Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Grave Lapse by German Bishops for German Catholic Faithful


Americans have an election coming up in November. It didn’t even take 30 years for German Government to take over religious institutions, to the point where they relied so much on government assistance that Church officicials started kicking out their members for not complying with them.


by M. J. Joachim
The phrase, “Separation of Church from State” took on new meaning for me these past couple of days, particularly with recent announcements pertaining to Catholics living in Germany.  Truly the Church and Government make strange bedfellows to say the least, none of which appears to be in the interest of following Christ and His Church.

Socialism has its perks, especially for religious institutions apparently. It seems churches (of various denominations including Catholic, Protestant and Jew) get government kickbacks or subsidies, because citizens are charged a mandatory “church tax” in their structured tax bill annually. In other words, people declare their religion of preference and a tax is applied and withheld from their earnings. Religious institutions receive most of their income for salaries, building maintenance, education etc. from their portion of this tax (which is roughly estimated upwards of 4 – 5 billion euro annually).

Enter the realm of bad policy, politics gone corrupt, power gone ballistic and …

Nevermind all that!!! Let’s start talking about the oppression of the people…

Opting out of aligning yourself with the Catholic Church in Germany now carries stiff penalties!!!They want your money and if they can’t have it, you don’t get to be Catholic anymore!!!

Say what???!!!

Your privileges to believe and practice the Catholic faith in Germany are revoked, because you opt out of declaring your religion of preference and paying a church tax to the government???

That’s right, good people, and the German Courts upheld the ruling of the bishops when it was challenged there.

Pay no tax, be no Catholic…
At least not one recognized by the German Catholic Church!!!

It’s a nice gig, if you can get it, and it takes away the Church’s burden of relying on charitable contributions from its members. It makes it much easier to plan annual expenses, and since things like sacraments and Christian burials are already allotted for, the Church doesn’t need to request any stipends from individuals to cover their costs of such things….probably the reason German bishops declared Catholics who don’t pay the tax can’t receive sacraments, become god-parents or receive Christian burials.

The only problem is that from a citizen standpoint, the tax is voluntary, which means German citizens can opt out of the program, cease to declare their religion preference and choose to put their coffers in the basket during services (or not), if they want to.

Oh, but the Church isn’t standing on solid Catholic teaching and principle here. No, they’re too busy making deals with the government!!! 

They’re going after the people, instilling fear about what happens if you don’t pay. Let’s face it, faith (and the religious institutions it aligns with) are extremely personal for most people. People don’t want to give up how they practice their faith (in institutions which by their very nature are supposed to help them practice it better), and they certainly don’t want to give up their rights to the very things Christ Himself instituted….things like sacraments, evangelization through community participation and involvement and Christian burial…

I’m sorry, but that last one is just mean!!! It’s not even mean to the person who died. That one is mean to the people grieving, the ones who know their loved one was a good Christian person, who believed in the Catholic faith and was punished unfairly when the Church held hands with government.

Suddenly being Catholic in Germany isn’t about following Christ and His teachings anymore. It’s about skipping the spiritual journey to pay your fair share in taxes that support the religious institution you choose to affiliate yourself with…it’s about being told what you can and can’t do, because the powers that be determine who is entitled to what, and they can cut you off in a heartbeat if you disagree with their decisions.

Americans have an election coming up in November. It didn’t even take 30 years for German Government to take over religious institutions, to the point where they relied so much on government assistance that Church officials started kicking out their members for not complying with them. Will we vote to protect our religious freedom, or will we slide on that slippery slope and wonder what happened just a few short years from now?

I am unbelievably saddened and praying Pope Benedict intervenes to stand up for faithful Catholics everywhere!
M. J. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Let the Children Come


by M. J. Joachim
“Let the children come to me, let the children come…”

We sang these verses during Mass yesterday, and they’ve been humming along in my brain ever since. I thought about them on and off all day; they interrupted me when I attempted to focus on another Being Catholic blog post for today. They were there when I walked the dog and took him to the vet this morning. Even the radio in the car didn’t seem to change the tune in my head, nor did the background t.v. noise when I worked on a new crochet pattern.

