Welcome to the Catholic Newbie blog. My name is Lyn Mettler and I hope to share with you how I came from being a 30+ year non-believer to a Catholic convert. I was opposed to any sort of organized religion for most of my adult life but in 2011 had a dramatic change of heart. I became Catholic on Easter 2013, and I hope to daily share my thoughts, worries and hopes with you and others on the same journey.

What You Need to Know About Writing in a Candidate for President and Why Writing in Pence Could Backfire

can I write in a presidential candidate

There’s a lot of talk about writing in a candidate for president for the 2016 election, as many, including me, are unhappy with our two major party choices. In fact, several Congressmen, including Senator John McCain and New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo, said they would write in a candidate such as Mike Pence.

Did you know that your write in vote may not count, and if you write in Mike Pence in Indiana where I live and who I think would be a much better choice, you might actually be voting FOR TRUMP! Make sure you know how to properly write in a candidate so your vote counts!

Here’s what you need to know about writing in a candidate for president. This is based on information I gathered from talking with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Election Commission office, but keep in mind it could be different in your state. Call your state’s election commission to confirm your options.

  • In Indiana, if you write in a candidate, your vote WILL NOT count unless you are voting for someone who has officially applied to run as a write-in candidate. Here are our Indiana options.
  • If you write in someone who’s NOT registered as a write-in candidate for president, your vote will not count. So consider it a protest vote.
  • Planning to write in Mike Pence? He is NOT registered to run for president in any state. So that’s likely a no count in most states. According to the Indiana Secretary of State, it’s possible they may actually include write-in votes for Pence to be a vote FOR the Trump-Pence ticket. So your write-in could end up supporting Trump. That is certainly not my intention. They indicated they have yet to determine how such a write-in will be handled. Could you imagine the extra votes that could unintentionally accrue for Trump? That could be a HUGE issue of contention as votes are tallied if Trump wins.
  • You can also choose not to vote for any particular race, including president.
  • The Indiana Secretary of State’s office indicated that write-ins are also largely subject to the discretion of the precinct manager, so there could be much debate, reviewing, recounting there, as well as to what counts, what doesn’t. Recall the hanging chad incident anyone?
  • Remember, you are actually voting for electors to choose your candidate, not the candidates themselves.

Write-ins are going to be a huge issue in this race and I predict potential chaos in correctly counting and allotting votes, especially those write-ins for Pence. Make sure you know what you are doing when you write someone in and what that really means.

Spread the word! We need to be fully informed this election!

Don’t Want to Vote Clinton OR Trump? Let’s Vote our Consience as Catholics & Write in a Candidate

Alternates to Clinton and Trump

Note: In further researching this piece, I discovered you CANNOT write in a candidate unless they have registered with your state and some states don’t allow write-ins at all. So the better procedure here is to research who is a write-in candidate in your state and if you find one who fits your values, write them in. This piece was also written before the latest Trump controversy regarding recordings of statements he made about women, but I think it holds even more relevance now.

In my opinion as a Catholic, we do not have a good choice for president this year. I wholeheartedly agree that as Catholics we cannot vote for Hillary Clinton and advance the abortion agenda. Life is the first and foremost issue. But I also believe it is a moral evil to vote for Donald Trump, who goes against almost every value I hold as a Christian and as a human person with dignity.

He does not respect the dignity of the person (which Pope Francis talks about so much), regularly tearing people down by their appearance, making fun of the disabled, proclaiming in news conferences how he would love to “hit” people (that’s condoning violence for no reason in my book), making bigoted statements (Miss Piggy??), not accepting refugees and exploiting people wherever he can to advance himself and his profits (not paying vendors after he went bankrupt). I know people who work for him say he is great, but that does not make up for his other morally-corrupt actions toward others.

I don’t expect anyone to be perfect, as we are all sinners, but I do expect the person I vote for to be an upstanding person and at least up front and apologetic of their faults. He is not only unapologetic; he is proud of these immoral character traits.

