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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good News for Choice in Virginia

It may not be the choice the pro-aborts want - in fact pro-abortion groups are foaming at the mouth, but Governor Tim Kaine signed the bill yesterday allowing the Choose Life license plate in Virginia. Supporters of the legislation needed 350 pre-paid tags to justify the legislation; they garnered 450. (We signed up for two.) Planned Parenthood and NARAL are both furious at Kaine's action. Women should be able to choose to kill their children, but choose a message for their license plates? NEVER! As for men, they don't deserve any choices at all. They're all animals who beat up on their wives and girlfriends on Super Bowl Sunday. (I haven't experienced that. Does that mean my husband's not a real man?)

Don't give Kaine too much credit for his decision; he's been doing everything he could for the past few years to deep-six the tags. But there were many other designs included in the bill and I don't think he had a line item plate veto. Kaine made it clear that he would gladly sign a bill allowing a Planned Parenthood plate. I have a few suggestions for the PP death dealers. They can use these for bumper stickers and jingle promotions:

Choose Abortion - It's so bloody great!

Planned Parenthood - because you're worth it!

Our suction machines - keep going and going and going.

The pill - It does a body good!

Reach out and abort someone.

A day without the pill is like a day without sunshine.

Abortion? Only her butcher knows for show.

Abortion - It's the Real Thing!

Everything's easier at the abortuary.

Abortion - Just Do It!

Nothin says lovin' like killing the baby in the oven
and Planned Parenthood does it best.

An Abortion is Forever.

Planned Parenthood - when it absolutely has to be killed today!

PP - Inspired Killing

Got any other suggestions for the premier death dealer of the world? All contributions get a vinyl rosary sticker.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Never Try to Confuse a Liberal with the Facts!

Pope Benedict has been taking hits from the liberal press for daring to say that condoms aggravate the AIDS crisis in Africa. An AP story included the usual suspects claiming the pope is out of touch and worse. Rebecca Hodes of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa siad the pope's "opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans." But its Hodes and her ilk who are willing to sacrifice the lives of Africans for their liberal agenda. Planned Parenthood calls the pope's position "scary" as they continue to push condoms, abortion, the pill, etc. which do nothing but increase the suffering of third world families.

Dr. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Center at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies in a recent interview with National Review online said that, “The best evidence we have supports the Pope’s comments." Green is also now a target of the liberal establishment.

According to an article on EWTN's website, Dr. Green has a book which will be released in a few months called AIDS and Ideology It "will describe the industry in Africa that is 'drawing billions of dollars a year promoting condoms, testing, drugs, and treatment of AIDS' and is clearly resistant to the idea that behavioral change is the solution." Follow the money. Isn't it self-evident, however, that those who practice chastity before marriage and fidelity afterwards have no worry from AIDS? But there's no money in morality. And for many liberal ideologues that's what it's all about in addition to doing whatever they please regardless of consequences.

So never try to confuse a liberal with facts. They've already made up their minds based on their own personal virtual reality. They have a right to their own "truth" based on their libido and don't care whether it accords with absolute truth.

Harvard Researcher Agrees with Pope on Condoms in Africa

"Condoms make Aids crisis worse"

The head of Harvard's Aids Prevention Centre says condom use does not lower HIV infection rates

Sunday, March 29, 2009

America's Favorite Temple -- the Shopping Mall

How many Americans go to church every week? Hard to say. Gallup polls generally show 40-42% of responders who claim to have attended a religious service in the last week. But since pollsters depend on self-reporting, reliability is a big question mark. How many people tell the truth; how many choose to paint a rosier picture of their behavior than reality?

A more accurate count-based estimate was provided by researchers C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler. In 2005 they authored an article, "How Many Americans Attend Worship Each Week? An Alternative Approach to Measurement," published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, September 2005. Using local samplings for varying churches they estimated that the actual percentage of those attending services was 20%.

Compare that to those who shop on Sundays, 75% according to Gallup. Which raises the question: Who is really being worshiped on Sunday - God or Money? And how many Catholis and non-Catholic Christians try to do both getting their 45 minute Mass/service over with before heading to the Mall?

What does it mean to "Keep holy the Sabbath?" Do you think shopping on Sunday is okay or a violation of the third commandment?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lent's More than half over -- have you been to Confession yet? He's waiting for you.

Turn on any talk show: Oprah, Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, Larry King (Is he still on?), etc. and you'll be regaled by folks shariing the most intimate details (and scandals) of their lives on national TV. No one mentions the verboten word, "sin." People are sick, or misunderstood, or have this or that syndrome, or their parents tramautized them by making them do chores. Whatever is wrong with them is someone else's fault. It couldn't possibly be theirs -- which probably explains the short lines outside the confessional. No sin - no need for confession. One problem -- it ain't healthy. When Catholics used confession, they weren't lying on the psychiatrist's couch.

Real Catholics know that love is always having to say you're sorry (Erich Segal's silly novel notwithstanding) -- to the other person we've injured and especially to God who is offended every time we hurt ourselves or our neighbor. Sin is real and its effects are damaging. We can only repair the damage by humbling ourselves, confessing our failures, and making reparation.

Confession isn't a doctrine made up at the Vatican. Jesus established it when he said to the apostles, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall hold bound, they are held bound." (John 20:22) God made us with five senses. We often misuse them to sin: to look at pornography, listen to and share gossip, touch others with lust or take what doesn't belong to us. When we confess to a priest we use those same senses to repent and hear the words of absolution. Confession to God in the privacy of our room is all well and good, but we need our forgiveness with skin on. Every time I hear the priest say, "I absolve you from your sins..." my heart leaps up and I know, with a firm resolution, that I am forgiven. Jesus said so and He doesn't lie.

So make a good confession this Lent. If you've been away for a long time don't be afraid to come back. The priest has heard it all; you can't shock him and reconciling a repentant sinner with the Lord is one of the greatest joys of his ministry.

If you've forgotten how to make a good confession visit this website.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Jesus asks. How do we answer?

One of the passages in scripture that always gives me a heartache is Jesus lament, "When I return will I find any faith on the earth?" Did He ask that question literally? As God He certainly knew how many would be faithful when He returned for the general judgment. Was his question rhetorical - expressing His pain at the loss of any of His children? Does Jesus' question call for a response from us? What should that response be? These are questions that I want to reflect on so I can give Him an answer. If he asked you that question, how would you respond?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is Your Marriage in Trouble?

Two people learning to be married and become "one flesh" is not an easy endeavor, particularly in a culture that says, "I have a right to be happy" every day, every hour, every second of my life. But the fact is that most things in life are difficult. The farmer who sets out to grow a crop has to first prepare the field. Think of the early settlers in New England who wanted to farm. They had to clear trees, remove rocks, till the soil, plant, water, and wait. They had to weed and fertilize. Only after a season could they finally harvest the crop. The long distance runner has to commit to long-term training before he runs his first marathon. The medal at the finish line is the least of his personal victories. They come with the dedication and commitment of the morning six-miler in the rain and the half marathon in summer's heat.

So if you are in a difficult marriage, know that your situation is normal. Don't be in a hurry to call it quits. If you turn to lawyers and the courts, your marriage is probably doomed because of the no-fault divorce system which enriches lawyers and the government at the cost of breaking up families.

Maybe you've been married only long enough to experience your first disillusionment. That's a marker on the road, not an ending. Perhaps there's been a betrayal or a deep emotional wound inflicted by the person you thought would be true forever. Don't give up without a fight. There are groups and sources dedicated to helping you live out a true covenant marriage. And there's a third person in your marriage who will do everything to help you succeed.

Obviously if you or your children are in physical danger you must immediately remove yourself from the situation, but even then intervention may help save your marriage. Those who abuse when they are drunk or high on drugs can embrace sobriety. People can unlearn bad behaviors if they make a daily decision to stay in the battle. Overcoming our bad habits and entrenched sins is no less a struggle than any war against evil.

G.K. Chesterton once said that Christianity hasn't been tried and found difficult. Rather it's been found difficult and left untried. The same, sadly, can be said of covenant marriage. But for those who hang in for the planting, the growth, and the backbreaking labor -- it is more than worth all the struggle and effort to reap the harvest - true joy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Feast of the Annunciation and the Incarnation of Our Blessed Lord

In honor of the Blessed Mother's feast today I offer several artworks by "Fra Angelico," the 15th century Dominican Friar who was known by his contemporaries as Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John from Fiesole), but was labeled "angelico" (the angelic one) because of his piety and holiness. Even during his lifetime (or shortly after) he was described as Il Beato (the Blessed). Pope John Paul II made the title official in 1982 when he beatified the well-known artist. Looking at his paintings one sees his deep faith and love for the Blessed Mother as well as his understanding of her role in salvation history.

