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.


Book Review: A Man Born Again—A Novel Based on the Life of St. Thomas More

Book Review:
Hans Holbein, the Younger - Sir Thomas More - Google Art Project.jpgby Larry Peterson

A Man Born Again—-
A Novel Based on the Life of St. Thomas More

by John E. Beahn

Originally published in 1954 by Bruce Publishing Co.
Re-published in 2013 by TAN Books for the TAN Legends Series

            TAN Books
Charlotte, North Carolina
  http://www.TANBooks.com

This book is absolutely mesmerizing. Author, John E. Beahn (1910-1990),  has managed to somehow crawl into the mind of the great Lord Chancellor of England and, writing in the first person, chaperons him right into your presence.  You meet Sir Thomas in the Tower of London where the author of “Utopia” awaits an unannounced yet obvious fate at the hands of his King, Henry VIII.  Thomas, looking down from behind his prison window, has you look with him and survey the city of London below.

Just like that you are walking with Sir Thomas down Milk Street and he shows you where he was born.  You pass by St. Anthony’s on Threadneedle St. and he shows you where he first went to school.  Suddenly you are walking across a bridge and John More, Sir Thomas’ father, is walking with you.  Thomas explains that he is being taken by his dad to Lambert Place to meet the Lord Chancellor of England, Archbishop Morton.  You watch as the Archbishop accepts 12-year old Thomas as a page.  Why not?   Thomas is already versed in Latin and English and rhetoric and mathematics. You do notice though, that the young Thomas More is quite taken with the things of the world more so than those esteemed by God.

Filled with a false pride at his superb intelligence and  against his father’s wishes, Thomas agrees with Archbishop Morton that he should go to Oxford.  His father objects and wants him  to study law at New Inn.  The Lord Chancellor has his way and Thomas  begins preparations to leave for Oxford.  His father becomes distanced from him but Thomas does not seem to care.  He is being treated as a young man of “importance” by his acquaintances and other students and even people in the street. He relishes the popularity.  His climb up the ladder of success has begun and it is moving quickly.  He tells you  at Charterhouse that he is “determined to be a saint just like all the Carthusians.”   You, as the reader, already know better but are anxious to see how his sudden “call to sanctity” develops.

You now follow along with Sir Thomas and observe as he becomes a fine lawyer and a  sought after lecturer. He rejects the idea of the priesthood and marries  Jane Colt, has four children, becomes widowed when Jane dies from illness, marries Alice Middleton and pursues his dream of being a writer.  He does gain notoriety with his book, Utopia, and is suddenly under the watchful  eye of Cardinal Wolsey and King Henry VIII.

Suffice it to say that once again the primary of the seven deadly sins, Pride, reared its ugly head and consumed the King of England.  Infatuated with Anne Boleyn he wanted to divorce Catherine and marry Anne.  He also wanted Pope Leo to annul his marriage to Catherine.  This the Pope refused to do.  Known as King Henry’s “Great Matter”, the King was not about to defer to the Pope.  He took over the church in England and demanded oaths of fidelity to the realm.  You now travel with a humble Thomas More who confides in  you that “God permitted me to sink into that blackness of spirit and to the darkness about myself. And when I could endure no more, He returned to me.”  Thomas More refused to reject his faith and his church and his God. He was canonized a martyred saint on May 19, 1935 by Pope Pius XI.

One final thing, treat yourself and read this book. You might find a new friend albeit someone a bit older than you. His name is Saint Thomas More.


Evangelii Guadiam is about Dignity for ALL Men & Women; It Cares NOT for Politics

by Larry Peterson

When Pope Francis released his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, he also  inadvertently released  a swarm of pseudo experts on Catholicism and the Papacy. Why even Rush Limbaugh, who acknowledged his own non-catholicity, has decided that the Pope  is nothing but a “pure Marxist”. Those on the left have assumed that the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion,  contraception, women priests, and homosexual behavior and other issues are about to be changed. These folks, left & right,  are living in their own personal world of ‘relatavism’. Caught up in the secular world of ‘meism’ they cannot grasp for one tiny moment that the primary purpose of the Catholic Church is the salvation of souls. First and foremost, the Church is here to guide ALL of us to an eternal life with God, our Creator. Jesus Christ, the Son of God,  founded the Church and appointed its first leader, the apostle Peter who was the first Pope. Pope Francis is #266. Their mission, which they graciously accepted, has always been the same, to lead the flock to Salvation. Nothing has changed.

Okay now, listen up all you clever pundits who have allowed yourselves to become  unknowing prisoners of the secular Age of Relatavism. Pope Francis has done no different than Pope Leo XIII who gave the world Rerum Novarum in 1891 and Pope Pius XI who gave us Quadragesimo Anno in 1931. These documents were papal encyclicals and they dealt with capitalism, socialism, labor, fair wages, working conditions etc. (Please feel free to see for yourself. Just ‘google’). We need to remember that Catholic social doctrine deals with the DIGNITY of man/woman because they are made in the image and likeness of God.  Poor and rich alike have responsibility to each other because they are all part of the human equation. There is nothing evil in being rich. There is nothing wrong with workers wanting a better wage and improved conditions. Evil enters when the deadly sin of greed is embraced by people when  they begin thinking of themselves first instead of God. Consequently they want more for themselves at the expense of others. Employers and employees have a responsibility to each other to be fair and just at all times. As Leo XIII addressed the social order so did Pius XI wherein he wrote about the dangers of “unrestrained capitalism” and “totalitarian communism”. John Paul II addressed the dignity of man in Centesimus Annus in1991 and  Benedict XVI followed with  Caritas in Veritate in 2009. Pope Francis has connected the dots with the Popes over the last 112 years. The dignity of all people from the lowest to the most exalted is considered. The Pope(s) wants all people to understand that justice must come from all of us not just from some of us.

