Monday, February 29, 2016

Monk, Archbishop, Saint

St. David

Image of St. David


Feastday: March 1

According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non. He was ordained a priest and later studied under St. Paulinus. Later, he was involved in missionary work and founded a number of monasteries. The monastery he founded at Menevia in Southwestern Wales was noted for extreme asceticism. David and his monks drank neither wine nor beer - only water - while putting in a full day of heavy manual labor and intense study. Around the year 550, David attended a synod at Brevi in Cardiganshire. His contributions at the synod are said to have been the major cause for his election as primate of the Cambrian Church. He was reportedly consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on a visit to the Holy Land. He also is said to have invoked a council that ended the last vestiges of Pelagianism. David died at his monastery in Menevia around the year 589, and his cult was approved in 1120 by Pope Callistus II. He is revered as the patron of Wales. Undoubtedly, St. David was endowed with substantial qualities of spiritual leadership. What is more, many monasteries flourished as a result of his leadership and good example. His staunch adherence to monastic piety bespeaks a fine example for modern Christians seeking order and form in their prayer life.His feast day is March 1.

Great Pro-Life news from New Hampshire

Death penalty suspension coming up for N.H. Senate vote





 Feb. 28, 2016    

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's state Senate is poised to take up a bill that would effectively end the use of the death penalty in the state without flat-out repealing it.
Republican Sen. Kevin Avard is the prime sponsor of a bipartisan measure to "suspend" use of the death penalty until "methods exist to ensure that the death penalty cannot be imposed on an innocent person." New Hampshire is the only state in New England with the death penalty still on the books, and efforts to repeal it in 2014 deadlocked in the 24-member Senate.
The vote in Thursday's Senate session will be close, likely with one or two votes determining the outcome. Not all senators could be reached Friday by The Associated Press for a full vote count.
Michael Addison, who was convicted of killing a Manchester police officer in 2006, is the state's only person on death row. The bill says it would not affect anyone sentenced to death prior to the suspension.
Gov. Maggie Hassan said two years ago she would sign a repeal measure into law if it did not disrupt Addison's death sentence.
New Hampshire's last execution was in 1939, when Howard Long, an Alton shopkeeper who molested and beat a 10-year-old boy to death, was hanged.
The New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has been largely quiet on the bill in recent months as part of a strategy to keep swing-vote senators from feeling outside pressure as they make up their minds. But the group began asking its members last week to submit letters to newspapers across the state in support of the suspension.

Pope Francis: Prayer Intentions for March


Universal: Families in Difficulty
That families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments.

EvangelizationPersecuted Christians
That those Christians who, on account of their faith, are discriminated against or are being persecuted, may remain strong and faithful to the Gospel, thanks to the incessant prayer of the Church.

Pope Francis Monday morning homily

Pope: we are not saved by political or clerical parties

2016-02-29 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) God’s salvation does not come from great things, from power or wealth, nor from clerical or political parties, but from the small and simple things of God. That was Pope Francis’ message on Monday during the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.

