Thursday, November 27, 2008

May they rest in peace

An old friend of my parents died in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai Nov 26. His wife, acting quickly, managed to escape. Brave woman!

One of my uncles also died, in the same city, at nearly the same time, but peacefully in his bed.

May they and all the victims rest in peace.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finn: Mingling "Woe to You" with "Be Not Afraid"

Excerpts from Bishop Finn's homily on the eve of the election:
Our Lord instructs us in the Gospel we have heard, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna." The enormity of this election is founded, in part, on the radical determination of some who would lead our country deeper than ever before into the darkness of the culture of death. This is a path that would certainly mean the death of countless more innocent lives. As shepherd of this Diocese I am also deeply saddened by the prospect of the cost in people's souls, the souls of those who would place a candidate's promise of economic prosperity above the life of the most innocent of our brothers and sisters.

Most perilous is the fate of those Catholics who, with hardened hearts, decide to create for themselves, and preach to others, a false gospel that the "right" to an abortion must not be challenged, or that the humanity of the child need not be protected.

Most fraudulent are those Catholic leaders, or alliances of Catholics, that insist that the radically evil injustice of abortion need not be directly opposed, but rather, that somehow solving the dilemma of the poor in a sweeping act of charity will cause the foundation of this monstrous crime to crumble.

Why is this so terribly amiss? Because the foundation and cause of abortion is not poverty but a blind disregard for personal responsibility, a heinous denial and disrespect for human life, and an idolatrous worship of personal convenience. This is why even in the wealthy countries of Scandinavia the highest rates of abortions are followed by rampant euthanasia.

Friends, the poor do not hate their children any more or less than the rich. The poison of which abortion is the most dreadful manifestation is the sinful suffocation of selfishness, and it can and does affect all strata of society. Woe to those, particularly Catholics, who dare to try to convince us that their "choice" of a radically pro-abortion leader is within the parameters of conscience. God have mercy on those who exude freely this salve for their partisan cooperators. I fear that they will bear a greater responsibility than most. Against them will come not only the cry of millions of human lives savagely destroyed, but the souls of those they have sucked down with themselves. This is the very definition of scandal, and the reason that so many have spoken out with such urgency to announce the authentic teaching of the Church.

Part of the damage we have been promised is encapsulated in the Freedom of Choice Act, which has been held at bay the last eight years. When all the reasonable limits on abortion, gained in the last 35 years have been summarily swept away: parental notification, waiting periods, counseling and informed consent, the number of those killed will grow by more than 100,000 a year.

The Freedom of Choice Act will mark the beginning of a great persecution against religious liberty, because it will require tax payer money to be used for abortions. You and I will be faced with this legal trial: whether we should pay our taxes making us participants in the slaughter of Innocents or be liable for jail and fines.

And what of our Catholic hospitals? If we are forced to provide such destructive services under the Freedom of Choice Act, we will have to refuse. Catholic health care workers, and other men and women of good conscience, will risk losing their jobs when their conscience exception is lost and they are pressured to participate. I read a letter recently in our daily paper: The man said, "If you don't want an abortion. Don't have one." Under a regime of such change, you and I will not have such an easy choice. By paying, it will become "our abortion." Lord, have mercy on us, and on our country.

In the light of these clear and present dangers, I chose tonight's Gospel, in part, because four times it tells us, "Don't be afraid!" Let us not be afraid, dear flock. You are worth so much to God; more than sparrows, more than an election, more than any man can measure. Our first goal is this: we must get through tomorrow with our eternal souls intact. We know that God will take care of the rest.

Although written before the election, the message is just as important now in its aftermath. Lest you think the good bishop is being too harsh, I offer one more small quote:
Let us not be too hard on those who, for fear or even disagreement, have shrunk back even from the call to pray! It takes time for us to learn to carry our burdens, our obedience, our responsibility. I want you all to pray that – at the hour of greatest need – none will step back from the sacrifice that makes us most like Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Acorns in the Collection Basket this weekend?

A friend sent me this message. Unfortunately, it is only too true that money contributed by faithful Catholics to the CCHD collection has gone to ACORN and other political activist groups. Worse yet, the monies are specifically forbidden from being given to any organization that provides direct aid to the needy.
Dear Fellow Catholic,

This weekend, November 22-23, Catholics across America will be asked, once again, to contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. I am appalled that this drive would be promoted after their financial support for the Obama campaign through their funding of the now-infamous ACORN organization this past election season. They have contributed to what will prove to be the nearly-instantaneous overturning of 30 years of pro-life work. As long as we continue funding the CCHD, there will be no need for them to be accountable and clean-up their act.

