Archives for October 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #15)

This is a special edition of 7 Quick Takes Friday. This is NOT a political blog. There is, however, an important US mid-term election next Tuesday with repercussions important to faithful Catholics.

This format was launched by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary. Some Fridays I participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. In this special case, the items are all related.

— 1 —

Catholics have a moral obligation to vote and to do so with a well formed conscience:

Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country…

…The Council exhorted Christians to fulfill their duties faithfully in the spirit of the Gospel. It is a mistake to think that, because we have here no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come, we are entitled to shirk our earthly responsibilities; this is to forget that by our faith we are bound all the more to fulfill these responsibilities

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation

USCCB

The EWTN Guide to Catholic Teaching and Voting is very good. The Most Rev. Raymond (Cardinal-designate) Burke (Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis) also published guidance on the obligation to vote properly. Finally, CatholicVote.org is quite informative. Update: see also Marcel’s An Open Letter To Politicians.

My list (consistent with the above) of areas in the US election next week that should be of particular concern to faithful Catholic voters include:

  1. Life issues, especially abortion – pro-abortion candidates support an intrinsic evil through their votes. There is no valid justification for any faithful Catholic to vote for a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life one.
  2. Homosexual “marriage” – is an attack on the family, harmful to society and harmful to Catholics who are necessarily part of that society. It is seriously misguided to believe that the normalization of the grave sins embodied in homosexual acts do not affect you and your family. There is no God given right to such sinful unions. Opposing sinful behavior is never discrimination.
  3. Slipping into socialism – an attack on true Catholic social justice beliefs. Saints and popes have warned us of the evil inherent in this political philosophy.

Your vote is powerful and desperately needed. There is no charge. You can make a difference, but not if you sit on the sidelines. Please vote!

— 2 —

The Catholic “five non-negotiables” briefly explained by Tim Staples:

— 3 —

Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama speak on socialism and nationalized healthcare:

— 4 —

Not Democrat. Not Republican. American, the last best hope:

— 5 —

As Catholics, we hate it when non-Catholics tell us (incorrectly) what we believe. We also hate it when we see our faith distorted then attacked by the “press.” No matter what your political views, we at least share a lot with the “tea party” in suffering those same problems. Bill Whittle explains what the tea party actually believes and – very importantly – why. You might be surprised:

Bill continues with a very good defense of the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity (herein discussed as “elitism” for a wider audience):

Bill concludes his excellent primer by explaining the very, very basics of microeconomics:

— 6 —

The secular mainstream media (MSM), never friends of Catholics BTW, is in a panic. It would appear that despite their best efforts, many American voters are discovering the truth anyway and thinking for themselves. Andrew Klavan explains their frustration:

— 7 —

Next Tuesday we have a choice. Elections have consequences and when the polls close, we must live with ours.

…this choice:

…or this choice:

Choose wisely. Vote Catholic.


Loyal readers, there will be no new post next Tuesday in order that this one may remain the first item through election day. It also gives me a day off! The usual (Tuesday / Friday) schedule continues next Friday.

Passover

While Catholics are sometimes less able to quote “chapter and verse,” they often know more of the Biblical stories than many non-Catholics. This seems particularly true of the Old Testament. We believe that the Old Testament foretells the New Testament and the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament.

One really good example of this is the Last Supper and Passion of Our Lord. There are actually several applicable Biblical stories, but one especially stands out for me. That is, the story of Passover.

First, the “backstory.” The time is around 1441 BC. The Israelites, God’s chosen people, had fallen on hard times and been enslaved in Egypt. Moses, an Israelite by birth, has been raised since infancy by an Egyptian Princess (long story).

Moses will be successful in winning freedom for the Israelites. When he does, they will leave Egypt. The pharaoh will have a change of heart, ordering his army to pursue and kill them. God, working through Moses, will part the Red Sea and they will escape. The Egyptian army will have a bad day. The Jews will wander in the desert for 40 difficult years before coming to the promised land.