Salvation comes from the simplicity of the things of God, not from the powerful
The day’s readings spoke about contempt. In the first Reading, Naaman the Syrian, a leper, asked the prophet Elisha to heal him, but could not appreciate the simple means by which this healing would be accomplished. The Gospel spoke of the disdain the inhabitants of Nazareth felt at the words of Jesus, their fellow countryman. It was not “how we thought salvation should be, that salvation we all want.”
Jesus felt the “contempt of the doctors of the Law who sought salvation in moral casuistry,” and in a multitude of precepts. The people, though, did not have faith in them, “or in the Sadducees who sought salvation in compromises with the powers of the world, with the [Roman] Empire. Thus they sought after salvation: the one group, from clerical parties; the other from political parties. But the people did not have confidence in them, they didn’t believe them. Yes, they believed Jesus, He spoke ‘with authority.’ But why this contempt? Because in our imagination, salvation should come from something great, something majestic; only the powerful, those who have strength or money or power, can save us. These people can save us. And the plan of God is different! They felt contempt because they could not understand that salvation only comes from the small things, the simplicity of the things of God.”
The two pillars of the Gospel that people look down on
“When Jesus proposed the way of salvation,” the Pope continued, “He never spoke of great things,” but about “little things.” These are “the two pillars of the Gospel,” that we read about in Matthew: the Beatitudes, and in chapter 25, the final Judgment, where Jesus says, “Come, come with me because you have done these things, simple things.”
“You did not seek salvation or your hope in power, in political parties, in negotiations. No! You have simply done these things. And so many people look down on this! As a preparation for Easter, I invite you – I’ll do it too – to read the Beatitudes and to read Matthew 25, and to think and to see if there is something I look down on, if something disturbs my peace. Because contempt is a luxury that only the vain and the proud allow themselves. We should see if, at the end of the Beatitudes, Jesus says something” that makes us ask why He said that. “‘Blessed is he who is not scandalized in me,’ who does not look down on these things, who does not feel contempt.”
The folly of the Cross
Pope Francis concluded his homily:
“It would do us good to take some time – today, tomorrow – to read the Beatitudes, to read Matthew 25, and to pay attention to what happens in our heart: if there is some feeling of contempt. And seek grace from the Lord to understand the only path of salvation is ‘the folly of the Cross,’ that is, the Son of God ‘emptying Himself,’ making Himself small, represented here [in the Readings] in the cleansing in the Jordan, or in the small village of Nazareth.”

Day 41 with the Baltimore Catechism


What is the chief teaching of the Catholic Church about Jesus Christ? The chief teaching of the Catholic Church about Jesus Christ is that He is God made man.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Why is Jesus Christ God? Jesus Christ is God, because He is the only Son of God, having the same Divine nature as His Father.

And the high priest said to him, "I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "Thou has said it." (Matthew 26:63)

Further reading: CCC 456-463

Monday afternoon blues, at least a cure

Another poor blogger experience during the afternoons but I have a cure and some good news.  The Lenten parish mission begins tonight and that is so good news.  We heard from our presenter at each Mass this weekend.

All I can do here is invite locals to come to St Jane Church, 6 PM for Adoration and Confessions and 7 PM for the featured talk.

More postings tonight.

The most valuable player in the NBA says he can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

Message On NBA Player’s Shoes Has People FREAKING OUT Over What It Represents

A star player in the NBA has been getting some serious attention after people noticed something about his shoes – they bear a very distinct message, and what it represents is driving people wild.

Stephan Curry previously had an endorsement deal with Nike apparel, but for reasons unknown, he didn’t renew his contract with the enormous brand. However, it doesn’t seemed to have hurt him at all. In fact, his new deal with Under Armour is getting him some serious attention after what he had printed on all of his game-worn shoes.
Message On NBA Player’s Shoes Has People FREAKING OUT Over What It Represents
While people generally freak out in a bad way, Curry, arguably the best shooter in the league, has been getting almost entirely positive reactions to his shoes, which honor his solid Christian faith. The message they bear is quite simple, and it’s taken directly from the Bible.
“I can do all things…” it reads.
Message On NBA Player’s Shoes Has People FREAKING OUT Over What It Represents
“It represents a Bible verse I wear on my shoe,” said Curry. “Philippians 4:13. It says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ It’s also my mantra, how I get up for games and why I play the way I do.”
The full verse, which was likely too long to place on the side of Curry’s shoes, reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Message On NBA Player’s Shoes Has People FREAKING OUT Over What It Represents
If that’s not awesome, I’m not entirely sure what is.
Curry calls his shoes the “Curry One,” and their tagline appropriately says “Charged by Belief.” When speaking about playing in the NBA< Curry said that he doesn’t necessarily play to achieve fame, but instead to spread the word of God.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of hoopla and fanfare that follows you wherever you go, but I know where my talent comes from,” said Steph. “I know why I play the game, and it’s not to score 30 points a night, but it’s to use the stage I’m on. I’ve been put here for a specific purpose: to be a witness and to share my testimony as I go through it.”
Whether or not you’re a Golden State Warriors fan, you can at least praise Curry for having the strength and conviction to stand up for his beliefs in a nation that’s otherwise turning against Christianity at every turn. His courage is not only an inspiration, but is something that people across the country, both young and old, can try to emulate in our daily lives.
If you enjoyed this story, be sure to follow Sean Brown on Facebook, and check out his website,

