Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

A few nights ago, I was sitting in Golden Corral with my family to celebrate a couple birthdays.  In my family, all the birthdays fall into a couple different parts of the year (February/March, June/July, August, and November), so around that time, the entire extended family get together for dinner to celebrate.

I had just gotten back from school for spring break the night before and was still recovering from the time change and the late night of traveling. My mom was sitting across the table from me talking to the people around us about my school. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something along the lines of, “Franciscan has such a wonderful, conservative environment.”

That’s when I zoned back into the conversation and felt the need to correct her that it’s not the conservative environment that Franciscan University of Steubenville is known for, its the Catholic environment. To my mom’s credit, she was talking to my dad’s side of the family who aren’t Catholic, and have very strong conservative views, so she may have said that due to the audience, but I really felt a need to clarify this confusion:

Franciscan University is not a conservative school, it’s Catholic. YAF-logo

At the beginning of the school year, the Young America’s Foundation released a list of its Top Conservative Colleges to give young Conservatives a list of schools that will allow them to harden and deepen their conservative values. Franciscan University was on the list.  I don’t disagree with YAF’s categorizing Franciscan University, especially since it did acknowledge Franciscan’s Religious Environment. However, it’s political standing should not influence a student’s decision to go there.

Franciscan has never classified itself to one political view. As long as the Franciscan TOR friars and sisters are there, it probably never will. Some folks would argue that is does declare itself a conservative organization due to its involvement in the March for Life and opposition to the HHS mandate.

marchforlife2Franciscan sent aprox. 500 students to the 2014 March for Life earlier this January. Student’s braved the cold to march for those who couldn’t. They go every year because its students are passionate about defending every human’s right to life. They even have  a small tomb where the bodies of aborted babies have been laid to rest where students can pray and meditate.

Franciscan was also among the first universities to speak out against the HHS mandate, particularly because it forced employers to pay for late term abortions.  They even went as far as to file a federal law suit which was later dropped.

Due to both of these events, as well as many others, many have confused Franciscan for being a Conservative University. But both issues are a result of Franciscan University sticking to its Catholic identity. Students who attend Franciscan go because it is “Academically Excellent and Passionately Catholic”. Over 700 students attend daily mass and the same number join the on-campus faith households.

Steubie 007

Franciscan University Tomb of the Unborn Child where the bodies of aborted children have been laid to rest.

It just created a new core in order to help students become better informed and educated classes, requiring all students to take at least 9 credit hours on the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and on Christian Morals and Principles. The presence of the TORs is crucial in maintaining that Catholic identity that survived the 70s and 80s, unlike other Catholic institutions like University of Notre Dame, Gonzaga University, Creighton University, and Georgetown University (just to name a few).

I really encourage y’all, when discussing Franciscan University, don’t call it conservative. While it is a very conservative university with very similar ideas and missions, it’s not. It’s never identified itself as conservative. It’s Catholic. It runs based on what the Catholic Church teaches and knows is true.

Franciscan is a wonderful school that produces incredible young Catholics who are so passionate about their faith and using it for good.  Even in the seven  months I have attended, I have decided to no longer identify myself as a conservative like I did in high school. I (like Francican) am Catholic, both politically and religiously.

Any American kid who went to grade school can remember sitting in their first grade class, in front of a black and white coloring page with the Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Purple (Violet) Crayola colored pencils in their hand as their teachers taught them about ROY G. BIV, a name that can help with memorizing all the colors of the rainbow in order. They would bring their coloring page home and put on the refrigerator for the entire house to see. They step back and marvel at their drawing, excited to hear what the rest of the family thinks. images

We’ve grown up around the rainbow. We see it after it rains, we draw it on the corners of our papers when we are supposed to be paying attention to our professor’s lectures. It’s in advertisements; it’s sung about by famous musicians like Bob Marley, Jessie J., even Kermit the Frog. Political activist like Nelson Mandela have used it.

I remember walking around my house as a little girl humming the Wizard of Oz song “Over the Rainbow“, wishing I was Dorthy Gale and my house would take me to a magical colorful land where I would become best friends with a scarecrow and a lion, but knowing it wasn’t going to happen because their weren’t powerful tornadoes where I grew up.

It’s a symbol that has become very familiar to us. We’ve almost become numb to it.

