Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A prayer during Lent

O God,

While walking these days of Lent I pray you nudge me to be present to you and your way.

These 40 days of change, morphing and mending aim to help me celebrate Easter with a new enthusiasm.

Let me take these days seriously.

Help me connect with you more intently in prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

The way of the cross and the stations I walk remind me of the suffering Jesus suffered to show each of us how to give, forgive, and live life fully in you.

As I near the three great days of the Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I am reminded of this retreat for all believers.

Help me to hold close these days.

Lead me on with you.

I need to change as you invite followers to do so daily.

With help from Mary, Mother of God, mother of the Church, I pray.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dog Gone It!

Once upon a time, Woof and Wolf, my two-year-old Bichon Frise dogs, and, I lived together.

Not now.

Not anymore.

A few weeks ago, someone told me of a "heart-broken" woman and the death of her dog. That same person asked me if I would give her one of my dogs.

Well . . .

I took the request to the highest authority I know, namely God, and consulted with a couple of my closest friends also.

The rest is history.

But, not so fast!

The new family and resident, Wolf, are all content, reports indicate, and "they love to play with him," I was told.

But grief takes time.

I bet Wolf is adjusting also to his new home. Does he miss me?

And, two years living together in their puppy "growing" years is substantial enough to create rapport.

And, now, to feel the loss. There is an ache, for sure.

Loss of life, limb, love, and, pet is like that!

So. . .

I talk about Wolf and Woof. Especially Wolf. The good and not so good times of living together. The challenge. Yet, the memories. I relish thoughts of Wolf being there at the top of my stairwell when I come home after a day of counseling and pastoral carem or shopping, or church, or, the gym.

He's ready to play, to go for a walk, to be fed again from our lunchtime meet. . . and . . . well...

Woof has become a "new" dog, it seems, being King of the condominium where he and I reside.

Yes, Woof seems to like being without Wolf. Dog gone it! Well, you see, Woof is much smaller than his brother, Wolf, who seemed to dominate, and, wanted to be first in the door, first out, first to be fed, and . . .

Just look at Woof smiling now as I read this out loud to him. Happy as a lark, so to speak!

Woof, don't you miss Wolf?

He doesn't seem to mind Wolf being in another home. Not at all.

At all.

Not at all. My assumption. Must be some sadness, no Woofie?

Well . . .

Perhaps he was taught to "tough it out" when loss comes his way? (Not good, because swallowed grief becomes depression. Worse! My will he join the million who go on medication to get through this dark tunnel? Is he aware of this at all? Please God!)

I don't know? Will he need a dog counselor? Perhaps. (There are such practices also!)

I asked him if her misses his brother, Wolf, but, he keeps on wagging his tail, and trying to lick my face!

Ughhh..... And, he gets a lick in and I have to wash it clean and remind him not to lick!

Dog gone it!


It takes time.

This loss also. I will grieve. And, write, and journal, and talk. And . . .

Children will best appreciate this loss.

It's like the loss of their first pet fish, or . . .

They know.

They go through it also.

Good grief.

That's what I hope to embark on these months.

To grieve, but not as those who have no faith, as the first letter of John in the Good Book notes.

And, Lent, a forty-day retreat of sorts, getting in touch with the feelings of Jesus' own loss, abandonment by his closest friends, denial he felt, rejection, and, the whole set of feelings known to humankind (variations of mad, sad, scared!).

Good grief.

There is such a thing? (There is. Granger Westberg's, Good Grief, tells of ten stages of loss in a most succinct little tome with a price that is right also. It's the briefest, best book I've handed out to hundreds of people in the same boat I am now).

A grieving I go. . .


Good grief!

Dog gone it!

See, I'm doing it here, right now!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grief, Depression

Swallowed grief turns to depression over time for millions afflicted these days with this disease.

Grief must be processed or it may become depression.

Often, people are told to move on, and, encouraged not to process to loss of life, limb, love, or more. Consequently, years later, depression appears
and life is difficult.

Professionals, including pastors skilled in grief work can assist.

Waiting to talk through the loss is unwise.

Millions face depresson in this nation.

