Response to an Irish Atheist

Fetus IIThe following piece is part of an online exchange I recently had with an Irish atheist who claims to be a medical doctor and enthusiastically voted for abortion.  He obviously feels that Ireland has gradually emerged from its Catholic darkness, with the outcome of the referendum of May 25 being only the latest proof.  I do expend a lot of time and effort responding to such people, with the expectation that I will probably not be given a response from them.  Regardless, my comments are there for others to read, so it’s worth the effort.

I’m posting this exchange because I think it offers a useful example of the manner in which a Catholic should respond to such charges made by an opponent of this nature.  I do not believe in the milk toast, saccharin, hyper-sensitive, coddle-them-like-little-babes approach that is common today.  If such an approach were effective, then the Church would be filled to overflowing with converts, since everyone in the Church has been using it for decades – popes, bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people.  The fact is, such an approach was not used by Our Lord when confronting His staunch opponents, nor by the Apostles, nor by the great apologists and evangelists of the Church.  It has the effect of misrepresenting the Christian religion as an ideology for the timid and effeminate, so I do not use it.  At all times, Christian charity – absolutely – but charity often requires firmness and directness, as every parent knows.  Treat people like adults, and they just might behave like them.  Treat them like babies, and babies you’ll have.

The atheist’s comments have been altered for obvious reasons, but the substance is exactly the same.  I’ve also given him a new name which I think is appropriate, in reference to Herod the Great, that maniac responsible for the slaughter of the Innocents.  His taunting comments are typical anti-Catholic rubbish such as we hear all the time, which is the reason I’ve decided to post them, along with my response.

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Doctor McHerod’s Comments:

I’m thrilled to know that you admit Ireland is no longer a Catholic country!  Catholicism is a rancid wicked body of beliefs that I had the misery of enduring for a long time.   But now the pedophile priests have had their day and I’m very happy about it.

The Catholic Church bears the responsibility for the happy outcome of the abortion referendum.  You folks have driven away the good and enlightened people of Ireland, so that they can’t get far enough away from you.   But I noticed in your previous comments that you enthusiastically encouraged people to vote against the introduction of abortion in Ireland.   Well, where were you during the pedophile rampage?!  I couldn’t find your enthusiastic posts denouncing such crimes.

The Catholic religion is so filled with flaws, as are all religions.  There are 7,000 supposed gods, and none of them exist, just like your god.   And that’s the reason you don’t stand a chance.

The Irish today are an especially well-educated people that can easily perceive your deception.   But you can’t, so you are doomed!  They have voted for divorce, contraception, gay marriage, and now abortion.  And you still don’t understand it all; you haven’t gotten the message.

The Irish people are finally awake, and they no longer want you around.  So, GOOD BYE FOREVER!!!  CHEERS!!!

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My Response:

Doctor McHerod,

Let me answer your questions directly.  I live in the United States.  When it was discovered that perverted priests and bishops were molesting people here and elsewhere, I was immediately screaming about it more angrily than you are now, – online, in the classroom, and on the radio, and at some risk to myself in my own diocese.  So please spare me the self-righteous finger-pointing.

I noticed that you twice referred to “pedophile” priests.  Nice dodge.  The vast majority of sexual crimes committed by priests – approximately 90% in the US – were not between men and very young children, but between men and boys and men and young men.  That’s not pedophilia, that’s homosexuality, so call it what it is.  The Catholic Church was, and still is, a rat’s nest of homosexual clergy.  As a man who went to seminary for one year and almost entered a religious order, who’s been Catholic since 1990 and worked in the Church all that time, I can tell you this firsthand.