These words are IMPORTANT!!! They must be, and I need to write about them today.

But what do I say? How do I approach such a vague and fairly broad topic?

“Jesus likes children. He likes them a whole lot. You heard the readings yesterday. They talked about how Jesus included children in His lessons…but not to teach them; rather, Jesus let children teach us.” My silent brain encouraged me all day long with tidbits like this.

So why do we kill the messenger??? Everyone knows you’re not supposed to kill the messenger!!!

Oops…

May have lost you with that last one…

It’s just that Jesus was a messenger about the Kingdom of God (Yes, I know Jesus is God too – no disrespect intended when I call Jesus a messenger…He is the Word, and if that’s not a message, I’m not sure what else might qualify). Jesus told us time and time again that we need to approach the Kingdom of God like children do. So wouldn’t that mean that children are messengers who teach us how to get to Heaven?

Time to dive right in!!!
I’m going there…
Step right up folks!
The water is positively…

BOILING!!!

Now if I were the devil and I wanted to brainwash the average person into believing that children weren’t special or valued by God, I’d certainly find a convincing way to do it. It doesn’t take a genius to write this script…only a lesson in history.

I’d start by promoting a woman’s ego and individuality. I’d put a bug in her ear so big, she’d need forceps to dismantle the critter, tear it to pieces and get rid of it altogether. Then I’d tell her it was nothing…no big deal, just a bunch of cells that grew in there and didn’t mean anything.

Once I did that, I’d plant a seed to get her thinking about how powerful she really is, and that she’s a force to be reckoned with. Her body is hers and she should definitely control what grows in it, and determine if it has a right to live or not.

She’d keep picking away at her ear, unable to escape the brutal consequences of what that devil was really telling her. She’d become indignant with the thought of allowing her body to be used for anything other than her own selfish purpose, and she’d stand with that devil in the fight to kill the messenger!!!

It’s a brilliant plan, when you think about it. Bombard women everywhere with the idea that children are aliens and foreign objects, only meant to grow into babies if we let them.

EXCEPT IT’S WRONG!!!

Women aren’t all powerful, and not one of them came into this world without first being a baby in their mother’s womb…

Let the children come…

Just don’t let them grow up to become killers of future generations of children.  Just don’t confuse them once they get here, and let them be minions of the devil. Just speak the truth louder – until you break their eardrums if you have to – so they know without a doubt that life begins at conception, because if it didn’t, no woman would ever get pregnant and give birth to a baby again.

Babies would end up on the endangered species list and quite possibly become extinct!!!

Imagine a world without children, if you dare. Then imagine that devil gloating, because we’re guilty of the same sin of pride that cast him to the depths of the netherworld. All powerful…not a chance, and don’t think for a minute our choices, lack of interest and arrogance won’t catch up with us, especially in a society that refuses to let the children come and grace us with their presence.

Until next time, kind followers, may the smiles of many children warm your heart!

 M. J.

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Enlisting a Mother’s Help to Pray for America


by M. J. Joachim
Mary is the Mother of Jesus. This is nothing new and shouldn’t surprise anyone. No one else was chosen to give birth to God, so it makes sense that Mary is held in high esteem by Catholics, as well as many other people practicing different Christian faith denominations throughout the world.

When someone receives an honor, it is only right that they receive all elevation and respect, which justifiably goes with the honor they receive. Again, it makes sense that Mary is highly regarded among Christians. After all, no other woman will ever be as close to Jesus as Mary is. She carried Him in her womb, which is about as close as any human being can possibly get to another in my book. Having carried three children myself, I can tell you without a doubt, no one has ever or will ever get that close to me. These little babies literally grow inside you and kick you from the inside out, for Heaven’s sake!

Speaking of which, Mary is a mother…hellooo...

Like that doesn’t automatically come with the special privilege of being able to influence the children we give birth to!!! Mothers have built in radar too! We know exactly what buttons to push to get our children to listen up and do what we want them to.

