Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Abortion

Encourage & Teach: The Slavery of Abortion and the Myth of Affordability

Last week was the March for Life. The day after, I read a blog quote that said:

Ichainst’s impossible to be at the March and not hear the comparison between abortion and slavery. But abortion is not slavery. Both are/were deeply polarizing issues, and both inspired massive movements to outlaw them. But slavery was a deliberate attempt to monetize a class of people slaveholders considered equivalent to animals. It was a systemic, calculated, and brutal.

I would submit that this is a sophmoric, if not irresponsible, statement – especially due to the youthful readers that it influences (James 3:1). Regrettably, “The court decisions on slavery vs. abortion demonstrate an equivalent denial of personhood for two different categories of human beings, slaves and unborn children.” (Read more…)

My Perspective on the March for LIfe

2014 MFLThis is year was the 40th March for Life and probably the coldest one that I have attended in over 20 years. A great deal about the march has changed over the past 20 plus years. The number of screaming pro-abortion protestors are now negligible, better marcher attendance, an ecumenical approach, events and activities leading up to the march, etc.

From my perspective, the greatest positive is that the March for Life and all the activities associated with it are more Pro-Life than ever. The Diocese of Arlington (my diocese) and the Archdiocese of Washington have purposefully and consistently designed and provided well-rounded activities and experiences that illuminate Catholic teaching about what it means to be Pro-Life.«Continue Reading»

Let God Arise, Let His enemies be Scattered…(Ps. 68)

This morning before the sun rose I dropped my son off at Church to catch a bus to Washington, DC. He is participating today in the annual March for Life. Unfortunately, due to all the time I took off prior to ordination, I cannot join him today. It is a humbling moment when you realize that your children have weighed the arguments and are flabbergasted at the realization that the most defenseless in our society are being murdered many times out of convenience.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that some women are coerced or out of overwhelming fear choose to take the life of their unborn child(ren). But coercing an average of 3,700 a day in the United States? Hmmmm, sounds suspect. And, to the men who do the coercing or force the issue out of embarrassment or lack of responsibility, please realize that you have stepped further than even Adam in his betrayal of the human race through Original Sin.

The fact remains that what is suppose to be the safest place in the world – the womb – has overwhelmingly become a tomb. Related to this is euthanasia. When our elders become a burden to us or we only value pleasure and do not understand the purpose of suffering, we now “assist” them on their way to the tomb. Again, the most defenseless are being preyed upon to save a buck or to avoid that which has been given to us to secure our salvation – inconvenience and suffering.

Again, let’s understand what I am saying or maybe what I am not saying. I am not saying we should avoid medicine. I am a huge fan – especially since it is commanded by Sacred Scriptures (Sirach 36: 1-12). But we need to be mindful that medicine has been given to us cure some illnesses and temporarily relieve us of pain and suffering. Medical science will never completely eradicate medical suffering. Pain and suffering is a result of Original Sin. It is a guarantee in this life and eventually it will come just like death. Medicine is meant to give us the resolve and mental wherewithal to deal with the pain and suffering. It was definitely not meant to end our lives out of convenience or a misguided notion of being merciful.

Life issues cannot be dismissed or overlooked. It is the key issue that influences all others. How? Let’s start off with Pope John Paul II’s perspective:

The promotion of the culture of life should be the highest priority in our societies…If the right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory.

Maybe an example will assist us in our considerations. Issue of abortion influences three of the most global and volatile political issues:

  • Economic recovery: must have workers to not only produce the products but consumers to buy them
  • Social Security: must have more workers not less to increase the amount contributed to the trust fund
  • Human rights: how do we disregard the most defenseless and still push for every other human right – including the right to murder our own children

Euthanasia is a result of a misunderstanding of the human person:

  • Utilitarianism – We have value insofar that we contribute to society and do not drain it (or our families) of its resources.
  • Socialism – The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Each person has an inestimable value that cannot be determined by a monetary algorithm
  • Hedonism – We are meant for pleasure and once suffering comes there is no reason to live

In my opinion, among the greatest contributing factors to this culture of death is the prosperity of the current generation(s). Now, I am not advocating an economic down-turn or another stock market crash. I am saying that we have taught our children to want stuff and they should get it now. A corollary to this attitude is that we love things and use people.

