Archive for the ‘Scranton’ category

“Give me liberty or give me death”

March 25, 2012

Fourteen members of the Guardian of the Redeemer Catholic Men’s Fellowship attended the National Rally for Religious Freedom held on March 23, 2012 at the Lackawanna County Courthouse Square with several hundred other patriots.

Simultaneous rallies were held in about 140 other US cities. The purpose of the rally was to protest the Obamacare mandate requiring Catholic employers to pay for abortion causing drugs, birth control and sterilization for their employees in violation of their conscience and constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. The Rally was held on the same date that Patrick Henry gave his famous speech “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.”

We assembled for the Rally in front of large granite slabs bearing famous quotes from famous Americans. We came across a poignant quote from an American patriot that few Americans would know.  Eric W. Slebodnick is quoted as follows:

For your liberty and your lives
For your homes and your friends
For the Constitution
For our Faith
I will fight for you.
—-August 18, 2004

Being curious I did some research and found that Eric was a sergeant in the Pennsylvania National Guard, 109thInfantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. He fought and was killed in action on September 28, 2005 in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.  How disappointed he must be that  the faith and Constitution he fought and died for is being violated by intolerant fanatics that have shown again the wisdom of the founding Fathers in establishing a government of limited powers.

We should be inspired by Eric to make sacrifices necessary to defeat this attempted power grab.  Next Friday, March 30th, our Bishops ask us to join in a day of prayer fasting and almsgiving for religious freedom. We should contact our Representatives and send money to the religious organizations fighting the mandate in Court. Father Eric Bergman reminded us in his speech at the rally of the courage of St Thomas More and the primacy of conscience. Incredibly we may have to engage in civil disobedience to this unjust law and expect to pay the consequences of imprisonment or worse. It is now the time to choose sides. As the Bishops have said, we did not pick this fight but we are not going to run from it. Choose carefully. Choose life.

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Catholic Men’s Fellowship

December 31, 2011

Cool !!

Happy Birthday, Bishop Dougherty!

April 29, 2011
Bishop John M. Dougherty

Bishop John M. Dougherty

The Guardian of the Redeemer CMF extends hearty birthday greetings today to Bishop John Dougherty, our retired Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Scranton.  Bishop Dougherty has always set an example for us with his prayerfulness, wisdom, reverence and service.  It is evident from his homilies that he has a deep love for our Lord, and has spent much time reading and reflecting on the Sacred Scriptures.  In years past, Bishop Dougherty was always eager to have Mass for us at the small men’s conferences which used to be held in the King’s College Chapel.  If you have the opportunity to converse with him for a bit, you’ll find that he also has a wonderful sense of humor!  Even in his retirement, he has continued to to serve in many ways which I’m sure are especially appreciated by Bishop Bambera.  We are really blessed to have him serving the Church in our diocese.

Bishop Bambera completes his first year

April 26, 2011

The Guardian of the Redeemer Catholic Men’s Fellowship extends heartfelt congratulations to Bishop Joseph Bambera on this first anniversary of his installation as shepherd of the Diocese of Scranton.  Because we understand and take seriously apostolic succession, the very first words of our Mission Statement are:  “In union with our Bishop…”  Bishop Bambera’s formal letter of support, and the words of encouragement which he shared with us after celebrating Mass at our Catholic Men’s Day in October 2010, were deeply appreciated, and continue to motivate us in faithfulness to our mission.  His recent effort to solicit input from all of the faithful in our diocese was reminiscent of the suggestion made by GOTRCMF patron, soon-to-be-Blessed John Paul II:

The theology and spirituality of communion encourage a fruitful dialogue between Pastors and faithful: on the one hand uniting them a priori in all that is essential, and on the other leading them to pondered agreement in matters open to discussion.

To this end, we need to make our own the ancient pastoral wisdom which, without prejudice to their authority, encouraged Pastors to listen more widely to the entire People of God.

[Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 45]

In his Palm Sunday homily this year, Bishop Bambera pointed us, as he frequently does, to the source of our strength:

…we will find the strength to open our lives to Jesus and the cross of Calvary through the Eucharist that we celebrate this day. For in this sacrament, the passion, death and resurrection that Jesus experienced is made present time and again in our lives. This presence enables us to share in the benefits of Jesus’ cross. Because of it, we CAN speak of seeing through our crosses and of our dying to sin and rising to new life because we participate in the very mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

We encourage all men associated with the Guardian of the Redeemer CMF to continue to support Bishop Bambera with your prayers, that he would be blessed with the graces and gifts he needs to be faithful to God’s will as he leads the Diocese of Scranton.

