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Tribulation Times

August 28, 2015

(Jer 31:15) Thus saith the Lord: A voice was heard on high of lamentation, of mourning, and weeping, of Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted for them, because they are not.

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Our Collective Responsibility to Protect the Unborn

ST. ANTHONY MESSENGER: Project Rachel: Vicki Thorn’s Post-Abortion Ministry

FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA  Broken Branches Newsletter by Anne Lastman:  A Special letter

Dear friends I promised one of my “girls” Anne Marie, not her real name, but you have been praying for her and me as we have worked together, not finished yet, over the last few months that if she wrote her story for me and you I would give it front page space, she has, so herewith:

“February, 9 2015-a day that will be etched into my heart forever. That’s the day I had an abortion, the day I killed my baby. I have never really given much thought to abortion. It was always something that others did. I didn’t agree with it, as I knew it was a sin against God. However, today as I reflect, I am astonished that I ended up terminating my pregnancy, yet at the time I felt that there was no way out.

Three weeks prior, I had unexpectedly discovered I was pregnant. I am 44 years old and have 4 teenage children in my care. What should have been a wonderfully joyous occasion for me turned into a situation of despair, desperation and depression? And so began my cycle of “fixing the problem” My head was spinning and I didn’t feel in control of my life. I had to take time off work and I spent my days visiting doctors to discuss my situation. They all informed me that it was no big deal to terminate. It’s simple they said. I can even end the pregnancy as easily as taking a tablet, I went to see “counsellors” at fertility clinics who also advised me that termination is a simple procedure and very normal. Women do it all the time. I was repeatedly informed that at my age, I was at high risk of many complications if I continued with the pregnancy. All I was doing was terminating “cells”.

As the days passed, I fell deeper and deeper into depression. I made an appointment to speak with a genetic counsellor at a private hospital opposite the Austin Hospital and the lady there spent an hour listening to me crying as I explained my fear of having a baby at my age. She pulled out a book and showed me all the risks involved with pregnancies with older women. She also told me that many Catholics have many abortions and are sent to the Austin to have the procedure.

I walked in and out of abortion clinics four times. I didn’t want to be pregnant yet I didn’t want to have an abortion. Even the abortion doctor whom I saw in my distressed state, informed me that I was “blessed” as I already had four children and why would I want to make my life financially difficult if I had another. He also told me to hurry up and decide because he has a business to run and id very busy. I must say looking back, those places were full to capacity. The rooms were full of young girls who were all calmly sitting and waiting patiently for their turn. I was the only one that was older and I was the only one who was in a very distressed state.

After three exhausting weeks I succumbed to the termination. I wanted and desperately needed my life to return back to normal. I was mixing up my depression with being pregnant and I could not stand one more minute of it.

My life however, didn’t return to normal, I felt empty inside and the realization that I had killed my own child was extremely hard for me to accept. I hated myself. I felt shame. I felt deep guilt and most of all I felt regret. I was still depressed and I would cry uncontrollably. I also feared God and I was afraid of retribution would follow. Exactly one week after the procedure, I was crying uncontrollably and I begged God to help me. He did. I stumbled across Anne Lastman’s name whilst googling abortion regret. Two days later I went to see her.

Thank you God for giving me Anne. Anne has helped me to heal. She has taught me that God’s love, Mercy and forgiveness is far greater than my sin. With Anne’s help my baby has a name and I have a plaque made remembering my child. I also know that my baby has forgiven me and we will be re united in heaven one day. Six months have passed since my abortion. It is the single thing that I think about every day and the one thing that I deeply deeply regret. Abortion changes you. If only I had met Anne before the abortion.”

Anne-Marie.


Dear friends as you read “Anne Marie’s” letter please note all the post abortion symptoms that I written about over the years. Note the stress, even the lies told to the woman, the coldness and distance of the abortion clinic staff, the ambivalence this woman went through. Even    the “abortionist” who used biblical language “blessed” that she had other children in order to hurry her into making her decision. And to think that her fear was that she may have had a difficulty with her pregnancy because of her age and the genetics counsellor who told her that “Catholics have many abortions and are sent to Austin Hospital for the procedure” was appalling. Nothing else can be said about this.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

42. ‘Once Theophilus of holy memory, the archbishop of Alexandria, came to Scetis. The brothers gathered together and said to Pambo, ‘Speak to the bishop, that he may be edified.’ Pambo replied, ‘If he is not edified by my silence, my speech certainly will not edify him.”‘



Prayer request?  Send an email to: PrayerRequest3@aol.com
This month’s archive can be found at: http://www.catholicprophecy.info/news2.html.



LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report
Thursday, August 27, 2015

For pro-life news updated throughout the day, visit LifeNews.com.

Top Stories

• Hillary Clinton Compares Pro-Lifers to Terrorists
• Black Pastors Demand Smithsonian Remove Statue of Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger
• Planned Parenthood’s Own Experts Find “No Evidence of Audio Manipulation” in Eight Shocking Videos
• Probe Finds St. Louis Planned Parenthood Possibly Selling Body Parts From Aborted Babies

More Pro-Life News
• Mother Gives Birth to Conjoined Twins, Refused Pressure From Father to Have Abortion
• Planned Parenthood Caught Not Reporting Rape of 14-Year-Old Failed to Report Another Rape
• Woman Gave Birth at Work and Then Stuffed Her Baby in a Plastic Bag, Killing Him
• Two Dozen Pro-Life Leaders Tell Media to Stop Censoring Videos Exposing Planned Parenthood

• Janitor at Planned Parenthood Clinic Caught Selling Aborted Babies Makes Six Figure Salary
• South Carolina Legislators to Investigate Funding of Planned Parenthood, Which Sells Aborted Babies
• Pro-Lifers in England, Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands and Slovakia Protest Planned Parenthood

• “The Planned Parenthood Song” Exposes the Aborted Baby Body Parts Scandal in an Amazing Way
• Topless Feminists Protest Outside Judicial Building to Demand Legalized Abortion in Peru
• Colorado Euthanasia Group Pushes Initiative to Legalize Assisted Suicide, Euthanize Children
• Canadian Medical Association Votes: Doctors Must Refer Patients for Euthanasia
• New Report Reveals Sex-Selection Abortions Happening in Australia

Hillary Clinton Compares Pro-Lifers to Terrorists
Attention pro-life Americans. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton thinks you have something in common with terrorist groups like ISIS if you favor de-funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business after it was recently caught selling aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/hillary-clinton-compares-pro-lifers-wanting-to-de-fund-planned-parenthood-to-terrorist-groups/

Black Pastors Demand Smithsonian Remove Statue of Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger
A group of African American pastors is upper their demand for the taxpayer-funded Smithsonian to remove a statue of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. The museum has so far refused their request to remove the statue of the eugenics-supporting founder of the abortion business caught selling aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/black-pastors-demand-smithsonian-remove-statue-of-planned-parenthood-founder-margaret-sanger/



Planned Parenthood’s Own Experts Find “No Evidence of Audio Manipulation” in Eight Shocking Videos
The Planned Parenthood abortion business is absolving itself of any responsibility for its part in the sales of aborted babies and their body parts and it has released a new report calming the eight videos released exposing it were “altered.”

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/planned-parenthoods-own-experts-find-no-evidence-of-audio-manipulation-in-eight-shocking-videos/

Probe Finds St. Louis Planned Parenthood Possibly Selling Body Parts From Aborted Babies
State legislators in Missouri moved ahead this week with their investigation into the scandal of the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling the body parts from aborted babies. Their investigation raises questions about whether the Planned Parenthood abortion center in St. Louis is selling aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/probe-finds-st-louis-planned-parenthood-possibly-selling-body-parts-from-aborted-babies/



Mother Gives Birth to Conjoined Twins, Refused Pressure From Father to Have Abortion
A Colorado woman has given birth to conjoined twins, but only one of the babies is expected to survive and is asking for prayer. Amber McCullough delivered the twin girls by cesarean section on Wednesday and indicated that one of the babies, named Hannah, is alive but currently in critical condition. The other baby, named Olivia, is not expected to survive.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/mother-gives-birth-to-conjoined-twins-refused-pressure-from-father-to-have-abortion/

