Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pope will visit the United Kingdom next year, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the United Kingdom next year, marking the first time in over 25 years a pontiff will make this trip. This comes after an invitation by Gordon Brown, the prime minister of England, and is being looked forward to by the Catholic bishops of the country, as well as the Anglican's top man, the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

I read this article on the BBC, and the response seems rather upbeat and positive. Usually when British mainstream media, including the BBC, report on issues related to the Catholic Church it's 10% positive and 90% negative. Even if the article is on a good topic, they find some way to screw it up. For example, they may write an article that goes along the lines of "Catholic Church donates millions to orphanages, so why are they not paying enough for sex abuse cases?" or "Pope condemns all violence and leads vigil for victims of the Holocaust, BUT there are hundreds of critics who say the Vatican didn't do enough to defeat Hitler". The only place you hear this is with the Catholic Church and/or the Vatican. Can you imagine this article: "Brad Pitt donates to UN, but many say he is a poor moral voice because he committed adultery with his first wife!" or how about "The German Chancellor says violence is not the answer and we must renew our commitment to peace. However, many critics say this is too little, too late, given Germany's role in the Holocaust." It's not acceptable in those cases, so it shouldn't be with the Catholic Church.

In this particular article about the pope's visit to England, the response was very good from the user comments. One user said he would schedule his vacation around the pope's visit. Others praised this action. The article did however make clear that there would be protests surrounding his visit by certain groups. Of course, you'll get your typical protest groups at such events. I do not think it's bad for the media to report on opposition to things, but I think everything should be put into perspective. The same standards should apply in all cases. If opposition is shown, it should be relevant and timely. For example, to protest something from this pope because Pope Pius XII alledgely didn't "do enough" during the Holocaust is ridiculous.

To go back to the topic, I think it's really wonderful that the Pope will be visiting the UK next year. I think this is a very good time for this visit given the current affairs of the Anglican church. Many in that church are disillusioned by moral liberalization taking place. The Anglican church has historically been seen as one of the closest relatives of the Catholic Church, save perhaps the Orthodox, in terms of liturgy and beliefs. That started to change in 1930 when the Anglican church became the first to advocate the possibility for couples to use contraception. Then around fifteen years ago, the Anglican church started to ordain women. This caused a major rift between Catholic - Anglican relations. Then a few years ago, Anglicans accepted an openly gay bishop. And most recently, the Anglican church has said it will perform marriage for gay couples. Beyond a miracle, this rift has become an insurmoutable chasm. The Church sees this as a new opportunity for evangelization. Many Anglicans are seeking true Christian teaching, and the Catholic Church is in a great position to receive many members. Indeed, Anglicans are already converting to Catholicism at a great rate.

With the Pope's visit to England, there will be a great opportunity for evangelization. This may be the first time many Britons have heard the pope unfiltered. Usually they hear about the pope from the mainstream media, but hearing his words directly may have a great effect. I read an article recently about 10 Agnlican nuns coming over to the Church. Also, another story says there are around 40,000 Anglicans who may be welcomed into the Church en masse soon. The Catholic Church already has an Anglican-style liturgy designed for those who are familiar with Anglican services. The only difference is that it is done according to liturgical rules and by a validly ordained priest.

We should all be very grateful for Gordon Brown's invitation. Perhaps he is listening to the pope's message more and more like Tony Blair has (he is now a Catholic convert). My suggestion for the church in the UK is to have lots of priests on hand who can lead people through the conversion process to Christ's Holy Catholic Church.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Elderly Pro-life supporter assaulted

In another act of violence toward a pro-life demonstrator, an elderly man named Johnny Wallace was slightly injured by two women who attacked him for his pro-life stance. He was sitting down displaying two signs, both non-graphic. They read the following:

1) Abortion kills more black Americans in four days than the Klan killed in 150 years
2) Life begins at conception and ends at Planned Parenthood.

I guess to prove that abortion is not violent, these women committed acts of violence against a 69 year-old. This comes on the heals of the murder of a pro-life activist Jim Pouillon, who was peacefully protesting. He was killed in a driveby shooting in Michigan.

Murder and violence are unacceptable. Pro-life people are often falsely portrayed as violent and murderous, but we can clearly see this kind of behavior also comes from the pro-"choice" side. It's not possible that the media makes it look like only pro-life people are violent though is it.

