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TOTALLY CATHOLIC E-ZINE - January Issue, 1998
Welcome to Totally Catholic E-zine, the newest Email magazine designed
specifically for traditional Roman Catholics. This forum will provide
informative articles and commentary on issues related to the One True Faith.
UPDATE (4/27/98)T.C.E. is no longer available in the e-mail format.
ďOn Making Connections...Ē by Maria Compton-Hernandez, T.C.E. Editor
A few weeks ago I was party to a conversation about how strange it
is--all of the sudden, it seems, young teen mothers are giving birth to
babies, then throwing them in trash dumpsters, clumps of bushes, or hiding
them in coffee cans under the sink. How sick, how sad! It seems a new,
bizarre case like this appears in the national news every month or so. Why
now? One never even heard of such horrid deeds even 20 years ago. It took
less than an instant for my sister to respond, "It's because abortion is
legal and the law of the land!" Of course, how true. If it's okay to kill
a baby literally up until the moment of its natural birth via a 'partial
birth abortion', then why not just moments after birth? Surely, that is
what must be running through the minds of the young mothers who choose to
dispose of their babies in such appalling ways, as if they were
inconvenient garbage. The abortion connection--it's so easy to see.
When Mother Teresa commented that "the fruit of abortion is nuclear
war", she left the pro-abortion masses in confusion. "What? What on earth
does nuclear war have to do with a 'woman's right to choose'? What is this
nun talking about!" was their indignant outcry. For those of us in the
pro-life movement, nothing made more crystal-clear sense than this profound
statement by a modern, living-day saint. Of course, abortion, all forms of
it in its many detestable stages, has truly cheapened the value placed on
human life to the point that a country can literally wipe out millions of
souls with one well-placed nuclear device. How can they not see the
connection between abortion and nuclear war?
I, like the rest of the country, stood by in admiration as a
courageous young couple from Iowa refused the medical community's call to
'selective reduction'--a euphemism for aborting one or more babies in a
multiple pregnancy so that the remaining ones would have a better chance of
survival. The couple placed the matter of carrying septuplets in God's
good hands--and He mightily rewarded them by putting the medical
community's prediction to shame and blessing them with seven beautiful,
healthy babies. I was saddened, though, when I read in the paper that the
father, when asked if they planned to have any more children, commented
with a wink and a grin, "OH, NO! That's been surgically taken care of!"
They, although staunchly pro-life like so many, have not made the
connection between contraception and abortion. Several forms of
contraception are actually abortifacient, but all forms, including surgical
sterilization, take complete creative and life-giving power away from God
and kick God out of the triangular nature of a marriage--husband, wife, and
God. When a couple contracepts through birth control or sterilization,
they are, in effect, telling God that they know what's best when it comes
to that aspect of their marriage, and they totally remove Him from the
Pope Paul VI saw the connection between contraception and abortion,
not to mention many other societal ills. He prophetically wrote in the
encyclical "Humane Vitae" that if widespread use of contraception came into
practice, the result would be an increase in sexual promiscuity, marital
infidelity and divorce, abortion, and even euthanasia. All of these things
have surely come to pass. Teen sexual promiscuity has reached record
levels--the number of sexually active teens in high school, even middle
school, is staggering. Fornication, sex outside of marriage, has risen to
new heights. Marital infidelity has assisted in the near 50% divorce rate,
which we now accept as common. And euthanasia is slowly being protected
and encouraged by society through such state laws as the new Oregon
Assisted Suicide Law and the activities of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, of whom
which no court has yet found guilty.
As I hold my sixth beautiful newborn baby in my arms, I ponder on making connections....between contraception and abortion....between abortion and murder.
Itís all around us - how much clearer can it be? Sometimes the connections are
subtle, but they are there. Thatís the way the devil works, subtly, one step at a time,
tearing us further away from God as one act which was once considered sinful is now commonplace: 75% of Roman Catholics today contracept or have been surgically
sterilized. It moves us further down the slippery slope, to the widespread use
of abortion, which now serves as a method of contraception in itself for many
couples. Why is it a surprise that the next logical step would be outright
murder, or even nuclear war?
9.9 cent long distance 24 hours a day - NO RESTRICTIONS!