Now I’m not suggesting Mary would ever resort to piling on the guilt trips or taking Jesus by the ear or anything, but I definitely believe she knows how to ask Him for a favor, and based on what I know of their relationship, I’m pretty certain Jesus will find it pretty difficult to refuse her when she does.  I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the power of moms and the positive ratio to percentage when they need to enlist their child to do something…

…which is why I’m asking all of you, kind followers to consider the following information and what you want to do about it.

On September 14, 2012, EWTN distributed a press release inviting people to pray a special novena titled, “Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation” in which Catholics are encouraged to pray, and ask Mary to intercede on America’s behalf, asking Jesus to help us during this difficult time in our nation’s history.
The novena will take place from September 29 (Feast of the Archangels) to October 7 (Feast of the Most Holy Rosary). EWTN provides free downloads of this special novena which can be found here.

Novenas are prayers offered in nines. In other words, they are groups of prayers that can be offered for nine consecutive hours, days, weeks, months etc. This particular novena will be prayed for nine consecutive days, with a special prayer being offered each day. Many novenas have an introduction prayer included on the first day and a closing prayer offered at their conclusion.

EWTN hopes that people will share this novena with as many people as possible, one of the reasons I’m sharing it with you. I’m also sharing it with you because I truly believe in the power of prayer, and to be honest, the United States of America needs all the help it can get right now!

Please join me in sharing this novena with as many people as possible and praying for America during this very critical time in our history. Thank you kind followers and may God bless you richly for your efforts.

Wishing you only good things, as always,
M. J. 

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fear of Scripture? Nah, Not on My Watch!


by M. J. Joachim
I’m not going to pretend to be anywhere close to a biblical scholar. However, that’s not going to stop me from reading and studying my Bible either.

So many Catholics are afraid of getting it wrong all the time…

As if only the learned and higher ups in the Catholic Church have special insight into the Word of God…

Far be it from me to challenge people who have a lot more knowledge than I will ever have, but if ordinary people weren’t supposed to get to know God by reading His very own Word, then how did so many of them get canonized as saints?

Sts. Joseph, Therese, Faustina, Martin de Porres, Philomena, John Vianny … these are a very few I’ve come to know through the years, and they can teach me the wisdom of God any day, anytime and anywhere.

It’s a simple post for now, one that needs to sink in a bit. You see, the Sacrifice on the Cross was meant for everyone (not just a select “knowledgeable” few). One of its most prominent messages is, “Be not afraid. I go before you always…”

If that’s true, and Christians everywhere know in their hearts that it is, then wild horses shouldn’t prevent us from reading Holy Scripture and learning what God wants to tell us.

Touting the Word of God, rattling off chapter and verse and implying consistent perplexities, often generates fear in so many who might read the Bible for the simple pleasure of doing so. Yet these same people read all sorts of other items: books, websites, magazine articles, newspapers, finance papers, business contracts and the like, without every doubting for a minute they are capable of doing so, confident in their skills to comprehend what’s written – manuscripts and documents written by authors who they often never meet or interact with at all.

What could possibly make anyone believe God would abandon us, when we read and study His Word, especially since He invites and encourages us to get to know and develop our relationship with Him continuously throughout our lives?!

Until next time, kind followers, I wish you well!
M. J.
©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, GNU Free Documentation License

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Catholic Fun, Catholic Teaching, Catholic Reality Check


by M. J. Joachim
I have to admit, being Catholic is truly rather fun. We get to approach the world like we have all the answers, and if we mess up, we get to blame it on the fact that we are only sinners. Arrogance knows no boundaries in the hierarchal rituals of good Catholic discipline. Power is a right for some people, and if you’re not one of them, you better be prepared to eat dirt off the floor (or some other humiliating penance and sacrifice).

Parents rule their children! Priests rule our souls! Teachers maintain perfect order in their Catholic classrooms! God …well, why bring God into this discussion anyway? He’s clearly not what we’re focusing on at the moment…

No! We’re decidedly discussing how fun it is to be Catholic! Especially if you’re a parent, priest, teacher or any other authority figure worth bowing down to – worth being the operative word, of course…

So call me a rebel already!