The first picture stresses Mary's humility. She is dressed simply and kneels at prayer. Her eyes are cast down and with her hands crossed over her breast one can imagine her already "pondering these things in her heart."

Notice Adam and Eve being driven from the Garden of Eden in the background of the middle picture. It doesn't show well here but there is a little flower-covered fence that separates the old covenant from the new. Notice the image of the Father at the top of the column and the shining dove showing Mary's threefold role as daughter of the Father, spouse of the Holy Spirit, and mother of the Son. Fra Angelico tells the story of the new Eve with his paints.
I don't know the order of the pictures as they were painted, but I've arranged them in a way that tells the story. The angel stands in the first picture and Mary kneels. Perhaps that is her position when the angel finds her - kneeling in prayer. In the second Mary sits and a book rests on her lap, perhaps the Psalms or Proverbs. The angel is moving downward. Has Mary just said, "Let it be done to me and the angel is falling before the living tabernacle of Mary's body?" In the last picture both Mary and the angel kneel and the angel is telling her something - perhaps that her elderly cousin Elizabeth is going to have a baby "because nothing is impossible for God." Mary leans toward the angel showing interest and concern. I can imagine her already in her mind leaving in haste to assist her cousin.

Is the little bench in the first and third pictures a silent reminder of St. Joseph? Can't you imagine Joseph working to build it, a tender act of love for his future bride, and did Fra Angelico want to remind the viewer that there is another important person in the scene even though we don't see him? The chair in the second painting is more like a throne with an elaborate covering reminding us that Mary is, indeed, a queen. And she wears richly colored garments trimmed with gold as well. It is easy to see that she is the Queen of Heaven.

Notice in all three pictures the columns and Roman arches. Mary is also the Mother of the Church. And in the middle picture isn't that a confessional behind the angel inviting the viewer to come through her intercession to reconcile to her Son?

When you think of the ugliness of what passes for art today, what a gift we have in the ancient artists like Fra Angelico who taught the faith through beauty. When so many were illiterate, their catechism was a visual one: stained glass windows and paintings adorning the churches.

So thank you, Blessed Giovanni, for giving us such tender portraits of the Mother of Our Lord that teach us the faith. And thank you, dear Mother, for saying yes. Pray for us that we might place our hands in yours and kneel with you at the foot of the cross on Calvary hill this Good Friday. Help us to be with you at both the beginning and the end of Our Lord's journey to the Resurrection where each of us will kneel and proclaim, "My Lord and my God."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Michael Winters of America Magazine Fulminates on Notre Dame and Obama

Scandals at Catholic colleges create little more than a blip on the radar screen these days. But even among perversions like the V-Monologues, homosexual film fests, and porn peddler Larry Flynt speaking at Georgetown, etc. Notre Dame's invitation to Barrack Obama to give the 2009 commencement speech and receive an honorary degree stands out. America Magazine, the mouthpiece of the dissent-ridden Jesuits, featured an article yesterday (Three Cheers for Notre Dame) by Michael Winters chortling that he is "thrilled." Apparently Winters gets the same shiver up his leg as Chris Matthews when Obama pontificates, which may explain the vitriolic and extended ad hominem attack he launched against the "right wing of the Church" who opposed ND's action. After decrying the supposed lack of charity among the protesters, Winters (no doubt patting himself on the back for his own charity) described them as "so crazy, so uncharitable, so frothing-at-the-mouth unreasonable." He went on to smugly label all those with whom he disagrees "Pharisees."

As I read Winters' article I thought of the psychological term "transference" which applies when someone accuses others of his own faults. The "conservatives" protesting Notre Dame's action aren't the Pharisees. That designation more aptly applies to Winters himself, Notre Dame, and Barrack Obama.

I'll make my case.

Why did Jesus condemn the pharisees? It wasn't because of their "judgmentalism" as Winters suggests. It was for their hypocrisy. And who are the hypocrites here?

First Obama: Isn't it the height of hypocrisy to claim to want to make abortion rare while doing everything in your power to advance it and force those who object to fund it? Isn't it hypocrisy to pay lip service to "choice" while coercing medical and health care workers to perform and facilitate abortion or lose their jobs? Isn't it hypocrisy to force pro-life taxpayers to fund abortion in the third world and pay to cannibalize little babies for their stem cells while you continue to claim your actions don't expand abortion? If Obama were a Catholic his evil deeds would fall under the condemnation of Canon Law 915. As a public and obstinate sinner promoting abortion he would be denied Communion (if he had a faithful bishop).

But Notre Dame invited him anyway illustrating that they are Pharisees as well, welcoming the chief priest into their midst. The Pharisees knew what was right, true, and good, but chose evil out of human respect. That is exactly what Notre Dame is doing and it is exactly what Jesus condemned. What makes them even more guilty is the pretense that they are Catholic. Like the Pharisees who paid lip service to Yahweh while failing to follow His decrees, Notre Dame pays lip service to Christ and his Church while advancing His enemies. Isn't that the essence of hypocrisy?

The pharisaism of Notre Dame will be exposed for all the world to see on graduation day when the administration, the faculty, and the honored speaker (in the words of Matthew 23) metaphorically "widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels" in the academic procession. They will "take places of honor...and front seats" at the ceremony and look for "marks of respect in public." Obama and Notre Dame's administration will stand out as the "frauds," "blind fools," and "whitewashed tombs" that Jesus condemned. Many times Jesus reminded the Pharisees that their fathers killed the prophets who challenged them to forsake their evil ways. Which brings me to Winters himself whose article aims to destroy the reputations of Notre Dame's critics as they speak prophetic words of warning.

Those gathered outside the campus on May 17th will be atoning for the hypocrisy inside, when the true descendants of the Pharisees honor a man guilty of "the blood of the just ones shed on the earth." The protesters, like the prophets before them, will be calling for repentance. Matthew 23 is clear. Notre Dame's Pharisees will gather as "whitewashed sepulchres" to honor a politician steeped in the dead bodies of Christ's babies. "I yearned to gather your children, as a mother bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused me," Jesus says. Notre Dame's actions will scandalize the graduates and further enable the killing of the unborn by giving the murderer-in-chief cover for his evil deeds. Like Herod's adultery, Notre Dame's betrayal calls for a John the Baptist to arise and condemn it.

The ivory tower of Catholic academia has too often become a temple of empty words. Jesus, the word made flesh, who spoke with authority, is unwanted. His truth must be silenced as "intolerant and judgmental" because it contradicts the desires of the world. But Jesus warned what would happen when He is rejected. "Recall the saying, 'You will find your temple deserted.' I tell you, you will not see me from this time on until you declare, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" And that fearsome day will be the end of the world.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Notre Dame cannot serve both God and money no matter how many fellow Pharisees cheer their evil actions. When the Lord returns, as He will to judge, will He find any faith at Notre Dame?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Go Directly to Jail!

Thoreau once said that in the unjust society the only place for the just man is jail. Read about one just man unjustly sent to jail for defending the unborn and exercising his constitutional right to free speech outside an abortion mill. His prison sentence from a tyrannical judge is a warning to all of us. Pray for Pastor Hoye and his family.

“Sentenced to jail for engaging in peaceful free speech”

Is "In Government We Trust" replacing God?

W. Bradford Wilcox has an interesting article at Public Discourse on the relationship between the welfare state and a people's practice of religion. He raises the question because of Obama's success at wooing religious voters. Will they get what they expect from his policies? Or will his presidency undermine the very values they hold dear? Wilcox cites a study by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde from the University of Washington as an answer. Their findings should trouble all those who believe a country is only as strong as the faith that motivates its people.

The researchers found "that countries with larger welfare states had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, had higher rates of citizens indicating no religious affiliation whatsoever, and their people took less comfort in religion in general. In their words, 'Countries with higher levels of per capita welfare have a proclivity for less religious participation and tend to have higher percentages of non-religious individuals.'"

Does this matter? The secularist would say "No, good riddance," but Wilcox cites the observations of political scientist Alan Wolfe who "noted that large increases in welfare spending in Sweden, Denmark and Norway over the last half century have ended up eroding the moral fabric of families and civic institutions in these societies. Scandinavians have come to depend not on family, civil society, or themselves, but on the government for their basic needs." In other words, the Nanny State will take care of them. This is a problem, Wilcox says because "many Scandinavians, especially young adults who have grown up taking the welfare state for granted, are markedly less likely to attend to the social, material, and emotional needs of family and friends than earlier generations. As a consequence, social solidarity is down and social pathology—from drinking to crime—is up. In Wolfe’s words, 'High tax rates in Scandinavia encourage governmental responsibility for others; they do not, however, necessarily inspire a personal sense of altruism and a feeling of moral unity toward others with whom one’s fate is always linked.' Not surprisingly, cheating on taxes is on the rise in Scandinavian countries, both because the social solidarity undergirding these societies is fraying and because men and women—especially high earners—are recoiling from paying the hefty taxes associated with keeping their nanny states afloat." (Sound familiar?)