When I was first married we lived in a one-room apartment. I worked hard and soon was able to rent a two bedroom condo with a den. Now, by the grace of God, we live in a five bedroom house which we still do not own…but we are working towards it. It has been tough at times – there have been many chicken and rice nights to make ends meet. I have worked up to three jobs at one time. The result: a sense of accomplishment and children who understand the value of something obtained through a serious work ethic.

Today, the majority of our young people expect after graduation to own a house immediately. Sometimes they want their freedom so much that they move out expecting mommy and daddy to pay their bills instead of getting another job. The job market is tough but there are plenty of jobs – just maybe not the one you planned on obtaining. Then there are the youth that only want to play and don’t like work. Um, yeah I am just bypassing the stupidity by saying get a grip on reality.Also, young people, listen closely: Vacations are an extra never a right. We never need vacations we want them. Your parents and grandparents worked extremely hard for many years in order to be able to take them. Pay your dues!

Interestingly enough, over the past ten years as my wife and I have worked with engaged couples, the top three reasons why couples are not open to children are wanting to buy a house, getting an advance degree and needing to take their yearly vacations i.e., children are an inconvenience to my lifestyle.

Just as a reminder…buying a house and completing an advance degree does not qualify as grave matter on the part of the Church to defer children. Do I even need to address vacations? Second reminder: Implicit in the sacrament of marriage is the understanding that you are immediately open to children. Some couples are unable to have children immediately and others not at all. This is a heavy cross that they bear which is only made worse by the cultural attitude that children are an inconvenience and expendable. They are victim souls for a culture that has declared war on the most defenseless and helpless in our society.

My prayer for today is Psalm 68 that this scourage will leave our land. Our responsibility is clear and found in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.

Until then, here is a reality check. Statistics are really not available in the United States on euthanasia yet – give it five years. However, abortion – plenty are available. Just as a refresher, here are the latest statistics provided by The Center for Bio-Ethic Reform:

WORLDWIDE

Number of abortions per year: Approximately 42 Million
Number of abortions per day:
Approximately 115,000

Where abortions occur:
83% of all abortions are obtained in developing countries and 17% occur in developed countries.

© Copyright 1996-2008, The Alan Guttmacher Institute. (www.agi-usa.org)

UNITED STATES

Number of abortions per year: 1.37 Million (1996)
Number of abortions per day:
Approximately 3,700

Who’s having abortions (age)?
52% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than 25: Women aged 20-24 obtain 32% of all abortions; Teenagers obtain 20% and girls under 15 account for 1.2%.

Who’s having abortions (race)?
While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.

Who’s having abortions (marital status)?
64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women; Married women account for 18.4% of all abortions and divorced women obtain 9.4%.

Who’s having abortions (religion)?
Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as “Born-again/Evangelical”.

Who’s having abortions (income)?
Women with family incomes less than $15,000 obtain 28.7% of all abortions; Women with family incomes between $15,000 and $29,999 obtain 19.5%; Women with family incomes between $30,000 and $59,999 obtain 38.0%; Women with family incomes over $60,000 obtain 13.8%.

Why women have abortions
1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).

At what gestational ages are abortions performed:
52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Likelihood of abortion:
An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old. 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.

Abortion coverage:
48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy. 9 in 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage. About 14% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds, virtually all of which are state funds. 16 states (CA, CT, HI, ED, IL, MA , MD, MD, MN, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OR, VT, WA and WV) pay for abortions for some poor women.

Brainwashing our Children: What’s a Baby?

The Washington Post offers a daily summary of the news through  a sister publication called Slate Magazine. It seems to be aimed at the trendy young adult who are looking for daily news sound bytes and entertainment. Unlike many other young adult news services that tend to be quite edgy and sarcastic (The Onion for example), Slate actually does report news, albeit at times slanted towards a particular political disposition.

