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Dr Chris Burgwald
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A head's up... in order to reduce the number of profiles I have on G+, I'm going to be deleting this account soon. As I noted back in April, I'm now using the +SiouxFalls Diocese profile to post interesting articles, etc.

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So, it's been mid-February since I posted anything, but that's for two reasons: first, we started using Twitter at the Diocesan offices, and second, we established a joint Google+ account there as well.

So if you enjoy the sorts of articles that I've posted at this account, circle +SiouxFalls Diocese!
On biotechnology, "The Church Is Not Backward, But Forward".

In the article linked below, molecular biologist Rebecca Taylor discusses her evolution from being critical of the Church's stance on modern technologies like stem-cell research, cloning and genetic engineering to embracing them and the Church as "the most forward-thinking institution I have ever encountered — and more relevant today than ever."

Check it out and pass it on!

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"The Atheists' Pope"

In the post linked below, convert-from-atheism Jennifer Fulwiler talks about her affection for Pope Benedict, particularly about how his emphasis on the compatibility of faith and reason resonated with her as she -- an atheist at the time -- was investigating God, then Christianity, then Catholicism.

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"Ash Wednesday is a week away! Are you ready?"

The season of Lent begins one week from today. Below is a link to Pope Benedict's message for Lent this year... I'd encourage you to read it, and to start thinking and praying now about what your own personal Lenten penance this year is going to be... I know that in my own case, far too often I've put off that discernment until a day or two before Lent begins! Ask the Lord now what He would like you to consider doing... perhaps it's more prayer, more service, less TV, less internet, more spiritual reading, more confession... ask Him... He probably has an idea.  :-)

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"Catholic Women Who Use Contraception"

Below is a link to a blog post by speaker, writer, and convert from atheism, Jennifer Fulwiler, in which she discusses the many Catholic women who've contacted her or spoken with her about the Church's teaching on contraception. Here's a lengthy excerpt:

I've now had long conversations with a lot of ladies in this situation, and, contrary to the impression given in many of the "98%" reports, I do not see women who display a blatant disregard for what their Church teaches.   

Instead, I see women who love their Catholic faith, and who genuinely desire to live in accordance with its tenets.  

I see women who have been bombarded by secular wisdom on human sexuality, yet who have never heard a detailed explanation of their own Church's beliefs in this area.  

I see women who have never been exposed to the idea that this teaching is an articulation of an objective moral truth, who have instead been led to believe that the Catholic stance against contraception is rooted in nothing deeper than the personal whims of men in the Vatican.  

I see women who are utterly maxed out by the challenges of modern motherhood, and are terrified that making any changes to their current family planning choices could send them over a mental or financial cliff.  

I see women who endure hostility and ridicule for their efforts to explore this issue further, who are surrounded by people who consider contraception to be a modern necessity akin to electricity or running water.  

I see women who have asked around at their parish for resources to help them gain a better understanding of these ideas, and who have been turned away by folks who are as confused as they are.  

I see women who are beginning to see that artificial methods of birth control come with their own problems, and whose gut instincts tell them that there just might be some truth to this idea that contraception has not been a good thing for us.  

In short, I see a generation of Catholic women who are poised to reject the lies of secular culture and embrace the fullness of their Church's teaching, but who will need a lot of help to get there. 

First, they need to hear more about this topic in their churches, whether it's through homilies or classes or other outreach ministries. 

They need access to thorough explanations of the why's behind the Church's stance on this issue, phrased in a way that resonates with someone coming from a totally different perspective. 

They need to hear the truth that throwing away their contraception is actually the key to true reproductive freedom. 

They need practical advice -- not only in terms of how to practice natural methods of family planning, but suggestions for what to do if their husbands are closed to the concept. They need to encounter other folks who are making or have made this journey, preferably at the local level, who can provide them with prayer support, and with the occasional shoulder to cry on.  

Most of all, I think it is of the utmost importance that natural family planning outreach efforts not discount the profound changes that come with switching to this method of child spacing.

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"Jesus came not to seek consensus but to witness to the truth in love"

Below is a link to Pope Benedict's address before praying the Angelus last Sunday, in which he comments on the incident which we read about in the Gospel reading: the rejection of Jesus by the people of Nazareth. The Holy Father explains that Jesus was not satisfied with the crowd's initial wonderment at Him: He came not to please or excite the crowds, but to bear witness to the truth.

May we put this reality into practice in our own lives.

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"Sacramental Social Doctrine"

The season of Lent is fast approaching, and with it a reminder of the importance for Catholics of alms-giving and of efforts to alleviate the suffering of those around us in whatever ways we can.

An article (linked below at) the online magazine Catholic World Report explores the relationship between the sacraments -- particularly the Eucharist -- and Catholic teaching on and efforts towards social justice. As the subtitle of the article puts is, truly authentic and effective social outreach flows from the sacramental presence of Jesus Christ.

Consider giving it a read and considering how this Lent might be a time of renewed participation in the sacraments and love of neighbor.

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"Fr. Barron on what to say to Catholics who struggle with Church teaching?"

In the short video below, Fr. Robert Barron offers his thoughts on what to say to Catholics who struggle with some of the "hot-button" Church teachings.

Check it out and pass it on!

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"Catechesis and the New Evangelization"

At the conclusion of the Synod on the New Evangelization in Rome last fall, Pope Benedict announced that a forthcoming document of his would shift responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation of the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. That document was released yesterday with the latin title "Fides per doctrinam" (which comes from the opening sentence of the document, "Faith needs to be sustained by means of a doctrine capable of enlightening the minds and hearts of believers"), and the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, discussed the significance of the Holy Father's announcement in the article listed below.

It's a short article, well worth a read for anyone involved in catechetical work.

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"Paul’s Conversion Fills Us With Great Hope"

Today is the annual March for Life in Washington DC, in which hundreds of thousands of Americas peacefully march and pray against legal abortion in our country.

Catholics been part of the March since its beginnings in 1974, with bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laypeople participating; this year, a bus load of people from our Diocese made the trip and are participating in the March.

Below is a link to the homily given by Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas last night at the Vigil Mass. Consider reading it and joining in the prayers and peaceful actions of millions of Americans to stop abortion.
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