Category Archives: Catholics

On Valentine's Day a War on LOVE is Raging

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

 Valentine’s Day is here.  It is supposed to be all about Love. Yet beyond the heart covered Valentine cards, the flower bouquets and candy and all of that, we must, as unpleasant as it may be, recognize what we truly have going on this Valentine’s Day of 2014.  Yes, make no mistake, Love is under attack this Valentine’s Day and the war is brutal and bloody.

The Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN Newsreported today that Christians are the most persecuted people on earth.  Why is that?  Why is there such hatred by so many toward something that is all about goodness and love?  The word “CHRISTIAN” comes from the name of Christ, Jesus Christ.  Okay, is that a BAD thing? I don’t think so.

All Christians  (including 1.2 billion Catholics and 800 million Protestants  of varied denominations) follow Jesus Christ. That is 2 billion people or two thousand million people who follow His teachings and His promise of Eternal Life. What is the crux of His teachings? Well now, the bottom line is this, LOVE your NEIGHBOR & FORGIVENESS. Yeah, yeah, I know that many who proclaim to follow Jesus  do not even make an attempt to Love their Neighbor or Forgive anyone for anything. They let that old, deadly sin of pride rule their roost. Oh well, it is part of God’s gift of free-will allowing each and every one of us to make choices. However, the vast majority of Catholic/Christians do their feeble best  to follow His message.  For those that do it is a life-long work in progress and this was true even for the saints.

So, why the hatred? Why the persecution?  Why were more than 100,000 followers of Christ murdered in the past year alone?   The problem is the aforementioned  deadly sin of pride.  Why?  Because pride has filled the hearts of many and these are the people who now HATE. What they hate most is one word which is made up of  only two letters. That  word is NO. They want no-one dare telling them what to do or how to behave. They have embraced secularism (defined as: a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship). Christianity establishes boundaries.  Christianity tells us what God wants us to do and what NOT to do…why, the NERVE of Him!  So, many Secularists (not all) take it to another level in their personal, selfish requests to abolish the influence of institutions that have the temerity to say NO to certain behaviors. They even reject “natural law” for their own personal agendas.

They rant against Christmas which is all about “giving”. They rail on about using the name of God in schools and at sports events. They want Crosses at cemeteries taken down from the graves of fallen soldiers. In many cases those who hate Christians kill them. Men, women and children die every day in different parts of the world simply because they are followers of Jesus. How can  Love & Forgiveness be things to hate?

Well, nothing has changed since Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago.  He preached Love & Forgiveness so they beat  Him, tortured Him and killed Him.  The loving crowds who screamed “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday turned fickle and screamed “Crucify Him” the following Friday.  The list of  people murdered for following Jesus over the centuries (including his own apostles) is countless. Being a Catholic and Christian was never supposed to be easy.  Jesus Christ did nothing but Love us, each and every one of us. Look what happened to Him.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, the question to be considered might be this. What is Love? The answer can be found in the Bible in the First Letter of John; Ch 4: 16-17.  “We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God IS Love, and whoever remains in Love remains in God and God in Him. 
Sadly today, February 14, 2014, the war on Love increases in intensity.

Happy Birthday, Irving Schul–I'm Sorry We Never Met

by Larry Peterson

Isidore (Irving) Schul was born on December 18, 1889.  He died in 1965 in New York City, alone and without family. That is so sad because he had family. Today is his birthday.

I have written many times  about the fact that all of the first Christians were Jewish people. Jesus was a Jew and preached in the temple. His dad, Joseph, was a Jewish man faithful to the law of Moses. His mom, Mary, was a Jewish woman who lived true to the law of Moses. This coming Christmas celebration was made possible by Jews. The apostles were Jewish and the first pope was Jewish.  The words Judeo-Christian are forever linked. They cannot be separated. The Old testament was written by Hebrews. The New Testament was written by Christians who were former Hebrews. So, I write this for a man named Isidore (Irving) Schul, a Hebrew man from Krakow, Austria (today Poland)  who  arrived in America on August 17, 1907. I always knew this man existed but I never knew a thing about him until September of 2012. That is when I learned that Irving Schul was my grandfather. Truly, I am a Judeo-Christian man.

