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Showing posts from March, 2009

Light Up the Night!

Until today, I didn't know anything about the EarthHour.org campaign to turn out the lights on Sunday night but I do like the Wall Street Journal response:
Reader, if you are against global-warming hysteria, high taxes, socialized medicine and a weak foreign policy, Sunday is your day. Show how you feel about the issues by turning on your lights in the evening and leaving them on until you go to bed. If you go out for a drive after dark, make sure you turn your headlights on too.Granted, the EarthHour people have a head start on us. They started planning this months ago, whereas we're giving you all of 48 hours notice. Yet we think the outlook is bright for this effort. Tell your friends, tell them to tell their friends, and so on, and we'll bet millions of people across the country will turn their lights on Sunday night.If no one will listen to the silent majority, let's at least make sure they see us.I think I just might have to turn on a few lights on Sunday evening!

A Pill Cannot Replace Parents

The Washington Post offers a front page article on the controversy surrounding ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) medications. A very large multiyear study initially showed promising results when comparing medicated children to non-medicated children with ADHD. At the fourteen month point, medicated children fared much better. However, by three years this difference was questionable and by eight years the difference has disappeared. One of the researchers, psychologist William Pellham, is ready to declare that the initial reports were misleading.

New data from a large federal study have reignited a debate over the effectiveness of long-term drug treatment of children with hyperactivity or attention-deficit disorder, and have drawn accusations that some members of the research team have sought to play down evidence that medications do little good beyond 24 months.

The study also indicated that long-term use of the drugs can stunt children's growth.

The latest data paint …

Notre Dame: Tradition!

After a couple of days to mull over the Notre Dame fiasco, I am beginning to think too many people are sounding like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Tradition! It is a tradition to invite the newly elected president to speak. It is a tradition to give him an honorary degree. It is a tradition to have the Archbishop present but not have him speak. Folks, we are talking about little “t” tradition here, not big “T” Tradition. These precedents are not carved in stone. So here is my solution:

1. President Obama speaks but no honorary degree or other award is given. He is given the attention and respect that is due the office of the President of the United States.

2. Bishop D’Arcy should also speak. Rather than delegating the teaching moment to Professor Mary Ann Glendon, he should step up and directly address the “primacy of truth” he feels Notre Dame has neglected. He should clearly and unequivocally affirm the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death and the immorality o…

Mandatory "Volunteerism"

Remember how there were always these rumors that President Bush was going to reinstate the draft? It was complete nonsense.

This however, is not a rumor. It is actual legislation , H.R. 1388, that has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate.

You can read a more inflammatory description here.

Another description is here.

I tried. I can't make head nor tails of the actual legislation. The bits and pieces that I do read worry me. It seems this is an attempt to nationalize charitable work. Consider section 120:

‘(3) YOUTH ENGAGEMENT ZONE PROGRAM- The term ‘youth engagement zone program’ means a service learning program in which members of an eligible partnership described in paragraph (4) collaborate to provide coordinated school-based or community-based service learning opportunities, to address a specific community challenge, for an increasing percentage of out-of-school youth and secondary school students served by local educational agencies where-- ‘(A) not less than 90 perce…

God Bless Bishop D'Arcy

From the Catholic News Agency:
March 24, 2009 On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.

This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have …

Paid In Full

What is the appropriate time for performing works of charity? My beloved children, any time is the right time, but these days of Lent provide a special encouragement. Those who want to be present at the Lord’s Passover in holiness of mind and body should seek above all to win this grace. Charity contains all other virtues and covers a multitude of sins.
As we prepare to celebrate that greatest of all mysteries, by which the blood of Jesus Christ destroyed our sins, let us first of all make ready the sacrificial offerings — that is, our works of mercy. What God in his goodness has already given to us, let us give it to those who have sinned against us. –Pope St. Leo the Great (From today’s Office of Readings)

Holding a grudge is so universally human. I have heard many ethnic groups lay a tongue-in-cheek claim to being the champions of holding grudges: What is ___________(insert your favorite ethnicity here) Alzheimer’s disease? You forget everything but the grudges.

