Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Fifth Estate Journalist beats a dead horse

I wrote a letter a couple of years ago to Hana Gartner on the Fifth Estate bemoaning her lack of creativity when she did a story on priestly sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. I said the Fifth Estate should uncover news, not beat dead horses and rehash old canards. She wrote me back, to my surprised, saying she knew it was a dead horse and that she will be doing an article on teacher sexual assault. In my letter I told her teachers abuse children 4 to 10 times more than priests. That article never surfaced from her.

Now another Fifth Estater has written about priestly abuse. His groundbreaking, original story has uncovered new facts and details which no one could have ever imagined... NOT. Lyndon MacIntyre continues to harp on a worn out issue that's well past its expiry date. Why not do something original? If I were a journalist, I would feel bad if the only thing I could do was rehash old canards. The fiction written by MacIntyre called The Bishop's Man talks about a priest who does the dirty work of a cold-hearted bishop. The bishop (of course) is moving around pedophile priests in order to protect the church and allow them to abuse again. The priest is in charge of keeping things hushed up for the Bishop. I guess MacIntyre felt the media hadn't covered this issue quite enough and felt compelled to offer his two cents worth.

Did priests abuse children? Yes. And it's very very terrible and ought to be condemned. But journalists like MacIntyre want people to think priests are far more likely to abuse people than others in society, which is simply untrue. The stereotype of pedophile priest is completely unjustified. Teachers, for example, are 4 to 10 times more likely to abuse children. In order to avoid this criticism, people like MacIntyre say they are not just talking about the abuse, they are talking about the leadership moving priests around. This is usually where people go when you point out that priests are no more likely to commit pedophile acts than anyone else. To respond to that accusation, we must look at some things. Nearly all of the accusation against priests emerged relatively recently, but actually occurred prior to the 80s. In those times, there was a different societal opinion of what should be done with sex offenders.

It was the prevailing professional opinion of psychologists and others at the time that people who committed these acts could be reformed and their behaviors changed and then they could be relocated. Most priests who were not taken away from their active roles or persecuted were sent for rehabilitation for a year or more then reintroduced, ostensibly cured from their psychological issues. It was not a nefarious plot by the hierarchy to abuse more children. The suggestion of this is absurd. A good point to make is that a parallel example occured in the education system. Teachers abused many more children than priests by a factor of at least 4 and perhaps higher than 10. In a whopping 98% of cases, teachers accused of abusing children were put back into their teaching position after a period of time, often in the same school. People would never claim a malicious plot by school administrators to abuse kids.

The point is there have been a million books, movies, documentaries, novels, etc. written on this topic and it's about time authors looked to other, more original topics. This is especially so when two of the fifth estates' top journalists cover the exact same issue. Perhaps "originality" should be added to the hard hitting reports of these journalists.

The cost of abortion is quite vaste in Canada

I have recently been considering the true cost of abortion in Canada. Of course, the main cost is the lives of the children who lose their lives, but let's consider the financial and human costs.

1) Tax dollars. All abortions in Canada, whether it's a woman's first or tenth, are paid for by tax payers. Those who receive the abortion pay absolutely nothing. All associated hospital fees, etc. are paid for by the government, which indirectly I am forced to pay. Where's my "choice" not to pay for this? In Canada there are around 100,000 abortions per year. If the total cost associated with an abortion, and any possible follow-up costs an average of $800, then Canadians fork over $80 million per year for this procedure. This is Life Canada's estimate, and they believe it is conservative, because there are in fact more than 100,000 abortions per year in Canada, and many abortions cost more than $800 (while some may cost less).

2) Opportunity cost. Abortion occupies a privileged status in Canada's health care system. Unlike certain life-saving procedures, abortions are performed on-demand or within a few days. Virtually no abortions are done for medical necessity, yet they take precedence over procedures which save lives. We've all heard horror stories of people who were waiting months or years for a life-saving procedure, but because there were so many waiting, their health was jeorpardized. Some have even lost their lives. Part of the reason for this is lack of facilities, many of which are being occupied for abortion. If a hospital has 4 operating rooms but one is in almost constant use for abortions, then only 3 remain to perform life-saving procedures. Freeing up this additional room would allow 33% life-saving operations. Many people will object to this logic by saying if someone was rushed to the hospital and had to be operated on, an abortion would wait. I'm not talking about acute medical conditions. I'm talking about waiting lists for very important non-elective procedures which are bottle-necked by abortion.

