Lay Witness Magazine

Apostle to the Gentiles: Talking about Our Veneration

Scott Hahn From the Jan/Feb 2009 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine Many Catholics are skittish about reading St. Paul. His texts, after all, were most invoked by Martin Luther and John Calvin during the controversies of the sixteenth century. And much later anti-Catholic propaganda has also drawn heavily from the Apostle. As the theologian Frank Sheed once said, “A man can never feel quite the same about even the nicest book if he has just been beaten round the head with it.” Yet here comes the Holy Father asking us to spend a whole year publicly venerating St. Paul! So … Continue reading

Ask CUF: How Can My Health Care Surrogate Help with End-of-Life Choices?

I’m looking for information that would be useful for a health care surrogate who will soon have to make some difficult choices. She wants to follow Church teaching, but isn’t clear about how to do so. First, it’s worth noting the ways in which a person can direct his own future medical care should he become incompetent. Without getting into legal complexities, there are generally two ways. Advanced medical directives (also called advanced health care directives) are legal written statements in which a person specifies which treatments he is willing and/or refuses to undergo. Durable power of attorney is also … Continue reading

CUF Mailbox – January/February 2009

CUF From the Jan/Feb 2009 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine Dear CUF, As we strive to do the Lord’s work of promoting the culture of life, perhaps Lay Witness could raise awareness of babies affected by trisomy and their courageous families who have heroically chosen life for their children. I believe your readers would be captivated by their stories. Keep up the great work. -Michael J. Hennessey San Antonio, TX Editor: This month at, readers will find Tom Nash’s moving tribute to his sister Mary, who was born with Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21). Dear CUF, This isn’t a question, … Continue reading

Dying to Live

Msgr. Charles M. Mangan From the Jan/Feb 2009 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine It is likely that Catholics who regularly attend Mass have heard more than once an explanation of St. John 12:24-“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”-similar to this: Our Lord Jesus Christ was referring to His own death and its incredible, long-lasting spiritual dividends to help His listeners to understand that all of Christ’s followers must die in order to live. This interpretation is only strengthened … Continue reading

Evangelizing the Third Millennium – CUF’s 40th Anniversary Refreshes and Inspires

David Mills From the Jan/Feb 2009 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine With all the idealism and fervor of the convert, Scott Hahn asked his sponsor why so few Catholics believed everything the Church teaches. That is the wrong question to ask, his sponsor told him. “The real question is: How do we believe?” Meeting in Pittsburgh in mid-October, Catholics United for the Faith celebrated 40 years of helping faithful Catholics answer that question and of defending a Catholicism faithful to the papacy and engaged with the world that needs it. The conference began on Friday evening with a banquet and … Continue reading

FOCA Cosponsors

Are your representatives cosponsors of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)? The below links take you to THOMAS, a source for legislative information from the Library of Congress. Senate Co-Sponsors (19 cosponsors) House Co-Sponsors (109 cosponsors) You can contact your representatives by fax, email, or phone. Full contact info can be found at and You can also call the U.S. Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Learn more about Fighting FOCA.

Forgotten Treasures

Common Objections Leveled Against Encyclicals by Peter A. Kwasniewski In the past six issues of Lay Witness I have been celebrating and commending some of the most excellent, though too often forgotten or ignored, papal documents of the past century. In these ever-timely gifts from the throne of the Sovereign Pontiff, we find rare nourishment for intellect and heart that few other resources can match (as Benedict XVI’s Spe Salvi has once again demonstrated—what an encyclical!). In the year of grace 2008 we will continue to explore these forgotten treasures, this time setting our sights on Bl. Pius IX, Leo … Continue reading

From the Editor’s Desk – January/February 2009

Sarah Rozman From the Jan/Feb 2009 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine My great-grandmother died when I was 12. She was 98 years old. I remember thinking, at the time, that it was too bad she couldn’t have made it just two more years to 100. But God has His own plans. As it was, I barely knew her. Mostly, I remember the moves: from her home, to assisted living, to a nursing home, to the funeral home. I remember visiting her in each of these places. Today, years later, I remember her in the crocheted afghan draped over my loveseat. … Continue reading

Literary Witnesses: Faith in Dark Days

David Mills From the Jan/Feb 2009 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine More than once in my life I have been driving along a country road following a friend’s directions and come to a fork in the road, and had no idea which to take, because my friend didn’t think to tell me. I have guessed right, and I have guessed wrong. Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the wrong one and wound up really, really lost. Many people can’t give directions, most people can’t give directions, because they do not look carefully. They do not see … Continue reading

Looking At a Masterpiece: The Baptism of Christ

This painting by Piero della Francesca (1420-92) of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan (right) reveals so much of this mystery. The most striking overall impression is one of light from above. The artist’s almost mystical vision is that of a new supernatural light entering the world. The prophecy of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, comes to mind: “The dawn from on high shall break upon us” (Lk. 1:78). Here it is. There are practically no shadows in this picture. The light envelops every object, even the white bark of the tree. Yet the light is not … Continue reading