Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nancy Pelosi gets abortion award

Nancy Pelosi who somehow styles herself a Catholic has received an award from the largest provider of abortions in the United States, Planned Parenthood. There was cheering and fanfare over this when she received it. It was for being a "Champion of Women's Health". Somehow killing babies falls under that category.

Pelosi even had the nerve to defend her position as compatible with Catholicism. That's kind of like saying you're a Nazi who loves Jewish people! I hope Pelosi goes back to her original Catholicism.

For more, please go here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Discrimination is not always bad

Communicating ideas effectively and accurately can be a difficult task. We have been trained, in our sound-bite culture, to have an automatic reaction to certain words. Words like "rights", "equality", and "tolerance" are considered good in all circumstances. Whereas words like "discrimination", and "intolerance" have wholly negative connotations regardless of context.

I believe by treating language this way, we do ourselves a great disservice. Intellectual inquiry is stifled as we become obsessed with simplistic tests of morality. We fail to dig deeper to find the real answer and instead rely on keywords to help us make decisions.

The word I will focus on today is "discrimination". This word is almost universally considered bad. However, the word itself is neutral. In fact, discrimination is often a very good thing.

A hospital will discriminate against bad doctors when it is hiring. I will discriminate between various people to determine who will be my friend and who will not. We all discriminate when it comes to a restaurant that gives good service and one that does not. These are all cases of discrimination.

Discrimination becomes a bad thing when it is done completely arbitrarily. If I refuse to speak to black people simply because they are black, that is bad discrimination.

A big topic these days is gay marriage. Wherever gays cannot marry, they claim it is discrimination. However, as shown above, discrimination simply means making a decision on a particular topic. Marriage has a definition, that is the union of one man and one woman. Therefore to claim that anyone outside that category is being discriminated against by not being allowed to marry is technically correct, but it is not a matter of unjust discrimination.

The decision is based on the fact that the defintion does not include possibilities other than a man and a woman marrying. This law, by its very nature, discriminates against all non-heterosexual marriages. It discriminates against a brother and sister marrying. It discriminates against mother and son marrying. It discriminates against a sober person and a drunk person marrying.

People like to toss around the word "discrimination", and it has such a negative connotation that people automatically declare that it must be wrong. However, discrimination is a very important part of a good society.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pope Pius X's Catechism

I came across a gem - Pope Pius X's Catechism. It's very well written because it gives questions and answers to thousands of questions. It's well worth a read.

It's available free in pdf format here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bad Argument Type #2: Slippery Slope Argument

Slippery slope is another argument type that doesn't always work. Of course sometimes it can but only in certain circumstances. It can work if it proposed like this: "X is wrong because of Y. And if X continues it will lead to more Y and possibly Z."

The slippery slope argument can also be easily misused. Often, the statement will imply that the current state of affairs is neutral, but if it continues, it will become immoral. Doing this avoids facing the problems of the current situation. The argument is rendered ineffective because the other side simply has to claim it will not progress that far. Since neither side has a crystal ball, the arguments turns to predictions. A safer model would be to show why what is currently happening is not good.

Take for example, the debate about homosexual marriage. Some have used the argument that if we allow same sex marriage, soon fathers and daughters will be marrying, or three people will marry, or people will marry their pets. While a case could possibly be made for these predictions, using such an argument actually ignores the current problems with same-sex marriage.

Implicitly, the person using the slippery slope argument is saying "gay marriage is ok, but when it starts becoming three people, then it will be wrong" even if that's not what they believe. An easy refutation to this argument is for the contrary side to claim that marriage among three individuals will not happen. Now a stalemate has occurred.

A better way to go about it is to argue for the negative effects of gay marriage on people and society. We are then arguing about actual things and not predictions.

Another area is euthanasia. People will say, they are killing babies in the womb, now they want to kill the elderly, soon we will be killing almost anyone we deem inferior. This argument can be effective in that it scares people into at least thinking about the issue of euthanasia. Perhaps it highlights logical consistency and where it would lead.

However, I believe ultimately it fails. It fails because again it is implied that killing the elderly is alright, but eventually it might lead to killing disabled people or any number of others, and at that point it becomes wrong. Again, the person using the slippery slope argument is not trying to imply this, but that's what comes across.

Ultimately it is better to argue for the current evil that is occurring (i.e. euthanasia). This is not a future prediction, but a current reality we must face.

Another general downfall to the slippery slope argument is that it constantly seeks a new starting point. It's almost a form of relativism. Those using it will concede a certain point and argue that the future might be worse. We use our current society and its values as a starting point and work our way from there. The problem with this is that there may be societal flaws which need to be addressed now. I think that's what has happened in a lot of people's moral reasoning.

For example, I was reading a newspaper article from the early 1960s which predicted that as more men gained access to pornography, there would be an increase in violence, especially sexual violence. Instead of focusing on the inherent evil of pornography, they focused on future effects that may arise with increasing use.

Another example is sexual morality. In the past, people would wait until marriage to engage in sexual actions. Eventually morality started to decline and the standards were lowered. Now it was considered appropriate to have sex with someone but only if the two were engaged or in a very serious relationship. Eventually the standard was lowered again to where people should engage in sexual activity but only if they have "protection". People now worry that children who are too young will be having sex in an "unsafe" way. The worry is not that they will have sex before marriage, or even that they will have sex outside a committed relationship, but only that they will not use "protection". We start talking about how bad things will get if this continues.

Instead of this, we should focus on what is morally acceptable in absolute terms, not in terms of prevailing opinion or in future worst case scenarios.

To conclude, while slippery slope arguments can serve as a wake-up call, good moral reasoning needs to be understood for what is currently happening.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gay Pride Parade in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Yesterday on my way home from Mass, I saw a large gathering of people waving rainbow-coloured flags in front of the Colonial Building on Military Road. I decided to park and walk over to see what it was all about. It was apparent right away that it was a gay pride parade. There were about 200 people, mostly teenagers, gathered wearing brightly coloured clothing. There was a bullhorn that was occassionally used to chant slogans. I could not fully make out one of the chants, but it was something along the lines of

Black, white, queer, straight
No need to discriminate

I'm actually not sure what the second line is, but it was something like that. Also present at the event were the media, including NTV, VOCM, and the Telegram. There were road blocks set up in several places, which I noticed on my way to Mass in the morning, as I had to divert my path a couple of times.

After a while, the group started a parade of sorts through the streets. Again, the bullhorn was occassionally used. I'm not sure how far they went, but there was a police cruiser in front of them.

I question the purpose of such a demonstration. In Canada, Newfoundland included, two men or two women can marry. They share the same benefits as everyone else. They can even adopt children and so on. Yet, the gay community continuously harps on the idea of equality and acceptance.

I believe the gay community does not want only equal rights under the law, they also want everyone to accept their lifestyle and to agree with them. They claim intolerance, but they are more intolerant than anyone else. They want to quell any opposition to their lifestyle. If someone expresses their belief that children do best with their own mother and father in the household and that gay adoption violates this, that individual is seen as a hatemonger.

Could there be something deeper? Perhaps the gay community does not accept itself but instead of confronting this, they project these thoughts onto society at large. In order to mask their self-doubt about their lifestyle, they contend that it is society that is holding them back or making them feel this way. It is much easier to lash out at an external force than to do personal soul-searching.

