Fr. Ben Luedtke
“Mercy & Grace in Our Daily Lives”
Thursday, October 27, 2016, 7p.m.
St. Mary Church, Port Huron Michigan
Father Ben Luedtke was ordained by Pope John Paul II in Rome. Fr. Luedtke was Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s special priest and was often her personal driver in Rome. Fr. Ben is a very sought after speaker, spiritual director and confessor, and is a missionary priest who has worked on three continents. Formerly working in the theatrical field, Father credits the Blessed Mother for his conversion and priesthood.
Public Welcome! For information call: St. Mary Parish 810-982-7906 or Holy Trinity Parish 810-984-2689. Admission: Free Will Offering at the door.
The Leadership Council invites you to a Congregation-wide contemplative action each Tuesday between September 20 and November 8. Please join in setting the intention that the common good of people and planet rises as a central concern for voters and candidates during the upcoming U.S. national elections.
Begin by setting the intention with the communal prayer and then hold during eight minutes of contemplative silence. You may join the Motherhouse community in this contemplative action at 3:55 p.m. or at any other time on Tuesdays.
“O Holy Mystery, we live in a time of peril and promise. We ask that You infuse each of us, voters and candidates for elected office, with a longing for peace and the common good of all your people and creation. Rooted in the Gospel, with this intention deep in our hearts, we place our trust in You, O Holy Mystery, and in the power of our communal prayer. Amen.
We will be holding our Annual “Right to Life” Layette for the Blue Water Pregnancy Center on October 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, 22nd & 23rd, and 29th & 30th, 2016.
- Onesies—both boys and girls
- Long sleeved winter tops
- Short sleeved summer tops
- First Aid Kits
- Receiving Blankets
- Crib sheets, crib mattress pads, crib covers
- Diapers—Size 4 to 6
- Preemie Clothes
Please help to care for God’s Little Angels!
Christian Service Commission
As we move closer to November and the election for our next president I am making a more and more intentional effort to sort through the issues, what’s at stake, and to whom to give my vote. What a difficult and gut wrenching time it has been.
Undoubtedly many of you are struggling through the same decision, so I thought it might be best for us to go over the moral teachings of the Church and how they are applied to voting.
Now, before anyone gets too worked up, let me say:
I am not a member of any political party.
I am not a fan of either candidate.
I am not going to tell you who to vote for,
but not because I don’t want to help you, but because I am not allowed.
The Church is recognized by our government as a non-profit, and therefore a tax exempt organization. The law prohibits such organizations from supporting political parties or individual candidates. The way the Catholic Church is organized does not allow any one parish or diocese to opt out. Either all the Catholic parishes in the U.S. are tax exempt or they’re not. All of this is way above my pay grade so until something changes, what I can talk about is political issues and stances, even as they apply to qualifying candidates for office according to our moral principles. Voting is a moral act.
We can start with voting itself. It has crossed my mind more than once to not vote. Maybe some of you are in that mindset. However, not voting is still a choice which we morally have to answer for. Neglecting our duty is the type of sin know as omission. In the first form of the penitential act we tell God we are sorry for, among other things, the good we have failed to do. We have a moral obligation to promote the common good. The common good is not just the responsibility of those in office, it’s ours, yet one important way to promote the common good is to vote for proposals or candidates who support it best.
The first and most basic moral law is to do good and avoid evil. It’s not both/and. It’s not and/or. It is do good and avoid evil.
For an act to be good, both the end and the means have to be good. In other words, the outcome or intention and the way we got there have to be morally good. We say the end never justifies the means. The circumstances surrounding a good end and good means could make the act more or less good.
For example, the intention of parents to give shelter to their family is a good end. If they buy said home with money which they earned, then the way they achieved the act is also a good. The other conditions or considerations are circumstances which to greater or lesser extent add to the good achieved, if said parents also choose a home where the children would be in a better school district, then the good done is even greater.
Unfortunately, it is easier to do evil than it is to do good. Why? An action is made evil by either the intention or the means being evil. Again, for an act to be good the intention and the means have to both be good. Only one of those two parts must be evil to make the whole thing evil. The circumstances can make an evil act more or less evil, however they can never make up for an evil intention or means, though sufficiently evil circumstances can ruin an otherwise good act.