Let's pray for an end to all violence against people, including against the youngest and most vulnerable of our society - pre-born children.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some thoughts on Dan Brown interview on ABC's Good Morning America

Hey guys, Phil here. I was just watching a video there of Dan Brown talking about his book the Da Vinci Code, and he seems to waffle a lot depending on the audience that he's speaking to. He's talking here to Good Morning America, and he seems to take this attitude like, "Oh yeh, well most the stuff I wrote in the book is real and it's got a really long history, and a lot of scientists have been talking about it, and researchers and historians. Then the interviewer says, "If you wrote this book as a non-fiction, because you wrote it as a fiction, if you wrote it as a non-fiction, how would it be different, and Dan Brown says it probably wouldn't be different at all. But in other interviews, he'll go on to say, this stuff is fictional, you don't need to believe it, but he only says that when he's challenged. So if someone is challenging him, saying it's all concocted, it's all lies, then dan brown says, well you know it's only fictional, but then when Charlie Gibson speaks to him on Good Morning America, he says oh yeh this is mostly real, because Charlie Gibson is not going to come back with any retorts, and Dan Brown is so false that he goes on about how these theories have been around for 2000 years. 2000 years?? The theory that Mary Magdalene married Jesus and had a child, a lineage that still exists, and that it's covered up, and that's been going around for 2000 years? I'm sorry Dan Brown, that has not been going around for 2000 years, more like only 100 years. And there are ulterior motives behind the theory. There's no evidence coming from early centuries about this. No Church Fathers spoke about this, nobody in those centuries, not even enemies spoke about it. There's no mention of it in the Bible. If it's true, why is it not reporter in the Gospels? If he got married, it would not be abnormal. So it makes no sense that it would be covered up. People just disagree with the Catholic Church and some people eat up these books because these people say I agree with abortion, I agree with gay marriage, and contraception, but I'm Catholic, and as a Catholic, I must disagree with these things. So then they read these books and think (and want) them to undermine the Church and her moral authority and all of a sudden they think they can accept all of these things. Don't believe Dan Brown, believe the Catholic Church. Have a wonderful day and God Bless!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LOL! Pope vs. Dan Brown - GetReligion

This is a good article showing the nonsense spouted by the main stream media. There seems to be this perception that the Vatican is somehow mainly concerned with the US and all the details of life there. The Vatican is truly international and probably pays as much attention to American Catholics as they deserve. Believe it or not, the Vatican doesn't care about Dan Brown's books, or what George Carlin said about the Church, or any of these other little details. The media would love to believe that the Vatican cares what Americans, mostly non-religious ones, think about women ordination, or gay marriage. The reality is the Church is not a democracy and it certainly doesn't listen to liberal American voices from the media. Saying the pope wrote Jesus of Nazareth in response to Dan Brown's books is like saying the Encyclopedia Britannica was written in response to a fifth grader's essay about a super hero. Dan Brown is a bad author whose books do not even resemble reality, a fact which is attested by even atheists. No serious scholar believes anything he writes. The Pope on the other hand is an acclaimed theologian, among the best in the world, plus he is the head of the universal church on Earth, with over 1 billion members. Compared to the pope, Dan Brown is child's play.

LOL! Pope vs. Dan Brown - GetReligion

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Picture from our Flat Rock Pilgrimage

I just received a picture from our Flat Rock Pilgrimage, which brought up to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, which was visited by Pope John Paul II back just over 25 years ago. Check it out.

I am carrying the flag in the back of Our Lady of Guadeloupe. You can get a better view by clicking on the picture to enlarge.

You can see me in this photo, which appeared on the 2nd page of our local paper. I am wearing a reflective vest. I was directing traffic.

Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?: NCRegister

This is truly fantastic news! According to Catholic Archbishop of Moscow, Paolo Pezzi, there is great hope for a reunion between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. He says this may occur as soon as a few months from now. This is something everyone should pray fervently for, since we would bring together Christianity like it hasn't been in a thousand years. One of the main areas to resolve is the Pope's primacy. But the Archbishop does not believe this is insurmountable. If the Orthodox churches joined with the Catholic Church, around 70 or 75% of Christians would be united together.

I'm assuming it would work in a way similar to how Eastern Churches are now fully in union with Rome. They retain their liturgy and many of their practices. They are united completely however on the essentials. They say relations haven't been better in a thousand years, and it's been said that for the first millenium, the Churches were united, then the second they were divided, but the third could mark a new beginning! I think we need this more than ever in today's world. We need a unified voice against the forces of evil and secularism. Let us pray for this reunion!

For more on this story, go here:

Daily News: Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?: NCRegister

Pope organises Vatican art summit - BBC gets it wrong

The BBC is reporting that the Vatican is bringing together a summit of 500 artists to discuss art. Of course, this could be a really good story, but the BBC has to falsify information to make it more appealing. I guess they want to attract more anti-Catholics to their website? Anyway, my main grievance is that they are claiming the Vatican is having this summit in order to "mend" relations with the modern art community. The BBC then goes on to make the absurd statement that relations were damaged when an artist designed a crucified frog. Of course, the focus goes on what the Vatican allegedly did wrong, not the artist. That's like saying the Jewish community is sponsoring an art summit, but it's probably because relations were strained when a swastika was spray-painted on the Western Wall, and this is the Jewish Community's way of saying sorry for getting upset. Give me a break.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Pope organises Vatican art summit

Monday, September 14, 2009

I almost made it, but not quite!

I almost made it on to Who Wants to be an Apologist. As time started to dwindle, I went from calling over and over on just my cell phone to using both my cell phone and home phone to continuously call. At the very tail end, it started to ring (instead of a busy signal), and I heard the program, then the lady eventually took my name, but it was too late. I probably would have been next, but the time ran out. However I'm happy, because I will receive a prize anyway. The lady said she will send me something anyway. I don't know what it is, but I'm looking forward to it!

