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Showing posts from September, 2008

What's for dinner?

In honor of the Feast of the Archangels, we are having angel hair pasta tonight. If you have already made your dinner plans for tonight but would still like to honor the angels, have angel hair pasta this Thursday night, October 2. It is the feast of the Guardian Angels. One of the best ways to keep our family focused on Heaven is to live the Liturgical Calendar.

Fr. Reese (et al) and Natural Law

I want to expound a bit on my objections to Fr. Thomas Reese’s commentary in yesterday’s Washington Post. Fr. Reese suggests that reducing the number of abortions is the ultimate goal. Therefore, if he can find a way to reduce the number of abortions yet keep abortion legal, he calls the action successful. This is extremely misguided. The issue is more than just reducing the number of abortions. The issue is to acknowledge the inviolable human dignity of every human person from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. To reduce the demand for abortion without clearly asserting the intrinsic evil of abortion still denies the unborn have intrinsic human dignity. Once we accept one class of citizens as disposable, we are all vulnerable to the whims of those with more power than we have. This is not a matter of religious ideology. This is a matter of natural law.

I am very happy to say that this morning’s homily given by our newly ordained priest was one of the best homi…

O Father Reese, Ye of Little Faith

Why is it the Washington Post always turns to dissidents to give the Catholic viewpoint? Today’s edition offers this essay by Fr. Thomas J. Reese, SJ. You may remember Fr. Reese was pressured to resign as editor of America magazine because of concerns about his faithfulness to Catholic teaching. In any case, Fr. Reese’s current comments about Roe v Wade just made me sick:

Support for keeping abortion legal in all or most cases has fluctuated between 49% and 61% while support for making abortion illegal in all or most cases has fluctuated between 36% and 48%. Currently the numbers are 54% for keeping it legal; 41% for making it illegal. Neither side is convincing the other.

Opponents of abortion argue that morality is not based on public opinion. That is true, but law is often based on public opinion. Certainly laws cannot be enforced without the support of public opinion. The inability of the United States successfully to enforce laws against illegal immigration, drugs, prostitution and…

More than a Human vs Animal Issue

I had the opportunity to speak with my son’s English teacher about his concerns. It was a cordial and pleasant conversation. In fairness to her, I do not think she was trying to intentionally promote a radical PETA style agenda when she called into question my son’s view. Her intent in asking for the support of other students was more to stimulate discussion than to show by majority rules that his position was in error.

I also don’t think she realized how much she put her stamp of approval on the position that animal and human life are of equal value. She was trying to show the evolution of the main character from a position of total disregard for animal life to a position of valuing animal life. She presented two positions: human life is more valuable than animal life or human life is equal to animal life. The first position is the bad position of the main character in the beginning of the book and the second is the good position he learned as the story progresses. From our discussio…

Please Contact HHS Today!

This was just posted at Mirror of Justice:

The US Dept. of Health and Human Services has announced a rule that would protect the ability of healthcare providers to refuse to participate in those things that they believe are immoral, such as abortion, the morning after pill, and emergency contraception. It is important that all citizens who support such protection contact DHHS in the next 48 hours and express that support. Page 2 of the announcement provides the following instructions:

1. Electronically. You may submit electronic comments on this regulation to or via e-mail to To submit electronic comments to, go to the Web site and click on the link "Comment or Submission" and enter the keywords "provider conscience". (Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel; however, we prefer Microsoft Word.)

2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments (one original and two copie…

Would Paying Teachers More Prevent This?

Once again I am thinking we need to pay teachers more money because we are definitely not attracting enough of the best and the brightest to this critical profession. Consider the following:

My son’s ninth grade English class is reading the short story The Most Dangerous Game. His teacher asserts as fact that the view that human life is more valuable than animal life is erroneous. In fact, this is the view of the villain of the story so it must be wrong. My son objects stating that he believes human life is more valuable than animal life. He told me he didn’t want to get in to the fact that humans have a soul and animals don’t so he just put forth that humans have an intellect and can choose right from wrong (free will) and animals do not. His teacher then put this idea up to a class vote. Of course, since she had already said this position was in error, not a single student agreed with my son. She then pointed to this lack of support as evidence that my son must be wrong. My son stood…

The Insidious Creep of Evil

Trig Palin, son of Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, has elicited many positive responses from those who value human life. However, he has also brought out the worst in those who think it better that children with Downs Syndrome are never born. The executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada thinks Sarah Palin set a poor example when she elected to give birth to Trig rather than aborting him:

According to the Globe and Mail, Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), is worried that Palin's decision to give birth to Trig, despite knowing about his condition, could influence other women in similar situations, but who lack the financial and emotional support that Palin had access to.

"The worry is that this will have an implication for abortion issues in Canada," he said.

Citing his concern for women's "freedom to choose", Lalonde …

Terrible Twos or Terrible Teens

Our labradinger, Athena, has just turned one. I am not sure if that makes her recent behavior issues the result of terrible twos or terrible teens. She had been very good about staying near me in our unfenced back yard, even when she was not on the leash. Then suddenly, over the last week or so, she has developed a strong sense of independence. After a couple of incidents of her bolting into the woods I decided the off leash activities would be curtailed until we did some intensive training. The last of her forays ended when she found something unidentified but incredibly disgusting and rolled around in it. Upon retrieving her, I had to make a bee line for the bathtub. The stench was overpowering.

Today I headed out to the mailbox with her on a leash. We were just going to drop a couple of letters in the box so I didn't close the front door. I noticed the garage door was open so I returned inside via the garage, forgetting that the front door was open. I took Athena off her leash a…

Four Priests Run the Race

Four priests from the Diocese of Arlington will be running the Baltimore Marathon as a relay in order to raise funds for Project Rachel and Gabriel project programs.

Come October, Father Searby’s running stamina will yield even more good results, since he has signed on to participate in a marathon relay with three other diocesan priests to raise money for Project Rachel and Gabriel Project, two local pro-life organizations. The relay will be a part of the Baltimore Marathon Oct. 11. The other priests running are Father Jerome Magat, parochial vicar of St. William of York Parish in Stafford; Father Edward Horkan, parochial vicar of St. Rita Parish in Alexandria; and Father Edward Hathaway, pastor of St. Veronica Parish in Chantilly. Together they call themselves Team Sacerdos, Latin for “Team Priest”.
This takes on a personal note since both Fr. Horkan and Fr. Searby were parochial vicars at my parish right after their ordinations. They have each since moved on to other parishes but the…

Weekend Reflections

In addition to tracking the progress of Hurricane Ike, I spent Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia attending a bioethics conference sponsored by the National Catholic Bioethics Center. It was a tremendously interesting series of lectures and I hope to offer some more specific thoughts about the conference in future posts, but I initially want to share a couple of general reflections.

First of all, the conference site was St. Charles of Borromeo Seminary. We celebrated Mass with the seminarians each morning. It was truly inspiring to be among these young men who have decided to give themselves totally to the service of Christ and His Church. I could feel the holiness and prayers that pervaded the environment. It was such a privilege to be at Mass with them. It made me think of this post. As a parent, it would be very comforting to know that my child is in a setting so infused with the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, while most of the attendants at the conference had health care backgrounds, I rea…

Prayers Answered

My heartfelt thanks go out to all who offered prayers as Hurricane Ike roared through Texas. That little jog to the east that the Hurricane took at the last minute certainly made the devastation a bit less. However, many are still suffering so prayers as well as donations to Catholic Relief Services or the Red Cross are still appreciated.

My own family members in Houston fared pretty well. My two children at Rice hunkered down with their schoolmates in the cafeteria during the worst of the storm. They never lost power. The campus had some minor flooding, downed trees, and lots of other debris but nothing too major. My parents made it through in similarly good shape. My in-laws are part of the 75% of Houston households that do not have power, but there was no major damage to their home so there are inconveniences but not catastrophes. All in all, it could have been much worse, so we are grateful.

Thank you again for your prayers.

A Humble Request for Prayers

This storm could get ugly so I ask that everyone offer a few prayers for those in its path. If I may humbly ask for a few personal intentions as well, my parents, in-laws, and two children in college will be riding out the storm in Houston. May all be safe and well. Thank you.

Their Number One Issue

Biden and Pelosi get their facts all twisted as they try to say support for abortion is consistent with Catholic principles. Obama puts out an ad attacking John McCain for his pro-life anti-abortion stance. The Democratic party platform removes the plank calling for abortions to be rare. Now the head of the Democratic party in South Carolina mocks Sarah Palin for not having an abortion:

South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler sharply attacked Sarah Palin today, saying John McCain had chosen a running mate " whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

Any question about what is the most important issue for the Democrats?

Who will give you justice?

When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? (1 Cor 6: 1-7)

I think today’s First Reading offers an interesting insight about religion and the law. St. Paul suggests those whom we trust with our civil law must act in accordance with our Christian principles. That is the only way to …

Intentional Parents

Yesterday I posted about wanting parents to assume a more intentional role as their children’s catechists. Today I may expand my wish to include parents taking a more intentional role as parents. Our school district has a curriculum euphemistically called Family Life Education (FLE) to cover all those topics that parents should be covering at home but are probably not. This is where children are given formal lessons on being nice to others, avoiding drugs and alcohol, avoiding gangs, and everything the school district thinks they need to know about sex. Tonight my child’s school held a preview session where parents can preview the materials that will be taught and elect whether or not to opt their child out of these lessons. My child attends one of the largest schools in the county. There are close to 2500 students in grades seven through ten. These are the years the curriculum delves more deeply into the sex education aspects of the curriculum. How many parents do you think were ther…

Intentional Catechists

I had a little bit of an epiphany this morning. I am getting ready to begin teaching 7th grade religious education again this year. As always, I am mulling over in my head just exactly how I am going to draw parents into the program. I kept thinking, “How do I make these parents into the primary catechists?” Bzzzzzzz…. Wrong question! Like it or not—whether they know it or not—these parents are the primary catechists. They are the most important teachers of the faith.

My goal should be to help these parents become intentional catechists. They need to see that their attitudes towards the Church, towards Mass, towards prayer, towards religious education and towards vocations are their lesson plans. If they dismiss any of these, most likely their children will as well.

If parents only attend Mass when Grandmother is in town, should they be surprised when their children see going to church as a social obligation rather than an act of faith? If children do not see their parents pray, will th…