Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Skins" And The Souls Of Our Children

Young Cast Members of "Skins"
The MTV Show, "Skins", was brought to my attention by my dear Catholic blogger friend, Margo, at the Rosary Trail.  Please, read her insightful post Moral Decay In America for information on this issue.  Margo's concern is the "alarming manner in which teenagers are being portrayed as partying, drug-addicted, vomiting, promiscuous, masturbating, lying to their parents, sleaze-chic FREAKS." She points out that "The Parents Television Council says that the TV show may be in violation of  “federal statutes pertaining to portrayals of child sexual abuse and sexual behavior.”  Some of the actors in “Skins” are under the age of 18, and the youngest is only 15."
I believe that all parents and anyone concerned about the welfare of our youth needs to be aware of the show "Skins". We can no longer turn a blind eye to the irresponsible behavior of producers and writers and the filth they are feeding our kids. Eventually this smut becomes the fabric of their being and no longer is there a line of decency. It must stop.  A section of my response to Margo's post was this..."The devil’s ugliness is everywhere. Accountability is what is lacking in society. It’s time good and godly people did two, get on our knees and storm heaven with prayer that hearts change and two, that we state loud and clear that this is unacceptable and do whatever it takes to protect the innocence of our kids." We can't afford to lose this battle or the souls of our children. We will answer before God if we do.
There is a Zombie/Undead quality
about these "children"

The information below came to me as an email from The American Family Association. Having just read Margo's post and then receiving this email, prompted me to write this post in hopes of making more people aware of this show and "The Moral Decay of America" 

MTV's Skins uses teen-aged actors to carelessly flaunt and promote underage drinking, heavy drug abuse, violence and extreme sexual activities with each other, teachers and other adults on a scale never before seen on TV. The content is so graphic that MTV is rating the program TV-MA, but MTV is extensively marketed to high-school children!
Skins may be in violation of child pornography laws. Unless you take action, the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder will not investigate and will likely allow MTV continue to sexually exploit teen-age actors unchallenged! See the Fox News video
The New York Times reported that even MTV network execs are now concerned that the show may violate federal child pornography laws. Yet, MTV went ahead and released a Skins trailer showing a teen lesbian kiss.
The New York Times said, "Senior executives are now considering additional editing for coming episodes, but that's a little like trying to lock the door after a naked 17-year-old has already busted out and gone running down the street, which is precisely what one of the characters does in Episode 3 — with a pill-enhanced erection, no less."
In addition to the sexual content on the show involving cast members as young as 15, Parents Television Council counted 42 depictions and references to drugs and alcohol use in the premiere episode.
Already, Wrigley Company, Taco Bell, Subway and GM have pulled their ad support from the show. AFA's division is now calling on other advertisers to drop the show. See the list of advertisers here.
It's not enough that advertisers are pulling their financial support from MTV's Skins. Federal child pornography laws may have been broken.
Email and ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the MTV network for possible violation of federal child pornography laws.

American Family Association E-protest

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love Should Not Die At Death

Who will pray for me when I'm gone? Those words hurt my heart to hear. They are so mournful. This was the title of Fr. Floyd Rotunno's homily several Sundays ago. He relayed the story of a woman in I.C.U who knew her death was near. Her family was not religious and there was little chance they would pray for her soul when she was gone.
Do we pray for those who have died? I'm sure we think of them, talk about them, but do we pray for them? A soul in Purgatory can not pray for itself, but needs...desperately needs, the prayers of the faithful.
It has become an alarming trend to have prayers recited at a funeral home and NOT have a funeral Mass for a deceased loved one. Not having a Mass for a practicing Catholic is unconscionable. Often the family doesn't find a Mass's just a "ceremony". They just want to get "it" over with and get to the party, I mean, repast.  Don't get me started.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel with angels and
souls in Purgatory
Baroque sculpture from Beniajan, Spain
So much is about window dressing....the funeral parlor is filled with flowers, collages of photos, slide shows to watch, a wreath in the colors of the decease's favorite sports team, but what's missing these days....Mass cards. At some wakes not one card can be found, the table that used to overflow with them, is bare. Fr Floyd preached that the greatest spiritual gift we can give is the dedication of the offering of a Mass for our beloved. Often, the funeral Mass is the last Mass offered to God Our Father for the soul of the deceased.
After the perfunctory prayer before the casket that solemn moment changes into a gabfest of laughter and joking. I'm all in favor of families chatting and reminiscing....softly. After all, many families only get together at weddings or wakes, so it's natural to want to socialize. But do it at the repast. What happened to mourners reciting the rosary? So much is about the grand exit....choosing "My Way" by Frank Sinatra for the recessional song. Where's the sanctity....the dignity? Don't get me started.
Many of these lapses begin way before a funeral takes place. Holiness is missing in a wedding where the vows are gurgled underwater with the dolphins as witnesses or as a couple dive out of a plane hurling to earth at 125 mph. If it wasn't important and sacred enough to be married in the House of God, the tabernacle close by and the real Presence of Christ being part of the first day of a couple's life, why should God be part of the last day of their lives?
In the book, The Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory by Gerard JM VanDen Aadweg, the Holy Souls don't come back to necessarily shed light on the hereafter, but to plead for prayers and to ask for Masses to be celebrated in their name. Even Protestant souls return begging for Masses to be celebrated in their memory. Would it take a visitation from the dead to make one realize the importance of praying for our beloved? The souls say that it is also important to be generous to those less fortunate and to lend a helping hand to those in need. They cry out, "Be good, think good, speak good, do good" and offer our good for their release. Consider offering up humiliations for those who died with the stench of pride still clinging to them.
If your spouse, parent, child called out in need of your prayers, would you reject that plea? It does not change with death. Our deceased loved ones are often present around us...this is their plea:
" You in the world have no inkling of what we have to suffer! Being abandoned and forgotten by those who have been nearest to us in the world: that is most bitter. Sometimes they stand at the tombs of our decayed bodies and don't pray for us at all. They act as if we don't exist any more. God's justice commands us to be silent. But we stand at the doors of their houses, of our former dwellings and wait. Days. Years. We wait for them to give us a small sign of their love by prayer and sacrifices. But we stay there in vain. We cry in vain for love. For help!...We are still alive and we are hungry for love! For their love!" (Hungry Souls,  p121)
Praying for these poor souls....for the souls of our deceased loved ones is a continuation of the love we had for them on earth. Love should not die at death. No one should fret and fear and ask...Who will pray for me when I'm gone?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mary, The Path For Muslims To Her Divine Son

What is common among humans? The desire for shelter, food, safety, respect, a sense of well-being, the need to be loved and to love, and for many the knowledge that there is a Supreme Being...a higher power. When strangers meet and they find things they have in common...they are no longer strangers. A city slicker and a country folk can sit side by side and fish. To be sure, the subjects discussed will be lures, and rods, fishing holes, and the "big one that got away". From there it's easy to segue into home life, childhood, and a myriad of other details. This is how friendships begin. This is how we begin to understand and respect one another. This is how peace is made.
What Christians and Muslims have in common is, Mary, the mother of God. And never has there been a greater need for finding common ground and a pathway to peace. The journey toward peace begins in Fatima. I'm sure many of you, Catholic or not, know the story of Our Lady's appearance to three children in Fatima, Portugal. You can find great posts on Fatima at The Rosary Trail. Margo has wonderful insight and information on the Fatima story as well as the Rosary. This post will explore a different aspect of the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Fatima--Mary and Muslims.

The information has been adapted from an essay taken from the  book World's First Love, written by America's most prominent Catholic preacher, the beloved Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Muslims will come to know Christ, not through the direct teachings of Christianity, but through a relationship with the Mother of God. What do the Bible, the Qu'ran, Catholic beliefs and Muslim beliefs have in common? What thread is woven through the tapestry of these two religions? The Qu'ran believes in the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth. In the Qu'ran,  Mohammed acknowledged the sacredness of the moment Mary was conceived with words spoken by her mother, St. Anne, "O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me."  Joseph was perplexed that Mary conceived a child without knowing a man.  In the Qu'ran, Mary's answer to St. Joseph's question pertaining to this is relayed with these words, "Do you not know that God, when he created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by his power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say, "So be it, and it was done."
In the 19th chapter alone there are 41 verses on Jesus and Mary. There are verses on the Visitation, Nativity and the Annunciation with angels saying, "Oh Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women on earth." Needless to say that Mohammed held the Virgin Mary in high esteem to the point that those who slandered Mary was subjected to condemnation!
To the Muslims, Mary is  the true, Sayyida, or Lady. Her possible rival? Fatimah, the daughter of Mohammed, his only child to bear children. Yet, upon her death, Mohammed wrote, "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all women in Paradise, after Mary."
Nothing is a coincidence with God....He is in every detail. It was God's perfect plan that the Blessed Mother appeared to three simple, peasant children in, of all places, Fatima, Portugal. Jesus' promise that His name would be known in all four corners of the earth...that all human kind would know He is God and every knee would bend at the sound of His name will be fulfilled.
Jesus loved and respected His mother so much that, although, He was not ready to perform His first miracle, at Mary's request to "do as He says" He transformed water into fine wine. How could He not appreciate and take to heart the respect shown to His mother by Muslims? A sign of this appreciation--Our Lady of Fatima. A name all believers of the Qu'ran hold dear. She has always pointed the way to the Saviour, the true God, and so it will be that she will point the way for Muslims to her Divine Son.
And how did the town of Fatima receive its name? Muslims had occupied Portugal for centuries. The last Muslim chief had a daughter named Fatima who fell in love with a Catholic boy, married him and converted to Catholicism. The name of the town was later changed to Fatima.
How excited are some Muslims about Our Lady of Fatima? So much so that when the pilgrim statue visited Africa, India and elsewhere, Muslims attended the church services, allowed processions and prayers before their mosques!  Many were converted. This is unprecedented.
Christians must continue to show Christ to others through their acts of charity in the Muslim world-tending to their sick, building schools and fighting against social injustice. Catholics must plant the seeds of truth by showing Muslims that the 41st chapter of the Qu'ran is taken from the Gospel of Luke. Mary could not be, even in their eyes, the most blessed of all women if she had not also born the Saviour of the world. As Archbishop Sheen stated, "The Muslims should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the world and that without Christ she would be nothing."
It is on common ground that mutual understanding takes root and it is always best to start with something both sides accept. It seems like an unlikely communion--the joining of Christianity and the Muslim faith. But leave it to a mother, the Blessed Mother, to bridge the gap. Mary is accepted by both....understood by both, a common ground. Through the grace of God, she was used over two thousand years ago to bring the Saviour to human kind. And this pure and simple virgin will be used again so that Muslims will know the true Messiah, Jesus the Christ. Mary will attest...With God everything is possible.
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The World's First Love by Archbishop Fulton Sheen first published by Garden City Books in 1952. Available at Ignatius Press. Article adapted from the Catholic World Report, January 2002. Also found in Mindszenty Report. October 2001, vol XLIII-no. 10