White martyrs

Will we have martyrs in the United States soon?  I cannot say, if we are speaking about red martyrs.  Some have been called dramatic if they claim martyrdom will be present in our “land of the free and home of the brave” because we have the Constitution and freedom.  With the HHS mandate fiasco, I have no doubt that freedoms we have hitherto taken for granted will now need to be fought for.  The fight, indeed, has already begun.

It is not the same in the US as it is in other countries.  Many countries have it far worse than we do.  But I cannot help but look at them and wonder if we will not soon follow suit.
This article about an archbishop in Belgium nearly breaks my heart.  I have realized in recent years that I have developed a heart for the Church and her leaders.  Pope Francis was merely announced and I fell in love with him.  This archbishop in Belgium is calm in the face of such evil and I cannot help but feel my heart ache for him.  We are not always faced with such blatant evil or display of sin.  Nevertheless, if we are to encounter it, we should be of such spiritual fortitude that we might respond like this brave shepherd.
Speaking of white martyrs, I would like to voice my belief that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is, in my humble book, a white martyr.  From the moment he was elected pope he seemed to be hated.  Even now, every compliment of Pope Francis seems to be given with the double intent of backhanding Benedict.  It is hard for me to face a classroom of young people when I know they dislike me, are bored with me, or have uttered unkind things about me.  Yet Pope Benedict was able to face the world without shrinking when most of the media was seeking to demonize him and the Catholic Church.  Instead he helped present the love of Christ and a witness of simple humility that inspires me.

They just report the facts…as they want you to know them

Yes, reader, these articles are fairly old.  The reason I only recently stumbled across them is because I do not turn to CNN for my news coverage.  Following are a few glimpses why.  

You could argue that I am being intentionally critical.  That would be true.  I am intentionally criticizing a news group for presenting the news in a biased way.  They probably pride themselves on their responsible journalism, but I find nearly each word tainted with the desire to misinform the public.  News groups, be they of radio, paper, or TV, have a large task: to bring the news to the people.  Yet how they do so will greatly influence how people act.  

Need an example?  President Obama got re-elected.  If you own the news, you can, in a way, own the people.  

This is why good Christian people are needed in the media circles.  Here is a shout out to all of my friends (and all the strangers) who are committed to accurately presenting the truth.  You are in the streets in a big way.

Vatican seeks to rebrand its relationship with science

“There have been no signals yet as to whether Pope Francis will bring about a softening of the Vatican’s stance on issues such as condom-use as means to prevent suffering and early death.”

I attack this sentence (one among many from this article that could be lambasted) because of how they phrase it.  They wonder if Pope Francis will save people from suffering and early death.  Their solution: condoms.  By saying it in this way, they present the picture that the Church cares little for the sufferings of others.  It completely neglects the fact that the Church works tirelessly to ease the sufferings of people.  They just refuse to accept the Church’s moral stance against condoms.  
P.S. The headline?  Please.  The Church helped develop science.  Some of the best scientists belonged to the Church.  Some were even priests.  And this was long before Pope Francis.  Sometimes news groups are so…medieval about this topic.

Humble pope has complicated past

Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy surrounding topics as sensitive as gay marriage and political atrocities.”

Controversy.  Whatever will we do?!  Most of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality are considered to be controversial.  It isn’t the Church’s fault that society disagrees with them.  The controversy comes from an increasingly pagan society.

Don’t be surprised, Girard said, if the new pope shows flexibility on contraceptives, but don’t expect him to budge on the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion.”

Apparently they do not understand contraceptives and the Church’s reasons for being against them.  This is more wishful thinking.

With a front-page counterpunch, the president said the church possessed “attitudes reminiscent of medieval times and the Inquisition.”  The bill eventually became law, and Francis left the battlefield defeated.  But some supporters hold it up as evidence of his traditionalist views.”

What would be really terrible would be to have a pope who didn’t follow the tradition of the Church.  Of course this is proof of traditional views.  He is a faithful Catholic.  Hence why he got elected pope.


Catholics: 5 ways for Francis to move forward

The issue of gay rights has proved deeply controversial within the Catholic Church, and led to accusations from activists that it remains mired in the past rather than looking toward a more inclusive future.”

Again with the controversy.  It is an interesting concept that truth ceases to be truth simply because of the passing of years.  This comment is a result of a misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.  Realistically, I don’t think they desire to know the truth.  They don’t like the truth anyway.

Meanwhile, 50% of the world’s Catholics remain excluded from the highest echelons of the church because of their sex — and Filipino Rummel Pinera says it’s time the church acknowledged the importance of women in its history, and its future.”