After all, I don’t worship anyone but God, and as He is my witness, no one else rules my heart and soul!!!

Don’t get me wrong here, please. I’m not bashing Catholic authority figures in this post at all. What I am doing is exposing the fact that some of them use Catholicism as a tool for their own benefit. Heck, we all have the ability to do this, but some are much better at it than others…lots of practice is my guess!

Being Catholic is a lot of fun, if you practice the faith as it was intended…

Jesus didn’t go around bashing people on their heads with 2 x 4’s! It’s one of my favorite sayings, and I’ve said it to myself more than once in the 20 some odd years I’ve been a parent. Another favorite saying of mine is, “Killing flies with sledge hammers again!” You get the idea, don’t you?

Being Catholic is not an excuse…
It’s not an escape from reality…
Nor is it a reason to bully others...

Being Catholic is a way of life, and there is nothing in the Bible (something we study at every Mass), Catechism, Tradition, Doctrine, Dogma of the Faith, Creed etc. etc. etc. that is okay with the obvious and hidden sins of others.

So please don’t blame it on Catholicism when you experience power plays, by people touting being Catholic, as the reason for their own weaknesses. Jesus didn’t teach these things to us, and Christianity is the real basis of our faith! They didn’t call Him the Good Shepherd for nothing, you know!

Until next time, kind followers, I wish you every good thing!

M. J.

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Saints Peter and Paul in the Days of the Early Church


by M. J. Joachim

Saints Peter and Paul were leaders in the early Church. They became friends and often worked together to evangelize the faith. Both men came from extremely different backgrounds and experiences. Yet, both apostles, in time to be recognized as bishops, were called to commit themselves to the Catholic faith.

St. Peter, as we know, knew Jesus personally, and witnessed His ministry through His life, death and resurrection. St. Paul, on the other hand, persecuted Christians – even taking part in the stoning of St. Stephen, only to be unexpectedly converted through blindness, voices and quite possibly dreams or visions. Conversion was not a slam dunk for either man; both faced and dealt with internal struggles, eventually overcoming many weaknesses in the process.

Obviously, St. Peter’s personal relationship proved to be an invaluable asset in sharing the message that the Messiah had already come and offered salvation to all. I’ve little doubt that St. Paul learned a lot from St. Peter, just as I have little doubt that St. Peter learned a lot from St. Paul, much of which likely pertained to reaching people who did not have first-hand knowledge of who Jesus was and what His message was all about.

The early Church was Jewish. Remember, Christ was a Jew, and He didn’t come to abolish the law. Saints Peter and Paul both practiced their Jewish faith, enhancing it with Christianity when Christ touched their hearts. As they evangelized, new followers also were primarily Jewish; as such, they probably embraced Christianity as an enhancement to their Jewish faith, rather than a replacement for it.

Growing up isn’t easy, and the Catholic Church has gone through enormous growing stages throughout its history. The early Church undoubtedly has little resemblance to the Catholic Church of 2012. Its leaders were a group of highly energized men, working tirelessly to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These men didn’t abandon what they knew (the Jewish faith) to do so – at least not right away. It took time for the “threat” of Christianity to rattle Jewish leaders, causing both parties to force a divide between Jewish and Christian faiths, based on fundamental differences, which made it impossible to remain as one.

Until next time, kind followers, I wish you every good thing!

M. J.

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting to Know St. Peter – A Man with a Great Capacity to Love!


by M. J. Joachim

Picture, if you will, an ordinary man working and being a productive member of his community. He is married, has relatives and friends he hangs out with and strives to live a good life, doing right by others, serving his family well and being faithful to his God. It’s easy to relate to this person, and even easier to embrace him as a friend.

One of the biggest things I personally struggle with about being Catholic is our ability to eliminate ourselves in the equation of Catholicism. It’s almost as if we’re saying, Christ birth, death and resurrection isn’t enough for our salvation. Yet, the Catholic faith clearly teaches that our salvation depends on nothing else but accepting Christ as our Savior, the Son of the Living God who was born, died and resurrected to save us.

