This interview with the Metropolitan Tarasios Primate of the Greek Orthodox of South America. The interview sheds light on Pope Francis, as well as the gracious personality of the Primate himself.
Pope Francis is an outgoing informal man, while Pope Emeritus Benedict is shy and introverted. But don’t let those differences in style confuse you. Both are holy men of fidelity to the truth of our Catholic faith. To learn more, watch the video below.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is the of San Francisco is chairman of the US Bishops’ Subcommittee for the promotion and defense of marriage. He spoke to Catholic News Service about Catholic teachings on marriage. Here is what he had to say.
Deacon Greg Kandra always has the story, and this is no exception. He has also introduced me to someone who is my new hero.
Mike Forbes is a soon-to-be newly ordained Deacon. On April 13, Bishop Joe Vasquez, bishop of the Diocese of Austin, will ordain 11 new deacons, including Mr Forbes.
A former member of the United States House of Representatives from New York, Congressman Forbes was originally elected as a Republican, but switched parties. He had criticized the Republicans for being “tone deaf” to the needs of average Americans. However, the New York Democratic Party Chair, Judith Hope, refused to welcome Forbes into the Democratic Party because he is pro life.
I can certainly identify with this. Pro life Democrats are a beaten, bedraggled crew. Just look at the photo at the top of this blog if you want a taste of how our party supports us. At the same time, the Republicans are tone deaf to the needs of average Americans.
If you try to follow Jesus, you will not fit in with either party. That’s a fact.
Here, straight from the Deacon’s bench, is the story:
Describing himself as a devout Catholic in love with Christ all of his life, Mike Forbes considered whether God was calling him to the diaconate for more than 10 years during a successful career in public service. He held staff positions with the New York legislature and the U.S. Congress, and was elected to three terms in the House of Representatives. Since 2001, he has been president of his own advocacy, public relations and marketing firm.
He and his wife, Barbara, are members of St. William Parish in Round Rock; they have two adult children and two children at home. Forbes credits the example of the four deacons is his parish with motivating him to begin a serious inquiry about formation.
The “street retreats,” in which the candidates spent two days living on the streets with the homeless, and prison ministry were enlightening pastoral experiences. He remains open to ministering wherever God, through the bishop, calls.
And Wikipedia notes:
n 1994, Forbes ran on three ballot lines for the House of Representatives: Republican, conservative, and right to life. He defeated incumbent George Hochbrueckner by six percentage points. Forbes got a seat on the powerful Appropriations committee, unusual for a freshman representative, due to his ties with new House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In December 1996, Forbes announced he was not going to vote for Gingrich for speaker. Forbes voted for Rep. Jim Leach instead. Forbes supported the Clinton impeachment.
On July 17, 1999, Forbes switched to the Democratic Party after chastising national Republicans for being “tone deaf” to the needs of average Americans. While embraced by President Bill Clinton, Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Max Cleland, and other Senate and House Democrats, New York’s liberal Democrats (particularly chairwoman Judith Hope) refused to welcome Forbes into the Democratic Party because he is a staunch pro-life advocate.
American has a two-tier public education system. It works likes this.
Those who live in the “right”areas get the best teachers, clean schools with great facilities and all the resources they need to succeed. Every child has a textbook, there are many engaging extra curricular activities. Their parents have enough time after work to be involved in their children’s education.
These kids are on the “track” that leads to the best colleges and the good life.
Those who live in the “wrong” areas get the worst teachers, dirty schools with peeling paint and ugly mobile classrooms that look like World War II barracks taking up their playgrounds. They can’t take textbooks home for study because there are not enough for each child to have one. Their exhausted parents work two or three jobs just to keep a roof over the family’s head. They don’t have the energy to be involved in their child’s school, and even if they did, the school ignores the parents and refuses to listen to them.
These kids are “throwaway” kids. They are on a “track” that leads to gangs, drugs, teen pregnancy, fast food jobs, and for many of them, prison.
Education in this country, which should be a way of offering opportunity for every child, has become a means of creating and perpetuating a new upper class. Education isolates people into separate spheres with separate futures. Some are fed royal jelly. Others are shunted to the bottom before they even start in life.
In this old video from the days after he left Apple and before he came back to Apple, Steve Jobs sat down for a free-ranging interview. He talked a lot about education, and as usual, his comments reflected his own brand of independent thinking. I think he raised points that we all need to consider.
Have a look and decide for yourself what you think of his ideas.
Two students at George Washington University have begun a campaign to use the university’s regulations to silence a Roman Catholic priest.
Their reason? Because the priest follows Roman Catholic teaching.
According to one news story I read, the two seniors, Blake Bergen and Damian Legacy, “feel alienated because the chaplain at George Washington University’s Newman Center rejects homosexuality, and they aren’t going to take it anymore.”
An article in the school’s newspaper, the GW Hatchet, says that the two students “have launched a coordinated campaign to rid the campus of the priest.” They claim that they have left the Newman Center because Fr Greg Shaffer’s “strong anti-gay and anti-abortion views are too polarizing.” Evidently, Fr Shaffer also committed the sin of using his freedom of speech to write a blog post in which he advises students with same-sex attractions to live celibate lives.
