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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Same Sex Couples And the Catholic Church

Buster writes: I have a few questions. If me and my same sex partner were to come in to your church and hold hands like an opposite sex couple would we get dirty stares? Would your minister/priest serve me and my partner communion like my MCC does together? Would your church marry me? Would your church give me a position? Probably not. So therefore your church doesn't welcome all people.

My reply: Hello Buster and thanks for writing. I can't answer for every Catholic out there, so I will just answer for myself and what the Church officially teaches, ok? And anyone who would like to share their opinion on this, please comment or email me, I'd love to hear from you.

I suspect a same sex couple holding hands (publicly declaring their relationship) would get quite a few stares and curious looks, maybe even some 'dirty' looks should they enter a Roman Catholic sanctuary that way. My question to you, is why would you want to? The Catholic Church is very clear on same sex relationships- it's a sin. Period. To walk into a Catholic Church the way you described is to flaunt your sinful relationship and your lack of respect for the Catholic faith and try to force your opposing views on an entire faith. You would be very wrong to do so. I don't know if a priest would or would not serve you Communion, I am not a priest and it's not my job to make such judgments. What I can tell you, is that NO sexually immoral person, homosexual or heterosexual should even go up for Communion unless they have confessed their sins, repented of them and gone to Confession for absolution. To take Communion in an unworthy manner is a grave sin on yourself! Why would you do that to yourself?

Catholic Catechism #1385 "To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."
Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion."

You also ask if the Catholic Church would marry you (assuming you mean a same sex marriage). The answer is no. The Catholic Church teaches and believes that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman- until death do us part. That's it.

Catholic Catechism #2360 "Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament."

Catholic Catechism #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."

The last question you ask is about a position. I don't know what you mean by this. If you mean employment of some type or if you mean a position with the Church like as an altar server or Eucharistic Minister etc. As far as a job working at the church I would think that wouldn't be an issue because how would anyone know you were in a gay relationship unless you broadcast it? For example if a gay electrician applied for a job to rewire a parish, how would anyone know that he/she was gay unless they perhaps showed up wearing a shirt that broadcast it or having some pro-gay sign on their vehicle to make a statement? That could and probably would be a problem for the Catholic parish. Though I really couldn't say with any sort of authority on this matter. As far as a position within the Church (i.e. Eucharist minister), that I don't believe would happen because you are obviously embracing sin and refusing correction from God's Church on this matter. Blatant opposition to Church authority and rejecting of the faith is a fast way to excommunication from the Church, not a position with the Church.

You make one final statement about the Church not welcoming all people. You are wrong. The Catholic Church does welcome all people, the Church also teaches all people to repent from sin. That's the part some people have problems with. That is the part that will stop same sex couples from ever marrying within the Catholic Church because the Church will not condone or over look the sin to suit society. The Church's authority comes from God and God alone. It's not a democracy and it never will be.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" Series Book Review

