Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama's Homosexual Agenda

President-elect Obama has released plans to advance the homosexual agenda. You could read it if you wanted at, but I will sumarize with this CNA article. A brief warning, you might get sick, so be sure to sit down and have a puke bucket handy. Or just don't read this.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


I am providing emphasis and [commentary].
Citing what they call America’s “promise of equality,” the Obama administration plans to push for homosexual rights by including protections of sexual orientation, “gender identity” and “gender expression” as civil rights. [Note here: there is now gender (what you are) gender identity (what you think you are) and gender expression (what you act like). It is unbelievable. All three of these things are now to be protected, they aren't to be considered craziness.] His office proposes expanding hate crimes statues and the adoption rights of homosexuals while supporting full civil unions for “LGBT couples” to give them “legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples.”

The proposals are announced under the Civil Rights section of their agenda presented at, the web site of the Obama campaign’s self-described “Office of the President-elect.”

A section titled “Support for the LGBT Community” outlines the agenda for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered activists and quotes remarks Obama made on June 1, 2007.

“While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do,” Obama said, referring to riots which followed a police raid on a New York City gay bar.

“Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."

According to the web site, President-elect Obama and vice-president-elect Joe Biden will support expand crimes legislation such as the Matthew Shepard Act. They also back the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which they claim will “prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

“While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy,” the web site states, referring to similar legislation sponsored by Obama in the Illinois state legislature.

Regarding civil unions and same-sex marriage, the site says “Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples.”

Advocating the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the agenda plans to “enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.” [Did you know that there were more than 1100 "rights and benefits" to married couples? Me neither.]

The site also references Obama’s Senate vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which, in the site’s words, “would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.” [Not legislative extension, or anything like that. Catch what he's saying? He wants judges to be able to change laws, that's the implication here.]

On the subject of adoption rights, the web site states: “Barack Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, [even individuals] regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.”

The Obama agenda further advocates the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” policy barring open homosexuals from serving in the military.

Its AIDS prevention policies also pledge to enact a “comprehensive” national strategy including contraceptive sex education and “combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception.”
You can't un-read it!

This is not what the people voted for. They were scared about the economy, for which the actual President will probably not matter. The American people don't want gay marriage. Even Californians don't want gay marriage and they are fruits and/or nuts. Yet, here we are.

May God help us.

Our Response to Homosexuality

Before I begin, I must leave a short disclaimer. As I am not a moral theologian, I cannot say for sure that my musings on this subject are correct, at least from a Church perspective. I, however, will strive to do my best to represent the teachings and directives of the Church.

The subject of homosexual marriage or same-sex union has been in the news a lot recently, especially with all the ballot measures that passed in various states. I have been reflecting on our role as the Church Militant to defend the Church's teaching in this matter. It tends to be a very personal issue with many people. I think this is because of a misplaced compassion and the fact that so many people either know or are related to persons with a homosexual attraction. This makes it a very divisive issue, and one in which people will attack you for speaking out, just because you spoke out, or at least this is my experience.

There are a few questions me must address in order to understand our role as the laity. First, we must ask what the Church teaches regarding persons with same-sex attraction. Next, we can consider the question of secular rights of gay persons. Finally, we will try to formulate the Catholic argument regarding the answers to the above questions.

What does Holy Mother Church, in her wisdom, give to us as guidance regarding homosexuality? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) discusses homosexuality directly in paragraphs 2357-2359.

(2357) Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

(2358) The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

(2359) Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

These shall form the backbone of our understanding of the Church's teaching in this matter.

Homosexual acts are gravely depraved. This means that they are the grave matter required for Mortal Sin. Under no circumstances can they be approved. This must guide our thoughts. To say "as long as you are in a committed, permanent, etc. relationship..." would be wrongheaded. Under no circumstances.

The argument comes from the Natural Law, which is knowable through reason (c.f. CCC 1956). The creation of Man and Woman, their nature and purpose, is written into their bodies. It is clear from the use of reason, that the reasonable (in the sense of using reason) use of the human body is the conjugal union of man and woman. The Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, wrote in his catechesis on the Theology of the Body about the sexual complementarity of Man and Woman. This complementarity is not existent in a homosexual union. Any reasonable person, considering the rational arguments, should come to the conclusion that Man and Woman are made for each other.

The homosexual inclination is objectively disordered. This is a philosophical term, and probably should be avoided in an argument, simply because the word "disordered" has many negative connotations which can bog down a conversation. What is meant here, by disorder, is the literal meaning dis-, being against, order. The order of the world is not toward homosexual unions, but toward the union of a man and a woman. This is the natural law argument put forward above. All desires toward sinfulness are disordered. The baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires (CCC 2520). I cannot say that the desire felt by homosexual persons is the same as any other disordered desire, but we are all called to fight our disordered desires, of whatever sort they are.

Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. Is it just to allow someone to continue in sin, or to even encourage this sin? No. This is why the Church opposes state supported institutions which encourage or promote a homosexual lifestyle.

The catechism points 2358-9 can really apply to anyone. We are all called to chastity. We are all called to self-mastery. We are all called to approach Christian perfection.

Finally I must make a point regarding Church teaching. The Church tells us that Marriage is a sacrament, and as such can only be validly received as a couple which is one man and one woman. This is not a question of licit/illicit, but rather of valid/invalid. Just as no woman can receive priestly ordination, no homosexual couple can receive marriage. This is what the Church teaches, and as such, no matter what the State says, no homosexual couple can be married.

This still leaves the question of secular rights that should be granted to persons with homosexual attraction. We consider here the things that gay-rights activists claim are important to the requiring of gay marriage. We must remember here that the catechism does distinguish between homosexuals who are Christian and who are not. We will assume we are talking about the case of non-Christians at this point.

Homosexual persons want the right of inheritance, that is, they want their partners to be able to inherit their things, and be protected as such under the law. My first question is this: are people prohibited under the law, today, from leaving their inheritance to whomever they wish? Is it not true that anyone could be named a benefactor for life insurance. If a homosexual person desired someone specific to be a medical proxy, would this be allowed?

I could be wrong, but I think the answer to all of these is yes. What is it, then, that people want? Married filing jointly seems like a feeble reason to get married, though the ethics of our tax code is outside the scope of this discussion. Perhaps extending health care in a job to same-sex partners, though marriage, is what is desired. This is perhaps a noble pursuit, and is one of the only practical reasons I can see that people would want homosexual unions.

I haven't addressed the most important reason the homosexual lobby wants gay marriage. They want to have homosexuals and homosexualism to be seen as "normal" "mainstream" or "acceptable". They are smart in that sense. Recall what happened around when Roe v. Wade was decided. It was a sad, unacceptable procedure before then, but as time went on, its legality caused its use which led to its becoming accepted by society. Now, people see it as an option. Now you have people who can be "personally opposed" but are in essence accepting of the practice. The same is desired of homosexual marriage. We are not at this point, and California's Prop. 8 is a good example of this. In places where laws were snuck in (through the courts for instance) the people saw to it to overturn them. Even Californians can see that homosexual acts are otherwise unacceptable and shouldn't be legally recognized or legitimized.