Uncle Sam is not our Savior, but many people today seem to believe he is. I wonder if those are the same types of people who jumped out of windows during the depression. We face many challenges, but government, even one led by a man canonized by the mainstream media, will not save us. Let's put our trust in God where it belongs and work to strengthen our families.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is the Church in "Relatively Good Shape?"

I had a conversation recently with a pastor in Texas (Diocese of Houston-Galveston). He thought the Church in the U.S. was in relatively good shape. I disagree, although I suppose if you compare it to the Church in Europe which is just about moribund, he's right. But that seems to me like visiting a patient in the hospital who is imminently dying of cancer and describing the guy in the next bed with emphysema whose gasping for every breath as being "in relatively good shape." Frankly, I wouldn't give him too many odds for a long, enjoyable, and healthy life. The same can be said of the sick U.S. Church. Lately I find myself reflecting on Jesus' lament -- "When I return will I find any faith on the earth?" Not in too many chanceries I'm afrai, but I hope, at least, in the domestic church of many faithful Catholic families.

The priest also chided me. "I think you're too hard on the clergy. Don't the laity have any responsibility?" Of course! But it seems to me that the laity already bear an unbalanced share of the burden trying to make up for the lack of leadership from our shepherds. How so? Let's take a look at a few doctrines and check the scorecard for who's teaching the truth.

Abortion, euthanasia, etc.("Thous Shalt Not Kill"): The hierarchy and the clergy get relatively high marks for talking the talk on the life issues. Many preach about it during October, Respect Life Month, and around the March for Life in January. Unfortunately, they often don't walk the walk. They give pro-abortion politicians a pass and when a Terri Schiavo situation arises, they aid and abet the enemies of life (like Bishop Robert Lynch in Florida). Who acts like they mean what they say? The crisis pregnancy centers, national pro-life groups like Human Life International and Priests for Life, and the laity, like the 40 Days for Life Campaign. The shepherds not only do not lead on abortion, many actively undermine the doctrine by refusing to hold pro-abortion Catholics accountable. They are the same ones who fawned over Obama helping elect the most pro-abortion candidate in history. Fortunately, there are a few dramatic exceptions like Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Bishop Fabian Bruskewity of Lincoln, and Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, OR. Those who could have a significant impact because of their proximity to the halls of Congress (Archbishop Donald Wuerl of D.C. and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington) allow the barque of Peter to be rocked by scandals with nary a word of protest. As for the bishops' conference - they are a big part of the problem.

Artificial Birth Control: Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's historic encyclical affirming the Church's unchanging teaching on the integrity of the marriage act remains largely unpreached by the clergy. When was the last time you heard a sermon in a parish praising openness to life and condemning contraception? When was the last time you heard a couple at a wedding challenged to be generous in welcoming children? Silence is so much easier! There are, of course, exceptions. Fr. Tom Euteneuer of Human Life International and Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life don't shy from preaching the truth, but primarily it is a message coming from the laity. The Natural Family Planning and Pro-Life communities are the most vigilant in defending H.V., not unfortunately, the shepherds with the responsibility to do so.

Teaching the Faith: Parents are the primary educators of their children and have the first responsibility to teach the faith. But where do parents learn the faith? From the Church. Most adults today who are raising children "studied" the faith in the post Vatican II Church of watered down catechesis. Even today many dioceses maintain the coloring-book approach to religion and blacklist series that are heavy on doctrine like Faith and Life from Ignatius Press. How many clergy promote the Catechism of the Catholic Church? The laity, to be sure, should act like grownups and take responsibility, and many are. The home schooling movement illustrates it. But often home schoolers have to fight not only the governmnet, but the chancery. As for the average Catholic in the pews many may not even realize how little they know about the faith because the Sunday sermon basically gives them an "I'm okay, you're okay" homily of marshmallow fluff. Have you ever heard a priest in the pulpit say, "You have a serious obligation to study the faith? Coming to church on Sunday is not enough." The of the impact if Father said, "I'm making the noon Mass the study service with an extended homily. Check the bulletin for the syllabus and next week's reading assignment." Woudn't that be a grand experiment?

Like American students who have no self-esteem problem and believe they are the smartest in math in the world while they rank low on the achievement scale, many Catholics think they are perfectly fine even though they pick and choose doctrines to suit their taste. Cafeteria Catholicism is the norm and what's okay for Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and other high profile Catholics must be okay for Joe and Jane Pewsitter as well. That attitude must be challenged by the shepherds!

Is the teaching in Catholic colleges at least okay? Have you stopped laughing yet? The scandals are so egregious (including the latest: Obama invited to give the commencement speech at Notre Dame) that most schools should be stripped of their Catholic identity to conform to reality. But again, the laity (The Cardinal Newman Society) are the ones shining light on the crisis, not the bishops -- with rare exceptions like Bishop Martino who is showing himself to be a serious shepherd of the flock.

I could go on and probably will in later posts, but what do you think? Where do you see the shepherds succeeding and where are they failing? As laity, how can we effectively make our concerns known to them? It's a tough question. None of the laity I know want to beat up on our shepherds; we just want them to come down from their ivory-towered (and often luxurious) chanceries to beat off the wolves before they eat any more of the sheep! Please, Your Excellencies, we're begging for bread. Don't give us stones.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Aborted Baby is a Terrible Thing to Waste

A headline from Catholic Culture caught my eye a few days ago.

British scientist suggests using aborted babies as source of organ transplants.

Hey! They're going to die let's recycle their organs. In fact, why not pay women to carry the baby as long as possible so the organs will be larger?

Let's think outside the box. Once you convince yourself that killing the kid is okay all kinds of possibilities open up. For one, poor women can make pregnancy and abortion big business and improve their economic situation by contracting with firms that buy organs. But why limit the business to babies? Terri Schiavo and Eluana Englaro were in relatively good shape despite their brain damage. Why shrivel up those perfectly good hearts and livers and lungs by dehydration. Since they're going to die anyway, knock 'em out and cut em up. Then transplant those organs into somebody whose life is worth living. Even the skin on the old folks can be used for grafts. (Unless there's a problem with putting old skin on new winedrinkers. Can they burst the skins?)

No doubt President Obama will happily throw some stimulus money into this modest proposal -- it offers such hope for saving lives.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Annulments in the U.S. - Is it Catholic Divorce?

An Anecdotal story may not prove a point, but it certainly can illustrate a problem. I have a sad story that I think indicates the ludicrous nature of annulments in the United States.

For a short time my husband and I were involved with a marriage enrichment program in Virginia. During that time we worked with a couple who participated as a team on numerous marriage weekends. They also headed up the local group and were a model for a good marriage. They invited us to participate in a Mass and party renewing their marriage vows which we happily attended. A few years later, after moving on to other apostolates we were shocked one day at our local Denny's to see John (not his real name) holding hands with another woman.

As we left I expressed my hope that he was expressing affection to his sister. "Maybe they haven't seen each other in a long time," I said to my husband, but I didn't really believe it. Alas, she was indeed the "other woman." Later, we heard through mutual friends that John and Mary had divorced and received an annulment in the Church. Here was a couple who not only had to have their original marriage annuled, but the second set of vows as well. What were the grounds? I don't know, but it is hard to imagine a man who was a military officer, who had held serious responsibility, could be "lacking due discretion" (i.e. being too psychologically immature to make the commitment). That is the primary cause given for annulment in the U.S.

To make the story even more interesting, a number of years later I ran into John's wife at a luncheon where we sat next to each other. I couldn't help asking, "Mary (not her real name), please tell me it's none of my business if you'd rather not talk about it, but I've always wondered how you and John could get an annulment after giving all those marriage enrichment weekends and renewing your vows in the Church." She was not offended and replied candidly -- "I don't understand it either."

Needless to say, Mary had not remarried because, despite the annulment, she still considered herself wedded to John. She would keep her promises.

The question is, what does God think? If John and Mary were married in the sight of God, and Mary obviously believes they were, no clerical slight of hand can sever the bond between them. Which means that John and his second "wife" are living in adultery. Who will be held accountable for that sin? (Set aside any other sins for the moment.) There's only one answer -- the judges of the tribunal.

I don't know whether Mary appealed the decision. Tribunals don't often tell the victims (I use the term deliberately) that they have that right. Sheila Rauch Kennedy, wife of Joseph Kennedy, did appeal, and ten years later (2005) Rome determined the original marriage was, indeed, valid, although Rauch wasn't informed of the outcome by the Boston Archdiocese until 2007. Speedy justice, eh?