The Catholic Church is primarily a ship navigating the turbulent and often times violent waters of pride and envy and greed. As the church forges through these deadly waters the ship’s captain, (Pope), his officers, (bishops) and  crew (priests and religious)  are supposed to work together to  keep the ship safe and on a true course to Salvation . They are responsible for the millions of souls that are their passengers. They are supposed to be teaching them how to remain safe and secure as they travel along and how to be ready to confront any and all emergencies. Many times an experienced crew member ignore’s his/her training. Often times untrained passengers do not listen. Sadly, they are lost. Pride, greed, envy, lust, anger, gluttony and even sloth combine to stretch their tentacles over the ship’s railings and grab the indifferent pulling them over the side and down into the blackness. And to think, all they had to do was listen. In the meantime the ship’s captain MUST stay the course even though at times he must adapt to changes in the weather. There is one thing he will not do, change the primary mission. No matter what, he will always move forward and never retreat from the goal of reaching the shores of Salvation.

I think we must remember that the Catholic Church is here to guide us to a reward greater than we can ever imagine. It is not here to make everyone feel good about indulging in their own “feel good” world. Just as a parent must say ‘no” to their children the Church must say “NO” to ideas, behaviors and personal whims that violate the commandments. In today’s world many people do not like being told NO. There seems to be an idea that if  “I’m not bothering you I can do what I want.” Well, “NO”–none of us have that luxury. Pope Francis has embraced the people, the common people. It is a beautiful thing and God has done all of us a great favor in giving this man to the world. But make no mistake, he is the captain of the great ship and he is trying his best to guide it to “Salvation”. That will always be his primary goal and the ship’s ultimate destination.


Absurd Headline: Atheists tend to be more Intelligent than Religious People

Comedian Bill Maher said, “I think religion is a neurological disorder.” Christopher Hitchins said, “the person who is certain and claims divine warranty for his certainty belongs now to the infancy of the species.’ And of course, Frederick Nietzsche, the consummate atheist says, “In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.”  Oh yeah, he also said, “God is dead.” WHEW!!

I guess these famous atheists (actually, Bill Maher says he believes in God–not religion) have been validated because the U.K. online paper, “The Mail Online”, bellowed a headline that began with the following, “Atheists tend to be more intelligent than religious people” (according to a U.S. study done at the University of Rochester). Researchers found that those with high IQs had greater self-control and were able to do more for themselves. They also have better self-esteem and build more supportive relationships.”

Look, I am just a blue-collar guy and sparring with this cerebral, high-browed, intellectual stuff is a bit intimidating for me. But PUH-LEASE. How did they ever come up with such “facts”? As far as IQ tests are concerned I know some folks that, based on IQ scores, have brilliant minds sans much commons sense. Some of them seem to have a bit of a problem as they navigate the pathways of life itself. My hybrid observations have shown me that those folks are easily offended and, as a defense mechanism,mask their true feelings and become downright obnoxious when all they really want is to be like everyone else. As for myself, I hated taking IQ tests and received lousy scores which explains my simple perception of the geniuses around me.

I hate to disagree with these uppity University findings but it seems to me that many of those who believe in God and  a religion to worship Him have no problem with self-esteem even though the findings show differently. Hey, University of Rochester folks–did you factor in humility? Yeah–religion can instill  a sense of humility in people which would negate the self-pomposity caused by pride and not be self-esteem at all. Did you ever hear of the word Ego? These findings need to be re-evaluated immediately.

We live in a seemingly secular world. The combined media of print, broadcast, cyber, and instantaneous, promotes self-gratification, self-indulgence and swats away like a pesky fly the idea of self-control and self-denial. We are in the Age of Relativism. If it “feels good” it is okay. I say that is nonsense. I say that there are  millions and millions of people, all over the world who believe in God or a Divine Entity they might call a different name. I say that most of these people worship God guided by some kind of religion. The pseudo intellectuals who are “intelligent” enough to have rationalized away the existence of a Creator have waltzed themselves right into a barren field empty of Hope. They have used their smarts to outsmart themselves. It is actually sad. At this point in time they seem to be getting their way with the anti-God, no-God propaganda but their narrative has been built on sand and will fail. That is what I  call “natural selection” when God is in the equation.

As a Catholic man I shall ask God to give them the necessary grace so they might take an objective look at the perfection in the natural world around them. A rising  sun every 24 hours, not 23 or 25. The change in seasons, the new birth of a springtime, day and night, sunshine and moonshine, baby ducks following their mom.

The most sophisticated iPhone did not build itself. The folks who did were able to do so only because of the perfection in the world around them. Without that perfection we could not have the certainty of mathematics or the laws of physics. That iPhone could never have been. As for me, I choose  to admire with awe those baby ducks.