Pope Francis address with the head of the Ethiopoan Orthodox Church

‘Blood of Martyrs Has Become Seed of Christian Unity,’ Says Pope
Francis Tells Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch Representing 35M ‘What Unites Us Is Greater Than What Divides’
What unites us is greater than what divides us.
Pope Francis stressed this to the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Pope Matthias I, when he received him in the Vatican this morning.
The Patriarch has been in Rome since Friday and departs today. His visit has included visiting the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the tomb of the Apostle Peter, and celebrating Mass with Rome’s large Ethiopian community in the chapel of the Urbanian College.
The Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia currently consists of 35 million faithful. Its relations with the Catholic Church are cordial and increasingly close, which is evident especially after the first visit of the then-Patriarch Abuna Paulos to Pope John Paul II in 1993.
In his address, the Pope pointed out that the Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia and Roman Catholic Church ‘have almost everything in common,” for we share one faith, one Baptism, and one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“We are brothers and sisters in Christ,” Francis said, adding, “As has often been observed, what unites us is greater than what divides us.”
He also reflected on how shared sufferings have enabled Christians, otherwise divided in so many ways, to grow closer to one another.
Seed of Unity
“Just as in the early Church the shedding of the blood of martyrs became the seed of new Christians, so today the blood of the many martyrs of all the Churches has become the seed of Christian unity,” he said.
“The ecumenism of the martyrs is a summons to us, here and now, to advance on the path to ever greater unity,” he said, recalling how their church has been one of martyrs.
The Pontiff also acknowledged how today their church is witnessing a devastating outbreak of violence against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East and in some parts of Africa.
“We cannot fail, yet again,” Francis declared, “to implore those who govern the world’s political and economic life to promote a peaceful coexistence based on reciprocal respect and reconciliation, mutual forgiveness and solidarity.”
Pope Francis praised Ethiopia’s great efforts to improve the living conditions of its people and to build an ever more just society, including by valuing women and their contributions.
The Holy Father concluded, praying that the Holy Spirit “continue to enlighten us and guide our steps towards harmony and peace.”

Sunday, February 28, 2016

This little known Saint's feast day comes around once every four years

St. Aubin

Image of St. Aubin


Feastday: February 29

Albinus, also known as Aubin, entered the monastery of Tincillac when a youth, was elected Abbot when he was thirty-five, and was named Bishop of Angers in 529. He was known for his generosity to the sick and the indigent, widows, and orphans, for his work in ransoming slaves, and for his holiness and the many miracles he is reputed to have performed both during his lifetime and after his death.

Lenten Parish Mission

A Lenten Parish Mission is a powerful thing.  This is a time of great spiritual awakening and renewal.  So powerful a Lenten Parish Mission that attendees can gain a Plenary Indulgence for attending and following the additional normal prescriptions for such an indulgence.

This week, beginning tomorrow night, my home parish of St. Jane de Chantal in beautiful Abita Springs will begin a 4 evening Lenten Parish Mission.  The presenter is one of the Fathers of Mercy, Fr. Jules Aytona!  Every evening will include Adoration and Benediction, Confessions and a 1-hour mission talk.

I hope you may be able to come by.  If you are reading this far away from Abita Springs, I trust your parish will have a Lenten Parish Mission and if not, try and find one close to you.

