The Boldness of a Stranger

In addition to writing the classic series  Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis is known for the many books he wrote on Christianity. With works such as The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity, Lewis was one of the most well-known Christian thinkers of his day. He was remarkably close to Catholic thought in many ways, but chose to remain Anglican. It was because of this reputation that H. Lyman Stebbins (who later founded Catholics United for the Faith) wrote to C.S. Lewis.

In November of 1998, Lay Witness published the original letters written between the two men with commentary by Madeleine Stebbins, widow of H. Lyman Stebbins.

To read the letters, click here.

CDF Reminder on Medjugorje

Today, the Catholic News Agency published a letter written by the US apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, on behalf of Arch. Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The letter referred to the ongoing investigation of the alleged Marian apparitions in Bosnia. In it, Archbishop Vigano makes reference to the official decree made by the local church and  reminds the US bishops

The Congregation (for the Doctrine of the Faith) has affirmed that, with regard to the credibility of the ‘apparitions’ in question, all should accept the declaration … which asserts: ‘On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations,’

Reiterating what the Church has already declared, Archbishop Vigano added

It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions’ would be taken for granted.

The letter and accompanying article can be found here. While it is curious that the CDF would issue this reminder, the faithful should be cautious of media presentations referring to this letter as a “bombshell.” Archbishop Vigano, on behalf of the Prefect of the CDF, is simply reiterating what the Church has already stated in the past (in the 1991 “Zadar Declaration” asserting that the apparitions were “non constat de supernaturalitate” [not established as supernatural]and via Bishop Ratko Peric in 1997). A formal investigation by the Vatican began in 2010, and it is expected that a decision regarding the alleged apparitions will be made and published in the near future.

Requiescat en Pace

On Friday, October 18, Eric Stoutz, former director of CUF’s Catholic Responses Department passed from this life to the next.

Eric’s heroic suffering throughout his battle with pancreatic cancer was a witness to his family and friends, and he submitted himself to God’s perfect will in order that a greater good might be brought about from his trial. In the midst of our sadness, we cannot help but rejoice that while Eric has shared in Christ’s Cross, we believe he will also share in His Resurrection.

Please join us in praying for the repose of Eric’s soul and all the souls of the faithful departed.

“An Ounce of Prevention…”

Consider the following dialogue:

Q: “So in other words, a woman who finds herself pregnant at age 15 will have a higher breast cancer risk if she chooses to abort that pregnancy than if she carries the pregnancy to term, correct?”

A: “Probably, yes.”

The only thing surprising about this matter-of-fact admission is that it was made by a scientist appearing under oath as a witness for a group of abortionists, for the purpose of making the case against the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link!

Why does abortion have any influence over a woman’s future risk of contracting breast cancer?

Almost immediately after conception, a mother’s ovaries begin secreting ever increasing quantities of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen’s job is to make the cells in the breasts proliferate, so that the breasts will become large enough to feed the baby after birth. It is not until the third trimester – until about 32 weeks gestation – that other hormones make these cells differentiate into milk-producing tissues. If this process is interrupted by abortion (or even live birth) before differentiation takes place, a woman is left with more cancer-vulnerable cells in her breasts than were there before she became pregnant. This translates into a higher risk of breast cancer later in life.

Importantly, most pregnancies that end in spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) do so because of inadequate hormonal secretion by the ovaries. Consequently, there is no substantial overexposure to growth-promoting estrogen, and no increase in the risk of breast cancer.

To learn more about the ABC link discussion, read the full article.

October Carmelites

St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her namesake,  St. Theresa of Avila, both have their feasts in this month; that’s not all the two have in common.

We can only speculate about how much direct influence Sr. Teresa of Jesus, the sixteenth-century Spanish mystic, spiritual leader, and religious reformer, actually had on Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, the nineteenth-century French girl who died before she was twenty-five. We do know that as a member of the Discalced Carmelites, Thérèse would have been familiar with Holy Mother Teresa’s writings. We also know that Thérèse adorned the wall of her cell with Teresa’s picture and one of Teresa’s favorite verses: “Forever will I sing the mercies of the Lord.” Thérèse employed these words at the beginning of her Story of a Soul, in which she occasionally makes direct reference to St. Teresa.

St. Thérèse lived a life of selfless sacrifice. St. Teresa had mystical experiences, produced numerous written works, and reformed an ancient religious order. The Church has declared that both women exemplify holiness of life, but these activities were not at the root of their sanctity-fervent love for Christ made these women holy.

Both Teresa and Thérèse knew that this same love could sanctify others as well. They taught that anyone could become a saint, because love for Jesus is the source of holiness. As St. Thérèse wrote, no one should despair of reaching “the summit of the mount of love.” St. Teresa believed any person was capable of experiencing the perfect union with Jesus that she called “the Spiritual Marriage.” Both women chose beautiful images and poetic phrases when they reflected on the glories of loving Jesus.

As such, Sts. Teresa and Thérèse offer a special perspective on the nature of holiness. They reveal that sanctity is a divine romance, that holiness is an invitation to fall in love with Jesus. Through their uniquely feminine sensitivities, these holy women communicate the passionate and emotional joy of loving the Lord.

View the complete article here.

Update on Eric Stoutz

Dear Friends of CUF,

This week longtime CUF staff member Eric Stoutz has suffered a significant setback in health as he continues his battle with pancreatic cancer. We ask that you keep Eric and his family in your prayers at this time, asking in particular for God’s mercy and grace.

If you would like to support the family not only in prayer but financially, please send a check to:

The Seton Initiative for Families

c/0 Catholics United for the Faith

827 North Fourth Street

Steubenville, OH 43952

Checks are to be made out to the Seton Initiative for Families. On the memo line, please write “Stoutz Family.”

 

Introducing the 2014 Guide for Catholic Colleges

Every year The Cardinal Newman Society publishes a guide for choosing Catholic colleges and universities.  According to Catholic Education Daily, published online by the Newman Society,

The Newman Guide recommends 28 colleges, universities and online programs for strength of Catholic identity and academic excellence, with an emphasis on undergraduate education. Primary sections include in-depth information on academics, spiritual life, residence life and student activities.

For more information and the  complete recommended list, visit their website.

Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for Us!

This day, formerly known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory, hearkens back to one of the most decisive moments in Church history.

In 1571, Muslims of the Ottoman Empire were making their definitive assault on the Christian world in a seabattle at Lepanto. The outnumbered Catholic forces pooled their naval resources from several different countries, but didn’t have much of a chance to resist the Islamic conquest.

After a vision of Our Blessed Mother, and realizing that there was little hope for Christian Europe if the Muslim invaders succeeded, Pope St. Pius V rallied all Catholics to pray the Rosary for Our Lady’s intercession in the battle. Catholics all over Europe joined in prayer, and the Catholic defenders were victorious.

It is now evident that if the Muslim invaders had succeeded, Catholic Europe would have been conquered. Many Catholics believe that their forces should have been defeated and that Mary’s intercession was what turned the tide.

Our Lady has always been there to assist us in our hour of need. She saw to it at the Battle of Lepanto that Europe would remain Catholic. We Catholics would do well to remember the lesson of Lepanto: We need to ask for Our Lady’s intercession as we endeavor to bring Christ to the Muslim peoples.

Want to continue reading? Check out the full article here.