I am a “cradle-Catholic”.  I was baptized Catholic as a baby, I received First Communion as a first grader, Confirmation as a third grader (which made me a ‘spiritual adult’ qualified to be a good little soldier and defend the faith) and spent a total of 12 years in Catholic school. Here is the thing with me. I have been blessed. It all “stuck”. I love my faith.  Today, as a senior citizen, I have come to understand the simplicity of this faith. I have sifted  through the pile of confusing theology and have come to the realization that if you follow Jesus and truly try to  “Love your neighbor” as He taught, everything else will fall in place. We won’t be lying to each other, killing each other, stealing from each other, having ‘affairs’, or even stealing stuff. If you “love your neighbor” you won’t be doing any of that.  And you won’t be passing judgment on others because of their race, creed, politics, or whatever else you might pompously deem offensive to your worldview.(Just think about the possibilities.) This applies to a group that Catholic/Christians have had a hard time accepting over the centuries. I am talking about the Jewish people.

When you are a child your world consists of your home and the people in it. My brothers, sister and I had Mom, Dad and Grandma. We were one big ‘happy’ family living in an apartment in the Bronx. None of us ever thought to ask about a Grandpa. Why would we?  We were young kids and our world  view did not extend very far outside of our apartment building.  Our parents and Grandma died over a period of a few years when we were young. That was when we started asking questions about our family.  One of them was, “What happened to Grandma’s husband, our grandfather?” It was too late. There was no one who could answer the question.

My cousin, Vicki, doing an intense genealogy investigation, finally discovered our grandfather. It is all documented and factual. We have the “paper work”. Her dad, (my uncle) had passed away ten years earlier and never talked about his father.  My mom or dad never mentioned him either. My dad’s parents had passed away. We all knew that. But it was like Mom’s dad had never existed…but he had. Why we never knew of him, why he and my devout catholic grandmother married in 1919, how any of that transpired, none of us will ever know. The ones who knew those answers are all gone and have taken their stories with them. Thank you, Vicki, for doing the work. You found our ‘missing link’. God bless you for that.

 So…I just want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Grandpa Irving and tell him I am sorry we never met. Hopefully, one day we will. Oh yeah, from your Catholic grandson to you, my Jewish grandfather,  Merry Christmas and belated Happy Hanukkah.

My Message to MY Pope, "LOVE YA MAN–It is ALL GOOD"

Pope Benedict XVI, this quiet, unpretentious, holy man with the brilliant mind will vacate the Papacy effective February 28, 2013. He is 85 years old and has accepted the fact that his frail body cannot  adequately perform the duties required of the awesome position to which he was entrusted. It is “ALL GOOD”. We Catholics believe that the church is the “bride of Christ” and that the Holy Spirit is always there to guide it. Personally, I am in awe as I watch this beautiful process unfold. I have not an iota of concern about the future of the Church or about the next Pope. This institution has been around for 2000 years, no problem.

Over the next several weeks the print and broadcast media will bombard us with their insight and the gaggle of expert pundits will tell us what is going on within the church. They know nothing of course and have probably (most of them anyway) been trashing and criticizing the church for years on church teaching (birth control, abortion, women priests, celibacy etc). Now suddenly they will be theologians and will share with an uneducated public their babble. I do not care. It is “ALL GOOD”. What I might advise all these newly ordained experts to do is to maybe make a visit to a nearby Catholic church and sit in front of the altar where the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle (I do not have to explain any of this to experts) and sit and LISTEN. Just sit there quietly and LISTEN. No talking, just LISTENING, to your heart. Maybe you might learn something useful to pass onto the folks.

Lent begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. It is a forty day journey that leads us to new-life, a rebirth, the Resurrection. It is a time for prayer, penance, alms-giving and self-denial. Millions of Catholic/Christians observe these traditions every year. It does not make the news. Countless people who have found  Christ will be welcomed into the church during the Easter Vigil when they are baptized and receive the sacraments and become Catholic. This will not make the news. It does not matter. It is “ALL GOOD”.

From a blue-collar catholic guy to my Pope, Benedict XVI…—“LOVE YA MAN”

Do We Now Have An Unratified, 28th Amendment to the US Constitution?