In a speech to the Roman Rota January 29, Pope Benedict decried the easy annulment situation and the length of time necessary for tribunal decisions. He warned that "We run the risk of falling into an anthropological pessimism which, in the light of today's cultural situation, considers it almost impossible to marry." He also repeated Pope John Paul II's concern about "the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage destroyed in practice by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity." This is particularly true in the United States where the vast majority of annulments are granted. Are Americans really less able to contract valid marriages than those living in every other country of the world? Is it a case of "Well, I meant it when I said it, but now I've changed my mind?" Would that argument fly for any other form of legal contract? Is marriage less important than buying a house or a boat?

One of the greatest causes of the breakdown of American society is the dissolution of the family. That the U.S. Church has been an enabler of that disaster is one of the biggest scandals we face in this country and a root cause of our abortion holocaust.

Read More Articles:

Pope John Paul II's 2004 address to the Roman Rota

Catholic Marriage and annulments

Tribunals should work quickly, defend marriage, Pope says

Pope cautions tribunals against granting annulments too easily

Thursday, March 19, 2009

To all you Joe's -- Happy Feast Day!

I have to smile when I think that Joe the Plumber has St. Joseph the worker as his special friend and patron saint. But St. Joseph belongs to all the regular Joes who are fathers as well -- and all foster fathers -- named Tom, Dick, or Harry. They can all claim him for a friend and mentor. St. Joseph has a carpenter's tent big enough for every man no matter who his other patrons are. And what a model he is - real man's man: strong, patient, courageous enough to leave town with his family at night on a road commonly traveled by robbers. No arguments with God, just a hasty response to God's will. Scripture tells us he's a "just man," no small feat in any age. He says not one word in Scripture, but his faithful presence and his prompt obedience to God's will speak volumes.

The following prayer was reportedly found in 50 A.D. It can be prayed as a nine or thirty-day novena and would be particularly appropriate to pray with those in danger of death. Remember that St. Joseph is also the patron of a good death. What a friend to have beside you in your final hours!

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen

Most Rev. George W. Ahr
Bishop of Trenton

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Take the Roe v. Wade Test

Most people don't know much about Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court Decision that overturned all state laws and made abortion the law of the land. Take the Roe v. Wade IQ test and see how you score on your knowledge of this landmark decision that turned a mother's womb into one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mahony's Dissent Fest Over for another Year

Every year Cardinal Roger Mahony of L.A. puts on a so-called Religious Education Conference that features a gaggle of heretics well-known for undermining the faith. The event is always a throwback to the 60s with numerous liturgical abuses, dancing girls, and silliness we hoped was over decades ago. But with the FBI looking into his coverup of the sex-abuse crisis and the millions paid out in settlements, Mahony apparently needs a little distraction and perhaps this suffices.

Witnesses from Concerned Roman Catholics of America were both outside and inside the convention. Those outside reported harrassment by security personnel who threatened arrest but later backed down when the police upheld their legal right to be there. An inside witness reported on the closing Mass and several workshops she attended.

"I was at The Three Days of Darkness Congress this weekend and I have video footage of it. The closing mass was.. well... I have no kind words to describe it. The liturgical abuses were at an all time high with lay liturgical dancers incensing the altar and people walking up stairs with glass goblets filled with the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. [Editor's note: The Body and Blood of Christ are required to be held in sacred vessels made of worthy and enduring material. Anything breakable is excluded as are baskets which can be seen in this photo of the Consecration.]

"When one sister actually spilled on the stairs the Precious Species, she tried wiping up the Precious Blood but got flustered and kept moving. Yes, I witnessed this on video and will be sending Cardinal Mahony the video.... Cardinal Mahony's homily was all about himself being driven out into the desert because of the Federal Grand Jury after him because of sex abuse scandals in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

"I [attended a workshop given by] Dr. Greer Gordon who happily invited an investigation [into] documents in the Vatican Library archives...[claiming] that The Church blessed same sex unions. She was promoting monagamous same sex unions!

"Another speaker, Sr. Barbra Fiand, [Ed's note: She is a well known dissenter who regularly speaks at Call to Action conferences.] promoted shamanism and says we all are stardust same as animmals and plants and she poo pooed Indulgences. All of this was recorded. After what I endured at this Congress I don't think Cardinal Mahony is going to have a change of heart towards the Tridentine Mass any time soon, because he can't even do the ordinary form of The Mass right!

"Yes the archdiocese does VIRTUS program. One of the talks I attended was presented by Dr.Tom Beaudoin [Ed: another dissenter]. This talk was a panel discussion [by] an open homosexual man and woman [and] two parents of homosexual children. The mother on the panel who leads a group of parents of homosexuals at her parish in southern California said she teaches the Virtus program at her parish. She was very proud of this program....The panel promoted same sex unions and ridiculed Church teachings. The father on the panel ridiculed Bishop Soto's speech given at The Queen Mary conference on homosexuals. This father said that The bishop was just reading a Vatican document and that he should have been supporting the homosexual movement. The female open homosexual on the panel said that she and her partner were godparents for her niece's baptism. [Ed's note: This violates the requirement for godparents. Those living in public scandal are ineligible.] This same woman got mad at an attendee of this talk because she wanted this person and everyone to vocally support same sex unions. The male open homosexual young man said [Sr.Edith Pendergrast encouraged him] to give his story.... [He] also ridiculed The Church's teachings on [homosexuality]. Sr. Edith Pendergrast is the main person [organizing] the Cngress every year. This panel discussion was not recorded but they said they wanted it recorded so they can reach people in their parishes to support the homosexual movement. They all claimed it is a civil rights movement!"

We offer this last photo with a suggestion that Cardinal Mahony make the theme song for the conference, Come to the Cabaret. There were altar babes everywhere and the music, band, lighting, and ambience offered all the reverence of a night club. Good job, Your Eminence! One note of hope -- Cardinal Mahony was born in 1936 so the end is in sight. If Rome won't discipline him at least we have hopes that his resignation will be accepted by return email when he tenders it in two years.

Protest this terrible Conference by writing to:

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski
Prefect, Congregation for Education
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 3 00121
Vatincan City State, Europe

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Never Again? Dr. Mengele Lives On in the New Holocaust

Some people will be angry that I use the term "holocaust" referring to experimentation on human embryos. It demeans the "real" holocaust they will say to apply such a term to the little one in the womb or the pre-embryo in the petrie dish. But after reading an incredible article by Dr. Dianne Irving I won't shy from calling it what it is. So many bioethicists today find ways to rationalize every evil under the sun. They balance the "common good" against the life of little ones who "will die anyway." Read Dianne's powerful article and tremble for what our country has become. President Obama with his approval of embryonic stem cell research is setting us on the same path travelled before by mad scientists like Mengele (nicknamed the Angel of Death) who defend their atrocities with scientific terminology and in cultured voices. Packaging evil in nice wrappings may make it more attractive, but the stinking mess inside the box is the same.


by Dianne N. Irving

As a biochemistry major at the end of my Junior year, I had already had some of my research published earlier, so my department head suggested that I could do something "different" for my senior thesis if I wanted - like medical ethics (bioethics didn't exist yet!). I thought about it, and remembered being touched by a small book we had read in a Junior year Chemistry Conference Course - courses each student was required to take in their major for their last two years in order to integrate their own special fields or "concentrations" with the other areas of knowledge. Junior year's course usually took the students through their academic field's long historical development, and in chemistry we had read a small book by J. Bronowski, a philosopher/scientist/journalist who wrote during and after World War II, especially about the Nazi medical experiments used to achieve eugenics which soon became the focus of the Nuremberg Trials. Read more...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Real Catholic TV and the Picture Worth a Thousand Words

If you haven't seen Real Catholic TV, check it out. Michael Voris gives a daily pithy opinion in The Vortex "where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed." In the video below Voris gives us a clear picture "worth a thousand words" of the state of the Church in America. After you watch it ask yourself, "when will the U.S. bishops enforce Canon Law 915 over these heretics?"

Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Bishop Paul Loverde are the spiritual shepherds over most legislators in Congress when they are away from their home parishes living in the Washington, D.C. area. Neither has lifted a finger to defend the faith against pro-abortion Catholic politicians scandalizing their people. Is it any wonder a recent survey shows a decline in Catholics despite massive immigration (both legal and illegal) of hispanics who mostly identify themselves as Catholic? The homosexual priest abuse scandal certainly took a toll, but many orthodox Catholics believe the decline is due primarily to the failure of the hierarchy to defend the faith. If the shepherds stand for nothing the sheep will fall for (and follow) anything.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Breast Cancer: the Pill's Deadly Legacy

I'm a breast cancer survivor. When I was 39 I found a lump during a self-exam. To make a long story short I had surgery (modified radical mastectomy) and chemotherapy. And here I am about twenty years later to tell the tale. Because I had absolutely no risk factors and was nursing a little one at the time, my doctor presumed it was a clogged milk duct and didn't order a mammogram. When it didn't go away and seemed to be getting larger I went for one. (Always question your doctor - better safe than sorry.)