For example, let’s take the same good intention of sheltering a family. The end is good, but if the means of sheltering the family is not buying the house but by taking it over by force and by keeping the rightful owners hostage in the basement, then the means are evil. The circumstances in this case could make the hostile family more or less culpable or guilty, but could not excuse them entirely.
There are acts which are so inherently evil, that the circumstances have zero effect on the level of guilt or punishment due to the one who chooses them. These are called intrinsically evil acts (non-negotiables).
Let’s step back for a moment now. We are able to participate in the good or the evil done by another person or group. That is, after all, why we are reviewing the moral law, to be able to apply it to our choice of proposals and candidates. We take part, in both direct and indirect ways, in the good or evil done by those we affirm, aid, assist or support, in this case in those we vote for.
As people of faith, how should we not vote?
First, we should not vote based on political party affiliation alone. One party may typically appeal to us than the other, but if we vote with respect to a candidate’s suitability we probably will not be able to vote a straight ticket. Parties change ideology and priorities, therefore, family or even your own voting tendencies should not determine your vote.
Second, please do not vote for someone for shallow reasons such as their appearance, personality on camera, or being media savvy. Those things don’t even qualify as icing on the cake. They’re the sprinkles on the icing, on the cake. They’re nice to have but we don’t need them.
Unfortunately, you are not safe voting for someone because they identify themselves as Catholic. There are a number of Catholic politicians who in my estimation, will have a lot of explaining to do on judgement day, scripture says “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
Fourth, do not decide who to vote for based only on what is best for you personally. Remember, our responsibility is for the common good, not just our own good. What is best for all may not be ideal for me. It’s called sacrifice or charity.
Lastly, moral issues differ both in kind and in magnitude. We may not vote for someone who has many lesser issues right but fails to make moral decisions on greater issues. It’s like hiring someone who doesn’t have the education or experience needed for a job because they communicate well.
As people of faith, how should we vote?
First, we should evaluate each candidate which has a real chance of winning and see where they stand on our non-negotiable principals. We do not have to vote for a candidate who meets all our principals if it is clear they have no chance of winning. Why? Concern for the common good, which is both doing good and avoiding evil. Unfortunately, no write in candidate has a chance in this presidential election.
Then we rank the candidates according to how well they line up with the moral choices which are non-negotiables. We give preference to them accordingly.
If all, in this case both candidates are found to endorse positions which are at odds with non-negotiable moral choices. We vote for the one who would do the least serious harm. If that is not discernable, we then look at the issues of lesser importance.
We must also keep in mind the ability candidates will have to appoint other officials and the impact those people will have. For this presidential election, what comes to mind are the appointments that will be made for the Supreme Court. These appointments will shape the law, and our culture for years to come. That deserves consideration.
In my next homily we will dive into the issues that are non-negotiable and the role our conscience plays in making these and other moral choices. In the gospel today, the unjust judge hesitantly heeded the widow. May we not be so hesitant in heeding the Lord Jesus who speaks to our hearts, “Render a just decision for me.”
This month of October is a special month dedicated to our Blessed Mother as the month of the rosary. Mary, Our Lady of The Rosary, celebrated back on Oct. 7th, is a model of purity and reminds us that the power of prayer in Jesus can overcome anything including sins against purity. Those who struggle in this area can turn to the rosary to pray for greater purity through Mary’s strong intercession as she continues to point us and lead us ever closer to her son, Jesus.
Contrary to purity would be the sin of impurity. One powerful example of it is found through the use of internet pornography, which has reached pandemic proportions. According to Dr. Peter Kleponis, a licensed clinical therapist and assistant director of Comprehensive Counseling Services with a PhD from Conshohocken, PA, said that the number of “U.S. adults who regularly visit Internet pornography websites is 40 million.” A 2004 study from an internet traffic management company saw porn sites grow by 1,800% between 1998 and 2004. At the time, Nielsen/Net ratings estimated that about 34 million people visited adult websites every month (Source: www.catholicnewsagency.com).