I know as Catholics we don’t want to see abortion advanced, and that is the reason cited by many to vote for Trump. (Though I am glad to see CatholicVote.com finally calling for Trump to step down; I hope more Catholic organizations will follow.) But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the “ends do not justify the means” (#1759) and I don’t think we can justify voting for Trump, a moral evil in my opinion, as our means to the end of not advancing abortion. What if we had two pro-abortion candidates? Would we have to vote one over the other then? I don’t think so. I choose to not vote for either Clinton or Trump, abiding by my Christian-formed conscience.

I propose we instead all write in a candidate, someone who is a much better representative of Christian values, and which still allows us to cast a vote and fulfill our duty as American citizens. We DON’T HAVE TO VOTE for these two immoral candidates – that is not a given; it is NOT our only choice. We can think outside the box and write someone in! Here are the write-in candidates who have registered to run for president. Note: They MUST HAVE REGISTERED or your write-in vote will NOT COUNT. Here is a list of registered write-in candidates.

God has placed these two unacceptable candidates in front of us at this time for a reason. Perhaps, it is what we deserve as Americans for letting our country stray so far from what it was founded upon. But I know I personally have to vote my conscience, as Pope Francis guided us to do so earlier this week. He said: “study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience.” God’s will be done – whatever it is. I know he will make good from evil, just as he did with Jesus’ death on the cross. But I cannot play a part in letting an immoral individual lead our country; I will not cast that vote as a means to an end.

I know I will catch much backlash for this, and not that I am in way in their company, but so have many saints spoken against the populace for what is right and taken a verbal whiplashing.

Let’s do things differently, American Catholics, and let’s make a stand for Christian values. Even if our voices do not ultimately win out, we will have followed our consciences and what Jesus teaches — that’s all He asks of us. As St. Teresa of Calcutta says, God does not call us to be successful, only faithful. Amen brothers and sisters!

Everything You Wanted to Know about RCIA & How to Join the Catholic Church

RCIA & How to Join the Catholic Church via @ACatholicNewbie

If you are curious about the Catholic church, want to learn more about it or are even ready to convert, what can you do? Join your local Catholic church’s RCIA program. What in the heck is RCIA, you ask?!

What is RCIA?

RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and it is the formal program that allows individuals to become members of the Catholic church. RCIA programs tend to start in the fall, so NOW is the time to make your move if you’ve been considering it :).

Joining RCIA, however, does NOT mean you HAVE to join the church. You are always welcome to just come and learn, and if you decide it’s not for you — or maybe you just aren’t ready yet because you have more questions — you can opt out or continue on again next year.

RCIA programs generally go from September through Easter, at which time individuals are officially brought in as members of the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass, which is the mass held the evening before Easter. It is a beautiful mass and ceremony where you are baptized (only if you have not been baptized by a Christian church in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), confirmed and receive the Eucharist (which Catholics maintain is the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ).

How do I sign up for RCIA?

First, visit a few local Catholic churches and find one that feels “right” to you. Then visit their website and look for Faith Formation, Adult Formation or RCIA. If you can’t find it, simply call the main office at the church and tell them you are interested in RCIA or in learning more about the church as a non-Catholic and as an adult and they will direct you to the correct person for more information.

RCIA programs usually meet once a week, some on weeknights, others on weekends. So you will want to consider a program that works for your schedule as well, as you’ll want to be there as often as possible.

What is RCIA like?

While each church is different, throughout the process you will learn about key tenets of the Catholic faith and its history, and have an opportunity to ask questions, inquire about your doubts and concerns and discuss different aspects of the faith.

There are also various welcoming ceremonies held during mass to provide “grace” (help from God) and prayer as you go through this process so that God might guide you as grow in your learning and practice of the faith. These ceremonies are no big deal — simply standing up at mass with the priest saying a prayer over you along with others in your group. The Catholic church wants to welcome you and educate you, never pressure you, and that is what the process is about.

If you find an RCIA group that does not feel like a fit, don’t be afraid to opt out and look for a different parish. Pray that God will guide you to where you need to be.

Why do people come to RCIA?

