Monday, November 26, 2012

Too much about gay marriage?

Today I went to the Catholic Answers Radio Calendar to listen to an archived show as I do often. I looked for a relatively recent show featuring either Jimmy Akin, Fr. John Tragilio, and possibly Tim Staples. After realizing I had already heard all the more recent ones, I decided to try one called "The Nature of Marriage" featuring Fr. Sebastian Walshe.

He started off talking about the meaning of marriage in a Catholic context. Quickly though, the host Patrick Madrid, started asking the host about gay marriage. After this, nearly everyone who called in followed suit and asked about this subject. I was a little disappointed. It would be fine to speak about gay marriage for a question or two, but to basically devote the entire program called "The Nature of Marriage" to homosexual "marriage" seemed rather disproportionate.

Nothing in the title of the show suggested it would be devoted to gay marriage. On top of that, the show from the previous hour was titled "Living with Same-Sex Attraction", where it seems this topic could be explored more deeply.

Overall, I think this is an issue in the Catholic community. Yes, gay marriage is not real marriage, yes it is morally wrong, but should we devote every discussion of marriage to this single topic? What about other problems which affect marriage like divorce, fighting within marriage, adultery, pornography, etc. It seems these days these topics are rarely broached in this context.

But I want to go beyond even this for a moment. I've heard it said that the best offense is a good defense. Perhaps instead of exclusively focusing on problems, Catholics should focus on presenting marriage in all its beauty. Shows should be devoted to improving and strengthening marriage and making a case for how marriage should be. Constantly stating what you are against will not really win many converts. It's only when they see the beauty of your teachings that they will follow you.

Gay marriage is a big issue in our society and I think it needs to be addressed. But it cannot only be condemned. As I pointed out before, gay marriage is wrong, but it's only because it's not what is right. What I mean is, the Church has defined what it believes to be morally right when it comes to marriage and sexuality. Automatically anything that violates these beliefs are considered wrong. There are countless ways to abuse marriage and sexuality and those need to be pointed out. But we need to make an effort to explain and defend the truth first and foremost. In other words, don't just focus on what's wrong, but focus on what's right.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Response to the Oatmeal's article on religion "How to suck at your religion"

The Oatmeal is a really popular online comic which addresses many issues. I'm not sure when it was published, but one article is titled "How to suck at your religion". The author uses many pieces of false information and lies to convey the idea that religious people are by-and-large not very good people. He lists several reasons. I will proceed to refute the arguments he presents:

1) Does your religion make you judge people?
First of all, it's ironic that he thinks judgement is a bad thing then proceeds to severely judge religious people. Christians are told to judge not lest ye be judge. We are not to judge people, but we are to decide which actions are morally right and which are wrong. Everyone in fact does this.

2) Does your religion hinder the advancement of science?
This is a perennial accusation made against religion. The fact is Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, have in fact cultivated science. Many of the top scientists in the world were priests. Very religious scientists included Louis Pasteur, Nicholai Copernicus, and Georges LeMaitres. There are countless others as well. To illustrate his point, the author uses the example of Galileo and his heliocentric theory. There is too much to disprove here, but suffice it to say, the Church only wanted Galileo to be absolutely certain of his findings until they were declared official (most scientists opposed his ideas), and usually the Galileo case is the only one people can cite as an example of an anti-science attitude in the Church. This goes to show it is not very common.

The author also makes the regrettably amateurish criticism of the Church that it opposes stem cell research in general. Even a cursory glimpse of the issue would reveal that the Church supports adult and umbilical cord stem cell research but only opposes the harvesting of stem cells from embryonic human beings. The author implies that opposition to "stem cells" from the Church has prevented a cure for diseases like leukemia. In actuality, embryonic stem cells have yielded no positive results and scientists are moving further away from embryonic stem cells and toward the adult variety which have produced many positive results.

3) Choosing your own religion
The author then illustrate the "correct" way to teach your children about religion. It is to just tell them about every conceivable belief system and tell them to choose one. This is nonsense for many reasons. Children, by their very nature, inherit the beliefs of their parents concerning countless issues, whether it's government, morality, nutrition, etc. No parenting book would advocate teaching children every conceivable way of thinking for every conceivable topic. Parents also impart their language, culture, heritage, nationality, etc. to their children. No one complains about this. But because some people do not want children to have any religion, they advocate not passing it on. The fact of the matter is parents impart everything to their children. Upon reaching adulthood, people will decide whether or not they want to continue with these traditions which were handed down. The same goes for religion.

To further make the point that parents ought not pass down religion to children, the Oatmeal author compares it to a child choosing her favorite color. In the example, she says her favorite color is green and the parent objects that she must choose another color because she's wrong. I'm assuming he wasn't making a serious point since this is a comic. It doesn't follow that just because a parent doesn't pass down every little detail of thought to a child, this therefore leads to the conclusion that parents ought to teach their kids nothing at all. This is absurd. A favorite color is a pure matter of opinion, whereas bigger issues such as religion are not.

4) Sexuality
The author then rhetorically asks if religion gives you anxieties about your sexuality. Religion does teach a proper role for sex in everyone's life. You can see the devastation caused in our society by adultery, pornography, rape, and other forms of sexual perversion. When it comes to sexuality, studies have shown religious people to be far more satisfied. I do not see modern attitudes toward sexuality as any kind of good argument that it's somehow beneficial or better than religious attitudes.

5) Sharing your religion
The author is also critical of people who share their religion with others. His basic point is you can have a religion, just keep it to yourself. But I'm not sure what he's so worried about. Are you that threatened by what other people believe? If someone talked about a sport with which you are unfamiliar, would you get mad at that person and say how dare you tell me about that sport! What if they spoke about some political idea. Most people wouldn't mind. So why do some people seem to get so offended that others are talking about their religion?

