Saturday, January 16, 2016

Frustrated

I'm feeling frustrated. I was going to make a video about my last blog, but nothing seemed to work... Programs didn't work, couldn't get anything going. Oh well. Maybe some other time readers.

John of God - Patron Saint of Heart Problems

John of God, who was born in Portugal in 1495, started off as a soldier and became a medical worker later in Spain. His followers founded a medical organization called the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God in 1572 and they carry out their work to this day.

St. John of God who was canonized by the Catholic Church is the patron saint of heart diseases. Working as a soldier until age 40, John later became a shepherd. With time to himself to think, he realized he was a great sinner and decided to amend his life. At first he was going to go help Christians in Muslim countries, but was convinced not to do that after hearing a great speech by St. John of Avila. John of God had great zeal for proclaiming God's message, but he was somewhat out of control and ended up in a mental asylum. While in the asylum, he was visited by John of Avila who counselled him to control himself and start a hospital, which he did, once again with great energy. John of God was known for his humility and dedication to the sick.

One particular source has an amazing story of John's humility. Here is one quote I found particularly moving:

In the beginning John went begging for money to support these poor, but soon people came to give him alms, food, and supplies because they were so impressed with his charity. Once when a fire broke out in the house, John ran back into the burning building countless times, carrying the sick out on his back. Unemployed men came to the door, and he found them work. When the archbishop called John to his office because people complained that John kept tramps and immoral women in his hospital, he was silenced by John's humility. John fell on his knees, saying, "I know of no bad person in my hospital except myself, who am unworthy to eat the bread of the poor." Another bishop who invited John to supper was so impressed by his humility that he called him John of God.

A recent development in this whole story is a new person who also calls himself John of God located in Brazil. His real name is João Teixeira de Faria. He mixes in a lot of traditional Catholicism with his brand of mysticism, New Ageism, and mediumship. I looked it up on Youtube and there was a video by Oprah where she visits his facility. Some Northern European guy was profiled who had back issues, so he visited this medium calling himself John of God. John made an incision in the man's chest (without anesthetic) while the man remained standing. It caused bleeding and he was then brought to a recovery room. The man felt the procedure had helped him.

I think it's best to keep our prayers with the traditional John of God. He is the patron saint of heart problems and diseases. Please feel free to share your stories or place your prayer intentions for a family member or friend who may have heart issues. This may be a brother, sister, mother, father, wife, husband, son, or daughter. Perhaps it's a coworker.

Ask St. John of God for his intercession. This doesn't mean the saint has magical powers on his own. Rather St. John will join his prayers with your own toward God.

Here is a prayer you can recite toward John of God (originally found here):
Saint John of God, I honor thee as the Patron of the Sick, especially of those who are afflicted by heart disease. I choose thee to be my patron and protector in my present illness. To thee I entrust my soul, my body, all my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of the sick throughout the world. To thee I consecrate my mind, that in all things it may be enlightened by faith above all in accepting my cross as a blessing from God; my heart, that thou doth keep it pure and fill it with the love for Jesus and Mary that burned in thy heart; my will, that like thine, it may always be one with the Will of God. 
Good Saint John, I honor thee as the model of penitents, for thou didst receive the grace to give up a sinful life and to atone for thy sins by untiring labors in behalf of the poor and sick. Obtain for me the grace from God to be truly sorry for my sins, to make atonement for them and never again offend God. Aid me in mastering my evil inclinations and temptations, and in avoiding all occasions of sin. Through thine intercession may I obtain the grace from Jesus and Mary to fulfill faithfully all the duties of my state of life and to practice those virtues which are needful for my salvation. Help me to belong to God and Our Lady in life and in death through perfect love. May my life, like thine, be spent in the untiring service of God and my neighbor. 
Since Holy Mother Church also invokes thee in her prayers for the dying, I beg thee to be with me in my last hour and pray for me. As thou didst die kneeling before a crucifix, may I find strength, consolation and salvation in the Cross of my Redeemer, and through His tender mercy and the prayers of Our Lady, and through thine intercession, attain to eternal life. Amen.

Peace be with you, friends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13: Feast Day of St. Hilary of Poitiers



St. Hilary of Poitiers is a male saint who was born in 300AD and died at the age of 68 in 368. A Doctor of the Catholic Church, Hilary is known as Hammer of the Arians and the Athanasius of the West. Some sources say he live from 310 to 367 instead, meaning he was under 60 at the time of his death.

Hilaryofpoitiers.jpg
Although Hilary was a strong opponent of Arianism, he could see that some of the schism related more to wording than to doctrinal disputes. Hilary composed a treatise where he successfully expressed Greek theological terms in Latin. He was able to do this while conveying the subtlety of the positions.

