“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

December 16, 2008

Here's Today's Catholic Answers Live Radio Show


Of all the radio shows in all the towns in all the world, she tunes into mine

I got hammered today (no, Father Bud, not that kind of hammered) in a letter I received from a Catholic couple who are really upset with me for something I said — or, as it turns out, something I didn't say — on my EWTN Open Line radio broadcast (Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. ET) this past Thanksgiving Day, November 27. They accuse me of being arrogant, judgmental, inappropriate, and a blunderer in my comments about President-Elect Obama that day.


On my radio show, during the final months before the election, I got plenty of angry and confrontational calls from “pro-Obama” Catholics who were displeased that I continued to remind my listeners that I believe voting for a pro-abortion candidate, regardless of his or her party, is to make oneself complicit in the crime of abortion. If you go back to the archives and listen to previous shows, you'll hear what I mean.  I'm not saying that the folks who wrote me this letter are pro-Obama, but they were definitely lit up by what they thought they heard me say about him.


Here is their letter, which I reproduce for you verbatim, complete with the original punctuation, capitalization, and emphases — not to embarrass them, but for complete authenticity. After you've read it, please click the link and listen to what I actually said on the show.


We were astonished at your program on Thanksgiving Day. I wanted to turn it off, but I HAD to find out who was talking. I never have written a letter like this . . . EVER. But my precious church and EWTN are too important not to comment. You used the legitimacy you have gained from being on EWTN to “air” your personal opinion making it sound like an official church position. Your statement, “We have elected evil” sounds like Barack Obama is evil. You tried to correct yourself by saying, “We have elected an evil.” Believe me, that didn't fly. Making a statement like this on EWTN puts us all in the same group as though we Catholics go around condemning people like we know what is in another's heart.


I love everything about our faith. This statement is the first thing I have heard that, as a Catholic, I am offended at being drawn into association with  . . . a network making a sweeping condemnation like that, as if we know what was in another person's heart. It was arrogant and inappropriate.


We are all aware of our church's stand on the evil of abortion. We can count on these doctrines to be the heart of Jesus. It is one thing to say we are sinners as the church does, but you targeted an individual as an “evil.” Correcting your statement to “an evil” is too judgmental. We can say abortion is evil without looking stupid.


We urge you to discern the difference we are talking about here. We don't get to judge others. You could have said the Democratic stand on abortion is unconscionable. We, too find it regrettable that the Democratic party has embroiled itself in its stance on abortion and the foolishness of “so-called” gay rights.  


Where does the sweeping condemnation of a statement like this stop? Barak Obama is evil, the Congress is evil, American Democracy is evil, and by associate, America is evil too. Unfortunately, anyone listening to this might conclude the church condones this opinion, that the Catholic Church is saying America is evil because Barak Obama was elected.


What you say, SHOULD be official church doctrine. Isn't that your real job? Unfortunately, because that is what your job is, what you say comes off like it is the official stances of the Catholic Church.


Watch yourself carefully. You are not an official voice of the Catholic faith. You might be an authority on Canon Law or church doctrine, but you certainly are not an expert on what lies in another man's heart. If you think you are, God help us all.


Why [did we] write this letter? Because you will be on EWTN again and again. We listen to EWTN all the time. We will hear you again. It has taken me a lifetime to find my beloved Catholic Church, to overcome the protestant bigotry I have heard all my life. A blunder like this supports all that old bigotry and, in fact, literally pushes people away from becoming interested in the Catholic Church.


We want to thank you for considering what this letter is intended to say. It is hard to take criticism. We want you to think about what you have said. Think faster. Talk slower and think about the repercussions of broad statements like this.


With kind regards,


N. & N.


Me again. While I do appreciate their taking time to contact me by letter with their concerns, these folks simply misheard and, therefore, completely misunderstood, what I actually said.


Here are my exact words from that show (which you can listen to in its entirety here http://ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/ol_11272008.mp3, starting about 30% into it, with the second caller). Please note my comments in bold:


[Referring to bygone laws, such as legalized slavery] “. . . Those were unjust laws, they were morally reprehensible, and yet, they were legal for a time in this country. And my hope is that the morally reprehensible ‘legality’ of killing unborn children will go the way of the dodo bird. I hope it goes the way of the Jim Crow laws when, eventually, enough people come to their senses and say, ‘We cannot have this. We cannot live in a country that can tolerate these kinds of atrocities.’


“Now, God permits this [kind of thing], and we're no different than any other generation. Let's not forget that every generation of human beings has had to go through its share of travails. And so, whether it's bad governors and bad government, whether it's war or famine or disease or natural disasters — there are all kinds of things that go on, and many of those, they bring forth situations in which people have to make moral decisions. They have to choose good or evil. And I'm sorry to say that over half the people in the United States, on November the 4th, chose a great evil, and I don't mean the person Barack Obama when I refer to that ‘evil,’ I'm referring to the great evil that he stands for and represents and supports — the evil of abortion. And it's saddening, it's astonishing, that that so many people could be so wrong on such a basic issue, but yet, there it is.


“So, yes, God does permit this, and I think also, there must be taken into account the element of punishment, of chastisement; that God will allow human freedom to run its course. And so our sins and the repercussions of those sins are going to have consequences. And the devastating consequences of the sin of abortion are going to be felt far and wide in this country, as they have been for the last 30 some odd years since it [abortion] was legalized. So, the element of God’s chastisement through letting us get what we deserve, even those of us who didn’t vote for this man, nonetheless as a society, this society will suffer as a whole by having bad leaders with immoral positions, and evil positions — evil stands that they take — on those kinds of issues. So I think that has to be taken into account as well. . . .”


A Catholic Case Against “Gay Marriage”

Dr. Mark Lowery is a Catholic moral theologian at the University of Dallas. In this article, which originally appeared in Envoy Magazine.  I hope you find it helpful in your own efforts to understand and explain this issue.

The Knot That Can't Be Tied: Secular, Natural, and Sacramental Marriage
By Mark Lowery, Ph.D.

MAN'S SEXUAL ENERGIES are of extraordinary power and complexity. Is this energy something we can use however we wish, or is there some objective standard to which this energy should be conformed?

The Western tradition, like many other traditions, has consistently held that there is such an objective standard, and it is the reality called "marriage." Today, however, many think that marriage can be whatever they want it to be. Instead of seeing marriage as an objective reality to which we align ourselves, it is seen as something that must conform to our notions and desires. Let's call this perspective on marriage "secular marriage."

Here's an example of the "secular marriage" mindset. Jessie Bernard, in The Future of Marriage, describes marriage as follows:

“Both of us commit ourselves to: 1) continue to grow, each in his or her unique way; 2) retain future choices about our relationship, recognizing that the risks of growth include the risks of growing apart; 3) give room for the process of growing; 4) provide a climate that stimulates and invites growing; 5) take risks; 6) respect differences of belief or viewpoint. . . .”

According to this scheme, marriage is what one wishes it to be. All the criteria Bernard lists are subjective, and there is no hint that, by marrying, the spouses are entering into a permanent reality. It's exactly this type of subjective misunderstanding of marriage that sets the stage for recent political and legislative efforts to legitimize homosexual relationships under the guise of marriage.

How can we effectively respond to those who promote the notion of "secular marriage," and how can we demonstrate that marriage is an objective reality? One method is to rely on the evidence we see in God's divine revelation. As important as such a method is, however, because of the separation of church and state we cannot base civil laws on any particular religion's understanding of God's revelation.

There are many people these days who deny that there are any objective truths at all, whether knowable by reason or revelation, so using religious explanations alone isn't always sufficient to make your case.

The purpose of this article is to lay out a five-step argument about the nature of marriage, with the specific aim of showing why homosexuality (and homosexual "marriage") is incompatible with that objective reality. . . (continue reading this article at www.envoymagazine.com; all rights reserved. If you wish to post a link to this article, please include a live link to Envoy's site).

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Great Catholic Apologetics Videos — Cheap!

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The Bible and the Catholic Church 

Patrick Madrid Talks to Teens 

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Why Be Catholic? 

One Month Ago, I Hadn't Even Heard of Twitter

While I can't guarantee that I fully comprehend all the whys and wherefores that lurk behind blogging and twittering and suchlike (although Father Bud has been very generous in giving me a series of painstaking tutorials on these matters — the pain was all his, not mine), I am slowly beginning to comprehend the amazing reach and capability these apps have for the average person, like moi. 

For one thing, I've started using Twitter now, as a way to begin building a network of friends and non-hostile interested bystanders for whom I can provide updates on my activities in the Catholic world, speaking engagements, etc. If you'd like to join that cadre — and I would be delighted if you did — my Twitter name is “patrickmadrid.” You can sign up via this blog to “follow” me by scrolling down on the left side to where it says “Twitter.”

Another thing I'm working on, with Father Bud's help, of course, is to make this blog and my main home page — www.patrickmadrid.com — more interesting and beneficial to all of you kind folk who take time to visit. As I get better at this stuff, I hope you begin seeing some nice improvements. Though, if you don't like them, it will be Father Bud's fault.