August 26, 2010

Andrea Bocelli Praises Mother's Choice Not to Abort Him

Rome, Italy, Jun 6, 2010 / 06:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Italian singer Andrea Bocelli has told the story of his mother’s pregnancy, during which doctors suggested that she abort him because he would be born with a disability. In a new video he praises his mother for making “the right choice,” saying other mothers should take encouragement from the story.

August 25, 2010

The Seven Shortest Verses in the Bible

Interesting trivia: From a heart for god:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

He (Jesus) must increase; I must decrease. (John 3:30)

Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:20)

Do not quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Rejoice always. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

August 23, 2010

Top Ten Reasons to be Catholic, Part 2

3. The Blessed Virgin Mary: As the mother of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary has a central role in the life of the Catholic Church. The Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin has grown over time both in importance and manifestation. Popes have encouraged this veneration but from time to time have also taken steps to reform it.

Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a woman. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honor as Mother of God. From the Council of Ephesus in 431, which dogmatized this belief, to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's Redemptoris Mater encyclical the Virgin Mary has come to be seen, not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church.

August 22, 2010

Questions to help me live the theology of the body in everyday life; An examination of conscience:

Do I objectify members of the opposite sex in my thoughts words and actions? Am I convinced that every person is made in the image and likeness of God? Do I foster and nourish this conviction by reflecting often on the dignity of the people around me? Do I ever allow myself the thought that someone else's body/personhood is inferior to my own? Do I sometimes think that I have "more important" things to do than safeguard the dignity of others? Do I believe I am responsible for my dress, modesty, thoughts, words and actions and ultimately accountable to God for what I do? Do I have the courage to remind myself of this by dressing and acting in ways that dignify my body and the bodies of others?

Do I pray daily and explicitly for an end to abortion? Do I see the link between abortion and other assaults on human life and dignity? Do I acknowledge that progress in any arena for the defense of life facilitates progress in all the other arenas?

Do I have faith that God is the Lord of Life? Do I believe the whole struggle is in His hands, and that He has already conquered evil, falsehood, and death? Do I trust Him? Do I ask His guidance? Do I keep my eyes on Him, or do I allow discouragement by focusing only on problems and myself?

Am I learning more about marriage and the Church? Do I live a sacramental life? Do I receive the Eucharist at least once a week on the Sabbath? Do I honor the Sabbath? Do I frequent the sacrament of confession? Do I escape from taking action by thinking that prayer alone is enough? Am I developing all the talents God gave me so that I can use them to advance the Culture of Life? Am I open to a religious vocation if God is calling me to one?

Do I speak up in defense of life, the Church and the Pope?

Do I take proper care of myself, physically and spiritually, so that I can be more effective in my daily life and work? Do I rest when I need to?

Do I foster unity in the Church? Do I encourage my fellow Catholics? Are all of my efforts guided by charity? Do I seek the advice and input of others in the Church, especially of those more experienced than I?

Do I try to grow in compassion for sinners? Do I try to understand their situation and learn more about their needs? Do I acknowledge that I too am a sinner? Do I inspire hope in others? Do I help them find forgiveness and healing? Do I foster charity in thought, word, and deed toward those who disagree with me?

Am I ready from this day forward to be a better Catholic? Am I ready to launch out with new strength, generosity, and determination, without counting the cost to myself? Am I grateful enough for the gift of life to work to give life to others? Do I thank God for the privilege of being his son/daughter?

August 21, 2010

Pro-Life Equals Pro-Woman

In order to save the unborn child you must also save the mother. This can only be done by showing a woman unconditional love.

August 20, 2010

Blessed Mother Teresa Novena

Mother Teresa was called from this world on September 5, 1997. As we approach the anniversary of her death, we invite you to say this special prayer each day. We would also like to hear from you about how Mother Teresa impacted your life with her example and teaching. Please share with us why you are grateful to God for Mother Teresa, and what you learned from her. If you had an opportunity to meet her or be in her presence, we also invite you to share what that was like.

Father of Life,
You always defend the poor and oppressed.

In Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, You raised up
a voice for the voiceless

And a friend to the poorest of the poor, the unborn child.
She brought women away from the
despair of abortion clinics
To the hope of a loving community
That cared for her and her child.

She spoke the truth to men and women of power,
Asking them how we could tell people
not to kill one another
While allowing a mother to kill her own child.

Father, as we honor this humble and faithful woman,
We ask you to give us the grace To follow her example.

