29 August 2008

Feast of Beheading of St. John the Baptist

The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?
This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.

23 August 2008

Solving Abortion is More than Education

William Donohue wrote an excellent article at Inside Catholic called "Abortion, Human Trafficking and the Left's Double Standard." He demonstrates that if the Left took the same approach to abortion as it does to human trafficking it would have to be illegal. It is a good and balanced article worth reading.

As someone who has spent several years in public safety education the successful approach to changing negative behaviors is through a combination of efforts, i.e., education, legislation, incentives etc. But no amount of education or incentives will convince some people to do the right thing whether it be giving up smoking, wearing seatbelts or requiring car seats for youngsters. For some, making it illegal will be the only message they hear. Pro-abortionists criticize pro-lifers as only caring about making abortion illegal and seeking to punish the poor woman who is often left to make this decision on her own or worse yet forced by a boyfriend or husband.

But making it illegal does not mean you lock everyone up. For example we have laws requiring children be placed in car seats. Now there are many poor families unable to buy a car seat or they come from a different cultural background which does not see the need for them. Regardless, for the safety of their children we have laws requiring their use. If someone doesn't have one and gets pulled over, they aren't arrested but this can be used is an opportunity to properly educate as well. People who unable to afford a car seat are directed toward community resources that can provide one and they can be given information on why they are needed. But to simply seek to educate in this instance without having legislation would be foolish.

Furthermore as stated earlier making something illegal will keep some people from doing it simply for that reason. There was a young artist in the U.K. pregnant with twins who because the system failed her had an abortion. Then a year later in her grief she killed herself after realizing what she had done. This woman would probably be alive today if abortion were illegal. The doctors who the pro-abortion lobby are always telling us should be the only ones involved in this decision making process neglected or ignored the obvious warning signs, that she was reluctant to have an abortion. She was actually excited when she found out she was pregnant but it was her boyfriend who was upset and wanted the abortion. (The role of men in abortion is another tragedy which needs to be dealt with in a different topic.)

Education is necessary but the legislation buys you time to reach those who aren't listening, won't listen or haven't heard. I sit on the board of an inner-city crisis pregnancy center and from personal experience, and that of others, know that some women even after being presented with ultrasounds, and alternatives will still have an abortion simply because it is easier and they have the voices of Planned Parenthood or others encouraging them to do so. And human nature being what it is we will often choose the easier path as long as it is open.

22 August 2008

Sign the Petition, Support Univ. of San Diego

H/T American Papist for helping get this started.

Recently the University of San Diego rescinded an invitation to Rosemary Radford Reuther to be the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology. She is a noted Catholic feminist theologian who among other things believes in the ordination of women, same-sex marriage, and is a board member of Catholics for Choice, an organization of pro-abortion Catholics. Supporters of Ms. Reuther have petitioned the University to re-extend the offer and are upset at what they see as right-wing fanatacs influencing this decision. Of course the only justified pressure is when it comes from the progressives and true to form they have collected 2000 signatures demanding USD rehire her.

But when a Catholic university does the right thing and adheres to its Catholic name they deserved to be acknowledged and so a counter-petition of support was established at the website of Ora et Labora. Faithful voices must be heard from so please visit the site and sign the position.

21 August 2008

Late Term Abortions on the Rise in France

It is often stated that the main reason women have an abortion is economic. If we only raised the minimum wage, spent more on social programs and got people out of poverty there wouldn't be any abortions. As a member of the board on an inner-city crisis pregnancy center I know firsthand that poverty is only one of a number of reasons that lead women to consider aborting their child. More often it is a feeling of being overwhelmed, of lacking a positive support structure of family or friends, of not knowing there are other options available to them.

In further proof that poverty is not at the root of abortions comes this story from France. In a country that is far more socialist than the U.S. although no doubt there are many in this country who would like to see us become just like them.

In France, abortion is illegal after the 12th week of pregnancy, but a woman can
still procure one until the 32nd week if there is evidence of some kind of abnormality. Babies with Down’s syndrome, deformity or fetal abnormalities were victim to 76% of post-twelfth week abortions. According to l'Agence de la biomedicine, only 2.7% of the abortions were performed in an effort to preserve the health of the mother.

In another story we read that in the U.S. over 80% of pregnancies involving a child with Down Syndrome end in abortion. In the U.K in 2006 official figures estimate as many as 94% of women with babies with Down Syndrome had an abortion.