Bergan and Legacy wrote a piece for Huff Po with the totally disingenuous title, “The Fight for Love at George Washington University,” in which they toss around words and phrases like homophobic and “persecution of the LGBT community.”
I still don’t believe I have a lot to add, but I do want to bring out a couple of points for Public Catholic readers.
First, the two men behind this attack on Fr Shaffer are not Roman Catholic. One of them was raised as a Jew and is now agnostic. The other wanted to become a Catholic priest and was turned down by Fr Shaffer because of his refusal to leave the gay lifestyle. He has since become a priest in something called the North American Catholic Church. I am not familiar with this denomination, but I’m sure it’s not Roman Catholic.
I’m not sure why no one has asked if this whole campaign is just a matter of personal sour grapes and vengeance masquerading as concern for a “cause,” but I think it is a legitimate question. I don’t usually consider personal motives when I look at political actions. But this time, they seem fairly consequential.
According to the George Washington University Newman Center web site, 3,000 of the 10,000 students on this campus are Roman Catholic. Everything I read on their web site sounds like the Newman Center is there to minister to these students, although they do welcome people who are not Catholic to join in. Nothing I saw there makes me feel that the students are in any way required to participate in Newman Center activities.
Frankly, unless the university decides to play the fool and do what these men are demanding, this whole thing may turn out to be a teapot tempest. It sounds like a very nasty bit of vengeful character assassination aimed at a faithful priest who simply had the good sense to tell someone who was actively participating in the homosexual lifestyle that he was not good priest material.
My comments on this are two-fold. First, this kind of wacko behavior could only occur in a social environment where people felt free to engage in Christian and Catholic bashing. These two young men probably wouldn’t be any less vicious if they weren’t feeling empowered by the endemic Catholic bashing on our campuses, but they most certainly would have taken another route for their personal vendetta.
Second, these priest bashers aren’t having it all their own way. Students on the campus have opened a blog supporting Fr Shaffer.
It’s about time.
Christians need to stop running away when someone attacks a fellow Christian and stand by them instead. This is the main point this post. We’ve gone on too long letting the bullies cull out one or the other Christian and attack them while the rest of us either run away or stand by and watch it happen. In truth, we are so glad that the object of the attack is them, and not us, that we keep quiet so that it won’t become us.
There’s a word for this. It’s called cowardice.
I am writing this post to commend the Catholic students of George Washington University for standing by their pastor. I am also writing it to encourage you to do the same when you see other Christians being attacked for following Christ.
Silence means assent. We’ve been silent in the face of Catholic and Christian bashing for far too long.
I’ve written posts recently that I said were “man bites dog” stories. I suppose that makes this one a “dog bites self” story.
According to the Cardinal Newman Society, Gonzaga University which bills itself as a Catholic university and whose mascot is the bulldog, banned the Knights of Columbus from their campus. This evidently came after a year of stone-walling by the University administration.
The reason this dog decided to bite itself?
Because the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization. Dr Sue Weitz, Gonzaga Vice President for Student Life, wrote (emphasis mine):
So. Does this mean that if I went to Gonzaga, my all-mom (which, by definition, makes us all female) rosary group could not be recognized by the university? What about an all-girl lamaze class? Of course, the all-male part of this letter, coming from a school with a winning basketball team, which, if I’m not mistaken, is all-male, is ridiculous on its face. It’s just puffery.
The thing that really strikes home is the “dog bites self” action of a Catholic university banning a Catholic organization because it’s Catholic. Dr Weitz commented in the letter that she “believes strongly in the university’s policy of non-discrimination and inclusiveness.”
I would guess that she probably believes what she wrote, but it’s nonsense. In truth, schools like Gonzaga that are so self-consciously “inclusive” and committed to “nondiscrimination” are the elite training grounds for a new upper class. Wealthy parents prepare their children from infancy to go to schools like Gonzaga because they are a funnel for targeting certain people into the privileged zip codes and plumb positions that rule the rest of us.
Harvard, Princeton, Yale are the premiere examples of this. A diploma from one of these schools is a ticket to entry into that other world of easy connections the rest of the country knows nothing about. Gonzaga students have to push a bit more to get there, but for a vice president of this school to call it “inclusive” and “nondiscriminatory” is an oxymoron.
In truth, these upper tier schools, including those on the second and third tiers like Gonzaga, are no more inclusive and nondiscriminatory than the old “400” of East Coast high society.
Money is the new discrimination. Wealth is the new prejudice. And the attitudes of the moneyed class control and corrupt higher education from top to bottom. Based on this action banning the Knights of Columbus from their Catholic school, I would say that these attitudes of exclusiveness and discrimination rule absolutely at Gonzaga.