May we be bold in word and generous in action
To love and serve the unborn
And to awaken our world to know, as Mother Teresa said,
That the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

Fill us with love, bring us peace, and let
us share your life forever.

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen
Go to Priests for Life to share your story

Thought of the Day
If He who was without sin prayed, how much more ought sinners to pray?
-- St. Cyprian

Catholics Go Vote!

H/T Creative Minority Report

August 19, 2010

Are the Unborn Human?

Abortion is Not Health Care

Fr. Frank Pavone

Pro-abortion politicians will often say to us, “Legislators should not be practicing medicine.” Our response? We’re not asking you to practice medicine, but to prevent the abuse of medicine. Medicine is for the purpose of preserving life; abortion takes life. Surgery helps the body do what it is supposed to do; abortion stops the body from doing what it is supposed to do. There is no disease that abortion cures.

Legislators are not called to practice medicine. But laws do prohibit doctors from carrying out procedures without the patient’s consent, from using certain types of medications, and from all kinds of malpractice. The practice of medicine is regulated by all kinds of laws that protect the lives of patients. All we ask is that the unborn be included in that protection.

August 18, 2010

The Story of St Therese of Lisieux

Prayer for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity,
we thank You for having graced the Church
with Pope John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of Your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit,
to Shine through him.

Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus
the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that
holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of achieving
eternal communion with You.

Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to Your will,
the graces we implore...,
hoping that he will soon be
numbered among Your saints. Amen.

August 17, 2010

MARRIAGE: THE GOOD WINE (a wedding homily), Part 4 By Cormac Burke

To read Part 3 go here.

The marriage vow is a vow of fidelity unto death. Its bond can never be broken except by death. Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed this in these solemn words: "What God has joined together let no man put asunder." The knowledge that you have freely and consciously accepted this life-long and unbreakable character of marriage, and are fully determined to maintain it, gives to each of you a deep trust in the quality of the love your partner feels for you. When people who believe in divorce get married, they can never have this assurance of an unconditional love on their partner's part. The very beginnings of their marriage rest on shaky foundations.

In this Mass I pray with the Church that your marriage may be fruitful: that you may live to see your children's children to the third and fourth generation. Children are God's first gift and blessing to a married couple. Though many people today may seem to doubt this, may you never doubt it. Each child you receive from God is a sign of trust on his part, a vote of divine confidence in you. Observe that trust with gratitude, with a constant sense of the privilege of being sharers in God's creative work. If you receive your children in this way, each child will be not only the fruit of your love but also its pillar and mainstay.

May each year that passes make you love each other even more deeply and tenderly than now. May the ups and downs of life, and the weaknesses of each of you, only serve ? with God's grace ? to make your love mature and firm and serene. And so your children will find in you parents who, loving each other and loving them with a strong, unwavering, tender, wise, generous and self-sacrificing love, reflect in some way the love God has for each of us his children.

Mary was present at the Cana wedding party. She cared for the human happiness of this couple, even down to the small detail of wanting to spare them embarrassment for bad catering. How much more must she have cared for their love for each other throughout their married life. She was their friend. What an inspiration her love and friendship must have been to them in learning to love each other and their children more ? more purely, more truly, more humanly ? and in doing so, to learn to love God more. I feel no doubt that this marriage, so blessed from its very beginning, was a happy marriage indeed. But it was more: it was one of the many holy marriages of history; and that the couple of Cana, unknown to us by name, are high up among the saints in heaven.

We have seen in the Gospel Mary's concern for the happiness of the young couple at Cana. Place yourselves under her protection and intercession, so that the good wine of your present love for each other and for God may never run out, may always remain good; and so that, by the grace and divine power of the Sacrament you are about to administer to one another, you may learn to turn all the little incidents that make up life ? the apparently colorless and insipid water of everyday living ? into the richest possible wine of love for each other, love for your children, and love for God.

Visit Monsignor Cormac Burke's excellent website for related content and more.

Top Ten Reasons to be Catholic

This is Part I of my series “Top Ten Reasons to be Catholic.”

1.) The Eucharist – Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is present to us at every mass. This is the miracle of the Eucharist. In addition, the mass unites the Church, past present and future, in one time and place. This is because the souls of the faithfully departed who died in the friendship of God are present at the sacrifice of the mass. We who celebrate the mass here on earth represent the Church militant. Finally, the Church celebrates the reality of Christ’s second coming when the souls of all the faithful will live in Heaven with God forever. There is much more that could be said about the Eucharist and the mass. Let us conclude by acknowledging that the Eucharist is the Church’s greatest prayer; the source and summit of the Catholic faith.

