Monday, February 28, 2011

Man "euthanizes" wife

Stephan Bolton from Liverpool Nova Scotia gave his wife Barbara, 59, who was suffering with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, a lethal injection without her knowledge. Now, he has confessed his actions to the local RCMP.

The man, 56, says his motivation for going to the police is pure guilt, stemming from his actions. He said his wife only had a couple of months to live at most and that she was suffering from depression.

One of the more interesting things Stephan said was "It's been over a month. Over that month, I tried to live with it and I just can't — not without being told by (some) authority that what I did wasn't wrong," he said. "I am racked by guilt and have to somehow resolve it."

Does he believe that if someone tells him his actions were morally okay, then he will no longer feel guilty? Perhaps. I believe a lot of people seek guidance for the morality of their actions. If they are not religious, they may look to other people for information, such as the government. That's why I think it's important for immoral actions to be illegal. For example, abortion. Some say you cannot legislate morality, but I believe in the case of abortion, many people consider themselves "pro-choice" because they see it as a legitimate position since the government permits it.

The actions of this man were quite immoral. He took the life of another innocent human being. Although she was suffering from depression, she needed help and reassurance and love, not death. Instead of seeking someone to tell him he did the right thing, this man should seek forgiveness for his sins. I think this is also a natural tendency. People would rather be told they are doing the right thing than go to confession. In fact, because many do not believe in confession, the only option they have is to believe their actions are justified.

Having said this, I feel terrible for this man and his wife. He is suffering tremendously. In his own misguided way, he just wanted to end his wife's suffering. I will make a Pope Benedict-like comment here and say his intention to reduce the suffering of another could be the the first toward a sense of morality. I can say this without condoning his actions.

This man discovered the hard way that euthanasia is not the answer. All too often with moral decisions we make, many will try to persuade us to behave against our better judgment. Sadly, we often only realize our mistakes after they are irreversible. We are struck by guilt which cannot be explained away.

Keep this man and his wife who has passed away in your prayers. And pray for those facing difficult life situations.

Who Am I?

Dad was speechless when I was born
I'm called the Forerunner.
I told it like it was
but sometimes couldn't get ahead

Put your response for who you think this is as a comment.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Rite becomes profitable

The Rite, starring most notably Anthony Hopkins, has finally went past breaking even and has now made a profit for its studios. The latest numbers show that the expenses for the film totaled approximately $37 million. The film has so far earned $42,287,000, for a net profit of $5,287,000

To read my review of the film, go here.

To purchase the book upon which the film is based, click below. It only costs $9.57 from Amazon right now.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Anniversary of excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I

It happened 441 years ago in 1570. Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I. He wrote a papal bull in 1570 calling Elizabeth a heretic for acting against the Catholic faith, and allowed any Catholic to disobey her on these grounds.

This prompted great persecutions of Catholics in England, and eventually in 1580 to relieve pressure on them, Pope Gregory XIII said the English should obey the queen until she is overthrown.

One of the effects of this was that there was a rift between Ireland and England, since most of Ireland chose to remain Catholic. This rift lasted for centuries.

The popes during this time believed the true heir to the British throne was Mary, Queen of Scots. Eventually Elizabeth had her executed.

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V, the famous namesake of the Sistine Chapel, renewed the categorization of Queen Elizabeth I as a heretic.

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A related movie to this era of Catholic persecution is a great one titled A Man for All Seasons, which profiles St. Thomas More and his interaction with King Henry VIII when he disagree with the monarch. It can be purchased for $7.49 on Amazon.com:

Photo Friday: 10 Tallest Catholic Churches in the World











(11. Honourable Mention): St. Joseph's Oratory
Tallest Church in the Americas
Height: 129 meters
Montreal, Canada
Completed 1967
10. St. Martin's Church
130.6 meters
Landshut, Germany
Completed in 1500
9. St. Peter's Church
132.2 meters
Hamburg, Germany
Completed in 1878
8. New Cathedral (AKA Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception)
134.8 meters
Linz, Austria
Completed in 1924


7. St. Stephen's Cathedral
136.4 meters
Vienna, Austria
Completed in 1433

6. St. Peter's Basilica
138 meters
Vatican City
Completed in 1626

5. Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen
141.5 meters
Stary Lichen, Poland
Completed in 2000



4. Strasbourg Cathedral

142 meters
Strasbourg, France
Completed in 1439


3. Rouen Cathedral
151 meters
Rouen, France
Completed in 1880


2. Cologne Cathedral
Cologne, Germany
Completed in 1880
157.4 meters

1. Basilica of Our Lady of Peace
158 meters
Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa
Completed in 1989


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planned Parenthood Funding Must END

I was just reading some articles on Planned Parenthood in the mainstream media, and of course as you would suspect, nearly all of them are against defunding the organization with public money in the United States. No big surprise there. The logic behind this protestation is very flawed though. Let me explain why.