I believe gay people have equal dignity as the rest of the population. They deserve love and compassion. However, we must consider the rights of everyone, including children. It is also necessary to evaluate activities in the light of science, sociology and human wisdom when creating laws and this should not be summarily dismissed as "homophobia".

I noticed at the gathering there was not an opposing group of people demonstrating against homosexuality and I am unaware of any such group that ever organizes in our province. Is it possible that what the LGBT community is fighting it not external but is rather internal turmoil?

Professor banned for teaching Catholic dogma

There's a lot of bias in universities nowadays, especially against people who believe in God, especially Catholics. This prof was banned because he dared teach the Catholic Church's belief about homosexuality.

Check out his facebook page.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Was St. Christopher fictional?

Many people think that St. Christopher was fictional and this is why he was removed from the general calendar of saints. But this opinion is misinformed. Anyone named Christopher needn't worry, he was real. Let me explained what happened.

Basically, St. Christopher is still officially worshipped on July 25th, but he was removed from the calendar because almost nothing is known about him historically and although he lived in the 3rd century, veneration of him only started in the 1500s.

There are however several legends related to St. Christopher. A fascinating one can be found on Wikipedia. Here it is:

Christopher was a Canaanite 5 cubits (7.5 feet (2.3 m)) tall and with a fearsome face. While serving the king of Canaan, he took it into his head to go and serve the greatest king there was. He went to the king who was reputed to be the greatest, but one day he saw the king cross himself at the mention of the devil. On thus learning that the king feared the devil, he departed to look for the devil. He came across a band of marauders, one of whom declared himself to be the devil, so Christopher decided to serve him. But when he saw his new master avoid a wayside cross and found out that the devil feared Christ, he left him and enquired from people where to find Christ. He met a hermit who instructed him in the Christian faith. Christopher asked him how he could serve Christ. When the hermit suggested fasting and prayer, Christopher replied that he was unable to perform that service. The hermit then suggested that because of his size and strength Christopher could serve Christ by assisting people to cross a dangerous river, where they were perishing in the attempt. The hermit promised that this service would be pleasing to Christ.[citation needed]

After Christopher had performed this service for some time, a little child asked him to take him across the river. During the crossing, the river became swollen and the child seemed as heavy as lead, so much that Christopher could scarcely carry him and found himself in great difficulty. When he finally reached the other side, he said to the child: "You have put me in the greatest danger. I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were." The child replied: "You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but Him who made it. I am Christ your king, whom you are serving by this work." The child then vanished.[citation needed]

Christopher later visited the city of Lycia and there comforted the Christians who were being martyred. Brought before the local king, he refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods. The king tried to win him by riches and by sending two beautiful women to tempt him. Christopher converted the women to Christianity, as he had already converted thousands in the city. The king ordered him to be killed. Various attempts failed, but finally Christopher was decapitated.

Ban on Women's ordination does not mean they are inferior

The priesthood is reserved for men and any violation of this carries the penalty of an automatic excommunication. But this does not mean that women are inferior. The priesthood is simply not the role of the woman.

Jesus only selected men for apostles. He could have easily chose his mother for whom he had much love, but he didn't. We would not claim that Jesus was sexist.

When the priest says "this is my body, this is my blood" on the altar, he is acting in the person of Christ. Integral to Christ is his maleness. The priest does not say "This is Christ's body" he says it's his body, because he is in persona Christi.

The Church is not refusing to ordain women. It simply has no right to ordain them. God did not give them this right. If it has been forbidden since the beginning of Christianity, it cannot suddenly be allowed. The doctrines of the church can develop but they cannot be abrogated.

Check out the full article here:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

British Government removes offensive petition

The British Government had a petition on its website for people to express their displeasure at the pope's arrival. It was put there by a secularist group and was against the pope's stances on homosexual marriage, condoms, embryonic stem cell research and other things.

The British government felt this petition went way too far and got rid of it from their website. And so they should. The government is sponsoring the trip so why would they have a petition against it?

Of course, this group probably wouldn't oppose the arrival of any other religious leader, even if s/he opposed the same things as the pope. It's just classic anti-catholicism.

The story is here:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bad Argument Type #1: Practical or Pragmatic Considerations

I wanted to analyze some argument types that I find unappealing. Today I will focus on practical or pragmatic arguments. They are quite popular, but ultimately they are quite weak. Since this subject is rather abstract, I will attempt to use examples to help clarify.

Practical or pragmatic arguments typically ignore moral or ethical considerations and focus on more immediate considerations. But without a moral basis, the arguments are on shaky ground as new evidence could potentially remove their validity. In other words, the nature of the practical considerations could change to something favourable and thus eliminate it as an opposing factor.

As I said in the beginning, I think examples will be essential. A popular topic on this blog is abortion. I will show here how a practical or pragmatic approach to this question is a poor choice, even though at first it may seem appealing.

One approach to the abortion debate has been to show the harm it causes to women. Pro-life activists will say abortion causes emotional distress on women which can last for many years. They say the guilt can be very difficult to bear. On top of these emotional issues, they point out the physical ramifications, including the possibility of a "botched" abortion, or effects in the future such as increased cancer risk. While these may be true, I believe this approach may ultimately fail.

There are several reasons why this is not the best approach. First of all, abortion is very common. It is in fact the most common medical procedure out there, or something along those lines. A lot of people know women who have had abortions. Many of them do not experience physical or psychological issues after their abortion. I do not believe even the majority do. It could be as low as 10-20%. Therefore, by presenting those as arguments against abortion, someone would only have to be reassured that such effects are rare. The person would then be an advocate for abortion once again.

On top of this, as medical science advances, it would perhaps become possible that even fewer women would experience negative effects, thus weakening the arugment even further. Further, people who use this argument are in a precarious situation. I've heard people say that all women experience negative effects after an abortion. They say that those who claim not to are simply denying the truth, or being dishonest. But this position reeks of conspiracy theory. It cannot be disproven because those in the know are presumed to be lying.

Another weakness of this argument is that it makes women the absolute focus, without considering the baby. This is exactly where the pro-choice side wants people to be. Once the focus is exclusively on the women considering an abortion, the pro-life side cannot win. The focus must remain on the unborn child.

The best argument is a moral one from the point of view of the life of the child. There is a unique, individual child with all his DNA indicating his hair colour, personality, and other characteristics, etc. Often by the time women realize they are pregnant, the child is advanced in development including heart beat and brain waves. But most of all, there is a unique individual being considered. This fact cannot be lessened through medical science. Science will never find a way to reduce the personhood of this child through some objective means in the same way as the negative impacts on a woman can be.

The sanctity of life is a philosophical and theological argument that maintains its full force in any circumstance.

There are other areas as well where using practical or pragmatic arguments can be advantageous but often are unsustainable into the future.

A second example is pornography. I was reading some newspaper articles from the 1960s about pornography. Back then it was a VERY shady undertaking. It was thoroughly illegal and there was great public fear about it. At the same time, it was already a big business. One of the fears that came about was that if men were exposed to pornography, they would become violent, perhaps killers or rapists. Therefore, it was said, pornography must be stopped.

