I wrote an article about Bernard Madoff wondering if he should be sent to prison for 150 years with violent criminals. I found this clip of a man who spent 10 years in prison and now acts as a consultant for people like Madoff. He helps people understand what they will experience in prison. Everything in the interview was fine, until this man showed a complete lack of understanding or sensitivity. I was rather shocked actually. Take a look at this clip, especially the last 10 to 15 seconds.
I think we as Christians should set a good example when it comes to this stuff. He said he's Jewish, but even Jews must be compassionate. We must never as Christians wish that someone goes to Hell. Ultimately even if we do not have fuzzy feelings for someone, we can never hope for their eternal separation from God.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I wrote an article about Bernard Madoff wondering if he should be sent to prison for 150 years with violent criminals. I found this clip of a man who spent 10 years in prison and now acts as a consultant for people like Madoff. He helps people understand what they will experience in prison. Everything in the interview was fine, until this man showed a complete lack of understanding or sensitivity. I was rather shocked actually. Take a look at this clip, especially the last 10 to 15 seconds.
There is a new movie featuring Jim Caviezel coming out called The Stoning of Soraya M.
My question is, will Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus Christ in the Passion of the Christ movie say at any point in the film "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"?
A point this movie brings up, or should, is that just because something is cultural does not make it right. Catholicism is a morally objective or absolute religion. It does not believe murder is wrong only for certain cultures. Take abortion for example. We do not say abortion is wrong only when there's no good reason, but if the mother is in a bad financial situation or if she wants to have a career first, then it's ok. That's moral relativism, and it's something Cardinal Ratzinger warned us about before the Papal Conclave which elected him. Therefore, we must object to the stoning of people for it is barbaric and wrong. Check out the preview:
Posted by Philip Lynch at 11:02 am
The gay rights movement is not happy to recognize their own love for each other, they want everyone else to accept it as well, and they want to use the word marriage to describe their union. But it goes much further than this. They want to change school books to say that homosexual relationships are just as normal and morally acceptable as heterosexual partners. There have been cases of priests who speak about the Church's constant teaching on sexual morality who have been brought to court for hate crimes. Adoption agencies have been forced to adopt children to gay couples against their morals, or shut down. Many have unfortunately shut down.
I believe gay marriage can actually be bad for gay people, click here to find out why: http://holymotherchurch.blogspot.com/2009/04/why-legalizing-gay-marriage-hurts-gay_25.html
I've also discussed this topic at some length at: http://holymotherchurch.blogspot.com/2009/06/thanks-mr-obama-for-ruining-my-birthday.html
We must love people who have homosexual feelings, just like we must love everyone else, but we must also not be afraid to speak the truth.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 8:11 am
Monday, June 29, 2009
Bernard Madoff was responsible for financial crimes in which he stole billions of dollars from people. He said he would help with their investments, but he did no such things. I do not know a lot of the details of the case. Theft is a serious crime, but is it as serious as murder? For the crimes he committed, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. He is already 71 years old, so the chances of him living that long are pretty well non-existent. But is this an appropriate sentence? His lawyers argued that he had a remaining life expectancy of 13 more years. They requested a sentence of 12 years so he could get out and have about a year left. I think this would have been more appropriate. I am always critical of sentencing people for long periods of time for financial crimes. They are not a physical threat to people, just financial. I believe a more appropriate punishment would be to cap his earnings or to take away his ability to have anything to do with investments. I believe the punishment should fit the crime. Being locked away for 150 years with violent criminals does not seem appropriate no matter how much money he stole.
I seem to be a little outnumbered in my opinion that Madoff's sentence was too harsh. On a CNN poll, 57% of respondents felt he had received a fair sentence, 34% said no penalty is harsh enough and just 9% felt his sentence was too harsh.
I want to clarify that I think what Madoff did was terrible and worthy of punishment. I am simply wondering if this particular punishment was appropriate given the crime.
In any event, let us pray for Madoff and his victims, that they may find true reward with God and his eternal promises.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 8:39 pm
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Today is my 27th birthday. It shares a feast with St. Iraeneus, an early saint of the church who defended her against heresy. I have much to be thankful for. I will try to list some of the things I give thanks for now in my blog.
I give thanks to God - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God's love is why I am here. Without God, I would be nothing. Everything I have to be thankful for is only because God has created it. He even created my ability to love. Only by his love can I ever love.
I am thankful to the saints. I am thankful to Mother Teresa, and Padre Pio. I am thankful to St. Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas and all the other saints. I am thankful to the Gospel writers. I am thankful to Mary, the Mother of God, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
I am thankful for my girlfriend Manasi. She could not be here to celebrate my birthday with me but she will be back soon. She loves me a lot and I love her.
Praise God for all my friends, and my family. I am thankful to those who have taught me the faith.
I am thankful for:
- the sacraments
- beautiful days, as well as rainy days
- joy and suffering
- the high and the lowly
- Christ's love for each of us
I thank God for giving me so much. God's love sometimes overwhelms me and I begin to weep. God, so far beyond our comprehension came to Earth to suffer and die for us. Now he is with us in the Eucharist. We receive him with joy and thanks. Words fail to appreciate the wonders God has done. He is Lord of All, Creator of the Universe, yet he loves us so profoundly, we can never imagine his love for us. Even when we disobey his commands and run away like children, God smiles upon us and invites us back. We do not deserve this love. We would not deserve one drop of Christ's blood, but he gave not one drop, but every drop. He poured himself out completely for our sake. He was scouraged at the pillar, then carried his own cross upon which he was crucified and died. For what? For us. We, who said crucify him, we who disobey him, we who sin against him. He died for each and everyone of us. Even if there was just one person on Earth, Jesus would have been whipped and scouged at the pillar almost till death, then carried the heavy cross on his broken body. Yes, even for one. But more painful than all of these tortures was the pain of our sins. He bore all our sins, so that we can have the hope of Heaven. For this I am eternally thankful.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 9:29 pm
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I was reading a blog the other night and the commentator seemed very harsh and critical of Catholics. He was saying they are too liberal, they want a lot of changes in the church such as female ordination, they want to decrease the role of the priest, they want more lay participation, they want more ideas expressed at Mass, they want less dogma, etc. These are serious issues, surely, but we as Christians must also be careful not to automatically be critical of everything and to understand the essence of what's happening.
I believe it is important to notice liturgical abuses, but it is also possible to go overboard. While at Mass, we ought to be in a prayerful and contemplative state. We should listen attentively to the Word of God, and receive Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity with the proper reverence. This should be our main focus. Since this is our focus, we should not necessarily notice every detail of the rubrics. By focusing too much on possible abuses, we can detract from our real purpose, which is the worship of God.
It is good to sometimes remember that God wants to make himself accessible to us. He realizes that we are human and fallible and that sometimes people will do things wrong. But he does not want to exclude us from his sacraments. I've often said that extraordinary ministers of holy communion are overused. But I should focus on the fact that I am receiving Jesus Christ into my body at the time of communion. If all I notice is that I am being served by a lay person, I will lose the significance of the act. Or if I go to confession, perhaps the priest will hurry me along and I won't be able to say every sin. God understands this and offers absolution anyway.
I believe by acting with a high level of reverence and by following the guidelines and spirit of the Mass and other church events, more people would seek the Truth, but I also believe it goes against how we should act if we spend all our time noticing "issues".