I don’t find it surprising at all that a school which has veered so far from Catholic teaching as it regards wealth and power would be embarrassed by an unashamedly Catholic organization like the Knights of Columbus. Catholicism, if it is practiced as a faith and not a social delimiter, is the antithesis of what all these upper tier schools have become.
There was a time when education was considered a leaven to our whole society. The principle behind public education is that we will provide a free, equal education for all our citizens so that every single one of them has a chance to live their life to its fullest.
What has happened instead is that our schools have become, as I said earlier, funnels for discrimination. From the horrible slum schools we foist on large segments of the population, to the country club public schools we provide to other segments of the population, and on into the university level, education in this country has become a method and a means of creating and perpetuating a moneyed elite and a limited citizenry.
Gonzaga is part of that.
The last thing a school of this nature would want is a genuine Christian influence on its campus. Christianity has a way of turning this elitist nonsense on its head and demanding in the name of a God of justice and mercy that we do better.
I am not saying that this bizarre little letter with its facile self-righteousness that banned the Knights of Columbus from Gonzaga’s campus said any of this. I am not even saying that the Vice President who wrote it or the administrative board that backed it are thinking in these precise terms. I am saying that this is what they are doing.
These upper tier schools appear to be so self-congratulatory that it would never occur to them to challenge their own moral assumptions. They are bubbles of group-think and like-thinking and they have become increasingly aggressive about keeping anyone who is not “our kind” off their premises.
The Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Church which preaches the beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount are definitely not “our kind” in these schools.
Upper tier schools talk a good game about their inclusive, nondiscriminatory values. But in practice they are the instruments by which we have created and are perpetuating an isolated and privileged new upper class.
Gonzaga still claims it’s Catholic identity. In fact, it’s rather self-conscious about it. But I think Gonzaga lost its true Catholic identity long before it sent this letter banning the Knights of Columbus from its campus. True Catholic identity means identifying with the least, the lost, the poor and the weak. Gonzaga has evidently become the kind of school where that Gospel challenge to true inclusiveness and non-discrimination is a bridge too far.
Easter isn’t all new clothes, gorgeous masses in stunning church buildings and arguments about red shoes and foot washing.
In some places, Calvary is present in the lives of the people. The Church itself and all its Christian people hang on the cross of persecution.
In other places, such as the United States and Great Britain, society is moving along the continuum toward violent persecution. Christians in those two countries have come to expect and accept that they will be subjected to hate speech against Christians, Christian-bashing on web sites. They are increasingly being forced to accept that they face growing legal discrimination against Christians and moves to force Christian speech and expression out of the public sphere. We are at the “you can go to church all you want, but leave it there,” phase of discrimination, and this discrimination is rapidly becoming government-enforced.
At the same time, Christians in Egypt fear being kidnapped with no police support to stop it. Christians in Bangladesh have their children stolen and trafficked and again, the police do not punish the traffickers. Christians in North Korea are imprisoned and worked to death. Christians in Nigeria are murdered, tortured and their churches are burned.
I could go on. But there is too much of it for one post.
Here is this week’s roundup of Christian persecution in Six Quick Takes.
1. Nigeria: Easter Attacks Kill 80, Thousands of Christians Flee to the Hills
By BosNewsLife Africa Service – “Nigerian Christians appealed for prayers Tuesday, April 2, after Easter season violence in troubled central Nigeria left as many as 80 people dead and displaced some 4,500 others.
At least 19 people were killed since Easter Sunday when gunmen believed to be nomadic Muslim cattle herders attacked the mostly Christian Atakar group in Kaura district, a remote area of Kaduna state, officials said.
Witnesses said the attacks on three communities, including the Mafang and Zilang villages, killed many women and children. Kaduna police spokesman Aminu Lawan told reporters his forces were still investigating.
Ataka Christians live near Plateau state where authorities claimed fighting between cattle herders, who are mainly Fulani Muslims, and Christian villages killed nearly 60 people in recent days.
The area is on the uneasy dividing line between Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north and largely Christian south…
Christians said that following Sunday’s violence, thousands of villagers fled to the nearby hills. (Read more here.)
2. Bangladesh: Christian Children Re-Captured By Trafficker
Eleven of the 16 Christian children who were rescued from Muslim traffickers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Jan. 2 have again gone missing. Sources in the Christian community, as well as reports in local newspapers, report that they believe the children were re-trafficked and taken to madrassas, Islamic training centers, where they will likely be forced to convert to Islam and study the Quran.
Eleven Christian children, originally from the Rangamati district of Chittagong Hill Tracts, disappeared for the second time earlier this year after being given back to the custody of their parents. “We were not aware that our child would be taken to a madrassa,” one parent told International Christian Concern (ICC).
The children, along with five others, had been rescued by police from a madrassa in the Abuzor Giffari Mosque Complex in Dhaka. The children had been missing for months. They were returned to their parents soon after their rescue, but traffickers continually threatened the parents until the recent re-disappearance of the children. Local authorities say the children were likely trafficked again to madrassas and are concerned that they will be forcibly converted to Islam.