Who Wants to be an Apologist

Starting about 7 minutes ago, a new episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire is airing on Catholic Answers Live. I've been on a few times, and I will attempt to call in again tonight. I'm going for the $100 gift certificate. The host, Patrick Coffin, mentioned strange place names in Newfoundland, and he's from Nova Scotia. Always great to hear Newfoundland place names on American Catholic radio.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Responses to Rebuttal about Catholic Church's wealth

Jeremy responded to my posting, on an article concerning the Church telling a priest he was practicing financial mismanagement. My words are in bold, and my current responses are in italic and bold:

“If you believe the Church is being bad by not selling all the cathedrals (places of worship) and giving the money to the poor, then you should also be mad at art galleries.”
1. The proportion of the Church’s land holdings that are the cathedrals and church buildings is surprisingly tiny. They own HUGE chunks of land that you wouldn’t realise are theirs.
2. Art galleries don’t claim to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

1. As for the Church owning huge chunks of land, that is perhaps true, but I'm not sure what argument you're making with that. If they own land, it's normally for schools or hospitals.

2. I believe the Church is following the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Church gives huge amount of money to the poor, more than any other organization. They have founded thousands of hospitals, schools, orphanages, adoption agencies, social service sectors, and hundreds of other activities. Also, if you believe we should help the poor, then you must believe it is everyone's obligation, not that of a select few only. How can you, as an outsider, demand that an institution to be more generous? And if you can do that as an outsider, how come you can't say the same for museums and art galleries? Or does your system of morality say that religious insitutions should give money but no one else is obliged to?

“Half of all AIDS and HIV patients in Africa receive direct care from the Catholic Church.”
There’d be a lot fewer of them of the Vatican would stop objecting to condom availability.

Actually that is false. The Vatican wants nothing more than to rid people of disease and famine. If that wasn't the case, then most of the help for HIV and AIDS victims would not come from the Catholic Church. If the Catholic Church really wanted people to suffer and die from AIDS, then it wouldn't build hospitals and send doctors and give money for medication.

The head of Harvard's AIDS prevention program, Dr. Edward C. Green, affirms what the Pope says about AIDS and how condoms are not the solution. He is one of the most prominent people in the world in the fight against AIDS.

Condoms are not the solution. Condoms have been heavily available in Africa for decades, but there is no decline from them. Some countries have seen a decrease in AIDS, but it's rare. One is Uganda, who used a program called ABC, in which they promote abstinence first, then Be faithful, and if necessary use condoms. They experienced success because people did not believe the lie that condoms are the solution to AIDS and HIV in Africa or anywhere.

“The late Pope John Paul II… lived a very simple life, like all the priests and bishops I’ve ever met.”
OH yes, very simple. Have you been to the Vatican?

Yes, I've been to the Vatican, I walked through, marveled at the amazing architecture, was awe-inspired by the beautiful works of art, and found peace and solitude. I felt God's presence. I was accompanied by thousands of pilgrims who had come as well. Millions of people pass through the Vatican every year. It's open to all people of the Earth, and it's a beautiful treasure. It really makes the world a better place. It is for all of humanity. How many people have been through Bill Gates' house? What about the Queen's residence? Very few. The Vatican is not Pope Benedict's private dwelling place. The Pope actually lives in an apartment near St. Peter's. It is not a vast and expansive palace. Priests and bishops often live in the hardest and most miserable conditions, and go wherever they are sent. They are totally obedient, and do not ask questions.

“The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ."
According to the Roman Catholics and no-one else…

Obviously. If anyone else claimed that, they would become Catholic.

“I am not working with lepers in India, like Mother Teresa did. I’m not risking my life in Columbia like many priests and bishops do every day."
I wasn’t having a go at the priests and bishops who tend to the poor. I was having a go at the ones who don’t.
And as for Mother Teresa – well, you should read what Christopher Hitchens has to say about her.

All priests and bishops take a vow of obedience and would go wherever they are told. Fr. Maximilian Kolbe sacrfied his life in a concentration camp to save another man's life who had a family. Our current Pope, Benedict XVI, risked his life to evade the Nazis. Had he been caught and convicted of treason, he could have been killed. But he risked his life for good.

Reading what Christopher Hitchens says about Mother Teresa is like reading what Hitler has to say about the Jews.

“Before you criticize the Catholic Church for not doing enough, ask what you have done.”
I don’t have the vast resources they do, do I? And people don’t bequeathe me money to look after the poor? Nor do governments give me incredible tax breaks for doing so.
But I do what I can. Clearly that can’t be said for the institution we are discussing.

The Catholic Church does everything it can to bring people to Christ, and to help the poor as part of her mission. Many saints were inspired to help the poor after spending time in a beautiful cathedral or basilica. These are public places of worship that benefit everyone. The world is a better place with them.

