Category Archives: Pro Life

“Beauty in Belief” Blog Interview

Deacon in Melbourne.jpg

The wonderful women of faith over at the Beauty in Belief blog have just published an interview they did with me this month. I cover a wide range of topics that include: the diaconate, the redefinition of marriage, Planned Parenthood, fallen away Catholics, and ongoing conversion.

Click HERE to read the interview.

BTW, the photo above was taken while speaking at Faith on Tap at the Pineapple Hotel (Kangaroo Point) in Brisbane, Australia during my October 2012 Year of Faith Tour sponsored by Parousia Media.

And YES, I’m holding my rosary!

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Beyond the Zimmerman Verdict

Just had an article published in The Catholic World Report called “Beyond the Zimmerman Verdict.” The truth will set you free.

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“Authentically Free at Last” Well Received!

Back in September 2012,  the Eternal Word Television Network  (EWTN) began airing the series “Authentically Free at Last” featuring Gloria Purvis (who created and developed  the show), Damon Owens, and myself (see my previous post HERE).

authentically_free

We had so much fun filming the series and now that it’s been airing for a while, I thought I’d share some of the feedback we’ve received:

“My comments today are in reference to the show Authentically Free At Last. Praise be to God for linking the three of you together. I have viewed both [Deacon Harold] and Damon before and have always come away gaining from your wisdom but had never seen Gloria in anything but she really fills out the trio very well. When I first saw an episode (not the first running) I thought it was going to be a series of being able to reach the African-American community with important issues but was very, very pleased that the show comes across as addressing issues pertinent to all Catholics no matter if Black, White, Yellow, or Purple. I have been taping and watching as many as have been coming up and have been trying to get others to catch them on EWTN also. Now I have found out that the episodes are available on the Net and am reinvigorated to let all know so that they can see the wisdom that you have all shared with us. I thank all three of you for sharing yourselves with us and hope we can continue to see more of your works. Again Praise & Glory to God for what the three of you have given us in that series” – EWTN Viewer in Iowa.

And this from a blogger:

“The new EWTN series, Authentically Free at Last, is truly a breath of fresh air. The reality of objective truth is exalted as being ultimately a Person who calls each of us to respond. Real freedom is discussed and distinguished from the counterfeit freedom, license, society lifts up. The dignity of the human person rings loud and clear through these episodes. ‘Freedom attains perfection in its acts when directed toward God, the sovereign Good’ ( CCC 1744). Please watch this first episode and leave comments down below!”

Here are the comments:

“How exciting! What a refreshing presentation of the universal reality of Mother Church. Yes, we are in a time of great debate around the issues of relativism, objective truth and subjective reality. This very informed discussion, highlighting key distinctions, was very informative and engaging. Koodos for EWTN for the effort to bring to light the talent of our African-American brothers and sisters. Bravo!”

“It’s about time! I love the straight forward dialogue on the relevant topics that are at the core of today’s culture. I’m also proud to see TRUE Catholics that happen to be African-American. It’s very important to see various people of culture speaking the truth of the Church. Authentically Free at Last is an inspiring show that encourages me to speak up about my Faith.”

From EWTN Viewer Services:

“I just wanted to tell you how much I have loved viewing the series Authentically Free At Last. This show is so inspiring. Gloria, [Deacon] Harold and Damon explain our faith in the most beautiful way. I literally could listen to them for hours. This is the best show I have seen all year. I pray the three of them will have future projects in the works with EWTN, I truly have been evangelized by them and feel myself growing stronger in my Catholic faith.”

One more from Facebook:

“I was able to catch a few episodes of a discussion type of panel on EWTN where you all set the record straight about our [Catholic] views on abortion and same-sex marriage– I have to try to find it on YouTube and post it on here because I have to tell you, every single point that I learned and thought ‘God if only everyone was aware of these realities, they would be more open to our Lord through His Church and find peace inside themselves’–you guys hit the nail right on the head, so to speak. I remember thinking, YES!”

