We live in a world that hungers for God’s saving message. Let us first receive the seeds of the Gospel in our own hearts and then work with the Divine Gardener to scatter His seeds of truth and love to all we meet.
As we announce the Good News, we want to keep in mind the areas in which the world most needs the truth. Catholic Witnesses has chosen to focus on four non-negotiable principles that are most neglected and most needed in the world today. These principles are not truths of any particular religious faith; they are truths about the human person discoverable by reason and applicable to people of all times and places. However, our faith does shed light and further wisdom on the non-negotiable principles. Inspired by love for God and neighbor, Catholic Witnesses seeks to defend and promote the following non-negotiables:
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has repeatedly urged Catholics to defend the non-negotiable principles. To read his comments please click here.
Every day you make decisions about the importance of various things. Should I stay later at the office or should I go to my son’s baseball game? Should I finish cleaning the house or should I make time to exercise? Questions such as these arise because the best answer is not always obvious. Sometimes it would be prudent to choose the first option, sometimes the second, depending on your circumstances. These are what we call negotiable issues. But there are other questions you do not consider because the answers never change. For example, when was the last time you asked yourself, Should I eat this week? You don’t ask yourself this question because eating is not negotiable.
A non-negotiable is a principle about the human person that is true always, everywhere, and for all people (for example, all people must eat to live). Anyone who wants to advance the true good of individuals and societies must defend and promote the non-negotiable principles.
The First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This means that the government cannot establish an official religion of the United States and that it cannot prohibit your right to practice your religious beliefs, in public or private, to share your religious beliefs with others, or to convert to a different religion according to your beliefs. Every person has a right to religious liberty, guaranteed by law, because it is essential to human dignity.
Religious liberty is the first of the conscience rights specifically listed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Conscience rights allow people to pursue their beliefs, so long as public order is maintained. Our freedom of conscience, which is God-given and protected by the Constitution, allows us to respond to God. God gave us reason and free will so that we could know Him and love Him. God wants us to love Him, but He does not force us to love Him. After all, forced love is not love at all. He gives us the freedom to choose to love Him. The right to religious liberty protects this freedom that God granted to each person.
Religious freedom is particularly important for our mission as Catholic Witnesses. We seek to promote the non-negotiable principles in the public square. If we lose our freedom of religion, if we lose our liberty of conscience, we could also lose our freedom to defend the non-negotiables of life, marriage, and the liberty of parents to raise and educate their children.
If you have children, or if you have cared for a baby, you have probably noticed the utter helplessness of newborns. Bringing a human being into this world does not end with birth. On the contrary, a child requires much more care after than before birth, as many parents will attest. God, in His wisdom, has designed human life to require many years of care and education before reaching maturity. Common sense, Scripture, and the wisdom of the Church tell us that parents—the ones who bring the new life into existence—are the ones who should continue to nurture that life until independence. But because common sense is not always common, the liberty of parents to raise and educate their children is not always protected.
The following essential parental liberties are under threat today:
• The freedom to choose where to send one’s children to school, including whether to homeschool them.
• The freedom to direct the religious formation and sexual education of one’s children.
• The freedom to make medical decisions for one’s children.
The liberty of fit parents to raise and educate their children must be protected for the good of children, families, and society as a whole.
The right to life is the first right of every human being. Naturally, we can have no other rights if we do not have the right to life. This truth seems so blatantly obvious on the one hand, but on the other hand, this basic right is often disregarded. In our society, we must rediscover the foundation of our very first right.
Our culture often views the value of human life in terms of whether or not the life is convenient, wanted, or productive. Just think of a baby in the womb who needs life-saving surgery. If the baby is wanted by his parents, he will receive medical care. If he is not wanted, he will likely be killed in utero. The standards of convenience, desirability, and productivity are not God’s standards, however. God sees every human life as a person He created in His image and likeness and as a person He calls to a relationship of love. We must respect this dignity given to every person by God. When we measure the value of human life by other standards, we endanger the lives of all people. We must help the world recognize the dignity of every single human life so that the lives of all are protected from the moment of conception until natural death.
The right to life of every innocent human being is non-negotiable. This means that it is always gravely wrong to kill an innocent human being. Abortion, euthanasia, and every other form of directly killing another innocent person are intrinsically evil.
We live in a world that is out of touch with God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality. Not only are obvious divergences from God’s plan accepted, but they are also sometimes even considered good. For example, the recent push to redefine marriage in our country is an effort to make the law say that a disordered relationship is a good relationship. When we lose sight of God’s plan for human sexuality, the very foundation of society - the family based on marriage - begins to crumble.
For our own good and for the good of society, we should rediscover the truth about marriage, live it in our own lives, and promote it in our culture. God’s plan for marriage extends to all people, although marriage has special significance for Christians. For all people, marriage is a permanent union between a man and a woman for two primary purposes: the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. For Christians, marriage is also sacrament: it is a sign of grace that gives grace.
The promotion of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman is a non-negotiable principle because it is good for all people, in all places, at all times. This is not to say that every single person should get married, but that the family based on marriage is good for every society.
Catholic Witnesses is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that encourages Christians to promote and defend non-negotiable principles, drawing inspiration and courage from Jesus Christ in order to spread His truth and love to a world in need of Him.
