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July 28th, 2010


For 25 years now I’ve watched Oprah almost daily. Some of my friends don’t understand my devotion to Oprah since she doesn’t seem to stand for anything I stand for. They say she’s a left leaning liberal. They say that she’s full of herself and has to have her photo on every cover of O Magazine. They say that even her generosity is self-serving. In fact, Oprah herself has said she is full of herself and you can’t give to others unless you are first filled up.

So why do I watch (and love) this wealthy, influential woman who leans so far left? I see so much of her that sometimes I think I know her better than I know my own children, especially the ones living in other states. It’s true that she was quick to jump on the Obama bandwagon and I saw her weep tears of joy when the first “black” president was elected. She undoubtedly  played a big role in his election. It is also true that I think Obama is a fake Christian (see my post ), a liar and a deceiver (another post).

Also, Oprah seems to do her best to present homosexuality in a favorable light. If you’re a man on the down-low, apparently that’s OK. If you realize after years of marriage and several kids, that you’re really gay, apparently that’s OK. Change your gender? If that’s who you really are, that’s fine. She had a minister on her program who said being gay was a gift from God and she seemed to like that. To me, accepting others where they are is part of loving them, but the Bible has important things to say about marriage and homosexuality which Oprah chooses to ignore. I cannot fathom why she does not see anal sex as unhealthy and a perversion of a normal function. If her dogs behaved in this fashion she’d think something was seriously amiss.

When you come right down to it, if we lived according to God’s rules — being chaste before marriage and faithful in marriage – one man married to one woman — it would solve so many problems. AIDS — and many other sexually transmitted diseases –would vanish in one generation (how would they be spread?) . Children would be raised by two parents. No more young males roaming about with no role model at home. Less delinquency and less poverty. I would be so much happier if Oprah preached biblical Christianity instead of her own brand of doing whatever feels good. It seems to me that a society under God’s rules would be considerably better off than the free-for-all that exists today.

Oprah reaches more people on one TV program than most preachers can hope to reach in a lifetime of sermons. She is admired by many as a spiritual leader. Indeed, calling people to live their best life is what Oprah is about. She thinks others can learn from her own search and promotes books and prophets that appeal to her. Because of this one evangelist has called her the most dangerous woman in the world, peddling New Age philosophy to her many followers. In the following video Oprah is accused of rejecting Jesus.


As in the above video clip, folks are claiming that Oprah (who might actually consider herself a Christian) has abandoned Jesus. She is saying that Jesus is not the only way, that people who have never heard of Jesus (or people who came before Jesus) can find God. While many Protestants take issue with this, I, as a Catholic, have no trouble agreeing with her. Jesus, who wants no one to be lost, certainly would not condemn a person for something that was not his fault. What kind of justice would that be?

Pope Paul VI in Lumen Gentium (16) writes:

Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.

Again, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (1281):

Those who …without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will are saved even if they have not been baptized.

The Catholic Church has long accepted as sufficient for salvation the baptism of blood (should you die for your faith unbaptized) and the baptism of desire (should you ardently desire water baptism but die without it) in lieu of water baptism.

Therefore, I totally agree with Oprah on this particular issue. Jesus IS the way. It is through his willing death on the cross that we are saved (even people who came before him, and even those who have never heard of him.) A just God would not condemn anyone for something they did not choose!

I feel that Oprah is sincere and a truth-seeker and I love that in her. I, too, am a truth-seeker. We have come up with different “truths.” Both of us could be wrong, but both of us can’t be right. Truth is truth. I think Oprah has to make up her mind who she believes Jesus is. Is he just another man in history who said some really good things? If Jesus came as Lord and Savior as he claims, she would do well to listen to what he said.

Oprah, have you really thrown Jesus, his death on the cross, his resurrection, and this teachings under the bus? Is Jesus your Lord or not?


Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” — John 14:6

But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 10:33

Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.  —  Romans 1:26,27

May 31st, 2010


There’s nothing like a death in the family to give one pause, to make one stop and ponder what life is all about.  The sudden death last week of my daughter’s husband, Pete, in a tragic hang-glider accident has brought up a rush of “death memories.”

My first up-close brush with death came when daughter Wendy ran to me saying, “Grandpa’s lying on the floor.”  Grandpa had suffered a second heart attack and they took him away in an ambulance.  His funeral was a few days later.

Next came my own father.  Dad certainly believed in God.  He loved his recording of “How Great Thou Art” and  would weep as he listened to it.  But Christianity was not for him.  He didn’t understand why anyone would want an ugly thing like a crucifix on the wall.  As my sister and I sat with him at his bedside in the hospital he repeated the Lord’s prayer with us and slipped away.