Let me begin by posting a definition from Wikipedia: It is as follows;

“National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly‘s adoption of Thomas Jefferson‘s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. This vital document became the basis for the establishment clause, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution‘s First Amendment.[1]
Religious Freedom Day is officially proclaimed on January 16 each year by an annual statement by the President of the United States. This day is commemorated by the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia by an annual First Freedom Award banquet.”
Well now, ain’t that something. Every year on January 16 we celebrate Religious Freedom Day. But this year, as the president proclaims the day, his White House is facing  dozens and dozens of lawsuits over the HHS Mandate because of its intrusion into the very belief system of our religious institutions. I am sure that President Obama will not admit that the HHS mandate is intrusive or in violation of our First Amendment rights but, the way I see it is, if someone keeps smacking me in the back of my head and keeps telling me he’s not smacking me because it is only a light tap, I don’t care–I KNOW I am getting slapped, smacked or whacked. Call it what you will–something IS happening and it is a violation of my personal space. 
Look, if someone holds up a bat or a knife or even a fist and threatens you with it, that is an assault. The battery is when they actually hit you. That is why it is called assault & battery. So, as a Catholic Christian, it is very clear to me that my church is being assaulted by the very government that has sworn to protect these freedoms we cherish so highly. The battery will come in the form of fines levied against institutions for non-compliance with the new rules.
  It doesn’t matter what “percentage” of Catholics agree or disagree or what percentage voted for the incumbent. It does not matter what all the intellectuals that inhabit our universities think is right or just. It does not matter what all the cinematic thespians expound as virtuous. It does not matter what TV pundits, late night comedy show hosts and, all the intelligentsia that fill our editorial pages with their wisdom think. No siree,—when it comes to our religious freedoms it is none of their business unless criminal law is being violated under the guise of religion. We should never be told what parts of our faith we should honor and respect. It cannot be justified by percentages or polling numbers or by the opinion of the Ivy League community. It is a sacred right and for this right to be disrespected like this is disgraceful.
The GREAT PARADOX of the American Constitution seems to be our new, unratified, 28th Amendment. It might read: “The right of the Executive Branch of the United States Government to redefine the Constitution of the United States to accomodate its agenda, shall not be abridged”.  

I know, get over it. 'After all, it's only politics"

This was my 12th presidential election and  it took me until Thursday to accept, not the election results but rather, how we got to those results. Inside my discombobulated and foggy muse I know the system we have has worked–again. I know we have re-elected a sitting president–again. It is all “good”, right?  God Bless America, right? So whatever is my problem?

Look, I know we have this cliche that has been embedded in all of our psyches and that cliche is “hey, its politics”. And what does that mean? Does it mean character assassination is permissible? Does it mean lying is allowed?  Does it mean vilifying  a person’s family is justifiable? Apparently, it does and I for one am sick of it.  I am sick to death of the upscale, well educated, articulate campaign reps and biased news pundits  being no better than  soap opera villains going about their business assailing those with whom they disagree with blistering attacks on their character and their families. And PLEASE–don’t tell me “hey, its politics”. That is Machiavellian crap. The truth is this behavior is disgusting and the example we set for the younger generations is deplorable. How many young people, even at the high-school level, have learned during this election season that Governor Mitt Romney is nothing but a lying, thieving, tax-evading, murdering felon who has no qualms whatsoever about ‘pushing granny in a wheelchair’ over a cliff. Why is this vilification done. TO WIN! Hey, I know, “its politics”.

As a catholic I am also befuddled and disheartened  by the Gallup poll taken after the election that showed 52% of Catholics voted for Barack Obama while only 45% voted for Mitt Romney. I am a senior citizen who was  raised catholic and still is.  Never in my entire life have I experienced the Bishops in the United States (The USCCB under Cardinal Timothy Dolan of NY) reaching out and asking their catholic “flock” to vote to save and protect our First Amendment rights. Never have they asked for our support to literally defend the faith we profess to follow. Those rights had never been threatened before. But now they are.  And what happened? 52% to 45% of we  ‘catholics’ turned our bishops down. Why? I have some answers inside myself to that question but they are too painful to deal with right now. Hey, I know, I had better get over it. After all, ” its only politics.”

All Saint's Day & Why We "Weird" Catholics"pray" to Saints.

As a blue-collar, catholic guy I just felt I should give you my take about the day after Halloween, a day that is known to us catholics as The  Feast of All Saints or All Saint’s Day. There is a lot of misconception about this “saint” business so let me try to clear this up in my own way. No research here, I am just digging down inside myself trying to remember what I learned from Sister Mary Ursula and all the other good sisters way back when and how I have managed to extrapolate that information over a 50 plus year period.