And by the way, what’s so bad about men sodomizing children?   The only aspect your side really objects to is the forced nature of the act, that it was rape.  Well, I couldn’t agree with your side more on that point, but I would go much further with my outrage.  The evil in these sexual attacks is not only that they were forced on others, but in the very nature of the act itself: sodomy.  Whether it’s forced or consensual, whether it’s between a man and a child, a man and another man, or a man and a woman, sodomy is a disgusting, unnatural, perverse, and damnable act.  Do you agree with this?  I don’t know; let’s hear from you.  But if you do disagree, as the radical left does, then the only thing that actually upsets you in these scandals is the forced nature of the acts, and not the acts themselves; which means that, if only they had been consensual acts of sodomy, you would have been fine with them.  And that is disgusting.  But again, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now and let you answer for yourself.  But that’s the social, cultural, political left – crying out with indignation over the sex scandals in the Catholic Church, while promoting and defending sodomy far and wide, night and day, as just another intimate expression of affection.

Now go ahead and say it: “You should be ashamed to still be a Catholic.  You’re directly supporting and condoning an institution of rapists.  If you were truly opposed to it all, you would have left the Church years ago.”

No, Doctor McHerod, I’m directly condoning and supporting an institution of truth and grace that helps people of every type to grow in wisdom, sanctity, and the love of God, and to attain the end for which they were made – salvation.  But are there rotten apples in the Church?   To answer in the affirmative would be an understatement.  There are rotten orchards in the Church – whole hillsides of stinking decaying fruit!  But all such rot is the antithesis of Catholicism.  If you want to know what genuine Catholicism produces, look to the saints, not the unrepentant sinners.  Saints are the by-products of authentic Catholicism, while unrepentant sinners and scandal-mongers of all types are the result of the rejection of it.  So, to heap the whole Catholic Church into one mass of guilt is to make an entirely emotional judgment, not a rational one.  It is to accuse the numberless innocent Catholics – both clergy and laity – of guilt by association.  Well, in that case, we are all guilty because we are all associated with corruption – both that of others, as well as our own.

I know how to support the good in the Church, but avoid the evil, how to condone the Gospel, the virtues, and the sacraments, but condemn whatever is contrary to them.  I direct my resources and support very carefully and attend only the best of churches.  Any Catholic who cared enough could do the same.  If I see something contrary to goodness in the Church, then I withhold my support from it.

How about yourself?  Do you support evil of any type, in any way?  Yes, you do.  You just supported it with your pro-abortion vote.  You are part and parcel of a movement that kills many millions of innocent human beings in the womb.  They will die for the “crime” of being young and defenseless in a society with no heart for them.  In order to pacify your consciences, you redefine them as non-persons.

And do these “non-persons” feel pain?  Why don’t you watch a video of an abortion, and see for yourself whether that tiny victim embraces the abortionist’s deadly instruments, or desperately tries to escape them.  No pro-life propaganda in that approach, but just the demonstrable facts.

Instead of looking to these pre-born children with any sense of humaneness, you take from them their right to live, and concern yourself only with their mothers, whom you care for by allowing them to become the murderers of their own flesh and blood.   In taking from one the most fundamental right of life, you give to another the invented liberty to kill the innocent.

And apparently, this is motivated by your hatred for the Catholic Church and religion in general?  Killing babies in the womb – babies who aren’t even Catholic – is a strange way of getting back at the Church.  In fact, it’s a complete miss that strikes dead a perfectly innocent party.

But let’s take another approach.  By any chance, do you pay federal taxes?  Is your government in any way corrupt?  Have any of your officials committed crimes, been bribed by donors, or failed to fulfill their campaign promises?  Has your government ever supported unjust violence or war any place in the world?  Those were rhetorical questions, of course.  But do you at all give financial support to your government?

Did you ever attend a public school or a college?  Our public schools are filled with sex scandals.  There are now countless instances of female teachers having sex with very young male students.  The latest involves a thirty-two-year-old Ohio woman who had sex in her classroom with a fourteen-year-old boy, and who told him to lie about it to the principal.  The pictures of middle-aged women accused of rape have become a semi-regular feature in the news these days.  Out of a consistent indignation, should we not, therefore, denounce the public school system as a whole?  Should we not withhold all taxes that will be used to support it, and withdraw our children from it?

