Thursday, February 27, 2014

PBS Frontline Documentary - Secrets of The Vatican

Mass celebrated at St. Peter's Basilica

Recently PBS Frontline aired a documentary, Secrets of the Vatican, which I was inspired to watch. At first, I was somewhat suspect of the documentary from its title alone, and although I did try watch it with an open mind, in the end it only confirmed my suspicion, that it was a skewed presentation. The documentary spawned an on line discussion that included many views and opinions that were very secular in their tone, somewhat hostile and lacking what I considered to be an appropriate attitude. 

I decided to join the discussion to counter the overwhelming negative exchange of views. Hoping to change the tone and provide a more positive approach, I posted my comment. In addition to the PBS discussion, I decided to turn my comment into a blog post and in so doing, reach an even wider audience in the process.

You do not necessarily need to watch the documentary to fully understand the content of my comment, but it would certainly help if you did, just so you can see for yourself what type of presentation PBS aired on the Vatican. Below is my comment.


Beginning of Comment

After viewing this documentary and scrolling through all of the comments below, I would like to offer my thoughts that I hope will encourage everyone to direct their concerns into a much more positive direction.

Although there are many details that one could concern oneself with, the main thrust of any problems that may exist are a matter of a spiritual battle from an unseen enemy, who remains quiet and seems to have drawn very little attention from this documentary and this discussion. I am referring to the Evil One who works extremely hard to attack the Catholic Church and in particular the clergy. Make no mistake, their struggles against sin and temptation are greater because of the prize is greater for the Tempter, the Father of Lies, the Devil. Does this mean they are not responsible for their actions? Of course not. This is especially true for actual cases of sexual abuse. If clergy are leading double lives, involved in financial wrong doing or some other unethical activity, this should not be denied in any way. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's actions are indicative of this as he has defrocked over 400 priests, a fact that this documentary failed to mention by the way. I believe Pope Francis has a few battle fronts within, on matters that are of great importance for those within and outside the Vatican, and he is dealing with these battles, taking steps and making changes that will restore credibility and put things into proper order. No easy task to say the least. Please pray for him!

I firmly believe that Pope Francis' example, one of mercy, love and compassion should be at the fore front of any view and approach regarding any issue. The temptation to be righteous is and can be one that lacks mercy. As Catholics and Christians alike, we are called to be merciful and that has to mean something. Being merciful with your friend or family, is probably not that difficult, most of the time, but how much more significant and a proper response to be merciful is it, when it is extremely difficult, painful perhaps and even bitter. Will you only be merciful when it is easy or convenient or when you agree to be? No matter what the details may or may not be, this documentary is not a "carte blanche" for the public to begin a condemnation campaign, gossip and incite hatred. Remember what Jesus said to the mob about to stone the woman for adultery, "cast the first stone he who has not sinned."

More important that focussing on what this documentary chose to talk about, is praying for the clergy. For some, like myself who are Roman Catholic, this is especially important as it is line with what Our Lady in Medjugorje is telling us about how to think and care about our clergy. The answer is not in nasty and ugly discussion, but to direct your concerns into prayer. Our Lady states that our world is full of gossip and our priests do not need anyone's judgement. God will judge them accordingly to how they fulfilled their priestly duties and ministries, and God will judge us how we treated our priests. If you really care for the priesthood of the Catholic Church and the Church itself, pray for our priests because this is the best way you can help them. To criticize them harms them and does them no good. What ever you may know, pray for our priests and especially through the Rosary, the second most powerful prayer next to the Mass. You can find this important approach from the visionary Mirjana Soldo (formerly Dragicevic) at my blog, domenicmarando.blogspot.ca, in which I dedicate an entire post to this approach, entitled, "Medjugorje Message - Pray For Our Priests." You can find this post under the label, "Medjugorje."

Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us.


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End of Comment


If you would like, I encourage you to send me your thoughts, especially for those that have watched the documentary prior to reading this post.




Saturday, February 22, 2014

Yoga, Tai-Chi and Reiki: A Guide For Christians

Brother Max Sculley, author of Yoga, Tai-Chi and Reiki- A Guide For Christians

Today's post, Yoga, Tai-Chi and Reiki: A Guide For Christians, is based on a book of the same title written by Brother Max Sculley, a De La Salle brother based in Brisbane, Australia. It is the third selected resource from my research on the New Age that was listed on my initial post, The New Age: A Basic Introduction.

The publication of Brother Max's book serves as a timely warning against these popular mainstream practices that claim to provide wellness, health and relaxation, but in fact are closely linked to Eastern philosophies that are incompatible with Christianity.

Brother Max exposes the deceptive techniques in which devotees are invited to engage their minds to enter into an "altered state of consciousness," claimed to be necessary to provide any real benefit. This is where the danger lies.

Bishop Julian Porteous, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney in the Foreword, elaborates on the danger when he stated that the practitioner is introduced into a world inimical to the Christian faith. The entire process is synonymous to a "Trojan horse" for dangerous spiritual infiltration that can eventually lead to exposure to demonic forces and ultimately spiralling downward that any person who follows these religious philosophies to their full extent can find themselves worshipping a false God.

Bishop Porteous's Foreword is a concise and clear warning to Catholics and Christians alike, to completely avoid these practices. Porteou's observations of the subtlety upon which these practices have entered into the mainstream Australian culture is sure to resonate with many of us around the world. Much of what he describes mirrors the Canadian experience. With such practices having become a global phenomenon, it is incumbent upon all concerned Christians to be better informed. Porteou's Foreword will certainly encourage the reader to do just that.

Bishop Porteous extended his support for this publication with his presence and promotional effort at the Sydney book launching. The YouTube video of the book's Sydney launching is also available for viewing at my blog's sidebar. I definitely recommend you watch this brief five minute video as Brother Max concisely explains and alerts the viewer to the main dangers of these New Age practices.

Here in my own local community of Woodbridge, Ontario one that is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, there are several New Age shops operating within. Yoga appears to be the most popular. Not only are there dedicated Yoga shops, but most gyms and health clubs provide Yoga classes as well. This sad reality is an indication of a sharp decline in faith, one that has left many of my fellow Catholics and Christians alike, unaware of the spiritual dangers of these practices. I hope that this and subsequent posts on this subject matter will help to remedy this and raise the awareness level in my community, as well as to others in Canada and throughout the world.

A common thread amongst Yoga, Tai-Chi and Reiki is an "altered state of consciousness," which Brother Max describes as "abnormal states" that are brought on by a variety of techniques. Brother Max elaborates in the aforementioned video how these "altered states of consciousness" open our minds to demonic influences, changing our faith system and beliefs in the process. This can result in psychic gifts common to Yoga, Tai-Chi and Reiki and once we open ourselves up to these psychic powers, all sorts of difficulties can result.

One of the most interesting aspects of Brother Max's research is how practitioners of these New Age practices give no credence to the spiritual beliefs underlying them. I too have experienced similar findings in my awareness efforts. Typically, a practitioner will attempt to distance the techniques from the New Age spirituality. A common reply to my alerting others to the dangers of these practices has been, "it is only exercising or relaxation, we don't get involved in the spiritual aspect of it." This is a failure on the part of the practitioner to realize that by engaging in these practices, they allow for their minds to be altered, creating a void, which is completely contrary to Christian meditation and prayer and should be considered as Brother Max states in his video, "positively dangerous."

These "altered states of consciousness" are at the heart of New Age spirituality and are generally characterized by "...[A] significant reduction of logical thought and passivity of will." (8) Brother Max distinguishes such states from what the reader may characterize as daydreaming, genuine visions and ecstasies or prophetic revelations, all of which are not the result of induced techniques, but always a gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit and its relevance to proper Christian meditation, has been clearly explained by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the document, Some Aspects of Christian Meditation:
From the dogmatic point of view, it is impossible to arrive at a perfect love of God if one ignores his giving of himself to us through his Incarnate Son, who was crucified and rose from the dead. In Him, under the action of the Holy Spirit, we participate, through pure grace, in the interior life of God...As St. Ignatius says in the Spiritual Exercises, we should try to capture "the infinite perfume and the infinite sweetness of the divinity" (n. 124), going forward from that finite revealed truth from which we have begun. While he raises us up, God is free to "empty" us of all that holds us back in this world, to draw us completely into the Trinitarian life of his eternal love. However, this gift can only be granted "in Christ through the Holy Spirit," and not through our own efforts, withdrawing ourselves from his revelation. (20)
The aforementioned document is an essential read for anyone seeking to be properly informed and gain a correct understanding of Christian meditation. I have written about this document in my previous post, Some Aspects of Christian Meditation.

In essence, the New Age approach of "altered states of consciousness" directs the practitioner to create a void within. This is in sharp contrast to the Christian approach, as further noted in Some Aspects of Christian Meditation, where the emptiness that God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness and not necessarily the renunciation of those created things which God has given and placed amongst us. (19) So why the concern for these "altered states of consciousness?" As Brother Max points out, the negative ramifications of "ASC's " can result in mental illness, occult bondage, demonic influence and spirit possession. (9)

One such example of the negative ramifications of "ASC" is the case of Carl, an American parapsychologist and professor at a Mid-Western university, whose misguided curiousity led him to embrace deceptive New Age practices that eventually resulted in his demonic possession. It is a case of demonic possession that has been documented in a well known book on the subject matter by Malachi Martin's Hostage To The Devil.

The book is about the possession and exorcism of five contemporary Americans, Carl being one of them. Each case was given a specific name by Malachi Martin and in Carl's case, the name assigned to it was, The Rooster and The Tortoise. The case itself is a fascinating read as are the other four cases, each one revealing the complexity and sophistication upon which demons deceived their victims, striving to reach their ultimate goal, demonic possession.

In Carl's case, he was deceived by the notion that Christianity had become corrupt over the centuries coupled with a curiousity to discover the "real Church" by travelling back in time to its origins by means of "astral travel."

After Carl's exorcism, he lived the truth by following Christ. Part of that truth was an admission to his students of what he had done. Below is a partial quote of Carl's admission from The Rooster and The Tortoise:
...Solemnly and of my own free will, I wish to acknowledge that knowingly and freely I entered into possession by an evil spirit. And, although that spirit came to me under the guise of saving me, perfecting me, helping me to help others, I knew all along it was evil...I never enjoyed astral body travel, only the illusion of it...My central error, which was both intellectual and moral in character, concerned the nature of ordinary human consciousness...(403-4)
Carl's case is a prime example of the worst case scenario of the dangers of practicing ASC's in a disciplined way over an extended period of time. The inclusion of Carl's case is an indication of just how thorough Brother Max's research has been. It is a thoroughness that is equally matched by his brotherly love to share his research with Catholics and Christians alike and to all people of good will. Brother Max's brotherly love and sincerity can only be captured in his own words: 
Many Christians who practise yoga and tai chi seek to distance themselves from the pagan system of beliefs underlying each. What they fail to realise is that the mind-altering techniques which are an integral part of these practices, by themselves alone, present serious spiritual risks. My sincere hope and prayer is that this book may alert Christians, and indeed all people of good will, to the dangers hidden beneath the surface of these apparently innocent and healing arts. May those who have been already seduced by the sensations of bliss and the occult powers gained through them, come, through the Blood and Water which flow from the All-merciful Heart of Jesus, to that experience of the love of the one true God which surpasses all comprehension. (10)
For anyone serious about discovering the truth about Yoga, Tai-Chi and Reiki, Brother Max's book is a must read. In my view, it is one of "the" resources available that one should acquire in order to obtain a thorough and complete understanding of these New Age practices. This book is available for purchase from Connor Court Publishing

May your discovery of the truth be a reflection the Psalmist's plea, "Make me know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long." (Psalm 25)





Saturday, February 15, 2014

Some Aspects of Christian Meditation

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) when he served as Head of the
Congregation For The Doctrine of The Faith

When most people think of meditation, probably what comes to mind is something from Hinduism, Buddhism or some other Eastern religion. Catholics do not fair much better. Christian meditation is not something that many Catholics and Christians know much about. If you happen to fall into this group, today's post is definitely for you.

A considerable number of Catholics have abandoned Christianity and wandered to Eastern religions to discover what they have to offer them, failing to recognize that the Catholic faith provides for complete spiritual growth in the form of meditative prayer. I hope to help remedy this sad reality by focussing on the genuine tradition of the Catholic Church, one that ensures that meditation never loses the correct personal and communitarian nature. Today's post contributes to a series of posts I have been publishing on the New Age and forms part of an awareness effort that began on my blog with the initial post, The New Age - An Introduction. I have based today's post on the second source originally listed at the above noted initial post, the Vatican document Letter to The Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation. It was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) on October 15, 1989, on the Feast of Saint Teresa of Jesus. This document is key to understanding what constitutes authentic Christian meditation. I have included it in my research not only because it will help identify how Catholics should prepare and engage in meditative prayer, but it will also serve to "filter" out the many deceptive New Age practices, whose techniques and somewhat ambiguous language, entice many away from proper Christian meditation.

At issue are the erroneous "eastern methods" of meditation inspired by such religions as Hinduism and Buddhism, that include practices such as Yoga, Zen and Transcendental Meditation. Not only have such erroneous methods of prayer infiltrated Catholic parish communities, but they have been met with very little opposition. To make matters worse, these and other "eastern methods" have been embraced and promoted by those who clearly have failed to seek the truth about the New Age spirituality underlying their techniques and practices.

So, let us briefly review what is authentic Christian prayer. To begin with this understanding will enable us to clearly identify the errors presented by eastern methods. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, provided a concise and clear premise of what Christian prayer is: 
Christian prayer is always determined by the structure of the Christian faith, in which the very truth of God and creature shines forth. For this reason, it is defined, properly speaking, as a personal, intimate and profound dialogue between man and God. It expresses therefore the communion of redeemed creatures with the intimate life of the Persons of the Trinity. This communion, based on Baptism and the Eucharist, source and summit of the life of the Church, implies an attitude of conversion, a flight from "self" to the "You" of God. Thus Christian prayer is at the same time always authentically personal and communitarian. It flees from impersonal techniques or from concentrating on oneself, which can create a kind of rut, imprisoning the person praying in a spiritual privatism which is incapable of a free openness to the transcendental God. Within the Church, in the legitimate search for new methods of meditation it must always be borne in mind that the essential element of authentic Christian prayer is the meeting of two freedoms, the infinite freedom of God with the finite freedom of man. (3)
By clearly understanding what constitutes authentic Christian meditative prayer, we avoid the potential danger of falling into syncretism. Syncretism is the combining of different religions, cultures and ways of thinking. (12) Syncretism can occur when the truth is not known or understood. Under such conditions, many eastern religions and their New Age practices and ideas can infiltrate Christian communities and may be considered as positive inclusions to help people in a variety of ways. Yoga comes to mind immediately as it is typically categorized as an "exercise only activity with no spirituality attached." Nothing could be farther from the truth. The techniques in yoga have a specific purpose, part of which is to bring the practitioner into an "altered state of consciousness" which in itself is the gateway to exposing one to the demonic. If such dangers have become a reality in some parishes, then what is authentically Christian in Catholic meditation has become diluted, diminished and perhaps even completely vanquished from the understanding of those individuals who practice and promote eastern methods of meditation.

A key aspect of authentic Christian meditation involves an ascetic struggle and a purification from one's own sins and errors. (18) Let us not forget the words of our Saviour, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8) The Gospel lesson from this approach is a moral purification from the lack of truth and love, and on a deeper level, from our selfish instincts which are an impediment to recognizing and accepting God's will in its purity. (18) Once we free ourselves from our selfishness and passions, we then can proceed to be free in God, a true positive freedom. Employing such an approach is in essence a matter of self denial, served by the practice of mortification. It is through self denial that we are free to carry out the will of God and share in the freedom of the Holy Spirit. (18)

For Catholics and Christians alike, the approach of emptying oneself in no way implies a disconnect with the true God of Israel. The emptying of oneself that God requires is to put it concisely, a renunciation of personal selfishness and not the renunciation of those created things that God has given us and has placed among us for our earthly pilgrimage. Pope Emeritus Benedict XI, then Cardinal Ratzinger clearly makes point understood:
On this topic St. Augustine is an excellent teacher: if you want to find God, he says, abandon the exterior world and re-enter into yourself. However, he continues, do not remain in yourself, but go beyond yourself because you are not God: He is deeper and greater than you. "I look for his substance in my soul and I do not find it; I have however meditated on the search for God and, reaching out to him, through created things, I have sought to know 'the invisible perfections of God' (Rom 1:20)." "To remain in oneself": this is the real danger. The great Doctor of the Church recommends concentrating on oneself, but also transcending the self which is not God, but only a creature. God is "deeper than my inmost being and higher than my greatest height." In fact God is in us and with us, but he transcends us in his mystery. (19)
As Catholics and Christians alike, we must always remember that arriving at union with God, seeking HIm in meditation is His gift to us. We can not achieve this by some "technique" whether that involves the utterance of sounds or the abnormal movements and positioning of our bodies. Our desire and the opportunity to be emptied from all that inhibits us from being free in God, is God's gift to us for those who sincerely seek it. It is a gift that can only be granted in Christ through the Holy Spirit and never through our own efforts. (20)

As we journey on this earthly pilgrimage seeking a greater union with God, let us never forget that authentic Christian meditation always flows to the Father in Heaven. Our seeking God will be a matter of the Holy Spirit guiding us, through Christ, to the Father. (29) As I conclude this post, I would like to leave you with the following quote from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that captures the authenticity of Christian meditation: 
The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be "mastered" by any method or technique. On the contrary, we must always have our sights fixed on Jesus Christ, in whom God's love went to the cross for us and there assumed even the condition of estrangement from the Father (cf. Mk 13:34). We therefore should allow God to decide the way he wishes to have us participate in his love. But we can never, in any way, seek to place ourselves on the same level as the object of our contemplation, the free love of God; not even when, through the mercy of God the Father and the Holy Spirit sent into our hearts, we receive in Christ the gracious gift of a sensible reflection of that divine love and we feel drawn by the truth and beauty and goodness of the Lord. The more a creature is permitted to draw near to God, the greater his reverence before the thrice-holy God. One then understands those words of St. Augustine: "You can call me friend; I recognize myself a servant." (31)
If we truly seek God in meditation, let us not be deceived by the many New Age alternatives to Christian meditation. Rather, let us as Catholics and Christians alike, focus our efforts on true, authentic Christian meditation, which always has at its core, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer. May we never forget Christ's words to us, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)





Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici - The Vocation and Mission of The Laity in The Church and in The World

Pope John Paul II

Today I share my thoughts on Pope John Paul II's Christifideles Laici, a post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the vocation and mission of the lay faithful in the Church and in the world. Like so many of Pope John Paul's writings, Christifideles Laici is a treasure to draw from and one of the key documents the laity should be adding to their reading list. Christifideles Laici is a document that seeks to stir and promote a deep awareness of the laity's role in the Church, as individuals and within a group setting, striving to fulfill the mission of the Church. So important and relevant is Christifideles Laici that George Weigel in his book, Evangelical Catholicism refers to it in chapter nine, The Evangelical Catholic Reform of the Lay Vocation, as the, "...Magna Carta of the deep reform of the lay mission...a bold expression of the various evangelical roles of Christ's Faithful Laity..."  For those of you who may not be familiar with George Weigel, he is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Catholic theologian and a leading American public intellectual. He also holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies and was the individual personally selected by Pope John Paul II to write his official biography, Witness To Hope.

The laity have a very specific role in the Church's mission to evangelize and this is accomplished by "labouring in the vineyard." You might be wondering, what exactly does labouring in the vineyard mean? It is a reference that Pope John Paul II includes at the first paragraph where he states:
The lay members of Christ's Faithful People (Christifideles Laici)...are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew's Gospel: "For the Kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard" (Matthew 20:1-2).
Our "vineyard" is the vast world we live in, one that is to be transformed according to God's plan and in it, a multitude of men and women are called to labour in anticipation of the final coming of the Kingdom of God. (1) The call to "labour" is for everyone and how much more urgent and necessary is that call in today's Canadian society, one that is riddled with secularism, consumerism and a sharp decline in faith. As Pope John Paul II states, "...It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle." (3) The key underlying theme for the laity's role in the Church is to be active, to be doing something that contributes to its mission.

The laity have gifts that can contribute to the Church and its mission. Essential to those gifts being properly utilized is a process of discernment, discovery and development. This will take time, dedicated prayer and a realization that an adjustment needs to take place if one is serious about taking on any responsibilities and affecting a positive change. Crucial to the process is: the frequent reception of the Eucharist, and daily if possible, adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament and the daily recitation of the entire Rosary, that is all four sets of mysteries. By employing such a program, not only is one assured of clarity, inspiration, protection and guidance, but an abundance of graces necessary to effectively utilize God's given gifts. 

So the question remains, what can the laity do to labour in the vineyard? I think the first and very important point to remember in answering this question is to pay heed to the words of St. Gregory The Great, "Keep watch over your manner of life, dear people, and make sure that you are indeed the Lord's labourers. Each person should take into account what he does and consider if he is labouring in the vineyard of the Lord." (2) 

Consider labouring in the vineyard by your life example. By living a faithful life, you place God first in all things and this is reflected in the decisions you make, how you communicate and interact with others, what your involved in, your approach to matters, the life style you lead, all of which are indicative of your desire to cooperate with God's graces and plan for your life. By leading such a life, you are evangelizing all the time where ever you go, with whom ever you communicate and come into contact with. It is a life that not only seeks to live in communion with others as sincere gift of self, but also respects God and His creation in all things. It is a life that evangelizes by words and by actions, where your words are holy and of good repute and your actions are prompted by charity, justice and purity, spreading the Gospel of Christ to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

Considering labouring in the vineyard in your family. As an extension of the first consideration, the family becomes the primary place to be that life example, to your spouse and the children. The family is the Ecclesia domestica, the Domestic Church, where God is at the center of the family, providing graces, blessings, protection and guidance allowing both the father and the mother to transfer the faith to the children by their life example. This is primarily accomplished by attending Mass together as a family, and the daily recitation of the Rosary as a family. You may have heard the well known phrase from Fr. Patrick Peyton, "The family that prays together stays together." 

Consider labouring in the vineyard by networking or establishing an informal group with others who are like minded and possess similar gifts and interests that when pooled together, become effective tools of evangelization. As Catholics and Christians alike, we are not called to journey alone on this earthly pilgrimage. Labouring with others may involve a calling to a secular Order, such as the Third Order Carmelites, Secular Franciscans, the St. Vincent De Paul Society or the Knights of Columbus. Perhaps it may mean joining an apostolate such as the Rosary Apostolate or something else. What ever it may mean for you, the desire for community involvement should be apart of every conscientious Catholic's life. 

At times, part of labouring in the vineyard may primarily be an individual effort, where specific God given gifts are best utilized. There are many individuals and efforts that could fall into such a category, artists and writers comes to mind immediately. I know of one such individual in particular, Michael D. O'Brien, a Canadian Catholic artist and writer who seeks to restore Canada's Christian culture. O'Brien's labouring has resulted in many articles and interviews posted on the internet by Catholic news web sites, such as Lifesitenews.com. O'Brien's books are published in several languages and like his paintings, they are sold all over the world. To some extent, such examples of individual efforts will also involve the assistance and collaboration of others. The primary thrust may be on an individual level, but it leads to and connects with others, that help to improve and complete the end goal.

One thing is for certain, the Catholic laity must endeavour to respond in a very courageous and generous way to the urgency of "labouring in the vineyard" in today's society. Canada's moral disorder invites the laity to labour on many fronts: abortion, proposals for legalizing euthanasia, pornography, the teaching of sexual immorality in the education system, attacks on the family with "same sex marriages," and the promotion of homosexuality and New Age and occult elements in our communities. Our Canadian laws and practices do not respect God, His creation and the dignity of the human person. It seems that many Canadians have forgotten or perhaps never knew and understood of the existence of Canada's Christian heritage. All one has to do is visit a few Catholic news web sites to verify how far we have strayed from our Christian roots. In my view, all this is ample proof of the urgent necessity for the laity to do something. Hopefully and prayerfully, we the laity will respond accordingly and help to restore Canada to a "culture of life."