The main, and almost exclusively used, argument against defunding Planned Parenthood is that it provides many good services to women-in-need such as HIV tests and pap smears. Others cite birth control as a "good" service, but I would disagree. Opponents of the funding ban agree that Planned Parenthood performs abortions, but say instead of focusing on that, focus on all the "other" services provided by this organization.

The problem with this is quite evident, even to a 5-year old. You cannot fund an organization which is involved with serious evil, in this case abortion. It doesn't matter how much good this organization does, the good doesn't override the evil.

Under the Hyde Amendment, it is illegal for the US government to fund abortion. Planned Parenthood proponents say this is not happening. No US funds go toward abortion, they say. Even if this were the case, the government money is certainly having an impact on the availability of the procedure. With government money, Planed Parenthood can open dozens of new locations each year. They can build new rooms that can be used for many medical procedures, but can also be used for abortion. There is simply no possible way to parse the money.

Therefore, government funding sponsors an organization which commits an evil act. Morally speaking, such an organization should not be funded.

A good analogy would be the United States sending money to Nazi Germany. The argument could be made that the Nazis are doing a lot of good. The economy is recovering quite well. There is extremely low unemployment, technology is advancing, infrastructure is moving forward, etc. Of course, the Nazis are also killing millions of Jewish people as well. But that can be overlooked because the main thing we need to focus on, of course, is the building of roads and technology.

This is too absurd to even talk about. Planned Parenthood provides evil services which kill innocent children. It makes absolutely no difference how much "good" the organization does, it cannot compensate for the evil. The only way the United States Government could morally continue to support Planned Parenthood is if it ceased performing abortions and providing other immoral services. Otherwise, Planned Parenthood needs to be shut down completely.

Answer to Who Am I?

The answer to Yesterday's Who Am I is:

Pope John Paul I

His name before being pope was Albino Luciani
He reigned as pope for only 33 days
He called himself "the first", which was rare and seemed to predict his successor
The Vatican declared that he died of a heart attack.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bernard Nathanson dead at 84

A story which is being underreported as of right now in the mainstream media is the death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Early in his career, he performed thousands of abortions. After seeing medical evidence that an embryo/fetus is an actual human life, he quit performing the procedure and became a pro-life activist. He said his decision was not based on religion. Later, however, he did become Catholic.

Dr. Nathanson was at first so in favor of abortion that he formed NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, formerly known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. Today, this is one of the largest advocacy organization for abortion advocates in the world.

The mainstream media won't touch this story with a ten-foot pole, for the most part. In Google, if a popular story breaks, it will display a headline in the news section, and indicate the number of articles on the subject available to date. For example, the story on the Earthquake in New Zealand has 9208 articles. On the other hand, there are no news clusters for the news of Nathanson's passing. Most of the places carrying this story are Christian sites.

Many people believe the media is biased in favor of abortion, and this just provides further proof.

Who Am I?

I'm back with another Who Am I?

I was an Albino from Italy
I'm also associated with 33
I foretold the reign of my next
I most-likely died from an attack

(Post a comment with your guess on it. The answer will be posted tomorrow morning.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Answer to Yesterday's Who Am I?

The answer to yesterday's Who Am I is St. Thomas Aquinas.

His philosophy, best represented in the Summa Theologica, has shaped our understanding of Christianity since the 13th century. He died when he was 49 years old, not having fully completed the Summa. OP refers to the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans. He is one of 33 doctors of the Church.

Come back tomorrow, same time, for another Who Am I

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who Am I?

This is a little game I am introducing to this blog. It's called Who Am I? The name basically says it all. I will give some clues on a saint, Biblical figure, bishop, priest, or someone otherwise famous within Catholicism, and you must guess who it is. The answer will appear the following day.

Post your response in the comments. Make this a real challenge and do not research the answer. If you get it wrong, that's ok, don't feel bad, and if you're not sure, make a guess anyway.


WHO AM I:
Not quite 50 at the time of my death
My philosophy has shaped the West
I was a member of the OP
and I'm in a group of thirty three

Saturday, February 19, 2011

26 Saints A to Z

I'm just giving myself a challenge right now, and you can try it yourself. Perhaps do it before you read my list. I'm going to try to name one saint for each letter of the alphabet. I will see how many I can get. The rule is that you must be 99% sure it is a saint, and not just type a name hoping you can find a saint later that matches. So here goes:

Saint:
Alphonsus Liguori
Benedict of Nursia
Charles Borromeo
Denis
Edward the Confessor
Francis of Assissi
Gerard Megella
Hilarius
Ignatius Loyola
John
Kateri Tekaweta
Leo the Great
Michael the Archangel
Nicholas
O
Peter
Quirinus
Robert Bellarmine
Stephen
Thomas Aquinas
U
Veronica
Wenceslaus
Xystus
Y
Zossimus

Ok, so I couldn't get O, U, or Y. Plus, some are questionable. I will look them up. I will post updates or additional information in a comment to this post.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What if an animal snatches a eucharistic host and runs off with it?