I have recently just finished Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” young adult series of books about a teenage girl “Isabella” and a forever teenage vampire boy “Edward” and stamped it “NOT for anyone under 17”. You might be asking, why I am reading books geared for teens. Because I have two daughters, one is thirteen and an avid reader of just about anything she can get her hands on. Specifically she prefers fantasy and mythological fiction. But I am a parent who insists on reading anything and everything that might even slightly be considered controversial before the books end up in my children’s hands.
So after hearing the hoopla about the final book in this series that is taking teens by storm (or so the reports said), I set out to see what the stir was. If you do not want to know what is in these books, stop reading now.
The first book in the series is called “Twilight”. In this book we are introduced to Isabella who moves to live with her father in Washington State. As soon as vampire Edward lays eyes on her he has to fight off the almost overpowering urge to drink her blood and kill her. Of course Isabella doesn’t know this, but she’s a smart cookie and begins to put things together and finally figures out he’s a vampire, but she doesn’t care because she has already fallen for his pale flawless good looks. Edward can’t seem to stay away from her either even though he puts up a few verbal protests and warns her about him not being safe. She learns that Edward and his coven (family) have learned to live with people by drinking the blood of animals in the woods and not humans. This accounts for the vampires all having golden eyes, instead of the blood red of the other vampires who drink human blood. Edward isn’t like most vampires, he has an added gift of being able to read every ones mind- everyone but Isabella, which causes him much frustration. But not to worry, when he can’t locate her with his mind, he can sniff her out because her scent is so strong and desirable to him. Because Edward is a vampire he never sleeps. Instead he sneaks into Isabella’s bedroom each night to lay in bed with her and watch her sleep. Isabella wants to have an intimate relationship with Edward, but he refuses telling her he could kill her if he did because of the immense strength vampires have and how fragile humans are against them. Isabella also wants Edward to make her a vampire, but he refuses. He wants her to have a human life and experience all the things he never got to. This battle of wills goes on through all the books in the series (‘Twilight’, ‘New Moon’, ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Breaking Dawn’).
In the second book of the series ‘New Moon’, Edward is so worried about killing Isabella or her being killed because of him, that he dumps her and leaves the area so she can’t find him. This sends her spiraling into a very deep depression that lasts for months. At her father’s insistence she strengthens a friendship with Jacob, a family friend who ends up falling in love with Isabella. The problem with Jacob is, he’s a werewolf and Isabella figures it out (in the last book, we are told he’s not a werewolf but a shape-shifter). Can she pick them or what?
The next two books in the series “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn” are the most graphic and offensive of the four in my opinion. Here we find Isabella constantly after Edward for sex and to turn her into a vampire. He finally says he will turn her into a vampire, but not yet. Not till she’s older and has lived as a human more. She doesn’t accept this and tries to get another vampire to turn her. While this is happening there are other ‘bad’ vampires whom Edward and his coven have to deal with, along with Jacob the Wolf and his pack of wolf friends who are the enemies of vampires and protectors of humans. In the final book, vampire Edward marries human Isabella and they finally have vampire/human sex. Edward’s strength doesn’t kill her but she is roughed up during the honeymoon. She very quickly ends up pregnant with a mutant hybrid vampire/human baby that is growing at a rapid pace inside her and slowly killing her. The monster baby is killing Isabella slowly and painfully, while Edward is frantic to get rid of it- he wants it aborted. She refuses. Edward even goes so far as to go to Jacob, his jealous rival and ask Jacob if he will father a new child with Edward’s wife Isabella and talk her out of giving birth to the monster vampire/human baby. He will do anything to keep Isabella alive, even if it means giving his wife to someone else to father a child with. This doesn’t happen because Isabella begins to drink blood even though she’s still a human, but this satisfies the monster baby and helps Isabella regain some of her strength. The moment of the child’s birth, is graphic and horrid, it’s also the moment Isabella dies and Edward injects her with his vampire venom to turn her into a vampire. Isabella is now an undead and thirsty for blood. She has to be kept away from her part human baby because she could go into a blood thirsty feeding frenzy and kill it.
Of course there is much more to this four book series, but let me warn parents out there, PLEASE read this before you hand it over to your child to read. This has a lot of intense sexual situations, killing, blood and graphic scenes that in my opinion are not appropriate for young teens. The first book is the mildest of the four; each subsequent book grows more graphic. So be warned and know what your kids are reading.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Holy Sacrament Of Marriage: An Act Of Love And A Leap Of Faith

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
(Matthew 19: 6.)

Doug writes: I read in the newspaper today that John and Cindy McCain have a prenuptial agreement. When I remarked on that discovery aloud to my wife, she replied, “Cindy McCain has a lot of money.” We then discussed prenuptial agreements and both agreed that if one of us were engaged to a fiancé who demanded, or for that matter, even suggested the signing of a prenuptial agreement that we would instantly call off the wedding. That scenario, of course, is hypothetical. First of all, my wife and I love each other deeply and are committed to our lifelong marriage vows to each other, with 20 years already behind us, and hopefully many more ahead of us. Secondly, given our financial state, even the very mention of a prenuptial agreement is downright hilarious!

I find nothing in the Catechism that specifically cites prenuptial agreements, but 1662 sheds sufficient light on the matter: “Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually, and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.”

A prenuptial agreement, by its very definition, is, at the very least, a “what if” condition, and at its very worst, an “out clause,” to coin a legal term. In either case, it is the antithesis of faith, a staple of which marriage is to be founded upon.

Marriage is also founded upon love. We know from 1 Corinthians 13, a favorite passage of many couples, and often read at their wedding ceremonies, that love is patient, not jealous (or might I add, to paraphrase the 9th and 10th Commandments, “covetous”). Love does not demand its own way. It isn’t resentful. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It is even greater that faith or hope. St. Paul didn’t exactly leave a whole lot of wiggle room there for a pre-nup, did he?

Jesus taught us and expects us to be of His world, and not of this one. The 3rd Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is a rightful reflection on poverty, as it depicts from Luke 2: 7, the birth of Jesus in a manager, with the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. With their faith and love, an impoverished Joseph and Mary got along just fine. A close friend of mine formerly worked in the cut-throat corporate world and got laid off due to downsizing about three or four times before finally going into business for himself, but not entirely without hardship for him, his wife and their three children. After the last time he lost his job, I offered condolences to him, to which he calmly, succinctly and faithfully replied, “God provides,” and shortly thereafter, He did.

A prenuptial agreement is a simultaneous clinging to materialism as it is an actual barrier to love, a barrier just as much as contraception is, or as is a continued refusal to share conjugal love in a marriage. Marriage is a unity, and in any real unity, there is no room for barriers.

In our modern hedonistic world, narcissism is running amok and ruining marriages and lives. Singles now “hook-up” upon meeting. In other words, sex begins before dating, and certainly outside of marriage. Most women especially often regret such hook-ups after they occur. Dating barely lasts, when it exists at all, before couples engage in premarital sexual relations and very soon often cohabitate. From there, a new and disturbing trend is now emerging: as if so-called “accidents” weren’t bad enough, many couples now deliberately conceive children while unmarried and then later and cavalierly “see if things work out” before even considering marriage. It’s all part of the same gratuitous, corrosive, and dehumanizing evil. Human dignity is being discarded, if not defiled, for immediate sexual gratification, knee-jerk emotions, greed, and overall gross self-centeredness.