One of the top twelve stories for today: Young People Clueless About Babies. Well duh!!! The English paper, Guardian originally published this story entitled, Childbirth a Mystery to Young Brits.Whether it be Slate or the Guardian reporting the story both publications seem to be in awe of some of the following statistics:

  • 20 percent of British 18- to 25-year-olds found that more than 20 percent think pregnancy lasts for 12 months
  • 10 percent believed eating red meat influenced the sex of a baby and half expected a baby to walk and talk within its first year
  • 20 percent of the childless respondents thought the umbilical cord was a musical note

And it goes on.  Now, I am curious about two somewhat obvious questions in my mind. First, “Why are they surprised?” and “Why would the media outlets think that our youth and young adults would know anything about babies except how to abort them and prevent growth and eventual birth through the use of contraception? Maybe it is me, but I see a direct and logical correlation here.

For the last 50 years in the United States we have actively been at war with the most defenseless in our society – the unborn child. As we discussed on Tuesday, contraception among this demographic is at an all-time high. We have spent our time teaching women how to turn their wombs into a “embryo non grata” locked-down facility and our men how to use women for a quick cathartic romp in the bed. It is a simple military principle. You do not consort with the enemy – babies in this case. The womb which was meant to be a haven of safety, comfort, and the pride of parents has become a multipurpose chamber of torture, death and an inconvenient medical procedure to be endured by many women and in some cases enforced by men.

All our culture has really taught, and continues to teach, our youth is that the marital embrace is not really for marriage and not really an embrace – more of a drive through. Arguably, most Catholics do not know that there are two goods to the marital embrace: 1) procreation and 2) unity of the spouses. Most get their hackles up when they hear this because the common perception is that the dictatorial old men in Rome are saying, “The marital acts is only for children.” Please! They are not that stupid or naive. The procreative good is higher than the unitive good because in theory, children outlive their parents and continue society. The Church also realizes that if you remove the possibility of children from the equation (this is not to be confused with those who by an act of nature, accident or genetics are unable to procreate) the spouses are apt to use each other thus destroying the good of unity. Holy Mother Church wants spouses to come together in the marital embrace: Respecting the creative power of the body; Respecting the beauty and freedom to say, “yes” or “no”; and Choosing to come together out of love and in truth. Most profoundly, she realizes that among all the earthly symbols for the Most Blessed Trinity, the martial embrace is the best that we have – even though every analogy falls short.

To be honest, the above statistics were the good news. Here is the bad news:

  • 26 percent of the female respondents admitted they would consider plastic surgery after giving birth in order to regain their pre-pregnancy body shape
  • 27 percent admitted they would consider genetic engineering if it meant a better-looking baby

I wonder if our fanatical view of needing our bodies to look a certain way has anything to do with this? For the past twenty years of ministry, I have worked with too many to count  men and women (young and old alike) with poor self-images. They all have something in common:   they believed that in order to recover a healthy self-image they needed to look a certain way through exercise, control of food and/or compliments. Akin to this is also that you cannot be critical at any point but must tolerate the self-destructive patterns in thinking and attitude, and even sin. Unfortunately, that is bad Catholic psychology. Even more unfortunate is a society that encourages it, which at the end of the day is really called the sin of vanity. The individual who needs (or believes they need) to look and act a certain way or needs an inordinate amount of affirmation will never have a healthy self-image. They will on the other hand develop a very healthy narcissistic personality and cultivate the malignant cancer called vanity. Why? Because instead of justice being the virtue that stands guard at the gate of our heart, vanity takes its place and protects the lack of a good self-image (based on truth and reality) by demanding a skewed sense of justice. And what does that skewed sense of justice allow? It turns in on itself and others – it cannibalizes the psyche and relationships that can actually bring about healing. Without going completely off topic, a healthy self-image is the product of an intimate relationship with Christ who gives us the grace to then view ourselves as we truly are: the good the bad and the ugly.

Sidebar

Do you know what the actual sin Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure said caused Adam and Eve to fall? It wasn’t pride but vanity. They continue on to say that pride is at the core of concupiscence and all sin but the actual sin was yep, you got it, vanity.

Back to our regularly scheduled program…

What do the statistics tell me? Two things. The first is that we need to engage the Culture of Death to teach the joy of children. Many young adults and teens I meet do not even want to hold a baby because they might make a mistake or the baby won’t like them (If that were the case I should be devastated since every child cries when they see me – including my own). They are afraid of the child. Perhaps because they intuitively know that from the time they began school they have been taught that children are a burden and will interfere with their bucket list and social lives. Maybe by holding the baby they will discover that what the culture had said about them and babies are lies.