“The [leader] of the traffickers gives a large sum of money to the traffickers to take the kids to the madrassa,” said an ICC source. “Because of this, they threatened the parents and took their children, again, to a madrassa. It is all because of large sums of money, and because there are no punishments for the trafficker.” (Read more here.)
3. North Korea: Number 1 for Christian Persecution
North Korea is the most hostile place for Christians around the globe, according to the annual “World Watch” list from the Open Doors Organization.
The list ranks the 50 countries where Christian persecution is most severe. North Korea tops the 2013 list, thus holding its ranking for the eleventh year running.
“Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution,” the Open Doors report said. (Read more here.)
4. Great Britain: Majority of Church-Going Christians Feel Persecuted and Marginalized
Over two-thirds of Christians in the United Kingdom feel part of a victimized minority, and David Cameron is making that worse by redefining marriage, the Coalition for Marriage says.
In a new poll commissioned by the group, almost eight in 10 said the prime minister’s same-sex marriage plan will lead to those who back traditional marriage facing the sack.
More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they felt part of a “persecuted minority.”
The survey also showed that over half of the U.K.’s Christians who voted Conservative in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again in 2015.
Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage, said the poll showed “widespread and continued opposition towards David Cameron’s plans to redefine marriage.”
He added: “More worryingly it shows how Christians and those of faith are being treated like illegal aliens in their own country. They are being marginalized and persecuted for their beliefs. (Read more here.)
5. Egypt: Christians Targeted for Kidnappings
MATAI, Egypt (AP) — Ezzat Kromer’s resistance to his kidnappers did not last long. One of the masked gunmen fired a round between his feet as he sat behind the wheel of his car and said with chilling calm, “The next one will go into your heart.”
The Christian gynecologist says he was bundled into his abductors’ vehicle, forced to lie under their feet in the back seat for a 45-minute ride, then dumped in a small cold room while his kidnappers contacted his family over a ransom.
For the next 27 hours, he endured beatings, insults and threats to his life, while blindfolded, a bandage sealing his mouth and cotton balls in his ears.
Kromer’s case is part of a dramatic rise of kidnappings targeting , including children, in ‘s southern province of Minya, home to the country’s largest concentration of Christians but also a heartland for Islamist hard-liners.
The kidnappings are mostly blamed on criminal gangs, which operate more freely amid Egypt’s collapse in security since the 2011 fall of autocrat.
Crime has risen in general across Egypt, hitting Muslims as well. But the wave of kidnappings in Minya has specifically targeted Christians, and victims, church leaders and rights activists ultimately blame the atmosphere created by the rising power of hard-line Islamists.
They contend criminals are influenced by the rhetoric of radical clerics depicting Egypt’s Christian minority as second-class citizens and see Christians as fair game, with authorities less likely to investigate crimes against the community.
Over the past two years, there have been more than 150 reported kidnappings in the province — all of them targeting Christians, according to a top official at the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police. (Read the rest here.)
6. United States: Pro Life Student Group Banned at Johns Hopkins University
.- A pro-life student group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., is appealing a denial of official recognition, saying that it is being discriminated against for its views against abortion.
Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, told CNA that this decision is surprising, given that Johns Hopkins administration and students “pride themselves on being a ‘free speech campus’ – allowing dissenting opinions on campus and allowing a free exchange of ideas on campus.”
She added that there is a need for “upholding freedom of speech that isn’t popular.”
Voice for Life, a pro-life organization that is trying to re-start on the Johns Hopkins campus after several years of dormancy, has been rejected multiple times by the university’s student government, despite receiving clearance from the necessary committees as having met all campus requirements. (Read more here.)
Divine Mercy, Post Birth Abortion, Morning After Pills for Little Girls, Gay Marriage, Polyamory, Sequesters, Unending Undeclared Wars and Us
Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday.
Divine Mercy Sunday is based on the visions of St Faustina and was instituted by Pope John Paul II.
There is a Divine Mercy Novena which you can pray in the week and a half before the feast. Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday all come during the busy time of the year for me, which is what I blame for the fact that I have forgotten to start this Novena in time every. single. year. It might be due to the fact that I am, as one commenter accused me of being, “a lukewarm Catholic.” But I kinda doubt it. I think I forget it because I’m an absent-minded Catholic with a lot on her plate.
My excuses don’t change the fact that Divine Mercy is an opportunity for a spiritual deep-cleaning that no one should miss. I’m not going to try to explain Divine Mercy Sunday because I couldn’t find anything I could link to that was simple, clear-cut and authoritative. I’ve read the Apostolic Decree establishing the feast, as well as clarifications from the Vatican to the United States Conference of Bishops, but I don’t feel comfortable laying down a 1-2-3 list for other people to follow.
Here is what I do feel I can say. The fount of Jesus’ mercy is opened to us in a more thorough way if we will got to confession (I’ve read that going to confession during Lent suffices) and then take communion on Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus promised through his saints that we would receive a total remission of our sins on this day, something akin to what we received at our baptism. The important things (to me at least) are a willingness to face our own sinfulness and seek forgiveness in confession and then to unite ourselves with the risen Christ in the eucharist.