We are left, finally, with addressing the role of the laity in regards to recognition of homosexual marriage, etc. I have heard on the radio of a Catholic mutual fund, which has as one of its criterion that the company not support benefits for non-married couples (gay or otherwise). Yet, who can oppose the concept of extending health care benefits to more people (whoever they be)? We must always go back to the line in the catechism: "Under no circumstances can they be approved."

What does this mean to us? It means, indeed, that we can't, as laity, just say "I don't care what you do in your bedroom." Under no circumstances. Indeed, when confronted with such situations, we must oppose them. We cannot support political action leading toward a legitimizing or regularizing of homosexual relations. We should not, in the course of our conversations give assent to homosexual relations. This is what we are called to witness to.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Worst time of the year

Friends, we have made it to that time in the liturgical year again. That's right, it's the endtimes. From here on out, until Advent, the daily Mass readings will all come from the Book of Revelation. In Cycle I (odd years) we get readings from the books of Maccabees, and Daniel. But, since it is Cycle II, we hear only from Revelation.

This is my least favorite time of the liturgical year. I'm okay with the whole Easter season, and hearing only from the Acts of the Apostles for that period, but I really don't like the book of Revelation.

I, John. This is how all the readings start. Then all you seem to hear about is crazy dragons, and beasts and 144,000 people. Now, I'm not dumb enough to not realize that this book is a typical example of apocalyptic literature. That doesn't mean I like it. The endtimes are important, this is true, but must we always hear such strange stories at this time of year?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The New Evangelization

This is a video on the New Evangelizeation by the Diocese of Tyler, Texas that is fit for the internet, which is good, because that is where kids hang out. You should really check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fake Punt!

An update to the earlier reporting. The Catholic News Agency is reporting here that the Bishops are indeed going to publicly discuss abortion and politics as they had planned.
According to bishops involved in the organization of the three-day meeting, which starts this Monday, the agenda, including a public discussion of abortion and politics, is fully on track.

“We plan to set aside time to discuss practical and pastoral implications of political support for abortion, an issue that remains problematic for us and our people,” he [Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland] confirmed.
So there you have it folks. Either there was some misquote, or a wishful misquote (villainy is afoot), which ended up with the Bishops punting down field. May the Holy Spirit come upon them!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama seeking more power

After these years of President Bush taking perhaps unprecedented executive powers, which many, especially the Democrats, have strongly opposed, I was surprised to see a headline like New President Could Bypass Congress, on Key Issues. My emphasis and [commentary]. (Yes, I have decided to adopt this format, which I am stealing from Fr. Z at WDTPRS)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top aides to President-elect Barack Obama are reviewing some 200 executive orders issued by President Bush, with an eye toward Obama possibly reversing many of them soon after he takes office in January.

Obama's transition-chief, John Podesta, said Sunday that review includes presidential orders involving stem cell research, oil and gas drilling, and other major issues.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that a team of about four-dozen Obama advisers have been working on the review of existing executive orders, to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration on a wide range of issues that also include climate change and reproductive rights [Abortion]. The paper said that team is consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs.

Obama has already signaled, for example, that he intends to reverse Bush's controversial limit on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research -- a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases, such as Parkinson's. [See the slant there? This last line is unnecessary unless you want to introduce a bias into your article. Embryonic stem cells have led to ZERO cures compared to some cures derived from adult stem cells.]

Bush's August 2001 decision pleased religious conservatives, who have moral objections to the use of cells from days-old human embryos, which are destroyed in the process. [Slant...]

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says the new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups [Abortion groups] that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal.
Well, so much for Obama ruling from the center, like he and his team have said as recently as today on Meet the Press (for instance). Liberal advocacy groups are who he is seeking input on. I hope those people who decided to vote for Obama because he wouldn't actually increase abortions are happy. We could wake up on January 21 with an unparalleled shift away from a pro-life governance (since Roe v. Wade at least), with no legislative input. That the big points he mentioned are stem cells, Abortion here and abroad, and the environment should tell you something. The pro-life fight is going to be an uphill battle each day from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2013. Maybe there is some legal reason why this won't work. Maybe somehow this will result in fewer abortions and more souls going to heaven in the end. Maybe.

I only wish we had more contemplatives praying for us. The way this country is going we need every little bit we could get. May the LORD have mercy on us.


My posts have been getting me down recently, we must remember Hope and not despair.
CCC 2090: Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God; it is also the fear of offending God's love and of incurring punishment.

2091: By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God's goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to his promises - and to his mercy.
In discussing the remnant Church in the United States with a good friend, we came up with this exchange:
ME: So, the question is, can we regain our Catholic identity, and will we ever see numbers of faithful that we have enjoyed in the past?
HE: I guess the answer to that lies with how hard we're willing to work to bring it about.
That describes it perfectly. The way to combat despair is to fight for the kingdom. Let's not mourn the American Church, let's go out and fix it!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bishops to Punt on First Down

The Religion News Service is reporting that the US Bishops have removed the planned discussion on the Political Support for Abortion from their upcoming meeting. This seems like exactly the wrong thing to do.

We are in the wake of what could be seen as the biggest political loss seen by the pro-life movement since Roe v. Wade. The Bishops acted surprisingly well, and many of them issued statements that were quite clear regarding the obligations of a Catholic voter especially as related to Abortion. They even corrected politicians such as Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Biden, when they publicly misrepresented the Faith.

This is not a time to give up. We lost the election, that has happened. Maybe we fumbled, and the culture of death was able to score a touchdown. But, we get the ball back and shouldn't be punting right now. With such prominent Catholics in positions of power (number 2 and 3 in the order of succession), the Bishops need to unite, and be the Shepherds they are supposed to be.

Our current system isn't working. Right now, the agreement reached by the USCCB puts the primary responsibility on the "home" Bishops of the Catholic Politicians. The Bishop of DC, for instance, then simply respects any agreements reached by the other Bishops. This arrangement has a couple fundamental flaws. First, there is no guidance, therefore no consistency, in applying, for instance Can. 915 (Those...who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.). Recourse to Rome, for instance Abp. Burke, would give the answer that voting pro-abortion is a sin which is 1) manifest and 2) grave. The agreement also potentially ties the hands of the DC Archbishop, who has the responsibility of preventing such scandal in his Diocese.

This is why we need to talk about it publicly. We need to get the Church's teachings out in the open. We need to be able to discuss this important issue in the open because it is so closely tied to our salvation. If some are led astray directly because of the nonintervention of the Bishops (undoubtedly there are some) then these Bishops will have to answer for this on Judgment day. When there is such a grave evil being supported, like Abortion, this is where the spiritual work of mercy "Admonish Sinners" comes in. The mission of the Church is nothing less than to get everyone into Heaven. And the Bishops, with their special mission to guard the faith and responsibility over their flock, are liable when they don't do all they can to fulfill that mission.

These are trying times, to be sure, and so we must be more vigilant and more faithful than ever. Our love of neighbor must drive us to do what we can to see all to Heaven. Learning what the Church teaches, and being told to follow would probably be a good start.

[EDIT Late Nov. 8 - My most recent post finds that this is indeed not the case, no agenda change is planned.]

