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At the bishop’s request, the new cleric stopped over a few days at Rochester, to assist the lone and heavily overburdened priest of that parish. During this brief sojourn, Neumann for the first time came face to face with the pitiful conditions in which he slavishly would labor for the rest of his life. Here he saw the dire spiritual consequences for immigrant Catholics in a strange and thoroughly Protestant land, unable to converse in the language of their only priest, and thus cut off, for all intents and purposes, from guidance in their Holy Faith. Eventually many had fallen away, oftentimes joining heretical sects, and the religious instruction of their children was either founded on false doctrine or abandoned entirely. The saint spoke of this in his journal: “O God, how melancholy is the spectacle in this part of Thy kingdom! Do not punish our disobedience to Thy Church in this way! Take not away the good seed; suffer not the spread of heresy and infidelity! . . . Enlighten me, strengthen me with Thy powerful grace, that I may snatch from Satan his unfortunate prey, and lead them back to Thee!”

Becoming Catholic? The beginner's guide to a life of faith in the Roman Catholic Church.

The way to answer this question is to compare the teachings ofthe Catholic church to the teachings of Jesus as revealed in theNew Testament. The claim of the Catholic church to be the trueand original church is a valid claim if and only if the teachingand practice of the Catholic church agrees with the New Testament(2 Tim. 3:16,17; I Cor. 14:37; Matt. 7:15-27; 2 John 9-11; Gal. 1:6-9;I John 2:3-6; John 8:31,32).


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There were four hundred Catholic families — mostly immigrants — scattered throughout the half-million acres of densely wooded countryside in Father Neumann’s portion of the parish. In most instances the distance from the cabin of one poor household to the next was ten or more miles. And where there were enough Catholics in an area to erect a small church, as in Niagara or Batavia, it would mean a hike of as much as fifty miles for the little priest to say Mass.


Karl Adam, The Spirit of Catholicism - EWTN

Father Neumann made his headquarters at Williamsville, a small village east of Buffalo, where he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice between the four walls of an unfinished chapel that had neither floor nor roof. Anti-Catholics took advantage of this situation during Mass, by pitching rocks over the walls into the congregation. One landed on the altar one morning, narrowly missing the holy priest.

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Having concluded our brief look at Catholic teaching concerning a just war, it is important for us, as Americans living in the world as it is today to continue to do our part for peace in our nation and in the world. We owe it to our soldiers to pray for their safety and, most importantly, for their spiritual welfare. Whether our country engages in war or not, whether we serve or not, whether our relatives are enlisted to fight or not, we must pray for the conversion of our nation — every day — without fail. Only when our nation has become Catholic can we ever hope truly to fulfill the requirements for a just war. Our Lady said that war is punishment for sin. She also gave us the solution — the daily Rosary and the collegial consecration [the Pope and bishops] of Russia, by name, to her Immaculate Heart. Let us pray the Rosary, each and every day, for the conversion of America and the consecration of Russia. We owe this to our nation, our children, and ourselves. As good Catholics we know that Our Lady is our only hope.

Rosary beads help Catholics count their prayers

One more serious matter needs to be considered. What is a Catholic to do if he chooses to fight for his country and, in the course of the war, is given an order to do something that he knows for certain is morally wrong or goes directly against his Catholic Faith? For example, let us say he is ordered to shoot down prisoners of war or destroy innocent non-combatants. God willing, he will never be faced with this choice. If it happens, however, that he must choose between obeying the order to commit a sin (or something he knows is unjust) or suffer the consequences of refusing to obey an order, the Catholic must choose to obey the higher law — that of God and of the Church. He may have to suffer severe personal consequences for his choice to obey God’s Law rather than the command to commit an immoral act. He could be court-martialed and even executed for disobeying a direct order. These are not easy decisions to make. Neither were these choices easy for the great martyr-soldiers like Saint Sebastian, Saint Joan of Arc, Saints Maurice, Victor, and the members of the Theban Legion, along with countless others who chose to remain faithful witnesses to the Truths of their Faith in the face of severe penalties — even death.