Another point I heard the other day and which was attributed to Penn Jillette who is an atheist is that he expects religious people to try to share their religion. If these people truly believe the eternal souls of millions of people are at risk, it would seem very unloving to not let anyone know. He compared it to some impending disaster, I forget what exactly (maybe an oncoming truck), and said it would be your duty to tell people to watch out or to be prepared. This is logical.

6) Mocking other religions
The author perhaps has a point here. He rhetorically asks if you mock other peoples' religion. He essentially says others could easily do the same to you. Mockery is not productive and it is better to talk about facts and use logic and reason to defend your points. It reminds me of something related which Jimmy Akin once said. He was talking about the word "cult" and said he doesn't use it to describe other religions because it is simply a perjorative term and has no real value because the definition can change so easily. Again, it is better to respond in a clear, logical way, rather than using insults.

7) Using religion to inform your political decisions
In this section, the author basically implies religion shouldn't be used as an evaluation criteria in politics. This would make sense for an atheist, but makes none for a religion person. Religion incorporates morality and ethics. These are central when making political decisions. Atheists must derive their morality in some other way, but to the religious person, these morals guide their life and cannot be neglected at the voting booth.

8) Dying or killing for your religion
The Oatmeal author now asks if you would die or kill for your religion. Of course from this atheist's perspective, religion is pointless so obviously it would make no sense to die for something pointless. Surprisingly, this is where his logic ends. He mockingly creates a person who is about to jump off a bridge because his religion told him to. Again, religion for many people goes to the deepest core of their being. It teaches them how to live, and religious people believe in ultimate realities, things which go beyond our own lives. Therefore, there are things for which many religious would die because it represents an ideal so important that it is worth it.

In terms of "killing" for one's religion, that's a different story. I'm not sure how that could exactly be said in a Catholic context. Catholics must turn the other cheek, and can be martyrs, but you cannot kill to bring about some desired good. Therefore, I do not see any cases where murdering someone for the faith would be acceptable. There is a Christian doctrine of Just War which describes when war can be justified, but I do not think there are any specifically religious reasons for killing someone in a just war.

9) Does your religion make you better?
Finally, after mocking religion for quite some time, the author asks if your religion makes you happier or a better person. If so, he says, then you should carry on. He adds that you should not try to evangelize anyone else though (my response to this idea in point #5).

Final Thoughts
The Oatmeal can be funny at times, but in this particular article, the author really didn't do his homework. Beside contradicting himself, and being very mocking, he gets a lot of information wrong which could have been located with a Google search. It's important to know that his criticisms of religion do have responses. I hope mine prove somewhat helpful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Woman's death prompts abortion discussion in Ireland

Recently, a woman, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died from a blood infection called septicemia. I am not a doctor and do not know all the details. What I do know is that this incident is renewing calls to legalize abortion in Ireland. However, I am unclear how this incident is related to abortion.

I heard somewhere that septicemia can often be caused by prolonged labor. It seems the woman in question was in the process of miscarrying her baby, but the baby's heart was still beating and it was illegal for her to abort. It is implied that her labor and inability to have an abortion caused the infection to continue and ultimately kill her.

This however has not officially been the verdict. As I said, this case is causing renewed calls for abortion to be legalized in this country. So what are the Catholic principles at play? First of all, you cannot do evil so that good may result. In other words, you cannot kill one person so that another might live. However, it becomes somewhat more nuanced when it comes to unborn children. If, for example, something is happening within a woman, say uterine cancer, and the uterus has to be removed, this can be licit even if the resultant death of the fetus is foreseeable. This is called the law of double effect, and involves unintended consequences. There are specific Catholic guidelines as to when this would apply. The main thing is that the Church is not opposed to saving the life of the mother, even if that can end up killing the fetus, as long as certain conditions are met.

It seems like this woman was not given proper treatment but it seems unlikely that the only way to treat a blood infection would be to abort her baby. It seems more plausible that there are medications and procedures which can be done to alleviate the blood infection and it appears these steps were not taken. Like I mentioned earlier, even if these treatments could foreseeably kill the fetus, they may still be licit in the eyes of the Church.

Is this a side-door attempt by the pro-abortion lobby to make abortion legal in Ireland? CBC Radio was quick to cover this incident on "As It Happens". Of course, they interviewed a Pro-Choice advocate in Ireland. She did not stick to this topic, but went off on tangents about how a certain number of Irish women travel to the UK to receive abortions each year and how it should be legalized in Ireland. Of course, there was no counter-balance from someone in Ireland's pro-life movement.

This is a terrible and sad tragedy, but people should not use it for the purpose of creating many more tragedies with legalized abortion.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Catholic politicians and abortion

The other night (Thursday, October 11, 2012) Joe Biden and Paul Ryan were asked about abortion and their Catholicism. I want to focus on Joe Biden's answer.

Check it out here:

So Joe Biden starts off by saying he accepts that opposition to abortion in his religion is a "de fide" doctrine, which puts it at the highest level of Catholic teaching. According to Wikipedia, to deny a "de fide" doctrine constitutes heresy. It is at the same level as opposition to murder, and belief in the triune God, so very important.

In the next breath, he says although he accepts his Church's teaching that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder, he will not impose this belief on others. Does this make any sense? He's a politician. It's his job to create laws. If he find himself incapable of even legislating that murder is against the law, how can he say he is an actual politician to begin with?

He also says he refuses to impose this belief that life begins at conception on people of other religions, and he mentions Christians, Muslims and Jews. News flash: these religions also reject abortion as morally wrong.

Can anyone imagine Joe Biden saying "Although I believe torturing innocent children is wrong, I will not impose this belief on others."

So the question is what does this mean? Well there are limited possibilities. Perhaps he disagrees with the Church. Well, we know that's not true because he said he totally agrees with the Church on this issue. The only other possibility is that he knows he will lose support from certain voters if he says he is opposed to legalized abortion. Therefore, he is choosing to ignore a basic moral principle in order to advance his political career.