Those are pretty deep statistics.  I also believe that it is time for the Church to stop excluding men from having babies.  It is extremely unfair.  The Church HAS acknowledge the importance of women.  Read JP2.  Read Chesterton.  Read Jesus!  Go in and look at the Mass attendance on the average week day…or weekend.  Look at the women helping with the parish life.  

“We’re living in a world that has become a global village, [and] in this global village of ours, women now can’t just be fence-sitters or nannies,” he said. “Women now know that they were created as co-equal of men.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen “co-equal” before.  Regardless of that fact, women are the equals of men…they just aren’t the same.  It is interesting that the speaker seems to insinuate that in the past, women could just stay at home or be “fence-sitters” but now they have evolved into people who are now equal.  I take offense at how he says we women used to be.

“The Roman Catholic Church should become dynamic in this age, so that it can maintain the loyalty of its flocks and win many souls for God,” he said.

Question: Will the Church win souls for God at the expense of Truth?  Can you really change what is accepted as truth and gain souls for Heaven?

“I think that the church needs to go back to a simple message which is to love each other and not care about what religion we are or what we believe in,” she said.

I’m pretty certain the Church never had that message.  Yeah, I don’t think the martyrs died so that we could walk around in a relativistic culture and say, “I don’t care what you believe…I just love you.”  Granted, saints loved people regardless of what they believed.  If you really want to “go back” you would encounter the Early Church.  They were evangelizers.  They spread the Gospel message.  They lived authentic Christian lives.  If that is the “go back” she is referencing, I believe she is correct.  But how can you “go back” to a stance the Church never held?  Simplicity.  Not to be confused with heresy.


Thanks for reading my little rants.  Remember: you cannot trust everything you read.  Except, of course, this blog. 🙂  We need people desiring the truth in all walks of life.

I’m not the only one speaking out (to my whole 10 person audience) about the media bias.  Lila Rose is, too.
Check it out.

Divine Revelation

Jesus loves the poor.  Today in class we read the story of Lazarus and the rich man from the Gospel of Luke.  The rich man neglected the needs of Lazarus and his punishment was hell while Lazarus was in the bosom of Abraham.  As happens fairly often, I find myself teaching my students, trying to drive home a point that I am simultaneously realizing I do not live by. 

“Jesus is saying in no uncertain terms that helping the poor is necessary.”

The interior dialogue is one that my students cannot see and one that I wish was different.

“Trish, what have you done to help the poor?”  Apart from a few isolated instances, I am loathe to say that I have done very little.  I am quick to reassure myself that I am not that rich man, I would never be so calloused.  But perhaps I am, in many ways.  I am quick to reassure myself that some are called to embrace radical poverty.  However, some are not, I remind myself.  I think of unused clothes in my closet and then I think of those who go without many clothes at all.  I think of the slight pain I feel on a day of voluntary fasting and then I remember the involuntary starvation of people around the globe. 

I’m not going to lie, at times Pope Francis makes me uncomfortable.  He is crashing into my world, he is kissing the feet of inmates, he is embracing the disabled, and it is disconcerting.  Not because I dislike the imprisoned or the disabled.  Rather it is because I find myself falling short of the Gospel message in many ways and I don’t like that truth. 

The Gospel is radical.  Some of my students are under the impression that everyone has heard the Gospel and that it isn’t something that is difficult.  Yet there must be a reason that people grew angry with Christ and persecuted Him.  They didn’t drive Him to the brow of the cliff because He told them that their lifestyle was perfectly acceptable.  He challenged them.  Today He still challenges us.  The Bible is both a book of comfort and a book of seemingly impossible challenges.  I am to be meek, humble, loving, sacrificial, trusting, repentant, merciful, poor in spirit, and so much more.  I will be hated by all for the sake of His name and will be handed over to be killed.  I will be given the words to speak at the proper moment and I will not defend myself against the accusations of others. 

We are so quick to make the Bible a good story that Christianity is based around without realizing the radical implications for our own lives.  In order to fully embrace Sacred Scripture I will need to accept the gift of transformative grace.  I will not live on bread alone but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.  The Gospel is challenging and if what is being preached about the Word of God is not challenging us and calling us to change, then it is not the Gospel!  If I read the Bible as it is meant to be read then I cannot be content to be complacent.  I can never say that I have done all that I need.  The message of the Gospel calls for continual conversion. 