Finally, let us remember that one of the spiritual works of mercy is to "bear wrongs patiently". That means we sometimes do not become upset or angry when something happens, but rather we "offer it up" to God. We may notice things we do not like, but we try to smile anyway, and act as loving as possible. It's like a saying I once heard, that people will not care how much you know until they know how much you care. We must always have love in our hearts before we try to correct someone's behavior. I need to remember this as much as anyone.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 11:31 am
Friday, June 26, 2009
God gave us the sacraments as a visible sign of invisible grace. I believe marriage represents God's love for us, like all sacraments do. But God wil never leave us, no matter what. Even when we disobey him, when we sin against him, no matter what we do, God welcomes us back. When people get married, they make a commitment to stay together for better or for worse, not until the other one does something I don't like. Because God would never leave his people, spouses should never separate.
But what about if a spouse is abusive or if one stops loving the other? Well, love is a choice of the will, or should be. It's not a fuzzy feeling. It's a decision. If a spouse abuses the other, then the abused spouse can leave, but they still made a lifelong commitment. If a brother hurts his sister, she cannot stop being his sister. She can stay away from him though. The abused spouse should leave and be safe, but the lifelong bond is not broken. Regardless, most couples do not divorce because they are being abused. They divorce because they are not having fun anymore.
I also acknowledge that the Church recognizes the possibility that a marriage was not valid to start with. If there is a pre-existing situation which rendered the couple incapable of entering into a valid marriage, then it can be said to be null. This is where the term annulment comes from. There are many reasons a marriage might not have been valid. Perhaps one of the partners was immature, was coerced into marriage, was under some kind of influence, etc. Other reasons are that one spouse has predetermined that he will be unfaithful or was not making a lifelong commitment. Also, if a spouse was closed to the possibility of children. There are many reasons for a possible annulment. These are sad cases as well, but they indicate the couple was not truly able to marry and therefore the marriage they believed they were involved with was not real.
If a marriage is valid and you make a commitment, what does that mean? If a man says he'll always stand by his wife's side, does this mean only when he has a fuzzy feeling about her? Like Jesus said, you have heard it said to love your friends and hate your enemies, well I say love your enemies. It is similar in this case. Jon and Kate ought to love each other beyond fuzzy feelings. They made a commitment, an oath. If this oath can be broken nilly-willy, then it wasn't an oath to start with.
But the people who will lose out the most in this case are the children. People should be married before they have children because a child grows up best with a mother and a father in a single household. A divorce causes enormous stress and instability to the life of a child. If mommy leaves daddy, maybe she's abandon me as well. It's a very sad situation. People sometimes mock those who "stay together for the kids". Well, why not? What is a better alternative? Let's finish this sentence. Instead of staying together for the kids, maybe they should split up to find a better sex partner. This puts things into perspective. Give me the other reasons why people divorce. Maybe they don't feel the attraction. Maybe they have grown apart. Well, are these reasons equal or more important than the emotional, mental and spiritual growth of their children? I don't think so.
Finally, divorcees have been shown to fair much worse than those who stay together. Couples who are contemplating divorce but stay together are almost always happier 5 years later than couples who decide to split up.
I do not know all the details behind Jon and Kate's marriage, and I am only going on what I do know. I understand there are many circumstances in which people feel there is no choice but divorce. We ought to pray for these people. I do not wish to condemn these people either. In fact, I want to recomment what is best for them. I do not believe allowing divorce is the most compassionate thing to do. A valid couple loved each other at some point and this love ought to be selfless, and therefore it can be rekindled. Again, it a very sad situation when a couple thinks about divorce. I hope they make the right decision.
I believe Jon and Kate ought to try to resolve things and stay together to raise their family like they committed to doing. Let's keep them in our prayers so that they will do not their will, but God's will in this matter.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 7:42 am
Thursday, June 25, 2009
One of my favorite actors died a couple of weeks ago, David Carradine, who played Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu and Kung Fu the Legend Continues. That was one of my favorite shows, and I even liked the reruns a lot.
And today, not only Michael Jackson, but also Farrah Fawcett died. She died of anal cancer. She will be buried in a Catholic cemetery and is Catholic herself. I am not sure the name of the cemetery.
May all these people go on to experience God's love in heaven.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 7:39 pm
I just heard that Michael Jackson has died, or at least that's the news that is being reported by L.A. Times. I feel very sad for Michael. It's sad that he died at a young age. I also feel sad because a lot of the accusations against him were unproven and he won the court cases in which he appeared. I do not think we should judge Michael Jackson or say he was a bad person. He had a very great influence on the world and he had a lot of fans. I really do think he had a good heart. Many fans have gathered outside the hospital where he is resting right now. Michael Jackson is a world star and he will be missed.
May the soul of Michael Jackson and of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 7:26 pm
A great sign of hope has taken place in Newfoundland. Philip Melvin, a 30-year old Mobile, Newfoundland & Labrador native was ordained to the sacerdotal priesthood last night at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, appropriately on that saint's feast day, June 24, 2009. The ceremony was very beautiful. Many signs and symbols of an invisible reality were present. First, Philip's intentions, desire, and suitability to be a ministerial priest were confirmed by questions from the bishop. He was then ordained in the ancient custom of laying on of hands. After Archbishop Martin Currie laid his hands on Philip Melvin, the other priests (which seemed to number around 30 or 40) laid their hands on his head also and gave him their blessing.
Later, the archbishop blessed the hands of this new priest with holy chrism. This is to symbolize that Philip's hands will now be used to perform sacred mysteries, or sacraments. These hands will hold the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, they will be laid on the heads of penitents, these hands will touch a child's head as he is being baptized, they will give blessings to those who are ill. These hands are now holy hands, and holy oil is a most appropriate sign of this.
Philip Melvin promised to remain faithful to his vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Many do not understand how someone can do this, but Christ reassures those who do. He says those who can give up marriage for the kingdom of God should do so and are blessed. Paul also recommends celibacy for those who find it possible. We must remember that God's ways are not our ways.
After Philip was ordained, there was a reception at St. Bonaventure's College, located right next to the Basilica. There was a large crowd, including many priests and seminarians. I met up with a friend I met 2 years ago, Francis Zambon. I met him at the Youth Summit in Quebec City, which was a preparatory event for the Eucharistic Congress in the same city one year later. He and several other seminaries are staying at St. Teresa's church, my home church, in St. John's.
Let us all say a special prayer to strengthen Philip Melvin every day in his vocation to this most holy office. May his role as minister of God bring peace and joy to everyone he comes into contact with.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 7:55 am
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
A one-day old baby was found in a shoebox with holes poked in it, in the lobby of an apartment building. The baby had to go to the hospital, but was in good condition. The mother is being sought out and will probably be charged with a felony if she is ever caught. If the day before she had gone to an abortion mill and had the baby killed, she would be let off scott free. Apparently, letting your baby live is a worse crime. In fact, the former is not a crime at all. This is very sad. In the news story it says the residents were outraged and there is a general sense of sadness. Do they not realize that their state and country murders millions of babies each year? These babies that are murdered are only a couple of days younger than this one. In fact, they may be older. I am not sure if this baby was full term. If he was born after 8 months of pregnancy, then many of the babies who are aborted would be older than him.
But where's the outrage for the unborn babies? Babies who are only different from the one in the news because they haven't come out from the birth canal yet. Many police officers will be dispatched to deal with this case, hundreds of hours will be spent, many concerned groups will seek out help for this child. Everyone thinks this is good, and it is! But if someone were to declare themselves pro-life or to say pre-born children deserve to live, they are sometimes ridiculed, insulted, and harrassed by the same people who are champions for the cause of this little one.