I recently found out about a document issued by Pope Pius V soon after the Council of Trent, sometime in the late 1560 and early 1570s called De Defectibus. In it, almost every imaginable scenario is presented with regards to the validity and laicity of the Mass if certain events. I will look at these from time to time on this blog.

Under the section Defective Materials, it explains what should happen if a gust of wind or an animal carries away a consecrated host, which Catholics believe to be the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus.

Here is what the document spells out:

III. 7. If the consecrated host should disappear, either from some chance cause such as wind, or by a miracle, or from being consumed by some animal, and cannot be recovered; then another must be consecrated, after first being offered, beginning at the passage: Qui pridie quam pateretur.

A simple solution to a very uncommon situation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Solar Panels for New Cathedral

A new cathedral is being built in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the first in Western Canada in 50 years. One interesting thing about this new cathedral is that its stained glass windows will contain solar panels.

This is quite interesting. The Vatican is also a proponent of renewable energy resources such as solar energy, as I highlighted in this past article.

I'm really glad Saskatchewan is getting a new cathedral. It shows the faith is quite vibrant in that community.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Choosing between two evils

A common idea when it comes to morality is choosing between two evils. Often times though, we just like to think there are only two choices when in fact there are more, and some do not involve evil at all.

I could be misquoting here, but I thought I heard somewhere that John Paul II said when choosing between two evils, choose neither. All too often, we incorrectly place a decision as being between two possible evils, but these circumstances are very rare.

I was just reading the biography of St. George who lived during the time of Diocletian. He belonged to a wealthy and noble Roman family.

Diocletian was one of the greatest opponents of Christianity and under his reign was the greatest persecution of Christians. He issued an edict saying that all soldiers must pay homage to the Roman gods. Of course, George, a Christian, refused.

Diocletian knew George and wanted him to worship these deities. The emperor did not want to punish George and offered him land, wealth, and power. All he needed from George was for him to worship these false gods. George refused and was subsequently tortured, and never abandoning his faith, was finally killed.

How many people in our modern day, perhaps sadly even including me, would see this as an option between two evils? One evil, being killed by the emperor and worshiping a false god. Then many would conclude that it's better to just worship this false god and live because then we can do other things like charitable work, etc.

But St. George chose not to participate in evil. That's the point. Evil may be done to him, but he will have nothing to do with it.

The amount of good St. George did because of his choice is incalculable. Many were converted at the time and today he is the patron saint of many countries. Legends have developed around him such as him slaying a dragon, which represents his triumph over evil.

Had he chose instead to do what the emperor wanted, he may have helped a couple of people a little here and there, but then he would have had a very tiny impact. It is doubtful anyone would know him today.

All too often, we put our own selfish desires above the truth. We justify our actions instead of choosing good.

Let's give everything to God.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Pumping Iron at God's Gym

Something I've noticed over the years is the number of people who demand that the Catholic Church conform to their ideas, rather than follow what the Church teaches. This not only represents disobedience, but also absurdity. The Church cannot conform to everyone's will. It can only, logically, conform to one will, and that is the will of God.

The Church is like a spiritual gym. Through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, reception of the sacraments, living a life of personal holiness by practicing humility, patience, and love, a person hopes to come closer to Jesus Christ. The Church offers the way to become spiritually fit, in a far more important way than a gym does for the physical body.

Imagine if someone went to a gym and said the following:

"Hi there. I want to work out, but I don't really think it matters if I can't make it every week. Maybe I will just come in once a month, or possibly twice a year at the most important gym dates. Also, I don't want to lift heavy weights, I mainly want to just stick with the 5 or 10 pounds, the light stuff. I don't want to change my diet at all, because that might involve some mortification, which went out with the dark ages. And, why is everyone always sweating, how is that necessary? I think if we all just sat in a circle and talked about feelings, that would feel better."

This person would obviously not lose any weight. They would remain fat. It would also be absurd for someone at the gym to believe they knew better than the trainer who had spent his entire life working out when they themselves know almost nothing about fitness.

Now, obviously spiritual growth is not the same as working out. But the parallels are there. Both involve consistently seeking improvement and using time-tested techniques.

Most of the time when someone criticizes a practice in the Church it is due to their own ignorance or their desire to make things the way THEY want them, instead of humbly accepting the teachings of the Church which Christ established.

Jesus never said "your own personal opinion will lead you into all truth", he said the Church would do that. He established a Church to teach and guide, he didn't give each person the ability to form their own church based on their opinions.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Church from a business perspective

When I studied business, one of the main themes was competitive advantage. A company had to have a strength or seize on an opportunity or it would fail. There had to be some reason a consumer would choose your company or another one. If no such reason existed, your company would falter.

