SATAN

Ah, the raging liberal stereotypes were alive and well at the Capitol in Austin, Texas yesterday {and the day before} in response to the second session called by Governor Rick Perry. Now currently named HB2, the new bill is identical to the bill SB5 that mob, Cecile Richards, and Mizunos killed last week. As a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin myself, I understand the behavior I witnessed last night all too well. I would have simply called it a Tuesday on the south mall at UT. Mobs and rage and irrational anger are part and parcel to the UT scene. These are the people that Cecile wants representing her cause, the destruction of the unborn under the guise of “women’s health,” carried out by women who have bought the lie that in order to be equal to men, they need to shed their uteruses.

But, if you pay people, I guess you can’t complain who shows up.

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Hail Satan was heard behind those giving witness to life – you can hear them here. Hail Satan even trended on Twitter last night, too.

Here is a small snapshot into the past two days at the Capitol in Austin.

Pray, friends. It’s about to get more intense in Texas.

Pray for hearts to be pierced by the love that only comes from God.

And pray for State Representative Jonathan Strickland and his family who were

threatened by pro-choicers who told him “I hope you’re raped” and “I hope your daughter’s raped.”

Many feminists insist that abortion is necessary for women to participate freely and equally in society. Anyone who disagrees, they argue, has merely adopted patriarchal standards and accepted women’s ‘place’ in society. Yet this argument demonstrates how deeply the roots of sexism run in our culture. Its premise is a sexist one—that women are inferior to men and that in order to be equal, we have to change our biology to become like men—wombless and unpregnant at will. What other oppressed group in history has had to undergo surgery in order to be equal?

The opposition were so flustered that TEXAS BLUE showed up on Tuesday at the correct time, that they pouted and

whined in the Twittersphere and created an embarrassing tactic against anyone wearing blue.

Fetology is the study of, diagnosis and treatment of a human fetus as a separate patient.

Read those words again. Separate Patient. Fetology didn’t exist in 1973 when Roe vs. Wade decision was made.

What’s beneath the surface level mantras? Watch the video and see.

An airplane with the message “STANDWITHWENDY”

Eyewitness account: I want to share my story from the rally on 7/1. I went to the Capitol grounds, found a shaded place on the sidewalk, and knelt down and started praying the rosary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. As I was praying, a women in orange came up to me and started to hassle me and tried to give me a metal clothes hanger. I ignored her and a courageous man came to my defense and she backed off.
However, what I found most disturbing was a man telling a mother of 3 (in the presence of her children), “Why don’t you put pictures of dead women who died from botched abortions in back alleyways?!” His tone was full of anger and hate. All the mother was doing was putting together a sign for her and her children to carry around in support of life. I was so inspired by this mother and her 3 children.
Those who understand how the process goes, know that you have to be prepared to drop everything and head to the Capitol once information is known. Originally planned to show up at noon on July 2, news changed abruptly and folks needed to get down there at 9 a.m. – on short notice, TEXAS BLUE folks made the trek to register their presence and sign up to give testimony.

If the fetus you save is gay, would you still fight for it?


Here is video of what it sounded last night just before we left.

To keep up to date with what’s going on, please visit Texas Alliance for Life’s Facebook fan page. #Stand4Life, y’all!

SOUND OFF: If you were there, what was your experience like? Share with us, TEXAS blue!

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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s birth and freedom it seems only fitting that we should take a hard look at our nation and what she has become over time.  Does she still stand for the principles our founding fathers fought so hard to gain and protect?  Does she still stand for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Many people, when arguing about our country and what we should or shouldn’t do, often cite Thomas Jefferson as he wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”  We see people mistaking what Jefferson truly meant when he wrote these words.  They twist and turn his words to fit their agenda.  They confuse their wants for rights.  Why do we wonder how our country is in its current state when we misuse the guidelines our forefathers so carefully penned for us?

So, what are these unalienable rights that we are promised?  We first need to define life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Life is defined as the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body; the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual; the period from birth to death; spirit or animation.  There are of course other definitions but we will use these particular definitions for this article.  Given these definitions are we insuring that all of our citizens are granted the Right to Life?  Without a doubt the answer is a resounding NO!

If we are supposed to be assured life why is it that in our country 1.21 million citizens lose their life through abortion each year?  Why does our country allow this great travesty to occur?  Truly our country has lost her vision when it comes to seeing what this crime against humans does to her very being.