At the time (1986) very little was known about breast cancer in pre-menopausal women; it was still relatively uncommon. The cancer hadn't spread to the lymph nodes and the surgeon thought I was free and clear. The oncologist recommended otherwise. I chose chemo, not because there were studies showing it was effective in younger women, but because he said, "You get one chance to hit cancer hard and your children are very young." Ten years later studies showed a longer survival rate for the surgery + chemo combo.

Over the years I've noticed cancer attack younger and younger women? Why? Why has breast cancer become not only a disease of middle-aged and older women, but is hitting women in their 30s, their 20s, and even teenagers. One answer is the birth control pill. A study by the Mayo Clinic found the pill is particularly dangerous for women who have never had a baby - a target group for organizations like Planned Parenthood.

One of my daughters has a friend whose mom put her on the pill when she was about fourteen. When she hit 25 she had a very aggressive cancer in both breasts. It's affected her decisions about having children. Could she leave her husband with little ones to raise alone?

Another risk factor is in the food we eat and the water we drink. Increasingly, fish are turning up in our rivers with confused sexual organs, male fish carrying eggs for example. While estrogen from the pill excreted in human waste is one factor, hormones fed to farm animals is another. Waste products and farm runoff pollute rivers, wells, and reservoirs. In my own county (Shenandoah in Virginia) the river is polluted with birth control drugs. And it's not just affecting women. Increasingly, little boys are born with undescended testicles and low sperm counts caused by a variety of chemical pollutants including birth control drugs.

But is there anyone out there raising the alarm? Darn few! The environmentalists who continually lobby Congress with scares that often prove baseless, apparently have little interest in demanding action over a danger that threatens us every time we turn on a faucet. But then it's more politically correct to penalize an oil company over a localized spill than to go after a behemoth like Planned Parenthood and their pharmaceutical allies who are polluting millions of women's bodies directly and many millions of others through what I'll euphemistically call the "yellow oil" spill.

Women need to hear the warning loud and clear. The pill may not kill you today or next week, but the breast cancer you get because of it may very well kill you in a few years. Even back in the 80s they knew there was a link. My doctor told me it was a good thing I never took the pill because I would probably have had cancer at 29 instead of 39.

One last note. There is a new, very aggressive kind of cancer called inflammatory breast cancer or IBC. Its symptoms are very different from traditional breast cancer. Watch this video warning. Knowledge is a woman's best protection against breast cancer.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Updates on stories we're following

Boston Catholic health-care agency wins state contract- including abortion coverage
Should Catholics rejoice that a Catholic institution will be helping the poor or weep because it means the Church will be linked to abortion, although the referral will probably be several steps removed. Maybe Catholics need a summit on the dangers of cooperating with evil.

Thousands of Connecticut Catholics rallied in defense of religious liberty; new challenge looms
Victory this time against the Connecticut bill to remove parish oversight from the bishop and give it to the state. More assaults coming.

Deep-Sixing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Will Hurt Military

Obama is as busy promoting his liberal agenda as termites in the deep south eating the foundations of wooden houses. Babies in the womb have been a major target, but now he's turning to their older brothers and sisters in the military. Obama promised during the campaign and again in January that he plans to deep-six the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military and allow homosexuals to serve openly. Consider the impact in an environment where soldiers share open shower facilities, "hot bunk" on subs and on ships, and experience the other stresses of living in close quarters. Will this increase cohesiveness in the military? Not hardly. And what will be the impact on the all-volunteer force?

According to a Military Times Poll, 58% of active duty subscribers were opposed to a change in the policy. Ten percent said they would not re-enlist and another 14% said it would impact their decision. Can the military afford to eliminate 24% of its recruits. How many would not sign up at all?

Elaine Donnelly writing for The Tank, National Review's military blog, opines that "Corollary programs to make the new policy 'work' would include professional 'diversity training' to enforce acceptance, and 'zero tolerance' of anyone who disagrees. Dissenters would face discipline and be denied promotions, which would end their military careers. Incidents of misconduct would increase threefold, to include male/male and female/female misconduct that undermines discipline and demoralizes the troops. These results would harm recruiting and retention, and effectively destroy the volunteer force."

Is Donnelly right? Is finding out the hard way worth the risk?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

VOTF Fingerprints on Connecticut Bill to Control the Church

[Read my two previous posts here and here for background.]

The Connecticut Judiciary Committee has cancelled the hearing on bill 1098 and withdrawn it for now. A portion of the released statement said, "it would serve no useful purpose to have a conversation about changing the laws that govern existing Roman Catholic corporations until we know if any of these existing laws are constitutional. At the request of the proponents who are advocating this legislation, we have decided to cancel the public hearing for tomorrow, table any further consideration of this bill for the duration of this session, and ask the Attorney General his opinion regarding the constitutionality of the existing law that sets different rules for five named separate religions."

A letter from a group of law professors expressed exactly how unconstitutional the bill is. My favorite line in the letter is, "Of course dissenters within the church can withdraw from membership, but they cannot turn to the legislature and have it reform the governance of their church to their own liking. That would transfer power to govern the church from the church to the legislature."

The Diocese of Bridgeport will hold a noon rally at the capitol on Wednesday despite the cancellation. Showing a little muscle is a good idea because the assault on the Church is just beginning and the dissenters, who have no intention of withdrawing, will continue to look for ways to undermine fundamental Church doctrines. VOTF was up to their necks in this assault as the excerpts from the article below indicate. Click on the headline for the full article.

Connecticut bill on Catholic Church nearly identical to Voice of the Faithful strategy

"The premise of the bill is remarkably similar to the 2009-2010 Voice of the Faithful Strategic Plan....

"Dr. Lakeland said, 'I’m connected to [the bill] to this degree: I’ve been working pretty closely with Tom Gallagher, who’s a Greenwich businessman, who has been behind the push to get the state government to do something about this.'... Asked if there would be implications for the entire U.S. Catholic Church, [Lakeland] confidently responded, 'Oh, I think it would, and I think if passed in Connecticut, the pressure to pass it in many of the other states in the union would be enormous.'”

Lakeland, a theology professor at Fairfield University, is closely involved with VOTF and espouses liberation theology, a philosophy Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (before being elevated to pope) said "constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church."

From start to finish this bill is an attack by the moles who remain in the Church in order to destroy her. They are of the same ilk as Doug Kmiec and the George Soros-funded organizations, Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Know these organizations and their minions for who they are -- enemies of Christ. Like the pharisees, they are looking for ways to "trip up" the legitimate authorities. They preach another gospel opposed to the one taught by Jesus. Do we need reform in the Church? Absolutely! Are these revolutionaries interested in reform? In a way, yes. They want to re-form the Church along the lines of the world. Read the devil's temptation of Jesus in Matthew Chapter 4 for their agenda. You'll hear it spouted by Satan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stem Cell Research Approved - We're all Nazis Now.

Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall sent me the following article about President Obama's approval of stem cell research which is the act of beginning new human lives so the little ones can be cannibalized for their stem cells. Why do the scientists want this? - for human experimentation, a crime against humanity. The Nuremberg war trials condemned men who experimented on humans. So -- not only are "we all socialists now," we are all Nazis as well. If Dr. Mengele were around today, Obama would no doubt name him Surgeon General.

Obama, Thomas Jefferson, and Stem Cell Research

by Bob Marshall

Nowhere in any of the White House documents authorizing the moral travesty of experimentation on human embryos, does President Obama acknowledge that the research he wants to fund with tax monies involves the intentional death of newly created human beings.

Our 44th president, Barrack Obama, skips over this point of “creation.” His inaugural speech referred to the “God-given promise that all are equal.” But our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson, said, “All men are created equal.” Is this distinction above Obama’s pay grade?

Failure to acknowledge a man’s creation means ignoring “inalienable rights endowed by our Creator.” How convenient!

Mr. Obama accuses human experimentation opponents of ideological bias and politics. Yet American taxpayers will be forced to fund lethal research which provides NO cures, therapies, or clinical benefits!

Until now, the FDA had never approved embryo stem cell therapy because it promotes tumors and growth of wrong organs. Adult stem cell therapy works and has no ethical controversies.

Nature Magazine reported last summer that Harvard scientists turned one type of adult cell directly into another type of adult cell which produces the specialized pancreative beta cells that secrete insulin. This new technique eliminates any scientific justification for using embryonic humans for research.

Apparently, Mr. Obama thinks he can improve the created order.