And what about Hollywood and its decades-long practices of systematic widespread abuse, harassment, and rape of countless girls and boys and women and men?  You know, those rich and famous Hollywood elites who live in mansions or gated communities, who are outspoken anti-gun activists, and yet, make a living shooting guns and glamorizing violence on the big screen?   Surely you’ve heard about Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, Oliver Stone, Kevin Spacey, and most recently Morgan Freeman – that darling of the left?  Except for Harvey, who interestingly has a knack for distributing anti-Catholic films through his company Miramax, all of these people are still out free and enjoying life.  I’ll stop there with the names, but the list goes on and on.

Now are you still supporting the horribly corrupt institution of Hollywood by watching its movies, or have you been too busy taking part in anti-Hollywood protests?  And can you point me to your outrage online?   By your own reasoning, you should be publically denouncing and permanently boycotting Hollywood by refusing to enjoy any of its movies.

Come to think of it, are any of our famously outspoken social justice warriors presently boycotting Hollywood and all its movies?  Hmph, I can’t think of even one that is.

What about the medical field?  Have you ever considered the barbaric practices of medicine in recent centuries, including the horrific mental institutions and state hospitals from the twentieth century which used, for example, electro-shock therapy?  Have you considered the countless doctors in all fields of medicine who have groped women during examinations, or neglected or misdiagnosed patients who then went to early deaths?  How about the countless surgical errors that have resulted in the mistaken removal of healthy limbs or organs, or the errors on the operating table that resulted in worse health crises than the patients had when being prepped?

Doctor McHerod, have you been busily denouncing your own field of medicine and all its personnel for their intolerable cruelties to the innocent?  Or rather, do you save all your indignation and righteous anger exclusively for the Catholic Church, or for religion in general, which you personally dislike?  I see a double-standard of righteous anger here.

We could play this game all day and all night, moving on to such fields as science, the military, the police, and the media.  I hope by now you’ve gotten my point.

The fact is, if you want to play the indignation game and be consistent about it, then you need to withdraw from all institutions and society as a whole to the innocent woods, where you can live in peace with your sensitive social conscience and high standard of social justice.  Until you’ve done so, please spare me the selective indignation directed only at the Catholic Church.  It’s old-fashioned calculated bigotry of the most obvious kind.

The truth is, you’re perfectly fine with corruption and injustice.  The proof is in the fact that last week you voted for the most corrupt and unjust act imaginable – the slaughter of the innocent in the womb.  The abused, the molested, and the raped have a second chance.  With counseling and the compassion and support of others, they have the hope of recovery and a new beginning.  But for the aborted there can be no such hope, but only a voter-approved agonizing end to their brief little lives.

May the God that you reject move you to repentance with His grace, restore your empathy and understanding, and have mercy on your soul before the Day of days when the opportunities for repentance will be past.  I am praying for you, Doctor McHerod.

Addendum:

If anyone would like to propose atheism as a solution to the problems of religion turned rotten, please consider the following atheistic regimes casualty numbers:

  • Jozef Stalin (USSR 1932-39 only): 15,000,000 people murdered
  • Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79): 1,700,000 people murdered
  • Kim II Sung (North Korea 1948-94): 1.6 million people murdered
  • Tito (Yugoslavia 1945-1987): 570,000 people murdered
  • Suharto (Communists 1967-66): 500,000 people murdered
  • Ante Pavelic (Croatia 1941-45): 359,000 people murdered
  • Ho Chi Min (Vietnam 1953-56): 200,000 people murdered
  • Vladimir Ilich Lenin (USSR, 1917-20): 30,000 people murdered
  • Adolf Hitler (Germany 1939-1945): 12,000,000 people murdered
  • Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50): 49-78,000,000 people murdered

Dwarfing these numbers is the casualty count of abortions in America since 1973: 61,000,000 babies murdered.  The present US rate is about three thousand per day.

According to the CDC, the deaths of women due to abortion is a matter of voluntary reporting by abortion clinics.  Chillingly, the number is therefore unknown.