Perhaps he doesn't really take abortion seriously. To many abortion is something of a lesser crime. Even if they think it's bad, they often think it's some kind of necessary evil or that there are worse alternatives. They haven't thought it through logically. Logically speaking you cannot be opposed to abortion and then think it's perfectly fine for others to get one.

For politicians though, it's a tough place to be in. For Democrats especially, to be opposed to abortion, would essentially mean the end of ones political career. Of course, as Christians we are called to forsake everything for our faith. If Joe Biden cannot reconcile his beliefs with his job, then perhaps he should find employment elsewhere.

It's also important to note that although Biden's intentions, which me mentions at the beginning of his spiel, are laudatory, they are not equal in gravity to the issue of abortion. Reducing poverty or helping others in general are definitely good goals, but they do not supersede the need to end murder.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

As you've probably heard in the media, Kateri Tekakwitha, who lived in the 17th century in both the U.S. and Canada became the first aboriginal saint. She only lived a short life of 24 years, but gave it all to follow Jesus. She faced ostracism from her Algonquin-Mohawk family, but persevered anyway. Pope Benedict canonized her Sunday, October 21, 2012 at the Vatican.

Picture of St. Kateri Tekakwitha painted circa 1690.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Church's sexual morals not just about homosexuality

A common charge against the Catholic Church is that it is anti-gay or bigoted, but the Church's opposition to homosexual activity is incidental in a way. The Church has studied sexuality and determined that it has a purpose and to misuse or thwart this purpose is contrary to nature. This can be arrived at even from a non-religious standpoint.

Everything has a function and a purpose. The lungs allow us to breathe, the hearts pumps blood, our digestive system (including our mouth, esophagus, and stomach) is used to bring nutrition to the body. These purposes are evident from nature and observation. Similarly, our sexuality has a purpose, which is procreation.

The bodily functions listed above not only have a primary purpose, but also have secondary functions. For example, eating not only nourishes the body but can be pleasurable as well. Taking in a deep breath of fresh air is essential for survival, but can also make us feel happy. Again, in a similar way, sexuality is pleasurable, on top of serving a purpose.

It is easy to see in these circumstances that the secondary purpose cannot legitimately be separated from the primary one. For example, it would not be legitimate to eat food and then to purposely vomit it from ones stomach. This would be a misuse of this function. The primary purpose must always be present otherwise it is a distortion of the entire process.

So sexuality must have as one of its purposes procreation. Otherwise, it is an abuse of this function. In this sense, sex must be open to procreation even if that does not occur. Artificial blocks cannot be placed on the process to eliminate that possibility, no more than artificial blocks can be used to prevent nutrition from food.

If a sexual act is open to procreation, this possibility must be dealt with and expanded on. If procreation is possible, a child can result from this action. The responsible thing to do in this case is for the two people who consent to bringing this child into the world to make a commitment to create a loving environment for this potential child. This commitment is known as marriage.

Because of these things, marriage in which the couple is open to procreation, is the only situation in which sex can be permitted. Anything which falls outside this categorization is deemed illegitimate for the reasons listed above. This necessarily prohibits adultery (absence of commitment of marriage), masturbation (misuse of sexuality and pursuit of only secondary purpose), homosexual acts (intrinsically infertile and therefore not fulfilling the primary function of sex), etc.

Conceivably there is an enormous list of possible infractions of proper sexuality, but they all come from not containing the necessary requisites for legitimate sexual expression. They are not each individually condemned for specific reasons necessarily.

As for Natural Family Planning, the primary and secondary conditions are met. The sexual functions are being used legitimately and the people involved are open to life. No artificial barrier is put in place to prevent the normal functioning of the human person. The secondary purpose, of pleasure, can also be fulfilled. Understanding how nature works, and acting in accord with it is perfectly legitimate. As a comparison, let's look at eating again. Eating at night can often cause more weight-gain. Understanding this and choosing to eat in the morning instead would not violate the inherent nature of eating.

I've tried to give an explanation for how the Church approaches sexuality. Surprisingly it is shunned by much of society despite the ever-increasing demand for things which are more natural. These truths can be derived at independently from the Church, but unfortunately rarely are.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Church in Asia

I went to a presentation on Saturday by my friend Dr. Olisa Achike on the topic of the Church in Asia. It was very interesting. Although he was only giving a brief overview, the presentation was not even half done after 2 hours. I would have been happy to stay for the entire presentation but some people were becoming a little restless so we postponed the rest until a later date.

During his speech, Olisa described many of the struggles faced by Christians in many countries, especially predominantly Muslim ones. I remember the plight of Christians in Pakistan as being particularly bad. A minister who I wrote about in a previous blog post, Shahbaz Bhatti, was an advocate for minorities rights in the country. He was assassinated for trying to repeal blasphemy laws which have been used to subjugate Christians and other minorities in the country. Olisa showed the following video, available on Youtube, which features Mr. Bhatti speaking of his willingness to die for his faith. It's very powerful:

Olisa also spoke of the interesting Eastern Catholic rite found in India known as the Syro-Malabar Church. There was another smaller rite called the Syro-Malankara rite. The Syro-Malabar Christians share our theological beliefs, but some of the outward actions have come from Hinduism, such as a special candle holder, certain bells, postures, etc. It's part of the rich diversity of the Church.

Olisa spoke of other parts of Asia as well and provided information about some of the missionaries who went to these lands in the first place. He did a very good job and I look forward to Part II.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Were the Doctors of the Church wealthy?

Were the Doctors of the Church wealthy? My answer is for the most part - yes.

I briefly read through the biographies of the 33 Doctors of the Church and found that most were explicitly stated to be from wealthy families. Only 3 were definitely from poor families. Doctors of the Church are largely known for their religious writings and for much of Christian history, only the wealthy could afford to learn to read and write. Therefore it makes sense that these saints came from these families.