For three years (2005-2007) I chaired the Virginia General Assembly Stem Cell Study. Members served from all persuasions on the issue. We had extensive and thorough public hearings with experts in medical, research, scientific and ethical fields.

The Father of American embryo stem cell research, Dr. John Gearhart of John Hopkins University, told our Committee that transplanted embryo stem cells develop tumors and other problems. For these reasons, we unanimously concluded that Virginia should only support adult stem cell research. I believe Virginia is the only state which adopted its policy AFTER a thorough and impartial inquiry.

President Obama has crossed a moral fault line in the created universe. He should reflect that while God always forgives, and man sometimes forgives, Nature never forgives and is a stern taskmaster.

The Plot Thickens in Connecticut

Seems that the bill introduced in Connecticut to put lay boards in charge of Catholic parishes has its roots in Voice of the Faithful. The Fratres blog and the National Catholic Register have interesting articles outlining the connection. For those who haven't kept up with VOTF, the group aims to democratize the Church along the lines of protestant denominations. You know -- lay election of pastors and bishops, lay control of parishes, ordination of women, etc. Like Rahm Emanuel VOTF believes in never wasting a crisis. Thus the sex abuse scandals are useful, not as a call to restore orthodoxy and fight dissent, but an opportunity to further undermine the faith of our fathers and bring the Church more into line with the vision of Martin Luther and his fellow revolutionaries.

Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, addressing a group of Catholic school principals, warned, "If this bill were to be enacted, your bishop, would have virtually, virtually no real relationship with the 87 parishes…they could go off independently, some of them could break off from the Church if they wished, and go their own way as has happened, for example, with the Episcopal Church. And the pastors would be figureheads, simply working for a board of trustees." The power of the purse is the power to control.

That's exactly why dissent groups like VOTF and Call to Action want laity to control Church finances. Unfortunately for them, Bill 1098 is unconstitutional on its face and the Connecticut bishops aren't their only adversaries. In an article on Courant.Com's Capitol Watch page, Senate Republican leader John McKinney is calling on democrats to cancel the hearings. "That bill is patently unconstitutional,'' McKinney said Monday. "I don't know any lawyer who would argue otherwise.'' McKinney, an Episcopalian, called the law "offensive to Catholics and non-Catholics alike."

I'm really interested in finding out more about Tom Gallagher, the "devout" Catholic who started all this. I found an article he wrote on Church finances in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), the Catholic dissenter's favorite mouthpiece. That doesn't necessarily disqualify his views, but it certainly puts him in the company of many who have attacked fundamental doctrines of the Church. Is he only concerned about financial accountability or does he share NCR's pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-same sex marriage, etc. views? Does he see Church finances as the lever and fulcrum to shift the Church toward the VOTF model? It's a possibility in search of supporting data.

Read more articles:

Catholic bishops angry over proposed lawDebate rages on church bill

Animosity continues over proposed church bill

Connecticut considers bill

Obama: rhetoric vs. reality

Barrack Obama claims to want to find common ground in the abortion debate. Where better to get both sides together than at his recent health summit. But something went wrong between the rhetoric and the reality (or more likely went exactly as the pro-death president intended). While Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortionist in the world, was invited to the meeting along with several other pro-abortion groups, pro-lifers were excluded. There was no room at the president's table for them. Cecile Richards of PP called for more contraception and abortion in a mandatory health care package that would require insurers to offer the services. That means those who oppose abortion would be forced to subsidize them through their insurance payments. Whatever happened to "tolerance" and the "right to choose?"

"Choice" has always been a sham. Those who choose evil are never happy with choosing for themselves. Everyone must call the evil choice good. Those who condemn it must be forced to cooperate with it. Obama's universal health care will mean universal abortion. At the same time he will cut off services to the elderly. In a sad irony the vultures are coming home to roost. The baby boomers who offered no room in the inn for the unborn, who contracepted and aborted with abandon, will be hastened to the afterlife by the survivor generation whose brothers and sisters were murdered in the womb. Pro-lifers predicted it thirty years ago and we are seeing it come to pass.

The so-called stimulus bill includes the creation of a new Bureaucracy, The National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, to "guide" medical decisions. The Secretary of HHS (radical pro-abort Kathleen Sebelius if confirmed) will be able to punish doctors who aren't "meaningful users" of the system. A new standard of cost effectiveness will be applied to determine whether a patient has a right to medical care. (Do you think this will apply to elderly legislators and other elites in our society? No health care for you, Teddy Kennedy, you're too old. No heart by-pass for you, Bill Clinton, ditto. Don't hold your breath.) Read the fine print in the stimulus bill. The healthcare regulations are a danger to every American, especially those over 65.

Planned Parenthood Promotes Abortion at White House Health Care Summit

Stimulus Hides Socialized Healthcare Plan

Monday, March 9, 2009

Catholic Church under assault in Connecticut

A bill introduced in Connecticut by two practicing homosexuals, Andrew McDonald and Michael Lawlor, will transfer the financial regulation of Catholic parishes to lay boards by order of the state. Bill No. 1098, referred to the Committee on Judiciary in January co-chaired by McDonald and Lawlor, directs that the "corporation shall have a board of directors consisting of not less than seven nor more than thirteen lay members...elected from among the lay members of the congregation at an annual meeting of the corporation....The general administrative powers of the corporation shall be exercised by or under the authority of the board of directors [i.e., The bishop and pastor are banned from managing the parish financially.] ....The pastor of the congregation shall report to the board of directors. ....Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit, restrict or derogate from any power, right, authority, duty or responsibility of the bishop or pastor in matters pertaining exclusively to religious tenets and practices." [Nice of Big Brother.... Does this mean the bishop or pastor can authorize the songs at Mass but has to go to the board for permission to buy the hymn books?] Interestingly the bill applies only to Catholic churches -- for now.

The bishops of Connecticut are fighting back and calling on Catholics to attend the hearing scheduled for Wednesday March 11.

The bishops have no one to blame but themselves for this awful bill. There are too many examples of pastors who stole parish money to maintain immoral lifestyles. It's ironic that two homosexuals are pushing it since outright theft of parish property has often been due to homosexual pastors embezzling funds to maintain their double lives? (Remember whistleblower priest Fr. Michael Madden and his nemesis, Fr. Jude Fay? from Darien, CT?) Jesus said the children of darkness are more shrewd than the children of light. Like Rahm Emanuel says, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." And liberals like McDoanald and Lawlor aren't about to let that happen - any opportunity to go after the church that is a stumbling block to legalizing same-sex marriage!

Pray and fight against this bill which is clearly unconstitutional under the first amendment. The state has absolutely NO RIGHT to regulate the financial management of the church. The next Catholic diocese targeted might be yours. Call on your bishop to ensure firm financial accountability, not the state. Make sure he has policies and procedures in place to protect parish assets and to prevent luxurious rectory renovations that most parishioners could never afford on their own homes. Spend the money on the houses of God and the parish schools, not on gold fixtures and marble fireplaces in the bishop's house and the pastor's rectory.

Deja Vu - Remember the Peanut Farmer?

Many Americans who voted for Barrack Obama are too young to remember the peanut farmer from Plains. Jimmy Carter is a top contender for worst president in U.S. history. He contributed to the disaster in the middle east by turning Iran from an ally into a deadly enemy when he abandoned the Shah and let Islamic fundamentalists take over under Ayatollah Khomeini. His twiddling after the invasion of the American embassy and hostage crisis made America appear to be a puny weakling in the eyes of the world. It took Carter five months to even respond to Iran's act of war and suspend diplomatic relations. He gave away the Panama Canal which was built and paid for with America's blood, sweat, and tears. His weakness contributed to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Carter's disastrous domestic policies gave us price controls, long lines at the gas pumps, and two new federal agencies. The Department of Energy he created was supposed to make us energy independent. Thirty years later what do we have to show for it except another bloated bureaucracy? He also raised up a Leviathan in the federal Department of Education that has busily interfered with the states ever since.

Despite his four-year folly, Carter seems to have met his match. Obama and gang are proving to be so inept they almost make Carter look competent. The president's conduct of the recent visit from Britain's prime minister was embarrassing. State Department officials managed to create a situation that looked like a deliberate snub to the U.K. Whether you like Brown or not he represents a country that has more often been friend than foe. What's the point of gratuitous alienation? But maybe it was accidental which illustrates that the man we've been told is the smartest on the planet hasn't got a clue about foreign policy or even common courtesy. Brad Pitt got treated better at the White House. Perhaps the president would benefit from a quick read of The Ugly American. (The movie with Marlon Brando is terrible; I don't recommend it.)