3) Also, if people having an abortion had to pay for their own, that would free up almost $100 million to use on other programs. There is much good that can come from that much money. Perhaps we could hire more doctors and further reduce wait times. Remember, an abortion is by definition an elective procedure. The only exception is the almost non-existent possibility of a mother's life being in danger. But even without legal abortion, this option was always available. Pregnancy is not a disease, it is the normal functioning of a female body. An unborn baby is as natural in a woman's uterus as anything else.

The costs mentioned above are only financial, and do not include moral, social, personal, and other costs. Let's stop using hard-earned tax payer dollars to fund the killing of children.

Hats off to the governor of Rhode Island

The governor of Rhode island has come out in support of the Catholic Church and Bishop Tobin who were unjustly criticized by Representative Patrick Kennedy and later lambasted by screwball Chris Matthews. The Rhode Island Governor made many of the points I did in my previous blog, that the Church has the right to do what it did and that Rep. Kennedy's comments were false and out of place. The Governor also criticized Chris Matthews for his rude behavior with the Bishop.

Kennedy accused the Church of an inconsistent pro-life ethic for not supporting the health care bill. But if the health care bill provides funding for abortion, then the health care bill is not pro-life, and thus cannot be supported. In fact, it would be very anti-life to support a bill which provided federal funding for abortion, since right now the funding is not provided.
Here is an excerpt from the article on this:

But he left no doubt who he thought was in the right when he defended the bishop’s public comments about Kennedy on both local talk radio and in a round of national TV appearances. Along the way, Bishop Tobin said he was “very concerned about the congressman’s increasingly erratic and unpredictable behavior,” and “praying for him.”

Carcieri said: “I think the Bishop had no choice … because if you go back to how this all started, it was basically Congressman Kennedy making pretty outrageous statements about the Catholic Church” and the church’s position on “protecting the sanctity of innocent human beings. So I think the bishop had no choice except to come back and defend the church, which I think he did very well.”

For the full article, please go to http://www.projo.com/news/content/Carcieri_takes_sides_11-26-09_L5GJE3A_v12.38acfd1.html

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I have 12 followers (on my blog)!

But I refuse to call them apostles. That would be going too far!!

Thanks everyone for your support.

Bill Matthews talks at Bishop Tobin

Chris Matthews invited Bishop Tobin on his show Hardball (which should be called Screwball) to discuss the situation involving him and Representative Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island. Patrick Kennedy has spoken out against the Church and said some rather nasty things. He opposes the Church's teaching on abortion and makes that very public. Bishop Tobin, as is his right, told Rep. Kennedy to refrain from receiving communion.

I have several issues with this "interview". First of all, Chris Matthews is not only wrong, he's also very rude and disrespectful. First, he brings up a clip of President Kennedy saying he will not take policy instruction from the Vatican. In other words, he would not create a situation where a foreign country controlled the United States. This is rather obvious. Chris Matthews then takes this statement and seems to say the bishop has no right to refuse communion to Patrick Kennedy. Excuse me? Matthews says the bishop is interferring in politics and he has no right to.

Matthews in the second half of the interview mostly, doesn't even let the good Bishop get a word in edge-wise. He lambasts him and continually asks him the same asinine question - how long of a prison sentence should a woman who receives an abortion get. This is absolute nonsense. Apparently Chris Matthews wasn't well catechized and does not understand the role of a Bishop.

A bishop is a representative of the Church, and a spiritual descendent of the apostles. It is his job to lead the local church. He makes statements on faith and morals and all Catholics in his jurisdiction are obliged to follow him. He has spiritual jurisdiction over the members of his flock. So he can do things like refuse communion to someone who violates Church law. A Catholic who supports abortion is violating Church law, and if a politician does it, he is in public disobedience to the Church and is causing scandal, and therefore he can be refused communion, because he is not IN communion.