On top of that, while it is a tragedy that this baby was left in a shoebox, it appears the mother's intention was not for the baby to die. She did not kill the baby. She left him there with holes in the shoebox. Obviously this is very dangerous, but at least the intention wasn't murder. The intention of abortion IS murder. It is the deliberate killing of a child. How ironic that this woman would be sent to prison for months or years, yet those who murder their children with full awareness are not penalized and are even praised for making a good "choice".
Let's create a culture in which ALL children are respected and loved!
For the story, go here:
Posted by Philip Lynch at 8:39 am
Today I saw the quote that was something along the lines of an atheist is not so different from a theist, he just believes in one less God than the theist. It's been elaborated to say the theist has dismissed all other "gods" and has chosen to believe in one particular God, but the atheist has simply gone one step further and renounced all gods. At first it sounds like it makes sense, but upon further investigation, it is total nonsense. Let me explain why.
Every culture on the face of the planet has historically believed in God. Many are polytheistic, others are monotheistic, while still others are pantheistic. While they differ on the specifics of what God is like, there is no disagreement that there was some divine entity in the universe. The atheist presents a worldview devoid of God, as opposed to a worldview with God in it. That is the essential difference. Atheists will often try to show that there are thousands of different ideas about God, and they can't all be correct so how can you believe a theist? Well, that's not the point. If everyone has some idea of God, then our question should be what is God really like, not does God exist. An analogy to this would be a man has a wife. Various people have encountered her in different ways. For example, some have heard her on the phone, others have seen pictures of her, some have met her in person, some grew up with her, some met her in later life. Just say 100 people know this woman through one of these methods. If you had a meeting and invited all these 100 people and asked about this man's wife, no one would say she doesn't exist or that the man is single. They may have various ideas about her, some of which may be correct, others which may be false, but the question of whether she exists never comes up, nor should it.
Also, some people may say she has red hair, others might say blond, some may say black, and some may say brown. Now, just say 25% of people believe in each of these colours. If her hair is actually red, those who believe her hair is red would be correct. If the people who believe her hair is red could show why others are wrong, then they could show others their error. For example, those who think her hair is black may have seen a black and white photo. Those who thought it was brown, perhaps the film was tinted. May those who thought it was blond thought so because the picture they saw was too bright. But this does not mean that everyone is wrong because they have different opinions. It just means one knows the truth. And they all know some truth about her.
The statement tries to make a Christian's belief seem very precarious. It presents the Christian as picking oranges from a tree because he believes each one he comes across is spoiled, or has some error and needs to be removed. After removing dozens of oranges, just one remains. The theist looks at it and accepts it, but almost out of a sense that it's the last straw. If he picks this last orange, there are no oranges left. At first he went about picking all the oranges off the tree without even thinking about it much, but now that there's only one left, he defends it with everything he has. The atheist is then presented as being the brave one who sees one last orange and picks it off as quickly as he did the rest. The problem here is that atheism is also an orange. Atheism too is a worldview. In fact, if anything is precarious, it's the atheist point of view. Every orange on the tree has in common a belief in God, but atheist is the lone fruit that does not. Of all the possibilities, 99% are theist and 1% are atheist. This tree of humanity has produced a God-centered people, and the only abnormality is the atheistic point of view. It's the shriveled up fruit that's barely clinging to life.
A point which needs to be made is that the idea presented here is that a theist dismisses all theories about the universe except the Christian one, but how is this different from everything in the field which atheists love so much - science. Before something in the realm of science is shown conclusively, there are dozens or hundreds of theories. Take for instance heliocentrism and its causes. Various cultures believed different things about this issue. Some believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. Others believed the Sun was a divine being that went around the Earth. Some believed the Earth revolved around the sun. As to how it happened, there were many theories also. Some thought the planets had minds of their own. Some believed they were connected by invisible connectors. Some thought God just continually willed the planets to arrange themselves in a certain pattern. Copernicus and Gallelio later identified exactly what happened and how, and with the help of Isaac Newton and his laws of gravity, further insight was given. Out of the hundreds of theories which circulated about the Earth (excuse the pun), only one was correct. This is the case with everything in science. There are always many theories and one proves to be true. One theory which did not emerge however from the heliocentric debate was that the Earth and the Sun do not exist. It would be silly for me to say, "You as a scientist have dismissed all theories about the Earth and the Sun, except one. I have simply gone a step further and dismissed all possibilities."
An important point to emphasize is that my heritage as a Catholic leads me to say I accept all things from other religions which are true. I do not say I dismiss absolutely everything that comes from other religions and accept my own. If someone believes in God, I accept that. If someone believes in helping each other, I accept that. If someone believes in life after death I accept that as well. I do not say Muslims and Jews are completely false. I say they have much truth. So do Hindus and Buddhists. As any scientist will tell you, if something is true, then something which is opposed to this, is false.
As we do specifically during Easter, let us pray for those who do not yet believe in God. He believes in everyone, and wants them to love him like he loves them so much. Mary, Mother of God, lead all people to your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 7:18 am
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
We as Christians are asked to live in the world, but not be of the world. We should not revel in sinful activities and should instead seek Christ and his teachings which come from his Church. So, how are we to react to mainstream media, including movies? Are we to become proverbial Stylites and move away from society, by building emotional and spiritual towers, in order to avoid occasions of sin? How does this relate to movies?
In today's world, movies are inundated with drugs, sex, violence, foul language, and profanity. Sometimes it seems completely gratuitous, without rhyme or reason, added simply to titillate viewers. Sometimes films which lack creative power will resort to cheap tricks to mask its obvious shortfalls. Every second word is F* this or F* that. Romantic relationships are not implied but rather graphically displayed on screen. How should we react to this?
I believe we should avoid these films IF they have no creative or artistic raison-d'etre. Obvious examples are pornographic or extremely gory movies. Movies such as these are an assault to our sensibilities. They may even have the ability to dull our sense of justice. But I do not think we should avoid all movies simply because they contain objectionable material. We still live in the world, and as we know, often this world is not a pretty place. There is war, famine, sexual abuse, violence, foul language, and profanity. If a film's purpose is to portray something that's real, it would not make sense to distort reality. For example, to portray a drug dealers who is overly polite to his customers or for a war to involve people playing dodgeball and exclaming "shucks" whenever they are hit. This would not be realisitic.
Take a movie like Schindler's List. This movie shows graphic war scenes, it shows violence and despair, but it is based on reality. They are not simply adding these things to make money. These are realistic adaptations of truth. Similarly with the Pianist, which shows the sinfullness of Naziism. One of my favorite movies of all time is The Passion of the Christ. Many said it was far too violent. But my opinion was that the violence made the message all the more powerful. Had the director made Christ walk effortlessly with the Cross and then painlessly be crucified, many would be left wondering why anyone would have a devotion to the Cross of Christ. How would the imagery of the New Testament make any sense? When Christ said take up your cross and follow me, would he mean do something easy? As I've elaborated on in a previous article, my favorite part of the Passion of the Christ movie was when Mary rushes to assist her child who is suffering tremendously. He lifts himself from the ground, his face covered in blood, gasping for air, and he says "Behold, I make all things new." This is so powerful and it would not have been possible without the previous violence of the film.
I believe there are movies with no foul language, violence, or sex which are potentially far more problematic than ones that contain them all in spades. These movies may even be rated G. Movies like the Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, the Compass, and the Harry Potter series have much more potential for harm. The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are problematic because they try to pass off falsehoods as truth. Sure, everyone knows the movies themselves are fictitious, but what people do not realize is that the background information is false. For example, when Tom Hank's character says the Vatican killed a famous scientist because he taught the heliocentric model, therefore Mr. Langdon has to investigate this, well people who know no history from that period will likely not believe Mr. Langdon is a real investigator, but they may very well take for granted that the Vatican really did kill the famous scientist. Similarly, if someone in a movie says "Let's go to the capital of Canada, Toronto", not many people will say well, this is a fictional movie, so I will not believe Toronto is the capital. Of course, the capital is Ottawa, but many would be led to believe otherwise.