Secondly, we need to elevate motherhood back to its proper place – and that does not mean Mother’s Day. My second oldest, when our fourth was born, saw my wife’s belly and exclaimed, “What happened to your tummy Mommy!” Immediately she responded, “The wrinkles are God’s gift to me to say I am a Mommy and continually remind me even when you leave the house and have your own children one day.” Me, the heartless-one, walked out of the room with a tear in my eye humbled by this profound truth. It is true that for 99 percent of women who bear children, their bodies never return to what society calls their “former glory.” But Scripture says,

Children too are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. (Psalm 127:3)

Ladies, if any man tells you that you are less beautiful because of giving birth, they are idiots and do not deserve you. Please quote me on that. You have participated with God in the act of creation and should be proud of it! Also, just because the man can successfully procreate does not make them a father. They need to follow through in providing, educating and protecting you first, and then your children, till death provides the vacation he has always been hoping for.

Once the child is born many parents hit the panic button because now the question is “How are we going to pay for them or their education?” It is not unreasonable to think this. When I say, “God will provide” I am not being trite or saying don’t give money a second thought. Those who know my family know how the Lord continues to provide for us. Husbands and fathers, why is your wife worrying? Your job is to alleviate that. It may mean working two jobs. That’s okay, you were built for that. It may also mean you do not get to have a man cave. That’s okay too, being with your family is more important. It could mean that you have to do without. That’s even better because you are instilling in your family what it means to sacrifice and grow in virtue.

My prayer for all the teens and young adults is that you find a spouse who loves you for who you are and desires to bless all of us with many children (in that order please: Marriage then children). Teach your children and every teen and young adult you meet to love children and to have a brood. The world would be a lot happier place with smiling babies around us. As my best man reminded me on my wedding day, “Be fruitful and multiply.” So being obedient, we replaced ourselves and had two more. Not only did God bless us with fantastic kids, they want kids too.

Research to Support Structures of Sin

Warning!! This Blog post is meant for adults only or parents with their teens. Contains information inappropriate for our youth.

Institutionalized Structures of Sin

In his Apostolic Letter Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI stated that in society there are some sins that are so entrenched in the culture that they become part of the fabric and structure of the society. John Paul II continued this discussion of institutionalized societal sin in his encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis which called for Christians to come together in solidarity to overcome and evangelize these structures.

One of the many modern deep-seated structures of sin in our country is contraception. In 1930, Pope Pius XI promulgated the encyclical Casti Connubii which also prophesied the intrinsic link between contraception and abortion. Unfortunately, the statistics have proven him accurate. Yesterday, the Washington Post brought to our attention the recently published 118-page report: National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) in its article, The Checkup – Survey reveals America’s Sexual Activity, Condom Use. The good news is that it was impartially funded (note the sarcasm in Q’s typing) by Church & Dwight Co. Inc., maker of Trojan® brand sexual health products There were a number of co-authors that included Stephanie Sanders of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and the Department of Gender Studies at IU (to see the full list of co-authors go to the NSSBH web site provided above). We MUST take note of this study and be familiar with its findings. Not because we agree with it but because it will influence our public health policy for several generations:

This survey is one of the most expansive nationally representative studies of sexual behavior and condom use ever conducted, given the 80-year span of ages,” said Michael Reece, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. “These data about sexual behaviors and condom use in contemporary America are critically needed by medical and public health professionals who are on the front lines addressing issues such as HIV, sexually transmissible infections, and unintended pregnancy. (Source: Washington Post)

The study had a number of key findings but recognizing that your time is precious, let me highlight four using the following direct quotes from the introduction to the study on the NSSBH Web site:

  • According to the study’s findings, 1 of 4 acts of vaginal intercourse are condom protected in the U.S. (1 in 3 among singles)
  • [F]indings show that condoms are used twice as often with casual sexual partners as with relationship partners, a trend that is consistent for both men and women across age groups that span 50 years.
  • When it comes to responsible sexual behaviors, condom use is higher among black and Hispanic Americans than among white Americans and those from other racial groups.
  • Many surveys of adolescent sexual behavior create an impression that adolescents are becoming sexually active at younger ages, and that most teens are sexually active,” said Dr. Fortenberry. “Our data show that partnered sexual behaviors are important but by no means pervasive aspects of adolescents’ lives. In fact, many contemporary adolescents are being responsible by abstaining or by using condoms when having sex.