By doing things the right, or “traditional” way, slowly, deliberately, and with wholesome courtship and sexual abstinence, both parties can truly come to know each other, and true love can be fostered and nurtured, but even then, only after time, prayer, reflection and discernment. Love is more than an emotion. It is also a decision. The mental aspect must be as deeply present, if not more, than the emotional aspect. Such is the difference between love and infatuation.

With this deliberate and focused slowing down of the intended and seemingly almost obsolete relationship process, fact will trump fantasy, if not fiction, and discernment can overcome the potentially destructive blindness of infatuation-driven denial. Some people are very astute at deception, and others are less savvy at reading people, but all too often, those in infatuation are also in denial, and thus cannot as easily detect someone who is not trustworthy, or places materialism on a higher plain than his or her supposed soul mate.

A decision to love is also a decision to sacrifice. It is also a decision to stay, “in good times, and in bad, in sickness, and in health.” My wife and I can regale you with 20 years worth of roller coasters of “good times and bad,” and of “sickness and of health.” I have known several physically disabled people whose spouses left them because he or she just could not, or more appropriately, would not tolerate the later-acquired disability of his or her spouse. Words have meaning. A promise is more substantive than an agreement, and likewise, a vow is greatly more significant than a promise. In marriage, we take wedding “vows” for a specific reason, in much the same way that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and not “a few helpful suggestions.” There isn’t supposed to be a “what if,” or “an out clause” in marriage, hence the “vow.” That is where the mental overcomes the emotional, and the decision can and must override the circumstances. Suffering hardships in life draw us closer to Christ, grant us special graces, and make us stronger in our faith and relationships to Him and to each other, in much the same way that intense fire is used to forge the defects off of precious metals, and in the end, making them that much stronger, and even more precious and valuable.

The divorce rate in the US is currently at about 50%, and sadly among Catholics, it is about the same. Being Catholic in name only is one factor, as roughly 75% of American Catholics don’t regularly attend weekly mass and receive the Eucharist. Cohabitation is also a relevant factor. Roughly 80% of cohabitating couples later and permanently separate, even after later marrying each other. That stark statistic brutally debunk the popular, but detrimental folly that cohabitation is better way for a couple to get to know each other prior to marriage, if marriage is even truly in the picture at all. Too many Catholic couples get married in the Church to only placate their families, often parents and/or grandparents, who may be paying for all or part of the wedding, and thus want their say. Some Catholic couples don’t marry in the Church. The Church thus does not recognize their marriages and then those couples live in a state of unrepentant and grave manifest sin, may not receive the Eucharist, even if they so desire, and are in danger of eternal damnation if they do not confess and repent in time.

We Catholics are not called to be of this world, but that of our God and our Savior. To save marriage, and to limit needless misery, we must culturally change our mindset. That begins with being faithful to our Church, up to, including, and long after receiving the Holy Sacrament of Marriage. In the Catholic engaged couple ministries, we teach couples that marriage is not comprised of two entities, that being just of husband and wife, but rather, of three entities, God, husband and wife. Without that crucial and intended trilateral relationship, the marriage is potentially doomed before it even begins.

A prenuptial agreement is symptomatic of idol worship. It places love of money before love of the person, and thus, before love of God as well. It is conceivably a violation of the 1st Commandment, if even only indirectly so. It is steeped in greed, lacking, if not devoid of true faith and true love, and effectively says, “Just in case…”

Students study for exams. Athletes practice for competitions. Soldiers train for battle. Firefighters drill for that inevitable fire or other catastrophe. Likewise, before even considering the vocation of marriage, and marriage truly is a vocation, we must also genuinely, earnestly and diligently prepare. Money is at or near the top of the short list of causes for arguments, and in some cases, divorces among married couples, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. Our Catechism refers to “consent” and “covenant” in marriage. The consent must first be full before the covenant can ever be solid.

Then there will be no need for a “…just in case…”


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Major Crash On Campaign Trail

“Maverick”-Driven “Straight-Talk Express” Runs Over Life, Plummets Over “Ridge”!
Doug writes: I just can’t take it any more. Enough already with the hypocritical rubbish of incessantly uttering “John McCain” and “pro-life” in the same sentence. Those two phrases go together about as well as a red wine with a seafood dish.

McCain’s announcement of today that he might consider pro-choice (Let’s cut to the chase: “pro-abortion”!) former Pennsylvania Governor and US Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge as his running mate is just the straw that broke my already aching back.

John McCain has shown utter disdain for, been critical of, and has even ridiculed Christians, moral traditionalists and social conservatives. He has been given a free pass on his fraudulent so-called pro-life credentials for far too long. That nonsense needs to end now.