God wants our conversion and it's urgent

God Is Patient, But Our Conversion Is Urgent, Says Pope
At Angelus Address, Warns of Fashioning an Image of God in Our Own ‘Image and Likeness’
Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 10.29.31 AM
God is ever patient with us, awaiting our conversion up to the last moment, says Pope Francis, but our conversion is urgent and must get started today.
The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Drawing from the Gospel of today’s Mass, in which Jesus corrects the idea that God punishes sin with tragedies, the Holy Father said that we have to examine our idea of God and our own presumptions about ourselves.
“Today too, seeing certain disgraces and sorrowful happenings, we can have the temptation to ‘unload’ the responsibility on the victims, or even on God himself. But the Gospel invites us to reflect: What idea of God do we have? Are we truly convinced that God is like that, or isn’t that just our projection, a God made to ‘our image and likeness?’” he said.
In contrast, Jesus invites us to definitively break with sin and convert, avoiding the temptation to think ourselves already holy.
“Unfortunately, each of us very much resembles the tree that, over many years, has repeatedly shown that it’s sterile. But, fortunately for us, Jesus is like a farmer who, with limitless patience, still obtains a concession for the fruitless vine. ‘Sir, leave it for this year also … it may bear fruit in the future.’”
The Pontiff asked if we’ve thought about the “patience of God? Have you thought as well of his limitless concern for sinners? How it should lead us to impatience with ourselves! It’s never too late to convert. Never. Until the last moment, God’s patience awaits us.”
“He saves us because he has great patience with us,” Francis said. “And this is his mercy. It’s never too late to convert, but it’s urgent. It’s now! Let us begin today.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text:

Week 7 as a Catholic reads the Bible: still in Levitivus

A Catholic reads the Bible, week 7: 10,000 commandments

In the Book of Leviticus, the Bible uses repetitive reinforcement to lay down the law, Laura Bernardini says.

Story highlights

  • The 10 Commandments are the outline, and Leviticus is the fine print, Laura Bernardini says
  • Leviticus presents a precise and comprehensive code of conduct that governs all aspects of life, she says
Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
Laura Bernardini
(CNN)This is week seven of an ongoing series: A Catholic Reads the Bible. Read week one, week two and week three.
I miss the stories.
    This week's reading of Leviticus is laden with the rules of the new religion. If you had no idea what Leviticus is about, let's put it this way: Moses wouldn't have been able to carry all the rules. Two tablets? Try 2,000.
    It's almost like the 10 Commandments are a summary. Before this, my understanding was that as long as you obeyed the Decalogue, you were good to go.
    Instead, it seems like the original 10 Commandments are just the outline, and Leviticus forms the fine print, as lawyers might say. The part of the Bible presents a (very detailed!) code of conduct that is precise and comprehensive, governing all aspects of life -- relationships, sex, business and even the mystical world.
    You shall not make molten, false gods. Check.
    Do not have intercourse with your family. No problem there.
    Do not cheat your neighbor in land deals. Gotcha.
    Don't turn your daughter into a prostitute. God forbid.
    Leprosy is bad, and this is how it should be treated. Got it; hope I never need it.
    Respect your elders. You got it, Nonna.
    In case you didn't know why you should follow all of these rules, you are reminded, with each new commandment, "I am the Lord" or "I, the Lord, am your God." I lost track of the number of times that is written. It is repetitive reinforcement.
    And on and on and on. I can see why my second-grade teacher Sister Ursula stopped after the original 10 Commandments. My 8-year-old mind would not have been able to handle all of this specific information.
    There are a few mentions to not consult fortunetellers. In my family, there is one story that lives to this day. At some point in the 1960s, my great-grandmother went to a fortuneteller who said she wouldn't live beyond her 80th year.
    That whole year, she worried. And when my mom went to Italy with her parents and grandmother, she discovered that my great-grandmother was actually 81, not 80. She was in the clear. Had my great-grandmother known this in the Bible, the very devout Catholic wouldn't have gone to the fortuneteller.
    And while I miss the stories, I am happy to have read the rules over the last week. Now, on to Numbers.

    Week 6 as a Catholic reads the Bible: Leviticus

    A Catholic reads the Bible, week 6: Going back to the roots

    Reading the Bible daily helps CNN's Laura Bernardini feel a deeper connection to her religious roots.