An example is the founder of Domino's Pizza. After being in Rome, and witnessing the beautiful architecture in praise of God from people's hearts, he decided to dedicate himself to the Church's mission and he gave tens of millions of dollars.

The Church is here for the benefit of everyone on Earth. It is the most generous institution in the world. Compared to other charities, the Catholic Church gives a far greater percentage toward actual giving, and very little for administration. Jesus loves you and wants you to join his Church. Have a wonderful day.

Where in the Bible does it say to look after the poor? Well, apart from there. And there. Oh, and there - An Onymous Lefty

There was an online posting about the Catholic Church and how it told a priest he was practicing financial mismanagement. I posted my response after several people made statements accusing the church of being hypocritical to tell the priest what it did. I will post my response, and I encourage others to respond to my response. The complete article is linked on the bottom.

First, here is my response:

This whole issue is about financial mismanagement, and sometimes that is an issue, wouldn't you say? If a priest was being irresponsible with finances, then it ought to be addressed. Ultimately, it may be good to help the poor even more.

The amazing thing is that the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world. They help more people than anyone else. Half of all AIDS and HIV patients in Africa receive direct care from the Catholic Church. Also, even though only 2% of India is Catholic, 22% of health care is provided by the Church.

The Churches and Cathedrals are there for the benefit of the people. They are often the pride of the city and are for the benefit of all people. Often, they were built with money contributed by the people directly for that specific cause. People, including myself, love cathedrals and amazing churches, and they are culturally priceless.

If you believe the Church is being bad by not selling all the cathedrals (places of worship) and giving the money to the poor, then you should also be mad at art galleries. Look at the priceless works of art. Perhaps they should sell the Mona Lisa, or the Last Supper. If museums sold all the priceless works of art, they could raise so much money. But the premise is the same. These are not for one person's personal use. They are for humanity, for society.

There are beautiful Catholic structures all around the world, and people want and love them. They are holy places that have been built for worship. The fact is, even if they were sold, the money would eventually disappear. The money that is given for charity comes from sustainable sources. Catholics believe the most amazing thing on Earth happens at their beloved churches. It is where they can truly be with God.

As a final note, I would like to point out that many priests and bishops take a vow of poverty. The late Pope John Paul II did not care for wealth. When he died, all his worldly possessions could fit in a shoe box. It's been said he could not remember a meal he ate because he was more concerned with the people he was speaking to. He lived a very simple life, like all the priests and bishops I've ever met.

The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. They are helping the poor and suffering more than anyone else. I, like many on this article, am typing this from the comfort of my home. I am not working with lepers in India, like Mother Teresa did. I'm not risking my life in Columbia like many priests and bishops do every day. Before you criticize the Catholic Church for not doing enough, ask what you have done. Perhaps you have done much, but I would suspect if you gave everything you could and were living lives of poverty, you would not find the time to criticize the Church so much.

That was my input to the article. Some people responded, and I will use this blog to offer my rebuttal. My rebuttal will be in the next posting.

Here is the full article:

Where in the Bible does it say to look after the poor? Well, apart from there. And there. Oh, and there - An Onymous Lefty

Friday, September 11, 2009

Daily News: U.S. Bishops Applaud Obama's Abortion Promise: NCRegister

I hope this pans out. This will be a step forward for the Obama administration. Let's give credit where credit is due. Let's hope this holds up.

Daily News: U.S. Bishops Applaud Obama's Abortion Promise: NCRegister

Peaceful Pro-Life Activist Murdered

You may not hear this if you listen only to the main stream media, but a peaceful pro-life demonstrator has been killed in Owosso, Michigan. He was one of two people killed in an incident which happened today at around 7:30am local time.

Unlike when "Dr." Tiller, who performed hundreds of abortions, was killed, the media will probably not make this look like an attack from the other side. In other words, this will not be seen as violence from the pro-abortion side, but rather a random act of violence. That is, if they even report this at all.

I already checked on the websites of ABC, CNN, and CBC to see if they had reported on this, and none of them have so far. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

More information below:

Slain Pro-Life Advocate Jim Pouillon Known as the Peaceful Abortion Sign Guy

Let's pray for these men, including the shooter, and their families.

Putting the sex abuse scandal into perspective

Over the decades there have been many sexual abuse cases brought against priests. Some priests grossly violated their role and their duty to be Christ-like when they abused children. These are crimes against children, and Christ preached against these in the strongest terms. He told the disciples to let the children come to him because unless they were like these little ones, they could not enter heaven. Jesus also said that it would be better to tie a millstone around your neck and drown yourself in the ocean than to lead a child astray. We must pray for the victims of this abuse. But we must pray for all victims of abuse. Some priests have committed great crimes, but do all priests deserve to be punished for the sins of others? Is it right to unfairly discriminate against all priests because of the actions of a few? Is it just to ignore all other sexual abuse cases and only point out sexual abuse by priests? I do not think so.

The idea of a pedophile priest is a common one in today's society. Anyone, including famous comedians, talk show hosts, television personalities, and politicians, can use the term pedophile priest with impunity. There is no immediate follow-up to this statement saying that only a tiny percentage of priests ever abused children, or that this is an unfair stereotype and that most priests are very loving and caring toward children. There is no public outcry at these statements, and no one slaps the people who make them with hate speech charges.