++WHY DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HONOR MARY SO MUCH?(Part 1 of a 3 Part series)++
1. Scriptural Reasons.
The Bible presents Mary as a person whom God set apart to play a vital role
in His plan of salvation. What other human being can claim the unique
position as child of the Father, spouse of the Holy Spirit and mother of the
Son? Mary is fully human and, while not a fourth member of the Holy
Trinity, she is joined in a way no fully human person ever was before. Dr.
Alan Schreck expresses this so eloquently when he writes, "God honored Mary
by eternally predestining her to be the Mother of the Savior -- the one
through whom God Himself would enter into human history."(Gen. 3:15, Is.
7:14, Jn.17:5) "What greater gift or dignity could God give to a human
being? This honor given to Mary reveals the dignity of all women; a woman
is more important in God's saving plan than any angel or other spiritual
We see the foreshadowing of Mary's role in salvation history in
God's prophecy/promise wherein He warns satan that He "will put enmity
between you [satan] and the woman". This is given specifically in addition
to the prophesied enmity between the seed of satan and the seed of the
woman, Jesus (Gen. 3:15). Because God willed her to be diametrically
opposed to the evil one, Mary is often pictured stepping on the serpent
(satan). Through Mary's 'yes' and obedience, came the "offspring of the
woman", Jesus, who crushed the head of the serpent, defeating satan and his
Some non-Catholics mistakenly believe that the Church credits Mary for
being chosen on her own merits -- attributing all credit to her rather than
God. At the same time, they would have it that God did all and that Mary
should receive little or no credit. The Catholic Church teaches that Mary
received special graces and gifts from God enabling her to accept the role
that God offered. Mary, like all human beings, had complete free will to
accept and fulfill her part in God's salvation plan or to reject it.
Like Jesus' parable of the talents(Mt. 25:14-30), we are given various
graces and gifts by God and it is up to us to use and develop them or waste
what was freely given. Mary made full use of what God bestowed upon her and
we honor her because she fulfilled her part in God's plan just as He
desired. Remember : "To whom much has been given much will be expected"(Mt.
13:12 & 25:29, Mk. 4:25, & Lk. 8:18). And for those who respond well, the
promised rewards are great! It is like the difference between Michelangelo
or Raphael deciding to take a "safe and reliable" job as housepainters
instead of developing their artistic talents to the fullest and giving the
world some of the most beautiful art ever created. Imagine what the world
would have lost from so many people gifted by God if they had refused to
work with and develop what was given them; had Mary done so, it would have
been the greatest of all tragedies.
A. The Annunciation
Scripturally, Jesus Himself says Mary is blessed -- not merely because she
gave birth to Him -- (Lk.11:27), but because she heard the Word of God and
kept it (Lk.11:28; see Lk. 1:38 & 45, 2:19 & 51). Mary receives a totally
unique greeting from the Archangel Gabriel, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord
is with you!" (Lk.1:28). In the Jewish tradition of naming, you are what
you are named. (Think of Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel,
Simon to Peter, etc.) Mary is addressed as 'full of grace' in place of her
name. Karl Keating explains, "The phrase 'full of grace' translated from
the Greek 'kecharitomene' signifies more than just 'to look upon with favor'
but 'favor or grace that transforms' and indicating a fullness or a
perfection of grace. Mary was filled with divine favor in a special
singular way." Never before had a heavenly creature so addressed a human
being. The archangel honored Mary because God had so honored her.
B. The Visitation
Elizabeth, moved by the Holy Spirit, greets Mary: "Blessed are you among
women" and "Blessed is she who has believed!" (Lk.1:42 & 45). Mary has been
especially favored by God -- elevated above all other women. God Himself,
speaking through Elizabeth, declares this to be so. Elizabeth, still filled
with the Spirit, also says: "And who am I that the mother of my Lord should
come to me? (Lk.1:43). This corresponds to 2 Sam.6:9 and King David's
reverence for the Ark of the Covenant. Mary is venerable ('made sacred by
association '-- Merriam-Webster dictionary) because she is the Mother of
Jesus -- God the Son.
by Vivian Burns
(End part one - look for parts 2 and 3 in upcoming T.C.E. Issues)
Go on to Page two.....