The bishop also has full rights to criticize any law which kills people or causes another immoral activity to occur. How dare Chris Matthews lambaste the bishop for doing his job. Is Chris trying to squelch the Church, to silence her moral voice? Seems to me he is. Asking the bishop what sentence a woman or the abortionist should receive is sheer nonsense. A better question would be to ask the gravity of the sin committed and the possibility of someone being in a state of moral sin or excommunication based on receiving or performing an abortion. This is the bishop's jurisdiction. Asking the bishop about a civil legal matter is no different than asking a judge if someone needs to go to confession.

On top of that, Bishop Tobin has no training (that I know of) in criminal law so how on earth could he say exactly what type of sentence a woman would receive? Even a seasoned legal analyst couldn't answer that question because a sentence depends on many factors and each case is different. Chris Matthews was so rude that he wouldn't even let the bishop talk, and only kept demanding an answer to the same poorly-thought-out and irrelevant question. I guess after his tirade, Chris Matthews felt satisfied with himself.

The bishop was well within his rights to deny and publically condemn Rep. Kennedy for his politics. If Mr. Kennedy wants to formally remove himself from the Church, he is free to do so. Plus, there is a very disturbing idea out there that religious people have no right to enter into dialogue in the public square. Is this a communist country? This bishop has a double-right. First, he has the right to publically and privately reprimand any Catholic, especially those in public office, who clearly violate Church teaching. Secondly, as a citizen, the bishop has the right to speak out about injustices such as the slaughter of millions of innocent people. On top of that, it must be noted that it wasn't the bishop who initiated all of this, it was Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy first criticized the Church in most scathing and unfriendly terms. Rhode Island is lucky to have a bishop willing to stand up against this attack.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I cannot support Monte Carlo this year

Monte Carlo is an annual event for MUN's School of Medicine. It raises money for charity and in the last 32 years has raised almost $1 million. I went to this event in 2007, and it was a lot of fun. This year however, they are sponsoring Planned Parenthood. By going, others support them, but not necessarily at the level of personal culpability. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the world. They not only provide abortion, they promote it, as a healthy alternative. No mention is made of the humanity of the child. I think others in good conscience should consider boycotting this event until Monte Carlo revokes its support of this organization.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another University Pro-life group squelched

In a move that's deja vu all over again, another university pro-life group has been banned in Canada. Violating freedom of speech, the university concocted a story to have a pro-life group banned from campus, while claiming to take no position on abortion.

This happened at McGill University. A group of pro-life students had gathered in a room. They compared abortion to a holocaust. If one believes life begins at conception and millions of babies are being killed through abortion, then this is indeed accurate. In any event, this was not public, but private and people were totally free to join. The meeting was stormed by pro-abortion protesters. Ironically, it wasn't the protestors who stormed the peaceful meeting who got in trouble, but the group who was having the meeting. Ironic, but not unexpected. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

Check out the biased CBC article below:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2009/11/18/montreal-ssmu-pro-life-choose-life.html?ref=rss&loomia_si=t0:a16:g4:r3:c0:b28951690#socialcomments

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Priest who baptized me now leader of Redemptorists!

I received some amazing and wonderful news yesterday. Fr. Mike Brehl, a Redemptorist priest, who baptized me at St. Teresa's Church in St. John's, NL will become the worldwide Superior General of the Redemptorists. He will be the 16th successor of St. Alphonsus Liguori who founded the order in 1732, and now has 5,300 priests. This comes after the Redemptorist's general meeting a few weeks ago.