I am not speaking for anyone else but myself here. I am certainly not quoting Church authorities, but I don’t think Christ gave us this great gift of Divine Mercy just to save ourselves. I think it is also a way of equipping us spiritually to go forth and proclaim the Good News by how we live, what we say and to whomever we meet.
We are, all of us, as God told Abraham, “blessed to be a blessing.”
So what does this have to do with post birth abortion, morning after pills for little girls, gay marriage, polyamory, sequesters, unending undeclared wars and us? For that matter, what do we have to do with anything on that list?
William Butler Yeats wrote in The Second Coming:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.
We are the falcon and Christ is the falconer. We live in a world whose center cannot hold. Our job — our seemingly impossible job — is to be light in a world that loves the darkness, craves death and hates the truth. We cannot be the light if we are ourselves part of the darkness. No matter how talented, sincere or dedicated we are, we can not be the light of Christ in a blackened world if we are still in love with our own sins. We delude ourselves if we think that.
Divine Mercy Sunday is a day when the sacrifice of Calvary and the reality of the Resurrection unite in one great gift of complete forgiveness for those who are willing to seek and accept it. It is a gift to us. It is also a way of blessing us, so that we can become a blessing.
It’s time for every brainless knee-jerk Planned Parenthood supporter to line up and recite “right wing lies.”
A Planned Parenthood lobbyist (I’m leaving her name out because she’s just one of many) spoke against a bill requiring that infants who are born alive after abortions be given medical care instead of just dumped in the trash and allowed to die.
Planned Parenthood has opposed bills to protect the lives of infants who survive abortions every time I’m aware of. What’s different is that the Florida lobbyist seems to be a political amateur. Planned Parenthood’s lobbyist here in Oklahoma would never do anything this stupid. Their Oklahoma lobbyist knows how to play for-real political hardball.
Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood, their too-honest and far-too-inept Florida lobbyist got drawn out in question and answers, and the testimony ended up on the internet.
That’s how Planned Parenthood jumped the shark.
Here’s the video:
It turns out not everyone supports the Planned Parenthood position about killing babies after they are born. In fact, there was widespread public outrage, including allusions to this video by members of Congress in calls to defund Planned Parenthood. Anyone who has ever dealt with Planned Parenthood knows that they are all about funding.
That’s when Planned Parenthood started to blame the shark.
First they issued one of their usual we-didn’t-say-what-we-said statements on April 1 (which is an appropriate day for it.) When that didn’t work, they moved to Plan B (pun intended.)
They issued another statement, claiming that their only concerns with the bill were “health and safety issues” in some of the bill’s language and that “biased media reports reported our position inaccurately.” They then go on with the standard Planned Parenthood women’s-health-our-great-services boilerplate. You can follow the links to read both their statements if you want, but I warn you: It’s political schlock.
This business of jumping the shark and then blaming the shark for having been jumped is becoming a standard Planned Parenthood two-step. I don’t know about you, but I could write their shark-blaming statements for them.
Their trouble isn’t biased media. It also isn’t inept lobbyists who don’t know how to kill a bill behind closed doors the way their Oklahoma lobbyist does. Their problem is that they are lying. They keep getting caught out in their lies because they are telling lies.
Their real position seems to be simple and straightforward: A baby’s life is forfeit from conception through post abortion. The woman’s right to kill her child at any time during pregnancy, including after pregnancy if the baby survives an abortion, is absolute. If a baby survives an abortion, it must be killed because the baby’s mother has already decided to kill it.
I believe that what’s at stake here is not the life of the child, or even the mother’s “right to chose” so much as Planned Parenthood’s determination to fulfill its contractual obligations. If a woman contracts with them for an abortion that results in a dead baby, then she’s entitled to a dead baby, even if that means killing the baby after the abortion itself.
Do you get that?
The life of the child appears to be a non sequitur to Planned Parenthood. What seems to matter to them is that they told the woman they’d kill her baby, took her money with the promise they’d kill her baby, and they are going to Kill That Baby. They may be liars to the general public, but in this grisly instance, they keep their word.
When they get baited out into an excess of truth-telling and almost admit this as their lobbyist did in this video, they resort to obfuscation, lies and the use of their well-oiled media/political/social support machine to blame the shark they just jumped for their predicament.
I haven’t written about this story before because I’m so tired of it. It’s tough for me because I have to argue with these numbskull lies all day at work. I’ve been doing it for years and I am bone-weary with the lies.
However, I want you to understand this because I think it’s important for everyone, including Planned Parenthood’s supporters, to understand one simple thing: They are lying. Their lies are so obvious that it makes my teeth ache to read them.
The next time Planned Parenthood jumps the shark and then blames the shark for having been jumped, just turn down the volume on your television, click over onto another page on the internet. No need to hear it/read it again. It’s always the same.
This is a man bites dog story. Chris Calabrese, a lobbyist for the ACLU, has said that the gun control bill pending in the United States Senate may infringe on privacy rights and civil liberties.