Planned Parenthood Caught Not Reporting Rape of 14-Year-Old Failed to Report Another Rape
An inspection report released on August 13, 2015, has revealed that a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Mobile, Alabama, twice failed to report suspected child sex abuse as required by law involving a 14-year old girl who received two abortions within a four-month span of time.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/planned-parenthood-caught-not-reporting-rape-of-14-year-old-failed-to-report-another-rape/


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Woman Gave Birth at Work and Then Stuffed Her Baby in a Plastic Bag, Killing Him
In Michigan, 24-year-old Kimberly Pappas gave birth in a bathroom at her place of employment and then stuffed her baby into a plastic bag. After the discovery, the mother and baby were sent to the hospital but the child was pronounced dead on arrival. Initially, Kimberly told first responders that she had miscarried.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/woman-gave-birth-at-work-and-then-stuffed-her-baby-in-a-plastic-bag/

Two Dozen Pro-Life Leaders Tell Media to Stop Censoring Videos Exposing Planned Parenthood
Two dozen top pro-life leaders and activists have signed onto a letter to the big three television networks to urge them to stop censoring coverage of the shocking videos that expose Planned Parenthood selling aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/two-dozen-pro-life-leaders-tell-media-to-stop-censoring-videos-exposing-planned-parenthood/

Janitor at Planned Parenthood Clinic Caught Selling Aborted Babies Makes Six Figure Salary
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/janitor-at-planned-parenthood-clinic-caught-selling-aborted-babies-makes-six-figure-salary/

South Carolina Legislators to Investigate Funding of Planned Parenthood, Which Sells Aborted Babies
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/south-carolina-legislators-vote-to-investigate-planned-parenthood-selling-aborted-babies/

Pro-Lifers in England, Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands and Slovakia Protest Planned Parenthood
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/pro-lifers-in-england-honduras-ireland-mexico-netherlands-and-slovakia-protest-planned-parenthood/

“The Planned Parenthood Song” Exposes the Aborted Baby Body Parts Scandal in an Amazing Way
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/the-planned-parenthood-song-exposes-the-aborted-baby-body-parts-scandal-in-an-amazing-way/


Topless Feminists Protest Outside Judicial Building to Demand Legalized Abortion in Peru
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/topless-feminists-protest-outside-judicial-building-to-demand-legalized-abortion-in-peru/

Colorado Euthanasia Group Pushes Initiative to Legalize Assisted Suicide, Euthanize Children
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/colorado-euthanasia-group-pushes-initiative-to-legalize-assisted-suicide-euthanize-children/

Canadian Medical Association Votes: Doctors Must Refer Patients for Euthanasia
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/canadian-medical-association-votes-doctors-must-refer-patients-for-euthanasia/

New Report Reveals Sex-Selection Abortions Happening in Australia
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/27/new-report-reveals-sex-selection-abortions-happening-in-australia/

 
   
   


 

 


Une Minute avec Marie
An initiative of the Mary of Nazareth Association

August 27 – Our Lady of Quézac (Quézac, France)

The Rosary saved Brazil

In the 1960s in Brazil, the farmers were suffering and some people were pushing for a redistribution of the land. It was the Cold War, and Communist committees, taking advantage of the people’s poverty, were forming everywhere, concealing arms depots to perpetrate an imminent coup and seize power.

Around the same time, a priest named Father Patrick Peyton gathered a crowd of nearly two million faithful in Rio de Janeiro for a Rosary crusade. When a Communist congress, which was to decide on a coup to seize power, opened in Belo Horizonte (one of the largest cities in the country), tens of thousands of women poured into the city streets, Rosary in hand that they recited aloud, and went to occupy the congress hall just before the session, preventing the Communists from entering.

The news of the fiasco spread as similar scenes were repeated elsewhere, prompting the Communists to flee abroad. It was the Rosary that saved Brazil from the takeover. This momentous episode was compared to a ‘new Lepanto.’

Mediatrix and Queen – April 1965
Story told by Br. Albert Pfleger, in Fioretti de la Vierge Marie, Ephèse Diffusion



(c)Mary TV 2015

J.M.J.  

August 27, 2015

St. Monica

 

Dear Family of Mary!