Friday, November 7, 2008

Catholic college students rarely consistent

In a surprise news story (see here), it turns out the Catholic college students are inconsistent in their faith, by and large. I never would have guessed such a thing, not after seeing so many Obama shirts and buttons on students at a Catholic College. Obama stands for Hope, right? That's one of those virtues, right? Put your Hope in men, right?

The article is referring to students in Catholic Colleges, as opposed to Catholic students in College. Their survey results indicate that more than half of students on Catholic College campuses did not grow in their faith, or even decreased in faith.

About 64 percent of both Catholic groupings said they agreed that the fullness of God’s truth is found in the Catholic Church. Slightly more respondents, 67 percent of current Catholics and 69 percent of sacramentally-active Catholics, agreed that the communion bread and wine at Mass truly become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

In both groups, 61 percent agreed that women should be allowed to be ordained as Catholic priests.

Among all students at Catholic universities, 60 percent agreed that abortion should be legal, including about half of the Catholics. Similarly, 60 percent agreed that premarital sex “with someone you really care about” is not a sin, including slightly more than half of both Catholic groupings.

Further, 78 percent of all students disagreed that using a condom to prevent pregnancy is a serious sin, including 73 percent of current Catholics and 69 percent of the sacramentally active. Overall, about 57 percent agreed that same-sex marriage should be legal, including slightly more than half of current Catholics and slightly less than half of those sacramentally-active in college.

It would seem that the students are either not being formed properly in the faith, or otherwise they are coming in with no religious background in the first place. That half of the students identified as "sacramentally active" said abortion should be legal is quite a surprise to me. The numbers on morality weren't much better either. I never realized that the rates of premarital sex on Catholic campuses were as high as they seem to be. I might not have even guessed they were that high in secular schools. I am probably just naive.

There is hope in the last line, though:
The survey also found that those who were sacramentally-active, prayed frequently or did not regularly view pornography received higher grades.
It's a big picture thing. It is all interconnected. If you make sacrifices in the spiritual life, you are likely to make sacrifices in the secular life as well.

After the elections

In this time after the elections, I find myself reflecting on the outcome nationwide. I'm not too surprised at our election of Sen. Obama to the presidency, it was an uphill battle for the republicans, and I don't think they handled themselves that well. Perhaps if the candidate would have had the audacity to vote NO on the 700 billion dollar bailout, or at least vote no on all the pork in the bill, he would have been seen as a candidate who stood on some principles. I think that many will be disappointed at the Democrat controlled federal government, and they will get their 4 years, and we will be back to a government which holds more moderate values.

I find it interesting, as well, how all of the state marriage amendments passed, and none of the state abortion measures passed. I wonder why that is. What people fail to realize, is that these issues are all interconnected. As the family is the instrument of new life, so too is the respect for life caught up in the respect for family. At least people can see the necessity of one; there may yet be hope.

And, speaking of the gay marriage amendment, it is almost funny how California is imploding with shock. Turns out, even people in California think marriage belongs between one man and one woman. The opponents of Prop. 8 have filed a lawsuit against the state, trying to overturn the amendment. I guess they don't understand the idea of a constitutional amendment. The court's job is to uphold, interpret, and defend the constitution (as amended). This is what they did when they found the right to gay marriage in the California constitution. So of course, the people, at this point, realized that this was not what they intended with their constitutional provisions, and, as such, decided to pass an amendment to more clearly articulate the position that the people desired in their constitution. This, my friends, is the democratic legal process at its finest. I wish I could say it is a slam dunk, but this is the California supreme court we are talking about.

This is a time of great need in our country, especially the needs of the unborn. We must, therefore, continue to be fervent in our prayers for them, and for those who oppose their rights. Pray for those politicians who support abortion, that they may see the error of their ways. Pray for the opponents to abortion, that they may be strengthened in their opposition and not give up the fight. Pray in a special way for those Catholics who support abortion, and those who supported candidates who favor abortion, for their souls may be in peril, and we must want them to be found worthy of Heaven when they are judged by the Just Judge. The Church recommends some good prayers for these (all) times. The Rosary is the scourge of the devil and is always a valuable tool of intercession. Holy Mass is the epitome of our prayer life, and should be piously attended often. The divine mercy chaplet is also powerful, as it is in this time when our nation is poised to expand legal powers against the unborn. The chaplet is especially efficacious at the 3:00 hour (the hour of mercy in which our Lord died on the Cross). Above all, pray, for the Lord truly hears us.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

On Ordination

This post, and indeed this Weblog assumes that the Church is serious when she says "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women." (OS 4) And further, we believe the CDF response to this document when it says "it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium." (Responsum ad Dubium) Therefore, we assume women can not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, that this has been infallibly declared, and that it is to be held definitively by the faithful.

Now, we consider the case of the validity of Anglican Orders. As you may know, the Anglicans are a protestant denomination which is not in communion with Rome and the See of Peter. The Anglican church started during the reign of King Henry VIII. The details are unimportant, but as time went on, it happened that the various liturgical texts were changed, including the rites for ordination. In 1896, the Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae was issued by Pope Leo XIII, and it stated that Anglican Orders were "absolutely null and utterly void." The primary argument at hand was that the Anglican Rites of Ordination lacked proper form; that the words of ordination had changed in such a way as to no longer reflect the proper nature of the ordained priesthood. This papal bull was reaffirmed in 1998 by the CDF, when given as an example of a papal teaching that the faithful must affirm.

The story actually complicates from there. In 1931 (which is after the 1896 Bull), the Bonn Agreement between the Anglican Church and various schismatic groups established communion between the groups. Bishops, who, though schismatic, still retained valid ordination and apostolic succession, joined in ordinations in the Anglican church. At this point, it has been argued, some semblance of apostolic succession could have been reestablished, perhaps re-validating the ministerial priesthood and the sacraments within the Anglican Church.

Recalling our initial assumption, however, that women cannot be ordained, it has also been argued that the Anglicans, if they ever did reestablish valid succession, no longer retain it universally because the bishops (in general) no longer have a proper understanding of the Priesthood (or Episcopacy), and as such cannot form the proper intention to ordain to the priesthood. Essentially, they do not ordain because their intention is to ordain to a priesthood that doesn't exist. This deficiency may not be universal, we will permit the possibility that individuals or groups who do properly understand the ordained priesthood could retain valid orders.

We take an aside here to state that this is not a well-defined area. It is manifestly unclear if some or all or most or none of the Anglican orders are or were valid at any point in history. Each of the arguments put forward are just that, arguments. They are not declarations (with probably the exception of the Bull of Pius XIII), and as such aren't definitive.

An important question here, really the important question, is considering what constitutes a requisite intention for a valid ordination. We know that for a sacrament to be valid, we must have a valid minister, proper form and matter, and proper intentions of both the minister and the recipient of the sacrament. In the case of holy orders, we need a validly ordained Bishop (minister) and a man who has been baptized and confirmed (recipient). There seem to be required words. Laying on of hands is necessary. Finally, the Bishop must intend to confer the ministry of Christ's priesthood and the recipient must intend and be free to receive it.