Grief is a normal process to cope with losses. And, it takes a year in many cases to process the pain. Avoiding the encounter kicks the can, as it were down the road. Later, the grief drops into depression and becomes a major issue for many.

Although grief identifies many, it does not have to be so. One is more than his or her grief.

Treatment works.

The blend of individual, group counseling, and medication is effective.

Waiting to work and walk through grief is not the way to go.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust +


Mortal. Immortal.


Never dying.

However one looks at the ashes of a burnt out building, or, the remains of burnt palm tree branches, the powdery black dust is what penitents will have dubbed in the form of a cross on their foreheads Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, a day of fast and abstinence.

Ashes were used for healing in the past.

Healing from sin - missing the mark of God's law described in sacred scripture.

Ashes remind believers that one is mortal. That is, that she or he will die one day.

Furthermore, ashes remind Catholics, for example, that they are dust and into dust we will return.

We will live forever and are immortal when we pass over into heaven, unless one has other plans.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a 40-day trek through Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's supper. Fasting, praying and almsgiving are pillars of Lent.

People fast from food on Ash Wednesday. They have only one meal with two other smaller meals that do equal the one main meal. They also abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday, days before Easter Sunday, commonly known as the Triduum - three great days of retreat reminding us of the suffering, dying and rising of Jesus the Christ.

These great days are quiet, stilling times to let go oft he false self, that is, the ego, and pretending to be other than who God made each of us.

Lent is a process.

A procession.

A walk with Jesus in the stations of the cross, for example.

Families, friends, and others may pray the 14 stations of Jesus' agony and death together.

Ready, set, go!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guard Your Body, Guardians, and Gifts

Whitney Houston's colleagues and actors eulogized her Saturday saying that the iconic voice would tell others: "Guard your body."

How appropriate.

Respect for the guarded body these days is critical especially for young people. And, the baby caught in the fray of another gunshot by a drive-through shooter. Shame on him or her who shot!

Angel of God, my guardian dear!

In a day and time when these sacred, living vessels and temples get little respect, it seems, holding one's body in respect merits much ink.

At Houston was raised up to pass over, God willing, her final film, Sparkle, with a summer release, reminds me of Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. Described as garrulous by pundits, the "light-hearted" pastor was named a "Prince of the Catholic Church" also the day Houston was praised in her home Baptist church in Newark, NJ.

Life does sparkle.

At time.

Other moments, life is without sparkle and joy that fills the face of Dolan each time I see him.

The phone rang out at Saint Sylvester Catholic Church in Warren, MI., and at Sacred Heart in Roseville, MI., this day for example, as parishioners called to find out their fate, their future.
Decisions to shutter or merge fledgling metropolitan Detroit area churches amid dwindling clergy to head them, we set to be posted at 4 pm this afternoon by the Archdiocese of Detroit's Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the corporation sole of all local churches.

Little sparkle will glow given some decisions the faithful will hear. The church they invested in in countless ways may be no more. Miles up or down the street may be required now as their place of worship is closed.

As a stream of people walked in and out of St. Sylvestor Church earlier, people expressed their opinions about the closures they awaited to see posted in what one thought was "hardly the pastoral way" to announce "major decisions."

"Less money and people," one elderly, and long-time parishioner chimed in shouting.

Dwindled resources, for sure.

Saturday as others were raised up in the like of Houston and Dolan, some facial expressions will look downward in grief, even depression over time.

After all, their home church may be gone for good.

I feel for them and all that church means to family.

Over, time, however, I have come to believe that God is in all things. After all, for a long time, I was taught that God is everywhere and all knowing, omniscient.

The Creator is that undoubtedly.

Last Saturday, another parishioner said:

"Perhaps the church has to die before it becomes or builds something else."

All I know it, I worry less these days, because I take a day at a time, and, in faith, say:

Don't worry about tomorrow, God is already there.

When I became exhausted decades ago as a young pastor in an inner-city parish no seasoned priest seemed to want, the bishop told me, a refrigerator magnet with those words on it consoled me, and, they continue to steer me today. I believe better.

And, I sleep better also with those wise words to guide me.

God knows what to do in all circumstances.

Perhaps, I'm not always listening, however, as the number of clergy seem to thin out the ranks daily.

But, God's there too!

Angel of God, my guardian dear! An assuring gift this gurdian is to me, to many, I bet.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Soliders Who Die

Forty-four years ago, on February 18th, my brother Lucas Ventline was killed in Vietnam.

1968 was a terrible year.

When news came, my parents and family were devastated.

Along with the 58,000 other Americans who died, I grieve the deaths of so many these days in battles across the globe, whether in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, among other tinder boxes awaiting to explode.

Lucas had months to go before returning home to Michigan.

Loss is never easy.

Grief becomes depression is left unprocessed and unfelt. Swallowed grief becomes depression.

Ever since his demise, I've had a special place in my heart for all service personnel and their families.

Ours in not to reason why, ours is but to do and die, comes to mind once more.

I miss my brother. At 23 he had much life to live yet.

War and its wounds wind around countless survivors, and those hurt in wars.

This primitive way of settling conflicts must be met with imaginitive and less violent means.

A Cheerleader for New York

Timothy Dolan is a champion for New York.

Even though he grew up in St. Louis, he now heads New York as its archbishop, and, will be elevated to cardinal Saturday.

Reports claim that he was asked to speak Saturday in Rome on the topic of evangelization.

Dolan wants to rebut his City's image as mired in sin, he said.

This fiesty follower of Jesus was at the Vatican early this week, welcoming pilgrims to the roof of the Pontifical North American College, a stone's throw from the headquarters of the Catolic Church.

On his head was a New York Giants Super Bowl victory cap. He was also wearing a New York Police Department windbreaker.

A cheerleader for New York, Dolan is an assertive and loyal son of the Church who speaks up.

I always appreciate his willingness to engage in a conversation, and, to get the job done, whatever that may happen to be.

As president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dolan wants to continue to call the church to reform, and to bring people closer to Jesus. He protests any semblance of being a gate keeping people from God.

Unafraid to speak the truth to power, New York's leading cheerleader in the faith, is an asset to the people and pilgrims who support this effective churchman.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weather Wondering

The weather has been unusually warm these days when winter in Michigan, for example, has been in an ice box in the past with much snow in this winter wonderland.

What is the meaning of these changes?

Who is telling us why?

How is plant life, and, flowers, among other plants being affected as they are blooming earlier these days?

One commentator said that the blooming buds will grow "incorrectly," whatever that means?

However the climate's creation is affected, it seems that responsible stewarding is best.

Care for all of creation helps to leave a legacy to those who follow us.

At times, it seems that inhabitants of this good earth may think only of themselves to the detriment of those who come after us.

God's creation calls for care for all.

While the weather is strange, it seems that it is enjoyed by all nevertheless. Icy streets for the elderly puts them at risk.

They seem to rejoice the most in weather-friendly climates.

At least, in Michigan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fresh Face

All God's beauty shines in the smiles of so many fresh faces one meets in life.

Small faces.

Tiny. Large. Young. Older. Wiser. Faces with color.





And, happy faces.

Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World comes to mind thinking about people's faces linking with passers-by.

The music and melody makes me appreciate the fresh faces I meed each day.

In the West Indies these past days, various faces confirmed the beauty of life and the Artist's creations across the globe.

People of all sorts and smiles sail on by, say hello, talk some, and walk on by amid a greeting that gladdens these faces.

Fresh like the ocean's new blue waves, I savor the sights.

The dignity of each is punctuated with postures that connect with humans of all kinds.

This sacred scene inspires me to savor life's moments.

Miracles of moments as one marches through life's merry moments.

And, sorrowful times like that of a 60-year-old gal who was afflicted and carried by helicopter to San Juan recently.

Despite efforts to save her, her family told of her demise due to complications, days later.

The brevity of life diminishes one's breathing moments. Yet, life's shortness makes me appreciate a sun rising in the morning. Or, the rain pouring.

What a wonderful world!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


In the West Indies, pilgrims visit islands, like Saint Kitts, for example.

The pastoral green mountains adorn this colorful island with rain forests.

The host country is generous, smiling, always, reaching out with hospitality.

Safari beaches, sofa stone hikes and the Brimstone Hill Fortress and Fairview Great House are among the panoramic Saint Kitts, miles from St. Lucia, and, St. Martin, south of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Pilgrims make visits to holy sites, like I did to St. Anthony Church, a modest, spotless edifice where quiet is welcomed by the pilgrim. As is warmth of the sun, food, and water, for sure.

One the pilgrim's path is a favorite prayer I repeat daily:

Angel of God,
my guardian dear
to whom God's love
commits me here.

Ever this day (night) be at my side
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.


Members Wanted

Membership at gyms requires a fee for play.

Family chores are a way members of a household bond and build deep relationships among parents and children, for example, also.

Membership also entails an annual commitment, for example, for a year at Fitness 19, where I paid $5 per month for one year. That was a Christmas special for a limited time. L A Fitness, who recently took over Bally's requires an annual fee for members, also. A local library may also charge a fee to use the books stored there, along with newspapers, magazines and more.

Good deals are also searched. Although Fitness 19 doesn't have showers, for example, my membership is limited, it seems since I cannot work out during my lunch time daily. Oh well!

Like life, you win some and lose some. One doesn't get everything one wants or needs. One learns this and pays dearly for it if she or he protests when a teen, for example. That's another blog.

To commit is the harder chore. Shifts seems to be short thrift when it comes to joining these days. Decades ago, people committed, and helped, and looked out for each other. Not so so much today.

For fruitfulness in the contract paid "up front" one has to use the gym facility, to illustrate my point, or, one is wasting his or her money. Not a good thing!

Wasting is a sin - missing the mark - I was taught as a Catholic Christian.

At the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue, recently, I picked up their application for membership and noticed the charge. Not a bad way to get members to commit, I thought.
There's annual, monthly and 6-month options.

A good deal for the rebounding Motown Detroit where that gem of the Motor City rocks with best-kept secrets. Among them are museums and more, including the Edsel's Folly, and the evolution of the automobile that still makes this town famous.

The federal government with the U.S. President helped reach out and lifted a hurting Big Three, excluding one who refused the hand since they didn't need it.

Even cars have guarantees for a limited time. You may say that this is part of the built in contract price the buyer makes to keep the car in efficient repair and motion, for sure!

Discipleship is another word for commitment, membership, o, duties included.

What a price it is to be a follower of the Master Jesus, for example, like the twelve apostles who grew the Way into a community of seventy-two disciples, and much more, at its beginnings in the time of Jesus. He attracted so many despite persecutions and Christians tossed to the lions in the huge stadiums of the day. His preaching attracted countless numbers while others continued the Way.

Emperors have their price.

If one didn't follow them and their own means of governing or even controlling the crowds, Christians paid the ultimate price for Jesus the Christ. Dying for the faith is called martyrdom.

Membership, you may say, requires daily dues. It's a good thing. Time is precious and urgent like the Gospel.

Among duties of followers of the Christ was the mission of taking the good news to the four winds, and the ends of the earth.

Eye contact today seems to require commitment. Therefore, people may find it difficult to be a member of the Catholic Church, for example.

Too costly.

Too much commitment.

A price to pay.

A mission to lead them for the common good of society's being lifted up to the highest aim of sanctity and holiness for the world to glow and grow well in each believer.

Such light illumines and attracts others to join.

Goals, like rungs on a ladder, encourage others to to set a pilgrim's plan, a treatment plan, an aim to shoot for, so to speak.

One's duty.

Membership matters.

It costs.

It costs one's life, in fact.

All is well and better in society, at home, and school, as a result of members who are committed to pay the price today.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lists, Litanies

Grocery store lists.

Things "to do" lists. A "honey-do" list.

Another lists for daily reminders to round out the day, or week for that matter, let alone the month's goals and objectives.

A ladder-like list to the top of the ladder one aims for in the search for wellness, recovery and health, for example.

People like lists.

Others hate them, and those who note lists.

(After all, wasting time is a sin - missing the mark - I was taught early on at home, and, in school at Saint Thomas the Apostle on Detroit's east side).

Homes for sale, or rent, or, to buy are listed, or at least, compiled.

A roster of team players is marked.

Classmates are listed for my high school reunion in Troy, Michigan October 6th.

Earlier, names of my kindergarten class were listed by Mrs. Forner who stood me facing the wall when I was unable to tie two loops in my tennis shoe laces.

And, Mr. Zydek must of marked my name as unable to sing when he told me to sit down: "You can't sing!" Years later, I overcame that tape in my mind and memory.

Saints are listed in a litany also.

Lawrence, an early church deacon, to illustrate my point - a table server and helper of orphans and widows to free the apostles of Jesus for other matters - is my personal patronal name with whom I was baptized as an infant in 1949.

These heroic lists of women and men who often died for the faith as martyrs, mark my remembering on All Saints Days, especially, November 1st, each years. Listed is a festival of saints who inspire the faithful to aim higher, deeper in love for of God.

The preachers, Peter and Paul, for whom the first Cathedral Church of Detroit, downtown, was named, led the fledgling yet growing in leaps and bounds "Way" of Jesus across the globe.

Saint Anthony is the patron of lost items. People intercede to him to find things losts.

Thomas the Apostle, a doubting believer in Jesus the Christ's risen life, came to believe by pressing his fingers to his side and hands.

Butler's Lives of the Saints, lists many more saints of multiple litanies - long lists of names of saints, or, Mary, for whom deep veneration is held.

Lists. Litanies.

We need them.

We call upon their help in times of dosolation and consolation.

Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

Amen. So be it. It is true. Verdad.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Universal Mark

Mass began with an invitation to pray and say what I say, as Catholics are getting used to the New Roman Missal, the guide for Sunday worship.

"And also with me," the presider in Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, quickly added.

Unity. Union. Oneness, I thought.

Across the country, let alone encircling the globe, one, holy Catholic and apostolic, are marks of the Church.

The union and communion with the community of worshippers in this church was obvious to me.

One we were together at this 10 am praise time this bright and beautiful day when over 900 people filled the pews as the choir chimed out from on high in the back pews and lifted-loft-like
perch from where the hymns and melodies ministered as music should - to one's soul.

Smiles abounded as churchgoers shared the sign of peace before they each processed forth to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

Before this profound moment in the Catholic Mass, the rich and abundant fare of the Word of God from the Sacred Scriptures, filled the sound system and ears of participants.

"Full, active and conscious participation," the clarion call of Vatican II for liturgy, resounded as people seemed engaged throughout the hour service.

The Gospel "good news" according to St. Mark in the Christian Scriptures, told of the healing of Simon Peter's mother-in-law, who waited on all in the house after Jesus' healing touch of her fever.

Prayer and fasting were emphasized by the preacher.

As Jesus did often before significant and defining moments and miracles overcoming evil or the devil, people were asked to give up a beer on Superbowl Sunday.

"Wait for the next commercial," the Monsignor suggested, "before another one."

Religious freedom was the theme of a letter of Thomas Wenski, the Archbishop of Miami, Florida. Quiet filled the spaces between words pressing from the page-long pastoral letter.

The letter complained of "an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States direcrectly, and, that strikes at the funamdental right to religous liberty for all citizens of any faith."

"The federal government, which claims to be "of, by, and for the people," has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people - the Catholic population - and to millionsmore who are served by the Catholic faithful."

Most employers "will be forced to offer their employees' health coverage that includes sterlilizaton, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception," the preacher continued, reading the hierarch's admonition.

This is an attack that tramples religious freedom. It is about more than contraceptives as some may conclude.

For more on this assault, visit

In the vestibule, after Mass, I greeted others. One gentleman asked me about where he could locate the letter that was read during the homily.

The red-colored, printed coat of arms and letters of the bishop, was inserted into the weekly bulletin publication Catholics get after Mass on Sundays.

As we chatted, the same parishioner wanted me to have a booklet, entitled, "Obama and Islam."

Graciously, I accepted it as he welcomed me to his business place to secure it.

A universal mark of oneness, I thought. We were one with each other as Catholics thorughout the world are united.

We shared stories, imagination, his childhood remembrances of insence while serving as an alter boy decades ago, and more.

We are one, I thought.

Catholic blood flows in solidarity and union, I recalled, and told him so.

The vibrant, well-read 73-year-old, widely smiled like those who did earlier at the sign of peace greeting given to each other before receiving Holy Communion at Mass.

A universal mark.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Show Time

People show up.

It matters.

To many, showing up is essential to roots and relationships.

Children's dignity is enhanced when parents show up at shows, for contests, debates, report cards, and more, for example.

Like presence, showing up is key to so much more.

People heal up when one shows up with prayer for the hospitalized or home-bound, or incarcerated parishioners.

Studies show that relationships and roots are vital for one's wellness, and, quality of life.

Esteem and worth builds when others show up, show concern for one undergoing surgery, express feelings for something nice done, or, when one is remembered.

Life is like that.

I know that mentors of mine showed up often when I needed them most.

The late Eleanor Josaitis and Father William Cunnigham, among so many more, were like that.

They showed up.

Phil Marcus Esser, a folksinger in Nevada, remembers Josaitis and Cunnigham just showing up at his shows.

I remember dad and mom always having my Uncle Wally show up to walk us to school when my parents had to work to get the seven of us through private school.

When the Good Humor truck's bells rang out on our Arcola Street block on Detroit's east side, for ice cream sales, that showing up was certainly important.

A lick of strawberry shotcake on a stick engendered joy in most of us youngsters.

Showing up for team sports, cardgames with friends, and church each Sunday, for sure, is a routine I appreciate to this day. Routines and regular cycles are fruitful. They maintain health and wellness.

The consolations and desolations, joys and sorrows of life, and the roller-coaster-like ride of this spiritual life of good and bad times, brings beams of radiance within one despite life's trying times.

After all, no one can steal one's joy.

Showing up.

One's joy shows up with the rest of life's good times when others show up.

Like is like that.

We all know that at one time or another, thanks be to God.

There's something about showing up.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First Freedom

The first freedom of the Founding Father of this Nation is religious liberty, noted in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

"Conscience is the most sacred of all property," James Madison, a Founding Father, firmly held.

While religious liberty is threatened these days across the globe, awakening to this trampling is vital to a civilized people. Take, for example, the Mexican Catholic Mary Elizabeth Macias Castro who was murdered last September for exposing the activities of drug cartels. A deacon in a Macomb County church told me this week that corruption is so enmeshed in the life and society of Mexico and its borders, that anyone perceived as a threat to that corruption is a target. Christians flee countries for fear of their lives being taken by terrorists, among others.

Some people view the Government's desire to offer more preventative services in the contraceptive mandate that tests religious freedom as an attack on the Catholic Church, especially, but moreso, religious liberty. The insurance mandate requires employers to offer health plans with no-cost birth control for women, among other procedures, as a move that impinges on the conscience of some Americans.

Religious liberty is at stake here.

And, in the U.S., a contraceptive mandate now tests religious freedom.

That's entanglement of government with church, and religious freedom when it comes to its inner affairs and beliefs. Weeks ago, in the Hosanna-Tabor decision upholding the right of churches to make ministerial hiring decisions, the Supreme Court reaffirmed religious freedom, unlike ObamaCare that tramples some beliefs.

The Pew Forum estimates that Christians face persecutions in 133 countries, representing two-thirds of all nations on earth, the National Catholic Reporter noted recently.

A culture of life opposes a contraceptive approach to dealing with life. The natural law is a priority here.

When someone who is hungry goes to the local Catholic Church in Detroit, or, Harrison Township, MI., for example, for food, the receptionist does not ask if he or she is
Catholic. That's an example of why the Catholic Church is not exempt from the President's
insurance mandate. We feed all faiths. Jesus encouraged such efforts.

The Catholic Church defends religious freedom, including freedom of conscience, for all people.
Amish people are respected by the government for living without health insurance. Similarly, Christian Scientists who are exempt from the new health-care reform law are respected.

Why not Catholics?

This health care shouldn't come on the back of trampling religious freedom and conscience.

Erosion of one's first freedom here at home challenges citizens to stand up in the public square.