Keeping Those Kids Catholic

About the title…Made you look! Sorry. I don’t have the answers for that. I only have observations, guesses, thoughts, encouragement and trials and errors just like the rest of you. Ask me when I’m dead and I’m sure I’ll be able to give you the oh-so-clear hindsight formula. For those of you who think you are endowed in perfect wisdom in this arena, good luck with that. If I were a betting woman I’d bet there’s a sudden heretic on your horizon. God has a way of humbling us when we need it.

I got a Facebook message from one of my 20-something, convert, and young mother friends this morning saying, “This is such a depressing article” with this link. My first reaction was, “What’s a nice girl like you doing reading America Magazine???  It’s like porn for heretics.”  She’s new to crazy Catholicism so she’s still learning what to avoid although she admitted “Jesuit” should have been her first clue. Parenting advice found in America Magazine really should just be ignored as a blanket rule. 

Now I don’t usually do the “mommy blog” thing, but Mother’s Day is coming up so I’m going to take this one on.

What can Catholic moms do if they want their children to remain Catholic? Let go.

Kristin Grady Gilger

May 04, 2018

When you have children, everyone tells you that your life is going to change. They mean this in both the best and the worst possible ways: There are the predictable losses (lost sleep, lost money, lost time) as well as the wholly unexpected gains of loving a child beyond reason, beyond yourself.

I’ll admit right off the bat that there’s definitely lost sleep, and those darling little cherubs break things, ruin things, and suck the life out of you, but I’m not really sure I ever thought these as losses.  I thought of them more as investments. Every little dollar they wasted, sleepless night I had, and endless days driving them to and from whatever was something else that I could offer up for their salvation and mine. Did I/do I always remember to do it? Not at every single turn but I tried to make some blanket offerings now and then to cover my exhausted stupor. 

What people do not tell you is that your children are bound to make unexpected and sometimes bewildering choices—and those choices have the power to change you. Children will shake your sense of identity, challenge your beliefs and fundamentally alter who you are.

Anyone who has tried to pass on their religious faith to their children knows this to be true: You can be a good Catholic and raise a passel of atheists. You can be a strident ex-Catholic and raise a priest—like I did. 

I see where she’s going but, really, temptation only has the power you give it. (Kind of sounds all Catholic Jedi-y, doesn’t it?)

Shaken identity? Yeah, this one rings true in this particular year. One Mad Dad has probably seen me have a couple nervous breakdowns this year alone, but I wouldn’t say they altered who I was. They actually made it clearer who I was. I am a child of God who needs His mercy, love and care, and sometimes, I know you’ll find it hard to believe, I forget that. I always had a fondness for the story of The Little Red Hen, and “I’ll do it myself!” has floated around my head a time or two or a hundred. Still, I think we parents and children both miss the spiritually symbiotic relationship we have with each other. We are each others’ paths to heaven. It can be quite blissful and far less adversarial when we keep that in the forefront of our minds.

My son would tell you that I have had a big influence on him. He dives into the world in the same way I do, with the firm intention of changing it. He works out his thoughts by writing them down. He believes in the healing properties of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on a rainy day. But when it came to making the biggest choice of his life—to convert to Catholicism and become a Jesuit priest—I was left to wonder what influence I had had on him or whether I had wielded any influence at all.

I’m sure she hasn’t worked through her newly returned to Catholicism. As you’ll see, reading further, this is what she’s done. I’m just trying to figure out why America sees her as providing answers to keeping your kids Catholic when she didn’t even manage to do that for herself.

I will say this, I’ve seen many parents bewildered when their children didn’t follow the same vocation. For some reason, no matter how faithful they are, they see it as a slap in the face versus a calling from God. Different doesn’t necessarily mean rejection.  Sometimes it just means different.

Many of the good Catholic mothers I have talked to are just as bewildered. They did everything in their power to raise children in their faith only to see them adopt other religions or reject God altogether. Some say they were defeated by a culture that increasingly values the material over the spiritual, or they point to the rigidity of doctrine, failures of individual priests, sexual abuse scandals, boring services and bad music. Many blame themselves, although they struggle to say where exactly they went wrong.

And here we go. Would I expect anything less to be found in  America Magazine? You knew it was coming. All of these poor moms’ kids left the Faith because of the “rigidity of doctrine, failures of individual priests, sexual abuse scandals, boring services and bad music.” (The last one intrigues me.)

Those whose children remain practicing Catholics have some ideas about why that may be the case, but they, too, are well aware that things could easily have turned out differently.

I find it interesting that she didn’t list their magic recipes. After all, she’s very willing to point out where people think they went wrong or where the Church is at fault. I think most of us whose children still practice the Faith, at this point, would sum it up with “BY THE GRACE OF GOD!” because, yes, we do know it could have turned out differently and still could.

In a recent survey of more than 1,500 U.S. Catholic women, commissioned by America and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 73 percent of women who are mothers said their children remain in the church. Fifteen percent indicated that none of their children are now Catholic. The remaining 12 percent reported a mixed result: Some of their children are Catholic and some are not.

OK, personally, I think the 73% actually seems kind of high. What does “remain in the church” mean to America? Does it mean they’re in some sort of Christian denomination?  Is simply saying you’re Catholic enough to win that percentage point? I mean, I’ve seen some claim Catholicism like a nationality, but they only show up at Mass on Christmas and Easter and reject most doctrines.  Seems like a pretty useless survey. Yes, they’re all baptized Catholics, and once a Catholic always a Catholic, but we might want to strive for a little bit more.  How about next time you do a survey, America, you ask if their children embrace all the doctrines of the Catholic Church?

Those results closely mirror an informal poll of America readers for this article conducted by social media. Just over 25 percent of the more than 500 respondents said their children have left the church—a number that trends suggest will increase as the young children of many respondents grow up. Nationally, nearly half of all children leave the faith of their parents once they reach adolescence.

Umm, it’s like they didn’t read their own poll results. I thought 73% were still in? If so, how is it that “children leave the faith of their parents once they reach adolescence?”  Sorry.  Your behind being at Mass on Sundays is not an option around here. Rarely will a child take the Faith seriously if their parents don’t make it mandatory while their little brains of mush are forming. It’s not optional. In fact, I don’t care if they reach the age of 50.  It’s not optional. They’ll never stop hearing about it as long as I draw a breath. It’s not just a trivial decision to skip Mass and they will know it.  They may still choose that at some point but they won’t be able to say they just didn’t know it was crucial.

Creating a Catholic Identity

Many of the mothers who wrote to America sounded wistful about that reality. Kathleen Baxter, who lives in rural New York, said her youngest son stopped going to church during his sophomore year of high school. On Sunday mornings, he would stay in bed with the covers pulled up over his head, and no amount of cajoling could convince him to go to Mass. She did not take it well. “My first reaction was: I’m going to force him to go, whether he likes it or not,” she said.

Her first reaction was dead on!  Geez!  Some days I have trouble getting out of bed for Mass, too.  Waaa!  Again, we all need to learn to resist our temptations. 

She and her husband are now trying to let him find his own way, hoping that the example they set will tip the balance. Her husband is in the church choir, and Ms. Baxter serves on her parish’s pastoral council. Both serve as lectors and are involved in the adult Christian initiation program (R.C.I.A.).

Since you are involved with RCIA and other Church activities, I’m just going to assume somebody’s told him the Sunday obligation is an obligation and that it’s a mortal sin not to go to Mass unless some SERIOUS reason or illness exists. (I know it’s silly to assume such things these days but I’m going to go with it.) Bottom line, your son is going with mortal sin and you’re just going to say “I hope I’m a good enough model that he’ll come to his senses.”  Please. You’d better pray your sterling example isn’t the only thing your son’s salvation rests upon, because we all fall miserably short. Act like it’s life or death, because that is what we’re really talking about.

Also, I really don’t count on my children looking to me as an example. That’s why I try to surround them with as many other people who are not their parents for examples. I’m not delusional. I’m not nearly as cool as, really, anyone else in the eyes of my children. I’m mom. I am the proverbial prophet in my own land. The odds of my own kids realizing that I’m totally cool is slim to none until, maybe, they have their own teens/young adults and they come to realize it’s not a job, it’s an adventure! Remember how completely out of touch your parents looked when you were young? Remember when you realized they might not be so crazy after all? Yeah. Take heart. You’re probably totally awesome to somebody else’s kids.

 “I figure if I set a good example, maybe someday he’ll come back,” Ms. Baxter said before adding hopefully, “Maybe he’ll meet a Catholic girl!”

Well, if that’s not passing the buck, I don’t know what is! Yes, let’s leave it to the Catholic girl to make Catholicism mandatory at some point in your son’s life. Blech. Reality check, lady. I know plenty of Catholic girls who ain’t living the Catholic life. In a world where children have been left to raise themselves, “Catholic” is getting harder and harder to find.

She has reason to be encouraged. Study after study makes it clear that parents—perhaps most especially mothers—do have an enormous influence on their children’s religious choices. The vast majority of adults who adhere to religion were raised in households where religion was valued and practiced.

…and mandatory. When did parents start saying, “Whatever you want, honey!”? Can I just stop and say here that YOU ARE THE PARENT?!?! Would you ever tell your kid he could go ahead and just eat Fruit Loops unto his heart’s content??? Of course not.  (Again, let’s just go with a bit of supposed sanity.) You provide nourishment that’s good for the child, whether or not they like it, until they get to the age where they can possibly see the wisdom in it or they leave your house. 

When I asked Ms. Baxter about why she thought it was important to raise her children Catholic, her response was simple: “I was raised Catholic,” she said. Nearly half of the women in the informal America poll referred to the same thing, often using these exact words. They want their children to be raised in the same faith they grew up in. They feel the strong pull of a tradition that has defined their families, often for generations. Being Catholic is a big part of who they are.

People! Catholicism is not a nationality!!!! The Holy Eucharist really should have been the simple answer here but the blind are leading the blind and we can’t figure out why people are leaving the Church in droves. Tell them to “Let go!” and it’ll all get better?!?!  Ugh!

I’m sure there are some people out there reading America’s article and thinking it’s a great guide for parents. What is it guiding you to do? Uh, nothing? You need to educate yourself. Like most of America’s readers, I received a less than adequate education from Catholic school and early parish life. You know why I’m still Catholic? My parents told me about the TRUE Faith! Insisted I frequented the Sacraments AND dogged me. Did I always love it? Of course not. For many of those adolescent years and a smidge of my young adult years, I just did it out of duty and guilt. Yay for the conscience!  Persevering made me love it, because why? Just like everyone else today, THE GRACE OF GOD! I guarantee if my parents had let me choose to go to Mass, I probably wouldn’t have done it.  Teens are lazy by nature.  At some point, I actually listened to a homily for once. I soooo wish I could remember when the light switch turned on and I started paying attention, but I’m pretty sure it was probably around the first time my Faith was attacked. Suddenly the martyr stories I’d heard growing up became a little more real.  “Nationality” was no longer good enough. I had to learn my Faith. Persecution really is good for the soul, but you REALLY need to show the youth where it’s happening, because, for the most part, it’s pretty subtle. Until they see it for what it is, it can just erode the will.

That is certainly true for Kristina Ortega, a Los Angeles mother of two young boys, whose father immigrated to the United States from Mexico. “So much about being Catholic is cultural for me,” Ms. Ortega said. “I don’t know how to separate my Catholic-ness from my Mexican-ness.

Catholicism, for her, includes assembling altars for the Day of the Dead with her children and praying novenas after the death of a loved one. The family is part of a mostly Latino parish, another way of keeping the children connected to their culture, and the boys, who are 5 and 8, attend Catholic schools, as she and her husband did.

But the family is also intent on introducing practices of their own. “Part of Latino culture is that religion is something women do,” Ms. Ortega said. “It’s important to me that my children see my husband is engaged.”

As far as my highlighting goes…Yes, yes and yes. I’m from California and this is definitely true. Yay for her and her husband’s response to bucking that trend.

Both she and her husband firmly believe that a big part of being Catholic is not just believing in something but acting on those beliefs, something Ms. Ortega credits to her Jesuit education at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. They know their family is, in her words, “incredibly privileged,” and they want their children to “see what the rest of the world is like.”

The Jesuit church they belong to sits in the midst of a public housing project, which helps drive that lesson home. During Lent, for example, parishioners leave the church to pray the Stations of the Cross in the streets of the community. All four Ortegas take part.

Ugh! It’s like nails on a blackboard hearing “Loyola Marymount”. Yes, yes, many of us are privileged.  I mean our poorest of poor aren’t eating dirt cakes, but when looking at the rest of the world, it’s also important to see the martyrdom going on. We are actually free to practice our Faith (for the most part) without recrimination. Many, many, too many are dying around the world for the Faith. We have such a gift here, but we tend to squander that privilege. 

Lauren Schumacher of Centennial, Colo., who has sons almost the same age as Ms. Ortega’s, is just as adamant about the importance of “doing Catholicism.” “You want them to know it’s not just about the prayer,” she said. “You also have to help those who are poor and help [your children] realize how fortunate they are.”

This is something she and her husband frequently remind their sons in conversation, but it is also something they put into practice in small ways, like visiting nursing homes, distributing blankets to the homeless and joining other parishioners who take gifts to disadvantaged families at Christmas.

