Monday, May 27, 2019

Quote of the Day

"We go to great lengths to recover fallen comrades, we honor them in the most precise and exacting ceremonies, we set aside national holidays to remember and celebrate them. We do these things for them, of course, but also for us, the living. Their stories of heroism, of sacrifice, and of patriotism remind us of what is best in ourselves, and they teach our children what is best in America."

--U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, April 9, 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Reflection for the Octave of Easter

"Often what blocks hope is the stone of discouragement. Once we start thinking that everything is going badly and that things can’t get worse, we lose heart and come to believe that death is stronger than life. We become cynical, negative and despondent. Stone upon stone, we build within ourselves a monument to our own dissatisfaction: the sepulcher of hope. Life becomes a succession of complaints and we grow sick in spirit. A kind of tomb psychology takes over: everything ends there, with no hope of emerging alive. But at that moment, we hear once more the insistent question of Easter: Why do you seek the living among the dead? The Lord is not to be found in resignation. He is risen; he is not there. Don’t seek him where you will never find him: he is not the God of the dead but of the living (cf. Mk. 22:32). Do not bury hope!"

--Pope Francis, Homily at Easter Vigil, April 20, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Quote of the Day

"In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. Scripture tells us that even 'the upright falls seven times' (Prov 24:16); all of us are weak and imperfect (cf. 1 Jn 1:8). It is a great service, then, to help others and allow them to help us, so that we can be open to the whole truth about ourselves, improve our lives and walk more uprightly in the Lord's ways. There will always be a need for a gaze which loves and admonishes, which knows and understands, which discerns and forgives (cf. Lk 22:61), as God has done and continues to do with each of us."

--Benedict XVI, Lenten Message, February 7, 2012

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Reflection for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"How does Joseph exercise his role as protector?  Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care.  As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.

"How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church?  By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own.  This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading.  God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan.  It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit.  Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions.  In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ!  Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!"

--Pope Francis, Homily at Papal Inauguration Mass, March 19, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Reflection for First Sunday of Lent

Detail of The Temptations of Christ, Sandro Botticelli (1482)

"From this scene on the pinnacle of the Temple, though, we can look out and see the Cross. Christ did not cast himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple. He did not leap into the abyss. He did not tempt God. But he did descend into the abyss of death, into the night of abandonment, and into the desolation of the defenseless. He ventured this leap as an act of God's love for men. And so he knew that, ultimately, when he leaped he could only fall into the kindly hands of the Father. This brings to light the real meaning of Psalm 91, which has to do with the right to the ultimate and unlimited trust of which the Psalm speaks: If you follow the will of God, you know that in spite of all the terrible things that happen to you, you will never lose a final refuge. You know that the foundation of the world is love, so that even when no human being can or will help you, you may go on, trusting in the One who loves you. Yet this trust, which we cultivate on the authority of Scripture and at the invitation of the risen Lord, is something quite different from the reckless defiance of God that would make God our servant."

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (New York: Doubleday, 2007), pp. 37-38

Monday, February 18, 2019

In Praise of Democrats

No doubt many readers will be put off by the unexpected title of this essay, so I'll hasten to add a crucial disclaimer: This article will not extol the godless, radically secularist ideology of the current Democratic Party leadership or its abominable methods of putting it into practice. Nor will it condemn the traditional Judeo-Christian values, strict constitutional government, and fiscal responsibility espoused by the current Republican Party leadership. Rather, my intention here is along the lines of Jesus' famous remark to his disciples that the children of this age are wiser in their generation than the children of light. My goal is to demonstrate that there is something truly praiseworthy in our worst political enemies, the Democrats, and that there is something truly blameworthy in our best political friends, the Republicans.