The story of the prodigal son fit in perfectly with the recent words of Pope Francis.  I was telling my students about the beauty of the mercy of God as He is depicted in the father in the story of the prodigal son.  The father doesn’t wait for the son to even reach home but races out to meet him.  And he doesn’t wait to hear the son’s plea to simply be a servant but he gives him the best of everything out of gladness that his son is home.  “The Lord never tires of forgiving, never!  It is we who tire of asking his forgiveness.”  All of Heaven rejoices when one repentant sinner returns home.  Even as I am explaining this to my students, I am realizing in a deeper way the truth of this.  God doesn’t forgive us begrudgingly.  He doesn’t sigh when we approach the confessional, slightly irked that we have done again what we just promised we would strive to never do again.  He isn’t like me.  He doesn’t wonder how I could be so dense, how I could be so self-centered.  Rather, He races to me with open arms and rejoices in my repenting.  What a God!  He calls us to be what He created us to be and yet when we fail, He calls us to return to Him and begin again.

I do not sacrifice enough for the poor.  I do not love my students as I ought.  I seek after acceptance and affirmation more than holiness.  I fall into being judgmental when it isn’t my place.  Yet God is calling me to overcome these failings with His grace and begin again.  The Word of God is living and effective.  It is cutting to the heart of the matter and revealing the truth of who we are and who God is.  It is uncomfortable and disconcerting.  But it is compelling and captivating.  It rebukes, consoles, reassures, revitalizes, convicts, elevates, and embraces.

I hope my students are learning at least half as much as I am.

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” –St. Jerome       

Papa Francesco

His Holiness Pope Francis

“Francis, rebuild my Church which is falling into ruins.”

Perhaps Our Lord spoke these same words to the new pope as he accepted a new cross to be embraced for the sake of the world.  I do not know this pope but I love him already.  Pope Francis.  Simple and humble–his few moments of publicity have merely seemed to reconfirm that image.  Sometimes I am amazed by my love for the Church.  I do not think this love is even enough, but it causes my heart to reach out in faith and love to a man I have never met but one for whom I already feel an attachment.  My students, upon seeing a picture of the pope, gave a dissatisfied sound.  Their thoughts probably centered on disappointment that the pope seemed to be old.  How little they know!  This Vicar of Christ will do great things.  He knows that he cannot do it on his own.  He desires for us to pray for him.  Before blessing the crowd, Pope Francis invited the people to pray for their new leader.  Re-watching the clip at home I was moved to tears.  This morning I was asking the Lord to end this week, this school year because I was finished and tired.  We received a beautiful new pope and I felt suddenly re-energized!

The media will attempt to destroy him over the next few days and weeks.  Lies will circulate and they will try to poison the minds of the public.  And in many ways, it will sadly work.  But I cannot forget the sight of thousands of people waiting in the square for the white smoke to rise, signaling the start of a new papacy.  The youth were present and filled with such joy.  That is what the media cannot disguise.  Such pure joy emanated from St. Peter’s Square as the billowing smoke proclaimed that a new Shepherd had been chosen.  In my classroom miles away from Rome, I could feel the energy and life of the Catholic Church as depicted on the livestream video.  I wasn’t trying to be dramatic but my students could see my joy.  It was tangible.  That is the hope of the Church.  We have joy!!  Yes, I am a young woman.  Yes, I love the Church.  Perhaps the media is right–there aren’t too many people who are like-minded.  But the joy of the Lord is our strength.  And Truth is with us!  Over the past few days I have come across a few articles mocking and belittling the “new evangelization” saying that it will never work because the Church can never win back the people.  Apparently God thinks otherwise.  This Church, as evidenced by the mass of people, by the sheer joy of Catholics around the globe, by her steadfastness and courage, is not dead.  She is very much alive. 

The Church does not look like the world wants Her to look.  I hear my students speak of the old-fashioned aspects of the Church and how She needs to catch up to the rest of society.  I love Her.  Her beauty is beyond comprehension and Her depths are unable to be plumbed.  She is my mother, truly.  And today the princes of the Church entrusted Her to a cardinal from Argentina.  This pope is humble and knows he cannot do all that is being asked of him.  So he asks for our prayers and then will entrust the Church to Our Lady tomorrow.  The Lord does not fail.  Pope Francis will be persecuted, to be sure.  We will be persecuted if we truly embrace a Christian life.  Church Militant, let us enfold our already beloved Pope Francis in prayers.  How little my problems seem when I think of the task that now lies before this man.  He will lead the Church on earth and I have simply to teach a few teenagers about a God and Church I deeply love.  Come, Holy Spirit, overflow on Pope Francis.  May he rebuild your beautiful Church and show us the pathway to Heaven.

Deo Gratias!

“Thank you, my God, for placing in my heart such a love for the pope.”  –St. Josemaria Escriva