While these numbers are large for a particular cause they do not necessarily indicate a majority in the overall cases for abortion. Yet they are still cause for alarm that so many people would choose abortion in these cases.

20 August 2008

Archbishop Burke: No Communion for Public Sinners

When Archbishop Burke left the U.S to become prefect of the Apostolic Signature many progressive Catholics hoped they had heard the last of his "conservative" voice. But in an interview given this week he re-affirmed that communion should be denied to Catholics, and especially politicians, who public support abortion rights. More of the story is at CNA.
“If a person who has been admonished persists in public mortal sin and
attempts to receive Communion, the minister of the Eucharist has the obligation
to deny it to him. Why? Above all, for the salvation of that person, preventing
him from committing a sacrilege,” he added.
“We must avoid giving people the
impression that one can be in a state of mortal sin and receive the Eucharist,”
the archbishop continued. “Secondly, there could be another form of
scandal, consisting of leading people to think that the public act that this
person is doing, which until now everyone believed was a serious sin, is really
not that serious - if the Church allows him or her to receive
“If we have a public figure who is openly and deliberately
upholding abortion rights and receiving the Eucharist, what will the average
person think? He or she could come to believe that it up to a certain point it
is okay to do away with an innocent life in the mother’s womb,” he warned.

18 August 2008

Garcia Moreno

There is a excellent post on Andrew Cusacks blog about the life of former president of Ecuador, Garcia Moreno. It is sad to see this once Catholic country now forming a new Socialist constitution that is pro-abortion, anti-family. The Archbishop of Ecuador has received death threats because of his outspoken opposition to the constitution. It is time to pray for the intercession of Garcia Moreno to the Sacred Heart that Ecuador may recover its strong Catholic heritage. During his presidency Ecuador was the only country to publicly support Pope Pius IX against his enemies.
"as noteworthy as the Consecration was Ecuador’s distinction of being the only nation in the world to officially protest Garibaldi’s occupation of Rome and seizure of the Papal territories, in order to create a unified Italy. In September of 1870, Pope Pius IX became “the prisoner of the Vatican,” after the Papal city fell to the revolutionaries. Garcia Moreno addressed an official protest to the government of King Victor Emmanuel on behalf of Ecuador. He accused Italy of a “hateful and sacrilegious assault” in depriving the Holy Father of his temporal domains and incomes, thereby impeding the liberty of the Church to fulfill its Divine Mission."
For a much more detailed biography on the life of this great Catholic statesman visit http://members.aol.com/fmrega7/GarciaMoreno.htm

For more information to what is going on there you can read about it at Lifesite News

15 August 2008

Braveheart Revisited

One of my favorite comedians is Bob Newhart. Here he is in a sketch along with some old friends in a parody of Braveheart.

13 August 2008

Sen. Casey to Speak at Democratic Convention

It may be cynical but it appears that the decision to allow Sen. Bob Casey jr. from Pennsylvania to speak at the Democratic convention is a calculated effort to draw Catholic voters. Additionally the Democratic platform was modified to include pre and post natal support to women who choose to have their child rather than abortion. While that is clearly a positive step it is largely meaningless as long as Sen Obama and others of the Democratic party remain committed to keeping abortion safe and legal. Sen. Obama has not retracted his statement to immediately repeal the Freedom of Choice Act upon taking office. That means that the sadistic partial-birth abortion would become legal again.

It should also be mentioned that a key aspect of the Democratic idea of reducing abortion is to provide greater access to birth control, including for teenagers w/o parental notification. This is hardly consistent with Catholic teaching both regarding the issue of contraception and the rights of parents.

11 August 2008

The Principle of Subsidiarity

A key principle to understanding Catholic social teaching is the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.

Pope John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Centesimus annus,

In recent years the range of such intervention has vastly expanded, to the point of creating a new type of State, the so-called "Welfare State". This has happened in some countries in order to respond better to many needs and demands, by remedying forms of poverty and deprivation unworthy of the human person. However, excesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoked very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the "Social Assistance State". Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.100

By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need. One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.

49. Faithful to the mission received from Christ her Founder, the Church has always been present and active among the needy, offering them material assistance in ways that neither humiliate nor reduce them to mere objects of assistance, but which help them to escape their precarious situation by promoting their dignity as persons. With heartfelt gratitude to God it must be pointed out that active charity has never ceased to be practised in the Church; indeed, today it is showing a manifold and gratifying increase. In this regard, special mention must be made of volunteer work, which the Church favours and promotes by urging everyone to cooperate in supporting and encouraging its undertakings.