That’s the problem when you create a sociopath-producing society. You end up having to hermetically seal the whole population to try to keep these monstrous few from going into movie theaters and schools and killing people. Instead of punishing the guilty, you end up using police state tactics on everyone.
It doesn’t surprise me that the proposed gun control legislation raises questions about privacy rights and civil liberties. Anyone who’s ever thought about it for longer than five minutes knows there is no way to have effective gun control without doing exactly that. While I realize that other countries have gun control, I would wager that their citizens do not have the Constitutional guarantees of individual freedoms, including the freedom to bear arms, that Americans do.
What I find surprising is that the ACLU is willing to say it. After the HHS Mandate, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the ACLU is in the bag for politics, rather than defense of the Bill of Rights.
While this interview is a long way from an official ACLU position, it still surprises.
From Daily Caller:
As Senate Democrats struggle to build support for new gun control legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union now says it’s among those who have “serious concerns” about the bill.
Those concerns have the capacity to prove a major setback to Sen. Harry Reid’s current gun bill, which includes language from earlier bills introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a top lobbyist for the ACLU announced that the group thinks Reid’s current gun bill could threaten both privacy rights and civil liberties.
Franks Weathers, the brilliant writer, retired Marine and all around good guy who bills himself “Joe six pack,” wrote a fantastic post about gay marriage yesterday.
Instead of going off into arcane reasoning and trying to avoid the moral implications, Frank went straight to the heart of the matter. His argument can be summed up in a few words that belie the eloquence of what he wrote but still get the point across:
1. Hell is real.
2. People go there forever.
3. Homosexual acts can send you to hell.
4. The Church will never condone gay marriage because it will never condone anything that will send people to hell beause
5. The business of the Church is helping people go to heaven, not sending them to hell.
Frank, who blogs at Why I am Catholic, said it a lot better than that. In fact, he said it so well I have nothing to add. For a politician to say that she has nothing to add is, well, it’s incredible.
Here, is an excerpt from the incredible post, The Number One Reason the Catholic Church Won’t Support Gay Marriage, Updated.
So what’s absolutely, positively, the A-1, best reason why the Bride of Christ won’t recognize Same-Sex civil unions as being a good?
Because Hell burns, and for all eternity. That’s why. The Church teaches that engaging in homosexual acts will lead one to eternal damnation.
Of course, the Church also teaches that committing all manner of other sinful acts, without compunction or repentance, leads one right to Hell too. Not much has changed in this regard since John the Baptist went around telling folks to “Repent!”
And the Church, that holy hospital built by Christ Himself to cleanse us, and lead us to the Promised Land, wouldn’t be doing her job properly for her Lord if she didn’t use every ounce of the Magisterial Authority she wields to do everything in her power to prevent souls from being destroyed forever in the Lake of Fire. (Read the rest here.)
Pope Francis reached out to women in a powerful way during Holy Week.
First, there was his wonderful action on Holy Thursday when he washed the feet of two young women. He spoke of women as the first witnesses to Christ’s resurrection during his Easter vigil homily and then on Tuesday, he spoke again about Mary Magdalene.
Yesterday, he delivered a powerful reflection on unique role of women as mothers.
Feminists have thrown motherhood over in many ways. I have sympathy for the reasons they did this. Pregnancy and motherhood was used as an excuse to limit women and to discriminate against them. This is true in some respects even today. However, instead of demanding change in this regard, they ended up settling for the horrible quick fix of abortion. In this way abortion became an accommodation to and an extension of misogyny.
Motherhood has always been degraded, or I should say, it always has in my lifetime. Women themselves degrade motherhood. We try to deny the demands it places on us for fear that we will be given short shrift in other areas of our lives. What too often happens because of this denial is that we end up doing the all-important job of mothering our children less well than we should.
In truth, motherhood is uniquely female. We are the life-bearers of humanity. We are the nurturers and shapers of each succeeding generation of people. Women are equipped for this work by temperament and talent. Yet our society has gotten so turned on its head that we not only devalue motherhood, we challenge women who do it.
“You are wasting your life,” I was told when I was a stay-at-home mom. “Your kids are too dependent on you,” I heard when my toddlers clung to me in strange situations or ran to me when they skinned their knees. These sentiments are ubiquitous throughout our society.
Back when many mothers stayed home with their children every mother had a built-in support group, right there in her neighborhood. Now, stay at home moms are isolated islands, all alone in seas of empty houses while everyone else is off at work. What that means in practical terms is that stay at home moms have it harder now than they did in any generation before. They do not have the coffee klatches and the over-the-fence conversations that mothers in earlier generations had to sustain them emotionally during the long days alone with small children. Their husbands, who are poorly equipped for it, have to meet this need for human interaction and girl-talk all by themselves.