Why do we hold grudg…

Notre Dame Response Sampler

Head on over to NRO for a sampler of eloquently written responses to the unfortunate choice of President Obama as the 2009 commencement speaker for the University of Notre Dame. Here are a few snippets:

Imagine a Catholic university in the 1960s awarding a segregationist politician an honorary doctorate. This would have been an outrage — giving religious cover to someone who denied the equal rights and fundamental equal dignity of a whole class of human beings. In the same way, it is an outrage for a Catholic university to provide a stamp of approval to someone who just last week wrote the death warrant for millions of embryonic human beings, the most recent of a long line of anti-life acts. Obama’s pro-abortionist extremism relegates a whole class of human beings — unborn human beings — to the status of mere sub-personal objects that can be dismembered, ripped to shreds, or disposed of in trash cans.--Patrick Lee

and

And there’s more to the outrage. Beyond the matter of propriety, Catho…

The Glamour of Evil

The University of Notre Dame has invited President Barack Obama to be its 2009 commencement speaker and will confer upon him an honorary law degree. It must seem quite glamorous to have the President of the United States honor a university with his presence. However, when that university professes to be Catholic and this president has violated non-negotiable Catholic principles on a nearly weekly basis for the last two months, it seems to me that such behavior is akin to selling one's soul to the devil.

Please note the difference between non-negotiable Catholic principles and principles about which faithful Catholics can disagree. Catholicism is not synonymous with pacifisism. Two faithful Catholics can disagree about whether a specific armed conflict is justified. Abortion and embryonic stem cell research are non-negotiable issues. The sanctity of human life from conception to natural death is not just one of many "peace and justice" issues. The sanctity of human life is…

Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

As I have said many times, living the rhythms of the liturgical calendar is an essential part of building your domestic church. The folks over at Catholic Culture have an excellent discussion of today's Feast of St. Joseph. (Feel free to offer a donation to Catholic Culture. They are an important internet presence for the propagation of the Faith.)

Today, however, I want to focus on the words of Pope Benedict XVI as he spoke of St. Joseph at last night's vesper service.

Dear brothers and sisters, our meditation on the human and spiritual journey of Saint Joseph invites us to ponder his vocation in all its richness, and to see him as a constant model for all those who have devoted their lives to Christ in the priesthood, in the consecrated life or in the different forms of lay engagement. Joseph was caught up at every moment by the mystery of the Incarnation. Not only physically, but in his heart as well, Joseph reveals to us the secret of a humanity which dwells in the presence …

Wise Words

As always, Fr. Araujo offers an eloquent and well reasoned response to human embryonic stem cell research:

There is no doubt that the cloned human embryo is a human being. From the very beginning of its existence, it is a unique human life that will eventually mature through its natural progression in which every person has joined. It is at the entrance of the continuum of human life. This human life has commenced the natural vocation of fetus, birth, maturation, and death. Unlike those of us who continued this natural progression, the embryo produced for “research” is destined for a planned, premature death when the stem cells necessary for the research to proceed, but which are also necessary of the embryo to continue his or her life, are removed from the embryo.In many discussions by intelligent, often highly educated people throughout the world today, the reality and the science of human embryology is often disregarded when the case of embryonic stem cell research is under discussi…

That Slippery, Slippery Slope!

From Slate.com:

Two arguments have persuaded the United States to fund stem-cell research using destroyed embryos. One is that the research will save lives. The other is that the embryos, left over from fertility treatments, will otherwise be wasted.Both arguments are now being applied to fetuses. The Daily Mail notes:Almost 7,000 of the 8,000 Britons waiting for a transplant need a kidney. More than 300 are hoping for a liver, 222 need lungs and almost 100 have requested a heart. Kidney donors have a less than one-in-three chance of receiving an organ in any given year, and hundreds on the transplant list will die before a donor becomes available.Furthermore:Professor Stuart Campbell, who has argued for the abortion time limit to be lowered, had no ethical objections to the proposal. He said many babies were aborted quite late, "and if they are going to be terminated, it is a shame to waste their organs."

The Untold Story

Did your local paper or the national news give this story headline coverage?

Researchers from DaVinci Biosciences, Costa Mesa, California, in collaboration with Hospital Luis Vernaza in Ecuador, have determined that injecting a patient's own bone marrow-derived stem cells (autologous BMCs) directly into the spinal column using multiple routes can be an effective treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI) that returns some quality of life for SCI patients without serious adverse events.

I didn't see any major coverage of this medical breakthrough either. Take a look at Wesley Smith's blog to read about this tremendous story that is never told. Note these are morally licit stem cells. No embryos were created or harmed to obtain these stem cells. Why isn't this big news?

Destroying Pharmaceutical Research

Back in January I warned you of the 1.1 billion dollars in the stimulus bill that would fund and create the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (FCCCER). This entity will stifle new drug development. Don’t expect any wonder drugs to emerge under this system. Dr. Gilbert Ross explains:

...the Obama administration wants to add another obstacle to new drug development.

The health section of the new stimulus budget contains a section funding - at a $1.1 billion level - a program to evaluate drugs (and procedures) for "comparative effectiveness" (CE).

If followed to its logical conclusion, the FDA will no longer approve a drug if CE studies show that it's merely safe and effective. Henceforth, it would have to be proven better than similar drugs already on the market. If adopted, this will lead to major declines in the already-stunted drug pipeline and fewer choices for consumers.

The handwriting on the wall was exemplified recently when Pfizer, t…

Another opportunity for alms giving

LifeSiteNews is a good source for finding pro-life news stories that the Main Stream Media ignores. They are dependent on your donations. They have an interesting fund raising plan going on. Donate to LifeSiteNews and a card like that pictured here will be sent to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. Take this opportunity to support LifeSiteNews and send a message about the sanctity of life to Planned Parenthood.

Today's Reading Assignment

Today’s post is really a reading assignment. The first part is to read all of Archbishop Chaput’s address given in Toronto, February 24. Here is a sample, but you really must read the whole speech(H/T Michelle):

It doesn't matter what we claim to believe if we're unwilling to act on our beliefs. What we say about our Catholic faith is the easy part. What we do with it shapes who we really are. Many good Catholics voted for President Obama. Many voted for Senator McCain. Both parties have plenty of decent people in their ranks.

But when we hear that 54 percent of American Catholics voted for President Obama last November, and that this somehow shows a sea change in their social thinking, we can reasonably ask: How many of them practice their faith on a regular basis? And when we do that, we learn that most practicing Catholics actually voted for Senator McCain. Of course, that doesn't really tell us whether anyone voted for either candidate for the right reasons. Nobody can d…

Another Trojan Horse

Because it is Lent, I have truly tried to stay out of the political fray and focus my writing on spiritual growth and reflection. However, this is too critical to ignore. Back in January I called attention to President Obama’s modus operandi of Trojan Horse policy making. He is at it again.

Yesterday, President Obama opened the door for the destruction of human life for research purposes with his authorization of expanded embryonic stem cell research. This is another expected action. However, look at the final sentence of his proclamation:

(b) Executive Order 13435 of June 20, 2007, which supplements the August 9, 2001, statement on human embryonic stem cell research, is revoked.

What is Executive Order 13435? This is the order by President Bush that directs federal funding to be spent on research of alternatives to embryonic stem cells. Not only did President Obama give federal funds to the immoral practice of human embryo destruction, but he took away federal funds from the morally ac…

Reflections of Our Kids on Parenting

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was starting a class at our parish on “Building Your Domestic Church”. So far, so good. We are having a reasonable turnout to each session and the feedback has been positive. We have covered (1) The Five Pillars of a Catholic Family (2) Keeping Parents Catholic, and (3) Keeping Your Home Catholic. This course is loosely based on the book by Bert Ghezzi, Keeping Your Kids Catholic. This week we will cover the topic Keeping Your Teens Catholic. In preparation for this presentation, I went to my own teens and twenty-somethings. I asked, “What did we do as a family that helps or helped you make it through your teenage years with your faith intact. The answers were as varied as my children. Interestingly, several points they noted were as much about parenting in general as they were about specifically teaching the faith.

One child pointed to the fact that we usually did not have cable television and we never had gaming consoles. We also didn’t buy a lot…

Just Ask!

From today’s Gospel:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who ask, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Mt 7:7-8)

Why did Jesus have to remind us to ask? He reminds us to make prayers of petition because asking requires faith that God can really answer prayers. I am very good at remembering to pray for big lofty goals: world peace, an end to hunger, an end to abortion, etc. But I cannot count the times that I have been dithering about something—sometimes a big dither and sometimes a small dither—and suddenly I hit myself up side the head like a V-8 commercial and say, “Oh yeah. I should pray about this.” There is no task that is too big or too small for God. Whether it is picking out a Christmas gift for the in-laws or finding the right words for an errant child, God will help if I ask. I just wish I could remember to ask befo…

Messenger of Penance

God seeks messengers of penance even today for the big cities, the modern Ninevehs. Have we the courage, the depth of faith, the credibility, to touch hearts and open doors to conversion?
--Pope Benedict XVI, Journey to Easter

It is not easy to be a messenger of penance. It means telling someone, “ I love you. I respect you. But you are walking away from God. Turn around. Come home.” And then that someone may say, “You are wrong. Get away from me. You are the one walking the wrong way. Stop attacking me. If God loves me he will take me as I am. If you loved me like God loved me you would accept me.” He walks away. You are left alone, your arms outstretched and empty. The embrace you hoped for never happens.

Christ, too, stretched out His arms. He was the messenger of penance for the people of Israel. He told them, “ I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (Jn 14: 6) But his way was too hard. The people of his time said, “You are wrong. We do…

A Man of Conscience

A man of conscience is one who never acquires tolerance well-being, success, public standing, and approval on the part of prevailing opinion at the expense of truth.
--Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, On Conscience

It is very easy to read this, shake my head, and point to all those who compromise their principles for the sake of political advancement. What is more difficult, is to look in the mirror and think of all the times I stayed silent for fear of offending. Fear of being the subject of gossip has tied my tongue. Speaking the truth does not have to be confrontational. It can be done with charity. Speaking the truth is not judgmental. It is merciful.

A Nice Piece on Grace Before Meals

Take a look at this front page article in the Washington Post. Fr. Leo Patalinghug, exuberant leader of Grace Before Meals, is featured in this morning's paper. I am a fan and supporter of the Grace Before Meals movement. It is a very simple but powerful way to build up our domestic churches. Read the article, but more importantly, head on over to the Grace Before Meals website and learn about this beautiful ministry. While you are there, buy a cookbook or make a donation.

Silence: Fasting From Words

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.
(Mk 1: 12-13)

My Lenten fasting, prayer, reading, and alms-giving all seem on target. Usually, in such a state, the creative juices start flowing and I cannot type the words as fast as my brain is thinking them. A theme emerges and I just have to share it. This year is different.

Then I heard the Gospel yesterday. I heard the homily. Father compared our culture to a spiritual desert. It is dry. It is Godless. It is without sustenance. It leads to death.

Then I read Pope Benedict XVI’s Journey to Easter:

First the desert is the place of silence, of solitude. It is the absence of the exchanges of daily life, its noise and its superficiality. The desert is the place of the absolute, the place of freedom, which sets man before the ultimate demands. Not by chance is the desert the place where monotheism began. In that sense it is a p…