2.) The Sacraments – In addition to the Eucharist are the other six sacraments; baptism, confession, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick. The sacraments are outward signs of grace. They strengthen us on our earthly journey by nourishing our souls. The sacraments confer on recipients special graces for the task at hand. Confirmation, for example, allows us to grow into spiritually mature Catholics. Marriage confers on husband and wife the charism to live life-giving love. Holy orders grants those seeking to live a religious life the ability to pursue their vocation.

René Descartes: "Cogito ergo sum," "I think therefore I am."

In the previous post we talked about the challenge Descartes posed to Catholicism. We continue today with his "Cogito"

"I think therefore I am."

Descartes observes that sometimes our senses deceive us. When a straw is placed in a glass of water the water’s refractive properties make the straw appear bent. This optical illusion is precisely that, an illusion. How can we know what is real with certainty, Descartes asks, if we cannot always trust our senses? Because our senses are fallible in his search for certitude Descartes employs "hyperbolical doubt." In other words, for Descartes nothing is certain – not even reality itself.

The fact that he can doubt, however, means something or someone exists to do the doubting. His mind thinks, in this case about doubt. Consequently, Descartes arrives at the first certainty, his famous "Cogito ergo sum," "I think therefore I am."

Descartes goes on to prove that God exists and that He is benevolent. Nonetheless, the foundation of Descartes’ philosophical system is man. Man or man’s mind is the ultimate source of everything. Man determines morality, knowledge, meaning, and reality, to the extent it can be known. That natural law (God’s law written in our hearts), could be the source of civil law or a universal morality, an idea central to Augustine and Aquinas, is all but abandoned.

After Descartes, truth is no longer objective. It resides in and is established by the individual. Morality, therefore, cannot be universal. Each person decides for himself what is right. This helped to shape a new worldview.

That worldview, our own, is subjective (based on feelings and opinions), inductive (moving from specific instances to general assumptions), and experimental (proof is everything whether in the laboratory or our everyday lives). It would give rise to skepticism, existentialism, nihilism, Freudian psychology, and secular humanism, among others, affecting government, law, culture, and religion.

The "new Philosophy" called all in doubt, leaving nothing to give man his bearings, direction, or purpose. Moral relativism replaced moral absolutes. Science, technology, material affluence, sexual permissiveness, and the threat of nuclear annihilation brought new concerns. Increasingly, the person was seen as a "something," not a "someone," to be indoctrinated, exploited, or used. A new synthesis of faith and reason would respond to these developments.

August 16, 2010

August 15th, 2010, Feast of the Assumption

By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory

Catholic Theology 101: Phenomenology

At the beginning of the twentieth century a new school of thought, phenomenology, would reestablish the link severed by Cartesian philosophy between man and the world at large. Phenomenologists use the subjective experiences of persons to understand reality. Two in particular, Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler, would influence later thinkers responding to totalitarianism, Marxist ideology, genocide, materialism, war on an unprecedented scale, and more.

Broadly speaking, phenomenology (from the Greek phainómenon, "that which appears" and logos, “to study"), sees objects and events around us as understandable only through the person’s consciousness. By examining human consciousness (the collective experience of persons), an awareness of the world (objective reality), in which persons exist and act could emerge. The result is that things viewed subjectively can now be studied objectively.

Descartes tears man out of objective reality, making moral absolutes impossible. Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope John Paul II), restores man firmly at the center of reality, making moral absolutes essential. Like Augustine and Aquinas before him, Wojtyla confirms the fundamental harmony between faith and reason. Using phenomenology and Sacred Scripture, he affirms objective moral truth and the dignity of persons, who are shaped by and responsible for their actions.

The fruit of this synthesis, John Paul’s Theology of the Body, is a reflection on our nature and life as persons made in the image and likeness of God, conjugal love, the meaning of celibacy, and the beatitude to which every human being is called. This is the Holy Father’s catechesis for a culture where sex is an obsession, marriage and families are endangered, and the dignity of persons is denied. Teaching about human sexuality using language subjective, inductive, experimental minds can understand, the Theology of the Body is a light in darkness guiding us toward an authentic vision of the person as divine gift.