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Ireland Legalizes Murder

WeepingIt’s official.  Ireland is a pagan nation.  It is pro-homosexuality, pro-contraception, pro-divorce, and pro-abortion.  It is liberal, secular, leftist, and progressive.  It is faithless, immoral, and godless.  It is conformed to the age and has embraced the spirit of the times.  It has burned the banner of the Holy Gospel and stomped on the Word of God.  It has insulted the saints, desecrated the sacraments, and blasphemed Our Eucharistic Lord.  Ireland is a pagan nation.  Period.

The vote to repeal the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment by a two-third’s majority is a victory for ignorance.  Why?  Because a people formed after the Gospel, who affirmed the two Great Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, and the natural law, and who understood the necessity of these moral principles in creating and maintaining a civilization founded on charity and justice for both the strong and the weak, would never have even considered such a repeal.  It would have been morally unthinkable.  But ignorance of the faith has prevailed, and now it will be helpless pre-born children who first pay the price.  And this price will increase, as the abortion mentality stretches its rancid tentacles throughout Irish society, corrupting its culture, art, and education, strangling Christian virtue, and founding a hundred abortion-related practices and industries.

Legalized abortion will produce laws restricting public opposition and free speech, and will establish abortion mill zones where the Rosary cannot be prayed or pro-life counseling offered to desperate pregnant women on the verge of murdering their own flesh and blood.  Funding for abortion facilities will be drawn from federal taxes.  The government you make YOU fund the killing.  Medical students will be required to take part in abortions as a part of their training, or they will not be licensed.  An underground body parts industry will establish itself, whether legally or illegally.  And any person who openly objects to the new “culture of death” will be regarded as a backwards lunatic who hates women and practices a religion that is a threat to Irish culture and freedom.  You will feel like an unwelcome alien in your own home, among your dearest friends.  Pro-life Catholics will be regarded as potential terrorists for their views.  And then, one deranged individual among the pro-life fold will attack or kill an abortionist, and the laws against pro-life beliefs and activism will suddenly grow shockingly severe.    On and on the abortion infection will spread, like a bacteria from hell, until the same methods that successfully introduced homosexual marriage and abortion will be re-employed to introduce the next leap into the bottomless pit of perdition: euthanasia.

I know the Irish. I’ve lived among them and listened to the stories of their lives for thirty years now.  The Irish clergy left them hopelessly ignorant of the Catholic faith, precisely as happened in the United States.  Catholics were formed to be mere Mass-goers, pew-sitters, and sacramentalists who couldn’t offer an effective word on behalf of the faith they professed, because they studied neither the Bible nor the Catechism.  They were cultural Catholics who received Holy Communion weekly or daily and prayed the Rosary in ten minutes, members of the institutional Church, rather than disciples of Jesus Christ who were willing and prepared to spread and defend the faith, as every Catholic is commissioned to do by virtue of their Confirmation.

I have always identified Irish Catholicism as being unusually deficient in the catechetical domain – and directly related to this, superstitious as well, due to its infatuation with a pre-Christian Celtic spirituality that seems to saturate the Irish soil itself.  All of this has left the Irish folk intellectually lame and spiritually vulnerable to the lies of the irreligious left, until good seemed evil and evil good, until murder seemed like equality and liberty for all.  Finally, add to this the anger aroused by the horrific scandals among the Irish clergy and religious, including the Magdalene Sisters and the Christian Brothers, and perhaps the future was inevitable.  One might even say that the abortion vote signified a denunciation of the Catholic Church itself.  As morally insane as it is, many voted for abortion as a means of registering their opposition to the Catholic Church.  The fact is, the Church lost the Irish people many years ago, so that this political outcome was entirely predictable.  Indeed, in light of the vote in favor of homosexual marriage, a vote in opposition to abortion would have made no sense whatsoever.

Saint Patrick – that holy Brit – has been rebuked by brogues.  Perhaps King Herod the Great – that murderer of the Holy Innocents – would now be a more fitting patron for Ireland.  The druids have arisen to reclaim the Irish ignoramuses for the powers of darkness, with their “black laws of pagandom.”  Yes, child sacrifice is returning to the Emerald Isle, as the land of saints and scholars, once known for producing countless Catholic missionaries who brought the ancient and perennial faith to a world living in heathen darkness, now degenerates into a Guinness-soaked godless domain.  As Father John Hardon once warned, there is nothing as anti-Christian as a formerly Christian nation.