    Story highlights

    • CNN's Laura Bernardini absorbs the fundamentals and foundation of Jewish tradition
    • Words from her reading seem to jump to life in folk art mural in her hometown, she says
    Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
    Laura Bernardini
    (CNN)This is week six of an ongoing series: A Catholic Reads the Bible. Read week one, week two and week three.
    After five weeks and 100 pages of reading the Bible, this week felt like a break.
      Leviticus isn't heavy in stories about a scary God or an inspiring Joseph. Instead, I felt like I was getting the chance to read about the fundamentals and foundation of the Jewish tradition.
      The end of Exodus and the beginning of Leviticus focused on how the Tabernacle should be constructed. Then it moved into the garments and colorful fabrics contained in the Tabernacle. It felt like a dose of Architectural Digest or Vogue: The Divine Edition.
      The Tabernacle blueprints were followed by the animals that should be sacrificed to honor God or to ask for forgiveness. And the basis of kosher rules can be read in these pages. There were lots of animal parts that need to be discarded and blood spilled to make it right. And I learned camels are not clean animals. I found these details fascinating.
      I grew up a few blocks from Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, Vermont. I was the Saturday baby-sitter during services. My parents had bought our home from a Jewish family. My mother left the mezuzahs on the doors of all our rooms. She has always believed that a blessing is a blessing regardless of the religion.
      When I was the baby-sitter at the synagogue, I asked a lot of questions about Judaism, but until I read this section, I really didn't understand the fundamentals had been laid out in the second and third book of the Bible or Torah, as Jews know it.
      I happened to be home this weekend and passed Ohavi Zedek, which appeared under construction. When I asked my mother why the front door had been removed, she told me about the effort to preserve a mural discovered in another part of Burlington and recently had been moved to the synagogue.
      As I was writing this week's installment, I got curious about the mural. I hadn't seen it, but the archivist of the synagogue is an old family friend (and yes, I baby-sat for his children). He had mentioned it to me a few years ago, but I hadn't followed up on the story and hadn't seen the mural.
      And then I clicked on its website and just felt like the words I had read jumped to life.
      The mural is incredible, like watching my reading this week come to pictorial life. The folk art mural was painted in 1910 by a Lithuanian immigrant to Burlington. The draping and the tablets and the interpretation took me back to the Bible. This priceless piece of art, once hidden in an apartment building was, somehow, saved. Divine intervention, anyone?
      My homecoming this weekend also gave me a chance to talk about this project with the people closest to me.
      I realized, stepping away from my desk in Washington, how much reading and reflecting on the Bible every day has meant to me. I look forward to my three pages a day and the process of writing these reflections. And regardless if I find God scary or disconcerting, the reading is helping me feel a deeper connection to my religious roots, my familial faith.

      Saturday, February 27, 2016

      The Pope who constructed St. John Lateran Basilica

      Image of St. Hilary, Pope


      Feastday: February 28
      Death: 468

      Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in Sardinia, Italy, and was a papal legate to the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, barely escaping with his life from this affair. Hilary was used by Pope St. Leo I the Great on many assignments. When Leo died, Hilary was elected pope and consecrated on November 19,461. He worked diligently to strengthen the Church in France and Spain, calling councils in 462 and 465. Hilary also rebuilt many Roman churches and erected the chapel of St. John Lateran. He also publicly rebuked Emperor Anthemius in St. Peter's for supporting the Macedonian heresy and sent a decree to the Eastern bishops validating the decisions of the General Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. Hilary consolidated the Church in Sandi, Africa, and Gaul. He died in Rome on February 28.

      Well, here is another Priest, this one Anglican, who won't be voting for Donald Trump either