McCain favors embryonic stem cell research, which, unlike adult stem cell research, takes human life. He favors abortion to save the life of the mother (a medical falsehood), or to punish the baby for the sins of a rapist or an incestuous fornicator. He has flip-flopped several times over the years and right up to the present about whether or not Roe vs. Wade should be overturned. On different occasions, he could not give a straight answer on his stance regarding health insurance coverage for contraception, or how he would proceed if his daughter were to become pregnant. On that last one, the best gibberish “Johnny-Stuttering-On-The-Spot” could muster was something about a “family conference.” It is more than evident that John McCain’s so-called pro-life stance is about as steady as a weather vane in a hurricane, and that stance is obviously based on his core values…of convenience and political expedience!

Since 1980, The Republican National Committee (RNC) has maintained a pro-life plank in its platform. On the issue of life, the Republican Party is the very antithesis of the Democrat Party, at least, on paper. The implementation of the pro-life plank into the GOP platform was a hard-fought battle that has had to be renewed every four years since. On countless other instances, the Republican Party, as well as many Republican-affiliated candidates and elected officials have given lip service at best to the pro-life plank, and at worst, have outwardly defied it, especially in the liberal bastions of the northeast and the west coast, the two “fringes” of the country, not just geographically, but culturally and politically as well.

“Maverick” John McCain can’t have his cake and eat it, too. A party platform is a collection of ideas and issues that the party supposedly tries to forward and of which the members supposedly rally around. McCain said today that being pro-choice (pro-abortion) should not preclude someone from being considered for elective office. It should if they’re a Republican, “Senator Straight-Talk.” Besides, what issue is more important than life? What other issue can we possibly forward if we are dead? Would we have such a forgiving and cavalier attitude to a candidate who was pro-terrorism? Never mind Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Hussein or Mugabe. We’ve had our own genocide here in the US since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, with 48 million and still counting of our most innocent and vulnerable slaughtered, not because it was right, and it never was or is, but only because it became legal. How many of those babies, had they lived, would possibly have brokered international peace, cured terminal diseases, or greatly alleviated the suffering of the poor? For that matter, how many of them would have opted to live, had they been given so-called “choice”? We will never know. For that matter, how many of them would have grown up to register as Democrats, or dare I say, even Republicans?

You can be “a little pro-life” about as much as you can be “a little pregnant.” It’s not rocket science, but it is an all or nothing issue, like it or not. The D’s and even some of the R’s might vociferously disagree, but the truth is still the truth, so my vote is for the T’s. Let me make this very clear: John McCain is not pro-life. And his saying that he is only proves that he is only pro-lying. So much for the so-called “Straight-Talk Express.”

Pro-Life voters, or at least, the real ones, cannot and must not vote for John McCain. But that is not to say that they can or should vote for Barack Obama either. Obama not only favors abortion, including partial birth abortion, but he favors federal funding of it. Picture that: infanticide on your (tax paid) dime. Over 200 years ago, some of our forefathers dumped a shipload of tea into Boston Harbor for much less of an issue than that. Obama also remarked that he would never want to see one of his daughters “punished” by a pregnancy. Last but not least, while an Illinois State Senator, Obama legislated to literally kill live, born babies who survived botched abortions. His so-called reasoning for this sheer, evil, barbaric atrocity was that he felt to do otherwise might bring Roe vs. Wade into question and possibly compromise its status as an open door to abortion on demand. Perhaps now you know what Obama really means by “hope” and “change.” Much like with the deceptive and over-used euphemism of “choice,” the ambiguity is very much by design, and not by accident.

I am also sick and tired of continually hearing otherwise very moral, intelligent, rational people bemoaning the erroneous fact that they only have two choices for president and they dislike both of them. Voters have a duty to inform themselves as much as they have a duty to vote. If you count the every Tom, Dick and Harry who wakes up one morning, scratches himself, yawns, pours a cup of coffee and thinks, “Hm…I think I’ll run for President today,” you have literally hundreds of choices. But honing in on a closer grasp of reality, you still have some other choices as well. Alan Keyes (the other “black” presidential candidate) is a former US Ambassador to the UN and a former Assistant Secretary of State under then President Ronald Reagan. He also holds a PhD in Government Affairs from Harvard University. He has run for President and US Senate before on the Republican line and is now running as an independent. Chuck Baldwin is a Baptist Minister and radio talk show host from Pensacola, Florida. He is affiliated with the Constitution Party and was that party’s Vice Presidential candidate in 2004. Bob Barr is a former Republican United States Representative from Georgia. He is also a former US Attorney and also formerly worked for the CIA. Barr was also one of the House managers of the impeachment proceedings against then President Bill Clinton. On a personal note, having had the opportunity to meet and speak to Congressman Barr a few years back, I can also tell you that I found him to be very warm, congenial, engaging, genuine, and a very good listener. Congressman Barr lost his seat after several consecutive terms due to redistricting in his state. He has also since left the Republican Party because of his disgust with the party’s abandoning of its platform, and more importantly, the United States Constitution. Mr. Barr has since joined the Libertarian Party and is that party’s presidential nominee. All three of these fine candidates have impeccable and consistent pro-life credentials on the issues, and on the public record.