This is just a small sampling of the incredible feedback the series has received. Experience Authentically Free at  Last for yourself HERE, then spread the word!

©2012 Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

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Violence and Strife in Our Land

“O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and thou wilt not hear? Or cry to thee ‘Violence!’ and thou wilt not save?  Why dost thou make me see wrongs and look upon trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is slacked and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted” (Habakkuk 1:2-4).

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There’s no point trying to make sense of this week’s tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  It was senseless.

Like many of us, Habakkuk can no longer endure the situation the world finds itself in.  Violence, abuse, and oppression are everywhere.  He cannot comprehend how God can seemingly stand by and watch.  He also realizes that we cannot improve the world’s situation by ourselves—God will need to help us.  That help comes in the Person and mission of Jesus Christ, whose birth we are preparing to celebrate, who saved us from certain death and restored us to life.

What he have seen this week in Oregon and Connecticut are the results of an increasingly hedonistic and godless society where foundational belief in the One True God is becoming progressively more irrelevant.  We’re at the point in this country where even the mention of God is met with fervent opposition, booing, and even the threat of lawsuits.  Our religious liberty, a fundamental tenet upon which this great nation was founded, is in jeopardy.  We replace the God of the universe with moral relativism and subjective truth, where “me” and “my opinions” are god.  A distorted sense of “diversity” and “tolerance” have replaced objective truth, natural law, and common sense.  And we wonder why we’re in the mess we are in today. We reap what we sow.

For the naysayers who claim there is no such thing as evil or that Satan does not exist: this is your wake-up call.  The fact that these horrifically malevolent events occurred so close to Christmas is the devil’s attempt to focus our attention away from Christ, who is the true light and life of the world, and instead stumble around aimlessly in the darkness of sin and death.  Satan will try to use the events in Oregon and Connecticut to cut us off from the life of God, to empty us of grace and fill us with hatred, anger, polemics, and a foreboding sense of hopelessness.

Although we can’t make sense of them, what do the events of this past week mean for us who empathize?  It is within the Cross of Christ that we find the true meaning of love and sacrifice, virtues intrinsic to the law that is written on our hearts (see Romans 2:14-15).  “It is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire.  The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross” (Saint John of the Cross).

In and through the cross, we must begin to find ourselves again and this effort must begin with a return to a culture of life: to a deep and abiding respect for all human life that is woven into the fabric of every human soul.  The return to a life ethos will ensure that no human being assumes “the right to decide who shall live and who shall die.  The right to life is not something that is given to human beings by a government, judicial body, parent, or institution of any kind.  The right to life is the most basic and fundamental right that exists by the very nature of a human person’s being.  We must not weigh human suffering on the one hand with the value of human life on the other […] We exist not to avoid suffering, but to find meaning in the suffering that is unavoidable” (Natalie Hudson).

Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with all of the families who have endured unbelievable loss after this week’s events.  But what should our response be?  The answer is not as simple as “gun control” or “prayer in school,” which will undoubtedly be used as pawns in a political shoving match.  We must take a serious look inward: we must examine ourselves as a nation, rediscover the beauty and truth of our Christian heritage, and renew our commitment to metanoia, a turning back toward God, a complete change of direction.  We have been wallowing in the mire of self-centered individualism for too long.  We must challenge the pernicious influence of contemporary culture by building upon the solid principles and values that have shaped the heart and soul of our identity as the Land of the Free.

We are in a spiritual battle.  Let us, then, arm ourselves as Saint Paul did with the weapons of strength, love, and wisdom in the Spirit.  Our strength, which comes from God, is rooted in love and gives us the faith and courage to bear hardships for the gospel.  None of us enjoys suffering, and as followers of Christ and witnesses of Truth, we cannot sit idly by and do nothing as others suffer and die all around us.  In this busy world that numbs us and lulls us into complacency, it’s good for us to be shocked by what we see: to stand still and take a long, hard look at what the culture is truly saying to us, to look upon death, and to live with Christ in the heart of God—to savor the sweetness of the Father’s gift of endless mercy and life-giving love.

©2012 Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

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In the World But Not of the World

The Church speaks clearly and unambiguously about the dignity of human life, yet we live in a secular world that exposes us to a variety of ideas that are incompatible with the truth of faith.  “We live in a world where objective moral norms are treated as mere rules and regulations that can be dismissed when they become too demanding: that regard, for example, sexual differences as merely anatomical, biological and functional leading to the acceptance of contraception, pornography, abortion and sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman.  We live in a world that regards incurable illness as an indication that the body and the person have outlived their usefulness, thus promoting [euthanasia and] physician-assisted suicide” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, nos. 9, 11, 10).

We are deafened by the raucous discord of the culture of political correctness that will, if left unchallenged by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, erode the spiritual foundation upon which our faith is built, all in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity,” and at the expense of authentic truth and freedom.  We often “reject the principle that we must accept the beauty and truth of what the Church believes and teaches, thinking instead that we can pick and choose what to believe.  Instead of trying to internalize the faith and treat it as the standard for judging the values of the unbelieving culture that surrounds us, we all too often judge which Church teachings to accept on the basis of whether the teaching conforms to the values of the surrounding culture” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, no.6).  Jesus did not die so that His truth could be changed by the culture; Jesus gave His life and died so that He could transform the culture with His truth!

Jesus says that if your hand or foot or eye causes you to sin, cut them off: it is better to enter life in the Kingdom of God than go to Hell (see Mark 9:47).  We must cut off and separate ourselves from all sinful acts that weaken the culture of life.  We must never forget that certain Church teachings in the area of faith and morals can never change, regardless of whether or not people accept them or are faithful to them (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, no.7). We as Christians are in the world but not of the world, and we cannot accept the Jiminy Cricket philosophy of “let your conscience be your guide” that “suggests that we are responsibly following our conscience when we knowingly replace Christ’s teaching with the world’s opinions” (Bishop Samuel Aquila, 2004 Pastoral Letter on Truth, no.21). If we are to free ourselves from the slavery of this culture of death, we must remove ourselves from the darkness and confusion of sin so that the light of God’s life and truth may shine brightly upon us.

©2012 Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

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Imagine Sisters Announces One Rose Project

Please support our young, vibrant, faithful Catholic sisters!

Psalm 115:1,

Deacon Harold

—————————————————————–

For Immediate Release

Imagine Sisters Announces One Rose Project

CHICAGO, Ill.–September 15, 2012 – Imagine Sisters, a new online organization founded to be the nexus for media and information about discerning a vocation as a Catholic Religious Sister, will launch its first viral vocation initiative, The One Rose Project, on October 1, 2012.

The One Rose Project invites Catholics around the globe to reach out to young women they know, personally inviting them to consider that God may be calling them to be a Religious Sister.

The campaign promotes a personal encounter on October 1, 2012–the feast of St. Therese of Liseux. Participants will invite the young woman they know to consider a call to consecrated Religious Life by giving her a single rose in the spiritual legacy of St. Therese.
Imagine Sisters has received substantial testimony that a personal invitation is incredibly powerful for young women who are open to a religious vocation. Imagine Sisters asks for prayers that this invitation will be used by God to plant the seeds of religious vocations among young women, blessing the Church with many new religious sisters.

The One Rose Project can be easily shared through social media networks, personal blogs and speaking engagements. Imagine Sisters has created a short video explaining the project, and encourages supporters to share this video as the primary means of transmitting the message virally.

In the spirit of The New Evangelization, Imagine Sisters embraces social and visual media to passionately propose the possibility of becoming a religious sister in the world today. Through the grace of God, the Imagine Sister website and Facebook interact with over 100,000 individuals each week, effectively working through the new media to reach young women around the world.

The short video may be found at the following address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPxYW4HiHsc

The Imagine Sisters website can be found at http://imaginesisters.org

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Watch “Authentically Free at Last” on EWTN!

Society views “freedom” as the ability to do whatever we want. In Authentically Free at Last, hosts Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens show how society mistakes freedom with license. To be authentically free we must follow God’s plan for us and resist the temptations the secular culture places before us.

Watch “Authentically Free at Last” on EWTN online HERE  (scroll down to WATCH LIVE), or on your local cable/satellite network.

Air Times in the United States & Canada:

Sundays: 5:00 AM ET

Mondays:  6:00 PM ET

Here is the episode list:

Episode 1 – Authentically Free at Last

Freedom is not the license to do whatever we want. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens discuss the meaning of authentic freedom and how a properly formed conscience leads us to the moral good. They show the necessity of the Church as a basis for a properly formed conscience to guide us through the world of secular relativism.

Episode 2 – Freedom and Conscience

Our society has different understandings of what the conscience is and what it means to have a properly formed conscience. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens discuss the importance of the conscience, how we can form our consciences properly and how a properly formed conscience leads to authentic human freedom.

Episode 3 – Free Love Ain’t Free

The modern acceptance of fornication undermines authentic human love. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens explain why we should care when two consenting adults engage in this destructive behavior and what we can do to combat this in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones.

Episode 4 – Just Say Yes

Contraception plays an enormous role in our secular culture, providing promises of freedom. Host Gloria Purvis along with Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens show that it really is thwarting the life giving action of the Holy Spirit, and what we can do in our own families to unveil the bondage that contraception really is.

Episode 5 – He Created Them Male and Female

God created us as male and female. Host Gloria Purvis along with Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens discuss complementarity between men and women, and why homosexual acts and redefining marriage are not compatible with authentic freedom. They also explain the difference between accepting homosexual behavior and a person with same sex attraction.

Episode 6 – No Sex Is A Bad Thing

God’s plan calls for the conception of a child to occur within the confines of a marriage, between the mother and father. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens discuss the concept of pregnancy resulting from sexless encounters, why this is against the God’s plan for authentic love, and what an appropriate response to infertility or homosexual couples “parenting” should be.

Episode 7 – Radical Love of Womanhood

Society claims the Church treats women as second-class citizens, not equal to men. But Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens show this is the exact opposite of how the Church views women, especially contrasting the Church with the misogynistic view of society regarding women and their fertility. The Church accepts a woman’s fertility as a gift while society paints it as a flaw in her design.

Episode 8 – Vocations and Marriage

Society’s view of morality differs markedly from that of the Church. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens examine the impact of fornication, contraception, and abortion on vocations and marriage. Families with fewer children result in fewer vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Lack of respect for marriage and sex only within marriage nullifies the practice of celibacy within religious life.

Episode 9 – A Person is a Person No Matter How Small

Secular culture believes the myth that research on embryos serves the common good. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens take an in depth look at the attitudes that buttress this utilitarian approach to unborn children, why we should care, and what we can do about it.

Episode 10 – A Person is a Person No Matter How Old or Ill

Many people promote what they see as the positives of euthanasia. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens debunk the idea that euthanasia is an acceptable answer for unburdening a family or society and why “mercy killing” and “not wanting to be a burden” are not truly a loving response to an elderly or suffering person.

Episode 11 – God Hears You

Does God hear us when we pray? Does He care? Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens examine the role of prayer in coping with our relativistic culture, in offering reparation for affronts against God, and for our conversion and that of our country. The necessity of prayer in confronting the culture and in our own interior conversion is discussed so that we can do so charitably and with wisdom.

Episode 12 – The Mystical Hook Up

God has given us the Sacraments to help us grow closer to Him. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens examine the strength and grace the sacraments provide in helping us not only form our consciences properly but also in witnessing the truth regarding authentic human freedom.

Episode 13 – Truth and Freedom

Society presents an alternative to the truth taught by the Church. Gloria Purvis, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Damon Owens discuss why authentic freedom comes only when we aspire to live by the authentic truth of Christ. Anything less leads us away from God and our intended destiny.

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