We have isolated our families with moves and chasing jobs so that many times the husband and wife are going it alone in a big city just as much as a pioneer family living in a soddy out on the prairie ever was. In a fractured society which has lost its sense of community, children need to be more tightly bonded to their mothers and their homes, not less. We live in a society that is hell bent (I meant that literally, by the way) on its on deconstruction and moral unraveling. Our media pushes it on us. Our schools teach it to our children.
Without families, without mothers and fathers, children will be raised by this dishonest, sick, larger culture. They will themselves become sick and dishonest.
It is not enough to shuttle our children from one lesson, one activity, to another. It most certainly is not enough to live in the “right” school district and dress them in the latest fashions. Children need their parents. They especially need their mothers. They don’t need chauffeurs. They need mothers who read to them, talk to them and are with them.
Pope Francis spoke of this during his reflection Wednesday. At one point, he departed from his prepared text to say, “Mothers, go forth with this witness to the living Christ.” I didn’t hear it, but I like to think that he was referring to the fact that women were the first messengers of the risen Christ when Mary Magdalene took the news of His resurrection to the disciples and that the pope is urging mothers everywhere to be the messengers of the risen Christ to their families, in particular their children.
The Holy Father gave a beautiful reflection on women and the value of mothers in the world.
Here is part of it from Vatican Radio, emphasis mine:
Today, however, I would like to dwell the second, on testimony in the form of the accounts that we find in the Gospels. First, we note that the first witnesses to this event were the women. At dawn, they go to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, and find the first sign: the empty tomb (Mk 16:1). This is followed by an encounter with a Messenger of God who proclaims: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One, he is not here, he is risen (cf. vv. 5-6). The women are driven by love and know how to accept this proclamation with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves. They cannot contain the joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills their heart. This should also be the same in our lives. Let us feel the joy of being Christian! We believe in the Risen One who has conquered evil and death! Let us also have the courage to “go out” to bring this joy and light to all the places of our lives! The Resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty, it is our most precious treasure! How can we not share this treasure, this beautiful certainty with others! It’s not just for us it’s to be transmitted, shared with others this is our testimony!
Another element. In the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. In the Gospels, however, women have a primary, fundamental role. Here we can see an argument in favor of the historicity of the Resurrection: if it were a invented, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women. Instead, the evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women. This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen! Mothers go forward with this witness! What matters to God is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting children. But this also leads us to reflect on how in the Church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love. The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women however! Peter runs to the tomb, but stops before the empty tomb; Thomas has to touch the wounds of the body of Jesus with his hands. In our journey of faith it is important to know and feel that God loves us, do not be afraid to love: faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love.
After the apparitions to women, there were others: Jesus becomes present in a new way: He is the Crucified One, but his body is glorious; He did not return to an earthly life, but a new condition. At first they did not recognize him, and only through his words and deeds were their eyes opened: the encounter with the Risen Lord transforms, it gives new strength to faith, an unshakable foundation. The Risen Christ also reveals Himself to us with many signs: Sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the other Sacraments, charity, these gestures of love bring a ray of the Risen One.
Let us be enlightened by the Resurrection of Christ, let us be transformed by His power, so that through us the signs of death give way to signs of life in the world! I saw that there are many young people in the Square! Young boys and girls, to you I say bring forth this certainty the Lord is Alive and walks beside us on our life’s journey! Bring forth this hope, be anchored in this hope, the hope that comes from heaven! Be anchored and bring forth the hope! You witnesses of Christ bring forth hope to this world that is aged by wars and sin! Go forward young people! (Read the rest here.)
His name is Dominic Gondreau. He is eight years old and he has cerebral palsy.
His father, Professor Paul Gondreau, is living in Rome with his wife and five children while he studies theology. Dominic was allowed to sit up front in the seating for disabled people. His mother was with him, but since there were only two seats available, Dominic’s father stayed back in the crowd with Dominic’s brothers and sisters.
Dominic’s father has written an essay about the event. You can also see an interview with Dominic’s dad, here.
The essay by Dominic’s father from Catholic Moral Theology:
“Small acts with great love,” Mother Teresa was fond of saying. Yesterday, Pope Francis bestowed an extraordinary Easter blessing upon my family when he performed such an act in embracing my son, Dominic, who has cerebral palsy. The embrace occurred when the Pope spied my son while touring the Square, packed with a quarter million pilgrims, in the “pope mobile” after Mass. This tender moment, an encounter of a modern Francis with a modern Dominic (as most know, tradition holds that St. Francis and St. Dominic enjoyed an historic encounter), moved not only my family (we were all moved to tears), not only those in the immediate vicinity (many of whom were also brought to tears by it), not only by thousands who were watching on the big screens in the Square, but by the entire world. Images of this embrace quickly went viral, and by Easter Sunday afternoon it was the lead picture on the Drudge Report, with the caption, “Change Hatred into Love” (a paraphrase of Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi message that followed shortly thereafter), where it remains even as I write this. Fox News, NBC Nightly News, ABC Nightly News, and CNN all showed clips of it. Lead pictures of it were found in Le Figaro, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, inter alia.