So again, we must ask what is requisite in this intention. It has been pointed out to me that there is little if any belief required in Baptism. In fact, the catechism states "The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop." (CCC 1253) And, "...anyone, even a nonbaptized person, with the required intention, can baptize. The intention required is to will to do what the church does when she baptizes." That said, there is no such statement I can find regarding Orders. Likewise, I was also reminded that an otherwise validly ordained priest who no longer believes in the Real Presence can validly consecrate. On the other hand, someone who does not believe in the real presence cannot receive the sacramental graces from the Eucharist without belief. The code of canon law requires that Bishops gather documentation of "the sound doctrine of the candidate" among other things (cf. CIC 1051).

This still doesn't answer our question. What is the (minimum necessary) required intention of the ordaining minister and the ordination candidate to remain valid? Let me be clear, my worry is that in this day and age when there are seminarians (at some of the less orthodox seminaries), priests, and sadly even Bishops (recall this post), who do not understand, or believe in the ministerial priesthood in the way that the Church does, there could be problems with regards to intention in receiving or giving orders. If it it possible (as I stated, it is not certain) that the Anglicans could have been deficient in their intention to ordain, in part, by believing that Women can be admitted into the Priesthood and Episcopate, then we must logically admit the possibility (again not certainty) that the same deficiency could exist in the Catholic Church.

Perhaps the answer to our question is "to confer (or receive) the ordination to the Church's priesthood" regardless of personal misunderstandings. If this were the case it would perhaps be harder to invalidate a priori the Anglican Orders as well, or at least those conferred on males. This is the reason we require so much of our bishops and seminarians. We don't want to be at the point where we question absolute minimums to be ordained.

Above all else, though, we can pray. Pray for our bishops, for all the seminarians, and those who educate them. Pray that the Spirit may help lead them along a path to holiness, and indeed obedience and orthodoxy. Perhaps all of these problems could be settled if more would pray for them. After all, the priesthood is the cornerstone of the sacramental life of the Church, and is a favorite target of the devil.

Ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo.

A cynical return

I have decided to return to blogging, at least for a while, because I feel the need for a creative outlet. I may not make more than one or two posts ever again, hence the "cynical" nature of the return. Godwilling, this will be a good endeavor.

Also, the format may be less news, or rather less commentary with the news, and may be more original. And, it will unlikely be updated much more than weekly, which is already better than my current record.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Benedict's Speech to Inter-religious Leaders

Pope Benedict, last week, addressed a group of inter religious leaders. Full text is here, but I came away with a few interesting thoughts.

First of all, the overarching theme of the first part of the talk was the value of interreligious dialog and cooperation, especially in the areas of religious freedom, and morality. But, yet, there is a critique.
There is a further point I wish to touch upon here. I have noticed a growing interest among governments to sponsor programs intended to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue. These are praiseworthy initiatives. At the same time, religious freedom, interreligious dialogue and faith-based education aim at something more than a consensus regarding ways to implement practical strategies for advancing peace. The broader purpose of dialogue is to discover the truth. What is the origin and destiny of mankind? What are good and evil? What awaits us at the end of our earthly existence? Only by addressing these deeper questions can we build a solid basis for the peace and security of the human family, for "wherever and whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendor of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace" (Message for the 2006 World Day of Peace, 3).
Dear friends, in our attempt to discover points of commonality, perhaps we have shied away from the responsibility to discuss our differences with calmness and clarity. While always uniting our hearts and minds in the call for peace, we must also listen attentively to the voice of truth. In this way, our dialogue will not stop at identifying a common set of values, but go on to probe their ultimate foundation. We have no reason to fear, for the truth unveils for us the essential relationship between the world and God. We are able to perceive that peace is a "heavenly gift" that calls us to conform human history to the divine order. Herein lies the "truth of peace" (cf. Message for the 2006 World Day of Peace).
And that is the danger. The substance of this dialog cannot be "I'm okay, you're okay, we're all okay!" for that doesn't help advance mankind. Benedict/Ratzinger mentions in Jesus of Nazareth (Chapter 3) how some modern theologies have watered down the "Kingdom of God". In this view, we have gone from a Church-centered to a Christ-centered, to a God-centered, and finally to a Kingdom-centered view. In this way, it is claimed, everybody can be included. The problem, Benedict/Ratzinger points out, is that God has disappeared and man is the only actor on the stage (p. 54).

This address is a challenge to all men of good will, to be open to the Truth. Isn't it such a blessing that we have a Pope, infallible in matters of the Faith, to protect this Truth for us, though the intercession of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Benedict to Bishops, Pastors: Be Men of Prayer

Pope Benedict XVI, in his recent address to the Us Bishops assembled in Washington DC, emphasized the necessity of prayer, especially for those who lead the Church.
Indeed a clearer focus upon the imitation of Christ in holiness of life is exactly what is needed in order for us to move forward. We need to rediscover the joy of living a Christ-centred life, cultivating the virtues, and immersing ourselves in prayer. When the faithful know that their pastor is a man who prays and who dedicates his life to serving them, they respond with warmth and affection which nourishes and sustains the life of the whole community.

Time spent in prayer is never wasted, however urgent the duties that press upon us from every side. Adoration of Christ our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament prolongs and intensifies the union with him that is established through the Eucharistic celebration (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, 66). Contemplation of the mysteries of the Rosary releases all their saving power and it conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ (cf. Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 11, 15). Fidelity to the Liturgy of the Hours ensures that the whole of our day is sanctified and it continually reminds us of the need to remain focused on doing God's work, however many pressures and distractions may arise from the task at hand. Thus our devotion helps us to speak and act in persona Christi, to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful in the name of Jesus, to bring his reconciliation, his healing and his love to all his beloved brothers and sisters. This radical configuration to Christ, the Good Shepherd, lies at the heart of our pastoral ministry, and if we open ourselves through prayer to the power of the Spirit, he will give us the gifts we need to carry out our daunting task, so that we need never "be anxious how to speak or what to say" (Mt 10:19).
The Catholic trifecta: Adoration, Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours. How important is this example of prayer, for those led? How much power a pastor of souls wields. With his example of prayer, prayerful devotion, a love of the Eucharist, he can develop a holiness of life will inspire those entrusted to his care. This is the role of the pastor. A pastor is responsible before God for the souls he has been entrusted.

This calls back to earlier in the speech when the Pope reminded us that we are really nothing without God, and he is the giver of all things. What can we be without prayer?

Benedict speaks out on Sex Abuse Scandal

Though I am surprised it is still such an issue, it really is important. The sex abuse scandal was a terrible chapter in the history of the Catholic Church in America. Benedict spoke on it, and on healing, noting, of course, that "Sometimes it was very badly handled." He goes on to discuss the ultimate problem:

What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today? We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike. All have a part to play in this task - not only parents, religious leaders, teachers and catechists, but the media and entertainment industries as well. Indeed, every member of society can contribute to this moral renewal and benefit from it. Truly caring about young people and the future of our civilization means recognizing our responsibility to promote and live by the authentic moral values which alone enable the human person to flourish. It falls to you, as pastors modelled upon Christ, the Good Shepherd, to proclaim this message loud and clear, and thus to address the sin of abuse within the wider context of sexual mores.
There it is, the child sexual abuse scandal in context: society is messed up. We can talk all we want about things we can do to handle pedophile priests, but what a disservice we do to our children by bringing them up in this immoral day and age. We need to reign in our sexual immorality. Pornography is available to anyone, basically unimpeded, on the internet, and indecency is of course rampant everywhere. You can hardly turn on the TV or walk down the street in Summer without being exposed to this. This is an immeasurable harm that will be hurting us as a society for years to come.

