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Showing posts from September, 2011

Where I will be on Saturday

This Saturday, October 1, I will be giving a presentation entitled "Ten Questions on Health Care Ethics every Catholic Should be Able to Answer." The talk will follow the 9:00 am Mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale. We will probably start around 9:45. If you are in Northern Virginia I would love to see you there.

Would anyone notice?

Rob Vischer at Mirror of Justice expresses some concern over the expanding use of drones in military conflicts. He worries that if we are not putting troops in harm's way we will not be as judicious in our use of military force. That may be a reasonable theoretical concern. However, here is my response:

My husband just retired after 30 years of service to the Air Force and my oldest son is currently in the Army, stationed in Afghanistan.I spent much of today walking the halls of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Around every corner was a young man who was maimed from service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The number of amputees I saw brought me to tears. This sight is hidden from most Americans. I understand your concern that using drones might loosen the inhibitions against using military force. However, there is such a disconnect between the military and the general public as it is, that most Americans are only vaguely aware of the sacrifice of our armed forces in …

I would never consider my own kids as a persuasive argument for abortion!

This has got to be one of the saddest commentaries on motherhood I have seen in a long time. Carolyn Hax is a newspaper advice columnist. A woman writes to her because her 15-year-old niece is pregnant and the girl will not listen to her parents' advice and get an abortion. The woman suggests that she have her niece come live with her for a few months since she has three children under the age of six. Time spent in such a household would certainly open her niece's eyes and make her see the sensibility of abortion. Carolyn Hax responds that it should only take a couple of weeks. She advises the woman not to bring up the subject of abortion. Just let her daily life do the talking.

My first three children were born in under four years. My oldest was eight when the fourth child was born. As chaotic and exhausting as those years were, I would never consider our household to be a living statement for the wisdom of abortion. Pray for any woman who thinks a pregnant teen would see her…

Washington Post publishes my letter on HPV vaccination!

I sent the Washington Post  an op-ed article explaining why mandatory HPV vaccines are an intrusion on parental rights. HPV infection does not rise to the public health risk level needed to merit overriding parental authority. They truncated it to a Letter to the Editor and took out most of my medical information that justifies my position. But they did publish it and gave it a prominent place on the page. My full argument should be up on the HLI America website in the near future. I will keep you updated. In the meantime, feel free to visit the Post website and offer support if the liberals start taking pot shots.

Thanks, but no thanks

I love nuns! I am overwhelmed when I think of how completely they have given themselves to Christ. I have a couple of orders on my monthly charity donations list. In my work with pro-life advocacy and bioethics I run into these holy women regularly. I often will send a donation to the order of a sister with whom I have just worked. Take a look at this post by the Anchoress. She has a beautiful round up of nun news.

However, not all orders have stayed true to their charism. That is why there now two groups of nuns in the United States. There are orders who belong to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). They have shunned tradition, are very concerned with feminism, fight the Magisterium, support women's ordination, and are often into New Age nature worship. These are also the orders with very few new vocations. Then you have the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.(CMSWR) They are faithful to the Magisterium, love the Church, and are supportive of tradition…

Is it really all relative?

I post this for everyone, but most especially for my young adult children and friends. First read this. Pay attention to this passage:
Rejecting blind deference to authority, many of the young people have gone off to the other extreme: “I would do what I thought made me happy or how I felt. I have no other way of knowing what to do but how I internally feel.” Many were quick to talk about their moral feelings but hesitant to link these feelings to any broader thinking about a shared moral framework or obligation. As one put it, “I mean, I guess what makes something right is how I feel about it. But different people feel different ways, so I couldn’t speak on behalf of anyone else as to what’s right and wrong.”
Smith and company found an atmosphere of extreme moral individualism — of relativism and nonjudgmentalism. Again, this doesn’t mean that America’s young people are immoral. Far from it. But, Smith and company emphasize, they have not been given the reso…

Decades of evil. Decades of courage. Decades of prayer.

There is no way to write an adequate tribute or commentary on September 11, 2001. Yes, I remember where I was when I found out. My four children were at school. All I wanted to do was rush and pick them up and hold them close. Yet, I stayed put. I let them finish their school day. I knew our world had changed forever. However, after sending my husband to war nearly a decade earlier, I knew how important it was to keep as much of life's normal routines intact. I was first and foremost a military wife. I knew that my husband's military mission would not include directly fighting this fight. But I knew that someone's husband or wife, father or mother, would fight it. I fell to my knees and prayed. Countless decades of the Rosary passed through my fingers as I watched the fire, smoke, and devastation unfold on television.

What I could not anticipate is that on the tenth anniversary of this horrific evil, the soldier fighting the fight would be my son. My oldest is deployed to …

Your new Pyrex is not like your old Pyrex!

In January 2011, Consumer Reports ran an article about the reported shattering of pyrex dishes while cooking. The Pyrex your mother used or you may have used years ago was made from borosilicate glass. This is the same kind of glass used in laboratory test tubes and flasks. Today's Pyrex is made of lime soda glass. The manufacturer says the lime soda glass is no more prone to shatter, but consumer complaints are rising. I have a pretty large collection of the new generation blue Pyrex baking dishes and bowls. I noted the article, but didn't pay that much attention to it.

Then a couple of weeks ago, my father-in-law used one of my Pyrex bowls to cook some canned beans. He cooked them on top of the stove, doctoring them up with a few spices. The bowl went from the stove to the table. We ate dinner then poured the left-overs into a plastic bowl for storage. Because he cooked the beans over a gas flame, there was some sauce that had adhered pretty firmly to the bottom of the Pyrex…

Use Words if Necessary

"Preach the Gospel always. Use words if necessary."  (Often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)
A few days ago I wrote about fraternal correction. One of the comments asked for guidance about how to go about offering such correction. This offering from  Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, HLI Interim President, offers a solid approach. The crux of the advice is in his last two paragraphs:

As we discuss how we can overcome this growing decay in our societies, the primary solution must be to return to a living faith. We have to live our Faith with total coherence; living by example is far stronger and more convincing than a flood of words. Living of the faith leads to a deep love of its saving truths, and moves us to share them with others.  
And as we share these truths: we must be certain that the Lord will be with us, and will give us all the graces that we need to fulfill our mission. We teach most by our example. Great heroics make for inspiring stories that ar…

Unintended consequences of artificial insemination

We medical students were for the most part broke. I was an economic vegetarian – I couldn’t afford to buy meat. The medical school faculty knew that there were always student subjects available to participate in their research studies as long as they offered money or free food. My arms still bear the needle marks of multiple vials of blood proffered for about ten dollars a pop. For $100, my roommate agreed to undergo bronchoscopy, which entailed inserting a tube through her nose all the way into her lungs so that the technician could collect cells from her deepest airways. Afterwards, she said it wasn’t worth it.

The male medical students, on the other hand, had it made. They were very desirable sperm donors: lots of women want to be able to say their child’s father was a doctor, even if they have never met him. I always wondered if in the future one of these men would look at every child who shared his physical features and wonder if this boy could be his son or that gir…

Faith in the face of persecution

Psalm 3:
A psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom.
How many are my foes, LORD!
How many rise against me!
How many say of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God."
But you, LORD, are a shield around me;
my glory, you keep my head high.
With my own voice I will call out to the LORD,
and he will answer me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and I fall asleep,
[and] I will wake up, for the LORD sustains me.
I do not fear, then, thousands of people
arrayed against me on every side.
Arise, LORD! Save me, my God!
For you strike the cheekbone of all my foes;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation is from the LORD!
May your blessing be upon your people!

Pope Benedict reflects on this powerful prayer in today's Wednesday audience:

Psalm 3 presents us "a supplication replete with faith and consolation. By praying this Psalm we share the sentiments of the Psalmist: a just but persecuted figure which would later be fulfilled in Jesus. In pain, danger and the bitterness of misunders…

Fraternal Correction

8 If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life. (Ezekiel 33:8-9)

Pope Benedict reflected on fraternal correction in yesterday's Angelus address:

The text of the Gospel “tells us that brotherly love also involves a sense of mutual responsibility,” said the Pope, “so if my brother sins against me, I must use love towards him and, first of all, speak to him personally, pointing out that what he has said or done is not good.”
The Pope quoted the 4-5th century theologian, St. Augustine of Hippo, who said Christians cannot be indifferent to the “severe wound” a fellow believer may have inflicted upon themselves through sin.
However, St. Augustine also stressed that any subsequent fr…