Reflection

Bullet 1

We should note that the first bullet illustrates a seemly low use of contraceptives -specifically condoms. Two important points. The first and most important observation is that the study finds usage of condoms an unacceptably low percentage:

These data about sexual behaviors and condom use in contemporary America are critically needed by medical and public health professionals who are on the front lines addressing issues such as HIV, sexually transmissible infections, and unintended pregnancy. (Emphasis mine)

because,

This data, when compared to other studies in the recent past, suggest that although condom use has increased among some groups, efforts to promote the use of condoms to sexually active individuals should remain a public health priority.

The study also seems to indicate that it is evidently critical that among the terrible diseases that ravage the human person listed (usually contracted through intimate relations), pregnancy should be included. I am reminded that when my oldest was born in 1995, I was unable to get insurance coverage when I changed jobs. The insurance company determined that the pregnancy was a preexisting condition sharing the same status as cancer (which is also wrong to deny coverage). While too late for me, thankfully, the laws changed in June 1995. Or, even more serious, when my wife and I were overjoyed finding out that she was pregnant with our fourth, the doctors, nurses, phlebotomy technicians and even admin assistants continued to ask her if she wants to keep the child since we already had three (Did I move to China?). Needless to say, Kaiser Permanente in Fairfax, VA received a number of phone calls with documented abuses of HIPAA and conduct unbecoming. More to the point, the researchers in their analysis, extrapolate that obviously we need to promote better the use of condoms and it must remain a public health priority. I don’t want to be cynical (yes, I do) but could the need for increased awareness be that Trojan is the principle funder of the study? I work for an advertising company and I believe that we call this “increasing your market share” – just thinking out loud.

The second point is when you weed through the research you find that condom use is considerably higher for the most vulnerable – just not for vaginal intercourse AND for those over the age of 25. Among our youth it is 79.1 percent for men and 58.1 percent for women between the ages of 14-17 (See Condom Use Graph). Our young adults between 18-24: 45.0 (m) and 38.7 (f). Across all age-groups, the average percentage is closer to 33 percent for men and 29 percent for women. For your reading pleasure, notice the statistics are much higher for non-vaginal intercourse.

Bullet 2

The fact that condom use among causal partners than those with “relationship partners” – whatever that means – is twice as high in not encouraging. This should really point out to us that there is a whole population out there that is starving for love. As odd as what I am about to state sounds, it is secondary to a rampant trend that my wife and I have observed among the young adults and youth. We are growing a society of users. While being very efficient and profitable for a business the damage that is done emotionally, physically and relationally can only be described as epic. What we see in relationships (not sexual or among dating but familial and even in business) is a take-what-fulfills-my-need and then discard. I guess we are greener than we thought, recycling all the time- even people. A corollary to this is that our young adults and youth are not forming relationships that are healthy and beneficial. What do I mean? True friends and family are not meant to give you what you want or make you feel good about yourself all the time. They and give  you what you need. This poor self-image society first must embrace the good, bad and the ugly about themselves in order to become who God has created them to be.

Bullet 3

Well, how is not forming permanent relationships that tell the truth -verbally and with your body – responsible. As we know (for those who have never considered this before), the very act of intimacy says I give my myself totally and completely to you, without reservation. Contraception says, I give myself totally and completely to you, except…We are lying with our bodies. I wonder why the study did not point out that Health and Human Services as well as USAID (on an international level) have always targeted minority populations. Sounds a little Margaret Sanger to me.

Bullet 4

On the positive side (yep, I found something), the study does use the word abstinence. It even links it to the words responsible and condom (Shoots! I was being positive). Well, I am glad that among our youth there are those who are abstaining. That being said, it is irresponsible for our youth to be sexually active. That does not make them adults, it makes them starved for attention and love. It also is a great indicator that we are failing them and they are being catechized in the art of sexual usury. Where is the prime source of catechesis – arguably, entertainment. I could lay out a case for this but it seems among all the topics we Catholics want to confront, we remain cowards when it pertains to our television, movie and music habits. For some reason, we believe that once we hit a certain age, the images and music no longer affect us. I think that if this is the case, then let the two-year old watch, listen, say and do what they want – we are just arguing about age not holiness.