Benedict to Bishops: Speak Out

In his address to the US Bishops yesterday, Pope Benedict exhorted them to be the moral voice of society, to speak out for what is right.
As preachers of the Gospel and leaders of the Catholic community, you are also called to participate in the exchange of ideas in the public square, helping to shape cultural attitudes. In a context where free speech is valued, and where vigorous and honest debate is encouraged, yours is a respected voice that has much to offer to the discussion of the pressing social and moral questions of the day. By ensuring that the Gospel is clearly heard, you not only form the people of your own community, but in view of the global reach of mass communication, you help to spread the message of Christian hope throughout the world.

Clearly, the Church's influence on public debate takes place on many different levels. In the United States, as elsewhere, there is much current and proposed legislation that gives cause for concern from the point of view of morality, and the Catholic community, under your guidance, needs to offer a clear and united witness on such matters. Even more important, though, is the gradual opening of the minds and hearts of the wider community to moral truth. Here much remains to be done. Crucial in this regard is the role of the lay faithful to act as a "leaven" in society. Yet it cannot be assumed that all Catholic citizens think in harmony with the Church's teaching on today's key ethical questions. Once again, it falls to you to ensure that the moral formation provided at every level of ecclesial life reflects the authentic teaching of the Gospel of life.
It bears repeating: "It cannot be assumed that all Catholic citizens think in harmony with the Church's teaching on today's key ethical questions." We can only hope people hear this message and at least reflect on the possibility that they need to amend their ways. The "Catholic" politicians and voters could have such influence if they all would "think in harmony" with the Church. If we could be united in the Faith, then so much more could likely be accomplished.

Benedict on Science

Again, from Benexict XVI's address to the Bishops, we have another gem.
It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us; it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfillment of our deepest needs. This is an illusion. Without God, who alone bestows upon us what we by ourselves cannot attain (cf. Spe Salvi, 31), our lives are ultimately empty.
And, this is the ultimate problem today. Science and medicine seem like they can, or soon will be able to, do anything. We control our environment to the point where doubting in the existence or necessity of God is almost a foregone conclusion.

Benedict to Bishops on Secularism

Taken from Wednesday's address to the Bishops:
While it is true that this country is marked by a genuinely religious spirit, the subtle influence of secularism can nevertheless color the way people allow their faith to influence their behavior. Is it consistent to profess our beliefs in church on Sunday, and then during the week to promote business practices or medical procedures contrary to those beliefs? Is it consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching, or to adopt positions that contradict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death? Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.
Just go for the throat, that seems to be the best policy here, no? In this election season, there is a lot of discussion about these issues. Many "Catholic" politicians try the "personally opposed" argument, or the "private beliefs" argument to justify their position on abortion or embryonic stem cell research, but this is clearly inconsistent.

Read that last line again. Wonderful. Thanks, Pope!

More to follow...

Papal Address to the US Bishops

As you are well aware, I am sure, the Pope is here in America. Everything he says, I am sure, is going to be useful to read, and as with all that Ratzinger/BXVI says and writes, we will be able to digest it over time.

The Pope addressed the US Bishops at the National Shrine to the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. You can read the text here, and also watch the speech on Youtube, with the first segment here.

I will follow up with comments on interesting parts.

Pope in America

The Pope is here!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MRSA Facts Being Neutered

Fact: a new strain of MRSA, the drug resistant Staph infection is attacking the Gay community at alarming rates. Gay advocacy groups don't want that information to be disseminated.

"The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other organizations began to jump up and down a bit and scream, and The New York Times and other organizations started to backpedal," Barber said. Rather than reporting the behaviors associated with the outbreak and its danger to others, Barber said, "The story now became about how groups like mine were supposedly misrepresenting the outbreak as some sort of 'new gay plague' or 'the new AIDS' - things we never said."

The homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign accused CWA and others of being “anti-gay bigots” for recommending homosexual men curtail their sexual activities.

"Serious medical issues deserve serious consideration, not wildly off-the-mark press releases from anti-gay groups trying to capture media attention," HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a news release. Solmonese called the conservative organizations’ responses a kind of “hysteria,” which he thought resembled some reactions to the outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s.

Actually, I identified this as 'the new AIDS' when the story broke. Why? It is simple to not spread this disease, like AIDS.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also emphasized that the new MRSA strain is "not a sexually transmitted disease in the classic sense," saying the bacteria’s spread could be stopped by washing hands and covering open wounds.

An internationally known infectious disease specialist, Dr. John Diggs, told Cybercast News Service that the outbreak was “especially troubling” because the microbe can spread to the wider community.

Though MRSA has typically been confined to hospitals, he said, "You can take something that was relatively isolated in a small place, and suddenly, when it spreads to the general population, things such as school wrestling matches, or football games or basketball games or other sporting events, can take on a specter - they can become deadly.”

Dr. Diggs said the university study itself said the MRSA infection manifests itself as "an abscess in the buttocks, genitals or perineum," concluding the microbe "probably started out in San Francisco, and has been disseminated by the frequent cross-coastal travel" of homosexual men between San Francisco and Boston.

"Men who practice anal sex, men who have promiscuous sex, men who have multiple partners in short periods of time are much more likely to spread this disease," he said to Cybercast News Service. "It's not because of who they are. It's because of what they do."

"When you face that reality, then you have to start taking a serious look and deciding that the best public health intervention is to discourage behavior that causes the infection to spread," Dr. Diggs said.
Again, we see a culture that wants no consequences for its actions. If this had been introduced into a sexually promiscuous heterosexual community, the result would be the same. The homosexual community is generally quite promiscuous, and is therefore a great place for a skin infection to spread. Is it wrong to tell people to stop having so much sex so that they don't contract a deadly infection? Wouldn't be worse to not tell people that it was quite prevalent in the gay community, and not warn them about the lifestyle choices that make it more dangerous? But, I guess as long as we don't offend anybody, it won't be a problem, right?

Abortion Pill causes Excommunication

.- Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda e Recife, Brazil strongly criticized a plan by local officials to widely distribute the morning-after pill during the upcoming Carnival festival and warned that those who use the pill are subject to excommunication.

The archbishop took note that because of widespread “casual sex” that occurs during Carnival—the festival that precedes Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent—the morning-after pill will be widely distributed, in addition to thousands of condoms.

On Thursday Archbishop Cardoso said the distribution of the pill which is an abortifacient “is aberrant and illegal,” since in Brazil abortion is illegal.

He said the archdiocese intends to ask the courts to block the plan and warned that those who use the pill are subject to excommunication. “This policy is wicked and immoral, and in this case, both those who use it and those who incite its use are committing a crime punishable by excommunication,” Archbishop Cardoso said.

He also said he would provide guidance to priests in the archdiocese regarding how to address the issue from the pulpit.

This is just another sad example of how modern culture wants no consequences for actions. Abortion is illegal there, and yet, "local officials" will be distributing the morning after pill. Now, I know that the pill can be licitly used in certain circumstances, for instance after a rape when a test has confirmed that ovulation has not occurred. That is not the intention of this practice. These people want nothing more than to have as much sex as they can, with no consequences.

I applaud the Archbishop for speaking out for the Truth. I am sad when I hear stories where the Bishops in various parts make a deal with the devil, as it were, and compromise with lawmakers who want to mandate the use of the morning after pill.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Status of the Jesuits

Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., the new superior general of the Jesuits, insists that there is no conflict between the order and the Pope. I'm not so sure he really sees what is happening. I have a couple articles about his press conference.

Fr. Nicolas’ statement included some brief stories and anecdotes illustrating his long pastoral experience in Asia. "I am in Asia and Asia is in me, and that is good for the Church," he said.

"There has never been and there is not opposition between the Pope and the Society of Jesus, between the Jesuits and the Vatican," Fr. Nicolas said in his statement.

"It is not true that there is a theological distance between the new General of the Jesuits and Pope Ratzinger," he added.

Asia is in him. I hope that doesn't mean new-age eastern theology is in him. Also, can he really say that there has never been opposition between the Pope and the Jesuits? Does he forget the Jesuit Intervention in 1981?

Rome, Jan. 25, 2008 ( - In a January 25 statement to reporters in Rome, the new superior general of the Society of Jesus said that the Jesuits remain loyal to the Pope. "If there are problems" in the relationship, he said, "it is precisely because we are so close."

Father Adolfo Nicolas compared the relationship between the Jesuit order and the Holy See to a marriage, observing there are always tensions between loving couples. But as in a marriage, he added, the Jesuits and the Pope are wholly dedicated to the same goal: the welfare of the Church.

Downplaying suggestions that the Jesuit order is at loggerheads with Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), Father Nicolas recalled that he had studied the works of then-Father Joseph Ratzinger years earlier and found them inspirational. Theological disagreements between himself and the Holy Father, he insisted, exist only "in the imaginations of those who have written" on that topic. The new Jesuit leader told journalists that his own views on religion have been heavily influenced by his years in Japan. Before serving in Asia, he said, he had firm and unyielding views about what constitutes proper religious faith and practice. In Japan, he reported, such attitudes are seen as intolerant; the Asian approach accepts a wide diversity of views. "In Japan," Father Nicolas said, "I discovered that true religion goes much deeper."

I see that, yes, "proper religious faith and practice" can indeed take on many forms. Even the Pope has said this. This is why we have the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This is why there are so many popular devotions. I worry, though, when I see words like "accepting a diversity of views". If our language hadn't been hijacked, this would not be a problem, but the connotations of this tend to be a bit more permissive than they should mean. I hope he realizes that there exists One True religion. This is another place where some Jesuits have had troubles, in the uniqueness and necessity of Christ.

I've heard about Jesuits before, and I don't buy that it is because "they are so close" that the CDF has to send out notifications about members of the Order.


Reading this story made me sick, just sick.

.- Religious leaders in favor of abortion gathered on Tuesday to bless an abortion clinic in support of the Roe v. Wade ruling, the Supreme Court decision that mandated legalized abortion nationwide. One Catholic leader described the ceremony as “two-faced”.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Linda Scharf described the purpose of the event at a new 18,000 square-foot building to the Albany-based Times Union, saying, “It’s a blessing to demonstrate the support of the clergy.”

She said that clergy had long supported Planned Parenthood and the right “to make a personal decision based on their moral beliefs.”

"The clergy were instrumental in getting abortion services legalized in the United States and right here in Schenectady," she added. "I know a member of the clergy who was part of an underground who directed young women to safe abortions before Roe v. Wade."

According to the Albany Times Union, Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady's Emmanuel-Friedens Church declared the ground "sacred and holy ... where women's voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are treated with dignity, supported in their role as moral decision-makers ... sacred ground where the violent voices of hatred and oppression are quelled."

Another minister prayed that the clinic be made a place of safety with a sense of sanctuary. A rabbi blew a religious musical instrument called a shofar “as a renewal of commitment” to “reproductive rights.”

All participants laid their hands on the building as another minister declared, “This is sacred ground.”

Nothing can even be said to that.

UPDATE: Czech government reaches agreement with Church

Prague, Jan. 24, 2008 ( - The Czech Republic has agreed to pay $4.6 billion to compensate Christian churches for the properties that were confiscated by the Communist regime, in 1948 the KAI news agency reports.

The government compensation would be offered to 17 different Christian groups whose properties were seized, with the payments beginning in 2009.

The proposed agreement must still be approved by the Czech parliament, where the governing three-party coalition has only 100 of the 200 seats. Several parliamentarians from the largest party, the Civic Democratic Party, have questioned the settlement.

In 1990-1991, the government of what was then Czechoslovakia took a preliminary step toward resolving claims by returning 169 properties. The Czech Republic is now the last one of the former Communist states to offer a general settlement on church-property claims.

This isn't as good news as it could have been. It would be better if the Church could actually get their properties back. I understand that some of the properties that were seized were probably destroyed or converted by the commies, but some were not. I haven't read if a true agreement was reached regarding the Cathedral, but I wish the Czech government would return the properties that are still churches.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


A new effort in Europe is in existence to combat "Christianophobia", or the irrational fear of Christians and Christianity. They will be putting together a website and documenting cases of fear of Christians by different groups across Europe.

Why are we doing this? This seems to be misguided for a number of reasons. Very few people fear Christianity, maybe only the Devil fears Christians, though not enough to not prey on them. Many people don't like Christianity, or even hate it irrationally, but this is not a "phobia". This is hatred (of one sort or another).

The same can be said of homophobia, which is likely the reason that people are called homophobes whenever they oppose in any way the homosexual lifestyle. I'm not saying that there are not people who genuinely fear homosexuality or the pervasiveness of its culture, because I'm sure there truly are those who could be described as "homophobic". That said, I also believe that a very thin minority of those described as homophobic are truly fearful of homosexuals.

This is the reason why I don't favor the use of "Christianophobia". This is their lie, we don't need to adopt it. Few people actively and actually fear Christianity, many more oppose it in what has always been termed "anti-Christianity". It is not bad to document it, and to confront it. We should indeed complain about it. As much as I don't like Bill Donahue as a blowhard and a windbag, his mission as the lone warrior of defending Catholicism in the media sector is quite important. Without him there is basically nobody keeping track of what people say and do that is overtly anti-Catholic and anti-Christian.

I laud the idea of trying to get organized in a place like Europe where cynical anti-Christianity is so mainstream, but I don't think that following the agenda of these other groups of defining new phobias makes much sense. We should be above that, and show that indeed Christians can preach the truth of the situation and don't have to resort to calling any opposition an "irrational fear". That said, we won't get the same media coverage, but we wouldn't anyways, so we may as well do what we can to respect ourselves.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

France's Illegitimacy

According to a little news blurb from EWTN, France in 2006 joined the unwed countries club. More than half of all children born in France in 2006 were born out of wedlock. The article also listed Sweden as having a 55% illegitimacy rate, Great Britain at 42%, and Poland at 15%.