Looking back over the past ten years of contemporary American history, which includes eight years of President Obama and two years of President Trump, it becomes painfully obvious that the Democrats have been steadily gaining the upper hand in national and state politics. This increasing concentration of power in Democratic hands has been taking place despite the remarkable growth and ascendancy of the Tea Party movement which swept historic Republican majorities into the Senate, the House of Representatives, and state legislatures and state governorships across the nation in 2010 and 2014 and propelled Donald Trump into the White House in 2016. Ironically, Democrats are even more powerful and dangerous now in 2019, with majority control of the House alone, than they were in 2009 when they controlled the White House, the House and the Senate with a filibuster-proof supermajority in the latter chamber. How so?

In today's money-driven, politically polarized, social media-saturated culture, a political movement easily claims victory over its opposition based on the sums of money it raises and spends on advertising, the amount of media publicity it gets, and the number of seats and chambers it wins and holds in Washington and state capitals. Although these factors are to some extent important and necessary for any political movement to achieve national prominence, their sum does not automatically equal enduring influence. The true yardstick for measuring the long-term success of any U.S. political movement is its ability to accomplish its stated objectives. And the absolutely critical factor here is the movement's determination (or lack thereof) to implement its agenda.

During the past ten years, the Democrats have made it very clear that their agenda is to fundamentally transform America from a Judeo-Christian, Constitutional, pro-life, pro-family, small-government, low-tax, balanced-budget, market-economy-based, secure-borders nation into a godless, lawless, pro-abortion, anti-family, big-government, high-tax, high-debt, socialist, open-borders nation. Their toolkit to accomplish this has included lies, propaganda, secrecy, name-calling, character assassination, threats, and blackmail. Frankly, they've made substantial progress toward their revolutionary goal with the continued expulsion of God from our national life and public places, a litany of unconstitutional laws and executive orders from ObamaCare to DACA, maintaining taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, Supreme Court decisions upholding ObamaCare and striking down state marriage laws, swelling of the federal bureaucracy, high taxes, a national debt increase of $12 trillion, stifled economic growth, and a massive population of illegal immigrants.

The fact that most of this was accomplished with Republicans controlling one or both houses of Congress is a shining reflection on the bulldog tenacity of Democrats to see their agenda through, come what may. It's also a glaring reflection on the disappointing lack of determination by Republicans to implement their own agenda for the country. Supposedly, the Republicans want to keep America a Judeo-Christian, Constitutional, pro-life, pro-family, small-government, low-tax, fiscally responsible, market-economy-based, secure-borders nation. And it's true that in the past two years, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have taken some important steps to implement their agenda, reversing some of the damage wreaked by Democrats under President Obama. However, the Republicans have not been anywhere near as aggressive in implementing their good agenda as the Democrats have been in implementing their evil one. Worse, Democrats consistently make agenda-driven campaign promises and deliver on them, while Republicans tend to make agenda-driven campaign promises and renege on them.

Case in point: the ObamaCare monstrosity. Democrats promised it during the 2008 election campaign, and after winning that election, despite opposition from Republicans and two-thirds of the American people, they delivered, ramming the controversial bill through Congress and into law in 2010. Republicans promised to either repeal or de-fund it during the 2014 election season, but after winning that election, despite massive support for fulfilling their campaign promise, in 2015 Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner caved in to President Obama's demand for money for his pet law. Again in 2016, Donald Trump and the Republicans solemnly pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act [sic] and replace it with entirely new healthcare legislation in line with their own agenda. But while a Democratic-controlled White House, Senate and House in 2009 and 2010 proved entirely capable of enacting ObamaCare, a Republican-controlled White House, Senate and House in 2017 and 2018 proved entirely incapable of repealing it.

The fact that ObamaCare is still on the books today certainly demonstrates the staying power of the corrupt Washington establishment behind it (with which the Democrats are fully in bed), but more to the point here, it exemplifies the ominous trend of the past ten years in which Republicans are quickly throwing their campaign promises out the window, quietly setting their agenda aside, and gradually ceding more power to their Democratic enemies. The donkey's iron determination combined with the elephant's hushed timidity effectively renders the Democratic Party the majority party in America today. If this trend continues, within twenty years the Republican Party will find itself an irrelevant minority party, leaving the Democrats firmly in charge of national affairs.