In addition to the right to be born, we also include the right to live in with our right to life.  What does that encompass?  This means that we should be afforded all the necessities needed to actually stay alive… food, water, shelter, health care.  There are many in our nation that do not have these basics needs met.  While our government has programs in place to help some people, many others are left without help. Our programs are misused, broken, and need to be fixed.  We need to stop arguing about who is to blame and look at our moral responsibility to take care of all of our citizens.  This doesn’t mean we provide hand-outs but that we provide hand-ups.   We should be helping each other to be able to LIVE.   Our Catholic faith also teaches us about this social justice.  We have a moral and social obligation to help others who we see are struggling to live.

What is liberty? Liberty is defined as the quality or state of being free.  One could argue that our nation is one of the most “free” nations in the world.  Our citizens are free to travel unrestricted throughout the nation, we have the right (and privilege) to vote, we are supposed to be guaranteed the right to say what we want, the freedom to practice our religion safely, to make money and spend it the way we see fit.  The list goes on and we could expand on those many times over.  But, are we truly as free as our government would like us to believe?

We only have to look at the HHS Mandate to know that some of those freedoms we enjoy so much are in danger of slipping away.  The government wants to insist that all employers, including religious entities like the Catholic Church, abide by the law which forces them to purchase/pay for a product that could very well go against their moral or religious beliefs.  This is a clear violation against our religious freedom.   Still, our government pushes forward with this law.  What other laws should we worry about, especially with DOMA being struck down, being forced upon our churches and our consciences?

Additionally, we have seen strides from our government in taking away our rights to own guns, our rights to free speech, and our right to not be unlawfully detained (the National Defense Authorization Act) among others.  Our right to liberty doesn’t seem to be as secure as we may hope.  Still, does our right to liberty (freedom) mean that we should be able to do whatever we want, whenever we want?  No.  We still have to answer to a higher authority and a code of moral conduct.  Our forefathers knew this and yet unfortunately we see our society detouring from that belief.

That of course leads to the pursuit of happiness.   I think when people quote Thomas Jefferson this is actually the part they are hoping to have on their side.  Our God-given right is to be happy and to pursue whatever it is that makes us happy no matter what… right? Wrong.  When the founding fathers signed our Declaration of Independence and claimed our right to pursue happiness they didn’t mean for us to go hog wild and throw morality and common sense into the wind.  Quite the contrary in fact!

Happiness does not just refer to an emotional state.  It also refers to our overall well-being.  This is the happiness that our forefathers thought was so important.  They wanted us to pursue the things that not only helped us be well physically but morally and religiously as well.   In the world today where our own immediate satisfaction is paramount we lose sight of the original context of the word happiness.  People now want to be happy immediately but often that happiness is fleeting.  It is devoid of anything to do with long-term well-being but focuses more on what will satisfy me this moment.  Happiness as defined in the Declaration of Independence is nothing without the moral and religious connotations.  Our forefathers knew that true happiness depended not so much on ourselves but on something much greater than us.  We can see this clearly in other writings of the times as well.   If we look at the Massachusetts Constitution drafted in 1870 we see the following written, “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality, and . . . these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality.” 

We can see that the Declaration was not written to give us a free pass to do whatever we wish as long as it makes us happy.  True happiness cannot come at the expense of others.  It cannot come by throwing our morality aside.  It cannot come by pushing God out of our schools, our homes, and our lives.  True happiness, as a right, has to include faith, reverence, virtue, integrity, and righteousness.  This is the happiness we are promised, not the fleeting “happiness” brought on by selfish desires and wants.

With all this in mind where does this leave us as a nation?  We still live in one of the greatest countries in the world but we live in a country where we still need to work to insure our God given rights are never taken away.  As Christians it is our duty to stand up for those rights, not only for ourselves, but for those who cannot stand up for themselves… the poor, the sick, and the unborn.  We can clearly see that our nation’s moral compass is not quite pointing in the right direction.  We need to work to bring our focus back to God and less on ourselves.  Let us show our love for our great nation by taking it back from those who wish to rip it from God’s hands.  As Christians and patriots it is our duty.

“It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.”  ~ John Adams

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”   ~ Thomas Jefferson