Sunday, July 30, 2006

Your Mama Wears Combat Boots: Mary and the War against Evil

“We are at war with Evil, and your mama wears combat boots”, Father Corapi says in his own special way. This is so true. We, now more than ever, are under attack from the evil one. So many different attacks on goodness attempt to blind us to the reality of the sin. The idea of sin itself is under attack. Ideas such as relativism and liberalism seek to either justify sin or remove God from the mainstream, basically accepting sin (above holiness). This backward world will tell us “Sin…good…God…bad”. Following up from my last article on the communion of saints, remember that we are the Church Militant. But how do we, fallen soldiers of God’s church, battle the powerful forces of sin? This battle is not like what we see in movies with demons, vampires, monsters, etc. While I am not seeking to suggest the existence or lack of existence of these creatures, I am pointing to the “everyday” Suzie and Jonnie out there; you and I, normal citizens, with normal lives. We fight an internal battle that began with the fall of Adam and Eve. The “weakness of character…concupiscence” (Catechsism 1264), the tendency to fall into sin (whatever our weaknesses may be). This may also include our own inclination to justify sin (with some help from the world). What can we do? We keep falling… Remembering that Jesus is the center of salvation; just like a child beaten by a bully, we run to our “Mommy” for help. Yes, I am a “Mama’s Boy”, and you should be one too. Mary, the Mother of God, Theo-tokos, and our Mother will aid us in battle. Remember the beautiful words of Luke’s Gospel:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,my spirit rejoices in God my Saviorfor he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:the Almighty has done great things for me,and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear himin every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israelfor he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,to Abraham and his children for ever. (Luke 1:46-55)

So much is said about Mary throughout the Catechism, scripture, and the Church Fathers. This short article cannot do justice to this topic. Pick up a Catechism, Google search, find what you can about Mary and begin learning. Pope Paul VI had some eloquent words about Mary:

The Church indeed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By her preaching she brings forth to a new and immortal life the sons who are born to her in baptism, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. She herself is a virgin, who keeps the faith given to her by her Spouse whole and entire. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity.

You absolutely will not short change Jesus by loving his mother. Jesus loved his mother. He, in fact, is the only Son to ever choose his Mother. He in fact, throughout all ages, knowing all men and women who ever was, is, and ever shall be, chose Mary to be his mother. Jesus is never wrong, so Mary must be special. Jesus last words before his death on the cross included instruction to us all:
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son. The he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”(John 19: 26-27)

Jesus was telling his Mother to treat the disciples (and us all) like her son, AS her Son. He was also telling his disciple to treat Mary like his Mother, AS his Mother…as we all should.

The point of this article is not to “prove” the Church’s teaching on Mary. There is much out there on that, and I will address that at another time. Today, I am simply taking for granted that you are reaching for help in glorifying the Lord. While there are many ways to start “strapping up your army boots” with Mary, might I suggest a few. First, get a rosary ( request a free one), a guide to the Mysteries and instruction on praying the rosary ($.85, or free on my rosary webpage) and start praying it everyday. If you think you don’t have the time, find some. I takes me about 15 to 20 minutes. I will sometimes do mine on my commute with the aid of a recorded version on my IPOD. Invoke Mary’s intercession in times of temptation, sorrow, pain, etc. You think you have struggles, pain, sorrow…”you ain’t seen NOTHING!” Mary “feels your pain”. She will wrap your prayers in diamonds and gold, and present them to her Son, Jesus Christ…and he will answer as he did at the Wedding in Cana (John 2: 1-2). For further reading see:

May you be blessed with health, happiness, and holiness. Until next time:
Commuter OUT!!!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Communion of Saints: We don't worship Mary and the Saints

What happens when a door to door evangelist from the Jehovah’s Witness sect or even a Baptist or Non-Denominational? What do we say when they tell us that “you worship Mary and the Saints”? This “attack” is a key tactic for protestant apologists against Catholics. The reason may be that Mary and the Saints are such a big part of the Church (of course not the center) and many Catholics don’t quite understand what we truly believe in regards to Mary and the Saints; and that leaves us vulnerable.