Mom was a “born Catholic” and a faithful Catholic all her life.  I have no recollection of her ever doing anything that might be termed a sin.  She told me one day as I visited her at the nursing home that she had told God that His will was all right with her.  Her last moments were in a coma in ICU after emergency surgery.  I closed her eyes as I left her bedside.

When my daughter, Peggy, was shot and killed by an intruder in her home there was nothing to do but weep and hold a service and go to court and pray to hang in.  That is a whole other story.

Then my husband’s death, alone, in an apartment in a another city.  He had left me years previously.  When we married, he had been planning to be a priest, but he had stopped going to church.  We had seven children together.

Now, Pete’s death.  I went with Mary to the pre-wake viewing and watched as she knelt beside her husband in his coffin.  As long as I live, I expect tears will well up when I remember Mary stroking his head, saying, “His hair still feels the same.”  Nothing else was the same.  The body was in the coffin but the essence of Pete had left.   What hurts a mother more than to see her child suffer?

They crowd in and  pile up, these death memories.  My Protestant friends ask “Was he (or she) saved when he died?  Had he accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior?”   I can only feel confident about Mom.  Of the others, I can only say I’m sure they had heard of Jesus, but they were not churchgoers, and if Jesus was a central figure in their lives, it wasn’t obvious.

My purpose in writing this is to do as is written in 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect – “

Why do I hope that we will see our departed loved ones again in the promised land  when they were either non-Christians or fallen away Christians or in “irregular” living  arrangements?

Of course, many people choosing to live apparently “un-Christian” lifestyles, will say that “God understands.”  Fortunately, that is true.  God does understand.    They usually have some nebulous concept of a God who is good and kind.  Their God is known for his mercy and understanding, not for his rules and his justice.  In fact, they’re not really sure He has any rules at all.  And that may be their saving grace.

It is one of the comforting tenets of Catholicity that in order to sin, one must deliberately choose do something one believes to be wrong.   They’ve had an abortion?  They lived “in sin”?   They divorced and remarried?  God understands the circumstances.  They seem like “good” people.   They may be doing their best.   And truly, God always accepts our best.

This I believe: That God is just, he doesn’t punish for well-meaning mistakes.  That God is merciful – that he wants no one to be lost.  That God is forgiving – it is never too late to turn to God and say “I’m sorry – my bad.”

It is my hope that our loved ones, who have “the law written on their hearts” by God,  have been turned in God’s direction.  It is my hope that they were not only seen by most folks as “good people” but also by God as good people.  It is my hope that if they have not formally accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, neither have they formally rejected Him.   For that is what it takes to be eternally lost.

I pray that our loved ones, like the “good thief” on the cross, will end up  with the Lord in Paradise.  Francis Thompson, in his famous poem, Hound of Heaven writes eloquently of the relentless pursuit of God after the straying soul.  Did God not create man out of love?  Did Jesus not die on the cross for love of mankind?  Thompson’s description of God’s pursuit of the elusive soul is echoed in Saint Faustina’s diary when God again and again calls to a soul and offers a  grace which “emerges from the merciful heart of Jesus and gives the soul a special light by means of which the soul begins to understand God’s effort, but conversion depends on its own will.  The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and should it show even a flicker of good will the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.”    ( Notebook V, 1486, pages 82-83).

God’s grace is always sufficient.   Even at the point of death a soul can choose.   That is  why we pray: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.”.

There is no cause to fret.  In the final analysis, God, who knows the heart and the mind, is the one who gets to do the judging. It is not for us to decide who is saved and who is not.  How little we know, after all, of the inner workings, strivings, and struggles of any human being.  God’s grace is always sufficient for salvation, his mercy is inexhaustible, his justice is perfect, his love is infinite, and His judgment is always right.


Afterthought:  I add this postscript because I worry that I might have made such a good case for God’s mercy and forgiveness that someone might decide to do whatever they pleased all their life in the hope of squeaking by with last minute repentance.  I need to say that  once you believe that God  has taken the trouble to give us rules to live by, (see my post WHY DIDN’T JESUS WRITE ANYTHING?)  once you know God’s law and decide to  break it anyway, that is a deliberate turning away.  God’s justice is as great as his mercy.   You wouldn’t want an unfair God, would you?


Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  –- Matthew 23:36-39

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is  sin.  — James 4:17

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me to be with me where I am, may see the glory you have given me, before the foundation of the world.   — John 17:24

Death is but the extinguishing of the candle because the dawn has come.