Pornography is also one of the great scourges of our time that has raged through our country and the world to the point of addiction in many cases. Porn has affected not just the viewers but the actors and the spouses of the addicts and beyond. The sin of pornography doesn’t just affect the person but it also affects the whole Body of Christ just like a ripple effect from a dropped pebble in a body of water. According to the Barba-Proven Man Study, “one-third (33%) of men between the ages of 18 and 30 either think that they are addicted or are unsure if they are addicted to pornography” (Source: http://www.spiritdaily.com/rathbun2.htm).
What really is pornography, and what does the Catholic Church have to say about it? The Catechism states: “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials” (# 2354). Furthermore, “the political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially…the protection of security and health, especially with respect to dangers like drugs, pornography, alcoholism, etc,” something we want to protect against for ourselves as well as our kids (# 2211). Finally, the Catechism states: “among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices” (# 2396).
It used to be the case that pornography was harder to come by since one had to take the initiative to view it either in theaters, video stores, or on magazine racks. But with the advent of the Internet and the evolution of technology, it makes it very easy to view porn virtually anywhere, not just on computers but on cell phones too. According to Dr. Kleponis, pornography can be characterized by the 5 As:
- Affordable: much pornography is free
- Accessible: just a click away
- Anonymous: easy to hide
- Accepted: many now openly admit to viewing pornography
- Aggressive: affects the brain immediately
Porn has had an evil effect on health, people no matter the gender, marriages, and young people. For example, in the U.S. Bishops pastoral response to pornography, “Create in Me A Clean Heart,” it was said that “viewing pornography…directly affects the brain’s reward pathways and has been noted to have a similar effect on the brain as cocaine does on a person with a drug addiction or as alcohol on a person with an alcohol addiction” (Source: #74, www.usccb.org).
While it may not come as a surprise that many men struggle with pornography addiction, women do too. Dr. Kleponis found that 17% of women struggle with pornography addiction, and 9.4 million women access adult websites each month. While we might think that non-Christian pagans struggle with it more than Christian men, think again. According to the Barba Proven Men study, Christian men are watching pornography at work at the same rate as the national average (Source: http://www.spiritdaily.com/rathbun2.htm).
Porn has done a tremendous amount of damage to marriages too. Dr. Kleponis discovered that porn use plays a significant role in 56% of all divorces! The American Sociological Association (ASA) did a study on the connection between porn use, marriage, and divorce, and “the study revealed non-religious men who started watching porn during marriage nearly doubled their chances of divorce from six percent to 12 percent. And non-religious women who started watching porn during marriage nearly tripled their chance of divorce from six percent to 16 percent. (Source: http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/pr_am_2016_perry_news_release_final.pdf).
How has porn impacted our young people? It’s had a devastating effect destroying their innocence. Dr. Kleponis noted that 80% of 15 – 17 year olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core porn. The Barba-Proven Men Study showed that eight in ten (79%) men between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography monthly (Source: http://www.spiritdaily.com/rathbun2.htm). Another statistic from a 2016 article from Covenant Eyes entitled, “Parenting The Internet Generation” showed that “about 90% of boys and 70% of girls, ages 13 to 14, have reported accessing porn at least once” (Source: eurekalert.org).
But there is help available, like there is with other addictions (i.e. AA – Alcoholics Anonymous and NA – Narcotics Anonymous). There is hope too. Our hope is rooted in Jesus Christ whom we turn to for mercy and forgiveness in the confessional. There is hope in other practical areas to bring healing and freedom to those afflicted. See the attached references.
St. Padre Pio used to call the rosary the weapon. Let us use the weapon of the rosary as well as Sacred Scripture, the holy name of Jesus, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, and other weapons listed below as our world overcomes pornography victoriously with the help of Jesus Christ, who brings us hope, help, healing, and eternal life.
Here is a prayer for one to say before going online: “Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the Divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. – by Fr. Zuhlsdorf. Source: http://www.spiritdaily.com/prayerinternet.htm
– Fr. Jeff
P.S. If you would like a list of resources and more statistics on this topic, please see my blog at speakthetruthwithloveblog.com
Friday, October 28, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Immaculate Conception Church
9764 Dixie Hwy, Ira Township MI
NEED HEALING OF MIND, BODY OR SPIRIT? NEED HELP FOR THE TRIALS OF LIFE? COME TO THE MASS ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28TH.
The Blue Water Vicariate is offering an opportunity for Mass and the Sacraments of Healing as well as and personal prayer. The celebrant will be Fr. Joe Esper. Priests of the Blue Water Vicariate will con-celebrate.
Holy Mass: 7pm
Exposition: until 9pm
Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick during Mass.
Healing Prayer Teams to pray over you after Mass
All are welcome to this service, including those seeking spiritual, emotional, or physical healing for themselves or others.
Jesus invites all who are burdened; to come to Him.
“Be not afraid” St. John Paul II called men to be fearless leaders in their families, in their workplace, and in their communities. In an effort to help all men become the man Christ is calling them to be, the Invictus Christus men’s leadership apostolate is hosting the second annual Call to Arms Conference. On November 5th, 2016, men of all ages throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit will gather at SS. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Catholic Church for a day of Faith, Formation, and Fraternity. The conference will focus on current issues and how men can engage those around them by actively bearing witness to the Unconquerable Christ. Holy Mass starts at 7:00AM followed by registration and fellowship at 8:00AM. The conference closes at 4:00PM and will be immediately followed by Mass with Fr. Phil Wolfe. For more information or to register for the conference, please visit our website at www.invictuschristus.com or call (586) 726-6911.
SS. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Catholic Church is located near the corner of 18 Mile Rd & Ryan Rd in Sterling Heights, MI.
By: Sr. Gloria
It is perhaps time to share some eclectic quotations and phrases, just to distract our minds from all the mixed-up news, these days, that is invading our psyches. These phrases are deliberately random and unconnected. Today one or two will enlighten you. On another day, a different one or two will catch your imagination.
“Be what you is and not what you ain’t, for if you ain’t what you is, you is what you ain’t” Proverb
LAUGHTER: “Laughter is non-fattening, non-polluting, non-taxable, constantly renewable, happily contagious and does not require batteries or special assembly.” Unknown
“Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom.” Phyllis Theroux, essayist
“T’aint worthwhile to wear a day all out before it comes.” Sarah Orne Jewett, writer
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” Madeleine L’Engle, author
“Sometimes only a change of viewpoint is needed to convert a tiresome duty into an interesting opportunity.” Alberta Flanders
“In every word of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts. They come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish a single candle, yet one candle can illuminate the world. H. Hazaz
“Again the forest is fragrant.
The soaring larks lift up aloft
With them the sky
That to our shoulders seems heavy.” Rilke
“Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s roots are down there riotous. Rumi
“When you know better, you do better.” Maya Angelou
“I do not want the peace which passeth understanding. I want the understanding which brings peace. Helen Keller
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” St. Francis de Sales
“I am steeped in the presence of God until it makes me numb.” Thomas Merton
November 6, 2016
Enjoy 11 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph Church, then stay to rake the church lawns.
Bring your work gloves, rakes, and a spirit of service.
A light snack will be provided.
Toronto, Canada, Aug 2, 2016 / 08:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholics need to stop voting for pro-abortion politicians, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told an international gathering of the Knights of Columbus.
“Pope Francis has emphasized how important it is for Catholics to be engaged in the political process,” Anderson said Aug 2. “His words regarding the importance of Catholics being faithful citizens are especially important for us.”
Anderson’s remarks to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus meeting in Toronto reiterated his comments to the 2008 Supreme Convention in Quebec.
“We need to end the political manipulation of Catholic voters by abortion advocates,” he said. “It is time to end the entanglement of Catholic people with abortion killing. It is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians.”
“Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale,” he added. Anderson said politics does not mean partisanship, but a stand for the common good and for moral and religious values that make free, democratic institutions possible.
Foremost among these values, he said, is “the equal dignity of every human life and the right of every person to freely practice their religion.”
“We will never succeed in building a culture of life if we continue to vote for politicians who support a culture of death.”
He reflected on the political question of whether one should support a candidate attractive for many reasons but who supports abortion.
“Some partisan advocates have sought to excuse support for pro-abortion candidates through a complex balancing act. They claim other issues are important enough to offset a candidate’s support for abortion,” he said. “But the right to abortion is not just another political issue,” Anderson said. “It is in reality a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.”
He noted that 40 million is a figure greater than the entire population of Canada. “What political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation?” he asked. “The answer, of course, is that there is none.”
His 2008 remarks urged faithful Catholics to build a new politics not according to the status quo, but according to their dedication to “building up a new culture of life.”
In his latest remarks Anderson said he would add that Catholics need to “think in new ways” to build “a civilization of love.”
His speech discussed legalized euthanasia, threats to religious freedom, the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians and the 2015 racial murders at a black church in South Carolina and new racial violence in the U.S. this year.
Anderson added that about 8 in 10 Americans would significantly restrict abortion, while almost 6 in 10 Canadians would support substantial restrictions.
A significant majority of Americans consider abortion morally wrong and do not want taxpayer funding of abortion, he said.
In this Year of Mercy, Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan will bring help, healing, and hope to more than 20,000 people in our region regardless of religion, race, or ethnicity. We see the face of Christ in all we have the blessing to serve. At Masses on November 20, the Feast of Christ the King, a special second collection will provide you with an opportunity to support our many works of mercy:
- Adoption and Foster Care
- All Saints Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry in Detroit
- Services for Seniors
- Project Hope Prolife Ministry
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling
- Journey to Housing Homelessness Prevention
- Bridges to HOPE Poverty Reduction in Detroit
- Christian Service and Healthcare Ministries
- Special Needs Ministry
- Hispanic Outreach Services
- Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Services
All funds received will support works of mercy right here in southeast Michigan.
“The works of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan are works of mercy. We are an instrument of God’s love and mercy.” – The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit and President of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan.
If many in America are overworked, which includes working on the Sabbath, then there is not only unnecessary stress on the body and mind, but there is also a lack of productivity. “Working more than 50 hours per work week makes you less productive” says CNBC (Source: http://www.cnbc.com).
When one overworks, productivity declines, and income is lost too. In the article, “‘Americans Are Costing Themselves Billions Of Dollars By Working Too Hard,’ The study, paid for by the US Travel Association and conducted by Oxford Economics, finds that American workers lost a staggering $52.4 billion due to unused vacation time in 2013…That’s an average of $504 per worker, all because people are worried what will happen if they take time off. The study found that if workers were to go back to taking 20 vacation days a year, they would add $284 billion to the US economy, including $118 billion in direct travel spending and another $166 billion spent in other places like restaurants and retail shops” (Source: http://www.businessinsider.com).
It is so important not to overwork oneself from a physical standpoint but also to avoid work on the Sabbath from a spiritual standpoint. The first precept or general rule of our faith states: “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.” This “requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days” (Catechism 2042). What is servile labor? All unnecessary work, which requires labor of the body rather than the mind, is a form of servile labour and is contrary to “Keeping Holy The Sabbath.” However, servile work is allowed on Sunday when the honor of God, our own need, or that of our neighbor requires it (Catechism 2184-2188).
As a priest who works on Sundays, I know in my own life I need to do a better job of avoiding any unnecessary work not on Sundays, of course, but on my day off. 🙂 Let’s all continue to improve and keep in mind that to “Keep Holy The Sabbath,” on either Saturdays, Sundays, or a day during the week (for those of you who work on weekends) means to worship God at church with a community. God asks very little of our time; only one hour per week. Let’s go! Now is the time! Come back to church!
In The Spirit to Keep Holy The Sabbath,
Scripture: Gen. 2:2; Mt. 12:1-8; Mk. 2:23-28; Lk. 6:1-11, 13:10-17, 14:1-6
Catechism: 2041-2043, CCC 2168 – 2188