Looking to the Future

I highly encourage everyone to read, digest and make an active choice to respond to this study. It will shape our health and education policy for years to come. As Catholic Christians we need push back, re-educate and evangelize. The truth is resplendent – but we first need to embody it. Cultures are changed one person at a time and sometimes we have sweeping changes through politics and great moves of God. Do your part. The lines have been drawn and the battle has begun. So, where are you going to start?

Open Letter to My Fellow Catholics

Dear Fellow Catholics,

I would first like to affirm your God-given gift and right to freely make choices every day.  The Most Blessed Trinity has certainly graced us with the amazing faculties of an intellect and a will.  As you know, they were given for the purposes of seeking the true and the good – both coming together to express the beautiful. That being said, I am hoping that you could help me understand why the current President was elected.

I mean really, before he was elected, he promised to expand the rights of those suffering from same-sex ambivalence (commonly known by the misnomer as homosexuality and lesbianism); he promised to expand and fund abortion; and he promised to expand stem research to include the testing using embryonic tissue. Many of my brethren seem rather surprised as if they were figuring he was making promises just to get elected (my 15 year believes this train of thought is rather naive).

Which begs the question, “Why did we think he was going to protect the definition of marriage?” He promised he wouldn’t. It is true that there is no federal definition that provides blanket rights yet but the deeper question is, “Why do we want to contribute to the observable self-destructive habits of a fellow son and daughter of God?” Also, since when do we encourage dysfunction and elevate it to become a natural right? Clearly, I am a simpleton because I do not understand why we rely on science to inform us except in this subject matter area.

Now, I have a large family and I am certainly aware of the state of the economy. What puzzles me is that the media says we, being Catholics, elected him because of our economy. most reasonable people understand that by killing off future generations of workers necessarily weakens and destroys the economy. No workers, no money. I just cannot see us electing him because we desire long-term economic suicide for short-term utilitarian gain. Besides, I know the media must be wrong. When have Catholics ever chosen to alleviate their comfort by the mass killing of children. I mean, we didn’t stand for it when adults and children were being murdered and experimented on in World War II, why would we do that now? Most importantly, why did we believe him when he said that he would not use the Health Care bill to use public funds for abortion? Seems Pennsylvania will be the first to benefit from our “generosity” to the tune of $160M. Pennsylvania Catholics should be happy and assured while eating dinner each night that not every one of their tax dollars which are part of this “high risk” health care plan will murder a baby.

It used to be that we protected the innocent and would rather give our lives than let the dignity of the innocent in life or death be harmed.  A whole industry based on the harvesting of fetal tissue with the dreamy hope that one day it will cure all diseases is doing this now. I believe they tried that in Germany during the early forties but it didn’t turn out so well. On the up-side, this industry should pick up and help our economy since we will be adding to the supply chain of raw materials. I missed this in reading the economic stimulus package.

I know this open letter sounds offensive and snarky but I am offended and well, snarky. We should remember that we become morally complicit in the decisions of the elected officials we put in office. Not every decision of course, but decisions that absolutely affect the core of what it means to be human and those which are guaranteed to be made while being morally unacceptable.

I have also heard that fasting and penance are out of vogue now. I would suggest to many of my Catholic brothers and sisters that you reconsider and pick up the hair-shirt. And for those of us who did not put him into office, we need to do the same. We are the body of Christ and while we rejoice when one part succeeds, we also repent and bind our wounds when one part sins or is diseased. We should take to heart 2 Chronicles 7:14, “…and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.”

Sincerely,

Marques

Mother’s Day: Let’s Celebrate the Pill

Today we celebrate the gift of mothers and implicitly their cooperation with the Most Blessed Trinity to bring the fruit of living love into the world.  While it is true that every child is not conceived in love and many unfortunately grow up in families that are not the loving environments they were designed to be, “It was not so in the beginning” (Matthew 19:8).

The Washington Post in an extraordinary display of amorality, published an article entitled, The Pill: Making motherhood better for 50 years which has to be one of the greatest abominations against motherhood and the sanctity of life  in years.  Opening paragraph? Check this out:

Forget the single girl and the sexual revolution. The pill was not anti‐mother; it was for mothers. And it changed motherhood more than it changed anything else. Its great accomplishment was not in preventing motherhood, but in making it better by allowing women to have children on their own terms.