Hilary maintained the existence of many antichrists, rather than a single one, which is a common belief nowadays. This was the opinion of the Church Fathers in general - that anyone who opposes Christ is an antichrist.

Prior to his conversion, Hilary had a daughter named Saint Abra, who became a nun as per her father's request. Sadly she died as a teenager.

Hilary became known as a pre-eminent writer in the Christian Church, as he preceded Ambrose and Augustine, the latter going so far as to call him "the illustrious doctor of the churches"

St. Hilary is the patron saint of lawyers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

AMAZING: Good Friday on March 25th, 2016. Same Day as the Annunciation!

A truly amazing thing will be happening this year. Good Friday 2016 is on March 25, the same day as the Feast of the Annunciation, the day Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb.

This is amazing because traditionally many Christians have believed that Jesus was conceived on and died on the same day. The feast of the Annunciation, in which Mary receives the word from an angel that she will bear the Son of God, occurred on March 25 and is celebrated on that date every year.
Good Friday on the other hand, which marks the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, changes each year.

This amazing occurrence will not happen again for another 141 years! Since the year 1700 AD, Good Friday has been on the same day as the Annunciation just 11 times. See the list below for a complete record of all dates where this happened since 1700. From 1700 to 2200 (500 years), this will happen 14 times, or about once every 35.71 years.

What did the Church Fathers have to say about this:

St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the original 4 Doctors of the Church, in his book On The Trinity (Sermon 202) writes:

He is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also He suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which He was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which He was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before nor since.
Tertullian and St. Hippolytus of Rome both mention that Jesus died on March 25 as well.

I was thinking about it myself and thought of it this way: Jesus as God lowered himself and came down from heaven to become incarnate as a man. This happened on the Annunciation. At his crucifixion, Jesus died so that man could enter heaven, sort of the reverse of his own incarnation. It is fitting that these would occur on the same day, some 33 years apart. The entire salvation story had come full circle.

Below, I link to an article written by Jimmy Akin, a Catholic apologist. He argues that Jesus could not have died on March 25th, based on research. Despite this, I think it's important to note the significance of this event, even if Jesus did not die on that date, because nonetheless his death is being observed on that date, and that's what makes it significant.

The bottom line is I think this is a truly special event which should be observed by all Christians as it reminds of that Christ's Annunciation and Salvific Suffering and Death are inextricably linked.

In this painting by Francesc Comes, in the second panel the Annunciation is depicted and in the third is the crucifixion.


Years in which Good Friday and the Annunciation Both Occur on March 25:

  1. 1701
  2. 1712
  3. 1785
  4. 1796
  5. 1842
  6. 1853
  7. 1864
  8. 1910
  9. 1921
  10. 1932
  11. 2005
  12. 2016
  13. 2157
  14. 2168
  15. 2214
  16. 2225
  17. 2236
Additional Resources:

I found an article written by inestimable Jimmy Akin on this subject as well. Jimmy Akin is of the opinion that Jesus most certainly did not really die on March 25, and does not think the scholarship on the subject points to that either: http://jimmyakin.com/2014/11/is-the-integral-age-theory-an-apologetics-myth-9-things-to-know-and-share.html

Dates for Easter 2016 (Also Good Friday, Holy Thursday, and more)

Easter Dates 2016:

Easter Sunday: Sunday, March 27th, 2016


Other Important Dates:

Ash Wednesday: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 (1st day of Lent)

Holy Thursday: Thursday, March, 2016

** Good Friday: Friday, March 25, 2016 **

Holy Saturday: Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Easter Sunday: Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Sunday, December 06, 2015

St Nicholas

hi everybody I just wanted to quickly say happy Saint Nicholas Day today to all my Catholic readers. I'm hoping to put out more blogs soon so stay tuned. Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary - October 7, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary. This day commemorates the victory of Christian forces over Muslim invaders in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

What happened was Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the rosary for a victory. There was even a rosary procession in Rome. After everyone said the rosary, the Christians miraculously overcame the invading Muslim forces. Remember, Muslims at the time were centered around war and conquest. They were very powerful and formidable. Most of their time and energy was spent developing new ways of subjugating various lands.

To give you an idea of the immensity of the Christian victory, the Christians killed 20,000 Muslims vs. 7500 Christians that were killed. Also, the Christians were able to release 12,000 captive Christians. This battle was extremely important and decisive. Had Christian forces failed, it is possible all of Europe would be completely conquered by Muslims, and non-Muslims would quickly become second-class citizens.