Elevating certain people is not a bad thing, in and of itself. Common sense dictates the need for it to create a sense of order, and without leaders, much of life as we know it would turn to chaos, and destruction might all too quickly rule the day. The choice then isn’t as much about having leadership roles in society, as it is about choosing those leaders with insight, care and intelligence.

St. Peter is a leader in the Catholic Church. Christ Himself chose Peter and numerous biblical verses explain and help the rest of us understand why Peter was chosen and favored by God. Peter and Jesus became friends. This relationship certainly wasn’t an easy one for Peter. As much as he loved our Lord, he still struggled with the necessary soul work associated with being a true follower of Christ.

Peter was a man with a great capacity to love – a messy and highly volatile personality trait at best. The more one loves, the harder it is to see the forest for the trees sometimes, which often allows fear and emotion to rule the day. Love conquers all, but first we must conquer ourselves to respond effectively to it.

Peter is a person who is easy to like and understand. We all know how hard it is to do what we must do at times. We’re not perfect and seek counsel from our friends and others who will help us make the best choice possible in any given situation. We are responsible – even enough to admit when we are wrong. And we can be bullheaded, especially when we know we are right.

St. Paul was one of St. Peter’s closest friends; their feast day (June 29) is celebrated together in the Catholic Church. Why did I mention this, you might ask? Oh, that’s another blog post…stay tunedJ

Until next time, kind followers, I wish you every good thing!

M. J.

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution

Friday, September 14, 2012

Inspirations of the Holy Spirit


by M. J. Joachim

We’ve all had them…

Those little voices in our heads, telling us how to think, what to do and where or where not to go…

Problem is, sometimes those voices are confusing. They suggest we engage in things we know we shouldn’t, because we’re so strong and holy, that our real purpose for doing so is to stand against sinful things, and we have the power to make a difference.

Yea, right!

We have the power to make a difference alright, boosting our ego and having a little fun in the name of lying to ourselves about our own weaknesses!

I’m not going to get into a long drawn out discussion about this. I’m simply going to state it plainly.

If the inspirations and voices in our heads are tempting us to engage in things we know are wrong, there is no excuse or justification for doing them. If we somehow have the capacity to convince ourselves that they are from God or are inspirations of the Holy Spirit, then we’re good – we’re real good…

AT FOOLING OURSELVES!!!

Cruelty serves cruelty…
Gossip serves gossip…
Gluttony serves gluttony…
Lies serve lies…
Greed serves greed…
Perversion serves perversion…
Malice serves malice…

Need I go on?

Inspirations of the Holy Spirit are easy to identify.

They are good, uplifting, loving and merciful, only directing us toward God.

It’s not about being Catholic on this one…

It’s about being intelligent!

Until next time, kind followers, I wish you every good thing!

M. J.

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Understanding the Concept of Infallibility within the Church


by M. J. Joachim

The concept of infallibility has always been a bit puzzling for me. I mean, if there’s only one true God, then how can anyone (leader and head or the Church or otherwise), be considered infallible?

As I was immersing myself in writings pertaining to this last night, it occurred to me that I needed time to digest what I was reading, because Church history itself has worked tirelessly to clarify this precept.

From what I can gather, the concept of infallibility was a direct response to quash heresies taking place early on in the Church. It was the Church’s way of establishing authority in matters of faith, to prevent critical errors from manifesting themselves among the faithful, thereby providing a concrete source of sound doctrine for Catholics.

Much like parents are the authorities in a family, bishops (including the pope), rightly stepped up to administer their roles as authorities in the Catholic Church. This is not to imply any of them quit being human. Nor does it state the pope can never err. History has repeatedly proven popes are as capable of sinning as the rest of us, some of them to the great detriment of the Church.

The concept of infallibility, therefore, is one of authoritative direction, created by human bishops, intended to lead us more toward Christ and His teachings, and utilized to promote consistent truth as it pertains to what the faithful believe and hold to be sacred. It is a unifying concept that works to bring Catholics closer together as one family, minimize unnecessary disputes among us and help us draw nearer to Christ and His teachings.

