Watch Oprah With Your Wife And Please God

A friend of the Church Guys sent this notice along.  You can win points with God and your wife! Quite a two-fer!

Dear Friends of the Dominican Sisters,

Tune into the Oprah Show today, Monday August 16th, to watch an interview of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist!

To view more information about the interview follow this link:

Check your local listings for channel and show time information. Please tell your friends and family to tune into the show!

Mother thanks you for your continued prayers and support!


5 Steps To Better Prayer

Prayer is one of those activities that the better you get, the worse you think you are. That doesn’t mean we can’t expand our capacity for entering into God’s life through prayer. Here’re some ideas of how.

  1. Go to Confession.  Go regularly.


All power in prayer comes from sanctifying grace.  When you are absolved of your sins, sanctifying grace abounds and the other sacraments are all the more powerful.  You need grace for effective prayer.

2.  Before you begin, become aware of God’s presence.

Recall to Whom you are praying.  Recall His power and majesty.  Recall His Love. Recall Who it is that you are approaching.  Recall what a privilege it is to be able to approach Him, even though you have exactly nothing to offer Him.

3.  Practice praying silently.

Silent prayer takes focus and concentration.  There is a time for vocal prayer, e.g., Mass.  Unlike vocal prayer, silent prayer focuses your attention and energy on Him.  You will be able to do better as you practice.

4.  Pick a time and a length. Pray then without fail.

The focus needed for silent prayer becomes easier over time.  In the beginning, pick a set amount of time, say 5 minutes.  Pray that long without fail.  Also, pick a place and make into sacred space.  Pray there.  This will help you make it a habit.

5.  Don’t focus on distractions, focus on Christ.

We all get distracted.  Ask your Guardian Angel for help.  That’s his job. You will get it.  Some people have a tendency to focus on the distractions. Focus instead on Christ. Ask for the grace to see only Jesus.

Judge Walker’s Mirror


Much has been written recently about same sex unions. Much has been ridiculous. Much has been reasonable. The best words that I’ve seen about this come from Bishop R. Walter Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City. Bishop Nickless began by explaining the four defining aspects of marriage

The four defining aspects of marriage we know to be rooted in divine will and Christ’s grace – namely, unity, permanence, fecundity, and exclusivity – the state may describe in terms of natural law, custom, and the common good.

Protecting these, Bishop Nickless explains, is the reason for protecting heterosexual marriage. But. . .

When, however, the state begins to define marriage, not only differently than, but even contrary to these four goods, other goals will take their place. Implicitly, this already happened with the wide-spread acceptance of civil marriage and divorce. “No-fault” divorce, contraception, and the scourge of pornography have further eroded the four goods of marriage, even in secular terms. In this decision, only the good of unity is now explicitly upheld. Permanence and fecundity are explicitly excluded, and exclusivity is only implied as a good. Still more damaging, the good of unity is conceived of only in emotional terms. It is not the union of two souls becoming “one flesh,” or one legal entity, in secular terms. It is a purely emotional union, rooted only in the satisfaction of appetite.

The “goods” this definition of marriage promotes are not Christian goods. Frankly, the satisfaction of appetite cannot be a basis for marriage even in traditional terms. When we promote or condone or even tolerate this debased vision of marriage, either for civil marriage or for so-called same-sex marriage, we are accepting the idea that one person can licitly use another for the satisfaction of appetite; that one can join without commitment; that one can take, and not give. In other words, we are teaching that virtues like commitment, stability, sacrifice, and generosity are not necessary. And this is obviously not compatible with the common good.

Maybe Judge Walker was only holding up a mirror and daring us to see clearly what our actions say we really believe. If we’ve made emotional compatibility plus easy satisfaction of sexual appetite the defining feature of marriage, why shouldn’t gays enjoy the social and legal benefits of marriage?

If Bishop Nickless is right (and he is), Judge Walker has forced us to face an unpleasant truth. He didn’t kill marriage. We did. We wounded it every time we chuckled at porn. We wounded it every time we chuckled at NFP — not us, oh, my. We wounded it every time we accepted divorce. We wounded it every time we voted for politicians, the keepers and defenders of our values, who coddled porn, made divorce easier, and defended the “right to privacy.” We wounded it every time we met a couple ‘playing house’ and left well enough alone. We wounded it when we watched and then watched again debased, ridiculous marriages on TV…and then started watched debased, secular singles seeking the emotional satisfaction and easy sex that secular marriage promises. We wounded each time we put a limit on our love for our spouses.

The legalities will work themselves out. Instead, we should look in Judge Walker’s mirror. Firmly. Fearlessly. Accept the wrong we’ve done. Ask for mercy for we knew not what we did. Then firmly and fearlessly, in unity with our Bishops, replace the mirror’s debased, putrid vision of marriage with marriage as Christ intended it to be.


Catholic Believe It Or Not!? Hiroshima – You Decide

At 2:45 a.m.on August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber took off from the island of Tinian to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. At 8:15 a.m. the bomb exploded eight city blocks from the Jesuit Church of Our Lady’s Assumption in Hiroshima. However, the four Jesuit fathers stationed there survived: Fathers Hugo Lassalle, Kleinsorge, Cieslik and Schiffer. (Note – all other accounts state clearly that there were eight Jesuits stationed in this home not four – and it is well known that all eight survived – the author of this present article apparently only had the names of four of them, for instance Fr.Arrupe is left out of the list – and at this writing, I have not been able to find the names of the other three Jesuits. end of note.) According to the experts they “ought to be dead,” being within a one-mile radius of the explosion. Nine days later on August 15, Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption, U.S.forces were ordered to cease fire.

I met Fr.Schiffer (says Father Paul)in the late 70s at the Tri-City Airport in Saginaw, Michigan, as he was going to give a talk for the Blue Army Novena/Triduum. As I chauffeured him around he told me stories of his life, especially of the atomic explosion at Hiroshima. On the morning of August 6, 1945, he had just finished Mass, went into the rectory and sat down at the breakfast table, and had just sliced a grapefruit, and had just put his spoon into the grapefruit when there was a bright flash of light. His first thought was that it was an explosion in the harbor (this was a major port where the Japanese refueled their submarines.)

Then, in the words of Fr. Schiffer: “Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me ’round and ’round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind.” The next thing he remembered, he opened his eyes and he was laying on the ground. He looked around and there was NOTHING in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were leveled to the ground.

The only physical harm to himself was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck. As far as he could tell, there was nothing else physically wrong with himself. Many thousands were killed or maimed by the explosion. After the conquest of the Americans, their army doctors and scientists explained to him that his body would begin to deteriorate because of the radiation. Many of the Japanese people had blisters and sores from the radiation. To the doctors amazement, Fr.Schiffer’s body contained no radiation or ill-effects from the bomb. Fr.Schiffer attributes this to devotion to the Blessed Mother, and his daily Fatima Rosary. He feels that he received a protective shield from the Blessed Mother which protected him from all radiation and ill-effects.

(This coincides with the bombing of Nagasaki where St. Maximilian Kolbe had established a Franciscan Friary which was also unharmed because of special protection from the Blessed Mother, as the Brothers too prayed the daily Rosary and also had no effects from the bomb.)

Fr. Paul Ruge, O.F.M.I.

Is Catholic Social Justice Teaching Pro-Family?

Although having made peace with Catholic social justice teaching, it still seems to me that it provides at best an imperfect tool to making real world policy choices.

Certainly, there are some absolutes. Pro-life. Either the baby is dead or the baby isn”t. But as soon as one goes beyond that set of issues, trade-offs begin. These trade offs don’t necessarily undermine the principle. But made often enough and openly enough, the practical wisdom implied in the trade off becomes the new principle.

At least in those instances, the trade-off isn’t necessarily open and obvious. But sometimes it is. When Catholic social justice teaching trades off one principle, it undermines the devalued principle and ultimately the effectiveness and legitimacy of the public policy aspect of social justice enterprise.