However, this was not always the case. There could be more to it than that. Perhaps these saints had already experienced the benefits of material possessions so they were anxious to find deeper meaning in life. Wealth also provided a high level of security. People in poverty are constantly trying to make ends meet, wondering where their next meal is coming from. In this environment, a person does not have much time or energy to contemplate theological issues.

There may be many reasons, but the statistics clearly show that most Doctors of the Church were well off.

Here is a breakdown of my findings:

  • Definitely wealthy or of noble birth: 19
  • Unknown family socioeconomic status: 8
  • Unclear but probably well-off: 3
  • Definitely poor: 3

Doctors of the Church occupying the definitely poor group:
  1. Peter Damian
  2. John of the Cross
  3. Robert Bellarmine

Doctors of the Church occupying the unknown group:

  1. Bonaventure
  2. Peter Chrysologus
  3. Pope Leo I
  4. Albertus Magnus
  5. Cyril of Jerusalem
  6. Ephrem the Syrian
  7. Lawrence of Brindisi
  8. Teresa of Avila
Doctors of the Church occupying the probably fairly well-off group:
  • Cyril of Alexandria
  • Catherine of Siena
  • Therese of Lisieux

If anyone can shed more light on these, please post a comment. Thanks.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Prime Minister commemorates the Assumption of Mary with a Letter!

Check out this letter Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote to Catholics:

That's pretty awesome, especially in today's day and age!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Controversy

So in the States Chick-Fil-A is facing some criticism over the president's endorsement of traditional marriage. The company also donated to traditional marriage groups.

Of course, this is an intolerable offense to liberals. How dare anyone oppose a definition of marriage that came about about a decade ago and has never existed in human history. What a hateful bigot you'd have to be not to change your opinion immediately when society does.

Give me a break. Two gay men or two gay women do not constitute a marriage by any real definition. First you would have to pretty much destroy any real definition of marriage for it to even fit in any way shape or form.

So anyway, someone expresses his opinion on the issue and practically the entire liberal establishment wants the restaurant abolished. Who cares anyway, they only make chicken sandwiches not laws.

If you don't like this place, don't eat there. It's a free world, well pretty free.

Restaurants should be allowed to say whatever they want. You can choose to eat there. I personally hope this increases their business.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Religious freedom must be absolute

Religious freedom should be absolute. In fact, this would extend beyond religion to any private individual or business. What I mean by this is religious groups should have the right to hire or fire whoever they want for whatever reason they want. We as Catholics should advocate this. I can imagine a time in the not-too-distant future where Catholics will be forced to do many things which violate our morals or canon law, such as allowed gay priests, womenpriests, etc. or forcing priests to divulge what they hear in the confessional.

It's very dangerous to put your freedom to a vote in a democratic system. However good it might feel to dictate with the force of law what someone can or cannot do, a much worse feeling is having your rights trampled upon because 51% of people thought it was okay.

So what does this mean? It means Catholics should support total freedom when it comes to religion. Do not fight for anti-discrimination laws or anything like that. Leave it up to individuals.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Melinda Gates trying to reduce the number of Africans

So Melinda Gates is intent on reducing the number of children born in Africa. She hopes to do this by pumping more contraception into the continent than they currently have. Keep in mind, most people who are actually in Africa complain they cannot find clean drinking water or they are getting malaria. But I guess those causes are a little too old fashioned and passé. The much more "in" thing to do is contraception, abortion, and things like that. Those are "cutting-edge". Clean water? boooring. Let's eliminate people by forcing contraception and sterilization: that's modern and "feminist"!

Plus, many countries are jumping on this bandwagon, maybe even my own, despite me not authorizing this. By the way, there is already too much contraception in Africa. It's more available than water. But the ideologues must prove that condoms can save the world.

The funniest part is Melinda says she is a devout Catholic. LOL!! Sometimes Catholics who attend Mass weekly and follow all the rules are not even called devout. So how on earth would a woman who willfully violates basic tenets of the faith a devout Catholic. That's like calling someone a devout Jew who eats pork every day.

These people are just modern-day eugenicists. They see Africans as undesirables and want to reduce their numbers. Plus, they like the feeling of being a savior to these people and it advances their ideology which they will continue to pursue despite evidence that it's false.

On behalf of all Western countries I would like to apologize to Africa for our arrogance.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm an atheist and I'm rational!

I just received a message from an apparent atheist whose username reflects that he is happy, thinking, and human, and an atheist. I then thought about how common this overt display of self-promotion is when it comes to the atheist community. Most atheist websites are rather overt in declaring how rational, intelligent, free-thinking, and science-loving they are.

You can see it in the titles of atheist websites, books, and usernames. It's rather curious. It reminded me of something Jason Evert from Catholic Answers once said about stores which sell pornography or strip clubs. They usually advertise themselves as "adult bookstores" or "gentlemen's club". But as Jason pointed out, there is nothing "adult" about these places, and no "gentleman" would find himself frequenting these shady dens of depravity. But they are too afraid to advertise what they truly are, so they use euphemisms.

I wonder if atheists refer to themselves so frequently as "rational" and "intelligent" because they are afraid people won't notice otherwise. Or maybe they are afraid that they are not quite as "rational" as they'd like to believe. They seem to be reassuring themselves that their belief system is rational and scientific and could not possibly be the result of any type of fear or other emotion.

Most of the time if someone is constantly telling everyone about a particular quality they have, they have some hidden fear about it. I think I'm intelligent but I don't go around telling everyone that I'm an intelligent, rational person. If I constantly reminded people of this, they would probably start to wonder if it was a preoccupation for me.