I do not think people are really aware of the magnitude of sexual abuse in the United States. Some people seem to think only priests abuse children, because that's the only thing the media reports. Let's look at the truth.

The official report from the sex abuse scandal in the United States indicates that between 1950 and 2002, there were around 6800 substantiated cases of sexual abuse from Catholic priests. That's approximately 131 cases per year for the entire country. This represents a tiny percentage of priests, and in fact, most cases did not involve actual pedophilia. Most cases involved a priest and a post-pubescent male, not a child in the physical sense. It has been said that this is more a crisis of homosexuality in the priesthood than of pedophilia. In any event, the numbers are exceedingly low. Compare this to the general population. In the United States, for the year 2005, it was reported there were 83,600 substantiated cases of child sexual assault. That's in one year. And this doesn't count cases that were not reported. It is estimated that around 7.2% of males and 14.5% of females are sexually abused during their childhood. In the United States there are currently around 31 million males between the ages of 0 and 14, so that means about 2.2 million of them will be sexually abused. There are around 30 million females in the US, so statistics show about 4.35 million of them will be sexually assualted. Studies show that sexual abuse from teachers is much more prevalent than from priests, by a factor of at least 4.

Even though there are millions of sexual abuse cases in the US and other countries every year, Catholic priests are stigmatized with a reputation of being child molestors, but this is clearly societal and media bias. Why have teachers, who commit these crimes at a rate of at least 4 times more than priests, not received a similar or much worse reputation? When was the last law suit you've heard brought against a school board for the sexual abuse of a child? It hasn't happened. Yet, the Catholic Church in the United States alone has paid out over $1 billion in settlements. If you divide this evenly among all claimants to abuse, each would receive almost $150,000. If all sexual assault victims received a similar pay-out, approximately $982 billion, nearly $1 trillion, would be paid out every year. Sexual abuse cases would probably account for a third of GDP for the country.

So if sexual abuse is committed by people from all professions and walks of life, some at a rate much higher than priests, why do priests get all the bad press? If you have any ideas, please let me know. But I will give you my idea, and let me know what you think. Since the 60s, society at large has tried to push many immoral behaviors, including contraception, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage, greed, excessive wealth, divorce, fornication, adultery, and other ills. The one consistent voice of opposition to these things, and the voice in favour of following Christ's commandments is the Catholic Church. Others speak for Christ's laws, but none with the force of the Universal Church. When Pastor Bob down the road speaks, some people listen, but when the Pope speaks the world listens. But what the Church teaches does not conform to the ideas and messages that the media are interested in promoting (if you doubt this, take a look in your local paper). It's a little like politics. When a party has no good arguments against its opponent, it tries to undermine the opponent's image. The media could not argue against the Truth, so they had to find another tactic. When news of sexual abuse by some priests broke, a smear campaign was hatched. It didn't matter how representative the news was, it was sensationalistic. Even if there were over 100,000 priests in the US since 1950, the actual number of abusers would not matter. Even if 20 priests were convicted, it would seem horrendous, if presented the right way.

You may say this sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I would invite you to look at the consequences. If you ever have a debate with someone on a moral issue, and you indicate it is against the Catholic faith or that you're Catholic or that the Pope has spoken out against something, often the other person will automatically bring up the sex abuse scandal, even though it's irrelevant. In an article I read not long ago, a lady was speaking about an issue which I do not recall but I believe it was about same-sex marriage or abortion, and how the Catholic Church opposes it. Instead of offering any reason as to why the Church should not oppose it, she simply spoke about the sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests. She felt this was all that was necessary to justify her opposition to the Church's teaching. But this is a logical fallacy. You'll notice the same thing with people you speak with. You may say you are opposed to abortion and that the Catholic Church teaches it is murder. Their response may well be "Well, what about pedophile priests, isn't that immoral??" The fact is, the Church is against pedophile activities, as well as abortion.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Holy See proposes alternative to new U.S. population policy

Check out these words from the bishop. I've never really put this 2 and 2 together, but he's right, it is very ironic!

The Apostolic Nuncio found “almost ironic” the fact that “environmental destruction is perpetrated primarily by States with lower growth rates and that developed countries are supporting population growth at home while simultaneously working to reduce it in developing countries.”

Check out the full article below:

Holy See proposes alternative to new U.S. population policy

Responding to report, pro-life leader insists people are not pollution

Thanks Stephen, everyone was thinking this, and you said it. Humans are not pollution. It's kind of sad that people even need to be told this, but apparently they do.

Responding to report, pro-life leader insists people are not pollution

St. John's Newfoundland Archdiocese announces winner of Double Home Lottery

Over the past several months, the Archdiocese of St. John's, NL has been selling tickets for its Double Home Lottery. I bought a ticket myself for $100, primarly to support the church, but I also maintained hope that I could win. As the name implies, two houses were up to be won. They were fully furnished, and valued at approximately $500,000 each, which is very high for St. John's.

Last week, the winners were announced:

Grand Prize #1: 63 Julieann Place
Winner: Allan Moulton, Ticket #22031

Grand Prize #2: 18 Russ Howard Street
Winner: Pauline Martin, Ticket #06920

(from the website:

The Church in St. John's is having financial struggles right now. We need to support our churches. They provide many services, and above all provide priests who offer the sacraments. Right now the Archdiocese is in debt, but hopefully this will take a sizeable chunk out of it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Some random thoughts on gay marriage

Gay marriage is a big issue nowadays, so I wanted to throw out some thoughts. Let me know your opinion.

First of all, I want to say I do not hate gay people and I am not afraid of them (i.e. not homophobic). I think gay people are people with struggles, just like everyone else. We are all called to a high standard of sexual morality. Some people struggle with same-sex attraction, others struggle with fornication, or adultery, or masturbation. We are all called to a higher standard.

But the issue of gay marriage doesn't really have a huge lot to do with homosexuality itself. Let's first of all break down what the homosexual marriage debate is all about. It is about the state recognizing the love or feelings of two people of the same gender and officially declaring this to be a marriage. You can oppose gay marriage without having any ill feelings toward gay people. That is not a logical contradiction. Even Elton John doesn't believe in gay marriage and he's gay.

The issue is whether or not the state should or has any need to recognize the union of two gay people.

The state (i.e. a country, or separate geographic law-entity) is very pragmatic, at least in places like the USA or Canada. Whatever the state recognizes or doesn't recognize has to do with the benefits of this recognition on the state. For example, there are laws against drunk driving. Not because the state has a moral qualm about alcohol, but because you could put people's lives at risk, perhaps including your own. Also, it is not a crime, per se, to cheat on your spouse. It is also not a crime to be proud, lustful, full of anger, jealous, envious, lazy, or anything else. The state simply has no interest in these interior personal feelings, unless they affect the state. The state also has no interest in your feelings toward someone. A man could be totally in love with a woman and want to have children with her, but the state would not automatically recognize this as anything, until they got married. Similarly, the state would not recognize my hatred toward someone, unless my hatred incited violence. The state is not in the business of ratifying or recognizing feelings, no matter how strong, between two people.

On the other hand, if a man and woman willingly and with full consent decide to marry with the intention of remaining together, the state would recognize this marriage even if there was no love. In fact, even if the couple detested each other, the state would still recognize the relationship as a marriage.

The point is there is another reason the state recognizes marriage and it is because of the perceived benefit of the marriage, especially in terms of children that are born in that relationship. States throughout the world came to understand that marriage is beneficial to children. A woman who got pregnant but had no man to help her was at risk. For the benefit of the mother and any children born, there was a committed before a family was started. Psychologists now agree that a child does best with a mother and a father. Children have a natural law right to be raised by their mother and father. Therefore, marriage is good for society, because a child is raised in the optimal environment.

Other benefits of heterosexual marriage is that a man and a woman offer the benefit of complementarity, which cannot be found in same-sex couples. It has been shown that homosexual couples often are involved in more violent relationships as well as more promiscuous ones.

Strong families means strong communities means strong societies. The family is the building block of society and if it is strengthened, the entire society is strengthend. Doesn't it just seem natural for a mother and father to raise their own child? Does it not seem unnatural for two people of the same sex, only one of whom can possibly be a parent, raise a child?

Civil law is interested in the well-being of its citizens. A child does best in his own family. Also, strong families create a strong society. In the past, romantic feelings had little to do with marriage. It was not seen as essential. That's because the state has no interest in peoples' feelings as such.

Some object to what I'm saying by pointing out that many children are homeless and that isn't it better to give them a gay home rather than no home? First of all, it is important to seek an ideal. The ideal situation is for a child to be raised by his mother and father. Sometimes this ideal cannot be achieved, such as the case with single parenthood, or in the case of an orphan, but that does not remove the ideal. By legally recognizing gay marriage, we force adoption agencies to adopt children to gay couples. We can no longer recognize that a stable man-woman marriage is the best place to raise a child. We must now turn a blind eye to the best alternative to the ideal in the name of "justice". The state must have programs to help children in their situation, and we must not look at next best possibilities for anyone, and we certainly shouldn't artificially put unsatisfactory solutions on par with satisfactory ones.

People have made the gay marriage issue an issue of rights, but is has nothing to do with this. The state does not recognize feelings. It creates an environment that is the best for its people. If a couple wanted a divorce, the main concern of the court would be the welfare of the children. They have little interest in the feelings of the spouses toward each other.

If this was an issue of rights, we would have a different set of issues to look at. If marriage was based on feelings, then we would have to allow other types of marriages. This argument is usually laughed at by gay-marriage proponents, but let's logical look at this. If marriage has nothing to do with the ability to procreate or about childrens' rights, or about the benefits to society, then there are many types of marriages that would have to be allowed. One is polygamy. What reason could a proponent of gay marriage give for the ban on polygamy, assuming all parties agreed to that arrangement and they wanted to be married? There would be no case. What if two siblings wanted to marry? They could not be refused based on the gay marriage logic because the welfare of any possible children would not be a factor, only feelings would. I will not compare gay marriage to bestiality as some have, because this is an unfair comparison. We can only speak of human-human relationships.

