By CUF Staff | October 12, 2012
After last night’s vice presidential debate in which current Vice President Joe Biden vehemently asserted that the HHS Mandate will in no way require Catholics to compromise their beliefs, the USCCB rapidly responded with a forcefully worded Press Release. Here is the bulk of that statement, setting the record straight:
Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.
By CUF Staff | October 12, 2012
Yesterday marked the official start of the Year of Faith, a time designated by Pope Benedict for the universal Church to rediscover the treasures of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Throughout this exciting year, Catholics United for the Faith will promote the celebration of the Year of Faith in our various outreaches. For starters, we have many excellent resources available, such as
- Our Faith Basics series, available through Emmaus Road Publishing. Written for the person spread a bit too thin, the Faith Basics booklets are easily readable, covering the fundamentals in few words, while both informing and inspiring busy people to understand and live the faith. Current titles include Death, Where is Your Sting?, Discovering the “Awe” of the Mass, and Sacraments: The Seven Spiritual Wonders of the World. (Also available in e-book formats.)
- The award-winning Lay Witness magazine will feature articles especially relevant to the Year of Faith. The current issue sets the stage for the Year of Faith and author Kevin Clarke lays out a plan of action for the next 13 months. Visit our site to subscribe to Lay Witness.
- The annual Catholic’s United for the Faith calendar highlights the Apostles Creed with magnificent illustrations of the truths of the faith. To order, visit emmausroad.org or call 1-800-398-3470.
By CUF Staff | October 9, 2012
While we’re still a few days shy of the official start of the Year of Faith, the U.S. Bishop’s conference is releasing a steady stream of resources for this great season in the Church.
Beginning on October 11, according to a Vatican decree, the opportunity for plenary indulgence will be possible. Obtaining the indulgence is possible with reception of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confesssion, interceding for the Holy Father’s intentions, and any of the following:
(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.
(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, … in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.” (from USCCB.org)
For more information, visit the USCCB’s page.
By CUF Staff | October 5, 2012
And I understood that the greatest attribute of God is love and mercy. It unites the creature with the Creator. This immense love and abyss of mercy are made known in the Incarnation of the Word and in the Redemption [of humanity], and it is here that I saw this as the greatest of all God’s attributes.(181)
By CUF Staff | October 2, 2012
Mission: That the celebration of World Mission Day may result in a renewed commitment to evangelization.
By CUF Staff | September 28, 2012
Commenting on a new “abortion rights” campaign that tries to normalize the statistic “1 in 3 women will have an abortion by the age of 45,” Simcha Fischer highlights the fact that 1 in 3 does not equate with normality. Nor does it take into account the faces of those numbers–the faces of many women who were unwilling, coerced, or physically forced to terminate their pregnancies. Her article “Who are the One in Three?” is worth reading and sharing.
This campaign, seeking to de-stigmatize abortion, subtly vilifies the pro-life movement. Young women who feel they have no options must be reassured that we are not simply anti-abortion. We care for the woman, for her child, and are committed to helping these women find support.
Leslie Elliott, in the annual pro-life issue of Lay Witness, recently offered practical tips on how to take your pro-life convictions further than the abortion-clinic sidewalk.
Here are 10 ways to be more than just anti-abortion:
1. Work on developing deeper friendships, in particular with those who may only share a partial view of our pro-life vision.
2. Promote the Gospel of Life whenever possible, with gentleness and compassion.
3. Promote the pro-life position through arguments that are based on natural law and human rights, making the movement understandable and open to as many people as possible.
4. Befriend a single mom and her child/ children and help them meet their needs.
5. Promote adoption as a beautiful option.
6. Support your local pro-life pregnancy center.
7. Visit the elderly, especially those who are homebound or in nursing homes.
8. Get involved with the pro-life group and activities at your own parish.
9. Pick a national or international pro-life charity or organization to support through prayer and finances.
10. Sponsor a friend who has had an abortion to attend a Project Rachel retreat.
By CUF Staff | September 24, 2012
An excerpt from the July/August 2012 issue of Lay Witness, from author Matthew Bowman:
The word “politics” leaves a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, conjuring up thoughts of corruption, gridlock, and pusuit of self-interest instead of the common good. But the mechanisms of politics can also allow people of good will to form coalitions to pursue the common good. So if it helps, think about “public” or “social” involvement instead of politics.
