Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Remarks (with commentary!)

I couldn’t help but notice obvious contradictions in the President’s remarks as I read them earlier today. His remarks, which can be found at the White House website are in quotes (with my own emphasis), and my commentary is underneath (or simply visualized by photo).

We know that part of living in a pluralistic society means that our personal religious beliefs alone can’t dictate our response to every challenge we face.

He contradicts himself about 4 sentences later…

… the majority of great reformers in American history did their work not just because it was sound policy, or they had done good analysis, or understood how to exercise good politics, but because their faith and their values dictated it, and called for bold action — sometimes in the face of indifference, sometimes in the face of resistance.

We can’t leave our values at the door.  If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries, and allowed us to become somewhat more perfect a union.

And yet this is EXACTLY what the President is asking US Catholics to do with the HHS mandate requiring Catholic institutions to violate the very principles they were founded on, and the very values and consciences of those who run and work for these institutions by forcing them to pay for ‘health’ coverage which is morally wrong. He wants Catholic hospitals to ‘leave their values’ at the door and provide abortions, cover such disgusting murderous procedures, and cover contraceptives (the use of which has led our society to embrace heinous practices (like the slaughter of children in the wombs of their mothers as legal). All of which the Catholic Church and institutions run by the Church greatly object to precisely because of her values and religious beliefs…

But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”

Uhh… Our Lord wasn’t talking about money… (and how many times is this now that Obama has placed himself in the position of Jesus???  Instead of it being Jesus–the Just Judge–requiring [x] of said person, Obama himself is going to tell you how much you’ve been given and how much is thus ‘required’ of you– through the eyes of the government. What a way to twist the words of Sacred Scripture!)

 But part of that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper; that as a country, we rise and fall together.

It’s also about the biblical call to care for the least of these –- for the poor; for those at the margins of our society.
To answer the responsibility we’re given in Proverbs to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
Treating others as you want to be treated.
Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper.  Caring for the poor and those in need.
how we ensure opportunity for every child,

Obama says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves"

I’m more than certain that these “unwanted children” who are murdered through abortions are truly the “least of these” in our society, they are the poorest, and they are the marginalized. They cannot speak for themselves, they are destitute and their God-given inalienable rights have been ignored by the government of the United States with the full support of President Obama. He is his brother’s keeper–except for those in the womb. We must ensure opportunity for every child–unless they’ve yet to be born.

Does he even think before he writes his speeches (or I guess I should be asking if his writers think things through before allowing him to speak such contradictions openly!)?!

When does a person become a person?

When does a person become a person?

It seems like a silly question, yet the entire abortion debate hinges on this. Abortion is permitted because in the United States(and elsewhere) a human being is not considered a person until birth. Legally. (Of course, we must also recognize and remember that this is the same country whose courts defined black persons as property (Dred Scott v. Sanford) until the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the Slaughter-house cases)

But unfortunately even many intelligent people (too many) accept this idea that personhood begins at birth without question. Without looking at the issue from a reasoned, scientific perspective and that’s a problem.

So, I invite every person to consider these questions: What makes a person a person? When does a person become a person?

Our constitution grants citizenship (legal personhood) at birth. Is this a scientific truth? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it needs amending—desperately, because innocent lives hang in the balance.

What is it about birth that could possibly bestow personhood on another? What is the fundamental change that takes place in that instant one moves from a fetus to an infant that transforms one into a person?

Is it the air? Does the air contain magical effects that bestow personhood the moment one touches it? No, this cannot be logical since animals and insects and rocks are all touching the air and they are not persons. Thus, it is not the air. Nor is it something else about the environment into which one enters upon birth, changing your environment does not change who you are.

Is it a level of self-awareness? Does birth suddenly grant one the ability to be self-aware? No, this is neither logical since no one remembers their infancy with a clear constancy of “I” (persons claiming to remember ‘bright lights’ etc. are not demonstrating a level of self-awareness), much less the instant of their birth. Furthermore, a two-year old has a lesser level of self-awareness than a twelve-year old, or a twenty-year old. Does personhood admit of degrees? No. Not even legally. It either is a person, or it is not; there is no half-person. Also, there are legal adults with a very low level of self-awareness, if at all, due to mental conditions. Plus, according to some studies done in fetal psychology (who’d have ever thought there’d be such a thing!) fetuses in the third trimester are very similar to newborn infants, and infants apparently are able to retain some sort of memories of being in the womb—preferring the sound of mom’s voice, the voice of relatives or anyone else who was frequently around when they were in the womb, preferring to hear the same stories/music they heard while in the womb, etc. Thus, self-awareness cannot make one a person.