Then you have a movie like the Compass, which blatantly promotes atheism to children. Sure, it's rated G or PG, but the content is absolutely unsuitable. Children cannot logically think about the claims made in the film. When the film attacks the Catholic Church or Christianity, the children may not even be aware of the issues they raise, but what happens when their parents tell them about the Church, but the children have heard many falsehoods already about her. They may believe the lie more than the truth. Harry Potter is along the same vein, because it promotes the illicit practice of witchcraft which is against Christianity, but it is targeted to youngsters. These films bring people to the near occassion of sin, and cause people who are not very familiar with the truth to potentially drift away from their faith. This is the sin of scandal and it is very serious.
In the final analysis, I believe movies with objectionable material can be viewed assuming they have some value. But I would advise people with children to be very careful what they watch. Even, for them to be careful what they themselves watch. If you are going to watch a religious-themed movie, make sure you know the truth first. And I would also advise those who make movies to be careful about leading the young ones into sin or deceit, Jesus said it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be cast into the ocean.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 11:32 am
Friday, June 19, 2009
The Human-Animal Fallacy is a term I invented myself. I do not know if any research has ever been done on this topic or if this idea generally exists. I know the principles behind it certainly exist and it is well-founded in Christian and specifically Catholic teaching. The idea behind the Human-Animal Fallacy is a modern belief that if it's good enough for animals, it's good enough for humans, or that if we ought not do something with humans, the same applies to animals. Essentially this fallacy says that there are no distinctions between the dignity rightfully given to a person and that which is rightfully given to an animal. This philosophy may not sound too bad, but it is actually very dangerous. Accepting that human beings are special is very important.
In an article many years ago, author Farley Mowat called the annual seal hunt a holocaust. Of course, his intention was to show that the seal hunt was cruel and inhumane and ought to be stopped. But what happened was people reacted angrily that he would compare killing seals to killing humans. This outrage is not common enough as far as I'm concerned. Anytime an animal is compared to a human person, we do injustice to humanity. We ought to love and respect animals, but not to the point that we respect humanity.
Whenever you turn on the TV nowadays, another celebrity is out campaigning to save the whales, or save the dolphins. Perhaps they are flying to Newfoundland in their private jets to put an end to the seal hunt. Maybe you've seen models in PETA commercials comparing wearing fur to committing murder. I spoke to a lady at work one time who said she feels bad when an animal is hurt, but is not bothered too much when a person is injured because "the person probably brought it on themselves" according to her.
Not only have people started to equate animal suffering to human suffering, they have begun to see animal suffering as far more problematic. In their way of thinking, animals are completely innocent beings who are being hurt by malevolent people who care nothing for nature. These poor innocent creatures do not deserve to be treated poorly at our hands. However, when it comes to people, well, they probably deserve it.
Although animal rights activists may have the goal of creating a better world for animals, this has not been the effect. Rather, we have only started to treat humans with less dignity. Our Catholic faith teaches us that we are stewards of the animal and plant kingdom and that they are here to serve us. We ought not abuse animals unnecessarily, but their primary purpose is to advance the cause of humanity. We have dominion over the earth and all her inhabitants. Then, we as humans are the pinnacle of creation on this Earth. A human life is more valuable than an animal life. Attempts to increase the worth of humans has had only a negative effect on humanity. People are now valued based on what they DO rather than who they ARE. This used to be the criterion used for animals. If a horse was productive, he was valuable. But if a horse broke his leg, he did not provide value and therefore it was most advantageous to put him down in a humane way. But now we are using this mentality for humans.
For example, we now ask what value a particular elderly person might have for us. We have decided that many elderly people cannot work, cannot support themselves, so many are trying to pass euthanasia laws. This would allow us to eliminate the humans who are not "adding" to the world. Same goes for unborn children. If a child has the promise to bring great joy and fulfillment to a mother's life, then she will value and love that child. But if a mother has not specifically desired a child, a question arises as to whether she should "keep" it. In other words, should she have an abortion. Unfortunately, most abortions happen because a child is not something a mother "wants" at a particular time. This stance would be unthinkable if a person's value came not from what they "do" but rather from who they are. This would cause euthanasia and abortion to be unconscionable.
Seeing human beings as means of production rather than as special creatures made in the image and likeness of God has allowed many genocides and mass murders to occur, including the holocaust. Lines are being continually blurred between humanity and animals. I once saw a cartoon that showed an egg being broken open and the yolk coming out with a faded superimposed picture of a baby over it with the words "abortion?" The image meant to convey that breaking an egg is tantamount to abortion.
How many people have been lured into donating all their time and money to helping animal shelters to the point of neglecting human suffering. I believe animals can experience pain, but the question remains whether they can experience true suffering. Suffering would seem to be a rational realization and comparison between what is and what ought to be. Suffering involves mental trauma and distress. Can animals be attributed these characteristics? Perhaps animals perceive pain and have instincts to guide them in their actions, but can they really contemplate the existential nature of the pain they are experiencing? Regardless, this is not the issue.
The point is we need to make the proper distinction between animals and humans. I believe we ought to treat animals with love and respect, but only to the point their natures and being would merit. We should save a child before we save any animal. Even if the choice is between a thousand rare rhinos and one child, I believe we are morally obligated to save that child, rather than any number of animals.
Let us contemplate this day on our Godly image and likeness, and remember that Christ died for us so that we can join him in Heaven.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 1:36 pm
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Last night was a very special time. Redemptorists from all across Canada met at St. Teresa's for their provincial English-speaking meeting. I went to the Mass and reception afterward. There were 10 Redemptorist priests and the archbishop of St. John's, Martin Currie. It was especially touching at the end of Mass, when Archbishop Currie was speaking about his near-death experience. Earlier this year, his grace was at home when the area was filled with carbon monoxide. The bishop was asleep and would have died, only someone wondered why he was not yet at Mass. They rushed to his room and found him clinging to life. He was rushed to the emergency room of the hospital and later sent to intensive care.
The archbishop broke down, unable to control his tears, as he recalled how near death, Our Lady of Perpetual Help held out her hand and told him she would lead him. He said it was her intercession that saved his life. This reminds me of Pope John Paul II's assassination attempt. He also experienced a vision of the Virgin, this time as Our Lady of Fatima. He had a special devotion to her, and an M was on his emblem representing the Virgin. Martin Currie, bishop of St. John's and Grand Falls, is lucky to be alive and he believes it was due in part to Mary's intercession.
Another highlight of my night was the reception which followed Mass. We got to see many great priests who have been part of the St. Teresa's community for decades. Fr. Tom Kelly was celebrating his 55th year as a priest, and Fr. Jim Davis was celebrating his 65th year as a Redemptorist and 60th year as a priest.
At the reception, I had a great chat with Fr. Mark Miller, who is a bioethicist and moral theologian. We talked about everything from suicide, to euthanasia, to embryonic stem cell research, to Terry Shiavo, and more. It was very enlightening.
