Lay Witness Magazine

A New Evangelization: Salvation Songs

Emily Stimpson From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine If you’re looking for reasons to be down in the mouth about the state of the world today, you don’t have to look very hard. Hades in a handbasket seems to be the general way of things. Which means it’s easy to despair if despair is what you’re after. For Catholics, however, the sin of despair is strictly verboten. In fact, we’re under divine orders to do the exact opposite: Hope. But how exactly, in the current cultural climate, do we swing that? We can start by listening to … Continue reading

Ask CUF: Does My Medical Condition Permit Me to Use Artificial Birth Control?

My husband and I struggle with using NFP, but I need to avoid getting pregnant due to a medical condition, and abstaining when I’m not certain is causing problems with our marriage. I’m thinking that my condition and my marriage are serious enough reasons to use the pill with NFP, but I get different answers: On one hand it’s absolutely forbidden and on the other I should follow my conscience. What does the Church say? The “In Brief ” sections of the Catechism provide helpful formulations. Here are two that pertain to this conscience versus Church question: A human being … Continue reading

Book Reviews – January/February 2012

Various Authors From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine God’s on the Phone: Stories of Grace in Action By Regis J. Flaherty (Servant, 2011) Both entertaining and motivational, Regis J. Flaherty’s book God’s on the Phone: Stories of Grace in Action invites readers to discover God and His grace moving in their lives through the simple opportunities of daily life. Each chapter tells a personal story that turns commonplace incidents into profound Christian lessons. “Points to Ponder” then offers quotes from Scripture, the Catechism, and papal teachings to root each exhortation in sound, Catholic teaching. The chapter ends … Continue reading

Celebrate the Living But Mourn the Dead

Steven Mosher and Colin Mason From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine The media is abuzz with news about humanity’s numbers. For the first time in history—as of October 31, 2011—there are seven billion people alive on the planet at the same time. Left-wing pundits have been splashing ink all over this subject. National Geographic is taking the entire year to decry this increase in numbers, spinning off countless articles, sleek videos, and photo sets warning of the “overpopulation” disasters that supposedly await us. Other organizations are in full panic mode as well. Panelists at an American Association … Continue reading

Friendship at the Service of Life

Leslie A. Elliott From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine We have been sent as a people. Everyone has an obligation to be at the service of life. This is a properly “ecclesial” responsibility, which requires concerted and generous action by all the members and by all sectors of the Christian community. This community commitment does not however eliminate or lessen the responsibility of each individual, called by the Lord to “become the neighbor” of everyone: “Go and do likewise” (Lk. 10:37). Together we all sense our duty to preach the gospel of life, to celebrate it in … Continue reading

Frozen Embryo Adoption: Has Rome Spoken?

D. Brian Scarnecchia, J.D. From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine Prenatal adoption of frozen embryos pits two moral absolutes against each other—the right to life versus the sanctity of marriage. For Catholics the most fundamental question is “Has Rome spoken?” Is prenatal embryo adoption morally permissible after the release of Dignitas Personae by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?(1) This article answers the following two questions: Whether a woman may prenatally adopt and become pregnant through heterologous embryo transfer with a child not genetically her own? If not, may a woman who is the genetic … Continue reading

In Vitro Fertilization and the Commodification of Human Life

Arland K. Nichols and Steven Phelan From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine With the passionate and often politically-focused debates that surround life issues such as abortion, contraception, and embryonic stem cell research, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most. Before and after every argument is made or well-crafted line is delivered, the life and dignity of a human being is at stake. It can also be easy to forget how natural and positive the Church’s view of life and family truly is. At its root, the Church recognizes that every human being is … Continue reading

Life Matters: The Death Penalty

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine We live in a culture of death: a culture torn by abortion and euthanasia, by wanton violence, war, murder, and hatred. Life is treated as if it were cheap, and many are the threats to the dignity of human life. Yet we believe that all human life is from God, and he alone is the master of life and of death. Blessed John Paul II made the defense of the dignity of all human life the centerpiece of his pontificate. The death penalty presents … Continue reading

Looking at a Masterpiece: Detail of the Tribute Money

Madeleine Stebbins From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine This fresco in the Branacci chapel of the basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence was painted in the 1420s by the first great painter of the Quattrocento, Masaccio (1401-1428). Studied by many artists of his day, it had a pivotal influence on Italian Renaissance painting in its revolutionary use of perspective (less visible in this detail) and of light and shadow, as well as in the three dimensionality of the human body as seen in the graceful wellrounded figure of the young man in front with his … Continue reading

Master Catechist: The Threshold of Faith in the New Catechism

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Micheal Mohr From the Jan/Feb 2012 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine Fr. Hardon not only wrote his Catholic Catechism in the early 1970s, a time most central to the catechetical crisis of post-Vatican II, but was a key figure in the development of the Catechism ofthe Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II. He urged recognition for the providential age through which the Church is now passing. He stated: “This catechism is of historic importance. Depending on how seriously we take it, the future of the Catholic Church will be shaped accordingly. We … Continue reading