I would be grossly remiss if I did not next address a very large contingent of voters out there who mean well but inevitably cause much continued damage to our country and culture, and share at least some of the blame for the abysmal candidates we too often get stuck with, election after election. I call you folks, “The nose-holders.” You are a little savvier than those who still think there are only two candidates every year, but that knowledge sadly doesn’t faze you because while you have scruples, you don’t believe in them enough to utilize them, and that is a lack of faith. Too often I have heard voters say, “I don’t like so and so, but he’s better than the other guy and the ‘lesser of two evils,’ so I’ll just ‘hold my nose’ and vote for him.” This is a self-fulfilling prophesy of electoral doom. Then after their chosen candidate gets into office a few months later and starts doing what should have been anticipated as damage, you nose-holders whine like you didn’t see it coming. Hey, you voted for him (or her)! What did you expect? The nose-holders are natural naysayers and will tell you that “third” or “minor” party candidates can never win. Of course not, because the nose-holders, who agree with them, but perceive that they can’t win, vote for somebody they don’t want, and then make their perception come true. But what if everybody just ignored the polls for once and truly voted their conscience? Does not every grain of sand form a beach? Does this historic and prophetic (and erroneous) newspaper headline ring a bell: “Dewey Defeats Truman!”? A sage, ancient Chinese proverb tells us “Every long journey begins with the first step.” We should not accept nor even tolerate a “McCain” or an “Obama,” but we are our own worst enemies and continually make it happen anyway. President John Quincy Adams said it best, “Duty is ours. Results are God’s.” Never mind what Zogby, Rasmussen, Quinnipiac, or any other pollster tells you. Do your homework, vote your conscience, and let God handle the rest, because let’s face it folks, so far, we haven’t exactly done a stellar job by doing it our way.

When you vote for “the lesser of two evils,” you are still voting for evil. Some dispute that claim and say that you are instead voting to limit evil. That debate is perhaps a topic for another day. You may supposedly be “limiting evil” by voting in a race that really does only have two candidates running, but in most presidential races, between the independent and the third party candidates, such has seldom if ever been the case in our lifetime, and the 2008 race is no exception in that regard.

Voting for John McCain instead of Barack Obama is limiting evil, given that Obama’s platform on life issues is far more radical and intrinsically evil than that of McCain. But no voter with a conscience has to settle for only limiting evil in this race. Voters of moral conscience can and must vote for eliminating evil, and that means voting for Alan Keyes, Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, or, if it really floats their boats, one of the hundreds of overnight aspiring wannabe-presidents, as long as he or she is clearly and consistently pro-life.

Despite whoever takes the oath on Inauguration Day, 2009, our country will still then only have a total of 44 presidents since 1776. Yet despite those figures, since only 1973 we have made over 48 million fatally egregious and wholly (or more appropriately, “unholy”) unnecessary electoral mistakes. It is little wonder we say, “Every vote counts.” However, what we also need to consider and reflect upon is how much each vote counts, and ultimately, costs.

Let’s try to get it right this year.


Speak Up For The Endangered Unborn, Mayor Jarjura!

Doug writes: As a fellow member of the Family Institute of Connecticut, I know that Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura is listed as being on the Legislative Advisory Council of our organization. One would likely deduct from the fact that as a legislative advisor to FIC, Mayor Jarjura supports the pro-life/pro-family cause. Yet historically on these crucial issues, the Mayor’s consistent silence has been deafening.

Some years back, the Board of Aldermen voted against declaring Waterbury an “Abortion Free Zone.” I don’t recall hearing any statements from the Mayor during that publicized debate.

The state recently mandated that St. Mary’s Hospital administer the “Plan B” abortifacient pill to female rape victims, even though Plan B is available at Waterbury Hospital. Again, I never heard a peep from His Honor.

Now the city and the region are both faced with the likely prospect that Waterbury and St. Mary’s Hospitals may merge. Given the outcome of the recent past events I cited, it is sadly unrealistic to foresee abortions being prohibited after this merger. And still again, we hear nothing from the Mayor in the defense of his most innocent, vulnerable, and endangered constituents.

Pardon my presumptuousness once again, Mr. Mayor, but if you are a Catholic, I call your attention to item # 1868 under the heading of “The Proliferation Of Sin” in the Catholic Catechism, which says in part, “We have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so, or by protecting evil-doers.” The Catholic faith also rightly teaches that abortion is an intrinsic evil.

If you are not Catholic, Mr. Mayor, then I instead refer you to the sage observation of Edmund Burke, who keenly noted, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

I am not impugning the reputation of Mr. Jarjura. In fact, I do believe that he is a good man. But I also know that he is again doing nothing.

Matthew 6:24 tells us that a man cannot serve two masters. That goes for politicians, too, Mr. Mayor. Those on the opposite side of this issue ironically have distaste for the word “abortion,” and instead prefer to use the more ambiguous euphemism of “choice.” OK, then please choose, Mayor Jarjura. Which master will you serve?


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Distinguishing The Chaff From The Wheat In Parishes

Doug writes: “…Before the cup was filling up. Now it’s flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being paid to the Eucharist.

You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives….”
(Taken from the apparition of The Blessed Mother to the children of Garabandal, Spain, June 18, 1965.)