You can read more about this from the Catholic News Agency: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17590

St. John's Archdiocese Fight Against H1N1

Church is a very communal place and with the H1N1 scare, Archbishop of St. John's Martin Currie is taking steps to prevent its spread in Newfoundland. There will be several steps taken, but I'm wondering about the ramifications of these steps. They include:

  • No holy water in fonts around the church. Rather, holy water will be sprinkled on people by aspertion, similar to what happens now during Christmas and Easter.
  • No hand shaking during the sign of peace. Rather, people will greet each other without shaking.
  • The precious blood (wine) will not be distributed during communion. Rather, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ will be distributed only in the form of bread.
  • Communion cannot be received directly on the tongue, only in the hand.
I have certain issues concerning these steps. I think the holy water aspersion is fine, and perhaps aspersion should be done during Mass anyway, even when there is no risk. It is an extra reminder of our baptism. No hand shaking is also a good precaution, as long as people continue to greet each other in some way. Not receiving the precious blood is not a huge issue, because by receiving Christ in the form of bread, you receive all of him. Also, it is rare to have Eucharist in the form of wine at a Sunday Mass anyway.

I think more steps could have been taken, but it seems they are somehow too ingrained in the liturgy. One example is extraordinary ministers of communion. If only the priest gave communion, there would be a lower risk of spread of H1N1. If you increase the number of people distributing communion, you increase the risk that one will spread it. Why this wasn't changed, I'm not sure.

I started writing this blog post before I actually went to a Mass where these rules were implemented. One danger I see is that this will put even more pressure on EVERYONE to receive communion in the hand. Once the few people who still receive it on the tongue get used to receiving on the hand, they may not go back to the tongue. This is especially true if the Archbishop does not issue a statement indicating a return to normal can happen.

Another issue I have is that at the Mass I attended, there was no aspersion of holy water. This is very unfortunate because holy water also was not available in the fonts.

I'm very glad the Archbishop decided to take these precautions. People who are afraid of H1N1 will not stop going to Mass completely. I just hope the future is also considered.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Crucifixes banned in Italy

Shocking news has come from Italy that the European Union has declared that the country can no longer have crucifixes in its schools and courthouses. Italy is an almost 100% Catholic country, whose schools and courthouses were founded by the Church.

Obviously, many groups have protested this decision. This is another example of the European Union forcing its atheistic worldview on countries. I think the worst thing a country in Europe can do is join the European Union. Can you imagine a Muslim country forcing all schools to remove the Koran or to remove the crescent moon? Never. Italy should just remove itself from the European Union completely. The EU is becoming far too powerful for its own good, but not for the good of anyone else.

Unfortunatley many people regard separation of church and state as a complete annihilation of religion from all public areas. It's becoming like smoking. The parallels are shocking and startling. Sure, you can set up a private building where you are allowed to practice your religion, but if even a single individual is affected by it that doesn't want to be, you have to stop. Why should moral relativists and atheists have all the say when the vast majority of the country does not belong to either of these groups.

Europe needs to stand up for its cultural heritage, rather than succumb to modern atheism. I learned a good lesson from school. About 15 years ago, schools in Newfoundland were changed from religion-based schools to public schools with no particular religion. Many people thought a religious bias would be replaced with an unbiased education. 15 years of experience have proven this completely wrong. Rather than unbiased, students are indoctrinated with extreme liberal ideas, such as contraception and abortion are the greatest things since sliced bread, promiscuity is now called "responsible" sexual relationships, that humans are parasites who are only destroying the Earth and the fewer of us the better, that all religions and belief systems are the same and that morals are completely relative, that communism and socialism are good systems and that capitalism and free market entrepreneurship are evil and that corporations are evil, that we should rely on and trust the government in all things, etc, etc, etc. The same thing will happen in Europe unless they wake up and stop their own self-hatred. Europe (and Canada) need to reclaim their Christian heritage that made them great.

Guy Fawkes Night Bonfire

This may seem rather ironic, but last night I went to watch a bonfire for the occassion of Guy Fawkes Night. It's ironic because the celebration of Guy Fawkes Night started after Mr. Fawkes tried to blow up the Parliament Buildings in London, along with the King, because English Catholics had very few rights. Fawkes and his associates had hoped that King James I, whose mother was Catholic, would be more sympathetic to the cause of Catholics and allow more freedom. But he didn't. So, Guy Fawkes took matters into his own hands.

