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Video: Why the Catholic Church should accept and welcome the LGBTQ+ community

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Donald Trump & Franklin Graham: Both Dead Wrong

Trump on DACA

President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation, calling the program an “amnesty-first approach” and urging Congress to replace it with legislation before it begins phasing out on March 5, 2018.

“I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents,” Mr. Trump said in a written statement. “But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”

The statement was released shortly after Mr. Trump, who had called the issue a personal dilemma, dispatched Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce that the government will no longer accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to shield them from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

Administration officials said the roughly 800,000 current beneficiaries of the program — brought to the United States illegally as children — will not be immediately affected by what they called an “orderly wind-down” of former President Barack Obama’s policy.

“Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class, and economic fairness for all Americans,” Mr. Trump said, calling the DACA program an “amnesty-first approach.”

[source]


Trump could not be more wrong on this issue, from the perspective of a caring and compassionate human being, and especially from the perspective of a Christian.


Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

[source]


Scripture and Immigration

The Bible has a lot to say about immigrants and immigration.  In fact, the Hebrew word ger, the closest word to our concept of an immigrant, appears 92 times in the Old Testament alone.  We encourage you to do a Bible study on the topic of immigrants in Scripture.  Here are some passages to start you out.

A few words about Franklin Graham

I have supported Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, and especially Operation Christmas Child for many years. Although I have often disagreed with Graham’s politics, I have looked the other way, giving him the benefit of the doubt in light of the good works done by these organizations. But I have now parted ways with Franklin Graham.

  • Graham says immigration is “not a biblical issue.” [source]
  • Graham is vehemently anti-gay. [source] and [source]
  • Graham said that those who voted to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville are the ones to blame for violence. [source]

Stand Up & Speak Out

If you are a Christian, and especially if you are a gay Christian, it’s time to make your voice heard. We, as caring Christians, and thoughtful people, must be heard over the loud screams of hatred and bigotry. Find a way to get involved. The 2016 general election was a travesty. It must not be repeated. Here are a few resources:

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Pope’s Prayer Intention for September: Evangelization

POPE’S INTENTIONS FOR THE CHALLENGES OF HUMANITY

SEPTEMBER 2017

Evangelization:

That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.

Prayer

Lord our Father,
you want the Church to be the visible presence of your love
in the midst of men.
Every Christian is a disciple sent to announce,
by words and by works,
the good news of the Gospel.
To all parishes
is directed the call to become,
more and more,
places of communication of faith and testimony of charity.
We ask that our parish be this place
and that each of us,
within their own abilities,
be an active member in the mission of evangelizing.

[source]


What is Evangelization?

Excerpt from Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Mt 28: 19-2

The simplest way to say what evangelization means is to follow Pope Paul VI, whose message Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World) has inspired so much recent thought and activity in the Church. We can rephrase his words to say that evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself. At its essence are the proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ and the response of a person in faith, which are both works of the Spirit of God.

Evangelization must always be directly connected to the Lord Jesus Christ. “There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed.

[source]


Mark’s Thoughts

I love the Catholic Church. Christ is central in all things. The Church really does only a very few things. Or rather, she does many things for only a very few reasons:

  • Remember Christ’s Passion and resurrection in the Eucharist
  • Spread the Good News of the Gospel
  • Perform good works to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, aid the poor, and more.

The Catholic message is a positive one. The Church strives to reflect the love of Christ.

See my Catholic Downloads page for resources to learn about Catholicism.

Help VOM distribute 1 million Bibles

They knew it was risky transporting boxes of Bibles and Christian books in their region of North Africa, but the pastor and a faithful church member chose to do it anyway. When police discovered their contraband cargo, they detained and interrogated the two Christians for several hours. The believers could face charges of proselytizing and transporting Christian materials without permission.

Another bold Christian, in Egypt, faced a potential three-year prison sentence after being arrested for distributing Bibles in a shopping area near Cairo. He was charged with “despising religion” and jailed for 15 days. Christians all over the world prayed for him during his detention.

The Voice of the Martyrs is committed to seeing every believer in a hostile or restricted nation receive a copy of God’s Word in his or her own language and in the most practical format. We invite you to sponsor Bibles to help us reach this goal.

More than 550,000 Bibles have been sponsored so far this year, including children’s Bibles, Bibles for adults and Bibles for secret distribution in the world’s most restricted nations.

We’re off to a great start. More than half a million Christians will have a copy of the Bible because of generous support from readers like you. But more Christians are waiting. Help us reach the 1 million Bible goal — and even surpass it — by sponsoring Bibles for distribution in hostile and restricted nations.

Click Here to Sponsor Bibles

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Voice of the Martyrs

‘We Are Living Through a Battle for the Soul of This Nation’

The former vice president calls on Americans to do what President Trump has not.

JOE BIDEN

In January of 2009, I stood waiting in Wilmington, Delaware, for a train carrying the first African American elected president of the United States. I was there to join him as vice president on the way to a historic Inauguration. It was a moment of extraordinary hope for our nation – but I couldn’t help thinking about a darker time years before at that very site.

My mind’s eye drifted back to 1968. I could see the flames burning Wilmington, the violence erupting on the news of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the federal troops taking over my city.

I was living history – and reliving it – at the same time. And the images racing through my mind were a vivid demonstration that when it comes to race in America, hope doesn’t travel alone. It’s shadowed by a long trail of violence and hate.

In Charlottesville, that long trail emerged once again into plain view not only for America, but for the whole world to see. The crazed, angry faces illuminated by torches. The chants echoing the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the 1930s. The neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and white supremacists emerging from dark rooms and remote fields and the anonymity of the web into the bright light of day on the streets of a historically significant American city.

If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now: We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation.

The giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America. Are we really surprised they rose up? Are we really surprised they lashed back? Did we really think they would be extinguished with a whimper rather than a fight?