Why have Republican politicians abandoned their core principles, betrayed their loyal constituents, and compromised their cherished values in this fashion? Apparently, for fear of the Democrats who are threatening them and have added the incitement of mob violence to their toolkit in their increasing desperation to further advance their radically secularist agenda. And apparently, Republicans are so scared of the above-mentioned establishment that they've been transformed into creatures of that very establishment, while still claiming to represent "we the people." They are now followers disguised as leaders. The Republicans' hypocrisy is sickening and their cowardice is frightening. I have to hand it to the Democrats: they know exactly what they want to achieve and how to achieve it, and come heck or high water, they're accomplishing it. Meanwhile, much of the wholesome agenda our country sorely needs languishes in the comfortable offices of House and Senate Republicans.

Yes, the Democratic bullies have lots of money and power thanks to the corrupt establishment and the "mainstream" media. But that's a poor excuse for Republicans to roll over and play dead. The Republican principles that made America great are worth defending as strenuously as possible, and since the Republican agenda based on those principles holds the key to America's long-term survival, it must be pushed with even more determination than the Democrats are pushing their rotten agenda if it is to succeed long-term. This means the Republicans must be "wise as serpents and simple as doves," taking full advantage of their own strengths and fully exploiting the Democrats' weaknesses. The Democrats may seem stronger at the moment in worldly terms, but Republicans have the far greater strengths of faith and trust in God, the revealed truths of natural law regarding human life and liberty, the wisdom and example of the Founders, prayer and fasting, and divine grace. If Republicans utilize their own strengths with sufficient determination and resolve for a sufficient period of time, America will be rescued from the tyranny of radical secularism. If not...

Copyright © 2019 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Quote of the Day

"As people of faith who believe God’s truth about life, we must support and seek justice for all of God’s children. We must do all we can to be God’s witnesses of merciful love in the world. We know and give thanks for the great dignity God has given to us from the moment of conception, to be made in his image. We also must pray for the grace to remind others of this inherent dignity, in our words and in our actions."

--Archbishop Joseph Naumann, USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, January 18, 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Quote of the Day

"Christmas fills us with joy and makes us certain that no sin will ever be greater than God’s mercy; no act of ours can ever prevent the dawn of his divine light from rising ever anew in human hearts. This feast invites us to renew our evangelical commitment to proclaim Christ, the Saviour of the world and the light of the universe. “Christ, ‘holy, blameless, undefiled’ (Heb 7:26) did not know sin (cf. 2 Cor 5:21) and came only to atone for the sins of the people (cf. Heb 2:17)."

--Pope Francis, Address to Roman Curia, December 21, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Quote of the Day

“Today we recognize that being able to forgive others implies the liberating experience of understanding and forgiving ourselves. Often our mistakes, or criticism we have received from loved ones, can lead to a loss of self-esteem. We become distant from others, avoiding affection and fearful in our interpersonal relationships. Blaming others becomes falsely reassuring. We need to learn to pray over our past history, to accept ourselves, to learn how to live with our limitations, and even to forgive ourselves, in order to have this same attitude towards others.”

--Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 107

Saturday, November 3, 2018

ElectionWatch 2018: What Will Happen?

Continuing with a tradition begun in 2010 and continued in 2014, it's time (past time, really) for an ElectionWatch series of blog posts and articles offering insight and commentary on the 2018 U.S. congressional, senatorial, gubernatorial and state legislative elections. Although leap-year presidential elections are the "big shows" that generate increasingly huge amounts of political fundraising, campaigning, media attention and voter activity, I personally find the off-year elections a bit more interesting.

