Monthly Archives: December 2013

Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius

31 December 2013

Happy New Year!


Justice delays health law’s birth control mandate

January 1, 2014

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Only hours before the law was to take effect, a Supreme Court justice on Tuesday blocked implementation of part of President Barack Obama’s health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that includes birth control.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s decision came after a flurry of efforts by Catholic-affiliated groups from around the nation. Those groups had rushed to the federal courts to stop Wednesday’s start of portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Sotomayor acted on a request from an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. Its request for an emergency stay had been denied earlier in the day by a federal appeals court.

Thousands of elderly poor have a home today because of one remarkable woman.

Saint Jeanne Jugan grew up in a small town in the aftermath of the French revolution. Times were hard. The winters were brutal. To support her family, Jeanne worked from a young age as a shepherdess, kitchen maid, and tending the sick at a Civil and Naval Hospital. In this last position, she discovered her life’s vocation: helping others.

Confident in her Catholic faith, Jeanne set out to serve those most in need. She cared for the poor and the elderly as if they were her own family, even giving them her bed while she slept in the attic. Her humility and love of service spread among other young women, and the religious community of the Little Sisters of the Poor was born.

Today, the Little Sisters of the Poor–an international Roman Catholic Congregation of Religious Sisters–have continued Jeanne’s mission to serve others. The Little Sisters of the Poor arrived in America in 1868. Currently, there are thirty homes in the United States where the elderly and dying are treated as if they were Jesus himself and cared for with love and dignity until God calls them home. The Little Sisters serve more than 13,000 elderly poor people in thirty-one countries around the world.

The Little Sisters adhere to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In accordance with their faith, they uphold the unique, inviolable dignity of all human life, especially those deemed weak or, to some, “worthless” in society. The federal government’s contraception and abortion mandate, however, forces the Little Sisters to provide services that destroy human life, contradicting their very mission to respect it.

Although the government does allow exemptions for church and church-type entities from the HHS Mandate for religious reasons, this accommodation does nothing for the Little Sisters. Because the government refuses to classify them as a “religious employer,” the Little Sisters are required to hire a third party to provide these objectionable services to their employees, and thus are still forced to participate in the government’s scheme. Believing that every human person has God-given worth, the Little Sisters cannot provide contraceptive, abortion, and sterilization services that go against their religious beliefs.

The Becket Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor, seeking to uphold their right to carry out their vows of obedience in their service to the poor. The suit is a class action lawsuit, and the lead plaintiffs are the Little Sisters homes in Denver and Baltimore. The suit seeks protection not only for the Little Sisters, but for other Catholic organizations who provide health benefits consistent with their religious faith through the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust and Christian Brothers Services. This is the 72nd lawsuit challenging the administration’s HHS Mandate filed by the Becket Fund, which also represents: Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Ave Maria University, Wheaton College, and Hobby Lobby in similar lawsuits.

hosp32The Little Sisters of the Poor are a Roman Catholic congregation of sisters who provide homes to elderly poor.

In accordance with their faith, the Little Sisters uphold the unique, inviolable dignity of all life, especially those deemed the weakest in society.

More about thisHERE

A birthday wish for my Bishop, His Excellency Robert C. Morlino

31 December 2013

Reprinted by staff from last year

31 December 2012 Anno Domini
posted by Sofia Guerra

Sometimes when I least expect it, Divine Providence allows for a smile. When I left the Jersey Shore for the great state of Wisconsin I wasn’t sure this Jersey girl could “blend” into the Midwest. Pleasant surprise…not only did I fit in, but I really love it. Why? A couple of reasons.

First, the people are friendly and warm without being patronizing. They work hard and laugh alot. and the cheese is the best.
Second, (and really the most important reason) is that Catholic culture and tradition live on here in the Badger state. right down to Friday night fish frys at every restaurant and many a Church Hall, this is a place where Catholicism is a part of everyday life.

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Robert C. Morlino. Diocese of Madison, WI

But the absolute BEST part of moving to Wisconsin is His Excellency Robert Morlino and the best Diocese anywhere–Madison. I always dreamed of a place where the historical Churches were appreciated and the traditional Latin Mass was given the respect and honor it deserves. I have found that place. ( BTW, he was one of 2 reasons I moved to the Madison Diocese)

Yes, I know, you are saying what about the spirituality etc etc..? Hey, that goes without saying…but also the beauty of the traditional Mass and the aesthetics of an historical church are just two of my personal loves. In addition, a Bishop who gets that and is UNAFRAID to be a shepherd, ready to give it all for Christ, His Church, Truth AND is a chef? It’s almost too good to be true, but it is true.

My wish for His Excellency on this last day of the year, his birthday is that he never loses the smile that God gave him. It is this smile coming from the soul and the heart of a man, who is a priest who loves Christ as Christ loves His Church. There are some who won’t agree with me because their agenda is not with Christ. Sadly, that is their problem, but I will pray for them anyway and love them as Christ loves each and every one of us, despite of our willingness not to love back.

As for my wonderful Bishop, I pray that today he think of his parents who gave him life along with our God…it is from that love he was born into this world for a purpose. It is from that love the His Excellency has attained his vocation and his strength to be our shepherd; love with a purpose.

I am a selfish sort, I have complained about priests and Bishops in the past and whined like a baby that I had to endure the whims of those who perhaps “don’t get it yet”. This, however, is pride talking and for that I ask forgiveness. Today, I ask and pray for all the blessings of Our Divine Infant Savior for my wonderful Bishop. I never thought there would be a day I could say that my Bishop is the best bishop in the world. Well, almost…he is only second to the Bishop of Rome, my wonderful Pope.

So, wait a minute, whose birthday is this anyway? Sounds like I got the best gift, doesn’t it?

Your Excellency, have a fantastic birthday, I know you will, because you “get it”. Imagine, you gave ME A GIFT on your birthday.! Thank you for giving me the gift of a true shepherd.

God love you,

Sofia Guerra
Your devoted servant in Christ


Robert Morlino was born December 31, 1946, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is an only child, and his father, Charles, died while he was in high school, his mother, Albertina, in 1980. He was raised in northeastern Pennsylvania, graduating from Jesuit High School in Scranton. He entered the seminary for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, and was ordained to the priesthood for that Jesuit Province on June 1, 1974. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, a master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, the Master of Divinity Degree from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., and a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, with specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics.

Father Morlino taught Philosophy at Loyola College in Baltimore, St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, Boston College, the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College. He served as an instructor in continuing education for priests, religious and laity and as director of parish renewal programs.

In 1981, Father Morlino became a priest of the Diocese of Kalamazoo and served there as Vicar for Spiritual Development, Executive Assistant and Theological Consultant to the Bishop, as Moderator of the Curia, and as the Promoter of Justice in the Diocesan Tribunal. He served as administrator of a number of parishes, and as rector of St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo. Father Morlino was scheduled to begin a full-time faculty appointment as professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit when, on July 6, 1999, Pope John Paul II appointed him the Ninth Bishop of Helena. Bishop Morlino was appointed the Fourth Bishop of Madison on May 23, 2003 and installed on August 1, 2003.

Bishop Morlino served as chairman of two committees within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – the Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate, dealing with matters concerning the ministry of permanent deacons, and the Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Issues and the Church, responding to moral and theological questions surrounding specific health care situations. In 2005, Bishop Morlino became Chairman of the Board of Directors of The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) which conducts research, consultation, publishing, and education to promote human dignity in health care and the life sciences. Also, Bishop Morlino was appointed to the Board of Visitors for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). This board is a federal advisory committee created to maintain independent review, observation, and recommendation regarding operations of the institute. Bishop Morlino was elected vice-Chairman of the Board of Visitors at their November 2005 meeting. Most recently Bishop Morlino was appointed to the USCCB Bishops’ and Presidents’ Committee which seeks to encourage the Catholic identity of institutions of higher education.

Source: Catholic Answers


To listen to audio of homilies and statements by His Excellency, Bishop Morlino please click HERE.

Jane Austen’s Birthday – What Would Our Lives Have Been Without Jane Austen? via Maria Grazia

16 December 2013

16 December 2013 Anno Domini
Posted by Maria Grazia at her blog,
My Jane Austen Book Club


Dear Friends,

Jane Austen’s birthday is coming soon, in two weeks, and, as we did in the past few years, we would like to celebrate the occasion here at My Jane Austen Book Club. Let’s share our love and esteem for our beloved author! You are all invited. Don’t forget it, write it down in your agenda and, on 16 December, drop in from time to time: I’ll be posting all day long.
You readers will have the occasion to meet again old Janeite friends and, maybe, make new ones. Moreover, there will be prizes to win in a great giveaway. Does it sound fun enough?

I’ve asked many friends to share their love answering the question: “What would my life have been without Jane Austen”?
I’ll be the first to answer in a short post which will open the event at 0.01 a.m. GMT on Monday night, 16 December 2013.
Lots of other contributions will ensue for 24 hours, along with a great giveaway contest that will end on 23 December and will be open internationally. Will you join us? Will you answer the question yourself?

Please go to Maria’s blog for the rest of the post and to join the fun by clicking HERE!

Gaudete Sunday: Real Men Wear Pink

15 December 2013

Posted by Kevin M. Clarke at his blog,
“The Charcoal Fire”

Happy Gaudete Sunday! It’s the day we light the pink candle in Advent. The name comes from the Latin of Phil. 4:4-5, which is the entrance antiphon for the Mass. Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus prope est.

For any whose Latin is rusty, gaudete means “Rejoice you (pl.) in the Lord always…” For my readers in Pittsburgh, gaudete, “Rejoice, y’ins!” My people in Virginia, “Rejoice, y’all!” “Rejoice, youse guys” in New York. (NB: unofficial translations of Sacred Scripture.)

The original language of Philippians was Greek, and in the Greek the word is χαίρετε, which reminds us of the angelic greeting to Our Lady, in which Gabriel addressed the Virgin saying χαῖρε Rejoice (sing.)!

Please continue after the jump>>>click HERE!

@BillyKangas asks: How will you be joining the Pope in prayer on December 10th?

9 December 2013

9 December 2013 Anno Domini
Posted by Billy Kangas at his blog,
The Orant


Francis has decided he’s going to try to end hunger through prayer! On December 10th, human rights day, the Pope is sparking off what’s being called, “a global wave of prayer” that will spread across the world starting noon in Australia and sweeping across the world. This will be the kickoff of a global campaign to end hunger by 2025. This is a global effort being spearheaded by Caritas Internationalis, joined by all its member organizations, and strengthened by other national leaders in ending hunger like Bread for the World.

On December 10th at noon, local time, join in the global wave of prayer by meeting with others in your community at noon and offering prayers on behalf of the hungry people in the world. Bread for the World has set up a prayer resource page with a number of prayers about ending hunger from a variety of Christian traditions. I was honored to be asked to contribute my own prayer, inspired by my Catholic liturgical tradition. Check it out and see if they are useful for you and your community as you gather in prayer to end hunger!

Now click below to read and pray Billy’s prayer…

Continue after the jump for the rest of Billy’s post…>>>

Father Nicholas: The REAL Santa Claus via @manwithblackhat

6 December 2013

6 December 2013 Anno Domini

sinterklaasPosted by David L. Alexander at his blog, ManwithBlackHat

When I was very young, some of my classmates would leave their shoes outside the bedroom door on the night of the fifth of December, so that Saint Nicholas would leave them treats.

We never did that at our house, but I did ask Mom how it was that Saint Nicholas got to be called Santa Claus. By this time I had already determined a connection between the two. But while my mother was salutatorian of her high school class — there were ten students at most, but that’s not the point — she was not one to wear her erudition on her sleeve. So, rather than go into an entymological treatise on the subject, she simply told me: “Say ‘Santa Claus’ three times real fast.” That carried me over for at least a few years.

Continue after the jump>>>> click HERE

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