And all of this…in the month of Mary.  May Our Lady of Knock still intercede before her offended Lord.

The battle goes on.  The soldiers of Christ know no white flags.  We do not surrender to evil.  We make no deals with the devil, even as he takes our homes from us.  Jesus Christ, His Holy Gospel, and His Holy Church have already won this war.  All that matters now is fidelity to the true faith, even as our co-religionists burn incense to Baal and offer their firstborn to Moloch.  There is no middle ground here, no neutral position, no moderate view, no place for conscientious objectors.  There is no way to abstain from the battle between God and Satan, between the true Church and the anti-church.  The only option is to choose your side – the right or the left, the sheep or the goats, the wheat or the weeds.

Be faithful…or be damned.

 

Pray for Ireland

Pray for Ireland, which will have a referendum on abortion on May 25, 2018.

It is inconceivable that Catholic Ireland could possibly have come to this point, but the fractures in the faith were clearly revealed when the Irish legalized gay so-called marriage in 2015, making Ireland the first country in the world to do so by popular vote.  Clerical sex scandals have continued to disgrace the Irish Church and eliminate the voice of the faith in public discussions of morality.  It is all evidence of the tireless dedication of evil to its own cause, but also, of the failure of the Church to teach the faith clearly and thoroughly and to defend it courageously.

How easy it is to mislead Catholics who are either unformed or ignorant of the faith they profess.

Pray, pray, pray for Ireland.

Abortion and Excommunication

confession

During the recently concluded Year of Mercy, Pope Francis granted to all priests the ability to relieve the excommunication attached to the sin of abortion.  Previously, in some countries, only a bishop could relieve this penalty, and until it was lifted, sacramental absolution could not be granted to the person guilty of abortion.  In an Apostolic Letter entitled Misericordia et Misera (Mercy with Misery) issued on November 20, 2016, the pope has extended this ability to all priests beyond the Year of Mercy, until further notice.  The relevant statements are found in paragraph #12:

“Given this need, lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”

Recently, an Italian senator named Monica Cirinna, known for her pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activism, caused a bit of a stir by implying that Pope Francis was gradually liberalizing the Church’s position on abortion.  She claimed, “I am sure that he is going in the right direction.”  Strangely, Cirrano has additionally interpreted the pope’s recent statements to support her desire to punish medical personnel who refuse to perform abortions on moral grounds.  This is such a stretch as to be absurd, and it is an obvious attack especially on committed Catholics.

Pope Francis, although he does not speak against the sin of abortion as forcefully and frequently as many of us would like, nevertheless has plainly restated Catholic teaching on the subject.  As he asserts in the above document, “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”  In addition, abortion continues to carry the penalty of automatic excommunication.  This has in no way changed, except that the penalty may now be removed in the sacrament of penance by ordinary priests.

To grant all priests the right to give full and effective sacramental absolution to those guilty of abortion is not to belittle the gravity of the sin, nor to cheapen mercy, but only to emphasize the need for God’s forgiveness following such a grave act.  After all, the person confessing such a sin clearly recognizes its gravity and is repentant of it.  This is the very person that the Church wishes, not to push away, but to receive into her arms in order to strengthen through God’s mercy and restore in God’s grace.  Such is the purpose of the Church’s ministry of reconciliation, and the pope wishes only to make it more effective for those who prudently turn to it.

In spite of the warped interpretations and intentions of some, there is no change whatsoever in the Church’s moral teaching on abortion, nor can there be.  For it is a matter, not of the traditions of men, but of divine law.  The Fifth Commandment, “You shall not kill,” means, “You may not murder an innocent person.”  No human being possesses the authority to change this law, for it is founded, not on merely human authority, but on divine authority.  As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches,

“Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion.  This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.  Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (#2271).

Yes, circumstances can some times mitigate the guilt of those involved in an abortion.  Conditions such as ignorance or extreme threats from others can reduce the mortal guilt of a person involved in this particular, or in any other, gravely immoral act.  This is just standard Catholic moral teaching.  But the objective act of deliberately killing a pre-born child always remains gravely immoral, and it continues to carry the penalty of automatic excommunication.  Circumstances cannot make morally right that which God has declared to be morally wrong.

 

The Birth of Christianity

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Authentic Christianity is inextricably pro-life.  This pro-life ethic is not merely a conviction, precept, or tradition.  At the very heart of the Christian religion is the birth of a Baby.  I’m reminded of this truth every late Advent as I set up our outdoor crèche.

Old Testament prophecy repeatedly spoke of a mother and her Infant.  Every Jew anticipated the appearance of the one and the delivery of the Other.  When this Babe was finally born, pagans from the East travelled to an unfamiliar land to offer worship and gifts to the Child.  King Herod – that precursor of modern infanticide – sought to kill Him.  Angels sang in praise of this Infant in a manger, while shepherds left their flocks to offer their own humble homage.  The world – the entire universe – would never be the same, due to this Son born of a Virgin Mother.

At the Annunciation – which pinpointed the exact “fullness of time” in salvation history – the angel Gabriel declared to Mary from Nazareth that she would conceive the Messiah.  At the same time, she was told that her kinswoman, Elizabeth, had also conceived a child in her relative old age, and was already six months pregnant.  Immediately, Mary set off from Nazareth to visit Elizabeth in the hills of Judea to assist Elizabeth with the pregnancy.  The journey would have taken about four days.

When Mary reached the house of Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, she greeted them perhaps from the doorway, as we might give a shout at a friend’s door to see if anyone is home.  Elizabeth heard the greeting, and when she came to Mary, she said, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!  And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy.”

Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, who was six months old at the time.  And yet, she referred to him as, “the babe in my womb.”  No, not as the “pregnancy matter” or “fetal tissue,” but as the “babe.”  For six months, this pre-born future little prophet had fully been a human being in his mother’s womb, not a mass of cells lodged in the wall of a uterus.  Elizabeth, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:41), rightly affirmed this, calling her pre-born child, not a biological lump, but a person.

Notice how Elizabeth addressed Mary:  “And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  It was not that Mary one day would be a mother, after the birth of her Son.  No, by virtue of the child she presently carried in her womb, Mary was already a mother.  She, too, was carrying, not a “clump of cells,” but a human being, a Person.  And how old was this Child at this point?  He was all of five days old.

Again, authentic Christianity is inextricably pro-life.  It holds with the certainty of divine revelation that every human being, from the first instant of conception to the last second of life in this world (and beyond), possesses a supreme value and dignity, and all the rights that belong to a human person.   No mental or physical condition, no defect or disorder, no injury or illness, no stage of development or deterioration, can possibly decrease the humanity of a human person, whether young or old.  One cannot be or become more or less human, for every human being is by nature and design fully, equally, and eternally human.  Thus, nothing could be more contrary to the Christian religion than abortion and the morally perverse reasonings that are used to defend it; and no person could be more conflicted than a “pro-choice” Christian.  Such an individual is a contradiction in terms.  For to kill a baby is to identify, not with Mary and Joseph, but with Herod the madman.  And it is to come as close as one can to murdering God Himself; for every human being,  and every infant, therefore, is made in the divine image and likeness.

Is it any wonder that our atheistic blood-drenched culture should increasingly forbid on public property that supreme symbol of the sanctity of human life – the crèche?  In a morbid way, this only makes sense.  For the repudiation of the sanctity of human life requires the repudiation of Christ and Christianity.

Thousands of years of history and prophecy, and countless Jewish and Gentile hearts, looked to a hay-filled manger in a cave or stable just outside of Bethlehem.  Here, all angelic and human hopes were fulfilled when the God of the universe was born a Child to a Virgin Mother.