Friday, April 29, 2011
I just came across something a little funny. Oprah is having her 25th anniversary show soon, and recently she interviewed Barack Obama and his wife.
Asked about some of the first family’s best moments, Michelle recalled when her daughters met Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. The president joked that, as the girls got tired, every time someone wearing a frock passed by, they asked, "Is that the pope?" He said he told them they will know when it’s the pope.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:43 am
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Me and my girlfriend were on a gondola in Venice and it was fun, so I am posting this :)
A few in Venice will be pope's gondoliers - UPI.com
Posted by Phil Lynch at 10:36 pm
The Act of Settlement of 1701 expressly forbids any monarch or anyone in the line of succession in Britain from being Catholic. This happened because of several factors at the time. Queen Anne had at least 18 pregnancies, but one child survived - her son William, Duke of Gloucester. Unfortunately he died at the age of 11. Britain enacted a law which would continue the line of succession, but disallow any Catholic from taking the title. Anne's father, King James II of Britain and his children were removed from the line of succession.
The relevant section of the Act reads:
That all and every Person and Persons that then were or afterwards should be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or should professe the Popish Religion or marry a Papist should be excluded and are by that Act made for ever to inherit possess or enjoy the Crown and Government of this Realm and Ireland and the Dominions
Therefore anyone who is Catholic or marries a Catholic is prohibited from being the monarch of the United Kingdom. It's important to note that this law has not been repealed, although several attempts have been made to do this.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 6:33 pm
Interestingly enough, there hasn't been much news on the upcoming beatification of John Paul II in Rome this coming Sunday. Every night on the news, we've been inundated by William and Kate's wedding, which is taking place on Friday in London. Literally every night on the National they do a special report on it, and the hosts of the show will be traveling to Britain to cover the event. In fact, coverage will begin at 2am on CBC Friday morning. So that's why it's so strange that not a single mention of Pope John Paul II being beatified has been made on the same news program. Not even a brief mention.
Even though it has not been mentioned, the beatification is not much smaller than the wedding. There will be an estimated 1.1 million visitors to the city to witness the event, about the same as the wedding. I'm not sure of the television viewership for the Vatican ceremony. However, for the royal wedding, some are predicting an astounding 2 billion viewers.
Of course, if some priest, anywhere in the world was charged with the abuse of a minor, even if it happened 30 years ago, that would be headline news. It is frustrating that the news seems to have such a bias against the Church. Catholic events are usually downplayed. When the pope visited Canada for World Youth Day, it was covered, but not nearly as much as it should have been. Indeed, it was the largest gathering in Canadian history.
Hopefully after the wedding, the main news organizations will broadcast more on the last pope's beatification. It's the final step before canonization or the act of declaring someone a saint officially. More likely though, the news channels will simply air endless "analysis" of the royal wedding and the pope's beatification will be a side-story at best.
Check out the following news article for more information:
Rome to Host 1 Million Pilgrims for John Paul Beatification - Bloomberg
Posted by Phil Lynch at 2:11 pm
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Yesterday, a famous spiritual guru, Sathya Sai Baba, typically known as simply Sai Baba (pronounced "Sa-E" Baba), died in Puttaparthi, India at the age of 84. He was quite well-known in India and abroad, especially by Hindus, and he had many devotees. I went to Wikipedia and saw him mentioned on the front page, so I took a look at his profile. They said he was listed as one of the 100 most influential spiritual leaders in the world on a list prepared by the Watkins Review.
I took a look at the list and noticed something strange. Out of the 100 people on the list, the pope was nowhere to be found. I searched it several different ways, and sure enough, he wasn't there. This strikes me as awfully odd and I would like to know the explanation. I imagined he would be number one. Look at the news. No other religious or spiritual leader is broadcast as much as the pope, not even close. If he says something deemed "controversial", it gets picked up by thousands of news outlets. I would venture to guess that most Westerners have not even heard of Sai Baba, yet he's listed as number 37. Others on the list include Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle.
A cursory look through the list seems to reveal that most of the names represent advocates of Eastern or New Age spirituality. Few, if any of the names, represent traditional Christian views. It seems this list is simply very biased and unreliable.