If these were the examples to compare to, that might very well mean that France is ranked 2 in Europe (the World) A quick (read: lazy) search online did not yield anything interesting to confirm that statement. Didn't France use to be a Catholic country? What happened there?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pope Cancels University Visit

As I reported yesterday, the Pope was planning on speaking at an Italian university amid much protesting from some faculty and students on campus, saying the Pope was anti-science, among other things. The Pope has announced today that he will not be going to the university amid the protests.

Does this mean that they won? I hope not. I think it may better reflect the Pope's prudence in not getting involved with such an unreasonable crowd. "If they don't want me, I'll go somewhere else..." The pope will be publishing the text of the address he was to give.

UPDATE: (01/17/08, 1:47 PM)

Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State published a letter he sent to the Dean of the University.

Pope Benedict was scheduled to open the academic year by giving the keynote address at La Sapienza, but according to Cardinal Bertone a “decidedly minority group of professors and students” threatened to protest his visit.

Due to this planned disturbance, the Secretary of State wrote to the rector that “the prerequisites for a dignified and tranquil welcome were not present” and that “it was judged opportune to postpone the scheduled visit in order to remove any pretext for demonstrations which would have been unfortunate for everyone concerned".

Cardinal Bertone also explained why the Pope decided to send his address to the university’s rector. In the letter, the cardinal relates that since the majority of professors and students wished to hear "a culturally meaningful word, whence to draw stimuli for their own journey in search of truth, the Holy Father has instructed that the text he prepared for the occasion be sent to you".
"I don't want any trouble"

Monday, January 14, 2008

Scientests say Pope is Anti-Science

A group of scientists at an Italian University is raising a fuss over an upcoming visit from the Pope. They say that the Pope is anti-reason and anti-science, and should not be honored in an academic setting. (Full Article)

To bolster their position, the 67 protestors cite a 1990 speech in which then-Cardinal Ratzinger defended the Church's disciplinary action against Galileo in 1633. In that talk, the future Pope cited the verdict of the agnostic scholar Paul Feyerabend, who said: "The Church in the age of Galileo clung to reason more than Galileo himself did." He found that the heresy verdict against Galileo was, by the standards of the times, "rational and just."

Although he did not endorse Feyerabend's conclusion-- Pope John Paul II (bio - news) had already acknowledged that the Church erred in condemning Galileo-- Cardinal Ratzinger did stress that the Church was not hostile to science, and in fact Galileo continued his investigations, with support from the hierarchy, even after his trial.

It's Regensburg all over again. At least these scientists won't be blowing up Churches or burning the Pope in effigy. Why is it that they, who insist on "reason" being so important, can't even use a quotation properly? The author of the article gets it right:
The protests against the Pope's visit to La Sapienza have echoed that hostility toward religious faith, claiming that the Church today still suppresses scientific progress. Ironically, to protest that alleged restraint on free inquiry, the group asks university officials to prevent a speech by the Roman Pontiff. Vatican Radio, describing the protests as unworthy of academic life, questioned whether the professors were displaying the "tolerance" that they proclaimed.
This just emphasizes the fact that these scientists, like the militant atheists and the anti-Catholic fundamentalists, don't care to be reasoned, but prefer to just spout their opinions. I compare it to how the Catholic Church can be portrayed as "homophobic" for opposing the disordered lifestyles of that crowd of people, whereas these scientists (or anyone really) are "reasoned" or "enlightened" by opposing the Church, and what it teaches. The university will have an interesting response to the visit.
The dean of the university has said that he will not cancel the Pope's visit. But protests at the school are planned throughout the week, with critics posting anti-clerical slogans around the campus and organizing a "homo-cession"-- a parade of homosexuals and lesbians-- to protest Church teachings.
Of course, the good old "homo-cession". This makes the clearest statement about what this opposition to the visit is really about. It has nothing to do with the Pope's or the Church's supposed opposition to scientific progress. This is about the Church teaching what it has always taught. People still don't like the Church, Jesus promised that it would be that way.

Still, if the Pope told these scientists that they needed to stop doing this or another research, would they? I doubt it. This means he isn't a threat to them. And, there really is no denying that he is perhaps the foremost theologian in Europe right now, which makes him an academic. I'm not sure what the Pope will be talking about there, but it may well touch on the moral obligations of science, which these scientists need to hear.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Man sues over new breasts

This story is only loosely relevant to this weblog, as it only involves a Catholic hospital, and not really anything but freedom, but it really caught my attention.

Headline, CNA: Catholic hospital sued for refusing breast implants to “transgendered”.

Someone who is genetically and was born a male is suing a Catholic run hospital in California (big surprise) because they refused to give him breast implants.

Hastings has already had major sex-change surgery to make his body resemble a woman’s. He chose a plastic surgeon with privileges at Seton to perform the augmentation surgery. According to Hastings, the surgeon, Dr. Leonard Gray, told him that Seton no longer allowed such operations to be performed on transgendered patients.

Seton Medical Center was previously owned by a large hospital conglomerate, Catholic Healthcare West, during which time it apparently allowed the surgery to transgender people. The Daughters of Charity Health System took ownership of the hospital in 2002, and halted the surgeries in 2006 after learning they were taking place.

Kristina Wertz, legal director of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco, claimed Seton and other area hospitals put up “significant barriers” to care. Wertz believed the hospital’s policy violates the Unruh Act, a state law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. “There's simply no religious exemption in the Unruh Act," Wertz said. "We're talking about a type of care that's OK for one class but not another.”

Since when did sex-change and even breast augmentation become a "type of care". I can see in the case of a breast cancer patient who had to have a mastectomy or some similar situation that this could be considered a "type of care" but when did it become an entitlement for any man or woman?

It really touches on a deeper issue. How did it become acceptable to be "transgendered"? If I wanted to say I was actually a black man stuck in a white man's body, I'd be labeled as nuts. And, race is poorly defined. Gender is not poorly defined for most people, including most "transgendered" people. There's the physical equipment, the genetic karyotype, and I suppose the birth certificate. Why is it that all it takes is to say "I want to be a woman" if you are a man, and you are, or can be? After all you can't discriminate against gender identity, which is independent of gender. How is this not a mental illness?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Abortionists in Spain Vow to Stop

In quite an interesting turn of events, the Abortion Clinics in a consortium in Spain have vowed to close their doors, (CNA). Unfortunately, this is only a temporary state, and is meant as a protest in favor of "women's rights" among other things.
The “Association of Accredited Clinics,” an umbrella group for all abortion clinics in Spain, said the protest was being organized in response to the crackdown on illegal abortions in Barcelona in December, which revealed that a number of clinics performing late-term abortions in violation of the law.
So, the law says that you cannot commit late term abortions, and I'd guess has some requirements about safety of the mother, among other things. This protest is against a crackdown of illegal facilities. Wouldn't this consortium, if they were legal, not mind that the "rabble" were being weeded out. After all, that would eliminate the competition, right?

It's clear that it is not about the application of the law, they just want to be able to kill as many as possible. They are probably also a bit worried, because they are probably not up to snuff, committing illegal abortions all the time.