Catholic Witnesses is here not only to emphasize the importance of defending the non-negotiable principles but also to remind us of the significance of the spiritual dimension in every good work we undertake. We encourage you to tackle each pressing social issue with eyes of faith and hearts of prayer for the following reasons:
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Our board of directors and staff are Catholics who want to live their faith more fully and encourage you to do the same. We look forward to working together to make this world a better place, and most importantly, to reach the Best Place when our journey is done.
Manny and his wife Adriana are active members of their parish. They have seven children, five at home and two in college. Manny is a practicing physician in Florida who has volunteered from his time to help in mission trips. He enjoys sports and spending time with his family.
Adriana has been married to Manny for over twenty years. Together they spent the last fifteen years home schooling their seven children, two of whom are now in college. Adriana has worked the last few years defending parental rights and serves as the ParentalRights.org Florida State Coordinator.
Juan Bauta has been married to Natalie Bauta for over 20 years. Together they homeschool their 6 children. They are active members of their parish. Juan has taught baptism and confirmation classes, and he has served on the Parish Council, Engaged Encounter, Focus, Prison Ministry, Life in the Spirit seminars both in the parish and in prison, and Deliverance Ministry. He is a Bible study leader, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and a Sacristan. He has been a guest in Radio Peace and speaks in parishes on religious liberty. Juan is a Board Certified trial lawyer.
Clare Schiller is a practicing Catholic, a wife, and a mother (to an adorable baby boy). She is passionate about discovering the truth through literature, theology, and philosophy. Clare has volunteered as a catechist at her home parish, worked at a Catholic preschool, coordinated book clubs, and done some proofreading, editing, and writing. Clare loves the outdoors, spending time with her family, and a good pick-up soccer game on Sunday afternoon. Her other favorite activity is working for Catholic Witnesses. Clare graduated as the salutatorian of the class of 2012 from Ave Maria University with a BA in literature.
Royce A. Hood graduated from Ave Maria Law School in May 2012. At graduation he received the St. Ives Award for "Defense of the Catholic Faith." Mr. Hood was a summer clerk for ImmacuLaw in 2011 before joining the firm full time in August of 2012. Mr. Hood has facilitated over $25M in bond financing transactions for institutional clients. Responding to Pope John Paul II's call for a New Evangelization, Mr. Hood has developed a special expertise in Catholic apostolate startups and the promotion of the Catholic faith through traditional and social media. Mr. Hood is a board member with the March For Life (Washington, DC) and founder of the Law of Life Summit. Mr. Hood has been featured on EWTN's Life on the Rock and Fox News. He is a licensed member of the Illinois Bar and resides in La Grange Park, IL with his wife Elise and daughter Ava.
Dr. Vizcarrondo attended Temple University Medical School, Philadelphia, PA. He completed a residency in Pediatrics at University Hospital, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and subspecialty training in Pediatric Cardiology at University Hospital, Puerto Rico and Kings County Medical Center, New York University. An active duty US Air Force officer, he held the positions of Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Program Director, Pediatric Residency, and Chief of the Medical Staff at major medical centers of the Department of Defense and was on the faculty at the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Vizcarrondo was Affiliated Scholar, Georgetown University Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, D.C. He is Associate Professor (voluntary), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and member of the UM Ethics Programs. He completed a Masters Degree in Bioethics and has written on a variety of issues ranging from freedom of conscience of healthcare workers to the doctor patient relationship.
Simon is a retired clinical psychologist. He is a cradle Catholic who had a born again conversion experience in 1979. Simon has served the Church all his life, from altar boy in his early years to hospital spiritual ministry volunteer in the present. Simon has also served as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and has co-led Charismatic prayer groups, cell groups, and Life in the Spirit Seminar groups.
Victoria is a Registered Nurse who graduated from Texas Woman’s University. She has been married to her husband John for over 28 years. They have 3 grown children. As a family they have lived and traveled all over the world. In the past Victoria has been a third grade CCD teacher, taught Confirmation classes, volunteered for St. Vincent De Paul and was a member of her Parish Council. She continues to be active in her community and volunteers regularly for the Red Cross and other various charities.
David has been married to his wife Andrea since 2008. He is a partner and the CEO of Alliance Strategies Group a political consulting and marketing firm in Boca Raton, Florida that is focused on preserving faith, freedom, family and free enterprise. He and his wife are members of Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders and their spouses which have the ability to practice and infuse their faith in the daily lives and workplaces of their family, friends, colleagues and employees. The Thompsons are active members of their parish and the Latin Mass Society of the Palm Beaches.
Fast for the intention of an end to abortion and euthanasia: Offer up a favorite food, drink, or activity for some period of time or every week on a certain day.×
Promote your local Courage chapter. Courage is a Roman Catholic ministry dedicated to helping people with same-sex attraction live the universal call to chastity. Encourage is a ministry within Courage dedicated to helping families of those with same-sex attractions. Spread the word that these ministries are available. Maybe ask your priest if you can put an announcement for Courage meetings in the bulletin. If there is no Courage chapter near you, consider starting one. Visit couragerc.net to find a chapter near you.×
Pray the USCCB’s prayer in defense of marriage: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers/prayer-defense-of-marriage.cfm×
Watch “A Man for All Seasons” or “For Greater Glory” and discuss it. You could reach out and invite some people who may not see the importance of religious liberty; one of these movies may be a good starting point.×