The priests who were there were as follows (from memory):
Fr. Mike Brehl
Fr. Tom Kelly
Fr. Steve Morrissey
Fr. Leo English
Fr. Tom O'Rourke
Fr. Charlie Goakery
Fr. Mark Miller
Fr. Remi Hebert
Fr. Jon Hansen
Fr. Jim Davis
Abp. Martin Currie
Last night also marked the first day for the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It ends on her feast day on June 27th, the eve of my birthday. May Our Lady touch your life like she has touched the lives of Archbishop Currie and Pope John Paul II.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 3:21 pm
Monday, June 15, 2009
I just had to post this great article by Michael Coren. I saw it in The Interim, Canada's pro-life newspaper. I searched for it online and found it on The National Post website. I am posting it from there onto my blog. Here it is:
Michael Coren: Anti-papal hypocrisy spreads faster than AIDS
Posted: March 31, 2009, 7:30 AM by NP Editor
Michael Coren, Full Comment
The attacks upon the Roman Catholic Church in the last two weeks following the Pope’s comments about the dangers of condom use in Africa in the attempt to prevent AIDS have been an extraordinary lesson in applied ignorance and the survival of prejudice. Talk-radio hosts who have long callously and naively blamed Africans for all of Africa’s sufferings suddenly become champions of the continent. Doctors and academics who have shown no previous concern for the plight of Africa are instantly transformed into experts and partisans. It is enough to make one weep. The weeping, however, should be for Africa rather than a bunch of anti-Catholic hypocrites.
Some context first. AIDS had smashed its way through Africa for almost two generations before many people in Europe or North America had even heard of it. It was killing poor black people many miles away and nobody matters less to the wealthy whites than poor blacks many miles away. It was only when the disease was brought into the male homosexual community of the United States that the likes of Elizabeth Taylor became so emotional on television and numerous actors, politicians and public figures made AIDS one of the most fashionable causes in modern times.
Indeed, AIDS is a fascinating case-study in itself in that, while politicized statistics and agenda-driven activists try to tell us otherwise, AIDS in the West is still largely a concern for gay men and intravenous drug-users. Remember the dramatic announcement from Canadian health officials that the AIDS rate had doubled in the mainstream community in one particular area? It had. From one person to two. But it is the suffering itself rather than the nature of the sufferer that should motivate us. Problem is, this philosophy was not applied when it was Africans rather than Californians in need.
That, at least, was the attitude of the Western elites — the very people now condemning the Roman Catholic Church. Yet it was the Church that was in Africa caring for people with AIDS when Hollywood and the Western media were more concerned with puppies and kittens. Even today, almost half of all Africans with AIDS are nursed by people working for the Roman Catholic Church. A Church, by the way, that has also called for all African debt to be forgiven and for a radical redistribution of wealth from north to south.
None of this is mentioned when Pope Benedict is attacked for his condemnation of the condom fetish. If we read the man’s statements, however, what we see is a sophisticated deconstruction of Western double-standards and a thoughtful critique of the failed attempt to control AIDS.
First, it’s not working. In countries where condoms are state-distributed, free and ubiquitous AIDS has not been controlled and is often spreading. Second, even where AIDS is less of an issue, such as in North America, the increased availability and use of condoms has coincided with an annual increase in STDs and so-called unwanted pregnancies. Third, one failure of a condom to work — and the failure rate is significant if not overwhelming — is not a mere mistake but a death sentence. Fourth, condoms enable promiscuity rather than encourage abstinence. And sexual activity is about more than mere intercourse; a cut finger or a small body wound can allow infection to occur.
Fifth, how dare we treat black people as if they were children. They are capable of self-control and all over Africa, most successfully but not exclusively in Uganda, there are elaborate, empathetic and extraordinarily successful abstinence programs that emphasize humanity rather than lust — a philosophy that runs directly contrary to the sexual gratification cult so favoured by some of the people in the West now so apoplectic at Pope Benedict’s comments.
Of course, there is more to this anti-papal neurosis than television comedians making jokes about celibate clergy and commentators assuming that they know far more about reality than a priest who has worked in an African city slum for forty years. Conventional wisdom has it that Africa has a population problem and that Africans can become “more civilized” if they have fewer children. It’s an organized and sometimes quite sinister campaign. Africa is, if anything, underpopulated and the problems of the continent have far more to do with Western greed, colonization, resources exploitation and arms sales than with family size. The Church has spoken out on these issues for decades and was, for example, one of the leading voices at the United Nations that persuaded the multinational pharmaceutical companies to make their anti-AIDS drugs generic and thus affordable in the Third World.
Paradox and lack of understanding rules the day. We applaud an obscenely wealthy American actress when she takes a black baby from Africa, but forget that the Hollywood values she epitomizes encourage loveless sex and treating one another as sexual objects rather than distinct individuals — the precise phenomenon that encourages the spread of AIDS. More than this, the solution to children living in poverty in Africa is not to remove the children but to remove the poverty. But there is never a camera crew around for that sort of thing.
It appears these days to be open season on Pope Benedict XVI. In that he leads an organization that is supposed to be a mirror held up to the world to reflect society’s failures and absurdities, the man must be doing a great deal right.
Michael Coren is an author and broadcaster.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sonny Bono and Cher's daughter Chastity Bono needs medical and psychological help and not a sex change operation. Recently, the famous daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono has said she wants to "transistion" from a female to a male. In today's society, it might seem out of place to criticize this, and we are obliged to see it as a personal "choice", rather than a mistake.
But unless we recognize something as a problem, the people involved will never get the help they need. God does not make mistakes and give a male soul to a female body. The Catholic Church believes homosexual desires can be a burden on some people, but that they must strive to be pure and holy and live a chaste life.
This is what the catechism says on the issue:
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
It's sort of ironic that this woman's name is Chastity, since that's exactly what she's called to in life unless she can overcome her same-sex attraction and live out a heterosexual lifestyle.
If a disease or psychological illness is not seen as such, those in a similar situation will never get the help they so desperately need. Many people have overcome their same sex attraction and went on to lead a happy normal life.
There are many psychological issues which make people believe things which are not true concerning their bodies. For example, Body Integrity Identity Disorder is a psychological illness which causes an individual to believe he must remove one of his limbs. It is listed in the DSM-V. It would not be good to advise this person to remove a limb to satisfy their perceived affliction. This would be horrific. Attempting to mutilate oneself in this way is against our nature, but this is just a different kind of mutilation, just as a sex change operation is.
Another psychological illness listed in the DSM-V is Body dymosphic disorder. This illness causes people to imagine there is something in particular wrong with their body when in fact there is no disorder. It causes the individual great distress and psychological trauma. It is distinct from issues such as perceived obesity.
Many people, such as Michael Jackson and Jocelyn Wildenstein have undergone countless plastic surgeries believing they needed to change their bodies. We know the results can be quite unattractive.
What all these things have in common is that just because an individual feels they must fundamentally change their appearance, we mustn't automatically accept this and simply call it a "choice". A sex change operation is no different. There have been people who have believed they were meant to be animals, so they put themselves through countless surgeries to achieve a look like an animal. This of course does not mean God "accidentally" put them in the wrong species. We as humans are rational creatures with a rational soul, and can never be an animal.
The point is, our minds, bodies, sex, and soul are all united and coherent. Any attempt to toy with our nature is immoral and violates our design. We must always strive to become more perfect in our nature, not to deviate from it completely.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Mr. Obama, the most pro-abortion, anti-family president in the history of the United States has declared June, my birthmonth, as LGBT pride month. That's right, not just one day, or even a week, but an entire month.