It is often difficult to try to express to people who do not have special needs children what kind of untold sacrifices are demanded of us each and every day. And as for Dominic, he has already shared in Christ’s Cross more than I have throughout my entire life multiplied a thousand times over. What is the purpose in all this, I ask? Furthermore, I often tend to see my relationship with Dominic in a one-sided manner. Yes, he suffers more than me, but it’s constantly ME who must help HIM. Which is how our culture often looks upon the disabled: as weak, needy individuals who depend so much upon others, and who contribute little, if anything, to those around them.
Pope Francis’ embrace of my son yesterday turns this logic completely on its head and, in its own small yet powerful way, shows once again how the wisdom of the Cross confounds human wisdom. Why is the whole world so moved by images of this embrace? A woman in the Square, moved to tears by the embrace, perhaps answered it best when she to my wife afterward, “You know, your son is here to show people how to love.” To show people how to love. This remark hit my wife as a gentle heaven-sent confirmation of what she has long suspected: that Dominic’s special vocation in the world is to move people to love, to show people how to love. We human beings are made to love, and we depend upon examples to show us how to do this.
But how can a disabled person show us how to love in a way that only a disabled person can? Because the Cross of Christ is sweet and is of a higher order. (Read the rest here.)
The parents of a disabled little boy were speechless and moved to tears when Pope Francis cradled the child and kissed him.
I watched the video, and it brought a lump to my throat as well.
How can anyone say that an unborn baby is not a human being?
I don’t know, even though I once did it myself. Based on my memory of myself at that time in my life, I would guess that people who say this are focused on what they see as the welfare of the pregnant young woman to the exclusion of the life of the child.
Even though they say that the baby is not a human being, what they really mean is that the human being who is standing right in front of them seems more important than the human being who is largely a hypothetical to them. It’s easy to be pro choice, or pro abortion, when you focus exclusively on the pregnant woman.
On the other hand, it’s easy to be anti-abortion (as opposed to pro life) if you focus entirely on the unborn child.
True pro life people can not ignore the welfare and lives of either one of them. That is our task.
The task of recognizing the humanity of the baby gets easier every day, thanks to technological advances which allow us to see this child for what he or she really is — a fellow human being. We can look into the womb and see the unborn child in ways that were unimaginable when the abortion movement began.
Back in those days, what we knew of human embryology was based largely on a study of the embryos of animals, or even insects. Human embryos simply weren’t available for wide scale study. The only way to peer into the womb was surgery.
Thanks to advances in ultra sounds and 3d scans, that is no longer true. New advances in this technology have just raised the bar even higher for those who want to deny the humanity of the unborn child.
I am going to link to an article from Mail Online which has some incredible photos and a video of an unborn baby taken using this new technology. Please go there and look at all these photos. You’ll be oohing and aahing over this baby just like I was.
Hello baby! Incredible 3D scans allow
parents to see foetus SMILING and
MOVING in stunning detail
- The state-of-the-art software adds extra detail to 3D ultrasound scans
- Software developed by Dr Bernard Benoit to help detect malformations
- Expectant parents can see unborn baby smiling and kicking in the womb
PUBLISHED: 06:23 EST, 29 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:39 EST, 29 March 2013
A blurry blob on a hospital screen is the first view most expectant parents get of their child.
But new state-of-the-art imaging software is now able to map a foetus in incredible detail.
The software takes a conventional 3D ultrasound scan and adds colour, skin texture, lighting and shadows.
Scroll down to watch video
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2300983/Incredible-3D-scans-allow-parents-foetus-SMILING-MOVING-stunning-detail.html#ixzz2PPzQTrvf
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So … what happened at the March for Marriage last week?
If you know, you must have been there because the various news media enforced a near-total blackout on the event.
Let’s think about that for a moment.
Gay marriage is what you might call a “big” story. The Supreme Court was hearing two cases that have the potential to upend 2,000 years of teaching, law and culture concerning the fundamental unit on which all of Western civilization is built. That makes it an important story. Public conversation about this issue is focused and combative. That makes it a ratings grabber. The March for Marriage was the “other” side of the argument finally getting its act together and stepping up to public protest, which made it a man bites dog story, providing a new twist to a story that had already been done to death. That makes it interesting.
So. We have a story that gives a new angle to an important topic, that draws widespread public interest at a time when public interest is already focused on the issue. Sounds like a win-win-win for the media. All they had to do was cover it.
Which they did not.
I repeat: What happened at the March for Marriage last week? I would not be surprised if most of the coverage of that event that you saw was right here on Public Catholic and other Christian blogs and web sites. You may have, as I did, had to go to the Facebook page sponsored by the March for Marriage organizers to get any news of the event.
This was the news story that wasn’t. Because the media is promoting gay marriage. They are hard-selling it. And this march ran counter to their true objectives, which appear to be not so much to inform the public as to propagandize the public.
There are a number of reasons why public support for gay marriage appears to be reaching a tipping point in favor of it. The continuous, completely biased and often inaccurate media propaganda in favor of it is one of them.
From The World Tribune: