Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New US Seminary Guidelines Insist on Total Acceptance of Full Teaching on Sexuality

WASHINGTON, August 30, 2006 ( - Officially promulgated on August 4, a new 98-page Program of Priestly Formation has been issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) after being approved by the Vatican. Replacing the fourth edition of the norms guiding priestly formation in all seminaries published in 1992, the fifth edition has taken seriously the scandal of priestly sexual abuse. Speaking of a proper formation in sexuality, the document states, "As we have recently seen so dramatically in the Church, when such foundations are lacking in priests, the consequent suffering and scandals are devastating." Read the rest.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Viva il Papa!

POPE WEARS SUNGLASSES WHILE ON VACATION - Pope Benedict XVI, wearing sunglasses, smiles as he come back from a walk while on vacation in Les Combes in the northern Italian Alps July 18. (CNS/Catholic Press Photo)

LES COMBES, Italy – Vacationing in the Alps, Pope Benedict XVI made a brief visit to Switzerland, walking across the Italian border to visit the famed Saint Bernard kennel of an Augustinian monastery. Read the rest

Friday, August 25, 2006

a bit of brilliance from Planned Parenthood

Concerning the FDA's age-restrictions on the purchase of Plan B:
“While we are glad to know the FDA finally ended its foot-dragging on this issue, Planned Parenthood is troubled by the scientifically baseless restriction imposed on teenagers,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said. “The U.S. has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the Western world. Anything that makes it harder for teenagers to avoid unintended pregnancy is bad medicine and bad public policy.” (Source)
That the U.S. has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates is obviously because of the inability of minors to access Plan B. It's not at all because of the influence of Planned Parenthood and so many like them. By all means, let's start giving out Plan B to school children along with pornography, condoms, and the birth control pill. Oh, and remember, don't tell their parents!

There is God's plan, and there is Plan B

The decision from the FDA to approve plan B will set this country back.

First, let me voice my utter disappointment with our president, and all his staff. How can a person be in favor of saving millions of embryonic babies by vetoing a deadly stem cell research bill and then 'lobby' for a pill that will kill millions of embryonic babies through chemicals?! Where is the consistency? Where is the outrage from the Catholic community and the pro-life communities?

I for one did not do all that I should have to help my family and friends understand why this is a tragic decision. This is, however, a good teaching point for the Church, for ever single Catholic, and every single pro-lifer.

Let's look at the big picture of plan B for a second: two people have sex. Before they do, however, they are conditioned to think that they have to protect themselves. From what? Sex has been so cheapened that near strangers will have sex with each other: they might have diseases so they have to be protected from that. The natural function of sex is designed for the bonding of the two people and creation of new life. That would mean that these near strangers would have to see each other again to raise this child. You have to be protected from that, right? In another way, you have to be protected from the responsibility, from bringing love into the relationship. However, what many people are finally admitting is that these lines of defense do not work- they do not do what they claim they do. So you need yet another measure to protect yourself; another pill.

Why do people take pills? When there is something wrong, correct? You have a cold, so you take a decongestant. You have an infection, so take anti-biotics. A headache; aspirin. Why are people taking a pill because they engage in sex? Is something wrong? "O no! I need a pill- I just had sex!"

Let is set the record straight- there is nothing wrong with sex. God invented it. It is an fundamental part of the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church. It is window into the joy that God has planned for us in heaven. How sweet is that!

However, there is somthing terribly wrong with how we are using sex. It would be like saying there is nothing wrong with food, but if we start eating until we are sick...that is an indicator something is off. If we have to start taking a pill to protect ourselves from eating, we have to have 'safe-food', it is probably a sign that our use of food is off.

With all of these we are clearly faced with two options: God's glorious plan and plan B.

With God's plan, sex is what is was meant to be. People who use God's wonderful plan do not need to worry about disease, about cheating or fleeting partners, about armor or other means of defense. There is no reason to be defensive! God's plan for sex is for one man and one woman to enter into marriage and to express the love that is already there through this most special gift of self. The husband loves his wife so much that he is not seeking his own pleasure, but hers and visa versa. They enter into this love freely, totally, faithfully and this love is fruitful. It is fruitful in their relationship- they are ever more closely bonded. It is also fruitful in the very real way. The child that is conceived through this embrace is the symbol of the love between the two. This child is a most welcomed gift beacuse this love between them is real, it is incarnational.

We will have to work overtime to remind people that when there is a plan A, why choose plan B?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Married with out Children

Report Reveals Changes in Attitudes Towards Kids

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, JULY 22, 2006 ( Life without children is a growing social reality for an increasing number of American adults. This is the conclusion of the 2006 edition of "The State of Our Unions" report on marriage, released last week by the National Marriage Project.

The project is based at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Up until recently, for most people, the greater part of adult life was spent with young children forming part of the household. A combination of marrying later, less children and longer life expectancy means, however, that a significantly greater part of adult life is spent without kids being in the house.