As a mom, this makes a lot of sense to me now. You see, kids grow through stages, the earliest of which is when they think their parents are infallible. Without warning, the day comes when they realize mom and dad aren’t perfect, but there’s no way they can love their parents any less for it. In no time at all, they’re thinking and acting for themselves – I call these the gray hair days. Still, they rely on those same parents for direction, recognizing their wisdom and trusting in their guidance…an infallible guidance, if you will, based on years of experience, lessons learned and hope and trust in Christ the Lord.

This concept of infallibility, therefore, is a concept based on respecting and trusting authority and its rightful place in our lives. Reason dictates that trust can and will be tested – sometimes to the point of breaking. However, love and respect overcome and heal the wounds of broken trust, placing value once again, in that which should be considered sacred bonds – i.e. the bonds between parents and children and the bond between Church leaders and their followers.

All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saints, Heroes of the Catholic Church


by M. J. Joachim 

A lot of people wonder how and why Catholics give so much esteem to saints. It’s truly not rocket science when you think about it. People of faith revere God and trust in the salvation given by Jesus Christ. Saints are people of faith.

Over the years, I’ve read several stories about different saints and their lives. I’ve also watched quite a few movies about saints and Catholic history. You probably have seen a few too, as not all of these are documentaries. Some are considered fiction based on real life – like movies about the Crusades, Renaissance and Reformation. There are scores of books and movies that incorporate Church history into their stories.

Regardless of the story, or how it is shared and who or what it is about, if a saint is presented, that person will always put God first.
Saints are heroic figures who stand up for all that is good…

in life, death and eternity

Second guess anyone else you want or feel the need to, but when you’re dealing with a saint, you’ll always know what’s what…God first and foremost, plus everything He set before us to live our days in eternity with Him.

So yes, I place great confidence in my saints. I study their lives to learn how to live, observe their conflicts to handle mine better and find peace in their lifestyles and writings, to ease my soul in all its troubles.

Like I said, it’s not rocket science. It’s simply part of being Catholic.

Until next time, dear people, this is M. J. wishing you every good thing!

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain
All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Catholic Response to Idiotic Rhetoric


by M. J. Joachim

Well, I did it! I promised myself I wouldn’t, but I finally took the plunge and commented on one of those liberal Facebook posts regarding the upcoming election. Being Catholic lends itself to expressing opinions rather easily. However, I was determined not to engage…

Too much…

But there it was…

A picture of Alec Baldwin, and his tweeted message, “If Obama was white, he’d be up 17 points.”

Do these guys get bonus checks for being stupid or something?!

Do they get bonus checks for acting like the American people are stupid?

I simply couldn’t help myself and commented, “If Obama had a real job, he’d be fired by now!”

RELIIOUS TOLERANCE DOES NOT REQUIRE DEVOUT PEOPLE OF FAITH TO BE OKAY WITH IDIOTIC RHETORIC!

There, I’ve said it! I’ve posted it BIG, BOLD and UNMISTAKABLY CLEAR…

We do not have to be okay with moronic discussion and people that have a natural aversion to common sense and human decency…

It’s okay to state our opinion and take the hit for doing so…

You know, sometimes I think one of the biggest problems with being Catholic is our ability to water down the faith, and build everyone else up without clarifying our differences, and declaring why we hold them dear.

I didn’t comment on Baldwin’s tweet because I’m Catholic though.

No, I commented because I’m an American!

It’s the 11th anniversary of 9/11…

And I felt completely insulted!

Of course, I do think being Catholic may have had something to do with it though…

I mean, as a rule, Catholics are not supposed to be racist!

All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blinding Faith for Authority Figures


by M. J. Joachim
Leaders, authority figures, people in the know…
I woke up this morning thinking about these things, and how so many of us use their role in our lives to make excuses, rather than taking responsibility, about the choices we make.

As I reflect on this, it seems obvious to me that we put an unfair burden on others, when we hand them the keys to our lives and expect them to fix things. As if these same people never had lives of their own, complete with personal head trash. Yet we look to them to serve us, without considering that maybe we need to do some of the work ourselves.

