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.

The Story of Another Soul

“I well know why God is permitting this trial. It is in order that we may win Heaven. He knows that our father is all that we love most on earth, but He well knows also that we must suffer in order to merit eternal life; and that is why He is trying us in that which we hold dearest.” —St. Thérèse of Lisieux to her father, November 25, 1888

Louis Martin, the father of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, developed a serious mental illness shortly after Thérèse entered the convent. He suffered from a nervous disorder that began with partial paralysis in the body and eventually affected his brain, causing mental lapses and, later, hallucination.

At first he lived quietly at home, but when his mental state grew worse and relatives were afraid he would cause himself some harm, they moved him to a mental institution to be cared for.

As Louis gradually lost his mental and physical capacities, his nobility in suffering earned him great respect.

This illness was painfully humiliating for him, causing his daughters to suffer, as well. St. Thérèse wrote that “even as the agony of Jesus pierced the heart of His holy Mother, so our hearts were deeply wounded by the humiliations and sufferings of him whom we loved best on earth.”

Louis’ daughters had an extra heartache: many people in their town unjustly blamed them, and especially Thérèse (her father’s “little queen”) for causing his mental breakdown; they said it was brought about by his sorrow at the departure of his beloved daughters to Carmel.

Louis Martin remained at the hospital three years, with Céline and Léonie taking rooms nearby and visiting as often as possible. His Carmelite daughters wrote him frequent letters, a great consolation to him. After leaving the hospital, he lived under Céline’s care for two more years. He died peacefully on Sunday, July 29, 1894.

Many of us have born mental illness in our families and can relate to the Martins. We can look to them for an example of strength, but even more we can turn to them for comfort, knowing that our prayers will be heard by understanding hearts.