Before all of that, the Israelites must be freed. Moses witnesses the beating of a Israelite slave and kills the attacker. This did not sit well with the pharaoh and Moses leaves. The Lord remembers His promise to His people and called upon Moses (through the burning bush) to free them. Moses approaches the pharaoh but he refuses. God worked through Moses to pressure the pharaoh in a series of plagues (water turned to blood, frogs, lice, hordes of wild animals, diseased animals, boils, violent hailstorm, swarms of locusts and blanket of darkness).

Okay, we are finally up to a plague that will finally convince the pharaoh. An angel of death will visit every house and every first-born will die. No exceptions, other than those who know the only means of protection that God tells Moses as explained in Exodus 12:1.

To protect themselves, the Israelites are to select a lamb for sacrifice. It must be a male without defect. No bones were to be broken in its slaughter. They must eat the flesh that night with unleavened bread. They are to also take hyssop branches, dip them in the blood of the lamb and mark the lintel and doorposts of their homes with it.

That evening, the angel passed throughout Egypt taking the firstborn. However, the Israelites were spared by following God’s word through the marks on their homes and receipt of the passover meal.

In the morning, there was a great cry in Egypt as every home except the Israelites’ was touched by death. With the death of his own son, the pharaoh was finally convinced and the Israelites were freed after 400 years.

The Passover foretells the crucifixion of the Lamb of God in many ways:

  • in the Jewish Passover celebration, the lamb is selected 5 days before slaughter – Jesus entered Jerusalem 5 days before His crucifixion
  • the Passover lamb was a “male without defect” – the same description applies to Jesus
  • the Passover lamb is faultless as is Jesus
  • for the previous 1,200 years a priest would blow a horn at 3:00pm when the lamb was to be slaughtered – Jesus died at 3:00pm
  • the lamb must have no bones broken – Jesus bones were not broken at His crucifixion
  • Passover consumes unleavened bread and a lamb – at the Last Supper, the unleavened bread becomes the body of Christ
  • the Passover meal must be consumed as must the Eucharist
  • Passover gave victory over the bondage of slavery – the crucifixion gave victory over the bondage of sin
  • Passover freed people to the promised land – the crucifixion freed people to eternal life
  • the Passover lamb’s blood was shed to avoid death – Jesus’ blood was shed to spare us from death (the consequence of sin)

There are other striking similarities too. Additionally, many find meaning in other aspects of the Seder (Passover) meal – particularly the 3rd and 4th cups. That will be a good topic for another post.

One final thought…   many ask if we could substitute grape juice for wine or crackers for unleavened bread. If that had been done at the Passover, the family would have awoken to find their oldest son dead. No substitutions!

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #14)

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Without further ado:

— 1 —

Support of Susan G. Komen is support for abortion. Last year, they passed along some of the money you gave them to Planned Parenthood to the tune of $7.5 million. Nancy Brinker, Komen’s founder, was a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and and advisory board member. Komen theoretically restricts its funding. Do not let this claim confuse you for a moment, it simply frees Planned Parenthood to reallocate other funds to abortion.

— 2 —

They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks Isaiah 2:4. Technology originally developed for the US Military has been adapted to enable some paralyzed people to once again walk:

— 3 —

Denver’s Archbishop Chaput is an insightful shepherd. Recently he wrote a piece entitled Repentance and renewal in the mission of catechesis. It is all really good, particularly:

We need to really believe what we claim to believe. We need to stop calling ourselves “Catholic” if we don’t stand with the Church in her teachings – all of them. But if we really are Catholic, or at least if we want to be, then we need to act like it with obedience and zeal and a fire for Jesus Christ in our hearts. God gave us the faith in order to share it. This takes courage. It takes a deliberate dismantling of our own vanity. When we do that, the Church is strong. When we don’t, she grows weak. It’s that simple.

In a culture of confusion, the Church is our only reliable guide. So let’s preach and teach our Catholic beliefs with passion. And let’s ask God to make us brave enough and humble enough to follow our faith to its radical conclusions.