The article continues by portraying Margaret Sanger as the champion of humanity and women.  It seemed to forget that Margaret Sanger was a racial bigot and eugenicist.  The author, Elaine Tyler May, failed to mention that all the research demonstrates a direct correlation between the Pill and divorce.  While mentioning Humane Vita she forgets to mention that Pope Paul VI predicted an increase in adultery, divorce, and the exploitation of women.

Having children on their own terms.  Seems to me that our Lord said in best in Romans 14:7-8,

None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Riddle me this?  How is it possible that the pill could be such a liberator and at the same time unleash the greatest destruction upon the family and thus society ever known to man? How can the Pill and her children (all derivative forms of contraceptives) be so good when it allows couples to give themselves completely to each other in a lie? How is it that when male contraceptives were create and in the test study one man died they rejected the drug as unsafe but when the female contraceptive was created and 10 women died they approved it and marketed to the general public?

The Pill has actually enslaved women more than they could have possibly imagines.  The only hope for women is the grace of Christ renewing His people through the Holy Spirit.  Pope John II’s gift of the Theology of the Body is the Father’s gift to us to proclaim the truth to the world.  We must engage the world and tell them the truth in love – with logical and culturally-relevant arguments.  Let us study hard and pray harder.

I suggest we write to the Washington Post editors and let mothers know that they have been viciously violated by society and the medical community.  Some articles worth reading as a response:

Second Sunday of Lent: Awakened to see Reality

Painted by Raphael (1516-1520) and resides in Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City

Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory…(Luke 9:32)

Archbishop Fulton Sheen reflecting on this Gospel passage from the Transfiguration – proclaimed to us today, once asked, “How does one pour divinity into a clay and not see it shine through?”  Did our Lord conceal His divinity?  Were our eyes and hearts too callous to see His glory?  Had we grown so weary and tired in the day-to-day grind of our lives that our sensitivity to the divine just fell asleep?  The gospel doesn’t say but what we do know is that suddenly, reality flashed and revealed itself.  This quickening of their hearts allowed Peter, James and John to see the Glory of the Lord.

It would seem this Gospel could inspire us to explore and understand the importance and necessity of Prudence.  Josef Pieper writes at the very outset in Chapter 1 of The Four Cardinal Virtues, that “NO DICTUM in traditional Christian doctrine strikes such a note of strangeness to the ears of contemporaries, even contemporary Christians, as this one: that the virtue of prudence is the mold and ‘mother’ of all the other cardinal virtues, of justice, fortitude, and temperance.  In other words, none but the prudent man can be just, brave, and temperate, and the good man is good in so far as he is prudent.”

If this virtue is so important, what is it?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in paragraph 1801 states,

“Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; “the prudent man looks where he is going.”65 “Keep sane and sober for your prayers.”66 Prudence is “right reason in action,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle.67 It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.”

To summarize, prudence awakens our minds to see reality and then act.  During an age of masquerades and apparent truths, this virtue is needed more than ever.  We only need to consider how the womb has become a tomb. The very place meant to be a wellspring of life, a hedge of safety, and a state of communion has now become Auschwitz, a row of execution, and an imposed solitary confinement.

What are the dangers related to the Virtue of Prudence?  The Vices that oppose this virtue includes:

  • Imprudence (imprudentia)
  • Negligence (negligentia)

The value of the Virtue of Prudence cannot be underestimated.  Without the ability to see reality our intellect cannot properly inform the will to choose the good.  Without the ability to see reality the intellect cannot perceive that which is true.  Without the ability to see reality the intellect cannot assist the senses experience the beautiful.  The Virtue of Prudence vivified by charity brings life out of analogue black and white and into an HD world – we are truly alive.

How do we allow the Lord to awaken us to reality and strengthen the virtue of prudence?  We first need to cultivate a life of prayer and trust in the Magisterium of the Church.  Only then can we commit ourselves to the discipline of study and like Mary, sit at the feet of the Lord.

Lord, may our Lenten practices awaken us to see your glory as you reveal it in Paschal Mystery.