Fun Photo: VP Pence Surrounded by Catholicism

Here’s a photo of Vice President Mike Pence speaking for life alongside Our Lady holding a Rosary and a Brown Scapular and under the Vatican flag. Via LifeSite:

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President Trump stands with “the unborn” and alongside Catholics fighting for their religious freedom, Vice President Pence told the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

“This honestly feels like coming home. … The hymns and liturgies of the Catholic Church are the anthems of my youth.”

Let’s hope and pray the VP one day returns home to Rome! ☩

Prime Minister of Poland’s Son is a New Priest

The son of Poland’s prime minister has just been ordained a priest! At 25 years old, Father Tymoteusz Szydlo has celebrated his first Mass last Sunday with his mother, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, in attendance. What’s also cool is that Fr. Szydlo is dedicated to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and sacraments:

The priest is a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, which celebrates a Latin-language Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
CNA News

Pray for Fr. Szydlo and all the other newly ordained priests! ☩

An Unfortunate Graph

A recent Gallup poll highlights Americans’ current opinions on the moral acceptability of various practices. I’ll let the graph speak for itself after adding only two points

  1. 22% of Americans are registered Catholics and 71% of Americans are considered Christian…
  2. The order below is no coincidence. Widespread acceptance of artificial birth control paved the way for the two runners-up (as predicted by Bl. Paul VI, Humanae Vitae). In turn, widespread divorce and promiscuity promotes instability within society which leads to more risky or unfortunate practices.

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Comments: 10 Reasons Why Millennials are Opting Out of Religion

Most Millennials are falling away from religion. This isn’t news. We all know this both from the polls being released and, mostly, simple observation. The reasons for this situation aren’t news either. That’s why a recent editorial on Fox News isn’t groundbreaking.

Catholics Mark The Start Of Lent With Ash Wednesday Mass

The piece written by protestant Dr. Alex McFarland points out reasons why Millennials are indifferent, skeptical, or repulsed by Christianity. While most points are not new and some are more accurate than others, a few deserve commentary. The points worth expanding on are put in order of importance below.

Ten Reasons Millennials are Backing Away from God and Christianity

4. Lack of spiritual authenticity among adults. Many youth have had no — or very limited — exposure to adult role models who know what they believe, why they believe it, and are committed to consistently living it out.

This is huge. As a Millennial (who even went to Catholic schools) I can absolutely vouch for this. After years of religious ed and Sunday Mass, most Americans Catholics are still left with little understanding of the importance of Jesus’ Sacrifice or the purpose of the Catholic Church. Few suburban parents during the 90’s-00’s transmitted faithful Catholicism to their children because they themselves had a poor understanding of it. Adults need to have a solid understanding of their own faith and live it out authentically rather than awkwardly fit Catholicism into their already existing lifestyle. Children need to see adults living the faith out even when no one is looking or when it is uncomfortable. Children need to witness their parents praying like adults, otherwise they just think it’s something adults make kids do like putting teeth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy or cookies out for Santa.

Parents: read about your faith. The benefits to the mind and soul of reading Catholic literature cannot be underestimated. If you don’t know the answer to something, immediately seek the answer on your smartphone. There’re no excuses! Then live out the faith personally foremost and let these practices radiate to the rest of family life. This leads to the next point…

6. Pervasive cultural abandonment of morality. The idea of objective moral truth—ethical norms that really are binding on all people—is unknown to most and is rejected by the rest.

If one doesn’t understand the objective essence of God and His Church though the first point made above, why would they live a life of objective morality? If everyone can make up their own truth, anyone can rationalize behavior in seeking personal enjoyment. If moral truth isn’t objective, virtue/vice doesn’t exist, and the entire reason for Jesus dying on the Cross evaporates. This leads to the next point…

2. Breakdown of the family. It has long been recognized that experience with an earthly father deeply informs the perspective about the heavenly father. In “How the West Really Lost God, sociologist Mary Eberstadt correctly asserts, “The fortunes of religion rise or fall with the state of the family.”

He’s quoting a sociologist but he could have just as easily quoted Pope Saint JPII: “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

5. The church’s cultural influence has diminished. The little neighborhood church is often assumed to be irrelevant, and there is no cultural guilt anymore for those who abandon involvement.

The author is looking at this in a short-sighted protestant way. This is true for the Church more than an individual neighborhood church (although still accurate). The Roman Catholic Church’s clout when it came to moral applications to new situations in the world has been destroyed, nearly entirely self-inflicted. The self-destruction following the unfaithful applications of the ambiguous Second Vatican Council documents and the horrendous sexual scandal which followed was unparalleled in Church history. This led to many priests and bishops to speak of the Church publicly in a self-loathing manner, further contributing to this issue. Due to the reduced worldwide influence of Rome, we have seen the rise of the next point…

3. Militant secularism: Embraced by media and enforced in schools, secular education approaches learning through the lens of “methodological naturalism.” It is presupposed that all faith claims are merely expressions of subjective preference. The only “true” truths are claims that are divorced from any supernatural context and impose no moral obligations on human behavior.

Catholics must stand up and fight for what is true, beautiful, and good. Adult Catholics must understand their faith better than any generation before and live it out in a way that permeates their entire life. There is no room for, as Bishop Barron calls it, “beige Catholicism” any longer.


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It can be argued that this entire situation is a way of strengthening the Church. As the Catholic Church sheds millions of people who are, essentially,  “Catholic in Name Only” or “cultural Catholics” due to the diminished shame associated with abandoning one’s baptismal rites, a more true, beautiful, and good form of Catholicism rises from the ashes…purified through the intense fires of the last five decades. The impurities will burn away and left standing will be, as always, the gold that is the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. ☩

Congress Repeals FCC Internet Privacy Rules

Yesterday the book Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher (who right now is receiving much attention for his new book The Benedict Option) was waiting on my front porch when I returned home from work. It’s a book I have wanted to read for quite some time and finally bought a used copy. The book is about how some conservatives are returning to a form of conservatism that is actually interesting in conserving things — freedom, education, family life, natural resources, beauty, liberty, Christianity, etc — rather than purely focusing on economic strength and accumulating…stuff.

The back of the book includes Dreher’s “Crunchy Con Manifesto” of nine bullet pointsincluding the following:

  • Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.
  • Big Business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

At the same time I scanned the Crunchy Con points on the back cover, conservatives in Congress were (and still are) in the process of sending President Trump a bill to repeal FCC Internet privacy rules that require giant telecom corporations to ask their users to “opt-in” to them storing and sharing private user data rather than allowing them to do this automatically. They use this information (among many ways) to build profiles on people to sell the advertisers so they can send us eerily targeted ads. The data storage is also ripe for abuse as we already know by the tens of thousands of (known) data requests by the government recently.

Republicans argue this levels the playing field with websites like Google and Facebook who are already allowed to collect data on their users and have a sort of monopoly over online advertising. But why are we so concerned by leveling the playing field for giant corporations to compete with each other when the currency to do so is our very intimate, private information? Maybe the answer is cracking down on Google and Facebook rather than allowing telecom providers to do the same.

Quoting from the Wall Street Journal:

What if your telecom company tracked the websites you visit, the apps you use, the TV shows you watch, the stores you shop at and the restaurants you eat at, and then sold that information to advertisers?

In theory, it’s possible, given the stance Washington is taking on online privacy. Lawmakers on Tuesday voted to overturn privacy rules that required telecom companies to get customers’ permission before sharing their web-browsing and app usage history with third parties. 

The telecom providers had argued the rules put them at a competitive disadvantage to online ad giants Google and Facebook, which generally aren’t regulated by the FCC.

Google and Facebook have built huge businesses powered by reams of data they collect about consumers’ online actions, both on their own properties and across the web. That trove of information largely explains their dominance — combined, they have a roughly 47% share of the global digital ad market, according to eMarketer.

But online advertising executives say telecom providers potentially have access to more powerful data than the two tech powerhouses. Their networks — both wired and wireless — could give them a window into nearly everything a user is doing on the web.

“ISPs like Verizon can now start building and selling profiles about consumers that include their friends, the news articles they read, where they shop, where they bank, along with their physical location,”…

For example, a wireless provider might track which websites and apps a consumer uses, in addition to their location, and use that information to help determine which products they’re likely to purchase.

If a consumer uses the same telecom provider for wireless, broadband and TV service, the provider could, in theory, track the majority of that consumer’s online behavior and media consumption.

Is this really what conservative voters want? I doubt it. It’s telling that the Republicans, who can’t seem to agree on anything important right now, are able to quickly come together to do something so pro-big business at the expense of everyday Americans. Political conservatives in this country tend to be more pro-privacy than their liberal counterparts so why don’t the politicians they voted for reflect that? To the contrary, this is the first thing to likely be signed into law with their new president? Until there’s more information suggesting there are benefits not being properly reported, what a disgrace. ☩