First and foremost, we don’t worship Mary, the Saints, statues, flowers, grass, clouds…or anything the protestants may try to convince us that we worship. We worship GOD in the form of the trinity, just like most protestants (excluding those Jehovah’s). For some very detailed (and free) talks, check out John Martignoni at The long and the short of it is we venerate Mary and the Saints. It is just like keeping a picture of grandma in your wallet (regardless of whether she is still alive). Looking at the picture reminds us of weekends and grandma’s house, homemade pie, and Christmas dinners long ago. Why not remind ourselves of those who lived saintly lives (as did Mary and the Saints). They remind us how to live. The other aspect, of course, is praying TO Mary and the Saints. They are in heaven, very close to GOD, especially Mary. If you would be willing to ask your friends to pray for you before surgery, for example, why not ask those close to God in Heaven to pray for you?

The reality of praying to Mary and the Saints is a very important part of the Communion of Saints. James 5:16 says, “therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” Who is more “righteous” than someone already in Heaven? The catechism tells us that “the communion of saints is the Church” (946), reminding us, of course, that “the most important member is Christ, since he is the head.” (947). As members of this Communion of Saints we are in one of three camps. The first is where we all are (unless you are reading this in heaven, in that case, please pray for me, Oh Saint). We are a part of the Church Militant on earth. As “pilgrims” (954), we are vulnerable to attacks from evil, since we are not yet in an eternal position of salvation. The second group is those “being purified” (954) in purgatory (see my last article). The final group are “[in the] glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is’”(954).
Scripture tells the story so poetically:
“We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the , who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.” (1 Thes 4: 13-18)

Why wouldn’t anyone want access to this gloriousness? The glory of praying for the intercession (which simply means having them pray to Jesus for us) is immense. Think of praying to “Our Lady”. Pope Paul VI said of Mary, “we believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ”. Mary takes our prayers, like a protective mother, however imperfect those prayers are, and wraps them in her glory and presents them to Jesus for us. Remember that great moment in John’s Gospel (John 2: 1-12) at the Wedding Feast at Cana when Jesus turns the water into wine at the request of his Mother (our Mother).

Jesus has given us a great grace in the Communion of Saints. We have, at our behest, the prayers of all living, dead (in purgatory), and those “righteous” souls in Heaven at the side of Christ. Words cannot express what this truly means. We, in our state as sinners, can reach out to Saints who suffered just as we did, but overcame worldly temptations. Check out this sight for some of the patron saints to pray to for certain causes, ( Remember, too, that we have a duty to pray to God for those souls in Purgatory as part of our role in this communion. Your rewards will be great from those you have helped get into heaven. I think they will be grateful. For those who tell you that the Church is wrong in her belief of praying to Mary and the Saints, pray for them (to Mary for their conversion). While we all certainly agree on praying to the Lord, they are missing out on so much. Praying to Mary and the Saints takes nothing away (even time and prayers) from Jesus. He is the head of the mystical body of Christ (which is the Church= Communion of Saints). He hears all of our prayers even if we are asking for an intercession . John Martignoni does a great job simplifying this. He uses the analogy of an injury to your hand; while your hand feels the pain, it is only because the brain sends signals for that to happen (Jesus). Martignoni does it much better than I. Get the free talk for more. Bottom line, never feel you are “short changing” Jesus by praying for intercessions. For more, check out

Monday, July 17, 2006


“Anyone who is so ‘progressive’ as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even great him…”2 John 5: 9-11.

I have heard many people (both inside and outside the Church) explain away different beliefs and dogmas of the Church. I recently wrote about “Cafeteria Catholics” and my frustration with them. I certainly get frustrated (maybe even a little sad) when non Catholics tell me why my beliefs are wrong or that we “don’t believe in that anymore”. I am even more frustrated when it comes from within the Church. Just like the typical Cafeteria Catholic, people will tell you that a certain belief has been changed. I guess Pope Benedict must have missed a few memos! We have a lot of “Popes” running around today, and these “Popes” don’t have a clue what they are talking about. It certainly may be a result of the “disease” of “political correctness” that causes these people to give in to certain modern and/or protestant beliefs. This article will briefly point out a huge target of unbelievers: Purgatory.