However, people started using the rainbow in the 70’s the as a symbol for the Gay Rights Movement. It was adopted San Francisco (surprise, surprise) during the San Franciscan Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade (Source). It has since become an international symbol for the LGBT community. I  cannot see colorful stripes anywhere with out assuming it’s part of the LGBT rights movement. 

Taken from Google

Taken from Google

When Google put out it’s colorful logo in support of LGBT athletes in the Olympics and in protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws, the world didn’t have to question what the logo meant. The media’s focus on Russia’s treatment of its LGBT community has taken the focus from the Olympics and on the LGBT movement.

Joseph_Anton_Koch_006

God creating a covenant with Noah.

Why has the respect for the rainbow been changed so much? Why is it that I can’t look at the rainbow without thinking of the LGBT movement? What is so prideful about the rainbow?

The rainbow is a Christian symbol that many Christians have seemed to have forgotten. I grew up hearing the story of Noah’s Ark and the story of how God put the rainbow in the sky as a promise to never flood the earth again.

However, the rainbow is more than just a promise from God. It’s a covenant (Now be prepared because I’m about to go into some deep, deep theology that I don’t fully understand, so we’ll see how this goes). The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines covenant as:

Here is a visual that explains it better than I can from the Calvary Community Church in Arizona.

Here is a visual that explains it better than I can from the Calvary Community Church in Arizona.”A solemn agreement between human beings or between God and a human being involving mutual commitments or guarantees…which will never pass away” (See the full definition here).

“A solemn agreement between human beings or between God and a human being involving mutual commitments or guarantees…which will never pass away.” (See the full definition here)

The Lord makes Covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and us, through our Lord Jesus Christ. A covenant is beyond a simple promise. It’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I admit that I’m not intellectually at the theological level to fully understand the meaning and importance of a covenant, but based off what I do know about it, it’s pretty amazing.

The Rainbow is a sign from God, or a reminder of the covenant he made with Noah that He won’t ever destroy the earth by flood again. It’s a symbol of God’s faithfulness to us. Thanks to the rainbow, God cannot be viewed as a monster who destroys the earth for his satisfaction or personal gain. He can be views as a God with infinite mercy and grace.

The rainbow is seen again at the very end of the Bible. In Revelation, John saw the rainbow surrounding the throne of heaven (Rev 4:3) and as well as upon the head of an angel (Rev. 10:1).

Notice that the rainbow is at the beginning and at the end of the Bible?

It’s time for Christians to take back the rainbow; to recognize it’s beauty and importance; to understand that even though the LGBT community use it for their rights, it wasn’t their right to take it from Christians and twist it into a symbol of pride.

The rainbow is a symbol of love, mercy, and promise. It’s a symbol from God that should never had been twisted and formed into something that it’s not.

I’m going to leave you with this verse from the Book of Ezekiel:

“Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” (Ez 1:28)

It’s ironically hilarious how the United States seems to be reacting to the recent documentary, Blackfish. I haven’t actually seen the documentary myself, and I certainly don’t plan on seeing it anytime soon, but I find it ironic the way people react seeing the killer whales in captivity when they don’t quite understand what is happening to their own species right in their neighborhood (That’s right, I pulled that card…).

Ask anyone who knows me well, Abortion is a topic that makes me angry.  Tell me that men should marry men, I might avoid that argument; tell me that all America should embrace a free health care mandate, not worth getting into a discussion; tell me that Obama is a great president, I’ve got better things to do than point out how uniformed the population is.

Tell me that abortion should be legal and for all cases, no matter how developed the child is, that is a discussion I cannot refuse.

The whole situation makes me mad. Not always at the mothers, I can’t imagine the turmoil that some of them go through, the feeling that there is no way out, the regret, the guilt, the shame.

However, I have also realized that there are people who are already currently mothers with two or three children who simply don’t want another one. The people that make me most angry are the people who surround those women; the men who father those children, her parents, the clinic’s doctors and nurses, especially the clinic staff.

In almost every testimony I’ve heard about abortion, the woman are not allowed to see the screen of the ultrasound, or hear their child’s heart beat because it’s those images and sounds that prove how human and alive the child is; it’s when they see those images that they change their mind and walk out, then the clinics don’t get paid.

Abortion makes death a business.

minion

What I also don’t understand is at what point does life and children and being pregnant stop being of value to a woman. Having one child is enough to convince many that life is precious and shouldn’t be wasted, especially by a vacuum.

Yet some women with children already, don’t see the value in their unborn children. They can’t recognize that it’s more than a fetus.  If they can’t see it in their unborn child, who says they can see it in the living ones? What next if the pro-abortion group keeps growing? Killing a kid after being born because of it’s funny looking nose?

The pro-life movement is growing. More and more people are realizing the horrors of abortion, no matter their religion or political parties. The pro-life movement is full of young people. But why is that? Because it’s our generation that is being massacred. Those being killed are the ones who were supposed to be our brothers and sisters, our classmates, our friends, our lovers,

“Young people are rejecting abortion these days,” said Barbara Meara, chairman of New York State Right to Life. “The 18 to 25-year-olds are the most pro-life group in the country, according to a number of different polls.”

The Susan B. Anthony Foundation claims “In 2012, those identifying as ‘pro-choice’ reached their smallest numbers since polling began. As the number of pro-life Americans begins to grow, the pro-choice movement has seen its numbers dwindle. The Pro-Life Majority is growing!”

The largest and strongest group of people pro-life appear to have been born after Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court Case that made abortion legal in 1973.  Irony? I think not.

Check out some more statistics on the growing Pro-Life movement with Gallup.

One of the things that drives me crazy when talking with someone who isn’t Catholic (or particularly religious) is when they make the claim that the Catholic Church is boring, outdated, and needs to consider rethinking its teaching to appeal to the modern world.  Let me go on a quick little tangent here about why the Catholic church is awesome.

  1. We have a patron saint against oversleeping (Saint Vitus)
  2. There are a lot of us. With over 1.2 billion Catholics world wide, not to mention our buddies the angels and saints, we are not a force to be reckoned with
  3. Our protestant brothers like to say we don’t know The Bible, but guess who put The Bible together?
  4. We have awesome Popes. Pope John Paul II used to sneak out of the Vatican to go skiing in the Alps. Who said Catholics can’t have a good time?

That’s just to name a few things. Note that none of that mentions the Eucharist, how awesome Mary is,  or how awesome the Sacraments are. If I go into details on any of those, I’ll be talking all day… However, as a Catholic in a modern world, it is really hard to keep up with the church doctrine. There is over 2000 years of sacred writings and doctrines and writings from saints. It’s hard for me to find time to pick up my Bible, let alone read everything the church has released about every subject imaginable.

Part of that is also the way society runs now.  We are constantly on the go, go, go.  We can quickly access the things we want to know with a few clicks.  I have access to an unending amount of information and it sits comfortably in my back pocket.  When I want information, I want it now.  It takes a lot of patience to read, reflect, and interpret the documents that come my way. Usually it’s a quick skim of the first page and I’m done with no plans to think about it again.

In my personal, humble, unprofessional opinion, the Church isn’t utilizing a key tool that can be used to bring those who have lost the faith, back into church on Sundays. The tool that can be used to allow the voices of liturgical geniuses like St. Paul, St, Augustine, and St. Francis to be heard world wide, to make them go “viral”.

Obviously the church is trying. There is this adorable picture of Papa Benny trying to understand twitter:

Taken from abcnews.com

Taken from abcnews.com

Or this adorable picture of Papa Franny taking selfies with some excited Catholic youth:

theverge.com

theverge.com

We have our foot in the door when it comes to seriously using the media in a positive way to help us, we just have yet to bust down the door with our awesomeness.  Some people do have it figured out.  They’ve been able to use the media and modern technology.   For instance, Cardinal Sean O’Malley runs a very popular blog which attempts to appeal to the younger members of the Catholic Church or Jennifer Fulwiler, a woman who grew up a hard-core atheist, but became Catholic and recorded all of it in an inspirational blog about her journey.

The New Media is our new link to the Sacred Tradition. With the new media, we don’t need to spend hours translating the Saint’s words and writings, we don’t have to carry a 100lbs copy of St. Faustina’s diary when we can easily access it on our E-Readers, we don’t have to be helplessly confused about St. Augustine’s Confessions when we can get help from bloggers who have made it a mission to read and understand the texts with just a few clicks.

Jesus Christ promised to make his apostles “fisher’s of men” (Matthew 4:19) following his death, resurrection, and ascension. They went out and preached, some dying for the cause. Their words were heard around the world. The faith spread like wild fire. The new media is a bigger, stronger, thicker net and it will keep their lives and their words alive.  If used right, the media could be the key to giving the church its rightful place in human heart.

And remember

Taken from catholicmemes.con

Taken from catholicmemes.con

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