A local church, not my own parish, attracted my attention quite some time ago, and I occasionally go there for confession and mass. It is a conspicuously conservative, or more appropriately, traditional church. That is to say, that its priests and from what I can see, much of its laity adhere closely to Church doctrine and the Catechism without the various dilutions and changes rightly or wrongly interpreted from Vatican II.

This past Sunday, I caught “the last chance mass,” late in the afternoon. A young, very young, like 20-ish woman came in a few minutes late with whom I presume was her daughter, who I would guess to be in the neighborhood of 3-4 years old. I didn’t see “Dad,” which is not to say that Dad doesn’t exist in their lives, but I still had a heavy feeling in my heart for this young mother and her daughter nonetheless. They sat in the pew directly in front of me.

I’m not usually real happy when modern day parents plop down in front of me with the youngin’s. More often than not nowadays, the kids are poorly behaved and the parents are usually half-hearted about keeping them somewhat orderly, if at all. Such was not the case this time, though.

The kid was actually fairly well behaved, although fidgety, as most kids that age are. But Mom really caught my attention. I’m a people-watcher. I love to watch people. They fascinate me, and I find I can learn much from watching people, so I’m real big on body language, facial expression, and overall demeanor. Each is a form of subconscious communication. Mom was very devout in the way she prayed. She also knelt down, with her face very close to hear daughter’s, and she recited the prayers slowly and deliberately, teaching the little girl how to say them, and much to my surprise, this little girl already knew a good chunk of the prayers. I’m an old fashioned kind of guy. I detest trendy, militant feminism and I’m real big on chivalry. Men and women are equal. Neither sex is more or less important than the other, but each has different roles as well. Women are to nurture. Men are to protect and provide for women and children, so seeing this absence of a Dad evoked emotions in me of both anger (toward the Dad, assuming one is anywhere to be found), and deep sorrow for this young woman and her very young daughter. But seeing how beautifully, lovingly, and genuinely this mother nurtured her daughter with her faith washed away those negative emotions and I felt overcome by uplifting and euphoric warmth. The Holy Spirit had clearly come upon us.

I’m also a visual kind of guy. I tend to both interpret and describe my world more visually than audibly, so I also tend to see and describe just about everything in analogies. I’m a big dot-connector. I connect dots to just about everything. Hansel and Grettal were rank amateurs compared to me at leaving and seeing trails!

I then realized that what I saw from this young mother and her daughter was no coincidence at this traditionalist church. Many times, I have seen various examples of the notable piety of the laity. Then it made sense to me: the priests set the tone, be it good or bad, and the people just follow accordingly, just like how good fruit only comes from a healthy tree, as Jesus taught us.

Our liberalized Church is clearly coming back, but you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. Meanwhile, much of the liberalized and sadly, even corrupted residue still exists in our churches and seminaries. I think some priests and bishops are corrupt, evil and have an agenda, and some of them have already been weeded out or moved on, but only a minority of them still exists. I think most of the clergy that has the, for lack of a better term, “Post Vatican II mind set” are genuinely decent people who believe in what they teach but have been grossly misled by bad teaching and moral relativism, and when you look at the “fruits” of these “trees,” the evidence is clear.

Traditionalist priests will speak more often and more zealously about the Eucharist, Confession, the Ten Commandments, of Our Blessed Mother, of Heaven and Hell, good and evil, and with little to no compromise. Along the same lines, expect to hear much about abortion, contraception, premarital sex, infidelity, promiscuity, modesty (or lack thereof), pornography, homosexuality, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, euthanasia, divorce, etc.. Another good clue in such churches is the presence of at least one mass said in Latin. Also, the priest will tend to speak more reverently of the Pope, and less so about the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which has many fine bishops in its ranks, but as an institution, can’t get out of its own way and filters the Holy Father’s wishes through its own liberal agenda. Expect to receive a heavier penance of a more substance and meaning in Confession, and don’t be surprised to get asked a question or two, or to receive some unsolicited counseling. Laity in such churches will dress better and better respect the decorum, that being, of God’s House. More genuflection and reverence to the Tabernacle is common, as well as people lighting candles, holding Rosary beads, expressing adoration, etc.. Oh yeah, the keep their kids in check better, too, and often with less resistance from the kids.

Then there’s the other side. Like the one priest who once told me that “We” (The Church) no longer consider sins venial or mortal. Or another priest who excused a mother’s abortion because she couldn’t handle having another kid and the Church wouldn’t want her (the mother) to suffer. Or the priest who told me he regularly and knowingly gives Holy Communion to couples that are divorced and remarried outside of the Church without an annulment, or couples shacking up together, because in their minds, they are doing nothing wrong. Or the priest who pooh-poohed the Pope’s wishes, saying that the Church is too big, the Pope is too far removed, and as matters filter down closer to home they are interpreted, as they need to be. And one priest even has Christmas cards that coin the secular phrase: “Happy Holidays.” Such priests will overemphasize God’s love to the point that you’ll go to Heaven, despite whatever you do as long as you believe and mean well, or have a clear conscience, despite what truth is. These priests epitomize the song, “Don’t Worry; Be Happy.” From the pulpit, their words are vacuous, and humor, and sometimes, far too much of it, often replaces substance, significance, and the all-but obsolete ideal of reverence. These “Stand-Up Priestedians” think that incessant entrainment will keep the remaining 25% of mass-attending Catholics in the pews on Sundays, while blindly missing the fact that they and their loopy notions are part of the reason why the other 75% are long gone. (In dog food, a similar replacement for “red meat” is appropriately called “filler.”) In the confessional, they’re robotic. As far as those heavy taboo subjects I listed before, they will never part from their lips. After all, Heaven forbid they offend anyone during Mass. In the 60’s and the 70’s, which is the same era that polluted our seminaries and then our Church, the phrases of the day were, “If it feels good, do it,” and “Challenge authority!” In fact, I came upon that second one just a couple years ago when I perused web site of a New Haven area (Catholic) parish. As for the laity of these followers, they’re not hard to spot. Just look for people who resemble somebody who should instead be working in their garden, on their car, or playing in a softball game, or maybe even lying on a beach, trying to catch as much tan on as much skin as possible without getting arrested. They will go to Communion looking everywhere but at the Eucharist, with their hands in their pockets while snapping away on the chewing gum that will sadly and sacrilegiously soon share the same mouth as the body of Christ. Kneeling for this crowd means sitting, but with your knees on the kneeler. In fact, the position looks more akin to that of someone sitting on a toilet than on a pew. They’ll arrive late, leave early, and talk with each other through half of the mass, except for when the priest gives his sermon; only then, will they actually read the bulletin. If really bored, some of them will actually eat or drink, and toys, not parental supervision, baby-sits the kids, who are usually as obnoxious as their parents. But they excuse it all away with: “Hey, at least I’m here!”, as if to say, “Take it or leave it!” And that is why the priests in such churches don’t chastise them. Instead, they greet them at the door as they leave, shaking their hands and thanking them for coming, like a politician in October, or like the tail wagging the dog, as if God owes them something!

One priest once did give me some good advice. He said that I should attend any church in which I feel a sense of community, and I have. St. Paul wrote that as we grow in our faith, we should also change and mature accordingly. Geography, or more specifically, close proximity to home was once my criteria to join a parish. Then I looked for a priest who gave good sermons. Then I looked for a parish with many activities and ministries, and preferably, a web site. Now, I find that I am more attracted to more traditionalist parishes. So there are two schools of thought to follow from here. During the nomination proceedings of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, a Catholic, I heard or read somewhere that he is so devout that he actually left his former parish and joined another one farther away because it was more traditionalist. So, you could also seek a more traditionalist church, or you could emulate our Lord, Jesus, who defended his presence among thieves, tax collectors and prostitutes, because they were sinners who needed Him, just like a doctor goes to the sick, and not the well, because it is the sick who need healing. So, you might also choose to wage a campaign as a traditionalist and reform your liberal parish and liberal pastor. That is a noble endeavor indeed, but realize that you are waging a very steep uphill battle. Ask Father Corapi.

Father John Corapi of EWTN spoke similar words about such errant priests and bishops leading their congregations to perdition, as our Blessed Mother warned at Garbandal. Father Corapi also said he was often chastised for his traditionalist rebellion and once even thrown out of a seminary because of how the priests there were disrespecting the consecrated Hosts by locking them in a closet, instead of placing them in the tabernacle. (Father Corapi took the Hosts out of the closet and did a candle-lit holy hour over them.) He also said that when he was obedient to Church doctrine, which unlike dogma, cannot and does not change, the elitist know-it-alls would ridicule him that he didn’t know what he was talking about because they had all the education, so then he went and got 5 university degrees with honors and a PhD, and his answers were still the same because he was still right. (Ridicule to stifle dissent is also an old communist tactic.) You don’t need education to know the truth, just knowledge, and the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church should pretty much be all anybody needs, or at least, a pretty fair head start. So if you do take on that crusade, don’t be discouraged by pompous claims that others, including clergy, know more than you. Know your faith. Then be confident in it. Truth is still truth, no matter how little or much education someone has.

“I am the good shepherd: I know my own and my own know me.”
(John: 10, 14.)


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

“Bottom Line” To Waterbury Hospital Merger Does Not Have To Make Brass City “Infanticide, Incorporated”

Doug writes: OK, Mr. Morrissey have it your way. The interim Chief Executive Officer of St. Mary’s Hospital responded to Connecticut Right To Life President Bill O’Brien’s August 3rd Sunday Republican editorial, “Put Brakes On City Hospitals’ Merger” with his August 6th Republican-American editorial, “Waterbury’s Hospitals Can’t Go It Alone.” I’m a guy who struggled with algebra in high school. I wouldn’t dare question Mr. Morrissey’s financial credentials, and barring any submitted evidence to the contrary, I am, at least for now, willing to accept at face value, Mr. Morrissey’s assertion that the merger of Waterbury and St. Mary’s hospitals must go through as planned for the good of both institutions and the community at large. But just like there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is also more than one way to reach the so-called, “bottom line,” which is not to be confused with “hitting rock bottom” for the precarious pro-life issue, which hangs in the balance of this fiscal and moral dilemma.

Modern medical technology has now taught us that by time most women realize they are pregnant, their baby, and no, I won’t say “fetus,” already has the capacity to feel pain and is already noticeably developing in what should be his or her (not “its”) safest possible home, Mom’s womb. Pro-abortionists are all for choice, but always neglect to tell us about what and for whom. Pro-abortionists don’t want mothers considering abortions to see uterine sonograms of “death row,” because in roughly 80% of the cases where mothers did see the sonograms, those mothers opted out of having the abortion. The July/August newsletter for Priests For Life contains an article revealing several documented cases of all the torn body parts, legs, arms, heads, torsos, etc, cavalierly discarded and later accidentally found in dumpsters outside of abortion mills in several cities throughout the country. Those body parts came from little, precious fellow people, not globs of flesh, and they felt every iota of physical agony and sheer terror inflicted on them by, dare I say, “doctors.” Let us all stop the conveniently naïve denial, the inane and deceitful euphemisms, and the grim and grisly folly. Abortion is legalized and brutal murder of innocent, vulnerable infants, period. It’s about time that our culture, especially in what is hypocritically and ironically called “the healthcare field” finally come to grips with that very plain “bottom line.”

Don’t preach to us, Mr. Morrissey, that you believe in “the core tenets” of your own admitted Catholic faith. Catholics cannot support abortion under any condition. To do so is intrinsically evil, grave moral sin, and utter heresy. “Pro-abortion,” or if you prefer, “pro-choice Catholic” is an oxymoron. If you mean what you say, then I dare you, and frankly, I demand that you work with the pro-life community to see to it that if this merger is realized, that abortions will not be conducted in either hospital, while the other necessary medical services, as you cited continue. It can be done, and it should be done.

A fundamental marketing principle is that the higher the expense or deemed value of an item or service, the farther people will be willing to travel to get it. For example, most people wouldn’t consider driving more than 20 minutes to pick a pizza, but they might drive an hour away to purchase a new car. Some hospitals, simply from lack of resources, do not offer some types of advanced services and/or diagnostic testing. In such cases, patients are referred to other hospitals where such services are available. It only takes roughly two and half-hours at most to drive the entire length of Connecticut. Plenty of other cities and towns in our small state sadly offer abortion services. To make it easy, let’s put the religious argument aside for a minute. Waterbury’s merged Hospital(s) could simply reject offering abortions for ethical reasons, if not moral reasons. Where is the stone on which it is engraved that that secular hospitals must provide abortion services?

Speaking of medical ethics, Mr. Morrissey, does this phrase sound familiar to you: “First, do no harm”? Doctors, including at The Association of Pro-Life Physicians (, have already told us that there is no medical or moral necessity to intentionally perform an abortion to save the life of the mother, thus, there is no urgency for any woman procuring an abortion, and if she were to sadly opt for an abortion anyway, she certainly would not have to drive far outside of Waterbury to procure one, and I don’t believe that the slightly extra driving distance would deter her from doing so (unfortunately). Even with this proposed merger, I seriously doubt that the blood money Waterbury Hospital would loose from such a decision could not be made up elsewhere in the budget. Besides, you would no longer be killing future potential (paying) patients! Make it easy on yourself, Mr. Morrissey. If you are struggling with this concept, just close your eyes and pretend that those so-called “patients” from the general public seeking abortions are instead Catholics, protesting the distribution of the “Plan B” pill. In other words, once again, like you have done before, just say, “No.” Why do you feel so compelled to offer an unnecessary procedure that women can obtain virtually anywhere else in the state while simultaneously feeling just as compelled to so flagrantly publicly discriminate against an entire, and locally predominant religious faith, which you also belong and supposedly subscribe to? You would not be denying “health care” access. Abortions are not medically necessary, and in many cases, actually cause physical and emotional harm to women, so there is nothing at all “healthy” about this diabolical and inhumane procedure. And given the graphic details if this unnecessary and horrifically barbaric procedure, I ask you, Mr. Morrissey, “Where, oh where, is the so-called ‘care’?”

Is public funding your master? Then ditch it! Aggressively increase fundraising efforts, break with current trends, and actually become autonomous, free to thrive, and without the bondage of intrusive government mandates. Or else, let both hospitals continue on as they have been.

I’m a Catholic, too, Mr. Morrissey. Like I said before, you’re the money whiz, and I’m just a an average guy who struggled with high school algebra, but now I have given you a reasonable out, and if your Catholic faith means anywhere near what you claim it means to you, then given your financial aptitude, education, and experience, I am confident that you have the wherewithal to smooth out the bumps and rough spots and make my suggestion work. The daunting, and yet lingering question however, is, “Do you, my fellow Catholic, have the desire?”

The rest is up to you, Mr. Morrissey. We’ll all be waiting, and God will be watching. I pray for the future safety of the lives of our community’s newly conceived babies, as well as for the future of the salvation of your soul, that you will soon wisely seek His grace, and not later desperately require His mercy.

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