The simplest form of explaining purgatory starts from Revelations: “Nothing unclean shall enter heaven” Rev 21: 27. Most of us are not great saints. We live our lives in an attempt to be holy (some of us falling more short than others…myself included). When we die, we are not so EVIL as to be damned to Hell for eternity. We may also not be so PERFECT (as all are in Heaven) as to go to Heaven. Where do we go? Purgatory. We are “purified” in this place/state. All of our earthly temptations and urges are removed through this cleansing of the soul. Catechism 1030 states:
All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of the eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

While Purgatory has only 2 paragraphs out of nearly 3000 paragraphs of the Catechism, this says all I need. But it also refers to biblical references as well as early Church Fathers.
St Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians tells us, “ If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but as only through fire.” (1 Cor 3:14-15). St Paul tells us about the “purifying fire”. By fire, we often think of Hell, but he tells us that “person will be saved”. You’re not saved in Hell…so he must be referring to another place. That place is not Heaven, because he refers to suffering “loss”. No one suffers or looses in Heaven, it is Heaven after all. St Augustine in his classic City of God states that “temporary punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by others after death, by others both now and then, but all of them before that last strictest judgment”(found on . In the Second Book of Maccabees, we read of how Judas Maccabees offered sacrifices and prayers for soldiers who had died wearing amulets, which were forbidden by the law; "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out," (2 Mc 12:43) and "Thus, (Judas Maccabees) made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin" (2 Mc 12:46). Mathew’s Gospel tells us that certain sins will not be forgiven “in this age or the age to come” (Mt 12: 32). This is suggesting a certain purging of the soul after death (the age to come). Furthermore, Luke talks about the final judgment wich deserves its own article. Briefly, Luke 12: 2- 5 talks about the revelation of all sins in the final judgment and ends the same chapter with “I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
With all this being stated, why do we as Catholics seem to be alone in our belief in purgatory. First, Martin Luther, in his “removal” of sacred texts ( 7 books of the old testament) removed some foundations of purgatory; primarily the account of Judas Maccabees in the book of Maccabees. Also, In the Book of Sirach, "Withhold not your kindness from the dead" (Sir 7:33), was interpreted as imploring God to cleanse the soul. Luther removed Sirach from his “bible” as well. Seemingly convenient to remove these books. Certainly, there is still enough biblical reference to support the existence of Purgatory without these, but Luther laid the foundation against the Church’s teaching on this. Calvin’s notion of predetermination basically states that we lost our freewill to choose God because of original sin, therefore, we are not capable of accepting him and earning heaven. God, therefore, predetermines some for heaven and some for hell. Those chosen for hell, cannot gain heaven, and those chosen for heaven, can only loose it. Calvin’s notion, therefore has no need for purgatory. Also, there seems to be a rebellion against “all things Catholic” in certain protestant circles.
Let us wrap up this article by enlightening the beauty of purgatory. God longs us to be with him in his “beatific vision”. John 3:16 states “for God loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life.” He gave us free will to choose him (or not to choose him). We are given this immense responsibility in life to achieve great holiness. In our lives we strive to become a perfect reflection of God, but ALWAYS fail to achieve this fully. Through contrition, confession and absolution, and the much need graces from God, we are able to say “yes” to God and his infinite love and mercy. It is his mercy that gives us purgatory. It would be unmerciful to fill Heaven with imperfect souls…it would therefore not be Heaven. It would also be unmerciful to send us all to Hell because we are not perfect (since that would be impossible). Heaven would be very quiet. It is his mercy that allows us to be “cleansed” in purgatory. While a non-stop one way ticket to Heaven would be ideal, a stop-over in purgatory is something that most of us strive to attain. Achieving this stop-over means that we have made it. We know that with some work, we will achieve the ultimate goal of the “beatific vision” of Heaven.
God Love You.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I Am and Anti-Choice Extremist: Thoughts on Abortion