The Pope, bishops, priests and deacons are human beings fulfilling a role. There is nothing wrong with putting faith in them and trusting what they have to say, considering they are likely more learned in Catholicism than the average lay person will ever be. However, doing so does not excuse us from taking responsibility for our own actions.

Throughout the course of history, there have been inexcusable leaders that no one in their right mind should have followed blindly. For whatever reason, people did…sometimes by the millions, sometimes in limited numbers. These people had their own agendas, and if their followers had chosen to scrutinize the bill of goods they were being sold, taking responsibility for how they chose to respond to it, they might have made completely different decisions.

Being Catholic does not give me the easy privilege of letting Church authorities take me where they will, without considering where it is they want to take me first. I still have to answer for the decision I make regarding the well-being of my own soul, and if any authority figure doesn’t match the criteria I know I should live by, I need to be prepared to stand alone if necessary.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain
All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.

Friday, September 7, 2012

American, Catholic, or Both?


by M. J. Joachim

As I struggle for the words today, I think of all the people living day to day. Our lives truly aren’t that complicated – at least they don’t have to be.

Listening to Prime Time these past couple of weeks…

Yes, I tuned into both the RNC and the DNC…

All I could think about is that somehow our government leaders have made choosing a new president, as difficult to determine and understand, as they’ve made the tax code. Everyone is talking out of both sides of their mouths. So many statements are twisted and misleading – a certain formula used to confuse those of us who must vote and try to make a decent decision.

There is no such thing as an easy Catholic vote anymore. The constant rhetoric has taken its toll, and most things we vote on favor some of the things we believe in, while completely slamming others – all in the same legislation.

I find it difficult to compare today’s times to the times of slavery and Lincoln emancipating the slaves. However, I don’t believe we need to cater to greed and Corporate America either.  Democrats would have us believe that Republicans are the only ones who do so, but isn’t Obama the guy who bailed out the auto industry?

So here I sit, typing on my computer about how I’m consistently baffled by the mudslinging and lies. Another thing that truly disturbs me is when Clinton said Romney didn’t get any jobs for the American people. Uh, he wasn’t our President either, and that wasn’t his job. However, it could be considered part of Obama’s job description. Don’t you agree?

Being Catholic, I have to vote with my conscience, which means standing up for women’s dignity and well-being. This has never meant women can do whatever we want without paying any consequences; it should never imply that someone else should pay for decisions we wish we hadn’t made, with their very own lives, no matter how small and inconsequential they might seem.

Being Catholic, I have to vote against oppression, something I think many Americans have probably felt recently, without actually labeling it as such. Feelings related to oppression include feeling coerced, dominated, subdued, forcibly (losing one’s home or becoming unemployed), suffering – how many of us have made some really tough choices during these unprecedented economic times? How many of us worry, because we’re losing ground and there’s not a whole lot left to make those tough decisions with anymore? Oh, but we have healthcare – which we pay for with taxes we can’t and shouldn’t be asked or expected to afford!

Being Catholic, I should vote in favor of all those who are marginalized. That’s a long list, and at the rate the government is growing, it’s only getting longer every day. You can’t give what you don’t have, so I guess being Catholic means voting for what’s best for me on some level. As much as I want to help everyone else in our society, I certainly can’t do so, if I have nothing left to give.

Which brings me back to the idea of simplicity, hinted at in my opening words today…

Let the politicians do what they will for the next couple of months. You can’t stop them anyway. What you can do is stand up for yourself (and consequently many others in the long run), if you rely on your conscience and use a little bit of common sense when you vote.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Newsflash! Catholics Aren’t Perfect!


by M. J. Joachim

Without getting into a long, drawn-out, humiliating, tell-all confession of my personal sins, let me take a moment to state the obvious by telling you that Catholics aren’t perfect.  As if you didn’t already know…

Yet, being Catholic lends itself to all sorts of scrutiny and judgment from others. Hey, you didn’t really think I was just going to suck it up in that last post, and let Catholics be the fall guys for “name only” religious participants, did you?

We have certain criteria which makes us Catholic, and if you believe in Catholicism, you embrace the faith, even though (like most of us) you’re bound to struggle with a precept or two here and there.