There are many other things that can be said about this topic. I think what has been said will suffice. I would like to clarify one point however. Some people who defend same-sex marriage say that if we legalize it, churches will be forced to perform these marriages. I do not agree with this statement given our current situation. I will use my own Catholic Church as an example. The Catholic Church only allows marriages that comply with her teachings. For example, if two Buddhists demanded to be married by a priest, the Church could refuse, and the law would back up the Church. The Church has the right to allow or disallow any marriage it sees fit. Therefore, unless the law radically changes and a new era of Christian persecution begins, I do not see this happening.

I welcome feedback on my thoughts. Please try to be civil and stay on topic. Thanks.

The irony of moral relativism

The other day I heard on someone's vlog (as in video log: an online journal similar to a blog (weblog), but on film rather than in print) that there was a major uproar in the online community about a Microsoft print ad. In the ad, there was an Asian man, a black man, and a white woman. The ad was run in Poland also, but the head of the black man was cropped out and replaced by the head of a white man. I'm not sure the exact reason for this, but my suspicion is that the country does not have a large black community and a white man would seem more appropriate to the context. It does not seem likely that Microsoft is racist, since the original ad would probably have not been created in the first place if that were true.

After doing a little research on wikipedia, I discovered that almost 97% of people in Poland consider themselves to be ethnically Polish, meaning among other things, white. The remaining 3% seem to be mostly white also. Therefore, in order to create an ad which is representative of Polish people, a white person was added. This however, does not account for the fact that one of the remaining people in the ad is of Asian descent. Perhaps they wanted to display diversity to some extent.

There remains the possibility that the Czech branch of Microsoft is in fact racist. This cannot be known for sure, unless there is a statement giving official reasons for these actions, but let's assume for the sake of argument that this was racially motivated. After Microsoft did this, there was a swift and angry response from the Internet community. People felt this was a moral catatrophe and that Microsoft should be held accountable. And perhaps they should. But compare this to someone who speaks out against abortion. Most of the time if someone does they are criticized. They are told "How can you force your morals on everyone else?" They are seen as self-righteous bigots trying to judge other people. So why the difference?

Those who were appalled by Microsoft's actions are often the same people that say we cannot judge the actions of others and that if someone wants to have an abortion, who are we to decide for them. It is considered rude and out of place to even bring up the topic. Most of the time I speak of this issue with someone who is an abortion supporter, their first reaction is to tell me to stop talking about it and that the issue is already settled. But this is not a matter of an advertising campaign. This is a matter of life and death. Many people believe abortion kills a person, and therefore is gravely wrong. Even if someone does not agree that a fetus is a child, they should at least be able to comprehend how someone who does believe it is would be concerned about their murder.

The funny thing about this advertising case is that there is a parrallel, one which you will never see in real life. There are some people who are racist and bigoted. So much so that they would not want to see a black person on any form of advertisement. They believe white people are superior and that anyone else is inferior. Therefore, the belief that black people should have equal dignity when it comes to being represented on advertising and such is not universal. But, would you ever hear someone say, "How dare you try to impose your self-righteous beliefs on Microsoft. They can be as racist as they want to be! You're just a religious fanatic who preaches notions of equality!" Of course not.

My point is that this advertising fiasco is absolutely infintessimal and insignificant compared to the slaughter of millions of innocent babies. Just because some people do not realize it is murder does not mean those who do should be silenced. If we can speak out against (alledged) racism, how much more can we speak out against murder?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, pope and doctor

A great little biopic of Pope St. Gregory the Great, one of the preeminent popes of all time. This little article explains how Gregory, whose feast we celebrate today, was largely responsible for the conversion of England.

Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, pope and doctor

Pope to screen new miniseries on St. Augustine

I'm looking forward to this movie:

Pope to screen new miniseries on St. Augustine

D.C. Archbishop Joins Black Pastors in Same-Sex

D.C. Archbishop Joins Black Pastors in Same-Sex “Marriage” Fight

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Did Jesus go to India or China?

This morning I considered the question of whether Jesus went to India or China, and there are several reasons I believe he didn't. I will go through these reasons. Of course, I'm not a historian or Biblical expert, but these are my thoughts on the topic.

Jesus began his ministry at around age 30. The last time we heard about him was when he was 12 years old. Many have speculated that during this time, Jesus went to India or China because nothing of that time period is recorded. I doubt this for several reasons.

1. Jesus had a particular ministry. He was to be a leader and someone who commanded authority. In order to be a leader, especially the type Jesus was, I believe one had to be at least 30 years old. How could a man build a large following if he was in his early twenties? It is possible, but it is much more likely that people would follow him if he seemed to have some experience. This would certainly explain why it would be completely unreasonable to assume he could be effective in his ministry while still a teenager.

2. I once heard that people do not really begin their careers until they are around 30 years old. From my experience, this is true. People usually receive their education until they are in their early to mid-20s. After this, they accumulate experience, until around the age of 30 when they are settled into their position and have a solid grip on their life. I'm not saying Jesus went through a North American or European education and career life. What I am saying is that people really truly begin their vocation normally when they are around 30 years old. People sometimes seem to wonder what happened to Jesus after age 12, but they imply that he must have been pursuing his calling at that age. But no 12 year old, or even 20 year old usually begins their life's work so young.

3. The Gospels are not biographies like they are nowadays. Historical notes were kept differently than they are now. Nowadays we might pick up a magazine or book which contains a biographical entry on someone, say Joseph Stalin. We would read about his childhood, his best friends, things he liked to do in school, his favorite instrument, etc. People are interested in these everyday facts. But in the days of Jesus, people were more concerned about pertinent facts about a person's life. The Gospel writers wrote the most important and enduring aspects of Christ's life. They were concerned with his role as Savior of the World, not on his hair color. All the information in the Bible is important. It is not like a novel where the author sometimes inserts little stories or unnecessary details to make it more readable or enjoyable. The Gospels and the rest of the Bible serve a purpose.

4. Christ's teachings are unique. He encorporates many aspects of Judaism into his teachings and take them a step further. He fulfills prophecy from past centuries. In Christ's writings, there is no incling of Eastern spirituality. He does not speak of past lives, God as pantheistic, or other Eastern ideas. Surely many have attempted to put words in Jesus' mouth that would imply he did speak about these things, but such theories are very new, appearing nowhere in historic Christianity.

5. If Christ really did go to India or China, he must have been rather ashamed of his trips, since he does not speak of them at any time. At least it is not recorded in the Gospels. His parables all involve people of Jewish, Samaritan, Egytian, and other heritages who would have come into contact with Jesus where he lived.

6. Jesus only quotes Jewish sources, including the Jewish Bible. He does not quote any books from the East.

Please feel free to leave your comments on this topic. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I thought August was a good month for saints, but look at September!

Last month, I looked at the many amazing saints for August, but I think September might even have them beat! Let's keep in mind that of course all saints are equal in God's eyes, but I'm just very happy about the great feast days we'll be celebrating this month. Let's take a look:

September 3 - Gregory the Great
Pope Saints Gregory the Great is a doctor of the church, and the pope for whom Gregorian chant is named. He is one of only three popes to hold the title "Great", as well as one of only two to be called a Doctor of the Church. Gregory was truly one of the greatest popes who has ever lived.

September 5 - Bl. Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa is not a saint yet, but she's on her way (at least to being officially recognized as such). Local prayer to her is permitted as she is a blessed. Around the world, Mother Teresa is perhaps one of the most well known modern saints.

September 17 - Robert Bellarmine
Another Doctor of the Church and an important figure during the Catholic Reformation.

September 17 - Hildegard von Bingen
According to Wikipedia, Hildegard of Bingen (von is German) was many things: a Christian mystic, German Benedictine abbess, author, counselor, linguist, naturalist, scientist, philosopher, physician, herbalist, poet, channeller, visionary, composer, and polymath. Phew, that was a mouth-full! I remember reading about her in my classical music course, and specifically I remember that she was tithed to the church as a nun because she was her parents' tenth child!

September 21 - Matthew the Evangelist
One of the Four Evangelists and one of the twelve apostles. He started as a tax collector.

September 22 - Thomas of Villanueva
St. Thomas of Villanova was a real saint. He did everything he could for the poor, including selling his straw bed to help them. He also made sure his charity went a long way. He taught men to fish, rather than simply giving them a fish. He said: "Charity is not just giving, rather removing the need of those who receive charity and liberating them from it when possible"

September 23 - Padre Pio
Of course we all know Padre Pio. He is one of the most recently canonized saints, and the first and only priest so far to receive the stigmata (believe it or not). He bore the wounds of Christ, yet wanted no publicity. He asked Jesus to remove the signs, but not the pain, because he wanted to be united with Jesus, but not to receive much praise or attention.

September 23 - Linus
Linus was the first successor of St. Peter as Pope and Holy Father of the Universal Church

September 27 - Vincent de Paul
St. Vincent de Paul is the patron of the charitable organization founded by Frédéric Ozanam. St. Vincent is noted for his help of the poor, and his patronage helps the organization today.

September 28 - Wenceslaus
We all know the Christmas carol about Good King Wenceslaus. He is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. His father was converted by Sts. Cyril and Methodius (they're pretty awesome as well!)

September 29 - Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael
These three archangels share a feast day. Let's say a special prayer to them!

September 30 - Jerome
A great scholar and translator of the Bible into the Latin Vulgate. He converted to Christianity and eventually became a Doctor of the Church.

Nations of the world must listen to the Catholic Church, says Tony Blair

Tony Blair says you should listen to the Catholic Church, but not on EVERYTHING. Check out the article:

Nations of the world must listen to the Catholic Church, says Tony Blair