He has issued a press release marking the "event". In it, he presents gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people as hard working Americans with good values who want to improve the country, who have been harrassed endlessly by conservative zealots bent on destroying their lives. He recalls an event 40 years ago when members of the LGBT community were harrassed, an event which he says had become "all too common". He says members of the LGBT community have made and continue to make lasting contributions to the fabric of American society. The specific example he gives is their fight against AIDS and HIV. He also says he will continue to fight for gay civil unions, the ability of LGBT people to adopt children, and to support LGBT "families" and "seniors". Obama sees these words as politically advantageous, but at what cost? Let me analyze this move on Obama's part in light of Catholic teaching.
Catholic teaching proclaims that the intent of marriage is to express the love of Christ and to raise children in a healthy environment. The marriage between a man and a woman is the only way to ensure the proper complementarity necessary for a child's growth. There is no such complementarity when both "parents" are of the same sex. Children naturally have the right to be raised by their parents. A gay couple can never give this option. There are circumstances where a child cannot be raised by his own parents, but this is the exception which society should work to prevent, rather than the rule. Artificially creating a "family" unit which does not involve both parents may seem politically advantageous, but it is not fair to a child. Some children are raised in foster homes. Many peopel are aware of the terrible circumstances many children must suffer in these situations. Many children go to sleep at night asking "Where's my mommy and daddy?" but the assumption has always been that if both parents came through and took the child back, that would be a victory for everyone. By making gay marriage "acceptable" as just one of many options, we take away the impetus to move toward natural families. It's the same as if we are fighting a disease for which there is no known cure. We must make those with this disease feel comfortable but always with the idea that some day we may find a cure and they can live without it. The disease in this case represents a child without his parents. But the LGBT movement for gay marriage is basically like saying this is not a disease anymore and no cure is necessary. We must stop looking for a cure because we do not acknowledge this as a disease. But guess what? Admit it or not, the disease remains. On top of all of this, there are other moral issues involved. If a gay couple wants a child of their own, they must be artificially inseminated (in the case of a woman). If a gay male couple wants a child of their own, one must illicitly use his sperm to produce an embryo. Creating babies in a test-tube, or outside the bond of true marriage is immoral. Not only that, many embryos are often destroyed in these procedures. Gay "families" always involve at least one form of immoral behavior. They cannot exist outside this context.
On the surface, the words of Obama do not sound too bad. They just seem to be asking people not to be discriminatory to people who are in the LGBT community, and on this note, the Catholic Church would agree. She says we must treat all people with love and respect, regardless of their behaviors. We must love and respect people from the LGBT community, but we must also keep in mind that they are doing something sinful, and that loving someone does not entail approving of all of their actions. But Obama is not just asking us to respect all people, he is making people who disagree with LGBT activism look like bigots and ignorant harrassers, who are just afraid of people who are different from them. This is a popular tactic being used by gay activists. Anyone who speaks out against gay marriage, homosexual behavior, gay adoption, or any other issue are simply labeled as a bigot and dismissed. But this doesn't happen for any other group. If I campaign against child sex slavery, I am not labeled a bigot, even if I may not be involved in this whole scene. I would say 99% of people who disagree wtih gay marriage and gay adoption have no phobia of gay people whatsoever. If I meet a gay person, I do not run away in fear. I see them as a person and treat them with respect. But that doesn't mean I can't engage in a debate about whether gay marriage or gay adoption is right. I can also say a war is not justified even if I am not IN the war. I can say theft is immoral, even if I am not a thief or even if I have never had anything stolen by a thief. This is a fallacy that often crops up in the debate about gay marriage and abortion.
A popular slogan of the National Organization of Marriage is Gay and lesbian have the right to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to change marriage for everyone. And that's exactly what's at stake. The fight against gay marriage is not about not letting gay people live as they wish, it's about the impact it is having on our lives. I believe in the parents' natural law right to teach their own children. Therefore, if a gay person teaches his adopted child about gay marriage, then there's not much I can do about it (although in this case, since the child is not naturally his, you could argue he has less right to teach this child). But that's not what's at stake. What's at stake is what everyone else is allowed to do. The gay rights lobby is not satisfied with gay people living as they wish and straight people living as they wish. No, they want to change legislation so that people not only have to accept gay people, they should be forced to speak about gay marriage as though it is equal to marriage between a man and a woman. How?
Well, if gay marriage becomes legal, as well as gay adoption, as it is already in some places, a public school cannot legally say marriage is when a man and a woman fall in love and get married and have children. Now they must say marriage is when two individuals, be they a man and a woman, two women, or two men fall in love and are united by the state authority. Then when speaking about children, they can no longer just present a natural child birth, involving sex between a married couple which results in a child being conceived and eventually born. Now, they must present the act of having children as any number of possibilities. Anything from natural conception and birth to a process involving masturbation, in-vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood, selective reduction (i.e. abortion), adoption, and possible payments at various stages of this process. This teaching will not be optional, but forced on the population.
People who have presented the constant teachings of the Church, the Church to whom Western civilization owes everything, have been persecuted. In Canada, a priest was charged for speaking against homosexuality. Never did he incite hatred or cause violence. Rather, he presented the constant teaching of the church on the issue and said it is incompatible with Christianity. In Massachuttsetts, the largest adoption agency in the state was the Catholic adoption service. A gay couple went there to adopt a child, but the organization refused because it felt that complying would be immoral. The Catholic agency which has helped thousands of families adopt needy children made a compromise and said they would refer gay and lesbian couples to other adoption agencies who actually provide adoption to gay couples. The gay lobby was not happy with this and pursued the Catholic organization in court. The actions of the Catholic organization were deemed discriminatory and they were shut down. Gay rights lobby 1, countless families and children 0. You see, the gay rights lobby is not satisfied with protection to believe what they want. They want to use the law to force everyone to accept their lifestyles.
Ultimately the only thing Obama's decision to make June the month for LGBT people will do is cause more and more harrassment against people who want to express their view that marriage is between a man and a woman. The persecution has already begun and will continue to get worse. Obama is a major catalyst in all of this. He wants people who defend traditional marriage to feel like bigots and LGBT people to feel justified in feeling like victims and people who need to fight for whatever they want.
The most ironic part of Obama's official White House letter is the last part where he marks the date as "the year of the Lord 2009". If Obama really believed Jesus is our Lord, he would never try to sabatoge the institution of marriage which Christ elevated to a sacrament.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Christ tells us to love our enemies. He said you have heard it said to love those who are your friends, however, Jesus points out that even evil people do this. We, as Christians, are held to a higher standard. But do we have to “love” Hitler, for example, or anyone who does evil? How is this possible?
Usually the answer people who ask this question receive is that we must love the sinner, but hate the sin. But what does this look like in real life? If a man kills someone close to us, how must we treat him? Do we say, “I really hate what you did, but as a person, I have much love toward you.” Must we be this person's friend? Should we visit him and send birthday cards? Isn't this what we do for people we love? How it is indeed even possible to love someone like this? Must we completely go against every instinct in our bodies in order to “love” someone even though in reality we dislike this person immensely? I do not think we do. I think the love Jesus was talking about was a particular type.
I believe the Christian message is that we must love one another, regardless of who the “other” is. But I think this is a specific type of love. In the Bible, there are three types of love. There is brotherly love, which we have for our siblings and relatives, there is eros, which is love between close people such as spouses, and then there is agape, the greatest type of love. This goes beyond feelings. This love means we hope for the ultimate salvation of someone. We pray that they will be united with God and be drawn close to him. But it does not entail a warm fuzzy feeling inside, necessarily. This is the issue I believe for most people when it comes to this issue. Let's use the Hitler example again. A proper type of love to display toward Hitler would be to hope for his eternal salvation with God, however we can still be extremely angry and upset about his actions. If he went to shake your hand, you can refuse, you do not need to smile at him, or talk to him. You can even seek to bring him to justice. We cannot however hope that he ends up in Hell or that he turns away from God and opposes him. We must still hope for his eternal salvation.