Did we think the charlatans and the con-men and the false prophets who have long dotted our history wouldn’t revisit us, once again prop up the immigrant as the source of all our troubles, and look to prey on the hopelessness and despair that has grown up in the hollowed-out cities and towns of Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and the long-forgotten rural stretches of West Virginia and Kentucky?

We have fought this battle before – but today we have a special challenge.

Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate.

We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support.

This is a moment for this nation to declare what the president can’t with any clarity, consistency, or conviction: There is no place for these hate groups in America. Hatred of blacks, Jews, immigrants – all who are seen as “the other” – won’t be accepted or tolerated or given safe harbor anywhere in this nation.

That’s the America I know. That’s who I believe we are. And in the hours and days after Charlottesville, America’s moral conscience began to stir. The nation’s military leadership immediately took a firm stand. Some of America’s most prominent CEOs spoke out. Political, community, and faith leaders raised their voices. Charitable organizations have begun to take a stand. And we should never forget the courage of that small group of University of Virginia students who stared down the mob and its torches on that Friday night.

The greatness of America is that – not always at first, and sometimes at enormous pain and cost – we have always met Lincoln’s challenge to embrace the “better angels of our nature.” Our history is proof of what King said – the long arc of history does “bend towards justice.”

A week after Charlottesville, in Boston, we saw the truth of America: Those with the courage to oppose hate far outnumber those who promote it.

Then a week after Boston, we saw the truth of this president: He won’t stop. His contempt for the U.S. Constitution and willingness to divide this nation knows no bounds. Now he’s pardoned a law-enforcement official who terrorized the Latino community, violated its constitutional rights, defied a federal court order to stop, and ran a prison system so rife with torture and abuse he himself called it a “concentration camp.”

You, me, and the citizens of this country carry a special burden in 2017. We have to do what our president has not. We have to uphold America’s values. We have to do what he will not. We have to defend our Constitution. We have to remember our kids are watching. We have to show the world America is still a beacon of light.

Joined together, we are more than 300 million strong. Joined together, we will win this battle for our soul. Because if there’s one thing I know about the American people, it’s this: When it has mattered most, they have never let this nation down.

[source]

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People gather for a vigil in response to the death of a counter-demonstrator at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville outside the White House on August 13, 2017. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

 

We Must Stop History From Repeating Itself

Heather Heyer posted on Facebook shortly before being murdered by a radical extremist in Charlottesville, VA last weekend, “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention.” I’d like to paraphrase her words:

If you’re not scared you’re not paying attention

Look at this image. This photo was not taken in Germany in 1941. This picture was taken at Madison Square Garden in 1934.

nazi msg

The election of Donald Trump by 62,984,825 Americans who embraced his “Make America Great Again” slogan, has emboldened the Nazis, Fascists, white supremacists, nationalists, the KKK, and other hate groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 917 hate groups active in America today.

One of the rallying cries you often hear from these people who tend to label themselves as patriots (and even Christians) is “Free Speech.” It’s All-American, right?

Wrong! What they mean by “free speech” is the desire to spout their hateful comments without being shouted down and told to shut up. You can often hear them rail against the AntiFa groups (anti-fascist). These counter protesters frequently show up at rallies organized by hate groups, and shout them down.

And that is exactly what happened in Boston this past weekend. And it’s what happened in Charlottesville last weekend, when Heather was killed by a protester using his car as a weapon to quiet the counter protesters.

APTOPIX Confederate Monuments Protest

So I say again, If you’re not scared you’re not paying attention. The spread of hate must be stopped. We must step up, speak up, shout down, and shut down hate. All of us. Everywhere.

The radical extremists shout, “Take our country back!”

Take it back from who?

From you! And from me!

charlottesville 1

See these people? They are somebody’s neighbors. They are somebody’s co-workers. They are somebody’s sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and cousins. We must confront them. We must stop them. They have been taught to hate. We must teach them that hate is wrong. And we must pray for them.


Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)

Love for Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Rosary Confraternity

The Rosary Confraternity is a spiritual association (of the Catholic Church), the members of which strive to pray the entire Rosary during the course of each week. They form a union of countless hundreds of thousands of the faithful throughout the world who, along with their own intentions, include the intentions and needs of all its members, while they in turn pray for them…. [more]

Those who pray the Rosary regularly would do well to be enrolled in the Confraternity to gain extra spiritual benefits for each Rosary they pray. [enroll]

rosaryh

Will you pray the Rosary for peace?


Rosary Confraternity Prayer

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary and Mother of us all, we come to you for help in our sorrows, trials and necessities. Sin leaves us weak and helpless but Divine Grace heals and strengthens.

We ask for the grace to love Jesus as you loved Him, to believe as you believed, to hope as you hoped; we ask to share your purity of mind and heart. Give us true sorrow for sin and make us love people as you and Jesus loved them. Obtain for us the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we may be wise with your wisdom, understand with your understanding, know with your knowledge, prudent with your prudence, patient with your patience, courageous with your fortitude and desire justice ardently for everyone with the all consuming desire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus your Son.

Open our minds that as we pray the Rosary we will understand the teachings of the Gospel contained in its mysteries.

We pray especially for the members of the Rosary Confraternity whom we love. Help them wherever they may be; guide them, watch over them and make them strong in their trials and suffering. We are drawn together by a common bond of great charity for you and for each other; keep us faithful to your Son and to your Rosary till death.

Intercede for the souls in Purgatory, especially for the members of the Rosary Confraternity who have died. May they rest in peace. Finally we ask for grace of final perseverance for ourselves and for our loved ones that we may all be reunited in heaven forever.

Saint Dominic, you who received so much Grace and Strength from the Rosary, Pray for Us.

How To Pray The Rosary