This again is a poor argument. It is in fact even used today, but some are claiming the opposite is true. They say that because of the availability of pornography, men who would ordinarily be rapists have instead fulfilled their illicit desires through pornography. Thus, violent sexual crime has decreased because of porn. If this is true, the original argument is completely destroyed. Does this now mean that pornography is neutral or even good? Well, according to the pragmatic approach, then yes. That's why it's a bad argument.

It may be more immediately impactful to say that porn will turn men into violent rapists, but in the long run, it is a rather ineffective argument. A better argument is again a philosophical one. Porn is bad because it strips the good of sex and instead of being used to unify spouses, it is used for personal gratification, thus rendering the user selfish. It also makes women into objects and men forget about reciprocal love. This selfishness then leads to a deterioration of intimacy and love. That argument cannot be eliminated because it remains true.

There are many more situations where we are tempted to use pragmatic or practical arguments when defending a truth, but it is very important to know the philosophical basis behind a viewpoint. This is not to say practical considerations should not be used. I think if the information is correct, then it can be quite valuable. However, I think it is always essential to know the basis behind a moral argument.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Do you have questions about Catholicism and the Catholic Church?

If you have any questions about the Catholic Church or Catholicism, send them as a response to this post. I will then consider posting an answer. Thanks!

No One Draws a Bigger Crowd than the Pope

If you ever read the news, you'll notice that no celebrity, or famous person draws the crowds the pope does. If a popular band visits a country, you probably wouldn't even hear about it. The Queen came to Canada recently. It was on the news, but I only found out about it once she arrived. On the other hand, when Pope John Paul II came to Canada in 2002, there was news about it for months prior to his visit. Everyone knew he was coming.

The Pope will be visiting England later this year. People have known about this for months already. But do we know when anyone else on Earth will visit a particular place months or even a year in advance?

Also, we must look at the crowds. The Queen went to Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations. It is the biggest celebration of the year and tens of thousands of people always go there to celebrate. This year, when the Queen was there about 100,000 people showed up. This number of people usually show up anyway for Ottawa's Canada Day celebrations. When the Queen went to a church service, about 1500 people waited to see her.

While this is a respectable number, let's compare this to the pope when he came to Toronto in 2002. A crowd of about 850,000 people came to see Pope John Paul II that July. This was actually a low number compared to some of the crowds that come to see His Holiness.

When Pope Benedict went to Australia, 400,000 pilgrims attended, making it the largest gathering of human beings in Australia's history.

In Manilla, Philippines, the pope drew a crowd of over 5 Million people, making it one of the largest gatherings of people ever.

As you can see from the above examples, people are truly interested in what the pope has to say. He is fulfilling Christ's command to "spread the good news", and people respond to that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top 6 reasons Quebec is wasting resources on IVF

Quebec's health care system is currently struggling. Important surgeries are sometimes postponed for months or years because of lack of funding. For example, in 1997, in a 4-3 decision in the province, the court ruled that making someone wait for a year for hip replacement violated the patient's rights. Because of this, private health care has been allowed in some cases.

The average wait time for medical procedures in the province of Quebec is around 18.7 weeks. That's about 4 months. People often wait in misery for these procedures, which in the United States could possibly take just a week on average.

Despite the constant strain on Quebec's medical system, they are now opting to provide a completely unnecessary medical procedure at taxpayers' expense. The Quebec government wants to start paying for in-vitro fertilization. This is a big mistake and here are six reasons why:

1. It is unnecessary
In-vitro fertilization procedures are ALWAYS optional. No one's life is going to be put at risk because they cannot have an embryo implanted in their womb. Therefore is it superfluous and unnecessary for people's health.

2. Those seeking IVF can afford it
The typical candidate for in-vitro fertilization are older women who have placed their priority for a career first and now that they are established are seeking to have a child to complete the picture. I'm not saying this is always the case, but it often is. Most of the people in this category can afford to pay for this procedure, and if it's going to be legal, it should be kept private like it already is.

3. Wasting Resources
The main point of my article is that resources are being wasted on this procedure. Money is being spent on IVF when it could be used to save lives through transplants, important surgeries, etc. The budget is already very thin, and with IVF being funded wait times will only increase for life-saving procedures. I heard that a single round of IVF costs at least $10,000. I'm not sure how many rounds the government of Quebec is planning on covering, but as you can see it is rather expensive.

4. It is immoral
There are many reasons why IVF is immoral. First of all, it separates the unitive and procreative aspects of sexuality. A child is no longer conceived in the loving embrace of his parents, but in a glass petri dish of a scientist's lab. On top of this, since gay marriage is recognized in Quebec, as is sperm and ovum donation, many gay people will be availing of IVF treatments to get pregnant and taxpayers will have to support it. We will be creating so many families where children are not raised by their real parents but by intruders.

Another big issue is that usually more embryos than necessary are created. These "unnecessary" embryos are then either destroyed or used for experimentation. Embryos are human lives and must be treated with respect, not killed or experimented on.

5. IVF is Risky
We know from research that IVF is far more risky than normal pregnancy. Think about it. A man ejaculates millions upon millions of sperm and only one reaches the egg and fertilizes it. There is a reason there are so many sperm. It is to make sure only the very best reaches the egg. But how can a scientist looking through his microscope determine which is the best? He cannot. Nature has perfected the procreative process and we do not know better. That is why there are more risks for medical issues associated with IVF babies than those in the general population.

6. Adoption is a better option
There are many kids out there without a home, including in Quebec. The government should be spending its money on increasing the efficiency of the adoption process so more of these children can find good homes.

Many people are living in a me-me-me frame of mind. They create an image in their head of the ideal family and go to any length to achieve it. Maybe a better idea would be to ask what God's plan is in their life and go by that.

The following article gives some good insight into the moral dilemmas of In-Vitro Fertilization:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top 5 Reasons the Reformed Church of God and David C. Pack are not the True Church

David C. Pack is the pastor of the Reformed Church of God. His teachings are very ironic and contradictory.

Upon first hearing his video, I was sure he was an advocate for the Catholic Church. His video was talking about which church is the true church of God. The Biblical proofs he uses are the same that are typically used by Catholic apologists. However, his conclusions are pretty hard to swallow or downright contradictory. Here's a list of reasons why his church's teachings are contradictory or false:

1) Jesus founded ONE Church
He says Jesus established only one church and that is has existed for 2000 years. This is true. Pack claims that Church is the Restored Church of God (RCG). Yet, it is easy to see that the RCG was founded by Mr. Pack only recently. How can this be the one true church founded by Jesus Christ? We cannot find history of people believing and practicing the same beliefs as this particular church. The pastor on the website bemoans the number of churches that have sprung up over the years. Yet, he is doing the same thing by starting this church.

2) Why is it called "Restored"?
On the one hand, David. C. Pack claims his church is 2000 years old and that it is the church that Christ founded. Well, if that's true and it has survived ever since, why is it called "restored"? Something that has not ended does not need to be restored.

3) Is the church large or small?
First, Mr. Pack says the church is supposed to be small and he gives Bible verses to prove this. But then later he says all Christians should be united in the same faith and that Jesus prayed for unity. Well if all 2 billion Christians shared the same faith, it would certainly not be small. This is a contradiction.