First of all, let’s get something straight–Catholics DO NOT worship or adore saints. God alone is worshiped and adored. Period, Amen. So who are these people we call saints and why do we “pray” to them? Well, for starters, remember that praying is just like talking. When we pray to the saints we are talking to them. When we pray to God we are talking to God. However, there is a HUGE difference. When you talk to God it is direct, one on one, straight up. You cannot go any higher. God is the top Man. The “buck stops with Him”. Many Christians feel that there can be no intercessor between “God and man (when I use the word man I also mean woman, okay) except God Himself. Well, that is fine and perfectly okay. All of us catholics always talk directly to God too. So, what about these people called saints? (I know, I know, we catholics sure can be weird.)

Here is how yours truly looks at this saint situation. I have to compare it to baseball or football. Over the years many thousands of men (and even some women) have played baseball and football. Heck, when I was a kid we were playing stick-ball in  the streets of the Bronx when we were  seven years old. I guess I could safely say that millions of people have played the game over the years. The years go by and we begin to grow up and most of us fall by the wayside as far as being great football or baseball players. But there are those select few that continue to play and actually become professionals. And from that group the cream comes to the top, the “best of the best” the greatest of them all, the ones that break records and become heroes to young and old alike. These people we pedestalize and place them in a place called the “Hall of Fame”. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Jimmy Brown and Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath and the list goes on. Immortalized forever because they were the best of the best. Well, there you have it. The Saints are the “Catholic Hall Of Fame”. They are the best of the best, the ones that loved their faith so much many died for it. There are the ones who spent their entire lives living in poverty and working with the sick and the poor never wanting anything for themselves and always having a smile on their face because they never lost sight of the prize. They showed us how the game of life should be played.

Here’s the deal. We know that these folks died and went to heaven. They are with God. This is a faith thing so don’t get logical about it. Imagine if you had a big brother or a big sister and you needed something from your dad but you were sure he would say “no” so you decide to ask your big brother to put in a good word for you. And he does and dad agrees. And there it is. We ask the saints to put in a good word for us because they are with God and they “have His ear” so to speak. No, I cannot prove it. Once again, it is a faith thing. But I do believe it, without reservation.

 If you want to explore this talking to the saints thing a bit further go on line or stop by your local catholic parish and check it out. You know, we all have pictures of our family members in our homes or wallets and we have statues of great people in history. Why? We honor them. Same with the saints. And for all those who did not make it into the Hall of Fame we talk to them too. You see, we are all one, big family known as the “communion of saints”. That’s right, you don’t even have to be dead to be a saint.  It is a beautiful thing.

"My Pollyanna bubble is ready to burst"

Last week I posted that we Christians (Catholics included) are the latest victims of hate crimes subjected to what seems to be a daily onslaught of ridicule, degradation, mockery, lampooning and defilement. Our President and Secretary of State saw fit to use tax-payer money to  star in a video apologizing to Muslims for a 13 minute movie trailer that offended them.  It depicted the prophet Muhammad in a satirical manner.  I suggested that we Christians should have a tax-payer funded video produced apologizing to us for the “PissChrist” exhibit on display in midtown Manhattan. This exhibit is not satirical, not quite. It cuts to the very core of a Christian’s belief system by placing Christ in the artist’s urine. Not to worry all you “powers that be”. We Christians will do like we always do and make some verbal objections and then turn the other cheek. There will be no anarchical  uprising with plundering and pillaging, mayhem and murder. Rest easy, we Christians do not have to be feared. Now, to the point.

I guess when all is said and done my  pollyanish world view has taken a serious hit. I have discovered that many Christians do not even care about stuff like this. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked catholics all over the country to stand behind them in their quest to stop the infiltration into the Catholic church’s invasion by a government run amok, an intrusion unprecedented in American history. Forty nine (49) individual lawsuits were filed on the same day in federal courts all around the country to stop the HHS mandate. How did many Catholics respond. They didn’t. They did not seem to care. In addition, because of the main stream media’s refusal to report about these things, many still do not even know about it. Now the Washington Post comes out and says the latest polls show President Obama leading Mitt Romney by a large margin among Catholic voters. HUH!!! In my pollyanna world this does not even make sense. This Pollyanna’s bubble is ready to burst. I’m just  hoping and praying that it holds on a bit longer.