Let me start this article off with a notice: I am not without sin myself, but I constantly ask for God’s Mercy. Anyone can repent of any sin, even at the moment before death. I pray everyday for the VICTIMS of Abortion. The first VICTIMS, of course, are the unborn Children who were never given a chance to live. The second VICTIMS are the mothers. These women are often (not always) misled by EVIL organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Who under the guise of “choice” are convincing women to have abortions…to murder their child? Absurdity…Insanity…I had to get that off my chest. I always pray for the child and the mother together:

Lord Jesus, have mercy on the poor innocent souls who are with you in heaven. Please also let me pray for the conversion and repentance of their mothers so that they may some day be reunited with their child in heaven. Amen

I would be remiss if I did not include resources for women and men (as I will change my prayer to include the fathers) who have had an abortion and are reaching out for an understanding heart, who will not try to justify the abortion, but lead one to healing. Try Rachaels Vineyard by calling 877 HOPE 4 ME (877 467 3463) and checking out

Why do people have abortions? Why not adoption. In the year 2000, approximately 1.3 million children were killed through abortion, and approximately 1.3 million people were waiting to adopt children. The number of children released for adoption was a mere 35,000 (statistics by National Council for Adoption; see Randy Alcorn, Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments, 2nd ed., p. 122). Is it because of selfishness? Does society tell us that it’s ok. 2000+ years ago, before The National Organization of Women ( or Planned Parenthood ( (click on the choice mag drop down and click on eye on extremists as the link would not fit in my blog) started their propaganda, calling PRO-Lifers “Anti-Choice Extremists”, our Church fathers told us about abortion and the importance of life (even before birth): “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you…” Jeremiah 1:5. The Catechism tells us in #2271:
“God, the Lord of life has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”
Catechism # 2272 orders excommunication as a penalty. It further states that this is not an attempt to restrict mercy, rather “make clear the gravity of the crime committed…” While not an expert on this, I would assume the church would offer absolution for those who asked for it as an alternative to excommunication. Beyond judgment from the church, the unabsolved and unrepented soul will have much more to face at his/her judgement. 1 John 3: 7-8 says “Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.” I say to you, the “Left Wing” organizations that support, demand, and welcome abortion are misleading the world.

Please check out the link to the planned parenthood website (reference above). The link take you to the “Extremists” section. No, not Osamma, not Sadaam, Hilter…LEX LUTHER? NO! Father FRANK PAVONE of Priests for life ( Father Pavone, the so-called extremist, is the founder of Priests for life. [Now Blessed] Mother Theresa, hardly a figure of violence in the world wrote this:
"I hope that many priests and deacons will join the Priests for Life.."(Blessed) Mother Teresa of Calcutta, January 24, 1995 letter to Priests for Life

Planned Parentood lumps him in with clinic bombers and would be assassins of Abortionists. This is propaganda to lump any and all pro lifers as “crazy” and “backwards”. You can label me as an “anti-choice”, but that does not change the fact that abortion does not offer choice. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILD. Please check out a story about one of these children ( and a hero who brought out her story, Ted Harvey. Think a little closer to home, very close. If the “fetus” is only tissue, look in the mirror. You were once “tissue”. If your parents had gone to an “aborturary” and had you “removed”, you would not be reading this article.

What are we, as Catholics to do. We have an OBLIGATION to talk with our VOTES. I am a registered Republican, so, of course, I must start within my own party. While it is my impression that the Republican party is much more Pro-life, it still has many “Fence Sitters”, who dance around the issue. As for the Democratic Party, what can I say? John Kerry almost became President. What would a PRO-CHOICE Catholic president who receives Holy Communion say about the state of the Catholic Church in America? God save us. President Bush, who is always welcomed to join us in coming home to the Catholic Church, has done much for the PRO-LIFE movement. Of course, all he get’s is flack. Enjoy it MR. Bush, bear that Cross, and let us help you carry it. Let’s keep pushing the issue when it comes to abortion. Pray, vote, and stand up for our rights and the rights of our children (born or unborn).