4) "Underground" Church Theory
Mr. Pack subscribes to a new popular theory held by many Protestants and that is of the "underground" or "hidden" church theory. Proponents of this belief say there was an original church founded by Jesus, but then in the year 325 Constantine came around and started the Catholic Church which persecuted the real church and destroyed evidence of it. This is merely a conspiracy theory. The lack of evidence for an underground church can be explained away by saying the Catholic Church destroyed the evidence. However, there are many holes in the theory. Many core Catholic beliefs, such as the eucharist, were believed right from the start. Writings such as the Didache show that early Christians adhered to them. So why don't most Protestants believe those things now?

The only thing this theory shows is that these groups recognize that in order for a church to be the true church that Christ founded it must have been around since the start. I think what Mr. Pack is presenting is an unconvincing theory that his church has always been around.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mel Gibson's Rant

Mel Gibson is in trouble again with the media because of his rant to his wife Oksana Grigorieva. Most of the media is quick to jump on the condemnation bandwagon and say that Mel is just a terrible human being and stuff like that, but I want to offer a different perspective.

The words that Mel uses during the phone conversations are pretty terrible. He is extremely angry and shouts racial slurs and uses threatening language. But this is not uncommon, unfortunately. I doubt very many readers of this blog could honestly admit they've never lashed out at somebody and said some unfortunate things. Telephone can be particularly bad because you must project your anger using only words and not expressions.

What I see in the conversation is a man who has become extremely angry and is unable to control it. He lashes out and tries to find the most offensvie things to say. Many people are guilty of this. But fortunately, our conversations are not usually recorded for the world to hear.

I'm suspicious as to how this stuff even got on tape in the first place. My assumption is that Oksana either recorded it herself or had someone else do it. I think it is extremely unlikely that someone had the phone bugged and then released the conversations. Therefore her actions seem rather terrible as well. I doubt she set up a recorded to record nice things he had to say. She knew he would react improperly and she wanted to have a record of it.

I am not defending what Gibson did here, but I also have an issue with how Oksana was communicating. It seems like she is purposely trying to provoke him. She maintains this very cool, catty tone, which only provokes Mel's anger more. The things she says only inflame Gibson. The reason people lash out verbally at someone else is to hurt them. When it seems that what they are saying is having no effect, the angry person will up the ante until the other one reacts in some way.

I think if Oksana was in a real conversation, she would lash back at Mel, not sit there seeming unaffected by what he was saying, almost teasing him and provoking him even further.

Imagine this situation. You are quite angry with someone and the two of you are in an argument. You set up recording devices for your phone, then you call that person with the objective of rilling them up and provoking their anger. I can certainly imagine a situation like this erupting. To me it seems inconceivable that Oksana was not behind this recording and I believe her only motivation was to defame Mel's character.

I do not wish to minimize anything that Mel did or said during his explosive conversation, I just want to give another point of view. It seems there is some level of hypocricy when people act as though they've never been angry or said mean things to someone or that Mel is suddenly the worst person on Earth.

I also want to add that Mel Gibson has not been officially found guilty of physical abuse. I will leave that to the proper authorities. Obviously if what Oksana alleges about Mel's actions toward her in the presence of her child are true, then it becomes a much more serious issue.

I also want to add that I am not defending Mel Gibson and that if you see it as such it is not related to his religion. Some people might think I am defending Mel because he is Catholic. But the truth is, he is not in communion with the Pope and has formed a splinter group, so I wouldn't defend him on that grond anyway.

One thing we can learn about this phone conversation is how bad anger can be. Anger, like all sins, always seems unquenchable. We are never satisfied. People who get angry just get worse and worse. The anger builds until eventually violence can occur. Anger is one of the seven deadly sins.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rosary Beads are not fashion items

I was at the Mall a couple of days ago, and in one shoe store they had rosary-type beads for sale to be worn as a fashion item. They were not real rosaries because they did not have the large bead after every ten smaller beads. Rather, they were designed to look like a rosary. They had about 50 beads on a necklace, and a cross at the end.

Another time, I was in a line up at a store, and near the checkout was a rosary-bead-looking object that was actually a car air freshener.

As we also know, people sometimes wear crosses as fashion symbols. As far as I know, Madonna was one of the first people to wear a rosary as a fashion item. Other celebrities have taken her lead.

Sometimes people may do this in good faith. Perhaps they are indicating they are Christian or Catholic. Maybe they want jewelry that reflects a religious theme, a best of both worlds scenario. However, I believe the majority of people who wear these rosary bead accessories are not doing it for those reasons.

I believe it is inappropriate to use a religious item as a fashion accessory, because it is not the intended use and takes something holy and uses it for a personal motive such as vanity. A rosary is meant to draw a person closer to God, but fashion is meant to attract people to the wearer. Therefore, the rosary as fashion is being misused.

I want to point out however that some religious people have been known to wear actual, blessed rosary beads around their neck. I would recommend against it, even if the intension is to display adherence to the faith, because it is not being done appropriately.

Also, I want to point out that even this inappropriate use of rosary beads could potentially yield good results. People may wonder the original of the beads and decide to investigate further and in doing so discover the prayers of the rosary.

Finally, if you are still wondering why rosary beads cannot be used as fashion items, I ask you to consider replacing it with another religious item. For example, wearing a yarmulke to cover a bald spot, or using a tallit (Jewish shall) as a skirt. These would seem outlandish to most. So should using a rosary as jewelry.

If you are interested in praying the rosary and would like a one page pdf describing the rosary, please go here.

P.S. Just as I was inserting the picture into this article, the Rosary with Mother Angelica came on EWTN!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NBC jumps on gay marriage bandwagon

NBC wants to do its part to normalize gay marriage. In its annual marriage show on the Today Show, it will for the first time feature gay couples who are marrying. It's a major faux-pas to only show men and women marrying. Of course, they probably won't just open it to gay couples, but will make sure at least one gay couple is represented, even if 10,000 heterosexual copules apply and only one gay couple does. Because it's not enough to open it to everyone, the network must proactively push an agenda.

Check out the full story here.

Most wars not caused by religion

I just read a very interesting article on the Huffington Post, which is usually very anti-Christian. The author talks about a study done in the UK where the motivation for the largest wars in history were determined to see the role of religion. The rankings went from 0-5, 0 being no religious involvement to 5 being complete religious involvement. The study concluded that 60% of wars scored 0, and only 10% were greater than 3 (meaning some religious involvement). The author also suggested that religion may decrease war because it is the single most unifying things we have for humanity. To read the full article, go to:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Applause at Mass

Back in the days of universal Latin Mass, everything was pre-determined. You knew exactly what to expect. The liturgy was the same across the globe. The structure, the prayers, the rubrics, stances, music, and congregation participation was the same. There was no confusion or wondering what should be done next.

More variation became part of the Mass after the Second Vatican Council as certain priests began to take liberties. One area of confusion that arose was applause. My rule of thumb is "never applaud at Mass". Very simple. However, that rule is not being followed very much.