Perhaps more important, Ms. Schumacher and her husband try to set an example by curbing their own materialism. “We try to live within our means. You can say that all day long, but if you’re not giving to the poor or if you’re living some elaborate lifestyle, it doesn’t resonate as much,” she said. “I work on my materialism so they don’t see me buying stuff all the time, stuff I don’t need.”

Great, but do your children know the doctrines of the Faith, TOO? I mean, Protestants do the same thing. The Catholic Church has always been helpers of the poor and I strongly recommend it, but we also share the Faith as well as food. We are missionaries all the way around, not just in material goods.

Ms. Schumacher and her husband teach their faith in other ways. They follow the rituals of Lent and Advent, using calendars to help their children follow along. They place the figure of baby Jesus in their Nativity scene on Christmas Day. Their boys collect statues of saints. The saints, Ms. Schumacher said, are a big hit, especially St. Jude and St. Michael the Archangel, who occupy places of honor on her sons’ nightstands. “Every time they go to the church store, they want a saint statue,” she said. “I have to rein it in.”

Bravo! Making the saints real is super important. They’re not just fictional characters to entertain. They are examples for us all. They are our friends.

But most powerful, she said, is prayer. Ms. Schumacher remembers praying about what now seem to her like “ridiculous things” when she was a child. “I think back now and say, ‘Was I really praying about my bad skin?’ But at least you’re talking to God. That’s what I want for my kids.

“You want them to know it’s not just about the prayer. You also have to help those who are poor and help [your children] realize how fortunate they are.”

And the Sacraments, Ms. Schumacher. Don’t forget those. That said,just forming a friendship with God, the angels and his saints on trivial things is a great lifelong habit, one we all need to be reminded of again and again. Everything should start with prayer.  None of us nails the “Catholic thing” once and for all. We constantly give into, in full or in part, the seven deadly sins, right? That’s why confession. 

Also, to all of the parents out there worried about your child straying here or there or leaving the Faith altogether, this is one of my favorites! We have our very own angels for a reason, but so often we forget about them or ignore them. Almost all of us have been guilty of that at one point or another.

I humbly salute you, O you faithful, heavenly friends of my children! I give you heartfelt thanks for all the love and goodness you show them. At some future day I shall, with thanks more worthy than I can now give, repay your care for them, and before the whole heavenly court acknowledge their indebtedness to your guidance and protection. Continue to watch over them. Provide for all their needs of body and soul. Pray, likewise, for me, for my husband, and my whole family, that we may all one day rejoice in your blessed company. Amen.

Back to Ms. Schumacher…

Each night before bed, her children say their own versions of prayers, which draw out concerns they rarely voice in other ways. “I can ask my 7-year-old about his day at school, and he’ll say he liked recess, and that’s about all the elaboration we get,” she said. “But before bed, he might say, ‘Oh, God, could you have Jamie be nice to me tomorrow?’ or ‘Please don’t let me have that dream.’

Sometimes these prayers prompt her to ask questions, but just as often, she leaves the matter up to her son and God, confident that the prayer itself is the comfort he seeks.

While the author has been trying to go the usual seamless garment route, the juxtaposition of the Baxters and the Byrnes, up next, is a good one. I mean, just off the bat, which family strikes you as having the greater chance of having at least some kids remain Catholic? The one who just hopes they’re a good example or the one who EXERCISES the Faith and makes their kids do it despite the adversity in their lives or maybe because of it? Not giving up the Faith when you’re struggling is a powerful example and, since we all struggle at some point, we can all show that example.

Sophie Byrnes of Streamwood, Ill., has three grown children she raised on the importance of prayer—prayer she describes as being as essential as breathing and eating.

She was brought up in a home where her mother insisted on the family rosary every day. Sophie says she remembers feeling a little resentful on summer days when she was kneeling inside the house while her friends played, quite audibly, outside. “But I always knew at a young age that your faith will help you in life,” she said.

Later, during an abusive marriage, Ms. Byrnes prayed just to get through each day, and she taught her children to pray, too—not formal, rote prayer, but the kind of prayer that consists of talking to God. These conversations took place at all times of the day. “We never left the house without praying,” she said. “If we left at three different times, we said a short prayer each time. Whenever we got in the car, we prayed to get home safely.”

The most important conversations, though, took place in the evenings as the children got ready for bed. Each of her children had a list of people they prayed for each night. One of her daughters got so caught up in the practice that her list grew to 50 people. “When someone got on her list, they never got off,” Ms. Byrnes said with a laugh. “It was tiring.”

She said not going to church was never an option for her children, but she does not think once-a-week Mass was the most important part of their Catholic upbringing; it was making God part of their everyday lives. Ms. Byrnes taught religious education and got involved in her parish and insisted her children do the same. They were altar servers and lectors, sang in the choir and went on mission trips.

“It can’t be just sometimes,” she said of the practice of religion. “What doesn’t work is telling your children about God and not practicing it by your own example. What doesn’t work is if you don’t make God real in your life and your children’s lives.”

All three of Ms. Byrnes’s children, now in their 20s and 30s, are practicing Catholics. She has seen seven grandchildren baptized—baptisms she no longer posts pictures of on social media or tells many friends about because so many would find it a painful reminder that their own grandchildren are not being baptized. “I’m sure,” she said, “that would be the greatest hurt in the world.”

OK, I’m wondering where the title of the article is going to come into play. Ms. Byrnes is certainly a stellar example and even one of overcoming adversity and her kids are all practicing Catholics. Why wouldn’t we just focus on her since she’s achieved the title of the supposed goal of the article? Notice, Mass not optional?  

Nancy Berube of Spencer, Mass., does not yet have grandchildren to be baptized, but she has been thinking about it. Her oldest son and his wife are practicing Lutherans, her daughter attends Mass occasionally, and her youngest son “professes to fear that lightning will strike him if he crosses a church threshold.”

Raising her children in the Catholic faith was extremely important to Ms. Berube, who once seriously considered becoming a nun. Her husband, although not Catholic, was supportive of her commitment and got involved in their parish as much as she did. Several years ago, he converted to Catholicism, completed an online Catholic study program, joined the parish council and began serving as a eucharistic minister.

Ms. Berube, meanwhile, has become an associate of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, the order of women religious she considered joining as a young woman. The lay associates gather for prayer, Bible readings and retreats, and they work to promote a variety of social justice and human rights causes across five continents. The work gives Ms. Berube, a family physician, a Catholic community beyond her parish and a way to practice her faith in ways that are meaningful to her.

OK, what’s missing here? She’s very involved with the parish and her groups but there’s no story on how she raised the kids? It’s all kind of about her. 

Ms. Berube has tried to talk to her children about the central role that Catholicism plays in her life and that of her husband, but these attempts make them uncomfortable. Despite the fact that two of her sons are in the U.S. military, which “gives them orders all the time, they don’t like being told what to do by their mother,” she quipped. Besides, she does not believe in a “hard sell for religion,” and she does not want to drive a wedge between them and herself and her husband.

Really, the story doesn’t say, but it appears that the Faith suddenly is being talked about as her children are adults. It’s a bit too late to start that conversation. It’s a way of life. If you don’t make it so when they are children, you don’t have a lot of hope of getting it through to them as adults. It seems like she doesn’t want to drive a wedge. Honestly, I never get why talking about the Faith, if done with love, has to do this? I mean, somebody has influenced child #1 to be Lutheran. Has he severed ties with them?

So she waits.

“I find the church [to be] a source of great joy and would love to be able to share that with them. However, it has to be on their own terms,” she said. “They’re thinking people; they’re very moral and upright, and I think their Catholic upbringing has affected their sense of what is right and what you can and can’t do in the world.”

Waits for what? For the kids to stumble across Catholicism? A lightning bolt to knock them off their high horses? Miracles do happen, but sometimes those depend on our cooperation despite feeling uncomfortable about it. I’ve had so many friends give in to the trap of, “Well, I’ve talked about it but I can’t keep talking about it.” Why the heck not??? I HATE it when people say that to me. You’re their loving mother and father! Yes, you have to know the proper time and place and you have to pray to the Holy Spirit, big time, but you can have a keep having adult conversations with your children. Knowing you love them goes a really, really long way even when we do things imperfectly.

I think of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep for the one and I always see that as a mother parable. The shepherd doesn’t find the sheep and say, “Hey sheep, what do you think about coming back? Oh, you don’t want to? Oh, OK.  See ya.”

A lot of time a shepherd’s crook is used to yank the sheep back. Why does that always get overlooked?!

These mothers have learned that we do not control our children’s choices; we only control our response to those choices.

And we can also very much control what we say to our children, and THAT is our responsibility. We can’t let their reaction or ignoring of what we are saying scare us from our duty to speak the truth. Yes, it’s not always easy, but sometimes we just have to acknowledge that and get to the truth at hand. On more than one occasion, I’ve had had to say, “Hey, this isn’t easy for me to say but I feel you really should be doing x,y,z, not doing x,y,z, should consider x,y,z, etc. BUT I love you and  you have to remember that I’m at fault if I neglect my duty to say something. You’re going to do what you’re going to do, but it just needs to be said and I can’t shirk my duty because I know you’re going to be uncomfortable. Now let’s eat!” Do we always do it perfectly as moms? Nope. Some days we’re too emotional, angry, forget to say a prayer before talking, etc. I know I’m not perfect. My kids sure know it and rarely miss a moment to let me know that in their own way. Still, we can’t use that as an excuse to do nothing.

While Ms. Berube waits, she considers what St. Monica could have done to make St. Augustine behave himself during most of his early adulthood. “He came around, and he was way more messed up than my kids are,” she said with a laugh. “But I understand her wanting him to be part of something that gave her joy because you want to share your joy with them.”

“Some other kid is worse” isn’t my bar. In fact, since everyone’s different, I think applying a bar is useless and stupid. What Mrs. Berube ignores is that St. Monica didn’t just pray. She showed her heart through her tears and she did tell St. Augustine what she needed to tell him.

From St. Augustine’s “Confessions”:

7. Woe is me! Do I dare affirm that thou didst hold thy peace, O my God, while I wandered farther away from thee? Didst thou really then hold thy peace? Then whose words were they but thine which by my mother, thy faithful handmaid, thou didst pour into my ears?

This next part kind of smacks of having your child’s vocation revolve around mom. That’s definitely something she needs to “let go.”

Letting Go

When my son, Patrick, announced that he had decided to enter the Society of Jesus, my husband and I were incredulous. “If you want to be a priest why not become an Episcopalian priest?” I asked him. “That’s the church you were raised in, and you could still get married.” I did not need to finish the sentence. Patrick already knew that what I really cared about was not some hypothetical daughter-in-law; it was grandchildren—preferably lots of them.

I have always thought Patrick would make a great husband and dad. Like his father, he is playful and loving and thoughtful. He actually likes to talk about his feelings, and he never asks much for himself. He is the kind of guy who will take your hand without warning and hold it close and tell you that he loves you.

No matter where he is, he notices babies. We can be in line to order coffee, walking through a museum or pushing a cart through a grocery store, and he will spot one in a mother’s arms or peeking out of a pack strapped to a dad’s back. His reaction reminds me of the stuffed toy glowworm he had when he was small—something bright and warm lights up inside of him.

He does not often approach these babies—that is too creepy for a single man, especially for a priest in these tendentious days—but you can tell he wants to. And when he is around his friends’ or his sisters’ babies, when he does not have to worry about what people think, he will get down on the floor with them and play like a kid and hold them so close it’s as if he’s inhaling them.

And? We always assume that someone who would make a good priest wouldn’t make a good father? Why? I mean, in reality, they are fathers to many. The priesthood isn’t a default for those who wouldn’t make good husband/father material. 

I know now that there was something else calling my son, something even more compelling than babies, and that is the call—the vocation—he ultimately heeded. It took me several years to accept his decision; I am still working to fully understand it.

Sigh. I’m not really getting any good insight from the long-time, anti-ex-newly returned Catholic here. It’s so interesting that the thrust of most of the article were examples of people just letting their kids do whatever to the detriments of their soul but the lady who has a priest for a son, who is presumably seeking to live a life which is God-centered, is the one struggling so much.

We have spent countless hours talking about what it is like to be a Jesuit living in a community of religious men, the spaces he seems to fill in the lives of other people and what he hopes to accomplish. I ask him—often—whether he is happy. And I have begun going to church again, this time with a lot less willfulness and a great deal more humbleness. I am giving Catholicism a second chance.

I have come to realize that, as a mother, I have two choices, and both involve letting go. I can surrender my son to a choice I would not have made for him, or I can acknowledge what I do not know and what I cannot control and walk with him.

Good on the return, but at some point you have to realize it’s not about you. It’s about God’s plan for your child and his/her salvation. Everlasting life or everlasting death. This is what always seems to be so crucially missing from this article.

Patrick would put it this way: Motherhood, like any vocation, is a calling—the voice of another calling us to something more. Sometimes the voice that is calling is God’s. Sometimes it is that of your children. Sometimes it is hard to tell them apart.”

This article also appeared in print, under the headline “Passing on the Faith? ,” in the May 14, 2018 issue.

Sigh. This whole long thing was a lot less about passing on the Faith or keeping your kids Catholic and a lot more on what makes moms happy and not so happy. 

Parents, I encourage you to live boldly in Christ and his Church, but live humbly in yourselves. This isn’t about our pride, our culture, our “nationality.” It’s about the salvation of our children. Are we going to do everything perfectly? Never, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Pray, rely on the Sacraments, and fight like hell to keep our kids from spending eternity there. If you don’t fill your kids heads with your thoughts about the Church, the world most certainly will fill their heads with thought about everything BUT the Church.

If your kids have left the Church and you feel like you have (or are wondering if you have) made mistakes in that area, tell them that! Share your heart and mind with them. Don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and realize that all things are still possible with God but don’t be a passive player in this life. Keep going after those lost sheep.  #HappyMothersDay

 

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Catholicism on the Runway – What Could Go Wrong?

Honestly, whoever thought pairing up the Church with Hollywood and fashion should be fired.  Did you really have to have much of an IQ to see that Catholics were about to be the butt of the joke again?

Yes, Fr. Martin’s all aflutter on Twitter as expected, but the ever-disappointing Crux has it as their major headline of the day?  Really?  Christians are being slaughtered, but the skin-fest for the Met is getting the headlines?  Banner move.

So, yeah, it’s as horrible as you’d think. https://bit.ly/2IkRiuA Thanks to those stars who actually showed a modicum of decency and would actually be able to make it into St. Peter’s wearing their gowns.  I suppose I should be shocked that those exist at all.  The brainiac who approved it all should have to take a picture with Zoe Kravitz and try explaining that to St. Peter on judgement day.  Geez.

What’s a million times worse than the to-be-expected indecent outfits at the Met Gala are the Catholic pundits and clergy who are trying to defend this.  Seriously, you people are a joke.  Just admit it was stupid and stop trying to promote schmoozing with the Hollywood idiots as “engaging the culture.”  Sorry, it’s more like getting into bed with it.

Somewhere the Church went oh-so-wrong in engaging the culture and, quite frankly, leading it for hundreds and hundreds of years.  Now we’ve got a bunch of fools fumbling for a way to get back to that.  It’s certainly not going to happen by pandering to a completely lost culture.  It’s going to happen by showing what true art is.

I also get a big chuckle out of those saying that the Hollywood divas aren’t trying to mock the Church, they’re just trying to celebrate it.  Uh, Rhianna?  Enough said.  And, really?  Nobody saw that coming?  The only joy I got out of it was that she looks hideous without bangs, just like me.  Other than that?  Just sad and yet totally expected.  I’d love to hear the conversation between Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and her. Scrap that.  That might make me toss my lunch.

And before one reader thinks about saying, “I bet you’re embarrassed by Michelangelo’s work!”, don’t.  This has nothing to do with the beautiful human body designed by God and so wonderfully displayed all throughout Church art for hundreds of years.  It as to do with the degradation of that body. It’s not God-centered, it’s ME-centric. Or, correction, it’s me-centric with Vatican vestments on hand.  Again, take a gander at Zoe Kravitz.  Or, maybe not. There’s little left to the imagination there.

So, Cardinal Dolan, Fr. Martin, and all of the other super cool priests out there: you’ve made us the laughing-stock of the world once again.  #CatholicCyberMilitia

For the Love of Alfie

People! I’m getting a bit exhausted watching the words “brain dead” and “terminal” being tossed about by CATHOLICS! Geez! At this point, you might as well just euthanize us all now because we’re all headed for that plot in the ground, too. 

First, Alfie Evans is not “brain-dead,” although he might be considered so by some. I believe the worst diagnosis so far is “semi-vegetative.” We’re apparently not going to wait for fully vegetative anymore. You must remember the increasing number of supposedly “brain dead” patients who woke up in the middle of having their organs harvested, their intubation unhooked, or just waking up out of the blue. Clearly, science has not nailed this down, and not even an EEG is a good indicator of what’s really going on.  Regardless of this, Alfie doesn’t fit the bill of brain dead nor has anyone actually diagnosed him as such. 

Alfie definitely does have a neurodegenerative disease. Nobody denies that, but so do people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, etc. While all will likely die from these diseases, they are only terminal when the body stops metabolizing. My dad suffered from Alzheimer’s for years, but was only considered terminal the last week of his life.  Interestingly enough, if he had lived ninety days in hospice, he would have no longer been considered terminal. Go figure. This is why the Church has always said that food, water, medicine, and other medical procedures meant to treat secondary issues should be continued for patients with these diseases. We do not euthanize them. We give them palliative care. We can’t currently cure them, but we shouldn’t do things to hasten their death. What is palliative care? It’s care meant to relieve stress and pain in the body.

The one treatment most people are going to point to as “extraordinary” care is intubation. Quite frankly, it can sometimes be extraordinary care, but it can also be ordinary care depending on the person’s illness, accident, etc. Let’s say a person, like Christopher Reeve, has been paralyzed and cannot breathe. He is still very mentally with it, he’s still metabolizing, but he needs help breathing to take the stress off his body (because not breathing is rather stressful). Denying him that treatment would very definitely hasten his death. It’s ordinary care for his situation which, at that point, is not terminal. This is really where Alfie is now. For him, that would have been palliative care.  It was simply taking the stress of his body. The kid is metabolizing just fine. He’s looks to be a tall little chunk for his age, and his renal and heart functions are great. Might this not be the case when his disease progresses? Absolutely, but we don’t kill people with, say, ALS just because they need help with oxygen. What’s the difference?  Alfie can’t speak for himself and his parents are not allowed to speak for him either. He could very well get to a point where his organs start shutting down, he can no longer metabolize the nutrition, hydration, and medication, and he goes into heart failure or renal failure.  Oxygen would be totally futile at that point. We, however, as Catholics, don’t base treatment on what might be one day. For all we know, Alfie’s brain could suddenly stop getting worse. Yes, this is where he would be the rest of his life, but what we do know is that removing oxygen puts much more stress on his little body, and doing so was meant to hasten his death. It’s important to note they removed his nutrition and hydration until he didn’t die. After a while of him not dying, they started looking bad.

Now, Bambino Gesu has offered palliative care to Alfie until which time it is no longer conducive to his health. They have said they DO NOT intend on discontinuing the ventilator, nutrition, or hydration. What they DO intend is making him as comfortable as possible for the rest of his life. Nobody can seem to tell me why this is a problem. I believe the judge said it could be detrimental to his health because of possible seizures.  You know what’s more detrimental to his heath, Mr. Justice Hayden? Euthanasia. It’s going to be harmful to someone’s health one hundred percent of the time. Just let Alfie go.

Folks, you need to learn this because you don’t want to be trying to figure all of this out when you are under THE worst stress of your lives and, since life will be in the balance, you want to get this right.

Where Are You NcR?

Hey NcR!  You’re supposedly big tent.  Where’s your pleas on Alfie Evans’ behalf?  I went to your site and searched for Alfie Evans.  Guess what?  Not an original word from you.  One simple reprint from Catholic New Service.  You might want to possibly go a slightly little bigger tent to encompass the least of us!  You’re really awful.

