The Catechism of the Catholic Church

A good household will inevitably include within it an area for a good library, a book shelf, table books, or some combination of these. And in every single one of those homes the one indispensable ‘must-have’ book is a good, readable copy of the Bible, the very Word of God.

In every Catholic household, and in fact in any home that wishes to explore an even deeper study and understanding of the Bible and the teachings of the Church, there is one more book that is also important to own. That book is the official “Catechism of the Catholic Church“, which has now been available for more than a decade.

On September 8th, 1997, Pope John Paul II promulgated changes to the 2nd Official English Edition of the book in order that it might conform to changes made to the Latin version on that same date. In the end, what currently stands is intended to be a ‘universal catechism’, one to be used as a resource or reference point for all other such efforts within the Christian Church at large.

The modern Catholic Catechism is in John Paul II’s own words “a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.”

In 1985, the Catholic Bishops recommended that the effort should be made, particularly with the many changes to Church practices in the decades since Vatican II, to explain more fully, clearly, and substantively the Church official teachings on the many and varied topics for which it is responsible.

The following year, John Paul II appointed an official ‘Commission of Cardinals and Bishops’ to study the matter and develop a compendium of Catholic doctrine. This commission was to be led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. Their results were packaged and sent out around the world in 1989 to all Bishops of the Church for their amendments and suggestions.

Over 24,000 such amendments were received, and all were studied closely and considered carefully resulting in numerous alterations to the volume originally circulated. By 1991 the commission was ready to present their official version to the Pope for his evaluation and approval. On June 25th, 1992, John Paul II gave his approval, and on December 8th made it official with an apostolic constitution.

The new Catechism was then first formally published in French in 1994, and subsequently translated into many languages. On August 15th, 1997, the Pope formally proclaimed the Latin version as definitive. This version contained a few changes from that first French-issued version, and thus an official ‘Second Edition’ was released in other languages that year, including the current English version.

Let’s cover what the Catechism is not. It is not at all like the Bible. It is not meant to be a history of existence or of the world. It can not be read cover-to-cover almost like a story. It in fact does not contain the Bible, nor any of it’s stories and teachings directly in God’s own words. It is not ‘readable’ for many youngsters, and would not be necessarily interesting for those looking to ‘read’ a book.

What the Catechism is intended to be is a resource, the definitive resource of the teaching of the Church relating to all matters of faith. It is particularly aimed at the Bishop’s, the Church’s most influential teachers of the faith, but it is also made available to the body of the Church faithful as a tool for appropriately guided individual education.

There is no way in the space of a short article to explain or describe every area that the Catechism covers. Suffice it to say that the Catechism refers to Holy Scripture, as well as the teachings and positions of the Church Fathers and Ecumenical Councils, themselves inspired by the Holy Spirit, to explore and explain all positions and beliefs of the Universal Church.

Among the important topics covered in the Catechism are ‘The Profession of Faith’, also known as the ‘Apostles Creed’, which has been in existence and utilized as a basic profession of faith in Jesus Christ since the early centuries of Church development after his death.

The ‘Celebration of the Christian Mystery’ is also covered here. This includes public worship in the Catholic Mass, as well as God’s active participation through Grace in the sacraments of Confirmation, Baptism/Christening, Holy Eucharist/Communion, Penance/Confession, the Anointing of the Sick/Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony/Marriage.

Christian Prayer is an important topic that is covered, which includes an exploration of the Lord’s Prayer, also known to many as the ‘Our Father’ prayer. First offered by Jesus Himself at his Sermon on the Mount, it is by far the most well-known and widely used Christian prayer in history. I personally learned to say this prayer in Latin as an act of faith and a New Year’s resolution a few years ago during a time of personal struggle, and do so now every night before going to sleep.

The Catechism also covers life in Christ, particularly by exploring the Ten Commandments. These most vital religious and moral rules were validated by Christ, and are accepted by well over half the population of the entire planet. Handed down by God Himself to Moses and subsequently to all of God’s people, these are God’s own basic precepts for mankind.