The report, titled "Life Without Children," was authored by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe. They start by noting how many recent publications complain of the difficulties in raising children. Many surveys also show that parents report lower levels of happiness compared to non-parents. In fact, an increasing number of married couples now see children as an obstacle to their marital happiness. This isn't to say that children are rejected by the majority of couples. Nevertheless, there is a growing feeling of trepidation about taking on the responsibilities of parenthood. Of course, bringing up kids has never been easy, but there are good reasons why a growing number of parents are feeling increased pressures, the report explains. A weakening of marriage bonds contributes to the difficulties of having children. Cohabiting women, the report explains, may postpone childbearing until they have a better sense of the long-term future of the relationship. If they wait too long, however, this places them at risk for never having children. Being in an unhappy marriage is another source of uncertainty. Couples who are worried about getting divorced are the most likely to remain childless.

Changing families

Citing Census Bureau reports, Whitehead and Popenoe lay out just how much family structures have changed.

-- In 1970 the median age of first marriage for women was just under 21years-old. The age of first marriage has now risen to just short of 26. Women who have a four-year college degree marry at an even later age.

-- In 1970, 73.6% of women, ages 25-29, had already entered their child-rearing years and were living with at least one minor child of their own. By 2000, this share dropped to 48.7%. For men in the same age bracket in 1970, 57.3% lived with their own children in the household. In 2000 this had plummeted to 28.8%.

-- In 1960, 71% of married women had their first child within the first 3 years of marriage. By 1990, this almost halved, to 37%. So after getting married, couples now experience a greater number of child-free years.

-- In 1970, 27.4% of women and 39.5% of men, ages 50-54, had at least one minor child of their own in the household. By 2000, the shares had fallen to 15.4% and 24.7%, respectively.

-- In addition, a growing number of women are not having any children. In 2004, almost one out of five women in their early forties was childless. In 1976, it was only one out of ten.

-- The proportion of households with children has declined from half of all households in 1960 to less than one-third today -- the lowest in America's history. In general, then, a few decades ago life before children was brief, with little time between the end of schooling and the beginning of marriage and family life. Life after children was also reduced, with few years left before the end of work and the beginning of old age.

Less fun

Contemporary culture has quickly reflected the changes in family life, the report observes. It is increasingly common to find the years spent raising children portrayed as being less satisfying compared to the years before and after. Adult life without children is depicted as having positive meaning and purpose, and as being full of fun and freedom. Life with children, by contrast, is seen as full of pressures and responsibilities. In general, life without children is characterized by a focus on the self. "Indeed, the cultural injunction for the childless young and the child-free old is to 'take care of yourself,'" the report comments. The years spent bringing up children is just the opposite. Being a parent means focusing on those who are dependent and subordinating adult needs to the requirements of the children. By way of compensation traditional culture normally celebrated the work and sacrifice of parents, but this has now changed. Increasingly, the popular image of parents is a negative one. The new stereotypes range from the hyper-competitive sports parents who scream at their own kids, to those who ignore the problems their undisciplined children cause for others in public places. The latest variant are the so-called "helicopter parents," who get their name from the way they supposedly hover over their children and swoop down to rescue them from any negative consequences of their behavior. Television programs have long made fun of fathers, notes the report. More recently mothers are also being shown as unfit, unable to carry out their responsibilities without the help of a nanny, or as being over-indulgent and negligent. By contrast a number of the most popular television shows in America in recent years, such as "Friends" and "Sex and the City," celebrated the glamorous life of young urban singles.

Bias against children

What does this portend for the future, the report asks. For a start, less political support for families. In the last presidential election, parents made up slightly less than 40% of the electorate. Less votes translates into less support for funding of schools and youth activities. Already a number of communities across the nation are trying to hold down property taxes by restricting the construction of affordable single family housing. In cultural terms the bias against children is likely to grow. Entertainment and pastimes for adults -- gambling, pornography and sex -- is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative, and exciting, sectors of the economy. By contrast, being a devoted parent is increasingly subject to a ruthless debunking, the report notes. In fact, the task of being a mother is now seen by a growing number as being unworthy of an educated women's time and talents. So the more staid values supportive of raising children -- sacrifice, stability, dependability, maturity -- will receive less attention. "It is hard enough to rear children in a society that is organized to support that essential social task," the report observes. "Consider how much more difficult it becomes when a society is indifferent at best, and hostile, at worst, to those who are caring for the next generation," it concludes. The family, "founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman," is where men and women "are enabled to be born with dignity, and to grow and develop in an integral manner," explained the Pope in his homily concluding the World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, on July 9. "The joyful love with which our parents welcomed us and accompanied our first steps in this world is like a sacramental sign and prolongation of the benevolent love of God from which we have come," he noted. This experience of being welcomed and loved by God and by our parents, explained Benedict XVI, "is always the firm foundation for authentic human growth and authentic development, helping us to mature on the way towards truth and love, and to move beyond ourselves in order to enter into communion with others and with God." A foundation that is increasingly being undermined in today's society.

Friday, August 18, 2006

No, Virginia, There Are No Unwanted Children

It doesn’t take a doctor of semantics to decipher the fact that Planned Parenthood’s tag-line, “Every child a wanted child,” carry’s absolutely no substance at all. The phrase is used to justify abortion, which is by definition, the killing of an unborn baby. Planned Parenthood touts the phrase around and around the country, and we, the really educated citizens of the states have not united in coming up with cogent rhetoric as to why there is no such thing as “unwanted children.”

Before we deconstruct the idea of “unwantedness,” let’s recognize the appeal of the tag-line. It is appealing to consider that every child will be absolutely cherished by his or her birth parents upon birth. The appeal comes from the imbedded notion that “wanted babies” will live a life of giggling while the so-called “unwanted babies” will live a life of crying.

Giggling vs Crying.

“I want you, therefore thou shall giggle.”

“I just wanted sex and now I have a new, little, pooping human, therefore thou shall cry.”

Planned Parenthood likes the giggles, right? There’s where it gets the tag line, right? If only that were remotely true, I could be writing blogs about fashion or celebrity divorces, or something else Really Important. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood isn’t thinking giggling vs crying. Planned Parenthood is a business and it wants your money. The way it gets your money is by scraping the lining of your uterus with a curette and emptying the “contents of the uterus” (read: YOUR BABY) out into a collection bottle. (I am not trying to be crass. I am seriously just telling the truth.)

Let’s go deep. The entire idea of “unwanted children” is a FICTIONAL IDEA. As in, it’s fake. There’s actually no such thing as unwanted children. A human being in and of his or herself cannot be ‘unwanted.’ The basic reason for this is the fact that every human being has human dignity! (Dignity means “worth.”) You’ve got it. I’ve got it. The babies of Papa New Guinea have got it. It is The Reason why we can’t abort babies.

Human dignity is understood to be inherent; something that is “inherent” is integral to our very being. The U.S. government does not grant this unto us, the National Education Association doesn’t vote on our dignity, and Kofi Annan has no part in the delineation of dignity. Human beings should have the right to live solely on the basis of being human. Furthermore, since unborn humans are human, they should have the same inherent right to live as humans that are born.

The unwanted state of being pregnant and the human inside of a pregnant woman is often confused. We transfer the idea that when being pregnant is not the desired outcome of sex, that a child is unwanted as well. This false correlation of ours does not strip the baby of his or her inherent human dignity. Just because we don’t “get” that sex makes babies, does not give us license to kill babies.
Remember that in-utero and out-of-utero, we are talking about the same child. Just as we cannot kill a child that is, for example, orphaned, out-of-utero, we cannot kill a child who is theoretically orphaned while he or she is still in-utero. Killing is still killing even if the location has changed.

The following may illustrate more clearly why ‘wanted-ness’ is not a measure by which we can justify the legality of abortion. You are walking down the street and come upon an infant lying on the sidewalk with a sign above him or her that states, “Unwanted, do not disturb.” How many people would keep walking past the baby because the sign says “unwanted?” I truly think that whether you are a business man speed walking to a meeting, a fourth grader on the way to the park, or a grad student on the way to defend your doctoral thesis, you will stop in your tracks, pick up the baby, call the police, and hold the baby until the police arrive.

Consider another angle. “Wanting” someone is a changeable feeling from one human to another human. The key here, is that human feelings change. Monday: I “want” you. Tuesday: I don’t “want” you. We cannot have legal abortion based upon a sentiment that changes.

It is often argued that it is “not fair” to bring a child into the world under particular circumstances. So is dismemberment the answer? Being killed is “more fair?” Besides, the unborn are already in the world. They are “brought in” by sex, not by birth. Birth is an event that happens in life, it does not give life.
Randy Alcorn, in the book, “Pro-Life Answers To Pro-Choice Arguments,”
comments on why it is invalid to assert that abortion is in the best interest of the child.

“One of the most misleading aspects of prochoice argumentation is that it makes it appear that abortion is in the best interests of the baby. This is so absurd that it would be laughable if it were not so tragic. A little person is torn limb from limb, never to see the light of day, for her benefit? Slave owners argued that slavery was in the best interest of the blacks, since they couldn’t make it on their own. Today people say, “I can’t have this child because I can’t give it a good life.” And what is the solution to not being able to give him a good life? To take from him the only life he has. Exploiting people and stripping them of their rights is always easier when we tell ourselves we’re doing it for their good rather than our own.” (page 142)

It is our adult assumption that babies born into particular circumstances are destined to be unhappy. It is then our assumption that we should kill people who are destined to unhappiness. We forget that the babies are already in the world and are alive. We forget that it is our adult problem of not loving enough, our adult problem of not wanting, and our adult problem of not seeing that unhappiness is not a true destiny, it is a projected assumption. How dare we assume another person’s life is doomed based upon circumstances of his or her parents.

We are being lied to by Planned Parenthood. The lie is, “You don’t have the capacity to love children that did not spring from your very own loins.” However, as the example of coming across a baby with an “unwanted” sign illustrates, we do truly have the capacity to put aside our very important lives and care for the smallest, most defenseless among us. We must recognize the lies of Planned Parenthood, we must ignore the signs above unborn babies heads that figuratively read, “Unwanted,” and we must publicly and confidently acknowledge that the standard of being “wanted” is an invalid measure when it comes to the legality of killing a little baby.