A recent column that appeared in the Washington Post by Robert Samuelson made this point well.

Samuelson first pointed out a new USDA study of the costs of raising kids. As any parent will tell you, it’s expensive. Although there are many variables (upper income families spend more; families with fewer kids spend more per kid), it’s about $12,000 per kid and they get more expensive as they get older… and that doesn’t count college (see “Just Say No” –which will be the subject of another post).

Samuelson then writes:

Our society does not — despite rhetoric to the contrary — put much value on raising children. Present budget policies punish parents, who are taxed heavily to support the elderly. Meanwhile, tax breaks for children are modest. If deficit reduction aggravates these biases, more Americans may choose not to have children or to have fewer children.

As an economist, he then applies this to the economic realm. But what about Catholics? Can it be said that “despite rhetoric to the contrary” that the Catholic Church or, at least, Catholic Social Justice Teaching, does not put “much value on raising children.” As a matter of doctrine, the answer is certainly “no.” But what happens when a new, expensive social program is proposed — one that trades massive new taxes, massive new social controls (e.g., your diet and BMI), for the chimera of universally available material good “X” or service “Y.” What if the program imposed 8% payroll tax, promised that no one would lack funds in retirement, but at the price of weakening family ties between older and younger family members? Does the Church or Catholic Social Justice teaching ever hold up the self-sacrifice inherent in family life as a legitimate form of sacrifice? I think the Church as a whole does, but I fail to see it in Catholic Social Justice teaching.

There are several conclusions to draw, but I will close with, perhaps, the blandest one of all. The Bishops and the Catholic social thinkers need to integrate family life — the domestic church — into social teaching. The current reflexive attachment to any government program that asks us to bow down before it and it will give us every material things — after all, it will help some people — needs to be rethought so that we don’t undermine one good in our imperfect pursuit of another.

Samuelson column — higher cost of living necessarily decreases family ties; CST has a strong component of re-distribution as an aspect of charity – sometimes it’s forced into an inequality model, but seems to be mostly charity. The agent of re-distribution is the federal government. (theoretically, the individual redistributes part of his wealth and the FG is only the agent; but he also redistributes part of others’ wealth too).

CST – if this is a part of CST – encourages large families. Domestic church. vocation to hand on the faith and to model virtue. “Be fertile and multiply”

There’s a contradiction or tension here. Higher costs mean less ability from a prudential perspective to raise kids well and fulfill the domestic church’s vocation. So couples take a number of steps in response. Limiting family size. Also other intergenerational breakdown. No need to support my mom since she’s got medicare and social security etc. “Independence’ but it’s really a new form of dependence because those options inevitably close off others.

Demographic winter?


Opportunities For Men And Couples To Grow In The Faith

One of our brothers from St. Martin’s Men of Emmaus sent this over:

I wanted to call your attention to two upcoming opportunities to grow in the faith:

1. Rebuilding the Family and Society through Christ Centered Men (men only, August 28th, morning)

2. Parenting in a Facebook and Twitter Society (couples, September 11th, evening)

Both events are at Jesus the Divine Word parish in Huntingtown Maryland.

Click the links above for more details or visit the Men of Emmaus home page at for more details.


“Love, Limits, and Loss” by Elizabeth Scalia (the “Anchoress”)

A Church Guy forwarded the link below to an article by Elizabeth Scalia who blogs at First Things as the Anchoress. It is extremely powerful. Here is the first paragraph:

A too-long-undiagnosed bout with Lyme Disease has left me challenged with arthritis and some neurological damage. The arthritis has its uses: I can predict rain, and the pain gives me something to offer up in prayer, or as penance.

Not so the neurological issues. At the peak of my illness I was unable to figure out how to do the dishes; my organizational skills have never fully recovered, and verbally I sometimes wander into strange lands, referring to cereal as cookies, or to hats as helmets. When that happens, and after I have apologized to my family for sending them into hysterics or on goose chases, I will ask, “Are you going to get rid of me, when my mind is gone?”

It deserves to be read in full, prayed about, and lived. Please go to First Things and read the whole thing.