There is much falsehood and uninformed or ignorant commentary out in the world today regarding the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. If you are genuinely interested in learning the truth regarding Catholic doctrine, or are already a believer and simply wish a reference material with which to more deeply explore the Church teachings, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (Second Edition) is a must.

NOTE: this is a contuation of the ‘Sunday Sermon’ series presented here on many Sunday mornings. All articles in the series can be viewed by clicking on to that ‘label’ below the original article at http://www.mattveasey.com

1980: Not A Kid Anymore

All this year at my Facebook page, which you can view from the link in the sidebar here at my website by joining up yourself and ‘friend’-ing me, I am taking a daily trip back in time to the 1980’s.

Each month I am highlighting a different year chronologically, and this month have been featuring the music, tv, movies, and important events of the first year of the decade: 1980.

In 1980 the world changed, both in my own individual life and the world at large, in some of the most important and influential ways it ever would. Just one year earlier, as 1979 dawned, I was a 17-year old high school senior living in an apartment in South Philly with my dad and brother. Little did I know how much a life could change in less than a year.

I had been dating a girl, Anne Jacobs, ever since meeting her down at the Jersey shore in Wildwood, New Jersey during the late summer of 1976. We overcame the fact that I lived in South Philly without a car and she lived out in the Delaware County suburb of Prospect Park to become high school sweethearts.

Anne was a year behind me in school, and so while I was finishing up my senior year and preparing to graduate from St. John Neumann high school in South Philadelphia during the first half of 1979, she was still just a junior at Archbishop Prendergast high school out in Drexel Hill, Delaware County.

It was at some point in the late spring of ’79 that we began to realize something big might be up. There were increasingly unmistakable signs to us that Anne had become pregnant, and by the early summer we knew it was true. We told our parents at the end of that summer, and I put my LaSalle University plans aside to go out and find a job.

In the fall of 1979 I landed a job as a messenger clerk with the old First Pennsylvania Bank, beginning a decade-long career in the banking world. Anne and I, with the necessary permission from our parents since we were still under 18 years old, got married on November 7th that year, and I moved in with her family.

This is where 1980 opened for me, vastly different from a year earlier. Married at just 18 years of age, living in the suburbs, taking a train in to work everyday in downtown Philadelphia. And then in early February, a day before my own father would turn 40 years old, Anne gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who we named “Christine”, adding ‘Dad’ to my new roles in life.

There is no way that I will ever encourage any teenager to get pregnant. It is one of the most difficult things to go through, trying to properly raise a child while you are still very much one yourself in so many ways. But I also cannot deny the love and joy that Chrissy brought into my life beginning on that day. In a few days from now she will turn 30 years old, and is now a 2-time mother herself. Where has all that time gone?

That would not turn out to be the last major domestic change in my life during 1980, however. We tried to live with Anne’s family, but trying to make your own way as parents and a couple is difficult enough without having the dynamic of living under the same roof as people who still treat you like kids. By the fall we had gotten our own apartment at the corner of American and Ritner Streets, and thus began trying to give it a go out on our own back in my old South Philly stomping grounds.

One of my favorite little life stories comes from February 22nd of that year. Just as this year, 1980 was a Winter Olympics year, and the American hockey team made up of young college kids had been stunning the world by slipping through the tournament undefeated. Looming ahead of them was a date with Cold War destiny.

On that Friday the American kids were poised to take on the goliath hockey juggernaut from the Soviet Union in an Olympic semi-final game at Lake Placid, New York. Just two weeks earlier, the Russians had blitzed the U.S. by a 10-3 score in a pre-Olympics exhibition. Then they rolled over five opponents by a combined score of 55-11 to reach this point in the tournament.

The day before the matchup, New York Times columnist Dave Anderson wrote: “Unless the ice melts, or unless the United States team or another team performs a miracle, as did the American squad in 1960, the Russians are expected to easily win the Olympic gold medal for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments.”