Religious people also believe they are rational, and many or most believe science is a valuable tool. But I never hear religious people reminding others that they are rational and intelligent. I rarely ever hear religious people talk about how religious they are either for that matter. If someone did always talk about how religious they are and offer proof as to their religiosity, it would seem strange and perhaps indicative of some insecurity.

I acknowledge that atheists often use these words not only to describe themselves, but also to distinguish themselves from others, i.e. religious people. It's a form of jab that tells as much about how atheists feel about others as about how they feel about themselves.

These are just some thoughts and if anyone would like to agree or disagree, please feel free to do so in the comments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Who's destroying marriage?

Gay marriage is a big topic nowadays. Many states in the US are having constitutional challenges over whether to include gay unions under the term "marriage". Also, Barack Obama came out in support of gay marriage right after his theoretically Catholic VP Biden. In Canada of course, the baby is already gone with the bathwater and gay marriage is legal.

But I think if we focus too much on gay marriage, we miss the point. We have to ask ourselves, what is marriage anyway? This is a critical question. It must have a definition. Any word without a definition is pointless. A "fish" is a particular type of animal. According to the definition, whales are not fish, nor are beavers. But what if people demanded the term fish also include rodents, reptiles, and amphibians. Well, the word just lost most of its definition. Eventually it could be erased. So it is with marriage.

But what is the definition of marriage? According to Catholic teaching, marriage is a

"covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. [It] has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised."
 The truth is, the definition of marriage has already been violated by the state and by many couples. Here are some things which are offenses against marriage in the eyes of the Church, and if agreed to before a marriage, could invalidate it:

1. Couple decides from the start that they will not have children.
2. Couple decides they will use contraception
3. Divorce
4. In-vitro fertilization

Gay marriage is not a real marriage, but nor is a permanently and voluntarily infertile marriage, nor is divorce an option for a true marriage. In-vitro fertilization is also an illicit act that violates marriage. Heterosexual couples have already been violating the sanctity of marriage, and that's a major problem. Heterosexual couples decided long ago that marriage is just about mutual love and if those feelings of affection wane, then divorce is an option. This is a major perversion of what marriage is.

We shouldn't act as though marriage was all fine and dandy until gay marriage came around. Ever since the 1930s when many churches accepted contraception, the sanctity and true nature of marriage has been attacked.

Hank and John Green on Gay Marriage

So Hank and John Green have a popular video blog, and are known collectively as vlogbrothers. Recently the two rode the trending train and each decided to publish a video giving their full support for gay marriage. Their arguments are all over the place and basically boil down to there are lots of religions and lots of people have lots of different ideas therefore we cannot say anything about morality. Actually this is the argument used by most nonbelievers on most subjects.

I'm mostly going to focus on John's video right now.

John says marriage has meant many things in history. He says the white dress and the priest at the wedding are all relatively new things, therefore gay marriage is okay. Lot of flaws in the argument here. Christian marriage has always been between a man and a woman. The same understanding has been attached to it also. I'm only speaking of Catholicism here. Marriage is a sacrament given to the spouses by the spouses. The priest simply acts as a witness. The concept though is the same.

But John also uses as evidence that Christian marriage has changed because Solomon had MANY wives. Newsflash: Soloman was not Christian, so this point is irrelevant.

John says that many religions have different ideas of marriage, BUT what he forgets like most people is the commonality all these ideas shared. It has ALWAYS been between a man and a woman. Now, some religions say a man could enter into another marriage contract with another woman. But that's also a marriage with a man and a woman. The man just does this many times. This is not a Christian concept though. But no culture has ever recognized two men or two women as married to each other.

Where does marriage come from? It has been noted that if it weren't for children proceeding from the union of a man and a woman, the whole idea of marriage would never have come about. What people like John want to do is to say that marriage is all about feelings of affection between two persons. Well if that's the definition, then anything would be allowed.

In Ancient Greece, gay relationships were common, but they were never recognized as marriage. The idea would seem totally absurd.

John goes on to say basically who are we to limit legal contracts between two individuals. Well, that's not the issue. Civil partnerships have given gays the ability to enact a legal contract, but that has never been enough. No gay rights group has ever said okay we have civil unions, we're done now. They demand to have their relationship labeled a marriage.

The next thing is if gay marriage is allowed, why isn't polygamy? How can we discriminate against three people who want to enter a union (or two women who decide to marry the same man). This is also discrimination. And if any grouping of people can be called a marriage then it completely loses any real meaning. What interest would the state have in protecting this??

The state is not recognizing love or a relationship or giving approval for a certain sexual union. The state recognizes marriage because they are good for society and children are best raised by their own parents.

If the state recognizes gay marriage, then it should probably just abandon the whole area and just let the churches and other religious institutions recognize who they want.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rest in Peace Archbishop Carew

I just attended the funeral of Archbishop William A. Carew at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist on Military Road, St. John's, Newfoundland. He was only a few months away from his 90th birthday.

Archbishop Carew had a distinguished career as a papal nuncio. He spent several decades in Japan, but also lived and worked in many other countries around the world, including Burundi-Rwanda, Bangladesh, and more. He could speak several languages.

He was very gracious to attend the Flatrock Pilgrimage every year, the latest being September of last year.

Click here for a short biography of Archbishop Carew.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Benedict XVI officially declares Hildegard of Bingen a Saint

This is great. I remember learning about Hildegard at university during my music course.

Take that Jon Stewart!

As I reported a few weeks ago, Jon Stewart sunk to a new low when he displayed a disgusting picture of a woman's private parts being covered by a nativity scene. He has freedom of speech, but everyone else has the freedom to protest. That's what the Catholic League did and it has had good results. Delta Airlines stopped sponsoring Jon's show. But Jon is remaining steadfast in his attack on the Church. So be it. Soon enough more sponsors will leave your show. I'm sure you'll find it in your heart somewhere to issue an apology once the money stops coming.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Daily Show sinks to new low

So I was just watching a clip from Jon Stewart's Daily Show which aired yesterday and he has sunk to a new disgusting low. In one of his articles, he is discussing how conservatives allegedly call everything a war, such as the war on Christmas, but that they will not call what is happening to women a war. What Stewart thinks is happening is that women's rights are being trampled upon because they cannot kill their unborn babies. He is baffled as to why conservatives are not calling this a war.

Anyway, to explain his point, he used a graphic image which I should probably not even describe on this website. To describe it briefly there is a small nativity scene which is being used to cover a certain part of a woman's anatomy. I really have no idea what point Stewart was trying to make, but it seems he thought it would be some sort of twisted birth control method. Anyway, the actual picture that he uses is very inappropriate and features a naked woman sitting.

He then shows a picture of another nativity scene, this time placed in a birth control pill container.

It's alright to make a point, but you should maintain some semblance of decency.

New Mosque Planned for St. John's, NL

According to this article, Muslims in St. John's want a new mosque, which also includes prayer rooms, classrooms, and a gym. They ran into a snag because the land they bought is zoned rural and apparently they can't build there. They're hoping to have it built by 2013.

 Some people see this as a problem because they are not Christian and some of their beliefs conflict with ours. Obviously on a personal level, as I mentioned before, I would like for everyone to be Catholic, but I acknowledge that not everyone is. Anyway, from a religious perspective, I think people should have the right to worship as they choose. Freedom of religion is a very important value.

In the history of Catholicism, our Church has been persecuted a lot. In England for a long time it was illegal to be Catholic. Many Catholics were murdered by the state. In many Middle Eastern countries today it is difficult or impossible to be openly Christian. These are injustices.

The Catechism addresses the issue of freedom of religion in the following sections:

2107 "If because of the circumstances of a particular people special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as well."36 
2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error,37 but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.38 
2109 The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor limited only by a "public order" conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner.39 The "due limits" which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accordance with "legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order."40
Allowing people to worship in whatever way they choose, even if they are in error, does not constitute any form of participation in that error.

Also, having respect for other religious communities can open the door to evangelism. Taking a disrespectful attitude can close that door.

Having said all that, any religious belief should be allowed as long as it does not violate the law. Violence in the name of religion cannot be tolerated and people from all religions must act according to the law of the land, without attempting to create a separate law unto themselves. Child abuse, abuse of women, and any other form of intimidation or violence cannot be tolerated even if they are legitimate aspects of a particular religious system. It goes without saying that violence to the population at large can also not be tolerated.

But any of these issues can be dealt with using existing laws and will be applicable to all religious communities.

Religious tolerance is an important political idea as is all freedom of expression. It guarantees the rights of not only small or new religious communities, but of all of them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Freedom is the right of all sentient beings

So said Optimus Prime in the Transformers movie. I'm an advocate for personal and economic freedom. At the same time I am also an advocate for Catholic morality and believe ultimately our goal is that everyone belong to the Catholic Church. So these two points of view are contradictory, right? Wrong. I think the best chance for Catholics to live as they choose is to advoacte for freedom in our society. Of course, the knee-jerk reaction is to advocate for moral positions which agree with us. We want a government which will work on our behalf to make individuals behave the way we see fit through the use of coercion. But this approach is very short-sighted and doesn't seem to work. What you are really doing with this approach is giving the government more power. And it seems in the last few decades this power has been exclusively used against our interests. Virtually every decision about morality has opposed Catholic teaching on it. I don't see much change in the future. What's worse is that when the government has the power to enforce its perverted version of morality on the entire populous, Catholics are forced to comply or they could end up in prison. We played a game of tug of war and lost and now we find ourselves in the mud. It's better to simply say we want the freedom to do as we please, and every citizen should have that right. Just look in the newspaper to see what Catholics are being forced to do because of lack of freedom. Catholic adoption agencies are being shut down because they won't adopt to gay couples and unwed couples. Catholic schools are being forced to teach kids about contraception, abortion, and homosexual activities. Catholic Church Halls are being forced to rent their services to gay marriages, private apartments are forced to rent to homosexuals. The list goes on and on. If we had freedom, none of this would happen. Yes, it might happen in the rest of society, but it wouldn't happen in bonafide Catholic institutions. To make matters still worse, we are forced to pay for all this immorality. We pay for abortion, we pay for gay marriages, we pay for human rights tribunals which prosecute the Church. The state is NOT our friend. In this regard, I think the Jews had it right in ancient times. When they were living under the Roman Empire, they didn't try to change the laws of Rome. Instead they constantly asked for the right to be left alone, to make their own laws, to live as they pleased. Of course, this wasn't fully granted, but they did have a good degree of autonomy. Christians have traditionally understood that they were meant to be in the world but not of the world. Over the past several decades, Canada has enacted anti-Catholic law after anti-Catholic law. In our fight to have laws reflect the Code of Canon Law, are we willing to have all our rights stripped away? The irony is that our own money has been used against us. And look at the prospects for the future. We have three main political parties: the NDP, the Liberals, and the so-called Conservatives. None of them have much interest in Catholic morality. One or more of the founding fathers of the United States, I forget who, said his vision was that government would be very small and that the Churches would rise up and become very powerful, of course on a voluntary basis. Advocating more government control is simply advocating Babylon. Let's instead advocate for a separate Israel.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Do you have a right to other people's money?

I personally think the answer is no from a Catholic point of view. Jesus always advocated charity. But he didn't say the government has to get involved to force people to pay money against their will. When saints of the Church decided to give up all possessions, they became beggars not thieves. In fact, one of the Ten Commandments refers to not coveting your neighbor's goods. There is another commandment against theft. Notice the commandment for theft does not specify under which circumstances it can be used. It just says don't do it. I think people are often very generous and we should not use force to get people to help others. Plus, there are often unintended side effects to policies which take one person's money to give to another.

