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(LifeSiteNews) — I had an extraordinary experience a few weeks ago while attending Mass at Sacred Heart Parish in Winchester, Virginia. No, it wasn’t a mystical experience, but it struck me with almost the force of one. For the first time in 31 years as a Catholic, I heard a priest preach—clearly and confidently—at Sunday Mass against contraception.

Now, over the decades I have known many pro-life priests, chief among them Father Paul Marx, OSB, speak forthrightly about the truth and beauty of human sexuality. They defended Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s prophetic encyclical of 1968, that was widely criticized by the modernists within the Church. They vigorously taught, following Saint Pope John Paul himself, the perennial teaching of the church that preventing conception through artificial means was a sin.

But these talks were all given at Catholic pro-life meetings and conferences, where the vast majority of those present were already predisposed to listen. The choir, in other words. I had never before heard—at an ordinary Sunday Mass attended by ordinary Catholics—a clear and definitive exposition of the Church’s teaching in this area. Occasional homilies against abortion, yes. Homilies contra contraception, never.   

But there I was, sitting in the second pew on the right at Sacred Heart, when Father Stephen Vaccaro, the young Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Winchester, Virginia, strode to the ambo. The day’s reading concerned the Parable of the “Fool” who sought to store up his treasure on earth and died that very night. On this “seemingly harsh, often overlooked, but crucially important teaching about the Christian life” Fr. Vaccaro promised a “two-point meditation … First, how this should drive us to an examination of our own lives. Second, a very practical suggestion for married couples.

Neither I, nor anyone in the congregation, had any idea what this “practical suggestion for married couples” would turn out to be.

“In our Gospel,” Father Vaccaro began, “our Lord tells the parable of the rich man who, after achieving worldly success and comfort, settles back to enjoy his labor, only to be reprimanded by God and then dying. I’m sure many of us don’t see anything wrong with what this man did, as some here are retired and many hope one day to be retired. What’s wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor, resting after a life of work?”  

“But Jesus’ shows harshness in how He speaks of the man, with the words, “You fool!” What is He rebuking here? That the rich man, and so many of us, are practical atheists. That may sound harsh. But notice what the man does not do. Never does he thank God, consider using his bounty to help the poor, or dedicate his newfound free time for prayer that God was so good and generous to him. Rather, he says he will commit his life to comfort. No thought is given to God, just to this world.

“Whether we like to admit it, so many of us, for so much of our lives, and in so many parts of our lives, live as if this world is all there is. … We store up treasure in this world. We live as if our choices don’t really matter to God, because He’s merciful whether we repent or not. We don’t live as if we will render an account for how we live. To put it another way: we live to retire well in this world, we don’t live every day as if we want to be in Heaven.

“How do I know this? Well, look around the world. We check the stock market every day, our retirement accounts every day, but don’t visit the Blessed Sacrament every day, don’t pray every day. … We don’t live for Heaven.

“This is what Jesus was pointing out, as a loving warning. Basically, if we don’t remember where we are going, the journey always becomes confused, and the things necessary to get there get ignored. In short, we are fools.

“But Jesus goes on to point out an amazing irony: it is only by remembering our Home of Heaven that we will ever truly value this world, live a truly awesome life. If this world is all there is, nothing really matters, so do what you want because everything is ultimately meaningless. But if Heaven is real, is waiting for us, and is tied to how we live now, each moment in this life is infused with eternal meaning. We have every reason to bring God into every moment.

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1.6 million Walmart employees will soon be pressured into supporting and seeking abortions thanks to Walmart’s new initiative pouring financial incentives into abortion-specific travel. 

According to CNBC, Walmart employees “and their family members who are insured through Walmart” will have abortion travel costs covered “if they cannot access a legal abortion within 100 miles of their location.”  

This is horrifying news, because this means that low-income workers will have virtually no excuse to refuse Walmart’s new abortion-related accommodations.  

Notice that Walmart is also making abortion virtually inescapable, funding abortion-travel when it's not accessible within a 100-mile radius. As a result, every female employee will be forced to at least consider seeking an abortion. 

Walmart's expanding abortion coverage also includes any instance "when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability.” This seems limited, but it’s actually an expansion of abortion coverage that is the beginning of a very dangerous slippery slope.

This is because the same CNBC report notes that Walmart “previously offered more limited abortion coverage.” 

Expansions are continuing in stages, with Walmart targeting their most vulnerable employees who find themselves in life’s darkest, most difficult moments.  

There is no private company who currently employs more Americans in the nation than Walmart, and whose abortion coverage will impact more people.

But this means that the American voice is represented in every Walmart store, proving that now is our chance to make that voice heard.

Will you help our fellow Americans raise their voice against pro-abortion Walmart, and push back againast Walmart's war on the pro-life movement? 

We cannot miss this moment. With Roe v. Wade officially struck down, it’s now up to us to change the pro-life culture at the state level — but also at the private level. 

We cannot have a pro-life culture if private companies are still actively funding abortion! 

Stand with America’s employees who are fighting for life at America’s biggest employer: “We the consumers are demanding accountability from you. Stop Walmart's abortion expansion now.” 

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“This is why Jesus spoke so starkly. If we, Christians, are no different from unbelievers, then we are fools. We have squandered our lives calling things treasure that are trash and ignored the things that matter to God. So, here’s the examination: the things that keep you up at night, the way you spend your time, the motivation of why you work or study, what occupies your schedule? That will show you your treasure. Is it the treasure of earth? If so, Jesus invites you to repent and convert, to live differently.  If Heaven and the things of God are not our only motivation and end, our joy and inspiration, and clearly so, then we are fools.

“Second, related to this first point that our lives must be focused on what matters to God, I present a thought for married couples. I preface by saying this one might sting or make people uncomfortable.  But I am following Christ.  

“This week is Natural Family Planning Awareness week, where the Church calls all married couples to remember what is stated in Scripture, defined by the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit: any use of artificial contraception within sexual intimacy is a grave sin, and that authentic marital love requires avoiding all such means in order to remain in the state of Grace.  Maybe this is not a widely known truth, but if known, it is not widely followed.

“We tell ourselves that the world knows more about sexual morality than the Church. Well, today Christ lovingly says to this idea: “You fools!” Marital intimacy is meant to be a total gift of self, an incarnation of your wedding vows. Contraception is a conscious choice to follow earthly wisdom, reject God’s plan, and hold something back in expressing love, thus rotting marital love from within.”

Father Vaccaro was silent for a moment before adding, earnestly:  “If you have ever contracepted or willfully been sterilized, and have not confessed this, you must do so. If you are now contracepting, the Lord is calling you to stop, repent, and trust in Him.”

“Yes, this will be a sacrifice,” he went on. “But remember Jesus said every part of marriage, even marital intimacy, is to be modeled on the Cross. It is to be focused on Heaven, holiness, and sacrifice. If married couples want to build treasure in Heaven and abandon foolishness, then embrace Natural Family Planning.

“I end with this quote from Pope Saint John Paul II: ‘What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.’

As I listened to this young priest, clearly and without hesitation, state the perennial teaching of the Church, I was deeply touched. God created humanity in a great act of love, and he expects us to love him in return, in part by following the first commandment given to our first parents, to be fruitful and multiply. 

Or as I said to Father Vaccaro himself after Mass, “Souls will be created, and babies will live because of your words today, Father. Thank you for your courage in speaking the Truth.”

 

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author, most recently, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Pandemics (Regnery Press).

Secure a home for canceled priests: LifeFunder

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