So today, say a rosary to commemorate this important event!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Carly Fiorina was RIGHT about demonic activities of Planned Parenthood

This is an eye-opening article about how Carly Fiorina, a Republican candidate for president, was right about Planned Parenthood and their employees trying to keep a fetus alive to harvest its organs:

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/09/fiorina-was-right

Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers & Women Wanting Children: St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds

Today, October 6, 2015, we commemorate the Feast Day of St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds who is the patron saint of expectant mothers or women seeking to have children.

I am not sure why she is the patron saint of expectant mothers or those seeking to have children. After reading some of her biographies, it seems her father was an angry and violent person who worked Mary Frances very severely, to the point where it threatened her life. Her mother is said to have been a saint to deal with her father.

We know that this saint had a great love for the poor. I'm sure some of those poor women she tended to were pregnant. Perhaps this is why she is the patron saint.

During her lifetime, St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds received the stigmata, which is the pain and often visible sufferings of Jesus Christ. This was in order that she become ever closer to the Saviour. St. Mary Frances passed away on Oct. 7, 2015, at the age of 71. She was the first woman from Naples to be declared a saint by the Church.

If you are expectant or if you would like help having children, please say a prayer to St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds. There is a Shrine devoted to this saint in the historic center of Naples, Italy. It is still customary for women to have their bellies blessed by her relic.

Shrine of St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds
If you have a story you would like to share, please do so in the comment section below. Look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Patron Saint of Difficult Marriages

Do you have a difficult marriage or family life? Perhaps you should consider saying a prayer to St. Rita of Cascia who died in 1457 at the age of 75 or 76. At first, she did not want to marry, but her parents arranged it anyway. Her husband was very abusive to her. However, she remained patient and trusted in the Lord. Eventually after much prayer, her husband changed his ways and was no longer abusive toward her. He begged for her forgiveness, which she gave. However, sadly her husband was killed by political rivals. She had now become a widow. Another great tragedy struck when Rita’s two sons, who after declaring they would seek revenge for their father’s death, fell ill from dysentery and ultimately both died.

Rita was now a childless widow at the age of 36. To make matters worse, she was an only child and had no siblings to rely on.

Rita decided to join a convent and spend her life in prayer.

St. Rita is the Patron Saint of Abused Wives and Grieving Mothers (in many countries at least).

If you are stuck in a difficult marriage, ask St. Rita for her prayers. She will listen. Also, if you would like to share your story below, please feel free to do so.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Confession for Beginners - what's it REALLY like?

A lot of people have apprehension about confession. Even faithful Catholics sometimes rarely go. I just want to outline some of my own experience of confession to tell people what it's really like. You might read in Wikipedia about confession. There you'll find a lot of the canon laws surrounding it, doctrines about it, etc. But like anything in the Church, there is the official explanation, then there's the reality of it.

I can tell you one thing: It's not as scary as you think. It's also not a lot of other things you think.

Confession was started when Jesus told his disciples to hear the sins of the other. He specifically told this to apostles, that's why we reserve this to priests, and I think that's a good idea overall. So we know Jesus told us to tell our sins to one another. But the question is why and what are the benefits. But before that, let me explain what confession is really like.

"But I don't know what to say"
There is sometimes a fear of not knowing the right words to say. In it's most basic form, you just enter the confession box and simply say "Father I have sinned." Say it in your own words. Even "I'm here to confess" is fine. Nothing to worry about. There is no formal structure. It's not like a secret knock you have to do for the priest to forgive you. It's simply approaching the confessional and telling the priest there are things you need to confess, to get off your chest.

Technically you should probably start by saying "Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been [time] since my last confession." But like I said, it's by no means required. Be natural. But before saying anything, once the priests knows you are in the room, he will usually begin by blessing you in the familiar Trinitarian formula (In the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit).

What do I say after the intro?
After the initial opening part, you just lay it all out. Tell the priest any serious sins you can remember having committed since your last confession. Don't beat yourself up over not remembering every single detail. Just do what you can. But don't hold back. Don't withhold any particular sin because you think it's too bad. It can be scary, but it's like jumping into cold water. After you do it, it's done and you feel much better. It's a bit of a cliché to say the priest has heard it all before. And it's possible he has not heard your particular sin before. But that's irrelevant. The priest is not there to judge, he will not gasp and ask if you are being serious. He will address the sin at hand in a kind and gentle way. It's not necessary to go into details or explanations. It's important not to blame other people for your sins or to downplay them. Don't justify them. Also, don't confess the sins of other people or say they "caused" you to sin. Simply state your sins.