Seminarians

March 8, 2010

Some sectors of the diocesan website have gotten a facelift recently. Among them is the Vocations page. I’ve especially enjoyed reading the biographical notes on our seminarians. Let’s remember to pray for them!

What’s next?…an abortion clinic in Scranton?

September 7, 2009

Within a week of the resignation of Bishop Joseph F. Martino as Bishop of Scranton, the Roman Catholic Mayor of Scranton, Chris Doherty, announced that he was running for Governor and that he is “pro-choice” on abortion. He is quoted in a local newspaper saying that “I just believe it’s a woman’s right to choose…it is a private matter what they want to do with their lives, and I don’t think the government or anybody else should interfere with that.”

I saw His Honor at this year’s St. Ann’s Novena in Scranton held during July at St. Ann’s Basilica. It’s ironic that he chose to participate in an event that honors a woman who chose life for her unborn child. Obviously, if St. Ann chose to abort the Blessed Mother there would be no Novena at St. Ann’s Basilica and God’s plan for the salvation of humanity would have received a severe setback.

Doherty’s callous disregard for the human rights of unborn children disqualifies him in my mind for any public position let alone Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, I understand why he is taking that position. Support for legal abortion is the litmus test that all who aspire to be elected to office must pass in order to gain the support of the Democratic Party establishment. Moreover, Mr. Doherty could now reasonably conclude that he can be both pro-choice on abortion and a person in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

First, Bishop Martino has resigned and his prophetic witness to the gospel of life has been eliminated from the Church of Scranton. National media outlets such as Time Magazine were quick to speculate that Bishop Martino was really forced out of office by the “Vatican” due to his “confrontational” style of exercising his pastoral office. As far as I know this speculation has not been refuted by anyone with authority in the Church.

Mayor Doherty must have also watched the funeral Mass for Edward Kennedy held at Boston’s Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Philip Lawler, a Catholic journalist, questioned whether Senator Kennedy “deserved a ceremony of public acclamations so grand and sweeping that it might, to the untutored observer, have seemed more like an informal ‘canonization’”. Senator Kennedy received this type of send off despite his 100% pro-abortion voting record and his acceptance of the Champion of Choice Award from the National Abortion Rights Action League. Senator Kennedy also championed embryonic stem cell research, the export of pre- and post-conception birth control to the Third World and America’s youth; “right to die” legislation and the legalization of same sex marriage. All such practices are contrary to the moral teachings of Jesus Christ.

Another disturbing aspect of Senator Kennedy’s life was hardly mentioned by the media and was apparently ignored by the pastors of the Church of Boston, i.e., his ill treatment of women. The sad fate of Mary Jo Kopechne was grudgingly mentioned by the media. However, no mention was made of another woman abandoned by Senator Kennedy, his wife Joan Bennett Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy is still alive and she quietly attended her husband’s funeral. After 24 years of marriage to the Senator and after bearing three children for him the Senator divorced his wife and eventually remarried. She has struggled since then with alcoholism and is a survivor of breast cancer. Mrs. Doherty should take note that divorce and remarriage no longer disqualifies  a  Catholic from receiving a Catholic funeral or an “informal canonization”, at least in the Church of Boston.

Mayor Doherty also must have observed Barack Obama’s enthusiastic reception by most of the Notre Dame community at the recent commencement for the class of 2009 and the apparently “warm” reception he received from Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit. The latter event reminded me of the scene from Godfather which showed Michael Corleone at the Baptism of his son while his hit men were killing his opponents at his direction.

ObamaBenedict

POTUS Obama and the Holy Father met on July 10, 2009 for 30 minutes. A Vatican spokesman said that “The president explicitly expressed his commitment to reducing the numbers of abortions and to listen to the Church’s concern on moral issues.” At the same time they were meeting, Melanne Verveer, Obama’s ambassador for Global Women’s Issues and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were embarking on a campaign to promote POTUS Obama’s international abortion agenda. This agenda includes the lobbying of nations to overturn their historical pro-life laws based on their cultural and religious beliefs in order to legalize abortion world wide and to make it an international right according to an article in lifenews.com.