Is it dependency? Does birth make one completely independent? No. The baby is still reliant on the mother (or someone) to feed him, change his diaper, etc. –his very life still depends upon someone else. Toddlers and children are still pretty dependent too. For that matter, so are most adults! Dependency, then, cannot be the criteria for personhood either.

What else could it be?

Could it be size? Does a baby grow a bit bigger the second he emerges from the birth canal? No… in fact, most babies usually even drop their weight after birth before gaining the pounds. Besides, once we start talking size, we’d end up with degrees again since we (typically) grow bigger as we get older. Personhood cannot admit of degrees.

So then, perhaps some people are willing to grant now that a fetus is at least a person. But what about an embryo (or a zygote)? Surely I can’t be expecting everyone to grant personal status to “a bunch of cells”? …Or can I? According to our current study of medicine, from the moment of conception the zygote/embryo has everything it needs to live and grow. Pregnancy is simply a matter of growth and development. An embryo has measurable brain waves at about 43 days after conception. Foundations of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system are laid after a mere 20 days of existence. The embryo posses a beating heart after about 24 days (though you can’t hear it on a Doppler until about the second trimester)… that “bunch of cells” truly does have amazing capabilities: that zygote needs nothing added to it to develop into a complete human body—compete with personhood! And it possessed all of this, as our medical science admits, from the moment of conception.

Our science will admit it, why won’t our courts?

Good Reads on Christian Marriage

With the recent news regarding the decline in belief in the Church’s teachings on Christian Marriage (i.e., sex), I thought some might appreciate a compendium of good reads on the topic of Christian Marriage: encyclicals, books, articles, etc.

From the Popes:
Casti Connubii (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Pius XI
Arcanum (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Leo XIII
Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) — Pope John Paul II

The Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II (* a general audience, which makes up the teachings contained in the theology of the Body, is not on the same level of teaching as a Papal encyclical or Conciliar document)

From the Bishops:
Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality – Pontifical Council for the Family
Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage – Pontifical Council for the Family
Love & Life in the Divine Plan — United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Cohabitation Before Marriage — the Bishops of Kansas
Pennsylvania Bishops Document on Cohabitation — the Bishops of Pennsylvania
PDF on Fornication & other Sexual Matters — Archdiocese of Washington
Pastoral Letter on Cohabitation & Marriage in the Church — Archbishop Sheehan, Archdiocese of Santa Fe
The Vocation of Marriage in God’s Plan — Archbishop Stafford

From Priests, theologians, etc.:
Cana is Forever — Fr. Charles Hugo Doyle
Three to Get Married — Msgr. Fulton Sheen
Clean Love in Courtship – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik
Chastity: A Guide for Teens & Young Adults – Fr. Gerald Kelly, SJ
Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage – Fr. Donald Miller, CSSR
When Is Company Keeping Lawful & Prudent? – (“Company Keeping” = courtship/dating)
Little Book of Instructions for Christian Mothers – Fr. Pius Franciscus, OM Cap.
“Casti Connubii 60 Years Later” – John Kippley

Books not currently available (to my knowledge) online: (Get ‘em from your library or cool Catholic friend)
The Privilege of Being a Woman by Alice von Hildebrand
The Sins of Parents by Fr. Charles Hugo Doyle
Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) (you can catch a decent size preview on Google Books here)
Called to Love by Carl Anderson & Fr. José Grenados (I briefly reviewed it here)

This is (and will be) constantly updated. Feel free to recommend something I may have missed.


Surprising Statistics

Unfortunately it’s not surprising, but it is disappointing… according to the latest statistics from CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) only a mere %14 of Catholics think pre-marital sex is wrong, and even among Catholics who regularly attend Mass (i.e., at least once a week) only %30 said pre-marital sex is wrong. Msgr. Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington noting the statistics said, “we have a lot of work to do”… YA THINK!?! Archbishop Chaput also said last week that this generation has failed in catechesis… in handing on the faith to the next generation and as a result young people today have lost a “moral vocabulary”:

“Our culture is doing catechesis every day. It works like water dripping on a stone, eroding people’s moral and religious sensibilities, and leaving a hole where their convictions used to be.”