The Church right now is facing a dilemma in the Western world of how to attract people to Mass and to the faith in general. I think the best and really only way to accomplish this is by giving people pure Catholicism. When the Catholic Church tries to compete with other forms of worship or even forms of entertainment, it loses out because the church is not entertainment and it can only be Catholic.

Imagine the Church as a company for a moment, and let's compare it to Rolls-Royce. What would attract potential buyers of Rolls-Royce more:

A) Presenting Rolls-Royce as a "good" car company, but there are many others which are just as good. Telling people if they come to test drive a Rolls-Royce, you also offer donuts, sandwiches, and a rock band on the premises. Also, the company makes sure not to talk about any "hard" issues like how Rolls Royce cars only use the finest mahogany or lambs wool. Rather, they talk about unifying things like the fact that their cars have tires like other cars and can listen to FM radio. When a customer asks about details on the engine, warranty, workmanship, etc. the owner of the store refuses to tell anyone about those details, because it's better just to ignore them so that no one ever gets offended.

B) Presenting Rolls-Royce as the best car company with uncompromising level of quality. Instead of bothering with donuts and rock bands, the Rolls-Royce dealership focuses on maintaining a very beautiful building and creating an atmosphere where people can go to experience Rolls-Royce. They make sure to tell people what sets Rolls-Royce apart, and explain to people it's not just another car company, it is THE car company. Finally, it gives people all the details, especially on the areas where other dealerships compromise.

Obviously B works much better. So why do so many churches focus on being like A?

If a Catholic church presents itself as just another church, and its doctrines as nothing too special, people will not be inspired. It will not call them to action and they will lose interest. People need to be a part of something. The Church must be what it is. The Church does not offer rock bands and meeting halls, it offers the salvation of souls, it offers Jesus in the Eucharist. I believe if individual churches focus on what it truly means to be Catholic, the number of congregants will soar.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Rite: Review [Contains Spoilers]

The Rite is about a young man who grows up in his family's funeral business and eventually attends seminary to discern his calling to the priesthood. He is a skeptical young man who eventually tries to quit seminary due to his lack of faith. Unhappy with his decision, his director arranges for the young man to go to Rome to experience exorcism firsthand.

He faithlessness is soon put to the test as many inexplicable events occur in his life which cannot be explained by science.

I felt this movie was quite good. It presented an issue which comes up frequently when dealing with the topic of demonic possession - is it evil influence or psychological issues. The movie did a good job of presenting the Church's real feeling on the issue. The Church says psychological means should be thoroughly explored before a spiritual explanation is given. This doesn't mean that a person must spend 25 years trying to cure an apparent mental illness before a priest is consulted, but people are advised to take this first step.

Once a natural, psychological explanation has been ruled out, an exorcism can take place. There are indicators, which the movie presents, which point to a demonic possession as opposed to a psychological disturbance. One example given in the movie is knowing the unknowable. For example, a patient will know the contents of a bag they've never seen before. Or the person will begin to fluently speak another language they have no knowledge of. Or the possessed will know information about the exorcist that no one else does except the exorcist himself.

These manifestations were quite apparent in the movie.

I liked seeing all the devotional objects in the movie. They were well done and looked quite real. Also, the movie featured many good prayers and seemed to go to some length to show an accurate representation of the Church.

I did however have some issues.

A small one was when the priest was making a cross on someone's head and first moved his thumb down, but then moved his thumb from right to left, which is the reverse of what is correct.

But that's quite minor. A major issue I had with the film was in some of the portrayal of exorcism which differs from reality, including:

1) The exorcist who seems to have a good prayer life and seems to be a holy man becomes possessed. According to the chief exorcist of Rome, this is almost unheard of. The usual victims of possession are people who venture into sorcery, fortune telling, ouija boards, etc.

2) One of the exorcism patients dies while being possessed. Again according to the chief exorcist, the devil cannot kill someone who is possessed, he does not have that much power.

I believe Hollywood needs to do a better job at presenting the risk factors for demon possession. In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Emily is a very devout Catholic girl who is possessed. According to priests in the field, the majority of cases come from people who become involved in demonic activities, not practicing Catholics.

Also, not all exorcisms are head-spinning, nail-spitting, levitating events. Often they are much more subtle because the Devil is a deceiver. He would rather hide. In fact, The Rite made clear that the Devil prefers that people ignore him.

Overall, I would rate this movie 4/5. The Church is portrayed in a fairly accurate and reverent way, while some of the information is not fully accurate in order to advance the plot.

[The following was added  February 26, 2011]

To purchase the book upon which this film is based from Amazon for just $9.57, click the link below: