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Showing posts from January, 2009

We do not need an American version of NICE

Remember how I warned the stimulus package contained an American version of the British commission known as NICE? This commission assigns monetary values to human lives to determine who is worthy of medical care. The name for the American version is Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. (FCCCER?--don't go there)

But don't forget that everyone agrees that health spending is already too high. So the stimulus also devotes $1.1 billion to create a new bureaucracy called the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. A billion dollars isn't nearly enough to conduct the rigorous clinical studies needed to provide more information on what medical treatments result in the best outcomes. But Democrats want to get this "health-care Fed" on the books now so it's around when they pass the next entitlement expansion -- for the entire middle class.

When government finances start to buckle under that subsidy, the compar…

A Bibliophile's Lent

As of yesterday, we are four weeks from the beginning of Lent. Have you thought about it? How are you going to make this Lent spiritually fruitful. Let’s move past the dieting that is going to make your Easter dress a size smaller than you wear right now. Lent should be so much more than a jumpstart on getting in to summer swimsuit shape. If you are going to sacrifice food for Lent, give the sacrifice a spiritual dimension. Offer it up. Join your sacrifice with Christ’s Passion and do it for the Poor Souls in Purgatory or for our deployed soldiers or for an end to abortion or some other greater good. A self-centered sacrifice is not really a Lenten sacrifice.

I find Lent is an excellent time to take on reading for spiritual growth.

I will be reading On Conscience written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI. You may also want to consider the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This question-and-answer format book takes you through the key points o…

To Be Fair...

Not every wasteful piece of pork in the "stimulus bill" supports the culture of death:

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and Democrats in Congress are certainly taking his advice to heart. The 647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic "stimulus," but now that Democrats have finally released the details we understand Rahm's point much better. This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for globa…

Just Catholic

Last week I added my own reflections on the Mirror of Justice blog discussion about being Catholic and Church authority. Greg Sisk has posted a very good addition to this thread of posts.

As fallen human beings, we will find ourselves thinking from time to time that our personal concept of law, society, culture, or politics is preferable to what the Magisterium appears to be teaching on that point. When we encounter such a conflict, we usually should regard it as an occasion to reconsider our temporal and secular position in the light of Church teaching. After all, the Deposit of the Faith was entrusted by Christ to the Apostles, not to the lawyers or the professors or the politicians or, for that matter, the theologians. No Shadow Magisterium exists within the universities or the courthouses or the market-places. When we face a challenge to our personal beliefs about life, law, and politics, we should ask whether our discomfort with Church teaching is attributable to our own selfish o…

One Small Step

Perhaps it is a good thing that Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounded like the reincarnation of Margaret Sanger when she defended the inclusion of hundreds of millions of dollars for contraception in the economic stimulus package. The outcry was enough that President Obama has requested House leaders to remove this provision from the legislation. I truly thank him for this action. He did the right thing. Thomas Peters has more information and analysis here.

That is one small step for moral and fiscal responsibility. There are some giant leaps still to go. Stay tuned.

Candlemas: It Is Not Just the Day After The Super Bowl

Living the liturgical calendar takes some planning. That is why I am giving you a heads up that next Monday, February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas. It is not a Holy Day of Obligation but it is definitely a Holy Day of Opportunity. The good folks at Catholic Culture have a very nice explanation of this day along with links to suggested prayers and activities.

"In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another 'epiphany' celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or 'Candlemas,' was of great importance.

If you live in the Northern Virginia area, Holy …

Economics (Eugenics): Nancy Pelosi Style

More Trojan horse politics from the Obama led government. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi claims that contraception is needed to stimulate the economy. More babies being born are a drain on the economy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

This runs counter to the truths of basic economics.

Population aging also depresses the growth of government revenues. Population growth is a major source of…

This Doctor is Pro-Eternal Life

I am in awe! Please read this article from today's Washington Times. It is a perfect antidote to the culture of death happenings in Washington. Here is a snippet:

Which is what she does whether serving as a nun and doctor for the poor in the District or Kakuma, Kenya, through Catholic Charities, or as a U.S. Army doctor in Afghanistan. She's a healer, and in her unique position as a nun and general surgeon (she also is board certified in family medicine) she's concerned with life here on Earth — and the hereafter. "I'm not just a pro-life doctor, I'm pro-eternal life," she says. "God makes it very clear that he is working through me. … God gave me the opportunity to be a physician, and he creates the miracles."

This Little Light of Mine...Let It Shine!

President Obama rescinded the Mexico City policy to free up United States taxpayer funds to support abortion abroad. This was not unexpected. Of course he made this move on Friday evening so it doesn’t make the evening news and in hopes it will be forgotten by Monday. Only something truly evil tries to slink around in the darkness. It is our job to shine the light of truth on this moral catastrophe. After President Obama rescinded the Mexico City policy under the cover of darkness, he appended this notice to the statement:

In addition, I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund. By resuming funding to UNFPA, the U.S. will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries.

Jack Smith at the Catholic Key, the blog of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, further illuminates the …

Sentire Cum Obama

Looks like President Obama has moved into his Chicago-style power and and intimidation mode and does not tolerate dissent:

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package. That wasn't Obama's only jab at Republicans today. In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: "I won," according to aides briefed on the meeting. "I will trump you on that." Sorry, Mr. President. You cannot claim to be protected from error. Dissent is allowed.






Sentire Cum Ecclesia

A fascinating series of posts has developed over at Mirror of Justice. This is one of my favorite blogs. A group of Catholic lawyers explore and develop the concept of Catholic Legal Theory. For a doctor to say she loves reading what a bunch of lawyers has to say is high praise indeed! Doctors and lawyers usually get along like cats and dogs. You can start with this post and then scroll forward for a whole variety of posts discussing conservatives, liberals, progressives, traditionalist, institutionalists, and a few other labels. I would say that most of the lawyers seem pretty faithful to the Magisterium. There are a few who openly dissent from Church teachings. The discussion going on over there has to do with whether or not there are enough “dissenting views” to provide adequate balance.Father Araujo offers an excellent discussion of this.

As a priest, without modifier liberal/conservative or orthodox/heterodox, I, too must counsel those who seek my pastoral advice. Moreover, I must…

An Indictment

Here are some strong but very true words from Dr. William Blazek, Jesuit scholastic. (Please read the whole article. The following is just a snippet.) Dr. Blazek will be a welcome addition to the community of Jesuit Priests.

William BlazekCatholics Abandon the Unborn in the 44th PresidencyA simple web search for the order of presidential succession in the newly-minted Obama administration makes clear what a profound debacle the '08 election was for the pro-life movement in the United States. The country's top leadership now looks like a Who's Who of the National Abortion Rights Action League's "100% pro-choice" club. Largely ignored in the last election, abortion remains a massively important political issue. Catholics who did so should be ashamed of themselves for voting with disregard for a ticket and party that is inimical to a central moral tenet of their Church's teaching. Abortion kills.

I Was There!

I was there! Yesterday I gathered with hundreds of thousands—please note the mainstream media will only say scores, thousands, or even tens of thousands—to make a stand for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. It was a joyous and uplifting event. Of course, the message of support from the President that we have enjoyed for the last eight years was missing. There were numerous members of Congress who joined us to make a stand.

This is not a Catholic event. Orthodox Jews and many Protestants were there. But it was striking to see the Catholic clergy and religious. I was excited to see the number of young priests and sisters. Take a look at the Sisters for Life. These young women are vibrant, beautiful, and just exude holiness. I would be honored to have my daughter be among their number.


I was also excited to meet up with my blogging buddy Rosemary. She was there with her three lovely daughters.

You know, the Washington Post coverage devoted as much space to the pro-abort…

It Is More Than Abortion...It is About Life

Many blogs are reporting how overnight the White House web site has morphed into a pro-abortion site. Where are all those “Catholics” who said pro-lifers were over reacting and Obama was really going to be good for the pro-life issue? He has wasted no time in declaring his primary objectives.

As bad as this is there is something even more ominous on the horizon. President Obama, his Health Secretary Tom Daschle, and Congressional Democrats are now going after the end of life as well. From the Wall Street Journal:


In Britain, a government agency evaluates new medical products for their "cost effectiveness" before citizens can get access to them. The agency has concluded that $45,000 is the most worth paying for products that extend a person's life by one "quality-adjusted" year. (By their calculus, a year combating cancer is worth less than a year in perfect health.)

Here in the U.S., President-elect Barack Obama and House Democrats embrace the creation of a simila…

And So It Begins...

From LifeNews.com:

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Officials with the incoming administration of Barack Obama have confirmed that he will indeed overturn a pro-life policy of President Bush on his first day in office. Despite campaigning on the rhetoric of wanting to reduce abortions, Obama will make one of his first actions promoting them globally.

Today my husband, two of my sons and I attended Mass. We prayed for our country and we prayed for our new president. Then we came home and prepared a birthday brunch: omelets, grits, sausage, and biscuits. It was much more enjoyable to celebrate my birthday than to focus on the political happenings in DC.

Looks like I better enjoy today. As the above news item shows, President Obama is wasting no time in implementing his culture of death agenda. I hope all those "Catholics" who claimed President Obama was going to be the real pro-life candidate add their voices to the…

The Purpose of Mass

Fr. Z points us to this letter by Fr. Greg J. Markey in Norwalk, CT. (I’ve linked to Fr. Markey’s site but I think this letter may be replaced on a weekly basis so you may need to find it at Fr. Z’s site.) There is so much good stuff in this letter that it is hard to pick out just one passage with which to entice you. Try this one:

Yet how many Catholics truly understand what the Mass is: the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion to God the Father? (Catechism #1367) Some people are still coming to Sunday Mass expecting liturgical abuses or to be entertained by the priest, rather than the real reason we come – to worship God, offering this perfect sacrifice according to the means handed down to us by Mother Church.
If only more people understood that novelties and priestly creativity in the Mass take away from this transcendent reality, and suddenly the sacred act is profaned, taking on the mere personality of the priest. No! As Padre Pio says, at Mass we …

Words I Needed To Hear

From today's bulletin:

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today, will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either He will shield yu from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.

--St. Francis de Sales

Consequences

Many blogs are posting the statement by Bishop Vasa of Oregon entitled "Those who profess to love God, but back abortion are liars". If you have not read this statement yet, head over now and read the whole thing. If only every bishop in the country would echo this sentiment and every priest would relay it from the pulpit. Specifically, pay close attention to these words:

Thus I strongly urge all who have a glimmer of concern for the lives of pre-born children to engage themselves in this postcard campaign. This is not an action which would limit or alter present permissive abortion laws, which some so-called Catholic pro-choice persons might object to, it would simply preclude a dramatic expansion of that permissiveness. Thus it would be very difficult for any Catholic, no matter how much in favor of abortion itself, to find a reason to refuse to participate in this campaign. At the same time, I do not see how any Catholic senator or representative could vote for the passage…

What She Said He Said!

Julie, at Happy Catholic, has a great quote up today. Read the whole thing, but this is what really set me to thinking:

What Mary has chosen is not so much the contemplative life but the focused life. She is anchored, rooted in the unum necessarium, as the Vulgate renders this passage. The implication seems to be that, were Mary to help with the many household tasks, she would not be "worried and distracted" by them, since she could relate them to the center, and that, were Martha to sit at the feet of Jesus, she would still squirm with impatience since her spirit is divided. As is so often the case in the spirited life, the issue is not what they're doing, but how they're doing it. Indeed, the surest sign that something is off in Martha's soul is that she even tells God what to do!

January 20. 2009

Sorry it is has been a while since I posted. There has been a steady stream of significant family issues so blogging has been on the back burner. I always say every challenge is an opportunity for virtue. With God’s grace and lots of prayer I think I have weathered the week with virtue intact. I will also say that through every challenge I can see God’s hand steadying and supporting my family and me.

Living as I do in the DC Metro area, the whole place is abuzz over the upcoming inauguration. Of course, I would like to think all the fuss and the cancellation of work and school is in honor of my milestone birthday. I will just pretend it is so and enjoy having my husband and sons home to celebrate with me.

I did not support Barak Obama for president. I find his position so firmly in support of abortion to be deplorable. I believe that he can have a devastating effect on the moral fiber of this country with his acceptance of moral relativism. I am not convinced of his grasp of military a…

What He Said

My hat is off in profound respect to Fr. Joseph Sirba. In one article for Homiletic & Pastoral Review, he has summed up the message I have spent hundreds of blog posts and three years trying to send. The first part of his article is a summation of the worrisome state of Church membership. The real meat of his article, though, is his strategy for addressing the problem:

So what’s to be done? Is there any hope? Yes! With God all things are possible. In recent years, faithful Catholic groups and organizations have networked and now form a solid foundation that is beginning to rebuild and renew the faith. They are being supported by a growing contingent of bishops who recognize how deep the rot has gone and are determined to do something about it. There are more and more young people who are on fire with the love of God and who are willing to live the faith to its fullness. They are certainly not a majority but they are now present and visible in many places. Not a few have entered the…

No Excuses

When I wrote yesterday that I took consolation from the Gospel account of the feeding of 5000 as I offered my mere one hour per week of catechesis to my seventh grade students, I really had no idea that today’s Gospel reading was this same passage from the Gospel of Mark. Having a chance to once again reflect on this reading, I realized St. Mark is offering a challenge as well as consolation.

Every time I am tempted to inaction because I can’t give enough money to make a difference or I can’t give enough time to make a difference or I am not enough of an expert to speak up or I am not skilled enough to offer any help of value or…or…or… excuses ad infinitum, I need to remember the five loaves and two fish. Jesus is God. He could have whipped up a banquet out of nothing. But he did not do that. He asked for our meager human offerings then multiplied them to create an abundance. It is not up to me to provide sufficient money, time, expertise and skill to solve the world’s problems. I am …

St. John Neumann: Pray for Catechists

In addition to being the Twelfth Day of Christmas, today is the feast of St. John Neumann.The collect for today reads:

Almighty God, you called St. John Neumann to a life of service, zeal and compassion for the guidance of your people in the new world. By his prayers help us to build up the community of the Church through our dedication to the Christian education of youth and through the witness of our brotherly love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

St. John Neumann was the fourth bishop of Philadelphia and a great promoter of parochial education. He knew that the future strength of the Church depended on the proper faith formation of the youth. Unfortunately, the zeal for catechesis has waned in recent decades. Catholic schools are closing and religious education programs are struggling. A large number of our Catholic youth never complete the three Sacraments of Initiation. While m…

Vocations Awareness Week

Today is the Solemnity of the Epiphany. This is so much more than just the commemoration of the historical event of the Magi visiting the Christ Child. It is a reminder that we are to be like the Magi and diligently seek Christ. Once we encounter Him, we will be changed. He is truly physically present to us—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—in the Eucharist. He is spiritually present to us in every person we encounter. He dwells within our hearts. He waits for us. But it is up to us to seek Him.

Our newest priest, ordained only this past summer, used today to talk about diligently seeking Christ and the discernment of a vocation. National Vocation Awareness Week begins January 11. At the end of Mass, a young man from our parish who graduated from high school this past spring spoke about his first semester in the seminary and the true happiness of following his calling. By the end of Mass I had tears in my eyes. (Of course, I am pretty weepy today. My two college children returned to sc…

Marley's Lesson of Divine Providence

By Christmas afternoon, the nine of us had attended Mass, enjoyed a sumptuous Christmas feast, and exchanged presents. The whole group piled into two cars and headed to the movie theater to see Marley and Me. What a fun movie! Of course, it probably helped that we have our own “Marley” at home. The animal shelter named our Labrador mix Marley but we changed her name to Athena when we brought her home. After seeing the movie, I now understand why she initially earned the Marley moniker. There is something about that breed that just exudes mischief. Do all Labradors find lingerie tasty?

The movie explores much more than the exploits of a rogue Labrador. John and Jenny Grogan move from being a couple of “yuppies” to parents of three. Their values and priorities mature throughout the story. Jenny starts out with a checklist of events and accomplishments that she feels are required for a successful life. Several years into the marriage, John asks Jenny how she is doing on her life’s check…

Reflections

I started writing this blog nearly three years ago. Since the average lifespan of a blog is about four months, I guess this blog is a survivor. I have to admit that my motivation for starting a blog was rather selfish. I am a writer at heart and needed an outlet for this creativity. I was trying to figure out how to actually produce an income by arranging words on a page, but until I did, I needed the discipline of practicing this craft. The blog served that function well. I’ve always heard you should write about what you know. I know about being a Catholic mom, hence the title.

A funny thing happened after I started writing. People began reading. I’ve developed some really great cyber buddies and have even met some of them in person. I found a wonderful community of faithful Catholics with whom I can share and grow in faith.

I also found that I am not always preaching to the choir. Especially during the recent election cycle, I found that my writing touched a few nerves and angered at …

January 1, 2009--Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God