100 Spiritual Power List by Watkins | Esoteric News
Posted by Phil Lynch at 9:59 pm
Posted by Phil Lynch at 2:35 am
Posted by Phil Lynch at 2:34 am
The Human Rights Tribunal of BC (along with many tribunals in Canada) has become nothing more than a taxpayer-funded attack animal of the far left in Canada. Freedom of speech is now a distant memory as the most vilified group of society are Christians, especially Catholics and where abortion, homosexuality, and embryo destruction have attained the status of untouchable. Anyone who dares joke about any of these topics is swiftly dealt with in Canada's socialist-friendly kangaroo court of liberal bias.
The most recent case is one where a couple of lesbians go to a comedy show and begin to heckle the performer. He banters back with jabs at their lesbian-ness. This apparently is a crime in Canada. It's not that people disagree with it, find if offensive, or do not hire him for any more gigs. It is now a felony offense which carries a strict penalty to speak negatively about gays or lesbians, even if done with random insults at a comedy club. Have we lost all sense? Why is this group protected above and beyond anyone else?
Throughout the years, I have had to suffer through countless comedians who use the Catholic Church as their whipping boy. They relentlessly attack the Catholic Church characterizing every priest as a pedophile sodomite. This is deemed totally acceptable, even on prime time television. One particular comedian created an entire video in which he claims the Catholic Church was created with the sole purpose of sexually assaulting boys. He went into very graphic detail. Yet this is considered totally acceptable without the remotest possibility that he could be sued.
When it comes to freedom of expression, Canada should rank with war-torn third-world despotic nations run by autocrats. The only people with freedom of expression in Canada are those who advocate perversion. Anyone seen criticizing these perverse groups though can be charged with hate crimes and often have been. It's deplorable. The American system is far better. People are free to express their opinion regardless of what it may be. That is true freedom of expression. How free is the expression in Canada, if everything people say must be approved by a tiny fringe group of individuals with non-traditional morals? It's about as free as North Korea in that regard.
Once again, a Human Rights Tribunal in Canada has failed miserably to maintain anything which even slightly resembles a free society. Hopefully after the election, the government will strive to bring back freedom of expression in Canada.
Lesbian wins $22,500 over comedian's insults - CBC News
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:52 am
Friday, April 22, 2011
For Catholics, Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence from meat. But there is some confusion as to what is actually allowed. Before modern taxonomy, the term "fish" had a broader meaning to many people. We would now recognize a fish as a cold-blooded animal from the ocean or a pond that breathes under water. That may not be the exact definition, but its close enough. However, before this, fish would just be considered any animal that is predominantly a water-dweller. Because of this, certain regions have exceptions to the general rule of abstaining from meat, such as:
- Seal can be eaten in Newfoundland on Good Friday
- Muskrat can be eaten in some parts of the United States on Fridays during Lent
- Some places in Europe allowed and possibly still allow the consumption of beaver tails
Here is some further information from AmericanCatholic.org:
Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.
Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.
If you are aware of any other exceptions, feel free to post a comment about it.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 12:23 am
I was doing some research on Good Friday fasting and thought of an interesting question. What would happen if Good Friday (a moveable fast day) and the Feast of the Annunciation (celebrated on March 25) coincided? In other words, Good Friday was on March 25th. Would we feast or fast?
I couldn't seem to come across the answer, so I first went to a website which listed all the dates for Good Friday, Easter, etc. for about a hundred years. Then I searched on Google archives to see if anyone else addressed this issue. And sure enough someone did. Who was it? Well, none other than Jimmy Akin, a frequent guest on Catholic Answers Live and the writer of several books on Catholicism.
The short answer to the question is that in the event that both occur on the same day, interestingly, the Annunciation is pushed back. In the case of 2005 (the most recent time this occurred), it was pushed back to April 4th.
I'm not going to write a better article than Jimmy on this subject, so you can check it out here:
Posted by Phil Lynch at 12:05 am
Thursday, April 21, 2011
More proof that reality is stranger than fiction. A PARISHIONER complained about a pro-life monument erected in from of a CATHOLIC church. She filed the complaint to the human rights commission of Ontario saying that the inscription referring to life as being from "conception to natural death" is a statement against abortion and that the monument is "offensive and discriminatory because it denounces, victimizes, and excludes women."
The entire inscription on the monument reads: "Let us pray that all life rests in the hands of God from conception until death."
The woman who complained apparently is very much against the Church's stance on abortion. It's important to note that the inscription cannot be read from the road, and one must enter the premises of the church in order to read it.