To my readers…I’m sorry I’ve been MIA.  I’ve had that nasty flu for a few weeks but I’m on the rebound!  Just can’t stay sidelined when one of the least is in so much danger.  Please continue to pray for Alfie and his parents.  We need a BIG miracle to smack down the UK. #AlfieEvans

New Approach or Sales Pitch?

Oooh! I love this one!  https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2018/03/19/god-save-them/  Sometimes youth can be exasperating – which of us wasn’t in our youth? – but I also find them completely fascinating. If you don’t spend much time with them, you should. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend your own on most days, but find somebody else’s who might not as easily roll their eyes at you. Face it, the person who tells you to do the dishes, put away the laundry, or mow the lawn rarely gets a fair shake when it comes to discussing, say, morality in our day and age. If you do, you can gain some interesting insights and have some great conversations.
 

God Save Them

Robert Royal

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

It’s a verifiable fact that not all politicians are hypocrites. When they begin to worry, publicly, about what’s happening “to the children,” some are genuinely concerned. Public talk about young people, however, is often a form of ventriloquism – by which the opinions (or alleged opinions) of “youth” are used as a voice to advance things that people in authority already want to do.

I’m pretty sure Americans get this in the wake of the Florida shooting. We’ve pretty much been beaten by the main stream media into that conclusion. You want to know how to solve the social ills in America? Ask a teenager, they’ve got all the answers. Well, of course, unless it’s a teen who’s taken the time to actually think about issues. Those kids? Just ignore.

The Vatican is organizing a Synod on Youth (scheduled for this October) and I’m convinced that the percentage of the people involved who are sincere is quite high, relative to the typical crop of democratic politicos. Which is why it’s counterproductive when they start using the cant of politicians about “listening,” not just doing something “for” but being “with” youth.

OK, Robert Royal has a little more hope than I do for who is running the Synod on Youth.  I’m a little more skeptical. Oh, you are too???  I cannot imagine why.

“When I was young, I would have found this sort of thing – adults acting like they needed to learn something from me – pathetic, indeed highly suspect. Maybe young people have changed deep down, but somehow I doubt it.

Amen to that! I’d definitely say that I believe youth like to be heard. They like to give their opinions. They like to have a cause, but if you think that they believe for an instance that they can’t see through pandering, get a clue. Sadly, many of the people in the synods, as of late, are professional panderers. Or, maybe, serial panderers is more descriptive.

Listening to young people can be a good thing – depending on who’s doing the listening, and why. Fr. James Martin “listens” to young people with various sexual disorders, particularly at events like “IgnatianQ” conferences, which are sexual and gender diversity events organized now at Jesuit universities. They’re intended to make young people think that LGBTQetc. is just fine – even fine with Jesus Himself. And that people who think otherwise are bigoted, hate-filled, un-Christian.

BAM! That’s calling a spade a spade. The minions (my pet name for the those undermining Church teachings) are masters at advancing their agenda, and like every good advancer of agendas, right or wrong, true or untrue, they put forward a victim. In the minions case, they like to put forth martyrs. The kids are just the latest group to whom those faithful to Church teaching are mean. I mean, really, faithful Catholics are ignoring and uncaring about the thoughts of youth. There’s never been a single program for them in the Church. And, certainly, there’s never, ever been a pope as caring about the youth as Pope Francis.  Except there has. Seriously, does ANYONE remember Pope John Paul II??? You know, the founder of World Youth Day??? He was AWESOME with youth and gave them a mission like nobody else. Most of the amazing, faithful youth speakers of today were inspired by him.

If he were alive today, that ex-military man St. Ignatius would doubtless take vigorous – and very different – action than his latter-day descendants about these things, which are of as great moment as the Reformation he battled, perhaps greater.

He would probably do something very much like what Karol Wojtyla, now St. John Paul, famously did with his canoeing and hiking trips – meetings with young people, which included Mass, confessions, spiritual counseling. He “accompanied” by telling the truth of Catholicism. Not browbeating but, after clearly laying out the arguments, he would tell them “you must decide” the path you will follow. That actually worked. The accompaniment moved many young people – not to accept the unacceptable, but to saving truth and action.

EXACTLY!  “Be not afraid!” started off JPII’s papacy.  It didn’t start with the doom and gloom that we see from all the liberal lobbyists running around today. Back in JPII’s day, there wouldn’t be a team whining, “Everything should be totally easy for you!  We’ve been so mean to you!” There were people saying salvation is tough and here’s what we have for you to achieve it. Join us! Like Royal says, true accompaniment.

The world desperately needs 10,000 such “accompaniers” – today, yesterday, every year, for decades to come. Manly men not afraid to talk about submitting to God’s will; compassionate but tough-minded women who won’t shrink from countering our sad culture, even sometimes within the Church.

That’s what we try to do for our children and for all youth with whom we are in contact.  We simply want them to see the truth through all of the lies, pandering and sales pitches from the Fr. Martins of the world. (Yeah, he’s a category now.)

There’s a planning session about the Youth Synod this week – and I’m here, for the next few days, in Rome. So far, I don’t have the impression that we’ll see much of that Wojtyla-type listening and acting. (As in the past, I may post some reports here if developments warrant.) What we already have is a lot of weak sociology, as we also saw before the two Synods on marriage. No one should be surprised if this event turns into something quite different than planned.

Color me shocked. Prepare for an undermining of truth.  Personally, I expect it to go off EXACTLY as planned. Or, should I say, contrived?

There have been surveys of course, and there’s to be participation of young people via Facebook. As is true for almost any public question these days, it’s not very hard to make survey numbers say almost anything you want. Religious surveys are particularly tricky because who you choose to ask – serious Catholics, nominal Catholics, the spiritually indifferent – makes a big difference in results, even before the interpretative spin starts. 

What? No Instagram or Twitter? No #hearme or Snapchat filter has been made? Psh! I’m pretty sure the ”interpretive spin” has already started. I’m pretty sure that the whole “Synod on Youth” is just a manipulative move.

The most salient fact here is that young people in developed countries have been effectively catechized – by the secular state, the media, popular culture, and public schools – to be skeptical about truth claims, but to believe firmly in two things: that science has refuted religion, and the sexual revolution.

There’s been a little pushback on the sexual revolution. Some Millennials have suffered from divorce or weakened families and seem to have taken flight to more stable views of marriage and parenting. But we shouldn’t be overly optimistic about this still early trend; Eros unbound continues to tear up the social fabric of developed nations.

Millennials say, however, that the most common reason they abandon religion is that they believe “science” (and the quite useful technologies it spins off) has proven faith is an illusion. This belief is, itself, of course, an illusion, conjured up out of quite weak reasoning: you don’t have to be a believer to know that faith and science – properly understood – are two different things, neither reducible or refutable by the other.

