An Open Letter to the Senate Judicary Committee from Bishop Cardileone

We post this letter in support of His Excellency, Bishop Cardileone and the United States Council of Catholic Bishops.  It is our hope that this will encourage you to and instruct you how to stand for this very important part of our faith.

 

> A Bishop’s Open Letter for the Defense of Marriage
>
> A Bishop’s Open Letter for the Defense of Marriage
> Posted: 08 Nov 2011 11:55 PM PST
> Dear Member of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee:
>
> As Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, I urge you to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by opposing the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598) and any other measure seeking DOMA’s repeal.
>
>
> Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone
>
> DOMA recognizes for federal purposes that marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman. It also prevents the redefinition of marriage in any one state from forcing other states to follow suit. DOMA’s codified definition of marriage reflects a deeply rooted and enduring consensus, based on truths about the human person discernible by reason and accessible to people of all faiths or none at all. Millions of citizens have gone to the ballot in thirty states to ratify similar DOMA proposals by substantial majorities. Forty one states in all have enacted their own DOMAs. Popularity alone does not determine what is right. But in the face of such broad support in the present day, not to mention a legacy of lived experience and reasoned reflection measured in millennia in every society and civilization throughout all of human history, repealing a measure that merely recognizes the truth of marriage is all the more improvident.
>
> I raise for your consideration two points: DOMA is rational, and its repeal would be unjust.
>
> A. DOMA is grounded in reason and experience. It takes into account the/distinguishing properties of unity and procreation that mark the relationship of
> husband and wife.
>
> Marriage is a comprehensive union of man and woman, a total, permanent, faithful, and fruitful sharing of lives between husband and wife. This union is a great and unique good in itself, and is critical for the common good. There are fundamental reasons why sexual difference and the complementarity between man and woman have always been considered essential to the meaning of marriage.
>
> The connection between sexual difference and procreation is obvious and unique. The public status of marriage owes its origin and existence to the natural capacity of man and woman to bring children into the world. Research substantiates that children thrive best when reared by both a mom and a dad married to each other. Marriage has been and should remain a child-centered institution.
>
> Even when a marriage is not blessed with children, all husbands and wives can model for society the possibilities and potential for mutual collaboration between the sexes. They can teach children generally by their witness and exemplify for other men and women what it means to be husband and wife. They also can provide an essential service to society through adopting children, who need the care of a mother and a father.
>
> The unitive and procreative realities at stake cannot be ignored. They are not mere cultural constructs that can be discarded at will, with little or no social cost. Instead, they flow directly from the immutable nature of the human person, and so our society ignores them at great peril. By contrast, where these human realities are respected, the benefits to society are unparalleled. This explains why Congress, nearly all of the states, and millions of voters affirm marriage as an institution founded on sexual difference. DOMA furthers the common good by preserving in federal law the essential connection between marriage, sexual difference, the good of children, and public policy.
>
> B. Redefining marriage to mean simply an arrangement of consenting adults violates justice because it interferes with basic human rights. First, changing the institution of marriage by making it indifferent to the absence of one sex or the other denies that children have the fundamental human right to be cared by both their mother and father. Such revision transforms marriage from a child-centered to an adult-centered status to the detriment of children. DOMA maintains marriage’s proper focus on reinforcing the interests of children.
>
> Second, redefining marriage also threatens the fundamental human right of religious freedom. Those who refuse on moral and religious grounds to accept or accommodate the redefinition of legal marriage are already being wrongly accused of bigotry and hatred, bias and prejudice. They are being stigmatized and marginalized precisely because they are exercising their religious freedom to teach and practice their values.
>
> In places where marriage’s core meaning has been altered through legal action, officials are beginning to target for punishment those believers and churches that refuse to adapt. Any non-conforming conduct and even expressions of disagreement, based simply on support for marriage as understood since time immemorial, are wrongly being treated as if they harmed society, and somehow constituted a form of evil equal to racism. DOMA represents an essential protection against such threats to faith and conscience.
>
> All persons have a rightful claim to our utmost respect. There is no corresponding duty, however, for society to disregard the meaning of sexual difference and its practical consequences for the common good; to override fundamental rights, such as religious liberty; and to re-define our most basic social institution. DOMA advances the common good in a manner consistent with the human dignity of all persons.
>
> For all of the above-stated reasons, I strongly urge you to uphold DOMA and to reject any bill, including S. 598, that would repeal it.
>
> Sincerely,
> Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone
> Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland
> Chairman, USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage
Lovingly,
The Staff of Torah’s Light Ministries