How old was Mary when Jesus was born?

It seems most priests will say Mary was around 14 when Jesus was born, some will go even younger, declaring 12 or 13 even. But no one really knows for certain. It has never been infallibly taught and her age at the time of the first Christmas is not recorded in any canonical book. So it's open to debate.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Schools and religion

Right now our schools are controlled by anti-religion ideologues. They have a very specific agenda they want to push. The problem with our school system in Canada is that it is very conducive to this type of manipulation. The reason si simple. Schools are centrally controlled. A few bureaucrats decide what every school must look like in the province. Here's how it should be: Give the students the money and let them decide. If the funding for education in NL was divided equally amongst all students, they would all get $12,500. Then they could do whatever they want with it. If they want to attend a Catholic school, they can do so. If they want to attend a non-religious school, that's fine as well. There could be schools for various religions. The market would decide. As it is right now, kids are forced to be taught all kinds of immorality and they have no other choice. They could go to a private school but it's very expensive because it's not sponsored. There have been outrageous attempts to teach kids every imaginable type of immorality and deviancy and claim that it is normal and natural. They teach kids that any sexual expression, at any age, is not only allowed but is very healthy and will make them happy. If parents disagree with this TOO BAD. Two groups want to keep schools the way they are now and will fight tooth and nail to do so. One group is the union because no competition is always better for the people in an industry. The other are the thought-influencers, the activists. They don't want to have to do the hard work of convincing every school to teach their programs. They'd prefer to have easy access to policymakers who can enact their teachings at the flick of a switch. My opinion is if you want to teach kids all kinds of deviancy, I would say that as a parent that is your right, but you do not have the right to force everyone to do the same.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Only Men for Washing of the Feet

There are only supposed to be men who have their feet washed by the priest on Holy Thursday. Edward Peters, a renowned canon lawyer, wrote an article on this issue where he remains ambivalent. He says that permission has been granted to certain dioceses in the past, and that it is not a doctrine and is therefore changeable. He would like to see a definitive ruling on it by Rome though. His article can be found here:

I think dioceses should just do what the rite prescribes, which currently says only men should be selected because they represent the 12 apostles. I think there is an unnecessary knee-jerk reaction that nothing should be exclusive.

Jimmy Akin apparently believes that only men should be selected and I tend to agree with him.

Beginning Holy Week

So today was Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week. It will culminate at the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's been over a month

I apologize to all those who read my blog including the 40 followers. I haven't posted anything new here in over a month. Just a quick update. I went to the Chrism Mass yesterday at the Basilica. Lots of priests, but maybe not as many people as before. It was very nice. I'm sort of wondering why it was so early this year. Holy Week is next week. Usually they have this 2 days before Holy Week. Even that is an exception since Chrism Mass is technically supposed to happen the morning of Holy Thursday. But it was very nice.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lenten bulletin more about Greenpeace than Catholic spirituality

The picture I've attached here on the blog is the latest bulletin that came out on the first sunday of lent. I think it's totally ridiculous and inappropriate. it looks more like a manifesto from greenpeace or wwf than it does about Catholic spirituality. instead of talking about the corporal works of mercy or the spiritual works of mercy this bulletin focuses on very modern environmental concerns. some people may be attracted to environmental issues like the ones presented in this bulletin but these are not issues of faith and morals. Catholicism is about faith and morals and whether or not we use styrofoam cups has nothing to do with it.

There is not a single suggestion on this 32 suggestion list that has anything to do with something a church father or saint wrote about. we have 20 centuries of catholic teaching and yet not a single thing on this list has anything to do with catholic teaching.

if you read the entire catechism, out of the hundreds of paragraphs you may find 1 that relates to the environment and how we have to treat the environment with respect but this represents only a very tiny and insignificant part of Catholic spirituality.

Catholic spirituality is about saving souls not about saving mother earth. If somebody wants to have a compost in their backyard or if somebody wants to recycle bottles that's their decision but that is not the focus of catholic theology and spirituality.

For an item which appears on the first sunday of lent this is absolutely ridiculous. there's nothing here about obeying the 10 commandments or avoiding the 7 deadly sins or going to mass more often during lent or giving up some sort of sinful behavior during these 40 days which are the true reasons for Lent. Jesus did not go into the desert for 40 days so that he could recycle a plastic bottle.

Somehow I do not recall saint paul speaking about the need to turn your thermostat down to 20 degrees or to bring your own bags to the grocery store. I don't remember saint alphonsus telling us to eat more meat substitutes like tofu. or maybe somebody could tell me where james in his letter tells people to use phosphate-free detergents.

The Catholic Church has over 2000 years of helping people overcome their temptations, their trials, and their sinful behaviors. tens of thousands of books have been written by canonized saints, church fathers and other holy people. why then do we ignore this invaluable tradition and instead focus on modern fads?

that this article appears on the first sunday of lent in a Catholic bulletin is disgraceful. when someone asked Jesus how to get to heaven Jesus never once said use phosphate-free detergents or recycle or have a compost heap. these things are very much secondary and they have nothing to do with Catholic spirituality.

the church is a place were people go for the salvation of their souls, not a place to hear the platform of green peace. by putting these articles front and center in a Catholic bulletin not only does injustice to the parishioners but it does an injustice to Jesus Christ who died for our sins.

the Church was established by Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls not to promote the new fangled environmental movement. let's hope from here on in St. Teresa's can focus on Lent and not on these fads.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent everyone.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI on redistributing wealth

Much has been made about Pope Benedict's alleged call for wealth redistribution in the world. However, he clearly does not advocate such a policy. Here is a quote from the Holy Father:

"The illusion that a policy of mere redistribution of existing wealth can definitively resolve the problem must be set aside. In a modern economy, the value of assets is utterly dependent on the capacity to generate revenue in the present and the future. Wealth creation therefore becomes an inescapable duty, which must be kept in mind if the fight against material poverty is to be effective in the long term," Pope Benedict XVI said in his Jan. 1, 2009, message for the World Day of Peace.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

22 men become cardinals in the catholic church

1 of the 22 is archbishop thomas collins from toronto. 

Watch "Benedict XVI welcomes 22 new cardinals" on YouTube

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentines day and remember next tuesday is the day before ash wednesday which of course is the first day of lent

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm glad there has been a huge backlash against Barack Obama as he tried to override religious freedom by forcing religious groups to cover contraception as part of their "health plan" even if this violated their morality. No other president would think of doing something like this.

The Church is opposed to artificial contraception because it takes something healthy and turns it into something non-functioning. Contraception is the only "medical intervention" which does something like this. Everything else is meant to restore health, not destroy it.

People, on the other hand, can understand their bodies and decide to refrain from sexual relations in order to avoid pregnancy. This is no different than understanding that eating right before bed is a bad idea and refraining from doing so to avoid gaining weight. It would be immoral though to eat a pile of food, then cause yourself to vomit it all up. They both accomplish the same goal, but one does it in a morally licit way.

Anyway, Obama was trying to force Catholic organizations to do this, but they fought back hard. Now he has had to reverse his big-brother autocratic decision in favor of religious freedom. Obama also wants to remove conscience rights which people enjoy which allows them to refrain from performing immoral actions.

Obama needs to leave. He does not respect religious freedom.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Gay marriage

On my facebook, every second post seems to be about people advocating gay marriage or homosexuality in general. They say how dare society try to restrict the definition of marriage. They say people who oppose gay marriage are bigots. But here is my question. Obviously, every word has a definition, and every word includes and excludes certain things. Marriage MEANS something. So how would a gay-marriage advocate define marriage. They might say something like marriage is the union of two people who love each other. But that definition is also bigoted because you are excluding unions of more than two people. How dare you say that polygamists don't love each other! Maybe polygamists should make some slick internet photo / caption showing three unions of people, two of heterosexual couples and one of a polygamist group with the caption: "Love. There is no difference." or "Do you spot the difference? If yes, then you're a bigot!" Or something along those lines.

Are gay marriage advocates willing to admit that they too are bigots by restricting marriage to just two people? Perhaps some of these advocates would say sure, let polygamists marry, why not? Ok, so now our definition must change again. Now it must be any size group of people who love each other. Sounds pretty watered down right?

But now we must go still further. We must define "love". Is love an emotion, a fleeting feeling? What is it? That's how a lot of people view love. According to this view of love, what if there is a couple who may not have these "feelings" all the time? If there is a time when they do not have these feelings, are they considered no longer married?

What about close relatives? Why can't they marry? What if a father and daughter wanted to marry? Would you try to stop this? Would you restrict the definition of marriage to exclude such unions? If so, you are again being a bigot and intolerant, two big no-nos.

Hmm, does marriage even have a definition any more? If so, what is it?

How about: "The union of any number of people which may or may not be based on the feelings they have for each other".

As you can see, if marriage can be anything, then marriage is nothing.

Also, why would the state have any interest in protecting such a nebulous concept? There is no practical reason for the state to have any interest in this.

I don't blame gay rights activists exclusively for this issue. It's the fault of the general population in my opinion. We already redefined marriage when people started getting easy divorces, when people decided from the outset that they would have no children, etc. We need to reclaim a Catholic understanding of marriage.

Perhaps it would be best for the state to just get out of the whole marriage thing altogether. It sometimes seems like a losing battle anyway. Well, it was already lost in Canada unfortunately.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Religion causing war

Very few wars are caused by religion. In fact, some argue that religion has stopped war for a number of reasons. One is that it often unites a large group of people who would otherwise have nothing in common. These people are less likely to wage war on one another. There is however no statistics that I'm aware of showing how many wars have been stopped because of religion.

In any event, I realized just a few moments ago how silly the argument is that religion is bad because it causes war. The reason is war can be caused by anything. Think about the cause of wars. Many are fought over resources, some are race-based, others stem from xenophobia. However, we wouldn't say natural resources cause war, so we shouldn't have natural resources. Or that races cause war, therefore we should not have other races. And so on. In fact, these statements don't even make sense.

So, war can be caused by virtually any reason, and when it comes to religion it's usually people misusing religion as an excuse to take up arms. But just because we can identify a cause, this does not automatically lead to the conclusion that the cause must be eliminated.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

New gay marriage quarter

So Canada is releasing new quarters ie 25 cent pieces. I think there are six. The artist is a guy named Gary Taxali. Anyway he was being interviewed about his coin for marriage and he said he made the two joined rings identical because he thought having different ones would imply straight marriage but he thought it was necessary to make it about gay marriage. Apparently everything has to be used as a platform to promote the gay agenda. A coin cannot feature traditional rings because it implies heterosexuality... Gimme a break!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Abortion: You're a man, how dare you have an opinion!

So the common rebuttal you hear from pro-choice people is that if you're a man you have no right to an opinion on abortion, but that mostly applies if you're against it. So if a pro-life mother presents the same arguments, do pro-choicers have to find new arguments?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why I Love Jesus But Hate Religion - A Catholic Response

Remember Jesus said "You are Peter and upon this Rock I will BUILD MY CHURCH".

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Circus trapezists perform for Pope Benedict XVI in the general audience

I just happened upon this, you gotta see it!

Pope Benedict XVI names new Cardinals

This is the video of the pope naming Archbishop Thomas Collins as Cardinal. I cued it up if you click the link below.

Pope names Toronto archbishop as cardinal - Canada - CBC News

Great News - Canada has another Cardinal!

Pope names Toronto archbishop as cardinal - Canada - CBC News:

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