 

“Dear children! Also today I am calling you to be prayer. May prayer be for you the wings for an encounter with God. The world is in a moment of trial, because it forgot and abandoned God. Therefore you, little children, be those who seek and love God above all. I am with you and I am leading you to my Son, but you must say your ‘yes’ in the freedom of children of God. I intercede for you and I love you, little children, with an endless love. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (August 25, 2015)

 

It seems that St. Monica would understand this message very well. She was a woman of constant prayer. Her prayer was fueled by a deep desire for God. And that desire drove her to desire God for her children, especially Augustine, who was very far from God. You could say he “forgot and abandoned God” in his youth. And Monica could not rest until he was returned to the faith and to God. And so she sought God in prayer day and night, interceding for her son.

 

We know that her intercession succeeded and Augustine became a great saint, a great Bishop and Doctor of the Church. He, who was so far from God, drew near as a result of Monica’s “yes” to God. I believe that is what Our Lady is asking of us in this message. We live in a time of great rebellion against God, even the complete abandonment of God. And this faithlessness is bringing upon the world great trials: wars, poverty, broken families, abortion, cruelty of all kinds, and deep despair in the hearts of many. Our Lady wants us to become “Monicas” for the world. She wants us to seek God, love God, desire God, pray to God, just like Monica did, so that many people will be converted, just like Augustine was.

 

Monica wore herself out, praying and fasting for the conversion of her son. But it was a joy for her. St. Augustine quoted her saying these words a few days before her death: “Son, as far as I am concerned, nothing in this life now gives me any pleasure. I do not know why I am still here, since I have no further hopes in this world. I did have one reason for wanting to live a little longer: to see you become a Catholic Christian before I died. God has lavished his gifts on me in that respect, for I know that you have even renounced earthly happiness to be his servant. So what am I doing here?” (Confessions of St. Augustine)

 

St. Monica’s life of prayer and intercession was a work of great mercy. She obtained a great grace for the whole church in her son’s conversion. We are called to the same work. There are so many “Augustines” out there waiting to be converted!! Think how wonderful this sorry world could be! Let’s not quit, but follow Our Lady as she guides us to Jesus, who is waiting to answer our prayers.

 

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

©Mary TV 2015

“Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world.”
Saint John Paul II
Be connected!
www.marytv.tv


LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

For pro-life news updated throughout the day, visit LifeNews.com.

Top Stories

• Obama Punishes Kansas for De-Funding Planned Parenthood by Cutting Its Medicaid Funding
• Planned Parenthood Failed to Report Rape of 14-Year-Old Who Had Two Abortions in Four Months
• Hillary Clinton Hires Former Planned Parenthood Staffer to Head Up Asian Outreach
• 662 Babies Saved From Abortions in Wisconsin After Planned Parenthood Funding Cut, Pro-Life Laws

More Pro-Life News
• Mother Rejects Abortion After Seeing 100s of Pro-Life Advocates at Planned Parenthood Protest
• These 33 Pastors and Christian Leaders are Not Afraid to Speak Out Against Planned Parenthood
• These 10 Celebrities Love Planned Parenthood Even Though It Sells Aborted Babies
• Donald Trump: Planned Parenthood is an “Abortion Factory” That Sells Baby Parts Like Automobiles

• Colorado Lawmakers Urge Health Dept to Investigate Planned Parenthood For Selling Aborted Babies
• 700 University of Wisconsin Faculty Defend Buying Body Parts From Aborted Babies for Research
• Jeb Bush: Planned Parenthood’s Treatment of Unborn Babies is “Horrifying,” De-Fund It Now

• Mother Who Lost Her Octuplets Says She Can Still Feel Her Babies Kicking Inside Her
• GoFundMe Refuses to Post Image of Premature Baby for Family’s Dire Fundraiser
• Austin Forced to Pay Pregnancy Centers $461,000 After Trying to Shut Them Down
• Utah Poll Shows People View Planned Parenthood Negatively After It Sells Aborted Babies

Obama Punishes Kansas for De-Funding Planned Parenthood by Cutting Its Medicaid Funding
The Obama administration has punished the state of Kansas for cutting taxpayer funds for the Planned Parenthood abortion business by cutting its federal Medicaid funding by the same amount. The moves comes at the same time the abortion giant is facing intense criticism over its sales of aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/obama-punishes-kansas-for-de-funding-planned-parenthood-by-cutting-its-medicaid-funding/