Here are three reasons to jump into the major public debates of our times:
1. Your involvement can help. Good people read can make a difference. There are true heroes in public life who enact or block measures in order to actually save lives. At every level, having virtuous people in the process serves as a leaven of good in society. That means communication for or against candidates and legislative measures, and helping organizations that do the same.
2. Social policy renewal is not in competition with evangelization, it is part of evangelization. The circumstances for receiving the Gospel itself includes a society’s views, partly based on its laws and policies, about life, family, and freedom
The basic moral framework of people’s minds and the society around them will help people become more or less receptive to the evangelical message of salvation. The parable of the sower shows the importance of different kinds of soil and environment for the Gospel seed. Public involvement prepares that soil. Battles over the major issues of our day will help determine whether our society will be more or less likely to embrace a Savior who claims to be the Truth and the Life.
3. The need is great and the time is now. This sounds like a cliche, but our society really is facing challenges to religious freedom, the sanctity or human life, and the definition of marriage that are monumental and unprecedented, and that will literally determine whether our culture rebounds or deteriorates.
The values of life, freedom, and family still reside in the human heart and in the seeds of our nation’s founding. We have a chance to promote those values. We really can win. But not without each concerned Catholic like you.
Matthew Bowman is an attorney in the Washington D.C. area, a graduate of Ave Maria School of Law, and a member of the Knights of Columbus in his parish in Maryland.
By CUF Staff | September 5, 2012
The September/October issue of Lay Witness is hot off the press! This issue celebrates the upcoming Year of Faith, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. We feature excellent and timely articles by authors such as Dr. Regis Martin and Kevin Clarke, as well as regular favorites Dr. Ted Sri and Emily Stimpson.
By CUF Staff | August 24, 2012
Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell.
Not exactly light topics, to be certain–and yet the Four Last Things raise questions most of us seek to have answered. The answers to the questions of eternity impact how we live and move in the present life.
Drawing not just from Scripture and Tradition, but the wisdom of philosophers, poets, playwrights and more, noted author and professor Dr. Regis Martin provides a compelling introduction to the topic of the Four Last Things in a new Catholic Courses lecture series (available here).
Eloquently reminding us of hope’s essential role in the Christian journey, Martin’s Catholic Courses series is an instructive an inspiring response to the age old questions–”Why Are We Here?” and “What is the Meaning of Life.”
For additional information, not just on the ultimate questions of life, but the practical topics related to Catholic dogma and practice, Regis Flaherty’s new booklet Death, Where is Your Sting? (part of Emmaus Road Publishing’s Faith Basics series) can be ordered here
By CUF Staff | August 15, 2012
Today is the feast of the Blessed Mother’s Assumption into Heaven, body and soul. Many Christians–and indeed many Catholics–struggle to understand this teaching. CUF has a Faith Fact on the Assumption which can be viewed here if you’re looking for a thorough discussion of the question.
No one obeys the Fourth Commandment of honoring father and mother more fully than Jesus, who is Son of God and Son of Mary. It is fitting that Jesus would uniquely honor His mother—truly the Mother of God—by preserving her from the corruption of the grave and by glorifying her body in heaven before the general resurrection of the body for all the other saints on the last day.
There is even a stronger connection between the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception. The key Scripture verse is Genesis 3:15, in which the Lord says that He will put enmity between Satan and the “woman,” who is identified as the Mother of the Redeemer. “Enmity” means “total opposition.” This verse foreshadows Mary’s participation in the absolute victory of her seed (Jesus) over Satan. . . .
By a special favor granted to her by her Lord and Savior, Mary indeed did triumph over sin in her Immaculate Conception. Corruption of the body is a result of original sin. Because Mary was preserved from original sin in her Immaculate Conception, and since she sustained the fullness of grace given to her by God (cf. Lk. 1:28), Our Lady could not have experienced the consequences of original sin. So Mary also triumphed over the bodily corruption of death in her glorious Assumption.