“Christians in my country and yours – and throughout the West, generally – have done a terrible job of transmitting our faith to our own children and to the culture at large.
Instead of changing the culture around us, we Christians have allowed ourselves to be changed by the culture. We’ve compromised too cheaply. We’ve hungered after assimilating and fitting in. And in the process, we’ve been bleached out and absorbed by the culture we were sent to make holy.
We need to confess that, and we need to fix it.”

“The central issue is whether we ourselves really do believe. Catechesis is not a profession. It’s a dimension of discipleship. If we’re Christians, we’re each of us called to be teachers and missionaries.”
“If we’re embarrassed about Church teachings, or if we disagree with them, or if we’ve decided that they’re just too hard to live by, or too hard to explain, then we’ve already defeated ourselves.”
“We need to really believe what we claim to believe,” he stressed. “We need to stop calling ourselves ‘Catholic’ if we don’t stand with the Church in her teachings – all of them.”

In response to the crisis, the Archdiocesan website put up a PDF of relevant passages from the Sacred Scripture condemning pre-marital sex. You can find it here.

While it is clear that the Bible condemns pre-marital sex (“fornication”), and the Church has always taught that sex before marriage is wrong; it’s also clear that either people don’t understand this, or very few care anymore. This baffles me. Even aside from the religious aspect of things, look at the situation rationally: what has promiscuity brought us? … STDs, children who don’t know their fathers or who must grow up in a ‘broken home’, and all the mental consequences of casual hookups (depression, etc.), etc. Not one good thing has come from embracing promiscuity.

I have to also admit, given the popularity of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, especially with Christopher West and others supporting and teaching it all over the country… I am surprised at the numbers… but as the good Archbishop Chaput said, “the central issue is whether we really believe”.

 

What does the Catholic Church teach regarding Christian Marriage?
Casti Connubii (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Pius XI
Arcanum (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Leo XIII

What Really Constitutes Extraordinary Means?

Life issues are always at the forefront simply because they are life issues. Life and death are serious events that demand reflection.

I’m sure most people remember and are familiar with the Terri Shiavo tragedy from 2005… though the news media (fueled by her  demonic husband, Michael) painted her death as “merciful” and “peaceful”– it was anything but that. It was, at the very least, inhumane. In her final moments, Terri’s skin was flaking off, her eyes sunken, and blood leaked from her eyes and mouth because her body was so dried out because of dehydration. Her death was full of suffering and intense, agonizing pain. It’s not a quick process; a person who starves to death doesn’t die instantly. It’s a long, slow, painful process that takes weeks.

Why do I bring up Terri Shiavo today? Because the same thing is happening to another unfortunate victim. Only this time, instead of taking 14 days to die from dehydration (like Terri did), the patient has been clinging to life for over 55 days. Trisha Rushing Duguay has been fighting for her life, without nutrition or water, for 55 days. Almost 8 weeks. 2 months. Have we become the Nazis? Or worse? Feeding a person is not extraordinary means. Trisha, like Terri, needs no machines to keep her body functioning. She needs, as we all do, food and water. To strip a person of a feeding tube and refuse them fluids to let them die of dehydration is not humane or merciful… it’s vicious and demonic. This is euthanasia. The fruit of the culture of death. We kill our children in their mother’s wombs, and now we kill anyone who is unable to speak for themselves.

Trisha Rushing Duguay was married and within 48 hours diagnosed with a brain tumor. Within 10 days of her marriage, she’d fallen into a coma. What were her last words?

“I am going to beat this,” she told [her husband], then joked: “You are not going to get rid of me this easy.”

And still here she is, clinging to life while being starved to death as doctors, nurses, and family members look on: unwilling to care for her most basic needs: food, and water. Her husband who promised to love and care for her “in sickness and in health” etc. and explicitly promised her before her surgery that he would always take care of her if she became disabled has broken those promises. Broken his wedding vows. He’s killing his wife, not caring for her.

Pray for Trisha Rushing Duguay, her family, friends, and those who sit idly by while she dies an agnozing and painful death. Pray for those are starving her, and consenting to her starvation.

What is the world coming to?

Pray for Trisha Rushing Duguay facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/group.php?gid=128342343885221&v=wall&ref=ts

UPDATE: I learned that Trisha died Friday September 24 a little after 9am. 56 days to starve and dehydrate to death…  she fought hard for her life.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

“The Last Acceptable Prejudice” continues

The television (the tabernacle of Satan, as Fr Groeschel would say) is tuned to a show which shall remain nameless. I did not choose the show, and have been making a concentrated effort to ignore it. However, the past several minutes have consisted in repeated insults against the Catholic Church, and a long segment praising homosexuality…

It’s one thing to disagree with a thing from a rational perspective, and quite another to level insults, poke fun, and dismiss a thing irrationally.

More and more it seems like the Catholic Church is everyone’s favorite punching bag. The York Times, The Boston Globe…most news outlets in general. And apparently, with the testimony of this particular talk show, the Church is the best new punchline for everything. Especially whatever of the Church’s teachings that [the insulters] misunderstand.

This latest episode consisted in mocking the Eucharist (a very grave offense), one of the hosts talked about receiving [from the Chalice] multiple times when she went to Mass because she was “still thirsty” (an alcoholic insinuation). I pray it was a joke. More concerning than if she received mulitple times (which is unnecessary and obviously disrespectful), is the flippancy with which she dismissed the Most Sacred Blood of Our Lord. She preferred its alcholic accidents to its supernatural graces. The Eucharist is not wine. It is not a symbol. The substance of the wine is changed (into the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ), even though the accidents remain the same (it still looks, smells, and tastes like wine–but it is not). Her dismissal of the Precious Blood, mocking the fact that its accidents remain, is a mockery of the price of Salvation. It’s disgusting. It’d disheartening.

I worry about the state of the world.

I pray during this month of the Precious Blood that more Christians become aware of the price of their Salvation and turn in love to the Precious Blood that poured forth from Our Lord on the Cross and made present in the Chalice during the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Sex-Ed, in Kindergarten?!?

This is just disgusting:

MONTANA PARENTS WEIGH IN ON PROPOSED KINDERGARTEN SEX-ED

According to the 62-page draft proposal, beginning in kindergarten, school nurses will teach students proper terms such as “nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus.” Once they are promoted to first grade, children will learn that sexual relations could happen between two men or two women. By the time students are 10 years old, instruction will include the various ways people can have intercourse, be it vaginally, orally or through “anal penetration,” according to the proposal.

Melanie Reynolds, a district health officer, defended the proposed curriculum, saying early education and intervention was needed to prevent HIV infection or other sexually transmitted diseases. She cited a report that said 40 percent of reported Chlamydia cases in county were people between the ages of 14 and 18, the Helena Independent Record reported.

Angela Helland-Hansen told the board that she was surprised to see that staff from Planned Parenthood were included in the committee that developed the document.

Why are we allowing Planned Parenthood to help with this when they stand to profit from these people who will be their future clients?” the Record reported.

They think telling 10 year olds how to have sex will help lower the rate of STDs and teenage pregnancy?!? Seeing that Planned [Barren]hood helped develop the curriculum it should be quite obvious that they are not concerned about childhood development or education, but only concerned about how to make money in the future (more children having sex + more younger children having sex = more STDs + more teenage pregnancies = boatloads of money + funds + grants for Planned [Barren]hood). If this passes, the public ought to be ashamed for having been duped!

I’m not opposed to teaching children age-appropriate anatomy, etc…. working with children now, and being more concerned about child abuse– children knowing the proper names for their body parts is a good thing. Do they need to know what all those parts can be used for? Certainly not when they’re 5… and not even when they are 10! If you don’t want 10 year olds having sex, don’t teach them how to do it… that’s a no-brainer.

Furthermore, shoving a liberal sexual education curriculum down the throats of 6 and 7 year olds by teaching them about homosexuality is just plain wrong (…speaking of HIV and other STDs). I can be lambasted with “intolerant” and “hate speech” accusations all day long, but the truth of the matter is that ‘tolerance’ does not exist. Everyone is intolerant of something… at the moment, those who want me to be “more tolerant” are the ones engaging in “intolerance”. My opinions, arguments, thoughts, and feelings, don’t matter and are considered “wrong” so I should change in order to be “tolerant”.

But why am I the one that has to change? Can they prove me to be in the “wrong”? (No) Arguments about “tolerance” are a waste of time. The real argument is truth. What’s true? What’s right? What’s just?

The more the the world embraces liberalism, the further the world falls away from Truth, Righteousness, and Justice.

Truth matters.