At the same time, pro-choice “Catholic” Senator Barbara Mikulski introduced an amendment to Senator Kennedy’s Affordable Health Choices Act. Mikulski’s amendment requires all health insurance companies to offer plans covering” preventive care and screenings” for “pregnant women and individuals of child bearing age.” The specific services would later be defined by a new bureaucracy under the jurisdiction of pro-choice “Catholic” Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Moreover, all health insurers participating in a government run insurance network would be required to offer federally subsidized health insurance to Americans earning less than 400% of the poverty level (currently $88,000 for a family of four). In order to qualify as a private health insurer, Secretary Sebelius would need to certify that the insurers have sufficient contracts with “essential community providers” that serve predominantly low-income medically under-served individuals.

During debate on the Mikulski amendments, she admitted under questioning by Senator Hatch and by Senator Casey that “preventive care and screenings” could be construed to include abortion and “essential community providers” could include Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinics. As an aside, 87% of counties in America, including the counties within the Scranton Diocese, do not have abortion clinics operating within them. It is no secret that the abortion industry wants to expand abortion services to every County in America and this proposed legislation is the means to do it. Senator Hatch therefore offered an amendment to the Kennedy Bill to specifically exclude abortion from the definition of covered health care services but this amendment was voted down by the Senate Committee of Health, Education Welfare, and Pensions in July 2009.

Should we expect an announcement sometime next year that Planned Parenthood will be opening and abortion clinic in Scranton perhaps on Wyoming Avenue or maybe on the West Side? This will certainly depend on the leadership of Senator Robert Casey on the Senate floor later this month as Kennedy’s Bill is voted upon by the Senate. However, Senator Casey’s comments at the recent town hall meeting in East Stroudsburg raise some concern about his commitment to voting against the legislation in its present form. Senator Casey reportedly stated that “There’s nothing in this bill that speaks to abortion”. However, Senator Casey joined with the Republicans in Committee and voted against the Mikulski amendment. The day after the vote on the amendment Casey voted for amendments to remove the “abortion mandate” from the health care bill and to remove the “abortion subsidies”. Both of these amendments were defeated (lifenews.com September 3, 2009) by the vote of the Democrat majority members of the HELP committee.

Has Senator Casey seen the proverbial handwriting on the wall? Becoming “pro-choice” could be very tempting in the current climate. With no one to hold “his feet to the fire” will the pressure of the abortion lobby and the pro-choice “Catholics” in the Democratic Party be too much for him? Let us all pray for Senator Casey so that he has the courage and resolve to stand up for “human life from conception to natural death” at a time when it really counts.

We should also pray that the Vatican quickly appoints a successor to Bishop Martino who will be a courageous voice for the unborn, the disabled, and the aged of the Diocese. We pray that he will be another Bishop in the mold of our beloved John Paul the Great who was not afraid to confront evil throughout his life.

Ironically, the Pope, when he was Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, made a prophetic speech in Philadelphia at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Congress held there in 1976 which predicted the current crisis in our Church. He proclaimed to the American Church:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American Society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, the Gospel vs. the anti-Gospel.  This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church…must take up.”

St Thomas More, pray for us.
John Paul the Great, pray for us.
St. John Neumann, pray for all of us in the Diocese of Scranton.

Happy Birthday, Bishop Timlin!

August 5, 2009
James C. Timlin, Bishop Emeritus of Scranton

James C. Timlin, Bishop Emeritus of Scranton

The Guardian of the Redeemer CMF extends hearty birthday greetings today to retired Bishop James Timlin, who served as Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton for 19 years.  This statement regarding Bishop Timlin’s “style” from his biography on the diocesan website is surely an accurate summation:

Blessed with a ready smile, a gregarious personality, and an ease with words, he showed a willingness to accept final responsibility for every policy and directive. His door was never closed. His mail was answered immediately. It seemed that his energy was limitless.

Bishop Timlin administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to several of my children.  He took the time to travel to local camps, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to have Mass for our group of families when we camped together during the summer.  On all of these occasions, his homilies always pointed us to Jesus – as our source of life, as our only hope.  We were truly blessed to have his leadership for our diocese.