 

Be Still

 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.      Psalm 46.10

Be still.  Now there’s a tall order.  At present, theUSeconomy is tanking in a big way.  We have double digit unemployment and there is no end in sight.  Money is just not there.   (Remember that as Christians we are not obligated to participate in the world’s economy.  We can participate in God’s.) With wars, natural disasters, and revolutions in theMiddle East, the world is hectic and becoming more hectic.  And God says to be still?  What does that means, anyway?

In this verse, the word translated “be still” is raphah.  This word means “Drop it.  Let it go.  Relax.  Rest.  Stop working with it.”  Think about how well this word–raphah–fits into our lives!  The second part of this sentence is “Know that I am God.”  The word translated “know” is da’as.  It means to know with an intimate knowledge.  This kind of knowledge does not come from a book or from someone telling you about it.  I comes from relationship.  What God is saying in this verse is “Drop it and let it go.  Stop fussing with it and work on your relationship with Me.”

Why?  God is God.  That is Who He is.  It is His job.  It is His character.  It is what He does.  He governs the universe in holiness and power.  He is love.  He is merciful.  He is kind.  He hears our prayers and answers them.  He is glorious and righteous and…well, He is God.  This verse says He will be exalted.  It means that He will be lifted up.  It means that He has determined that He will be set above everything and everyone.

In this verse, God is letting us know that He is big enough.  He is big enough to understand.  He is big enough to care.  He is big enough to act.  He is big enough to fix it–regardless of what “it” is.

What is it that we are facing today? St. Paulputs into perspective for us:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)

With this in mind, let us trust Him together.  Let us “be still and know that [He] is God….”

 

This Dry and Thirsty Land

Today in this land—in this world, there is a drought.  There is a famine.  It is not drought of rain that causes the land to thirst.  It is not a famine of food that causes the people to starve.  It is a drought of morality and a famine for the Word of God that is killing us.

I read in the news that unborn children are murdered in the very place where they should be the safest, their own mothers’ bodies.  And they are murdered for no other reason than that their parents do not want to be inconvenienced.

I see the government of the United Statestrying to force people those who want to stand with God Almighty in the respect for life to provide insurance that pays for this atrocity.  The threats of closing down Christian schools that refuse.  The reality of Christian charities closing their doors because they will not—cannot—obey this law that requires them to sin.

I am surrounded by a culture that says, “Go ahead and commit fornication.  Just use protection.”  All the while our Father begs us to respect our bodies and the bodies of those we claim to love.

Surely the perfect example of love is our Lord.  Jesus was not eager to take.  He was eager to give.  He did not insist of being served; He insisted on serving.

We do not need to accept this drought; we must not live with this famine.  Remember the words of King David:  “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.”  (Psalm 63.1)

Almighty God answers this cry through His holy prophet Isaiah:  “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.”  (Isaiah 44.3)

Can we take God at His word?  Do we dare pray for the sweet rains of revival in this dry and thirsty land?  Do we have the courage to stand with Jesus in preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom in this hostile desert of secularism and so-called tolerance?  Are we willing to live for Christ—and die for Him is asked?

Look around you.  Each of us knows someone going to Hell.  We might be the only once with the ability to tell them of Jesus’ Love.  Do we dare?  Let us answer yes.  Let us say, “Here am I.  Send me.” (Isaiah 6.8)

Wait! God is Still Working Here!

Wait! I'm not done yet!

You may find this hard to believe, but I am not always that easy to get along with. The other thing is, sometimes I do something wrong. You know, I sin. Yup. I am not perfect. My guess is that neither are you, right?

The thing is, we are not expected to be perfect. We are works in progress. When we came to Jesus, we were black-hearted sinners and headed for Hell. Then, the Master entered our lives and began His work. Each day, He patiently build His character in us. Each day we look a little more like Him.

That He is patiently working means that He understands that sometimes we fight Him in the process. Sometimes, we want to be in charge. We dethrone Him and make a mess of things. But upon being invited to continue, He cleans the mess as sets about making us like Him.