While millions of Republican, Democratic and independent voters regard presidential elections as the most consequential for our nation, the fact is that midterm elections are often just as influential, if not even more so, on the direction of our country. This is because our president, while head of the executive branch of government and director of national policy, is only one man, whereas the fifty state governors, ninety-nine state legislatures, one hundred senators, and 435 members of Congress do the lion's share of actual governing, thereby exerting tremendous influence on state and national policy by virtue of their offices and authority. Depending on the issue positions, agenda, and political affiliation of these lawmakers and executives, this influence is used either in support of or in opposition to the president's national policy goals. During the notoriously immoral and corrupt administration of President Barack Obama, for example, Republicans who took control of state legislatures, governorships, Congress, and the Senate provided an important check on the president's abuses of power by refusing to implement ObamaCare, suing the federal government over the unconstitutional HHS mandate, restricting abortion, protecting religious liberty, and enforcing immigration laws.

Yes, senators, members of Congress, governors, and state legislators are elected in presidential election years as well. However, the midterm elections provide a valuable barometer of national opinion across a wide range of issues, typically indicating voter support or lack thereof for the incumbent president and his agenda. In the historic 2002 midterms, Republicans expanded their majorities in both the House and the Senate due to voter approval of President George W. Bush's pro-life, economic and national security measures. As support for Bush's foreign policy waned, Democrats managed to narrowly take over Congress and pick up some state governorships in the 2006 election. The stunning Republican landslide victories of 2010 and 2014 were driven by massive public dissatisfaction with Barack Obama's abortion, healthcare, economic and tax policies.

What will happen in 2018? Will Republicans keep and strengthen their majorities in the House and the Senate as in 2002? Will Democrats seize control as in 2006? Or will something entirely different happen? To answer these questions in a meaningful way, we must attempt to combine historical perspective with an objective evaluation of the current complex situation in the United States.

We live in a country that is more deeply divided than at any time since the Civil War. Party lines have become fault lines segregating people with radically different values, issue positions, interests and income levels from each other. Republicans have become the party of traditional Judeo-Christian values and support for President Donald Trump, and Democrats have become the party of radical secularism and outright hatred of President Trump. Yet many Americans feel that neither party truly represents their interests. Civil discourse, the art of expressing one's opinions and convictions in a compelling yet respectful manner; and bipartisanship, the art of working together for the common good based on common values, have all but vanished from Washington, replaced by vulgar personal attacks and legislative deadlock. Meanwhile, many Americans, myself included, applaud President Trump's performance on certain issues such as abortion, religious liberty, the HHS mandate, court appointments, taxes, the economy, and (partially) immigration and foreign policy while taking issue with his decisions on renewable energy, environmental protection, and (partially) immigration and foreign policy.

Although it has certain unique aspects pertaining to our own time, our current national crisis is far from unprecedented, and history teaches that such profound wounds of division will be reflected in the election results. That said, it's tricky to predict what will happen on Tuesday night. On the one hand, Democrats are spending a ton of money to try to take over Congress, with the secular media and certain national opinion polls biased in their favor. But on the other hand, the economy is doing pretty well, which helps the Republicans. The latest polling averages from Real Clear Politics show Democrats winning a narrow seven-seat majority in the House of Representatives and Republicans holding on to the Senate, but as we saw with Hillary Clinton in 2016, the polls can be inaccurate. To offer my best guess at this point, I don't think we'll see a repeat of 2002 or 2006. I think something entirely different will happen: Republicans will maintain majority control of both the House and the Senate, albeit by extremely narrow margins.

Regardless of what happens, much is at stake in this election. The Democrats have vowed to impeach President Trump and force their own radically secularist agenda on our nation, and they will certainly attempt to do this if they achieve even a one-seat majority in the House. We need to pray earnestly for our country's conversion and healing, vote our values and leave the results in God's hands.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Reflection for the Solemnity of All Saints

"God says to you: Do not be afraid of sanctity, do not be afraid to aim high, to allow yourself to be loved and purified by God, do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Let us allow ourselves to be infected by God’s holiness. Every Christian is called to sanctity (cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 39-42); and sanctity does not consist first of all in doing extraordinary things, but in letting God act. It is the encounter of our weakness with the strength of His grace, it is to trust in His action that enables us to live in charity, to do everything with joy and humility, for the glory of God and in the service of our neighbor. There is a famous phrase of the French writer Leon Bloy, who in the last moments of his life said: “There is only one sadness in life, that of not being saints.” Let us not lose hope in sanctity, let us all follow this way. Do we want to be saints? All? The Lord awaits all with open arms. Let us live our faith with joy, let us allow ourselves to be loved by the Lord … let us ask for this gift of God in prayer, for ourselves and for others."

--Pope Francis, General Audience, October 2, 2013

Monday, October 8, 2018

Traitors to the Church

For several months now, the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world has been undergoing a particularly severe attack from the forces of evil. Radical secularist elitists in our government and the "mainstream" media have unjustly seized upon and magnified beyond all reasonable bounds the abominable crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors by a tiny minority of priests in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and their cover-up by several bishops--as well as the recently revealed accusations against former Cardinal, now Archbishop Emeritus Theodore McCarrick--in an unscrupulous attempt to smear the entire contemporary U.S. Church and to utterly destroy her good name in the minds of the general public. Similar but more extensive and more recent priestly sexual abuse revelations have emerged in Chile and Honduras. And in Europe, former U.S. nuncio to the Holy See Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has publicly alleged that Pope Francis failed to act on prior knowledge of the accusations against McCarrick and has demanded his resignation from the papacy. This devastating coordinated assault of Satan against the Mystical Body of Christ has proven remarkably successful in achieving its wicked objectives, thanks in large measure to the domineering power and influence of the secular media. But the most disturbing aspect of this whole affair, and what has contributed greatly to the success and duration of this vicious anti-Catholic propaganda campaign, is that instead of taking up arms to defend Holy Mother Church from this demonic onslaught, millions of faithful and well-intentioned Catholics have been tricked by the Enemy's lies into turning against their own Mother and are now (even if unknowingly) fighting the Church as traitors with the Enemy's weapons and on the Enemy's side!

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has rightly exposed the voluminous Pennsylvania grand jury "report" on priestly sexual abuse for what it is: an elaborate hoax consisting of two true accounts of abuse by priests buried among hundreds of unsubstantiated cases that cannot be admitted to court. Donohue has also drawn attention to the vicious anti-Catholicism of the fake report's mastermind, Pennsylvania Attorney General Joshua Shapiro. He has unmasked Mr. Shapiro's pretense of justice and fairness by pointing out his failure to investigate the far more serious sexual abuse problems within other religions and especially within our public school system. It should be perfectly clear to any objective observer that both this salaciously detailed "report" and the language accompanying its press release were designed to inflame public outrage against the American Catholic Church. Furthermore, the timing of its publication suggests a calculated plan to discredit the Church's moral authority in advance of the 2018 Congressional elections. And that is exactly what has happened. The needle of truth was cunningly buried in a haystack of lies, and with abundant oil poured on by the secular media, the resulting conflagration has been spectacular. But eventually, the fire will burn itself out, and all that will remain is the needle.

How appalling it has been to see millions of American Catholics sharing in the general public's explosion of irrational and unjustified anger against the Church! These well-intentioned Catholics have made the terrible mistake of trusting and accepting the secular media's heavily biased reporting on the matter without question, apparently forgetting that the secular media is controlled by the Church's enemies--their enemies. Their righteous indignation is irrational and unjustified because they have nowhere to direct it. They're angry with priests, but most of the priests who committed these crimes and sins against children and teens are either dead, retired, or laicized and in prison; more than 99 percent of priests currently serving the U.S. Church have never abused a child or teen. They're mad at bishops, but most of the bishops who conspired to cover up these crimes and sins are either dead or retired, and nearly all (if not all) of the bishops currently serving the U.S. Church have never engaged in such cover-up. And they're incensed at Pope Francis (who has increasingly become a scapegoat for many of the Church's problems) for allegedly mishandling the situation, but nearly all of the crimes and sins took place during the reign of Pope Saint John Paul II, many years before Francis was elected pope. Angry Catholics, some of whom have abandoned the Church altogether, have been sucked into the secular media drama and have become unwitting pawns in Satan's army.

If these misguided Catholics in and out of the pews are de facto foot soldiers of the Evil One in his war against the Church, much of the blame lies with their commanding officers in Catholic media. For a number of years now, many supposedly independent Catholic journalists and media outlets in the United States have been allowing the radically secularist "mainstream" media to dictate both the content and the priority of their own stories, merely contenting themselves with approaching this news "from a Catholic perspective." The problem with this approach is that, as mentioned above, the secular media is controlled by the Church's enemies, whose agenda is diametrically opposed to Catholic faith and moral values. Catholic media executives should set their own agenda based on their religion and make their own decisions as to which stories merit their attention and how much, if any, attention a given story should receive. By slavishly following the lead of the secular media with regard to coverage of past sexual abuse by Catholic priests, Catholic journalists and pundits have played into the hands of the Church's enemies and dragged millions of hapless Catholics along with them. The crimes and sins of a few dozen U.S. Catholic priests and the complicity of a few Catholic bishops in the latter half of the twentieth century should not be today's front-page news for months on end in any media outlet, much less a Catholic media outlet! The real "scandal" here is that Catholic media "leaders" have granted wildly disproportionate coverage to an ugly chapter of the Church's past that should be left in the past, thus fueling the anger of their consumers and aiding and abetting Hell's war on the Church.

When the allegations against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick first surfaced this past summer, the Catholic press initially expressed some healthy skepticism regarding their credibility. If the young Father McCarrick had actually abused seminarians back in 1971, how were these misdeeds so successfully kept secret for nearly fifty years--and how did this priest subsequently manage to rise through the church's ranks to the upper echelons of the hierarchy? The suggestion that the accusations might be false was clearly on the table for a moment. Unfortunately, the Catholic media quickly allowed itself to be swept into the secular media's hostile rush to judgment, abandoning critical thinking and a sense of perspective in favor of a presumption of guilt that offends seriously against justice and charity. Had Catholic journalists acted in accord with the charity, justice and prudence their faith teaches, not to mention respect for the truth, they would have reserved judgment on the McCarrick case, assuming the former cardinal's innocence until the results of the Church's investigation were in hand. Today's Catholic journalists would do well to remember that back in the 1950s, the great Italian mystic and canonized saint, Pio of Pietrelcina, was temporarily removed from public ministry while the Church looked into a credible allegation of sexual misconduct against him. Within two years, Padre Pio was acquitted and returned to public ministry. Not every priest, bishop, or cardinal accused of a sin and crime is actually guilty. Archbishop Emeritus McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals because Pope Francis asked him to do so as a procedural requirement for the Church's investigation process; however, his resignation is not necessarily an admission of guilt. My impression of McCarrick over the course of many years has always been a man of quiet strength and radiant joy, a passionate and articulate defender of the faith, indeed a saintly man, and I cannot reconcile the current charges against him with his apparent sanctity. I will continue to assume that he is a holy man who has been falsely accused of wrongdoing, unless and until the Church's findings indicate the latter.

It's time well-meaning American Catholics recognize they've been duped into treason, abandon the Enemy's side and re-direct their volleys of righteous indignation at the proper targets: anti-Catholic activists in our government and in the secular media. We're commanded to love our enemies, but we should NEVER trust or follow them! If your innocent mother was unjustly attacked by enemies bent upon her total destruction, wouldn't you defend her with every fiber of your being? The Church is our Mother, and she is in this exact situation at this very moment. We Catholics must speak out and take every action within our power to defend Holy Mother Church against the malicious accusations of her radically secularist enemies in government and the secular media. We must defend our holy priests and bishops against fictitious charges; we must defend Pope Francis against the false accusations of Archbishop Vigano. Above all, we must pray unceasingly for the Church as well as for the conversion of her enemies. This is a public relations battle, a battle for the Church's reputation, a cultural battle, but above all it is a spiritual battle. As Ephesians 6:12 says, "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the present darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." May we fight valiantly for the Church at this critical time with boundless trust in the protection and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Michael the Archangel and all the Heavenly host, confident in Christ's promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail against her.

Copyright 2018 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Reflection for Labor Day

"God's fundamental and original intention with regard to man, whom he created in his image and after his likeness, was not withdrawn or cancelled out even when man, having broken the original covenant with God, heard the words: 'In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread'. These words refer to the sometimes heavy toil that from then onwards has accompanied human work; but they do not alter the fact that work is the means whereby man achieves that 'dominion' which is proper to him over the visible world, by "subjecting" the earth. Toil is something that is universally known, for it is universally experienced. It is familiar to those doing physical work under sometimes exceptionally laborious conditions. It is familiar not only to agricultural workers, who spend long days working the land, which sometimes 'bears thorns and thistles', but also to those who work in mines and quarries, to steel-workers at their blast-furnaces, to those who work in builders' yards and in construction work, often in danger of injury or death. It is likewise familiar to those at an intellectual workbench; to scientists; to those who bear the burden of grave responsibility for decisions that will have a vast impact on society. It is familiar to doctors and nurses, who spend days and nights at their patients' bedside. It is familiar to women, who, sometimes without proper recognition on the part of society and even of their own families, bear the daily burden and responsibility for their homes and the upbringing of their children. It is familiar to all workers and, since work is a universal calling, it is familiar to everyone.

"And yet, in spite of all this toil--perhaps, in a sense, because of it--work is a good thing for man. Even though it bears the mark of a bonum arduum, in the terminology of Saint Thomas, this does not take away the fact that, as such, it is a good thing for man. It is not only good in the sense that it is useful or something to enjoy; it is also good as being something worthy, that is to say, something that corresponds to man's dignity, that expresses this dignity and increases it. If one wishes to define more clearly the ethical meaning of work, it is this truth that one must particularly keep in mind. Work is a good thing for man--a good thing for his humanity--because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes 'more a human being'."

--Saint John Paul II, Encyclical Laborem Exercens (1981), no. 9

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Quote of the Day

Do not judge me by my successes; judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

--Nelson Mandela (1918--2013)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Reflection on the Feast of the Visitation

"God visits us in the womb of a woman, mobilizing the womb of another woman with a song of blessing and praise, with a song of joy. The Gospel scene bears all the dynamism of the visit of God: when God comes to meet us He moves us inwardly, He sets in motion what we are until all our life is transformed into praise and blessing. When God visits us, He leaves us restless, with the healthy restlessness of those who feel they have been invited to proclaim what He lives, and is in the midst of His people. This is what we see in Mary, the first disciple and missionary, the new Ark of the Covenant who, far from remaining in the reserved space of our temples, goes out to visit and accompany with her presence the gestation of John...

"With Elizabeth, today too we wish to anoint her and greet her by saying 'Blessed is she who has believed', and continue to believe in 'a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord'. Mary is thus the icon of the disciple, of the believing and prayerful woman who knows how to accompany and encourage our faith and our hope in the distinct stages we must go through. In Mary we find the faithful reflection not of a poetically sweetened faith, but of a strong faith, especially at a time when the sweet enchantments of things are broken and there are contradictions in conflict everywhere.

"And we will certainly have to learn from that strong and helpful faith that characterised and characterises our Mother; to learn from this faith that knows how to get inside history so as to be salt and light in our lives and in our society.

"The society we are building for our children is increasingly marked by the signs of division and fragmentation, leaving many people out of play, especially those who find it difficult to obtain the minimum necessary to lead a dignified life. A society that likes to vaunt its scientific and technological advances, but that has become blind and insensitive to the thousands of faces that are there along the way, excluded by the blind pride of the few. A society that ends up establishing a culture of disillusionment, disenchantment and frustration in many of our brothers, and even anguish in many others due as they experience the difficulties they need to face so as not to lose their way...

"Faced with all these situations, we must say with Elizabeth, 'Blessed is she who has believed', and to learn from this strong and helpful faith that characterized and characterizes our Mother."

--Pope Francis, Homily, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, 2016