Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Obama’s new rules for Faith-Based Initiatives

President Barack Obama.jpgPresident Obama revised 2001 faith based initiatives established by President George W. Bush with “Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations” on November 17, 2010.

Catholic organizations like Catholic Charities, hospitals, clinics, assisted living organizations, adoption agencies would do well to review their policies and practices to see if the present policies cohere with what the President has set down in the executive order since there are some serious potential conflicts. Serious points of contention will likely be around the providing of religious services, counseling rooted in faith and to what degree you can apply pastoral practice to the workings of the agency. The secularists are already jumping for joy with the new amendments because they want more restrictive policies and stringent policies of accountability for the use of monies and practices by faith-based organizations. Having said all this, though, clarity of what can and cannot be done are helpful since they establish rules of engagement. Clear to all reasonable minded people, religious freedom needs to be respected. And we Catholics will hear more about religious freedom in 2011 with Pope Benedict addressing the issue of religious freedom at significant events like world youth day. The Pope is very clear that we propose and not impose our faith in Christ, even with those who claim to be Christians.

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Vote: it’s necessary for Catholics

Just back from Mass for the Faithful Departed and from voting.

Have you prayed and voted???


Catholics vote because it is “… for the promotion of the common
good” (Benedict XVI) 

Voting is a “… serious moral obligation…” and Catholics “…
can never vote for someone who favors absolutely what’s called the ‘right to
choice'” (Abp R. Burke)

Obama has a Catholic problem, big time

The other day the New York Times published a graph
showing, according to polls, that Catholic voters pose a serious problem for
tomorrow’s election. Interesting. The red bar demonstrates that a 24% lead for the
Republicans among US Catholics. 
Remember, Catholics voted for Barack Obama, 54-44% in 2008. No poll
tells the whole truth and, in my are barely an indicator of what is really
thought by those polled. This poll is no different. However, if the pollsters
are remotely correct, Catholics could lead the way to change in the November 2
election from Democrat-to-Republican.

NYTimes poll on Catholic voters.jpg
Let’s be honest: Catholics are no
different in their voting patterns than the general public. Sad but true. And I
find this fact to be a disappointing fact. Discriminating who these Catholics
are as active (or non-active) is curious. The polls tell us that weekly
church-going Catholics in 2008 did not vote for Democrats, more or less. 

See more info at Catholic Vote

Understanding Catholic faith & public life, no split necessary

Come to Jesus. There is no sensible reason why there has to be split in thinking and acting  when it comes to saying you believe in Christ and follow His Church and being a serious voter or a politician. Today we hear politicians and sadly some clergymen, are not steadfast to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. They are often working out of a pretext of religion without the substance of the Faith.

For years we’ve heard the bi-polar reasoning that has produced nothing but bonk, fuzzy thinking and inconsistent acting when comes to making the claim of being a “good Catholic” and yet introducing and sustaining legislation that’s contrary to Catholic belief. You can’t support principles contrary to Christ and say that you are a follower of Christ. It doesn’t make sense because there needs to be a clear conformity to sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. What we do in our private lives must be coherent in our public lives. Belief in Christ is reasonable, that is, true faith doesn’t conflict in any way with reason. It all has to hang together.

RL Burke.jpg

Catholic Action for Faith and Family has produced a video conversation with Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Rome (the high court of the Church). By now you know that the Holy Father announced his intention to create Archbishop Burke a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church on November 20.
Watch the video: it is clear and helpful…no fuzzy thinking.
Catholics have a moral obligation in voting and to vote for candidates who uphold the moral law, the moral good. If you say you believe in Christ, that you want to stick closely to Him in this life, with the hope of being with Him in the next, then close adherence to Him in everything is required. There is no splitting the vote. 
If you say you believe in Jesus Christ you can’t betray Jesus Christ for any reason while claiming to be a Christian, even if we think that we may offend another because they don’t believe in Jesus as God’s Son and the Savior of humanity. Hence, we say that following an informed conscience is primary, with the emphasis on the word “informed.” Adhering to Christ equals adhering to the Catholic Church, Christ’s Church. It is the teaching authority of the Church continues in time the teaching of Christ which informs body, mind and spirit. We know in conscience, in our heart, that Abortion is always wrong. Taking a life for any reason is not right, it offends the dignity of the human person who is yet to be born. Euthanasia is always wrong. Embryonic stem cell research is always wrong. Destroying the environment is always wrong. And then there is our relationship with the elderly, the children, the poor, the homeless and the immigrant?
Do you follow, that is, do you truly hold the premises of the Golden and Silver Rules as taught by Christ? And the Church doesn’t teach this or that truth but is the truth-telling thing.
In case you are looking for more of Burke’s thinking on the subject of being a Christian and activity in civic life, then I’d recommend reading his 2004 pastoral letter, “A pastoral letter to Christ’s faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good.”
So, as we prepare ourselves to vote on November 2, do so as an informed person according to Catholic principles.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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