He has given us wonderful examples to follow: other humans who followed Him and messed up and kept following. We have St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Jesus, St. Paul the Apostle, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio). Yet, even with these holy people who preceded us, no example shines as brightly as our Lord, Himself. He lived a human life–without messing up–so that we could know He really understands.

Let us be patient with ourselves. Jesus is still working. Let us remember St. Paul’s words of encouragement: “being confident of this very thing, that he which began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1.6)

A House Divided

And if a house be divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Mark 3.25

Recently, a friend told me about the church she used to attend.  A family left the church to attend another one.  Later, a member of that family needed surgery.  They asked the former pastor to pray for her and he refused.  He told them it was because they went to another church.

 Stories like this have become common.  Christians—the very people who should be defined by their love—don’t seem to like each other.  To be sure, there are many Christians who walk in love.  There are many who prefer to judge others by what church they attend, or the clothes they wear, or mistakes they made in the past.  Many times we fight over nothing more than the definition of a word!

Unity in the Church was so important to Jesus, He prayed for it.  In John 17.11, Jesus prayed, “And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are.”

 We are sending the wrong message to the world around us by fighting all the time.  We are breaking the Heart of Jesus.  Maybe we could learn to get along.

 

Get Excited

10/20/20112:46:10 PM

Torah’s Light Ministries from http://torahslightmnistries.blogspot.com/

Tomorrow is Simchas Torah, a Jewish holiday celebrating the first five books of Sacred Scripture.  People gather in the synagogue and toast and bless Torah as a Scroll is passed from man to man.  If a day filled with joy and love for God and His Word.

In addition to this holiday celebrating Torah, there is a protocol to how to treat a copy of Torah.  It must always be set on top of all types of books.  It may never be set on the floor or on a cushion where people sit.  It must always be handled with clean hands.  Such is the respect Jews have for the Holy Writ.

Conversely, Christians often treat the Bible with disregard.  They will set it on the floor, toss it aside, stack other books on top of it, and spill things on it.  Worse, Christians often go days, weeks, or months without ever opening the Bible.

Sacred Scripture is a gift to us from God.  It was inspired by Him for the purpose of teaching us about Him and how He wants us to live.  It is a love letter from Jesus to His Bride.  Let us remember this. Let us love the Scriptures.  Let us fall in love with its Author.

 

Torah Lite

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.     II Timothy 3:16

 I like buffets.  Think of it.  All that food waiting to make the journey to my plate!  I can take as much—or as little—as I want.  And, if there is something I don’t like, I can refuse it.

It wasn’t that way when my mother prepared my meals.  She chose the meat and the vegetables.  I ate what I was served, or I went hungry.  If I chose to go hungry, my body suffered for it.  I grew weak.  My resistance went down.  I got sick.

It works the same way with Scripture. God prepared for us a meal of truth.  Some of that truth is sweet and tastes good.  Some of that truth is bitter and we don’t like it.  But we must “eat” it all.  If we refuse any of it, our spiritual bodies will suffer.  We will grow weak.  Our resistance will go down.  We will fall into sin and heresy.

God did not intend for us to have a spiritual buffet, picking and choosing how much of what we will have.  He chose the menu.  It is up to us to enjoy it all.

Give Up Your Life

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever would save his life shall lose it:  and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.   Matthew 16:24-25

Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Antioch. A disciple of St. John the Apostle, St. Ignatius was ordained the second bishop of Antioch by St. Peter. In 107 AD, he was transported in chains and under heavy guard to Rome where he was martyred. On his way, he wrote seven letters, which we still have today. In his letter to the Romans, he wrote, ” I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread.” St. Ignatius welcomed martyrdom because he understood the big picture.

Most of us will never be asked to die for the sake of Jesus. Yet, all of us are required to surrender our lives for Jesus. Remember that Jesus told us that we have to deny ourselves and take up our cross. He did not mean that we would have to be literally crucified. He meant that we had to disregard our own desires and our own glory for His sake.

St. Paul reminded us of this when he wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12.1) The trouble with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar. For this reason, we must allow our flesh — the sinful desire to rebel against God and His laws — to be crucified.

It is only in surrendering our lives for Jesus that we will discover how to live.