Planned Parenthood Failed to Report Rape of 14-Year-Old Who Had Two Abortions in Four Months
A new report from the Alabama state health department confirms that the Planned Parenthood abortion business failed to report the rapes of a 14-year-old girl who ultimately had two abortions during a four-month time period. This is the latest bad publicity for the abortion company after Planned Parenthood was found in a series of videos to be selling aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/planned-parenthood-failed-to-report-rape-of-14-year-old-who-had-two-abortions-in-four-months/



Hillary Clinton Hires Former Planned Parenthood Staffer to Head Up Asian Outreach
Hillary Clinton is firming up her relationship with the Planned Parenthood abortion business, even as the abortion company is caught up in a massive scandal over its sales of aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/hillary-clinton-hires-former-planned-parenthood-staffer-to-head-up-asian-outreach/

662 Babies Saved From Abortions in Wisconsin After Planned Parenthood Funding Cut, Pro-Life Laws
The Wisconsin health department released new abortion numbers today and they provide additional evidence that cutting taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and enacting additional pro-life laws saves unborn babies from abortion. Specifically, 662 babies were saved from abortions in the latest year for which abortion data is available compared with the year before.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/662-babies-saved-from-abortions-in-wisconsin-after-planned-parenthood-funding-cut-pro-life-laws/



Mother Rejects Abortion After Seeing 100s of Pro-Life Advocates at Planned Parenthood Protest
It is often debated whether or not protests like the nationwide Planned Parenthood demonstrations Aug. 22 are an effective means for positive change. For at least one mother, “Carrie,” whose appointment to abort was slated for Saturday morning at a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, the answer to that question will ring loud and clear for the rest of her life—as well as that of the baby whose life she found the strength to save that day.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/mother-rejects-abortion-after-seeing-100s-of-pro-life-advocates-at-planned-parenthood-protest/

These 33 Pastors and Christian Leaders are Not Afraid to Speak Out Against Planned Parenthood
In the current flashpoint for the pro-life movement — sparked by an ongoing undercover video investigation of Planned Parenthood — eyes are being opened on the moral issue of abortion. This past weekend an estimated 70,000+ people showed up at 353 protest rallies across America, most held in front of Planned Parenthood clinics.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/these-33-pastors-and-christian-leaders-are-not-afraid-to-speak-out-against-planned-parenthood/


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These 10 Celebrities Love Planned Parenthood Even Though It Sells Aborted Babies
Some of Hollywood’s top actresses have voiced their support for Planned Parenthood’s abortion business in the wake of nine videos showing the organization’s involvement in organ harvesting. As LifeNews previously reported, in videos released by The Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood executives admit to altering abortion procedures to procure salable organs for harvesting and casually discuss ways their doctors can “crush” unborn babies to obtain fully intact parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/these-10-celebrities-love-planned-parenthood-even-though-it-sells-aborted-babies/

Donald Trump: Planned Parenthood is an “Abortion Factory” That Sells Baby Parts Like Automobiles
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump compared the Planned Parenthood abortion business to an automobile dealership today, saying it is an “abortion factory” that sells the body parts of aborted babies like a dealership sells cars. The comments follow an 8th video showing how Planned Parenthood sells aborted babies and their body parts.

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/donald-trump-planned-parenthood-is-an-abortion-factory-that-sells-baby-parts-like-automobiles/

Colorado Lawmakers Urge Health Dept to Investigate Planned Parenthood For Selling Aborted Babies
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/colorado-lawmakers-urge-health-dept-to-investigate-planned-parenthood-for-selling-aborted-babies/

700 University of Wisconsin Faculty Defend Buying Body Parts From Aborted Babies for Research
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/700-university-of-wisconsin-faculty-defend-buying-body-parts-from-aborted-babies-for-research/



Jeb Bush: Planned Parenthood’s Treatment of Unborn Babies is “Horrifying,” De-Fund It Now
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/jeb-bush-planned-parenthoods-treatment-of-unborn-babies-is-horrifying-de-fund-it-now/

Mother Who Lost Her Octuplets Says She Can Still Feel Her Babies Kicking Inside Her
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/mother-who-lost-her-octuplets-says-she-can-still-feel-her-babies-kicking-inside-her/


GoFundMe Refuses to Post Image of Premature Baby for Family’s Dire Fundraiser
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/gofundme-refuses-to-post-image-of-premature-baby-for-familys-dire-fundraiser/

Austin Forced to Pay Pregnancy Centers $461,000 After Trying to Shut Them Down
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/austin-forced-to-pay-pregnancy-centers-461000-after-trying-to-shut-them-down/

Utah Poll Shows People View Planned Parenthood Negatively After It Sells Aborted Babies
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/26/utah-poll-shows-people-view-planned-parenthood-negatively-after-it-sells-aborted-babies/

 
   
   


 

 


 

Does the Bible Tolerate Hateful Words?

from Courageous Priest 

The Battle: Intolerant Versus Civil Discourse

By , Community in Mission:

Was Jesus Intolerant? “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil?” Matthew 12:34

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord warns of using uncivil and/or hateful words such as “Raqa” and “fool.” And yet the same Lord Jesus often used very strong language toward some of His opponents, sometimes calling them names such as vipers and hypocrites.

We live in a world that often insists on the use of gentle language and euphemisms. While doing so is not a bad thing, we also tend to manifest a kind of thin-skinned quality and a political correctness that is too fussy about many things, often taking personally what is not meant personally.

What is the overall teaching of Scripture when it comes to this sort of colorful language? Are there some limits and ground rules? Let’s take a look.

The word “civility” dates back to the mid-16th century and has an older meaning that referred to one who possessed the quality of having been schooled in the humanities. In academic settings, debate (at least historically) was governed by a tendency to be nuanced, careful, cautious, formal, and trained in rhetoric. Its rules often included referring to one’s opponents with honorary titles (Doctor, Professor, etc.) and euphemisms such as “my worthy opponent.” Hence as the word has entered into common usage, it has come to mean speech or behavior that is polite, courteous, gentle, and measured.

As one might guess, there are a lot of cultural variances in what is considered to be civil. And this insight is very important when we look at the biblical data on what constituted civil discourse. Frankly, the biblical world was far less dainty about discourse than we have become in 21st-century America. The Scriptures, including the New Testament, are filled with vigorous discourse. Jesus, for example, really mixes it up with His opponents—even calling them names. We shall see more of this in a moment. But the Scriptures also counsel charity and warn of unnecessarily angry speech. In the end, a balance of the scriptural witness to civility must be sought along with an appreciation of the cultural variables at work.

Let’s examine a few of the texts that counsel charity as well as a modern and American notion of civility:

Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips (Eccl 10:12).

The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools (Eccles 9:17).

Anyone who says to his brother, “Raqa” is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell (Matt 5:22).

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Eph 4:29).

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged (Col 3:21).

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be (James 3:9-10).

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt (Col 4:6).

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thess 5:11).

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Col 3:8).

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Rom 14:19).

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother (Gal 6:1).
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Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort [the repentant sinner], so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow (2 Cor 2:7).

All these texts counsel a measured, charitable, and edifying discourse. Name-calling and hateful or unnecessary expressions of anger are out of place. And this is a strong biblical tradition, especially in the New Testament.

But there are also strong contrasts to this instruction evident in the Bible. And a lot of it comes from an unlikely source: Jesus. Paul too, who wrote many of the counsels above, often engages in strident denunciations of his opponents and even members of the early Church. Consider some of the passages below, first by Jesus, then by Paul and other Apostles:

Jesus said, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?” (Matthew 12:34)

And Jesus turned on them and said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. “Woe to you, blind guides! … You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. … You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. … And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matt 23 varia) [Matt 23:27-32 Gospel for Wed. Aug. 26, 2015]

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. … You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. … He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8:42-47).

Jesus said, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6).

And Jesus answered them, O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long must I tolerate you? (Mark 9:19)

Jesus said to the disciples, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:11)

Jesus said to the crowd, “I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts” (Jn 5:41-42).

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables (John 2:15).

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70)

Paul: O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth … As for those circumcisers, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! (Galatians 3, 5)

Paul against the false apostles: And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Cor 11:11-14).

Paul on the Cretans: Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith (Titus 1:12-13).

Peter against dissenters: Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings…these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. … They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. … They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! … Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud” (2 Peter 2, varia).

Jude against dissenters: These dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings….these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; … These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. … These men are grumblers and fault finders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage (Jude 1:varia).

Now most of the passages above would violate modern norms about civil discourse. Are they sinful? They are God’s word! And yet they seem rather shocking to modern ears. Imagine getting into your time machine and going to hear Jesus denounce the crowds and calling them children of the devil. It really blows a 21st-century mind!

I want to suggest to you that these sorts of quotes go a long way toward illustrating the cultural dimension of what it means to be civil. The bottom line is that there is a great deal of variability in what people consider civil discourse. In some cultures there is a greater tolerance for anger. In New York and Boston, edgy comments and passionate interruptive debate are common. But in the upper-Midwest and parts of the Deep South, conversation is more gentle and reserved.

At the time of Jesus, angry discourse was apparently more “normal,” for as we see, Jesus Himself engages in a lot of it, even calling people names like “hypocrites,” “brood of vipers,” “liars,” and “wicked.” Yet the same Scriptures that record these facts about Jesus also teach that He never sinned. Hence at that time, the utterance of such terms was not considered sinful.

Careful, now—be careful here. I am not saying it is OK for us to talk like this because Jesus did. We do not live then; we live now; and in our culture such dialogue is almost never acceptable. There ARE cultural norms we have to respect to remain in the realm of Charity. Exactly how to define civility in every instance is not always clear. An old answer to these hard-to-define things is “I know it when I see it.” So perhaps it is more art than science to define civility. But clearly we tend to prefer gentler discourse in this day and age.

On the other hand, as already observed, we also tend to be a little thin-skinned and hyper-sensitive. And the paradoxical result of insisting on greater civility is that we are too easily “outraged” (one of the more overused words in English today). We take offense where none is intended and we presume that the mere act of disagreeing is somehow arrogant, intentionally hurtful, or even hateful. We seem so easily provoked and so quick to be offended. All of this escalates anger further, and charges of hate and intolerance are launched back and forth when there is merely sincere disagreement.

Balance – The Scriptures give us two balanced reminders. First, that we should speak the truth in love, and with compassion and understanding. But it also portrays to us a time when people had thicker skin and were less sensitive and anxious in the presence of disagreement. We can learn from both biblical traditions. The biblical formula seems to be “clarity” with “charity,” the truth with a balance of toughness and tenderness. An old saying comes to mind: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.”

 


-- A Moment with Mary --
Une Minute avec Marie
An initiative of the Mary of Nazareth Association

August 26 – Our Lady of Czestochowa (Poland)

The religious heart of Poland and symbol of its political freedom

The most common depiction of Erzulie Dantor is...

The most common depiction of Erzulie Dantor is derived from this variant of Our Lady of Czestochowa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Czestochowa is a city in southern Poland, known worldwide for the Pauline Fathers’ Monastery of Jasna Góra, home of a Marian shrine where the miraculous image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the icon of the Black Madonna, is venerated.

Czestochowa is a pilgrimage center visited annually by 4 to 5 million pilgrims coming from 80 countries. The icon, placed there by Władysław Opolczyk (Ladislaus of Opole) in 1382, is easy to recognize from the “scars” on the cheek of the Virgin, left by the looting of the shrine by Hussite heretics on April 14, 1430, Easter Day.

Jasna Góra is the religious heart of the country and the symbol of its political freedom. In 1920, the Red Army threatened Warsaw. The Polish Episcopate then met in Jasna Góra on July 27, and renewed the consecration to Mary. Thousands of pilgrims flocked to the shrine to ask their Queen for the liberation of the country. On August 15th, Assumption Day, their prayers were answered—this is known as the “miracle on the Vistula.”

In May 1936, 25,000 students consecrated themselves to Mary and vowed to build a new Poland. Among them was a certain Karol Wojtyla (better known as Saint John Paul II).

Karol Wojtyla - the pastoral visitation order ...

Karol Wojtyla – the pastoral visitation in Cracow,  1967 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary of Nazareth Team

 



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