Dare I mention Catholic discipline again? “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” I don’t believe the intent of this guideline was ever meant to harm or bully a child into blinded submission. Raising our children with iron fists could easily have the opposite effect, if you ask me. As parents, there’s no doubt we need to teach our children right from wrong. But are we teaching them how to follow Christ and live like good Catholics when we do it?

Many a Catholic hater enjoys pointing out every Catholic fault you can think of. Many a “name only” Catholic does the same thing. People are people. The Catholic faith is full of them, and the neat thing about it is, regardless of how we judge anyone else, being Catholic is still about how Catholics practice what we believe. Sometimes we’re as right as right can be. Other times, mmmm, not so much. 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain
All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.

Personal Thoughts about Name Only Catholics


by M. J. Joachim

While I was walking the dog this morning, I started to think about “name only” Catholics. You can find them almost everywhere. They’re the ones that wear Catholicism like a badge of honor, often snubbing anyone who doesn’t think and act like they do. Then there’s the authoritarian group of “name only” Catholics who enjoy the power of being Catholic. While many pseudo-catholic politicians come to mind, I also couldn’t help but remember the days of good old-fashioned Catholic discipline, administered by parents, siblings, teachers, nuns, priests and pretty much anyone who could get away with it.

Yet the Catechism clearly states that the true Catholic mission is to share Christ with others. Last time I checked, Christ didn’t lord himself over anyone, a pretty remarkable fact, indeed, considering He is Lord. Christ is professed as the center of the Catholic Catechism, the Incarnate Word, second person of the Holy Trinity, truly present and alive in Eucharist.

No matter how we choose to describe Jesus, it is never harsh, cruel or brutal. Christ is all powerful, but in a good way. He teaches us discipline of our senses without bullying us into submission. He shows us how to pray through silent reflection, carefully chosen words and the willingness to open our hearts.

This is not unlike other Christian faiths that understand the joy of knowing and believing in Christ. How is it then that any Christian – Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant,  regardless of individual denomination, would stand against our brothers, either within the community or because they’re not part of our particular group? When did we decide it was our place to judge, which is not to say everyone who believes in Christ has the same tenet of faith?

Being Catholic isn’t about being part of one of the largest religious groups in the world. It’s about discovering Christ, and learning how to live because He is my Lord and Savior. Learning about Catholicism from other Catholics is a good thing, but you have to pick and choose. Some Catholics are definitely “name only.” They’ll always have a lot to say. Just remember what the Gospels teach, “By their fruits, you will know them.” 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain
All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.

The Catholic Blog I’m Supposed to Write


by M. J. Joachim

Funny how God works sometimes….

I started this blog as one of those Catholics on a mission to share my faith. It was about me, and God decided to share a bit of reality with me instead. That took quite a while. Entries to this blog slowly declined and eventually quit for a long time. I hung on knowing the continuation of this blog was only a matter of time.

And then it happened. Blogger added new features. Change has a way of getting people to start working again…usually. So I made some changes – last May…

Every day I opened this blog and something kept holding me back. Perhaps it was the coldness of the idea – read, study, write about and preach the catechism. That’s not what being catholic is all about in my book. It never has been, which is probably why I’ve struggled so much with what I was taught about Catholicism all those years ago.

Oh, I read the next pages of the Catechism – spent quite a bit of time mulling them over too. It wasn’t working for me. I’m no theologian; I’m not an evangelist either. I’m someone who has struggled with my faith over the years, a person who used to live by the saying, “If that’s being Catholic, I want no part of it at all!” I’m the revert – the one who left the Church, only to crawl back and say, “I never knew …”

There are so many things I never knew, things that might have made it easier to be that cradle catholic I was supposed to be without question. These are the things I want to share with you on this blog, not the nuts and bolts, do or die rules of what it takes to be catholic. And now that I’ve off-loaded some of my head trash around it all, I believe it is time to start doing so.

Follow along with me, if you will. A journey like this is always better with more peopleJ

Until next time, I wish you only good things, kind friends, and look forward to when we meet again.

M. J. 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution