Thursday, August 13, 2015



Six months ago, I moved to Vermont. I now live in a state that is ranked 49th by Americans United for Life in terms of protection of the life of children in the womb.  My state representative (I live in Chittenden District 6-3) is employed as a VP at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.  At the start of this year’s state legislative term, pro-choice advocates forced a roll-call vote of each member as to their support of “Roe v. Wade” even though no pro-life or pro-choice initiatives were on this year’s legislative agenda.  Obviously, the pro-choice side was affirmed overwhelmingly.  Vermont does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states.

Yet, as is the case all over the United States, the number of pregnancies ending in abortion continues to decline in Vermont. In 1991, 22.8 % of pregnancies in Vermont ended in abortion. Twenty years later in 2011, 11.7% of children were aborted. It is still a terrible number, but the decline gives hope. Even in this most pro-abortion of all states, men and women are coming to see the tragic nature of abortion and choosing to do otherwise.  We Catholics and those who share our pro-life beliefs need to continue to be strong witnesses to the truth that all human life is sacred and the greatest gift from God.

Presently, much outrage is being generated by the release of undercover videos of conversations between representatives of Planned Parenthood and men and women posing as “buyers” looking to procure body parts and tissue samples from aborted children.  The callousness with which the Planned Parenthood staff speaks of the harvesting of organs from what was once a living human being is horrifying and stunning. But, sadly, I am not surprised. In numerous instances, the more radical proponents of abortion rights, of which the people at Planned Parenthood are the most outspoken, always speak of the child in the womb as simply “an embryo” or “tissue.”  For them, it is not a human life, a person, a child. It is tissue. So, why are we surprised when they treat the remains of the “tissue,” as just that, something one can simply dispose of as one will? 

It is my hope that the content of these videos which reveal how Planned Parenthood and its staff truly view human life in the womb will serve as a “wake up call,” even a slap in the face to all of us and spur more and more men and women to come to know that the pre-born child is not tissue, but a beautiful creation of God.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Our Lady of the Snows": The story behind the "major", or greatest, Basilica dedicated to Our Lady in Rome

When Liberius was Pope, a Roman patrician named John, and his wife, also of noble birth, having no children to inherit their goods, vowed their inheritance to the most holy Virgin Mother of God. The blessed Virgin heard their prayers and approved their vow by a miracle.

On the 5th of August, which is that time when the heat of summer waxeth greatest in the City, a part of the Esquiline Hill was covered by night with snow. And on that same night, the Mother of God told John and his wife separately in dreams that they should build a church on that place. When John told this to Pope Liberius, he said that he had had the same dream. The Pope therefore went to the snow-covered hill and there marked out a site.

The church was built with the money given by John and his wife, and was later restored by Sixtus III. It hath been given various names; but, so that its title may indicate its excellence, it is called the Church of St. Mary Major.

From the Breviarium Romanum

Monday, July 6, 2015

Why am I asking our bishops to remove Sr Carol Keehan from leadership of the CHAUSA or the title "Catholic" from its name?

By Father Kevin M. Cusick
With all due respect, it is time the bishops acted.

Sister Carol Keehan’s latest outrage of scandalous disobedience was to invite President Obama to address the national gathering of the US Catholic Health Association where he proceeded to thank the organization and credit them with the role of those without whose help he could not have passed Obamacare.

The increasingly confusing Catholic landscape is making the truth of Catholic faith and morals ever more difficult for the average Catholic to grasp in the context of what Benedict XVI called a “catechetical emergency”. Where the bishops can act to remove that fog of war in the battle for winning souls they should act. The math is simple: either remove Sister Carol Keehan from leadership of the CHAUSA or act publicly to remove the title “Catholic” from the organization.

We must support our bishops by prayer and obedience. We must act in tandem with them to spread and nurture the Catholic faith for the salvation of souls. But at the same time we are all of us, bishops and people, alike subject to the faith and morals of the Church of Christ, and must help and correct each other whenever that becomes necessary in order to do the same. There are many things the Catholic bishops have no earthly power to do anything about except to pray. At the same time there are always situations where no one has the power to act except the bishops together on the national level or an individual bishop in his own diocese.

Abortion is not healthcare; it is murder. Sister Carol Keehan has openly defied Jesus Christ by her encouraging and enabling behavior at every step of the process to introduce the HHS mandate as part of the “Affordable” Healthcare Plan. Even the title of the plan itself has turned out to be a specious lie as so many people are now bankrupted by the program or turned away from any source of health insurance altogether. Above every other consideration, however, the plan is not about health care as long as it approves or pays for any form of abortifacients.

Those issues aside, and considering all she has failed to refuse moral cooperation in the HHS mandate, her latest escapade of inviting President Obama to address the organization in a national high-profile gathering is a purely gratuitous and simply unnecessary scandal of complete and utter disobedience.

For the bishops to, at the same time, allow her to continue lobbying on the national stage for abortifacients like contraception while the bishops themselves are attempting to rightly teach the opposite, in accord with Humanae Vitae, that every use of artificial contraception is a moral evil confuses and divides Catholics who are already struggling to do what is right or need constant support of right teaching in order to reject what is sinful with the help of grace.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Archdiocese of Washington eliminates annulment fees

After consultation with the Priest Council and the Tribunal, Cardinal Wuerl has accepted the proposal to eliminate all fees for the annulment process, effective immediately. This includes the $750 fee for a formal annulment case and the $100 fee for a declaration of nullity due to lack of proper canonical form.

This decision comes in anticipation of the Jubilee of Mercy announced by Pope Francis to begin on December 8, 2015 and as we prepare to welcome Pope Francis to Washington in September. In his address to the Roman Rota in January, our Holy Father indicated how important it is that each tribunal assists those who wish to return to the sacraments. He commented, "How I wish all marriage proceedings were free of charge!"

Up to now, the Archdiocese has subsidized the annulment process for anyone who approaches the Tribunal. Even though we requested the fees listed above, if anyone were unable to pay the fees, they were waived. With the elimination of these trees, it is hoped that anyone who may have been reluctant to approach the tribunal will now feel welcome to submit their case.

From a letter dated today, 29 June 2015, on Archdiocesan letterhead emailed today by Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Michigan Catholic Bishops' Statement on Supreme Court Decision Redefining Marriage

Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to redefine marriage represents a profound legal turning point in the contemporary and cultural understanding of spouses and family. We continue to teach that every human person deserves respect and compassion. The experience of same-sex attraction is a reality that calls for attention, sensitivity and pastoral care. While every person is called to love and deserves to be loved, today’s momentous decision will not change the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. This union brings two persons together and, because of their natural biological composition, each bring qualities to the marriage that differ from one another. Man and woman complement each other; they then become united as one in marriage and together are unique in their ability to create new life based on sexual and reproductive differences. Every child has a mother and a father and even though each child deserves to be loved and raised by them together, we are conscious of and loving toward those circumstances in which this arrangement of a married mother and father in the home is not reality. Married couples unable to conceive children or family structures that differ – single parents, widowed parents, adopted children and those being raised by grandparents or other family members – merit compassion and support for their life situations, which at times can be difficult and challenging.

The Church and her ministries must remain conscious of and respectful toward these differing dynamics, especially when support, counsel and love is sought. Going forward, the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the first amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the Church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions. As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, this truth as what is good for society and our world.

For more info visit web site of Michigan Catholic Conference:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

True Story of Providential Encounter Between Navy Chaplain and a Marine Cousin at Sea

One Saturday at sea we flew on a SH-60 from USS Kearsarge to visit Sailors and Marines on the Arlington, one of three 9-11 memorial ships recently commissioned and part of the amphibious group.

During time set aside before Mass this evening I waited in the chaplain's office for the purpose of providing confessions and talking. A young Marine corporal came in and sat down. His face struck me as vaguely familiar. That, in combination with his last name, which is emblazoned on every military uniform, made me pause. I blurted out the name of my first cousin who died after prolonged treatment for a brain tumor in Illinois and he responded, "That's my mother!"

When I was in Illinois for the funeral, which was a beautiful celebration of faith by a holy Catholic family, he would have been too young to get to know. We took care of that today. I know his mother was present in spirit and added to the joy of our meeting. And what was it that brought us together for this blessing? It was a Person, Jesus Christ, who did so as we sought, one to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in that ship's chapel, and the other, to worship thereby.

Big Church, small world.

(In photo, Chaplain Cusick, left and Corporal Price, USMC.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Pastoral Letter: Our Greatest Threat is in Abandoning the Practice of our Catholic Faith

Dear Catholic Parents,

I write to you in charity as a family that has been at one time, or is now, associated in any way with the Lord’s faith family at Saint Francis de Sales Parish.

We are in the midst of a terrible crisis. It is not one of wars or terrorism that threaten only our bodies and it is not an economic one, for we are able to eat and find shelter for which we thank God daily. The crisis of which I speak is one of a failure of faithful leadership on the part of many of our parents, those to whom Almighty God has entrusted our children, His greatest treasures.

We are saved by grace through faith. Our most terrifying thought should not be inspired by fear of anything in this world, but rather of losing our Catholic faith and, with it, our salvation. No one can replace parents in the role of educating our children in the faith and no one is given more power by God to serve as witnesses for our young people. This role cannot be abdicated or delegated to anyone else.

“We have here no lasting city” and the worst sort of idolatry by which the Evil One separates us from God and destroys our souls is the placing of idols in our lives where only God should be. This is what happens when we choose to replace worship of God on the Lord’s Day at holy Mass with anything else. If we do this we lose the state of grace imparted for the first time at Baptism and built up by reception of the Eucharist because if we break any one of God’s Commandments we break all of them.

To the many families who do not believe they can commit to anything beyond what is absolutely required for their children to receive Baptism, Communion or Confirmation we say with Christ, “Put out into the deep.” What are the signs of a soul open with hope for conversion and new life in Christ? Surely this means doing more than the mere minimum that others can see such as attending Sunday Mass but it is certainly a start.

Certainly there is the daily walk of faith than includes personal prayer but there is also the Sacrament of Confession so as to return to a state of grace after mortal sin and receive the Eucharist worthily, parish community life which offers learning and prayer beyond Sunday through adult faith formation, daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration to deepen personal faith formation.

Together we can bring an end to the widespread phenomenon in which, by default, Confirmation becomes in effect a “graduation” from full practice of the Catholic Faith.

Will you begin to take the steps today to stop the scandal of so many of our young people falling into mortal sin after Confirmation? I see them as they sadly walk away from Christ at Christmas and Easter unable to receive the Eucharist, unable to rely even on the loving encouragement of their parents to attend Sunday Mass weekly. We need prayer and action. If you or your children have indeed been away from Sunday Mass please help: be a true “friend” to your children by being a parent first through supporting and accompanying them to Sunday Mass weekly.

Jesus Christ is the sole savior of the world. The worst kind of climate change is that of the soul when we lose the state of grace through mortal sin. But God is ever merciful and through infinite love forgives us when we return to Him once again through the sacrament of Confession.

Thank you for reading my letter.

In prayer through the Lord’s saving mercy and infinite love,

Father Kevin M. Cusick
Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church
Benedict, Maryland

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