Is this difficult? Sometimes extremely, but Christ's message is rarely easy. I think the distinction being made here is a very important one. Of course we must love the sinner, and hate the sin, but we also do not need to be best friends with someone who does evil. We must help them if they accept help, we must practice Christian virtue with them as with everyone, and we must hope for their eternal salvation, but we needn't go with them to the baseball game.
Monday, June 08, 2009
In light of the Angels and Demons movie, an interesting article about the Catholic Church and Science
There is a very interesting article published by USA Today. I will post it in its entirety here:
GENEVA (AP) — A senior Vatican delegation visited the world's biggest nuclear physics laboratory, proclaiming that true faith has no problems with science.
The Roman Catholic Church was represented by Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican City's governor, as it toured the CERN facility and its 17-mile proton accelerator this week. It welcomed any breakthroughs physicists could provide on understanding the basis of the universe, and said they would also advance religion.
"The Church never fears the truth of science, because we are convinced that all truth comes from God," Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican City's governor, said Thursday in Geneva. "Science will help our faith to purify itself. And faith at the same time will be able to broaden the horizons of man, who cannot just enclose himself in the horizons of science."
Lajolo spoke a day after visiting the laboratory beneath the Swiss-French border and receiving a crash course in particle physics from Edward Witten, a professor at the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, at the forefront of attempts to unify Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity with quantum mechanics.
CERN's atom smasher, the world's largest, is seen as vital in this quest. Physicists hope soon to use the $10 billion machine to smash protons from hydrogen atoms crash into each other at high energy, record what particles are produced and gain a better idea of the makeup of the universe and everything in it.
Damages in the initial start-up last September have set the project back a year and it is expected to be turned on again this autumn. Researchers hope the collisions will show on a tiny scale what happened one-trillionth of a second after the so-called Big Bang, which many scientists theorize was the massive explosion that formed the universe. The theory holds that the universe was rapidly cooling at that stage and matter was changing quickly.
Lajolo said scientific truths could "correct some of our opinions" about scripture and faith. He said nothing in science could contradict the Holy Scriptures — only interpretations — because both were rooted in God.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The full article can be found here:
Apologetics is explaining and defending the faith. A favorite show of mine is Catholic Answers Live, which is all about apologetics. You can hear it at www.catholic.com. Every 3 or 6 months, they have a show where instead of people calling in asking questions, people call in and are ASKED questions (It's called Who Wants to be an Apologist).
There are 5 questions, the first 3 are considered easy or moderate, and the last 2 are considered difficult. If a contestant gets one correct answer, they get a $25 gift certificate for the Catholic
Answers store. If they get 3 right, they get $50, and for 5 correct answers, they receive $100.
The show was supposed to air tonight, but it was postponed due to technical difficulties. I will try calling in the next time it comes on the air. Last time I called in, I got all 5 questions correct and
got $100 worth of quality material. It was well worth the phone call!
Posted by Philip Lynch at 6:44 pm
If you are used to listening to the mainstream media to get all your news, you may be quite familiar with the term anti-abortion. In Christian circles, the term pro-life is preferred. What’s the difference, and why is one preferable?
I believe pro-life is the only accurate word to describe those who, in part, denounce abortion, and there are several reasons. First of all, someone could be at the same time anti-abortion, but nonetheless still not pro-life. For example, they could be against abortion, but for euthanasia. In that case, they would be anti-abortion but not pro-life.
Anti-abortion is a stupid term because pro-lifers are not against abortion just because it is abortion. They are against abortion because it kills an innocent person. If landmines were set up in schools and children walked on them and were being killed, pro-lifers would protest this as well. Would they then be called anti-land-miners? Of course not. If knives were being used to murder young people, would those who protest this occurrence be called “anti-knifers”? No, they would not. In fact, they may actually be all for knives and even be a professional chef who uses them all the time. Therefore, we are not against the “procedure” of abortion, rather we are against what the abortion does. We are opposed to anything which causes the death of innocents.
Of course, there is a lot more to calling pro-lifers “anti-abortion” than simply a mistake in semantics. Calling someone anti-abortion first of all makes him or her against something rather than for something. All of a sudden, you have pro-choice and anti-abortion forces. No one is against choice, are they? Choice is always a good thing, right? But look at those other people, they are against something. Who are they to tell me I’m not allowed to do something? How dare they! But if we change the terms around, our side sounds a lot nicer. Let’s call them pro-life and anti-life. If you hear these names, you think, oh pro-life, that’s good, they are FOR life, from conception to natural death. They want to promote human dignity. That’s a good thing. But this other group is called anti-life. Obviously they do not like life, at least not lives which they deem to be less valuable. Hmm, I wonder if I will be a target for their anti-life campaign? I think this group should be stopped.
After “Dr.” Tiller was killed, there were many articles that came out about his murder. Of course, he killed thousands of children from his abortion mill. Why not check out several articles from the main stream media and see how many call pro-lifers “anti-abortion”, then divide this by the number of times they call pro-choice groups “anti-life”. Oh wait, you can’t divide by zero.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Many people have heard about Berlusconi lately. He's the Prime Minister of Italy, and he's accused of being caught with a naked 18-year-old girl at his mansion. He's being accused of doing
inappropriate things, but he says that is not true and that he'll quit if they are found to be true. Many years ago, President Bill Clinton was accused of having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. It was a huge deal and still precedes Clinton in his reputation. But how do these two events square with Catholic thinking? My answer may surprise you.
Obviously, in Catholic moral theology, committing adultery is a serious offense. It violates the 6th commandment against adultery, as well as the 9th commandment against coveting your neighbor's wife. I am not writing this article, however, to discuss the morality of adultery, which everyone knows is wrong (it is one of the few things people agree on morally these days). What I am going to discuss is my personal opinion on the matter and relating to a well-known Catholic doctrine.
I believe that although these actions by leaders are immoral, they do not automatically disqualify a leader from remaining in his post. I believe there is a separate of public office and personal affairs. A leader should not be elected because he is a nice person, looks attractive, or is good at juggling. He should be elected because he will lead the country in the best way possible, and lead it with morality. We cannot say that because a man commits a personal crime, he cannot act as an officer of the state. A very similar concept to this is found in the Catholic Church with the priesthood. Priests are called to be holy men, as indeed all people are. But if a priest commits a sin, even a mortal one, the sacraments he performs are not invalidated. In other words, his private actions do not invalidate his public actions.
I believe a similar concept should be used for politicians. If a politician promotes good values and is beneficial to a country, we should not attempt to oust him simply because he cheated on his wife. I say simply not to imply that adultery is a minor issue, but rather I say simply in the sense of only, as in he did nothing contrary to the public office.
Many will argue that a person's private behavior can be an indicator for his public behavior, and to some extent I agree. However, a personal mistake will not automatically render a person incapable of looking out for the public interest.
I am open to disagreement on this point. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 3:27 pm
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Who is the real Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Anglican, Episcopalian, Baptist, Church of God?
I believe the answer to this qusetion is the Catholic Church. Let me explain. I believe all of the names above take a part of the Christian faith and call themselves by it, but truly there is only one church. When Christ created the Church, he did not envision 30,000 denominations, all teaching slightly or extremely different theology and philosophy. He envisioned one church, and the only one he established is the Catholic Church. Let me explain how Holy Mother Church fits all the names above.