I have been involved with RCIA at my parish both going through it and assisting for several years. We hear all kinds of stories of why people have joined RCIA. Here are a few: someone who was inspired by Pope Francis, other who are marrying Catholics and wanting to raise kids in the same faith, spouses who are converting after as many as 20 years, those feeling a direct calling from God, and those who are simply just interested in exploring Catholicism more in depth and learning the truth about the faith.

We’ve had people who are already Catholic who don’t feel like they know as much as they’d like about their faith and others who simply just come to welcome newcomers to the church. They are single, married, in high school, grandparents, pregnant, going through an annulment, former atheists, Baptists and Methodists. You name it, they’ve been there! So never feel like you’re alone or have too unusual a story to join the group.

What questions do you have about RCIA? What’s stopping you from signing up? How can I help?

What Catholics Need to Know About Pornography

What Catholics Need to Know about Pornography via @ACatholicNewbie

Note: This post contains affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission to support the Catholic Newbie blog if you click through.

There is no doubt that pornography is an epidemic in our culture. It’s become so commonplace that most of society sees it as no big deal. I was one of those a few years ago. What did it hurt if someone looked at a few images in the privacy of their own home?

After reading so much more about this issue since converting to Catholicism, I understand what it’s bad for individuals … and bad for society. Here’s what I think Catholics need to know about pornography:

  • Pornography removes the purpose of God’s plan for sexual intimacy. What was that plan? Procreation. Sure, he wants us to enjoy the uniting of one man and one woman, which is why sex is inherently good and pleasurable, but it must be used as God intended. Pornography displays sex as simply for the act itself, as a way to derive as much pleasure from the act as we can while divorcing it from its real purpose, which is to bring life into the world between ONE man and ONE woman who are committed to one another. By watching continued pornography, your view of sex is skewed and you reduce the chances of having a normal sexual relationship with your current or future spouse. When you divorce sex from the creation of life, it has lost its meaning and its purpose and becomes disordered.
  • Pornography harms those involved. The people you are watching who are involved in these acts are not being treated as God’s children, with dignity, value and fairness. They are being used as a vessel for or a means to another’s pleasure. They are likely not being paid fairly or treated nicely. Pornography is a big business and some greedy person on the other end of the camera is the one who is abusing others and deriving all the monetary benefits. You are only furthering that evil and greed by participating as a viewer.
  • Pornography greatly harms children. Pornography is everywhere and our children are coming across it in droves. It harms them SO much. They immediately misunderstand what sex is about. They see it as simply a means to pleasure and they will not understand all the disordered sexual activities they witness that others use to bring about worldly pleasure for themselves. I recently learned that one of my kiddos had seen pornography — on YouTUBE, which is not supposed to have graphic material — and it had a tremendous impact on him. I am so sad that I will never be able to undo what he has seen, those visuals forever in his brain and the impact it will have on him as a man. We must get rid of pornography parading about in nearly every medium, free, uncensored and easy to access.
  • It’s a temptation – Viewing pornography is a temptation to sin, just like any other temptation: gossiping, stealing, lying. To avoid falling prey to this temptation, we must remove it from our lives. I always teach my children that if you are tempted by something, don’t put it in front of you. If it’s not there, you can’t act on it. Shopaholic? Don’t go shopping. Tell your spouse you have decided not to view pornography any more for accountability and hold to it. Place a filter like Net Nanny (they offer a 14-day free trial) on all devices both for  your kids and YOU. It will hold you accountable and keep you from viewing things you should not. Place computers in public areas of your home, knowing you won’t view objectionable material in front of your family. If you fall, resolve not to do it again, go to confession to seek forgiveness and try, try again.
  • There IS help – You are far from alone in battling this temptation, and plenty of great Catholic programs exist to help you overcome the desire to view pornography. There are so many people who suffer from this in silence that we may never know. Here are some outstanding resources to get started:

If you view pornography, today is day one to stop. First, acknowledge and understand why it is a problem and then begin the process of getting help to stop. Let us pray for everyone who is tempted by pornography and especially our children who have been exposed!

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