As this article is going way too long, I will wrap up with a few words from the heart. People will call me names, persecute me, and even wish me harm for thinking this way and writing this article. To them, I say, I love you and pray for you.
“Whoever does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him” 1 John 3: 14-15.
I will not allow you to make me hate you. No one on earth is worth giving up my soul for. To the children of the world and especially my children, I say: “I love you more than life itself. I would GLADLY suffer and die for you!” I look at my children, and cannot come up with any reason why they are not ABSOLUTE BLESSINGS to my life. They are why I was put on earth. I weep, at the thought that I could have easily walked into an “abortuary” and eliminated any or all of them—for a small fee of course. Amazingly enough, you can kill your unborn child, but don’t think of killing a Kangaroo Rat. Person vs Rat (Rat wins)!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why Can't Women Be Priests?

Why can’t women be priests? My 10 year old daughter asked me this. Many of my reasonings on Catholic beliefs are simply “because the church says it is so”. Unfortunately, for my daughter (and my wife who is currently in RCIA), that answer does not cut it. Praise God! This is exactly why I write this blog, to keep me honest in my catechetical knowledge.
I will start with the Church’s official reason from the Catechism # 1577:
“Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of twelve an ever present and ever active reality until Christ’s return. The church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”

Simply put, Jesus chose men. He could have chosen a woman as he had the perfect candidate in his mother (Our Blessed Mother, Mary). As the Queen of Angels, born without sin, Mary most certainly had the qualifications; but Jesus chose men. As so did the apostles moving forward in time. Jason Everet of Catholic Answers ( has written on this subject. He states a popular argument that Jesus was bound by cultural norms of his era to suppress the roles of women---of course there is no real evidence to suggest this. This actually would imply that first, Jesus was sexist, and second, that Jesus actually cared about cultural norms. That is absurd. Many instance in the Gospels we see Jesus going against cultural norms:
“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And he said to them, ‘it is written: My house shall be a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves’”. Mathew 21:12-13. I often think of this scene as the definition of righteous anger. This is only an example, as Jesus’ entire ministry really went against many norms of the time.

Scripture shows us that Jesus had roles for men and women alike. Everett’s article further points out scriptural sources. Note that the first verse of First Corinthians is: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. St Paul (as the author) points out his authority from Christ. That same chapter (1 Corinthians: 11: 1-16) is referenced to point to the fact Jesus specifically allowed women to pray in church but could not assume the role of teaching (which is as a priest). 1 Timothy 2: 12 specifically addressed this: I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet.

Another argument that makes sense is that of tradition. 2000+ years have must not have been wrong. That, in a world such as ours is a challenge, because one could argue that 100+ years of slavery could not have been wrong…or some other absurd argument…but wait just a minute…That argument would be absurd. Jesus did not teach on slavery. 1 Corinthians 11:2 states “ I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you. This, of course is not an article on the authority of the Church, but the church has authority—given directly from Christ to rule on these matters. Just as the church must not change forms (such as the bread and wine) it cannot change ordained priests from men only to both. The priest acts “in persona Christi” or in the person of Christ. Christ was a man, and well, a man represents him…in fact, he becomes him: “this is MY body…this is MY Blood”.

With this all being said, we must keep in mind, that although we are living today (at least at the time of writing this article), we are not the center of time and the universe(God is). So many people think that NOW is the time. I hear things like “things are different today”, “the church is stuck in the dark ages”, “We know more today”. Can we honestly say that this is a more “moral” age than years past. In certain ways, yes. In so many other ways, no. Who are we to say that because we have technology and scientific knowledge, that we should change the church and Christ’s teachings? If the Church were to change simply based on “political correctness”, then we would be in trouble. When all is said and done, God is above “political correctness” and earthly urges to be “progressive”. For more on my feelings on “progressiveness”, see my article titled “ The Cafeteria is Closed”. I say to you, who are YOU (Me included) to question my Master and Lord.? Any time someone says that the Church is sexist, just Google “Marian Devotions”…that accusation is hardly worth heresy…God Love You.