Pentecostal – 50 Days after Christ's Resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and gave them authority over Christians. They received the power to forgive or retain sins, and they went forth in the name of Christ. That's why we call Pentecost the birthday of the Church. Pentecost refers to 50 days, and is a reference to the 50 days after Christ's Resurrection in which the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire. The church that was born on Pentecost is the Catholic Church, therefore we are the Pentecostal Church.
Prebyterian – The Greek name for priest comes from presbyteros meaning elder. Our church receives the sacraments through the priest, and thus they offer us a share in Christ's life. Therefore our church is founded upon priests, or presbyters, therefore the Catholic Church is the only true Presbyterian Church.
Church of Christ – As I mentioned previously, Christ only established one church and he prayed that it would be united like he and the Father are united. Since Christ founded but one Church and that is the Catholic Church, we are rightfully called the Church of Christ.
Anglican – Anglican simply means originating from England. Anglican means the English Church. Since only one Church, the Catholic Church is truly universal, it is the true church of all countries. No country can claim a completely unique church apart fom all the others. Therefore, the only true Anglican Church is the Catholic Church, just as the only Irish Church is the Catholic Church or the only Scottish Church is the Catholic Church.
Episcopalian – Of course, this is a term often used by a certain variety of Anglicans, but it is not legitimate for their use. Episcopalian refers to the episcopacy. This terms means over seer. Epi means over and scope means to view. This is the name given to bishops. The term bishop is derived from episcopal. Episcopal refers to the fact that our church has a lineage of bishops all the way back to the apostles. Especially important is the Pope who carries the lineage of Peter, the pre-eminent apostle. Because only the Catholic Church maintains a valid and licit apostolic succession, only we can be referred to as Episcopal or Episcopalian.
What makes one a member of Christ's Church? Baptism. When babies are baptized, they become members of Christ's true church, the Catholic Church. This is also true for adults who are baptized after going through an RCIA program. Therefore, we are the only true baptist church. Other baptisms are licit, but they are not valid. There is only one baptism - however, one must become a full member of the Catholic Church in order to be a member of Christ's true church.
Finally, since Christ IS God, the Catholic Church is God's church, therefore the Catholic Church is the Church of God.
As you can see, groups try to gain legitimacy by adopting names which would falsely lead one to believe they may be a true church. Make no mistake. Their roots are short, the Catholic roots are deep and span the centuries. Be safe on the bark of the boat of Peter!
Monday, June 01, 2009
As I've been learning more about Catholic philosophy, I've learned it is often at odds with the philosophy of ordinary citizens. One area of difference is the distinction between means and end. In Catholic moral philosophy, I find the means is often the most important consideration in a moral dilemma. This will determine if an act is right or wrong. However, many ordinary people believe the end is what determines the morality of an act. This causes much conflict when discussing moral issues.
The number of areas to which this can apply are vast, so I will have to limit my examples to a few.
Test tube babies are a good example of this. In Catholic moral thinking, it is immoral to purposely and radically alter God's plan for sexuality. We believe God created sex and did so in a certain way. Sex is reserved for marriage and has as its primary purpose procreation. But this primary purpose cannot be disassociated from its secondary purpose of union between spouses. If either of these elements is missing, the act of sex is immoral. This type of union is only appropriate in the context of marriage, as of course procreation is. Catholics believe children have the right to be born in the loving embrace of their parents in the marital act. This is how God created conception. A purposeful rejection of this plan would be to take sperm and egg through an artificial manner and fuse the two together in a test tube. This violates God's plan for unity between the spouses and also takes away a child's right to be born in the loving embrace of his or her parents. On top of all this, in vitro fertilization methods are notorious for the destruction of embryos, many of them. Even on a scientific level, I have issues with this. Think about it. We've all read in science books or seen science videos showing the act of procreation between a couple. In it we see hundreds of millions of sperm vying for a chance to fertilize the egg. I do not believe this is a coincidence. Rather, I believe God has created it this way so that the strongest, healthy sperm will give its DNA to the egg. It's a natural way to ensure the healthiest baby.
Because of the reasons listed above, the Catholic Church teaches that in-vitro fertilization is immoral. Now, just say a couple ignores the Catholic Church on this issue either out of ignorance or they do not assent to the teaching, and they go to receive in vitro fertilization from a facility. A baby is conceived and 9 months later, born. Is this child illegitimate or evil or immoral? No. The baby is as innocent as any other baby born in any other way. The baby is a child of God with a rational soul. The baby is the end.
An act is immoral regardless of whether or not the end is good or bad. Many people cannot understand this from the example above. I heard Catholic Answers Live one day and Karl Keating, the president, was on a program speaking about this. He said a good way to look at this situation is to ask, if the husband raped a woman and she got pregnant and eventually bore a child, and the husband and wife reconciled and decided to raise that child, would the child be immoral, bad, or evil? Of course the child would not be any of those. But that would not make the act of raping someone, especially someone you are not married to, a good action. In other words, the end would not justify the means. But the end itself would not be wrong.
Another example of the opposite would be someone gives a poor family a loaf of bread to eat. The family eats the bread but they all become gravely ill because there was a bacteria in the bread, unbeknowst to the giver. This actions would still be morally good on the part of giver, even though the end was that the family became ill. The means justified the end. The end of course is not good, and in an objective sense it is evil, but the giver is free from any sin whatsoever, so subjectively it is not sinful.
Most people nowadays seem to have to equation mixed up. They believe if something good comes out of something, then it is morally good, regardless of what went into it. For example, they may say it would be ok to kill 1,000 people if that meant you could save the lives of 12,000 people. Or they might say any act which brings about the birth of a child is acceptable because of the result of the action. Once on the news, I saw a story about a strip club that was going to donate part of its “revenue” to charity. This would contravene Catholic moral thinking. They are performing an evil act (stripping) in order to bring about a good outcome (giving money to the poor). This is never allowed because you are still doing evil.
Unfortunately, the mentality that the end justifies the means has become very commonplace. If you look at many of the moral ills in our day, they are the result of this way of thinking. Think about it.
Abortion advocates say an evil act (abortion) will bring about good results (a mother who is not financially burdened, a child who is not “wanted” is not born, a mother saves herself from embarrasment, etc.)
Those who advocate embryonic stem cell research say, we can kill one young human with the result that others will be saved (which they haven't been so far).
Those who say contraception is alright because even though it's evil, it allows something which is good, i.e. That only parents who are “ready” will have children.
In all of these examples, an evil is permitted so that good may come of it. But think about it, what's the point of good coming from something if evil is automatically a part of the whole process. For example, cloning will ALWAYS involve evil, no matter how much good comes of it. Shouldn't we strive for win-win situations, rather than inherently lose-win situations?
I believe it's like Pope John Paul II once said, “When asked to choose between two evils, choose neither.” People sometimes say this is impossible, but many times, people have simply not even attempted this situation. They embrace an evil act in order to produce “good” so often, they start developing a whole thought-process which justifies the evil act so that eventually people start to believe an evil act is actually good. This is the case with contraception for example. No Christian Church had ever accepted contraception because it is morally wrong. Then in 1930, the Anglican Lambert Conference said couples could use contraception in grave situations. It wasn't long before couples started using contraception for any reason whatsoever. Now, among Protestant groups and almost all other people, contraception is not seen as an evil at all, but as an amazing good. Unfortunately the evidence has not shown this. Pope Paul VI encyclical Humanae Vitae made many predictions about what would happen if contraception became widespread, include objectification of women, infidelity, and other lessenings of morality. Could he be more right?
Stand on firm moral ground and realize that the end doesn't justify the means. The means itself must be morally sound or else the entire action is immoral.
Posted by Philip Lynch at 9:48 am