No one really believed that miracle was likely, but the young American team had captured my and the nation’s hearts and imaginations with their dramatic play. The game against the Soviets was going to take place during the day, but would be televised that night in prime time by the ABC network. Remember, these were the pre-ESPN domination days with no 24-hour news coverage of events.

I resolved to stay away from any radios or television during my work day at the bank, which in those days proved easy. I went home with no knowledge of what had happened in the game and was prepared to grab some dinner and then settle in to watch the drama of the U.S.-Soviet hockey game.

While I ate, excited about the upcoming game, Anne walked in to the kitchen of her parents house on 11th Avenue and said matter-of-factly “How about the Americans beating the Russians in hockey today?!”

I’ll leave it to your imaginations the phrase that immediately raced through my stunned mind at the revelation of the game result that I had been successfully avoiding all day. Ouch. Priceless.

With my excitement ruined and my enthusiasm tempered by the knowledge of what was going to happen, I settled in that evening to enjoy the spectacle of what has become known to history as the ‘Miracle on Ice’ in the American squad’s 4-3 epic upset of the Soviet hockey team: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

In the larger world during the first year of the 1980’s, the Carter Presidency continued to deteriorate as the Iranian hostage crisis droned on and on. His candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination received a serious threat from Teddy Kennedy, who I stood just a few feet away from during an early spring campaign stop in Philly that year.

Kennedy would receive my first-ever vote in a Presidential primary, but would lose a hard-fought nomination process to Carter. Later in the year, the Reagan Revolution began with the election to the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, the greatest American President of the past century, but one who I simply did not appreciate or support at the time.

During the year of 1980 we Americans would become introduced to or more familiar with people and topics such as Abscam, Voyager, Ayatollah, Olympic boycott, Rosie Ruiz, Mt. Saint Helens, Yoda, CNN, Solidarity. We would all end the year sobbing over the murder of John Lennon while asking the question “Who shot J.R.?”

Philadelphia was the capital of the sports world in 1980. That spring, the Flyers were beaten in overtime of the 6th game of the Stanley Cup Finals on a controversial goal by Bob Nystrom of the New Islanders. The Isles appeared to be clearly offsides on the winning play, but the refs blew the call. Had the Flyers won, they would have tied the series and sent it back to the Spectrum for a decisive 7th game.

Also that spring, the 76ers advanced to the NBA Finals before succumbing in six games thanks to a herculean performance from Lakers rookie Magic Johnson, who filled in for injured all-star center Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and single-handedly kept the Sixers from sending that championship to a deciding game.

The Philadelphia Eagles had a season to remember that fall and winter, finishing 12-4 and winning the NFC East under coach Dick Vermiel. The Birds finished tied with the Dallas Cowboys, who beat them in the regular season finale by a 35-27 score, but won the tie-breaker for the division title. They would advance to make the franchise’ first-ever appearance in the Super Bowl in January of 1981.

And then there were the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies. One of the best teams in baseball since 1975, the Phils were repeatedly disappointed and disappointing in making playoff appearances in 1976, 1977, and 1978. The 1980 team was considered by some to be getting a little old-in-the-tooth, but the veterans fought to yet another division title.

In what many still believe to be the greatest NLCS in baseball history, the Phils edged past the Houston Astros and advanced to face the great George Brett and the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. In the dramatic finale to the 6th game at Veteran’s Stadium, Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson to preserve a 4-1 win and give the long-suffering franchise’ it’s first-ever world championship.

I remember clearly watching the game in our little South Philly apartment that was full of friends for the game. We spilled into the streets after the victory, and I headed up to Broad Street with some to enjoy the victory celebration. We worked our way towards the Vet, and it was in the midst of that joyous celebration of the championship just won by Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Larry Bowa and crew that my life very nearly changed forever once again.

I was standing on Broad Street just north of Snyder Avenue in the middle of what was a sea of celebratory humanity, and at the same time there were vehicles still trying to leave the area as well. Somehow I got squeezed by the crowd into the small space between two cars slowly edging their way along. Trying to avoid the crowds, one of the cars kept edging towards the other, pinning my legs between the two.

I started to bang on the hood and windows of the two cars as my legs got squeezed tighter, and just in time felt the release of pressure as the drivers realized what was happening and eased off me. That close to getting my legs crushed while celebrating a life long dream of a World Series victory!

1980 was absolutely a year of change for me, for the country, and for the world. It was a year of beginnings and challenges, of frustrations and celebrations, of defeat and victory, and of joys and sorrows. It was a year that not many others to follow would be able to equal for it’s quantity of high drama. And it was ultimately the first year of my life in which I was not a kid anymore.

BORN 1980: Christine Veasey, Erin Mooney Bates, Justin Timberlake, Elin Nordegren, Zooey Deschanel, Robinho, Nick Carter, Gilbert Arenas, Albert Pujols, Eli Manning, Adam Lambert, Francisco ‘KRod’ Rodriguez, Natalie Gulbis, Andre Iguodala, Joe Flacco, Mischa Barton

DIED 1980: Jimmy Durante, Paul Lynde, Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, Ray Kroc, Johnny Weissmuler, Jackie Wilson, Donna Reed, L. Ron Hubbard, Ray ‘the Scarecrow’ Bolger, ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich, Hirohito, Ted Bundy, John Lennon

Obama’s State of Anti-Americanism

President Barack Obama strutted in front of Congress and the nation last night to give his State of the Union address. This time his undeniable oratorical skills simply could not save him from the facts that have become clear in his first full year in office. Facts that now have his speeches sounding more and more like skips on a broken record.

Let’s start by taking a look at what his programs have actually done over the past year, and see what he said last night. Directly because of the programs and initiatives launched by the Obama administration, our unemployment rate has soared past the 10% mark for the first time in decades and our national debt has been set on course to triple over the next decade.

But what is Obama suggesting that we do as we move into his vision of the future? Spend more, go further into debt, reward cronyism and failed industries. Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress wish to throw massive amounts of good money after excessive and irresponsible amounts of bad.

The President proposed in his speech last night to “take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat.” 

So we taxpayers, who did not want to do it in the first place, loaned money to banks. It was repaid, but now we lend that same money back out to banks? So what exactly is going to have been “repaid“?

Why again did I lend money to banks in the first place? Do you know why? To save the financial system from collapse? Really?

Why do we taxpayers need to prop up any business that cannot succeed on the strength of it’s own hard work, value, worth, and entrepreneurial skills? Businesses large and small have gone under for centuries. Why do we have to save some now with taxpayer dollars?

Next the President said “We can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow…There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.” Really? Why not? What does having the fastest trains in the world have to do with anything at all? If China has a train that goes 200 miles per hour, why do we need one that goes 250?

Has the President even bothered to look at every single study of mass transit in this country? All the studies show that the vast majority of these mass transit systems: buses, trains, trolleys, etc go without ridership for the majority of the day. It is only during certain peak hours that ridership is full.

But the trains and buses run all day and night long, running up massive fuel, maintenance, and labor costs. And the vast majority of the public doesn’t use these systems on any regular basis at all. Those are the facts.

Why do we need to build new manufacturing plants for business? If a business wants a new plant, and will benefit economically from it’s construction, then why doesn’t it just build one itself?

Obama then finally spoke a truth, but he spoke it in typically veiled fashion: “The only way to move to full employment is to lay a new foundation for long-term economic growth, and finally address the problems that America’s families have confronted for years.” Well, first of all, that is not exactly truth. There will never be “full employment“, whatever that means. But we get the idea and the goal of creating as many decent jobs for as many people who actually want to and are able to work.

The only proven way to create long-term sustainable jobs that will make a real difference in the lives of the greatest amount of people is to get government out of the way and allow private industry to flourish with minimal restraints. Keep taxes as low as possible across the board, and keep regulation to reasonable levels that are not a result of partisan political studies or a knee-jerk overreaction to occasional errors.

But what Obama and the Democrats want to do is what is known as ‘picking the winners’, making the decisions as to which businesses and industries are worthwhile and valuable and worth investing in and then forcing Americans to live with their decisions. Rather than leaving the business community alone to develop products and services and allow the American dollar-paying public to decide based on their own desires.

Obama played the scare tactic by mentioning that Germany and China and India were not waiting to pour money into ‘clean energy’ because “they want those jobs.” Which jobs is he talking about? You mean the jobs that they are creating by the pouring in of all that money?

Why would Obama possibly compare what the U.S. should do to what these nations are doing? Because they are socialist (Germany), communist (China), or corrupt quasi-socialist economic (India) nations, that’s why.

Obama also continues to be shameless in his attempts to embarrass Republicans into ‘going over to the Dark Side’ and joining with the Democrats in making these changes. He once again mentioned that “saying no” and disagreeing continuously is not a policy idea.

The fact is that individual Republican lawmakers and the Republican Party leadership have put forth numerous ideas, only to be ignored or slapped down every time by the Democratic Party-controlled congress.

Republican Party politicans in Congress and the Senate have, in fact, no obligation to blindly follow the President and fall in lock-step with the Democrats to pass laws and bills and enact policies that they know will only hurt America in the long run. They are absolutely supposed to attempt to “say no” to the President and disagree with him when he is wrong, which is on almost every issue.

Republican politicians need to not only continue to stand up to the Obama policies strongly and vocally when warranted, but in fact need to more fully and substantively embrace traditional American ideals and programs which support these ideas themselves, or many will find themselves tossed out of their own offices in the coming primary elections.

Barack Obama’s vision for America is nothing short of full-blown socialism. The complete destruction of the capitalist system that elevated the United States to the greatest economic levels in the history of the world and kept us there for more than a century. The reason is simple: the power and control that comes with running a state-controlled economy and a central government.

He will play all of the usual race-baiting and class-warfare games to make this happen, implying or directly saying that those who don’t go along are racist or want babies to starve or the elderly to go without medical care. He will use a mass media that has become slowly and surely and almost completely infected by individuals with the same political and social beliefs as his over the last few decades.

He further called for an “investment in the skills and education of our people.” What exactly does that mean? There was a time when the American educational system was the envy of the world. What changed all that? What changed it was these very liberal ideals invading the classroom and shifting our students attention away from important learning skills to forced cultural sensitivity.

For generations, American students have been historically and socially indoctrinated in the classroom far more than they have been educated. Because some couldn’t or wouldn’t keep up, everyone was forced to drag back to their level. And the teaching and enforcing of morality and discipline? Forget about it. If Obama wants to improve the American educational system, he needs to get the government out of the classrooms.

Finally, Obama continued to pour it on for his outrageously enormous takeover of what is already the greatest health-care system that the world has ever known, despite the fact that the large majority of the American public doesn’t want any part of a government-run system.

Health-care needs responsible reform, not a comprehensive government takeover and the accompanying massive cost to the tax-paying public in an Obamacare fomat that the President and the Dems are trying to force down our throats.

Right now what Obama and the Democrats have been doing for a year and continue to plan towards the future is the insinuation of the government into effective or direct control of every major facet of our lives. The only way to stop this suicidal power-grab is to reverse the political fortunes of the country as soon as possible, before things get too bad to ever reverse.

As the brilliant economist Thomas Sowell has so perfectly put it “human beings have their own individual preferences, values, plans, and wills all of which can conflict with and even thwart the goals of social experiments.” What Obama and the Democrats are advocating is what Sowell calls an “open-ended demand“, one that calls for “ever-expanding government bureaucracies with ever-expanding budgets and powers.”

We Americans have certainly been getting exactly what Barack Obama promised in his campaign: Change. While I personally did not vote for him, I have a hard time believing that most of those who did so were thinking about fundamentally changing the United States of America from a nation built upon the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness into a socialist nation that stifles liberty and replaces the pursuit of happiness with your acceptance of whatever the government deems oughta be what you think happiness should entail.

One of today’s great scholars, Dinesh D’Souza, a legal immigrant who became a White House policy advocate, stated “America represents a new way of being human and thus presents a radical challenge to the world.” In describing “American exceptionalism“, D’Souza called it the idea that “Americans have throughout their history held that they are special: that their country has been blessed by God, that the American system is unique, that Americans are not like people everywhere else.”

If all of the polls taken in recent months are telling the truth, then the American public is starting to wake up to the fact that Obama and the Democrats are steering us away, far away, from our founding and established ideals and that very “American exceptionalism” that we have always cherished.

With the continuing of God’s blessings on our special experiment in democracy we can begin to remove them from office as has been happening already all across the country, reverse the damaging course upon which they have set us, and begin to reclaim our national greatness and prosperity.

Thanks Mom?

My mother was a very good woman, of that I am as certain as anything I have ever known in this life.

She loved God, loved her family, and despite being overwhelmed by a debilitating illness that robbed her of much of her life’s full enjoyment, she never ceased to express that love to either.

My mom mattered. She mattered in my life, the life of my brother, the lives of my children, and the lives of a great number of other friends and family members. She touched us all in a way that will always be with us.

But for as much as she was to everyone else, what she was to my brother Mike and I was extra special. But did she choose life for us? Roe did not exist then, should it have, should we have been her ‘choice’?

This is an important idea to discuss, as yesterday was the awful anniversary of the ‘Roe v Wade’ court decision that made abortion a legal medical procedure here in the United States. What ‘Roe’ effectively did was lead to the mass slaughter of more than 50 million American babies over the next three and a half decades.

Supporters of that decision would argue that had ‘Roe’ been in effect in 1961, my birth would not have been the miracle from God that it was considered at that time, but instead it would have been a medical ‘choice’ made by my mom. And it would have been a ‘choice’ that she could make regardless of what my dad wanted.

Of course her ‘choosing’ to nurture and birth me out into the world should probably be something that would make me happy, right? What is better, to be considered just some random accident of nature, or something forced on her by God, or a conscious choice made by one’s mother or parents together?

The fact of the matter is that having been born, in the end my own ‘choice’ has to be that I would rather my mom did not have such a one herself. For with that ‘choice’ comes the possibility that hers could have been different. Play a little game with me here.

Had my mother made the choice to not have me, I would never have been born in the first place. Without even considering myself as anything special in the grand scheme of existence, it is a simple fact that the world would never be the same. My brother either would not have been born either, or his life would also be completely different if for no other reason than his growing up without my interactions.

Anyone with whom I came in contact over the course of my life would be different, particularly if there was anyone: a friend, girlfriend, co-worker with whom I interacted and made some even small difference in their lives. My children would not have been born, nor my grandchildren. Generations would not exist. What could their contributions have been to the world?

What about her own mother? What if her mother had chosen not to have my mom? What if somehow there was a test that could have told my grandmother that my mom would end up as sick as she was? Would that have been a legitimate reason to ‘choose’ to terminate the pregnancy, to kill my mom? Was my mom’s life worth less somehow because some illness would eventually overwhelm her?

For those who consider ‘choice’ as a woman’s natural ‘right’, have you ever bothered to take a minute to consider the ‘right’ of the unborn child to actually have a life? You know, the life that is enabling you to read this posting right now? The gift of your life is not a gift of your mother’s choice. It is a gift from God Himself, to your parents, your family, your friends, and to you.

The arguments on behalf of abortion always come down to a handful: saving the life of the mother or terminating a pregnancy that happened due to rape or incest. These arguments simply do not hold up under close examination. The fact of the matter is that abortion is used as birth control.

In both 1987 and 2004, the AGI (Alan Guttmacher Institute) surveyed women who had actually had abortions as to the reasons that they did it. Feel free to do the research yourself as to the validity of the organization or their methods, but you will find that they are professional, reputable and scientifically sound.

In 1987, only 1% of respondents had an abortion due to rape or incest, and only 3% due to some medical condition of the mother. Even taking into account the 3% additional who claimed that some fetal health issue was the reason, this means that 93% of those who had abortions did so simply because it would make their lives easier. They killed their child so that things would supposedly be easier on them.

In 2004, the respondents only claimed that rape or incest was the reason in less than half of one percent of the cases. Mother’s health was the reason in 4%, fetal health issues in 3%. So once again, roughly 93% of respondents gave reasons for their ‘choice’ that boiled down to making their own lives easier at the cost of the life of the baby.

Women who support a ‘right’ to a ‘choice’, who are you kidding? The only ‘choice’ that you want to be able to make is to reverse the effects of some decision to have unprotected sex that you made in an irresponsible moment. That is the simple fact for more than 9 out of 10 women who walk into an abortion clinic or hospital to take this action.

It would be easy for you to get mad at me and say that my position is easy for some man to take. But the fact of the matter is that those who fight for life include tens of millions of women and girls, so save that attack for someone who will be intimidated. If you are ‘pro-abortion’ then you have made the decision to support the killing of babies so that irresponsible people can have supposedly easier lives. Live with it, or change.

Of course the fact is also an ironic one, that a large number of women who do have abortions simply do not have easier lives. Survey after survey reveals that many women suffer for years, decades, even the rest of their lives due to the effects of the guilt feelings that follow this ‘choice’. Why would that be so? Is it just that society makes them feel guilty, or do they know inside that their ‘choice’ was morally bankrupt?

These are harsh words for some to hear, but when more than 50 million babies have been slaughtered across the United States of America for reasons that end up not being valid in the end anyway, that is nothing short of a holocaust. The unknown and untold loss of their lives and what they may have brought to their individual families and to humanity in general will never be known or measurable, but they are indeed missed, and their lives while in the womb are indeed worth fighting over.

The babies that should have been born in the most painful situations and under the most awful circumstances could have been given up for adoption, or could have been kept, raised, nurtured lovingly, and become the very blessing that would have made an intolerable and impossible situation into a healing and healthy one.

There is always another side to every story. For too long the side of the baby has been silent. The baby cannot speak for itself. Anyone who has ever had a child, held a fragile young infant in their arms, especially one that they themselves have given birth to or whom they have loved knows this instinctively. Someone needs to stand up and speak for their right to live.

If you have ever had an abortion or been a party to one, it is not too late for you to ask for forgiveness, to seek your own healing, and to begin to join the fight for life. If there is one thing that Jesus Christ taught us it was that the reason He died for us all on the cross was for the forgiveness and healing of our sins. You can make that ‘choice’ right now.

So in the end, I thank my mom for many things. For the good woman that she was in her life. For her love of God and family that rubbed off on me and eventually helped to make me the man that I am today. But one thing that I do not thank her for is my life. That life was given to her, to me, by God. It is all of our responsibility to stand up for life, not as a ‘choice’, but as every human beings real natural right.

NOTE: this is a continuation of the regular ‘Sunday Sermon’ series, all articles of which can be read by clicking on the link below this article at the http://www.mattveasey.com website

Shameful Che Shirts

Do you own, or have you owned and worn, or know someone who owns and has worn one of those allegedly ‘cool’ Che Guevara t-shirts? Do you know the reason that the shirt was being worn? Does the image on the shirt actually stand for something? Do you even know who Che Guevara really was?

The ‘Che Guevara’ t-shirt and image has become a symbol of sorts for all that is ‘counter-cultural’. It is often meant as a protest symbol for those who feel that the ‘little man’ is being intentionally repressed in some way by government and/or business.

Wanting to help those who are less fortunate than we are is a noble sentiment. So is wanting to effect positive changes on a government or on a society that has become repressive or abusive to it’s citizens. So what exactly does that have to do with America, the most free country in the history of the world? And why on earth would this man be an appropriate symbol for such protests anyway?

Ernesto ‘Che’ Gevara was born in 1928 in the South American country of Argentina to parents of mixed Spanish and Irish heritage. He was brought up in a very political and intellectual environment, and became a reader of the works and teachings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin at an early age.

In 1951 he took a year off before entering medical school in order to travel around South America on a motorcycle. During this trip he experienced first-hand the poverty in much of the land, and as a result ultimately wrote ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ in regards to the trip. The book was subsequently made into a major release film in 2004.

As Guevara matured into manhood his views became more and more radical, and he eventually established the stated viewpoint that Marxism achieved through armed struggle and defended by an armed populace was the only way to rectify what he believed had become ‘American imperialism’ in Latin America.

Of course the true facts were that in nearly the entirety of South America, poverty was endemic, and ruling regimes in nearly every country had for centuries failed to bring about positive change due to greed for power and controlled material wealth for the privileged few.

Any American efforts to change those conditions in order to ultimately help the people by establishing democracy and capitalism was seen as interference, or ‘imperialism’, trying to impose our ways on others. The motives of the American government and business were always painted as self-serving when the truth was that true capitalist democratic change would indeed be good for both North and South American peoples.

The fact is that Latin American people would indeed be freer and have a better chance at sustained economic growth under truly democratic forms of government that adopted capitalist economic systems. But the power-hungry South American rulers would not let that happen, in fact would consider such a statement as paternalistically insulting, and so used and still use propaganda to paint America as a big bully and themselves as poor peasants who just want to be left alone.

It was within this atmosphere that Guevara moved his family to Mexico City in 1954, and a year later he was introduced through some Cuban exile friends to a man by the name of Fidel Castro. He was immediately swayed by Castro’s militant revolutionary ideas and began serious military training in guerrilla warfare tactics.

He went with Castro to participate in the violent overthrow of the Cuban government in the late 1950’s, becoming an integral leader of the rebel army. He became feared for his brutality and ruthlessness, torturing or executing anyone whom he deemed a traitor, spy, or deserter. Finally the Castro forces were able to defeat and overthrow the Cuban government and took control of Havana in January of 1959.

On taking charge, Guevara was put in charge by Castro of sorting out and punishing all political enemies and ‘war criminals’. In this role, Che Guevara oversaw and even participated in the killing of hundreds of people without due process. Guevara was then later put in charge of the economy, and began to install his beloved socialist values. As always happens with such socialist systems, his programs ended in the abject failure of decreased productivity and increased dependency on the government. The Cuban economy remains in shambles to this day.

During the 1960’s he became the principle voice and actor in establishing and growing the Cuban-Soviet relationship that brought Soviet ballistic missiles to the island nation just a hundred miles from the Florida coast. As history tells us, this led to the single closest experience the world would ever come to all-out nuclear war.

When the Soviets finally backed down from the Kennedy administration and withdrew the missiles, Che became enraged at what he called their betrayal, and he turned against them. He stated that had the nuclear-armed missiles been under Cuban control, he would have fired them off against the Americans. During the course of his adult life, Guevara was possibly the most vocally anti-American individual in history.

Ultimately Guevara would travel all around the world trying to educate himself on Marxist, communist, socialist, and terrorist ideals and tactics. His trips would take him to places as disparate as China, Egypt, and Ireland. He would lend his hand to Marxist revolutionary efforts in the Congo in Africa and back in South America in Bolivia. It was there that he was finally captured and executed in October of 1967.

During his lifetime, Che Guevara was closely involved with or directly responsible for violent government overthrow, torture, execution and overall destruction to humanity on a massive scale. None of his efforts were ever successful at helping any group of citizens lead a safer, happier, more secure life. In fact, his policies and actions in Cuba and other parts of the world led to death and disillusionment for millions. In the end, like Mao and Lenin and numerous others, he was a failed socialist murderer.

So this is the man whose image the ‘counter-culture’ has deemed as ‘cool’ to wear on a t-shirt. At least in South America they are beginning to get it. A recent popular t-shirt worn by youth in Argentina mocked “I have a Che tshirt and I don’t know why”, capturing perfectly the question for any young American who would ever display his image. Why are you wearing that shameful Che shirt?