August 13, 2010

Catholic Theology 101: The Descartes Challenge

The Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution caused social upheaval, cataclysmic shifts in thinking, and the democratization of knowledge, making all that came before seem antiquated, authoritarian, incomplete, or irrelevant. The world and how people viewed it changed. Written in 1611, the words of poet John Donne could apply to all of the forementioned:

(The) new Philosophy calls all in doubt,
The Element of fire is quite put out;
The Sun is lost, and th'earth, and no man's wit,
Can well direct him where to look for it.

Of particular note is French philosopher René Descartes. Published in 1637, his treatise, Discourse on the Method, attempts to establish a set of principles that are certain beyond doubt. The result would turn philosophy on its head. His famous statement: "I think therefore I am," marks a radical departure from the objective view of reality held by Augustine and Aquinas.

This departure is so radical, Descartes’ philosophy (known as Cartesian philosophy), is a dividing line. Philosophers before him (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas) are pre-Cartesian; everyone after (Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, Husserl, etc.) is a post-Cartesian. Pre-Cartesian schools of thought are objective, deductive, and principled. Post-Cartesian philosophy is largely subjective, deriving from personal experience, feelings, and perceptions.

August 12, 2010

Indisputable Medical Evidence - the Unborn Baby is a Human Being

Time Magazine and Rand McNally's Altlas of the Body states, "In fusing together, the male and female gametes produce a fertilised single cell, the zygote, which is the start of a new individual."

The Official Senate report on Senate Bill 158, the "Human Life Bill", summarised the issue this way: "Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being - a being that is alive and a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings."8

Everything that determines the individuality and originality of a person is established at conception. The first single cell contains the entire genetic blueprint in all its complexity.

* The heart starts beating between 18 and 25 days.

* Electrical brainwaves have been recorded at 43 days on an EEG. If the absence of a brainwave indicates death, why will pro-abortionists not accept that the presence of a brainwave is a confirmation of life?

* The brain and all body systems are present by 8 weeks and functioning a month later.

* At 8 weeks, the baby will wake and sleep, make a fist, suck his thumb, and get hiccups.

* At the end of 9 weeks, the baby has his own unique finger prints.

* At 11-12 weeks, the baby is sensative to heat, touch, light and noise. All body systems are working. He weighs about 28g and is 6-7.5 cm long.

He is fully developed before his mother's pregnancy is even noticeable. This is the age of baby, that the government is saying can be killed for any reason whatsoever, without a waiting period for the mother to consider her decision.

From conception, the new person conceived is as deserving of the full protection of the law as any other person.

From the article "10 Arguments Against Abortion."  To read all ten go here.

Benedict XVI: "God calls us all to be saints"

Catholic Church Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Padre Pio's Ordination

Archbishop Andrea Mugione of Benevento in Italy celebrated Mass Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of St. Pio de Pietrelcina's ordination to the priesthood. The prelate noted that Padre Pio's example of complete surrender to the Church of Christ and in service to others should encourage Catholics to “unconditionally respond to the will of God.”

Speaking to Vatican Radio, the archbishop recalled that the anniversary is “truly a special moment of prayer, grace and reflection.”

After recalling that Padre Pio felt he had a special vocation to “be a sacrificial victim of expiation for the sins of the world and for the conversion of all humanity,” the archbishop said the Italian saint was granted permission to be ordained at the age of 23 because of the various illnesses that afflicted him.

Archbishop Mugione said Padre Pio practically “lived eternity” while on earth and learned to live out the Gospel in a life that was transformed in Christ and by Christ.

Courtesy EWTN News

August 11, 2010

Prayer for Charity

Lord Jesus, I believe that you came into this world to redeem sinners. I hope in you and in your power to transform my soul, by your grace, from sinfulness to holiness. Lord, I love you and offer you the longings of my heart to put you truly first in my life. I want to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.

Second Pro-life Ad Banned by NBC, CNN

Here is the second pro-life ad rejected by NBC and CNN that was to run during the 2009 Super Bowl:

August 10, 2010

MARRIAGE: THE GOOD WINE (a wedding homily), Part 3 By Cormac Burke

Continued from Part 2...

I would suggest three conditions which, if you fulfill them, will make your marriage happy.

* Prayer: The first condition is that you pray a lot ? "The family that prays together, stays together", so the saying goes. I feel certain that the couple married at Cana were a praying couple. Lay that sure foundation of prayer in your married life from the very start. The thought that your marriage is a sacrament, and therefore a source of grace, must be your mainstay. Not only do you want your marriage to be happy, but God wants it to be happy. If you learn to look to Him and pray to Him, your marriage will work out. But marriages do not work out without prayer.

* Unconditional Love: The second condition is that you try to love each other always as God loves you. He loves each of you with your defects. This is the marvel of God's love. He doesn't love our defects, or love us because of our defects. He loves us because of our virtues, or at least because of our possibilities of virtues. But He loves us with our defects. If the moment were to come in which one of you were to begin to see ? to think you see ? more defects than virtues in the other, then you would have to go hurrying to take a refresher course in that school of love where God is always prepared.

If many marriages today go "on the rocks" perhaps it's because the spouses expected too much of one another. Do not expect too much. Try to give without limit, even though you know you will never perfectly succeed in doing so. Therefore do not expect without limit. Only God can give without limit, and only God can satisfy unlimited expectations. He will do that, but only in heaven. Marriage is not heaven; though, if lived in a holy fashion it can be a foretaste and a preparation for heaven. When your partner fails to give what you expected, forgive. And when you fail to give what you thought you would always give, ask for forgiveness.

* Fidelity: The third condition is that you always try to live your marriage in accordance with God's will. In a few moments you will exchange marriage vows, your mutual promises of life-long love and fidelity. These promises are not of your making, though you have freely chosen to make them. They are of God's making, for they express the nature of the marriage bond as He has made it. It is important to remember ? for it is so often forgotten today ? that marriage was God's idea before it was ever man's. The nature of marriage is given by God, just as the promise of happiness marriage contains has been placed there by God. That is why the final condition for achieving that promised happiness is to live marriage according to its God-given nature.

Visit Monsignor Cormac Burke's excellent website for related content and more.

Maafa - African American Genocide in Twentieth Century America

They were stolen from their homes, locked in chains and taken across an ocean. And for more than 200 years, their blood and sweat would help to build the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever known.

But when slavery ended, their welcome was over. America's wealthy elite had decided it was time for them to disappear and they were not particular about how it might be done.

What you are about to see is that the plan these people set in motion 150 years ago is still being carried out today. So don't think that this is history. It is not. It is happening right here, and it's happening right now.

H/T Life Dynamics Special thanks to the commentor who pointed out this movie after reading the post Margaret Sanger - Disciple of Death.

August 9, 2010

Thought of the Day
The Magi set out because of a deep desire which prompted them to leave everything and begin a journey. It was as though they had always been waiting for that star.
-- Pope Benedict XVI

Assumption Novena

From August 7 to August 15, Priests for Life invites believers to pray the Novena in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Lord Jesus Christ,

You have conquered the power of death
And opened for humanity
The hope of eternal life in body and soul.

You granted your Mother
A share in heavenly glory,
And did not allow decay to touch her body.

As we prepare for the Feast of the Assumption,
Grant us new confidence in the victory of life over death,
And renewed reverence for the human body.

As we honor Mary, Assumed into Heaven,
May we proclaim the hope of Your Gospel:
That you want every human life seated on your throne.

May that hope strengthen us to protect every life here on earth.
You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Why can marriage exist only between a man and a woman?

The natural structure of human sexuality makes man and woman complementary partners for the transmission of human life. Only a union of male and female can express the sexual complementarity willed by God for marriage. The permanent and exclusive commitment of marriage is the necessary context for the expression of sexual love intended by God both to serve the transmission of human life and to build up the bond between husband and wife (see CCC, nos. 1639-1640).

In marriage, husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in their masculinity and femininity (see CCC, no. 1643). They are equal as human beings but different as man and woman, fulfilling each other through this natural difference. This unique complementarity makes possible the conjugal bond that is the core of marriage.

Why is a same-sex union not equivalent to a marriage?

For several reasons a same-sex union contradicts the nature of marriage: It is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female; it cannot cooperate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union. Persons in same-sex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is wrong to equate their relationship to a marriage.

Margaret Sanger - Disciple of Death

Margaret Higgins Sanger (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) was an American birth control activist and the founder of the American Birth Control League. In 1942 the name of the American Birth Control League was changed to Planned Parenthood. Sanger remains a controversial figure. While she is widely viewed as a leader of the modern birth control movement, and remains a prominent figure for the American “reproductive rights movements,” pro-life groups condemn Sanger's views, attributing her efforts to promote birth control to a desire to "purify" the human race through eugenics, and even to eliminate minority races by placing birth control clinics in minority neighborhoods.

Sanger called African Americans “human weeds” and “reckless breeders.” At a March 1925 international birth control gathering in New York City, a speaker warned of the menace posed by the "black" and "yellow" peril. The man was not a Nazi or Klansman; he was Dr. S. Adolphus Knopf, a member of Margaret Sanger's American Birth Control League (ABCL).

Sanger's other colleagues included avowed and sophisticated racists. One, Lothrop Stoddard, was a Harvard graduate and the author of The Rising Tide of Color against White Supremacy. Stoddard was something of a Nazi enthusiast who described the eugenic practices of the Third Reich as "scientific" and "humanitarian." And Dr. Harry Laughlin, another Sanger associate and board member for her group, spoke of purifying America's human "breeding stock" and purging America's "bad strains." These "strains" included the "shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of antisocial whites of the South."

Not to be outdone by her followers, Margaret Sanger spoke of sterilizing those she designated as "unfit," a plan she said would be the "salvation of American civilization.: And she also spike of those who were "irresponsible and reckless," among whom she included those " whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers." She further contended that "there is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped." That many Americans of African origin constituted a segment of Sanger considered "unfit" cannot be easily refuted.

While Planned Parenthood's current apologists try to place some distance between the eugenics and birth control movements, history definitively says otherwise. The eugenic theme figured prominently in the Birth Control Review, which Sanger founded in 1917. She published such articles as "Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics" (June 1920), "The Eugenic Conscience" (February 1921), "The purpose of Eugenics" (December 1924), "Birth Control and Positive Eugenics" (July 1925), "Birth Control: The True Eugenics" (August 1928), and many others.

Margaret Sanger paved the way for the abortion industry here in the United States. For a brief but excellent video outlining Planned Parenthood’s continuing racist agenda go here. For more information on Sanger’s racist beliefs and eugenics advocacy go here.

August 7, 2010

More Powerful Pro-life Videos

The numbers don't lie...

Born alive

Life is beautiful

Now is the time.

MARRIAGE: THE GOOD WINE (a wedding homily), Part 2 By Cormac Burke

Continued from Part 1

Water to wine is an evident miracle. God's deeper miracles are not always so evident. Wine to Blood is a miracle seen only by the eyes of faith. The appearance has not changed. But the reality has. The reality is divine. It is the Mystery of the Sacraments: God's hidden presence and action through human signs.

The real miracle of Cana is our Lord's endowing human love with a new power: the power to be a sign and a cause of divine love.

He wanted this couple, and all Christian couples, to be happy in loving one another. He wanted them to love him in loving one another. He wanted them to be saints, in loving one another. And so he raised their marriage to be a Sacrament.

Christian teaching on marriage as a Sacrament means not only that husband and wife have God's help, to love each other more, and to love their children more. It also means that in loving each other and their children more, they are loving God more. Marriage is both a means and a challenge to growth in love. And growth in human love, in Christian marriage, effects (i.e. causes) growth in divine love. This is the sacramentality of marriage.

Everyone marries in expectation of happiness. But you must have often reflected on the fact that many marriages do not work out as happy marriages. Will yours? Will you be faithful to one another ? for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, in happiness, to the very end? That is what you hope and pray for today... (To be continued)

Visit Monsignor Cormac Burke's excellent website for related content and more.

August 6, 2010

Review: Believing in Jesus - A Popular Overview of the Catholic Faith

Now in its sixth edition, the best-selling Believing in Jesus captures the Christian's continuing journey of faith, ever new, ever alive-yet always founded on God's steadfast love for us. In a lively style Leonard Foley covers the complete spectrum of the Catholic faith, leading the reader from early Old Testament times through a world starting over in Jesus, and looking ahead to the time when Jesus will come again and we will share fully in his life.

The book has been updated to include the lastest Church documents and is cross referrenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Foley has a scholarly style that lends itself to the subject at hand. With his insight and wisdom scripture comes alive. He intigrates Church teaching with the Church's lived experience as a living institution throughout history. The Church is truly where the human and the Divine meet. Foley does a masterful job in showing how, despite its human failings and shortcomings, the Church is sustained and supported by Christ.

I found this book to be a tremendous spiritual resource. Foley's scholarly style can be a bit overwhelming at times. This in no way detracts from its usefulness. I recommend it to cradle Catholics and converts alike.

To order this book go here or visit the Catholic Company for similar items.

The U.S. Bishops' Between Man and Woman Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions

In November 2003, the U.S. bishops approved a restatement of long-held Catholic beliefs about marriage. The statement is a response to a growing movement in U.S. society to recognize homosexual unions as legal, married unions. Within a month of the bishops' meeting, for example, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex unions can be equated with marriage. The U.S. bishops' statement, while it upholds marriage, does not condemn homosexual people. It points out, rather, the ancient and sacred character of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

In the news conference releasing the document, Bishop Kevin J. Boland of Savannah, head of the bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life, pointed out the reasons for the document. First and foremost, the bishops realize that we are in a social debate about marriage, he said, an area about which the Church has a "core belief." The statement is meant to "draw upon reason and faith in order to identify the nature and purposes of marriage and thereby to demonstrate why a same-sex union can never be equated with marriage." That said, the statement does not attempt to be a "detailed theological treatise, public policy statement or legal argument." In fact, said Bishop Boland, "It does not even present a complete catechesis on marriage or homosexuality." In short, the bishops' statement is an attempt to introduce some key Church themes into this debate in a way that everyday people can understand. The full text of the U.S. bishops' statement follows.

Full Text of the Bishops' Statement

A growing movement today favors making those relationships commonly called same-sex unions the legal equivalent of marriage. This situation challenges Catholics—and all who seek the truth—to think deeply about the meaning of marriage, its purposes, and its value to individuals, families, and society. This kind of reflection, using reason and faith, is an appropriate starting point and framework for the current debate.

We, the Catholic bishops of the United States, offer here some basic truths to assist people in understanding Catholic teaching about marriage and to enable them to promote marriage and its sacredness.

1. What is marriage?

Marriage, as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including sexual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children (see Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1602-1605).

These truths about marriage are present in the order of nature and can be perceived by the light of human reason. They have been confirmed by divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture.

2. What does our faith tell us about marriage?

Marriage comes from the loving hand of God, who fashioned both male and female in the divine image (see Gn 1:27). A man "leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body" (Gn 2:24). The man recognizes the woman as "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Gn 2:23). God blesses the man and woman and commands them to "be fertile and multiply" (Gn 1:28). Jesus reiterates these teachings from Genesis, saying, "But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh'" (Mk 10:6-8).

These biblical passages help us to appreciate God's plan for marriage. It is an intimate union in which the spouses give themselves, as equal persons, completely and lovingly to one another. By their mutual gift of self, they cooperate with God in bringing children to life and in caring for them.

Marriage is both a natural institution and a sacred union because it is rooted in the divine plan for creation. In addition, the Church teaches that the valid marriage of baptized Christians is a sacrament—a saving reality. Jesus Christ made marriage a symbol of his love for his Church (see Eph 5:25-33). This means that a sacramental marriage lets the world see, in human terms, something of the faithful, creative, abundant, and self-emptying love of Christ. A true marriage in the Lord with his grace will bring the spouses to holiness. Their love, manifested in fidelity, passion, fertility, generosity, sacrifice, forgiveness, and healing, makes known God's love in their family, communities, and society. This Christian meaning confirms and strengthens the human value of a marital union (see CCC, nos. 1612-1617; 1641-1642)... to be continued.

The Canticle of Zachariah

Again we visit the Daily Office of the Catholic clergy. Their Morning prayer includes the resitation of the Canticle of Zachariah also known as the Benedictus, which is the Latin interpretation of the first word in the prayer. The history of this prayer is as follows:

According to the Gospel of Luke, Zechariah was a Jewish priest and Pharisee during the reign of King Herod the Great, and the husband of Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. The Gospel states that both the parents were righteous before God, since they were blameless in observing the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. When the events related in Luke commenced, their marriage was still childless, because Elizabeth was barren and, like her husband, was advanced in years (Luke 1:5-7).

The duties at the temple in Jerusalem alternated between each of the families that had descended from those appointed by King David (1 Cronicles 23:1-19). The offering of incense was one of the most solemn parts of the daily worship and, owing to the large number of eligible priests, no priest could hope to perform the task more than once during his lifetime. Luke states that during the week when it was the duty of his family to serve at the temple of Jerusalem, the task of performing the incense offering had fallen to Zechariah.

The Gospel of Luke states that while Zechariah ministered at the golden altar of incense, an angel of God announced to him that his wife would give birth to a son, whom he was to name John, and that this son would be the forerunner of the long-expected Messiah. Citing their advanced age, Zechariah asked with disbelief for a sign whereby he would know the truth of this prophecy. In reply, the angel identified himself as the Archangel Gabriel, sent especially by God to make this announcement, and added that because of Zechariah's doubt he would be struck dumb and not able to speak until the day that these things happen.

On his return home Elizabeth duly conceived. During Elizabeth's pregnancy, her cousin Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and—though still a virgin—became pregnant with Jesus. Mary then travelled to visit her cousin Elizabeth to share the good news of Mary's expected child (Luke 1:23-45).

Eight days after Elizabeth gave birth, when their son was to be circumcised according to Jewish tradition, their family members and neighbours assumed that he was to be named after his father, as was the custom. Elizabeth, however, insisted that his name was to be John; so the family then questioned her husband. As soon as Zechariah had written on a writing tablet:: His name is John, he regained the power of speech, and praised God with a Prophecy known as the Benedictus (Luke 1:57-79).

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel
He has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that He would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace - Amen

August 5, 2010

Devotion Meme

The Court Jester tagged me with this meme which calls for me to name my five favorite devotions.

  • Rosary
  • The Liturgy of the Hours
  • Stations of the Cross
  • Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Rosary of the Holy Wounds
I tag

Dumb Ox

We've all heard that expression "Offer it up." It is often the response when we or someone else lament life's difficulties. To the Dumb Ox it can seem like a flippant or dismissive reply to another person's suffering. But "offering it up" is sometimes the best thing we can do. It is really a very powerful form of prayer and personal sacrifice. Offering up our pains and suffering is in fact the most powerful form of atonement next to martyrdom. 

Scripture testifies to the fact that Christ is the head and we are the body. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ we can offer up our suffering, whatever form it takes, in union with our Savior's Passion. As Pope John Paul II testified on a trip to Poland not long after assuming the papacy: "On His cross the Son of God accomplished the redemption of the world. It is through this mystery that every cross placed on someone’s shoulders acquires a dignity that is humanly inconceivable and becomes a sign of salvation for the person who carries it and also for others. 'In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s affliction' (Col 1:24), wrote St. Paul."

In our flesh we complete what is lacking in Christ’s affliction. This is the mystery and the joy of human suffering. Suffering can bring much spiritual fruit. Just as Christ accomplished the redemption of the world by his cross, so too can our crosses be purposefull. No one suffers in vain. We must trust in this no matter what misfortunes or suffering come our way. Click here for a prayer of daily offering and here for the previous post on suffering.

August 4, 2010

Thought of the Day
Another very good path of repentance is to put out of our minds the harm done us by our enemies, in order to master our anger, and to forgive our fellow servants' sins against us. The end our own sins against the Lord will be forgiven us. Thus you have another way to atone for sins. Forgive you forgive your debtors, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
-- St. John Chrysostom

August 3, 2010

Don't Kill the Butterfly

This is a pro-life music video about a couple who aren't ready to have the child they have conceved.

The Meaning of Life

Have you ever wondered what life is all about? What's the point of it all? For Catholics the short answer is Heaven. We are all called to be saints. A saint is someone who resides in Heaven. At the end of time all those who live in the company of God for all eternity will be saints. This is what paradise is all about. In the meantime, we are pilgrims here on earth. After our earthly journey we will go to Heaven. Hell, or Purgatory. The souls in Hell are destined to be there for all time. The souls in Purgatory are destined to go to Heaven; their salvation is assured. We can pray for the souls in Purgatory.

It is the earthly part of the journey that concerns us now. What must we do to go to Heaven? The answer is diseptively simple: live in the moment. This is what all saints did to perfection. They didn't concern themselves inordinately with the past. The past is in a very real way dead to us. The future is a mystery that has yet to be revealled. We must live in the moment because that is all we can control. Think about it for a second. All we can control is now. Mother Teresa did this as well as anyone. It is the one thing that all saints have in common. 

When we pray do we pray to live in the moment? Do we focus all our energies, emotions, and talents on God? Do we allow momentary setbacks and disappointments to distract us from God and our ultimate goal - Heaven? Focus is key. Prayer, the sacraments, the Church, sacred scripture, and the example of other faithful Catholics can help us keep our focus on what is truly important. This is easier said than done but think about all the spiritual aids God has given us to achieve salvation. Christ, first and foremost, died for our salvation. We must not forget that the grace of God is greater than all the spiritual aides put together. The grace of God can sustain and strengthen us on our spiritual journey no matter how difficult it may become.