I hope my fellow pro-lifers will join with me and NOT contribute to CCHD this weekend and to verbalize to your pastor and your bishop why you are not doing so, and then in turn give the equivalent amount to your favorite pro-life group. If you are in a stewardship parish, ask that your share be donated to a local or national pro-life group to help offset the damage done through years of unwittingly giving to a group that helped to undermine the victory of pro-life candidates in this last election.

Fr. Philip writes:
Given what we know right now about the involvement of the CCHD in the leftie political machinations of ACORN and other shady activists groups, I wouldn't give them a dime.

... No doubt the CCHD does do some good, but the bottomline for me is that looking at the list of grantees, I couldn't possibly be assured that my money would be spent to actually help the poor instead of giving some pseudo-Marixist feminist a paycheck to spend her day undermining my Church under the cover of "doing justice."
Read more at his enlightening posts here and here.

Yet more information:
Catholic Campaign for Human Development and ACORN discussed at USCCB General Assembly
Bishops Urged to Shut Down Campaign for Human Development

Heresies of Today

St. Irenaeus updated!

h/t: CMR

Rosaries For Life

The battle for the Culture of Life is, under all the human actions, a spiritual battle. Rosaries For Life suggests we take up the spiritual weapon of the rosary. It makes good sense to me that this prayer focused on the mystery of God-made-man should be a means by which God once again redeems man.

One book I have found useful to focus my attention while I pray is The Rosary: Chain of Hope by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. Beautifully illustrated with art masterpieces, this book features simple yet profound meditations on each mystery of the rosary as well as prayers for each decade. An appendix includes the full text of Pope John Paul II's Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

If you pray the rosary already, the culture of life would be an excellent intention to add. If not, this is a great time to start!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Conversion: Abortionist becomes Pro-life Champion

CNA reports a great story:
The Spanish daily “La Razon” has published an article on the pro-life conversion of a former “champion of abortion.” Stojan Adasevic, who performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes up to 35 per day, is now the most important pro-life leader in Serbia, after 26 years as the most renowned abortion doctor in the country.

“The medical textbooks of the Communist regime said abortion was simply the removal of a blob of tissue,” the newspaper reported. “Ultrasounds allowing the fetus to be seen did not arrive until the 80s, but they did not change his opinion. Nevertheless, he began to have nightmares.”

Please read it. I won't spoil it for you by giving away the amazing details.

Let us pray for many more such conversions.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama vs. jobs - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

What are the likely results of Obamanomics?
I interviewed two plumbing company owners over the weekend about Barack Obama's economic proposals for small business.

One has 15 employees and 12 trucks. The other has 52 employees and 34 trucks. They're Joe the Plumber, writ large.

Both owners had the same reaction to Obama's proposed new taxes and mandates. To not have their bottom lines reduced by government fiat, both said they'd be forced to lay off employees.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bishops v. Obama

Our bishops speak out on the newly-elected government. Read it all here.

Bishop Robert Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio agreed. "Some people may think it's time for a truce, but we're dealing with a moral absolute. There's nothing here that allows for common ground. We're talking about a human being whose life cannot be compromised."

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann observed that the bishops should not be afraid of mere criticism for defending Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, when any of them would be willing to give up their life to end abortion. "Any bishop here would be willing, would consider it a privilege, to die tomorrow if it meant ending abortion,” he said. “We should dedicate the rest of our lives to taking any kind of criticism, whatever it is, to stop this horrible genocide."

Thank you, Lord!! (tears in my eyes) We need to support these good shepherds with our daily prayers and pray also for the weaker among them that the Lord would give them the fortitude, zeal, faithfulness, and wisdom that they need.

And from FRC (related to Focus on the Family), more info on this:
Marching As to War

Facing the most pro-abortion administration in U.S. history, the Catholic Church is mobilizing to respond. In a meeting yesterday, 220 Catholic bishops drafted an official statement, warning Capitol Hill and President-elect Obama that passing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would be viewed as a direct attack on religion. Back in July of 2007, Barack Obama announced at a Planned Parenthood banquet that signing FOCA was his first priority: "Well, the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. ...On this fundamental issue, I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield." With almost full control of Congress, Obama will be expected to live up to his promise as payback for the abortion community's support. If successful, the newly expanded majority would abolish over 300 pro-life laws and restrictions -- even reinstating partial-birth abortion.