I checked the date and this article is not from April Fool's Day. I'm sorry, but this absolute lunacy. First of all, how can this woman even claim to be Catholic in the first place? Opposition to abortion is a major teaching of the Church and she clearly disagrees with it. There are other churches which would probably support her agreement with abortion. I never understand this in general. How can people regularly attend a religious institution where they clearly disagree with many of its major teachings? This makes as much sense to me as someone claiming to be Christian but not believing that Jesus existed.
I'm actually pleasantly surprised that the Human Rights Commission of Ontario ruled against this woman, given Canadian Human Rights Commissions' tendency to rule against churches and Christian groups. I guess there was no way for them to see this in a bad light. They were forced to concede the church did nothing wrong. However, the tribunal adjudicator made it quite clear that she is not giving a general pass to the church or to the Knights of Columbus or any such group and that if they cross the line, they could be prosecuted. Obviously this is true, but I wonder if this adjudicator or any adjudicator in general would ever make a statement like this to any other group. It seems these tribunals have become nothing more than a weapon used by secularists to stop the Church from teaching.
These human rights tribunals generally really annoy me. I don't know much about their inner workings, but it just seems like they are so geared toward secularists and against the religious community in general.
As I mentioned in a previous article, the usual people who complain about religious expression are not people from other religions, but rather former or current Christians. Look at this woman. She actually attends this church regularly, yet SHE filed the complaint. It didn't come from a Hindu or Buddhist, it came from a so-called Catholic.
I can't believe that there are people at church every Sunday, participating at Mass, seeming to be completely Catholic, yet so opposed to Catholic social teaching that they would actually complain to a human rights tribunal about a consistent teaching of the Church. It just stuns me. How does it make any logical sense? The only possible explanation is that the individual really knows nothing about the Church. Perhaps they view it as some sort of "club" where everyone is a member of some kind of democracy which must align itself with the prevailing morality of the time and place.
In order to reject the Church's teaching on abortion, you must reject much more. You must reject the idea that the Church has the authority to explain and defend moral truths. You must cease to believe that Jesus established a church with a structure of bishops and priests. So now you would have to believe that the Church has no real authority and that as a Catholic you are free to pick and choose what you believe. I'm sorry, but without recognizing the authority of the Church, you cannot be properly called a Catholic in union with the Church. You have actually become a Protestant. Therefore, if you already believe as a Protestant, why are you still attending a Catholic church?
Anyway, 3 cheers for the Ontario human rights commission. Finally a ruling that is not against the Church.
Ontario Human Rights Tribunal rules in favor of pro-life monument | LifeSiteNews.com
Posted by Phil Lynch at 10:42 pm
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Holy Thursday, April 21, 2011, is NOT a day of fasting or abstinence. Church Law (Canon Law) spells out the following:
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
There is no mention of Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday) or Holy Saturday being days of fast or abstinence.
Of course, many people choose to go somewhat above and beyond the minimum requirements and will fast or abstain from meat on these days. That's a personal choice though.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 11:01 pm
Vancouver has declared that May 1 will be Pope John Paul II Day in the city. This is after a request from the local archbishop. As I said, I want the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup even more now. One of the reasons this is such a great news story is that Vancouver is extremely ethnically diverse. Only 19% of the population is Catholic, and 52% of people do not speak English as their first language. If you were to guess the least likely city to name a Pope John Paul II Day, you might guess Vancouver. But not so. Oftentimes, people are afraid to celebrate a specifically Catholic event fearing people from other religions or belief systems may be offended. However, I've come to realize that the main objectors to recognizing Christianity or Catholicism specifically are not people of other faiths, but former Catholics/Christians. It is not coming from Chinese people, or Hindus, or Buddhists, it's coming from traditionally Christian people. Take Newfoundland for example. A referendum was held on whether religious schools should stay or leave and a slight majority voted to have them leave. The irony is that over 95% of the population of the province is Christian. Anyway, I digress. I am very happy about Vancouver's decision. Check out the article below:
Vancouver declares May 1st "Pope John Paul II Day” - The Search
Posted by Phil Lynch at 11:40 am
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I wrote an article on Shabaz Bhatti on March 3rd, here.
Here is the article about declaring Shabaz Bhatti a saint
Posted by Phil Lynch at 6:37 pm
Posted by Phil Lynch at 6:26 pm
Posted by Phil Lynch at 6:18 pm
Great article for what looks to be a great book on defending Catholicism. Michael Coren's new book tackles the biggest issues facing the Church head-on. He confront the sex-abuse scandal, the Crusades, the inquisition - you know the topics those against the Church usually bring up. I saw Coren speak here in St. John's about a year and a half ago during a pro-life convention. He made some excellent and intelligent points, yet with humour. I look forward to reading his new book.