— 4 —

The Most Rev. Raymond Burke (Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis) was just named as a new cardinal. He commented recently at the Human Life International Prayer Congress, calling for public repentance of professed Catholic politicians who have supported abortion:

Turning to the issue of scandal within the Church, the archbishop said, “We find self-professed Catholics, for example, who sustain and support the right of a woman to procure the death of the infant in her womb, or the right of two persons of the same sex to the recognition which the State gives to a man and a woman who have entered into marriage. It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself publicly in this manner.”

To resounding applause Burke said, “When a person has publicly espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, leading many into confusion and error about fundamental questions of respect for human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, his repentance of such actions must also be public.”

— 5 —

What happens to your beloved pet after the Rapture? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA offers a type of insurance if you live in one of the 24 states they serve. For $110, their network of certified atheists will rescue and care for your pet should the Rapture happen in the next 10 years.

They even have a complete FAQ. For example “Q: What if one of my family members are [is] left behind. Will you still take possession of my pet? A: That depends. When the rescuer arrives, if your loved one wants to retain possession of the pet, the pet stays in the home. We expect in these circumstances that the pet will offer the family member some comfort and stability given the trauma of what has occurred. If the family member prefers, we will adopt the pet per our contract.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

— 6 —

President Obama has once again misquoted the Declaration of Independence. Our founding document says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

This is now the third time he has chosen to omit “by their Creator.” One wonders who he thinks granted those rights. The government? Certainly one would assume that this Harvard educated lawyer would be familiar with the actual document establishing our sovereignty.

— 7 —

Quote of the day:

The wise man’s understanding turns him to his right; the fool’s understanding turns him to his left.

Planned Parenthood

Recently I was asked why I am so opposed to Planned Parenthood. Yes, abortion is wrong but they “do a lot of good including trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies through contraception.” What, after all, have I done to prevent unwanted pregnancies?

Implicit in these statements is an acceptance of PP as being both good and bad, much like every organization and every person. As such, one is tempted in fairness to weigh the good against the bad to make a personal judgment. This is the same faulty logic some professed Catholics use to justify voting for pro-abortion politicians.

If instead of abortion, they were engaged in kidnapping, human trafficking, rape, slavery, torture, or other horrible crimes against human dignity – no one would want to balance any good against the bad. Yet when the crime is against life itself, many feel such balance is warranted.

The problem is one of weight. Abortion is always, 100% of the time, with no exceptions – an intrinsic evil. This is Catholic doctrine. Polite company might use more gentle words, but it is nothing less than murder. Absolutely no amount of good could be done by Planned Parenthood that would justify any Catholic’s support, as that support yields complicity in the unjust termination of human life.

Listening to Planned Parenthood and the politicians who fanatically support them, one might believe that they are really all about maternal health. That is partially true. However, do not let that distract you. A central portion of their “core business” is the taking of innocent life. In FY2006-2007, their gross revenue was over $1 billion dollars, including $357 million from clinics and $336 million from the government. They offered abortions at 287 locations across the country (expanding to 55 new abortuary locations in 2007 alone).

Perhaps you heard that Planned Parenthood also arranges adoptions. Also true, but for every baby they refer for adoption, they kill 120 more. In the US, an innocent life is lost every 26 seconds to abortion. The market for this “health service” is huge and PP does not have it all to itself. Make no mistake however, they are the 800-pound gorilla in this industry – or more accurately, they are our Auschwitz in this holocaust.

Interestingly, it was also the Nazi’s who practiced and promoted eugenics on a large scale. It is an undisputed historical fact that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was an ardent supporter of eugenics. According to the CDC, US black females ages 15-44 comprise 12.3% of the population. They receive 38.2% of the abortions. Those numbers speak for themselves.

Planned Parenthood is a provider of contraceptives, including abortifacients. It is estimated that in addition to the 1.37 million surgical abortions annually in the US, there are an additional 14 million chemical abortions via abortifacient contraceptive methods.

A business the size of Planned Parenthood is a fierce “competitor.” They lobby extensively and have the unwavering support of some of our top politicians. This paid-off handsomely in the recently passed ObamaCare legislation. $7 billion dollars is earmarked for “Community Health Centers” which specifically requires gynecological and obstetrics care and does not include any restrictions on abortion. The President suffered a minor tactical defeat in being forced to temporarily restrict abortions by executive order. Not only can that be reversed, at his pleasure, anytime – but it is widely expected to fall when challenged in the courts (which PP and others are certain to do). At that point, Planned Parenthood will be free to fully exploit the biggest windfall in their history in furtherance of their misguided, immoral mission.