Although the Catholic bishops have offered to work with the administration on a number of issues, the defense of life is non-negotiable. "This is not a matter of political compromise," said Bishop Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio. "It's a matter of absolutes." For some leaders, the church's forceful opposition to FOCA could be the excuse Catholic Democrats need to vote the legislation down.

If not for their conscience, members should be wary of the Bishops' warning for the mere fact that Catholics are a powerful player in the U.S. health care system. As Ed Morrissey points out, Catholics run more than 550 hospitals and 415 clinics in America, spending billions out of pocket to help the disadvantaged get the care they need. Under FOCA, religious providers would have two options: either comply with the abortion mandate or end their services completely. Is Congress so intent on appeasing Planned Parenthood that it would jeopardize the health care of 90 million Americans? We'll see.

Bishops Warn Obama on Abortion

The Catholic League reports:
November 12, 2008

In a statement released today, Francis Cardinal George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made it clear that the bishops will fight any expansion of abortion rights that may occur under the next administration. Specifically, the bishops are objecting to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a bill so sweeping and draconian that it would not only repeal every single state restriction on abortion, it would seriously jeopardize the right of Catholic hospitals and doctors to opt out of performing abortions.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue released the following remarks:

"Cardinal George is right to label FOCA 'an evil law that would further divide the country.' At stake are two issues: a) the rights of the unborn and, b) religious liberty.

"First, those who admit that abortion should be rare unwittingly acknowledge that there is a reason to limit its frequency: as Cardinal George said, 'abortion kills.' By contrast, no one maintains that root canals should be rare, and that is because this medical procedure-unlike abortion-does not result in the total denial of someone else's rights.

"Second, religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment and cannot be trespassed upon lightly, and certainly not by abortion zealots. Those who support FOCA must realize that if Catholic hospitals are ever required to perform abortions, the bishops will close every one of them; no one would be hurt more than the poor.

"Cardinal George explicitly rejected the 'common good' mantra of the Catholic Left that justifies legal abortion while pursuing ameliorative social policies that may reduce abortions. At stake, he said, is the 'legal protection of the unborn,' something which is rejected by Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholic Democrats. We hope they amend their ways and fall in line with Catholic thought on this grave matter. If they do not, they will become indistinguishable from Catholics for Choice, a fully discredited organization."

Info from the USCCB on Catholic involvement in healthcare.
  • There are 615 Catholic hospitals, which account for 12.5% of community hospitals in the United States, and over 15.5% of all U.S. hospital admissions.
  • In addition to hospitals, the Catholic health care network also includes 404 health care centers and 1,509 specialized homes.
  • In 20 states, Catholic health care facilities account for more than 20% of admissions.
  • Catholic hospitals employ over 598,934 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).
  • In 2005, there were more than 15.4 million emergency room visits and more than 86 million outpatient visits in Catholic hospitals.
  • In 2005, the number of Catholic residential homes for children, or orphanages, totaled 235, serving a total of 50,264 young people.

h/t: M.L.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thank Your Bishop and One Other

Although the election results were disappointing, to say the least, one shining light in the darkness has been the many courageous bishops who stood up and told the truth.

Fr. Andrew suggests: 'So please take some time in the next weeks to write a "snail-mail" note of thanks to your local bishop who spoke out and at least one other.' More here.

I think that's a great idea! Bishops are only human, and this speaking out boldly thing is something that many are a bit rusty on. Let's do our part to help them with our prayers and encouragement.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Day After

This guy had a surprisingly accurate take on things political before the election, and now he's done it again!

H/t: Fr. Erik @ Orthometer

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"A grave mistake and an abiding hope"

Fr. Frank Pavone on the presidential election results.

"Our President-Elect cannot tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public ..."

"Be encouraged! Together ... we will win this struggle."

A better solution

This is great! Pass it on!
A worried woman went to her ob/gyn and said:
'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 yr. old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together.'

So the doctor said: 'Ok, and what do you want me to do?'

She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.'

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the woman: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.'

She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

Then he continued: 'In order for you not to have to take care of two babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.'

The woman was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child!'

'I agree,' the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be ok with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.' The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point.

He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same!

h/t: Cary

Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama says his plan will bankrupt coal, raise energy costs

A YouTube video has appeared featuring audio of Obama's comments during an interview with a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle (the video says SF Gate, which is the name of the Chronicle's website) back in January. The Chronicle inexplicably failed to report on it. On the audio recording, Obama says:

What I've said is that we would put a cap-and-trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there. I was the first to call for a hundred-percent auction on the cap-and-trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases that was emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted-down caps that are imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greeenhouse gas that's being emitted.

[emphasis added]

Incredible that he can be so casual about destroying an industry and thousands upon thousands of jobs. He also acknowledged that energy costs for all of us would rise under his scheme:

When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations.

That will cost money…they will pass that money on to the consumers.

How is that going to help the poor?

The Ohio Coal Association commented on the audio, saying: "Regardless of the timing or method of the release of these remarks, the message from the Democratic candidate for President could not be clearer: the Obama-Biden ticket spells disaster for America's coal industry and the tens of thousands of Americans who work in it."

Chris Hamilton, the senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, described Obama's comments as "unbelievable." On Sunday, Hamilton said,
His comments are unfortunate and really reflect a very uninformed voice and perspective to coal specifically and energy generally.

In Ohio recently, when Joe Biden said 'not here' about building coal-fired power plants -- this is exactly what will happen. Financing won't be directed here. It will all go aboard for plants elsewhere in the world. The United Sates is importing more coal today from Indonesia, South Africa and Colombia than we ever have.

If we're going to create a situation where coal-fired power plants are at that much of a disadvantage, there will be new ones built. But as Biden said, just not here.
People in coal-belt states like Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania need to hear this.

I am thinking that if McCain had said anything similar, whether about this industry or any other, it would have been headlines for weeks. Instead, we have the media once again using the Obama campaign's talking points and pretending these comments were taken out of context. No bias here, folks.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What the Catholic Church Really Teaches

New video from the Scranton Diocese counters deceptive claims of so-called "Catholic" groups. Thank you, Bishop Martino, and may God's blessing be always with you!

H/t: a comment on Inside Catholic

Martin Sheen: No on Initiative 1000 (I-1000)

Martin Sheen speaks out against the Washington State assisted suicide proposal in this brief video.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bias? What bias?

I was pleasantly surprised to find a link to this article in my inbox a few days ago. Even more so because it was on ABC's website.

Media's Presidential Bias and Decline: Columnist Michael Malone Looks at Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why is an article you don't want to miss.

A couple of paragraphs to tempt you:
But what really shattered my faith - and I know the day and place where it happened - was the War in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia only carried CNN, a network I’d already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse. I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story . . .but it never happened.

But nothing, nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current Presidential campaign. Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass - no, make that shameless support - they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press. I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather - not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake - but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

I'd say when Dan Rather recognizes media bias, it's gotta be getting pretty obvious.

"The Irony is Heartbreaking"

Writes Elizabeth Foss:
Back in February, my children rudely asked a woman we know how she had cast her ballot in the Virginia primary. She named a candidate who is adamantly pro-choice. They were horrified. “How can you vote for someone who is for abortion?” one of them blurted indignantly.

“I’m more concerned with the people who are already alive than the ones who aren’t yet,” came the steady reply.

Please go read the rest at her blog. She's a wonderful writer with a gift for putting her finger on the vital point.

H/t: Creative Minority Report

What do you say to: "Abortion needs to be legal so women don't die?"

The other day, my family was praying with a 40 Days for Life group outside a Planned Parenthood abortion site when a man walked by. He slowed down and I had that feeling ... you know, that feeling. Sure enough, he stopped, doubled back and said: "I think you're wrong. Abortion needs to be legal to protect women. If it weren't legal, women would die in illegal abortions."

One of the other women pointed out to this man that women still die from legal abortions, but that didn't really seem like an answer that satisfied any of us.

I thought of some retorts that might have won "debating points" but nothing that would actually have helped. So later on I went searching online for something to say should this happen again.

And I found Chp. 27 of Why Can't We Love Them Both?, an online book by Dr. and Mrs. Willke. There's great information on this page and throughout the e-book. Three things really struck me:
1. Legalization did not historically have any impact on improving women's safety from abortions.
2, The year before Roe, CA and NY had pretty permissive abortion laws already, and the number of women who died from legal abortion was pretty close to the number who died from illegal ones: 25 vs. 39. Considering that far less than 39% of the population lived in those two states combined, proportionally, more women died when abortion was legal.
3. They have an example of a country that has gone from permissive to restricted on abortion (Poland) showing that making abortion illegal makes women's lives safer.

Print this graph and be prepared for a situation where you have to answer the same question that I couldn't. Notice how the graph trendline for deaths from illegal abortions does not show any response to legalization. Cover up the labels showing when abortions were legalized and ask your interlocutor to guess from the graph when they were legalized. (Or you may want to use white out on all 4 labels showing legalization as well as the introduction of antibiotics).