Fawkes had prepared many barrels of gunpowder in the lower chambers of the parliament buildings. Everything was ready, but he was caught before he could proceed with his plot. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered. A gruesome death.

Every year since then, people have burned effigies of Guy Fawkes, and shockingly also the Pope. Guy Fawkes Night, now mostly known as Bonfire Night, is celebrated in our province of Newfoundland, but without the effigies or anti-Catholic sentiment. I would estimate about half the people who participate are Catholic.

The reason I went was to watch an enormous bonfire, with hundreds of people gathered around. Since it is banned in my city, I had to go to a nearby town to watch the fire. This one was officially set up by the fire department. Often, there is trouble on this night because people make their own fires. In fact, a house was burnt down last night. But apparently the situation is much better than it was in the past.

There's something primal about watching an enormous bonfire. With all the people gathered around, it gives a good sense of community, and it's fun to watch a fire which is fueled by dozens, perhaps hundreds of trees. With the anti-Catholic sentiment removed, these festivities are quite enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pat Condell - entertainment for those unconcerned with truth

Pat Condell produces video condemning religion. They are so full of inaccuracies, even if he purposely sat there trying to lie, he couldn't do a better job. I will analyze one of his videos and set him right on many of his errors. The video is located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LStcajxvb_E

He starts the video by asserting the Pope was "forcing Christianity" into the constitution. The Pope did not force anything, but rightly pointing out that since Europe was built on Christianity, the European constitution should mention its foundation. That's no different than mentioning Walt Disney when discussing Disneyland.

The second thing he mentions is that some bishops in England want to prevent politicians who help pass laws which will increase aboriton from receiving communion. This is obvious. If you commit a sin by violating the morals of your religion, then you must first go to confession before receiving communion. Communion means everyone is together in their beliefs. Obviously someone who condones the killing of innocent children are not in union with Catholics.

Pat Condell then dispecable expresses his view that the Virgin Mary should have killed Jesus while he was in her womb. To wish anyone had been slaughtered is an inhumane comment. To wish this on Jesus Christ is truly outrageous.

Pat then says the Catholic Church's "preferred" method of abortion is in a back alley with a knitting needle. I don't suspect this comment even deserves a response, but just in case, the Catholic Church is against all killing of innocent human beings. Why is this so hard for Pat to understand? That is regardless of whether it's in a back alley with a knitting needle or in a doctor's office. They are both equally morally wrong.

Pat Condell, of course an expert in the AIDS epidemic in Africa, asserts that the Church "wants" people in Africa to die because she does not allow condoms. It's too bad his less educated peer, the head of Harvard AIDS prevention program didn't get the memo and the poor unknowledgable dummy sided with the Pope, and agreed that condoms are not the solution. Pat, quick, please resend that message to this uneducated twit!

Pat the proceeds to blurt out 3 falsehoods. First, as explained in a previous post of mine, Vatican officials do not "live" in the basilicas and cathedrals. These are there for everyone. They receive millions of visitors each year. The pope in fact lives in an apartment probably smaller than Pat's.

Pat further embarasses himself by proclaiming that he "discovered" the Pope was a "nazi"! Wow Pat, you found out so fast! Just 2 years after everyone else. The truth is the Pope was forcefully conscripted into the Nazi Youth, as were all children under a certain age at the time. However, not surprisingly, Pat fails to mention that young Ratzinger risked his life to abandon his post at the time.

Continuing his fairy tale, Pat says the Vatican funded the Nazis. This is pure fiction. I wrote another post on the Nazi situation and the Church. Pope Pius XII personally saved hundreds of thousands of Jews. Many people praised him, including the first prime minister of Israel and Albert Einstein. The pope even had an assassination plan drafted up in case the pope stood as too much of an obstacle to the Nazi regime.

He says the church exudes an aura of evil. Maybe to him, being an atheist who hates God, but to almost everyone else, the Church represents truth and purity. Pat continues by attacking celibacy. Obviously he cannot see the spiritual good of celibacy, by following Jesus and St. Paul, and devoting one's life entirely to Christ. He instead can only see his base animal desires going unfulfilled. Aww, poor Pat.