Is the U.S. safe with Obama at the helm as North Korea steps up war talk and the Saudis he released from Guantanamo Bay return to active terrorist operations? Is his plan under the spending bill to allow more immigrants from Muslim countries that hate us going to make America more secure?

Our adversaries are looking for slip-ups and there seem to be plenty in these early days of the Obama presidency. Time will tell whether Obama will go the way of Carter who entered the White House with an approval rating of 66% and in only four years dropped to 34%. Carter almost single-handedly swept Ronald Reagan into office. Reagan, in what was predicted to be a cliffhanger, carried 44 states and beat Carter in the electoral college 489 to 49. Now is the time for the rise of real conservatives, not liberal wannabes dressed in conservative sheepskin. Read the constitution. It will help you recognize true conservatives when they appear.

By the way, Carter and Obama had one other thing in common - they both were darlings of the mainstream media. Obviously that wasn't enough for Carter. Will it be for Obama?

P.S. No offense to peanut farmers or farmers in general who are typically smarter than professional politicians. In fact, one of my favorite stories is about the lesson a farmer, Horatio Bunce, taught Davy Crockett when he was serving in the U.S. Congress, about Constitutional government. Crockett later penned these words about his political brethren. "Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it." Why is it that most of the Founding Fathers died paupers but politicians today go to Congress and make a fortune? Ask Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Abraham's Test

Today's first reading at Mass, the story of Abraham and Isaac, troubled me when I was a little girl and it still makes me squirm when I hear it. How could God ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the altar? How could it be a "test" when God knew what he would do? It just seems like a cruel joke. But I know God isn't cruel; that can't be the answer. So why did God put Abraham to the test?

I've read a lot since my girlhood days and I know that God was illustrating for the Israelites that He was different from the idols of their pagan neighbors who sacrificed their children to Moloch. He didn't want his chosen people to follow that example. I know the Abraham story prefigures the lamb of God who will, in fact, be lifted up in a bloody sacrifice on Calvary. God, who held back Abraham's hand with the upraised knife, did not spare his own Son.

But I still ask myself, why did he do that to Abraham?

In the movie, The Bible, George C. Scott plays the ancient patriarch. There's a poignant scene with the young Isaac when his father shows him the staff carved with the family tree. He tells Isaac about his ancestors with a touching tenderness. Then comes the scene where God asks Abraham to give back his only son, the hope of God's promise that Abraham's descendants will number as the stars. Scott shows us a man whose desire to do God's will literally wars with his natural human love for Isaac. Scott shows us the reality of suffering. We see Abraham rampage on the mountain paths struggling until finally, with every shred of his humanity rebelling, he chooses God's will and sets out to fulfill His command. Abraham's rejoicing at the return of Isaac to his loving arms is all the greater because he had already accepted his son's death.

So the test wasn't to show God whether Abraham would sacrifice Isaac; it was to show Abraham how much he trusted and was willing to give to God.

Abraham's test is, I think, also for us. How many parents face the same trial? How many are asked to let a beloved child go - through disease, an accident, a senseless murder? We face the test too. Do we rebel and curse God as Job's false friends recommended? Or do we join our sufferings to Mary's at the foot of the cross as the sword pierced her heart?

I think God understands our rampaging in the wilderness when we face tragedy, but in the end there is no place else to be but with Mary looking up at the suffering Christ. I believe she stood there lamenting, but through her tears said, "Let it be done to me according to your word." I pray for the grace to be able to imitate her when suffering comes into my life.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Catholic Hospitals and the Ethics of Doubletalk

Senator Sam Brownback is taking a lot of heat lately for endorsing pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius to be HHS head. Human Life International president, Fr. Tom Euteneuer, recently called him a "turncoat" for his actions. But there's a figure closer to home who wears a miter and carries a crosier and whose betrayal is much more serious, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston.

On March 6th the Cardinal approved a decision by Caritas Christi Health Care, the agency managing Catholic hospitals in his archdiocese, to bid for a contract that offers low-income citizens of Massachusetts health-care insurance. The hefty government contract requires that all services mandated by state law be provided including contraception and abortion. Caritas will partner with Centene Corporation, a third party, to do the dirty work. According to Phil Lawler of Catholic World News "if the contract is approved, there would be no hospital in the Boston area that was not involved, directly or indirectly, with the abortion business...this wretched situation would occur not because the government forced Caritas Christi into a morally untenable position, but because the Catholic health-care agency deliberately sought to be involved."

Like the pharisees who scrupulously followed the ritual laws, Caritas, supported by the bishop, engages in ethical doubletalk claiming they will be true to Catholic principles even as they rationalize how to get around them. They will pass the bloody abortion duty to their secular partner to maintain the charade of uninvolvement. (Why does this remind me of an accessory in murder who drives the getaway car?) Cardinal O'Malley's statement says, "Caritas Christi Health Care has assured me that it will not be engaged in any procedures nor draw any benefits from any relationship which violate the Church's moral teaching as found in the Ethical and Religious Directives." No doubt they will srupulously follow the letter of the law including the ritual washing of hands as the innocent are sacrificed.

One has to question, however, why Caritas wants the contract if there is no "benefit" to them. One can only conclude that they will, despite their words, "benefit" from the relationship with the abortion provider. The partnership enables Caritas to take the government money while maintaining that they are innocent of involvement in child-killing. It's a travesty and pro-lifers in Boston aren't buying it. Catholic hospitals in this country are neck deep in the culture of death. This is just one more example of it.

Cardinal O'Malley's support for the Caritas betrayal is unconscionable. As Lawler says, "the Boston archdiocese...[should] deliver an emphatic message that the Catholic Church does not want, and will not seek, any connection, however remote, with the culture of death."

Congress may have its turncoats, but they do less damage than those who hold episcopal office. Please pray for Cardinal O'Malley and all the bishops of the United States.

Cardinal O’Malley releases statement

Boston cardinal backs Catholic agency's bid for contract involving abortion coverage

Keep the Heat on the Sebelius Nomination!

The articles below give a good overview of the challenges from the Sebelius nomination to HHS. Unfortunately, Senator Brownback's endorsement has cut pro-lifers off at the knees. The only way an effective fight can be mounted is if a few senators on the oversight committee start asking some tough questions of this radical pro-abort - like her relationship with late-term abortionist George Tiller. If a senator known for being 100% pro-life won't challenge this champion of child-killing why would anyone else? Please don't let my comments discourage you from fighting. Contact your senators anyway. Write letters to the editor exposing Sebelius' extremism. Keeping abortion in the limelight is important. When you shine light under the rock the creepy-crawlers run for cover. So keep your rosary in one hand and a pen (or a mouse) in the other. Soldiers fight battles even when the odds are against them.

Find your senators here.

Choice of Sebelius likely to renew abortion debate

Catholic Bishop Troubled by Obama's Nomination of Pro-Abortion Kathleen Sebelius

Archbishop Naumann's Column on Sebelius Nomination

Sebelius Picked for HHS: Get Ready for Abortion Fight

Our Sunday Visitor interviews Bishop Naumann on Sebelius nomination

HLI President denounces endorsement of Sebelius by 'prominent Catholics'

Kathleen Sebelius Upset by Nomination Opposition, Pro-Life Groups Turn Up Heat

Anti-Abortion Activists Plan to Fight Sebelius' Nomination for HHS

Friday, March 6, 2009

We can all use a laugh these days...

I got this "quote of the week" off the the Republican Party of Virginia website and thought it was a hoot. Now don't say I never post anything positive about the president. Kudos to Governor Mark Sanford for his sense of humor. It's good to find something to laugh about in these disastrous economic times.

Quote of the Week

"I didn't vote for Obama but he is remarkable. In less than three weeks in office he has collected more than $150,000 in back taxes - - Just from cabinet appointees."

- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford

How Homosexuals are "Silencing the Christians"

Can you believe the transformation of American culture in just half a century? We've gone from a family-friendly culture that honors God to a culture that doesn't even know what a family is any more and is purging God from every institution. One reason for the subversion is the success of the "gay" agenda at demonizing biblical Christianity and selling perversion as, not only normal, but good. Do you remember Isaiah saying, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil?" That's where we are today. And here's a powerful video showing one of the reasons. Watch the video, fill out the survey, and fight hate crimes legislation. It's unnecessary. Who can read a criminal's mind. Every crime is an act of hate. Why should there be a higher penalty because a gay is robbed than if the victim is a little old lady? Motive matters yes. That's why there are different degrees of murder for example. But hate crime legislation is really about silencing politically incorrect speech. Hate laws say that some people have more rights than others and they are used to silence critics. That's what has happened in Canada and it's happening here. If you value free speech stand up for it.

Watch Speechless: Silencing the Christians

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love In the Ruins

I'm a little sheepish about posting this, especially during the penitential season of sacrifice and humility, but I'm just too excited not to share the news.

Over the years I've had magazine and newspaper articles published but, for the first time, I've had an essay appear in a book. The subject couldn't be more dear to my heart - the Traditional Latin Mass or TLM for short. Although I usually attend the Novus Ordo, I have never stopped loving the "Mass of the Angels" as St. Thomas Aquinas called it. I hope you will be curious enough about Love in the Ruins to take a look at Angelus Press which offers a few snippets from the book. After you read them, I hope you'll order the book. Soon, I expect, there will be reviews appearing on the web. There are none yet at Angelus Press, but the book only arrived at the publishers a few days ago.

I hope you'll read it and let me know what you think. If you haven't been to the TLM in a long time or have never attended one, seek an opportunity to go. The silence can be unnerving, I think, for those who have never been, or for those who have been away for a long time, but it is in silence that we best hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Our noisy world provides few opportunities to listen; the TLM, like the Blessed Mother who pondered things silently in her heart, magnifies the Lord.

Shadow Magisterium of Dissent Threatens Faith

Have you heard of "Catholics United," the George Soros-funded organization working to provide a radical makeover of pro-abortion politicians, especially Catholics, so they can masquerade as faithful believers? Their members posture themselves as a sort of shadow magisterium with an ideology that threaten the very foundations of the Church. These modern-day Judases call themselves devout Catholics. Some are, or have been, policy makers and executives working for the bishops. Others teach at Catholic Universities malforming the consciences of the next generation to guarantee their errors outlive them. The faith they profess is a smorgasbord of dissent and outright heresy. These aren't pork and beans cafeteria Catholics, however; they're the champagne and caviar set who break bread with the elite. Will the bishops, many of whom act like politicians themselves, take action before the faith of millions is further poisoned? Pray for our shepherds. To be a bishop today requires a man to be armed, not only with his crozier (the curved staff), but with David's slingshot. And he must be unafraid to use it against the wolves. Among his five smooth stones is Canon Law 915 and the act of interdiction. Let us beg our bishops to use these weapons to defend the faith from the Judases within the Church. Particularly, urge the two D.C. area bishops to ban pro-abortion Catholic politicians and enablers who publicly defend them from receiving Communion in their dioceses. They should start with Vice President, Joe Biden, and House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. That these two renegade Catholics continue to sacrilegiously receive Communion is a major scandal that must be stopped. How long do you think the bishops would be silent if they supported murdering Catholic clerics? Are the least of God's little ones not just as valuable?

Most Reverent Donald Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
P.O. Box 29260
Washington, D.C. 20017

Most Reverend Paul Loverde
Bishop of Arlington
200 North Glebe Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203

Obama’s pro-life backers risk usurping bishops by redefining Catholic life

Sebelius and Kmiec Catholicism

Catholic Professors Cheerleading for Pro-Abortion Obama Pick

Government 101 - Ten minute lecture on the forms of government

This is the best short explanation of the various forms of government that I've ever seen. Could have saved me a lot of studying when I got my Masters at George Washington University's School of Government. Don't miss it!

And remember Ben Franklin's answer to the Colonial lady who asked "Sir, what have you given us?"

"A republic, Ma'am, if you can keep it." Our republic is under assault. Will the American experiment fail under Obama? The answer is up to us.

The American Form of Government

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Russell Kirk: Ten Conservative Principles Part 3 -- Witness to Truth

In the final installment let's look at Kirk's last four principles of conservative thought and how they mesh with Catholic truth.

7. Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Labor and Property was the subject of Pope Leo XIII's famous encyclical, Rerum Novarum, "On the Condition of the Working Classes." The Pope rejected both the greed of unscrupulous employers who "laid a yoke almost of slavery on the unnumbered masses of non-owning workers" and the Socialist Utopians who "contend that it is necessary to do away with private possession of goods and in its place to make the goods of individuals common to all" with Government as the administrator. Pope Leo clearly stated that "nature confers on man the right to possess things privately as his own.... And this same right has been sanctioned by the authority of the divine law, which forbids us most strictly even to desire what belongs to another. 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor is house, nor his field, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his.'"
Kirk likewise warns, "Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all."
Is that not what we see happening in the United States as the government implements the forced redistribution of income from those who work to those who don't? "Upon the foundation of private property," Kirk continues, "great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth." Why? Because allowing men to keep the fruit of their labor teaches them responsibility and industry. It makes work worthwhile and gives men a reason to labor dutifully and cheerfully. Certainly assistance is necessary (and a requirement of charity) to those who are truly needy, but Government redistribution of income from some to others simply because some have more is immoral thievery.

8. Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.Kirk argues under this principle for local/voluntary vs. centralized/remote decision-making. He points out that "Americans...have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some of these functions are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger.... [A] nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed."
Bravo! This was the belief of the Founding Fathers and is also the position of the Church under the principle of subsidiarity. Pius XI described subsidiarity in this way, "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 co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view of the common good." Subsidiarity, according to the Catechism, is "opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention....Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative." Bingo! The gargantuan state that regulates from the womb to the tomb is like a combination straight jacket and "comforter." The one ties the hands making productive efforts impossible. The other, behind the mask of "compassionate" care, smothers life and initiative -- exactly where we are today under liberalism. Kirk hits the bulls eye once again.

9. Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. This is the rule of law and the antidote to the false philosophy of "might makes right." Power must be controlled in order for justice to prevail. "The conservative," says Kirk, "endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise." This principle guided the Founding Fathers to create a democratic republic with three separate branches of government designed to be watchdogs of one another. "A just government," according to Kirk, "maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty."
Indeed, the Catechism too discusses both the rights of the individual and the common good both of which should be the foci of government authority. "The exercise of authority," it says, "is meant to give outward expression to a just hierarchy of values in order to facilitate the exercise of freedom and responsibility by all." Kirk says, that "Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite" are the "instruments of freedom and order." The Catholic could well paraphrase his words to discuss the claims of a moral order where one "renders to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

10. Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. Kirk describes the tension between stability and progress emphasizing that the prudent man recognizes the necessity of both, the first to protect "enduring interests," the second to prevent stagnation. Conservatives, according to Kirk, favor "reasoned and temperate progress" as opposed to a cult of change where "everything new necessarily is superior to everything old."
Kirk's final principle reminds me of Jesus' words in Matthew 13. "Every scribe who is learned in the reign of God is like the head of a household who can bring from his storeroom both the new and the old." Throughout his ministry He stressed that He did not come to overthrow the Old Covenant, but to fulfill it. Kirk too recognizes the value of the permanent, but also the necessity of reasonable change. "Change is essential to the body social...just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation."

For Kirk, conservatism has less to do with party than principle. In fact, he says "conservative interest appears to transcend the usual classification of most American voting-blocs....The moving power behind the renewed conservatism of the American public is not some scheme of personal or corporate aggrandizement; rather, it is the impulse for survival of a culture that wakes to its peril near the end of the twentieth century. We might well call militant conservatives the Party of the Permanent Things."

One can argue that Kirk's words, written fifteen years ago, are out of date, that Obama's election proves that conservatism is dead and liberalism has won. But consider: Obama ran and was elected (by a small popular vote) as a so-called moderate. He did not run against a conservative, but a hawkish big-government Republican liberal. When accused of a socialist agenda, Obama and Biden feigned horror and called it a slur. Only since the election is the mantra openly embraced as Newsweek illustrated when they chortled, "We're all socialists now." Obama never acknowledged openly that his goal was redistribution of income; in fact he ran from the accusation. Will he succeed as a modern Robin Hood who robs from the workers to support the welfare state? It won't be just "the rich." If Obama took every cent of income of "the rich," he could not support his trillions in spending for one year as the Wall Street Journal wrote in The 2% Illusion.

Time will tell whether the American people will embrace liberalism and reject outright the permanent things. The disintegration of moral values obviously makes that a distinct possibility, but there are glimmers of an enduring spirit of conservatism among many of the young. You can find it on Facebook and YouTube and on blogs created by the under 40s. The permanent things have an appeal that the radical change agents can never suppress. Look, for example, at the popular resurgence of Gregorian Chant and the trditional Latin Mass, among young Catholics.

I think young conservatives would respond with enthusiasm to Kirk's words, "Conservatives cannot offer America the fancied Terrestrial Paradise that always, in reality, has turned out to be an Earthly Hell. What they can offer is politics as the art of the possible; and an opportunity to stand up for that old lovable human nature; and conscious participation in the defense of order and justice and freedom." You can hear the echo of the Founders in those words as well as the voice of Catholic apologists like Chesterton and Belloc, and many popes. They are words to stir the human spirit.

Pray for the repose of the soul of Russell Kirk, a giant among Catholic conservatives or conservative Catholics. He is a man who joins both words together in a joyful witness to truth.