For a better understanding of this principle read the rest of the article here.

Yes, Who Should Get the Catholic Vote?

There was a recent article from Fr. Ray Schroth S.J. on Who Should Get the Catholic Vote? Presumably he feels it should be Sen. Obama. He lists the breakdown of Catholics and their political party affiliation, according to a recent poll by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown U. They found 38 percent of Catholics identify with the Democratic Party, and 21 percent with the Republicans, while 41 percent identify with neither. Meanwhile, those who most identify with church authorities, who look to the Pope and Bishops for moral decisions, tend to be Republicans.

Despite these numbers, Catholics failed to support Senator John Kerry in the 2004 election, why? Among the reasons, he cites the theory of a fellow Jesuit. "Perhaps they suffered from a trend pointed out by New Orleans Jesuit social activist Lou Twomey in 1957: As Catholics became more affluent and moved to the suburbs, they left behind their Catholic pro-labor social teachings and were co-opted by conservative Republican values. (I'm sorry but anytime a priest is referred to as 'social activist' rather than 'priest' or 'Father' should raise a huge red flag.)

Clearly for Fr. Schroth these people grew weak and abandoned their Catholic principles rather than began thinking critically for themselves. But it is misleading to state that Catholic social teachings are only pro-labor. Catholic social thought is built on the cooperation between "management" and "labor" and the responsibilities and duties one owes the other. Pope John XXIII wrote in his encyclical Mater et Magistra that "workers and employers should regulate their mutual relations in a spirit of human solidarity and in accordance with the bond of Christian brotherhood." Archbishop Sheen gave a wonderful talk on this matter too, Lesson One in Economics, which is well worth listening to. It can be downloaded from Keep the Faith for $1.

Fr. Schroth goes on to blame President Bush for failing to do anything to lessen the incidence of abortions and suggests that Democrats are ready to enact social and economic reforms dealing with the issues that prompt women to resort to abortion in the first place and are more effective in reducing abortion than efforts to criminalize it. As usual those willing to overlook politicians pro-abortion positions in favor of their economic policies frame this as an either or proposition. As though pro-life advocates were simply looking to make criminals out of women who have abortions. But most people working in the pro-life movement do not see overturning Roe v. Wade as the end but rather one facet of ending abortion. There are many crisis pregnancy centers and other agencies trying to meet the emotional, mental, physical needs of the women during and after pregnancy. Rather than it being a question of poverty many of the women considering abortion do so because of the pressure by their husbands or boyfriends or other family members.

Yet as long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land then any attempts by legislators to pass laws that might be perceived to restrict abortion are sure to be challenged by the pro-death camp. In fact a plan by the Bush administration to help pro-life doctors and/or health centers is already meeting opposition from some members of Congress and the regulations are not even in place yet. The U. S. Catholic Bishops have issued a statement urging support for this measure which would allow for freedom of conscience on behalf of the doctors.

In California abortion advocates are upset at a recent court decision. More than 13 million California voters will get to read uncensored ballot arguments in favor of Proposition 4 – Sarah’s Law – after a judge ruled against a challenge to the language by Planned Parenthood and its allies.

“Sarah” is a pseudonym for a teen who died from complications following an abortion in 1994. Her case is being used by Prop 4 advocates to dramatize the danger posed to young girls when family members are unaware they have undergone an abortion.

Planned Parenthood had sought to force the removal of Sarah’s story from the pro-Prop 4 ballot arguments, including the statement, " Had someone in her family known about the abortion, Sarah's life could have been saved." Planned Parenthood’s lawyer characterized that claim as “absolutely false,” but the judge apparently did not agree.

In New York despite the easy availability of free birth control they have an extremely high abortion rate and abortion is the method of choice for birth control. But the solution offered by the department of human services is. . . , more free birth control. Read more of that story here.

05 August 2008

Fatherhood Tips They Should've Handed Out at the Delivery Room

There is a website, The Art of Manliness, which has published a list of 18 tips for Dad's that should have been handed out at the delivery room. Sure we've heard them before but they are a great reminder. Check out the rest of their site for some other fun information and links.


This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.