Pat Condell goes on to, in a very vulgar way, say priests like to perform pedophilia. He needs to get the facts straight. Pedophilia is NOT caused by celibacy, and of course, the church would see this as evil, which he seems to imply is the opposite case. He brings up the African and AIDS situation, but I have already addressed that.

He then asks any cardinals or bishops who may be watching if it's more evil for a priest who rapes a boy to wear a condom or not. This is an absurd question. Sort of like asking "When stabbing someone to death with a knife, is it better to wear gloves or not." It's sheer nonsense.

Pat also asks if it would be all ok if the priests went to confession afterwards? The current guidelines would take that priest out of ministry permanently and cooperate with the authorities.

Finally, Pat Condell goes completely overboard and suggests the pope, instead of paying out money for sex abuse scandals, instead find out how much it would cost to get "professional" sex workers to do these evil acts. A better solution is to do whatever necessary to remove pedophilia from the priesthood completely. Why would you substitute one evil for another? Perhaps for Pat, where evil does not exist (since God does not exist), it makes no difference. He even calls the work of sex workers "legitimate".

He ends by saying the Catholic Church should clean its own stained glass windows before telling others what to do. Well the Church is a beacon of hope and guidance for all of humanity. And it is doing everything it can to ensure the holiness of its leaders at the same time.

Pat, whatever you do, don't become a historian.

Quebec doctors approve of euthanasia

Canada is potentially entering very dangerous territory. Quebec's doctors have voted at least 2/3 in favor of allowing euthanasia in some circumstances. Without proper understanding and context, this could be a way of ushering in killing of the elderly just as killing of the unborn was ushered in several decades ago.

There are some Catholic principles which come into play here. Sometimes a patient will be suffering tremendously, and a high dosage of painkiller must be administered to alleviate the pain. Sometimes the painkillers themselves will cause death. This is acceptable since death is an unintended side effect of the painkillers. This is covered under the law of double effect. However, what is not covered is the purposeful killing of a patient to relieve his suffering.

The different is the intent. One the intent is to relieve suffering, the other the intent is to kill. Regardless of the goals, those are the intents. Right now in Canada, doctors will give doses of painkillers which end up killing the patient. This is part of the reason why this legislation was enacted. Doctors of course do not want to face possible criminal charges for doing something which is not morally wrong. If that was the only goal of this legislation, that would be alright, and I would vouch for it.

However, it goes further than this. Right now, it is a little grey, but talk has emerged that it could be used for patients whose death seems imminent or inevitable. I would argue, if this is the case, why not let the individual die a natural death. I believe they want more than that. They want to speed up the process, remove the burden on the health care system.

Allowing euthanasia will be a bad idea because doctors and scientists tend to bring the law to its furthest possible limit. A common occurrence is that an elderly person will be made to feel as a burden, and the sources of this are innumerable. First, their family discusses quite vocally how much trouble it is taking care of this person. If that wasn't enough, they are reminded that they are a burden to the hospitals and that if the hospital is full and they are taking up a bed, they are denying others the opportunity to receive care. With the introduction of loose euthanasia laws, doctors will begin to suggest that patients do the "right thing" and die with "dignity". These poor elderly people will be assailed from all angles. Not one person will put away their selfishness and suggest this person is loved and should not end their life.

In the Netherlands, it has been reported that in one year 550 people were euthanized against their wishes. This should send chills down our spine. Bill C-384 here in Canada was sent for a second round of debate, and it was downright scary. It said people should have the right to opt for euthanasia for mental or physical distress. Now all of a sudden, instead of helping people with mental illness who want to end their lives, we want to facilitate it. If people were being logically consistent on the issue of euthanasia, then they would not try to prevent suicide, but rather assist people in committing it. Instead of suicide help lines, we would have suicide how-to lines. Why not? People who want to commit suicide are mentally or physically distressed. But we have always recognized that these people need help, not help in dying.

Let's hope that people are wise enough to reject this proposed legislation.