      This Isn’t Funny Anymore: Why I’m Voting Against Donald Trump


      This Isn’t Funny Anymore: Why I’m Voting Against Donald Trump

      My name is Thomas McKenzie. I’m an Anglican priest, and the pastor of a congregation. I speak here on my own behalf, and not on behalf of my denomination or congregation. I speak as a Christian, husband, father, and American. I’m writing this before Super Tuesday, before anyone is the nominee of either party.
      I do not believe that pastors and churches should endorse political candidates or political parties. I don’t allow “voter guides” or any other kind of party-politics at our church. I don’t even tell people who I’m voting for in elections. I love the fact that people of every political persuasion go to our church, and that my friendships are trans-political.
      I don’t get into party-politics for three key reasons. First, Jesus is Lord. The passing of power from one politician to another does not change that. So why be anxious about such things? Second, no political party or politician has ever fully represented my Christian beliefs. Most don’t even come close. Third, politics divide Christians. If I were to support a particular candidate, it could harm my relationship with Christians who think otherwise (I know this from experience). And, my support wouldn’t make any difference to the result of a national or state-wide election, so why do it?
      I do believe in talking about issues. When I do, I try to do so through the lens of the Gospel, focusing on God’s mercy and grace, while highlighting personal responsibility. So, if (for instance) I talk about abortion, I’m assuring forgiveness and mercy to those who have had one, but also encouraging people not to have one. I focus on adoption, and care of unwanted children as well as mothers-in-crisis. And, if necessary, I’ll talk a little about the government.
      All that to say, there is an issue I have decided I need to say something about. And that issue is Donald Trump. I oppose his election as President, and believe that any other candidate now running, from either party, would make a better President. I believe his election would be dangerous to our country, and to the Church.
      I do not believe that Donald Trump has the best interest of our country in mind. Rather, I believe he has shown concern only for himself and his personal advancement. His focus on himself as a “winner” and others as “losers,” his obsession with polls, his demagoguery (“I could kill someone and people would still support me”), and more lead me to this conclusion.
      Donald Trump is endlessly entertaining. If this election were a reality show, I’d watch every episode. But it’s not. This is too important. This isn’t funny anymore.
      I believe that Donald Trump holds and proclaims racist, sexist, and violent attitudes that are in direct opposition to the Christian message, and to the good of our nation. Things he has said about women and minorities (in specific and in general), his mockery of a disabled man, his foul language directed at opponents, his declared desire to punch people in the face, his call for America to commit war crimes (by killing the families of terrorists), and more—all of these lead me to this conclusion.
      I believe that Donald Trump is taking the Name of the Lord in vain. He is misusing the Faith by claiming to be “a great Christian” while his actions—not seeking forgiveness from God, mocking the Sacrament, barely pretending to know the Bible, supporting abortion, divorcing twice, cynical pandering to evangelicals, ownership of a strip club, his hatred for Muslims and others—belie this claim.
      I believe that Donald Trump has lowered the level of political discourse to that of a school yard. He acts like a bully. I believe that if he succeeds, this level of vitriol and obscenity will become the “new normal,” if it hasn’t already.
      I also happen to disagree with Donald Trump on some actual issues, but that isn’t the point. I disagree with all the candidates on certain issues. My opposition to him is not about his political party or his political beliefs; this is about his character.
      That character matters to the Church and to the world. Presidents have limited power in domestic issues; they have to deal with the congress and the courts. But their power is far greater in foreign affairs, particularly in the use of the military.
      If Donald Trump is nearly as aggressive as he claims he will be, I believe he will use military force in ungodly ways. He could make America into a true villain on the world stage, which will only raise up countless new terrorists and destabilize an unstable world. He will have the power to separate us from our allies and strengthen our foes. All of this he could do in the name of Christ, a Name he pulls out whenever it suits him. I have no reason to believe he will show anything like godly restraint. He will be the face of America, and the face of Christianity, to billions of people around the world. Can you imagine Donald Trump in charge of our nuclear arsenal?
      On Super Tuesday, I will be voting against Donald Trump. If he happens to become the Republican nominee, I'll have to do the same (or not vote at all).  I would prefer to vote FOR someone. I would prefer to find the candidate who most closely aligns with my Christian beliefs. But, not this year. This year I’m choosing to do what little I can to protect us from a Trump presidency.
      This is my choice, and I am not telling anyone else what to do. Everyone is free to make their own decision, and follow their conscience.
      Prayer is the most powerful tool I have, and I’ll be doing that to. I pray for Donald Trump, and all of those running.
      Jesus is Lord. He reigns no matter what, and nothing can shake his Throne. And, at the same time, evil triumphs when good men remain silent. I trust in the Lord, and I must speak out. 

      Thank God for this article by our own Archbishop Aymond about these negative political races: "It's not of God"

      Aymond 'ashamed' of negative political races, newspaper says

      Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond in his office on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Ted Jackson, | The Times-Picayune archives)



      Modern political campaigns that feature name-calling and insulting comments by candidates "create an evil spirit among us," Gregory Aymond, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New Orleans, writes in a column for the Clarion Herald. Aymond said most people are tired of the negative campaigning that has become commonplace in all levels of U.S. politics.
      "In my mind, politics in many ways has a lack of civility, and I at times feel embarrassed and ashamed of the turn this has taken," Aymond says in the column headlined "What has happened to civility in politics?" The archbishop says he thinks the hostile campaign environment dissuades good candidates from seeking office "because who would want to put themselves on the chopping block for name-calling or have every sin in their past be placed before everyone else?"
      Aymond said it is the church's responsibility to proclaim: "This is not what we want politics to be. It's not of God. Where is our negativity bringing us?"

      A Catholic reads the Bible, week 5; moving on to Exodus

      A Catholic reads the Bible, week 5: This God scares me

      Story highlights

      • The Exodus story seems so disconnected from my life, Laura Bernardini writes
      • It makes her wonder: Why would God favor one people over the other, and why get this involved in humankind?
      • But while I might not like the Exodus story, this God is still mine, she says
      Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
      Laura Bernardini

      (CNN)This is week five of an ongoing series: A Catholic Reads the Bible. Read week one, week two, week three and week four.
      You better choose to follow God, or else.
        For the first time in this journey of reading the Bible, God scared me. If you don't follow God's wishes, you are in big, big trouble.
        Watch out.
        Like God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus story is another biblical event that seems so disconnected from my life.
        The Bible stories I was taught in school now feel so sanitized. It seems like it was easier to make Moses a superhero than to focus on why he (and his people) were "chosen." It raises an uncomfortable question to my adult eyes: Does God play favorites? And, as Exodus shows, the costs of getting on God's bad side are pretty harsh.
        This angry, jealous, favoritism-choosing isn't my version of God. But it's God nonetheless, an idea I'm still struggling with, to be honest.
        As Exodus relates, you do what God says (free the Israelites) or else here come the plagues for the Egyptians. And they are nasty plagues that happen 10 times. Then later, when Pharaoh changes his mind for the umpteenth time and sends the chariots after the escaping Israelites, the Egyptian soldiers all drown in the Red Sea.
        But, unlike those passages in Genesis that so upset me, this scary God was different. It hasn't caused a crisis of faith, but it has made me wonder: Why favor one people over the other? Why get this involved in the life of humankind?
        Maybe I can reconcile this because Exodus made me think that the Hebrew writers were trying to sell a new faith. If I was scared in my comfortable contemporary American life, can you imagine what people reading this thousands of years ago thought? Worship multiple deities and ignore The One True God? Die. It's a really hard sell, but not all that different from the fire-and-brimstone preachers of early American history.
        And Exodus' recounting of history is probably in line with stories Egyptians and Israelites could understand, with all-powerful and mystical deities that were prevalent at that time and demanded sacrifices.
        It also seems to me that most of the plagues are explaining away the natural phenomena that were going on while the text was being written. Why else would locusts destroy the earth? Or gnats? Or what about a long period of darkness? But the images were pretty vivid. Reading about the locusts, all I could think about was an assignment in South Dakota in 2009, when I refused to leave the car because locusts were everywhere. I literally couldn't move. If I were Pharaoh, I would have freed the Israelites right away.
        The killing of the first-born babies isn't so easily explainable. No natural phenomenon there. Instead, the event is tremendously sad, especially for this first-born daughter. I understand why Pharaoh finally changed his mind.
        In the end, this scary God is proving a point with the Egyptians, and by extension, all of the Hebrews' enemies: "The Lord shall reign forever and ever." And while I might not like the Exodus story, this God is still my God.