When I run down a list of Catholic scientists who were major contributors to scientific discovery, you almost have to pick up jaws off the floor. Whaaatttt??? No! No! The Church is totally against science because, well, Galileo! The liberal spin is high with millennials. It’s not insurmountable but you actually have to believe in truth, unlike the minions whose truth it completely squishy.

But to understand this distinction takes some careful thinking – and where now is that taught?

Thankfully it’s happening in more and more places as the groovy club who were ordained mid-last century die off. 

Love and mercy – the field hospital in the pope’s striking image – are two fine Christian realities, and they do an end run around reflex resistance to religion. But if they don’t then go on to the main event, aren’t bolstered by some hard thinking, they won’t long remain Christian – or even realities, as we’re seeing in the increased social brittleness and angry polarization around us.

Yup! It doesn’t help that parents, who are the front line in countering this, have bought into the idea that we shouldn’t say anything or, worse yet, they weren’t taught anything themselves. Nobody ever said it would be easy and heaven knows it isn’t pleasant, but we can’t give up or give into this thought. We have to educate ourselves, too, since we were one of the first generations who experienced the happy-clappy education which was anything but education about our beautiful Church. As I’ve said before, there’s a reason I homeschool. In most areas, if you are leaving it up to the local parish or Catholic school to educate your children, you are making a big mistake. My poor parents had to do a lot of undoing what the parish and schools did to their kids.  

Under the circumstances, there’s a strong temptation to believe that reducing the demands of love and mercy, by downplaying their Christian foundations, will draw people in. Thomas Jefferson, no stupid man, wrote to a friend in the 1780s, “I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its conscience to neither kings or priests, the genuine doctrine of only one God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian.” The latest Pew Survey says Unitarians are 0.3 percent of the U.S. population – maybe 600,000 in the whole world.

There is little to be expected from the liberal path, as not only Unitarians but the liberal Protestants know. The Synod has taken on a massive task under highly unfavorable circumstances. Sure, being “with” young people may keep the usual barriers down – at first. But the harder part is what comes next – the way, truth, life.

We’ve been in “I’m OK, you’re OK” mode for decades now. This isn’t some new and unique tactic, and belief is at an all-time low because of it. But, by all means, let’s ignore the hard truth and go with nice and pleasant.

It will be a miracle if the Synod can make progress against so much resistance, not least in the Church Herself. But as every Christian should always remember: miracles do still happen. Pray. Hard.

A miracle is totally needed and something we should all pray for lest it turn out like the last synod. My guess is some are rushing to grab their millstones.  

How About a Little Clarity Cardinal Cupich?

Phil Lawler is mad and I agree. Cardinal Cupich, Fr. Martin, Fr. Rosica, and the rest of the minions love to throw out arguments that are completely and utterly fictional. Notice I have ZERO problem naming names. OK, I write under a pseudonym, but that’s because I want to be able to keep doing work in my Catholic locality much to the chagrin of the local minions. The minions, however, do it because if they named names they would actually have to have an honest debate, and they don’t really want to do that, so they throw the mythological meanies out there. I challenge them to put up or shut up. Be specific. Cardinal Cupich, of all people, claims to want clarity. So, Cardinal Cupich, be clear.

Here is Phil Lawler’s tongue lashing which everyone should be modeling.

https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?ID=1562

 By Phil Lawler (bio – articles – email) | Mar 09, 2018

 In his latest column for the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper, Cardinal Blase Cupich—who styles himself as a champion of civil dialogue within the Church—lashes out at people who disagree with Pope Francis:

“For this reason, it is not surprising that we occasionally hear voices, unfortunately often expressed in print and broadcast media claiming to be Catholic, who criticize Pope Francis for introducing topics such as discernment, dialogue, mercy, gradualness to help us understand better our Christian lives.”

Is that the way the cardinal proposes to “accompany” people who are “at the margins” of the Church? By questioning whether they are really Catholic—and going on to speculate about whether their thoughts are motivated by fear or by a failure to believe in the Resurrection?

But beyond that, I have two more questions:

1. Yes, there have been people (myself included) who protest when terms like “discernment” are used to camouflage an unwillingness to call a sin a sin, and a scandal a scandal. But those are complaints about the way these words are used—one might say misused. But who are these people who criticize the Pope for introducing those terms into the discussion? Name one.

 

This is where it gets very interesting. For one thing, he points out that there is quite a difference between promoting discernment, dialogue, mercy, gradualness, etc., and Cardinal Cupich’s use and definitions of such terms. Cardinal Cupich and the minions are using very liberal definitions and interpretations and calling them the same as the Church. It’s a wee bit like they used Josef Pieper’s “Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power” as a playbook rather than a warning.  It’s creepy.

2. And by the way, which of those terms did Pope Francis introduce? Cardinal Cupich himself mentions that Pope Benedict XVI spoke of “gradualness”—although the cardinal gives a highly tendentious rendering of the retired Pontiff’s thoughts on the subject. The words “discernment” and “dialogue” appear in the 50-year old dictionary on my desk. And I seem to recall reading something about “mercy” in the Bible.

Right. Nobody’s against those things. They are against the contradictory definitions put out by the minions.

Here’s part of the description of “Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power.”

…language has been abused so that, instead of being a means of communicating the truth and entering more deeply into it, and of the acquisition of wisdom, it is being used to control people and manipulate them to achieve practical ends. Reality becomes intelligible through words. Man speaks so that through naming things, what is real may become intelligible. This mediating character of language, however, is being increasingly corrupted. Tyranny, propaganda, mass-media) destroy and distort words. They offer us apparent realities whose fictive character threatens to become opaque.

If this doesn’t sound like Cardinal Cupich and the minions, I don’t know what does! For all the “clarity” Cardinal Cupich espouses, it’s more like mud. In their “say it often and it will be true” world, they are causing mass confusion with the laity who just want to see their priest as someone they can trust. The distortions of Church teaching among the minions is incredible. “Church teachings and those following them are simply mean, vindictive people.” Please.

Back to Phil Lawler:

Do I sound angry? Yes, I am angry—at the tactics of those who, while speaking in lofty terms about open dialogue and respectful debate, do their utmost to impugn the motivations and question the good faith of those who disagree with them.

Exactly!  When the minions constantly preach “tolerance” and then have none for anyone who disagrees with them, the ad hominems are launched. Their tactic is to say “THEY believe in the teachings of the Church.  THEY want you to struggle. THEY are mean.  Listen to OUR nice, soothing sirens’ songs and we’ll lead you.”  Blech! 

While I was trying to provide you with an Amazon link for Pieper’s book, I came across a good book review. Here’s a snippet. Thank you James E. Egolf, whoever you are! Never thought I’d be using an Amazon review. 