What will the priest say?
After you confess your sins, the priest will give you spiritual advice. It will be customized according to your sins. He will be loving and caring. There will be no anger or scolding. He will not tell you he is disappointed in you or that you are a bad person. This is a time of reconciliation, which is also another word for the sacrament. He will usually tell you that you seem contrite and that it is a wonderful gift that you are seeking God's grace and forgiveness. I guarantee you will appreciate what the priest has to say.

Act of Contrition
After some spiritual guidance, the priest will ask you to say a prayer called the Act of Contrition. Although it can sound intimidating, it's not. It's simply a prayer where you say you are sorry for offending God with your sin and that you will do everything you can to avoid the sin in the future. Sometimes people worry that they haven't fully memorized an act of contrition or they don't remember it from their childhood. Again, don't worry. Just tell the priest. You can ask him if it would be okay to say it in your own words and they almost always agree. Sometimes they will tell you not to worry about it and you are then not required to say it. And sometimes they just tell you to say it later on your own time. Priests will sometimes do this to speed up the process if there are many other penitents waiting or they must say Mass soon or some other reason.

When are my sins erased?
After giving some advice and spiritual guidance, the priest will, with the power entrusted upon him by the Church through Jesus Christ, bestow forgiveness upon you. Besides some very rare sins like assaulting the pope, the priest will always give immediate absolution. You don't have to beg for it or prove that you are worthy. It's an unwarranted gift. It's important to remember that it's not the priest that's forgiving you, it's Jesus Christ, who imparts this gift to the Church and her ministers - the priests and bishops.

So if you make a valid confession, confessing everything you can remember that was a serious sin, you will immediately receive forgiveness.

How do I make up for it?
After confessing your sins, there is a great weight lifted from your soul. You feel much better, much lighter, you are now filled with hope and grace. It's an amazing feeling. The priest will now give you some small penance to perform. Almost always the penance will be small and easy to do. The point is not to outweigh the sins with the penance. You sins are already forgiven. This is just a small step in the right direction.

Common penances include:

  • Say an Our Father and a Hail Mary
  • Say 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys
  • Spend 2 or 3 minutes in prayer thanking God for his forgiveness
  • Say a prayer to St. Joseph and your Guardian Angel


The point of the penance is to give you something you can do quickly and easily right after confession. It's also important to note the penance is not related to the seriousness of the sins. I suspect many priests give the same penance to everyone.

Why not just tell God?
Some people ask, why can't I just approach God and ask forgiveness directly? Why do I have to tell everything to a priest who I might not even know that well? First of all, even in Catholicism, with perfect contrition, you can go directly to God and your sins are forgiven. You are still told to go to a normal confession when possible, but the point is God forgives sin in every circumstance. But the real answer to this question is that this is how Jesus designed it. We are social creatures, when we sin we sin against ourselves, those we hurt, and the community. There is a different quality to the entire situation when there is a human being acting on behalf of Christ through the Church who utters the words "Go, your sins are forgiven."

This human element is the reason people pay thousands of dollars to visit psychologists. If you have a psychological issue, you could ask: why can't I just deal with it myself at home? Why do I have to go to a professional for help? Well, in theory it's possible. But we recognize the value of getting things off our chest to another person. Plus, the confession box itself is located in a holy and quiet place, a place of reflection and prayer. And to get there, we have to make an effort, to go out of our way, to prepare ourselves. This contrasts with saying a quick private prayer to ourselves. Our mind marks the event as more significant.

Why not Today?
When it comes to confession, there is no better time than the present. You will never be "completely" ready I don't think. And we can always put it off until some other time. But trust me, you won't regret it. It's like hitting the reset button spiritually. You will feel more at peace and tranquil.

Aftermath
For me personally, often after confession I can sometimes become a little obsessive. Usually this disappears after a day or two. I become extremely careful not to commit a sin and it can border on scrupulosity, which is an obsession that our actions may be sinful. It's kind of a spiritual OCD. But like I said, after a day or two it subsides. I guess you could compare it to buying a brand new cell phone. At first people are extremely cautious, they barely want to even touch it, it's just too delicate. But after some time, you are throwing it around all over the place, dropping it, etc. I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned about sin, I'm just saying we should not become scrupulous.

What if I fall again
Even if you fall to sin very soon after confession, don't fret. Simply go back and confess again. If you feel too embarrassed you can always visit another priest in a different church. It's no big deal. Christ is always ready to forgive you and will be waiting there with open arms.