In his new book, Michael Coren does battle with enemies of Catholicism | Holy Post | National Post
Posted by Phil Lynch at 6:10 pm
This is not a long post. Just a couple of tidbits about Palm Sunday, which was today.
1) My friend accompanied me to Mass today. She hadn't been there in a long time and she isn't Catholic so it was good that she wanted to come. She called a little while back saying she'd like to go, so we did.
2) Palm Sunday marks when Jesus came into Jerusalem and was hailed as king. The people waved palms and put down their cloaks for his to go across while sitting upon his donkey.
3) A donkey represents coming in peace. In those days, if a ruler came on a horse, it represented war, but riding in on a donkey or ass represented peace. So Jesus came in peace.
4) The waving of palms is referred to in books of the Bible, including Zacariah 9:9 and 1 Maccabbes 13:51
5) Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, the most holy time of the Christian calendar.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 5:17 pm
Friday, April 15, 2011
This is a great interview of a Jesuit priest who is also an astronomer. I think if anyone learned anything from this interview, it's the interviewer. The interviewer just doesn't seem to understand Catholic teaching at all, and seems antagonistic. It's funny but after one particular question, the priest actually chuckles. Good clarification of how Catholics view science.
CBCnews.ca - Where is God Today? - God and science, under the stars
Posted by Phil Lynch at 9:19 pm
Pope Benedict's Birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday Holy Father!
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI 84th Birthday | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online
Posted by Phil Lynch at 7:12 pm
Thursday, April 14, 2011
That's the title of an article written by Jimmy Akin, aka RoboCatholic. He discusses evangelization and says parishioners don't do it enough, a situation he partly blames on priests who do not promote it. On the contrary, he notes that many Protestants are encouraged to evangelize in everyday life. Jimmy says he has never seen a priest tell parishioners to talk to other people their faith or encourage them to attend Mass. I, however, have seen this. A priest in my church regularly encourages people there to bring a friend, and to tell others about Mass, etc. He says we must be open about proclaiming our faith and that we mustn't be afraid. I'm glad to have a priest like this.
Click below to read Akin's article:
ATTENTION PRIESTS! How Well Are You Doing Your Job? | Blogs | NCRegister.com
Posted by Phil Lynch at 10:05 pm
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The fine for wearing such a veil is up to 150 euros. However, the fine for forcing a woman to wear such an outfit can reach up to 30,000 euros.
The law passed with almost no opposition in the National Assembly - 335 to 1, and then the Senate passed the law with a margin of 246-1. A Pew Research Poll revealed that about 80% of French were in support of this law. However, it does present challenges.
Many see the law as a reaction against Islamic extremism. In fact, even the Grand Mufti of Paris said that this type of face-covering veil is not prescribed in Islam anywhere and that it is a cultural phenomenon, which he believes comes from radicalized sectors of Muslim society. On this basis, he supports the ban. However, he believes it should be addressed in a case-by-case basis.
Many other countries have either enacted similar legislation, are considering it, or have considered it in the past. These countries include Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, the UK, and Switzerland.
Although this is a difficult issue for several reasons, ultimately I am against the ban, and I will explain why shortly. First, I was surprised to see certain sources which claim Pope Benedict XVI is against this ban. These sources are a little spurious, but they claim he said this in his book Light of the World.
I do not have any reason to doubt that he made these comments. During the controversy over minarets on mosques in Switzerland, the pope said he was against banning them.
The general idea behind all of this is that the Church advocates freedom of religion everywhere in the world. Religion cannot be forced on someone and it is a true human freedom to worship freely. The pope and the Church in general view the banning of religious expression as a bad thing. In the French case, they estimate in all of France only about 2,000 women wear a full face-covering and that these people are concentrated in specific regions of the country.
I believe that the backlash from this could be greater than the benefits achieved. You see, in many Muslim countries, Christians are persecuted and held as second-class citizens. With freedom of religion in "developed" countries, there is pressure placed on Islamic countries to allow more freedom also. However, once we curtail religious expression in Western countries, the Islamic ones have an excuse to do the same.
Propaganda is a very powerful tool. Much of the rhetoric which creates Muslim extremists is that their kinsmen are being oppressed by the "Great Satan", which is the United States and its allies. We only end up fueling the flames when we make laws like this.
A radical Muslim cleric could incite hatred and violence by proclaiming that in the West, we are banning minarets, and niqabs. We are limiting the rights of Muslims. This not only gives them the right to limit Christians' freedom in those countries, but also to lash out violently.
Having said all of that, I do not believe that our morals must change to suit the squeaky wheel. In other words, we should not change our way of life or bend over backwards because a gang of terrorists threatens to hurt us. Caving into these demands only makes things worse and worse. We must stand for what's right.
Ultimately, I think we must guarantee freedom of religion if we are to expect it ourselves. Freedom of religion does not mean we must give into every whim of any religion. Rather it allows people to make their own choices concerning dress, eating habits, etc. I believe if we extend generous freedoms to Muslims, they will be more inclined to do so in their countries for large Christian minorities.
Also, I think in a case like this, there is common ground. As I mentioned earlier, the Grand Mufti of Paris said he is opposed to the wearing of such veils also because they contradict his religion. Instead of the Government unilaterally enacting this law and appearing to curtail religious freedom, it could work with people like this mufti to present this idea in a coherent and convincing way which will gain support from the Muslim community. Also, legitimate concern could be expressed over forced wearing of such clothing by members of the minority community. These issues would be seen from the vantage point of human rights rather than religious freedom and thus cause less friction.
This is admittedly a difficult situation. There are legitimate concerns about people covering their faces in public. There is also the issue of national sovereignty. Countries cannot accommodate the desires of each person and form a different law for each one. This would result in absurdity of course. People should expect to live by the laws of the land. Freedom of religion is a basic human right and must be given to each person. Developed nations must lead this charge. We cannot create tit-for-tat laws. I heard someone say well in Saudi Arabia women are forced to wear face-coverings even if they are Christian, therefore we have the right to force them to take off their face-covering. This is illogical because morals are not based on doing the opposite of what someone else is doing. Morals are based on absolute right vs. absolute wrong. We must be the example that Muslim countries strive for, rather than seeking one-ups-manship.
In conclusion, I will just say that I believe religious freedom is a universal right. Also, although I do believe in a state's right to create laws, I believe this particular law may have more negative consequences than positive. It will simply be fodder to make lives worse for Christians in other countries. We, as Christians, must give example to the world.
Jesus said, "I have given you example". We now follow his example. We too must again give example to the world, and ultimately they may respond in kind.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:02 am
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
First you have to get past the deceptive title of this news article. Bishop Tobin doesn't say the Church is ok with some benefits for gay couples. All he says is that he is ok with granting benefits to any two people to make decisions for each other. Whether that's a married couple, two buddies, an uncle and nephew, etc. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation. But I guess you gotta grab headlines somehow. The article actually has some good information. The bishop is clear that the Church does not support any officially-recognized gay unions of any kind.
GoLocalProv | News | EXCLUSIVE: Bishop Tobin—Church OK with Some Benefits for Gay Couples
Posted by Phil Lynch at 9:20 am
Monday, April 11, 2011
Here's the scoop on this story. A couple wants to have a girl, not a boy. Their reason is that their daughter died and to help them in the grieving process, they want to have another girl. As is so typical in these cases, the child is not considered, only the parents desires. People are fond of "designing" their families. Some people believe the perfect family is parents, one girl, and one boy. Then they're done. It's no different than deciding what color to paint their house or what city to live in. They just see a family as an extension of their personal interests and desires. Of course, the reason all of this is possible is that we have separated the sexual act from procreation. Then we went even further by creating babies in test tubes. Now we're at the point where we not only create babies in test tubes, we design them. We look for certain genetic traits, sex, etc. The whole designer baby phenomenon has started. Dr. Frankenstein would be very proud.
One thing I liked in this article is that the government of Australia did not allow this kind of sex determination, and they also said the main decision is in favour of the child, not the parent. Children are gifts from God and we shouldn't be tampering with this. We definitely should not be "designing" babies as an extension of our own personalities. We don't "own" children, we are entrusted with them. They are not pets. We have to move away from this me-me-me attitude in families.
Here's the article:
Couple get no say in baby's sex | Herald Sun
Posted by Phil Lynch at 11:55 am
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 09, 2011
There's a big irony going on. The Republicans in the US want to cut a lot of spending in the budget, including all funds that are going to Planned Parenthood. Obviously lots of people are against this because they want abortion to be all over the place.
But the ironic thing I've noticed is that no one ever talks about abortion. The only argument used for continuing to fund Planned Parenthood is that it provides lots of "other" services like pap smears, contraception, etc. Some people even made up some of the stuff they provide to make them sound better.
But no one ever lists abortion as one of the good services that Planned Parenthood provides. They must be ashamed of this aspect of this organization. I've read lots of articles on this, and it's always the same old thing. Don't shut down Planned Parenthood because it does all this "other" stuff.
That's the stupidest argument I've ever heard. First of all, try to be logically consistent. If abortion is a good thing, then why try to hide it? Or why try to mask it by simply subsuming it into "maternal health", even though abortion has nothing to do with maternity or health. Instead, advocates should be proclaiming how happy they are about abortion and when debating this issue say they want Planned Parenthood to keep going strong so they can do more and more abortions. But they are not saying this. Maybe they realize how ridiculous it sounds.
Secondly, no amount of good can justify an evil. Who cares that the Nazis improved the economy greatly by building infrastructure or new cars or whatever? Who cares that they advocated new animal cruelty laws? Who cares that they united the country and increased patriotism? No one cares! I have never heard someone say we should support Nazis because of all the good stuff they did in Germany. It's a stupid defense. The fact is, they perpetrated great evil. That's the same thing with Planned Parenthood. Maybe they do provide SOME good services, but that cannot override the nefarious things they do, like aborting babies.
So much of this is a word game. Planned Parenthood is ashamed of what they do and they do not want people to hear about it, so they mask it with euphemisms like "maternal health" or "female health services" or "family planning", when in fact, they are providing abortion, killing pre-born children.
If the money is being spent, why not just give it to organizations that do not provide abortion or other immoral service. Then none of this debate would even have to happen.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 8:00 am
Friday, April 08, 2011
Posted by Phil Lynch at 10:53 pm
Let me explain, and I'm no expert, but basically the US Government has a proposed budget on the table. It can't get passed unless there is agreement between the Democrats and the Republicans. Basically the Republicans (or GOP) wants a lot of spending cuts, while the Democrats (which include Obama) are not so keen on it.
One of the cuts the Republicans want to make is funding to Planned Parenthood (PP). As it stands now, PP receives over $300 million in federal funding for its operation. Technically the organization cannot use federal funds to provide abortion because of the Hyde Amendment. However, many argue that giving $300 million to them allows them to take care of a lot of other costs and thus frees up resources for abortion. This makes a lot of sense. As an analogy, imagine a hit man. The government and people say they don't like the fact that he kills people. But the government wants to support the other work he does like walking his dog, selling lemonade during the summer, bringing his kids to soccer practice, mowing lawns, painting houses, etc. You get the idea. Anyway, the government says it will fund all of his good activities, but not his hitman activities like buying guns, bullets, and clean up crews. It's clear that if the government is paying for all his other costs, including housing and food, he will have loads of money to spend on his killing activities. This is grade one logic.
So back to the story. Obviously the Republicans and a lot of citizens don't want their hard-earned tax dollars paying for the killing of children. This is only one, but one very important, part of budget cuts desired by many politicians.
It's good to see abortion being a big issue in the US. In Canada, not only is it legal to kill a child in the womb, but every Canadian must pay for it or face the possibility of going to jail. How crazy is that?! In fact, most Canadians are against spending money on abortion. Hopefully if Stephen Harper get a majority, federal funding for abortion will go on the chopping block.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 9:20 pm
Six years ago today, one of the most beloved popes of the past century was laid to rest, 6 days after his death at the age of 84. Here are the 10 most amazing facts about his funeral:
It was the largest funeral of all time with over 4 million people attending
Although not confirmed, some believe it was the most watched event in history (whether in person, live on television, or taped) with an estimated 2 billion people watching.
His funeral brought together the largest gathering of heads of state in history (outside the UN) with 70 prime ministers and presidents attending as well as four kings and five queens.
The pope was buried in 3 coffins, each inside the other. The first is cedar, which was lowered into a zinc coffin which was soldered shut and then lowered into a walnut casket.
The pope must be buried between 4 and 6 days after his death. JPII was buried at the latest time - 6 days.
The future pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, led the Requiem Mass.
The Requiem Mass was interrupted several times by applause, and at the end, the crowds shouted "Santo Subito", which translates from Italian to English as "Saint now!"
There was a very high level of security during the funeral, especially to address terrorism concerns. Measures included a no-fly zone with a 5-mile radius, deployment of anti-aircraft missiles, Italian warships armed with torpedoes, military jets, and an astounding one thousand snipers positioned in strategic locations.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 8:00 am
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Just saw this disturbing article. A woman is claiming to be a bishop. Not only is she a woman, she must have gone directly from being a layperson to bishop. She could have at least made it slightly believable by claiming to first being a priest, THEN a bishop. But anyway, that's pretty irrelevant. Any woman who claims to be a member of the clergy is simply showing a case of disobedience and nothing more. It's usually evident from the way they describe the priesthood. They see it in terms of power. Even if a man was discerning a call to the priesthood and saw being a priest as being in a position of "power", he would probably be deemed unfit for ministry. The priesthood is not about being in power, it's about being a servant. Does a man ever say he wants to be a father so he can be powerful? No. And if one ever did, he would not be a very good father.
These issues are always matters of obedience. Good Catholics submit themselves to the teachings of the Church and their superiors.
Woman who claims to be Roman Catholic bishop to speak at Rutgers-Camden | NJ.com
Posted by Phil Lynch at 2:21 pm
Monday, April 04, 2011
Saturday, April 02, 2011
The sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is a terrible one. Many children and young people were victimized, which caused lasting effects in many cases. Even one case would be far too many. Many people are rightfully concerned about the safety and welfare of children in the context of the Church.
However, some people see this as an opportunity to silence the Church on moral issues. Just yesterday I wrote an article about April Fools Day, and I received a response which basically said I should not be writing anything about April Fools because of the sex abuse scandals which happened in the Church. This is actually very common on my blog. I write on a particular topic which has to do with morality, and I receive a comment which tells me to stop talking about morality because there was a sex abuse scandal.
Other times, there will be articles published on news websites, including editorials, which may address any number of issues and if it is related to the Church in any way, they will simply make reference to the sex abuse scandal to completely dismiss any relevant points. For example, an article was published on half a million dollars being stolen from the Archdiocese of St. John's and a large number of the comments simply made reference to the sex abuse scandal as if to say stealing money from them is irrelevant.
This approach is simply illogical. First of all, I am not a spokesperson for the Catholic Church. Secondly, the Church will not be silenced. Jesus Christ established the Church to speak in matters of faith and morals and to guide the world to do the right thing. Ignoring the Church is ignoring Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is a fact which cannot be avoided. No matter how much people want to attack the Church, this does not diminish its unique role as revealer of Truth on matters of faith and morals.
But the approach being employed by many people is illogical for other reasons as well. There are some in the Church who have abused children, but this is something that happens in all sectors of society. Any study that has been done on the subject reveals that levels of abuse in other religions, organizations, etc. are as high or higher than that of the Catholic Church.
Would anyone ever say they will not listen to a school teacher on math, science, history, etc. because some teachers have abused children? In fact, at a much higher rate than priests? I've never heard anyone say this. How about if there was an article published showing a lack of funding for education, would people say who cares about education, some teachers have abused kids!
Some may respond by saying that the Catholic Church is different because it moved priests to other dioceses. Well, there is more than meets the eye here. Most abuse in the Catholic Church occurred at least 30 years ago or more. In those times, it was commonly held knowledge that an abuser could be reformed and brought back into society. This was the advice of psychologists, so that's what happened. Now we know the difference. It may shock many people to find out that teachers were also moved from one school to another if a case of sexual abuse was reported. You can read my article on this here.
But the point is, there has been sexual abuse in all sectors of society: other religious institutions, boy scouts, swim teams, hockey teams, and other sports teams, schools, hospitals, etc. The rates are the same or higher in these places than in the Catholic Church.
Some believe that the sex abuse situation in the Catholic Church remains the same and that no improvement has been made. In fact, a large number of people believe the Church has done absolutely nothing and continues to hide abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Church has always affirmed that sexually abusing minors is one of the gravest sins. But since the scandal broke, the Church has become a model of good behavior in this regard. In 2008, there were only 6 credible allegations of possible cases of sex abuse among 40,000 priests. In fact, the next time you read an article on sex abuse in the Church, find out the year it happened. It will probably be 30+ years ago. Cases are nearly non-existent now. But even more to the point, the Church in America has adopted a zero-tolerance policy. If there is even a rumour that a priest have committed an inappropriate sexual act, he is removed from ministry until the issue is settled. If convicted, he is removed from ministry. The pope has consistently spoken out against abuse and called it "filth" in the Church. He has met with victims and they felt he really understood them. I have not seen anything close to comparable to this from any other organization.
The Church has a mandate from Jesus Christ to continue teaching faith and morals in this world. No other organization speaks with the moral authority of the Church and that's why people are so intent on undermining it. People will continue to use the sex abuse scandal as an excuse to ignore good morals. Keep in mind, I'm not saying the abuse by priests was not a terrible thing. It was. But we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Church condemns these actions as much as anyone else. To imply that the Church somehow condones there actions is absurd. 1% bad priests should not tarnish the image of the other 99%.
I will end by saying what I commonly hear on Catholic Answer Live by Tim Staples. He says "Don't leave Peter because of Judas". Jesus himself chose Judas as one of the Twelve, and Judas betrayed our Lord in the most grievous way, yet Jesus didn't say now people can stop listening to him and his Church because of this. Jesus Christ gave his Church the authority to speak on matters of faith and morals and we are obliged to listen. Jesus warned us of wolves in sheep's clothing, but he didn't say at the first sign of sin, leave his Church. Christ's Church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints. If we expect the members of the Church to be flawless, we better reevaluate our assumptions.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:51 pm
Friday, April 01, 2011
Today is April 1, 2011, and therefore April Fool's Day. The question is can Catholics legitimately participate in it without sinning? This is a question which deserves to be addressed because most Catholics do participate, but we must always follow our moral compass, no matter the time of year. The main moral issues brought up in April Fools include lying, and causing harm to others. "Harm" of course can be accomplished in a multitude of ways, and therefore most sins could come under this categorization.
First, let's address lying. Often, April Fools jokes involve convincing someone that something which is actually false is true. For example, we may tell someone something serious has occurred when in fact it hasn't. This will cause a reaction of panic. The panic is quelled when the victim is told the truth. This normally begets a reaction of annoyance, hopefully followed by laughter.
The reverse can be used as well. Rather than negative news, extremely positive (but false) news is given to the victim. For example, they are told they won the lottery, or that they will receive a bonus at work. But then it is revealed that there is in fact, no monetary gain to be had. The subsequent truth causes upset and a feeling of loss to the victim, who will hopefully get over it, and once again laugh.
To find out how serious lying is, let's look at Church sources such as the Bible, the Catechism, and Church documents.
This is what the Catechism states about lying:
2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.
Seems rather clear that we are not to lie. However, can exceptions be made?
Later, the Catechism states:
2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity.
So, the criteria for the seriousness of a lie are 1) the truth it deforms 2) the circumstances 3) the intentions of the one who lies 4) the harm suffered by its victims
Therefore, it seems reasonable that if an April Fools Joke does not deform a major truth, and the intention is to simply cause some laughter, and the harm suffered by the victim is very minor, then it should be permissible. But most of all, I think the circumstances are important (2). People know it is April Fools Day and are expecting to be pranked. Therefore, the circumstances would usually make it okay.
Having said that, if any of the criteria for a serious lie are implemented, I think it could be considered wrong. For example, telling someone something extremely serious, or lying to cause harm or suffering. In those cases, an April Fools lie can go beyond proper Catholic teaching.
But what about other pranks? I think most other pranks must follow proper moral guidelines. If the prank will cause excessive damage, cost, or suffering, it should not be used. How this is determined will depend on the person and the action undertaken.
Here are some guidelines, which I think could be used:
1) The prank cannot cause permanent negative effects
2) The prank cannot involve extremely serious matter, so as to cause excessive panic
3) Once a prank has been performed, it should be revealed soon after the reaction of the victim.
4) The prank cannot be an immediate cause of an excessive reaction of the victim. This can usually be foreseen. For example, it would be imprudent to tell a victim that someone just jumped into the frigid water, thus causing the victim to risk their life attempting to save the fictional jumper by themselves jumping in. Another example would be to indicate to the April Fools victim that their spouse is cheating on them, and provide a false name of a person who is doing it. This may cause irrevocable damage.
5) An April Fools prank cannot place the perpetrator or victim in a situation where the possibility of a grave sin being committed is high.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 6:00 am