To appreciate how insidious incorrect applause is, we need to understand the dynamics of clapping. In order to attain critical, dare I say, mass, only a small percentage of people must begin the ovation. Even 5 enthusiastic cheerers can ignite an entire congregation. When a small group is clapping, it feels awkward not to, especially after a beautiful song. Clapping is especially prevalent at Masses attended by non-regular churchgoers at times such as Christmas and Easter.

I was having this discussion with some friends some time ago and tried to explain my reasoning. Then today I was listening to Catholic Answers Live and the guest mentioned something Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his book titled "The Spirit of the Liturgy". It summed up, very succintly, the reason why people ought not applaud during Mass. Here it is:

Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attractiveness fades quickly--it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation. I myself have experienced the replacing of the penitential rite by a dance performance, which, needless to say, received a round of applause. Could there be anything farther removed from true penitence? Liturgy can only attract people when it looks, not at itself, but at God, when it allows him to enter and act. Then something truly unique happens, beyond competition, and people have a sense that more has taken place than a recreational activity. (p. 198-99)

Of course, this does not exclude some appropriate clapping before or after Mass. Also, sometimes the presiding priest before Mass really gets underway will make a special announcement perhaps a priest is celebrating his 50th year. It would be appropriate to applaud for this when the priest makes note of it. These are legitimate because they are rare and unique and the exceptional nature of the event is implied. However, I've come across some distressing examples. For example, during Mass one day there was a particularly lively tune being performed by the choir which involved rhythmic clapping. Everyone enthusiastically partook in the event. They were doing this during the preparation of the gifts. After the song was finished, the priest, instead of continuing with the liturgy, made note of the choir and said it was the best song he ever heard and then initiated applause for them. This was inappropriate for Mass.

Mass is about focusing on the liturgy and the sacrifice of the Mass, not on performances.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mass Times for St. John's Newfoundland Labrador Metro Area

Here are the Mass Times (and confession times) for the St. John's Metro Region, including St. John's, Mount Pearl, Torbay, and Outer Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador for the Summer of 2010.

(Click the image to enlarge it.)

Response to "The New Traditional Family Gets Respect"

Psychology Today writer Susan Newman is noticing that the single child family is getting more respect than in the past. She claims the traditional notion is that families should have multiple kids. She believes this is a good step because raising children is much more expensive, and she discusses the fact that many parents are choosing to have fewer children.

I agree but also disagree with her assessment. First of all, I do not believe single child families are discriminated against very much. It is indeed rather normal for a family to opt to have but one child. On the other hand, families with 4 or more children are often looked upon with suspicion and possibly disdain. The mother is seen as an oppressed baby-making factory that is the result of a domineering patriarchal subgroup. Sometimes they are even compared to parasites who are beset on overloading the fragile earth with offspring.

Most often, two children is considered the responsible number. Three is reluctantly accepted, but go beyond that and you open yourself to ridicule. I do agree that perhaps people look down on single-child families. The child is seen as selfish, as is the family. It is also seen a cruel to refuse a sibling for this young person.

I think we must have respect for single-child families. Often they have very good reasons for having only one child. Perhaps financial, medical, or other issue. We ought to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Another area with which I take issue in this article is the idea that parents decide how many children they will have based on financial considerations and lifestyle choices. Children are seen as additions to a marriage, like a two-car garage vs. a one-car garage. People try to "engineer" their family. Many say they want one boy and one girl. That they say will complete their "image" of a family. This of course leads to other abuses of fertility.

Couples who achieve their two child limit will often have permanent sterilization performed on themselves. In extreme cases, they may even opt for in-vitro fertilization as they seek to engineer their boy-girl family. On the other side of the equation, many couples who have fertility problems will resort to any means to have two children, whether these methods are morally licit or not.

I believe we must renew our understanding of fertility. It is a gift from God and does not fluctuate between a blessing and a curse depending on the desire of those using it. Rather than manipulating and controlling our bodies, why not seek what God and nature has intended. Contraceptives are the only medical tool used to prevent a properly-functioning system from doing what it is meant to do.

Because of our contraceptive mentality, our society is suffering. Most Western nations are at below-replacement level fertility rate, meaning if this trend continues, our populations will continue to decline. This has many negative consequences. Because people are living to an older age, we need more workers to support them. With not enough young people around, the system becomes top-heavy with many elderly but few young people. Also, young working people pay taxes, which is used to provide services for elderly people. Right now there is a lot of risk for social services, including pension.

Because Western countries are dropping in fertility, so too does their influence drop. Those with ideas which are radically different than ours flood into these countries to keep them alive. Our democracy, ideas of equality, religious freedom, and other issues are affected negatively.

Let us stop putting our bodies at risk by sabatoging natural processes. Children are not accessories or ego-boosts, they are gifts from God. There are good, valid reasons for refraining from seeking to have another child, so we can never judge anyone's motivation. But if someone can properly support them, I implore them to joyfully follow God's plan.

The article to which I was responded is located here.

400th Blog Post

I just wanted to make a quick note to thank all the readers of this blog. This is the 400th posting. I currently have 16 followers. I hope to keep writing for a long time into the future, God-willing. :)

Was Mother Teresa Greedy?

People love to talk for Mother Teresa, like they knew her or something. It's getting a little old right now. I don't mind people objectively speaking about Mother Teresa or what she did, but it gets ridiculous when they start talking about her motivations, etc. Like in this clip, when the guy defending greed says Mother Teresa was greedy. What I see here is not an honest assessment of Mother Teresa, but rather a person trying to justify greed.

They go on to turn greed into some kind of generic term for desiring something. Fred L. Smith, one of the guests, says we should value greed because it has helped the world so much. He goes as far as to say nothing else helps the world except greed. He says "Mother Teresa was greedy, but for good things". The lady interviewer agrees by saying "exactly, the personal reward of helping other people, the emotions she felt as the result of that, that was her motivation and self-interest".

Using greed in this sense is really stretching it beyond its definition. This usage of language annoys me because it represents the speaker's attempt to make a universal statement that's true even though the actual definition of the word would not merit this. For example, in this case, stating that "everyone is greedy". What's really behind these statements is an attempt to justify basing one's life on greed. He can readily admit "Yes, I'm greedy. But so is everyone else, including Mother Teresa. I'm greedy for money, but she was greedy for a feeling!"

The classic definition of greed is:

Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was "a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things."

Mother Teresa did not possess a rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. The opposite of greed is Charity.

Charity is defined as follows:

Love, in this sense of an unlimited loving-kindness towards all others, is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. In its most extreme form such love can be self-sacrificial.

Mother Teresa was not greedy. In fact, she exemplified the opposite - charity. Mother Teresa had such love and compassion for all those she helped. She was certainly self-sacrificial. She could have had an easy life, but instead chose to live in extreme poverty, giving everything she had away. To call Mother Teresa greedy is about as far from the truth as one can get! To top it all off, the name of the Order of Nuns she founded is called the "Sisters of Charity", not the sisters of greed.

Greed is never a good thing, and has not helped society. Generosity, love, compassion, and charity have helped the world. I think the point that was being made on the show is that greed has allowed many people to accumulate great wealth and they were able to give some of that wealth to help others. I certainly think that's laudable. I agree with the capitalist system. It should be noted that making a lot of money is not necessarily greedy. Greed comes into play when one focuses all his energies in gaining wealth, power, etc. for himself with no intention of helping others. It's about excessive desire for personal gain.

Greed is a sin, and should not be justified. I find that happens often in these types of discussions. Greed is one thing, but the other seven deadly also fall victim to a watering-down effect as well.

For example, gluttony. Gluttony has traditionally been defined as an excessive preoccupation with food. Some have said that one can be a glutton when it comes to anything including video games, movies, even exercise. Although this is correct to some extent, watering down a concept can have negative effects also. When you start to see everything as possible gluttony, it becomes too much to track and the task of avoiding it becomes overwhelming. Indeed, for some, that is the point. Everything becomes a potential sin, so instead of worrying about sin, we just think about forgiveness.

To summarize, we must maintain a moral lifestyle and not justify it by claiming that holy people also partake in certain behaviors.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hundreds of Anglican priests going over to Catholic Church

A couple of factors have collided to cause hundreds of Anglican bishops to convert to the Catholic faith and bring thousands of parishioners with them. The two factors are as follows:

- The Church of England is about to authorize the ordination of female bishops. This is something that has already happened in some countries. However, it is not throughout the whole Anglican communion, and there is a General Synod of the Anglican Church being convened to discuss this issue. There are two sides. One is the traditionalists who want to have male-only bishops and want their own separate authority system. The other are the liberal faction which wants little or no restrictions of female bishops. Needless to say, this is causing considerable tension, and since no bishop in the Anglican Church has more authority than another, there can be no overriding decree pronounced.

- The other factor the pope last year created a process whereby Anglicans could become Catholic while maintaining many of their unique traditions. Sort of like the fact that there are Roman Catholics and there are Ukrainian Catholics. They each have their own traditions, but are both fully Catholic in unity with the Pope.

Because of these two factors, there are hundreds of traditionalist Anglican priests who are moving over to become Catholic.

To read more about the upcoming Anglican synod, please go here.

To read more about the hundreds of Anglican priests who are converting, please go here.

Wage inequality from a Catholic perspective

A feminist group in Sweden is upset because women are not paid as much as men. To bring attention to this situation, the group staged a protest where they burned 100,000 Swedish Crowns. What are we to make of this and is pay inequality morally acceptable?

From a Catholic perspective, men and women are equal in dignity and share the same rights. Therefore, they ought to be paid the same for the same work and qualitifications. Pay inequality is morally wrong on the any basis beside professional considerations.

But I think there is something else going on in Sweden. Sweden is very much concerned for equal rights between men and women. They are a very progressive society, sometimes progressing in the wrong way. Why would such a country have an issue with pay inequality. It doesn't seem to make sense. We are simply not hearing the full story.

In most Western countries, an organization is legally obliged to pay men and women the same pay for the same work. In the past, there were actual differences in minimum wage. I remember reading the minimum wage from around 1950. It would say "men: $0.50 per hour, women: $0.35 per hour". This is a clear example of pay inequality. But that doesn't exist now.

Men and women in fact do get paid the same for the same work. The difference is that men take professions that pay higher in a given area, due to greater risk and general undesirability of a career. For example, heart surgeons are paid higher than family doctors for many reasons. The job of the heart surgeon is more complicated and risky, involves variable and long hours, and is less desirable. On the other hand, a family doctor has very reasonable hours normally, mainly works in an office setting, and has little risk. Men choose to become heart surgeons more than women, who tend to become family doctors more frequently. It would not be fair to say male doctors are paid more than female doctors in this case. It would be more accurate to say heart surgeons are paid more than family doctors.

Most hospitals would have an equal pay policy. If a male and female doctor were both heart surgeons, worked the same hours, had the same level of experience, etc. they would be paid the same.

There are more factors as well. Men often take generally riskier jobs, like fighter pilot, bodyguard, police officer, soldier, alaska crab fisherman, etc. Women on average take more office jobs which involve little risk, therefore men are compensated for the additional risk. Again, if a woman took one of the risky jobs, she too would get paid more.

Another factor is that women are more likely to stay at home with their children to raise them or for maternity leave. Taking maternity leave would reduce a woman's income by a large percentage.

If a company is clearly in violation of pay equity laws, as in they pay women less for the same job as men, then they should be prosecuted. But to burn thousands of dollars of money is an unacceptable way to get attention.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Risks of Gay Marriage ignored in favor of Political Correctness

According to research done by Walter R Schumm, the mainstream media and scienific journals often ignore any negative information concerning same sex marriage and the raising of children in order to be more politically correct. Also, he alleges that studies which show LGBT families are equivalent to heterosexual relationships are republished much more than studies not showing this.

Here is the article:

The other story about same-sex parenting

Research showing the risks of lesbian and gay parenting is ignored in the race to make a political case.

There is an inherent risk that anyone who has anything to say about gay male or lesbian parenting, no matter how cautious, will be misunderstood at best and vilified at worst. Nevertheless, the mission of a university professor includes seeking new ways to look at old issues, to resist all forms of intimidation, and to ensure that multiple sides of controversial issues are considered. Since there are more voices promoting the virtues of parenting by people defining themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT), I will present here an alternative, possibly minority, view that focuses on some of the possible risks associated with gay and lesbian parenting.

This is a challenging area. As one hint about the difficulties, consider this: when a group of authors published three articles (two even in the same journal) on data from the same set of lesbian parents about 1980, the two articles reporting favorable outcomes were cited 65 times compared to only two citations for the one article reporting unfavorable outcomes. In other cases, the worse the methodological quality of the research, the more likely it is to have been cited in major reviews of the literature.

The methodological quality of much of the literature is poor. Many studies have not controlled for parental educational and family per-capita income differences between lesbian and heterosexual families. Regardless, between February and June of 2010 no less than three articles have concluded that two lesbian mothers may, on average, tend to be better parents than heterosexual parents (Biblarz & Stacey, 2010; Gartrell & Bos, 2010; Biblarz & Savci, 2010) -- quite a controversial position. However, serious concerns remain.

Sexual Fidelity

Research is increasingly clear that many lesbigay partners enter into their versions of a committed relationship with expectations that cheating is acceptable. Some research suggests that gay men have more stable relationships only if cheating is permitted. Michael Bettinger (2006) reported: “An important difference between gay men and heterosexuals is that the majority of gay men in committed relationships are not monogamous”.

Dr. Esther Rothblum has reported that whereas women (lesbian or heterosexual) seldom permit sexual affairs, “40 percent of gay men in civil unions have an agreement that non-monogamy is permitted and over half have had sex outside their current relationship”. If gay marriage means accepting sexual non-monogamy within marriage, we must accept an inherent change in the intrinsic meaning of marriage and ultimately the meaning of responsible parenting.

Relationship Stability and Children

Another issue concerns the relationship between having children and staying together for the sake of the children. Though gay and lesbian couples in some studies appear to have higher quality, more satisfying relationships, they also appear less likely to remain stable when children are involved. Recent studies by Patterson and by Nanette Gartrell in the United States, as well as Scandinavian research, confirm this outcome, even when the GLBT subjects sampled had much higher levels of education than the heterosexual subjects.