Pieper begins this book with a serious treatment of Plato’s (427-347 BC) serious dispute with the Ancient Athenian sophists who taught men to use clever words and communication to deceive men with total disregard for truth. Plato argued that the sophists were very dangerous men because of their intellectual prowess and supposed sophistication. The unlearned could be easily misled and become dangerous because of the respect given to the sophists which they did not deserve. Readers may ask what is the relevance of the dispute between Plato and the sophists to modern Western “Civilization.” One answer may be studied in the Bolshevik (Communist) Revolution in Russia in 1917. Those who engineered this revolution were members of a declasse intelligensia who knew the use and abuse of language.

Pieper then makes a solid point that any communication (language) between an honest man and a liar is useless since the liar has nothing to offer leading to knowledge. Pieper states in effect that the honest man may just as well be talking to thin air, or hot air. The liar is trying to manipulate and gain power over the honest man which is destructive to the honest man if he unaware.

Pieper has an interesting explanation of the destructiveness of flattery. The flatterer is trying to intellectually disarm those whom he flatters to gain advantage. A knowledgeable man who is honest is immune to such flattery. However, flattery can be used to undermine the victim to the advantage dishonest person. A good example is in the Book of Genesis whereby the snake successfully flatters Eve to her destruction as well that of Adam.

Again, who comes to mind here?!?!  I almost always get that creepy visual of satan talking to Eve whenever I read or watch Cardinal Cupich, Fr. Martin, Bishop McElroy, and the rest of the minions. They are preying on people. It’s not always that the people are unaware of the Church’s teachings or that Cupich, Martin, et. al., are contradicting them, but since the minions are so good about preying on peoples’ fears of being lonely, struggling, being judged, being ostracized, etc., some will listen. Classic predator style. This is why we should care and also be very, very upset along with Phil. #CatholicCyberMilitia 

The Tale of Two Priests’ Videos

If you are reading this and you suffer from same-sex attraction or you know someone who does (and who doesn’t?), please watch the videos described/linked below.  Yes, one is short and one is very long, but even if you watch only the first few minutes of Fr. Schmitz’ video, you will see a stark contrast between two priests, Fr. Schmitz and Fr. James Martin, SJ.

Look very carefully at what both priests are saying.  One is trying to sow seeds of division between you and the Church, while one is trying to get you to join us all in our struggle for everlasting life.  One is trying to pit you against the Church by creating a you-or-me story line, but the other is trying to say “Join us as WE struggle TOGETHER.”  One wants you to lean on an organization that is diametrically opposed to Church teaching on same-sex attraction (the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have both said New Ways Ministry is not a Catholic organization), and the other wants you to lean on the Church.

Because I really want you to watch the Fr. Schmitz video, I’m going to cover him first.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWZ171V0wEQ  It’s crucial for us to see the truth.  While Fr. Martin wants you to believe you should have everything you want, the way you want it and never have to have sorrow in your life, Fr. Schmitz tells you the real deal and, more importantly, where to get the help you truly need to reach your ultimate joy!   While Fr. Martin wants you to “come out”, Fr. Schmitz wants you to seek counsel and support.  What is it with Fr. Martin and “coming out” anyway?!?  Does he want us all to stand up and shout out our proclivities that lead us away from God, or does he just want those suffering from same-sex attraction to do so?  Honestly, he’s accepted more than just a few proclivities. Is he going to encourage us to say, “I’m addicted to pornography!  Tell me it’s just great!”? Or how about, “I have food addictions or eating disorders. Accept me because that’s who I am!”? Maybe “I’m attracted to my fellow pew sitter’s wife!  Cheer me on!”?  Of course not, although it might just be the slippery slope he doesn’t see coming because, in his need to justify his pet sin, love is love, right?  No, we are not our proclivities.

Back to Fr. Schmitz.  He’s willing to tell you the truth/doctrine that we are bodies and souls together. Fr. Martin, on the other hand, wants you to believe that God created confusion and chaos when he made you by constantly putting your soul at odds with your body, and it is only if you accept that this is how God made you (and we the rest of the faithful accept that, too), then you will be at peace.  Fr. Mike very clearly states what the Church has always stated.  Same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but to act on it is.  Fr. Martin wants you to believe that people in the Church say that simply experiencing same-sex attraction is sinful.  He has intimated this more times than I can think in his effort to divide.  Fr. Martin wants you to believe that your experience is your identity.  If that’s the case, we are all in serious trouble.

Finally, the very last part of Fr. Schmitz’s video – and I want you to watch, so I won’t tell you the specifics – totally and utterly destroys Fr. Martin’s usual tall tale that all of the people who don’t accept homosexual activities just don’t know any people who suffer from same-sex attraction. Just try to tell Fr. Schmitz that, Fr. Martin.   As Father Mike points out, not accepting every single decision someone makes about their lives doesn’t equal hate in any way, shape, or form.  Father Martin, on the other hand, sells it as hateful.   Here’s another video that furthers combats a lot of Fr. Martin’s suggestions about the Church. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXcFVwq3epo It is a direct response to Fr. Martin, as you will see, although he’s a lot nicer than I am.

I know many people really don’t pay attention to Fr. Martin and don’t understand why people would, as he puts it, be so mean to him.  To help you understand, please take another 10 minutes or so to watch Fr. Martin’s ridiculous commercial for New Ways Ministry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdO87dmgMMk You know what I felt like when I was watching it?  I felt like I was watching satan whispering “The Church hates you.  The Church rejects you.  The Church condemns you.  The Church doesn’t love you.  The Church is against you.  The Church’s religious convictions aren’t welcoming.  The Church makes you and outsider.  You are alone, marginalized, and left out all because of the Church and her teachings.  The Church is telling you that you don’t belong.  The Church is trying to take away your Sacramental Grace.”  Honestly, it was just awful and evil.  The only thing this video did was prey upon the fears that, quite frankly, most of us have.  And what was his solution?  His solution is to say, if you can’t find a Church that feels welcoming, run into the arms of New Ways Ministry.  The kicker?  If you can’t find a “welcoming” church (he never actually defines what that is) because of all the mean, callous, and abusive priests and church officials, look for a “spiritual home” that is welcoming, wherever that may be.  Seriously?  Who’s the person trying to rob people of Sacramental Grace?!?!?!  Last time I checked, you can only find that in the Church, but you just told them to go elsewhere, Fr. Martin!

So there you have it.  Two views from two VERY different priests.  One chooses to pit us against each other in a me/them fashion, and one who chooses to bring us together in the “WE” that we are.  Do you want to be part of something bigger than any one of us?  Join the struggle we all have against satan, and join us in the struggle to gain everlasting life.  Fr. Martin has always been very short-sighted.  Nobody ever told us life wouldn’t be hard.  It was Christ himself who said “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”  It wasn’t “If any man will come after me, let him have all of his desires and joys and follow me.”  What we will gain in heaven is far more than we will ever gain on earth. #MadeForLove