What if I forgot something?
Even if you honestly forgot to confess a particular sin, you are still fully forgiven. It only becomes a problem when you willfully withhold a sin. If the sin you forgot is of the mortal (i.e. serious) variety, simply go back again soon to confess it. If however, it's something minor you probably don't need to worry about it. Something like this is currently happening to me. I confessed several times over the past couple of months. However, after yesterday's confession, I wonder if I forgot to confess something in particular. It's pretty minor and I'm pretty sure I already confessed it, at least in general. So I will have to think about it. But I have been known to become obsessive about certain things anyway.

Bottom line
The main thing is, the whole process is not as scary as it seems. Once it's done you'll feel much better. And you don't have to learn or memorize anything beforehand. God is there, waiting with open arms for his child to come back to him like in the parable of the Prodigal Son. The Son didn't memorize a long speech or do anything formal. He simply came back to his father who, upon seeing his son, ran - not walked - to embrace him. That's how God embraces us when we seek reunion with him.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Oregon College Shooting: A Catholic Response

Today there was a serious tragedy which occurred at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, USA. There were at least 10 people killed and 20 additional people injured. This is according to Oregon State Police spokesman Bill Fugate. In this overwhelming tragedy, what is the Catholic response.

Many instinctively believe the best response is to enact a gun ban. However, we can see that criminals like this lunatic who killed these people do not follow these rules. The school where the massacre occurred is strictly anti-gun. This didn't stop the carnage.

What are we to do in such circumstances as Catholics? Many suggest we "turn the other cheek". But this will prove futile in such a hostile situation. You will simply end up dead. We have a moral obligation to protect not only ourselves, but others as well. To find out how to deal with such a situation, we turn to the Angelic Doctor from whom we derive so much Catholic thought: St. Thomas Aquinas.

In his Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas addresses the question of self-defense. He brings up objections from sources such as Augustine and others which seem to say that defending your life by killing another is sinful because we should instead let the other person kill us. But then the Doctor replies.

He first quotes the Bible:

On the contrary, It is written (Exodus 22:2): "If a thief be found breaking into a house or undermining it, and be wounded so as to die; he that slew him shall not be guilty of blood." Now it is much more lawful to defend one's life than one's house. Therefore neither is a man guilty of murder if he kill another in defense of his own life.
Aquinas continues to lay the groundwork for self defense by thoroughly dismantling the anti-self-defensers. He explains his reasoning by explaining the law of double-effect. Basically this law says that what is important is the intention of what a person is seeking to accomplish. This is to be distinguished from the side-effects. Under certain rules, an act is permissible, even if the unintended side effect would normally be immoral. It's much more complicated than I just stated, but that's the essence of it.
Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects, one is the saving of one's life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one's intention is to save one's own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in "being," as far as possible. And yet, though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful, if it be out of proportion to the end.
Bottom line here is that we have a duty to protect our own bodies, especially against an aggressor, however we must not go overboard. If killing the aggressor is unnecessary then we shouldn't do it.

The same principle applies to protecting our loved ones.

I think when it comes to guns (something not yet invented in the time of Aquinas), he would say it would be permissible to carry a gun for the purpose of self defense or the protection of innocents. In more modern day terms: the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Let us pray for the souls of those killed in this tragedy, and for the recovery of those not killed, and for everyone involved in general.

10 Most Shocking Facts about Pope Francis!

Pope Francis just left after a 6-day tour of the United States. He is very popular now with many people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. But there are some things about Pope Francis that are downright shocking. Here is a list of the top 10 most shocking things about Pope Francis:

10. Pope Francis lives in much smaller apartment in the Vatican
Upon being elected as pope, Francis decided to live in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse, which is reserved for visiting priests or cardinals participating in an conclave to elect a new pope. The room is much smaller and not as grandiose.

9. The Pope Drives an Ancient 1984 Renault 4L!
The pope drives this 31 years old vehicle which has already clocked in over 186,000 miles. It gose along with his deisre to live simply.

8. He's the First Jesuit Pope
Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope ever. The Society of Jesus (the official name) was formed 1540. For a while it was suppressed, but later became one of the largest congregations of priests in the Catholic world. It marks a complete turn-around that Pope Francis comes from this order of priests.

7. The Holy Father Doesn't Speak Very Good English
The most difficult language the pope has tried to conquer has been English. In an interview, he once said: “The hardest [language] for me has always been English. Above all, the pronunciation, because I don’t have an ear for it.” He did a pretty good job when he was in the US recently.

6. Francis Often Visits Prisoners
In his recent visit to the States, the Holy Father met with inmates in Philadelphia's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. Earlier this year, on Holy Thursday, the pope washed the feet of several prisoners in Italy.

5. Instead of the Traditional Fisherman's Ring, Francis Wears a Simple Silver Ring
Unlike Pope Benedict who wore his Fisherman's Ring daily, Pope Francis chooses instead to wear a silver ring he had as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

 4. Francis Enjoys Dancing Tango
Pope Francis is known to enjoy dancing the tango. The dance is popular in his home country of Argentina.

3. He's the First Non-European Pope in almost 1300 years!
The current pontiff is the first one born in the Western Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere. He is also the first non-European pope in almost 1300 years, the last being Pope Gregory III from Syria, who ended his reign in 741 AD.

2. He was a Bouncer at a Night Club
The pope was at one point a nightclub bouncer in Buenos Aires

1. He had Part of his Right Lung Removed. 
After a severe lung infection where doctors discovered 3 cysts, part of Pope Francis's the upper part of his right lung was removed. He is said to have experienced great pain during this ordeal. Many news sources originally erroneously reported that Pope Francis only has one lung which isn't really true.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pope meets with County Clerk Kim Davis

According to several news sources, the pope met with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis. She was headline news a week or two ago when she refused to issue any marriage licences whatsoever after gay marriage was legalized nationwide because it would violate her conscience.

I was kind of torn about this at first. My thinking was that if someone works for the government, then they have to carry out its functions. You cannot just pick and choose which laws you will enforce. Look at the Supreme Court for instance. Their job is to rule on the legality and constitutionality of a case before them. A judge cannot simply object on moral grounds. That's because the type of government is a democracy.

However, more important than this is a person must follow their conscience. Otherwise the person becomes a cog in the government wheel no matter how immoral the government becomes. We know that during WWII, many Nazis claimed they were "just following orders". However, this does not remove moral personal responsibility. We are all accountable to God, and we cannot simply say we were asked to do something as our reason for disobeying a moral law.

Morally speaking, two people of the same sex cannot be legitimately married. This is not arbitrary. Marriage predates Christianity and is defined as the lifelong union of a man and woman for the purpose of unity and procreation. We've chiseled away at this definition for a century or more now, but moral people must uphold its truth.

Pope Francis meeting with Kim Davis is a clear endorsement of her actions. This is a teaching moment for everyone. We are morally obliged to follow our conscience. If this involves quitting our job, then so be it. Just like the priest explained at Mass a few days ago, the reading about cutting off limbs if they cause you to sin is not to be taken literally. Rather, it's a hyperbolic way of saying, if anything stands in our way to being morally good, we must eliminate that thing from our lives.

I think Kim Davis would be willing to resign rather than do something she feels is immoral, and for this she ought to be applauded. I think she is a brave person.

Alex Jones WRONG on Pope Francis and Jesus's "Failure"

I've been an active listener to the Alex Jones Show for many years. I enjoy listening to him, he is a good speaker, and has a lot of good information. But in his attempt to "tell it like it is", he has woefully misrepresented the pope. Look, I don't agree with the pope on a lot of issues, especially economic ones. But I will not say the pope is satanic like Alex Jones is claiming. Get your facts straight Alex!

I understand that Alex Jones wants to be unfiltered and politically incorrect, and usually I applaud such an approach. But this time he has taken a few things he legitimately doesn't like about Pope Francis and turned them into something monstrous. One of his recent issues was during a speech by the Holy Father in which the pontiff said the following:
We can get caught up measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success which govern the business world.
Not that these things are unimportant!
We have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and God’s people rightly expect accountability from us.
But the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in God’s eyes.
To see and evaluate things from God’s perspective calls for constant conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, it calls for great humility.
The cross shows us a different way of measuring success.
Ours is to plant the seeds: God sees to the fruits of our labors.
And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross.
Some people, such as Alex Jones have taken this to mean the pope is saying Jesus Christ failed in his salvific work on the cross. But nothing could be further from the truth. This is a clear example of purposeful defamation. It is obvious from the context what the pope is saying here. He is simply saying what Christians have said for centuries - to the outside world, to humanly standards, by being scourged, then crucified on the cross, Jesus seemingly failed, just as our efforts sometimes seem to fail. We as Christians know the difference. However, this apparent failure was indeed a great success for humanity. We were now saved from the eternal consequences of sin, because Christ died for our sins, so that we could have everlasting life.

Pope Francis isn't the first person to say this. St. Paul said something very similar IN THE BIBLE: In 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, St. Paul says the following:
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.”
20 Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
21 * For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Pope Francis is simply making the same point. To the outside observer, Christ's death on the cross is the ultimate sign of failure, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. To the non-Christian, in a human sense, Christ failed. This is what both Paul and the pope are saying.

For Alex to use this as "proof" that the pope is satanic is beyond the pail.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bill Nye is WRONG about Abortion

Lately it seems Bill Nye has become the "go-to guy" for anything related to science, even though he's not even a real scientist, and even if the topic is more about philosophy than science. First of all, he is a mechanical engineer. No one ever calls an engineer a scientist. Anyway, he recently released a video about abortion for Big Think.

He is wrong on virtually every point. Many of his statements will leave any educated person wondering how someone who even pretends to be a scientist could make them. I will break down what he says one-by-one to show how utterly absurd his statements are:

1. Many many many hundreds more eggs are fertilized for each that becomes a human.
Where does this information come from? It's a complete exaggeration. It is estimated that around 40-65% of conceptions end in miscarriage. Bill Nye is off by hundreds of times. It's more like 50/50.

2. If you're going to say after an egg has been fertilized it has the same rights as an individual, then whom are you going to sue/imprison? Every woman who has had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy whose sperm fertilized an egg then didn't become a human? Have all these people failed you? It's just a reflection of a deep scientific misunderstanding.
Not even sure where to begin with this one. Bill asks a rhetorical question. The question itself is very unclear. Who is being sued? And for what? I'm not even sure his question. But the point is no one has killed an embryo or fetus that miscarries. If a person naturally dies, no one is sued. It's a simple open and shut case. So how does he jump from that to saying this reflects a deep scientific misunderstanding? About what? We've already established that it is he who has deep scientific understanding since he knows nothing about human reproduction. He also seems to have no understanding of law, murder, or anything related to those.

3. He continues to say pro-lifers have a deep-seated scientific misunderstanding, then says "we should leave it to women". Then he says "we have a lot of men of European descent (another way of saying white) passing these laws based on scientific ignorance.
First of all, the makeup of the pro-life movement is about 50/50 men and women. There are probably more laws passed by men simply because there are more male lawmakers. Non-whites are also more pro-life on average than whites. So Bill is wrong on both counts. Not surprised. And the only scientific misunderstanding I have observed so far is Bill's.

4. It's based on your interpretation of a book written "5000 years ago, 50 centuries ago".
I can only assume he is talking about the Bible here, since this is a continuation of his previous statements about men of European descent. Once again, he is completely wrong. Doesn't seem there's been a single correct statement in this entire video so far. On a side-note, why does Bill constantly use code words. "European descent" instead of white, "Book written 5000 years ago" instead of Bible. Maybe it's so that later he can claim he was talking about something else. It's also interesting that he repeats the alleged age of this book in two different ways. The bottom line is the oldest book of the Bible, according to scholars, was written no more than about 800BC, meaning the Bible is at most 2800 years old.

Also, Bill implies that the only reason people are pro-life is because the Bible tells them to be. Well, the Bible also condemns murder in the 5th commandment. Does this mean people only believe that because it's in the Bible? Why did so many other systems of ethics also condemn abortion, including in Ancient Greece, Japan, India, etc? Did they also have access to the Bible?

5. Then it gets absurd. Bill Nye seems to say some people think this "book" as he calls it, tells people every time you have sex you have a baby, and somehow the laws reflect this.
It's difficult to address sheer lunacy. The Bible doesn't say that, and laws don't reflect that. Case closed.

6. "Nobody likes abortion."
My question whenever someone says this or a variant of it is "why not?" If the fetus has no rights, is not human but a clump of cells, then why would anyone care about abortion? Unless he's simply saying people don't particular enjoy going to clinics for medical procedures?

7. "You can't tell her what to do. She has rights over this. Especially if she doesn't like the guy who got her pregnant."
So we can't tell women they can't kill their child? Then by extension, laws are a violation of privacy in general. And the comment about not liking the guy? What if she stops liking him a few weeks or a few months later, does this child's life then go from safe to in danger? Plus, if this logic holds up, then if a mother doesn't like the father of a child who is now 4 moths old, why can't she just kill this child then also?
He also mentions rape. Rape is a terrible crime and ought to be persecuted. But having an abortion after a rape doesn't erase the rape, it just creates a new victim. It's also false that women are reminded of their rape every time they see their child. The opposite is true, women see the baby as something good that came from a tragedy.

8. We have so many more important things to be dealing with. To squander resources on this issue, on "bad science", from this lack of understanding, it's very frustrating.
Oh yeah, like what? Is there something happening where more people are killed than the 55 million since 1973 Roe vs. Wade in the US, or the almost 2 BILLION worldwide? Please Bill Nye, enlighten us as to the greater tragedy than this.
What resources are being "squandered"? If each abortion costs an average of $1000, that's almost $2 trillion that has been squandered in the last 40 years. Again, is the pro-life movement wasting more than this?
Also, Bill keeps going back to what he calls "bad science". But the "bad science" is just his original mistake, which logically wouldn't make a difference anyway. Even if he were right about 100 miscarriages per born baby, that wouldn't make killing a person okay.

9. You wouldn't know how big a human egg was if it weren't for microscopes, if it weren't for scientists. So you shouldn't make assertions about abortion because that's scientific and you don't accept science because you reject what I said above.
I sort of paraphrased. But Bill Nye's entire point rests on the idea that he presented some kind of scientific truth (which turns out to be totally false) and therefore if you claim to use science, you have to accept what he said and be pro-choice. Again, makes little to no sense. His information is patently wrong, and therefore should not be believed. But even if he were correct, his conclusion does not follow and is illogical.

10. Recommending abstinence has been completely ineffective.
Shockingly he does not provide evidence for this assertion. But I fail to see how it's even related. Whatever method works best for preventing pregnancy is one thing. Once the female is pregnant, that's another story altogether. So it really is unrelated.

11. Not giving women access to birth control and abortion has not been an effective way to healthier societies. I think we all know that.
Well, reducing abortion is clearly healthier for some members of society. Plus, abortion does not treat a medical ailment. It subjects a healthy woman to an unnecessary procedure. Giving access o birth control doesn't really seem to help much at all. Look at research by Edward Green of Harvard University.

12. I understand you have deeply held beliefs ... but I encourage you to look at the facts.
Again, Nye goes back to the idea that anti-abortion people arbitrarily base their ideas on the Bible, and in reality it's just a matter of opinion. But there are also groups of pro-life atheists which disproves this theory. But this part is very patronizing. It implies that while he "looks at the evidence", pro-lifers just blindly follow a doctrine that has no scientific basis, which is false.

13. We are now critical of the term "fact-based".
First I heard about this. Again, he just sets up a straw-man argument here, that pro-lifers don't listen to the facts, while he, on the other hand, is a logical, unemotional, rational entity who does.

14. I encourage you not to tell women what to do, and to not pursue these laws which are really in nobody's best interest.
Again, we tell people what to do all the time. To be consistent, he would have to advocate an end to all laws. Secondly, laws which prevent abortion are certainly in the best interest of many people, especially the unborn.

Conclusion:
Overall, Bill Nye presents a fact-less emotional diatribe directed at those he believes to be inferior to him. He consistently tells everyone to "check the facts", yet provides few himself and what he does present are completely false. If Bill were a true scientist (which he isn't), he would tell people that by the time a woman decides to have an abortion the embryo has a heartbeat and brainwaves, has its entire genetic code, is a unique individual. The only thing he/she needs is nutrition and time. To kill such a person is murder, and it's not just because it's in the Bible. We also must have compassion for women who have undergone abortion. Many were unaware of the gravity of their actions and we must pray for them.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Is the Pope Too Approachable?

The pope spoke at Congress today in the US. This is the first time a pope has ever spoken there. At work I only have access to our official propaganda machine known as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It broadcasts leftist viewpoints to Canadians and receives over a billion dollars to do it. So, as expected, the only “highlights” of the pope’s speech involves him saying we have to accept immigrants and global warming will destroy the planet. Also, allegedly he mentioned something about weapons manufacturing and how that is evil or something. But they didn’t give any details.

So I have a few fears here. The first is how the pope is presenting himself. Common politicians speak in front of congress, not the Prince of the Apostles. I can already hear the objectors: “But the pope is a servant! He’s humble, so why can’t he present himself here!” It’s not about him personally. It’s about his office. That’s why there is so much pomp and pageantry surrounding the pope in general. It’s to indicate who he is. He’s the Vicar of Christ, not some average Joe Schmo. He’s the unifying element of the entire faith throughout the world. I think the pope ought to be much more discriminating when it comes to where and to whom he speaks. Otherwise, he risks watering down his image to that of some random politician from a foreign country.

The other fear is that Pope Francis is notorious for making statements off the cuff and for saying things which seem to contradict Catholic doctrine. Inevitably, spokespeople or the pope himself will issue clarifications. This is one of the dangers of being too laid back and casual in one’s approach.

I will not right now focus on the content of what the pope allegedly said at Congress. I will address that later. I am right now just referring to his casual papacy and the dangers it can cause. I think he must be very careful!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The pope today canonized Junípero Serra

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jun%C3%ADpero_Serra