In the interest of brevity, I have not discussed how Planned Parenthood vigorously fights every attempt to show pregnant women the truth of the life inside them, how they mislead pregnant women, the unconstitutional “bubble zones” they get cities to pass to keep pro-life people away, their legal attacks on pregnancy crisis centers, how they push to keep parents out of the decision, how they push abortion in every corner of society, and so on. Planned Parenthood is relentless in their pursuit of frequent, common, widely available abortion.

To the question that opened this piece, the answer to unwanted pregnancies is neither the slaughter of the innocent nor the promotion of recreational sex via contraception. Both have proven, serious physical and emotional consequences. The answer, boring as it is for some, is morality. There is no better teacher on the topic than Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae and the teachings that followed on the Theology of the Body. For just a glimpse of this, see the videos by Jason Evert featured in my 7 Quick Takes Friday post last week.

So, what can you and I do to prevent unwanted pregnancies?

  • Expose the truth about abortion and contraception.
  • Promote and explain Catholic teaching on family, sex and life.
  • Insure that charitable donations do not go to immoral organizations such as Planned Parenthood either directly or indirectly (e.g. through another charity like Susan G. Komen who financially supports Planned Parenthood).
  • Support and vote only for officials who are pro-life, as all faithful Catholics are obliged to do.

I will conclude with some remarks from Abby Johnson. She was a Planned Parenthood director who resigned in 2009 after watching the horror of an abortion procedure guided by ultrasound. In her position, she knew the Clinton’s and tells this anecdote:

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #13)

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Without further ado:

— 1 —

I like Father Barron. He is quite knowledgeable and an excellent speaker. Yet, for me, some of his videos can be uninteresting. I suspected that would be the case for this one on the connection between Ezekiel and the sex abuse scandal. Actually, it is quite interesting:

— 2 —

Your elderly parent has an accident. The head doctor confides frankly, asking you to choose “aggressive treatment” or “comfort care.” You know what he is asking and you don’t want to see your mom or dad suffer needlessly. You also understand the Church teaching on extraordinary treatment (it is not required in terminal cases). What do you do?

Not so fast. Ask questions and do not rush prematurely to an irreversible decision. Read Not Letting Dad Die over at Headline Bistro.

— 3 —

True love responds decisively to suffering, leftist humanitarian and beacon of morality Virginia Ironside explains. Speaking for most mothers in this clip on “Can abortion be a kindness?” she explains genuine motherly love from the enlightened, progressive viewpoint:

I am glad she wasn’t my mom. If I were her children (should she have “chosen” not to abort them), I would be scared – really, really scared.

— 4 —

Marcel over at Aggie Catholics continues to do a wonderful series of Q&A pieces. In a recent post he answers 2 questions: Methodist vs. Catholic differences and why non-Catholics may not receive the Eucharist. As always, he covers both topics quite well in a loving and informative way.

— 5 —

Jason Evert and his wife Crystalina are young apologist speakers from Catholic Answers. They speak to high-school kids about chastity and post videos of their presentations. They are really, really good. Here are two videos of Jason on the theology of his body and the theology of her body. Show this to your teen-aged children. Thanks go to Marcel at Aggie Catholics for finding these.

— 6 —

If you are part of the intelligentsia, then you are probably a fan of U2 Bono’s charity called ONE. Through his star-power, the charity raised $14,000,000 in donations in 2008 for worthy causes. Naturally, some of that money had to go for necessary administrative expenses. After all costs and expenses, they managed to distribute $184,000 (1%) with the rest going to operating expenses and promotion. Here is a better idea – stick to Catholic Charities.

— 7 —

Last Saturday, my wife and I enjoyed a nice dinner in downtown Atlanta, but first we stopped by the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for Mass. It is a beautiful church built well over 100 years ago and recently elevated to the level of a minor basilica.

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