It's just ironic that in order to protest the cracking down on abortions is stopping abortions. Maybe all the American abortion clinics will take up this, every time someone challenges them. Right.

Bishop: Communion on Tongue is Best

Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan in what is labeled a "historical-liturgical note", wrote that it is a much better practice to receive communion while kneeling and on the tongue.
"If some nonbeliever arrived and observed such an act of adoration perhaps he, too, would 'fall down and worship God, declaring, God is really in your midst,'"

"The awareness of the greatness of the eucharistic mystery is demonstrated in a special way by the manner in which the body of the Lord is distributed and received," the bishop wrote.

In addition to demonstrating true adoration by kneeling, he said, receiving Communion on the tongue also avoids concerns about people receiving the body of Christ with dirty hands or of losing particles of the Eucharist, concerns that make sense if people truly believe in the sacrament.

"Wouldn't it correspond better to the deepest reality and truth about the consecrated bread if even today the faithful would kneel on the ground to receive it, opening their mouths like the prophet receiving the word of God and allowing themselves to be nourished like a child?" Bishop Schneider asked.
This Bishop really sees what is going on. It is not about the laity being any less than the Priest, or something like that. It is the sacramental sign that the Eucharistic species is the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is but the least of things we would do if everyone realized what the mass really was, and what the Eucharist really was.

I do not forsee the day when we completely do away with communion in the hand while standing, though I think it should go away quietly. Perhaps, one day, no extraordinary minister of Holy Communion will look at you funny when you step up to them and do not extend your hands. Maybe that's asking too much.

Jesuits need to change -- Cardinal

The Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal Franc Rode, had some scathing comments about the Jesuits as they enter their General Congregation to select a new leader and set policies.

"Within your charism and your tradition you can find valuable points of reference to enlighten the choices which the Society must make today," Cardinal Rode told them. "Your work must be eminently apostolic with a universal human, ecclesial and evangelical fullness.

"It must always be carried out in the light of your charism, in such a way that the growing participation of laity in your activities does not obscure your identity but rather enriches it with the collaboration of those who, coming from other cultures, share your style and your objectives."

The 73-year-old cardinal also noted a "growing distancing from the hierarchy."

"The Ignatian spirituality of apostolic service 'under the Roman Pontiff' does not allow for this separation," he said. "Religious obedience can be understood only as obedience in love. The fundamental nucleus of Ignatian spirituality consists in uniting the love for God with love for the hierarchical Church."

We can only hope and pray that the Jesuits take this to heart. They have much potential, and I think it would be a boon for their order to no longer be the butt of jokes.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Married Priests not necessarily the solution

A Ukranian Bishop, where married clergy are common, said recently that admitting married men into the clerical state is not guaranteed to solve any vocations crisis, nor will it improve the quality of priests.
"Abolishing celibacy is not a solution in itself," he said. "The quality of the priest does not depend on whether or not he is married. This has been our experience, and I think people are wrong if they think the vocations problem can be resolved by ordaining married persons. It will not ensure a large number of vocations.
I come from a priestly family," he said.

"My grandfather was a priest, and other members of the family were priests; some were married, others were not.
If a person is good, he will be a good priest, and this does not depend on the fact that he is married," Cardinal Husar said.
(Full Article)
This is some wisdom that I wish more Catholics would realize. I'm still a bit undecided whether priestly ordination should be allowed to be conferred on married men in the Roman Rite. It might be beneficial in some ways, and it would be detrimental in some ways. But, there is no reason why it would solve all our priestly problems.

More Gay Anglicans?

In a news story from Catholic Online, it turns out that the US Episcopal Church has quite a few other partnered gay bishops, the only difference is that Gene Robinson is quite open about it.
NEW YORK ( - The head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Bishop Jefferts Schori, shocked listeners of a BBC Interview when she announced that Gene Robinson - the controversial Episcopalian bishop who was consecrated bishop despite his being an openly practicing homosexual - is not the only homosexual and partnered bishop in the Anglican Church.

"[Robinson] is certainly not alone in being a gay bishop," Schori said in response to a question from her interviewer. "He is certainly not alone in being a gay partnered bishop. He is alone in being the only gay partnered bishop who's open about that status."

The interviewer then asked Schori whether she meant that Robinson was not the only gay, partnered bishop in the Episcopalian Church. She responded, "Within our own church and within the Anglican Communion as a whole."
I can bet she's not referring to those other bishops who voted to break away from the US Episcopal Church. Or maybe she is. After all, I know my younger siblings like to call things they don't like as "gay", so maybe she meant that a lot of those other bishops are gay in that sense.

This, of course, comes on the heels of the upcoming conference of the worldwide Anglicans. What this says is that the US Church basically wants to openly flaunt traditional morality, which the Communion wants to uphold. "See, our bishops are practicing gays, so it must be okay, right?"
A number of the bishops who have called the so-called Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFC) have in the past suggested that the American Episcopalian Church should not be invited to the Lambeth conference, due to its decision to consecrate Robinson bishop, and a general movement on the part of the Episcopalian Church to accept and bless homosexual behavior.

Schori said that this idea felt to her "much like declining an invitation to a dinner party because somebody I don't like might be there. My understanding of the planned program for the Lambeth Conference is one that has the possibility of letting people build relationships. I think that's a remarkable gift. I think it would be very sad to go there and simply spend all our time consumed by legislation and I don't think that's what's planned."
I guess you have to expect this when your spokesbishop is of the fairer gender. (This is where I get myself in trouble) The bishops are meeting to hold together the disintegrating Anglican Communion, and she wants to build relationships. Maybe if those bishops spent less time "building relationships" and more time protecting the fidelity of their faith, we wouldn't be in this state at all.
When pressed by the BBC interviewer as to whether or not Schori supported those bishops and priests who were blessing homosexual couples despite pressure from Canterbury to cease all such ceremonies, Schori side-stepped the question, answering, "That's not a matter for me to say yea or nay, it's a matter of pastoral practice in individual congregations, in the same way that I don't enter into decisions about whether or not it's appropriate to bless a fleet of battleships going off to war."

Schori also seemed to suggest that support for homosexual behavior was consonant with the traditional position, the "roots" of the Anglican Church, saying, "My hope is that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole might remember our roots, our traditional valuing of diversity and our traditional sense that worshiping together despite differing views is what holds us together."
Is this as laughable to you as it is to me? Isn't she the equivalent of the Bishop-Primate. Doesn't that make it a matter of her to say yea or nay? Isn't the point of the communion the fact that the Faith is not up to the individual congregations? Maybe I missed the point of even having bishop(ess)es.

Also, where in the "roots" of the Anglican Church were there diversity and gay marriage? Time for a history lesson. The Anglican Church started in England when the King wanted an annulment, and didn't get one from Rome. They were made up of Englanders, and kept out Catholics. In fact, they persecuted them. There was no "worshiping together despite differing views." You never heard an Anglican say "I don't care that you think the Pope has primacy, let's break bread together."

Maybe this is just another sign that the Anglicans are going to implode. The traditional ones no longer have much reason to be anything but Catholic, and we'll take them. Traditional Christianity is just what the Church in America needs. The goofy ones can stay whatever they are.