Recently, Gartrell and Bos reported that over 56 per cent of lesbian parents had separated by the time their child was 17 years old. Based on the mothers’ reports of the children’s psychological adjustment, the adverse impact of that instability was not quite statistically significant. Comparable studies of heterosexual parents have found rates of separation ranging from 3 per cent to less than 30 percent over similar timeframes.

As yet, we have no published data on the stability of legally married LGBT parents. However, recent evidence indicates that very few GLBT individuals come together with the intention of having children and few, in fact, ever have children; if they do have a child, few spend the entire year with that child.

Effects on Children

Richard Redding, writing in a 2008 issue of the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, concluded that gay parents were more likely to have gay children. My meta-analyses of 26 studies and ten books on GLBT parenting concur with his findings (Schumm, in press). Furthermore, my research indicates that many literature reviews have systematically excluded information about negative child outcomes associated with gay parenting -- that is, greater levels of insecure attachment and drug abuse among daughters of gay fathers. The most recent review of literature on GLBT families did not mention Sirota’s (2009) research, even though I reported a summary of it two years ago.

Space does not permit an adequate treatment here, but some research suggests differential effects on sex role orientations of children and their views of non-monogamous sexuality. My hunch is that delayed gratification orientation may be an important intervening variable for understanding the influence of parental sexual orientation on child outcomes, but I am not aware of any studies on that variable.

Again, there appear to be differences in reporting of child outcomes, depending on the source of the data – whether parents, children, or teachers, for example. My sense is that maternal reports tend to be influenced by what the writers understand to be socially desirable outcomes, especially if the mothers sense the political purposes of the study.

Ends do not justify the means

One could probably write a book on the misuse of research regarding LGBT individuals and families. Even if the political goals of the researchers were laudable, the misuse of science would not be. In my view, the ends do not justify the means. Numerous legal and social science scholars have virtually sworn that the idea that GLBT parents might tend to have GLBT children was nothing but a myth; however, close examination of multiple sources of data suggests otherwise, as my forthcoming article will show.

Today, some would say, so what? That might be a plausible position, but it was not the position taken by most scholars between 1990 and 2005. Then, and now, I presume, most of the public would deem relationship instability to be unfavorable for the welfare of children, and would want to consider the evidence that lesbian parents have much less stable relationships than do married heterosexual parents.

As I noted at the beginning, it is risky to express such views about same-sex parenting, no matter how objectively based they are. But the public has a right to consider all the evidence in such an important matter, affecting as it does the welfare of children.

Dr Walter Schumm is a Professor of Family Studies in the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University. He has published over 250 scholarly articles and book chapters and is co-editor of the Sourcebook of Family Theories and Methods: A Contextual Approach (Plenum, 1993; Springer, 2009). He is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, a former brigade and battalion commander. His views may not reflect the positions of Kansas State University or the US Department of Defense.

For further information, including a list of references for the above article, contact Dr Schumm at

This article is published by Walter R Schumm, and under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

Betty White has it Right

Betty White was on Joy Behar's show. Usually Joy does all she can to promote gay marriage, and gay characters on television, so it wasn't a surprised when she had some questions from Facebook to ask Betty White and the first one was "Would you ever play a lesbian?" Betty White had the best answer. She said there's already too much of that on television now and she would choose not to. She said she's at the stage where she can choose her roles. Good for her. I'm sure Betty White really doesn't care what anyone else thinks and she didn't play along with the political correct agent.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The View pushes Gay Marriage agenda

On Friday's episode of the View, there was a segment on worldwide adoption. They talked about how many Americans want to adopt children from other nations. So, they brought on two groups that adopted children. One was a single mother, and the other were two gay men. Of course, there was no husband and wife couple that adopted a child on the show. Having them might be politically incorrect and imply that gay people shouldn't adopt.

The episode bemoaned worldwide opinion that the best place for a child is with a mother and a father, rather than a single parent and especially not a gay couple. They said only a handful of countries adopt children to single parents, but even fewer adopt to gay couples. In fact, the couple on the show adopted from Guatemala, where they officially adopted the child to a single parent, and sort of had a don't ask don't tell policy about the other man. I believe they said the only country in the world that adopts children to gay parents is South Africa.

The show presented these worldwide policies as wrong and unjust. But maybe for a second, they should pause to consider that maybe not every country on the entire planet is wrong. Maybe having an environment with a husband and wife really IS the best place for a child. As I have mentioned in previous postings, I do not believe two gay men are the best people to adopt a child. First of all, there is absolutely no maternal love given to the child. It is two men, two males, who are attracted to each other. Even a heterosexual man would offer one side of the complementarity. He would be disposed toward affection for women. However, the gay men do not offer this complementarity. They are not men who are drawn to women, but rather men who are drawn to men. There is no female influence.

The episode also highlighted another problem. Why would a person purposely go outside their own country to adopt a child. It seems more "hip" to do it that way. What's cooler? Telling your friends you adopted a child from Flint, Michigan, or that you adopted an exotic child from Cambodia, or Mali? By adopting a foreign baby, they appear more urbane, more hip, more globally-minded. But to me, this whole concept smacks of going on a shopping spree. Picking up that fascinating African art. Like returning from a safari with an interesting find. Not satisfied with wearing Nike, these seek Armani. Children are treated as accessories, highlighting some aspect of the "purchaser's" personality.

They constantly complained on the show about all the red-tape they had to bypass to adopt a child from another country. Why not stick to their own country? Indeed, many people have made the correct observation that often adopting a child from another country is not the best thing to help them. All the money, time and effort spent on bringing one child from a poor village to America could have been better spent on supporting the entire community. It would probably cost the same to sponsor a community as it would to adopt a child. Often, one of the parents of the child is still alive, but because of financial difficulty, the parent is forced to hand over the child to someone else. It would have been better support the parent in raising the child.

Gay adoption is very rare compared to adoption by a mother and father, and is illegal in all countries except South Africa. Why does the media focus on this type of adoption so very often?

Should Catholic Hospitals perform abortions?

The ACLU is getting upset because they want Catholic Hospitals to abort babies, but of course they refuse. The reason this has come up now is because a nun who worked at the hospital was excommunicated because she authorized an abortion on a woman who was ill. Sr. Margaret McBride was demoted and excommunicated while working at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix AZ.

The thing is, abortions are never necessary. I don't know the specifics of the woman in question that the nun authorized an abortion for, but it indicates she was ill. If she was ill and required medical treatment, Catholic moral law would permit that. Let me explain the Catholic position on this situation.

If a womas has a life-threatening condition, she can receive treatment for it, even if doing so would end up killing the child. For example, her uterus develops cancer. It must be removed to save her life. The child who is in her womb dies. The death of the child is an unintended consequence of her action, and is therefore not morally impermissible. This would fall under the moral law of double effect.

If a woman would simply get sick or may have issues raising a child, these do not constitute a situation where the baby's life could be sacrificed.

The Catholic belief is that life begins at conception and therefore someone cannot take a life because of a personal issue or inconvenience.

I'm not sure why the ACLU wants Catholic Hospitals to provide abortions. Aren't there enough abortion facilities around? That's like demanding that Muslim Hospitals serve pork. Why? It makes no sense to me.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Director of "The Kids are All Right" using movie to normalize her lifestyle

The Kids are All Right, which premieres today in limited release, is about two lesbians (Nic and Jules) who use the sperm of a donor, and the technology of a laboratory to get one of them pregnant and have a child. Later, they have another child with the same sperm donor (Paul). Joni (female) and Laser (male), the two children, become interested in their father and so go looking for him. They find him and he comes into their lives, but there is resistence from the two lesbians.

If you haven't guessed already, this movie is meant to once again try to normalize homosexual relationships. The point of the movie is lesbian and gay couples have their problems, their ups and downs, just like every other couple. They're no different. They're just regular folk like you and me trying to get along in this world.

Homosexual activity is never portrayed as anything but normal in these movies. They want everyone to accept their new moral code and have no qualms about homosexual relationships.

The image that's presented though must be regarded as nothing but propaganda. We know from many studies that children, especially girls, fare much better when they have a father figure in their lives. This is not a social construct. If you look at every society in the world, marriage has always been between male and female. Ying and yang. Two complementary forces. We cannot change the human person simply by desiring it.

Another trend lately is to show homosexual partners as just your regular nuclear family that wants the same lifestyle as the typical 1950s family. This is simply not true. The vast majority of gay or lesbian couples do not want to have a family or children. In fact, statistics show promiscuity is extremely rampant within gay communities. So much so that monogamy really is the exception to the rule and a rarity.

I heard one time that there are about 1000 gay couples in the US that have adopted a child or otherwise had a child, out of 777,000 total gay couples in the US. Therefore only 1 out of 777 have any children, adopted or otherwise, which is 0.129%.

According to the US Census Bureau, 28% of households have children, which works out to about 32,000,000 households with children (total households: 115 million).

For every child who has "two mommies" or "two daddies", there are 32,000 that have a mommy and daddy. Why is it then that it seems nearly half of all children on TV or in movies are raised by gay parents? From this movie to "Modern Family", time after time, we see this portrayal of a loving gay couple wishing to have a normal family and adopt a child, yet according to actual statistics this arrangement is exceedingly rare. Sometimes, television stations will seek out real life examples of this. Not long ago, CNN had a one-hour program called Gary and Tony Have a Baby.

There seems to be an obsession with showing as many "normal" gay families as possible in order to increase acceptance.

But in this particular case, we can find an ulterior motive. The director of this film, Lisa Cholodenko, is herself in a lesbian relationship. She received an anonymous sperm donation and had a son Calder. She lives with a woman named Wendy Melvoin.

It is unfashionable to question these types of relationships, but let's focus on the children for a few minutes. They are not accessories to a style, or a political statement. They are living, breathing, gifts from God who have a right to know their parents and live in a complementary, loving atmosphere.

Pope going to Castel Gondolfo

The pope will be traveling to Castel Gondolfo outside of Rome to live in his Summer residence. He will have some time to reflect. Have a good well-deserved Summer vacation Pope Benedict.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Basilica of St. John the Baptist Survived Great Fire 118 years ago

Over a century ago, St. John's experience the "Great Fire" which virtually devastated the entire city. An unbelivable series of coincidences occurred to allow the fire to cause near total destruction. One of the few buildings to survive was the Catholic Basilica of St. John the Baptist. Wikipedia has a really good article on the event:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mosques in America: Jon Stewart compares Muslims to Christians on the Daily Show

Apparently there were some segments on the news on several channels about Americans being worried that too many mosques were being built. Jon Stewart used that on Wednesday night as his lead story. The concerned Americans felt that Islam did not represent their views and that they should not allow mosques to be built. Some people brought up the point that Muslims (or some) want a separate legal system to apply to them, namely sharia. One of the commentators noted that they are the only group that wants its own set of laws, specific to their religion.

Jon Stewart made fun of this in several ways, mostly comparing our current system with what the Muslims wanted. He implied that Christians already do impose their own morals on the country and gave the example of stores being closed on Sunday, and of gay people not being allowed to marry. I spose he could have also thrown in murder and rape. My point is the the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values. That doesn't mean its citizens cannot be against another group imposing its morals on them. In any event, although the original framework of the laws of the United States may have been based on Judeo-Christian morals, the law is a totally separate entity, which is quite evident. For example, it is legal to get an abortion. Almost all Christian denominations are against this, but it is still legal.

A truly religion-based legal system would take guidance from religious leaders, not politicians. What certain Muslim groups are seeking is the imposition of Sharia Law. In Islam, there is not the concept of separation of religion and state as there is in Christianity. Like when Jesus said Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. That's why you see in Islamic countries, the supreme leader is a religious leader and their laws come directly from Islam. The US ought not create a separate legal system for some of its members.

Jon Stewart also poked fun at the idea that some were upset with the building of new mosques by saying the Mormons did the same thing in Utah 150 years ago. It seems to me most of these settlers were Mormons, so them building a church makes sense. What the news stories focused on was Muslims wanting to build mosques in predominantly Christian areas, even small rural areas.

I do not believe the construction of any religious building should be banned. There is a concept of freedom of religion and this involves implementing the same rules for all people regardless of their religion. It would violate this system if only Christians were allowed to build churches. As I mentioned in another article, how can Christians expect religious freedom in predominantly Muslim countries, if we do not extend the same rights to others.

I think we must also be careful to recognize that not all moral systems are equal. That's moral relativism, and I hear this argument used all the time. People will say "those are your morals, but I have different morals". It seems like all moral codes are equal so we can just pick and choose whatever we want. But this is not the case, it's just an easy cop-out. I believe Christianity represents the best moral code because it contains the truth. Other systems surely can approach it or be the same in some ways, and so they too would contain truth, but I do not believe that just because something can be classified as a moral, it is just as good as any other.

To conclude, Muslims should have the right to build mosques if they will use them just like Christians. We must ensure religious freedom everywhere in the world.

Are people really supposed to be monogamous?

We hear it all the time: being monogamous goes against our nature. Explanations have been offered for this, including the fact that most other animals are not monogamous, but rather go from one mate to another. Also, we are told it is genetically to our benefit to have relations with as many people as possible in order to ensure the continuation of our genes. This would especially apply to men.

Despite this popular belief, our society has paradoxically affirmed that "cheating" is one of the most serious of crimes. What are we to make of this? Is monogamy really unnatural? Let's consider some evidence.

One of the main considerations I want to make is our psychology. When a man is hungry, his body is telling him he needs food. When someone dies, we grieve as we adjust to their departure and learn to live without them here. Our bodies tell us things. It doesn't sit idly by, it expects to be heard. No different is the case when we break up with a spouse.

Divorce is a devastating situation. It is sad, unfortunate and causes a great deal of anger, depression, and pain. Similarly, cheating causes the same reactions. If going from one partner to another was built into our DNA, why would such pain be cause when we did something so natural? I think the question answers itself.

Divorce has devastating consequences. One study, by the National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, MD, has said that divorced people are three times more likely to commit suicide. Another study, which I cannot quote right now, says for people considering divorce, those who proceed with it are less happy five years later than those who remain in the marriage.

These are not the effects of something natural.

Also, why do we look to other animals to determine our correct course of action? Humans are unique. We may compare ourselves to chimpanzees, but it is common for chimps to attack other groups of chimps, take the young babies, rip them apart and eat them. Do we want to behave this way? No. We are called to a far higher standard.